So how do you approach an interview such as this? Well, you may do it differently, but for me, it was like this. Spineshank are in the UK supporting Fear Factory, and I have an interview. But Im not what you might call mad keen on the album. But I figure alot of people are, and want to read about them. Do you be upfront and honest, or do you go fuck yeah man, you guys raawwwwwk. Which, from my point of view, would be a lie. Well, I thought about it, and as Im sat about to talk with Tommy, drummer with the American band, I still dont really know how Im going to do this. I have some questions written which are slanted a certain way, but well whether I follow through with them I dont know. I should because its my opinion, and Im entitled to it, and bands should be able to take criticism. But when your sat face to face with someone, things can often change. So lets see what happened shall we? Well not really see, as theres no pictures, more read what happened. You know what I mean by now.
After greeting with a handshake, and passing on copies of the zine, it starts...
I wasnt really sure what to say or do here, but I might as well be upfront straight away and say Im not that keen on the album. Uh huh he murmurs as we both move a little uncomfortably, so maybe thats influenced a few of my questions, and the way my thinking is going. Anyway, the album itself, its a very NOW sounding album. Would you agree?
Yeah, yeah, he does agree, its definitely like a 90s new wave of metal thing. But its kind of weird I think it would probably have sounded the same if there wasnt the Deftones and Korn around. Because what we pretty much did was we took our heavy influences that we really like, and mixed that up with like the total opposite end of what we listen to like Weezer and The Beatles and other stuff we listen to. And we just put that together and this is kind of like what came up.
There is this Korn and Deftones thing at the moment which is probably influencing my judgement. I mean, Im not overly keen on the Korn album either. It just seems to me that theres so many bands trying to sound the same. So how do you see this style of music extending over say the next two or three years. I know youve only just released the album, but how would you see you extending towards the second album.
Well I think the style is reaching a saturation point. You know, youve got the originators which everyones going say Korn and the Deftones yknow. And then other bands, like the Coal Chamber and us that came out. And basically people think that we copied the style, but I mean the way we look at it is weve got to be a band that grows and continues to grow with every album. A band that continues to change and add new things. Spineshank have only been around for like 2 1/2 years, so were still young and I believe weve still got a lot of growing to do and were still going to continue to add new things to our sound. I mean weve learnt a lot of new things in the last 2 1/2 years so were going to continue to keep our music changing. The people that do listen to our music would get bored listening to Strictly Diesel part 2. So its definitely going to be different and theres a lot of things that we want to do on the second album. So I think we can continue to grow with the scene, because we usually take big steps. Like from what we did before Strictly Diesel to what that was was a huge step and no-one ever thought wed do that. And we plan on taking just as big a jump, and hopefully bigger on the second album. So its not going to be the same thing and were not going to just milk what we do now. I mean to us it doesnt sound like Korn or Deftones or Fear Factory. Its our music and we played what we wanted to play. We play for us. I think it wouldve been fake to play something we didnt want to just because its going to be the next thing yknow. We play the music that we wanted, that we felt proud of and made us feel good.
It may just be the way that its coming across in this country, but you mentioned Fear Factory there and at the moment the Spineshank name is almost synonymous with them. Spineshank = Dino discovered them. Do you see that as a hindrance and this tour, although its good opportunity for you, just re-enforces that view.
Yeah, I can see that. But basically youre given the opportunity. We could either be on the road opening for them or we could be sitting at home. I mean Fear Factory definitely has people in their fanbase that would enjoy Spineshank. I mean a lot of people go Dino got us signed and Dino this Dino that, but yknow, we didnt actually know Dino until we made our demo tape. Thats how we met him, through Spineshank. And theres a lot of other people that have helped us. And we worked our asses off for them. The whole time it took us to get there we busted our asses and did what every other band does to get there if not more. We sold everything that we owned, we were living in the streets for a while to get there. And you know, its like sometimes it pisses you off that people are saying that it was maybe handed to us, because it was definitely wasnt. Weve been in the music business struggling for 10 years. I think its going to all die out. Were going to do this Fear Factory tour and then well move on to something else, and then I think that people will see that we have our own merits and we are our own band and we do have the beginning of our own sound. So I mean, if someone wants to be that closed minded, where they keep reading about the Fear Factory connection then theyre too close minded to get into anything new anyway.
