Thomas Gabriel Warrior: The Gun Shy Interview

The man

I completely, totally, 100-percent respect Thomas Gabriel Warrior. The man had a hand in some of my favorite music — i.e.; Celtic Frost and Hellhammer — and even though he frightens me with his Undertaker-esque stare, I think the dude rules. Hails, obviously. He’s arguably one of the fathers of black metal and I got to see the man destroy his guitar last week in New York City. It was a night of extreme blackened metal madness at the Gramercy Theater with Yakuza and 1349, who got everyone nice and wet with anticipation for the main event: Warrior and his new band, the thunderously sinister Triptykon.

Of course, this being the first night of the band’s headlining tour, the band wanted to deliver, and fuck, did they ever. Tom peered out at the crowd, menacingly, his Doc Brown hair in all it’s glory, as he abused his axe like it’d just tried to touch his butthole — because no one touches Tom’s butthole without asking. NO ONE! I was mesmerized — not only by the man who’s credited with inventing black metal, but the band’s bad-ass bassist Vanja Slajh. I couldn’t help but wonder what she’s like off-stage…if she has a boyfriend or if she lives a life of solitude. I had to ask Tom: What’s her deal?

“She’s my best friend,” Tom tells Gun Shy Assassin. “We wanted to play together in a band for a long time. Of course, I was in Celtic Frost and I always thought I would record a side project one day but then I formed Triptykon and it was clear to me that I would ask her. We met when I was asked to produce an album by a Swiss band a few years ago; she was the bassist of that band. The production work never ended up happening, but we became very good friends.”

Hmmm. I decide not to continue with this line of questioning, so I ask the ultimate Warrior: What did he think of the NYC tour launch? “It was a very good show, but we had a lot of technical problems on stage. We worked with new equipment of course, and a crew we had never worked with before. There were a number of issues. But the crowd saved the day; they gave us so much adrenaline that, to me personally, it still was a good show.”

Triptykon are touring to promote their new EP, Shatter, which drops next week. It features three new tracks and the Celtic Frost covers “Circle of the Tyrants” and “Dethroned Emperor.”

“We did a very detailed pre-production for the album and the material we took to the studio was all material that was basically designed to be on the [Eparistera Daimones] album,” Tom says of the EP. “The album eventually had a playing time of 72 minutes, and that was of course already enough, so we ended up having to withdraw three songs from the album, but these songs were basically songs that were designed for the album.”

He says he always planned on releasing them as an EP, “so this is not just the marketing of some material that was lying around on the studio floor.”

Tom says Triptykon are already writing songs for the band’s second full-length, which he hopes to record early in 2011, and release either in late 2011 or early 2012. “I am very happy about that. I feel very inspired at this time, and it is a pleasure to work with this band. I am very proud and happy to work with them and there is plenty of material that I think is worthy enough to be on a new album so we are working on this.”

During the New York show, someone in the audience called out during a lull in the set, “Tom, you’re the man.” Or something like that. Warrior didn’t seem to take too kindly to the shout-out. So I asked him: Does it get old, people always kissing your ass?

“You never like people kissing your ass, but you also don’t like people screwing with you,” Tom posits. “It goes both ways. I’m just a musician and I am very passionate about music. It’s fine with me if people just appreciate my music. I don’t do this to be worshipped. If anything, my beginnings were so difficult and so humble and I still feel mentally so close to those times that it feels completely contrived to me. I’m not Tom Warrior, the legend — as people call me. I’m just Tom Warrior — somebody who had a teenage dream to play music to escape from a dismal reality in my private life. Music makes me happy and that’s really the end of it.”

In the coming weeks, Triptykon will be releasing a video from the EP, and Warrior told Gun Shy Assassin that he’s working on an “unusual DVD project” that will chronicle his career, essentially.

“There’s a lot of songs I have written in my life that I have never performed live, for one reason or another,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to perform those songs live. I think we are going to do that, starting with material from [Celtic Frost’s 1984 classic] Morbid Tales up to Triptykon’s first album. Of course, it will require a special set-up…as far as musicians and locations are concerned.”

He says it will be a huge undertaking and that he’s just in the early planning stage. “I knew I was giving up a lot when I left Celtic Frost. It was not a decision I made in a hurry or in anger or something. I knew it was coming to this and I knew I was going to give up a lot and have to start from scratch again. So I did and I was totally open in what to expect and I was surprised that there were far more people interested right from the beginning in Triptykon than I thought and I am very happy and proud about that.”

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