Terry Wickham: Since I read you are from the Midwest, did you ever hear a band back in the mid-80s called Vyper?
Mark Zavon: No, never heard of them.
TW: I had their cassette Prepared To Strike and those two guitarists could rip it. They were underrated and played some catchy riffs, cool soloing and had a good singer. Wonder whatever happened to them? What was it that you heard that made you want to play guitar?
MZ: The Beatles
TW: I’ve read you’ve been in bands from the mid-west over to the west coast. Is there any advantage being situated in a particular geographic location?
MZ: It’s easier to get to the next level if you are near the action.
TW: How did you get into Kill Devil Hill?
MZ: Vinny Appice and I had a mutual friend who gave him my number and we started writing together.
MZ: You should pick it up and decide for yourself. We had more time on the second disc.
TW: What is the band’s writing process? Is the music written first or the lyrics?
MZ: Music first, then melodies then lyrics, usually.
TW: In terms of the music, is there someone that takes the lead, or does everyone take turns bringing different songs to the table?
MZ: It’s always different, but I usually have a bunch of riffs and finished demos to start with, then we work out the vocals and arrangements. Rex has brought some stuff in too, but in the end we all work together.
TW: Where was Revolution Rise recorded?
MZ: At Pilsound Studios, in Jeff Pilson’s house.
TW: What was it that you wanted to accomplish as a guitarist this time out?
MZ: Just try to top the last recording if possible. I just try to be myself and do the songs justice.
TW: Your favorite tune off Revolution Rise and why?
MZ: I love ’em all, but ‘Long Way From Home’ is one of my favorites. I like the layers and textures in that one.
TW: You informed me that Zakk Wylde played on the first song “No Way Out.” Who brought him out for the occasion?
MZ: Our manager at the time, Erik Luftglass, called him up and got him involved. That was pretty fucking cool. I think that guy’s one of the best players out there.
TW: I’ve got to tell you, Kill Devil Hill is tight. That must not be a coincidence with how you guys get along. Talk about the chemistry of the band.
MZ: We are very fortunate that we get along as well as we do. Writing and recording can put some serious pressure on a band’s personal relationships, and you have to be strong enough to put egos aside and work toward a common goal. We all kinda grew up on the same music, so our heads are sort of aligned in a way. We have a blast together on tour, and I always look forward to getting together.
TW: Have you guys hit the road to support the album yet? If you come through New York, I’d love to catch a show.
MZ: Yeah, we just got back from Australia, and are leaving next week for a couple weeks of US dates. Hopefully we will get to the NY area soon.
TW: I’m going to throw out some random guitar comments. Tell me what comes to mind:
Randy Rhoads best solo? They are all KILLER
Eddie Van Halen’s best riff?
I especially like Mean Streets
George Lynch’s playing on Tooth and Nail? Badass
Jake E. Lee’s riff for “Rock-N-Roll Rebel”? Smokin
Warren DiMartini’s tone and lick for “Lay It Down?” Wicked
Yngwie Malmsteen? Classical shred master
Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield’s playing on Ride The Lightning?
Tight as fuck
John Sykes guitar tone on Whitesnake (1987)?
Who do you prefer Joe Satriani or Steve Vai and why?
They are both ridiculously amazing
Most underrated guitarist to come out of the 90s? Michael Lee Firkins
Your favorite “Dimebag” Darrell lick?
The second solo of The Sleep
Best guitarist to emerge in the past 10 years?
What’s the future plan going forward for Kill Devil Hill? Kick as much ass as humanly possible.
TW: Thanks for your excellent playing on Revolution Rise and for helping give us another stellar band.
MZ: You are very welcome, thank for your interest.
To learn more about Kill Devil Hill and Mark’s music please visit the band’s official site and Mark’s Facebook page: