What's in it!
Dog Eat Dog
System of a Down
Voivod - Phobos
Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E
Life of Agony - S.S.S
Human Waste Project - Electralux
Machine Head / Napalm Death / Coal Chamber / Skinlab
Sick of it All / V.O.D
Faith No More
Handsome / Midget
Current play lists
What is NARSU? Don't know! I remember there was argument over the name and what it stood for ... and I never found out. But it's intention was to try and link University Rock Societies around the UK and put people in touch and be an outlet for people to talk about 'rock' music in general. There is a mailing list, which you can subscribe to by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and asking nicely. This zine like thing was just put together as an intro, and to maybe give you something to read on some bands that you may not know too much about. Nothing more than that. And if you want to help out, get in touch. You can find the full version at http://www.crg.cs.nott.ac.uk/~dxl/NARS/Vol1/n-zine.html
This interview was done at the Jellys recent gig at the barfly in Camden on 9th September 1997.
We'd like to ask you about the breakup of Honeycrack. We've heard several conflicting stories, and we'd like to hear from you exactly what happened.
Basically, we'd had the single out called Anyway, and we'd toured and then we'd had a couple of months off and in that couple of months, I wrote a shitload of songs and I helped out another band called the Hormones in January and after that I demoed up the songs I'd written, but they weren't songs I'd written for Honeycrack though, they were songs I'd written for a three piece sort of punk pop band and Willie had been working on stuff and the rest of the guys had been working on stuff and none of us wanted to go back to doing the Honeycrack thing, you know. I'm much happier doing the Jellys thing. I'm more in control and I'm singing about stuff I love, my dogs and ice cream and chocolate. That's why. We're still completely amicable, we're all still friends, we just couldn't stay in Honeycrack. We all had tons of ideas and they weren't for Honeycrack.
Are you still in contact with them?
Yeah! Well I know Mark, Pete and Hugo had a band for a while, the Bugs and I know they've done some gigs, but I don't know what they're doing at the moment. Willie's off doing whatever he does. And that's it basically. And I've had the Jellys since the beginning of the year.
Have you got big plans for them?
Yeah. We're called the Jellys cos it's my smallest dog's favourite sweets, jelly sweets. Basically, ok, all the songs are about something which means a lot to me - about my dogs, or some of them are about my girlfriend or about chocolate or ice cream. One of them's about an alien I once knew. Like all the things which mean something to me. Like with Honeycrack there were 5 individuals, lots of songwriters and lots of songs which didn't mean shit to me.
Yeah, they seemed quite political to me
Well the political stance wasn't me cos I don't give a shit about politics and the country's fucked, it doesn't matter who's in charge.
So did you vote in the last election?
Well, no. The world's fucked. Everything's fucked. The whole human race is fucked as far as I can see - there's nothing you can do about it and we're on our way to extinction and it doesn't matter. It's too late. It's too late to save the planet. I worry more about wildlife and animals more than I have ever or will ever worry about humans cos we're dumb and we're stupid and we're greedy. There's people starving and there's no need for it with the amount of money and food in the world and it's all power and greed. I've got strong opinions about the way the world is, but the Jellys isn't about that, it's about aving agood time. I write about things I love. There are songs about things I hate, but they're done in such a nice way that someone would think I like drugs and people who drink too much but I can't stand them. I don't mind people who drink, it's just people who shouldn't drink too much cos they turn into like, a twat. You know, they get violent, they get racist and stuff like that just when they're pissed. But the Jellys is just 2 and a half/3 minute songs, fast pop songs. We're a punk-pop band and at the moment we haven't got a deal. We've got our own E.P. coming out in October and it's financed by ourselves. We all travel together in the same transit van, we all sleep on floors when we're doing gigs and it's really enjoyable. This time last year I was in Japan, staying in five star hotels. I was having a good time, but this is more enjoyable. I know when I start properly touring with the Jellys, it's gonna be a hundred times better cos we wear eyeliner and stupid ties and greasepaint and we have a much better time. There's only three egos in this band. It's easier.
Did you find it a weird experience supporting the Wildhearts, you know, a band you'd been in?
No, not at all because they've changed so much. When the band supported the Wildhearts, it wasn't the Wildhearts I remember. To me, the Wildhearts were always a punk rock band. It was good hearing the old songs, but that was three years ago, and I've done a lot since then. It was yesterday and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I mean, we were the only punk rock band on the stage that night. Well, there were three different bands on that stage. I think you're going to see three different bands tonight. Which is good - it'd be horrible if you saw three bands the same. It was good playing in a big hall and it was good playing to people who had probably seen me a hundred times before in different bands.
Do you feel the Jellys is a natural progression from your other bands?
I always wanted to be in a band like this. You see my favourite band is the descendents who are an american hardcore band and they're basically speeded up punk rock - rock n' roll pop just speeded up and that's what the Jellys are doing and I should've been in the Jellys when I was 16 but I didn't, you know. It's almost regression. Like I've saved the best 'til last. And the Jellys is my last band. I've got other things to do, and so I've saved the best 'til last. This will be the punkiest band I've ever been in, the fastest, poppiest, most rock n' roll and glamorous band I've ever been in.
Is it frustrating having to start again right from the very bottom?
Well, I've got a tiny head start on someone who's never, say, released an album or never done anything. Even though right now we're kipping on floors and driving a transit van, I can still cut a lot of corners. But I'm not! But when the time comes, I will cut corners. People will listen to the Jellys, purely because of the history of the band, and I've used that to a point, but I haven't used it like I did when I was out of the Wildhearts to get Honeycrack started. It's a different thing. Honeycrack walked straight into a deal, but the Jellys are taking their time.
So are you aiming for an indie label, or a major label?
I'd prefer a major label to tell the truth. More money. More touring. Bigger. I wanna do things really big. The whole makeup of the band - we've got about six different images and to do the whole thing properly it has to be financed properly. I want to make the most outrageous videos ever made and I want to put on the most outrageous stage shows ever done. If we're signed to a major we can do that. An indie would be a lukewarm version of the Grand Plan! And I want to help animals as well and I want to do it on a big, big scale. The only way I can do that is if the band is hugely successful. I've got a better chance if the band is on a major. I can do benefit shows for the RSPCA, World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace and stuff like that. It means more to me.
Have you had any label interest?
Yeah, but at the moment I just want the band to progress naturally at our pace. I mean I'm writing songs for the second album now and we haven't even recorded the first album. I'm that far ahead. It's like, if I write the third album by the end of the year, then I can forget about the songwriting and I'll just have a good time. When we go in to record our first album, we can record two albums. Then we can have a great time, and tour more. All we wanna do is tour. And we're having a great time. I've got no money! But there have been times in my life when I've had money, I've been on Top of the Pops and I've had a really crap time. And this time round it's great. We're a three piece band - just bass, drums, guitars and vocals and that's all we're gonna be. There's no plans to get other members in the band. There's plans to get all my pets to duet with us. I've got my budgie, my dogs, my chinchilla. They're gonna be used on the album, cos there's songs about them and I want them to be heard. The whole Jellys wouldn't have been around if it wasn't for my love of my "family" - most of my family are pets! And that's what the whole Jellys thing's about. You'll see! And that's why I want a major deal - to make people aware of what's going on. Cos as much as there's human suffering, there's no need for it. But animals are the sort that could be totally wiped out. I treat my pets better than most of the people I know. My mum's got two of my dogs at the moment at she doesn't want to give them back cos she's looking after them. I've got one at my place, and I've got my chinchilla and my budgie. My folks treat my smallest dogs, Chewie and Squirt like their granddaughters. That love of animals is given to me by my folks. That's what the Jellys is about. It's nothing serious. I'm not gonna harp on about politics or the state of people or the world. It's about things I like. I wanna give love, enjoyment and the best way to make people enjoy themselves is by singing about things that you enjoy and make you happy, and that's what the band's about.
We noticed you have a song called Strawberry Ice Cream - that's my favourite flavour as well!
I can't stand it! Basically, I asked my girlfriend what her favourite Ice cream was. I knew she'd say chocolate - our favourite flavour's chocolate. But we like strawberries and Strawberry Ice Cream sounds much nicer than Chocolate Ice Cream as a rhyme and I don't particularly like strawberry ice cream that much. I mean, I've got a punk chinchilla, my little Squirt, which is about my smallest dog Squirt, I got a song about my mate's fat cat, called "Fat Cat" and there's one about my budgie and there's songs about sunshine and songs about curry and rice. It's all about songs that make me happy, and that make other people happy. It's good.
One thing I'm particularly interested in is how a lot of people in the rock scene at the moment feel about dance music, things like the Spawn soundtrack. I wondered how you feel about that, and if you had any of your tracks remixed which ones would they be?
There's one song on that Spawn soundtrack which I think is amazing -Incubus with DJ Greyboy. It's the only good song on there. And then there's the very last track which goes "an ay ay ay ay oy oy oy" But Incubus that's amazing. Because it sounds like Bad Brains. But the rest of it is a load of old bollocks. It's absolute crap. I think if people are going to remix something, you know, remix a good song. Don't remix a crap song, cos a crap song is still a crap song, it doesn't matter who's remixed it. I would have my songs remixed by a DJ but I'd have the best DJ in town. I wouldn't go to Donald Duck! That's my views on it. But Incubus and DJ Greyboy's stunning. And that's a great song. And to me that's the only song on there. A lot of my favourite bands are, like Pigeonhed, are like ambient, rock, punk, they mix it all together and I like a lot of alternative. I would have something remixed but I'd have to be so in control of it. My brother's a big dance fan and he tapes me all the stuff so I'm kind of up on the dance scene but right now I want songs that sound as punk rock as possible, but the American side of punk rock, not the British. All my favourite bands are American. There's one English band that I truly love and that's the Cardiacs. I've liked them for about ten years. They're my favourite ever British band. They're out there on their own. But this dance thing, I don't think dance and rock go too well together. I'd rather write a dance song than use one of my songs. I'd rather sit down and scratch out a dance song about strawberry ice cream. There's an acid called Strawberry, they'd probably think it was about that!
This interview will eventually end up on the net, and we wondered whether you think the internet is a good thing or not?
I haven't got a computer, but we've got a website set up now. It's only just being set up now, but it's looking really good. But I think it's exciting and it's the future and it's something I've got to learn about cos one day my kids are gonna come home and ask questions about it and I don't want to be [....]. But if I had the money to buy a computer, I'd buy a car. I'd buy a Chihuahua and I'd buy a llama. And pigs as well! I might even have cows cos I want to start an animal sanctuary. Hopefully I'll earn enough money with the Jellys to start my own animal sanctuary. And that's what I wanna do. So the computer thing will happen in about ten years time. Once I've done all my other stuff, and I've got a free afternoon I'll go and buy a computer. I love technology, I love gadgets. I think technology should be used to make people better. I think most of it is used to take something from you. It does my head in but I'm not scareed of it. I'm not one of those people that like retro. I don't live in the past. It's been and gone. I'm not harking back to the sixties. I was just born in the sixties, I was a kid in the seventies. We're living in the nineties, we're approaching the millenium and I welcome it with open arms cos you don't know what's around the corner.
Have you got any plans for a new years party in 1999?
