Nitro: Back on Track
Once known for their glam metal image, the recently reunited Nitro talk about their upcoming album and picking India for their reunion tour
In a hilarious video which released at the time of crowdfunding their comeback album, American metal band Nitro started off by showing their newest recruit—drummer extraordinaire Chris Adler, from Lamb of God.
In a comical six-and-a-half minutes, the band is reintroduced in reverse. Adler suddenly realizes he’s been asked to join Nitro and the founding members—guitar virtuoso Michael Angelo Batio and vocalist Jim Gillette—recounting how the band started in the late Eighties, complete with “metaldramatic re-enactments.” Gillette concludes in the video, “The only thing I cared about was that we did it right this time. Back in the day, there was always a goal, but it wasn’t our goal. Suits telling us how to play, how to sing, how to dress. It sucked. This time, we’re going to do it our way and make some brutal heavy metal.”
People who were previously dismissive of a reunited band from the Eighties were suddenly seriously interested in hearing a band that would feature the double-guitar scorching fretwork of Batio, the powerhouse vocals of Gillette alongside brutal drumming from Adler and to top it off, sessions work from bass wizard Victor Wooten. Batio says over email from Beijing that despite his prolific career of having 12 albums out, he felt something was left unaccomplished. He says, “I felt we didn’t do what we could have done during the first version of the band.” That’s when he called up Gillette in August last year and brought the once-glam metal band from Hollywood back into existence.
It took about another year until fans really understood what this meant for the sound of the band. Their latest single “It Won’t Die,” the first since 1992’s Nitro II, was a riff-centric affair that featured low, snarling vocals from Gillette and the signature grooves of Adler.
Gillette says over email about their new material, “It’s funny but back in the day it was only our look that was ‘glam.’ Our music didn’t sound like any of the glam bands. My approach to singing back then was like vocal gymnastics. I was singing a lot in the coloratura soprano range – which no one was doing. Then I’d drop down to the bass range and that was unheard of in glam as well.”
The rest of the upcoming album has been written mostly between Gillette and Batio. The guitarist adds, “Then our producer Kane Churko and Chris [Adler] add their input. Victor is playing on the album but hasn’t at this time written with us. Songwriting should always be evolving and we are always open to new ideas.”
And they’re taking to new ideas outside the studio as well, which explains why their first ever set of shows with the lineup will take place in India and Nepal between September 22nd and 30th. They’ve roped in bassist Matt DeVries (previously a guitarist in American metallers Chimaira and bassist for industrial metallers Fear Factory) on Adler’s recommendation and plan to play a whole bunch of old songs like “Freight Train” and “Long Way From Home,” new material and Lamb of God songs.
Batio, who has performed in India several times in the past, says, “I’ve told Jim about some of my experiences here, which are all positive, but I’m not one to preach or give too much advice. We have all traveled a lot and know how to take care of ourselves.” Gillette says there’s “zero pressure” about returning to the stage with Nitro, much less in a place like India. He adds, “I’m a different person today than I was 20-plus years ago. If I wasn’t, that would be very sad. Can’t wait for the tour and to meet our friends and fans in India.”
Nitro India-Nepal Tour
September 22nd – The Humming Tree, Bengaluru
September 25th – JTPAC, Kochi
September 26th – Hard Rock Cafe, New Delhi
September 28th – Antisocial, Mumbai
September 27th – Kathmandu (Nepal)
Buy tickets here.