bum out! Dunk your food in cider for a cool spiced apple taste with a
autumn kind of feeling. That is why this website rules!
2. What made you become a musician?
Well, I had a lot of things to do, you know? A lot of chores, and the first
chore was always the worst. When you first wake up in the morning and you
have a big list of chores slipped under your pillow and tucked under your
mattress you know it's going to be one of those days... you know? Just a
long list of things to do before the sun sets and then some good old
fashioned traditional night-work to polish it off. The problem was
sometimes I would have dual double chores and I would have to finish the
first set chores before I could even think about getting to the alternate
lists of back up chores, and the stuff would pile up. I remember one
weekend when I had at least two dozen primary chores on the front lines with
a healthy stack of back up and secondary alternate chores that I was
supposed to do in the downtime between the setup and take-down of the more
important chores, the thing was I would already be working with my hands
dipped into at least two different pies, so even if I had some cross time
between a chore layover I was already over-commited to the chores that were
already underway, and once I committed to a chore I would never let it rest
until I could completely mark it off the list. One day I decided that I was
through with only doing other peoples pie work, and I decided to start
adding my own stuff to the chore lists. I marked down that I was going to
take ten minutes everyday to eat candy and to do some push-ups. And
everyday I always made sure to get some kind of candy in my gut, no matter
how small or rotted the candy may have been, I had to fulfill the chore.
And I would do one pushup before I went to bed as I chewed on the candy. My
Mom and Dad thought that I might like to start playing piano when I was
about five years old. So, I took some lessons and I really liked them, it
stayed with me through and through and I kept on playing the keys to this
very day. In high school I stopped taking piano lessons, but I was still
figuring out stuff by continuous playing. I'm not the greatest piano
player, but I can play enough to get by. I can make the first and last
moves and get the song going, and I can always figure out what I need to do.
I really would like to get better at playing, so I always keep practice
and playing high on the list of cool stuff to try and do. It made it become
what it is, and my parents made me become a musician and I made myself
become a kid and my parents made me become a man and then we all made me
become a maker. You know?
3. Who are your musical influences and why?
It really all starts and ends with pure grandness and large scale standings
and high production values and a cinematic vision to view things as they are
and not what they could be! All music that takes it upon itself to be as
best as it can be, all music that tries and tries and uses all it's might to
build up the most fantastic power that music can build. No reservations or
doubts but instead absolute conviction and dedication and committment to
what is overwhelming and devine with a complete and total uncompromise to do
anything less than everything! You know? So like, it's not an influence
it's a belief! A belief that things can still be made and always made
better and that they should! And that's the thing, the influence is all
music! The influence is music itself and life and possibility that music
isn't a bunch of stuff that we talk about and look at, but an absolutly all
consuming and overwhelming magnificence that blows aways all other senses
that things should not be blasted! That's the beauty of it!!!
4. What is your favorite instrument to play and why?
Well, I play the piano most often, and I guess at the end of the day it's my
favorite one to play, but that's probably just because it's the one I can
play the best. I really like playing drums too, but I'm not as good at
that, but listening to drum parts and working on any kind of drum stuff is
what I really get floored with! I just love it! So I guess piano and drums
are my favorites to play... they're both percussion instruments, so they're
related. I learned to play drums from my experience with piano... any
instrument can help you play another one, except maybe wind instruments...
but I mean, it all ties in together at the end, right? Awesome!
5. What did you think of the Masquerade in Atlanta?
Any place that's named the Masquerade is awesome! With a name like that,
it's got to be good! Right? I thought it was one of the best concerts
we've ever played! We played in Tampa the night before (also at a place
called the Masquerade!), and then we went to Atlanta - it was a back to back
Masquerade ball and I couldn't imagine it having been better! People went
totally crazy, the crew went into full-out stance and best of all, it
6. What is your stance on gun control?
Well, I've never owned a gun, and I've only fired some guns at shooting
ranges, so I can't speak too much from direct experience. There seems to be
some stuff that's really cool about them, but then again, they're made to
shoot and shoot to get shot and shot to die... you know? So I think it
could be tightened up or maybe loosened a little bit, it seems that with
some help and pushing we could clean up the gun trouble... right? But you
know what?... this is a huge control thing that I can only just touch on - I
know that there are people out there that are working on this 24/7 on both
sides of the line! Keep up that work!
7. Have you ever inhaled?
Yeah! Totally! I didn't do drugs until I was 21 and I didn't get drunk
until I was 21, because it's against the law, but then again, doing drugs is
always against the law, but you know what I mean. Sometimes I think I mess
up when I'm trying to inhale and I don't get the smoke all the way in the
right parts of the lung. I think an open ported blow space is just waiting
for some smoke, and I'm still trying to figure out who's responsibilty the
transport of smoke belongs to!
8. Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
Yeah, I totally believe in psychic stuff, and psychic people... but I kind
of like to think that everyone can do that stuff, not just special people,
and of course I also think that some people that say they're psychics are
just trying to trick people... but that's cool, because it can still be
really fun. Either way, I do believe that there are many things that happen
that tradional science cannot explain - there are some theories, including
the holographic theory that attempts to explain everything in a new
scientific way, like string theory too. I've had a nice handful of psychic
experiences myself and they've all been amazing and mind blowing. They've
been situations where I've had a similar dream as someone else, on the same
night, or where I've guessed what someone was going to say, before they said
it, out of no where... you know? It's crazy when that kind of stuff
happens! I love it.
9. Tell us the story about how your band was born.
Well, I was playing all these songs and working on recording the record with
out anyone at first. I was determined to play concerts even if I had to do
it by myself. I really wanted a band, but at that time I was living in New
York City and I didn't know anyone who really wanted to be in it. I put
some ads in the newspapers and I would ask around to see if anyone wanted to
do it, but it never really got rolling. Some people didn't want to be in
the band because they didn't like piano and keyboards and stuff, so it was
hard to find someone who liked it all... but I was patient, and in the mean
time I tried to play as many concerts as I could, hoping that I would meet
people that would maybe want to be in the band. I did start meeting some
cool people that helped me out, and over about a 6 month period, I assembled
the whole band - most of them came from Florida because that's where the
drummer came from: Donald Tardy. One of my favorite bands of all time is
Obituary, and it's hard to explain sometimes, but I mean it... it's the
best! The guitar parts are amazing, the singing is absolutly insane, and
the drumming is some of the best drumming ever. They just have this certain
feeling that no other band has, and it's pure glory. Anyway, so for years I
had loved Obituary and while I was looking for band members a crazy idea
came to me that I should write a letter to the Obituary drummer and see if
he would play drums on my CD I was making. It seemed really unlikely, but
at the time I had nothing to loose and I thought that you only live once so
I might as well ask him, you know? So, I wrote him a letter and sent him
some songs on a CD and just hoped for the best. About a week later he
called me on the phone and said he wanted to be in the band. I was so
excited I almost passed out! I couldn't believe that Donald Tardy, my
favorite drummer, was actually calling me on the phone, and now he's telling
me he's going to play drums in my band? "This is crazy!" It was definetly
one of the best days of my whole life and every morning for weeks after that
I would wake up and just be happy because Donald Tardy had told me he would
by my drummer! It's only gotten even better since then. Donald has taken
this whole thing and ran with it around the world! He's the best dude and
just killing the drums every time. It's awesome. Three of the other dudes
in the band: E. Pain, Gregg, and Sgt. Frank, are all dudes that D.T. knew in
Florida and they've all blown me away! We got Jimmy from a dude that knew
him from years and said "this is the guy to play guitar"! We couldn't do
this the way we're doing it, without these dudes. You know? This is band is
so good I can't even believe it, and it just keeps getting better! Wow!
And of course, while we're on the subject, the crew that we have is amazing
too. Big Daddy is our stage manager and he's told me he's in it til death.
He's on top of it and a real pro and the nicest dude you've ever known.
