Sanctuary – Gazing Into The Mirror Black
By Dave Schwartz
“Into the Mirror Black” is a classic
Sanctuary album that captured the pre-grunge Seattle sound in
every way. With a Thrash base, Sanctuary
expanded their sound on “Mirror Black” by introducing a heavier
feel to their music. The result is a classic
album that remains relevant today.
Now, 30 years later, Sanctuary has
released “Into The Mirror Black (30th Anniversary Edition),” a 3
record or 2 CD set that includes the 1990 “Black Reflections”
live concert along with 3 early demos.
I spoke to guitarist and founder of
Sanctuary, Lenny Rutledge, about the new release.
Check out all the excitement!
DB: Let’s start out
with congratulations! You have just released
the of 30th Anniversary Edition of “Into The Mirror Black.”
These 30 years must have ticked by in the blink of an
DB: Talk a little
about this new release.
LR: Yeah, we’re
really excited about it. I wish that we were
putting out a new record with it. Seems like
the past couple years we’re put out re-releases but we are
working on the new record too.
DB: I do plan to ask
about the new music you’re working on in a moment.
But first, let’s focus on “Into The Mirror Black.”
I know that you have remastered the album.
Please tell us about changes in the record and the
LR: We always wanted
to have the opportunity to re-release “Mirror Black.”
We’ve talked about it but weren’t sure that it would ever
happen. And we also have the live version
(“Black Reflections”). That 2” tape was sent to our old manager,
Zoto. It was about 5 years ago that they
finally sent that tape to me. So, we had to
remaster all of it. We had Zeuss
(Queensr˙che, Iced Earth, Overkill) work on it.
It turned out really good! There was a
couple of our original demo’s he worked on as well.
We did a couple of demos before we went and recorded the
record with Howard Benson. It all turned out
great. The live stuff is cool because we
didn’t add to the recording. We just went in
and did a mix on it. We didn’t want to go in
and fix anything. What you hear is what
happened that night.
DB: That’s always
cool. This 30th Anniversary Edition is an ambitious release in
that it is a triple vinyl, double CD release that includes the
live recording – part of which was released as “Black
Reflections.” The live material was
originally recorded on May 12, 1990 at The Country Club in
Reseda, California. Now obviously, a few of
the live songs have been out before but this is your entire set
from that night and that is really, really cool.
Along with all of that come three of the original demos.
As I said, this is ambitious. There is
a lot for the fan to consume.
LR: Yeah, it’s great
to be able to do that. There is a cool
booklet inside where you can see a bunch of old photos from that
time. We tell the whole story about the
recording and how we did it and working with Howard Benson.
It was nice to be able to release the entire live show as
well because when they did the promo release back in 1990, they
didn’t really mix it. But this time, it’s
well mixed and all of the songs are on it – all 10 songs we
played that night.
DB: I remember there
was a controversy. You printed up only about
1000 CDs and then suddenly Epic Records got involved and most
were recalled. I know that very few of the
original CDs ever saw the light of day. So,
the original “Black Reflections” CD has been a collector’s item
for many years. It’s cool that the entire CD
has finally come out. I know that Worrel
(Dane, former vocalist) swore that he would put the songs out.
It is unfortunate that they didn’t come out during his
LR: It’s funny
because we all talked about it. We were just
never really sure if it was going to happen.
But I got to talking to Century Media about it and even then it
took a long time because Sony owns Century Media now which was
part of Epic at the time. But it still took
forever. It took literally, from the time we
started talking and went into negotiations, it took a year to
happen. So, we’re happy that the record is
DB: “Mirror Black”
has received many accolades over the years.
Loudwire called it one of the 40 Best Metal Albums of 1990 and
it has been featured on MTV, Decibel, AllMusic and Rock Hard.
I can imagine that any band would covet making a record
that remains poignant all these years later.
LR: It really was a
great time for us. Honestly, this has been
talked about a little bit but, it was a good time for us
because, as a band we were coming into our stride.
But at the same time, there was a lot of tension in the
band – there always has been. I’m not sure I
can put my finger on it or explain it but somehow, we all got
through it and created this record. There is
something about this group of people. I think
we wrote some really great songs. It’s almost
like it was fueled by some of the tension.
You know, we were just a bunch of young guys.
I don’t think we knew what was going on. But
we were really trying to make a record that wasn’t just a thrash
record. We were big fans of thrash.
That was where some of our roots came from.
But we wanted to make sure we made a record that was
different. We wanted to show people that we
could do more. We wanted to keep it heavy and
energetic at the same time. I think that was
something that we accomplished with this album.
DB: I agree.
I think you accomplished your goal in spades.
And speaking to the tension in the band, a wise friend
once told me that if you’re not in a band that is on the verge
of killing each other every day, you are probably not in a band.
LR: That’s probably
true, I’ll tell you what. I know that in 2010
when we got back together, we were a lot more tolerant.
We were older guys and just more tolerant.
But eventually, tension returned and I think that helped
write another record – “The Year The Sun Died.” Maybe
that is just part of it. Look at the Rolling
Stones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. There
has been tension there for years!
DB: In the press
release there is talk of returning to the road in the fall of
2021. It sounds like a U.S., European and
South American tour. Have you guys toured
South America before?
DB: This should be
LR: We’re looking
forward to it. We had something that we were
getting ready to do here in December this year but, of course,
we had to postpone that. We are hoping that
everything works out. The tour in Europe
doesn’t start until about this time next year.
So, we are hoping that everything will be OK.
The hope is that we get past this pandemic and everybody
is OK and we’re allowed to tour along with all the other bands
that are on the sidelines. I feel really bad
for a lot of these bands that this is their livelihood and can’t
tour. All the venues and promoters, this has
been really rough on all of the music business.
DB: Yeah, this
pandemic has decimated the music industry.
There are so many layers that people don’t consider.
You’ve mentioned the promoters but also the roadies and
people who worked security, the bartenders.
This industry touches many people. This has
been really bad for the industry and we are all looking forward
to the return of touring and the celebration of the music that
so many bands are still creating.
LR: I really hope
that everyone can hang on and this works out for everyone.
I feel really bad for all the layers of people this
touches. We are concerned about crew members
and everything. This trickles way down.
DB: So, let’s
transition just a little. You have teased
that you’re working on some new music. Last
February I was up in Seattle and had dinner with your bass
player, George Hernandez and his wife Susan.
I heard about the new music and I know how excited they were.
Can you talk a little about the new music that you’re
LR: We have a lot of
songs that we’ve been working on. We have a
lot of ideas. We have worked on some of this
music, on and off, for about 5 years now.
Recently Joseph (vocalist Joseph Michael) has come into the
picture because of the passing of Warrel. So,
it has been a little bit of a different approach for us.
You get used to a certain way of doing things and Warrel
and I had a different way of writing. So,
it’s a little bit different for us now but I think it’s working
out fairly well. We have a lot of ideas but
we are also being very careful. Sanctuary has
a legacy that we are trying to respect and so we have to make
sure that we do things right. And we want to
make Warrel proud as well. So, we are taking
our time. We have a lot of ideas but we are
also very picky. And that’s the way we’ve
always been. We tend to overanalyze things a
bit much. (laughter) We are hoping to
finalize a lot of these songs. We have a lot
of good ideas and I know people will be pleasantly surprised.
I want to thank Lenny Rutledge foe
sharing a moment with DaBelly. Check out this
classic album along with the live music. And
be sure to follow Sanctuary on all the socials.
The “Into The Mirror Black
(30th Anniversary Edition)” will be also available as limited
lilac vinyl (200 copies, exclusively available through
limited grey vinyl (300 copies).