THE HARD ROCK’N BI-WEEKLY MAGAZINE
THE MAYHEM HAS PASSED! ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL REVIEW ~SCRANTON, PA.
Top 10 Tips for Playing in a Band By GM Arts Don't let any of this put you off; none of this is rocket science, just commonsense. Remember, these aren't rules, just ideas to think about. Maybe some will work for you and some won't. Maybe some could if you tried them. 1. Be on a Winning Team- A band is about working and playing together, so being a good player is fine, but unless you're so phenomenally brilliant that you're in constant demand (sorry, but most of us are not), then it's actually more important to know how to work in a team of people. Some artists think it’s cool to be temperamental (half temper and half mental!), but you're making your own life harder than it needs to be if you put up with these people in your band, or even worse, if you're one yourself. Working in a good team can be fantastic (you know: the power of the team is greater than the sum of its individuals). You can get a real buzz when you pull off a successful gig together. In the band, it benefits you, as a band member, to leave space for others to grow, learn and make mistakes. 2. Know the People- Working with people outside the band is also important - know your agents, promoters, employers (the ones who pay you) and your customers (the ones you're playing to). Find out what they want, and treat them as people. Understand that your average (non-musician) audience will notice more than your music alone. In this order, your average audience will notice: Firstly, your presentation - how you do what you do. You're appearance - what you look like. Lastly, your music - what you sound like. This is a very uncomfortable concept for many musos. The only way to make your music more noticeable is to be exceptionally brilliant, or exceptionally bad. Don't despair; performing music live is just a package deal. Don't kid yourself either, that when you play people somehow switch onto a principle that your music is everything, and everything else is nothing. More importantly music, like all art forms, is about giving. I think the way to enhance the perception of your music is to combine the above three elements into your performance. If you really like the music you play, you'll find it easy to get into the feel of the songs, and that affects the way you look on stage, and allows you to present your music by giving something of yourself by expressing your feelings in a musical form, and making it real and credible experience for yourself and your audience. This becomes a controversial topic when we stray into less credible musical territory. For example, if your entire audience pleads with you to play The Chicken Dance, would you play it? If not, why not? Would you be concerned about what other band members might think of you and how it might affect your credibility or reputation? Or is it your own pride telling you not to play anything musically trite? Are you above this sort of thing? Even if you never play The Chicken Dance it might be interesting for you to honestly answer some of these questions for yourself. Then there's the show-band field, where presentation and appearance is intentionally the main focus of the performance. Whether it’s a Grease revival or your own concept, it usually requires some theatrics and dressing up. This can be a genuine additional artistic outlet for those with acting and dramatic skills, although I think it can be a minefield for musicians who do not have this flair. It again raises questions of credibility and musical integrity. For what it’s worth, I recently played 2 shows in a row with the same lineup of musos.
The first night was a birthday party, all aged around mid forties. They wanted 70's classics; rock, soul and a dash of blues, which we played. Next night we played at a wedding with ages from teenagers through to 60 year olds. It took us about set to figure it out, but they loved the old corny sing-along hits (like "Singin' the Blues", "Runaway", "Personality" and so on). Now in my view, what we played the first night had a fair amount of musical credibility, while the second night did not. Nevertheless, our audiences loved the band on both nights, and we will get repeat work out of both shows. I choose to have a great night every night, and enjoy whatever I play, and these 2 nights were no exception. 3. Practice, practice, practice-Tedious, yes. Rewarding, yes. When I was a boy (get the violins ready!) learning my music was a challenge. My music teachers taught Beethoven and Mozart, because they believed this was the only real music. Even the cheapo guitars I practiced with were almost unplayable. Today, every music magazine is packed with playing tips and ideas for every music style you could want. There are instructional videos, YouTube and a wealth of web resources and cheap guitars are excellent value and very playable. So practice, look, learn, listen, read, question, experiment. If you haven't made ten mistakes today, you're not trying hard enough! 4. Know the Songs- There's more to learning a song than working out the chords, solos and lyrics. Know what the songs you play are about, and play something to enhance or create the right mood and tell the story. You already have the tools at your disposal to create the mood, and make each song unique. Use your effects and techniques to advantage. Obvious effects are good for short periods; subtle effects are good for long periods. Some examples of obvious effects and techniques are: using a loud echo repeat, a wah pedal, playing with lots of dive -bomb harmonics, or playing a continuous stream of notes without a pause. These can be very effective when used occasionally and briefly, otherwise they can become tiring to listen to. If you set your effects so you can only just tell they're on, you can use them for a long time to add subtle textures to your music. 