Thank goodness he's doing this! And Kendall is our guitar and bass tech and
he's definetly one of the funniest and nicest and coolest dudes ever, and
Rich our drum tech is a total wiz at the kit, and of course Big Shirt our
sound man, who's the wisest of us all, makes the whole dream sound like
reality in fantasy! And Paulie, our tour manager, who keeps the show
rolling in a hard riding chilled out way. He's very on top of things, but
also laid into a solid groove that makes panic attacks a thing of rare
beauty. It really is the best group of people. I'm so lucky to have them
10. How do you feel about the music industry and the way it treats you?
I feel great about it! How could I complain? You know? I've been really
lucky to have an excellent group of people (just like the band) who have
been incredibly supportive and involved from the very begining. The record
label I'm on is called Island Def Jam, and they've been awesome. They've
given me a lot of opportunity to do what we thought was right, and what
would make things best. They always tell me their thoughts on an idea, but
in the end, it usually comes down to me, and I am so happy about that. I
really respect it. I always want to have their input, you know? I figure
that they know a lot about what they're doing - the actual business of
music: the promotion and that kind of thing... if I concentrate on doing
what I know how to do, and they focus on what they're good at I think it
will all work out pretty good. A lot of people have bad experiences with
record labels, and I can understand why... all I used to hear about was how
major labels suck and that you shouldn't trust them etc... and I am aware of
the potential for a lot of problems, as there are in any kind of business,
or just dealing with different people and different ideas... but for me and
this music it has been O.K. I think if you can get everyone focused on the
same outcome, and try to keep everyone involved, or at least hear them out,
things have a good chance of working... you know? It always seem to go
better when everyone's working on it, but I can also see why some people and
some bands want to tell the record label to leave them alone. I just
figured, this is company that has a lot of experience and I might as well
take advantage of that. In the end though, I know that everything can
change in a blink of a watered eye, and next thing you know I could be
dropped from a record label, or I could wake up dead, you know? So I just
want to make the most of it while I have it. So many bands work so hard for
so long and they don't ever get the kind of support I've been given. It's
really not fair why some bands get more help than others... at least, I
can't figure it out. I'm really glad that I've had so much opportunity so
quickly and so much attention from the people I'm working with, and I try to
use it and respect it... you know? Basic stuff. But sometimes I think
about my friend's bands and all the bands I grew up playing concerts with,
and I think about how they would really be happy to have even a small
fraction of the resources I've been given to work with. I try to always
keep that in mind, because that's where I came from and that is how this all
began, and I don't want to ever forget how amazing this whole thing is.
This is a one in a million thing.
11. Tell me your feelings and opinions about America going to war with Iraq.
Do you think North Korea is more dangerous?
This is a huge topic and I want to admit up front that I don't know as much
about this as I would like. But I'm working on it, and between research and
talking to friends that are very involved in politics and global affairs, I
feel like I'm getting a better grasp on it. I know some people who try to
ignore the whole situation, and then I have other friends who seem to think
of nothing else. I can understand both sides, but I tend to feel that the
state of the world, and the state of this country is intense and warrents a
lot of informed attention from everyone who lives here. But there's so nuch
information coming from so many places, it's hard to know who to listen to.
That's definetly one of the drawbacks to the age of information - with so
many options, where do you begin? You know? But it just takes some effort,
and that's what I'm trying to do. In my opinion there is no excuse for not
knowing something - if I don't know about this stuff it's my fault. All I
can say at this point is peace seems better than war. And I think it is
that simple, and even though I don't know the best way to go about that, it
seems that with all the past experiences humanity has gone through, there
would be many ways to resolve conflict without force. But what do I know
about running a country?
12. Describe yourself as a person.
I am 23 years old, and I'll be 24 this May... whoa for a second there I
actually wasn't sure if I was 23 or 24... I was born in 1979 so it's got to
be 23 going on 24! I'm 6'3" and I weigh between 200 and 205 pounds
depending on when I last ate and last went to the bathroom. My goal is to
get to 215 pounds, and I'll take the weight however it comes. I'm
constantly on a build up mission. I've been trying to consume 6,000
calories a day and at least 200 grams of protein, ideally I'd like to get
the calories up to 10,000 a day, and the protein up to 350 grams. I need to
focus and dedicate more to this mission, but I am also patient and I know
that it is a mission with no end that will last to the end of time. And I'm
fine with that. It will happen as I long work to do it.
13. What is your greatest achievement?
Right now, my greatest achievement was drinking 3 glasses of milk, eating 3
cans of tuna, and 3 cups of plain oatmeal in one sitting... it took about 2
hours to finish, but when it was over I knew something great had happened.
14. How do your parents feel about your music career?
My parents feel really good about it. They've been supportive since the
very begining, after all, they're the ones who started me on piano lessons,
so if they were bummed out about it now, it would kind of be their own
fault! But luckily they are very happy, and proud just like any parents
would and should be... and that's awesome. I really lucked out again when
it comes to parents. I have a lot of friends who don't really talk to their
parents or don't get along too good, and I had times like that when I was in
High School, but over all I've been handed the world's greatest Mom and the
world's greatest weirdo Dad, but he knows he's weird, so it's cool. They're
smart and wise and good. I feel really glad knowing that they're not quite
as worried as they used to be. Both my Mom and Dad are equally excited, but
the biggest change in attitude has been with my Dad. He's really excited
about the whole thing - I think it's something that he's getting to live
with me at the same time. And I think he feels really good about me being
happy. You know? I'm just glad that they're not worried, because I used to
put them through a lot of concern, my Dad was expecially concerned about me
not going to college. He was convinced that I was going to wind up
miserable and doing something that I didn't want to do, like some dead-end
job... but back then I told him that I was going to be happy no matter what,
even if music didn't work out in a way that I could survive on, I would
always be able to do fun things that I loved, even if I had to have some
simple jobs at the same time. And I still believe that to this day. Things
change and lives change, but no matter what happens I'll be able to find
happiness somehow, somewhere as long as I look for it, and the reality is,
it's always right in front of you. You know? So now, even if the music
thing hadn't happened, I think he knows that I would've been O.K. and I'm
going to be O.K. in the long wrong, and that's good. I love my parents.
15. How does a Michigan boy end up on the streets of NYC?
There are several ways to go about it, depending on your unique situation
and where exactly you live in Michigan. I was living in South East Michigan
about 45 mintues aways from the Detroit Metro Airport, and I had enough
money to fly to New York, so I took an airplane. You can take the Amtrak
train too. I did that once and I got to ride in a sleeper car. It was so
cool. You can also drive, and that can be practical if you have a lot of
stuff to move. When I was 18 years old my Dad and I rented a van after I
had found a place to live, and we drove most of my stuff out to New York
City from Michigan. It's not that long of a drive, but it's definetly more
fun if two people do it. Not to get back on to Mom and Dad stuff again, but
thinking back to it now, it was really great that my Dad drove me out there
like that. It was a big deal for him, because he wasn't too crazy about me
moving to New York City without a long term plan, so it took a lot for him
to go along with it. My Mom said it was like I was going to college without
going to school, meaning that I would learn a lot either way, and learn some
stuff that you can't learn in a school... you know? She was right. By the
way, I know that to some people out there, me talking about my parents and
how much they helped me might seem uncool, or that it's not the "real" way
to do stuff... you know? Like, in High School people would think it was
weird that my Dad would pick me up and drop me off from shows I would play
at, or when people would laugh at me because my Mom would let me borrow her
mini-van to drive out to band practice in Detroit... but I was 15 and 16
years old, and I was SO glad to have parents that were willing to do that!
You know? I don't know if I would let my son or daughter hang out in those
scenes... but my parents trusted me in some kind of crazy way, and it wasn't
like they weren't worried... believe me, they were very worried, probably
more than I'll ever know... Sometimes I would get home from some long
distant trip, like driving to Chicago to play at a punk festival when I was
16 without even telling my Mom. When I got home 2 days later it was like 4
in the morning and she was up waiting in the kitchen, very upset. I told I
would never do that again, and I didn't. I can only imagine, but I think
being a parent is probably the hardest thing in the world.
16. Is there a message you are trying to express with your music? What is
17. How did it feel to open for Aerosmith?
It was amazing and totally new. We've played at some big concerts around
the world, but getting to be on tour and open up for the same big band every
concert was really great. I hope we get to do something like that again.
Everyone was really nice to us, especially Joe Perry, who went out of his
way to get us on the tour in the first place, and he would always come up
and talk to us and just be super cool. I was so blown away by the scale of
their show! They had like 10 semi-trucks of gear! You know? It's amazing!
And I know there are bands out there with even more than that... I love
being around that kind of energy. All the people working together to get
the concert up and running every night, that's my favorite part about
touring besides actually playing the concerts and meeting people... I like
the way it works: the sound checks, all the equipment, the set up and take
down... I get a really good feeling from all of that. It rules. It's
funny, because on the Aerosmith show I always felt out of place, like I
shouldn't be where I was. You know? Don't get me wrong, everyone on their
crew was super cool to me, but I would just feel like I was some weirdo dude
who creeped back stage and was lurking around! The best thing for me was
to see a band that was still doing what they had been doing for so long, and
they still killed it every night. Steven Tyler is one of the greatest
singers ever, and he was going out and playing every concert like it was the
last concert they would ever get to play. I mean, you could tell that he
really enjoyed it and there was no sign of them being lazy or bored. You
know? They were still excited about what they were doing! And so were the
people that came to see them. It was a huge honor to be part of something
like that. I think it went really well, and every night I got to meet
people from the audience, and it was cool because I think a lot of these
people never would have heard of us or gotten to see us otherwise. It was a
great opportunity that I'll remember in detail for ever.
18. When is your next album coming out?
I hope it comes out in August or September of 2003.
19. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could have one book, one
person, and one cd with you who would that person be and why? What would
book be and why? What would that cd be and why?
The person would be any cool person that wanted to come out to a desert
island and hang out. It depends on how long I was going to be out on the
island too... if it was for a few days then it would be cool just to hang
out a friend, if it was forever than it should be a woman so we can make a
baby to carry on the tradtion of living on a desert island. Maybe it would
be cool to have a dog on the island cause they would help to hunt down food
and stuff. I would be cool with that. As far as a book goes I would like
it to be a really long book so that I can read it through out - I think a
condensed encyclopedia would be good. It would be one big book with a lot
of information. But those books usually have really thin pages, so on the
island climate they might not last long, but I'd take that risk. And for a
CD I would like to take a CD of really nice classical music I think, like
Bach or something. Something with a proven track record over time. People
have been listening to that music for hundreds of years, so it should last
me a good amount of time on the island without getting boring.
20. Who do you consider the greatest musician of all time?
George Howe. I don't think he's the greatest musician of all time, but I'll
bet he's a cool dude. He's actually known for being a candy-maker, but I
seriously heard that he could sing really well too. They have a website
called George Howe (http://www.georgehowe.com) and it's awesome. They have
a lot of great things on there, and if his singing is even half as good as
the candy, then he's definetly got a chance at being the greatest muscian of
all time. I'm really into candy, and I like Bach, as I said above... J.S.
Bach made amazing music always... you know me though, there are so many
great people out there, I can't possibly just choose one! How should I
21. Has your life been changed by Sept. 11? If so how?
Yeah, of course! I think it changed everyone's life... you know? But what
more can I say that hasn't already been said? I'll say what I think: I
think it's added a thick layer of uncertainty beneath day to day living.
Everything is not O.K., but was it ever? Maybe it's just more obvious now
that the world is intense. It's made me think more about what really
matters, what I really believe in, and what I'm going to do about it. It
makes big problems become little problems and it makes it very obvious that
as long as you're living you're doing O.K. You know? It makes it more
clear that I'm not invincible and that I should value every waking moment
even more - enjoy it while I have it. It makes planning for the future more
difficult and living for today a lot easier. You know? I don't know where
to even begin on this... it was the first time I ever felt directly involved
in some kind of major disaster. You know what I mean? It was the first
world event that I was a part of. Everyone in this country was, and around
the world too I think. You know when you hear of a bombing in another
country, or a horrible disaster even in your own country, if you were not
directly involved you have a distance that makes it all a little less real
and less of an event in your life, because you weren't there. But when
Sept. 11 happened everyone was there. You know? Most importantly for me
though was an intensifying of the stuff that I really love. It might sound
weird, but after Sept. 11 singing songs like Party Hard became more
important than ever. And while a lot of people around me were doubting
things and saying that people needed to get more serious and stuff, I felt
very differently... I felt like our only hope was too hold on to the things
that made us happy... whether it was music, or movies, or friends, or jokes,
or drawing, or comic books... whatever it was, hold on to it with dear life,
because those things are what make life worth living. The best weapon we
have in the fight against those people who wish to cause us pain and sadness
and above all fear, is to enjoy our lives and have fun. And I don't mean to
be careless and irresponisble and I don't meant that there isn't time to
mourn and reflect, but to stop doing what you love on account of a major
disaster, is in my opinion, giving in and giving up. There has never been a
more important time than now to do the stuff that you love and believe and
to do it with all your heart.
22. What do you think of President Bush?
I don't hate him as much as some people do, and I don't love him as much as
other people do. It's not that I have a neutral position, but I am not
completly against anyone who's in his position. I may not agree with some
of his ideas, or I may not agree with all his ideas, but he's got a lot on
his plate. He's only a man after all. I couldn't do what he's doing...
maybe he can't either.
23. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be and why?
I would think it would be cool if all restaurants were all you can eat.
This idea is not my own, instead it was presented to my friend Bruce who
runs a Yahoo Message Board Group about food and gaining weight. Some dude
wrote in that all restaraunts should be all you can eat and think that's a
great idea. You go in, and you're presented with a flat rate fixed price
and then you can just eat until you're full. It makes sense to me. I
started a website with Bruce called http://www.hungrymanpowerhouse.com and
it's all about gaining weight and eating more food. Bruce is this awesome
dude who has introduced me to a lot of cool information about eating more
food, and the site is totally free help on how to build it up. I grew up as
a really skinny kid, and I am absolutly determined to never go back there
again. I'll do whatever it takes, but I will not rest until I'm well fed.
24. What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
I don't have one favorite movie, luckily I have a bunch of favorites, you
know? As far as newer movies go, I really like the Lord Of The Rings
movies. They are so well done... you know? The visual craftmanship and the
commitment to something completely of it's own. It's a really big deal to
me, and I am so happy that they've been as succesful as they have. I really
like Dead Alive too, which is an older horror-mega-gore movie by Peter
Jackson, who directs the Lord Of The Rings. He's awesome. I saw the movie
The Ring, and that was cool too. If you notice in that movie one of the
main characters has a sticker by the band The Refused in his locker. I
thought that was awesome. I like most movies, and I love most movies. I'm
the kind of guy who is really happy with any solid good movie. You know?
I'm not very picky. Movies are one of mankinds greatest achievements. It's
so hard to make a movie and there's so much involved that to me it's a
minor-miracle that they even exist in the first place.
25. Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?
I would like to weight at least 215 pounds. If I can do that everything
else will take care of itself.
26. Describe your music.
I try to make it exciting and fun, as I said before, that's the main thing I
want to do. I love music, and like most people, I love all kinds of
music... but in terms of what I want to do, I really want to focus on those
specific euphoric blasts that come from extreme happiness and excitement.
You know? The ecstatic realization, however brief, that life is amazing and
awesome, and that you are not seeing it from a distance, but you are in it,
in the middle of it, right in the core of the bleeding heart! And to fight
against that feeling is impossible and you might as well give into life and
live it! Spend less time figuring things out and more time enjoying them,
whatever they are! Loose control and let life live you, rather than you
live life. I want the music to be music. And I want it to overwhelm, but
you have to let it overwhelm you, you have to be brave and give yourself
over to the unknown a little bit, you know? What do you have to loose?
It's not crazy... it's fun. And it's worth it. As always, I'm trying to
make the most exciting song ever, over and over and over and over and over
and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again... You
know when you hear a song that you love and it just hits you over the head
with power? You know how it fills up your whole body and you can actually
feel how good it is? You can feel how good it is! You know what I mean?