I hate Christmas, I hate New Years Eve. To me it's the worst time of the year cos everything stops and people get really lazy, they drink too much and eat too much. And me being a musician, I can eat as much as I want and drink as much as I want any day of the year and I don't stop working over Christmas just so I can get out of my head - I can get out of my head tonight, tomorrow night or any night after that. I don't believe in God, but my mum's really religious, so Christmas is a massive thing for her. Most people use Christmas as an excuse to do things I can do any time of the year. It's good for children, but it's the worst time of year for dogs cos so many people buy dogs and then abandon them afterwards. For me that's heartbreaking. And it's at that time of year when a lot of animals suffer. I just celebrate with my family, I prefer it that way. It, for me, has always been too over the top. It scares me sometimes cos there's so many pissed people around. There's always some struggle. I like to spend it with my dogs, my girlfriend. I always get really paranoid around lots of drunk people. And I eat well, my folks are really good cooks and I live close to them and I had the best meal of the year last night. The last time I had one of my mum's curries. I have curry for Christmas. I can't stand Roast dinner. The only way you can make roast dinners taste nice is by putting loads of salt and pepper and gravy on it. I had curried mackerel for Christmas this year. And it's really cold here! I want the sunshine! I'll move to the Seychelles: better drugs, better Marijuana and the people are nicer as well. The water's better, the beaches are better, the fruit's better. I'd love to live in England when it's sunny, so I'd be here for about a week of the year. For me, it's bearable when it's sunny, it's just when it gets cold and people get those fucking miserable faces in London. I don't live here now, but in winter, it's unbearable. People look so sour and miserable. And they're the same who complain in summer when it's too hot. London's so grey in Winter so I wrote a song called feels like sunshine which I wrote last Christmas. That's a Christmas song about me wishing it was sunny again. It's all about how cold it is. Some people think it's about prozac!
Yeah, some people think the name Jellys is about tamazapam
Well, when they see the logo which is a crucified Jelly Baby then they suddenly understand that it's not a drugs reference. I don't smoke much now, but I used to smoke a lot of Marijuana. Tamazapam's a tranquilizer? The Jellys is about waking up, getting up and having a good time.
Thanks for your time
©Lizz & Claire
The interview was done on the 16th of July at Bradford Rios. There's also a brief gig review at the end. Full marks to Dave for being a complete gent - he forgot about the interview and turned up late... so he bought me a drink. Think you can bribe me like that, eh Dave? Well, you're right! Thanks again, but you really didn't have to! The band, especially John, looked well knackered when I turned up due to their hectic schedule. John had appeared on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast at 8am and had to be transported all the way up to Bradford afterwards. Mind, once they hit the stage later on you couldn't tell. Anyway - on with the interview...
OK, to start. Play Games came out a year ago yesterday in this country. Why has it taken you so long to get over here to promote it?
Um, well - do you want the truth or do you want
me to make something up? Because the truth isn't pretty! Basically
as soon as the album was released, which was about a month and
a half before England, we went on tour and did all the festivals.
When it came to doing the full tour, the UK was very lax on promoting
our singles, so we didn't feel there was anything to come over
here and promote. We went to Asia, we went to South America...
we've been all over Europe, America... We did everything else
but come to the UK. It wasn't that we didn't want to, but we wanted
to go somewhere where we could promote our product and our record
company, for some reason, wasn't as behind us as they were the
year before with the No Fronts single which was a big hit. Now,
it's a year later and we're here because we love it. We have a
new single out now that hopefully is being promoted - Step Right
In. We like it a lot so we made our way back over here.
I have to say in Roadrunner's defence, they sent me God knows how many copies of Isms when it came out. When you come in here [Rios], it doesn't seem to get played that often. The DJ tends to always go back to No Fronts.
Well, I guess when you make a song that some people consider a classic, it's very hard. We knew that going into this record that it was going to be hard to get that out of people's heads. But we're not held back. We want to make music - we can't wait to make music - and right after we leave here on Tuesday we're going home to start writing our new record. We're going right into it with an open mind and a lot more time to write this one as opposed to the last one. The last record was done under real time restrictions. I love the record and we're really proud of Play Games. I feel as songwriters we did a better job of writing the songs than on All Boro Kings which people, for some reason, got really caught up in. With the new record, what we're really hoping to do is get the old school All Boro Kings fans and the new school Play Games fans together, and new people. So we're really gonna expand and do things that are very new.
Personally, I thought Play Games was a stronger album than All Boro Kings. All Boro Kings had some great tracks, but also some weaker ones. Play Games was just, on the whole, more varied and stronger.
I feel the same way, but the kids who get up to All Boro Kings are into harder music, whereas Play Games had a lighter feel to the whole thing. But it was more about songwriting. That was the whole thing. We went into it with "look, we're happier now. We're going to write about things that we know, have a little bit of a lighter side to us". Because we're not as angry as we were when we made all those songs for the Warrant EP and All Boro Kings. We're changing as people and our music is a reflection of who we are, so we don't go in there writing totally aggressive songs when we're feeling really happy. There's nothing we can do about it - we're not going to lie to our public and come out with something that we're not. We're just going to write good songs. That's totally where we're coming from.
I heard about a year ago that there were plans to use Rocky to promote Guinness. Did anything come of that because I've never seen the advert and I've been looking for it?
Oh, it happened but it was an Irish TV commercial. It played all over Ireland for a while, and it had a small instrumental section of Rocky. I personally have never seen it, but Sean (our guitar player) has a copy of it at home. He says that it's very short and very good but it's a cool commercial. For me having a bit of music that I wrote be in a commercial is wow! Especially for Guinness which is our favourite beer [I hasten to add that Dave hasn't tried Newcastle Brown before, so he could be converted]. We were hoping that it was going to get picked up in the rest of the UK but it didn't.
You did the festival circuit across Europe last year. How did Donington compare to the rest of Europe?
Well last year we played really big festivals. We did [excuse my spelling of any of these!] Roskilde, Pink Pop, Hollsfrede... all the major festivals. It was like a summer of huge festivals. Donington was the last one and it was an amazing one because we got to play with Kiss and Ozzy, two of our most idolised bands. For us it was amazing. The crowd was one of the best, I think 75 thousand people. I believe the second biggest audience we've ever played to. It was great. All my friends were backstage hanging out. You can't ask for anything better than that. I actually got to shake hands with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.
Before you did Play Games there was a slight change of band members as well...
Right before Play Games Dave Moultby [apologies if I've spelt this wrong - I don't have a sleeve liner with me.] left because he was having a real tough time with our schedule. It was just so crazy and he couldn't take any more. His drumming wasn't over the top and we needed somebody much stronger who could carry us to the next level and Brandon is definitely the guy we needed. He brings a lot of colour into the band and he's such an amazing drummer. And just now, we've changed sax players. We pushed our sax player Scott out of the band, in the friendliest possible way, but it was something that had to be done. Now we're hiring a saxophone player, Paul, and we're very happy. Dog Eat Dog is five members. A saxophone is an addition. Wherever we go in the future, we're not going to have a permanent sax player. We tried it - it didn't work. Before Play Games it was always a hired guy, through Play Games he was a band member and it didn't work. The sax is a very important part of what Dog Eat Dog is, but we write the songs, we write the music, we write the lyrics. The saxophone player never has been, and now we're assuming never will be, a part of the writing process.
One thing I've always wanted to know. About the time Dog Eat Dog released the Warrant EP, the band Warrant released an album called Dog Eat Dog. Is that coincidence?
No, it was on purpose actually. This was my idea because I worked in a video store where they had albums out. We'd decided to call ourselves Dog Eat Dog and this album comes out called Dog Eat Dog. I got real bent out of shape because I thought it was an original name, and now everyone's going to connect us with Warrant [She's my cherry pie... *shudder*]. So when we made the EP I called up our A & R man and spoke to the rest of the band and said "Why don't we call the album Warrant?" Everybody was, for some reason, thinking it was funny. That to me is legendary for many reasons. It was such an important part of what we were doing. We made a demo for the EP and we had a different drummer. Then when we got Dave he played the songs too slow and the whole EP came out twice as long as the demo! We should have just put our demo out as the first EP, but we felt we had to give Dave his chance. But looking back, I have to say it was a mistake.
Rocky's one of my favourite tracks on Play Games. The only problem is it's so short, so it's over too fast!
Well, the thing with that song is I wrote the lyrics and music to it, it's about me. That's why I ended up singing it. It wouldn't be right if John was singing it. It was really just a joke. I came to practice one day and I had it all in my head ready to go. John had to leave practice that day... actually, I remember now. I meant for him to sing it, but since he wasn't there I showed the band how I wrote it. They thought it sounded good with me singing it, so I ended up doing it. It got such a good reaction when the record came out. It was a good pop song, people couldn't get it out of their head, so we ended up making a video for it. But, I don't know what happened to it in the UK and Europe. MTV didn't give it much cover, though Viva [very popular German music station] gave it a lot of plays. Then with Step Right In our video completely fell through. We were all set to go with the new single, but so much went on - all senseless and it would be pointless for me to go into it right now - all politics and stuff stopped us from doing another video right now. We're very disappointed, we're very upset. It was the last chance to give this record one last kick before we go into the new one. Now, our plan is to get through this summer and work on that new album. See everyone next summer with a brand new record and tour forever!
How did you get Ronnie James Dio to sing on Play Games? Was it more or less a matter of just ringing up and asking?
Yeah, basically. It takes a little more than that, but in essence, yeah. "We love you, Ronnie James Dio, here's a copy of our album and the song we'd like you to do. Do you like it?" And a couple of days later he said yes, he was. So he comes to the studio, does what we ask him to do, had a great time, hung out with him for a few hours talking about Black Sabbath and Dio and everything... And that was it. We were actually hoping to get him up there for Donington and he agreed to do it, but Ozzy wouldn't let him. Basically, Ozzy's management kept Dio from doing it. Well, those guys go way back longer than us and Dio do, so we didn't want to fuck up anything at Donington!
I think that was the only Donington in history where it didn't chuck it down with rain for at least some of the day.
Well, Dog Eat Dog brings the sunshine!
If I had to sum it up in one word: great! The band played a blinding set, including most of Warrant, half of All Boro Kings and a large amount of Play Games. Best of all, they played a few shouted requests from the audience, including World Keeps Spinning, which John admitted the band hadn't played for about a year.
As a result, the set ran on for about 15 minutes longer than it should so there was no encore. Hey, no bad thing - the band just didn't leave the stage for a break when they would have (three tracks from the end according to the set list I pinched).
Dog Eat Dog were tight as a gnat's ass, the crowd was wild, the security (or lack of it) lax and the atmosphere great. No trouble, no injuries and loads of fun. Fans were more than welcome on stage and welcomed to join in on a spare mike if they wanted.
This is the way all gigs should be!
Gorilla are now a 4 piece band from Derby. Three quarters of the band started off in The Beyond, who released a couple of albums in the early 90's, did loads of touring, with the likes of Living Colour, and then, disappeared until they resurfaced in '95 as Gorilla. They've since released 2 EP's.
This interview took place after their recent gig at the Victoria Inn in Derby, and was finished off with Andy on the phone.
What happened to The Beyond after the release of Chasm.
N: Well, basically things went pear shaped at EMI. A new guy came in who was head of a certain area, and he basically didn't understand what we were about at all. We'd spent quite a bit of time gigging with decent bands and the last single we'd released had gone top 75. For a weird rock band, this was pre-Nirvana, that was pretty unusual. We were trying to get into the charts without relying on radio airplay. But this new guy just didn't understand that at all, so we fell out with him, and he fell out with us, and that was pretty much it really.
So you changed the name to Gorilla. Was that for a fresh start, or were the legal reasons involved.
N: A bit of everything really. Really we wanted a fresh start, and the style of music that we were playing was changing. It took a while to see that the music had changed, and the whole thing was totally different to The Beyond.
