Sunday, February 4, 2018


Bootleg Metal - The Black Heart Gospel - TBHG

The Black Heart Gospel is:
Pete Colvin - drums
Stan Chan - guitar
Todd Knowlden - vocals
Mark Ramsey - bass

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BOOTLEG METAL: So let’s get things started with the name. Who came up with the name and what’s behind it?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: The name, yeah that was me (Pete). We've all dealt with and probably will continue to deal with not so great people. Road ragers, bullies, liars whoever. Basically, it's F U and I'm sticking to it. You know, when someone says take something as gospel. So it's not referencing that style of music or anything. BOOTLEG METAL: Nice man, I get it. One of the cooler name developments.

BOOTLEG METAL:  Where is the band from?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: We're all from NJ. Mark, Stan and myself are all from the Central Jersey area and Todd is North Jersey.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is this the original line up and how did you guys find yourselves in the same band ?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Yeah it's kinda like an original line up. I just left a band and was writing a new song on my own when I thought "What if I can grab some great players from different past bands and put together my own type or mini supergroup?" (if that's still a term). lol. So my first call was to Stan. We got together and laid down the foundation that would become our Wasteland America EP. When we were ready I reached out to Mark and Todd to do what they do best and luckily everyone went for the idea.

BOOTLEG METAL: How long has The Black Heart Gospel been around and how long after your first rehearsal was it before the first show?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Although the EP was written, recorded and produced in about 6 months, TBHG name has now been around going on 2 years now. Unfortunately the first show never happened or will.  Schedules are tough so we decided to leave it as a one time recording project. However, I am working with two other bands right now. The cover band has a name but the original project likes Gospel so whether or not we use The Black Heart Gospel as the name is up in the air at this point. BOOTLEG METAL: Wow, record speed on the EP but unlucky on the playing out. This is the second band I interviewed that couldn't find their way to a stage. Unfortunate on both.

BOOTLEG METAL: Does everyone contribute to the writing process or does someone generally write the lyrics and/or music?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Stan wrote the music as well as recording, mixing and mastering the EP. The lyrics were mine but I'll tell you what, coming out of Todd's mouth they sound a hell of a lot better (laughs). There was a song of Todd's we never had a chance to hit. Ironically the song was titled Dead and Gone. Great lyric sheet on that one.

BOOTLEG METAL: What are your songs about? Fact?Fiction?Personal experiences?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I gotta pick personal experience.

BOOTLEG METAL: What genre do you feel the band fits in the best and what influenced your writing to get you there?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I'd like to think we find a home somewhere in the Hard Rock genre. We were all kinda 80's people musically. So that influence will always be there. Today you have bands like Shinedown, Papa Roach and Buckcherry. So you take those musical influences and mash 'em with some good times or bad times in life and viola. You have a song.

BOOTLEG METAL: What was your latest gig? 
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: See question four. lol

BOOTLEG METAL: Where have you played live this year?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I did do a show with the cover band in Monroe, NJ last month. It was a nice time. Packed house and got to hang with some old friends I haven't seen in years. The original band is looking to gig mid summer.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a favorite cover that always finds its way on your set list and is there a story behind it?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Nah, no staple cover for me.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a past show that stands out from the rest?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Man, stand out show..... No, not really. Anytime a bunch of people will come out and give us an hour of their time is pretty great. BOOTLEG METAL: Alright, nice.

BOOTLEG METAL: What are your thoughts on your local music scene?
Outside of seeing some national acts I really haven't been all that involved in the local scene these past couple years. The cover band packed the place so I'd like to think it's coming back. Past experience I've played to 8 people at a bar to about 2000 in a club so it was kinda hit or miss.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a recent album/EP release you’d like to tell us about and where can we get it?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Nothing recent. There is our Wasteland America EP out there which we're all still proud of. Anyone can get it here. iTunes. Our last recording was a song called Motley Crue T-shirt. That song was never mixed or mastered so it will never fine it's way to an online retailer. We do have it up on our site.

BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have merchandise for sale?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Not at this point.  We ran a small amount of shirts that sold out but no plans and printing any more at this time. But, you never know. We'll see where things sit by the summer. Check back here:

BOOTLEG METAL: Where can you be found online?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL:  Official Site,     facebookTwitterReverbnation and Soundcloud

BOOTLEG METAL: As far as videos, sites, merch, ect. Are you guys more of a DIY band or do you hire out?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Yeah man, definitely DIY all the way. Handling everything ourselves really puts our stamp on things, ya know... Plus it's cheaper. (laughs)

BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have or are you looking for a label/manager?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: We were looking early on. We had a few promising bites. We also had a lot of those "We'll let you know either way" and then you never hear back type things. Todd had actually been signed prior to us getting together. So from his experiences NJ to CA, a label's no guarantee anyway.  Occasionally I'll send out an EPK but no active search.

BOOTLEG METAL: One question I like to ask. What song (if any) by another artist do you wish you wrote?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: 4 words: Sweet Child O' Mine. Well 3 if O' doesn't count as a word. I mean really, I could think of a lot but that would be my number one.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there another artist or band that is totally not your genre that you listen to?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Early Pink. That chick just rocks.

BOOTLEG METAL: If you could pick, past or present, would there be a dream collaborator (artist/producer) you would like to work with?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Dream producer would be Desmond Child all the way. That guy was unstoppable in the 80's. Artist would be DIO, no doubt. Best metal singer ever. Hanging with Alice Cooper would be pretty awesome as well.

BOOTLEG METAL: How do you think downloading music whether legal or illegal affected the music community?
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: I think it had a large effect on it. It's all stuff today's bands will never know. In the past it was hitting the music stores. Hanging out there meeting cool people, other bands. Seeing that new release of your favorite band just sitting there waiting to be bought. Checking out the flyers on the walls whether it's drummer needed or where the other local bands were playing. It was just that, a community. Now it's kinda watered down. That being said, it's an awesome way for bands to get their music in the hands of more fans and it is easy than going to an actual sore.

BOOTLEG METAL: Ok, So Wasteland America. Love the song. Dig the lyric video. I see it's a political type message. I actually had the opportunity to listen to your full EP which really kicked ass. Any story behind the song or why you picked it as opposed to another song.
THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: Well, I wrote the song, at least in my opinion, in such a way that it really doesn't have a political tie. It's coming from the point of view regardless of who's in power that there is always a hand reaching out for the dollar in your pocket. We "the people" struggle but don't worry the rich will be taken care of.  As far as picking a song, we went between that and Scary which also has some personal experience behind it. It's our bully awareness song. I went with WA first because we were actually all set up with our local high school and an independent film company out of Canada which gave us some of their footage to do a full video for Scary but scheduling issues and different priorities put a quick end to that. BOOTLEG METAL: Man, no luck in The Black Heart Gospel camp. Shame, I would have loved to see it.

BOOTLEG METAL: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and answering the questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?

THE BLACK HEART GOSPEL: First off. Thanks to you PJ. I really appreciate the opportunity. I haven't heard from Mark, Stan or Todd in a while so if this should make it's way across their screen I'd like to say thanks to those guys as well. And to Dominick Gagliano at Amedia Cymbals and CJ Cappella at Cappella Sticks, thanks for believing. Truly the best at what they do.