5. Don't Blame – Don’t blame ... your audience if they don't dance ... your audience if they don't applaud ... your employer if you don't get booked again ... your agent if he can't find the work you want ... other band members when things go wrong ... your engineer when you can't hear yourself ... your equipment when it fails ... your partner when you've had a rough gig ... life in general All of these and more will happen over and over again in your career, and guess what? Blaming makes every one of them worse for you. Every one of these situations is solvable with a positive and philosophical attitude. So use every disappointment as an opportunity to learn to relax (relax I said!, now!), and think calmly about how you can do things differently next song or show. 6. Choose the Right Songs- If your thing is originals, you can skip this one. If you're playing listening music (piano bars, restaurants, etc) then some of this might apply. If you're a dance band playing covers then every song you play should be: well known by your intended audience, danceable (without too many tempo changes, avoid fast songs with slow passages), playable (with your current instrument line up and individual abilities). As much as you might like that track 3 instrumental on the latest Gordon and the Groovers CD, if it doesn't meet all three criteria, then you could learn and play it for your own enjoyment in the privacy of your (Cont’d)
own rehearsal room. Perform it publicly, and it will just seem irrelevant and selfindulgent, and maybe you'll start to resent that others don't share your own excellent taste in music. When deciding what material to do, and what key to play it in, the front person has the final say - they are the ones who have the main role of selling the song, and if they're uncomfortable, it will show. If any player has a rational strong objection to a song, then find another song. If any player has an irrational strong objection to a song, then find another player. 7. Have Fun- If you don't enjoy playing, then don't. Chances are that you do, and you can benefit from one of the best kept secrets in the industry - it's OK to smile! Start practicing this with the corners of your mouth, and when you finally get the nerve, flash a bit of tooth! If you have fun, so will the people you're playing to, then you feed off their energy, they feed off yours, ... and a good time was had by all. You might also like to think about why you like to play. It is because: (a) You just like having fun with the band and enjoy the social occasion (b) For artistic expression (c) For your self-esteem (pride in your own ability to learn and play) And the correct answer is ... all of the above and more. I think that if you play for many reasons, it means you are giving more, and in return you'll get more enjoyment back from your music. If you are playing primarily for only one reason, or for the wrong reasons (maybe money) there's a chance you could benefit by considering some of these ideas. 8. Mix While You Play-When you sing & play, listen to how what you're doing fits into the total band sound. If you have the idea that you just play your own way, and it's the sound engineer's job to mix it into the overall song and make you sound good, then you're short-changing yourself. For example, no sound engineer can mix over-played keyboards with over-played guitar. Think about these things ...Am I leaving enough space in my playing for the others? That notes-per-second meter on Nigel Tufnel's (Spinal Tap) guitar is a joke - trust me on this! Is my stage volume making it hard for other players to hear themselves? Are my stage tones clashing with anyone else? Does what I'm playing contribute to the mood and meaning of the song? Certainly, thinking about these things at first is distracting, and likely to make it harder for you to get into your own part. Just like practicing scales, though, it gets easier, until you can do it without even consciously thinking about it. That's when you really start playing as a band! You will start to bounce off each other's cues. Individuals can lead the band into places you've never been before, communicating with music alone! 9. Take Care of Your Body- I've heard 'em all: "I play best when I'm wasted", "I'm always in the right mood after 3 shots", "I need to smoke to get the high notes". Yeah, maybe and maybe not. I'm not a wowser (Australian term for one who expresses disapproval of others' actions); I reckon
just about anything in moderation is a good thing. My point here is that (recent science experiments aside) we have only one body in our lifetime, so it’s worth looking after. If you're serious about a music career, then you'll need to be physically fit and have your head together. This is the only way I know to give an energetic and focused performance, and (I've said it before) the more you give. 10. Love and Trust Yourself - You don't have to prove this to anyone except yourself. Just like being physically fit, this is about being mentally and emotionally fit. Know what you want to do now and in the future, and work towards your goals. Trust your own intuition and your own judgment. Some people tell me I'm lucky because I get lots of opportunities. I tell them I make my own opportunities and I make my own luck. Think and talk about good things and good things happen. You can easily spot a pessimist; when things go wrong, they say "That's typical for me!", but when things go well they say it was just a fluke. This is just plain unhealthy. Be optimistic; treat every setback as temporary. Treat every success as typical. You may have heard of the story of two guys at a bar with half a glass of beer: one sees a glass half full, the other sees a glass half empty. Remind yourself often of your skills and achievements - that's your half a glass. The rest of the glass is for the new skills you're going to learn, and the new things you'll do. It looks different already, doesn't it?