The thing was, we'd gone straight out of school and straight onto EMI and it was all very weird. We were basically playing well, but ended up going up our own arses really.
I remember at the time that No Excuse was released, you said that you wanted to build the band up through gigging and some indie releases.
N: Yeah, and that was on Big Cat (home of the now defunct Cop Shoot Cop amongst others), and they were great. They did more for us than EMI and without spending any money. It was the underground mentality, which EMI just didn't have or get at all.
J: In the end, we realised we were so far up our own arses we couldn't see. So now we're doing it the way we should have done. And we're now into more straightforward stuff
N: Yeah, like the stuff we write now is straight to the point. And like the gig tonight, it's just a fucking laigh. Before it was weird, but comparing us to The Beyond is just bollocks anyway.
A: It was kinda like beginning to go in this direction anyway.
J: We never used to have a laugh when we were playing. It was so bloody serious, we were fucking terrified of enjoying it.
N: Now everyone wants to enjoy it, which is what being in a band is all about anyway. And the thing was, we were always trying to piss EMI off.
J: We always went out of our way to be uncommercial, cos we were terrified of the label trying to turn us into a new Thunder.
So you got a new bass player, Jim left and Dave joined. What happened and when was that then?
A: Well, Dave played with a band at the place where we were rehearsing. When Jim left, we advertised for a new bassist, I think through the mailing list, and looked at a few people. But we knew Dave, and he fitted in well with us and the way we were going in this more stripped down direction with the music.
N: It's been a couple of years now. We had a really bad year last year.
Yeah, I spoke to Andy at the gig at the Narrowboat in Nottingham last year. And at the time he said that you were hoping to sign with Earache and record an album. So what happened there then?
N: Basically it was with lawyers. Because they deal with a few dodgy death metal bands, we were a bit .... And as we were about to put pen to paper, they started throwing in all these clauses, which was ridiculous and not how the business works.
So what was that, trying to dictate music style?
N: Nah, it was just if we make any money, they were to take so much. So we basically said fuck you and left it. We basically got all our new songs on a demo, and the fella who signed us from Viper, which is connected to Sanctuary management, responded. Said it's brilliant, do it. And the guy just did it there and then, where Earache kept on waiting. So all that took a year. So we're basically pissing Iron Maiden's money up against the wall.
And how about the distribution. Will Gorilla stuff now be easier to find.
A: Yeah, this will be much better distributed. They're doing everything that we want.
But how about getting coverage. I mean, at the moment if you want coverage it seems you either have to be like Korn, Marilyn Manson or The Wildhearts, which none of the new stuff really sounds like.
N: Well that's it. I mean, the 3 bands you mentioned are actually breaking the mould in a certain way.
A: We just do it, what we do, without thinking about it.
N: We're writing songs for the masses, and if we like them, even better.
J: This is the first time we've written music for people. As The Beyond we never ever did. We liked it obviously, cos we did it for ourselves and never really thought if anyone else would like it.
N: With The Beyond we would laugh about it,, like we couldn't get away with it. Now the whole thing is just more stripped down.
The first 2 Gorilla EP's featured a violinist as well, Andy Lingard, but he seems to have disappeared now.
A: Well, it was a bit of an experiment really with trying to get new sounds. It was a bit weird. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It's no reflection on Andy, but in Gorilla we try to split things equally. With say a guitar player, it would've been ok maybe, but with a violinist, it didn't always work and there wasn't always the need. So it was a bit of an experiment. I mean, we like the recordings we did, and there's 2 songs on the new single which feature violin. So it was partly an experiment in finding new sounds, which didn't always work.
So will you maybe use samples in the future, like you did a bit with The Beyond.
A: Yeah, we can do in the studio, experiment and add effects.
The new single 'Who Wants To Save The World Anyway' sounds like the catchiest thing both bands if you like, have done to date.
N: Yeah, and the label want to get the profile right, which is good, cos we don't want to just put it out and disappear.
So, the single is due to be released. Has an album been recorded yet?
A: Not as yet. The single has like a floating release date. The regional response from radio and media has been pretty good up to now, and if we can we'd like to expand that nationally. As we said, we're happy with the label and the way they're going to go about promoting. So we're hoping that it will all pick up a bit with the single. Then we hope to record a new single sometime in October. Then, we can get the money together and record the album. We've got the songs, so that's not a problem, but it's trying to create a profile first. And the radio today is a bit more powerful and open than it used to be. Also, we'd like to do a video for the new single, or maybe the next one. So we've got plans, it's a case of building things up now.
So, after all the trouble and false starts you seem to have had, do you still have the same ambitions, or are you more wary of the business.
A: Well, we feel like we've fallen on our feet with this label and set up, and the backing that they're giving us. So yeah, we still have the ambitions, but I would say that we are a bit more aware now. Before, we were straight out of school and onto EMI. Now we've got the backing to try and build a profile for the band.
So do you think you are still taking on the industry, or kind of compromising with it.
A: Well we've moved on with our sound. Kind of like Grey (from the Chasm album) was maybe us being conscious of going in a more accessible direction. So we've moved on, and nowadays you get bands like Supergrass releasing heavier stuff. We're still not writing for it, and as you said, we don't really sound like the other bands.
I was wondering what you thought of the crossover that seems to be happening between techno and rock music.
A: I think it's really cool. I mean, in the Beyond we ripped of dance music, but I guess it never really worked because it was all too weird. Now it's becoming like this alternative scene where you can go from dance to intense rock, and I think it's good.
And after the single, touring?
N: Yeah, we've got a couple of dates lined up for Octobe, and hopefully get on a decent support tour.
A: The thing is, you slog around, and if you're not supporting, then you play to 20 or 30 people everywhere, which is getting you nowhere.
Makes it nice for the die hard fan though!
N: Yeah, but the problem is when you're our level and you're skint, then there's a problem. You get the expenses, but that's it, and you can't really afford it.
A: But there's plenty of steps between playing to 20 people and 2000 people.
So if you could get onto your ideal tour, what would that be then?
All: Mmmm, tricky. Faith No More would be a good one.
But wouldn't the suits clash?
N: Nah, we've got C&A ties though. Quality stuff.
And sending the guitarist into the crowd (Andy played one song from a tabletop in the crowd).
A: Well, AC/DC did that bit first.
Well, thanks for your time. Good luck with the Single.
Gorilla have "Who Wants to Save The World Anyway?" released on Viper on October 6, and should be touring from October onwards. Check them out.
You can contact the band at:
Gorilla, 3 Alveston Place,Leamington Spa, CV32 4SN.Interview With Dino Cazares Of Fear Factory
The interview was done on the 17th April 1997.
Dino - so how are you?
I'm getting a little tired here - all these interviews.
Well, it sells albums, doesn't it?
I sure hope so!
The first question, and an obvious one, is 'why do an entire album of remixes?'
Well, first way back in 1992 we did Fear is the Mindkiller which was an EP. So we decided to start off with an EP. Six of the tracks were going to be done by us and Rhys Fulber - a collaboration between the two bands. Then we decided to get The Prodigy involved in it. They were totally into in then all of a sudden they got into hectic schedules with the new album so they didn't get a chance to do anything on it. We got a million calls from other people wanting to do it, right, and all the people we tried to approach were either afraid of it or totally into it. For some reason all the big bands wanted nothing to do with it. I have no idea why. For me, I think a lot of dance music and metal are starting to come together. Obviously it shows with Remanufacture, The Prodigy and Fear is the Mindkiller. It shows the collaboration between the two communities. So there was this rally bad stigma between some of the major artists who we wanted. They didn't believe in it, or they didn't like it. It was all these other underground artists who were calling us up and we decided to go with them. Junkie XL is one of the guys who we really, really like. He's some underground guy who we're never really heard of until he approached us. He approached us through Roadrunner, now he's actually signed on Roadrunner and is going to come out with a record. DJ Dano we were already familiar with as he does a lot of work for Locum [I think - Mosh] Records which is also a subsidiary label of Roadrunner and he does mainly the hardcore gabba stuff that you hear out in Holland and Germany. And Kingsize is a big underground DJ in New York who also releases his own records on ESP Records, which is part of Roadrunner also. In America it is, anyway. We really liked his style so we decided to make it a full length album because we didn't want them all remixing the same tracks. Now because it was going to be a full length album, we didn't just want to call it Remanufacture, we wanted to call it Cloning Technology, so we gave it a subtitle. Just to give it a whole new second concept.
Yeah, every track on the album's been given a new name as well.
There are a couple of reasons for that. One was because we felt that each track was different enough to have its own image and individual name. Secondly because it fit with the concept of cloning. Genetic Blueprint, Cloning Technology and all that kinda fit with what was going on with the CD and Demanufacture. They're both very relevant concepts. They both go along with each other. Demanufacture and Remaunfacture are basically the opposite of each other. Zero Signal - the whole meaning behind that was of someone who was very faithless; someone who had no faith. Cloning Technology is another way of saying Replica - it's the process of replicating. The whole meaning behind Flashpoint was a person who was lying so much it came back to him so he was burning, hence Burn. H-K was actually taken from The Terminator, so we took T-1000 from Terminator 2. Machines of Hate was one of the lines from the song and they just went along with each other. 21st Centure Jesus was originally a secondary title for Pisschrist. Bound For Forgiveness is basically what A Therapy For Pain is about. Refinery is an extra track which was going to be on Demanufacture but never made it, and Bionic Chronic is just this little insert we put on there. Now, Body Hammer/National Panel Beating - what that is is a place in Australia which works on cars. An auto body shop. And what they do is if your car's been in a wreck, they beat the metal back into shape. The tools they use in the shop are called body hammers, so we thought it was the perfect title for it.
And they get a free advert out of it as well!
Yeah, I'm sure people over there will see it and go 'Oh!' and put two and two together and realise it means something. But basically the concept of the record is cloning. That's what it's all about. Remanufacturing, cloning, replication. It was all started with Demanufacture where you take it all apart, and now we're putting it all back together again. Cloning - well, have you ever seen the movie Boys From Brazil? Or even Jurassic Park. Then on the news, all of a sudden, boom! Sheep cloning. All of our questions have been answered. It's not bullshit any more. It's not science fiction. It's not make-believe.
Was this actually something you followed in the press or more scientific papers before?
I don't read Scientific American or anything, but I hear all about it on the news, from movies, from watching The Learning Channel. I try to keep myself aware as much as possible. Even Time Life magazine touches on something like that. All this sparked a lot of questions. Where is this technology going to work? And how is it going to work? And why would anybody want to clone each other? I've heard about a Campaign Against Genetic Manipulation in America. The next step is going to be humans that they're going to be cloning and I think that's where it's going to get out of hand. Especially when this technology gets into the wrong hands. People are going to get carried away with it and I think they're going to want to bring things back from the dead and shit like that. I mean, what happens if you could actually bring Elvis back from his DNA strands? [Well, he isn't dead yet. Apparently. Told me himself at the deli counter at the local supermarket last week - Mosh] It sounds stupid, but it almost doesn't sound impossible any more. What happens if someone wants to bring Hitler back?
Like Boys From Brazil.
Exactly. And then clone the perfect race. It's not even make-believe any more. It's starting to become real. I understand in some ways it's progress, and in some ways it can be really cool. For instance what happens if you have a beef problem like you guys do now. You can clone a really nice healthy cow which doesn't have this disease and have proper beef. Also with fruit and vegetables which I know they've been doing for years. I think that's where it all started actually. So what we're trying to say on this record is that cloning can be a threat to humanity.
