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  Bowling For Soup first graced our eardrums back in 1994 with their eponymous debut album, seventeen years and several hits later the boys are back. This time around they deliver what is perhaps their best work yet with Fishin For Woos, the band's first studio album in two years, and more importantly their first sans label. Being the humble superstars that they are, it was no surprise to me that bassist and founding member Erik Chandler took time out of his busy schedule, on the day of one of his band's proudest moments, to chat with me about everything from "Fishin'" to Phineas and Ferb to football. So sit back, grab a cold one, and enjoy...

 

AWAY-TEAM: Congratulations on the release of Fishin' For Woos, which hits stores today. I actually had a chance to listen to it, and was very impressed.

ERIK CHANDLER: Thank you so much man, ya know we're really excited about it, really happy with the way it turned out. This one kinda... ended up being greater than the sum of it's parts. Because we actually, for the first time in a while, didn't have the opportunity to overthink anything, and so it just kinda is what it is, and it turned out really well.

AWAY-TEAM: Now, Fishin' For Woos is an interesting name, and you guys have always been known for being a little comical, where did that name come from?

ERIK CHANDLER: It's actually just kind of an inside joke with the band... there's some things that bands will say from the stage that are designed to elicit a certain response from the audience. One night on stage, something was said, I can't remember exactly what it was, but it got one of those ya know crowd wide screams, and Jaret walks up to the mic and says "OK, well I wasn't fishin' for woos, but I'll take 'em" So from that night on, that became a running joke for us, that we're going fishing for woos.

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) On this album there's alot of songs, such as the first single "S-S-S-Saturday" and "Here's Your Freakin' Song" which scream classic BFS. But then you have your softer side coming out in songs like "Turbulence" and "Guard My Heart", the latter of which you, yourself actually wrote 14 years ago for a movie. What went into the decision to finally include that song on an album after so many years?

ERIK CHANDLER: I wrote that song and it wasn't... especially 14 years ago, there was no way we could've included that song on a Bowling For Soup record. At that point we weren't really putting non-high octane rockers on our albums. We had gotten approached to do a song for this independent film called Sardines that actually never really did anything, and ya know we went in the studio and did a really quick version of it, and we were never really happy with it so we didn't ever release it or put it out to where people could get it. But Jaret and I did the song at a couple of acoustic shows, and some fan videos started leaking out around the internet, especially here amongst our street team. Word of it kinda spread and it was, ya know the "secret song" that wasn't ever recorded, but here's a little bit of evidence of it's existence. So people, for years now, have been asking us to play it at shows and we never really played it as a full band. And then, just because the fan response to this "non-existent" song was so great, we finally decided to give it to the hard core folks, ya know. So that was more of a gift to our street teamers.

AWAY-TEAM: Now this is your first album without a label, being now free of the label and being able to call your own shots, what's the one thing you've always wanted to do but never have been able to, but now that you have the freedom, you plan to do?

ERIK CHANDLER: We did it! The first thing, when we were finally free and clear of the whole Jive Records contract, immediately the first thought was 'We've gotta get into the studio and make an album, like right now!' And for the very first time ever, there was zero input from outside the band. It was all us. Our managers... one of our managers came by the studio while we were in the recording process, but he didn't even go in the control room, didn't even listen to anything that we were doing, and it was so awesome not to have that. Ya know, people from record labels come around, and these are business people, they're not musicians and all of a sudden they start trying to throw their two cents into the studio process and the creative process, and when they're in positions of authority you kinda feel an obligation to appease them. When it comes down to mix time and everything, everybody's got an opinion, and for the first time this was all band. The only input that was there was us, and the producer, and I think that honestly speaks to why we love the album so much.

AWAY-TEAM: That's gotta be a great feeling, after so many years being pushed in different directions.

ERIK CHANDLER: Yeah, ya know, I mean I was saying this earlier today, but you spend a certain amount of your career attempting to get into certain situations, like label contracts and what-not, and then you immediately spend the next portion of your career trying to get out of those relationships to get back to work for yourself. (laughing) And it's great because, we actually have a record label in place, it's just we get to be in charge of it now, it's not like we're running down to the Kinko's and making the CD jacket copies ourselves, and what-not. There's actually a record label there, and real distribution and everything, it's just we get to be in charge now, and we're the be all end all, and get the final say in everything.

AWAY-TEAM: You guys have been involved with the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb, which my daughter and I love, how did that come about? And what was the initial reaction when the opportunity arose?

ERIK CHANDLER: The guys who created that show worked together on The Simpson's, and evidentally in the Writer's Room at The Simpson's, I don't know if it still happens now, but back then they liked to play Bowling For Soup in the Writer's Room. Fast forward down the road, they're doing this cartoon, and they had the 30 second theme song written, and they wanted to turn it into a 3 1/2 minute kinda radio single song, and we were the band that they wanted to do it. So they actually sought us out and asked us if we would be interested, and they took Jaret and flew him to L.A. and showed him some of the unfinished first few episodes. He came back and said "You know what, I think this cartoon is gonna do really well. It seems really funny. Let's do it." We jumped in the studio, and two days later sent them back their song and they loved it. That afforded us the opportunity to do a few more songs for the cartoon, and they animated Bowling For Soup into an episode. It's really cool, alot of fun working with those guys, good folks too.

AWAY-TEAM: I did see that they are actually coming out with a full length movie. Are there any plans to include you guys in that as well?

ERIK CHANDLER: Jaret has written, at least one song for the movie, and I don't know as of yet if we will be recording it, or if someone else will be recording it. But he will be involved, at least in that part of it.

AWAY-TEAM: One of your biggest hits was the song "1985", which you wrote with Mitch and John Allen, who are friends of the site. If you could go back in time and could've written and performed any song from that era, what would it be?

ERIK CHANDLER: Oh wow!...from that era...hmmm. You're actually throwing me for a loop here. How about Alex Chilton from The Replacements.

AWAY-TEAM: Wow, interesting choice!

ERIK CHANDLER: Yeah that's that era-ish. (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: So, obviously you guys still live in Denton, TX, and sort of pride yourselves on being just regular guys. After nearly 20 years of fame, in which you've stayed grounded and stayed in your hometown, do you still get people around town swarming you for pictures and autographs? Or do they kinda get it and say "Yeah that's Erik, he's just a regular guy with a really cool job"?

ERIK CHANDLER: In Denton, that never happens! It rarely ever happens, because that's the attitude around there. It's like, everybody's a musician, some people happen to be doing it on different levels than others. So it's no big deal, all people are in the music scene, you know who drinks at what bar. You know who you're going to find at what restaurant on Tuesday nights, because that's where they go every Tuesday night. It's a small town, and a pretty close community, as far as the music scene goes. When you move a little further south, like down into the Dallas area, that's when stuff like that starts happening. Ya know, the staff at a restaurant wants to all at one time come and get a group picture. Which is really cool, but at the same time everybody else in the restaurant wonders why all the service has stopped, and everybody is standing around your table. It's like "Who are those guys?" that everybody's over getting their picture taken. That can be a little bit weird at times, but it's a really cool problem to have.

AWAY-TEAM: I think it's cool that you can go home and maintain a bit of normalcy as well.

ERIK CHANDLER: Yeah.

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AWAY-TEAM: You and Jaret both have other bands that you're involved with as well. So when you're going through the songwriting process, do you ever find yourself struggling with whether a particular song might be better suited for BFS or The Mulberry St. Socialites?

ERIK CHANDLER: Me, not so much. I can remember one song that was kinda in between from my stuff, and I had written it, and I was really stoked and I had sent it to Jaret, and he's like "Hey man, this might be a really good Bowling For Soup song" I thought that's cool, that's great, let's wait and see, and when it came down to time to nail down the Bowling For Soup songs, he was like "You know what, why don't you just keep it for your band." I was like "OK", and I wrote for the rest of the year, I guess until November for the album, and the song didn't even end up making my album. (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs)

ERIK CHANDLER: It didn't make the final cut, it didn't quite fit the vibe of everything else. But I've still got it, and we've actually discussed possibly putting it on the next Bowling For Soup album, so.

AWAY-TEAM: I was gonna say, it may be another one of those songs you release 14 years later. (laughs)

ERIK CHANDLER: Right, right. (laughing) The thing with our solo, or extracurricular projects if you will, they're so different than Bowling For Soup so there's not really that trouble of which does this go to. Ya know, it's either a Bowling For Soup song, or it's for something else.

AWAY-TEAM: You guys have been known for playing some really crazy, off the wall covers over the years. With that being said, how do you feel about Prince's recent comments, that he doesn't think that anyone should be able to cover another artists song because it detracts ownership from the original artist? I mean, I have tremendous respect for Prince but I find that slightly hypocritical, given that he covered the Foo Fighters just a couple years ago during the Superbowl. What are your thoughts on that?

ERIK CHANDLER: I think that's completely... I think that's just bad all together. I think he's probably upset that Sinead O'Connor's version of "Nothing Compares to You" was much bigger than his version of it.

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs)

ERIK CHANDLER: It's really cool to me to hear other people's interpretations of songs. Especially a situation where somebody can take a song and go completely the opposite direction with it, than how it was originally recorded. It's like wow, this is awesome, this is a great reimagining of the original idea. But then, if a cover is too close to the original, that doesn't do much for me. But if you're able to throw a different spin on it, I think... I mean isn't imitation the most sincere form of flattery?

AWAY-TEAM: You hit it right on the head. I mean, to me, I think you're bringing attention to the artist's song. So ya know, I may hear a cover, and say "Wow, I haven't heard that song in a long time!" And guess what I'm doing, I'm going right to iTunes and downloading the original, because I had it on cassette or vinyl! (laughs)

ERIK CHANDLER: Yeah, yeah! I mean it's like, I think it's a cool thing for artists to be able to say "Hey, this song influenced me." And I'm putting my stamp of approval on whoever it may be!

AWAY-TEAM: Right on! So have you guys ever thought of releasing an entire album of cover songs? And if so what is the one song that MUST be on there?

ERIK CHANDLER: We have discussed it actually. Just because we've done so many in the past. Every tour we slave over the fact that "OK we have to come up with something new. We have to come up with something that has never come up in the past, that would be really cool, that no one would ever imagine us doing, but we could make it perfect in the Bowling For Soup style." So we've ended up with just a giant catalog of those. But I can't think of one that.... uh, ya know what... "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

AWAY-TEAM: That'd be a cool one!

ERIK CHANDLER: We actually demoed that. We were gonna put it on an album, a couple albums ago, but we weren't really happy with the way the demo came out. So we kinda scrapped, in our minds we're not gonna do it, but... that was the very first cover song that we learned to play in June of 1994, and we've been playing that song in sound check for 17 years. Every once in a while, when we're feeling saucy (laughs), we'll play it at a show. In 17 years, we may have played it at 25 shows, which is not alot in the grand scheme of things.

AWAY-TEAM: Living in Texas, it's gotta be almost a requirement that you love football, correct?

ERIK CHANDLER: It's kinda bred into us down here for some reason. (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) So what's you're opinion on the NFL lockout? I know we just got some encouraging news yesterday, but we've got a long way to go. If we don't have a season for some reason, what do you think America should be tuning into on Sundays? What should they put on TV in football's place?

ERIK CHANDLER: I think they replace the NFL on all the major networks with that Lingerie Football League. (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: Dude, I knew you were gonna say that! (laughing) When I composed the question that was the first thing that popped into my mind as a possible answer! (laughs)

ERIK CHANDLER: (laughs) I can't say honestly that I've ever seen one of the games, but I'm fairly certain that the action's not gonna be quite as good, but that's a decent replacement as far as I'm concerned.

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Agreed. That's exactly what I would've said too.

ERIK CHANDLER: Maybe we can get Vince McMahon to bring back the XFL! (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) There you go! Well hey, Erik, it's been a real pleasure talking to you. Best of luck with the album, and I know you're kicking off a tour in a couple of days, so again best of luck. Hopefully we'll get to talk again soon!

ERIK CHANDLER: Right on man! Thanks alot, I appreciate it!

AWAY-TEAM: Take it easy.

ERIK CHANDLER: Bye.

 

For more info on Bowling For Soup including Tour Dates, and to purchase music, visit http://www.bowlingforsoup.com/main.php

Special thanks go to Erik Chandler for so graciously giving me his time on such an important day in his career, and also to Tim Tatulli at Stache Media/Sony Music for making it all happen.

Clufetos2Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, and Ozzy Osbourne... aside from being iconic figures in the world of rock 'n' roll, what do they all have in common? They've all had the honor of calling Tommy Clufetos their drummer. Ever since he picked up the drumsticks at the age of seven, Tommy Clufetos has lived and breathed rock 'n' roll, doing more in ten years than most people dream of accomplishing in a lifetime. It's that kind of dedication that has brought him from keeping time for the Motor City Madman to tearing through the Diary of a Madman. Recently I had a chance to speak with Tommy about what it's like to play with rock royalty, covering everything from the Prince of Darkness to the King of Rock 'n' Roll. So sit back, grab a cold one, and kick up your feet as we delve into the mind of one of rock's great stickmen....

AWAY-TEAM: I'd like to start by congratulating you on the success of the current tour, and on semi-recently being named the new full time drummer for Ozzy Osbourne.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Thank you.

AWAY-TEAM: You guys are currently touring with Slash as your supporting act, I know you've had the chance to play with him before, how did that come to be?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: You mean how did it come with me jamming with Slash before?

AWAY-TEAM: Yeah.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I was doing this thing with Alice Cooper, not when I was in Alice Cooper's band, he just asked me to help him out and do this thing called the MAP Fund, which is affiliated with the Grammy's and it helps those with substance abuse addictions. So we played at this concert, and Slash jammed with Alice when I was playing drums, I think he played "School's Out" or something. So we played together then, and he just asked me to jam with him a couple times out of that. He's a total gentleman, Slash, I love his guitar playing. Ya know he's one of the last guitar hero rock stars out there, so... I can't say enough about that guy, he's such a great guy, and great musician.

AWAY-TEAM: Yeah, he's legendary!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Right.

AWAY-TEAM: Now I spoke with Gus G. a few months ago, and he hadn't yet met Slash, and I asked him this very question, but he didn't have the answer yet. So now it's time for an update... have you guys played any songs on this tour with both Ozzy and Slash on stage at the same time? I know they played together on Slash's album.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Ozzy sang on Slash's album, yeah. But they don't do that during the concert, because we fly in and out of the shows, so it doesn't really leave much time for us to... ya know, sometimes we'll get there when he's already on stage, and we have to get ready, so. The schedule is quite compact, so I don't think it technically leaves room to do that. But that would be cool.

AWAY-TEAM: Sure would.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: But the package of Slash and Ozzy together is going over really well, and I think it's a great thing for fans. Alot of tunes that people are familiar with, and alot of tunes where people go 'Oh, I forgot about that song', so it's a great night of rock 'n' roll hits for everybody.

AWAY-TEAM: I think the great part of it, is we haven't seen something like this in a long time, and I've said this before, it kinda brings you back to the days of the old Monsters of Rock tours and things like that.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Yeah. I mean Slash is just an icon, and so is Ozzy, so it makes for a great night for everybody.

AWAY-TEAM: Right. So how did you get the gig with Ozzy? Did you have to audition? Or did they call you and say "Hey, what are you doing? We want you to play with us"? How did that work out?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I was kinda in the right place at the right time. I was brought in to help out during Gus G.'s audition, he came in from Greece, and their drummer at the time couldn't make it, so I was asked to do it just so Gus could be comfortable and focus on playing guitar... and the music would be solid. So that's what I came in to do, and then they asked me to play at a thing called Blizzcon in California, which again Mike Bordin, who's an amazing drummer, could not make due to commitments with Faith No More. They asked me to do that, and out of those couple experiences they asked me to join the band. So I was very lucky, and excited, and so ecstatic to say 'Yes'.

AWAY-TEAM: Now you left Rob Zombie's band to take the gig with Ozzy, I understand Rob was a little bitter when you left him. Have you spoken to him since, and managed to salvage your friendship?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I have not spoken to him. But I have nothing but great things to say about Rob and my time spent there, and ya know I base our relationship on what I saw when I was there and I have nothing but great things to say about that. I wouldn't say anything negative, just because of a couple statements in the press. So, no hard feelings on my end. I wish him, his wife Sheri, and all the guys nothing but the best. I still think the world of all of them. So, that's how I feel.

AWAY-TEAM: These days Ozzy seems to be a bit more energized than he has been in the past few years. I'm sure in part it has to do with some of you younger guys being around. With guys like yourself and Gus being closer in age to Ozzy's kids, than the man himself; do Ozzy and Sharon treat you with more of a parental instinct? Or are you still just one of the guys?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: The age thing doesn't really come into play. We play in his band, and it's business. But this is more like a family than anything I've ever been involved with. They're super cool, and super nice, and ya know we just played an L.A. show and Ozzy's whole family was out there. They couldn't be better to us, they treat us all great despite the age. Whether you're old or young, it's all the same thing.

AWAY-TEAM: It's all rock 'n' roll. And speaking of that, Ozzy's still going at age 62, where do you see yourself at age 62?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I'll still be rockin' n' rollin' my friend!

AWAY-TEAM: Kick ass!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I just hope I die on stage. That would be... not too soon! (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Yeah. Let's not rush it!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I can't stop. So I'll probably be that dude up there that people are saying 'Why won't he quit?'

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs)

TOMMY CLUFETOS: At least I know it right? (laughs) I'll probably still be taking my shirt off when I'm a fat guy!

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) I gotta ask this question... the whole metal world let out a collective 'What the fuck?" when we first heard that Ozzy was working with Justin Bieber, in fact I even read somewhere somebody said 'I hope Ozzy bites his head off' (laughs)

TOMMY CLUFETOS: (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: How did the guys in the band feel about it, see when we first heard we didn't know it was a commercial, we just heard they were working together so it obviously created a bit of a storm in the media. So how did you guys feel about it? I mean did you bust his balls a bit?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I mean he's doing a Super Bowl commercial, so who wouldn't be in a Super Bowl commercial? It's like the biggest thing in the world, and I mean he's Ozzy Osbourne he can do whatever the hell he wants. So I think it's great, Ozzy is more than music, he's a cultural icon! He's like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is just fucking cool, and so is Ozzy. So, I mean we go up on stage and Ozzy just rocks balls! Harder than anybody out there, harder than any punk kid. He's the real deal, so whether he's in a commercial with Justin Bieber, or in The Osbourne's, he still IS rock 'n' roll. He's the definition of rock 'n' roll, and he proves it when he gets on the stage, and we're there to back him up on it!