1402 N. 9th Street Reading, PA 19604 Www.reverbconcerts.com Friday, August 17th: FEAR FACTORY (new Shockwave make-up date!) + special guests: Ninetail and more. Saturday, August 18th: JOHNNY ACTION FIGURE (CD Release Show for the “Solar Bear” EP) Sunday, August 19th: FORGER – Mayla – xSluggernautx – Home Movies – and more Wednesday August 22nd: GLOOMINOUS DOOM + PSYCHOSTICK and more TBA Thursday, August 23rd: FLUX CAPACITOR + CONSIDER THE SOURCE Friday, August 24th: Jus Allah (Jedi Mind Tricks), Reef the Lost Cauze (Army Of The Pharoahs) & Adlib (Snow Goons) + Dr. Fowlmouf – J-FLY and more Saturday, August 25th: BODIES IN THE LAKE – HOMEWRECKER – and more Sunday, August 26th: Clancey & Krystyna’s Clips Of Comedy. Round 2 Tuesday, August 28th: STRAIGHT LINE STITCH and more! Thursday, August 30th: Welcome Back To College Night !! ECHOES TALK BACK – and more Friday, August 31st: MANTIS + Special guests… Friday, September 7th: LED ZEPPELIN 2 (from Chicago, the most authentic Zep Tribute in the world, a MUST see !) + Scary Monster (Classic Rock set!) Saturday, September 8th: GENERAL ECLECTIC – Divisions – Blyndesyde – Forsaken Entity and more
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Dear Dead Abby Abby was born and raised in the coal regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The oldest of eight, she constantly had her younger brothers and sisters asking her questions about everything from how things work to why that boy threw dirt on her. She’d try to steer them straight with her advice, though sometimes she could be a bit sarcastic. Abby also had an uncanny ability to see the truth in people, despite what they tried to portray with their lies. Unfortunately, this led the locals to believe that she was with surrounded with dark forces. The summer before her final year of school, Abby was sentenced to death by hanging, without a proper trial, simply stating that she was a witch. Abby can’t recognize the faces of her family through death, but she answers questions, thinking it might be one of her siblings needing her guidance. Q. Americas’ in the middle of a huge drought and now food prices are going up. Is this slick business and media, or is it really that bad? P.G. A. Think about it, in order to grow the fruits and vegetables, water is needed. Crops are suffering. Farmers need to have large wells and water reserves to water the crops, plus pesticides to prevent the bugs from eating the crops. The farmers that raise pigs, cows, chickens, etc for meat and milk, need to supply their animals with food and water in order to keep them healthy to get good meat, milk, and eggs from them. Therefore as the farmers costs go higher, the stores have to pay the farmer, and then the consumer pays the store. It’s how it works. More people are starting to grow their own fruits and vegetables at home in order to defray some of the cost at the grocery store. Q. I’ve submitted like 5 questions and never seen any posted. What’s the deal? A.Q. A. Maybe your questions suck. Maybe they aren’t “publishing” worthy. Maybe they deem your life not worth my response. I don’t go through each and every question. The questions are scanned through, and the chosen ones are given to me to answer. Q. My boyfriend looks at a lot of porn. It doesn’t affect our sex life right now, but I’m wondering if it’s going to be a problem. How do I get him to lay off a little? P.B. A. Good luck. Maybe he has a bunch of “weird” fantasies that he thinks you won’t be able to fulfill. Maybe he’s a “sex addict” though I simply find that an excuse people use when they get caught cheating. Maybe he needs to watch it to learn how to perform, or perform better. It’s a ballgame that you’re playing. He could be subscribing to “Serial Killers Weekly” for all you know, and the porn is just scratching the surface. Tread carefully. Bringing the subject up could set the wee man off his rocker. Q. Why are girls so worried about how they look? Who cares? Just be yourself. K.A. A. Be honest with yourself. How does a girl catch your attention? Her looks. Her personality keeps you around. You can’t actually sit there and honestly say that you wouldn’t care how someone looked if she had a great personality. You wouldn’t even know her personality if you didn’t talk to her in the first place, which is where the looks come into play. Girls worry about their looks because of men, plain and simple. Models and actresses fill their minds, and be real, they only make up like 2% of the population. Q. What do you think of the whole current Chik-Fil-A situation? T.R. A. They choose to be closed one day a week for their own reasons; they can say/do what they choose. It is a free country, yet there will always be people out there who have an issue with everything, and those who want to badger the ones who have an issue. If they feel that standing for what they believe won’t affect their business, then let them. If sales fall, and they have to start closing stores, I’m sure they will recant, but in the meantime, let them say/have their piece.
