SCREAM TAKER “Screaming Blue Murder”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s no secret that there’s tons of money in the nostalgia rock circuit. Bands from the 70’s and 80’s keep plugging away, playing county fairs and “Rockin’ Ribfests” all over the land. A lot of these groups have one original member and a bunch of younger session players filling the gaps.

However, it’s much rarer to find a new band with serious members playing new music that is in the mold of classic rock and metal. One such band is SCREAM TAKER and their pedigree couldn’t be any stronger. The drum position is filled by world famous Vinny Appice, who cut his teeth with BLACK SABBATH and DIO and has beat the skins for a plethora of other acts. The guitars are manned by Steph Honde, who has worked with former IRON MAIDEN screamer PAUL DI’ANNO and HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS. And providing the soaring vocals for the band is one Mr. Jim Crean, something of a legend in the New York rock scene, who’s done time with both Vinny and Carmine Appice as well as heading up his own solo band.

This is a powerful coalition and they’ve put their talent towards recreating the hard rock/melodic metal sound of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Instead of regurgitating covers and reliving past glories, they are trying to create new classics in that sound. On their debut album “Kill The Beautiful”, they have pretty much nailed it.

I got together with Jim recently to discuss the genesis of SCREAM TAKER and their plan for future conquest. Herewith are the results…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Thanks for talking to us! Jim, tell us a little about your background and the bands you’ve been involved with.

JIM CREAN: I have been in the business well over 40 years touring & recording with a lot of great musicians as well as being the vocalist for THE APPICE BROTHERS BAND for many years! I have 9 solo albums out and in 2019 I was recognized by my own home town as they inducted me into the Buffalo Music Hall Of Fame.

WC: Were you the driving force in putting SCREAM TAKER together? Did it come together quickly or was it something that was a long time in the making?

JC: Myself and Steph Honde (Paul Dianno/Hollywood Monsters) were writing songs for a possible solo album of mine, when the songs started sounding really heavy. I reached out to Vinny (Appice) and thought that he would be perfect on them! Then we all became involved in the process and it came out so good, we decided to make this a band!

WC: You’ve had a long relationship with Vinny Appice and also his brother Carmine. What were the origins of your alliance with them?

JC: I have been the lead vocalist for the APPICE band for many years, playing countless shows together. I consider both of them like family! We are really close!

WC: What’s the songwriting process like for the band? Do you all get an equal crack at it or is there one “general” that moves everything along?

JC: Steph and myself originally started writing the songs, but then all 3 of us really got involved! Steph wrote all the music, I wrote all the melodies, lyrics & titles and Vinny handled the arrangements.

WC: The debut seems pretty rooted in late 70’s/early 80’s hard rock...kind of a harder edged AOR sound. Would you say that’s close to the mark or would you describe it differently?

JC: I think you described it perfectly! We really did not set out to have it sound a certain way, things really came together very organically. The songs really came together very easily based on each of our own styles.

WC: In Covid times, lots of bands put their albums together “long distance” over the internet. Were you guys all in the same room when recording “Kill the Beautiful”? It sure sounds like it.

JC: We did everything remotely from our home studio’s. We are fortunate enough to have studios at our houses, so it made it really easy for the recording process. That’s cool that You feel that they album was recorded with us in the same room, though! That is always the goal when making a record, to capture that live feel together!

WC: Your guitarist Steph is from France. How did you hook up with him?

JC: Vinny played on some of Steph’s solo albums, Steph & Vinny played on my solo album, me & Steph played on his HOLLYWOOD MONSTERS album, so we just have worked together for awhile now! The 3 of us really gel together!

WC: People in the 21st century are so exposed to computerized sounds, computerized effects in movies and on record that many seem to be shocked and confused by anything real. Reality seems unreal to the new generation. I would say SCREAM TAKER is very much keeping a tradition of “real” music alive, agreed?

JC: Yes that was the idea & intention! We all play our own instruments, really sing etc. We do not rely on any kinds of computer tricks. We really want the live, raw sound that one would expect when they see us in concert! Our producer Artie Dillon did an amazing job with capturing this.

WC: What’s the meaning of the album title?

JC: For “Kill The Beautiful”, the meaning is that no matter how defeated, how ugly things get, that you cannot kill the beauty that is inside oneself, if you are truly a good person!

WC: Is there one particular song on the album that stands out a bit more to you? A special favorite?

JC: Before I really listened to the whole album, I would have said “The Curse of the Werewolf” but now I really like all 12 tracks equally. I do like “Burning Flame” a lot as well, but I really do feel that there is not one filler song on the album. All the songs are really strong!

WC: Who would you say was your biggest vocal influence? Was there one “guiding light” you patterned your singing after?

JC: Hands down it would be Phil Naro. He was one of my closest friends and truly a huge influence on my singing style, sound and live performance. We wrote, recorded, toured and played together for around 40 years!

WC: Any live plans for SCREAM TAKER in the works?

JC: Yes, we are currently entertaining offers in South America (Brazil) and here in the States as well! We are going to debut the band at the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame in January in Los Angeles, CA!

WC: Do you have any plans or material for a second album? Some left over tracks, maybe?

JC: Yes, the label (Deko Entertainment) has been wonderful and wants us to do a follow up album. We only wrote 12 tracks for the album, and they all made it on, so there were no left over tracks, so we will begin the writing process once again.

WC: What was the last release you got just for your own personal enjoyment?

JC: The new TALAS “1985” album! It is a great tribute to my dear friend Phil Naro. I will always keep his legacy alive!

WC: I’d imagine in your long musical history you’ve had a ton of absurd “Spinal Tap” moments. Is there any one that stands out to you?

JC: Ha! There is so many that I have lost track of them! They still happen from time to time.

WC: Any last words for the faithful?

JC: Please pick up the new SCREAM TAKER album! We hope to see everyone out on the road soon!