AWAY-TEAM: Speaking of backing him up, current band not included, if you could pick an all-time, all-star lineup for Ozzy, consisting of former band members who would it be?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Oh man, that's a tough one. He's always had such great bands. The No More Tears era was a great band, of course the Blizzard era was a great band, ya know I just feel honored to be in the Ozzy Osbourne band legacy. That's what I feel lucky about. My name is in those ranks, and that's just a great feeling, because he's always had and always found the great musicians. Ozzy's so good at getting great musicians in his band, and he can see talent, so I feel blessed and honored to be in that category. I'm not saying I'm in that category, but just to be mentioned with the same guys is a great feeling.

AWAY-TEAM: Yeah, I think Gus put it really well. He said you guys get to "...go out there every night and play the Bible of Heavy Metal" That's pretty fucking cool!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: When we played in Los Angeles the other night, Tony Iommi was out there and Bill Ward came into our dressing room... sweetheart of a guy, total monster, amazing drummer. So it was great to meet those guys and have 'em at the show.

AWAY-TEAM: That's awesome. So how did you get started playing drums?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: My father was a musician, and I got drums for my 7th birthday, and from that moment on I've known what I was gonna do with my life. So it was full on instantly, blinders on, to get to doing what I'm doing now. So it's been an endless, relentless pursuit of quality and determination to get where I am now.

AWAY-TEAM: What was the first song you ever learned? And who did you idolize, or style your play after growing up?clufetos5

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Wow, first song I ever learned (pauses) I think it was, my dad was a musician, so I think it was growing up a song called "C-Jam Blues" which was a Duke Ellington thing. Kinda like a little swing number, and it had little breaks for me to do some fills in, and stuff like that. That's the earliest thing I can remember doing. I started so early, it just sort of came easy for me. I could just play tunes instantly, so um, ya. Once you look back it's kinda funny how quickly it goes by.

AWAY-TEAM: So who did you idolize growing up?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I idolized my parents. Ya know, as you get older it's harder to have idols, but my parents; I give them the greatest credit for me doing what I'm doing now. They never told me I couldn't... I mean my mom, I can't imagine the noise she had to deal with for 20 years in the house, at all times of the day blasting music and playing drums. And my dad always made sure I had drum stuff, and took me out and saw music, and put me in his band, so. The support was always there, and they always told me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I put the effort in. So they gave me the tools to have the confidence, in order to go out and do what I do. That's really who I'm gonna give credit to. To do music, ya know, you gotta have that right mindset. Being able to play your instrument and be good at it is almost the easy part. Your mind has to be together, and you have to understand your place and your role. So it's very easy, ya know we're staying at the Four Seasons Hotel and just got off a private jet, it's easy to start thinking you're a big shot. But you gotta remember where you came from, and remember why you're there. You gotta stay grounded, and I credit that to my parents for instilling those values in me. Ya know, when I did wrong, they put you in your place, when you did good, you got credit for it. So I carry those lessons with me to this day.

AWAY-TEAM: Now you got your first real big break with Ted Nugent, how did you end up playing with him? Had he known you from the Detroit scene?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: I got to first play with Ted, a guy in Detroit, a great sax player named Alto Reed whose played in Bob Seger's band for the last 30 years, asked me to play on a movie soundtrack that he was putting together. Ted Nugent also played on it. So I first played with Ted during that, and didn't have any idea of what music we were gonna play, he just sat down and wrote a song, and I immediately followed him. We did one take of it, and we cut it. Then we did another one in one take, and I think I impressed him because he called me the next day to go on tour with him. So, ya know, you get certain moments in life where you go "This is my shot." If I didn't buckle down and kick ass, Ted Nugent is not gonna give me another shot. You can work for ten years busting your hump, and eventually your break will come in a round about way, and you get that one opportunity to go to the next level. And I knew that was my moment, my one moment. I've had numerous moments like that, that have led me to where I'm at. But you don't get those moments without the years and years of hard work and preparation in order to lead you to be prepared to take advantage of that moment.

AWAY-TEAM: Right, it's all about what you make of it. So being with a guy like Ted, it's almost a requirement to be into guns...

TOMMY CLUFETOS: You know what, Ted doesn't give a shit. Ted only cares about you working your ass off, and being professional, and doing your job. Of course he's gonna take you to shoot guns, but he doesn't care if you're a vegetarian, if you're black or white, as long as you kick ass and do what you do to the best of your ability, your his best friend.

AWAY-TEAM: So what's the sickest weapon you ever shot with him?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Oh my god. We went out in Texas, he would fly us out to these hunting ranches for his birthday and shoot like, I don't even know what they're called. But like insane crazy machine guns, like you'd see in movies, like in Red Dawn. Just stupid, stupid stuff. I'd be firing these things and be like "What am I doing right now!" For me it was crazy, being the city guy, ya know?

AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Right. Having played with so many greats over your career, do you ever get jaded? In other words, let's take someone I know you've never met, at least I hope you've never met! Elvis walks by, is it "So what it's Elvis he's just another guy like me"? Or do you still get a little starstruck?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: You picked the one guy, I mean I'm an Elvis nut...

AWAY-TEAM: Likewise!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: ...so if he walked by, I'd really be going crazy. Second of all, I would have loved to play for Elvis, that's one guy I would've loved to play for. I am an Elvis fanatic! To me though, we're people. Elvis would be the one dude that I would freak out about though. But, we're all people, and at this point you're either an asshole, or you're not an asshole! (laughs) So sometimes you meet famous people and they're fucking assholes, sometimes you meet famous people and they're the greatest people in the world. So, ya know, we're all just people. I don't really let anybody freak me out, cuz who cares. You can't be intimidated by people either. You can be excited, and have a certain charisma that makes you excited to meet them because they're exciting. But it's not just because they're a star, ya know. Like Ozzy has a certain charisma, where you're like "Oh my god, this is Ozzy" It's fucking cool! But it's not just because it's Ozzy, it's because he's a cool person. If that difference makes sense.

AWAY-TEAM: I know exactly what you mean!

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Like there's certain guys I've played in bands with where I go "Oh my god, this guys a douchebag!" But the guys I play with now, everybody is so cool, everybody is on the same page, and so professional, it's just a joy to be around. We're having a riot out here...Blasko, Adam Wakeman, Gus G, Ozzy...all top notch supreme gentlemen, and highest level musicians.

AWAY-TEAM: Of all the legends that you've played with, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, and Ozzy, what's the best advice any of them has ever given you?

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Best advice anybody has ever given me... that's a tough one. (pauses) I have no idea. I learned alot from Ted Nugent, he gave me my first big break, we're both from Detroit, share alot of the same influences, come from the same place and look at things the same way so I learned alot of things from him. But most of the stuff, my parents gave me the tools, I knew what I was doing. I was ready when anything came down the pipeline. I'm talking emotionally, and mentally I was ready. The best advice I can give somebody, if they wanna do this, is to keep the music number one. If something else comes in front of your music, or whatever you wanna do in your life you will not make it. Everything I do during the day has to do with me wanting to play music for the rest of my life. And when you get away from that, when you start getting into drugs, and start drinking, when the partying becomes too much eventually, it may take years, you're gonna fall. I don't care who you are, when you stop practicing as much you will lose your chops. You will lose it, I've seen so many drummers that are like "Oh yeah, I don't really pick up the sticks in between tours." WHAT? You don't pick up the sticks? I have to pick up the sticks, I have to play, I have to stay hungry for it. Or year, after year, after year you will become dull, and you will lose it slowly. You gotta keep the hunger, and you gotta keep the music number one. So that's my biggest advice, and everybody who I've worked for, that's what they do and they have 42 year careers because of it. So they may not say something, they may not say the advice, but if you're smart enough and perceptive you can pick it up on your own. Watch and learn.

AWAY-TEAM: Very true. Excellent pearls of wisdom. Tommy, thank you for your time, it's been a true honor.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it, and all the best to you!

AWAY-TEAM: Same to you. Best of luck with everything, and I look forward to seeing you behind the kit for many years to come.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Appreciate it. all my best.

AWAY-TEAM: Thanks buddy! Talk to you soon.

TOMMY CLUFETOS: Bye.


For more info on Tommy Clufetos visit http://www.tommyclufetos313.com/ and http://www.ozzy.com for info including tour dates.

Special thanks to Tommy Clufetos for so graciously giving me his time, and to George Vallee at Sumerian Records for making it all happen.

 

 

 

alexis brown

It is 100 degrees in the parking lot of the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC and I am being escorted to Straight Line Stitch’s bus. Well, to the back end of the bus to be accurate, As I tweeted at the time, I’ve done a lot of things in the back of an equipment trailer, but never given an interview, so my thanks to Straight Line Stitch for popping that cherry for me. In the interview we touch on Alexis’ R&B roots, her love of Stevie Nicks and Korn, and the work ethic for one of the hardest touring bands I know.

Away-Team: I am sitting in an equipment trailer with Seth and Alexis of STRAIGHT LINE STITCH here at the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest and it is going to be a hot one today, the temperature is predicted to hit 103. So how do you handle the heat like this when you are out on stage?

Seth: I just drink lots and lots of water. And I try to get her to drink lots of water.

Alexis: (holding a beer in her hand as we speak) I never do what I am supposed to do (laughs). Beer is colder to me! It just tastes better.

Seth: She’s like, ‘water has no flavor!’ But I don’t care, you have to hydrate! It’s good for you…

Alexis: He mothers me. If I die from the heat, at least I’ll die on stage, I’ll die happy and full of beer!

Away-Team: Does the heat affect your voice at all? Or is the set so short that it doesn’t have time to mess with your voice?

Alexis: The set is short but it is so hot that it feels like an eternity! I’m up there thinking we’re on the fifth song and we’re on the third song. The affects you because you get winded and tired, and as a singer, you think, ‘if I sing this note, it is not going to come out right.’ (laughs)

Seth: It affects our guitars too, strings stretch, and swell, and go out of tune, but you deal with it the best you can. Yesterday our show was awful! Our guitars would not stay in tune; it was so bad. It sounded like cats fighting on stage!

Away-Team: So when you can feel it derailing like that and you can’t reel it back in, do you just put more energy into the set? Just hope the crowd overlooks the out of tune guitar, the missed note, and just vibes on the energy you’re putting into trying to put on a good show?

Alexis: Yes, yes.

Seth: You jut gotta show your poker face to the crowd, ‘hey, ain’t’ nothing wrong here!

Alexis: More than likely they won’t know there is something wrong going on until they see you up there looking at each other or throwing a fit. If you react badly then they’re like, ‘oh damn, this is a shitty show!’ but if you act like it doesn’t bother it, it doesn’t faze you, then it’s just rock n roll.

Away-Team: At that point it is just the PA’s fault, the sound system is bad, it isn’t the band’s fault! (everyone laughs)

Seth and Alexis: Yes! Exactly!

Alexis: (acting innocent) I don’t know what’s going on, it sounded good to us. (laughs)

Away-Team: So you guys have been around since 1999/2000, Your ‘debut’ was a combination of atmospheric interludes with bursts of manic full bore metal, where The Fight Of Our Lives see you blending the two much better. Is it maturity as songwriters? Was it all new material or did you take things from the past 10 years…

Alexis: Excuse my language but it was a conscious effort by the band to say fuck everything else! Let’s just make an album that we as a band can be happy with.

Away-Team: That was the end of my question, was it because nobody was riding you this time saying, ‘do it this way, don’t do that. We want to hear this…

Alexis: We basically just knocked the monkey off our back and said, ‘This is about us first and foremost, this is OUR dream.

Seth: On the last record we did what they said, and nothing happened for us, on this record we did what we wanted, we put our hearts into it, and I think it transcends to the fans, and they can see that and hear that. So in that alone it has done more for us.

Away-Team: Well if it feels right to you, then it should come across in the music and most certainly in the live show.

Alexis: It definitely resonates more with our audience.

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Away-Team: I’ve heard of you guys out on the road on every tour it seems for the last 4 years. I’ve seen you on huge tours like this, and playing tiny little rooms in a one horse town in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina. I see you guys constantly on bills of shows everywhere. When was the last time you had a break?

Alexis: If you are not touring, if you are not performing, and you’re not recording then what are you doing? We have got to stay busy, that is our whole bread and butter. Whether it is a big one a little one, somewhere in between, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we don’t care, we’re gonna play.

Seth: Also in this day and time everybody and their brother has a band, so if you’re not on the top, always putting yourself in people’s faces, always doing shows, they’re going to forget you.

Away-Team: At some point though you have to recharge your batteries don’t you? Or is that what the studio is for?

Alexis: Sometimes we’ll have a week off here and there; very seldom we’ll have a month off.

Seth: We’d love to do a month on and a month off that would be the perfect scenario. But if an offer comes up, you gotta take it!

Away-Team: The band hails from Tennessee, but actually you all live all over the US and OUTSIDE the US, how does that help or hinder being in a band together and say when it comes time to write an album?

Alexis: I think it is good that we have a little bit of distance at times.

Seth: When we write everyone has their own ideas, and we’ll put them all together, send them around to everyone else, and then come together for about a month and write an album. We don’t put out a song unless everyone is 100% happy with it.

Alexis: Basically we make it work. We’ll tour, then go our separate ways and write. Then when it is time to get back together, we’ll take all our ideas and put them in a big kettle and hash them out and make something of them.

Away-Team: I’ve read one of your main influences is Stevie Nicks, how do you go from Stevie Nicks to the kind of vocals you do now?

Alexis: I fell in love with Stevie Nicks through my step dad. He had a bunch of records of hers, and I would look at them and say, ‘she’s really pretty and kinda kooky, I love that about her.’ So I checked out the music finally and fell in love with her as an artist. It was actually my brother who was into the heavier stuff, Pantera, Ozzy, and Korn. And he introduced me to that kind of music and I fell in love with that genre. I’ve always wanted to be a singer but not necessarily a heavy metal singer. I was the cliché; I wanted to be the black girl that was doing R&B. That’s what I went after. But when my brother introduced me to metal, he showed me a whole new world, and I fell in love with it.

Away-Team: Since you brought it up, do you find it hard being accepted first a female in metal and secondly a black female in metal?

Alexis: I think if I were being a poser I’d have a harder time…

Away-Team: You mean like say Jada Pinkett Smith?

Alexis: Whoa! She was doing her; I’m not going to say nothing bad about that, I plead the fifth. (laughs) She did her thing, and…. We’ve got to embrace each other we can’t be knockin’ each other down. Speaking for myself if I was fake and I wasn’t a good person people would see through that… But people can tell I’m genuine and I don’t use the color card, I don’t use the female card. It’s just about us making music that we love and music that we are trying to get out there. I think people respect that, so no, it’s not hard for me.

Away-Team: What is the best part of being on a touring Festival like this and worst…

Alexis: The fans! The fans are the best part! The bands too the bands are the best part. The worst is the heat, that frickin’ heat…

Seth: And the dust! When we play in parking lots like we are going to do today, there is nothing but a big dust cloud raised by the audience, and it sits right on us on stage. You breathe that in and you got big boogers in your nose…

Alexis: Speaking of race... everyone’s going to be brown today!!! (laughs)

Away-Team: Unity through dust!

Alexis: Yes! Yes! (laughs)

Away-Team: What is the worst name of a band you’ve been in?

Alexis: Smooth As Silk… that was my all girl band.

Away-Team: Was that your R&B phase?

Alexis: Yes, but I still listen to R&B, I listen to everything!

Away-Team: As I think all good musicians should.

Alexis: Yes, me too, I love all kinds of music, all music.

Away-Team: After Mayhem winds down and you wash all the dust off, what’s next for Straight Line Stitch?

Seth: Afro Punk Fest in New York and it is FREE so come on out and support us at the stage! It’s on August the 28th. Then we’re doing a hometown show, first hometown show in about 2 years on September 26th. We’re excited about that! Then we were supposed to go to Europe after that but the band we were supporting had family issues and canceled the tour.

Alexis: They’re having some hard times but we still love them.

Away-Team: Well good luck with the rest of the tour, continued success, and thanks for hanging in your equipment trailer with me.

Seth: Thank you, careful in that heat. DRINK WATER!!! Maybe you’ll listen to me because she won’t! (laughs).

There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.

For more STRAIGHT LINE STITCH click here.

 

 

Brian Welch

"Oh GOD, please help me!"  A phrase we've heard many a time, in music, in movies, we've all even sometimes uttered it ourselves while paying tribute to the Porcelain God after a long night of drinking.  For former KORN guitarist, Brian 'Head' Welch, devotion and thanks to God has become a way of life, one that may have very well saved his life.  'Head' made perhaps the hardest decision in his life back in early 2005, quitting a band which he helped shape into one of the greatest of it's time.  Brian had come to the realization that if he continued down the path he was going, life would pass him by too fast, or even worse he'd be dead.  After a brief hiatus, a rejuvenated 'Head' is back with a vengeance with his latest project LOVE & DEATH.  Recently, I had the chance to speak with the future Rock n Roll Hall of Famer about everything from his new project to his old habits, so don't move a muscle, unless it's of course to continue reading this story of a life of Love & Death...

AWAY-TEAM:  Congratulations on the release of LOVE & DEATH'S debut EP "Chemicals"...

BRIAN WELCH:  Thanks man! We're excited!

AWAY-TEAM:  You had previously released "Save Me From Myself" under your own name, what prompted the change to LOVE & DEATH? And where did the name come from?

BRIAN WELCH:  Well, the whole thing when I left KORN, I went through alot, and I had written songs for myself, and it was more of an experimental thing.  I hit the road with that, and we played that album for a while, and then me and my guys started wanting to write more and do stuff, because we developed relationships and it just kinda fell into place.  I came up with the name, like six months after I was with these guys I was like "I want this to be a band thing.  I don't want to be a solo guy."  But management pushed me to wait a little bit, because I had books coming out and it was a brand new thing, so.  I was trying to come up with a name, and just like a few months ago LOVE & DEATH came to me, and I liked it.  It sounded a little eery, and at the same time... I don't know it just kinda clicked with everybody.  It was one that everybody agreed on, so we went with it.

