Richard Christy of:
Richard Christy is an American drummer, radio personality and actor, best known for being the former drummer for several heavy metal bands since the early 1990s-Burning Inside, Death, Iced Earth. Currently he is in Charred Walls Of The Damned and also been a part of  The Howard Stern Show since 2004.
METAL PULP AND PAPER: You became a fan of KISS and Meatloaf at a very early age only being four years old? Do you even remember this, and listening to them on the albums your Aunt had brought over? 

Wow you really know your Richard Christy history haha! That’s true, my Aunt Theresa bought me KISS Alive! and the Peter Criss solo album when I was four years old. I immediately became a huge fan of KISS and Peter Criss’ drumming. I got to play drums in front of Peter Criss on That Metal Show in 2014 and it was truly a dream come true to play drums in front of the person who made me want to play drums! My mom used to play Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell on vinyl every day when I was a kid so that album is definitely a big influence on me and I still listen to it all the time, it’s so freaking epic!  

 Later on, with you still being young, you must have been around nine, a neighbor of yours introduced you to Quiet Riot’s Metal Health in 1983, which lead you to what you considered your next step to heaviness in music. You ended up saving money to buy it on a cassette tape. How many times do you think you ended up listening to it back then?  

Wow you’ve done your homework! That’s true, it was my neighbor Larry Beerbower who introduced me to heavy metal in 1983. He played me a cassette of Quiet Riot’s Metal Health and I was hooked! I saved up my allowance to buy the cassette and my second cassette was Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry which also was a huge influence on me musically. The third metal album I ever really got into was Iron Maiden’s Powerslave and then Live After Death, I’ve been a fan ever since! I still listen to all of those albums at least once a week on vinyl!  

Are you still in contact with your neighbor?  

Yes I see Larry once in a while when I go back to visit my family in Kansas, I don’t think he’s as much into metal anymore but he definitely changed my life by playing Metal Health for me on cassette!
Does he know what this started and where you are at now in the music industry 23 years later? 

Yes he does, I’ve always filled him in on what I’ve been up to when I visit him back in Kansas, he thinks it’s pretty cool!  

MPAP: Your parents have always been supportive of your music career. At 10 years old they bought you a drum pad to practice on which eventually led them to buy you a real drum set later on. Why do you think they supported you? Obviously, they weren’t like most parents back then, or even some today, thinking heavy metal music was evil and you were going to end up to be nothing in your life and worship the devil. 

RC: How do you know so much about me? Is this my Uncle Herbie? Haha! My parents were always SUPER supportive of my drumming, they even would take naps while I practiced drums in the next room, I don’t know how they could sleep through all of the noise but they did. I think they knew that if I was at home practicing drums, I wasn’t out getting into trouble and being rowdy, I could get out all my aggressions on the drums.  

MPAP: Your father was a Vietnam Vet; not once did he ever say “No son of mine is going to be in a heavy metal music band and grow his hair long. He is going to join the service and go off to college and do something with his life”? 

RC: He was always super cool about me loving music and wanting to play drums. It was so cool when I was first able to tour Europe with Death and I called my parents back home and told them about it, I think then they realized that all of the support paid off because I was getting to see the world because of music.
MPAP: At age 14, you saw your first concert, Stryper and White Lion? Not a first concert you’d expect after bands like Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, and Iron Maiden were a major influence of yours? Was this because there was a limited amount of shows that came to the area where you were living at that time?  

RC: It’s because I’m a huge Stryper and White Lion fan! I know that might not be a popular opinion in some heavy metal circles but I love a lot of 80’s glam metal bands. I think Stryper writes really catchy, melodic songs and I still listen to them all the time to this day. Robert Sweet is a huge influence on me as a drummer. To this day the Stryper concert in 1988 is still one of the loudest I’ve ever been to.  

MPAP: In August of 1992, you joined Public Assassin, a death/thrash metal band from Springfield, Missouri, instead of going off to college. Did you have a gut feeling it was better for you to be in a band and see what happens, then to go off to college which might eventually lead to a permanent good paying job? 

RC: Yes I just had to go with my gut. I was ready to move to a bigger city and Public Assassin was based in Springfield, MO which to me at the time was a huge city. I was also a huge fan of the band, I had their demos and loved them so I felt like it was the right thing to do to join the band and move to a bigger city rather than stay in Southeast Kansas and go to Community College.  

MPAP: During this time, you also played in a "joke punk band" properly named Pisser, playing GG Allin and Cocknoose cover songs. What inspired this? GG Allin and his music is something most people would not be able to stomach or even listen, to say the least? 

RC: It was just a fun thing to do with my friends on the weekends. We’d get together, buy a case of cheap beer, and come up with silly songs. We ended up doing some gigs, many of which ended very badly with brawls and us destroying our equipment, it was just fun to do and some of my friends were big GG Allin fans and some of his songs are actually pretty catchy.
MPAP: It sounds like it was pretty rough for you when you relocated to Orlando, Florida in 1996 and spent eight years. Your income from music and electrical work were very limited at that time, so you could only afford to live in a storage unit where you also kept and practiced playing your drums. Was there any point in time during this period you just wanted to go to college and see what might have happened if you had taken that road? I mean you were showering with a garden hose outside that storage unit, you must have been really determined to stick it out being in a heavy metal band?  

RC: It was rough but it was all for metal! I didn’t want to get an apartment because it was too expensive and I was always at the storage unit practicing anyway so I just decided to live there. It was very rough living but really cheap and I was able to save a little bit of money because it was only $150 a month in rent. I also had a super cool boss at the electrical company I worked at and he would let me take off for months at a time to go on tour and then come back and still have a job, I was very lucky to have that.  

MPAP: Did at any point your parents ever tell you to just come back home?
RC: No they were always very happy for me, they knew I was very determined and I was doing what I loved so they never questioned that.
MPAP: Good things were about to happen to you in 1997 when you met fellow Orlando resident, singer and guitarist Chuck Schuldiner from the iconic death metal band Death. What were you both doing at the Altamonte bookstore? 

RC: My friend and bandmate Steve Childers and I were just wandering around the mall on a Saturday, I think we were going to Musicland to look at metal albums, and we went into the bookstore to get the new issue of Metal Maniacs and there was Chuck reading a magazine about recording. We were starstruck! We were so nervous that we walked over to the corner to decide if we should say something, we finally got up the courage to say hi and Chuck was so nice! He talked metal with us for about 30 minutes and afterward we called all of our friends from Missouri to brag about who we had just met!
MPAP: How soon after you met him did you find out that Death needed a drummer? Do you know if there was a long line of drummers knocking down Chuck’s door to get the part? 

RC: It was about a year later. We had mutual friends, Rick Renstrom and BC Richards from the amazing Orlando power metal band Wicked Ways. I heard Chuck was looking for a drummer and I told Rick and BC that I’d love to audition and they passed the message onto Chuck. I’m not sure if there were other drummers looking to get the part but I was very prepared because I had been practicing drums to Death albums since I was in high school.  

MPAP: The audition was a success, and you soon played on Death’s The Sound Of Perseverance released in 1998. Was this like winning the lottery?
RC: Yes definitely, the reason anybody in the metal community knows who I am is because of Chuck having faith in me and asking me to play drums in Death. I’m so proud of that album and I think it is the best drumming I’ll ever play on an album. I was 24 at the time and practicing anywhere from 2-5 hours a day so I was at the top of my game and I’m so fortunate that I had the chance to play in my favorite band and play on an album that people still love listening to today.  

MPAP: After that, you toured Europe for four months with Death, which included a spot at the Dynamo Open Air festival in the Netherlands in front of 35,000 people. That had to be an amazing experience? 

RC: It was absolutely incredible. I was so nervous because it was only my fourth show with Death, same with Shannon and Scott. We did 3 warm up shows then Dynamo festival. Once we got on stage though the nerves went away and I just enjoyed it, it was amazing and the reward for all of the years of practicing drumming. We were playing right before Pantera and Phil Anselmo was on the side of the stage watching us and air drumming which was incredible too! I got to party with Dimebag and Rex that night so it was a dream come true for a Pantera fan like me!  

MPAP: You became very close friends with Chuck and would spend several Thanksgiving holidays with the Schuldiner family. Sadly, in December of 2001, Chuck died from brain cancer. Where were you when you found out the news of his passing? Was it tough to get behind the drum kit after that for a while? 

RC: Yes it was very tough to think about drumming for a while after Chuck passed away. I was on my way to work when I got the call from Chuck’s sister and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I think about Chuck every day and I still listen to Death almost every day. The Human album is in my Top 5 favorite metal albums EVER, I think it’s an absolute masterpiece. Chuck is gone but his music will live forever, I’m so happy that Relapse and Chuck’s family are doing such an amazing job re-releasing Chuck’s music. The vinyl re-issue of The Sound Of Perseverance is coming out soon and it looks incredible!  

MPAP: Juggling your time in between multiple bands, you joined Iced Earth in 2000, putting out 3 releases with them, only to end up quitting everything in music in 2004 to pursue your ultimate dream job, being a part of The Howard Stern Show. Did you ever have in the back of your mind, that if you quit Iced Earth and The Howard Stern show doesn’t work out, you’d have to start all over again as a drummer? 

RC: Ya I didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t get the Howard Stern job but it was a chance I had to take, I knew I’d regret it forever if I didn’t at least try to get the job, because it was and is my dream job. To be able to come to work every day and laugh is incredible and I appreciate it so much.  

MPAP: For the next five years, you went on hiatus from being a musician. Was this because you had to focus 100% on The Howard Stern Show and there wasn’t any time to be in a band that would fit in your schedule? 

RC: I still played drums all the time during those five years and also wrote tons of guitar riffs which became the first Charred Walls of the Damned album. I just wanted to take my time before getting back into music and I wanted to make sure that the right thing came along before I committed to anything.
MPAP: At any point did you miss playing the drums, playing music and the touring life? 

RC: I still played the drums during that time so I didn’t miss it cause I was still doing it, and touring was fun but it seems to be a young man’s game, the older I get the more I like to relax and spend time with my wife in my spare time so although I do miss playing live shows (although hopefully we’ll be playing some to support the new Charred Walls album), I’m so happy I was able to tour when I was younger because it was a blast and I got to see a lot of the world while having fun and playing metal!  

MPAP: By 2008 you started to write some new material and get a new band together. What changed? Did you now have some extra time you could be in a band while working on The Howard Stern show? 

RC: I had actually been writing material for a while and I just started to compile it all together around 2008 and realized I had enough material for an album, that’s when I decided to put together Charred Walls. I think what changed is just that I was practicing guitar a bit more on the weekends and I was getting better at it and as a result the riffs I was writing were getting better as well.  

MPAP: Then 2010 saw your new band Charred Walls Of The Damned self-titled debut album released. Were you nervous at all how your fans would react to it especially after drumming in bands like Death, Burning Inside, and Iced Earth? 

RC: Yes definitely, as the songwriter I never know if people are going to like the songs I write or not, I know I love the stuff I write but I’m so close to it that it’s hard for me to be objective. When the album was released and got good reviews it was such a relief!  

MPAP: Creatures Watching Over The Dead recently just came out September 23rd of this year on Metal Blade Records. It had been five years since your previous release, Cold Winds On Timeless Days. What can fans expect from this? How does it compare to the self-titled release? 

RC: I think the songs on this album are more compact and to the point than our last album. It still sounds like Charred Walls but I think I’ve grown as a songwriter and we really worked hard on this album to make the songs catchy, melodic, and heavy. I’m so proud of this album and I think fans of all different kinds of metal will love it!  

MPAP: Will you take some time off from The Howard Stern Show to go out on tour in 2017? 

RC: We’ll probably try to do some festival shows because I’m able to go out and play on the weekends. My main priority is my job so I’ll have to work around my job schedule, hopefully we’ll be doing some festival shows cause I’d LOVE to go out and play our new music for my fellow metalheads!  

MPAP: On September 26th you recently got to watch Metallica perform on The Howard Stern Show? Would this be considered a bucket list item you can check off? 

RC: Yes definitely, it was very surreal being in a small room watching them play! I’ve idolized Metallica since I was 11 years old and to be able to watch them live in 2016 is incredible.  

MPAP: When you joined Howard Stern did you ever imagine anything like that would ever happen? 

RC: I still pinch myself every day, I’m so lucky and I always think about how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do. I’m very thankful and honored that people even care about what I do!  

MPAP: Metal Pulp And Paper would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Any last things you’d like to says to the fans reading this? 

RC: Thank you so much for interviewing me and I’m flattered that you know so much about me! To all the fans, please pick up the new Charred Walls of the Damned album Creatures Watching Over The Dead, it’s pure metal and great to bang your head to! Thanks and Cheers!  

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