City Paper is not for tourists
Scott Waldrop has a comfy couch. And though that may explain why some of his Twisted Tower Dire bandmates, most of whom crashed at his Fairfax town house the night before, are slow to move around Waldrop’s living room this morning, there is another, more probable
explanation: “We’re a bit hungover,” says the 26-year-old, goateed guitarist.
The reason for the slightly queasy vibe—as if any respectable underground-metal band needed one—was a late-night (“The cops came,” says Waldrop) get-together with executives from Remedy Records. At some point during the evening, TTD and the Hamburg, Germany-based label inked a $50,000 deal that puts the arpeggio-heavy, Iron Maiden-loving band on Remedy’s roster for its next five records.
“They wanted to come over here and actually…spend some time—as opposed to just having it strictly be a business relationship,” says drummer Marc Stauffer, 29. Presumably, the Remedy execs are still snug in their post-Pisswasser beds, because the only non-band members present appear to be girlfriends. That leaves only Waldrop, Stauffer, bassist Jim Hunter, and guitarist David Boyd to discuss TTD’s future plans: With the Germans footing the bill, the band will soon be heading to Assembly Line Studios in Vienna to record its third full-length.
Not that you’ve heard any of the band’s other releases. TTD—which, according to its official bio, got together in 1995 “for the sole purpose of resurrecting True Heavy Metal”—has enjoyed much more success on the Continent than here in the States. In addition to releasing discs on various European labels, the band has also played Germany’s massive Wacken Open Air metal festival, which draws as many as 80,000 fans. Back home, TTD plays local clubs only occasionally.
But that’s neither shocking nor disappointing to the band. “There’s always been a huge metal scene in Germany, in England, in Europe,” says Stauffer. “It creeped over here through underground channels.”
“Over there, [people] are like, ‘Oh my God, you live next to these guys!’ adds Waldrop, referring to legendary suburban-D.C. metal outfit Pentagram. “They really are like cult figures.”
Though they’ve thought about taking their rock to Europe permanently, the members of TTD have decided to stay in Virginia, at least for now. Waldrop says that the group is happy with its current level of success: “[We’re] dealing with a subculture right now, kind of the same way Nirvana was back in the early ’90s….We’re not trying to push ourselves on the commercial level.”
Which is probably a good thing, because even if TTD wanted to take a shot at the mainstream, the band might have a hard time in post-glam-metal America. “[People] think it’s a joke,” Stauffer says. “You tell someone that you play in a heavy-metal band, and they assume you’re going to spritz up your hair….I’m sorry, but we don’t sound like Warrant.” —Mike Kanin