AWAY-TEAM:  I understand you auditioned band members via YouTube, having such a broad spectrum of candidates it must have been quite a task having to sift through all of the submissions, nevermind pick the guys that had the talent and chemistry to mesh as a band!  Take me a little bit through that process, and what turned you on to each of your bandmates.

BRIAN WELCH:  I love technology, because it's like so easy... because you could kinda tell if somebody would be a good fit, as far as style.  You just know inside, ya know.  So I just picked the three guys that I thought would be a good fit.  I just went with my gut, my manager at the time helped me through it.  Half of the guys I picked are gone now, they just had other things going on in their lives, the ones that stuck around are with me now!

AWAY-TEAM:  On the EP, you have two versions of "Paralyzed", and also of "Chemicals", and then you have a pretty cool cover of DEVO'S "Whip It".  Not something your fans might have expected to see there, what made you pick that? And furthermore, your guitar player, J.R. Bareis, was 16 years old at the time... Was it hard to get a 16 yr. old kid to commit to an 80's pop cover?  I mean, most 16 yr. olds I know might think DEVO is some new up-and-coming rapper! (laughs)

BRIAN WELCH:  (laughs)  Yeah, you're right!  I kinda stole the idea from THE USED, they did a really cool cover of "Burning Down The House" by Talking Heads, and I thought that was really cool.  So we were having delays with the new album, and just getting songs finished, so my manager actaully said "Try a cover and we can release it."  So I Googled all these 80's songs, because I wanted a song that alot of people know, even the younger kids know DEVO because of their parents.  I didn't think when I first looked at it, ya know it was like 'How can you make that cool? It's just so cheesy!'  It's like-(Makes impression of songs beat) Do-duh-do-duh-duh... (laughs)  Then I was in the shower one day, and DEVO came to my head and I just heard the riff, half-time, (imitates riff) with the heavy guitar, and just went for it.  The 16 yr. old was like "Dude, this is my favorite song we've done!" (laughs)  So, yeah he's just really stoked.  Everyone's stoked on it, so it's exciting.

AWAY-TEAM:  Well, I agree.  It came out really cool!  When I hear the first single "Paralyzed", I can't help but think it was written for your daughter, kinda about your internal struggle over leaving KORN.  Is there any truth to that?  What is that song about?

BRIAN WELCH:  It's not really about that, it's just about struggling in life, and needing someone to help you out of your crap.  I want the songs to mean something to each person that listens to them.  Maybe something personal in their life, ya know, 'I'm paralyzed.' This place I'm stuck in.  But that's really cool, it could very well go with what you said, I like that.  I like to get people that get different things out of it when they listen to it.

AWAY-TEAM:  I always say 'That's the beauty of music.  Everyone can take their own meaning from it.'

BRIAN WELCH:  That's art man!

AWAY-TEAM:  LOVE & DEATH is musically very similar to KORN, if you had to differentiate between the two, what would be the main difference?

BRIAN WELCH:  That's a good question.  Jonathon [Davis], his lyrics aren't all negative or anything, but I try to have a positive vibe throughout all of my songs.  Even in "Paralyzed", even though they have a dark feel to them, there's always some kind of overcoming thing that I like to put in there.  So, I'd say the main thing is aiming toward a more positive conclusion to the songs.  Getting something uplifting out of it, that's kinda my main goal.  I talked to Jonathon about that, I was like "Man, it'd be weird if we ever toured together because I still sound like KORN"  and he's like "I know, well you're from KORN so you will..."  And he understands, why I do what I do, so it's all good.  It is what it is, we're from the same family, the same genre, and we're just known for it.

AWAY-TEAM:  Actually, this weekend, you'll be at The Whosoever's Conference, and Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.) is gonna be interviewing both you and [Reg] Fieldy [Arvizu] together for the first time in six years.  You eluded to this a little bit, saying you spoke with Jonathon, but how is your relationship with your former bandmates?  Have you all put aside your differences?

BRIAN WELCH:  Yeah, we've got nothing but good vibes for each other.  Fieldy's doing really well, Jonathon is doing good, and [James] Munky [Shaffer] I haven't seen face to face in seven years.  But he saw my daughter, a couple months ago my daughter went and saw them, just to say 'Hi'.  Because they were like uncles to her, she went on tour with us and everything.  Munky said something about wanting to see me face to face, because we haven't really spoken.  So I'm gonna hunt him down this year, and get into a room with him and just talk for a few minutes.  And see his face.

AWAY-TEAM:  Well, I know you've probably heard this a million times, but next year marks the 20th anniversary of KORN's existence as a band, any chances of a reunion?

BRIAN WELCH:  Oh, does it? Wait...

AWAY-TEAM:  Next year will be 2013, you guys formed in 1993, correct?

BRIAN WELCH:  I guess we formed in 1993, but the first album was 1994.  Wow! That's crazy!

AWAY-TEAM:  Time flies man!

BRIAN WELCH:  But no, I don't think it'll ever be nothing like that, but maybe jump on stage and do a song or two with them.

AWAY-TEAM:  That would be really cool!  The energy in that crowd... I mean, I can tell you I've been to a million shows, but one of my most vivid memories was at Woodstock '99 when you guys came out and did "Blind" and like 250,000 people... nobody's feet were touching the ground!

BRIAN WELCH:  I know man, that was crazy!  If we weren't all so messed up as alcoholics and drug addicts, man, I think we could've enjoyed that time alot more.  But we were just so thankful to see that.  It was far beyond any of our wildest dreams or expectations for the band.  Ya know, Fieldy will sometimes say he believed it, and he knew we'd be the biggest band, but I really don't believe that.  I think that all of us were shocked at the level of craziness and the crowd.  It floored me!  I'm thankful for all of the experiences, ya know.

BrianWelch

AWAY-TEAM:  Now David [Silveria] has also battled some of the same demons you just mentioned.  I understand he has now turned to Christ as well.  He was recently charged with a D.U.I.  Have you or anyone else reached out to him, to kinda talk to him and see what's going on in his life, and offer some help?

BRIAN WELCH:  I talked to him about a year ago, and he actually reached out to me, I think he's still struggling a little bit.  But all of us do, and he'll get over it, he didn't have a record so I'm sure it'll just be a learning experience for him.  It's hard to stay in contact with these guys, because I'm so busy, I'm booked up to Dec. 9th!  Last time I talked to David he keeps wanting me to go back to KORN or possibly do something.  I've just been too busy, and I think if it was more about friendship, and not about moneymaking I'd do more.  But I wish him so well, ya know, I want nothing but goodness for him.  I'm sure everything's gonna be great.

AWAY-TEAM:  We all get through it somehow.

BRIAN WELCH:  Exactly.

AWAY-TEAM:  Kinda on that same subject, what was the one sort of "rock bottom" moment that made you say "That's it.  I'm done with the drugs, and the booze, and the partyingI'm gonna devote myself to Christ"  What was that moment? Do you remember that?

BRIAN WELCH:  Yeah.  It was like, being in the mud for like two years and just stuck with all the dirt on you, and having your first bath.  Ya know, just getting totally clean?  And that's what it was like, cuz I was just a shell, I had no inside.  I'm talking, like my soul was just dark.  So it was actually a spiritual awakening, all the guilt, all the self-hatred, and the physical effects, the messed up emotions, it was like there was evil spirits on me and they just all left when I turned to Christ.  So I was going "How can I feel so good after all this crap so quickly?"  So I knew that it was some sort of invisible exchange through God's  spirit that helped me out.  That's what it was like, seriously, like being in the mud.  I've never explained it like that, but that's what it was like.  So I dove in, and obviously, looking back, I got a little crazy with it and said some stupid things, but you shove meth in your nose for two years straight and see if you don't say some stupid things! (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM:  (laughs)

BRIAN WELCH:  So, I'm the poster child of 'Do Not Do Drugs' or else you'll turn insane.  But, I've got my brain back, and I'm back to normal now.  I still believe in Christ, it hasn't been easy.  There's been heated, argument prayers with all kinds of F-bombs and stuff with God because I thought some things would be better than they were now, but I still believe.  I totally believe, ya know.  Sometimes if I step back I think "Man, if somebody saw me right now..." I'm talking to myself in a room to this God that noone can see, and I'm cursing at him.  So I'd look like I belong in a looney bin.  (laughs)  But that's what the life of faith is, it's to believe in the unseen.

AWAY-TEAM:  It's about having faith, like you said.

BRIAN WELCH:  And forgiveness is one of the things that goes with it.  It's cool, you can have a shouting match with your father and he still loves you, ya know.

AWAY-TEAM:  I've asked this question to a couple of different artists recently, but since it's been a recent hotpoint, I have to ask it again.  You guys were probably one of the most influential bands of the 90's and 2000's, well deserving of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame when you become eligible in 2019.  What do you make of Axl Rose's decision not to attend, and the popularity contest that the hall has become?

BRIAN WELCH:  I don't like to judge anybody, because I have so many issues in my life.  I don't wanna say this or that, BUT, as an outside guy looking in, I guess I'm just gonna go against my ruling.  It seems like, there's one side of it where Axl's like 'I don't even know what this thing is, and who cares about this popularity contest?' But then on the other hand, I think it has alot to do with this weird bitterness towards the band and stuff.  I just don't understand 50 year old people, not being able to... I mean life is too short!  Everyone's gonna be dead in like 30-40 years.  Do you know how fast that's gonna go?  Get over it!  Get in a room together, just say sorry or whatever.  But, ya know, I've been through all my crap, so.  I don't know all the personal stuff in there, maybe they've got all these issues that they need help for.  Maybe Christ, I mean I know Christ could help them too.  I couldn't have overcome all my stuff with my own strength, so.  I'm kinda just baffled as to why people can't put aside differences and heal relationships, ya know.

AWAY-TEAM:  You've been a musician, an author, a public speaker, a bit of a renaissance man.  What's the one thing that you haven't accomplished, but would like to?

BRIAN WELCH:  Hmmm... Death! (laughs)  I can't wait to see what's on the other side man. I mean, I can wait, it's nothing like that.  But, I look forward to the day where all of us are just in the next place.  Because life is short, and we're gonna be in that next place.  I know, you don't get an answer like that normally! (laughs) But, I look forward to that, cuz to me it's like a graduation, ya know.  Put all this junk down, and let's go to the real party.  Alot of days I actually wake up, I feel like crap when I open my eyes, and I wish I would still be asleep, but that doesn't happen here. So I wanna get there.  But I do wanna accomplish alot of things as far as helping people, the rest of my life, as much as I can, and make people feel like they can overcome things in their lives.  Just doing positive things, until I'm whatever... 90-100 years old!  So whatever that is, more books, more music, more traveling, just whatever, I'll give up my life for it.  I'm sure I'll bitch along the way doing it, but I'm still gonna give up my life for it. (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM:  (laughs)  You mentioned helping others, as I understand it, you're involved with something that actually helps adopt Ethiopian children out of sex slavery?  Is that correct?

BRIAN WELCH:  Yeah, totally! It's called mochaclub.org and the whole concept is for the price of two mochas, you can save these girls from being sold, even by their parents, as sex slaves.  It's real legit, because my manager knows this guy, and this guy was in the music industry in Nashville, he went to Ethiopia on a trip to see the problem, and then comes back and quits the music business because he falls in love with these people, and starts this organization.  For the price of two mochas, two coffees, $7 a month, they ask people to sign up.  It's nt like these things on TV, ya know, you give this much, and just give, give, give.  It's about everybody doing little, doing $7 a month, a bunch of people.  They get these girls out of sex slavery, they get them work, they actually get water to places that don't have water.  They have to walk a mile to get water every day, so it's like 'I'm down'.  If my manager knows this guy, and it's like totally up and up, I'm spreading it around anywhere I can.

AWAY-TEAM:  Now, I gotta ask you this as a father to a father.  I'm a father of a daughter as well, and I know you had to make the very tough choice to put your first daughter up for adoption back in 1995.  Do you have a relationship with her?  Have you spoken with her?  I mean, I know you have her name tattooed on you...

BRIAN WELCH:  We've been sending gifts to her every year, at her birthday.  She turned 17 this year, and she's doing really well.  Last time me and my daughter visited her, it was a while ago, we set up another visit, but it was just kinda too soon.  She's at that age, she needs to do her thing, her and my daughter are friends on Facebook so they just comment to each other once in a while.  When it's time, they'll get together, and when she wants to see me, I just don't want it to be awkward for her so I just kinda step back.  But, I have no doubt that it's gonna be sometime, ya know.

AWAY-TEAM:  Yeah, she'll realize that you did those things for the right reason.

BRIAN WELCH:  Totally! And it was totally for the right reason, because...

AWAY-TEAM:  I hear you bro! Like I said, I'm a father to a daughter myself, and I know that had to be a tough thing, but I admire you for doing it.

BRIAN WELCH:  Thanks man!  I give it all to my ex-wife, even though she's crazy alot, she did a good thing there! (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM:  (laughs)  Well hey Brian, it's been a great honor to speak with you.  Thank you so much for your time, and best of luck to you in everything you do, and hopefully we'll talk again soon!

BRIAN WELCH:  Thank you too!  Definitely come out to a show, hit up management, and we'll get you in and rap out or something.

AWAY-TEAM:  For sure!  I'd love to sit and chat again!

BRIAN WELCH:  Cool man, we'll talk soon.

AWAY-TEAM:  Alright man, see ya!

 

For more on LOVE & DEATH  and BRIAN 'HEAD' WELCH click  here.

Special thanks go out to Brian Welch for so graciously giving me his time, and to Doug Weber at New Ocean Media for making it all possible.

 

 

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Two time Grammy Nominees Shadows Fall has been shredding the Massachusetts’ metal and hardcore scene for the last 15 years. In 2005 they joined the Ozzfest tour and began their much deserved rise from kings of the underground to a house hold name around the world as the leader’s of the new Thrash Metal movement. Their style has been discussed and dissected ad nauseam. Are they metal? Hardcore? Post core? Metal core? Reggae metal? Hippy metal? Who cares... They rock; they’ll kick your ass given the chance. They’re touring the world in support of their latest CD Retribution, which they released on their own label Everblack Industries.
Shadows Fall is currently on the road with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and I had the chance to sit down with their singer Brian Fair and talk about his views of the current condition of the music 'industry', what the pros and cons are in having your own label inprint, the dangers of slamming a vert ramp with your skateboard after a few bowls of your favorite herb, and how it feels to be metal’s dirty hippie.

AWAY-TEAM: This is Slim Jim with Away-team.com talking with Brian Fair from Shadows Fall. So let’s see, first off you guys just kicked off the first show of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. How did that….

BRIAN FAIR: Yes indeed man. San Bernardino yesterday man, it was killer man, it was a great first show where there was none of the normal equipment break downs or things - just there were regular speed bumps. It went pretty smooth. Everything really worked out well. The show was killer, the crowd was killer! But I’m a little afraid today because since nothing went wrong yesterday we’re assuming it all happens today you know !(laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: Right yeah absolutely. So where are you today?

BRIAN FAIR: You gotta run into the gremlin somewhere. Shoreline which is a little south of San Francisco in Mountain View, California.

AWAY-TEAM: Mountain View, California I’m very familiar with it, I’m from the Bay Area originally myself.

BRIAN FAIR: Oh nice nice. I love Shoreline. It’s one of my favorite venues there is. We’ve done an Ozzfest here before so it’s good to be back. Yeah and bein’ a hippie Deadhead myself I just feel that holy ground you know.

AWAY-TEAM: So how does a hippie Deadhead become the voice of the new generation of thrash?

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah you know honestly I went to as many hardcore and metal shows growing up as I did to Dead shows and Reggae shows and stuff. So I think just kinda keeping that open mind is what’s really allowed us to really kinda push things in directions that other metal bands may not kind of approach. Or just not have the subconscious for the influences that would be there. I’m definitely the dirty metal hippie so it’s… I’m a Gemini, so I gotta have the twin side anyway you know.

AWAY-TEAM: There you go, the 'dirty metal hippie' I like that! (laughs)

BRIAN FAIR: Yup! (laughs)

AWAY-TEAM: So for most people your band Shadows Fall kinda got name recognition within say the last five years. Probably Ozzfest 2005 it is kinda what opened a lot of doors for you, and you became if not a household name, the people outside of the underground really found out about you. But the reality is you guys have been around for 15 years. Your first album came out in 1997. So what do you think took so long…

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah it’s crazy!

AWAY-TEAM: You even have two Grammy nominations in the last three years!

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah it’s pretty crazy cuz you know, we started as like a small little Massachusetts metal band kinda just doin’ our own thing in a very small scene. But it really started to just kinda get back on the radar and blow up. When it seemed like a lot of bands kinda came up at the same time, us, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, and it just kinda put the U.S. metal kinda back on the map. Metal never goes away. It just may go a little bit underground, but it’s always pretty much full on happening in the scene. So it’s kinda cool that the industry started paying a little attention. I think just even towards like Ozzfest being so successful kinda just put metal in general back on the radar and then us getting in front of those audiences definitely helped.

AWAY-TEAM: So what is it about the Massachusetts area… like you said it’s you, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, etc, what is it about that area that’s breeding that metal hardcore theme?

BRIAN FAIR: Well you know it was just a really kind of close knit scene back in the day. Where there was a lot of small hardcore shows and the bands all knew each other and all kind of grew up playing in bands together before that. It was a very open minded scene that was the other thing. People weren’t like limiting themselves to ‘oh we only play traditional hardcore’ ‘we only play straight up death metal’, people were really experimenting melodically and I think that led to bands kind of branching out in different directions and really kinda catching a lot of people’s attention. But it is really funny cuz I mean when we all started, we, the bands, played to each other! There was no crowd you know it was just us. You’d have 10 bands on the bill and that would be 10 bands in the audience. So it’s funny now that it’s kinda like a worldwide thing where we tour Australia and Japan with Killswitch Engage or something like that. It’s just crazy to think about. So….

AWAY-TEAM: You’ve actually got a former member that’s in Killswitch and one that it’s in All That Remains and you guys did a tour together where the three bands were on the same bill or on the same tour together. How does that work backstage? Is there any kinda animosity or does the fact that you guys…

BRIAN FAIR: Aw no! Everyone’s still friends. It’s all good. Like everyone’s just friends. As all the bands were starting…that members were just kinda plucked…When your high school band would break up, you’d meet up with the other two guys. And when their band broke up; then start a new band. So we all we all toured together and played shows and everyone still hangs out. Everyone still lives in the same area pretty much where they grew up so everyone still kicks it.

