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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with CORNERS OF SANCTUARY


By: Nina McCarthy, Music Journalist


Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Corners of Sanctuary formed in 2011 to bring back the roots of Classic Heavy Metal.  I originally met these great guys in January of this year at The Met in Pawtucket, RI and they returned to the MA/RI area for some shows over the weekend.  They played Fri 4/1 at 3065 Live in East Wareham, MA and then Saturday night at Firehouse 13.


L to R:  Sean Nelligan (drums), Mick Michaels (guitar/keyboard), Frankie Cross (vocals), James Pera (bass)



Frankie:  You know we are in the lobby of a sex party!


James:  We’re actually stuck between an orgy and a green room.


BRR:  That’s the best part.  That’s the after party.  (Just kidding!)  We’re a little distracted knowing what’s going on over our head.  Anyway, we are here for night number 2!  Speaking of interesting...Last night was definitely interesting to show up and find out there was no beer or stage monitors at the venue. But, you guys pulled it off.  Tell me about the experience.


Frankie:  There were some obstacles.  No alcoholic beverages being the first of it.  Other than that, the place was great.  The young talent was amazing, but as far as the stage went, no stage monitors was a definite downside to say the least.


James:  I don’t know if it was a non-profit place or what.


BRR:  They’re closing, so they are trying to raise money.


James:  So, it’s like an art type place, a local theater.  There was like 75-80 people there. So that was good and we had a good time.  There was a decent crowd and a lot of good bands.  It was cool.  And in the back, they had this old grand piano with dust and dirt all over it.  Literally we were in an old warehouse.


Frankie:  It was a maze to the men’s restroom.


BRR:  And it smelled like mold.


James:  It did and so did the piano.


Frankie:  Could you smell that through the asbestos?


BRR:  And there was men, ladies and others bathrooms...or Uni.


Frankie:  The tranny bathroom.


James:  But I thought that was cool back there.  There was a lot of people in this kind of, dark, rustic Adam’s Family type atmosphere playing the grand piano.


Frankie:  The place had a lot of history.  But bottom line, we came there, we did our job…


BRR:  ...and you gained some fans.


Frankie:  ...and we definitely gained some fans, we sold some merch, and we had a good time.


James:  They were all young kids.  We are not exactly 22.


Frankie: (laughing)  We’re 25.


BRR:  Your latest album was released on Metalizer Records out of Germany.  How did that come about?


Mick:  Our CD Axe to Grind was originally released on La Mazakuata Records out of Mexico in 2013 and that album started getting some traction. Pure Steel Records out of Germany ended up picking it up and re-releasing it in 2014 and that got us a bit more exposure in Europe that we didn’t have prior with the previous albums.  By that time, we had enough stuff happening with the band that we had hired some external staff members, so to speak, to start doing some PR and marketing for us.  Around then we had already started working on a new album which would become Metal Machine.   However, we had decided to release Metal Machine on our own because we got a bit disenchanted with the record company idea.  It just wasn’t working for us and we figured that if people were going to steal our album anyway, at least they would have to buy it from us first and then pass it on.  At least we get one crack at it. :)  We were already set to release the album on May 5th last year and we had already started promoting for it in magazines and with a radio tour.  Our PR people were talking to people who were talking to other people and so on. We received a message about a week and a half before the release date that said you better hold off, we have three companies that are giving it a real good listen to.  Unfortunately, it took most of the summer and some of  the buzz about it actually died off.  We weren’t allowed to do anything with the album during that time so we sat on it.  However, we were able to play songs from it live. So things were rolling and we officially signed with Metalizer Records late that summer and the album released in October 2015.


BRR:  COS has played some big shows recently.  What were your favorites?


James:  The Grim Reaper was the best one, the most recent best one anyway.  It was fucking killer.


Frankie:  Great place and they were amazing.  They were were cool.  They were definitely friendlier than the Butcher Babies were.  I can say that, right?


James:  Hospitable and shit. Great crowd. The sound was good.  Everything was fucking good.   There was some fucking stupid shit going on.  You’ll probably see some bits and pieces of that in an upcoming video.


BRR:  Frankie, I read that you were extremely shy.  How did you end up becoming a frontman?


James:  Because we didn’t want a frontwoman.  But obviously, we were kind of desperate and he was the only one that applied to the job. (everyone laughs)


Frankie:  My own personal story is, I was into heavy metal and I wanted to overcome my shyness.  In my own crazy head I decided the best way to do that was to become a singer in a band….so fake it until to you make it and I persevered, I guess.


