Interview

Black Earth

I spoke with Travis Crider, the lead guitar from the Bloomington Indiana based band Black Earth. Here is what he had to say when I put him under the MusicIncider Microscope. Read on.


MusicIncider: What is your birth date?

Travis: 10/18/1972

MusicIncider: Tell me the story about how Black Earth was born.

Travis: Brian Tonne and I were in a death metal band that broke up when the bassist graduated from school and moved back to Wisconsin. We knew a couple of other guys that were in a band and more into what you would consider the traditional type metal. Our basic goal was to get together and combine our influences and make some stuff that was heavy, and could still be played on the radio. We wanted to get something that was commercial, and still not feel like we were selling out.

MusicIncider: How did you get the name Black Earth?

Travis: It was something I got off the back of the Necromicicon.

MusicIncider: Who are your musical influences and why?

Travis: Kiss. I don’t think I really have to explain that. I think everybody, whether they want to admit it or not has been influenced by Kiss in one way or another. Elvis is another, in a round about way. I grew up on it. Those to me are rock stars. You don’t see rock stars like that anymore. Black Sabbath, Pantera, and Metallica-those came a little bit later. That’s about it.

MusicIncider: How long has the band been together?

Travis: We have been together right around four years. When we started out, we were all in other bands. Black Earth was a side project. Rehearsals were a once or twice a month thing. It grew from there.

MusicIncider: Who is your favorite metal guitarist and why? Who would you compare your guitar playing to?

Travis: My favorite guitarist is Ace Frehley. I compare my playing most to Andy LeRock of King Diamond.

MusicIncider: Who would you compare Black Earth to musically?

Travis: I would compare us to later works of Corrosion of Conformity, Black Sabbath, and Godsmack. Definitely music to thrash your head to.

MusicIncider: What is your most memorable live show and why?

Travis: That’s a tough question. We have had so many good experiences. Probably when we got to open up for Michael Angelo’s band C4. They were there for the sole purpose of seeing good rock and roll.

MusicIncider: Who in the world would you like most to open for and why?

Travis: Kiss, if they ever tour again, or Black Sabbath I would say.

MusicIncider: If you could sign with any label, who would it be and why?

Travis: Probably Sony. I would say Sony because they have enough money to push, promote, and really advertise their artists.

MusicIncider: Where do you see the band five years from now?

Travis: Hopefully, we could be signed to a major deal and be doing some major tours.

MusicIncider: Tell me your feelings about America going to war.

Travis: I think that its going to be one of those things that’s going to be tough to avoid. We have to do what’s necessary to keep ourselves safe.

MusicIncider: What do you think about President Bush?

Travis: I think he is doing what he has to do to keep us safe. Ever since September 11th, I think things have went pretty good. I don’t see any terrorist attacks happening over here. I think he’s doing a pretty good job.

MusicIncider: Describe yourself as a person.

Travis: I am pretty laid back person. I am pretty set in my mind. I definitely know what I want, and I will do what it takes to get it.

MusicIncider: Have you ever inhaled?

Travis: Uhm, Yeah I have.

MusicIncider: Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?

Travis: Yeah, I do. I think there’s something there. I don’t know how to go into it in depth, or explain. I think there is something there.

MusicIncider: What is the message the band’s music is trying to get across?

Travis: I don’t think there is any message. We just want to put on a good show. The ultimate purpose is for everybody to have a good time and get there aggressions out. Goal achieved.

MusicIncider: What is your greatest achievement?

Travis: I haven’t gotten there yet.

MusicIncider: What is your stance on gun control?

Travis: I personally am against gun control. I was raised around guns. I hunted as a child. There are bad people, and the criminals find a way to get what they need. Criminals will find a way no matter what. People kill people. It is a matter of who is on the other side of the gun.

MusicIncider: Who is your all time hero and why?

Travis: I have a couple. First, my parents. They have always been very supportive of this music thing. They have never said when are you going to give this up and get a real job. The other one is Gene Simmons from Kiss.

MusicIncider: What age did you start playing guitar at?

Travis: Seriously, at about fifteen.

MusicIncider: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Travis: I would like to go to Jerusalem and Israel. I believe in God. It would be neat to see where all the events from the bible really happened.

MusicIncider: Are you getting any airplay?

Travis: We got some airplay on internet stations. We are getting a little airplay. We are working on college stations. Black Earth has music on an adult film that was filmed on the Bloomington Campus. The name of the movie is called Shane’s World #32: Campus Invasion.

MusicIncider: What is your favorite book of all time?