AWAY-TEAM: So having that close knit familiarity when you guys do tour together, do you guys get real competitive? Does it make you turn it up a notch onstage? Not necessarily to outdo them but to you know…

BRIAN FAIR: I think in general whenever we play with good bands it just motivates you. It’s not necessarily a competition thing, but you just realize, ‘We gotta go out and crush it!' But metal lines in general you can’t really half step anyway. They’re gonna let you know. You gotta come out and just kill it anyway. Especially on a tour like this one with so many great bands, you gotta just do something to kinda stand out. Especially in the festival scenario where people are getting little 20 minute shots of you. You gotta make the most of your time and then leave ‘em remembering who you were. So it’s kinda like that when we go out with those bands. It’s the same way you see them go out and crush and you’re like, ‘alright, now we gotta at least hit ‘em just as hard if not harder.’

AWAY-TEAM: Absolutely! You’ve done a lot of label switching over the years. You started out with Century Media, went up to Atlantic, and your last album which was released last year, Retribution, you’ve released on your own label. Is this because there’s more freedom for you to do it how you want it, more creative control, and more monetary control? Or what are the advantages of a do-it-yourself label?

BRIAN FAIR: You know honestly it’s not necessarily the artistic control because Atlantic and Century Media… we would make the records and then play it for them when they were done. So they didn’t really have a whole lot of input that way. But what is great is by doing both the indie label thing for years and then being with Atlantic for a little while, we’ve learned a lot about what works for us as a band and the best way to promote ourselves. And took lessons from both of those experiences to kinda be able to renegotiate our Atlantic deal into a distribution deal with their parent company Warner Music. Where we took the monetary control is the biggest thing too, like budget wise, we were able to spend money in the right places and make those decisions ourselves as opposed to some major labels just want to throw a bunch of money into a video or radio. And hope it hits. With us that’s just not really the way it works. So there’d be a lot of not necessarily wasted money, but money that could’ve been directed in a better direction. So that’s what’s great now, and also there’s no more excuses. Like, ‘oh I didn’t know we were doing this, I didn’t know we were doing that.’ Everyone’s involved so you can all be on the same page and really just try and make the best decisions. But also with the music industry struggling so much, record sales dropping so drastically, it was time to make a new business model anyway instead of getting 10% royalty rate on records. On declining record sales now we at least get an 80%. So we are at least working to put money in your own pocket as opposed to the bottom you know for someone’s car payment on their Porsche.

AWAY-TEAM: Exactly and that that was basically my next question, do you think having the control of your own label will help secure you in, by most people’s estimates, 3 years the major labels will all collapse if they don’t immediately change their business model?

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah that’s the thing you know. It was all about being proactive instead of waiting to see where the chips fell as is the fallout from the downloading mess of the internet… We didn’t want to wait and see what… Cuz you could tell labels were in panic mode. We were lucky when we signed with Atlantic because things were a little more stable. And we were able to get a really good advance and sign a great deal. But those days are gone. Now it’s all 360 deals or they’re trying to take a percentage of your merch, your publishing, your touring, everything! So instead of waiting around to see what was the last of the industry, we figured we’d start our own little business model. I have a feeling that even the CD itself might be gone soon, just the way cassettes and vinyl were before. It’s better to learn as much about the business side and handle as much personally, band for band, as you can. When it gets down to that your gonna have to… if you don’t know what to do then… you know you’re just gonna be sitting there just kinda stuck in limbo so we figured we’d get ahead of the game.

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AWAY-TEAM: What I think a lot of people don’t realize is… you mentioned the 360 deals. Most people think that bands make a ton of money off album sales. And in the 80s and 90s there was good money to be made there. But today, and the last 10 years if not a little more than that, your artists and your bands make their money on the road. Selling the t-shirts, selling the tickets, selling all kinds of merch. That’s where you make the most amount of your money. So now labels are doing what they’re calling the 360 deals and they’re taking a little bit of your merch, they’re taking some of your guarantees at the door and your ticket sales just so they can try to survive themselves, and like you said make their Porsche payments.

BRIAN FAIR: Yup and it’s unfortunate for a lot of younger bands. Those are the only options they are being presented with. In a young band and you’re a teenage kid and you just want to get out of the practice space and get on the road. And you think that’s your only option and it may be ok when you’re on a small level. But if you start blowing up all of a sudden you realize you’re like, ‘we’re giving these people money for nothing you know? They’re not even here selling our t-shirts yet they’re getting 10% of every one we just sold!’ It’s really an unfortunate thing; cuz like you said that really is where you make your money. You know touring, merchandising, as well as publishing! Getting yourself onto video games or movies or just random soundtracks and things like that. And as soon as you let the label start dipping into that you’re gonna really be left with nothing else. So it’s really about trying to protect your assets if you can. It’s unfortunate; I remember when we just wanted to rock, now we gotta study tax laws and stuff. It’s terrible but if you want to do it full time, it’s something you gotta really take seriously.

AWAY-TEAM: Absolutely, musicians have never as a rule been great businessmen. That’s what they have the managers for. And now unfortunately you’ve gotta be your own businessman, your own lawyer, your own manager, you’ve gotta take care of yourself because everyone’s getting a piece, or trying to.

BRIAN FAIR: Exactly that’s the other…we’ve seen enough of those Behind the Music’s to know all the things that could go wrong. So now you can’t pretend ignorance anymore. We’ve all watched what happened to Grand Funk Railroad, and all those bands on all those great VH1 Behind the Music’s so (laughs) no excuses anymore.

AWAY-TEAM: So on your label are you going to be signing other bands or is this strictly just to push Shadows Fall?

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah, right now it is just to push Shadows Fall. We wanted really to just see how things worked out. We’ve suggested to other bands to kinda look into a similar deal with the parent company and you know or the independent label group. But in the future if we thought we could help a band in a way without becoming the evil label side of it then that would be awesome. And if they could use our imprint just to help them get like a leg up that would be great. But we would want them to really be running it. It would be more, ‘here’s a platform, here’s a distribution center, now you guys gotta go out and you know run with the ball.’ Otherwise we would just be becoming a regular record label and that business model just doesn’t work. At that point you’re just a loan shark you know?

AWAY-TEAM: So to the bands that are still in the garage or the practice space … What kind of advice can you give to the garage band, they’re trying to make it, how to set themselves apart and get noticed today?

BRIAN FAIR: I would tell them to study hard and get a degree that will get ‘em a real job! (laughs) Honestly I would tell you to really, just get to the point where you just are so comfortable with your sound before you’re just throwing it out there. Really use advantage of all the free networking that’s available, whether it’s putting up songs on MySpace or just staying in touch with bands through Twitter, use all those as much - all the free outlets - as much as possible. Whether it’s YouTube or anything you know, those things weren’t available to us as a young band. We had to just go out on the road and just hand out demos physically as opposed to now, you can just give someone a little flier with all your info and they can hear your music as soon as they get home. It’s such a difference. Shit, they can probably hear it on their phone you know? Like really take advantage of all that and learn as much as you can about how the business side works. Because you’re gonna end up running it yourself at some point if it gets successful. So really, just absorb as much as you can. And also just really get out there and play as much as you can. Cuz the live show is the one thing that can never be downloaded or taken away from the band. The live performance is such a unique experience it really just where it’s all about focused energy, on going out there and kicking ass onstage!

AWAY-TEAM: Ok, enough of the business side, let’s get back to the music. Most of your albums have a cover or two on them from Pink Floyd to Dangerous Toys and even Leeway, how do you guys go about picking a cover? Are these nods to your influences or just songs you want to play putting…

BRIAN FAIR: They’re definitely always an influence you know but there’s two kinda schools we choose from there’s the bands like Leeway and the Cro-Mags that are for us kind of paying tribute to a band that helped kinda shape our sound, but they may not be known by a lot of our either younger fans, or more like not as the underground kids. So that’s where we choose to do a Leeway song or something like that. The other ones like Dangerous Toys and Bark at the Moon, those are just fun. That’s for us to enjoy the studio time and be able to just record a kick ass tune, and for me to be able to sing about werewolves or Teasin’ and Pleasin’. Like I’m never gonna say, ‘I think I got the wrong house’ you know? Like that will never fit into a Shadows Fall song. So for me it’s just a fun experience to just have a little party anthem.

AWAY-TEAM: What were your influences when you started? What made you want to sing to begin with?

BRIAN FAIR: You know I really got into early rock like KISS and Aerosmith and Black Sabbath at a pretty young age. I had a cool older brother and a cool neighbor who turned me onto a lot of good music. But then I got really into punk rock through skateboarding when I was probably like 12, 13. I was listening to Black Flag and the Sex Pistols and stuff, and that led me to going to local Boston hardcore shows and stuff. But the entire time I was going to hardcore shows I was also listening to a ton of thrash metal you know the Bay Area bands - Testament, Death Angel, Metallica as well some of the early death metal so I think that’s really where the kind of combination of sounds of just death metal and old school hardcore and the classic metal kinda all came into Shadows Fall. I think all 5 of us at least shared those kind of common backgrounds even though I was listening to a lot of reggae and jazz, whereas some of the other guys listened to a lot of glam metal and we all had our different stuff. But the common ground we shared the old school metal as well as that kinda early crossover metal hardcore stuff.

AWAY-TEAM: I’ve seen this asked of you before, and reading reviews of various CDs of yours, and when people ask me how to define your sound it’s really impossible to do. I guess it’s because of the various influences but how would you describe the Shadows Fall sound?

BRIAN FAIR: You know just call us a metal band! Because we really do take things from the entire sort of metal history, because we just grew up as fans of all types of heavy music. And you can hyphenate it a million times you can call it like neo-thrash-melodic-death-blah blah blah, and then add metal at the end, but to me it’s just its just metal.

AWAY-TEAM: Ok, fair enough. Retribution sees you guys delving into a bit heavier more aggressive tighter sound than previous efforts. Like almost more focused on a set sound for the feel of the entire album. Was this a natural progression or was it thought out and planned?

BRIAN FAIR: You know it wasn’t really planned but we knew with Threads of Life, the previous album, we definitely pushed the kind of melodic arena rock side of our sound probably as far as it could go so with this record. It was probably subconscious but we definitely started right out the gates writing really aggressive songs. Public Execution was one of the first tunes we were working on, as well as My Demise and War came about pretty early on. And that sort of set the tone where we’re like alright this is going to be a heavy fast record. And there’s still melodic moments like Picture Perfect is a very melodic song with acoustic moments and then a big chorus but overall I’d say it’s definitely probably maybe besides Of One Blood it’s probably the most aggressive record we’ve done from beginning to end.

AWAY-TEAM: I’d described it as tighter, more cohesive, more defined, and straightforward.. just balls out album.

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah there’s definitely a lot of that. We really wanted to balance all of the influences and make them cohesive. As opposed to some bands these days want to fit so much in that they’ll almost cut and paste, ‘alright here’s the death metal part, here’s the breakdown, here’s the big melodic chorus’ and they almost feel sorta just stuck together and forced. We wanted it to be if it was going to be a thrash song and fast it was going to be that way from beginning to end. There wasn’t going to be some weird left turn you know? If it was going to be a melodic hard rock song it was going to stay that way from beginning to end. And I think that’s just us getting more comfortable as song writers. I think song writing is the most difficult thing to progress and learn over time. Everyone gets better as a musician but that still doesn’t mean you can write a song.

AWAY-TEAM: So does the title Retribution reflect the music on the disc or does its meaning lie elsewhere?

BRIAN FAIR: Well you know we wanted a one word title for the first time. Something that just had an aggressive vibe to it, but also we’d kinda been off the radar for about two years between records and we kinda wanted to just stake our claim again. Let people know we were back. There’s just so much metal these days, and there’s so many bands, and it’s so easy to put a record out that we just were like…this was our sort of our coming back atcha thing. Going for the throat sort of record and we just felt like Retribution kind of fit that.

AWAY-TEAM: So how do you as a band go about writing a record? Is it collaborative musically? Do you all sit around and hammer out a song or do you take the riff tapes and piece a song together?

BRIAN FAIR: Our guitar players usually bring a very rough outline of the song or even just a few riffs, and we would just jam on them in the practice space full volume together. And I think that also led to it being an aggressive record, cuz we were actually playing a lot of it live right out of the gates. So it really led to that energy and we were thinking about how they would be onstage as opposed to just thinking of them as just studio pieces. So there and a lot of weird transitions that never would have happened if we would have just emailed back and forth MP3s. Some crazy little wacky idea would come out of nowhere while we were jamming, so I think that really helped make it a cohesive and also just a little more aggressive record. Just crankin’ it and going for it.

AWAY-TEAM: So does the music affect or influence the lyrics or does the writing of the lyrics influence the way the music is written?

BRIAN FAIR: For me, I usually wait til not necessarily the finished instrumental version, but pretty well defined. And I get a vibe from it that will affect the lyrics. If it’s a head crushing heavy song the lyrics have to reflect that. If it’s a long epic kinda song I may get more into a grand storytelling vibe. I definitely usually wait to get that from the music itself.

AWAY-TEAM: As we said before, you’re currently out on the road with some great bands on the Mayhem Festival, what would be your ultimate bill for a show?

BRIAN FAIR: You know we’ve played a festival with them before but we would love to tour with Metallica cuz that’s the one band that I grew up worshipping that we’ve never gotten to do extended time on the road with. And there’s only one Metallica man! They’re the kingpins, so that would be pretty amazing.

AWAY-TEAM: So are you guys sitting around waiting to do the opening for the Big Four then? Is that what you’re asking? To throw in your hat….

BRIAN FAIR: Oh that would be as cool as it gets! But honestly that would be a tough opening spot even to begin with. People would be like ‘yeah great we don’t care, get to the Big Four’!

AWAY-TEAM: Absolutely I can definitely see that. Which hearkens back to the old Bay Area days when if you weren’t Exodus or Metallica onstage everyone would stand with their backs to you and just wait for the band they came to see get onstage…

BRIAN FAIR: Totally it’s just like the opening band getting “Slayer” chanted at them for the entire set. It is definitely some tough spots…Those are the shows that when you do come out and win a crowd over like that, those are some of your best successes. We must have kicked ass tonight because these dudes don’t give a cr-… they don’t care about anybody!

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AWAY-TEAM: So I see you guys are performing some off dates while you’re on this festival getting back into the clubs up close and personal with the audience. Everybody wants to be a rockstar, everybody wants to play in front of 60,000 people every night, but which is the better show for you? In the club in front of 300 people nose to nose and fist to fist or something like Mayhem playing for 10 20 30,000 people a night?

BRIAN FAIR: You know for me it really goes both ways. But I definitely grew up playing small, small shows and going to a lot of small, small shows. So to me that’s really probably my comfort zone. The people are there to see you and are right up there supporting and in your face. But there’s something about like… we played a festival in Columbia last week where there was 150,000 people. And just seeing that, there’s really nothing cooler you know? There’s just so much energy and it’s so overwhelming you can barely even focus on one point out in the crowd. Its just so huge and it really can go both ways, but we played a packed club show in Brazil the day before and it was insane! There was so much energy, so much sweat, kids up on the stage and that vibe it brought me back to why I started doing this to begin with. So they both really have a place in my heart but I’d probably always feel more comfortable in a club.

AWAY-TEAM: So how does that change your approach to the show? I mean if you look out from the stage and you see 150,000 people out there how do you connect with that 150,000th person?

BRIAN FAIR: You do have to change the way you do it cuz in the club show you can be standing on the barricade and getting the crowd physically involved in the show so there’s not as much of just a focal point on you. At the big festival there’s a giant security barriers so the focus is just on you, every gesture is a little bigger and you do have to remind yourself to keep connecting with the crowd cuz it is so big. You try to involve them as much as possible, cuz it is really it is a completely different animal. The crowd isn’t part of the show at those big festivals until you make them part of it. Whereas in the club there’s no escape, they’re shoved right up in your face.

AWAY-TEAM: You recently completed your first headlining tour of Canada. Where haven’t you played yet that you really want to?

BRIAN FAIR: You know after doing South America, that was a big checkmark! We went down just recently and did Columbia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. That was amazing! I can’t believe it took us almost 15 years to get down there. For now we have an offer for a festival in China that we hopefully can work out cuz that to me, the fact that we’ve already gone to the Philippines, Korea and all these places I never thought metal would take me, if we can get to China I’m like, ‘Alright now we’re just really we’re runnin’ out of places we’re going to have to play for the penguins down in Antarctica next’.

AWAY-TEAM: That would be really cool, a festival in China wow!

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah that would be amazing!

AWAY-TEAM: So how do you personally get through the monotony of a day on the road without a show?

BRIAN FAIR: That’s why we sold so many off dates. I hate downtime on the road! You usually end up at a Wal-Mart wasting money on DVDs or looking for a movie theater.

AWAY-TEAM: What’s the one thing you can’t live without on the road?

BRIAN FAIR: Let’s see, I’d probably say my pipe but I’d also include my skateboard in that too so…

AWAY-TEAM: And not necessarily in that order right?

BRIAN FAIR: Yeah yeah yeah! And I usually try to keep them separate too!

AWAY-TEAM: That’s probably smartest.

BRIAN FAIR: Choppin’ it on a vert ramp all day can be end up really ending tragically. Although it does still happen from time to time.

AWAY-TEAM: What’s your favorite song to perform live and why?

BRIAN FAIR: You know right now it’s actually been the song War which is sorta, I can’t call it a Bob Marley cover, I adapted some of the lyrics from his version of the Haile Selassie speech that he used in his song, War, but it’s just balls out like definitely the fastest Marley cover ever. And for me the crowd is just like a nonstop circle pit. So it’s a great one to just throw out there and it’s also one of those 3 minute just punch in the throat and then you’re out.

AWAY-TEAM: What’s the one song you didn’t write that you wish you did?

BRIAN FAIR: Pretty much anything on Master of Puppets!

AWAY-TEAM: And my last question for you, what’s the worst name of a band you’ve ever been in?

