Interview with Eric Forrest of E-Force: The unreleased Voivod album has some of that Angel Rat vibe

23/04/2020 Video Interviews Share


Minions! We did an interview with Mr. Eric Forrest of E-Force, ex-Voivod. Eric is best known for being a vocalist and bassist on two Voivod albums, Negatron (1995) and Phobos (1997). He was in the band since 1994-2001. Then in 2001, he formed a new band – E-Force.

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We started the interview talking about the Corona virus, and the way Eric is dealing with this situation in Toulouse, France. When asked whether he is working on the new E-Force album, Eric stated the following: "Yeah! I have been for the last year and a half! It’s slowly coming. We have like about  8 or 9 songs recorded. We have one song in a bit to finish. Well, it’s a lot of work (laughs). Like, artists and musicians can tell you it’s all great when it’s all finished and packaged and everything, but yeah I am working on a new one called Mind Bender which kinda, ironic enough fits this subject at this current world state at the moment,despite you can link to other situations of life and the mindset of the human race and the feelings of good, bad, ugly, all that stuff so… Yeah, I’m doing that and I hope to have that released, hopefully later this year on Mighty Music out of Copenhagen"… When asked how many songs there’s gonna be on the album, he said: "There’s like maybe 10 or 11…  He also announced that the band is going to do „a special cover of the special band which remains to be a  secret until it’s released. I don’t think it’s too hard to figure it out."

Then, Eric talked about joining Voivod. He said that one of the unreleased songs he wrote while being in Voivod called “Vortex” (which can be heard on Kronik compilation) was inspired by “Ravenous Medicine“  He said:  "I remember seeing that  video for Ravenous Medicine and I really liked that intro riff...and I kinda stole the influence, and kinda had a song. And if you listen to a song that never made on the album called Vortex which is on the Kronik album compilation, is the very riff that was reminiscent. And I showed it to Piggy  and Away: Hey, what do you think of this? And they were like: oh, that’s cool! And I’m like ok, cool, ‘cause I ripped it off from you guys so that’s gone the full circle." Then he explained that he joined Voivod through the ex-Voivod manager Pierre Paradis and that the auditioning for Voivod took 15 minutes of jamming with the band. When asked why Voivod changed the sound towards groove metal on Negatron and Phobos albums, Eric stated the following: "I guess it was the time, ’94,’95. That was kind of  the vibe that was happening. I think when I joined, they could see what I could do. And we went once to a show, it was Napalm Death, Machine Head and somebody else. We did the hanging out and we just got the idea, let’s make a heavy record…’Cause I prefer more heavier stuff anyway and not this Angel Rat or The Outer Limits, that was the previous stuff. So I think it kinda went a full circle for them in a sense that hey, it’s time to do a heavy record and go with this." When asked about the Negatron concept, he said that it was all Away’s idea. He also stated that he didn’t have the negative criticism from Snake’s fans.

When asked what was it like working with Piggy, Eric said:

"Piggy was quite an amazing person. He was like, really easy going, cartoon character sometimes and at times he could be, you know... He is intelligent with his knowledge, guitar, songwriting. So it was an honor and priviledge definitely to work with him any way... Amazing individual. I learned a lot from that guy. His style and what he did is still very influental today among a lot of people."

Then, Eric Forrest moved on to talk about tourning during the Negatron and Phobos era. He also recalled the terrible accident the band had on the road in Germany, when they were on their way to the Wacken festival:

"It was August 4th 1998 and we are on our way to the Wacken festival to play and we’re going down the Autobahn, and the tire blew and the van rolled. The next  thing know  I’m on the othr side of the highway…It was kind of a blurr. It was real, brutal situation. Piggy was injured too. Yeah, it was qute a trip, that and being in a coma for like a week… Seeing a lot of weird shit you know, and making out alive and going back and getting back to groovin’."


Then, he said that it took him like “4 or 5 months“ to recover, along with surgeries. "I kinda had to learn how to walk again. It was all blur. It’s weird when you hear stories of this from the other people…  I can recall being in coma and seing Piggy and Away and those guys like there and I’m like, I  don’t know, I had like out of body expirience and I’m waving like: Hey, guys, HEY! HEY! HEY! And no one is listening. Some weird shit happened like that but fortunately things came out ok since I can  still walk rocking go t the girlfriend and have a good day. Not being paralysed or whatever." When asked whether he completely recovered, Eric said: "No. I didn’t. I broke my back in the couple of spots. In a lower spine. I don’t know the exact numbers of bone structure but I’m still handicaped in a degree. Some days are good, some days are bad but like I said, I can still walk, rock and keep it happen. I never stopped. I never surrendered, right?"

When asked about the unreleased Voivod album that was supposed to be recorded with Steve Albini, Eric shared some details: "I still got a copy on a casette. I hadn’t listened to that for many many years. One thing that I would like to say is that I did do a cover on one of my E-Force albums (Modified Poison 2008) of a song called Victory“ which is one of the songs  from the unreleased album. And  I did that out of the tribute to Piggy in a sense like hey, I brought  one of these songs to life, it’s a victory…a big production… as a tribute to Piggy in a sense. The album was supposed to be recorded and done but at that point there was a lot of financial problems…"

On the final, 7th chapter of the Voivod saga, Voivod goes into a coma. The final chapter was influenced by the disastrous accident the band had in Germany, with Eric going in a coma. "Yeah, it was kind of based about that and through not just me but for those guys and for everybody in the style…and I’m very grateful that we did what we did…you know, to try to get a shot to do that. Obviously at the time I was a little pissed off not to be in the band any more but looking back now and…. It’s a business decision for them to carry out the way. And that’s cool.. That’s fine. I understand. I still see these guys here and there. I saw them few years ago in France. They invited me to Hellfest to join Snake and sing Tribal Convictions. That wass pretty cool back in 2009. But yeah, that unfinished thing was about that (the accident) in a sense. When it’s going to be released, if it’s going to be released I have no idea. It’s not my position to say when…."