Travis: The bible. Am I getting too godly on you?

MusicIncider: What do you want people to know about you and your band?

Travis: Well, just listen to the music and figure it out for yourself. That’s what I want people to know.

MusicIncider: What is your favorite quote of all time?

Travis: Don’t base your happiness on the deeds of others, because what can be given can be taken away.

Black Earth is a band to watch. They are a star on the rise.
I look forward to seeing who gets to them first.

CD Reviews

Black Earth

Black Earth is a dark metal Van Halen with a lead that reminds me of Alice
fucking Cooper. Dale Christie should take that as a fucking compliment from
MusicIncider. His vocal style varies, but he keeps the Cooper edge. His fucking
voice is ass kicking. It beats the shit out of you. It makes you wonder what
he is going to do next vocally. He is a fucking strong man. The drum performance
reminds me of Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Brian Tonne’s drums and Duane Conn’s
bass are like two perfectly entwined trees rooted together into one fucking
power source. Savage and Crider on guitar remind me of Randy Rhoades and Ted
Nugent with a little George Thorogood tossed in for good good measure. Those
two guitars are like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a fantastic fucking
mix.

I would lister to their music. I would buy their CD. A label has to pick them
up soon before they get lost in the wind. If I were to pick anybody for them
to open up for, it would be Alice Cooper. Let’s see if Sharon Osbourne can pick
them up, and how fast.

Interview

Thundercore


Thundercore’s Rob Mason: A Class Act

January 25, 2003

www.thundercore.com

I spoke with Rob Mason, the guitarist from Thundercore. He is intelligent and thought provoking. Truly a class act. Read on.


MusicIncider: What is your birth date?

Rob: 3/19/1969

MusicIncider: Tell me the story about how Thundercore was born.

Rob: It came out of the ashes of a cover band. Dan and I were guitarists in another band, and we got very dissatisfied with people asking us for our autographs after we had just spent a night of doing Metallica and Black Sabbath covers. God help me, we did Steppenwolf covers too.

At the end of doing four hours worth of covers-to have a bunch of drunken people going man, I’d buy your cd, where can I find it? I thought the cover thing was going to be really cool, and then we got into it and realized we had all these skills and all of this music inside of us-it made us want to do our own. I had the idea for Thundercore, not the name. We went through four names, and other bands had them. We said, let’s find the dumbest name we can-no one had it. So Thundercore was it. Chris Morley picked the name.

MusicIncider: How long has the band been together?

Rob: Since 1996. Bret Simmons from Connecticut is our lead singer. Stacy Copas from Reno, Nevada is on drums. Dan Morley and myself are on guitar, we are both from Indiana. We are looking for a bass player right now.

MusicIncider: Who is your favorite metal guitarist and why? Who would you compare your guitar playing to?

Rob: Dime back Darryl. Blue Oyster Cult and Neurosis.

MusicIncider: Who would you compare Thundercore too musically and why?

Rob: Luckily, I don’t have to guess about that. We fall somewhere between Hatebreed, Fear Factory, Pantera, and Sepultura and Soulfly.

MusicIncider: What is your most memorable live show and why?

Rob: Milwaukee Metal Fest. It was the first arena gig we ever did. It was an amazing show. I almost fell over when I walked out ob stage. We went on right before Soilwork. It was 7:30 pm in the US Cellular arena. I have never seen that many people before. Those were all our people. They were metal fans. There was a vibe in there that was just awesome. The other thing that made it really cool is that the band that was on before us was Jag Panzer. Just about everybody knows who Jag Panzer is, and we had met them back stage. During our set, the road manger and all the guys from Jag were hanging with us on stage and watching us and giving us the thumbs up. It was an amazing experience.

MusicIncider: Who in the world would you like most to open for?

Rob: Pantera, undoubtedly. But I could also say Soulfly.

MusicIncider: If you could sign with any label, who would it be and why?

Rob: Roadrunner. Most of my favorite bands are on Roadrunner.

MusicIncider: Where do you see the band five years from now?

Rob: I think we are going to just keep doing what we do regardless of what happens to us. I am speaking for myself. We don’t do this just because we want to; we do this because we have too. It’s therapy. I don’t think you are ever too old to get a message across or to get your angst out. That is what we are about. I imagine we will keep touring and plugging away.

MusicIncider: Tell me your feelings about America going to war.