BRIAN FAIR: Worst name of a band I’ve ever been in? Social Violation. It was a punk rock band when I was literally like probably 12 years old. At one point my whole thing was hitting the guitar with all the distortion up with drumsticks, thinking it was some art scene noise thing. It’s like no, you just don’t know how to hold it!

AWAY-TEAM: Well Brian I appreciate it man good luck out on the road with the Mayhem Festival. You’ve got a DVD coming out ‘Madness in Manila’ next month on the 24th of August good luck with that!

BRIAN FAIR: It’s actually getting pushed back, it’s actually getting pushed back a little bit. We just found a bunch more footage that we had to include so we’re going to actually push the date back a little bit to the fall but ‘Madness in Manila’ is coming.

AWAY-TEAM: I look forward to it! I’ve seen you guys 2 or 3 times, I’ve produced a couple of shows with you and Lacuna Coil in the North Carolina area and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys August 3rd in Raleigh , NC.

BRIAN FAIR: Indeed man it’s going to be a good time! I remember those shows those were good shows! Man, that’s killer!

AWAY-TEAM: Good luck, be safe, and we’ll see you soon.

BRIAN FAIR: Indeed man thanks for spreading the word, we appreciate it!



My thanks to Natalie at Adrenaline PR for the hook up, my transcriptionist extraordinaire melissa for the 15 pages, and Brian Fair for taking the time out of a busy schedule to throw down a great interview.

For more on Shadows Fallclick here.

 

 

 

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The Bay Area Thrash Scene of the early 80’s has been well documented. The most successful metal band of all time, Metallica, helped define it’s sound, and give San Francisco it’s second major music ‘scene’ (the first being the flower power, hippy, acid rock scene of the 60’s). Bands like Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Possessed, Heathen, and Vio-lence where at the forefront of the new scene.
Death Angel released three albums to much critical acclaim and built a very strong following. With the release of ACT III the band seemed poised to jump from a well known underground band to commercial success, but a bus accident at the beginning of the tour cycle sidelined the band with injuries, and they eventually separated in 1991. Fast forward ten years to Thrash Of The Titans a benefit for Chuck Billy, the singer of Testament, who was diagnosed with throat cancer. Many of the ‘old school’ Bay Area Thrash bands united and reunited for this epic event and cause. Death Angel was reborn with a new guitarist and due in part to the crowd response, and the persistence of a record label, Nuclear Blast, the band decided to hit the road and actually record an album. The last 9 years has seen three new albums, several successful tours, and a resurgence of the Bay Area old school Thrash Scene.
Ted Aguilar has been with Death Angel now since the Thrash Of The Titans show in 2001. And while the band was on tour with Soilwork this summer, I chatted with Ted Aguilar after their Raleigh, North Carolina show (and heated Galaga video game match!) about Death Angel, a proposed tour of China, the first ever ‘metal’ themed cruise ship, the soon to be released Relentless Retribution (September 14th on Nuclear Blast), what it feels like to be starring three years of non stop touring straight in the face, and how he was able to take the stage at Thrash of the Titans after only two rehearsals with the band ('fuckin' nervous man, fuckin' nervous!' was his response)

AWAY TEAM: This is 'Slim' Jim Keller with Awayteam.com and I’m sitting here with Ted Aguilar from Death Angel. I want to thank you very much for taking time out again for this interview. Congratulations on the soon to be released 6th studio album from Death Angel entitled Relentless Retribution.

TED AGUILAR: Yes!

AWAY TEAM: So how long have you been with Death Angel?

TED AGUILAR: Nine years now this is my 3rd album with them.

AWAY TEAM: Ok so when they reformed…

TED AGUILAR: Yeah I’ve been with them since Thrash of the Titans.

AWAY TEAM: What brought you on board to Death Angel? They reformed for the benefit for Chuck Billy called the Thrash of the Titans and it was the first time that they’d gotten together in eleven years to perform and so how did you end up in the band?

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TED AGUILAR: Actually, I’ve known the guys for a long time even back in the 80’s. I’d been to majority of all their hometown shows from Ultra-Violence until Act III. And when the band started to reform I guess everyone was into it except Gus (Pepa) the other rhythm guitar player. And I mean he just wasn’t into it, he was in the Philippines at the time he just basically checked out of music, well heavy music in general. I’d known Rob (Cavestany), and Rob gave me a call and said, ‘Hey man you want to do it? Gus can’t do it.’ and at first I was like, ‘Are you SURE?’ I don’t wanna step on anybody’s toes since Death Angel was more of a family unit. He goes, ‘Nope Gus can’t do it.’ So in 2 rehearsals I had to learn all the songs on my own and you know I jammed out with some individuals just to kinda get some ideas of the structures of the song. We did 2 rehearsals like 2 days before Thrash of the Titans and boom did the show. It was fun man. I was nervous as a motherfucker though I’ll tell you! But it was fun.

AWAY TEAM: Kind of a big stage to take on for your first with only 2 rehearsals under your belt

TED AGUILAR: Two rehearsals and its Death Angel’s first gig in 11 years! You gotta be on your game! I was nervous as a motherfucker. These guys know the songs inside out I mean they grew up writing it so it was like second nature to them.

AWAY TEAM: So what were you doing before you got the call?

TED AGUILAR: I just played in a couple local bands nothing really big, just jamming around with friends and local bands just played around the Bay Area. And my band played with Rob and Mark’s (Osegueda) band Swarm at the time. We did a few local gigs together and that’s how I guess I got the gig. They never actually told me I was in the band they go ‘You wanna jam?’ and 9 years later here I am today man!

AWAY TEAM: Still waiting to sign the contract right!

TED AGUILAR: I’m still waiting! I didn’t even get a handshake! Put it that way.

AWAY TEAM: So your first album with Death Angel was Art of Dying. What was it at that show or shortly after that they decided or you all decided you should reform properly and actually do something with this?

TED AGUILAR: Well that show was supposed to be a one-off. I mean from what the guys told me Death Angel wasn’t meant to reform, they were just done. They went out on a high note of Act III and they started doing other various projects as The Organization, Swarm, Silver Circus and Big Shrimp and all that stuff. Right after we did Thrash of the Titans… I loved it, and the rest of the guys just felt the overwhelmingness of the crowd. Just very into the band. We didn’t realize how much Death Angel was missed. So after that show there was other offers coming about and I guess we decided let’s just do one more round of touring put out a live album and that’s it, call it a day. But as soon as we went to Europe the crowd was just amazing! The first time we went there we headlined the F&R in 2002 July of 2002 I believe then we did the Dynamo Festival and those shows are just like, ‘Holy Shit!’ I mean metal is big in Europe and again we didn’t realize how much fans around the world missed Death Angel. And we did that and went back out on the road again we got this offer to do two weeks in Europe on a festival with Testament. Nuclear Blast started coming around offering us you know… they wanted to sign us without even hearing new songs! They just loved the band, loved the legacy, ‘we’ll sign you!’ So from there on we just said well let’s give it a shot we did and we released Art Of Dying, we released Killing Season, now we’re going to release Relentless Retribution and it’s been a great ride and we still got more to conquer! More to conquer!

AWAY TEAM: Well you’re currently on tour with Soilwork, Swashbuckle and Mutiny Within; I saw maybe 5 dates left after tonight, what’s next?

TED AGUILAR: After this we’re going to go home and kinda hang out with family real quick. Just hang out and chill, then the album comes out as you know September 14th, everyone go out and get it!

AWAY TEAM: On Nuclear Blast. Find it on Nuclear Blast; pre-order it now you get a T-shirt with it…

TED AGUILAR: There you go! And there’s gonna be there’s a limited DVD too. It’s the making of the record which I kinda filmed, directed, and produced the whole thing. I had someone else edit it. It’s the making of the record from the first riff all the way until the last riff and into the recording studio and whatnot. And September we’re going to do the Mezcal Metalfest the last week of September with Twisted Sister, Destruction, God Forbid, and Obituary. Then in October we’re going to South America for the first time which we’re really excited about then we come back in November. December we’re going out to Europe with Kreator, Exodus, and Suicidal Angels and that’s going to be a thrash fest festival across Europe! Come back for the holidays then in the new year we pick up at that 70,000 ton metal cruise we’re doing with Testament, Forbidden, Exodus, Fear Factory, Uli Roth, Trouble, Swashbuckle, so many bands! Then right after that we start our headlining U.S. tour and who knows what’s going to come after that. I know next summer we still have to do the major European festivals so relentless touring, relentless touring.

AWAY TEAM: So springtime we should see you back in the States then on the road…

TED AGUILAR: Around springtime yeah around there.

AWAY TEAM: Early summer before the European festivals kick in?

TED AGUILAR: Yeah then go back to Europe for the summer festivals then maybe come back in the fall too. Relentless touring! Who knows? But that’s the plan.

AWAY TEAM: On this album you have two new musicians (Damien Sissom – bass, Will Carroll – drums) on it, has that changed how you guys write?

TED AGUILAR: Well it definitely changed this time around because we have a new rhythm section. Andy Galeon and Dennis Pepa are no longer with the band due to personal and family obligations. They couldn’t go out on tour basically so we got a new rhythm section and when we got them, before we even started writing a record, we went out on tour with them. Just played the old songs and we noticed they have a thrashier element. So it was kinda good to go out on the road with them and play some of the old songs and get a feel of what’s going on. I’ve known Damien and Will for awhile, I’ve played with them, so I know what their vibe is about. But it was good in a sense for Rob and Mark because it’s probably the first time in Death Angel history they got to jam with somebody who are not family, somebody totally new. So when we came to writing the album Rob kinda knew what styles Will played, he knew Will’s a thrash drummer, basically like full on thrash drummer, Damien’s a thrash bass player but with a sense of like, ala Cliff Burton, Steve Harris, all those great players. So Rob wrote accordingly to that. The band’s been through a lot of ups and downs in the past couple of years losing members and a lot of personal things going on internally and externally. So all that influence and jamming with new people helped create this record which is the most aggressive and thrashiest record since Ultra-Violence. You know a lot of double bass a lot of fast parts and it feels like a new band. When you listen to the record, for us, it seemed like a new band getting its first record deal, excited! Just going out there again you know? It’s kinda like they helped bring that excitement back which was kinda tapering off with Dan and Andy because they just weren’t into it any more. You can’t really force anybody to be into something when they’re not. And it was really hard for the band because those guys had been with the band since the inception and a lot of fans are like, ‘Oh man! What’re they gonna do?’ But this album’s going to really prove that Death Angel can go on and we’re happy about that.

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AWAY TEAM: That’s one thing I’d noticed with the Art of Dying and Killing Season. Act III to most fans out there was the ‘be all end allDeath Angel album and it was probably the most diverse out of the three original albums, very funky, a lot of different styles woven through the basic Bay Area Thrash sound and with the Art of Dying & Killing Season and what little bit I’ve heard of Relentless Retribution it’s like you have gone more towards the straightforward thrash. Is that more angry or just…

TED AGUILAR: It’s a combination of things. I mean it was intentionally to do that and two it was like I said we’d gone through a lot in the past couple of years so all that vibe went into that, and Rob being the sole the chief writer on this one. Art of Dying was good you know it got our feet wet with the band discovering themselves again because it’d been a long time. Killing Season was a great record where everyone like pretty much honed in, but then again, like I’d said in the past couple of years there was tension within the band of collaborating. I mean collaboration is good sometimes you know and it works well when it works well and the past couple of years with everyone it was hard in a sense. And when everyone collaborated it made Death Angel, but this one was more Rob wrote everything. I mean he had the ideas, he had the thing, there was no fighting, there was no pushing and pulling. It wasn’t like, ‘No this has to be that way!’ ‘No this is that way!Rob had so much ideas, and so much to let out, that with our new rhythm section and we heard what Rob was writing and we’d go, ‘that’s it!’ You know he was feeling it, he had all this vibe and ideas, we just ran with it. It was easier for Rob to write. There was no pushing and pulling, he had everything, we just added to what he did. It’s like I said being a band, being in a first band, someone forms a band, ‘I got all these songs let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it!’ And when it came to the lyrics, Mark wrote the majority of the lyrics. There’s 12 songs on the record. Mark wrote 9 of them and Rob wrote the other 3 and it’s a heartfelt record. Mark finally got to release. Mark had a lot… you know we all went through a lot of stuff. We were all able to release, and that’s why the record’s more thrashy, more aggressive. It was purposely done that way. Along with the fact of what we went through, so we’re stoked about it. We’re just stoked. And it still has Death Angel elements in there. It doesn’t have the sing-along’s like some stuff on Act III, but there’s melody. It’s just aggressive melody. Who knows how well this album does. We could go on the road even longer. That’s something we want to do. It’s something a proper band should do. And that’s something we never got to do with Art of Dying and Killing Season. Due to the fact that a couple of the guys in the band either didn’t want to tour… we get booked a tour and go ‘I can do that first half but not the second half’ it’s like we gotta do it all! But now that those roadblocks are not there we are able to just tour and we need to tour to promote the record and to get in people’s faces. A lot of people want to see us live and they don’t want to wait 4 years for us to come by. So we want to keep comin’ and coming around.

AWAY TEAM: Yeah I’m getting tired of driving 5 hours to see you guys!

TED AGUILAR: Yes yes yes! We want to keep touring a lot so we can hit other markets where people don’t have to travel to. We’re hitting these markets where people have to travel because we haven’t come around a lot. The more we come around we can hit other territories. The word gets out ‘hey come over here instead of over there’. Cool. You know maybe hit your town so you don’t have to drive!

AWAY TEAM: So you’re doing South America and with the European festivals you’re hitting a lot of Europe, what is probably like the one market or the one place you guys haven’t played that you want to?

TED AGUILAR: Oh South America, one. Central America, probably want to go to Africa. I’ve heard they have shows in Africa. Morocco, Sepultura just did Morocco, they had a couple festivals in like Dubai. We’ve done the Philippines which is great awesome and …

AWAY TEAM: How are you guys accepted there?

TED AGUILAR: Great!

AWAY TEAM: I think you and Journey ‘cuz of their new lead singer…

TED AGUILAR: Yeah yeah!

AWAY TEAM: You guys are pretty much the favored children of the Philippines.

TED AGUILAR: Pretty much yeah! Well Journey more than us! We were accepted really well and the fans were awesome the people there were awesome. We want to go back to Japan, we’ve been to Japan, but I know there’s other territories. There’s talks of Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and you know Hawaii… There’s so many places, it’s just trying to get out there. It is hard but we’ll play everywhere where it’s feasible. If we can get out there without losing it, losing our asses, we’ll play! We’ll definitely play.

AWAY TEAM: In the age of downloading, you guys unfortunately don’t make a lot money anymore on the actual album sales. Labels and no offense to Nuclear Blast and some other great labels out there but the big labels we’ll say are slowly but surely crumbling. And if they don’t change their business model then they’re not going to exist in the next few years. Can you still exist and can you make a good living doing this full time?

TED AGUILAR: If you play your cards right!

AWAY TEAM: It’s about being in your blood and wanting to play. That’s one thing. But being able to survive in today’s market…

TED AGUILAR: A lot of bands seem to do it, I mean a lot of younger bands. Thing is to tour one, merchandise of course, you can download music but you can’t download a shirt. And we get people go ‘oh I’ve seen your YouTube performances’ great! And they come out to see us. Yeah you can see it on YouTube, but it’s not the same as going to a live show. Downloading does hurt and I’ve talked to people in bands and labels, it hurts but you gotta embrace the internet. I see it as touring, your merchandise, and just playing your cards right, and just embracing the internet. Don’t kind of shun it, it’s there, it’s not going away. The days of making money off platinum records seems to be over. Not even pop artists sell as much as they used to but…

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AWAY TEAM: Which is good actually!

TED AGUILAR: Well in a sense, but for bands like us we gotta go out and tour. And the live show’s where people really see us. And the more we tour the more merch you sell or whatever and just gotta keep going. Putting out records cause the diehards will buy the records and in this day and age you got people like me and you who still buy records. The newer generations don’t seem to, a lot of the hardcore scene people kinda like download, but a lot of metal kids that I talk to, that I meet, have bought CDs and vinyl and want to sign it. So that’s good that they’re buying it. But it’s just touring and word of mouth the old school way.

AWAY TEAM: Well, used to be when you’re starting out you lived on the road. You lived in the back of a van and you toured incessantly just to get your name out there. Now you have to tour incessantly to put money in your pocket! As you get older it really starts to wear on you more, how do you keep up the intensity? Because you guys put on a phenomenal show! Like I was telling Mark (Osegueda – singer) before we started the interview, I’ve been following this band since ’87. I’m from the Bay Area originally and there was a high school radio station KVHS that played metal, and that’s all they played! That was my introduction to Death Angel in ’87. They played the Ultra-Violence and I was hooked instantly. I’ve seen you guys live, since you got back together, I’ve seen you probably 5, 6 times. And they are just amazing shows! And the intensity on that stage whether it’s a huge room or a very small room, you guys just slay. How do you keep up that level of intensity and that energy night after night being on the road for say another 2 years now?

TED AGUILAR: One we try to stay healthy eat right on the road a lot of us exercise a lot you know

AWAY TEAM: And a lot of Galaga!

TED AGUILAR: And a lot of Galaga!! We exercise a lot, we watch what we eat basically, and we’re not excessive drinkers. We don’t do drugs, an occasional puff here and there with the guys. Who doesn’t? It’s basically just really taking care of yourself. Plus when we play the songs that we play we’re just so into it, it just makes us go crazy night after night whether it’s a small crowd or a big crowd. We throw out the energy and the crowd throws it back at us. We love to do it, we love to go out there and perform. People come to see a show we’re going to give you a show! Plus we’re from the old school, where we go to a show and fuckin’ Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, old Metallica, all those bands they put on a show. KISS for example! So we kinda like are influenced by that, but how do we do it? We just rest, exercise, and try to work out and be cautious of intake.

AWAY TEAM: Well I thank you very much it’s been a pleasure again thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule

TED AGUILAR: No problem man thank you

AWAY TEAM: Good luck with Relentless Retribution and the next 16 months on the road and hopefully we’ll see you again in Raleigh in the spring.

TED AGUILAR: Raleigh or wherever you live! Hopefully you know the more we tour, and if the record gets pretty successful which we hope… Countin’ on you guys to buy it so we can hit more than just one city per state you know? So everyone can come out, we’re into it! Hope you’re into it too. Relentless Retribution September 14th via Nuclear Blast GO BUY IT! Come see the shows!