Scranton, Pa. Mayhem Fest 2012- The Plug'd In Review Review and photos by Michael Demos On Saturday, Scranton, Pa. was invaded by the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The location was the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain and the platform was over 14 of the heaviest bands to set foot in the scenic northeast. My day started early…real early. Beside the 10 million things I had to do to prepare for a show of this size, I had to make the drive from Lancaster, Pa. up to the beautiful mountains of scenic Scranton/Wilkes Barre. I didn’t mind the 2 hour drive because you really get to see some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful landscapes. I arrived at noon, and even though doors didn’t open till 1pm, things were full swing in the parking lot. You had plenty of Mayhem pre-gamers and the food coming off the grills smelled amazing! The sun was already blazing at around 92 degrees, but that didn’t stop anybody, it just meant there were lots of shirtless guys and bikini topped girls which no one was complaining about. After arriving at the mobile box office for check in we took the shuttle up the mountain to pick up our passes and tickets. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about being press is early access to the venues. We traveled backstage and it’s really neat to see all the flurry of activity going on to get ready for a show of this size. We got to the press tent early because we were scheduled for an interview with Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria. While waiting for Danny to Arrive we bumped into none other than Corey Taylor from Slipknot. Talk about staring your day off right! Even though he was exhausted from the night before and was just waking up, Corey was nice enough to say hi and take a picture with us. We then waited a couple of minutes and Danny came in and we had one of the most entertaining interviews ever. Danny was amped up for the show and just brewing with energy and it definitely spilled over into his interview. After we left the press tent we knew we had to hurry down to the outside festival grounds to catch our good friends, The Curse of Sorrow play. They had won The Battle For Mayhem contest a couple weeks earlier and were playing at 3:00pm on the Sumerian Records stage. We got there right in time and were able to say hi to the guys and their fabulous manager (our very own) Vikki Sin. It was a big deal for C.O.S to be able to play to a crowd of this size and the guys did an amazing job. They ripped through their set with stunning ferocity and the crowd accepted them with roars of applause. Expect to see a lot more from these guys! The next couple hours outside were a big, sweaty blur. We stopped by all the merch and record label tents to check everything out, say hi to all our friends as we went around, and caught pieces of sets from some amazing bands like I, The Breather, White Chapel, Dirt Fedd, and The Devil Wears Prada. We had to rush back up to the main stage press area for our interview with I, The Breather. We sat and talked with Chase and Shawn for a while and it was great to catch up with a band that is just really starting to break out in their career. We even got to talk to some of (Cont’d)
their family members who had made the trip out to support them. It was uplifting and refreshing to see the excitement and the pride that they had in these young gentlemen. Once we finished up and got back down to the festival grounds, we were able to catch the last half of Anthrax’s set. Even though the crowd was predominantly younger, the veteran Anthrax let everyone know just why they’re one of the “Big Four” in metal. We had to leave before the end of the set so we could make it in time to shoot the first 3 songs of Asking Alexandria’s set on the main stage. Asking Alexandria are true British rock star’s to the core, and the enthusiastic crowd definitely confirmed that. Hordes of screaming girls chanted their names and professed their love for them. A.A.’s set was short, but very powerful. They definitely warmed up the main stage for one of my favorite acts of the night, the almighty 3 piece, Motorhead. I grew up listening to Motorhead. My next door neighbor exposed me to them at a very young age along with other bands like Kiss, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. While I thought I was excited, it was nothing compared to our writer Nicole Marie’s level of excitement. All night long I heard Motorhead this, Motorhead that. Much like me, Nicole grew up listening to Lemmy and the boys. To put it simply, Motorhead is loud and heavy and that’s just the way this old metal-head likes it. Lemmy’s voice sounded powerful and strong and honestly he looked great. Years of hard living and hard rocking have not aged the man. He commands the stage with the best of them. My personal favorite part of their set was the 10 minute Mikey D. drum solo. The crowd went wild at the end of it and Motorhead just kept giving them more. Seeing these legends in concert is something this music fan always wanted to do and is grateful he finally had that opportunity. Next up was the almighty Slayer. I’ve seen Slayer in concert countless times and they’ve never once let me down. I saw them last year with Rob Zombie and they had the traditional Slayer stage show…two huge walls of Marshall amplifies turned up to 