Rob: I think its bullshit, actually. I don’t see an immanent threat from that place. I feel like we are getting snowed. I think North Korea is probably just taking advantage of the situation right now to get us to lift sanctions. They are starving over there, and I can’t say that I necessarily blame them for the strategy although I think they are messing with the wrong people. I am not suggesting that what they are doing is right. Right now, we have sanctions on them and they can’t feed their people. I can’t blame them for flexing their muscles a little bit.

MusicIncider: Describe yourself as a person.

Rob: Overtly sensitive to a fault. I am a very empathetic type of person.

MusicIncider: Have you ever inhaled?

Rob: Have I ever WHAT? Yes, I have partaken.

MusicIncider: Do you believe in psychics? Why or why not?

Rob: Actually, I do. Just as a lark, a friend and I were in San Francisco on Fisherman’s Wharf checking things out. It seemed like just a fun thing to do, we walked past a sign that said Psychic Readings. We went in just for the fun of it. There was this old Indian woman there dressed in a sari. She said she would read our palms for just ten dollars. I didn’t believe a word at the time. I didn’t believe in psychics at the time and I walked out of there a changed man. She answered questions about our futures.

MusicIncider: What is the message the band’s music is trying to get across?

Rob: I don’t know that we deliberately set out to deliver messages in our music. Our writing has to do with things that affect us personally. We even went so far as to record a song with Michelangelo producing. We had never done anything slow in our lives, and it was a ballad called ‘Shimmer.’-It is about what happened on 9-11.

I write the music for the band on an acoustic guitar, and sometimes I will just be sitting watching CNN, like in the case of 9-11. I unconsciously reached over and picked up my guitar. The song wrote itself as I watched that tragedy unfold. That is what the song wound up being about. We try to be real.

9-11 was a mess. I am a big strong guy, and I was crying when I watched it. It really affected everybody that I know. Those were Americans dying for no good reason.

MusicIncider: What is your greatest achievement?

Rob: My wife and kids. Lynnette and I have been together since high school. We have been married for fifteen years. We got married right out of high school, and we just adopted three children. So, I would have to say that is my greatest achievement.

MusicIncider: What is your stance on gun control?

Rob: I think that idiots shouldn’t have guns. I am a gun owner, and I don’t consider myself an idiot.

MusicIncider: Who is your all time hero and why?

Rob: I would have to say my wife deserves that spot. She is just about the strongest and most supportive person I know. She would do anything for anybody.

MusicIncider: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Rob: Paris, France. I have always wanted to go. I don’t know why.

MusicIncider: Are you getting any airplay?

Rob: Yeah, all over the world. There are a lot of specialty radio shows that we are on, and a few commercial stations. The two most interesting recently are in Brazil (107.9). Brazil has this show called Rock Patrol. Our stuff was so requested that they broke from their traditional format and had Thundercore night. We had a number nine hit in Romania, of all places.

MusicIncider: What is your favorite book of all time?

Rob: The Dark Tower series from Steven King.

MusicIncider: What do you want people to know about you and your band?

Rob: We are just an ass kicking hardcore band. Hopefully they will check us out.

MusicIncider: What is your favorite quote of all time?

Rob: Don’t Let the Bastards get you down.

MusicIncider: Is there any message you want to send out to your fans?

Rob: Thank you for your support. We have been blessed with support, people come out to see our shows, request our stuff on the radios, and request that club owners book us. Our fans are all over the country and all over the world.

If there is anything we can do for you Barbara, let me know. I own a business called marketyourmusic.com, and we sign bands up for press and try to help them get their music out.

Send us bands like yours Rob. We would love to talk to them. May a label pick you up soon.

CD Reviews

Thundercore

The Five Fucking Deaths of Thundercore
www.thundercore.com

Bret Simmons (vocals)
Rob Mason (guitars)
Dan Morley (guitars)
Stacy Copas (drums)
Chris Morley (bass)

Album: Five Deaths

The vocalist of Thundercore, Bret Simmons, is like a combination of Bobby Blitz
and Dave Mustane. The guitars of Mason and the Morley brothers remind me of
the guitars in Kiss and OVER KILL. I can hear shades of D.D. Verni, Jimmy Page,
Joe Perry, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Stacy Copas could hang with D.T. of Andrew
W.K. Thundercore’s music is a throwback to AC/DC, but heavier. It screams take,
give us a try. It is angry, heavy, and raw. It is fucking bitching. It is grindcore
like Napalm Death. It is metal like OVER KILL. This band keeps going. They do
not give up.

I would go to see them in concert. I think they deserve a major label. They
should open for OVER KILL. The East would be meeting the Midwest, and what a
very cool combination that would be. It would be a kick ass tour, and a rare
combination.