BRR:  I can understand that.  I used to be very shy myself, but now I do this.


James:  His first gig with us was Reverb (Reading, PA).  We listened to his shit.  He came down and all in the same week we had one rehearsal, one gig and then two weeks later a tour.  The one gig was a quick tune up, second stage.


Mick:  That was it because we had a ton of obligations at that point.  


James:  We tried to get rid of him twice since then.


Frankie:  They left me in Kansas City actually.


Mick:  He’s like the band hemorrhoid, man.  He keeps coming back.


BRR:  James, you started playing guitar as a kid, but you switched to bass.  What brought about that change?  You sucked at guitar?


James:  Pretty much.  That’s really what happened.  We were in 8th grade or whatever the fuck it was and I sucked.  I was just starting out.  Mick was probably playing maybe a year or two tops.  Sean was like a prodigy back then.  He was about as good then as he is now. And he was very good, so that’s sort of how it happened.  From there, I ended up swapping with the guy that was playing bass and that was it.  Really, it was just easier for me.


BRR:  You are about to embark on a Midwest tour in May.  Tell me about that.


Sean:  Actually we are going back for the second time.  We start in mid Ohio.


Mick:  We are starting our little tour off in Ohio.  We’re doing a headlining gig in Middletown, OH at The Music Club.  It’s a place that we stopped over at before and they supported us early on and we will never forget that.  We pick up the next night with the big tour.  We hit Illinois with Mind Assassin and Wrath, which we’re pretty excited about.  We’re going to do 3 or 4 nights with them.


BRR:  You guys are coming back up here in July?


Mick:  Yes, we will be back up in New England in July.


BRR:  You guys are extremely busy touring and constantly writing.  What do you do to relax?


James:  Frank sleeps.


Frankie:  I do a lot of sleeping.  I power nap at 5 hours at a clip.  It’s amazing.  And I mountain bike.


Mick:  I like to spend time with my family and go out to dinner, and I work out when I can. When you’re doing this sort of stuff, it’s always go, go, go and this is kind of a weird reality.  I like to go back to a stable reality because this can change in a heartbeat.


James:  Same as Mick.  I spend time with my family and I like flea markets, for what that’s worth, and hanging out with my kids.  I also like fishing down the beach when I can because I’m so busy with everything.  


Sean:  Pretty much the same thing.  I like hanging out with my son.


BRR:  I personally think the current metal scene is oversaturated.  However, you guys have the old school metal sound from the good ol’ days.  Do you think that contributes to your success?


Mick:  Well, there’s a tough question.


James:  It is a tough question because like last night at the gig, we didn’t fit in but we had a great response. People are almost like closet classic metal fans and after they come over and they start talking to you and they look at your stuff and they buy your stuff and they remember their roots.


BRR:  Yeah, Frankie and I were talking last night about whether they’d even know this kind of music because they were so young.


James:  Right, but what’s funny, I feel like, and I could be wrong, but it feels like when they’re listening to us and they’re getting into it, it’s a more natural response and not a response because their other friends are doing it.


BRR:  Even if you gain 1 or 2 fans every show it helps, like that guy last night waiting at the merch table before you guys even got off stage.


James:  That’s pretty much it.  It just takes 2 people to like your shit and all of a sudden 100 people like it.  I can’t tell you how many times we are somewhere and people don’t know what to expect and they’re very pleased with the performance.


Mick:  I don’t know if it’s our age because we’ve been around for too long but we’re still doing it the grass roots way and that is not today’s way.  We use social networking and all that stuff and I think we are finally starting to understand it after 5 years…, it's such a pain in the ass.  We’d like to go play live.  That’s how we win people over one at a time.


Frankie:  Twenty five years ago it was passing flyers out and leaving flyers at places.  Now it’s about sharing a message on Facebook and social media and reaching much more people.


BRR:  “Wrecking Ball” is a very intense video.  Can you explain it’s meaning?


Mick:  The whole album is actually about war and battle.  It’s about the soldier as well, the effects on the soldier.   However, we wrote it so that it could be taken in several different ways.  In one way it could be viewed as a cheesy heavy metal idea like we live and breathe metal, one reviewer even took it that way, but that’s not what it’s really about at all.  We originally talked about doing the whole cheesy thing for the hell of it but we went with the whole serious note.  So, “Wrecking Ball” is more or less taking the bull by the horns and surmounting any challenge that comes before you. The video depicts the overall flow and premise of the entire album’s writing and the visual usage of war and it’s effects on a society is used to portray that.


BRR:  Did I read that you have a “Best Of” compilation coming out?  See, I read your email newsletters!


Mick:  Yes, it’s something we’ve been talking about for the past year, but we we’re like, who the hell wants to listen to any of our shit?  But it’s coming together.  Some people have asked for it.  We don’t  know how it’s going to release yet.  It was supposed to release one way but have been talking to some people regarding a bigger release, so we will see...  it may even come out on Ketel Records and Tapes. (laughing)  We’re not sure yet.  It’s going to cover the 5 albums and 2 of our EPs.


BRR:  What are your thoughts on internet radio?


Mick:  I think it’s great!  It gives everyone the opportunity to be heard.


Frankie:  Great avenue!


James:  It’s the fucking best!  Phenomenal! I’m serious, it’s great!  First of all you can listen to indie bands that you would never, ever have access to 20 years ago.  It does help very much with a band that doesn’t have a big budget.  It’s almost like you don’t need a big record deal anymore.  But you don’t need the record deal to be heard across the world.


BRR:  With Boston Rock Radio, the bands I deal with are heard in over 88 countries.


James:  Exactly.  Where else would you get the chance to do that?  Frankly, in 1995 where else could you advocate, go to a gig, meet people like yourself and others and do an interview and talk to people that could be interested in your music unless you were some big name act.  Not to date us, but clearly we’ve been doing this awhile….In 1989-90 getting your shit into New York was fucking impossible.  Your tape had to go in the underground all the way up.


Mick:  Like the Pony Express.   Yes, the reach is unbelievable.


James:  The only downside could be saturation.  There’s so much noise, out there, as they call it in marketing, so it’s harder to get noticed.  The big rock star stuff is harder to achieve from a mula standpoint.


Frankie:  We’re dealing with a million bands out there.  It’s a big difference from 20-30 years ago.


BRR:  Along those lines of big rock star, what advice would you give to up and coming bands in the local scene?


James:  Go to the top floor here first and you will get inspired to write the strangest, weirdest shit.  First of all, we are in an old firehouse in Providence and it’s got character like you can’t fucking believe.  There’s like a sex thing going on upstairs.  I have no idea what the fuck that’s about but it’s kind of weird and cool to see people walking by.


Mick:  You’re not hoping to get up there later, are you?


James:  No, I’m married.  I’m not going up there.  And then there’s Green Jelly with all their cool costumes..


Frankie:  I think you’re off question now.  The question was what advice do you have

for young upcoming bands.


Mick:  Just be true to yourself, do what you do and don’t be someone you’re not.


Sean:  Just be true to your music.  Stick with it and you can’t go wrong.


Frankie:  My advice is get your shit on the stage as fast as possible.  Get it off the stage as fast as possible


BRR:  And have your drums set up before you get onstage.


Frankie:  Exactly!


BRR:  What does the future hold for you guys?


Mick:  We have another video that’s coming out at the end of May for “Tomorrow Never Comes” and the” Best Of” coming out soon and we have 2 larger tours scheduled.  We have the May tour in the Midwest and we have the West Coast tour in October.  And the record company is trying to get us to Europe for a couple festivals and stuff but that’s here today, gone tomorrow. Who knows.


Frankie:  And like Nina, we want to know what the future holds for Daryl on The Walking Dead.  That’s it.





Upcoming Tour Dates.  Go see COS in your area!


April 8 2016 8pm


Wilmington, DE


April 15, 2016 8pm

NEPA Metal Meltdown 2016


Pittston, PA


April 16, 2016 2:15pm

The Vinyl Closet

Free In-store performance

Jeffersonville, PA


May 11, 2016 9pm

The Music Club

Middletown, OH


May 12, 2016 8pm

w/ Mind Assassin

The Wire Lounge

Chicago, IL



May 13, 2016 9pm

w/ Mind Assassin

13th Headquarters

Indianapolis, IN


May 14, 2016 9pm

w/ Mind Assassin

New Dodge Lounge



May 21, 2016 9pm

w/ Killen

Diane’s Cafe

Pittston, PA


May 28, 2016 7pm

Metal Eternal Fest

The Nail

Ardmore, PA


July 23, 2016 8pm

Metal Eternal Fest

The Depot

Baltimore, MD


Aug 6,, 2016 7pm

Metal Eternal Fest

Oddity Bar

Wilmington, DE

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