11. Slayer’s Mayhem Fest production was quite different. Impossible to miss were the two huge inverted crosses made of Marshall’s suspended from ceiling to floor. Even cooler were the flames that shot out of the center of the crosses. Lining the floor was stacks of amps with that had fire shooting out from the top. It wasn’t hard to imagine watching this band and thinking that the stage was the fiery pits of hell. The fearsome foursome ripped through their set and disappointed none. They played all their classics like South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss, Mandatory Suicide, and Altar of Sacrifice. I started listening to Slayer back in 1986 and it’s easy to see why their still one of my favorite bands. The dueling guitar solos by Gary Holt and the ever-formidable Kerry King shriek like demons just released from hell. Dave Lombardo’s massive drum kit set sends shocks waves through your body and it’s all orchestrated by Tom Araya’s bass and vocals. Even 30+ years later, Tom’s voice still sounded great and still kept command of the crowd that constantly shouted “Slayer”. The mosh pits were (Cont’d)
massive throughout the entire set and really went wild during their Raining Blood encore. Normally this would have been enough to end any other concert…but this was Mayhem Fest and up next was Slipknot. I’ve followed Slipknot’s entire career but I hate to admit that I’ve never seen them in concert before. Every time they’ve been in town I’ve had other commitments. I was beyond thrilled that I was going to see them for the first time, especially on a huge production stage like Mayhem. To add to my excitement I was one of 3 photographers granted access to shoot them. All day long I shot alongside 27 other photographers and it’s not an easy task. I was looking forward to finally having some room to move around and get my shots undisturbed, I was just worried about the lighting and whether I’d be able to get the shots I was hoping for. Slipknot was scheduled to go on at 9:45 so we met our press liaison at 9:30 and we’re escorted to the front of the stage. It was neat to see all the activity behind the red curtain and catch glimpses of their very elaborate stage. Right on time the house lights when dark and the red curtain went up. Opening with 742617000027 (Sic), mayhem literally erupted in seconds, and it was a lot to take in. Not 10 feet from me was front man Corey Taylor and the lighting was amazing. The photographer in me knew I didn’t have long to take advantage of this prime shooting, and the fan in me couldn’t help but stand in awe at this monstrous band. 8 guys in masks and jumpsuits, movement everywhere, drum kits that went up in the air, continuous flashes, bangs, and fire…it was overwhelming and I loved every second of it! After I shot my 3 songs I went straight to the pit area because I didn’t want to miss a second of the show. I posted up right in front of Clown’s drum set and that thing never stopped moving for a second. He really is amazing to watch. The drum kit went at least 15 feet in the air and rotated around in jerky fashion as it raised and lowered. Even crazier was when Sid would come over and climb the raised kit and they would both swing from it in maniacal fashion. You would think it would be hard to capture all the sounds from a band of this size, but Slipknot sounded amazing! It was easy to hear the percussion, guitars, drums, scratches, and vocals. Corey Taylor’s voice was strong and powerful, although if he wanted to, he could of stopped singing at any time and the crowd would of easily carried on in his place. Right before the show started we met a young lady who was seeing Slipknot perform for the 27th time. Talk about dedicated fans. This young lady has traveled all over the country and to different parts of the world to see her favorite band perform. My favorite part of the set was when they played Gently. During the instrumentals of the song, the sky rained confetti snow. Mixed with the intense light show it made for an amazing sight. As the song got harder, so did the lights and pyro. It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. Slipknot gave tribute to their late bassist Paul Gray during the song Duality. The crowd sung every word during the tribute. A big #2 replaced the Slipknot background and Corey talked about the closeness of Paul and (Cont’d)
the group. It was a fitting tribute to the late Paul Gray. The entire set was amazing and I was grateful I was able to experience it. After the show, Slipknot’s stage manager let several diehard fans backstage to meet their idols. We ended up backstage at the end of the night as everyone was relaxing after the show and getting ready for their next, and last, stop of the tour. During our backstage time we ended up at a cookout put on by the mates in Asking Alexandria. I got to witness some new material A.A. front man Danny was working on. It’s a personal project of his and is a fusion of rap and techno. Definitely unique for him. We closed out the night near Sid’s (#0) DJ Starscream’s bus. There was an intense game of corn hole going on that Sid was emceeing. The prize was a very authentic looking wrestling championship belt. I never saw who won the tournament because unfortunately we had to make the long trip back home. All in all, it was a Mayhem Fest that I’ll never forget, and I look forward to next year.
