Rock & Metal In My Blood would like to introduce our readers to a very talented and prolific guitarist, TOBY KNAPP, who has recently released a full-length instrumental album called "Static Warfare" out on Shredguy Records. In these past two decades Toby has also released other material, among which two compilations, an EP and two demos. But let's hear all about it from the shredder himself, Mr. Toby Knapp.

R&MIMB: Hi there Toby! Could you please tell us how your musical origins started?
Toby Knapp: Pretty much in the womb!! My parents played in a band together, my mom played keyboards and my dad drums. When they rehearsed I used to kick! Then when I was born, I had a toy drum kit, a guitar and would pretend to be playing while they rehearsed!!

R&MIMB: What were your musical influences growing up?
Toby Knapp: As a kid, I had a tiny/toddler record player and by the age of 4 I was raiding my parents vinyl collection. I remember really liking Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple.....but the album that really transformed me was Led Zeppelin II. I mean, at four years old, that's a dark and terrifying album! The sounds of Hell coming through the guitar...

R&MIMB: What motivates you to create music?
Toby Knapp: These days it's because everything sucks so bad, with a few exceptions of course, so if I want to hear a good album, I have to make it!!

R&MIMB: Reading about you, you have done so much musically involving yourself in many different metal genres. Do you have a favorite genre of metal music?
Toby Knapp: Well, I've flipped! I was an instrumental guitarist who dabbled in Black Metal on the side and now I realize Black Metal is my favorite music, the real stuff, the music that is barely created anymore because popular culture and mainstream labels got their hands on it! However, I like non-groove Metal, 80's stuff, serious stuff, progressive. Groove metal is just a word for sell-out thrash bands now doing nu-metal.

R&MIMB: I think it is interesting that you play Black Metal...When did you get started with that?
Toby Knapp: Yes, I was into Black Metal from the days of Venom and Bathory. Later on I had demos and LP's from Emperor, Rotting Christ, Blasphemy, Necromantia, Master's Hammer, Beherit. I didn't specifically call it "Black Metal", I just thought it was raw, crude and twisted Death metal!

R&MIMB: Tell us about the beginnings and end of your band "Onward".
Toby Knapp: Onward was originally me and three friends rehearsing eight songs I wrote. Eventually labels got news of us; these guys out in Montana going completely against the grain! We dealt with so many labels on our way up the ladder and I met vocalist Michael Grant and things just went so well for us. The cliché musical differences between Mike and I got in the way and I was really starting to distrust Century Media, not the staff, but the guys running the show. I saw all these bands that had toured and been around forever and they had earned nothing.

R&MIMB: Can you briefly tell us about your discography, including the EPs and compilations?
Toby Knapp: As solo artist there is Guitar Distortion, Infinite Opposition, Polarizing Lines, Misanthropy Divine, The Campaign, Static Warfare, Archives of Magick Volumes One and Two. With Darken a self titled album, with Waxen "Fumaroth" and soon "Agios Holokauston" on Moribund Records, with Onward- Evermoving, Reawaken and The Neverending Sun, with Godless Rising "Trumpet of Triumph" that's off the top of my head, there are a few more I think.

R&MIMB: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Toby Knapp: Musically I'd say Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Fripp, Slayer, Algaion, Fredrick Soderlund Projects (Parnassus, Octinomos, Puissance), Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rush, Yes, Loudness, Voivod, King Crimson and an almost infinite supply. Other than music I study Aleister Crowley, some Deepak Choprah and I am interested in War, the ones that have come and the ones that are coming.

R&MIMB: If you could play with any musician, past or present, who would it be?
Toby Knapp: Well, Jimmy Page or Robert Fripp probably aren't going to be taking me under their wing anytime soon!! The Swedish musicians I mentioned earlier, so if Algaion or Fredrick Soderlund ever requested any guest guitar work, that would be big for me!

R&MIMB: What bands have you toured with?
Toby Knapp: Just Onward and a Canadian tour with Darkane. I turned down Vital Remains when they asked me to tour in 2009, because they asked me to join their band in 2006 and just left me hanging, so I said no. Norway's Mayhem contacted me in 2008 and I very nearly joined them, but logistics prevented that.

R&MIMB: What are the things that inspired you to make your last album? How do you feel about it?
Toby Knapp: I love the album! I hadn't touched the guitar for nearly two years prior to recording "Static Warfare". All this penned up music just burst out and the music just keeps flowing out of me!

R&MIMB: Well, we're glad to hear it! Between 2005 and 2007, you played a series of shows under a temporary band name in support of Despised Icon, Wolven Ancestry, Psyopus, and Light this City. What was that temporary band name?
Toby Knapp: You know, we never really figured that out! We just threw things together to get on these somewhat decent regional gigs.

R&MIMB: What are the names of your bands, the bands you've played in or been a part of? And who did you collaborate with?
Toby Knapp: Waxen is my one man Black Metal band recently signed to Moribund. Now I am also collaborating with guitarist Markus Johansson on an instrumental album. There might be another pretty significant collaboration, but that's in the discussion phase right now.

R&MIMB: What does the future hold musically and non-musically for Toby Knapp?
Toby Knapp: To keep playing, writing and carrying on in all aspects of life! Music is my life, nothing much else matters or interests me except for a very select few people.

R&MIMB: I always like to include some fun questions for the fans. What was the name of the first CD you ever bought? The name of the first concert you went to? What are your hobbies?
Toby Knapp: As an actual purchase, long before CD's, it was Led Zeppelin IV. As a CD, to celebrate getting a CD player, it was Venom's "Welcome to Hell". The first concert was Motley Crue, but I didn't really care for it, it was a place to get hammered, they were background noise! I collect books and music as a hobby. I probably need something else as this narrow way irritates my wife. Maybe I'll try golf for a change!

Heather Williams