Thank you to Ted Aguilar for the time he took out of his Galaga match to sit and talk with me, Francois for ensuring the interview happened, Charles at Nuclear Blast for setting it up, and Melissa for her great transcription services as always.

For more DEATH ANGEL click here.

 

 

 


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Away-Team: Alright so I’m here with Chris Broderick the guitarist for Megadeth. Hello Chris, thank you for taking the time to do the interview with us today. Appreciate it. So you were in Jag Panzer before Megadeth

Chris Broderick: Yup!

Away-Team: And you played live with Nevermore for a couple of years?

Chris Broderick: Correct.

Away-Team: Didn’t actually record anything with them just kinda filled in, is that correct?

Chris Broderick: Right! Right, I did do Year of the Voyager the DVD with them.

Away-Team: Ok so Jag Panzer very intricate very tough stuff to do guitar wise very impressive work, Nevermore was no slouch musically there either doing the two of them at the same time, you just a glutton for punishment?

Chris Broderick: No! (laughs) I mean you know it’s just part of the reason why I do what I do. I love to play music and I love to play out. With Jag Panzer all the guys are awesome but they couldn’t always get the amount of time they needed to tour quite often and so I had always wanted to play out as much as possible and the opportunity arose to tour with Nevermore as well so I took that. And then there were cases where I had to pull double duty and play with both bands at the same festivals!

Away-Team: Nice (laughs). Makes for a long day no?

Chris Broderick: Definitely(laughs)!

Away-Team: So how did you end up with Megadeth coming off of Jag Panzer?

Chris Broderick: Well it was really Glen Drover, you know the guy that I replaced, him and his brother Shawn had recommended me to Dave who had also seen some of my YouTube clips online as well and so that’s how I got the call I guess a fairly short casting call for that. Then from there we just talked about what each other expected, what the roles would be, and stuff like that. And I just got to work because there was a tour coming up and I had 22 songs to learn in less than a month! So I didn’t even have time to consider that I was joining such a great iconic band it was just ‘let’s get to work’ you know.

Away-Team: For the readers that don’t know, YouTube Chris and check out some of his work online. You’ve got some amazing videos out there… some great, great guitar work… just blows people away. So you recorded parts of the Endgame, were you actually part of the writing process or was it pretty much complete when you came in?

Chris Broderick: No. No, we all submitted material and at the end of the day it’s just the process of going through and making sure it fits the Megadeth sound. I did get a small writing credit on Endgame and it was awesome to be able to get that on the record. And then of course also a lot of things that we do that don’t necessarily…you know there’s only two things that generally warrant writing credit on a CD – there’s the lyrics and there’s the main rhythmic component the music side of the song and then everything else is just considered I guess ‘embellishment’ over the top. But I think all of us have a lot to do with that embellishment whether it’s the melodies or counter melodies or guitar solos all kinds of things that you can do to add a lot of character to a song.

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Away-Team: From Endgame to TH1RT3EN which is coming out reportedly November? Is there actually a street date yet?

Chris Broderick: Not that I know of…what they’ve told me as the tentative date is November 1st, so that’s…

Away-Team: What you’re going with for now?

Chris Broderick: Exactly, you know my guess is as good as yours beyond that.

Away-Team: So did you get more as you call it 'embellishment' on TH1RT3EN? Was it more interactive between you guys because you had a little more history together now a little more comfortable with them?

Chris Broderick: You know this CD came together completely differently than Endgame did. It came together really fast. It’s the fastest CD I’ve ever been a part of to tell you the truth. From concept to finished product it was really just a lot of riffs that were written in the last two years and stuff like that brought togethe. Put it on the table right away and then we started looking at how you develop it, choruses, the bridges, the pre choruses all of that stuff, and the arrangement. And then from there we went onto our roles as individuals writing. For me it’s writing the melodies and counter melodies on the guitar and solos of course.

Away-Team: So Dave being no slouch on the guitar himself, getting the two of you in a room together must get pretty nuts at times? Pushing each other, trying to come up with a better riff a faster riff?

Chris Broderick: I don’t know if there’s ever a competition like that (laughs) but it is one of those things where we will play off of each other a little bit. If I present a riff he’ll be like ‘oh yeah, yeah that’s really cool but maybe you could straighten that part out.’ So it’s very back and forth I think sometimes when we play together that’s the cool part about it.

Away-Team: Absolutely! Dave also stated for the sound for the new album that it’s something completely un-Megadeth, it’s a sound Megadeth has never done before the guitars are completely different sounding. He actually hearkens back to, I think it was… I forget what album he kinda compared it to, but he said sound wise it was something that Megadeth had never done before.

Chris Broderick: I would agree with that as far as the mix and the mastering component absolutely this album sounds huge and just very raw in a way because we did put it together so quickly I think it’s got a raw component to it. But also with Johnny K producing I think it just has a much bigger sound to it so in that concept I agree. But I’ve always likened TH1RT3EN to almost like a cut in time from each CD of the past Megadeth discography so you know it’s got stuff that hearkens back to Peace Sells all the way up to Countdown to Extinction to Endgame so you kind of hear aspects of the whole timeline and that’s why I like it so much.

Away-Team: Speaking of Peace Sells, the band is celebrating the 25th anniversary of that. Which would have put you at 15 years old maybe? You’re the youngest guy in the band now right?

Chris Broderick: What was that ’84 right?

Away-Team: Yeah…

Chris Broderick: So I would have been 14.

Away-Team: 14. So do you count that as one of your inspirations as one of your…?

Chris Broderick: You know what’s funny I always heard the title track from MTV and stuff like that.

Away-Team: When they played videos?

Chris Broderick: Yeah back when they actually played videos (laughs). But I didn’t really start getting into Megadeth until Rust In Peace which is when Marty came in and that’s the whole reason why you know I’ve always kind of come from the guitar shredder root kind of thing. I was huge fan of Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert and all those guitar noodlers and still am to this day so when I followed Marty Friedman into Megadeth I was like ‘oh well what’s this all about’ and that’s when I got into the rest of the CDs.

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Away-Team: So how’s Mayhem treating you guys? Dave had posted towards the beginning of the tour that there was a lot of problems, he had never contemplated walking off a tour before and then he posted a couple of days later thanks to whoever, whatever problems there were, were fixed…

Chris Broderick: There were some issues; they were mainly technical issues and stuff like that. I think once we got the right people notified they handled it really well and things were taken care of like that. So it was I think a minor glitch but once the right people were notified it was good.

Away-Team: You guys recently toured in support of the 20th anniversary also of Rust In Peace you guys were playing it in its entirety you’re now on the 25th like I said for Peace Sells. Do you guys have plans of possibly doing the same thing with Peace Sells that you did with Rust?

Chris Broderick: We had talked about it but I think because we’re coming off with TH1RT3EN that it may not happen because we’re definitely going to want to support TH1RT3EN in its…

Away-Team: Do a true cycle for that album?

Chris Broderick: Yes exactly, but you never know we might do something in tandem. I think that’s a really good idea we kinda did that with Rust In Peace and Endgame a little bit.

Away-Team: Did the first leg supported the album second leg you did that plus like a greatest hits afterwards type of thing at least knock out a DVD for the fans of you guys playing it live. So you talked about Rust In Peace was kind of your intro to Megadeth, what do you cite as your main influences?

Chris Broderick: Well it definitely it started with Eddie Van Halen of course! And then from there it quickly went to Yngwie and then onward to Jason Becker, Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert, you know all of those guys… Richie Kotzen, I mean I could go on and on and on. But as far as bands go during that time it was also like Queensryche and King Diamond.

Away-Team: So you’ve always had that kind of progressive lean towards at least what you like, what inspired you…

Chris Broderick: Exactly yes!
Away-Team: And with Jag Panzer and even Nevermore you still had that progressive lean, do you feel you’re getting that, you’re bringing that to Megadeth?

Chris Broderick: I don’t know if I would turn the ship that far that’s for sure. There are things I’ll want to try sometimes where they’re like ‘mmm nah that’s a little too progressive’ you know, but that’s ok. (laughs)

Away-Team: 'Save that for the solo album in a year or two' …

Chris Broderick: I’m fine with that. And you know for me this is all a learning experience as well. And I love trying to be able to acquire new styles and new genres and thrash is definitely one of those!

Away-Team: So what was the worst name of a band you were in?

Chris Broderick: The worst name?

Away-Team: The worst name of a band you were in...

Chris Broderick: Oh, the first band I ever joined with my best friend was a band called Slaymaker and I have no idea what it meant…

Away-Team: Funny usually when I ask that question everybody always says it’s the first band they were in …

Chris Broderick: Well, you know, you’re young.

Away-Team: Because that’s your garage band you throw on some stupid name that you think sounds cool and gets attention and 20 years later you’re like what the hell does that mean?

Chris Broderick: Right (laughs).

Away-Team: So after Mayhem you guys are doing the Big Four in New York, Yankee Stadium a month or two after that in theory TH1RT3EN comes out what’s next for Megadeth tour-wise?

Chris Broderick: Then we’re going to do like a three week maybe a little over a three week tour down in South America which is will be the first tour where we actually support TH1RT3EN. So I’m really looking forward to that! And then we’ll probably take the holiday season off and then come the new year we’re going to look at gearing up for the whole tour cycle on TH1RT3EN.

Away-Team: Ok sounds good well I appreciate it Chris. I appreciate your time Chris and good luck with the show I haven’t seen you perform with Megadeth yet so I’m really looking forward to catching it tonight. And for everybody out there stand by because TH1RT3EN is coming soon pick it up when it does!

Chris Broderick: Thanks man!

Away-Team: Thank you Chris, appreciate it.



There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.

For more MEGADETH click here.

 

 

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Away-Team: I’m sitting backstage at Mayhem Fest with Dave McClain from the Bay Area’s Machine Head. Thanks Dave for your patience while we navigated through the ridiculousness that was the venue trying to get the gates open an hour late. Let’s just get right into it shall we?

Dave McClain: Absolutely man, no problem.

Away-Team: Machine Head released The Blackening in 2007 to critical praise. To many, myself included it was the album of the year, and again for myself it was the best album Machine Head has ever put out.

Dave McClain: Awesome, wow! Thank you.

Away-Team: There was a ton of press overseas that embraced you and the album and sang the praise of Machine Head and The Blackening. While the US press didn’t seem to even acknowledge Machine Head even existed. It seemed to me that you guys couldn’t even get arrested here. What is it about Europe and their fans that seem to embrace metal so openly and fully, and yet the states can seem to be bothered with it? What I’m asking is… Is it the fans that feed the media over there or the media embracing the music and opening up the fans to it?

Dave McClain: It’s something you really can’t put your finger on here. You go anywhere else in the world and it’s the same mentality as when we were all kids getting into metal. When I started getting into Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal back then… I think it’s the same thing here now, it’s a sub culture a community of misfits that latched on to this type of music and to this day around the world people simply live for this music. There are so many different things going on in the States to take your time and attention. It is so big over here territory wise that it’s harder to get to everyone or get everyone together for larger shows. Where Germany is the size of Texas and we can spend a week just in Germany hitting thousands and thousands of people, where in Texas there is a lot of empty space between towns and we’re playing to hundreds of people instead. There are so many types of music pushed here in the states and so many of those avenues don’t promote metal, I think Revolver is pretty much the only US magazine that promotes metal. And they are warming up to Machine Head now which is cool. There definitely was a while there in the US before The Blackening even where we couldn’t get any attention at all. We were sitting there like, ‘come on man, we're right here!’ and they were just, ‘No thanks we’re going to go cover hip hop’ or whatever. So now, Through The Ashes was the record that finally kicked the door in a little and got our foot in. And The Blackening was the one that re-established us. It is getting better here; we are definitely NOT giving up on the US. We’ve never been that band in the US that’s just exploded! It’s always just been a fight for us, and that’s cool to us. Back in the day when gold records mattered we’d still be playing the same size venues as bands that had gold records. But it is coming around again now. Thank god for festivals like this. That are really band friendly and people like John Reese the guy that puts this thing on (John Reese is co-creator of Rockstar Mayhem Fest) loves metal, he tours with the festival, gets the bands together and has theme parties during the tour for the bands. It’s very cool to have the organizer be that involved with the tour and with the bands on that level. And then today with the internet the way it is, any interview you do can go anywhere, be read or heard anywhere in the world now. So that helps a lot in getting the word out about Machine Head.

Away-Team: So to you what is the main difference between US festivals like Mayhem and the European Festivals?

Dave McClain: Well mainly the festivals over there are just like for a weekend, where these are tours. It’s a lot of camping out over there, tent cities and stuff. They’re like the super die hards there. You’ve got some popping up here now like that, like Bonnaroo and Coachella. It’s really just a matter of time I hope before you see Metallica do like a Sonisphere over here you know? Just have a two day festival and do four or five of them around the country. And over there the festivals are pretty diverse music style wise.

Away-Team: You get a little bit of everything in a two day festival there. More of a “Lollapalooza” feel over there.

Dave McClain: Right, exactly. And this, while it is a tour, it’s different. Because for us, well, for the side stage bands, that’s the crowds we’re used to, the kids are flying around, the dirt is flying around, and everything is going crazy. Then you come over here to the main stage and you’re playing to a lot of people that don’t even get here till six o’clock and could give a shit about Machine Head or even Megadeth or Trivium. They’re just here for Godsmack or just Disturbed.

Away-Team: Those would be the people telling me to sit down and shut up as I’m trying to enjoy the show and your set.

Dave McClain: Right! Right. And we’re trying to win them over. And it is a great feeling really, because it’s just as good as having your crowd on the other stages in front of you, as having a new crowd being won over as they start to stand in their seats as our set goes on. We and Trivium have been doing this… and some days you come off the main stage and you’re just like ‘Fuck, man, those people could just give a shit about us.’ But then the days you do win them over, it is like the best feeling in the world.

Away-Team: You are getting ready to release Unto The Locust next month (out September 27th!!!), what can we expect from the new stuff? Is it a progression from The Blackening? Is it a foray into a new Machine Head sound? Have you finally gone Dub Step to get on the radio?

Dave McClain: (laughs), Yeah! That’s it! Really, we just definitely challenged ourselves going into it. We were in no way going to make The Blackening II. From Through The Ashes Of Empires to The Blackening to now, there are the same feelings going on and we’re just pushing them further. The main difference is that we now have total musical freedom; no one is looking over our shoulder. Roadrunner is just like, ‘Just give us the record and we’ll run with it.’ We’ve tried to challenge ourselves as musicians. The first song we wrote called This Is The End, Robb and I got together one day after everyone had taken a couple months off and he’s like, ‘It’s not complete yet, but I’ve got this song here…’ and he goes into this classical guitar thing that he couldn’t really play that well yet because he’d just gotten into the classical guitar thing. Then the song just goes into this super blast beat thrashy thing and we were just, ‘FUCK! It’s the first song and it is already a super hard one to play!’ And that just set the tone for the whole album writing process. On this new album we have the hardest, fastest, most brutal stuff we’ve done. And then we have the song Locust which is middle of the road, like almost a rock song for us with groovin’ beats, it’s just really weird. We’ve got some super dark stuff on there and then some mellow stuff that gets heavier, but over all just super dark theme wise. Robb Flynn went up to New York and started taking classical guitar lessons from this guy at the same time he was taking vocal lessons from Lady Gaga’s vocal coach. It’s all just us trying to push ourselves into a new place.

Away-Team: According to your bio, you are originally from Germany, yet speaking to you, you have no accent.

Dave McClain: Well I was born there; my dad was in the military…

Away-Team: Ah, that explains that…

Dave McClain: Yes, I am not a German. (laughs)

Away-Team: So how did you end up in the Bay Area and in Machine Head?

Dave McClain: I joined Machine Head in the end of 95 and I moved there in January of 96.

Away-Team: I know Machine Head went through something like 3 drummers in one year…

Dave McClain: Yeah, by the time I got to them they were pretty sick of drummers!

Away-Team: They were through playing Spinal Tap?

Dave McClain: Totally! But instead of their drummers dying there were just… ah, never mind, I’m not going there…

Away-Team: Ok, moving on!

Dave McClain: Yeah, moving on (laughs), so I was in a band called Sacred Reich out of Phoenix,

Away-Team: Yes, I am very familiar with Sacred Reich!

Dave McClain: Awesome! So a mutual friend of ours, who worked for Century Media at the time, knew they were looking, so he was helping them find a drummer, and he called Igor from Sepultura who also lived in Phoenix at the time. Igor was like, ‘Call Dave man.’ So Robb called me and at first I said no thanks, I was going to stick it out with Sacred Reich. That day I was laying in my bed and I was like, ‘What am I doing?!?’ Don’t get me wrong, I love Sacred Reich, but they were notoriously kind of lazy, and talking to Robb and only hearing Burn My Eyes once or twice… Just talking to Robb and hearing his passion and determination I was like, ‘What am I doing? These guys are where I’m at we’re like on the same wave length here.’ So I called Robb back and I’m like, ‘Hey man, I thought about it and I really want to do this!’ So he said to come in and audition. So I went out and auditioned, we played the whole Burn My Eyes record a few times and I could tell they were really into it, we were jamming really good. Then they kind of left me hanging as they went through the audition process for another week or so. And they called me up and told me to move out.

Away-Team: You were out on the road with Metallica for like a year, year and a half off and on. What are the pros and cons of supporting the biggest metal band in the world?

Dave McClain: There were definitely way more highs than lows on that tour. When they first asked us we had to tell them no! We’d already committed to doing the Slipknot tour over in Europe. They said, ‘That’s cool, we totally respect that, we’ll be touring for a while so we’ll work something out.’ Then they offered us all these dates and…

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Away-Team: Yes, you were basically on the second leg of the Death Magnetic Tour correct?

\Dave McClain: Yes, we did the US, Europe and then other countries like Poland and a bunch of little weird countries too. And with them being the not just the biggest metal bands, but being one of the biggest bands on the planet… the way they treat bands is fucking amazing! They are at the point where they just take bands out that they want to take. I mean they didn’t need us. They didn’t need The Sword, or Lamb Of God, they didn’t need Mastodon, but they WANTED us and them. They just take really good care of everyone. Like once a week they’ll take the bands out to a restaurant and just hang, and eat and drink. They took us on their jet for a show and, just made sure we were taken care of while we were out with them. The one thing about opening for them is that everyone in that crowd is there for them. Metallica didn’t need us to open, and the crowd didn’t fucking care that we were there (laughs)!