This Is Vic and Jaime of Pierce The Veil Interview by Vikki Sin I first heard Pierce the Veil about 3 years ago, when I happily stumbled upon their music on YouTube. I was instantly in love with the story like melodies, almost frantic rhythm woven with ethereal, brilliantly written lyrics, the raw emotion, and the beautifully composed ballads. These 4 guys from San Diego are talented, energetic, and put on an amazing live show (flying guitars, anyone?), not to mention vocalist Vic Fuentes has infamously sweet hair. So I was nothing short of thrilled to finally get a chance to talk to Vic and the seemingly always smiling bassist Jaime Preciado when Warped Tour rolled into Scranton on July. The night before, PTV had debuted their much anticipated 3rd album “Collide with the Sky”, which shot up straight to number one on iTunes. Add that to being recently branded with a hot sauce, of all things, and it’s no wonder they’re happy. Here they tell me about their favorite songs off the new album and which band gave them an interesting parting gift before leaving tour…V.S. PI: First off, congratulations on ‘Collide With the Sky”. JP: WhooHoo! Wait what’s that? VF: Thank you very much. PI: I saw it hit number one on iTunes, so very happy for you guys! Both: Thank you! PI: How do you feel that your sound or direction has grown with this album since your last two albums? VF: I think with each record we’re just people growing up trying to get better at what you do, basically. As you get older, as you practice more, we feel like we just keep putting out better records, like, personally. We like to push ourselves to top each one. That’s how we treat our shows, that’s how we treat our albums. JP: The older we get, the better we get at life. PI: There were a lot of personal things involved with the record, as far as the girl that had killed herself that you wrote “Bulls in the Bronx” about. Does it blow your mind to be at the point where maybe you can affect people’s lives? How important do you feel music is for young people? JP: That’s something that we discovered over time. As kids started sending in messages and telling us about their lives just saying how music saved their lives or gives them hope and stuff like that. That definitely puts, it’s kind of a realization, not really a pressure, it’s more of like alright we just need to continue doing our thing because whatever’s happening…it may not even be through (Cont’d)
our music, but through our lives, through even meet and greets. Just taking the time to say ‘hey’ to fans. I think that goes a long way. Like, “Hey, thank you so much for saying ‘hi’ to me and saying ‘have a good day’. That’s a lot to me. I take that stuff seriously. We’re not just a band playing songs, we‘re a safe place to go forget your troubles. PI: You’re halfway through Warped Tour at this point. What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the road so far? VF: Funniest thing? Let me think… PI: I like the road stories. VF: Oh yea, me too. I gotta think of a good one. JP: You know how it’s raining out? If it would have rained a little longer you would have saw probably a couple naked dudes taking showers outside. That’s always good. VF: Bert from The Used gave us a blender the other day, cause they left. JP: It was a parting gift. VF: It was a parting gift, they left the tour. And uh, we’d become friends with them, which is surreal to me cause I love that band, so he gave us a blender and signed it and it said “Fuck you guys” with a smiley face. It was like, kick ass. PI: What were some of the people that you saw maybe on MTV back when they played music that you were like, “That’s what I wanna do!” What were your childhood artistic influences? JP: Funny you say MTV, because I think the first band I saw when I was younger was like, Limp Bizkit or something. I saw a video and I was just like “Man, what are they DOING?! It’s so new and crazy!” Seeing stuff like that, when it WAS about music and stuff, I think that was like a huge thing. Now kids have the internet so I think that’s their version of MTV now. YouTube. VF: I didn’t really know too much about music when I was younger. Growing up watching MTV with my parents and shit like that. But I think when I decided I wanted to do music was when I started going to shows with my little brother Mike, who’s our drummer, going to punk rock local shows, seeing our friends older brothers playing in local bands, and we thought it was the coolest thing in the world. PI: Yea “I wanna do that when I grow up”. VF: Yea, I just thought they were so cool. PI: Speaking of the internet, with the way the music industry has developed, it’s almost all online. Do you feel