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WHITE SISTER – Angels Of Orchestrated Rock
Kelv Hellrazer
Metal Forces, Issue 8 (1984)

White Sister (l-r): Dennis Churchill, Garri Brandon, Richard Wright and Rick Chadock

Just over two months ago an LP hit Shades from a band by the name of White Sister. So impressive was the self-titled LP that it received a glowing ten-star review from our Angel-maniac Dave Reynolds. Myself, I was not that impressed on first hearing. But, after a couple of more plays the LP really hit me where it hurts. With a line-up of Garri Brandon (vocals / keyboards), Dennis Churchill (vocals / bass), Rick Chadock (guitars) and Richard Wright (drums), White Sister have produced some classic numbers, ‘Promises’, ‘Love Don’t Make It Right’ and ‘Straight From The Heart’ in particular, and with ex-Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria at the production helm how could the band fail?

I recently spoke to guitarist Rick Chadock and firstly asked him to give me a brief history of the band. “The band has been playing in LA for probably three and a half years as White Sister. None of the members have had previous bands, except for the drummer, Richard, who was in a couple of Top 40 bands not worth mentioning. Besides that, we’ve just been hanging around in Hollywood for three and a half years until EMI picked up on us and bang! This is our first LP.”

How did you get the name White Sister? “There isn’t much behind the name; it has no hidden meaning. Firstly, we were called Sister and then we changed the name to White Sister, because as you see on the LP sleeve, there is a white rose with the stem being a dagger; it sort of symbolises the hard and the soft. What it comes down to is, we have a white rose on stage as part of our logo and each band member has a white rose which he gives out to a female member of the audience. People get a real kick out of it. In the show we play well without gimmicks and we produce real excitement.”

How did you meet Gregg Giuffria? “That’s a funny story actually. We met him in a gas station one night.” (I laughed) “Exactly,” laughs Rick. “We stopped to get gas and he was there. He said he was interested in producing bands at the time. Then three years later he helped us formulate a way of writing songs. We then took this formula and did it on our own and then got the deal with EMI.

“We got Gregg in to produce the album because he’d done demos for us in the past and we were really happy with him. It was really just a great friendship we had with him as well.”

Has he guested at shows? “He usually shows up at the gigs, but we haven’t really played many gigs since the LP so there hasn’t been that much of a chance. He did guest on the LP though, doing some keyboards and some back-up vocals as well. We had real fun with him.”

How did ‘One More Night’ come to have Giuffria’s vocalist David Eisley on the writing credits? “Actually, White Sister wrote all the music and he came in and collaborated on the lyrics. We’ve also known David for a long time. We just went into the studio, had a couple of drinks and everybody was sitting around, then we just started collaborating on lyrics.”

How did you come to do the Angel number ‘Whips’? “Well, it was just an old number that we did a remake of at the time. Gregg brought us a demo version of the song and we liked it. It was the Angel line-up with Punky Meadows, Ricky Phillips and Fergie Frederiksen. Fergie’s now in Toto, which is really weird. LA has a real odd circle, and the way people just keep popping up all over the place is amazing.”

How did you get your management deal? “Well, actually Mitch (Mitchell Leib) approached us at a club and said he could help us get a deal with our demo tape. So we signed up with him and sussed things out. Mitch is a real hard working person, who puts us in the right direction and keeps us on track.”

What influenced the band to do melodic rock instead of straight ahead heavy metal? “Well, I’m personally more into bands like Toto, Scorpions and Van Halen, you know. But my biggest influences are Journey and Night Ranger. What makes us choose our sound is because of the way we feel, and we’re not a real heavy band, obviously. If you had to compare it to anything show-wise, it’s more on a par with Van Halen; it’s big sounding rock’n’roll. ‘Orchestrated metal’ is our term for it. We use a lot of melodic lines and it’s something people can catch on to, hum to, or just generally listen to at home. When you don’t have the melody, such as some of the heavier stuff, it just doesn’t sound right to us.

“It’s amazing because as you mentioned before in the interview, people who are into the heavier material really do like our stuff. We’re trying to bridge a gap because usually the heavy metallers go one way and the melodic rockers go the other way. But, like I say, our live show captures both types. Our show is really big; we’ve got lights, fog… the whole bit. We have bits that tear your face up mixed in with all the melody, and it goes real well.”

What about image? “Well of course our image has to be strong because 70% of our audience is women, and it’s real nice because there is about three females to every guy. As you know, where the women go, the guys will follow. We’re working on an image at the moment with Barry Levine. He’s done Angel, Ratt and Malice. He does all the pictures for the Casablanca bands. He works on the clothes and it’s real exciting stuff. Barry works on image real hard. He has people who get the clothes for him. What we’re trying to be is the Duran Duran of heavy rock; a fashion conscious band that’s real colourful. We change outfits a lot, because it gets real boring wearing the same stuff all the time.”

Finally, I asked Rick if the band played any different songs live, and what were their future plans? “We play one different number live, a mid-tempo song, ‘Save Me Tonight’, which is not on the LP. We had some oldies which we chucked, but now this is the best of our current material.

“Future plans? Well, we’re working on a big MGM movie coming out in April. We’re doing the title song and we’re appearing in it for three and a half minutes. We have to fly out to Canada for that. MGM actually approached us with a script and asked us to do it – we were really thrilled. The film’s called April (You’re No Fool). Apart from that, we’re still doing demos.”

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 8 (1984)

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