I chatted on the phone with F5 guitarist Steve Conley on February 7, 2006.

Tell me how the band F5 started and introduce the band members, telling me what qualities they add to the band’s formula.

F5 started when I was playing locally in Phoenix, Arizona. Dave Ellefson, our bass player, had a company that he started which was shopping bands and doing band management. My band sent him a demo, and he came down to see us play live. That started our relationship. Then, Rob Halford from Judas Priest was auditioning guitar players for his solo band. I threw together a metal instrumental song to get my name in the hat, and Dave played bass on it for me. It was different than what I was playing, and my guitar playing on it shocked Dave. He suggested getting into a room and throwing down some stuff for fun. We did that with David Small, who’s a great guy and a great drummer. It went well and it developed into F5. Dave Ellefson knew our singer Dale Steele, who was up in Minneapolis. We sent him some demos, and he moved down to Phoenix. We needed a second guitarist and a longtime friend of mine, John Davis, became the last member of our band. F5’s sound has ties to old-school music, but it’s modern at the same time. The vocal style is very melodic yet we try to stay heavy. We add a lot of guitar solos to the songs. We try to not sound like a Nu-Metal band, and we try not to sound like 1985. Dave Small came up with our name, which is a take on how they rate the strength of tornados. Its double-meaning is a force of 5 guys.

Talk about the band’s musical direction and your current CD, “A Drug for All Seasons.”

Our CD pretty much follows the musical direction I described for F5. It’s sold on-line and at most record stores. We also sell it at our website. There are song samples at the band’s Myspace page. “Fall to Me” is the first single that we released. It’s got a hooky chorus with good melody and lyrics. It has a syncopated, heavy guitar riff that’s catchy and some nice solos. Overall, I think it’s a real well-written song that’ll tell people what F5 is all about. Our songwriting process on this record was a lot of jamming and ideas that we arranged and hashed out. The next record will be more of a full-band written record.

Tell me about your band’s touring plans for 2006.

We’re trying to book as many shows as we can, but we all have other things in the fire. Scheduling can get difficult, but we’ll make it all work. We’re playing at the Dallas Guitar Show, but nothing has panned out yet by you on the East Coast. It is our goal to get over there. Live, we come across heavier and more powerful than we do in the studio. We’re very energetic onstage, and I think people will like the vibe.

What does F5 have in store for your existing fans in the next 12 months?

We just released a video for the song “Dissidence” to MTV2 and Fuse. Our main plan is to get out and play shows whenever we can and spread the word. I don’t think we’ll sit down to write new material until Fall 2006.

Feel free to promote anything else you’d like that applies to your band.

Our website is www.f5theband.com and most of us have Myspace pages. F5’s is www.myspace.com/f5thebandaz. Mine is www.myspace.com/steveconley and John’s is www.myspace.com/itchydigits01. We have plenty of merch at our website. I’ve been working on some instrumental music, trying to complete a solo guitar record. At my Myspace page, fans can check out “Marching to Mars.”

Please share a story about Dimebag Darrell.

I do work for the Krank amplifier company, and Dime came down to Phoenix to sit down with our designers to create a “signature series” amp. We all went out to dinner, had a great time, and ended up at a strip club. The drinking was unbelievable. He was so funny, he would talk to anybody, and he would sign anything. He’d hang out and be just one of the guys. Dime was never the rock star who didn’t want to be bothered. I also remember him taking a phone call from Vinnie Paul. He was blown away and almost teared up when Vinnie told him that Eddie Van Halen was in their club. He talked to him and got all choked up talking to one of his guitar heroes.

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