When music is really good, any kind of music, I get that feeling. A real
phsyical feeling that sends shivers all through out my body and I get chills
and butterflies and best of all, complete and total driving happiness... and
it could even be from a really sad or angry song... but that feeling makes
me feel good, no matter what kind of music it is, and I get happy. I think
people can get that feeling from all kinds of different things, and when you
get it, that's it, you're hooked for life. Being alive is the pursuit of
that feeling, and any little bit of it you can get. Maybe when you die
that's the way that you feel all the time. That would be great... we'll all
find out someday.
27. What was your most memorable live show and why?
Every concert is memorable for different reasons, and I'm glad to have good
memories from every concert we've ever played so far. I'm sure in the
future we could have a horrible crazy time, but even that's something
totally memorable that I'm sure I will look back at and laugh at. You know?
Everyday is memorable and that's good. If a day goes by and it's a
forgettable day, then what was the point of living it? You know? Maybe not
everyday will be the best day of your life, but why not look at each day as
potentially the best day of your life and work from there? Live it all the
28. What song do you like to play the most live and why?
Wow, sometimes it changes from night to night, sometimes week to week.
There will be times when I most excited about playing the song "I Get Wet",
and then other nights I'll be most excited about "Take It Off" or "Ready To
Die", actually "Ready To Die" is always one of my favorites, but I like all
the songs so much, not one will stand out as a favorite for me... but I have
favorite parts of the concerts, I really like its when I can play some piano
on the songs. I really love playing the piano on "We Want Fun", when that
kicks in at the begining it's so awesome! The next album has tons of parts
where I'm going to be able to play the piano for even longer amounts of
time. I made sure when I was writing these new songs that there would be
just huge parts where it's just the most slamming killing music and I could
just bang away on the keyboard! I can't wait to play these new songs
29. Do you have a special message you would like to send to your fans?
Thank you! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!
Thank you very much for believing in the music and for liking it in the
way that you do. It means the world to me, it really, really does. And I
will do my best to continue to give you reason to love it. You have given
me some of the best experiences in my whole life that I would never have
been able to have without you. Hold on and don't let go. This is only the
very begining, and I am honored that you've decided to be here with it.
It's never too late to get it going! Thank you very much for coming the
concerts! Thank you very much for hanging out and making it fun! Thank you
for going completely nuts at every concert! That's what it's for! You know
it! Most importantly, always know that this exists for you. Not me, not
someone else, but you - you and your friends and what you like. This music
wants you to take these songs and make them what you want. Whatever you
think this is is what it wants to be. I can't even begin to tell you how
excited I am about this whole thing. It is yours, it is because of you, and
you should consider yourself responsible for whatever awesome things happen.
You are not only a part of this, you are the whole thing! Everything and
anything that you've done is more than appreciated, it is loved and honored
and respected. You are the reason this exists! Let's keep doing more than
we think we can, and let's do it more than ever before. Thank you with all
my heart. You know. I know. WE KNOW.
30. Give me your favorite quote of all time.
"Life is short."
» Read More
I got the chance to pick the brain of the former Blackheart from the Bronx, Ricky Byrd. He has ideas about everything and anything. That fucking kicks ass in a person. I met the man behind the guitar. Read on!
MusicIncider: What is your birth date?
Ricky: October 20 (We will be inducting him into the Libra Association soon.)
MusicIncider: Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
Ricky: I believe anything is possible in this world, but I don’t necessarily believe in TV psychics. You know, the ones for 3.99 a minute, but I am sure there are certain people that have the gift of knowing more than the rest of us.
MusicIncider: Have you ever inhaled?
Ricky: Yeah, I have. Enough for many people, but that was a long time ago. Only my hair is chemically dependent now.
MusicIncider: Who are your musical influences and why?
Ricky: It goes from one end to the other. Al Green, because I love his voice. I have this real simple way to see if the music is moving me. If the hair goes up on my arms and I get this chill-than it moves me. The music either does or doesn’t. So Al Green does it. Otis Redding does it. Early Rod Stewart does it, and the Stones go to the top of the list. Sam Cooke, same thing, he had this great voice and this great phrasing. Sam Cooke had this sense of melody that nobody has had before or since. He possibly got it from the gospel that he grew up on. Stones, Faces, the Who-just because of their teen angst when I was a kid. Humble Pie I grew up on-Steve Marriott was one of my favorite vocalists…and he became a friend later on, early eighties. He had this powerful voice.
When I was a kid in New York, I moved from the Bronx to Queens. I hung with this little group of people, and believe it or not, every third person didn’t play guitar back then. There were like four people that played guitar in the whole school, so we hung in a clique. In this little clique that I grew up with, we loved English music. We used to buy Melody Maker all of the time. I dressed like that. When I was fourteen, I was wearing a velvet jacket and my hair was all spiked up. You know, scarves around my neck, and tight pants. And this was all from Melody Maker, where I saw The Faces, and The Kinks, and The Who. I was just in love with British rock. The American stuff that I liked was the soul music like the Temptations. The reason that I got to see that stuff was hearing it on radio, and seeing it on the Ed Sullivan Show. I could see The Kinks, Sam and Dave, Tom Jones…all in one show. Radio was the same thing. AM Radio played all that stuff on one station. I love Sinatra too. I heard all of that because in the old days, radio and TV played all of that stuff on the same station. It wasn’t so divided. A lot of people are missing out on some really cool music.
MusicIncider: Tell me the story of how a guitar first wound up in your hands.
Ricky: Well, it is the same as a lot of people my age say. It was the Ed Sullivan show. I was a quiet little shy kid. I grew up in the Bronx as an only child. I didn’t fit in with the smart kids. I didn’t fit in with the leather jacket greaser kids. I was right in that weird place in the middle. It was hard to find a little clique.- When I saw the Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show, I saw these skinny guys shaking around with large noses and girls screaming. I was like yeah, this works, I could do this.
After this, my mom came home with this little acoustic guitar which I still have. This little no name acoustic, between that and seeing the Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show, I just started to play. I picked it up really fast. When my parents divorced, we moved in with my grandparents. My grandfather came from this big family where each one of them played an instrument. My grandfather played this Hawaiian lap steel. He would sit with this guitar, which is from the twenties, and show me these songs. I still have this guitar today. He would help me learn them on the acoustic guitar. So it was like a couple of things meeting at the crossroads. I play bass a little, all kinds of guitars, and I play mandolin a little bit.
MusicIncider: Tell me about Ricky Byrd’s musical history.
Ricky: I started playing in bands at church dances, doing stuff like Humble Pie and Maggie May. I read an article in the paper that some band from Boston was looking for a guitar player. I was about seventeen. They were called Susan, and they were from Boston. I think they put out a single, or something like that. I answered the ad. I got the gig, and they moved to New York. We started playing the clubs in New York. I met Carol in 1977. She brought Tommy Mottola to one of our rehearsals. He signed us on the spot to a production deal. He signed us to RCA. We did one record. We toured the country opening for Graham Parker and the Rumor and a band called Squeeze. After that, we played here in New York at the Academy of Music which later turned into the Palladium. The Palladium is now gone and is a Circuit City.
We did one tour. The band broke up.-
Tommy managed Hall and Oates. - Hall and Oates guitar player, G.E. Smith, became a friend of mine. He later became the guitar player on Saturday Night Live.-Tommy asked me to do a tour with him as his other guitar player. I did a tour with G.E. . When that was done, I didn’t know what to do next. At that point I met Steve Marriott from Humble Pie, and he wanted me to be part of the last version of Humble Pie.