Well, that's a pretty thorough description of the album!
Well the whole thing fits in with the theme of cloning. The package has pictures of sperm cells and stuff on it. It kinda shows you all the things that are used to clone.
That's one disadvantage of getting the promo stuff. You just get a rather plain cardboard sleeve.
What we've realised about these remixes that we do is that it allows us to experiment. It also allows us to complete the chapter of Demanufacture and go onto the next album. You could say we gave these other artists the genes of Demanufacture and they cloned it.
You were apparently much more involved with this than you were with your previous remixed material.
Yes, we were definitely more involved for numerous reasons. The whole concept of the album, the titles, we worked on 6 of the tracks with Rhys Fulber. We spoke to every artist and told them 'leave some guitars and vocals in there'. And even when we got the finished tracks back we had to put them through the computer and make them a bit more musical, condense them and edit them a little bit more. Make it more of an album package, not one long club mix.
It's taken awfully long to come out. Is this due to it being reworked and reworked, or mainly other things taking up your time?
Finding the time to get it all done and finish touring. We were on tour for fuckin' ever. About two and a half years. We're not going to tour on the remixes because we really need to concentrate on the new album which we're trying to have out early 1998.
Have you started any work on that yet or is it all songwriting so far?
We've started working on it and we have three tracks already. They're all extremely heavy and extremely groovy! We're definitely keeping the base elements of Fear Factory - heavy riffs and heavy vocals. We're going to put a lot of stuff on top of it to make it more interesting and create something fresh out of it. We want to have certain parts where things break down and build back up. Just make it more exciting and make it a really good record. Bottom line is no matter what style we do, it's got to be good songs. That's what Fear Factory is. We like to record sections and pieces of music then we stitch them together to make music.
We've been around for more than six years now. It's been a funny mutation, but we've always reached. I'm really happy with where we are now.
The new album's been recorded. I believe it's to be called 'Water&Solutions'. Can you tell us something about it.
It's beautiful. I'm totally in love with it. It's the first thing Far has ever done that I don't have to justify or explain. It's the most 'Far' (said in Spinal Tap voice).
Tin Cans ... was, to me, a musical rollercoaster in places, uptempo one minute, quiet and introspective like the next. You could listen to it all the way through with no problem, but sometimes you get selective in which songs were played, depending upon your mood. Would you say that the new album is musically a follow on to 'Tin Cans ...' and this style or have you explored more new territories with it.
Well, it's still Far, but you make a good point. With 'Tin Cans' I found myself shuffling songs around depending on who I was playing it for. With 'Water & Solutions', I can play it right from the beginning and go straight through, no matter who's listening. I like that.
When is the album due out.
Early next year. There will be an EP out soon, with two new songs and two rarities. One is a Jawbox cover that we recorded with the Deftones, it came out great. The EP will be available through the mail and at shows.
And plans for after that. Touring? Visiting the UK and Europe this time round?
We really hope so. We've gotten a great response from there, so we'd love to come and meet people.
How would you describe your music. The reason I ask is that the place where I got Tin Cans ... says the following about Far. ''.. their aggro post Hardcore sound, like Quicksand or Fugazi'. On the other hand, you're signed with Immortal, and probably linked to Korn and the Deftones in the eyes of many people who have heard you. Would you see yourself as more in their mould. Do you think either of the descriptions apply or do you see yourselves as something completely different.
Definitely more Fugazi/Quicksand that Korn/Deftones. A lot of people relate us to that sound, but that's just label/location association. Much respect to those bands, we always love playing with them, and the Deftones are really close friends, but our thing is different.
How would you say it is different then. musically? emotionally?
Both. Musically, it's more song-oriented than riff-oriented. Again, this is not to say those band can't write songs, it's just different. Emotionally, there is more light, more joy, in with the darkness. Does that make sense?
Yeah, at least, i can make my own interpretation of it.
Would you say that your music has any sort of message. Should music have a message, or should it just be a form of entertainment.
Music has a message, whether you like it or not. Everything has a message. People who avoid and deny are making as much of a statement (for the worse) as anyone. At the same time, of course it's entertainment. It's FUN! The two are not mutually exclusive. If there's a general message to what we do, it's 'be true to yourself'.
Are Far a predominantly live band, or a studio band?
We love playing live, but this time around we really got more comfortable in the studio, just letting the songs have their own life. Sardy, the producer, helped a lot with that.
I often read bands saying a similar thing, and often wonder what that means in individual cases. So how did he help?
First off, he helped us take the songs down to their basic elements, and figure out what were the valuable parts and the parts where we were just wanking. During the recording process, he just had a great knack for getting us to give great performances that were emotional but technically there too. Finally, his recording and mixing techniques were just fucking amazing. Nothing super-fancy or tricky, just creative and intense. He really helped us let go of our egos and just make a good record.
Which I would think can be a double edged sword. everyone needs someone to be able to take them to the side, and give advice on when something is out of place. but that can affect the ego, especially if you consider it integral to what you're doing. so did it lead to any 'disagreements', or did you pretty much see the logic and accept the advice.
Getting ego out of the way was great for us. The best thing about the process was that, if we really felt strongly about an idea, we'd have to argue for it and articulate what we liked about it, and that made us that much better at executing the idea.
I've read that Brian Eno always argues every point of every song, even if he likes it, just to get the artist to really believe in everything they're putting in. That makes a lot of sense to me.
That seems fair enough. but is there a danger that it helps loose the freshness and spontaneity of a song. I sometimes think that maybe that's why some bands are better live, because it captures the moment, mistakes and all, whereas the studio maybe suffocates them.
There is definitely that danger, and if the energy is lost in the studio then the producer wasn't doing their job. There's always a beauty to live performance, and there's a beauty to the studio too. I don't think our new record sounds like a live show, it's not trying to, but there's plenty of energy and passion. Well, you'll see : )
When would you consider that the band is a success? Do you need to sell a certain number of albums?
I will always have music in my life. My favourite part of music really is just being alone in my room singing. It's what I do. In that sense, I'm all set, regardless of commercial success. I like to play shows and put music out to communicate with people. Art is incredibly powerful, and I love to create and share it. As far as financial success, if I can do what I love and support myself doing that, well, that's everyone's dream, right? I don't get the idea of doing something for money and doing what you love is your spare time.
We seem to be told that music is more diverse and open minded now than ever before. Would you agree?
In commercial rock specifically? No. Alternative rock is at a low point right now. It's okay, though, that's just a cycle. More innovators will rise. Hopefully we can tag along : )
Well I wasn't thinking commercial rock specifically, just 'rock' music (whatever that is) in general. I think I mean that supposed barriers between certain genres have allegedly been broken down, and the collaboration of artists from different genres, ie techno with rock, is making things more diverse. or so we are told.
I dunno, seems like hype to me. Call me cynical : ) There are always great artists out there, they just aren't getting paid : )
And at the end of the day, I never knew what 'alternative rock' was. Janes Addiction and Nirvana? That attack against 'metal'. I don't see it myself. Why was it alternative? Why not just listen to it all like I tried to do. Or maybe I just didn't get the point of it all if the point was to just create another barrier, another division between genres which really had the same base elements to them.
Metal was getting pretty ridiculous, it was ready for a kick in the ass. It had taken all the great energy and vision of bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc. and cheapened it, commodified it. Now the same thing is happening again, it's just that it's U2, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc. Getting ripped off and cheapened. Same shit, different day. It doesn't make me sad, because there's so much music to listen to, it's just funny to watch the wheel turn.
When I did an interview with you last, you said something like the loud songs are fun to play live, the softer ones more fun to listen to. So, do you go about writing a song which you consciously think is going to suit a live performance, or alternatively is going to only ever be on the album and not performed live.
We never let the 'live' factor affect our writing, whatever comes out comes out. There's one song on the new album that probably won't get played live unless we really have the right setting. One thing I love about the new stuff is that it's fun to play live AND fun to listen to at home. I think we're at a good place.
I heard that at your recent gig at the Troubadour, Chino from the Deftones was there, as was a certain Brian Warner. Does this mean then that Far are going to be causing moral outrage in middle America, and indeed the rest of the world, in the coming months.
We're way more threatening than Manson, because they're storming the gates, and we're a Trojan Horse. We'll get inside the city and then destroy it. Or rather, create it. : ) Brian Warner was really nice, though, and I think he's really intelligent.
What has been the highlight of your career so far.
There's a picture that's going to be on the back of our EP. I'm in the left corner, singing, and radiating out from me are several people. Everyone is singing, with a completely different expression on their face. One is angry, one is smiling, one is in the air. It's a beautiful image of how incredible a show can be. There are moments like that, they outshine any 'big crowd' story I can think of.
What would be your dream gig lineup. Would you be the headliners?
Sure, why not. Radiohead could open for us : ) And PJ Harvey could be off in a little candle-lit room, and DJ Shadow would be spinning in between bands. Smog would be over on the acoustic stage. Someday.
And finally, it has to be asked, Spice girls. Good or bad.
Cereal. There is music, and then there's cereal. They're Lucky Charms or something.
It's a miserable, rainy late-Autumn London afternoon. We've been hammering on the stage door of the LA2 for the last ten minutes, steadily getting wetter and wetter. Finally, a confused looking roadie sticks his head round the door and ushers us into the warrwen-like backstage area.
Ensconced in their dressing room (more like a broom cupboard), CJ and Hugo are steadily working their way through the rider and happily expounding on almost every subject under the sun. At various points during the interview, Pete, Willie (the King of Misery -but lovely with it) and Mark wander in to say hello. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Honeycrack...
Hugo is currently puzzling over whether he has any disgusting habits.
"Farting", he eventually suggests.
"Going to the toilet" counters CJ.
"I've been called the Gunkmeister" Hugo volunteers "Due to... er... expectorations and coughing on stage"
"He's a drummer", adds CJ.
Well, that explains everything.
"Britrock is just a trend, it's just the press lumping the bands together. Due to the demise of a certain band (CJ and Willie's previous band, The Wildhearts, had just split up at this point) we are now carrying the flag of 'Britrock'. We don't get enough coverage... It's not like we're in Kerrang! every week." CJ is not impressed by the mainstream music media. After the well publicised break with the Wildhearts and the sudden decision of the press that rock music is cool again, it's easy to understand his bitterness.
Hugo continues: "It doesn't mean anything. All of a sudden, the NME and Melody Maker have decided 'Oh, it's ok to like guitar bands'... fuck 'em"
"The British music scene... it's just... it's OK. I don't like any of the bands." CJ pauses, considering his options "I appreciate a lot of them and what they're doing. There are hardly any American bands coming out over here. The charts are all British bands, I prefer American bands. My favourite band at the moment are Satchel, and I really like the Brad stuff too. I don't listen to any of that Britpop stuff at all. It's getting a bit... retro."
How would you describe your own music?
"I'll tell you what it's not. It's not lounge jazz". (Cheers Hugo!)
Grinning, Hugo explains further. "It's rock 'n' roll, man. It's the only music I really want to play. It encompasses such a fuckin' wide variety of things from rap to, y'know, whatever"
I'm glad we've got that all sorted out.
CJ, would you sell your soul for rock 'n' roll?
"Absolutely not! As a consequence of me believing in neither God or the Devil, who would I sell it to? Sainsbury's?" "Rupert Murdoch! Nah, I could recommend a lot of bands who should sell their souls."
Care to name names, Hugo?
Honeycrack are well known for their outspoken opinions on the subject of drugs, so what do they think about the campaign to legalise Cannabis?
