INTERVIEW WITH BONEYARD LEAD VOCALIST / GUITARIST PAMTERA
Date: February 18, 2021
ONE LISTEN TO BONEYARD’S DEBUT SINGLE “FATES WARNING” AND I KNEW THAT I WOULD BE PURCHASING THE CANADIAN ROCKERS’ DEBUT ALBUM ‘OATHBREAKER.’ THE REST OF THE RECORD DID NOT DISAPPOINT AND FINISHED AT #7 ON THE SLEAZE ROXX READERS’ TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2020. UNFORTUNATELY FOR BONEYARD, ‘OATHBEAKER’ WAS RELEASED IN THE MIDST OF THE COVID PANDEMIC SO THE GROUP CONSISTING OF LEAD VOCALIST / GUITARIST PAMTERA, DRUMMER JEFF CUNNINGHAM, BASSIST DENNIS COOKE AND LEAD GUITARIST GRANT TARAPACKI HAS NOT HAD THE CHANCE YET TO PLAY SHOWS IN SUPPORT OF THEIR STELLAR DEBUT ALBUM. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH PAMTERA TO FIND OUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT BONEYARD!
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on your debut album ‘Oathbreaker‘! It is really good! I understand that Boneyard started as a covers band but eventually started writing its own material. It also seems that some of your bandmates came from other covers band such as Tyrant as a Judas Priest cover band and Powerslave as an Iron Maiden covers band. So take me through how Boneyard went from covers to originals.
Pamtera: Jeff and I formed, and played in, Tyrant from 2001 to 2005. It was a very successful Priest and Maiden tribute band that toured across Canada. Then, I joined an all female tribute to the Misfits called Creaturette. After that disbanded, I wanted to start playing in a hard rock cover band again, so we started Boneyard. We played ’70s / ’80s hard rock deep cuts. We were looking for a bass player in 2016 and Dennis had played in Maiden tribute band Powerslave. I was like, “That’s it, he’s in”. Even when we were doing cover songs, Dennis would always bring new original riffs to rehearsals. Eventually, the allure of playing three sets of covers per night, with seemingly decreasing performance payments, was quickly wearing off. We decided to focus on writing enough songs for an album and once we started the process the songs flowed easily.
Sleaze Roxx: How long did the writing process take for your debut album?
Pamtera: The songs “Oathbreaker” and “Fates Warning” were finished a couple months before we entered the studio. The rest were written in the span of about two years. Grant Tarapacki wrote all of the solos a couple months prior to recording them.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that the recording process had to be halted for some time due to the Covid pandemic. It must have been frustrating to have to halt the recording process indefinitely.
Pamtera: It sure took a long time to get everything finished. Grant was finishing the lead tracks the day before the pandemic and [the] lockdown first hit us. We had to wait months to finish last minute edits, and backing vocals, but we were grateful it is now so easy to send files to listen to mixes online.
Sleaze Roxx: How and why did you end getting Cam MacLeod to produce and engineer the album?
Pamtera: When we first started looking around at studios, Cam’s name came up multiple times from friends and local musicians. We called and asked to meet him and once we did I think we were thinking, “Yes, this is the person we need to record with!” Cam co-produced and helped with the backing vocals and keyboard parts. He is amazing with mixing and getting the proper sounds recorded.
Sleaze Roxx: How did you come up with your band name?
Pamtera: While we were learning cover songs, Jeff listened to Sirius satellite radio a lot and noticed the Ozzy’s Boneyard channel played most of the songs we did. We decided to use Boneyard as our name mainly for familiarity to the style of material we were covering. Once we started writing our own material, and headed in an all original direction, we kept the same name due to the following we had built up.
Sleaze Roxx: I love the cover for Boneyard’s album. How did you come up with the idea for the cover and who did it?
Pamtera: We had artist Tom Bagley, from the Calgary band Forbidden Dimension, draw up our mascot Misty Bone when we first started Boneyard. We knew she had to be on the cover and talked about having her pointing at you, while sitting on a pile of bones, underneath a blood red moon. I think he did an amazing job!
Sleaze Roxx: Me too! Your website mentions that the Boneyard band members have a wealth of experience in prior bands. Have any of you released albums in the past and if so, what albums and with which bands?
Pamtera: Jeff and I were previously in a band called Septimus in the 1990s. We released two albums ‘Virago Submission’ and ‘Time Trials.’ Jeff was also in a psycho billy band from 2007 to 2010 called The Benders, and released two albums ‘Tres Cervesa’ and ‘Three Sheets To The Wind.’ All of these albums are on YouTube if you want to check them out.
Sleaze Roxx: Please tell me something about yourself and each of your bandmates that people would not normally know.
Pamtera: I am involved with roller derby, Dennis is a building inspector, and Jeff also plays in a Judas Priest tribute band called Firepower.
Sleaze Roxx: There is quite a bit of diversity on the record ‘Oathbreaker.’ How did you end up choosing “Fates Warning” and the title track as the first singles?
Pamtera: We felt “Fates Warning” and “Oathbreaker” were the best songs to represent us, and show our diversity. They were also the newest songs at the time.
Boneyard‘s “Fates Warning” lyric video:
Sleaze Roxx: I love the snow element in the video for “Oathbreaker.” It reminds me of the sometimes harsh Canadian winters. How did you come up for the idea for the video?
Pamtera: I really wanted “Oathbreaker” to be a video about a band who has a member leave the line-up. It happens to most bands and musicians. It’s so heartbreaking, like a relationship coming to a close and feeling left behind. Last summer, I planned on using actors in the video. But due to all the Covid restrictions, I knew there was no way we could film what I wanted with actors. We decided to film in the winter and found a suitable path close to my home. Doug Ledrew, our production manager — and the guy who is the Oathbreaker at the end of the video — suggested we film me singing at night. So we hauled a generator, fog machine and lights. It was pretty cold after a few hours!
Sleaze Roxx: I am sure it was [laughs]. Obviously, the live music scene has been pretty non-existent since the advent of the Covid pandemic but before that happened, how would you describe the hard rock / heavy metal scene in Edmonton [Alberta, Canada] and surroundings?
Pamtera: Edmonton has a decent live music scene, with lots of cover and tribute bands. The most notable original band is the power metal band Striker [whose last album ‘Play To Win‘ finished at #8 on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2018].
Sleaze Roxx: What made you decide to release your debut album a few months ago knowing that there was still a lot of uncertainty on when live gigs would be coming back?
Pamtera: Ah, that is the million dollar question with bands sitting on new albums during Covid! Since we already endured a long pause in the recording process due to the pandemic, we decided we would release it right after we completed it. We felt that with so many people stuck at home, there would be way more eyes / ears open to checking out new music. The decision has paid off as our album came out just before the huge wave of other new releases.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Boneyard’s plans for the year?
Pamtera: We just released the second single, and video, for the title track “Oathbreaker” on February 8th. Right now, we are busy promoting it. There is also talk of doing a third video. After that, hopefully we can focus on playing live again.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your top three favorite albums of all-time and why?
Pamtera: Annihilator’s ‘Set The World On Fire’ — Amazing songs! Jeff Waters is my favorite guitar player! Deep Purple’s ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ — [It’s a] live album that I’ve loved for years. Ian Gillan is my favorite singer! Thundermother’s ‘Heat Wave‘ — Brand new rock from women! It’s what is in my player now!
Boneyard‘s “Oathbreaker” video: