Interview with Sacred Oath guitarist Rob Thorne

Looking for good old fashioned metal in the style of Iron Maiden, King Diamond, and vintage Metallica? Then Connecticut’s Sacred Oath is the band for you. But there’s a reason why the band sounds they way they do – they’re not Johnny-come-latelys, but rather, originally formed back in the mid ‘80s, when those aforementioned acts were still trailblazing. A few quiet spots occurred for the band subsequently, but in recent years, the group – which is comprised of Rob Thorne (vocals, guitar), Bill Smith (Guitar), Scott Waite (Bass), and Kenny Evans (drums) – have made up for lost time, and will soon be issuing their latest offering, ‘Sacred Oath.’ Recently, Rob Thorne answered some questions for Guitarsite.

How and when did you start playing guitar?

Rob Thorne: I first picked up the guitar when I was 15. I was singing in a band, and I just loved watching our guitar player rip through metal anthems like “Crazy Train” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” I found an old nylon string acoustic somewhere and started teaching myself. I would strum very hard to make it sound like it was distorted! It came very naturally to me, and within 6 months I had recorded my first demo with Sacred Oath.

Who were your early influences?

RT: I learned the guitar figuring out songs by Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, so I must give credit where it's due. But I would have to say that Randy Rhoads was the biggest influence on my guitar playing. He was a real hero.

How about some background info on Sacred Oath?

RT: Sacred Oath was formed in the kitchen of the Sycamore Restaurant in Bethel, CT 1985. Pete Altieri (original bassist) and I were both dishwashers there (in high school) and we had played in a band together previously. We were really turned on to Mercyful Fate at the time and we wanted to put a band together that would head in that musical direction. We recorded a demo very early on, and the band was successful right away. We had a very strong fan base in and around Danbury, CT from the very beginning. I’m proud of all the albums we’ve done, and my favorite is always the latest one. But I will say that “Unholy Man” and “Queen of the Night” are two of my favorite Sacred Oath songs.

Let’s talk about the new album.

RT: Well, we just finished it on January 5, and it is our best effort yet. The band is in a great place, tight and synchronized, and you can hear it on the recording. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I think the fans will love it. We’re calling it ‘Sacred Oath,’ and it has 14 songs on it. It’s a heavy record, but very melodic – it gets its hooks in you fast.

Please describe your guitar set-up.

RT: I love vintage guitars! I have a ’71 Les Paul Gold Top deluxe and an ’84 Gibson V that I play constantly. The newest addition is my ’81 BC Rich Mockingbird Custom which I used for all the lead work on our latest album. I just LOVE that guitar! I always use D’Addario 10s. Lately I’ve been using Marshall amplification and Line 6 effects. I have a couple of Line 6 amps that I really like using in the studio too.

Do you follow a practice routine?

RT: I teach guitar lessons 5 days a week, so I’m constantly playing and learning new material to keep ahead of my students. But I practice most when I have the pressure of touring or recording staring me in the face. I’m a guitarist, a singer, a keyboardist, a composer, a teacher . . . I do so many things. I practice what inspires me at the time. Having said that, I’m a very disciplined person so that has never been a problem.

What do you think of modern day rock guitar, and who are some of your fav guitarists?

RT: I think we’re just beginning to come out of a very dull period in rock, where guitar is concerned. There have certainly been players carrying the torch for the last 15 years – John Petrucci, Marty Friedman – but for the most part the guitar has been a rhythm instrument ONLY in modern rock and I think that is about to change. Some of my favorite guitarists are Andy LaRocque, Glenn Tipton, Tony Iommi, Dave Murray, Dave Mustaine, and James Hetfield. I do love Angus too.

What advice would you give to other guitarists?

RT: Pour yourself into whatever inspires you. That is where you’ll grow, as a person, as a player, and as an artist.

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4 thoughts on “Interview with Sacred Oath guitarist Rob Thorne”

  1. Re: Looking for good old fashioned metal in the style of... Interview with Sacred Oath guitarist Rob Thorne

    I agree completly with thee chris leavey about rob, cant really say how the new album is i only heard a couple tracks but the ones i heard were absolutly insane! Rob is the man and he is an amazing musician and a great songwriter. As a drummer i could honestly say i am greatly inspiered by Kenny’s drumming and the way he plays double kick. I’ve met Bill once and he was pretty halariouse. I’v never met scott but hes one hell of a bass player. This bands great and they are motivated to make it to the top. and they will.

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