"It's prohibition, basically, isn't it?" Hugo argues. "As much as people scream and shout, the country is too backwards. There's the old Victorian mentality still there" Cj adds "Alcohol kills more and is socially acceptable. There are even alcoholic drinks for people who don't like the taste of alcohol! -Hooch and stuff. What is this?" "That really gets on my fuckin' tits.", Hugo announces "If you don't like alcohol, don't drink it!"
What's the stupidest question you've ever been asked in an interview?
"God, there are so many!", CJ laughs.
"D'y'know Frank Zappa's maxim on music journalism?" asks Hugo "People who can't write writing about people who can't speak for people who can't read."
Many of the tracks on Honeycrack's debut album, 'Prozaic' deal with weighty issues such as homelessness and rape. This begs the question of how political they really are.
"I'm afraid, like many people, that apathy has kinda set in with me." Hugo sighs, "I used to read the papers all the time and get terribly het up, go out and vote and this and that. It becomes overwhelming very quickly. Political parties always seem to be more interested in scoring fucking points off each other than actually getting together and solving issues - that's exactly what it's about and I find it very, very depressing. I think it's a symptom of the times. More and more, watching the news or reading the paper just seems like pointless voyeurism."
How many members of Honeycrack does it take to change a lightbulb?
"Remember that question about the stupidest thing I'd ever been asked....?" CJ laughs, "I've just been asked it!"
This interview was conducted a little under a year ago, just before the band's headlining show with Jocasta and A at the London Astoria 2. Due to circumstances beyond this writer's control, its publication has been delayed until now.
Unfortunately, the band are no longer with us, having broken up earlier this year. This interview is published as a tribute to their unsung genius.
I'd like to thank the band and their management for their unstinting patience and generosity in granting this rookie journalist's prayers. Also, thanks are most definitely due to Lizz Raikes, without whom, etc....©Claire
System of a Down are a four piece band of Armenian descent based in Los Angeles. Their music is heavy, powerful, and emotional, but offers an extra dimension, both musically and in the vocals of Serj, to the normal style associated with this type of music. They've been touted by a few, if you must, check the credits on the Coal Chamber CD, but at the time of this interview, they were still unsigned. This interview was with Serj and took place on July 29 1997
Ok, first off, what is 'System of a Down'?
System Of A Down is a band, it's a grim view of the world we live in, as well as the power structures (system) that put us to work, it's a 9 to 5 indentured servitude, it's an overlooked genocide, it's a shit load of people suffering, it's a class struggle, it's Armagetton, it's anything to the eye of the beholder.
How would you describe your music.
Our music is versitally emotional; at times sad, happy, wacky, zany, aggressive, horny, alive and extra crispy.
I only have a copy of the latest demo. What struck me was the quality of the songs. How many demo's have you done to date.
We've done 3 demos; the first, a garage recording, the second a better sounding one than the first, in the first year of the band, produced by Alex Newport of Fudgetunnel, and the last, well you have it.
Have you signed a deal yet.
NO, we have not, as of yet.
[Since this was done, Serj has told me that the band has now committed to American / Coumbia] What are the plans for recording an album, and touring after that, maybe the UK and Europe.
We plan to record our album by the end of this year, release it in early 98, and start touring as soon as possible. We definitely plan to tour Europe and the UK, of course, when I can't really say (don't know) as of now.
What influences do you have, both musically and in life? What annoys and inspires you?
Musically, we have very diverse types of influences, including, but not limited to, Goth, metal, rap, new wave, traditional, classic, death, thrash, blues, R&B, lounge, foreign, jazz, punk, etc.
Is there any Armenian influence in your sound. The beginning of Peep-Hole on the latest demo has a sound which is different to the norm, the 'when your stars are baked, and your rivers fly...' bit and I was wondering if this was an example of any influence.
Our Armenian influence exists, mostly indirectly, as well as other influences, however peep-hole is not really influenced by Armenian music, whatsoever, rather, it's more of Beatles, Tom Waits, with a dash of Bahaus, or so.
Are there any singers who have influenced you. At times I think about a more aggressive sounding Jonah from Far mixed with say Robb Flynn or Max Cavalera, and then something else again, which just makes your vocals, and the whole SOaD sound standout from the norm.
Vocally, I've been also influenced by a diverse group of music/singers, anywhere from death, punk, thrash, to Sinatra, but Mike Patton, and Chris Cornell, I guess would be my top two, if asked. In fact, I downloaded Faith No More's lyrics off your webpage, thank you.
Should music have a message, be it political, spiritual, moral, or should music just be almost nonsensical entertainment.
A: Both, and all of the above. A song can be for anything (multi-functional existence)
This may seem like a bit of a stupid question, but do you want the band to be successful?
You're right that is a dumb question, Yes.
So bands want success right? But then they say something along the lines of 'it really doesn't matter to us how many albums we sell.' If that's the case, then what is success to the band and how can it be achieved without sales?
We consider success the ability to play our music for a living, to spread our message, and to make a difference to music, and the world, in general. Why would I complain if the whole world bought our album, and listened to us, and gave us the tools to venture even further in our artistic endeavours. Those that say they don't want it are the ones confused about it. Don't get me wrong, we're obviously not a commercial band, and so we have a lot of conquering to do to get people to get us.
I found out about the band via someone at Immortal records who has worked with Korn in the past. Korn, and their sound, appears to be the latest thing. Would you consider yourselves to be a part of that 'scene'.
We never really fit in any music scene, here, at all. At first, people would be confused as to what type of bands to line us up with. We've played with Deftones, and a bunch of other cool bands from the area. We hope that our sound will be diverse enough from anyone elses that we can be considered standing on our own two feet.
That's fair enough, but I get the feeling record labels are simply looking for a 'new Korn'. Bands are being signed, but being dubbed with a label which might discourage and mislead some people. And somewhere down the line, the bubble bursts, and good bands are dropped. So is there a danger that you could get dragged into that scenario.
There's always a danger of a new band getting dropped by a label. We hope that we chose the right one for us, that believes in the band, and follows our long-term musical goals along with us, and has enough faith to stick it out with us.
What would be your dream gig lineup. Would you be the headliners?
A gig with the bands, Sabbath, Kiss, Bahaus, and N.W.A.? I don't know. We've listened to so many artists and bands, that that would probably have to be the hardest question to answer.
You can email the band at email@example.com,
Just as a footnote sort of thing, Serj said that the band has now committed to American / Columbia and Rick Rubin is set to produce the debut album.
If anyone is interested in hearing the latest
SOaD demo, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll set you
up with a dub.
Going to take a few liberties here, and review this album. I've been lucky enough to have a copy of an advance tape of the album for a few months now, and with it's release imminent, it should be ok to do this review. And it also means that finally, I should soon be able to get a copy of a CD as my tape will probably be knackered soon. A few of the titles may be slightly different in the final release. I think some of the brief instrumental titles will get merged. Even the title may be 'E-lux' not Electralux. Anyway, the background.
If you like Korn and have everything they've done, then you have a copy of Jon singing This Town with a band called Human Waste Project. If not, then it's on the bootleg CD's and you should search for it because it's incredible. That's how I found out about the band. They have the potential to be a great band. It was obvious from that recording, the demo backed it up further, and this is the real proof.
HWP are a band who share some stuff in common with Korn etc, in the power, but have more subtle moments. So if you like Korn, there's a good chance you will like this, but if you don't then don't assume that you won't like this. You may well do. It's different. Don't let any prejudices rule reasoning. At times they remind me of Janes Addiction, other times they are crushing. Kerrang! described them as having elements of Rage Against the Machine and early Nirvana. They've supported Suicidal Tendencies and they'll be supporting Tura Satana in this country. So there in itself is a pretty diverse mix, meaning that really, you've a good chance of liking this, if you give it the opportunity. They manage to mix it all up, and still stay interesting.
Aimee's vocals shine throughout it all. She sounds great on everything, whether it's a delicate trip, or the aggresive fuck you of Powerstrip. A vocal for all occasions although I guess some people will say they don't like them. Still, there seems to be a real passion in the voice, none of the bland bollocks you sometimes get. So anyway, a quick run through this thing.
Graverobbers from Mars - Aside from one of the best song titles of the year, this is basically an intro which brings to mind Janes Addiction circa the Ritual album. Eastern tinged, it just sets things up. Disease, shows that Aimee means it in her vocals. Great song. Drugstore has a sizeable riff, that reminds me of some of the moments from the Lard albums, ie, simple, but damn effective. Difference here is that it breaks up and go into other stuff, like most songs do, unlike Lard who pound it through to the end. Exit wound - just a cool song. Great vocal, sexy.
Catfish Is just a brief instrumental interlude sort of thing. Not much you can say about those sort of things. Some work, others don't. This does. Shine features more great mixing up of the vocals. Great chorus, good song. Hold Me Down has a really familiar sounding bass riff opens this one. Heavy start and main riff, before a lighter effective chorus.
Electra shows the slower, moodier side of the band. This is where the band show they can change styles effectively. Really dreamy sounding vocal before the song builds to the finish. Takes you by surprise after whats gone before. Also takes a few listens to accustom yourself to the change, but worth it. Drowned continues where Electra left off in terms of mood. Reminds me again of Janes Addiction at times with an eastern feel to it. Soon picks up the pace.
Interlude - another slower song. 2 out of 3. That may be the only real flaw with the album, in that those after louder stuff will maybe skip this middle section, saying that the album looses steam or stuff like that. However, if you persevere, then you get your reward, and if you skip, then it's your loss. Powerstrip - many will jump to this. One of the absolute highlights of the album. Heavy intro, bouncy, pissed off kinda lyric. One of the best choruses on the album, this should be outstanding live. Spokejam - a little jam. Spain has a familiar intro. This feels like maybe one of the more commercial songs on the album, though I have trouble picturing it being played on UK radio. Still, shows another side to the band.
Slide - powerful, catchy, fast and in possession of another great chorus. Shows that the wah effect can be used and be effective, even if Hammett from Metallica overuses. Dog - track from the demo, slightly reworked. When I first heard it on the demo, I was thinking it was punk sort of stuff. Now I think it's got quite a bit more to it than that. It is a great song whichever way you look at it. Get With It - finishes the album with a great, heavy but simple riff, and a laugh at the end that tells you that whichever way you look at the album, from the dreamier moments to the intense ones, the band still had fun, which is what it's all about.
So that's it. As you can tell, I'm shite at describing how songs sound. Songs weren't meant to be described, they were meant to be listened to, and that's what you should do here.
Sure, I have criticisms. She Gives off the demo should've been done, as should This Town, the track that started it for me. Fortunately, the band have apparently been in the studio, re-recorded This Town and it will be released soon.. The sort of song which would sound absolutely wonderful on the radio, and if you've heard it, then you know it has no chance
The full length debut from Incubus sees the band continuing where the Enjoy Incubus mini-cd left off. A mixture of Chilli Peppers and Faith No More isms essentially, with some extra percussiveness. In some respects, it breaks no new ground, yet in the musical climate of 1997 it's a breath of fresh air. Sure, there is a lot of good stuff around at the moment, but it's all going down the same avenues. As good as many of the new bands are, they're peddling the same fare. You've got the Korn sound, the Wildhearts sound, and the alleged 'new Goth' sound. And most stuff is following that. Incubus, despite being Korn labelmates, and having supported them here in January, avoid all those paths.
Redefine is a great opening song, with an excellent chorus, with Brandon in his full on Patton mode. Heavy and funky at the same time, it brings to mind the days of the turn of the decade when the funk metal thing was going at full pelt. It's a difficult thing to follow up, but they manage to do it with the next few songs, Vitamin, New Skin, Idiot Box and Glass. New Skin in particular standing out.