At the same time John Waite left The Babys, a band in England, and came to New York. Somebody hooked us up and thought we would be great together. We met at a club and started writing. We were talking about putting together a band. At the same time , Carol worked at Leber Krebs. Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna used to sell records out of their car (The Bad Reputation Record), and they had this little office in the back of Leber Krebs. They told Carol they were looking for a guitar player. She mentioned me. I went down and auditioned for Joan. We played a couple of songs together. I had a choice to make. Humble Pie, one of my favorite bands from when I was a kid. John Waite, one of the great rock and roll voices of all time, or playing with Joan. I obviously took the Joan gig. We recorded the I Love Rock and Roll record. We went on the road. It became number one. The Blackhearts had about five or six years. We were doing really great-I Hate Myself for Loving You, Crimson and Clover-then it got a little Spinal Tappy, through a lot of different circumstances. Such as Neil Bogart dying, and switching record labels two or three times, etc. After a few albums, we hooked up with that writer (I can’t remember his name.) that co-wrote I Hate Myself with Joan. He was the guy that co-wrote Living On A Prayer and Living La Vida Loca. I co-wrote about fourteen songs with Joan over the course of the time that I was there. I played with her and the band from 1981 to 1993. I left the band and got a couple of publishing deals, one right after the other-I was with Sony for about four years. And then what happened was, I got a call from Roger Daltrey. I did a Roger Daltrey record, and then I did a radio tour with him. We did Regis & Kathy Lee. We did Letterman. That was cool. I got to play with a guy that I once stood on line for four hours to see when I was a kid. Roger is like the coolest guy in the universe. My birthday was at Abbey Road Studios in 1993, and he gave me one of Pete’s Les Paul guitars that he had hanging out in his basement, which was pretty damn cool. After that, I did a tour with Ian Hunter. It was right after Mick Ronson passed away. I can’t explain the feeling of playing the opening riff to All The Young Dudes, a song that I had been listening to since I was thirteen. Then I made a commitment to stay home and work on my own stuff. I tried putting together a couple of bands in New York, and I just couldn’t get the right combination. Carol suggested I just go out with my acoustic guitar and just play solo. It changed my life.
I went out and started playing and writing and just creating my own style. I couldn’t have done this if I had just played electric because I was so up to my neck in the style that I had for so many years. It started adding layers to what I already had, being the front man, playing on acoustic and having to write differently. Since then, I have just been working on my own stuff. I put a record out. It was a live record that I put out about four years ago. It started out as (the record) just a vehicle where we wanted to get more gigs. I got a great review with Billboard on that CD.
But we did this four track thing here at The Bitter End here in Manhattan. I had Simon Kirke, from Bad Company, on drums. I had Kasim Sulton (The Blackhearts, Meatloaf) on bass. We did this little live record that I sell at gigs and on my website. My website is rickybyrd.com. There are all these cool pictures from my career on there and other tidbits.
It came to the point were I was ready to do a studio record. I wanted to find a producer. There are a couple of people that I love now, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams. I love that kind of stuff. The guy that co produced a lot of that music is named Ray Kennedy. He lives in Nashville. He is a real eccentric, crazy guy. I went to Nashville and chased him down. I said dude, I want you to produce my music. I had to wait. He was doing another Steve record. He was doing a Ron Sexsmith record. I had to bide my time. This was 97-98, and I am still not finished with the record. It took a while for him to get back to me. I finally went down there November of 2001, so right after September 11th I went down. We did about twelve songs. Ten of them are going to make it to the record probably. I am still not finished. Right now, he’s remixing the sampler that we are going to send out to move to square two. What kind of music is it?-It is a combination of everything that I grew up on. It’s got a lot of rock and roll in it. It has R&B soul in it-a little Al Green, A Little Otis. It is just the cool stuff that I grew up on, and it is what I have been waiting all my life to do. I have the Memphis Horns on it.
I am just grooving like a big dog in space. Hoping we don’t go to war. I got a beautiful baby named Francesca Leigh and all is good in my world.
MusicIncider: Tell me your feeling and opinions about 9-11.
Ricky: I have a song called Turnstile that’s going to be on this record. It is about my feelings about New York. 9-11? Shock, Horror. We were just getting up that morning. We watched it on TV. I didn’t quite hear the plane, because you hear planes all of the time. I was watching the news. All of the sudden, the guy starts screaming on the radio. People went running past our apartment building covered in white, and covered in debris. Who knew what was going to happen next? We were evacuated the next night because we live near the Empire State Building and there were all those bomb threats. The armory where the families were going is like three blocks from our apartment so we spent a lot of time down there just trying to be helpful. I spent a couple of long nights down near the site volunteering at one of the feeding centers. You just felt like you had to do something.
MusicIncider: What kind of memorial would you pick for 9-11 victims?
I would make sure that the footprint of the place was a beautiful park where people could go, and then start from around that.
MusicIncider: Tell me what you think of two baseball teams. The two teams are the New York Yankees, and the Atlanta Braves.
Ricky: Well, I don’t give a fuck about the Atlanta Braves because we beat them (laughing). That was an amazing World Series. I was there. In fact, on my birthday in 96 I was at the game. Carol had Happy Birthday Ricky Byrd up on the board for me, which was really cool. It totally surprised me. My friend that knew what was going to happen took a picture of it, and I had an 11” X 17” print made. I have been having Yankees sign it. Carol calls me a stretched out twelve year old, but that’s me. I grew up in the Bronx, right up the block from Yankee stadium, and I have season tickets. That’s my peace now. That’s where I go back to be twelve years old. I go to about thirty games a year. Last year, we sucked and we didn’t deserve to go any further than we went. The year before that was the most emotional and incredible year. I went to all of the World Series games right here in New York. It was surreal. I was there the night Bush threw out the first ball-just the fear of going up there. In fact, there’s a book out that I was mentioned in by this fireman friend of mine named John McCole called The Second Tower’s Down. On the first or second night, I went over to the firehouse to get one of their memorial sweatshirts to wear to the game-it turns out one of my friends, Lieutenant Mickey Kross, was one of the guys they pulled out alive-and this fireman asked me if I would bring a banner and hang it. To make a long story short, they spray painted one of the sheets that they were using down at ground zero with the Engine Company 16 Ladder 7, and all the guys’ names. I brought it on the train-which if you remember, all Ted Koppel talked about was anthrax-all these people were saying fuck you, you can’t stop America and taking the trains. All I could think about was anthrax, but fuck that man it was the Yankees World Series!
I spent so much time at the firehouse that I had five minutes to stop at my apartment and get the tickets. I stuck my hand in the drawer and grabbed the wrong tickets. I grabbed the unused playoff tickets instead of the Series tickets-so I got up to the stadium and had the wrong tickets. Believe it or not, I found a young detective and somehow talked my way in to the World Series. I never even mentioned that I used to play with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I just said “I swear to you, I have season tickets.” I got to hang the banner, and the story wound up in this book.
MusicIncider: Tell me what you think about America going to war. Be sure to tell me who you think is more dangerous, North Korea or Iraq?
Ricky: My personal opinion is I don’t know who’s more dangerous. I want to know what’s up George Bush’s sleeve, and I want to know where Osama went and how come nobody talks about him. Do I want to see the nice men and women giving their best to their families on The Good Morning America show from Kuwait slaughtered? No. Do I think we have learned anything in all of these years since we have been around-No. We are still fucking fighting? What the fuck is going on? On top of everything, I feel that we have a freaking target here on our back in New York. So, the point being is, I fucking hate war and I wish they would find another way out. I hope that the reasons they are doing this are for what they say, and not for some asshole political reason that we don’t know about. If blood is going to be spilled for the wrong reason, god help these people that run this country.
MusicIncider: What do you think of George Bush?
Ricky: I watch TV. I watched him yesterday giving a rah-rah speech talking about the evil people, and it’s like trying to wrestle the car keys away from your drunk friend. You know he’s going to hit a tree and there’s nothing you can do about it, but he is our president.
MusicIncider: If you could be anybody on The Sopranos, who would it be?
Ricky: I would love to play Steven Van Zandt’s part. He runs the bar. He runs the strip club. He’s on there just enough that his acting ability works. I wouldn’t want to be Tony.
MusicIncider: Explain your New York DNA. Is it different than Yonkers DNA?
Ricky: I grew up in the Bronx. I have a way that I speak that I can’t help. Sometimes I put “but” at the end of a sentence, and Carol goes, what does that mean (ha ha)? Carol grew up in Brooklyn. I guess I am a little hard. I have a warped sense of humor. We’re New York ya know. We were freaking crazy before 9-11 happened . Not to take anything away from the rest of the country. I think we handled it better than a lot of other places would have. We did what we had to do. We stood up. We went to work every day. People don’t realize until they come here and see that fucking hole and how big it is about what really happened.
