Some artists are born with an unfathomable drive, like an insatiable thirst that cannot be quenched, their need to create is never satisfied. This inexhaustible work ethic will no doubt result in universal recognition as a consummate musician.
Holy Grail are a band you should know. A group that tours hard and assimilates style, they are on their way to a mass appeal that will not be denied.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with guitarist Eli Santana in support of the group’s latest release The Times of Pride and Peril. Please enjoy some excerpts of our March 5th, 2016 interview.
David Halbe: Welcome to Chicago, (You are ten dates into a twenty-six date tour) how has it been so far?
Eli Santana: It’s been awesome man! Black Tusk has been really good to us. It’s a pretty drastic change after coming off the Marty Freidman tour. We’ve been out for a while now but I fucking love it. Although, it’s been way colder than somebody from San Diego would like!
Eli: (Laughs) Hey, I’m trying to hang in there! Complaining all the way but I’m hanging in there.
Dave: How’s the new material (The Times of Pride and Peril) been received on tour?
Eli: Really good. We’ve got a lot of die-hard fans and they love it. We were kind of afraid because we took some chances with this release. We went off the beaten path and they liked it. I think it proved to us that you’ve really got to follow your instincts.
Dave: The new album is awesome, I bought a copy tonight.
Eli: Thanks man. Thank you so much, we really appreciate the support!
Dave: No problem! Tell me about Bezerker III Fest in Michigan, how was it?
Eli: Yeah, that was last night. Man, it was in this huge masonic temple! Me and Andrew (Andrew Fidler – Guitars/Vocals) from Black Tusk decided to do some exploring. We saw some really cool pictures and examples of architecture. They’re probably going to come murder us!
Eli: (Laughs) Yeah, now that they know we’ve been snooping around their temple because you don’t fuck with the Masons! That’s good advice!
Dave: I agree, don’t fuck with the Masons!
Eli: Not only that but if someone changes into a tuxedo before they leave work, you don’t want them as an enemy.
Dave: Oh yeah, you don’t wanna fuck with somebody like that.
Eli: Yeah, because that’s probably a Mason. So, anyway, I would never out anybody as a Mason because I personally know a couple.
Dave: (Laughs) Seriously?
Dave: That’s cool, I work with a guy who’s a Mason. So what else is coming aside from the announced dates with DevilDriver?
Eli: We’ve got a few things in the works but we don’t really like to talk about it until it’s finalized.
Eli: But I will say that we are pretty excited about it. We’re going to try some things we’ve never tried before. Man, I wish I could tell you more!
Dave: I can only imagine knowing you guys. You fucking tour with everybody!
Eli: Yeah, no shit man. Thank you!
Dave: How was the “Sudden Death” Video shoot and can we expect more video support for The Times of Pride and Peril?
Eli: Yes, that’s the plan. We actually shot a video on our own. It’s a little controversial so we’ve got to work some stuff out before we can release it.
Eli: Yeah, and I can’t really say why but it will be my directorial debut.
Eli: Depending on what happens, you may or may not see it. (Laughs) and it may or may not have a single to it. So if it all works out, we’ll do that. Honestly, I hope you guys will be able to see it. It would be great if it can see the light of day but we’ll have to wait and see.
Dave: Ok, I hear you. So, I found out that you and Tyler (Tyler Meahl drums – Holy Grail) recently became members of Huntress and you even played on their last release Static. How did that come about, was it through Blake? (Blake Meahl guitars – Huntress)
Eli: Yes it was through Blake. We had a lull in Holy Grail and they asked us if we wanted to do a tour in Europe and of course we were like yes! We came back and the time off from Holy Grail was extended. So we ended up helping them write the record. Then we ended up recording the record and doing a couple more tours. I was hoping the time would be more staggered between the two albums. (Laughs) I ended up finishing the last note of the Huntress record and the next day I started recording for Holy Grail. (Laughs) I think I still need to recover from that!
Dave: No rest for the wicked, man!
Eli: Yep, that’s fucking right man! Ozzy got it right!
Dave: So you’re a full-time member of Huntress now?
Eli: Oh yeah, as of right now. Yes sir.
Dave: What’s going on with Huntress, are there any tour dates coming up?
Eli: We’re talking about that, there actually might be a tour coming up for Huntress. When I get home I should know more but there’s nothing concrete I can talk about right now.
Dave: No problem, final question, do you think mystique is something that is lacking in today’s metal scene?
Eli: Yes, I do but it’s the nature of the beast with social media today. We’re not very good at it with Holy Grail (Laughs) but we realize we need to have it. It’s not like it was [in the past], you can’t find selfies of Jimmy Page from the ‘70s you know?
Dave: (Laughs) Right!
Eli: So, it sucks but it kind of is what it is, a necessary evil. As much as I like to whine about it because I really hate doing social media, it could be worse. I get to play guitar every night and hang with my buddies all around the world, I’m very, very fucking lucky man.
Dave: Hell yeah! Thanks for your time tonight, Eli.
Eli: No problem, thank you!