Magic Medicine is an exercise in pointlessness to these ears. Basically an instrumental, it doesn't really go anywhere or do anything. One of the many examples of bands wasting an opportunity with a song.
A Certain Shade of Green and Favourite Things fortunately pick things up again. ACSOF in particular stands out, a cracking riff, before it all gives way to a great chorus. Up to now, things have been predominantly pretty heavy, with extra effects and percussion thrown in and the almost obligatory weird bits thrown in. Then we get Summer Romance (anti-gravity Love Song), which is a whole new sound for the band. It's a great song, but in a way, rather than emphasizing the band as unique, it amplifies the FNM comparison. FNM in their lounge lizard mode. That's what comes to mind. A bit unfair to tag a band like that maybe, but with Brandon's vocals especially, it comes with the territory. The vocals are excellent mind, to my mind, it's a compliment to be compared with Patton. And it's a song almost as cheesy as FNM have managed in their prime. Quality
Nebula continues the quirkiness, before Deep Inside and Calgone finish the album off, Calgone in particular with a great chorus. Then it's the obligatory 'hidden track' of samples and tomfoolery.
Overall, this is a good album, which sees them building on the EP. It will take a few listens to absorb everything, and there are criticisms, but, if you liked the EP, or you like FNM, then get a copy of this. It's one of those albums from a band that leaves me wanting more. You know, you like the new album, but you immediately think 'damn, it's going to be a few more years before there's any more new stuff'. Pick it up the same time you get Faith No More's latest, and if you spot the Human Waste Project album, or the new Voivod, pick them up as well.
Life of Agony's third album sees the band expanding their sound quite considerably. Tagged with the hardcore label, which I don't think ever suited their music or Keith's singing, many fans see their debut, River Runs Red, as their best album. Personally, I think Ugly is the better, but fans of RRR who found the adjustment to Ugly difficult, are probably going to have an even harder time with SSS, unless they want to adjust.
The difference is not only in the music, which at times is more varied, and shows the dreaded maturity, but also in Keiths vocals. Always a standout point for the band, he's now altered them so that they don't have quite the same sense of overwrought overblown dramatics that previously dominated, especially on Ugly. It makes it more listenable, and is part of the reason maybe, why people will think this is 'lighter' and therefore a sellout. It's not. The lyrics are still as miserable as ever, though as always, they are miserable in that able to lift you manner.
And musically the band are widening their horizons, away from the Sabbath sludge fest. There are now some ballads, songs with pop sensibilities, though the likelihood of ever hearing them on the radio is pretty remote at best. Some of them don't quite hit the mark, but the majority do, and make for an excellent album.
Standout tracks for me are, Hope, Gently Sentimental, Desire and Haemophiliac in Me, which maybe shows their maturity as well as anything. A great song, that is extremely catchy and familiar sounding. Keiths vocals do dominate the album. There's lots of nice stuff going on musically, but you keep returning to the vocals. In a time of anguish, a true vocalist always stands out.
So, if you're an old time fan, you need to approach with an open mind based on what you'd previously heard from the band. If you're someone who has always been put off by the tag Hardcore then approach this album. Ignore the term, because it really doesn't apply, and enjoy this album for what it is. You'll get a lot out of it. So really, everyone needs an open mind, but in different ways.
Lots of bands recently have changed their sounds quite considerably. It makes you a little bit suspicious. Some have been slagged for it. Rightly. But it's often thought of as been due to the change. It's not. It's due to whether the music changed to is good or not. Some isn't. This is. Could've done without the re-working of Let's Pretend though as one of the bonus tracks. Ugh, bands having a crack at a techno or dance beat just for the sake of it. That's where criticism is often justified. But it's trend, and therefore, not often criticised enough.
For their 10th album, Voivod have made no concessions. Again. If ever there was a band that have seemingly been overlooked by the CD buying public, then it seems to be Voivod. When thrash was at it's height, they were putting out albums of complexity and imagination, such as Dimension Hatross and Killing Technology, which left the competition in the shade. Then, when thrash seemed to mature and explore, so did Voivod with their stunning mid career selection of Nothingface through to The Outer Limits. Soundgarden and Faith No More supported them on a tour of North America, but still they seemed to get missed. And then they returned to a more heavy, brutal sound with 95's Negatron, including CR-ROM multimedia section before everyone else got in on the trick. And still they were ignored, despite bands such as Fear Factory rising to the fore. So will things change with Phobos. Well, probably not.It's a sad fact of life that the best often get missed.
Phobos is a lesson in brutal music, but with samples linking tracks. In fact, to these ears it's probably the harshest music they've yet created, and the best in this stage of their career. And even better is that there appears to be some nods in the direction of the Outer Limits cd. Space rock I think it was called then. Cybermetal it seems to be now. Ah, everyone always needs a label.
Rise starts things off, after the short instrumental of Catalepsy I, with a classy riff, before launching into something which is seemingly metal, industrial and grindish at the same time. You also notice that Eric is beginning to establish his own vocal style and identity, albeit a lot of the time through heavy distortion. God, the name Marilyn Manson even springs to mind sometimes listening to the vocals on the album. Mercury has a more regular riff which soon gives way to the trademark Voivod guitar sound.
Phobos itself and Bacteria are the pinnicle of the album. Phobos starts out with a spaced out riff, which takes me back to the Outer Limits album, and is the most memorable riff on the album, while Bacteria has so many parts and things going on in it. The vocals are reminiscent once more of Marilyn Manson. It'a amazing to think that this is just a 3 piece
Temps morts is a gentle! instrumental featuring Michel on the accordian. A sombre piece, it breaks the album perfectly into 2 halfs, and unlike many similar instrumentals, seems to be a sensible choice.
The Tower is a more straightforward sounding song. Quantum sees the return of the old chug style riff. Probably the most straightforward tune on the album. Neutrino features a slow, familiar atmospheric intro and build up, before picking up the pace later in the song. Forlorn is probably the catchiest song on the album, featuring a kornesque riff, complete with squeaky bits, you know what I mean, treated vocals and Sepulturaesque chorus. The album then finishes off with Catalepsy II.
That's not quite it however, as there are 2 other songs, though not tieing in with the concept. The first is M-Body, co written with Jason Newsted of Metallica. What to say. Looking from 2 angles, it's a good song, but doesn't outshine the rest of the album, which shows really how good Voivod themselves are. On the other hand, it's heavier than anything Metallica have done recently, and is an indication maybe, of how things would or could sound if Jason was given the chance in Metallica. Having said that, it's probably not fair to judge on 1 song. The final track is 21st Century Schizoid Man, a cover. I don't really know the original, so I can't compare, but it sounds ok. Not outstanding, but not bad.
So that's the album. Overall it's a great Voivod
album. There are bits I don't like. The snare drum isn't as crisp
as it could be and the vocals are sometimes too buried in the
mix. Indeed the mix is probably the one distracting bit at times.
It's not the Voivod of the middle period, it's the new Voivod,
and as such is testament to their ability, creativity and longevity.
Course it won't sell as it should, because some will remember
their thrash roots and consider them too long in the tooth. Also,
the lyrics are not of the style that everyone has to do these
days in order to be relevant. But that doesn't matter really,
as this band are still leaders and originators in their field.
Do yourselves a favour and get in on one of the best kept secrets.
It may take a few listens, but it's worth it. And even better
in some respects, is that you have all that back catalogue to
then be able to go and collect.
Scarabeus are a young 4 piece band from Reading, who to these years deal in Seasons in the Abyss era Slayer, and Sepultura circa Chaos AD style stuff. Maybe there are other Death Metal references in there, but I wouldn't know as I don't normally listen to that sort of music. But for those of you who like the Slayer and Sepultura eras that I've mentioned, then this 3 tracker should be worth your while getting. All 3 songs, Frozen Dead, Gargoyle and Mortification have a good bunch of riffs, and some fairly interesting stuff going on, and I can even live with the vocals (no pun intended), which is fairly unusual for me with this sort of stuff. The production, by Mike Prior of Gomorrah isn't at all bad for a demo, and overall, this is worth checking if you like Sepultura without the tribal percussion stuff that they've been getting into recently. And as it's a demo, it ain't going to cost you much is it.
Contact the band at 2 Russell Court, Old Stoke Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 8DF. Or according to their latest info leaflet, Scarabaeus Info. 161 Kentwood Hill, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks, RG31 6JG.
Or you can get information on 01296 87459
The latest offering from Headcopter is the last recording with drummer Shaun, who has been replaced with Trousershock BC's drummer The Montrose Tractor. Living A Life is a hummable slice of their patented irony-rock and Don't You Ever Change is more of the same. How Many Planets is slower paced, and drags its heels a little on CD, but sounds great live. Stronger Than Me picks things up a bit and Lost In The Country finishes the set off very nicely indeed. If you're ever in Reading, check these guys out as they are even better in a live setting. Or alternatively, check out their web site (http://www.i-way.co.uk/~tburgess/headcopter/headcopter.html) and get yourself a copy of their first venture into the world of the compact disc.
Mary Beats Jane, the Swedish support band, arrived on the stage unannounced and without much of a response from the crowd. Pretty much stayed like that throughout their set. Some of the stuff got a little heavy, but really, there seemed to be a bit too much of a mismatch in bands. I'm sure a lot of Entombed fans could appreciate them, but not when they are expecting music of the like delivered by Entombed. Nothing stuck in the mind about them, although probably the circumstances were a bit unfair by which to judge them.
Entombed have provided me with one of the nicest surprises of the year in the shape of their current album To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth, so I thought I'd give them a go live. And it wasn't too disappointing at all. Admittedly, I seemed to be the only one who didn't know the opening song, judging by the number of others singing it, and the same happened throughout for pretty much any song not on TRSSASTT. But the stuff off of that album was cracking. The title track, Like This With the Devil, Damn Deal Done, Lights Out, Parasight and more. Cracking.
The band themselves are modern yet a throwback to a few years ago when thrash metal ruled the planet. Ok, you know, when Anthrax were a credible name to drop, Slayer were upsetting everyone by singing about Angels of Death and Metallica were still developing the crown and not even thinking of abdication. Vocalist LG Petrov could easily slip back to that era, and more power to him, although I have to say he was shorter and er, tubbier than I expected, couldn't help think of Blaze Bayley when seeing him. And the performance is unashamedly Heavy Metal, guitars to the sky, even if the rest of the band have the more er, credible look of short hair, shaved heads etc.
It was just great stuff, without having to worry about if you have the right tatoo, piercing in the correct organ or the right coloured (or strands of colour) hair or dreads. All the stuff that claims not to be trend and image oriented and yet is more so than ever.
So am I turning to a death metal head. Nah, don't
think so, although I may well check out some of the earlier Entombed
stuff. If you haven't heard anything by the band, then I recommend
you start with TRSSASTT.
Firstly, lets deal with support band 'A'. Janes Addiction. That's the immediate reaction as soon as the singer opens his mouth. However, musically they don't sound to like them, which is probably a good thing in terms of begin accepted as a band in their own right. Unfortunately, they don't quite have the songs to match up to JA. What could be their strongest asset could work against them. There again maybe not. Good luck to them, hope the voice doesn't hold them back.
But it was Faith No More that I, and everyone else, was really there to see. It's been too long an absence. I don't tend to agree with people much when they talk of an air of expectancy, but I think I might agree if it was said about this gig.