I went down to Nashville after it happened and they were crying just from me telling them about it. We’re an interesting bunch (New Yawkers) ya know. We got the biggest hearts in the world and we are the toughest people in the world.
MusicIncider: If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could have only one person, one book, and one cd with you; who would that person be and why? What would that book be, and why? What would that cd be, and why?
Ricky: Oh shit. Cd-s Exile On Main Street, Gasoline Alley, and some incredible Staxs Volt compilation. Book-I love autobiographies from people from the twenties and thirties. The book would be My Wicked Wicked Ways by Errol Flynn. The person(s) would be Carol and my daughter Francesca Leigh, and if there is room for one more person-Sandra Bullock.
MusicIncider: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Ricky: My baby. She’s gorgeous. She’s funny as hell. She has the loudest cry. She’s just the greatest thing. I run home at the end of the day just to play with her. I can’t say enough. The whole article would be about her. She’s just got the greatest smile in the world. When she pounds on this little piano somebody got her, we call her Frankie Leigh Lewis.
MusicIncider: Describe yourself as a person.
Ricky: I am an adult who still has a lot of kid in me. I love baseball games. I play softball. I love playing with my kid and her toys. I love Play Station 2, but I am a responsible adult. My sense of humor is pretty left field. I see things kind of bizarre. I have a good time with life. I used up all my dance tickets. I have been on the other side now for about fifteen years, nice and clean. No regrets. I had a great time. I am having a better time now. I just look forward to great stuff musically. Hopefully the world will hold together. I like shit like the Catskills Comics. I like Woody Allen movies. I like Jerry Lewis-so maybe I am part French (funny!). I like Warner Brother’s cartoons. I love Italian food. I love brunettes. My favorite place to be?-Yankee Stadium on a hot August afternoon watching the Yankees kick Atlanta’s ass.
MusicIncider: Tell me about your latest project. When is it going to be released?
Ricky: Ah honey, I got to finish it first. Whether we find a record company to finish it, or I finish it myself-this baby is getting’ done! I know there’s a market out there, because everybody who loves the kind of music that I love didn’t just go away. They are out there somewhere. Build a field and they will come.
MusicIncider: What was your most memorable live show that you played and why?
Ricky: Shea Stadium wasn’t too shabby. We opened for the Police in 1983. I played Carnegie Hall with Roger Daltrey. That wasn’t bad.
MusicIncider: If you were not a musician, what would you be doing now?
Ricky: I would probably be a stand up comic in the Catskills or something. –If there were still a Catskills- When I was fourteen, I was playing in a rock band in the mountains chasing Catholic school girls on ski weekends.
MusicIncider: Where do you find the inspiration for your songwriting and lyrics?
Ricky: Well, it’s all different. Turnstile came from September 11th. It is not about September 11th, it is a love letter to my city. I just start playing guitar and a line will come out. I’ll just mumble something and it will be a really cool line. That’s what happens-it’s all different.
MusicIncider: Do you believe in reincarnation, why or why not?
Ricky: Oh yeah man! I am from the twenties, definitely. I still say overcoat.
MusicIncider: If you believe in reincarnation, in all of history who would
you want to be and why?
Ricky: Somebody from show business during the time period that I love, which is the thirties and forties-maybe someone like Milton Berle. He was rumored to have a V-E-R-Y big instrument. He was known to be a ladies man and he was funny as shit-what more could you ask for.
MusicIncider: How do you feel the music industry has changed over the years?
How have you been affected? How do you think the music has changed?
Ricky: First of all, I don’t think I have been affected because I just do what I do. How do I feel the music industry has changed? I think there are some great people out there. I watch American Idol-which I watch because I think Paula Abdul is cute. I watch and I wonder-where are the little Stevie Wonder’s? Where’s Sam Cooke? Where’s a sixteen year old Judy Garland? The bar has been lowered. There are a couple of really cool people in this batch this year that have great voices. To me, the good news is that they aren’t necessarily the cookie cutter looking teen pop idols that we see on MTV.
MTV added this whole other dimension. Rock and roll lost its mystique. Everybody knows what everybody’s life is all about. You see them constantly.
Every once and a while you have somebody amazing that changes the music. Kurt Cobain changed the face of music. As far as soul stuff goes, I think Macy Gray is great. Usher is cool. There’s some cool stuff out there. To me the bar has been lowered. A lot of people see people artists on MTV and think that is what it takes to get somewhere when maybe they are not ready, or maybe they just don’t have it. Once again, I just want to know where the little Stevie Wonder’s are.
MusicIncider: Who do you think the greatest musician of all time is and why?
Ricky: Elvis wasn’t too shabby those first couple of years, although I do Burning Love in my show from which comes from his later music. The greatest musician-I am sure it has nothing to do with rock and roll. We are talking about Mozart, Bach and stuff like that.
Rock and roll? Well now you are talking about something different. There are people who are amazing technically, people who raise the hair on your arms, and people that do both. If you ask me, Keith Richards’s guitar playing gives me a freaking woody, but is he the greatest guitar player ever? I don’t think so. There are people like Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt. They played jazz. It is like apples and oranges. Can you compare Keith Richards to Eddie Van Halen? Eddie is an amazing musician. Does he do the same thing to me as Keith Richards? No. That’s just me.
MusicIncider: Where do see yourself and your music five years from now?
Ricky: Well, hopefully I will be playing the music that I want to play-traveling the world playing my stuff and just being happy at it. I want to have a nice life-life is too short.
MusicIncider: What is your favorite song of all time and why?
Ricky: There’s just too many. I like different songs for different reasons.
MusicIncider: What advice would you give to somebody trying to make it in the
Ricky: Have no expectations. Make sure you have fun. When somebody hears your band and wants to sign them and says we are like a family here-trust me, turn and run the other way. You don’t need another family.
MusicIncider: If you were King of the World, how would you change it?
Ricky: I would make All Green relevant in music again (Ricky laughs). I would make some scary motherfucker come down from another planet, like in the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still and say-if you people don’t get your shit together; you are done, and watch how fast everybody becomes one.
MusicIncider: Give me your favorite quote of all time.
Ricky: You live, you die, and every once in a while you get a good sandwich.
MusicIncider: If you could be any superhero in the world, who would it be?
Ricky: I am not sure who he would be, but one thing I know for sure is I would have the power to stop those planes from running into those buildings.
I would like to thank The Queen Scorpio of Kayos Productions for the opportunity to speak with her amazing husband. Ricky Byrd is truly a multi-faceted individual.
MusicIncider is a copyrighted and wholly owned subsidiary of Barbara Ann Fara Productions, Inc. 2003
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I spoke with the quick witted and deep thinking lead singer of Must, Dave Ireland. I found him to be honest and thought provoking. I am sure that you will fucking dig him too.
MusicIncider: What inspires the lyrics for the band?
Dave: All sorts of things. On the first record, it is roots. It is a quest for personal understanding and harmony. There is relationship thing is in there too. To me, it is all that kind of universe that deals with the relationship to the self. A heightened awareness.
MusicIncider: How did the band form?
Dave: It formed in London in 1999. It was the three of us at the time. The bass player, the drummer, and myself, and we were living in a warehouse over there recording things on four tracks. We were rehearsing and playing gigs around there. But at the time in England there was a really big sort of pop dance environment, and we didn’t really fit in. We were always keen to come to America. We traveled over to LA a few times, and then the third time we came over we got signed. It was actually at the South by Southwest festival. Wind-Up records signed us and we moved over to New York in 2000.
MusicIncider: How did it feel to open for Aerosmith in Atlanta?
Dave: It was fantastic, and I actually really liked Atlanta too. I thought it was one of the nicest cities that we traveled through. People seemed relaxed and there was a good mix of things. It looked like there was a lot of education going on there. The whole tour was great.
MusicIncider: From the Australian point of view, what do you think of the US going to war?
