Interview by Mohsen Fayazi
The metal stage is bigger that what you can normally see. Producers, directors, sound engineers, managers, promoters, record label staff and many more people are working to enable you to watch and observe your rock stars rock on the magnificent stage of metal. It’s a system which looks like a web and every point plays their own role, just like a clock, otherwise the whole system will collapse.
My guest this time is one of those invisible stars behind the stage who has been supporting, guiding, consulting and showing the way to many artists. Paul Bibeau is a huge American rock and metal supporter who describes his job as a “labour of love“. He has a quite big reputation, including working with a few record labels and impressive names such as DIO, Alice Cooper, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and many more. Recently, he has been working on his new record company, Fade To Silence Records, built up by Paul in recent times.
Perhaps you have heard that the music industry is encountering some problems and perhaps you have also heard some artists complain and speak of it as a “Crazy Industry”. But love, passion and hope are indeed the strongest weapons against any difficulty and perhaps they are the reasons that encouraged Paul to create a new record company in this business which “really is crazy” he stated. “The scary thing is there are records stores starting to pop up again because the resurgence of vinyl, but the distribution system, people are, you know there is a younger generation are kids that aren’t necessarily rushing out to buy special edition vinyl or CDs. They are stuck in the world of either downloading which is starting to diminish, but they will go to Spotify and they will go to the various spots and stream music.”
I had another interview with Paul, about three years ago, when he was in a kind of vacation. He told me that the business that he knew is in its final stage of death. But what truly has changed that made him change his mind and come back to the business? I believe it was again love, passion and hope. “I felt like, you still have to work with the bands to be able to, you know I’ve been doing the management side of the fence but you still need to build a stable or roster of talent in associate yourself with them, even though the delivery methods are changing and they certainly are because it is not necessarily the physical world, it’s aligning yourself with good talent that has the ability to go out there and work hard and building something together and it’s a lot different than it used to be …” Paul answered me. But what does this business mean to him now and how does he do his job? He said: “I don’t look at it the way I looked at Mayhem Records or Spitfire Records or even Relativity Records from Sony years ago. It’s more of a management partnership now, overall to develop the talent as opposed to a record label ‘cos a record label traditionally is set up, put the record out, make a good (sound scan impact?), first week sales, second week sales and then go on to the next thing … I am looking at small staple of bands, only a handful bands to work together and create a different life cycle for a record … So it’s more or less a labour of love….”
Fade To Silence signed with two bands up to now and as Paul made clear, he is only looking at “a small staple of bands, only a handful bands to work together“. The first band in the row is Rockett Queen, an American hard rock act. “It’s a band I met locally in Texas,” Paul said to me and described them “They put on a very high profile show – very powerful, very energetic, kind of like old school strong front men that plays guitars and sings. Everybody that sees ’em is floored.” He continues “They’re just one of those bands.” Mr Bibeau also gave us some information about the band’s upcoming work, “They’ve got a record coming out next year, produced by Zac Maloy who’s worked with Halestorm and a bunch of really creative either country crossover, or rock and heavy metal bands.”
Paul and his company also has another name in their band list, With Our Arms To The Sun, see what Paul had to say about them: “I’ve got that and then With Our Arms To The Sun out of Arizona, who are very creative, artistic. I’d put them in that vein of Mastodon, a little Opeth, a little Tool – just a great creative band and they’re road warriors, they stay out on the road forever. We’re doing a date in Arizona with Tool and Primus in front of thirty thousand people for the Monster Mash Ball on Halloween and you’re going to love what’s coming out next year!”
As I mentioned before, Mr Bibeau worked with a few record labels, the biggest being Spitfire Records and a few bold names. “Well you know, I worked with some of the most historic influential talents that I obviously grew up listening to. I mean, when I was a kid I really got introduced to the heavy metal world via Alice Cooper, when my sister brought home ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ and it scared the shit out of me!” Paul remembers those days. “But I loved working with Alice, I loved being able to make suggestions, ‘cos at the time he wasn’t doing the makeup, he had really kind of moved away from doing the big stage production in the show. And we wanted to do something that was very heavy – it was very competitive what was going on at the time and we wanted to package him on more of a shock fest type thing, where he might be able to play with a Slipknot or a Marilyn Manson. We wanted to bring him back and make it contemporary…. ”
Paul also remembers the voice of metal, Ronnie James Dio, “I was there to support him, I picked him up at a time where that style of music was at its lowest in America and people weren’t really paying attention. And I’m thrilled to see his legacy continue to grow, even in his unfortunate passing. After all these years, he’s still thought of so highly and he deserves it.” “Magica” and “Killing the Dragon” are two of DIO‘s albums which were released by Paul Bibeau’s Spitefire Records and he describes working with Ronnie, ” Obviously getting the work with people like Ronnie James Dio, with Dio he knew instinctively what he wanted to do. I would help, I would more or less with Ronnie listen, because you don’t tell Ronnie what to do, not that I’d tell any artist what to do. But he really got it and really knew how to properly represent himself and what he wanted to do in his art.”
But Paul supported many more bands and artists, some of them were in their first stage of growing, “It was a pleasure working with a lot of bands like Zakk Wylde, with Black Label and seeing that thing grow from the beginning, from the onset and watching it grow into something big.
You know, hindsight is twenty twenty – when you look at these bands like Black Label Society, they really broke from being on the road and it takes a while. That’s what I’m prepared to do – I’d like to be in this for the long haul.”
You can watch the whole of this interview on the YouTube player below:
Fade To Silence Records Online: