Threatpoint -Electric City Thrash Metal, Scranton, Pennsylvania Since 2012
About The Band:
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourselves tell us a little bit about your band.
Chris James: Threatpoint is a Thrash/Groove Metal band put together from 2 broken bands in the Scranton Pennsylvania area back in March of 2012. To date, we’ve put out 4 full length albums and an acoustic cd as well. We have played extensively across the USA amounting to several hundreds of shows under our belt. As of 2019 we are now under Voodoo Queen Management out if Chicago. Yvonne Loveland is the CEO and our manager. Still to date we have no record label to help us. Hoping that changes.
What was your earliest memory of music that peaked your interest?
Chris James: It goes way back to when I was very young. Mom always had records spinning. The Doors caught my ear at a young age maybe 7ish. That’s where it all began. I listen to all kinds of music though country, soft jazz, 80s pop n hair bands. But Thrash is king !
Who was the first album / single you purchased?
Chris James: My first album I physically got myself was Survivor “Eye of the Tiger”
When did you first pick up your respective instrument / or start singing?
Chris James: My first guitar I bought off a buddy in school. I wanted it because it looked like Dave Murray’s. I was about 15. Then I locked myself away to practice. There was no YouTube or internet. So it was by ear, magazines, vhs videos. Singing was not until maybe 2004. I kinda just got thrown into it. Always looking for a singer, and one day my friend d Scott Gunther said you should sing.You got the attitude. Be like Dee Snider and just go do it. lol
Like anything I wasn’t very good and didn’t really know how to approach it so I went to a vocal teacher at the Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton,NY. She said bring a song I think I’m capable of trying and let’s get started. It was a WASP song, Blackie has such a unique voice, it’s raw power but such control. Her face was priceless when she heard it. But she’s very open minded. I was like if I can’t do this just tell me now and I’ll keep looking for a singer. So I learned the basics n ran with it. Still learning and trying new things every album.
What route did you take with your music / instrument / lessons / music school / self-taught and any fond memories of that journey?
Chris James: I started off with some basic guitar lessons and they sucked. I wanted to play Maiden and he’s teaching me Twinkle Twinkle little star. So that came to and end quick. I walked in another teachers store it was an older guy and he said what do you want to play, and I’m thinking here we go again. I said metal, and this guy starting ripping on a Judas Priest song… I’m like that’s it. He said son you need to learn the power chord. It was like I heard the choir go off in a movie in my head.
Who were your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want to be a musician too?
Chris James: Guitar wise it started with Dave Murray & Adrian Smith. Then it went into Chris Holmes,George Lynch, Dave Mustaine and onto Bobby Gustafson from Overkill. Then I found my biggest influences Chris Oliva of Savatage. His solos were like songs themselves.And Eric Peterson & Alex Skolnick. Eric just has the most aggressive crushing groovy chops! Testament blew my mind. They were different sound wise and vocally. Chuck is a big influence on me vocally. Also so are John Bush, Blackie Lawless, Dee Snider, John Oliva & Bobby Blitz.
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from your youth that made you want to be a musician?
Chris James: Yes, The Doors “Break on through” Jim’s voice, the power, the mystic of it all. We actually do a cover of it with our own twist on it.
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Chris James: I’ve been to probably near a 1000 concerts since I was a kid. Blondie with Garbage was absolutely amazing for me. Also my wife n I just got to see Helloween “Pumpkins United” tour. Talking with Michael Kiske was pretty memorable but their show was like 3 hours of absolute perfection! But seeing Overkill & Testament is a must every year.
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Chris James: I don’t feel guilty about anything I listen too. I don’t care what people think or say. I love rock-a-billy, outlaw country is great too. Love Dwight Yoakam and Johnny Cash. A lot of times I listen to soft jazz, no vocals just peaceful and tranquil music.
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
Chris James: Yes, our brand new album just came out Feb 22 this year. “Salvation”. It’s 12 tracks and it’s going back to the roots of our influences. Lots of old school thrash yet mixed with groove and sweet spots here n there.
Where and when did you record it?
Chris James: We recorded it at JL Studios in Olyphant, Pennsylvania in 2018. The mastering was done in California by Colin Davis of Imperial Mastering. We have been working with Joe Loftus and Jay Preston for years. They are fantastic engineers and musicians. They know metal really well and definitely not afraid to push us. Jay is a great singer so he’s a huge help to me in the studio. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and he’s great to help me find my way.
How does the song writing process generally work for you?
Chris James: Alex n I usually start with riffs we are working on. Nice to have a starting point when you come to practice. Sometimes I have a vocal melody and Alex will write under it. I just sing it and he will fiddle around ideas under it. It’s great because we never lack ideals. And now we have Sam Young back on bass. He’s our original co-founder of Threatpoint. He’s a machine on bass and a great song writer. On top of that this year we also added a second guitarist to our little posse. Greg Baczmarga is wicked on the guitar. Rhythm and leads the guy just bleeds metal riffs.
So we now have 5 strong writers in the band. We are already talking about the next album. With these guys I have huge hopes for it to be lean n mean.
What route have you taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond your local area?
Chris James: We have been hammering away for 7 years come March 4th. We have met so many people out on the road. One person leads to two leads to three, on n on it goes. Shaking hands with people is better than any media site out there. But of coarse we use all the familiar sites. Our PR guy in the U.K. Andrew Dex does a bang up job too.
What is the music scene like locally to you and where do you fit in?
Chris James: Scranton/Wilkes barre as it’s known as the valley has a great music scene. We just had a few new clubs open up. A lot of cover band stuff like anywhere, but we don’t run with that circle. There is a great original band scene here and a lot of venues mix genres and support original music. So there’s always a place to play or a show to see.
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish up and coming bands like yourself?
Chris James: yes n no. I myself like to see more thrash come through. But our venues don’t particularly host that. Got to travel outside of our area to get on those. We aren’t big on selling tickets, we have our own bills this band generates. So we generally do not get on those shows outside here. If they are local once in awhile they have something we will do it.
What would you like to see ideally to help hard working bands / artists get better exposure and opportunities to make a living form their craft?
Chris James: I know what we need. We need a label to help us get out on the market more. Get our CDs in bigger stores. We have the online sales like everyone else. We need to play bigger shows with great promotions. Money out of our own pockets only goes so far, none of us are rich. We all work full time jobs like the rest of the world.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Chris James: Stay humble, Shake hands, treat people with respect and be a good listener!
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learnt on your journey to date?
Chris James: Get a lawyer or someone that knows the bs jargon of all these con-man agencies and what not. They will steal from you, they will use you to fill their own pockets and agendas. Watch your back n watch what you sign !
With the music industry always constantly changing – how have you had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape?
Chris James: You just have to adapt or take your toys and go home. It’s not easy but never give up. Learn from others.
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Chris James: It’s a double-edge sword. Good, Bad and downright ugly. You can get yourself out there more, but there’s way more competition than ever. You can sell your music to the honest and the scumbags will steal it. It’s like this you can steal our music so is it ok if I come to your house and take your car ? Stealing is stealing.
So moving forward what’s next for you?
Chris James: pushing this new album. Working with our new management team Voodoo Queen. We are heading into Canada this year for our first time. Need to shoot a new video as well.
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourself as an artist?
Chris James: we have definitely evolved. From 2012 to now. Our writing, our stage presence and just growing thick skin to deal with all the bs. This lineup is absolutely the best ever. We snap like legos together. It’s just easier than ever. Chemistry is everything.
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Chris James: Short term a new video. Long term hope to get to Europe next year.
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
Chris James: Testament, Overkill , Flotsam & Jetsam.