Okay. I'm Greg Combs. I'm the guitar player. Then there's Todd Smith who's the vocalist. Steven Mears is the bass player. John Ensminger is the drummer. And Jeff Seigel. He's the keyboard player. And we're all from the Baltimore area. That's where we formed the band several years ago and that's were we come from.
How did you come up with the name of the band and how did you form the band?
Well forming the band, me and John and Todd went to high school together and we started playing together when we were like 15 and we kinda kept going with it. After a few years, after we got out of high school, Steve joined the band and we went through a number of different styles as far as what kind of music we're going to be playing and what we're going to be doing and then we got Jeff on board. Things kinda became clear on our direction. We used to do pop, We used to do ska. We used to do straight up metal. Once all the elements came together it kind of gave us direction toward what we're doing now. How we got the hand name is actually a very boring story so nwe don't like to share that one.
What type of music do you play?
We consider it heavy circus music. I would say it's similar to like the new metal like System Of A Down or something like that but with a little bit more wacky interludes like Mr. Bungle or Frank Zappa or something like that.
How many albums have you done?
The new one that's coming out is going to be actually our first international release with promotionary things. We've done three independent albums on our own staring in '95 I believe.
What are the names of the albums and some details?
The first was Erotic Massage. Then there was Experiments In Alchemy and then Embryos In Bloom and then the newest one is called Anarchists Of Good Taste. Most of the stuff you can find on MP3 since they're no longer available. Most of them are on MP3.
As far as getting the album produced and engineered did you use anyone nameworthy?
Yeah we used Drew Mazurek. He did the last two Nothingface records and that's what really turned us on to him when we heard their previous album Everyday Atrocities. It was on Mayhem. We heard that album come out. It was just produced so well. It sounded great and he was up in Baltimore which wasn't too far at all from us. He's a great guy to work with. Lot of good ideas. He was just really easy to work with so we wanted to go there and use him because the past two albums we did there were Embryos In Bloom and Anarchists Of Good Taste. He also did Gwar. He did some other stuff but the Nothingface albums were what really turned us on to him.
Describe the tracks on the album.
Sure. I would say our standout track...one of my favorites is called the "Vertigo Motel". It's kind of a wacky like semi-ska, semi-disco song with a lot of heavy parts in it. It's got a jazz breakdown in the middle with a sax solo and a lot of really like really weird stuff. Wacky type time signatures and changes into it so it's something that I like a lot that just kind of like grabs the listener's attention. Somthing that definitely stands out on the record. The other thing is a song the "Mushroom Cult". We have a guest appearance with Serj Tankian from System Of A Down. He did the guest appearance on that during the verses and all.
Who does most of the songwriting? Is it a group effort?
Collectively we write the songs. A few of us might have some main ideas and stuff like that but it really boils down to all five of us getting together and just hashing it out and then of course the lyrics, Todd our singer writes all the lyrics. All the song titles. The wacky visionary.
Your lead singer draws a lot of inspiration from the macabre and seems to be fascinated with death.
Yeah. What makes you think that?
Oh I don't know.
Yeah he's fascinated with death. A lot actually. It's like one of those things with him. I dunno I guess we all have our own things that we get obsessed with. But, he's not really obsessed. I don't know. It's just something that he thinks about. He said before that it's one of the things that kind of scares him a lot. So he thinks about it a lot and I guess it just comes out in his music. He writes all the lyrics for the songs.
I understand that your popularity has been spreading by word of mouth.
Yeah basically because we don't really get a whole lot of airplay. We don't get played on MTV or anything like that so basically what happens is that people come to our shows and we'll play a show for the first time somewhere and it'll be like 20 or 30 kids come out and next time we come through town it's like 40 or 50 kids and the third time through there's like 70 or 80 kids. It's just growing and growing. We've been lucky enough to have that happen to us pretty much any place we've been and quite honestly I can only really attribute that to word of mouth and the Internet. People just coming out and really digging what we're doing and just spreading the word.
You guys made an appearance on appearance on a program called Farmclub?
Yeah we did that last summer. It was pretty cool actually. We got flown in and they treated us really well. We got to play with Stone Temple Pilots which we're all big fans of those guys. We played with POD, Methods Of Mayhem, and Bone Thugs And Harmony. Those are really cool bands. We went out there. They flew us out there. They treated us well. Fed us well. Got to play with some really good bands and all of a suddem a lot of people got to hear our music because of that show. Actually we did a show in Oklahoma a while ago and we had never been to Oklahoma and there's a whole bunch of there's a whole bunch of kids in the front row singing along with the songs. We're like how the hell did you hear about us and they're just like "we saw you on Farmclub". And it was definitely a good thing for us.
Have you been on any major tours? Opened up for anybody?
We'e played with Stone Temple Pilots, Anthrax, Clutch, Nothingface, Morbid Angel, POD, Bone Thugs And Harmony, Ratt.
That covers a wild spectrum.
Yeah exactly but as far as a tour goes, we haven't been on a major tour. Most of those shows are just one op shows that we get here and there. We're anticipating when the album comes out to be able to get onto a bigger tour like one of those.
Is Spitfire the first label that you've been on?
Yeah they're the first real label that we've been on. Embryos In Bloom was put out by a really small indie out of D. C. and they basically helped us get signed to Spitfire.
Do you feel that with this being your first album on a real label that you'll have the opportunity to get on an international tour?
I really hope so. We're keeping our fingers crossed. We're not sure what's going on right now. There are no plans set in stone but there are plans for us to go into Europe and tour over there because there's a lot of buzz going around about us over there already. We've got a five out of five star review in Kerrang magazine and so we'll be definitely doing that. I don't know what kind of band we'll be over there with but like I said we're not really sure what's going to be happening. At this point we're just kind of sitting and waiting and doing what we're told.
What different areas have you performed in? Just around Washington D. C.? No actually right now we're on the road. We're in Jacksonville, FL right now. We've been out on the road for the past month. We've hit 22 states. Gone through the Midwest and in the North and all the way South through Texas and Florida and stuff.
How long is this tour lasting?
It's about five weeks. This is our last week. We get to go home on Saturday. We have a few days off then we go to New York to do a CD release party. Then we do a CD release party in D. C. Then we go actually straight back to Texas.
When will the album be released?
It'll be out March 6th. We're basically just into the beginning phases of this whole thing. Just starting out to try and go national. Do all the promotion and everything like that.
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