like that’s a positive thing for your music? In what ways do you feel that has affected people coming to shows? JP: I think it’s a positive thing as far as spreading the music, because it gets to so many countries. Like, you could be big in Australia without ever really going there, you know. The thing I don’t like about it is that kids can go see our shows on YouTube and kids have the whole set list, the whole fucking everything, and that bums me out because I feel like that’s the magical part of going to a show, with all the surprises and stuff. I think, for us we‘ve been doing this for a long time when it was just about starting with the whole internet thing getting crazy like that. I think it might be difficult for a new band coming out. (Cont’d)
Like, it’s a catch 22 where it’s easy to get the music out there but there’s SO many bands doing that where kids are just flooded. So it’s really hard to get that one band a shot when there are 8 bands that sound very similar. I think with us being in the band 6-7 years now, we were around when it was just starting. Now it’s like Spotify, music match, like what? (Laughs) PI: It’s hard because I listen to Spotify, and it’s a great way to spread music around and find new bands. I found you guys online. JP: I hate Spotify because it takes from our numbers and sales and stuff. VF: That’s why ya gotta make hot sauce! We just made our own hot sauce. PI: I saw that! That’s awesome! How did that come about? VF: We’re all Hispanic, of the Hispanic descent. And our label, is a little racist, they’re like “You guys like hot sauce, right?” (Laughs) We’re like “Actually, you’re right, we do.” (Laughs) But they came to us with the idea and pitched it to us and it was like the sickest thing ever. We kind of went in blind because we really couldn’t taste the sauce until we actually made it. JP: We made it ourselves, right in our backyard. VF: But no, we tried it, like the first day we got the bottle, we all grabbed one, opened it, and got chips. We’re all like “Okay!” and gave each other high fives. PI: That’s what you gotta do anymore to make money. JP: Those bottles are gone, unless somebody stole it. (Laughs) PI: Now, what is your personal favorite song off of the new album and why? JL: Actually I’m really happy with, there’s a track called “Stained Glass Eyes and Colorful Tears”. It almost didn’t make the cut. It’s one of those songs that in the demo state I really loved and we rewrote it like 6 different times, did a bunch of changes to it, and at the last minute wasn’t gonna make the cut. We were all like “Should we put it on a B side or not?” and the fact that it actually made the record, there was this big ordeal that it made the cut and I’m so happy because that’s one of my favorites, because of the journey of how the song came about. VF: The last track is a cool track. It’s kind of different. I like songs that have their own vibe to them. I always picture that song like driving at night vibe. That’s what I was thinking when I was writing the music for it and I was just like “wow, this would be cool to drive at night” it’s just this kind of moody thing. Something about it, I don’t know. PI: Your lyrics are…I don’t even know the word for them. JP: Horribly amazing! PI: They actually are. Not to sound like a gushing fan, which I actually am a fan. VF: Thank you. PI: But, I’m just like, where does he get these? It’s so poetic. It’s not something that makes sense half the time. VF: Yea, yea. PI: Like, what is “pastel red and porn star white”? Do you spend all day writing? VF: I do, actually. I write every day, and if I think of something that I want to use in a song, I’ll write. I have pages, tons of stuff, but when it comes down to writing songs, I’ve got a whole arsenal of things that I used to think about. I’ll write about, not just little one liners, but things experiences and crazy things that are happening. But yea, my whole method is to be as poetic as possible, also act like you’re just talking to the person, as if they’re your friend, you know? That way it’s just like talking to them. I use the same slang and everything and then I mix it in with poetic stuff. So it still feels like you can connect with the person, you know? PI: What can we expect from you when Warped Tour is over? Another video maybe? What are you guys working on? JL: We just shot a video for “King For A Day” that hopefully we’re gonna be releasing in the next couple weeks. And then after Warped Tour, we have our first headliner in the UK! Big deal for us. And then going back to the states and going back to work. PI: Thanks so much for talking time to talk to us today. It was a pleasure. Both: Thank you!