Anyway, they came on in their black suits and white shirts, except John Hudson in black and Puffy. What can i say. It was excellent, although I'm sure they crammed more into the venue than they should again. The band seemed on fine form. Roddy did a lot of talking (well relatively speaking) between songs, albeit in French for the first half of the gig.
Patton seemed to have fun with the fact that the place is called 'rock city', and mentioned rock city quite often. 'more new faith no more in rock city' etc. He also asked if everyone still wore cloggs and had cardboard guitars, cos they wanted cardboard guitars, cos it's rock city. That sort of thing.
At the end of introduce yourself, they started up something, just guitar noise, which Patton said he liked and to keep going, and he went into his noises sort of routine, swallowing the microphone almost. That sort of stuff. I haven't heard his adult themes cd, but from what people have said, it may have been something akin to that.
It was kind of strange hearing we care a lot again, with the 'nasa shuttle falling in the sea', and all those lines. Patton introduced it by saying, 'where were you all in 1986', And as much as I like the song, the lyrics feel dated now.
Before doing surprise you're dead, Patton went on about new being good, so what did that make old, which Billy figured meant classic. And then they start up surprise ... nice.
I didn't get to see them on the kfad tour. they did a mini tour like this, which I couldn't get to, were due to tour later, which I had a ticket for, then cancelled, so it's been a few years since I saw them. Patton seemed to be more interested than before, almost back to the days on the Real Thing tour (which was a tour that changed a few of my perceptions of how rock music should be done). So it all seemed ok there. But they didn't play 'what a day'' which I really would've like to have heard. And no Chinese Arithmetic, one of my fave fnm songs. Still, can't have everything. Oh, and no digging the grave, which surprised me.
The new stuff sounds good. A few songs had a definite metallic feel to them, strong riff running through, and one was probably the fastest fnm i've heard. On first listen, at least one song had a Bungle feel. Off the wall, not your usual sort of song. probably got the quietest reception of the night as well :) The other new stuff I guess harked back to Angel Dust, but not overly strongly.
John Hudson played guitar. Little more to say. He played well enough. For the first encore, Patton introduced him as the new guitar player, and that the next song featured his songwriting. At this point Billy pointed out that he was 'rebelling' by wearing black, and Patton said to crucify him :) Course it was a joke, but that element is still there that Faith No More these days are Mike, Puffy, Billy, Roddy and 'a guitar player'. I hope that they manage to stick with Hudson and get more of a band feel back together. Whatever's best for them though I guess, but I think the world needs Faith No More as a musical force.
As a PR exercise, you really couldn't fault this. Put a band that is getting a lot of coverage in the UK on for 2 quid, and throw in a free CD single or 12 inch single for punters. Get to see them in the close quarters of the smaller disco 2 area of Rock City. PR to the max.
Unfortunately, more than good PR is required to make a band worthwhile and exciting, and this is the area that for me, Gravity Kills fell down on. Yeah, they've heard the NIN comparison before, and from many more important people than me, and it won't stop them. But for someone who tolerates NIN rather bowing down and kissing their feet, I end up thinking, hmmm, NIN nails without the songs. At least listening to the CD. Live it'll be different, right.
Er, bzzzt. Nope. I haven't seen NIN so I can't compare the live performance, but, what I can say is that substance over style didn't stick out. Sure, they've got keyboard blokey in silly hat and a keyboard that he can push about in all sort of angles, and for a few minutes it grabs the attention. Then you start waiting for the songs to kick in instead. Still, maybe the guitarist will grab the attention. Well, it was a thought wasn't it. So you return to the songs. And wait, there may well have been one then. Damn, missed it. And that's the feeling throughout. There are a few songs where you feel that there is something there, but for the most part, it seems to be fairly bog standard fare. The acoustic interlude makes a change in the industrio/techno show of things. But just makes you think that if this was an 'unfashionable heavy metal' band instead of a 'techno so it must be exciting' band, then it would be called pretentious and self indulgent instead of novel.
Disappointing is the word to sum it up. Like when singer blokey went for a stroll along the bar top, you think, ok, he's going to liven it up, sing from the crowd, confront. But instead he just gets down and walks back around the side and up onto the stage. Disappointing.
But who am I to complain right. 2 pounds to see a
gig. Can't go wrong. Well, no, generally you can't go wrong, except
for when it's for a hyped band who, IMHO, just don't match the
hype at the moment.
Surprisingly disappointing turnout, given that Handsome have the backing of the mighty Kerrang! Or maybe that was the cause. Or maybe people are lazy. Doesn't really matter.
Midget. Don't you just hate it when bands get so young. Makes me feel like an old bastard, and not just because I am one. Anyway, first time I'd seen or heard them, so initial impressions are of another in the line of Wildhearts through 3 Colours Red through Symposium line, ie, heavish but melodic, and getting younger all the time. Another in the long line of Britrock contenders. The music seemed reasonable enough, maybe a bit light in the vocals, and the second single is, always has been and always will be called Camouflage.
Handsome. Well, the album is pretty good, although the masterpiece it's being proclaimed, I'm not quite sure about. But they must've been disappointed in the turn out and crowd. Having to encourage people to move to the front, and thanking those that stuck around at the end of a 45 minute set, is not a good thing. Still, Needles kicks things off and it is one of their best moments. My Minds Eye was next, I think, and by the time we got to the superb Left of Heaven, technical difficulties are setting in. First time I've ever seen a guitarist go through 4 guitars in 1 song. Which is a shame, cos it is an excellent dity. Dim the Lights is dedicated to Midget and is another fine moment. In fact, the entire gig made me rethink about the album. It's been a fairly slow grower on me, but after this showing, I think it's due a few more plays.
A short set, but it seemed obvious the band was disappointed in the turnout, which I can understand, although to be fair, being pigeonholed in the hardcore category means that initial visit's here are going to be met with reservation. Hardcore to most means Sick of it All, Agnostic Front, Gorilla Biscuits. This isn't. Sure, it has more in common with Quicksand, as well it should given the circumstances, but this is the melodic side of hardcore. It's not all this one dimensional form of music that some people see, there are different sides to it all, and Handsome are another. Not anywhere near as exciting as Sick of it All in the live situation, and that's where a potential problem is, as the majority of initial fans may be looking for that style of intensity. Still, if they can overcome nights like tonight, then they've certainly got a good future. Just would've been nice to see a few more people there.
Machine Head with a cast of thousands. Well, 3 other bands at least. So hold on and here we go.
Skinlab were the first band. Never heard anything by them before, but they'd been described as a cross between Machine Head and Neurosis. Not too convinced on the Neurosis comparison. Not as percussive or experimental, although they do make a very heavy and dense noise, which was very nice indeed thankyou. Also they managed 3 songs in their 20 mins, and of course, Neurosis would currently do about 1 1/2 :). Bit more accessible as well, in the Machine Head heavy way. Few technical problems, but they overcame. Second song, don't know the name, was long, heavy and had some really good stuff in it. The album is apparently out and will be tracked down and caught. Pleasant surprise of the night award to them. And unless my ears misled me, which is always possible, I believe they said they would be returning with Exodus.
Coal Chamber. Hmmm. I think they got the best opening reception of the night. Which would have nothing to do with them sounding a little too close to Korn for comfort, and more to do with the 'the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we don't need to water let the motherfucker burn, burn motherfucker burn' chant. Which of course everyone knew and joined in on. That's probably an unfair comparison to have hanging over the heads, but it's going to be there. They were good, in some respects better than I thought they would be, but there's the nagging doubt in my head. Still, the masses enjoyed a lot. The highlights of the album were played, including Loco and Big Truck. Dez wasn't putting himself about as much as I thought he would, but there you go. I expect them to be back and headlining the same places in a matter of months, because the buzz and the hype is there for them at the moment.
Napalm Death. Local heroes I guess, well, close enough if you ignore the football rivalries of the Midlands. Never been a fan, so the best bit for me was them opening with the Dead Kennedys seminal Nazi Punks Fuck Off, dedicated of course, to the National Front. After that, it was probably your typical Napalm scene, minus of course the stage invasion due to the Civic's staunch no surfing or diving rules. Suffer the Children, some from the earlier albums and a sprinkle of stuff from the soon to be released album, the best of which sounded like Prelude to me. Not bad. Hasn't converted me, but they were ok, although, they didn't get the local heroes reception I expected. Wrong venue for them really
And so to Machine Head. Got the sort of elevation
in popularity that Coal Chamber are about to have. Support major
band (Slayer) on UK tour, months later return to headline the
same venues, then have the 2nd album problem. Some noise preludes
Davidian which is still a powerful opener and the best thing the
band have done to date. Though the reaction from the crowd isn't
as frenzied as I'd have expected. That honour at the Civic still
goes to Korn. Take my scars and Struck a Nerve were up next, before
dipping back to Burn My Eyes for A Thousand Lies. The energy picked
up a bit, though Logan was going for it from the start. Unfortunately,
the new album has failed to blow me away, and I haven't listened
to it much, so they then played a few more from it, which I recognise,
but forget the titles of. But during some of them, the set seemed
to drag. I dunno, it was during some of the slower stuff. As ever,
the fast is faster, the slow is slower, but i don't remain convinced
by all the slow grinding. Robb seems happy enough to be around
and it's all pretty decent, though still, it seems a bit muted
in the crowd, which personally I think is partly down to the venue.
Blood for Blood is still powerful, Ten Ton Hammer from "the
new piece of shit" is a great song, despite the more melodic
vocals from Flynn, (sellout, pah bollocks). After asking who was
seeing them for the first time, who'd seen them the last time
and who saw them supporting Slayer, they launch into the customary
cover of the CroMags Hard Times. Some shit about the old school
showing the new school how it's done sets off Old. Don't like
that old school vs new school shit. People are there cos they
want to be, not for how long they listened. Everyone starts somewhere,
I've been listening for probably 15 years now, but that means
shit. Cos I started somewhere it still meant that I missed great
stuff first time round like the Dead Kennedys. Doesn't mean I
like them less now. Rant off. And Block or, Fuck It All to give
it the Flynn title finishes things off whereupon Logan goes on
a crowd surf around most the venue and out the corridor. Something
ironic that he's the only one really able to do that, and everyone
else is threatened with prosecution on entering the building.
