Who made you want to sing?
Like the rest of my generation, it was Kiss, Van Halen, Rush and Judas Priest. Those were the top four.
What was so influential about Kiss?
I was ten and when I found out they had their own comic book printed in their own blood, I was sold. One of the most incredible things about Kiss back then was you didn’t know what they looked like. I honestly can’t think of a more literal embodiment of a superhero. I can’t think of any other humans who masked their faces and had secret identities. Who else has done that? Nobody. That takes entertainment to another place.
Why was Rob Halford your metal god?
His voice was otherworldly. One day I was walking around on the playground in 1979 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada talking about rock’n’roll, and some kid came up to me and said: “Have you ever heard of Judas Priest?” And I said: “No.” And he came over to my house with a copy of_ Unleashed In The East_ and played me Victim Of Changes. And when Halford hits the word ‘insane’, I said: “That’s not a voice, that’s a guitar.” And my friend goes: “No, that’s his singing.” In the way that Kiss were otherworldly with their personas, what Halford was born with as his instrument was otherworldly.
Did any non-musicians inspire you?
There was a television program called The New Music that was on a Toronto station. The host of the show was John Roberts, who is now an ABC News anchor. In the late seventies he was a fuckin’ heavy metal reporter. I was about eleven, and they did a whole feature on Rush. At the end of the interview, JD Roberts goes: “And who knows, somewhere watching this show right now could be the next young generation of rock musician that could one day have a platinum record of their own.” I watched that at the age of eleven and went: “Holy fuck, I’m gonna do that!” And I did.
Did any actors influence you?
Jack Nicholson. When I was twelve or thirteen The Shining came out, and me and my mom rented the video. We were watching it late at night. Halfway through, my mom looked at me and I had the same look in my eyes as Jack Nicholson, so she was frightened and turned off the movie.
What about fictional characters?
I’ve collected comics since I was a kid. I love The Hulk and Ghost Rider. But my favourite hero is Black Bolt from The Inhumans. His power was that his voice was so insane that if he uttered a sound, planets would explode.