He then explained the way the unreleased album sounded like Angel Rat album and that it wasn’t as heavy as Negaton or Phobos albums: "On this album and recording, the guys wanted me to like maybe sing a little more in supposed to UUURRRRGHHHHHH. So I would have to say that there’s some of that Angel Rat vibe in there of songs type of metal, not so heavy like the Negatron or Phobos, although when I did the cover of  Victory song I did make it  maybe sing a little heavier than it was. But it was my version of it anyway." Later in the interview he said: "It’s not my place to go out and like for my next record to go and take a song off that and redo it… What’s done is done and like I said, I did it out for Piggy as a tribute to Piggy but I haven’t touched any of that stuff…I haven’t even listened to it maybe for 10-15 years. But like I did say I do plan to…on my next E-Force record I’m doing a cover of a sort of famous song from a famous band and you can read between the lines what it could be."

Eric Forrest said that he doesn’t know whether there is going to be a reissue of Negatron and Phobos albums. One of our fans stated that it would be awesome for Voivod to perform two sets a night, one with Snake and the other with Eric Forrest: "I think it’s fucking amazing idea! I’ve seen a couple of German bands like Michael Schenker to tour with ex members  and Helloween I think they done that too. That would be a great idea. Amazing idea to do a tour of Voivod and E-Force. I ‘ll give Jason Newsted a call too. That would definitely be a night to remember, seeing all these Voivod people that were part of it. Blacky too. That would be incredible! That would be amazing! Maybe one day before we’re all dead. I’m not gonna say no, that’s for sure. But at the same time it’s not my position to organize that." Eric also said that he got the idea for Negatron/Phobos revisited tour when he heard about Uli John Roth’s Scorpions Revisited tour.  He also said that Away gave him the rights for some of the artwork from the Phobos album for Negatron/Phobos revisited. Eric also said that it’s possible to do another run of that tour in the future with both E-Force and Voivod songs.

When asked what’s the last time he saw Piggy he said: "Unfortunately at his funeral. But other than that when I was in Montreal I seen him out with the friends... Other than that, I already moved to France and got some calls when he was in the hospital and stuff like that. I wanted to speak with him but unfortunately didn’t. He wasn’t able to…I used to call him the Riffmaster Piggy because the guy was riff master. He came up with some really cool shit. I remember one solo he did on Phobos record, I forgot what the song is…maybe Quantum… He’s ready to do a guitar solo in the studio and the guitar was sitting on the couch. Engineer said Ok are you ready? He said, yup I’m ready! I’m like, wait, aren’t you gonna put the guitar in your hand? He goes, no, no, no... Go ahead, record! He grabs this  like ZZZZZ electric razer  so he puts it by the pickup.  - Yeah this is gonna work! And I was like, what the fuck was that? I never seen anybody play the guitar like that. And yeah, funny enough, the sound is still there. ‘Cause I know that he had like the Toy Gun through the pickups at live concerts and stuff. But that was the memorable moment to see him play that. Another song which I’m still amazed by today which is probably one of my favorite  Voivod songs I do with the band is the song calledProject X“. And the solo.. The solo is like two notes, WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH, WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH. That’s it. I never imagined after being a big Yngvie Malmsteen fan.. I never imagined to hear two notes pieced so fucking great and fitting for that song.  It’s just like, holy fuck…Dude, you’re a legend!"

Eric also shared a funny story about Piggy when the band was supposed to play at the Dynamo festival in 1996 and Piggy forgot the tuner and tried to tune the guitar by ear. Then he told Piggy, “Dude, what are we going to do?” And Piggy was laughing: ”I don’t know. Hahahahah.”  – No, no, seriously, what the fuck are we going to do? –  And Piggy was laughing even more: I don’t know! HAHAHAHA! Eric said that there’s like 5-6 songs recorded from that performance on Voivod live shows.

Eric Forrest also recalled opening for Iron Maiden with Voivod in Montreal 1999. "That was probably the mount Everest for me definitely. Voivod did 3 shows with Iron Maiden and had a backstage booth right next to Iron Maiden. He remembers Steve Harris’ bass sitting in a stand and he didn’t touch it out of respect. Then, Eric talked to him about getting into bass in 1984. He also discussed some of his vocal influences. He stated that he is a big fan of Cory Clarke’s Warrior Soul and said that that is one of his biggest vocal influences. When it comes to bass, he cited Steve Harris and Geddy Lee  as his influences. Funny enough, Eric Forrest said that he was born on Friday 13th, 1970, when Black Sabbath released their debut album and when heavy metal was born. Can it get any more metal than that? I don’t think so! And I say that as a guy who was born on the day Metallica released Kill ‘em All LOL. Then, he talked about the formation of his band E-Force. Interestingly enough, he said that the Voivod guys used to call Jason Newsted to step in the band on the bass. He also discussed M-Body, a song that Jason Newsted wrote on the Phobos album. He also talked about Piggy, Jason and Away’s project called Tar Rat and underlined that Piggy wrote the most of the music for it while Jason Newsted wrote all the lyrics.  Eric Forrest named Iron Maiden’s Killers, ExodusBonded by Blood, Warrior Soul’s  The Space Age Playboys, Deep Purple’s Deep Purple in Rock, Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil. And finally, he talked about Jim Thirlwell, the song „Planet Hell“ and Ticketmaster controversy. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out our older interviews with Voivod:

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