70 mins and it's done. Not enough yet at times too much because
of the section which dragged. Guess I still can't make my mind
up. But overall, a great value gig, made better by the discovery
VOD are a band causing a small ripple in the states, but the reaction to them here wasn't up to much. Sure, the album was only released in the UK at the beginning of the week, but I've had it on import for months now, and they are causing enough ripples in the American hardcore scene that I thought they'd have got more of a reaction than they did. Something simialt I thought to when SOIA brought CIV with them the last time they visited, when the crowd was well into it. Or maybe it's that VOD are really maybe a bit too metal for a lot of TRUE hardcore kids, because the metal element is obvious in the guitar and the riffs. But there again, I reckon it's evident in most punk, hardcore and grunge or whatever these days. Still, Tim Williams seemed to put enough into it all, although I think he may have been disappointed with the reaction. Through My Eyes, Ways to Destroy Ones Ambition, Gloom and a few more from the CD were played, as were some from the 7inch, which i don't have. Highlight, as on the CD, was suffer, where Tim switches between his hardcore (sounds like Pantera to me) yell, and his melodic (I know he'd hate this and people will disagree, but sounds to me like Dexter from Offpsring) vocals. They'll probably return, and get a better reaction at a later date. Somewhat disappointing, but only cos I had such high hopes
No such worries for SOIA. For me, the best live hardcore band around. One of the best bands around. Energy, commitment from the off, but all with a sense of fun and community. Scratch the Surface is offered up pretty quickly, as is Built To Last, Us against Them, Consumed (thank god they still play it), Politics, Maladjusted. Basically, you name it, it's there. Stage and speaker stack divers aplenty, as you'd expect, and lots of good natured chat from Lou, introducing Dad, James Hetfield, promising to do a Saxon song, telling how Craig had fucked all the Spice girls, twice. Pretty much everything you expect from a SOIA show, including a few injuries, including to Lou, who got injured during Step Down but still carried on, even though, he was in obvious pain. The difference in atmosphere for the bands was incredible, SOIA probably love playing here, they seem to give that impression, and head back every year, and it's easy to see why, whereas VOD would probably think twice. But that's what you get for building up a reputation over a decade. They finish up with Borstal Breakout and Betray, and Lou telling us to be gentle with Vinnie from Agnostic Front when they play in a few months "cos he's getting old now, but don't say I said". Basically, you have to see this band live. Words can't describe it, it's something to be experienced. Contender for gig of the year.
technical difficulties is a word that springs to mind, mainly because ginger used it a few times. i'm one person who hadn't heard the new stuff, so on first listen, anthem was good. about 2 of the other new songs sounded good on first listen. the others i guess 'existed'. it seemed a lot of stuff had the added suckerpunch / naievety play effects, ie the 'new industrial / dance bits'. i'm sure in six months i'll love it, but for now i'll reserve judgement until i've heard it a bit more. anyway, the technical difficulties provided some nice highlights including a drum change after 2 songs, with ginger initiating a crowd singalong of 'palmer, plamer'. palmer being the roadie doing the change. anyway, during this time ginger thanked us for being there, blah.
then, for the start of i wanna go, there be no sound from ginger's guitar. so he flings it away and just sings. except that for the first verse there was no sound from jef's guitar either. not good really. so after that ginger had a few comments about one day the band buying radio mikes.
anyway, a bit further down the line, for another new song, he introduced the bloke whose name i've forgotten on 'female orgasm samples'. about 3 times due to them not working. so eventually it was the bloke with a name i've forgotten on crap. i think the guitars broke another 2 or maybe 3 times after that, with more mentions of radio mikes one day being bought.
then, towards the end of the set, the song before pump it up, well, the guitars went again! this time the crowd piped up with the 'don't worry 'bout me' chant, and when ginger did get a guitar again, just jammed along with it. bit like leicester last year, though not quite as good. but anyway, the grin on his face at the end meant it was either all a big con job, or more likely, the reaction helped to appease him and calm him down. put it like this, if it had been old marilyn manson, we'd have probably had a 10 minutes set due to all the problems followed by a temper tantrum and him stomping off stage.
anyways, they come back for an encore, and guess, the guitars gone. So there's a little ditty made up about 'a band that once existed, pretty good, nearly as good as u2 and rem, and they once ran into a load of money, and bought radio mikes.' so it would appear that the new record deal didn't include money for radio mikes.
there was a mention that every time they play rock city, the gear fucks up yet it's the best night of the tour. hmmm. also, another ginger quote at this point was 'i've got no more guitars. anyone got a guitar. i've broken my 2. it's not big, and it's not clever, it's fucking expensive.' oh yeah, and he threw the mike stand into the crowd. i did see it depart past me a few minutes later in the direction of the exit.
they finally sorted it out, did the 'what do you want to hear' bit. People shout for caffeine bomb, yawn, a few shout for geordie. danny said no, ginger introduced geordie and they played caffeine bomb followed by sick of drugs.
so a gig marred by technical difficulties. but it was good cos of gingers reactions. that's only a selection of the stuff. he could easily have just lost it and fucked off after a few numbers. he did when the played cardiff bogiez just before 'don't be happy, just worry' was released. The stuff went down twice, the second time Bam kicked in the drums, ginger told us to ask for a refund and left. but this time he saw it through.
not so sure on the new stuff yet, some of the old stuff seemed tired, lovebank was just shite it has to be said. i dunno, it just didn't sound good, and the vocals were almost non-existant, maybe that was down to technical difficulties, whatever. and headfuck sounded tired, i never thought i'd say that. yet it was still a good gig. contradictions abound, but then, that's always been the way of the wildhearts hasn't it.
So what do you say about a band like this? Go and see them is probably the best thing. I've heard that they were good live, and that Babar the bassist has, er, presence on stage, but I wasn't really prepared for this. The band play a mixture of ska, punky hardcore with Jello Biafra like vocals (at times), which is all good enough, but live, well, they are something else.
They also manage to swap instruments a couple of times, and still sound good, especially on Alien Spawn. Restart is cool, as is Poison in the Air. There were a few songs I didn't recognise, but it doesn't really matter, because you find yourself enjoying it all anyway.
The sound is their own, but should be checked out by a lot more people. And live, well, you just have to see them.
3D House of Beef
should be back in the UK from about October 20 - November 2 touring with Leechwoman and Scarabeus.
December 4 / 5 Birmingham NEC
Bush / 3 Colours Red
October 15 - Newcastle Mayfair
16 - Glasgow Barrowlands
17 - Aston Villa Leisure Centre
19 - Leeds T&C
20 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
21 - Southampton Guildhall
23 - Brixton Academy
25 - Manchester Apollo
27 - Newport Centre
October 1 - Manchester Hop & Grape
2 - Derby Uni
3 - London ULU
4 - Aldershot West End Centre
6 - Southend Esplanade
7 - Norwich Waterfront
Deftones / Far
October 6 - Wolves Civic
7 - Glasgow Garage
8 - Manchester MDH
9 - London Astoria
10 - Nottingham Rock City
Entombed / Neurosis / Breach
October 1 - Glasgow Garage
2 - Bradford Rio's
3 - Nottingham Rock City
4 - Liverpool Krazyhouse
5 - London Astoria
Faith No More
November 29 - London Brixton Academy
30 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
Dec 1 - Wolves Civic
3 - Manchester Academy
4 - Nottingham Rock City
5 - Glasgow Barrowlands
October 2 - Norwich Waterfront
3 - Leeds Duchess of York
5 - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
6 - Sheffield Leadmill
8 - Newcastle Riverside
9 - Edinburgh Venue
10 - Bristol Fleece & Firkin
11 - Blackwood Miners Institute
29 - London Electric Ballroom
October 4 - Harlow Square
27 - Leciester Princess Charlotte.
More dates to follow.
October 15 - Dudley JBs
16 - Norwich Oval
17 - London Camden underworld.
Life of Agony
November 7 - London Highbury Garage
December 16 - Wolves Wulfrun
17 - Bradford Rios
18 - Glasgow Garage
19 - Manchester Hop & Grape
20 - Nottingham Rock City
December 10 - Newport Centre
11 - Leeds T & C
12 - Wolverhampton Civic
14 - Norwich UEA
15 - Manchester Academy
16 - Glasgow Barrowlands
17 - Nottingham Rock City
18 - London Astoria
October 17 - Nottingham Old Angel with Iron Monkey
24 - Nottingham Rock City - supporting Strapping Young Lad
October 1 - Manchester Academy
2 - London Astoria
Misery Loves Co.
October 6 - London Barfly
7 - Wolves Varsity
8 - Glasgow Cathouse
9 - Buckley Tivoli
10 - Nottingham Rock City - same night as Deftones. Dumb eh.
Motorhead / dBh / Novocaine
October 18th - Glasgow Barrowland
19 - Nottingham Rock City
20 - Newport Centre
21 - Wolverhampton Civic Hall
23 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
24 - Portsmouth Pyramids Centre
25 - Brixton Academy
No Use For a Name / Swingin' Utters
October 16 - Newport TJs 18 - Glasgow King Tuts
19 - Leeds Duchess of York
20 - London Highbury Garage
Shades Apart / Samian
October 6 - Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
7 - Derby Victoria
8 - Glasgow Rat Trap
9 - Leeds Duchess of York
10 - Leicester Charlotte
11 - London Highbury Garage
12 - Tunbridge Wells Forum
Strapping Young Lad
Medulla Nocte support on some of the dates, or at least the October dates.
Supporting the Wildhearts. Rearranged dates are now
October 22 - Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
23 - London Highbury Garage
24 - Nottingham Rock City
25 - Norwich Oval
November 7 - Bradford Rios
14 - Rudgely Red Rose
Couple of dates soon being recorded for a live album
November 12 / 13 - Wolves Civic
15 / 16 - London Sheperds Bush Empire
Tura Satana / Human Waste Project
November 3 - Bradford Rios
4 - Glasgow Cathouse
5 - Wolves Wulfrun
6 Buckley Tivoli
7 - Nottingham Rock City
8 - Manchester Uni
9 - Sheffield Leadmill
11 - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
12 - Bristol Fleece & Firkin
13 - London Highbury Garage
October 6 - London Finsbury Park Powerhaus.
Album - Endless Nameless - October 27
November 3 - Cardiff Uni
4 - Nottingham Rock City
5 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
6 - Liverpool Uni
8 - Glasgow Barrowlands
9 - Middlesborough Town Hall
11 - Leeds Metro Uni
12 - Leicester DeMontfort Hall
13 - Sheffield Uni
15 - London Brixton Academy
16 - Norwich UEA
17 - Southampton Guildhall
18 - Reading Uni
19 - Bristol Anston Rooms
20 - Wolves Civic
21 - Manchester Academy
So many things to choose from, but anyway ...
Let's face it. Remixes were crap in the 80's when dance and pop bands did them. They're crap now. But they're trendy. Any band after credibility merely takes their best song, gives it to someone, adds a bleep here, a blop there and a drum machine, and Bob's yer uncle, Pat's yer Aunty and the Super-swirl-overkill-schizoid-this-is-crap-but-noone-says remix is the offspring. And they can then justifiably talk about how the band is moving with the times and embracing the new technology. And how it's ok, because it's so different it's a new song. Ok, so if it's a new song, and so easy to do, why not do an entirely new song in that style, instead of taking the basis of a song and fucking with it in the name of art. But therein lies the rub. Maybe it's laziness. Maybe lack of skill. Just can't come up with a new song. But take an existing one and add frills to it. Oh yes please.. Maybe it's record labels. They want new product, but the band is out of songs. finance 4 remixes of the same song, and you have a new EP. And because it's by their favourite band, people are too scared to slag it off, for fear of not being a true fan. Face it. Shit is shit, no matter who does it. Techno and rock are ok when done well. Remixes of pretty much any song though, are bollocks.Acknowledgements
Well, it wouldn't have been possible without the help of those who helped! Thanks to the people who have contributed interviews, reviews and whatever. Thanks to my CD player, for playing the CDs, and the tape deck for playing the tapes. Also to the bands who let themselves be drawn into doing it. And I guess to the people that tried to set up this thing in the first place.
Names are withheld at this point to protect the guilty.
Luvvie enough for ya?
Ok, here's a list
In no particular order
Mosh - for the decent interviews
Lizz & Claire - for more decent interviews
Rob - for info and a decent mailing service for decent bands
The word 'decent'!
Ian, Paul and Luke - For arguing about it all and setting it up in the first place
Anyone else - who argued with anyone else about setting it up. Wasn't constructive, but it was fun to listen to.
...and whoever isn't on the list that should be. More reason to get involved next time 'init. Think you can do better, you should be able to, so give it a crack.
Oh yeah, and standard disclaimer stuff applies. All mistakes are intentional, and views expressed blah blah. Don't take offence and all that stuff. Shutup!