Dave: Personally, I am opposed to war. The Australian government is obviously supportive of it. That’s actually not indicative of what the people of Australia think. There was a poll recently, and polls are more general, and there was a seventy-five percent sway against the war. I just personally don’t think it is necessary. I don’t think the threat exists that is being publicized as being there. It is obvious what the mission of this whole thing is. It is uncalled for. The thing that concerns me most is that it is creating further division in the world and impacting the future and it is a future that we won’t live around to see. Generations of children and grandchildren and all that stuff. The world is constantly being divided. What different about the world than the world a hundred years ago is that it is a smaller world. We have got to start living as an international community not as a group of disparate tribes. –It concerns me about the future because we are creating more division and hate.
MusicIncider: Who are your band members, and what instruments do they play?
Dave: I am the vocalist and I play some acoustic guitar. Charlie O’Neil plays electric guitar. He is from the United Stated. The bass player is Kaiser (Something?). He is from Germany. The drummer is Reuben Alexander, and he is from England.
MusicIncider: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Dave: Everyone. Generally it was rock growing up. AC/DC, English music in general seemed to get me. It was in my house all a lot. I even like melodic stuff, like Simon and Garfunkel. In these days, we listen to a fair bit of electronica actually. In the rock area, I think that System of a Down is pretty fantastic.
MusicIncider: How would you explain your music to a deaf mute person?
Dave: With sign language!
MusicIncider: Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?
Dave: I don’t disbelieve. I don’t know enough about it to comment. I think a lot of these things certainly exist and have relevance, even things down to astrology. These are ancient art forms that throughout the middle ages got put down by the Christian church and discredited. They have a valid point, and they have something that is worth looking at. If you look in the papers on a superficial level, it can look like quackery. You need to look further under the surface of these things. It is a whole science in its own right. With the subject being that we are aware of a lot more things unconsciously that we probably realize. That are certainly people out there that are gifted to see beyond what is there.
MusicIncider: Who is your favorite musician of all time and why?
Dave: I actually couldn’t single one out. For the group and myself, we actually appreciate so many different things. That’s not one that I have ever sat down and really considered.
MusicIncider: Have you ever inhaled?
Dave: Marijuana? Yeah yeah.
MusicIncider: Tell me about your latest music project.
Dave: We are just putting together some new songs really. We have been at it since we got back. It is continuing down the melodic line. It is probably a bit more contemporary. Lyrically, there are some politics involved. –I think it is difficult not to have a say about what is going on at the moment.-It is also dealing with what I think is a little repression about what is going on in society and the slop that is being fed to us by the press and media. It benefits the corporations for us in the general population for us to see things in a certain way in order to profit. I also continue along the same line as the first album about personal development spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
MusicIncider: Has any famous poet influenced your writing? Who was it and why?
Dave: Not influenced me, but I do like Yeats. I was reading some of his stuff in San Francisco once, and I just thought he was brilliant. He can be pretty morbid and tragic, but at the same time there s a sort of beauty behind it.
MusicIncider: What is your birth date?
Dave: December 17th.
MusicIncider: What is your favorite board game of all time?
Dave: I am not a great board game player, but I did enjoy Scrabble over in Australia with my ninety-one year old grandmother. I have to go for that, because I have had some good times with her.
MusicIncider: If you could open for any band in the world, who would it be and why?
Dave: I haven’t thought hard about that one either. There would be a whole bunch of bands it would be great to open for. I would rather be headlining the gig. It would be quite a trip to open for the Beatles.
MusicIncider: How did 9-11 affect you?
Dave: I was in England at the time and I was scheduled to come back to America about a week later. I was living above this guy and h walked out and said, the plane just flew into the World Trade Center. We saw the second one live on TV. We the second hit, I thought no this isn’t an accident. I was like everyone. It was just shocking. You know that bizarre numb feeling that you can’t really explain. Throughout the day, I thought what is the cost that will be taken toward this. Over the next few days I felt, there are reasons why things happen like this and what are the reasons of the people doing it.
I don’t mean to justify it in any way, but a hopeless situation has to be used to understand why. I thought it was a chance.
MusicIncider: If you could be any super hero, who would it be and why?
Dave: I guess God!
MusicIncider: What age did you start playing at? Tell me how you wound up with a guitar and who encouraged you to sing?
Dave: I started learning piano when I was about six or seven, guitar when I was about 10. Music was always around the household. Everyone played music instruments. My father was in choirs, and so was my mother at different times. Singing was just one of those things that everyone did in the family. I loved music straight on, before I understood what it really was. It was just a natural thing I started doing.
MusicIncider: How do your parents feel about your music career?
Dave: Great! They’ve been supportive and they’re right for it. They weren’t musicians professionally, but it made a lot of sense to them since music has been a part of life for everyone in our family.
MusicIncider: What is your most memorable live show and why?
Dave: On the Aerosmith tour, we were in Las Vegas. It is hard to describe, but it was just, wow, incredible. We are pretty consistent as a band I fell, but that show just went off into some other orbit. It was fantastic.
MusicIncider: Who would be your dream date and why?
Dave: I met a girl just before I left Sydney, and I have to say she would be the dream date.
MusicIncider: If you were stranded on a desert island and you could bring one person, one book, and one cd-who and what would it be?
Dave: Could it be a burnt cd of all sorts of different things? I guess I would have to have some DJ Shadow, some U2…I would probably sneak a few different ones somehow. The book would be something by Norm Chomsky the person would be the girl I met in Sydney.
MusicIncider: When do you plan to go on tour again?
Dave: We are going to be doing some local stuff. We have a new single coming out in a week. We are going to do some promotion after that. We don’t have anything planned, but we are going to get up and down the East coast again and also keep working on the new material that we are doing. There is nothing definitely planned as far as touring, but we will be working the new single.
MusicIncider: Give me your favorite quote of all time.
Dave: I do like one that someone post on our website.-Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.
MusicIncider Magazine is a wholly owned and copyrighted subsidiary of Barbara
Ann Fara Productions, Inc. 2003
MusicIncider: Let’s begin with some background info, how long have you been in Chimaira?
Chris Spicuzza: I’ve been in Chimaira, since November of 1999. The band started in 1998. Members have come and gone, and the final line-up was solidified in June 2001, when we got Matt [DeVries- rhythm guitar]. From then on, this is how it’s going to be, we’re going to have this line-up… until the end, I hope.
MI: The first time I heard of you guys, you were playing on Farmclub.com, tell me about that whole experience.
CS: We were an un-signed band at the time, and we were trying to get anything for exposure, and this nice lady, Marcy Jacobson went and saw us play at the Continental, in New York City, and she was a Farmclub rep. She liked our set, and thought we had a pretty good stage presence and a great set. Months later, we just get a call, and they’re like, “Oh, you guys want to do Farmclub?” and the next thing we know, three days later we’re on a plane to L.A. and they picked us up in one of those nice vans, and drove us to our hotel, and we basically just got pampered like rock stars. We were un-signed and used to living on floors of hotel rooms, and just living like shit, so it was amazing, just to be so pampered and treated like gods. As for as the actual show goes, it was interesting, it wasn’t like a real crowd. It was more like strippers, and dancers, it was totally not like a rock show. They just hired people to dance for you. That was kind of corny, but other than that it was awesome. Free alcohol, free food, and everything.
MI: How long after that did Chimaira get signed to Roadrunner Records?
CS: After that, we were stuck in a contract with our indie label, so we were supposed to sign right after, but we didn’t. It wasn’t until like, March of 2001, that we signed the record deal, and then two weeks later, we were out in L.A. recording. So, it was a pretty annoying five or six months, waiting for our indie label to release us, so we could get signed, now we’re here, so everything’s great.
MI: Chimaira released “Pass Out of Existence” in 2001, with Roadrunner Records, but shortly after that Jason [Hager-rhythm guitar], one of the band’s co-founder’s, left the band… what happened?
CS: He started a family, God bless him. He got married, and had a kid, and he wants to be there for his kid, and that’s the best thing you could do. When we started off, we were not making money to raise a family, so to do what he had to do, he had to be home, to raise money for his kid, and he’s doing it. He started a new band though, and it’s a metal band, just like we would expect. You’ll probably hear about it, a few months from now. He’s just starting it off, and getting the band together, but he’ll have something recorded by the end of the year, I guarantee it.