I dont know what its like in the States, but over here it definitely feels like theres the mentality that if you like Korn and the Deftones, Fear Factory and Marilyn Manson style on one hand, and then youve got people into the whole skate punk thing on the other, so is there a band that you think you could open up for that would successfully expose Spineshank to people outside that Fear Factory audience?
I think we pretty much want to make music where we can tour with anyone, Napalm Death to say Weezer. I mean Weezer would be stretching it a little, cos were a lot heavier live than we are on tape, so we kinda do focus more on the aggression. But were ready to tour with anyone. I mean, the last tour we had was with like an alternative band, they sounded like Live, so the people that were coming to see them were latching onto us. So I think theres a something in the music. Theres a little bit of everything, its got the melodies and the dynamics, and then its got the heaviness. So theres a wide range of people that we could tour with I think.
Moving away for the moment from all that kind of stuff, last weekend Lynn from Snot was killed. Has that had any effect on yourselves, and do you think it will have had any impact on the scene in the States?
I hope it brings everyone together more, and realise that a lot of the petty things that everyone does in LA, all the bullshit and shit talking that everyone does, I hope it makes everyone realise that were doing a job and were all in it together. Its just sad that it happened cos he was a great guy and a good friend of ours. They were one band that we were definitely looking forward to touring with because we had so much fun with them and he was a great singer and they were a great band. Its just tragic that it had to happen.
It was a shock.
Yeah definitely, its just terrible.
When things like that happen, do you ever wonder what it all means?
Oh yeah, I mean I have a two year old son, so I question that on a daily basis. Is it worth it, is it worth it to be over here playing music that could like only last me six more months from now. My sons going to be there forever. I dont know what else there is. To me, this is basically everything Ive worked for my whole life. Since I was 10 years old Ive been playing music and scraping money together to buy equipment, finding a place to practice, looking for band members. And then when we did get together, recording demo tapes and passing them out. And then we did that, finding out how to get heard, how to get the music to the right people. I dont know, its what Ive always wanted to do, and know Ive got the opportunity, you take it.
I guess youve done Europe as well by now on this tour. So how was that?
Its been really good. Surprising. A lot of people have heard all our songs, and when youre 7000 miles away and half way across the Earth and you get these people that know us! Were doing signings and theres people that have got our CD, its mindblowing. That people out here actually get it, have got the CD and like us. To us its totally weird and we cant even comprehend it. Some kids tell me some of the things that the CD has got them through tough times or inspired them yknow, or theyre covering one of our songs. Its amazing. Maybe our CDs doing to someone what Appetite For Destruction did for me. Its a really cool thing.
(ah, me little cherubs whove read Yaz before will know where this one is leading. American band - European crowds. No prizes for guessing this one then!) A question Ive asked a few American bands before, is there a difference that you can detect between American crowds and European ones?
So far I like it over here better. Kids jump a lot more over here. Thats what all the bands tend to say. Yeah, they jump here, and I dont know, they just seem more receptive to stuff. And a lot of people, especially in LA, are in a band, and its always competition. Theyre always looking at you and picking you apart the whole time, whereas over here its like I like music, lets have a good time and they have fun. So far I like the crowds over here better. I havent seen anything like it in the States.
Course it seems that everyone says that. Mr Cynic, who just happens to reside close to me thinks that its the diplomatic answer, but hey, maybe there is actually a grain of truth in it. But as Ive never been to the States to be able to judge, Mr Cynic still has a loud voice. (So Dave, if thats what you think, why do you ask the question?) Ah shut up Mr C.
Another thing that sometimes I read about with crowds in the States as well, is the level of violence at shows in the pit. How do you feel as a band feel about that stuff.
Most people know what theyre getting into in the pit. youre definitely at risk to get hurt, but when youve got some fucking knucklehead in there throwing his elbows and trying to hurt people cos hes the big guy and he wants to pick on little people, then thats stupid and ridiculous. People like that can leave, cos they are there to hurt someone. And thats not what its about. Basically people go to a show and use it as a release and youre out there to have a good time. Maybe go drink a little, smoke a little, whatever you want to do. Youre out there having fun and then you get some guy pound you in the head, its senseless and stupid. I mean Ive been in the pit before where big guys have done the same to me. If we see anything happening well definitely say something about it and try and stop it. Same with security when theyre beating up the kids. Everyones there to have a good time. I mean, there is a feeling of together, when you go down in the pit and someone helps you up. And its nice to have a feeling like that. But you get the punks in there and its fucked up.
