Savage Wizdom / Blog

A look back on NO TIME FOR MERCY

Released in 2007, No Time For Mercy represents the work of Savage Wizdom since the band’s inception in 2004. Though the band had already been through numerous line-up changes over a three year period, the debut release solidified the first “official” line-up consisting of Steve Montoya on vocals, Morris Branch on bass, Wes Rivera on lead guitar, Chris Herrera on rhythm guitar and Chris Salazar on drums. Various personal and musical differences tore the band apart mere weeks after the release of the album.

The decision to make this album available as a free download to our fans comes at the request of our vocalist, Steve Montoya, who is currently the only remaining original member of the band. With that being the case, we felt it necessary to grant his request as we feel he is the best person to speak for this material and this era of the band.

With the current band poised to enter the studio this year to record the follow up album, we thought this would be a great time look back on the previous effort and hopefully expose some new fans to these songs.

As an added bonus, we wanted to give listeners a little insight into each track. In the LYRICS tab of each song you will find a few comments from Steve about each song.

We hope you enjoy these tracks and remember that "it's not an illusion."


El Rey show and looking ahead to 2012

11-11-11 was surely a date that will be remembered by many people for odd reasons. It was a day that many groups of people decided to designate as an unofficial holiday by arbitrarily attaching some meaning or purpose to and then using it as an excuse to celebrate. This was certainly the case for heavy metal fans when VH1 Classic declared it: National Metal Day. Heavy metal fans across the country celebrated and reaffirmed their love of the genre in different ways and for anyone who played in a band, it probably involved (even demanded) playing a show.

We certainly were no exception to that line of thinking, but for us, National Metal Day will be remembered as a night that proved to be one of our best shows to date.

We were invited to open for local Albuquerque rockers, Blinddryve, at the historic El Rey theater in downtown Albuquerque. Having not played a show in the city for over a year, and knowing Blinddryve’s reputation as being one of the state’s biggest metal bands, we eagerly jumped at the opportunity. The guys from Blinddryve couldn’t have treated us better and from the start proved to be a band that didn’t fuck around. We knew that we had to be on our game if we wanted to seem worthy of opening for such a well known local band.

The show was to be a first for us in several ways. Aside from being our first show at this particular venue, it also was the live debut of our song “The Barbarian” which started off as an idea that Steve had been carrying around in his back pocket since the Prowler days. In addition to that, the show also proved to be our first show to feature only new songs that had been written since the reformation of the band in 2008.

Hitting the stage around 10pm to a crowd of about 200 people, the vibe was electric from the very beginning. Up in front, we noticed some of our most dedicated fans from Santa Fe decided to make the 60 mile drive south to come see us play our first show at the El Rey. The response that we got from every song gave us an enormous sense of pride and once again made us realize that this band, as eccentric as it can be, really has a good thing going. As the last chord faded on “Do or Die,” loud chants for “one more song” began to emerge from the crowd and while there were no encores on this night due to time restrictions, the response that we got did not go unnoticed. The same band that stood at the brink of implosion earlier this year was finishing out 2011 on a very high note and perhaps better than ever. I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to share the stage with these four guys.

So what are plans for 2012? Hopefully it will see the release of our long overdue second album which we hope to start recording in the spring. We currently have three new songs in development which we hope to have completed by the end of winter and then it’s off to the studio. The new songs are sounding great at practice, even in their early stages and we are looking forward to seeing how they work live. As for shows, we don’t have anything planned at the moment but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be lured out this winter if a good opportunity comes along. Most likely though we will be locking ourselves up to write this winter and hopefully emerge in the spring with some new songs, new recordings and more shows to follow. A big thanks to James Stuart, Vince Tompkins, Cheryl Abhold and everyone else who has continued to support us. See you in the new year!

Savage Wizdom set list: Chase The Dragon A New Beginning The Barbarian Far Away Do Or Die

Do Or Die

“Do Or Die” was the first new song written with the new Savage Wizdom. It was actually written around the summer of 2008 as we were still learning and rehearsing the songs from the No Time For Mercy disc. During that time, we began to encounter our first bump in the road when it was becoming clear to us that our drummer, Santiago Jaramillo, didn’t have the time to devote to practice on a regular weekly basis. Steve, Steven and myself eventually reached a point where we decided to start working on a new song since we had done just about all the practice we could do on the old songs without a drummer. I started playing a bass riff which I had been fooling around with since 2003 when I had been playing bass in a local Albuquerque rock band called Cutthroat. I had always liked the vibe of the riff and I had tried on several occasions to finish the idea. However, each time I had tried working on it, it started to turn into a blatant rip-off of Iron Maiden’s “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner.” I had just about given up on doing something with the riff, however I would often still find myself playing it as I was doodling around on my guitar either as I was warming up or in between songs. Steve heard it and seemed to gravitate towards it immediately. I told him my dilemma with it and he immediately spun it off in another direction that I hadn’t considered. The idea really took off from there and the three of us had basically written most of the music by the end of the night. It was really one of the only times that I have experienced a song being written so easily and quickly. Steve, in his typical fashion, drew lyrical inspiration from an image in a poster that hangs in our rehearsal room of a wolf with wings standing an the edge of a cliff. The image began to conjure up a story in his head of thrill seekers and daredevils who regularly cheat death for no other reason than the rush of adrenaline and excitement they gain from it. To many, such a life would seem extreme and even insane. But to these people, it’s what they do, how they live and most of them wouldn’t have it any other way. Although we began rehearsing “Do Or Die” with Santiago, the song ultimately wouldn’t be fully realized until Steve Cordova came in as our new drummer. We described some of the drum parts that we had in mind and it didn’t take him long to put it together. We debuted the song live at our first show in late ’08, and it has been a bit of a staple in our live set ever since. When the opportunity came around to enter the studio with Augustine Ortiz, we decided that the best approach would be to do one song to feel everything out before we started talking about a full-length. It seemed pretty unanimous that “Do Or Die” was the track that we wanted to record not only because it was our first song and is long overdue for some studio attention, but also because we are all quite fond of it. This song gave me a lot of confidence in the creative chemistry between us and I think it serves as a good representative of where Savage Wizdom is at now and how it differs from what was created with the previous line-up. Recording this track was such a fun experience in the studio, that we are all excited and looking forward to hopefully getting started on the band’s second album sometime later this year. This song will almost certainly be included, however it will likely be re-recorded so that it fits sonically with the rest of the tracks. In the meantime, here is our long overdue first studio recording of the first song with this line-up. Crank it up and we hope you enjoy it. PABLO