MI: Since the release of “Pass Out of Existence” Chimaira has been a touring machine. What have you gained from your experiences on the road?
CS: Nothing goes right [laughs]. We always have problems with vehicles. We learned to just suck it up, and deal with what happens, and when something goes wrong now, we just say it’s, “the Chimaira Curse,” and that’s it. We just start laughing, and then go on. Just like the other day, a bus accident. We figure with a bus now, that we wouldn’t have to worry about accidents or anything going wrong, and the first fucking week, something goes wrong. Basically suck it up, and go with the flow, that’s what I’ve learned.
MI: Didn’t the tour bus you had last year give you trouble too?
CS: RVs. We had vans, we blew up our van; the transmission. We were pulling a huge trailer, and it was way too big for a van. We were touring in that van for four or five months. By the end of the tour, it was just dying. Actually, the transmission caught on fire, and then we went to an RV, and we broke three or four RVs. They just kept, fucking falling apart. Finally, the last straw was on our headlining tour, we got stranded at like 5:30 in the morning between Georgia and South Carolina. It was the fucking worse thing ever, and that was after four weeks of the RV breaking down, every week, and this was the last straw. So since then, we’ve been trying to get our own bus, even if it takes our own money. Thanks to the “Chimaira Curse” with our transportation, no matter what, something will break down.
MI: There was also an accident on the video shoot as well [on the set of the video for “Down Again”]?
CS: Yep. That’s another part of the “Chimaira Curse.” We were shooting our video, and the whole set is made out of walls, wrapped in gauze. We had shot for five hours, and they took apart one wall, and were setting up to do dolly shots, which is when they have the camera on the side, and they drag it along a dolly. We were on our lunch break, and all of a sudden we hear, like a light breaking or something. The next thing you know, we hear guys screaming for fire extinguishers, and we all look over, and the whole set is on fire. In a matter of two minutes, our set was gone. We had to wait two days, and they sort of re-built the set, and we had to re-paint the studio, but we changed it, we did it with gauze. What they did was they used half gauze, and half wood, and that was basically done black(the tape was kinda fuzzy at this part, so if we could find out EXACTLY what was used in re-doing the set, it would be great). The video came out great. I’m happy and proud that Paul[Brown-director] stuck through it, even though his studio got ruined, he sucked it up, and he made it happen, and I think the video turned out great.
MI: When can we expect to see the video?
CS: I’m not sure when if it’s going to be on Uranium, Much Music, and MTV2. I think it will be, but I’m not sure when it starts playing, but it’ll be on the internet May 9th. The Friday, before the record release.
MI: With the success of a major label debut, and over 10,000 copies sold of Chimaira’s independent EP, “This Present Darkness” you guys have accomplished so much, in such a short time… going into the studio this time around, what was the focus for Chimaira?
CS: With the second record, “Pass Out of Existence” that was like three years of music, written, over time and being tossed around. Riffs taken from old songs, and just three years of music put into that record. With the new one, we had to start over, and touring with a lot of bands like Fear Factory, and mostly Slayer, it was like wow. We just want to be like a band of that status, we want to be the next Slayer. We just wanted to step it up, and that’s what we did. We locked ourselves down, in a hot-ass practice space, for three or four months and just wrote, every day. We were definitely more focused this time, and we were more level headed. The last record, we thought it was going to be easy. Put a record out, and it’ll be blown-up or whatever. Not this time, we know that we have to work hard and sweat it out, and hope that we do well. It’s definitely a focused record, and this time it was a collaboration of everyone. It wasn’t just two guys, like the last time it was mostly just Mark[Hunter-vocals] and Rob[Arnold-lead guitar] writing everything. This time it was everyone, so it was real cool.
MI: On the last record, Stephan Carpenter[Deftones] was brought in as a guest on “Rizzo.” This time, did you have any guest appearances?
CS: No. Not one. We wanted it to be Chimaira, and that’s it. On a b-side, we did have a bunch of friends, we had one those Biohazard-gang style choruses, where everyone like screams you know, and that song’s called “Army of Me,” actually it’s now called “AOM” because “Army of Me” is also a Bjork song, and so people kept thinking it was a cover, but it wasn’t. So, we just had a bunch of friends, and I guess you could call that a guest appearance, but that’s it.
MI: You’re now back on the road, with Lamb of God, Atreyu, and 18 Visions, and you’re new album, “the Impossibility of Reason” hits stores on May 13th, how have the fans on this tour reacted to the new material?
CS: Good. Huge response. One of the last songs we play, is “Pure Hatred.”
The chorus is pretty simple, and Mark gets the whole crowd on it, and they know
the chorus by the second time he says it. It’s fucking awesome, to have
a brand new song, that isn’t even out in stores yet, and hearing the whole
crowd sing the chorus… fucking awesome.
MI: Listening to the new album, I noticed the vocal harmonies on “Down Again” kind of have an Alice In Chains vibe, was that intentional?
CS: Mark is a huge Layne Staley[Alice In Chains’ front man, who died in 2002] fan, and it was kind of a tribute to him almost, because he’s gone now, and we wish he were here. That’s just how it comes out of Mark, even on the last record, he kind of had that vibe. He’s a huge Layne Staley fan, and he really loved the style, and he just put it in with his own, and that’s kind of how it came out.
MI: Chimaira have been dubbed, “the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.” What does the band think about that?
CS: It’s an honor. That’s a big title to have branded on you, and our label seems to really back us on it, and I hope that we can hold up to it, you know? We’ll see when the record comes out.
MI: “The Impossibility of Reason” was co-produced by Mark and Rob[along with producer Ben Schigel- front man for Switched]. Having two of your fellow band mates double as producers, what did it do to the recording process?
CS: Actually, on the last record, Mark had a lot to do with producing too. He was basically almost a co-producer too, so it was almost the same thing, twice. Basically, they just sat there the whole time in the studio, day and night focusing on making the record better. Just making sure our producer was going in the right direction, and not leaving in just the producer’s hands. We really wanted to have it be our own, and it came out good. If you’ve heard it, it’s us, it’s Chimaira.
MI: This tour goes on for about another month, before ending in Virginia, after that, what’s in the future of Chimaira?
CS: We’re going to Europe with Spineshank. We’re doing the Download Festival. It’s a huge festival, with Iron Maiden, Deftones, and more. We’ve never played in front of crowds that big. The Spineshank tour goes until the end of June, and in July we come back, and then jump on tour with In Flames, for about three weeks. There’s no tour dates for it yet, but we have it confirmed. After that I’m not sure.
MI: After In Flames, are you going on a headline tour?
CS: We’re not really sure, we have to see what’s going on. The summer tours may still be going on, so we may just do a few small dates, and if Ozzfest would ever happen to call us, then we’d be more than happy to jump on it.
MI: That would be good. I think you guys would do well on there.
CS: Who knows, maybe next year. We were hoping to play this year, but it didn’t
MI: A few months ago, I found an online petition to get you guys on Ozzfest, it had quite a few signatures on it.
CS: Right. Its really cool that all those people wanted to see us on Ozzfest.
MI: Between recording, and touring, what do you do when you have “down time?”
CS: At home, we spend time with our families, girlfriends, and friends. I stay on the computer all day long, I’m a nerd. Mark loves movies, and a few of the guys have day jobs, I won’t say though, because they’ll get embarrassed [laughs]. That’s about it, when we’re home, we have to still make money. Other than that, when we’re not on tour, we just hang out with people all day, and play video games. Nothing too exciting, we’re not like, “party animals” by any means. We might get drunk a few nights, but we’re not like Motley Crue, or anything. You can’t even touch that.
MI: If there was anything you wanted to say to the public what would it be?
CS: Check our record out, give us a chance. You might love it. If you didn’t like Chimaira before, there’s a good chance you may like us now. We’ve stepped it up, and I think we’re a stronger band now. I hope everything goes well, and I just hope you guys check out our record.
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