I havent been down to the London gigs on this tour, but I went down to see Slayer, Sepultura and SOAD, and there was one security guy there.
Yeah, the one with the long hair. That guy is definitely gonna get an article in some magazine. Hes pumping the kids up, that guy was amazing. I was watching like for half the show that we were playing. I think hes probably the coolest security Ive ever seen in my life. And he looks just like the new singer from Sepultura. And the kids know hes cool and respect that. You dont want to start shit with someone who is being cool to you.
I make no apologises for almost repeating that point that was in the Seps interview. Security get a rough deal a lot of the time, rightly cos they havent got a clue. But this guy has, and it should be pointed out to others. They should be made to watch him, to see that you can actually work WITH a crowd not just against them. Hes getting a reputation. Maybe it only takes one in this instance for others to have to notice. Anyway, back to le interviewe.
Right, sometimes I try to do semi-topical stuff (though by the time it gets through to review in some magazines, its out of date). Anyway, at the time of the interview, Christmas is fast approaching, and America and the UK are giving Iraq an early present wrapped up in a shitload of missiles. Just to warn them not to get any ideas about getting any weapons themselves.. So do you have any opinions on the latest outbreaks of activity in the Gulf.
I dont want to get into the political kind of things, and I havent seen enough of it to base an opinion on it. Ive been basically sleeping everyday he grins. Getting on the bus and going to the next show and sleeping. So I havent seen too much of it. I just hope our plane doesnt get bombed on the way home. I dont have too much information. I hear maybe its a cover up for Clinton and the impeachment thing.
I was wondering if youd agree that the way things come across sometimes, or at least are tried to be put across, is that its America saving the world again. And yet the rest of the world is laughing at America.
I dont know. I mean it seems to me that America is always the first ones in whenever anything goes wrong. To me I havent really thought about it. It doesnt look any different to me cos I hear it all the time. America and maybe Britain are always the first ones in. I dont know, do you see it that way?
Sometimes. It just comes across as America sets itself up as a role model for the rest of the world. And yet its got enough of its own problems that it needs to sort out, the drug problem, Clinton, racism, the were shocked that it could happen to us of the Oklahoma bombing. Why? It can happen there as well as anywhere else. And so America is presenting this front, and the rest of the world is laughing at them. And they dont realise!
Anyway, the other current question that Ive been going with at the moment is the case of Dr Jack Kervorkian who did an assisted suicide on TV so that he could get arrested to bring the whole euthanasia debate into the public.
If someones that desperate that theyre going to do it, then theyre going to do it with or without his help. And he puts himself in the position where he doesnt actually do it, he just gives them the means to do it. I think suicide is a stupid thing in the first place. Things have to get better.
I think theres a misuse of the terms. Theyre saying assisted suicide, but its euthanasia for people who are terminally ill. And in that instance, hes trying to save any more pain, and there is no getting better.
Yeah, whose right is it to say that youre going to sit there and suffer for the sake of doing it. If people are terminally ill and they want to be, then let them be put out of their misery. If the family members are in agreement. Its that persons life. Theyre the one whose suffering, not others. And for someone to suffer just for principle is ridiculous. Its kind of a morbid thing to do and its kind of weird, but he (Kervorkian) is serving a purpose.
Only a couple more things now. The millennium coming up. Does it mean anything to you?
Not really. Like I say, we want to do the second record, continue with it, and hopefully get people to see us as Spineshank and not the band that sounds like this or sounds like that. Were going to tour and tour, keep on writing. To me its just going to be another day. Basically I live my life day by day, so I dont think the world is going to change on that day or anything.
Final question then now. Im going to be doing an interview with Dino straight after this, so what is the question that I should ask Dino?
Oh, he laughs. And pauses. And thinks. Uh. Still thinking. Fuck. Still thinking. Shit. Thinking. Still thinking. Id ask him if he thinks we sound like Fear Factory at all? There are other ones I could think to ask him, but theyre probably not good to ask he laughs. Wonder what that couldve been then? Well never know. see, I like to leave you with a little bit of mystery as well.
And with Tommy doing my job for me of thinking of the questions, we finish up. Shaking hands he says that, with respect to my not being overly keen on the album and everything, that he hopes we can change your mind tonight. Truth be told, they didnt really. But Ill give him the respect that he met anything head on, and seemed honest and pleasant. Now its time for you to make your own minds up about the band.