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Charred Walls of the Damned’s Richard Christy Remembers 9/11

Carlos Labongo

While many Noisecreep readers know him from his drum work with the likes of Death, Controlled Denied, Iced Earth, and his current group, Charred Walls of the Damned, the rest of the world became aware of Richard Christy through his work on the Howard Stern Show. As one of its main writers, Christy is responsible for some of the funniest moments on the wildly popular show. But in this Noisecreep Q&A, he tells us about the tragic events of 9/11 and what he remembers about that infamous day.

Where were you when you found out about 9/11?

I was sleeping at Iced Earth guitarist John Schaffer’s house in Indiana the morning of September 11, 2001. I was playing drums in the band at the time and we were leaving that morning for a US tour with Judas Priest and Anthrax. We had been rehearsing for several days at John’s house and that morning a tour bus was showing up at 11AM to drive us to Los Angeles for our first show at the Universal Ampitheater.

What else do you remember about that day?

My drum tech woke me up and I’ll never forget what he said, “Wake up Richard, we’re at war.” I didn’t know what he meant and walked downstairs to see everyone in the band and our crew crowded around the television watching something unspeakable and at the time not even comprehensible. I remember it seeming like it wasn’t even real. The first thing I wanted to do was call my parents. The tour bus showed up at John’s house at 11AM and everyone was in a daze. We watched the news all day on the tour bus as we drove toward California. We arrived the next day in Albuquerque, N.M. and found out the tour had been canceled because Judas Priest and their equipment and crew were stuck in Mexico. The tour bus turned around and we drove back to Indiana.

A few days later I flew back to Florida where I lived at the time. I think it was the first day they resumed flights in the US, and it was me and about three other people on a full size airplane. The pilots and crew clapped for us as we entered the plane because barely anyone was flying at the time, it was very surreal. I’ve lived in New York City now for over seven years and I couldn’t ever imagine living anywhere else.

Listen to ‘Zerospan’ from Charred Walls of the Damned

These days you don’t live too far from where the original towers stood.

Yeah, from where I live in Queens, N.Y., I can see the construction of the Freedom Tower. Every day I look at the tower and it makes me think about how unbelievable it is that this amazing city and the whole country went through such horror 10 years ago. It is also so inspiring to look at the Freedom Tower every day and realize that even though this country was sucker-punched 10 years ago, we’re still here and we’re stronger than ever. My heart goes out to everyone who lost a family member or friend on 9/11.

Charred Walls of the Damned’s ‘Cold Winds on Timeless Days’ will be out on October 11th via Metal Blade. Pre-order a copy of the album at this link.

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