Interview

Snowdogs

I recently had a chance to speak with the utterly charming and honest
Ville Leppanen of the Snowdogs. The Snowdogs consist of the brothers
Leppanen from Finland:

showreview

Cursive

Cursive
January 15, 2003
The Echo Lounge
Atlanta, Georgia

On January 15, 2003, a monumental event took place in Atlanta. The Omaha band
Cursive came to town and drove The Echo Lounge crazy. The crowd definitely wanted
more. They knew they were watching a band that was about to break out and become
major. Cursive consists of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn(vocals,
bass), Clint Schnase (drums), Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), and Gretta Cohn
(cello).

Tim Kasher’s vocal style and stage performance is a reincarnation of Kurt Cobain
and Jim Morrison wrapped into one. As I was doing research, I found a horrible
review saying that Tim Kasher could not sing. This is WRONG. Tim can sing, not
just howl. His lyrics are very Morrison. They are deep, spiritual, and gut wrenching.
They make you want to listen. Ray Manzarek should have hired him to do Morrison.
He is an enchanting soul. It is impossible to keep your eyes off of him and
his performance. I wish I had more film. I agree with him. EMO is a horrible
word. Isn’t all music emotional? When a fan screamed out EMO, he told them to
get the fuck out in a voice that reminded me of Cobain in his early days. He
did not want to hear that word. This man’s future is going to be bright.

Matt Maginn is a nice Leo. He has a driving, powerful bass that he plays like
a lead guitar. The guitar and the man have bonded as one. He is a madman on
stage. Clint Schnase held the music together with his drumming. He reminds me
of Joey Kramer from Aerosmith, a little. Ted Stevens could easily front his
own band. He reminds me of a young Dave Grohl doing backup for Cobain. Gretta
Cohn’s cello adds a dimension to Cursive’s music that no one else in the music
business has. You can see her heart and soul poring out of her fingers into
her cello. This is the first band that I have seen with an electronic cellist.
I would like to see other bands get a cellist and try to do what she does. Gretta
is magic and she knows it.

Cursive’s music is raw. It thrills the fucking senses with truth and power.
It reaches out through the chords and lyrics and grabs the listener by the throat
and says fucking wake up, listen to me. Cursive’s music is just not loud. It
is perfection. This band should be playing bigger venues. They are on the road
to stardom.

Their next album is titled "The Ugly Organ." It will be released
on March 4, 2003 from Saddle Creek. It would be a mistake to miss it.

showreview

Spectremen

Spectremen

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Atlanta’s hottest metal band. You can see them at
the 9 Lives Saloon in Little Five Points on Moreland Avenue. For a band that’s
been around since 1997, it is a fucking shame that a major label has not found
these boys yet. What a gem stuck in the underground, because major corporations
do not send out their scouts to little local bars anywhere in the country. Dan
Kelly will remind you of a young Glen Danzig, but he is not. He is a Danzig
in a different way.

Because we know, no one can replace Glen. But Dan Kelly has a fucking kick
ass voice and you can hear the influence of the Misfits.

Dead By Dawn, Black Acid, and Zombie Hop are pure as a puck rock fusion can
get. The band is tight and powerful. They are a great complement to the purity
of Dan Kelly’s voice. Punk Rock Lyrics You Can Actually Understand The First
Time You Hear Them should be the title of their next song. Undead makes Dan
sound like a ghouly Elvis that will kick you in the ass. It is the music Elvis
probably wanted to make. I expected him to say, "Thank you very much."
Netherworld is a definite hit. Dan and company are totally in sync with each
other. The drummer complements both the lead and bass players, along with Dan’s
voice, which is pure and raw. The person who is able to listen to this album
will get a great surprise.

CD Reviews

Cathedral

Cathedral’s Seventh Coming

Ex-Nalpalm Death man Lee Dorian delivers monster vocals on Cathedral’s new
offering to the gods of fucking darkness, The VII Coming. Garry Jennings (guitar)

showreview

Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K. Rocks The Masquerade
Atlanta, Georgia
January 18, 2003

 

Andrew puts the roll back on the end of rock. He has rock star good looks.
He pumps his fist, and thrashes his head along with every song. His music makes

CD Reviews

Napalm Death

Napalm Death, Order of The Leech

Napalm Death rains fire with Order of the Leech. Napalm is a political death
march punk band. Punk never asks us to think. Punk just asks us to be angry,
with the exception of Napalm. Order of the Leech is fast, hard, and smart. Fans
of earlier Napalm work will not be

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