This Is: Dan Briggs of Between The Buried And Me Interview by Michael Demos Mark your calendars. Between The Buried And Me have a new album coming out Oct 9th on Metal Blade Records and it’s a must have. It’s the highly anticipated follow up and continuance of The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The new album is called The Parallax: Future Sequence and the album art has just been released. We chatted with bassist Dan Briggs about what to expect from the new album, their current Summer Slaughter tour spot with Cannibal Corpse, what it takes to make the cut as a BTBAM video. Here’s what Dan had to say…M.D. PI: You guys just kicked off the Summer Slaughter tour with Cannibal Corpse. How did that go? DB: It was good man. It started in Hollywood so it was insane and there was a ton of shit going on. It was fun. We played a couple of shows on the way out there just to get a little warm up and play a new song. We needed those few days to work that one into the set and to feel comfortable with it. It was a good start. PI: Who are you ready to see play each night? DB: I’m excited to see The Faceless. It sucks that they’re playing right before us, so I probably won’t get to see them play much. I’m usually warming up during that time but I catch them here and there. I’m psyched to hear their new record. PI: Speaking of new records…you guys have one coming out in October right? DB: Yes. (PI) now you made the shift from Victory Records to Metal Blade. Why? (DB) Our contract was up and we were looking for something new and different. (PI) They released your Greatest Hits album after you left right? (DB) Yea, but we had nothing to do with that though. It was worked in our contract that they could release a Best Of and they did. If we would have stuck around we would have had a say in it. It was just their thing you know? PI: Tell me a little bit about the new album. DB: It’s called the Parallax 2 (Future Sequence) and it’s a 70 minute progressive-metal rock opera. (Laughs) (PI) That’s one hell of a combination there. (DB) (Laughs) It’s true though. Before we even started writing stuff I had kind of a vision of doing something like it and we had the story for it. I really love albums like The Wall. They really take the format of a concept album and really expand on it. We really just wanted to do something theatrical with it. It was really fun to write and record and now we’re ready to play it. PI: You guys have done something that’s pretty rare. You’ve worked with the same producer (Jamie King) for all 6 of your albums. What is he bringing to the table that just fits with you guys? DB: Somehow he knows our songs without really hearing them. We tracked our last EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues with David Bottrill, while Jamie mixed it. David kind of struggled to get a grasp on those songs and Jamie sat down with him and charted out every single measure and time signature change. It’s just Jamie. He hears what’s going on even when it just Blake doing drums. For our kind of music and us especially, he just knows us inside and out. We love to work with him and he just keeps getting better and better. We always have a Cont’d)
2 year gap between records and during those 2 years he just grows every time. Another cool thing is he lives 5 minutes from our practice space. (Laughs) It saves us so much time! PI: How has the response been to the new song? DB: It’s been good! I feel when I’m playing, I try to vibe off the crowd. I think it’s been going well. It’s hard to judge though because it is a 9 minute long song. (Laughs) It has a lot of dynamic changes. It’s midway through the album, so it’s definitely representative of the album, but we’re making it fit into the set. It’s hard to pick one that’s all intensive, but it seems to be a pretty good fit. PI: The cover art has been released (Chandler Owen), can we expect video support for the album? DB: Absolutely. We’re working on that now. We’ve got a few shorter tunes on the record, around the 4 minute mark, not that they’re “Pop” songs, but they fit around the format of the album as a conceptual piece. All the songs themselves are part of a bigger piece, but with that in mind, we do think we have a couple songs that we could do as a video. It’s gonna be a pretty typical video for us. It’s not going to be something where the band is going to be playing in a warehouse. It will be something visual stimulation and we probably won’t be involved in. (Laughs) (PI) Did you guys discuss any treatments or concepts yet? (DB) The good thing about this album is the visuals are laid out in the story. It’s pretty cut and dry. You can read the lyrics and have a pretty good visual in your head. We have been talking about doing some live studio stuff later in the year, so we have all kinds of things for video formats. PI: We’re excited about the album Dan and thanks for sitting down with us and giving us a chance to get Plug’d In. DB: No problem man. See ya!
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