Away-Team: I can totally see that here in the states than Europe because they tend to be much more open minded musically there…

Dave McClain: Yeah, but still you get the Metallica die hards that follow, literally follows them around, go to multiple shows and it was hard. We were on the stage in the round and all the people on the floor are like fan club people and die hard Metallica fans, just rabid fans and you end up playing to the people way up in the stands that are actually into you. And you have those same nights where you’re, ‘Fuck man, we just couldn’t get it going tonight!’ It’s just very frustrating, then other times you have the crowd and it’s just killer. You don’t have them like Metallica has them, but you have a part of them. Probably THE best show we did on that whole thing was in Paris and it was like that was our crowd, everyone in the crowd was into us and they were all singing along like it was our own show, our own crowd.

Away-Team: Is that the show that Metallica released a DVD of?

Dave McClain: No, this was a different show. As amazing as that set was for us, when Metallica came on it was like being on a movie set and the director is like, ‘I want everyone to act as crazy as you have ever been!’ and yells action as they take the stage (laughs).

Away-Team: 2002 was a rough year for you guys; you had just released Supercharger and a video a few weeks after September 11th, 2001 that depicted falling buildings. It seemed everyone even your label stood against you and pulled the plug on the band. You negotiated out of your contract with Roadrunner. How close where you guys in the band to pulling your own plug?

Dave McClain: We were real close man. It was a super bad time and we were just so pissed off about everything that had happened. We weren’t working the record and we just felt like we were at an end, with Roadrunner and with the band. But after Roadrunner, we went out to test the waters with other people that had always been there for the band in the past, ‘you know, anytime you need anything, we’re here for you.’ Well we needed something, and nobody was there for us. They all disappeared. ‘Well we’re here now, you know?’ ‘Oh, yeah, well… ya know? Um….

Away-Team: Had you come to us six months ago…

Dave McClain: Right! ‘Who’s this? Prank call! Prank call!’ (laughs) I told our guitarist at the time, to basically leave the band. He was wanting to do a side project, and having us stick around funding his side project so I was like, run, go, do it, get out. It was bleak man. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to do it anymore; it was that we had no avenues TO do it anymore. So we started writing a couple of songs. Just trying to do something. And it was pure shit. It was bad. And it WAS fucking shit, and it felt horrible. We had a band meeting and I told the guys, ‘You know this fucking sucks. This is shit; this isn’t why I play music. And if we’re a heavy metal band, and we’re going to write an album. Let’s write the heaviest shit man. Let’s just write for ourselves. Let’s just take all this and put it into writing.' And that became Through The Ashes…

Away-Team: Which explains all the piss and venom in it…

Dave McClain: Yeah! It was definitely an angry and a dark record but Roadrunner UK never wanted to let us go, and they were still there quietly supporting us, and it turned out to be a great thing, it turned out to be more of a licensing thing for us which at the time was great. We were about to sign a deal with an American label for the US and Roadrunner US came up and came to us and said, ‘We want to be a part of this again!’ It made us all real happy, because it was a clean slate at that point.

Away-Team: Well at that point, with that album in the can ready to go, you kind of have them over a barrel, and you can say, ‘Well you want us? Here’s what it is going to take to get us back!

Dave McClain: Yeah, but more than that, there were people there genuinely behind us again. There were people that cared about us and about the band. For us we never wanted to leave in the first place, we just wanted things to be right you know? And since then everything has been great. Not that we don’t go back and forth with Roadrunner on some things, but its constructive, it’s a good thing.

Away-Team: Great! So once Mayhem is done, what does Machine Head have on its plate? You’ve got Unto The Locust coming out in September, what are the current tour plans for that?

Dave McClain: We’ve got a month off after Mayhem. We headline the Soundwave Revolution metal stage.

Away-Team: Nice!

Dave McClain: Yeah, it is. It’ll be awesome, and we’ll get to see Van Halen! (laughs) We’re just as excited about seeing them play every day as we are to headline the metal stage! Then we’re doing our first headline run of South America since I’ve been in the band. We’ve got Sepultura there for the shows which is awesome. And then a headlining run of Europe with Bring Me The Horizon, DevilDriver, and Darkest Hour. First quarter of next year our main priority is doing a headline run here in the states.

Away-Team: You guys are definitely due.

Dave McClain: Yes, it’s been over four years we are so ready for it.

Away-Team: Well congratulations, and good luck on the new album, I can’t wait to hear it! And hopefully we’ll get to see you in 2012 in a theater or large venue around here soon! Thanks again Dave!

Dave McClain: Thanks! See you soon!

Away Team would like to thank Jay Beadnell and Stageshotz Photography for his permission and photos from the Raleigh stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest used in this interview.



There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.

For more MACHINE HEAD click here.
Pick up what is sure to be on everyone's top ten of 2011 Unto The Locust here.

 

 

 

trivium 041
Away-Team: I’m here with Corey Beaulieu from TRIVIUM, thank you Corey for taking time to talk with us today! So you were born in Maine, and TRIVIUM hails from Florida, how did you end up hooking up with them?

Corey Beaulieu: After I graduated High School, I needed something to do. I always wanted to be in a band, but up there I didn’t have a band, there just wasn’t anything going on up there. I couldn’t find any musicians. Up there it isn’t really much of a metal scene…

Away-Team: You mean Maine isn’t the hot bed for metal in America?!?!?!

Corey Beaulieu: You’d think… but no! (laughs) it was very hard to find people that could actually play the kind of music I wanted to play. So after I graduated High School I needed to do something and I was always interested in recording so I moved to Orlando, Fl and went to Full Sail for recording. And before I even started classes, I heard about this club right around the corner from where I was living that had a metal show. I went there and TRIVIUM was one of the local bands, they were a three piece at the time. And when they played I was like, ‘Wow, these guys play the same kind of shit I am in to.’ I ended up meeting Matt’s Dad who was managing the band at the time. He gave me some info on the band and said they were playing this thing at Full Sail the next week so I went there. I got introduced to Matt, we became friends, emailed back and forth, I’d see him at other metal shows and whatever. Then a year later I saw on their website they were looking for a second guitar player so I hit them up and told them I was interested in trying out. He knew I played guitar, but he had never seen my play guitar he just knew we had some of the same influences. I went over to his house one day and we jammed, I had learned a few songs of theirs before I went there and we just jammed. After that he asked me to come jam with the band, so I jammed with the band and they were like, ‘you wanna be in the band?’ and that’s all I’ve been doing ever since.

Away-Team: Did you complete Full Sail or just blow it off for the riches and fame of TRIVIUM?

Corey Beaulieu: (laughs) I joined the band about a month before I graduated, so after I graduated I just went full on with the band. And eventually it all took off and did what it’s done and we are lucky enough to make a career out of it. Luckily I didn’t have to go schlep around for a job, because a job in that field that I went to school for is every difficult to find a job today. Since there’s no studios, the only people that have studios anymore are like in their own homes or whatever. Nobody goes to traditional studios anymore. Even people I went to school with at Full Sail seven years ago, nobody has a job in that field anymore. I was very fortunate that even going down there to do that, I was able to actually do what I wanted and that was be in a band. I always say I paid $35,000 to join a band (laughs).

Away-Team: (laughs) And Full Sail can use you for the job placement advertising… ‘Join Full Sail and you too can become a Rock Star!

Corey Beaulieu: Yeah, well, no one’s ever hit me up from there. (laughs)

Away-Team: You and Matt share lead and rhythm guitar duties in the band. While not the first time for a band, it is definitely unique. How did you come up with this style for Trivium, and how does it benefit you and the band?

Corey Beaulieu: Well….

Away-Team: I mean, you normally have two guitarists, and your lead guy is the shredder, he’s the one that stands out and rips out a solo as guys throw horns into the air and girls throw their panties on stage… You have some great licks; you have a great talent on the guitar…

Corey Beaulieu: Wow, thank you…

Away-Team: Does sharing that with Matt take away from that ‘guitar god’ status a little bit? Do you lose a little individuality when you share lead guitar with another guitarist?

Corey Beaulieu: Not Really… We both have different styles of playing; we both like playing lead, so we chose to both do it. We just divvy it up evenly as much as possible. And it is cool because we have different takes on playing lead so there are different dynamics within the song and within the solos by trading off. Ever since I joined the band as he was the only guitar player, since I could do lead also, just right out of the box we said let’s both do it. It was a natural thing for us, so we just did it, and a lot of our favorite bands growing up except for Metallica had that, Megadeth was Mustaine and Friedman, Slayer both play lead, Iron Maiden had... well they have three lead players now. I just always liked the multiple lead guitar thing, especially when you have one guy with a monster solo and it just leads into another solo by the other guy… It’s just always been a natural part of our sound. I think now on the new album too it has really worked out because Matt just found the sound that thing he was going after on it, a certain style and feel, and what suited his playing the best. He’s doing more melodic old school, kinda simplistic solos, and I’m doing the melodic slash shreddy stuff. It is very easy to decipher who’s playing which solo because our styles on this album are so different and distinct. We’re not treading the same waters playing the same fast crazy shit all the time. Since we both like to play lead that has just always been our signature sound and part of our songwriting.

Away-Team: Your musical style has changed over the years, you are no longer thought of as metalcore, which I never pegged you as, but more straight forward thrash. Was that a conscious decision on your part, or was it just maturing and stretching as musicians?

Corey Beaulieu: We just play every record as we just play whatever we feel like playing. It’s all very natural for us, we don’t go, ‘oh let’s do this record this way, and then we’ll do the next record sounding like that.’ We just start writing the songs and in that moment and time it just takes its own shape and sound. The style just dictates itself we don’t consciously decide, ‘oh on Crusade we’re going to do this.’ Musically it just came out naturally. We always find new influences to incorporate into the new album; we don’t want to keep churning out the same shit every album, so we’re always pushing the boundaries of what we can do with our songwriting. This last album (In Waves out now!), we decided we needed to define our sound. Because the last couple of albums we were experimenting with different tunings, different sounds, and different styles of songs and just seeing what we could do. On this record we just knew what the record had to be and we just wanted to write a record that was a career defining moment. Just put our foot down, like we’re fucking serious here, this is a serious fucking metal album, and just solidify our sound. So you’re like, ‘oh, that’s TRIVIUM! That’s their sound, that’s what they are all about.’ The other thing we wanted was to make the album sound cohesive, we wanted the songs to flow, to have the same style and sound, so that none of the songs were like an odd man out and didn’t fit the record, they all have the same…. vibe or sound or feel to them, that they belonged on that record. We just wrote a lot of songs and made sure that the songs worked well and fit with the other songs on the record. And we also made the heaviest record we have ever done. The heavy stuff is heavier and more intense than anything else we’ve ever done.

Away-Team: The band came out after Shogun, and said that it was what it was, that you couldn’t describe what/or who it sounded like. It was Trivium and it stood on its own. Were you guys really that concerned about the comparisons to Metallica or other bands then? Isn’t there some sense of flattery of being compared to one of the biggest metal bands in the world?

Corey Beaulieu: When people listen to music, they are always gauging shit, always comparing them to someone else. If you read a review it is always, ‘for fans of this,’ or ‘if you like this band you’ll love this.’ I guess being compared to the biggest metal band of all time is not a bad thing I just felt it was kind of limiting as far as… Take The Crusade record, I listen to that and there are influences on there, riffs, songs, tones, styles, that are just in no way comparable to Metallica. And Matt’s vocals may style wise remind you of James, but he doesn’t sound like James. I just think a lot of the songs and riffs on that record are just very Un-Metallica. I think Shogun stepped away from that more and this record (In Waves out now!!!) that , ‘oh they sound like Metallica clones’ has been put to rest, at least by us. If people say that now, then they are fucking idiots. You’re obviously not listening to what we are playing. Don’t get me wrong, they are obviously a big metal influence, but so are Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, and Iron Maiden. There are a lot of stuff in there. Over the years we have found a way to take those influences, with other elements outside that style of music, and put our own twist on it, so that now what you hear is TRIVIUM only. I think In Waves sets us apart from other bands out there today, it ensures that we don’t sound too much like anyone else, it sounds like TRIVIUM in vocals, and in guitar riffs, so that if we are to be compared, it is them to us.

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Away-Team: On a festival like this, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, you play about 35 minutes, what do you do the other 23.5 hours of the day to keep from being bored out of your mind or trapped on the bus?

Corey Beaulieu: We try to catch a lot of the bands on the side stages, just hang out and watch them perform. We try and do a lot of press, and there are a lot of people on this tour, so it’s always a lot of just hanging out with other bands. There’s always something going on. After our set, we shower, dinner, and then go watch Megadeth. There’s always something going on, a party here and there, enough people to make something happen all the time.

Away-Team: In Waves comes out next week (at time of interview... In Waves came out last Tuesday! Go. Get. It.), Mayhem ends in a few weeks, what’s next on the horizon for TRIVIUM?

Corey Beaulieu: Yes, In Waves comes out, go pick it up! After Mayhem we have about a month long tour with Dream Theater from mid September to October. Then Europe from early November through almost Christmas. We haven’t properly toured over there in fucking ages so that should be a blast! We’re touring there with In Flames so that should be killer. Then next year is Australia, South America which hasn’t been announces yet.

Away-Team: Is that headlining?

Corey Beaulieu: No! We’ve never been there before so we are going with some other bands that have. We felt the safest route was to go with someone who has done it before, instead of going on our own and guessing and making huge mistakes. We’re going with two other bands that have been down there a few times before, and we have a lot of demands to play down there and a lot of fans down there so we are really looking forward to that. Hopefully in the spring we’ll be back in the US touring again. Yesterday our first active rock radio single went out to all the stations, so hopefully that takes off soon, some stations already have it in full rotation and hopefully more pick it up. And if it really takes off on the radio and gets us new fans it could really change the landscape of what we do tour wise in the spring. Call your local rock radio station and fucking request some TRIVIUM!!!

Away-Team: Yeah DAMNIT!

Corey Beaulieu: Yeah, we need that shit! (laughs)

Away-Team: Good luck with the single, new album, the tours, and continued success Corey, and thank you again for taking the time to sit in this wonderful 100 degree heat and talk with us!

Corey Beaulieu: Thank you, the album is out, you can check us out online, if you like what you hear buy it please! And support music!

Away-Team: And... Trivium sounds like… Trivium.

Corey Beaulieu: Yes… Heavy Metal Baby!!!! (laughs)



There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.

For more TRIVIUM click here.

pearl aday

In January Pearl Aday released her first album Little Immaculate White Fox to critical praise. No stranger to the stage Pearl started out at a young age running handkerchiefs out to her well known father Meatloaf during his performances. After spending nine years in his band as a backup singer, she then toured with Motley Crue as a ‘Crue Slut’ in 2000 where she met her now husband Scott Ian of Anthrax. Her band is none other than Mother Superior and her guitarist husband performs with her. We recently spoke about growing up the daughter of a Rockstar, why women who rock today are not necessarily Janis Joplin or Pat Benetar clones, how Rock & Roll still exists and is not simply 70’s riffs rehashed, as well as leopard print outfits and g strings. Pearl took the time to explain why she felt now is the time to release her first album, how Slipknot is not a guilty pleasure but just good music, and how difficult it can be stepping out of the shadow of the legendary Meatloaf.

AWAY TEAM: This is Slim Jim with Away-Team.com, and I am speaking with Pearl Aday. Congratulations on the release of your first album Little Immaculate White Fox. It came out in January, and how have the sales and reception for it been so far?

PEARL ADAY: Both really good considering that we’re just a tiny little baby band. But reception all around has been really great. The response we’ve been getting it’s just really been positive. People either know about me and they really love it because they’re so set already, or they’re a lot of the time pleasantly surprised because a lot of people don’t know who I am. They hear the references for Meatloaf and they hear the reference for Anthrax and they’re like ‘well it’s a girl’, and it’s ‘what is this?’ And then they hear it and they go ‘oh ok this is rock and roll and it’s good, I really dig this’ you know? And this is like usually, I’ve heard a lot too ‘this is like something that I miss and didn’t even know I missed it because it’s not around anymore’ you know what I mean? This is pretty simple; this is rock ‘n’ roll! It’s a girl kicking ass singing rock ‘n’ roll so I mean if it’s good you can’t really go wrong with that.

AWAY TEAM: Well I’d heard about you several years ago basically through following Anthrax and your husband Scott Ian (guitarist for Anthrax), and when the album came out I was looking forward to checking it out and I was very impressed. Not that I didn’t expect anything from it but it exceeded my expectations it was very good! And you’re absolutely right it’s a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll album. A lot of people I’ve heard kinda compare what they call today straightforward rock ‘n’ roll they’re kind of saying it’s a like a ‘70s rock revival and I’m like no, this is what rock ‘n’ roll is! I think people just forgot.

PEARL ADAY: Exactly! You know I’ve been getting that story of like throwback, those comments about being a throwback to the ‘70s. It’s like well, has it not been around that long? Like is that the last time you heard really like good true simple rock ‘n’ roll done like this? I guess maybe it is, but it’s kinda funny that people consider it a throwback. This is rock ‘n’ roll! This is classic you know what I mean? Classic in the sense that it never goes out of style. People seem to think that it’s like a retro thing. Not everybody, but a lot of people. I guess I get that but I don’t necessarily agree with it

AWAY TEAM: I’ve always found it amusing that straightforward male rock ‘n’ roll bands like say Jet or whatnot, they get compared to AC/DC. If you’re a straightforward male rock ‘n’ roll band oh well you’re like AC/DC. And if you’re a female fronted or female rock ‘n’ roll band, oh, well you’re Janis Joplin, or you’re Heart or you’re like Pat Benetar. But you’re not necessarily like anybody else. It doesn’t have to be that throwback. It’s new, it’s modern, its straightforward rock ‘n’ roll. Period.

PEARL ADAY: Right. Thank you!

AWAY TEAM: Absolutely! And I promise that will be the only Janis Joplin reference in the interview.

