25 years ago a bunch of scrappy young metalheads from Broken Hill got together and formed a little band called Dungeon – a band that would go on to tour the world with the likes of Megadeth. Sadly they called it a day in 2005, but former frontman Lord Tim has kept the Dungeon name alive through his current band LORD, and now they’re celebrating the quarter-century anniversary by re-recording all four classic Dungeon albums for a single, humungous box set called The Dungeon Era. Although partly driven by nostalgia and copyright complications, the project has also helped Lord Tim finally reach the artistic heights that he, and his band of outback thrashers, had all those years ago.
What was it like revisiting the Dungeon material that you hadn’t played in years?
It was really interesting listening to it in a new light and being analytical rather than beingthose guys back in the day with no money, where I’d mix a complete bomb because I didn’t know what I was doing. And especially realising what we thought was complete crap back in the day as far as quality goes, trying to recreate that stuff and do it justice while putting a modern spin on it was really, really difficult.
You've re-recorded the old tracks with your current band LORD, whose tone is a bit more melodic and not as thrashy and crunchy as Dungeon. How do the tracks sound after being pumped through the musicalvein of LORD?
When we went into this project I made a conscious decision that if something needed to be changed or enhanced then I shouldn’t be afraid to do it. If we needed to change a chord or if I wanted to add an orchestration, we didn’t want to feel restricted about how the song developed. But we didn’t really want to change the vibe of it too much; if the songs are meant to be crunchy and heavy, don’t f**k with them [laughs]! The other thing we wanted to make sure of on this re-release was that we had enough stuff which featured the performances of the original musicians too, so we tried to bring in as many elements from the originals as we could with the new versions written around them.
Some people argue that bands shouldn’t re-record or remaster their music because the original versions capture the band as they were at the time and that’s just as important. What are your thoughts on that?
I tend to agree to a point, especially with Megadeth. I’ll listen to So Far, So Good... So What! swimming in reverb and bad production and I love it; the terribleness makes it awesome. But this box set isn’t intended to replace the original versions, what we’re doing now is kind of like the Blu-ray director’s cut; it’s more of a companion piece and a “what if” package. We know that for some people out there there’s only going to be one version on their mind, and that’s the crappy 1999 poorly mixed version of Resurrection, and that’s absolutely fine.
Do you remember the guitars you used on the original recordings?
I actually had a custom guitar built by a guy called Greg Fryer who was a fantastic custom guitar builder based on the Northern Beaches. That was based on my design, I think I came up with some body shape when I was 19 years old, I think it was a cross between a BC Rich Warlock, a Flying V and an Explorer with this Jackson style neck. I used that on all of the Dungeon stuff as my primary guitar, and that went through a Zoom 9002 multi-effects processor or a Zoom in conjunction with the SGX 2000.
And what were you playing this time around?
It was just before I got my new custom ESP E-II LT-27 guitar, but the guitar I was using more or less was an ESP Horizon FR-27. It’s got a couple of Seymour Duncans there, it’s got a Custom 5 in the bridge, Hot Rails in the neck and it’s scalloped from 12 to 27. That was recorded direct into the computer through the soundcard and using Pod Farm 2 in the effects chain, and that’s it, no real amps or anything – it was just basically Pod Farm with a bit of EQ. And I use Cakewalk Sonar, an older version too because I don’t like the new one.
So after burying yourself in Dungeon material for the last few months, did you stumble upon any fond memories from that time?
There are two. The first is the early line-up of the band and the innocence of it all – a bunch of kids in a high school hall in the outback just jamming together, not knowing what the f**k we were doing. The other thing was probably 2005 on tour with Megadeth. I know it’s the obvious answer, but walking out on stage in a colosseum in Rome in front of 600 screaming people, just standing there at that moment and looking out at all those faces, then looking around at the band and seeing everyone go, “F**k yes!” We were all on the same page.