PEARL ADAY: Cool! Well I love Janis! I mean people bring up her name with mine in the same sentence all the time. And I think that she’s amazing, but I don’t think that I sound like Janis. I don’t think anyone sounds like Janis you know what I mean? It’s flattering but at the same time that’s not true. I would say that anybody, nobody, was like her before and or ever will be after her! So it’s good you and I are on the same page.

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AWAY TEAM: A little quick history of yours, you are Meatloaf’s daughter. Growing up backstage, at home, and on the road did you realize who your father was? I’ve heard stories or read interviews where when you were very young you would run out in between songs on stage and change out his hankies for him or his handkerchiefs. But did you understand how big he was? Who Meatloaf was and what he had done with Bat Out of Hell?

PEARL ADAY: Well no I don’t think when I was 4 years old I was understanding the whole scope of what Bat Out of Hell had done. The sort of the walls that he had broken down, especially being a big guy, and fronting a band which is what initially gave him a lot of trouble trying to get into the business. Because they’re like you’re a big guy that sings rock opera what the hell is this? And he just kept going and going and going until it worked and it was massive. So no, when I was 4 years old of course I didn’t understand the scope of that. I don’t quite remember how I thought of it. I did understand that that was his job and that he would go to work and go up on stage and sing, and there would be packed arenas of thousands of people singing his songs and screaming for him and adoring him. So how a child gets that or how to processes that concept I don’t really remember, But I remember understanding that that was what he did, that was his job. There’s a story that my mom loves to tell when, we always had an apartment in Manhattan, we I grew up in and I went to school in Connecticut. We had a house in Connecticut and an apartment in Manhattan, we don’t anymore but growing up I did. We had a place that was right across the street from Central Park and my dad had a day off and it wasn’t a day when he was playing softball in the park cuz he used to do that a lot too. And it was like daddy-daughter day and he took me to the park right by the softball fields where there’s swings and stuff like that. We just got swarmed by fans! I’m on the swing and he’s pushing me and I remember this, I was like 5 years old I think, and he’s pushing me on the swing and then I go forward and I come back and I turn and he’s not there to push me again! But he’s signing autographs. And after that we went back the apartment and my mom asked ‘so how was the day Pearl?’ and I just went Meatloaf, Meatloaf, Meatloaf that’s all I ever hear is Meatloaf’! That was around that time of Bat Out Of Hell. And then it happened again in the 90’s, we couldn’t go anywhere without him just being swarmed. So as a little girl I don’t think I totally got that. I think that it was just like people are annoying and taking my dad away from daddy-daughter day, I didn’t totally get the autograph thing. Growing up, when I was 19 that’s when I started singing in his band. I sang in his band for 9 years so at that point I understood what was going on. But when I was real little I think it was more, ‘ok this is what dad does and people like to talk to him when we’re out.

AWAY TEAM: So at what point did the music bug bite you? At what point did you say hey either I’m good at this or this is what I really want to do?

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know, I always remember singing around the house and making little girl groups with my girlfriends and performing in the living room for everybody. We had a girl group called the Bottle Caps I remember. We would put on tutus and lip sync to Leader of the Pack, I don’t know why Leader of the Pack but that we liked that song when we were 10. In elementary middle school I was always in plays and musicals and high school I was the lead in all the musicals and in a band, and in college I was in a band. So I think it was just always just something that I was gravitating towards, always singing in the house, and writing in high school. I started writing poems and putting them to music; stuff like that. I think always I always wanted to be a singer. Always!

AWAY TEAM: You were, as you already stated, Meatloaf’s backup singer for many years and you were a backup singer for Motley Crue for awhile, so what took you so long to step out front and do your own album?

PEARL ADAY: It’s funny when people say “what took you so long?” But I think that if I tried to do this 10 years ago this wouldn’t have come out. I think that it needed to happen naturally and organically and I had to live the life that I’ve lived up to this point in order to make this music and write these lyrics. You know I had to I had to experience it first, Well I experienced a shitload my entire life, but I also had to get the experience of performing and I think build up my gut. It’s quite an intimidating thing to have a parent who is such a megastar and that is what you want to do too and sort of…

AWAY TEAM: Oh I can’t imagine! I can’t imagine trying to step out of that shadow.

PEARL ADAY: Forget about it! It’s really scary and unless…you know a different personality might have gone ‘blaahhhh here I am! I’m ready!’ but I’m sort of more like I’ll hang out until I’m ready because I don’t want to come out and do it half assed or go out and look like I don’t know what I’m doing. I want it to be the best that it’s gonna be and I think that’s what this is for right now. You know the next album that we write might be better. I don’t know. It will be different in the sense that it’ll be different songs and I’ll have lived that much longer and learned that much more through the cycle of this album, performing and finding my feet onstage as a front-person in a band which is something that I’ve become really comfortable with right now. But I still don’t know everything that there is to know. Every time I go onstage I learn something new about myself and as a performer. In terms of what you said ‘why did it take you so long’ and I don’t think… I don’t see it that way. I see it as this is happening now. This is what’s happening now it wasn’t going to happen before. I used to do some interviews with my dad through those 9 years when I was performing in his band with him and he would introduce me sometimes as ‘yeah this is my daughter the amazing singer who’s afraid to sing’ because it was true. I was comfortable in my niche being a backup singer which, don’t get me wrong, that’s an important job especially with Jim Steinman and Meatloaf songs! Those parts are not easy. Those are complicated songs. I wasn’t fronting it though, I was back there and my voice was blending in with lots of other voices with the other people who were singing on stage too. I don’t think I was ready then to step out, I needed to observe a little longer and I needed to find it in myself.

AWAY TEAM: You’ve done a few dates for the release of the album. I actually saw your performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live which is so far the only chance I’ve had to see you perform. I know your band is opening for Meatloaf on his tour starting next month. When will we see you out doing a full fledged tour on your own?

PEARL ADAY: Hopefully we’ll be able to get back out and do that again. We actually did that in the spring for a month. We went all around the U.S. doing headlining club dates. First time we ever did that in the States and that was great. So hopefully we’ll be getting to do that again soon. I’m always ready to perform whenever, wherever, because I love it so much. But I always say the money fairies have to visit us because we don’t have a machine or a record label or stuff like that. So every tour everything that we do comes from our pockets and it’s not cheap! Contrary to what most people think my dad doesn’t give me a penny. My dad is a very wealthy man but it doesn’t mean that I am you know what I mean? Definitely letting me forge my own path find my own way with this. He’s not buying me tour buses and shit like that. Actually these opening dates for him we were told no! no! no! no! no no no no no no… forever and ever and ever. Then at the last minute I got an email from him saying, ‘what are you doing from Aug 12th on?’ I’m going ‘I thought you told us no, what are you doing?’ so though we’re thrilled I mean are you kidding me? We start here in LA at the Gibson Amphitheater so you know it’s much better than the Cheyenne Saloon, it’ll be a really, really good run for us. We’re just stoked.

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AWAY TEAM: How do you go from being a backup singer for Meatloaf to becoming a Nasty Habit for Motley Crue?

PEARL ADAY: You audition! (Laughs) Yeah, I auditioned. In 2000 I heard they were auditioning girls but we weren’t the Nasty Habits we were the Crue Sluts. The Nasty Habits were from the Girls, Girls, Girls tour. They were before us that was Donna and Amy. We were called the Crue Sluts from the Frank Zappa song. You know there’s a song called the Crew Sluts. Actually that’s how they would open the show before the band would come on, there would be sirens and a light show and they would play Zappa’s Crew Sluts so it was cool.

AWAY TEAM: I actually saw the Maximum Rock Tour in 2000.

PEARL ADAY: Yeah in 2000 that’s the one I was on.

AWAY TEAM: It had you and who was the other singer?

PEARL ADAY: Well where did you see it? Cuz we had one girl who started and then she quit two weeks in and we got another girl. The first girl had short dark hair and the second girl had long red hair.

AWAY TEAM: Ok, this was in Sacramento and I think it was almost halfway through the run if I’m not mistaken.

PEARL ADAY: I think Sacramento was towards the beginning.

AWAY TEAM: Was it towards the beginning? Ok.

PEARL ADAY: Yeah we started like June 25th or something up in Sacramento actually.

AWAY TEAM: Ok yeah cuz I know that Anthrax was still on the bill and unfortunately they didn’t last throughout the whole tour.

PEARL ADAY: Right, right yeah so you saw me and Marty her name was.

AWAY TEAM: Ok, and then Samantha Maloney (HOLE drummer) was doing drums at that point too for Motley Crue, so you had as much estrogen onstage as testosterone from the Motley Crue boys…

PEARL ADAY: (Laughs) I guess so! Well they always had girls. They’d never had a female drummer before, so that was super cool. Yeah I think even with those guys the testosterone definitely outweighed the estrogen!

AWAY TEAM: How did your dad handle your touring with Motley Crue? The infamous Motley Crue

PEARL ADAY: Fine! It was fine. I mean he’s a performer he understands performance and costume... and I mean we had 5 costume changes. I don’t know if you remember, there was the rubber dress and the nurse outfit, the nasty nurse, and then there was the Wild Side with the leopard and the g-string. I mean it was great, with a cat ‘o’ nine tails yeah! I think we actually came and played Gibson Amphi- it was Universal Amphitheater back then but my dad came to the show. And he was backstage beforehand and the first costume of the show was a like a blue rubber mini cop dress with a zipper down the front. And I had a long, long wig like a long blonde wig with blonde bangs and blue eye shadow from my lashes to my eyebrows. A push up bras like 3 of them and platform boots, thigh high platform boots. I walked out and I walked right up to him and he looked at me like I was a stranger. He didn’t recognize me! I went, ‘dad it’s me’ and he was like ‘WHOA’! He never expected to see me like that. And Girls, Girls, Girls when we come out up we would like walk down the catwalks and come up to the front and dance on a little platform I think I saw him peeking through his own fingers out in the audience like that yeah. He wasn’t I mean you can’t really freak out a Rockstar you know? He gets that its performance, so it’s all costume and lights and loud music.

AWAY TEAM: So you did a lot of writing for Little Immaculate White Fox with the boys from Mother Superior, which used to be Henry Rollins' Band or for the Rollins Band they performed with him. How’d you get connected up with them?

PEARL ADAY: Actually Scott knew them. When Scott and I first started dating I was a fan of Mother Superior and Scott happened to know them and introduced me to them. I think it was one of my birthdays and he invited them to my birthday party. I was really like just a dorky fangirl and I had a couple of drinks and I walked up to them and I said ‘hey I’m Pearl’ and they were like ‘yeah happy birthday’. After awhile of talking I said ‘hey what do you guys think about having a chick sing with you maybe a little bit?’ I don’t know what am I saying! (Laughs) They kind of like stopped and looked at each other and I was like ‘oh god what did I just say’! Then they turned around and went ‘ok’. So from that point on they’d say well we got we have a riff or melody we have song idea, so I’d go over to their... this was when they still shared an apartment Jim and Marcus. And I’d go over to their place and they’d play it for me and I’d record it and then I’d take it home and start plugging in lyrics. We’d get together after that and flesh it out but that’s pretty much how we worked with all the songs. Later Scott started getting more involved with helping with the arrangements and melody ideas and lyrics and stuff. So there are a few songs where Scott’s in on the writing credits as well. It’s a really, really great process actually because I just clicked with those guys immediately in terms of style and vibe. We were just totally on the same page when it came to all that stuff. It’s like ‘Ah that’s exactly what was in my brain!’ So it was just an organic and natural thing. I met these guys and then fell into writing with them and because it’s not easy to find a writing partner, not everybody can write together. And this just happened to be a perfect match, so it’s really good!

AWAY TEAM: How long was that writing period from the time you approached them at your birthday party until the release of the album or at least the starting of the recording of the album?

PEARL ADAY: Well it was a few years because we initially got together and got a bunch of songs and went in and recorded a demo album at Cherokee Studios here in LA. It’s actually flattened now, which is sad because it was a really cool old studio full of lots of history. But we did that and played… I got a band together I didn’t initially play with the guys from Mother Superior they just played on the demo. I played around town with those songs that we recorded. I had like a 9 piece… I had like a horn section and a B3 organ and guitars and drums and like a huge band which is kinda tough when you’re playing the Viper Room you know cuz its tiny. We sorta lived with those songs and noticed that some of them weren’t quite as good as others and some of them were pretty weak so we got rid of the shitty ones and wrote new ones. Then started rehearsing the new ones and freshening up on the older ones and called Scott (Ian) and Joe Baresi, the producer, and gave him a call and he came down to one of our rehearsals and agreed to produce the album. Which is now Little Immaculate White Fox with the exception of Broken White, and the cover of Ike & Tina’s Nutbush City Limits. Those two we tacked on at the end. Broken White was the last song that was written, that’s like the newest one and that one includes writing credit for my guitar player Anale Cult who actually wrote the last song on the album called Anything. Those were recorded at Matt Sorum’s studio and produced by our friend Jay Rustin who does The Donnas and Steel Panther. Joe Baresi did the bulk of it and then Jay did the last two. But it’s a good collaboration.

AWAY TEAM: Is your current touring band is that different from the recording band?

PEARL ADAY: Well it’s funny you say that because my recording band was Mother Superior, the drummer, the bass player and the guitar player and Scott Ian and I have been touring with a different band. Right now my bass player is Marcus Blake from Mother Superior who’s just done the last tour with us and now it’ll be Jim Wilson from Mother Superior on guitar Scott Ian on guitar and our drummer will be filling in for us because my drummer just quit on me at the last minute right before the big tour but the drummer filling in for us on these dates will be my friend Andy Hurley who actually plays with Fall Out Boy.

AWAY TEAM: What was Mother Superior doing? Henry really hasn’t done anything musically for quite awhile, have they been playing around with other people, doing their own thing because I hadn’t really heard their name until you…

PEARL ADAY: You gotta check them out! Mother Superior is a kick ass rock trio! They’re amazing! I was a huge fan of theirs. When I said I was a fan of theirs I’m a fan of Mother Superior I wasn’t talking about Rollins, even though I do like Rollins. They were only the Rollins Band for like 6 years but they’ve been going on their own. They have 12 out, 10 albums, or something like that. They’re not super well known... they’ve got a lot of fans out in Spain and France too. Look ‘em up they’re pretty kick ass! I mean they’re really kick ass! When they’re not doing their own thing they also are uh Daniel Lanois’ touring band.

AWAY TEAM: So how do you go about writing a song? Do you journal everyday, write poems, and then when your collaborators kinda get a song structure down you modify the words or the timing to fit the music? Or do they write the music around your words?

PEARL ADAY: No the music comes first. They’ll send me ideas for melodies or song ideas, the music, and then I’ll sit down and put the words in. so whatever the music is, depending on if it’s upbeat or if it’s mid tempo or slower, and I’ll just sit down with it and let the words come, ideas just come into my mind and the words just come out that way.

AWAY TEAM: And who are your influences musically?

PEARL ADAY: Aw how much time you got? For writing or for lyrics? I’m a huge; god I gotta make a list! This is when you’re a kid and someone asks you what you want for Christmas and you know everything you want and then when you get asked your mind goes blank! As far as lyrics go there are certain songs cuz not every song from a particular artist is my favorite. Of course there’s the regular… there’s Bob Dylan, there’s Joni Mitchell, who are great poets and I love their lyric style. I’ll actually sometimes sit down and if I get stuck writing lyrics I’ll sit down and listen to them because they’re so colorful and visual and they’re such storytellers, that it kind of opens up the room for you. Having writers block for me, it’s like the room’s sort of narrowing down to a pinpoint and you can’t see beyond anything. So listening to those writers or somebody else who I admire the writing style of, it opens it back up again. A friend of mine Leona Ness she’s a singer/songwriter I really admire her songwriting style. You know something like Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd! I think that is an amazing song lyrically. It’s just an amazing song but the lyrics in that are like “oh my god I wish I wrote that”!

AWAY TEAM: Which leads into my next question: What’s one song that you listen to and you’re like god if I could have written that, or I should have written that song?

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know if I have just one because they’re all special for different reasons. They’re all amazing you can’t really put one on top because there’s so much amazing stuff. But that one that would definitely be on the list maybe A Song For YouDonny Hathaway, you know that one?

AWAY TEAM: It sounds familiar yes, I’d have to go back and listen to it but the name sounds familiar.

PEARL ADAY: I don’t know I’d have to get back to you on that one, that’s a tough one.

AWAY TEAM: And guilty pleasure-wise you know you being the rocker chick with the Meatloaf bloodline and the heavy metal guitarist husband… What’s your guilty pleasure that you’re listening to these days that you’re almost embarrassed to admit or people would be surprised to know?

PEARL ADAY: It’s funny, I talk with Scott and my friends every once in a while about guilty pleasures because it’s fun to ask people what their guilty pleasures are. But it’s funny what other people consider guilty pleasures to be. As far as what people would be surprised to hear me listening to? I guess because my musical tastes are all over the place so I’ll listen to Slipknot. I love Slipknot! And then I’ll put on you know Joni MitchellBlue or something. I love them both.

AWAY TEAM: It’s quite a dichotomy, quite diverse.

PEARL ADAY: I mean somebody else asked me a question similar to that and I said that I love Slipknot, and they’re like ‘Really? You listen to Slipknot?’ Why is that weird? I don’t get it. Because I’m a girl or? Anyway so people are usually surprised to hear that I like Slipknot I don’t know why.

AWAY TEAM: Seems to me to make perfect sense having the husband you have but you know…

PEARL ADAY: Yeah well it doesn’t mean that I like everything he likes! Even though we kind of do like the same stuff, but it’s funny because when I got with Scott he introduced me to the metal world and then I introduced him to stuff that he loves now. Like Otis Redding and Donny Hathaway and stuff like that which he was aware of but I don’t think he ever really listened to it before. Now he’s really into it so it’s cool!

AWAY TEAM: Well I thank you very much for your time ah good luck on the upcoming tour and hopefully we will see you guys out on your own headlining! And help get the word out there as much as possible for a very good album Little Immaculate White Fox. I wish you all the luck and much success to you!

PEARL ADAY: Thank you, thank you and I thank you for your time because it’s really important to us to have people like you to help us spread the word so thank you back to you

AWAY TEAM: I appreciate it Pearl thank you very much!

PEARL ADAY: Cool alright have a good day!

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My thanks to Pearl for taking time out of her busy schedule to do the interview, Kymm at 60 Cycle for setting it up, and Melissa Dolak for her wonderful transcription services.