Derek Harn & Johnny Pettibone - Himsa

October 26, 2005

Tell me about Hail Horror that's coming out in February.

Derek: The title came from a book that I read by Glen Duncan called I, Lucifer. Being that I'm not a religious person, it's like this fairy tale to me but it's an awesome story. Lucifer is given a chance to come back into Heaven as long as he lives on Earth in a human form for a month but he finds out from the Archangel Gabriel because Gabriel can't lie that the whole purpose for him to get back into Heaven is so God can control Hell. So once he finds that out, he wants to play a joke on them so he goes into this human form of this man that committed suicide to just create as much chaos in just one form in New York City as he can for that month knowing that he's returning to Hell and he'll still be in charge of it. It's this awesome story and it's really funny and whatnot. It was taken from that. It was a paragraph where it was saying how Lucifer created all the sexual diseases and he created hurricanes and volcanoes and the whole wrath on Earth he was responsible for. He said it "was my hail of horrors." I just took it from that and it's kind of loosely based on what the record is about. The last record Courting Tragedy And Disaster was the healing record for me because I had come out of a lot of rough years and this one is everything that gives me momentum and keeps me going. It's a throwback of 11 songs of thank you's basically is what it is. It all has to do with heavy, angry stuff.

I always knew God was a controlling bastard.

Derek: Yeah, that jerk.

Who did a lot of the songwriting? Was it a combined effort from everyone?

Johnny: It was a big part on Kirby Johnson our guitar player. He wrote pretty much all the record and Chad would play drums on it and whatnot. Matt our old guitar player would just come up with some things and Kirby would arrange it because he's really, really good at that. Once I got down and Derek learned his parts, I was always writing so it just fit the lyrics to each song.

You guys had a guitarist change.

Derek: Yeah, on the first record Courting Tragedy And Disaster, Sammi Curr was with us and has been a friend of ours for a long time and has played in previous bands with Kirby Johnson. He had to leave the band right when the record came out so the guy who replaced him, Matt Wicklund, came on board and did all the touring with us up until the new record and then right when the record was finished and just before we left on our last tour, he quit a few days ahead of time which sucked and left us in a big hole. In two days Sammi came back and wanted to be back in the band. The reasons he left he had sorted out and he's back and it's better than ever. The way it was supposed to be. We're like a good puzzle. We all feed off each other. We play well together. We're all friends.

Johnny: We have our disagreements but we were all in previous bands that played together in the Seattle scene.

Derek: We all have the same background. We've grown up with the same kind of interests and tastes.

Johnny: And work ethics too.

Derek: It's nice to have everyone back on the same page. I think even from Courting Tragedy And Disaster to Hail Horror, it's even a better step because we've had a drummer change since Courting Tragedy And Disaster was recorded too. Now that Chad's in it, everyone comes from the same place. I think that's important in the way that we work.

Yeah, it's important to have a really good relationship with each other because you're going to be together a whole lot.

Derek: And have been together a whole lot.

Might as well be married. You guys put out a DVD called You've Seen Too Much.

Derek: Well, that was this guy's idea but I was the one who tried to push it through. It's basically a live DVD that was shot in our home town in Seattle and I don't even know what sparked that idea.

Johnny: It had been a couple of years of hard work being on the road a lot and being away from friends and family and whatnot. It was a kind of like a thank you. We wanted to make something that wasn't very expensive but could really show what the band is like live for kids that aren't able to see us. There are those kids who are fans. We get mail and stuff from kids who tell us they are too young to drive and can't go see us play but they have the record or they saw one of our videos. It's easier for kids to see "oh wow, they really come off how they do sound." One it's that plus a big thank you to everyone back home. It was at the club I work at and they've always given us a home to play in and stuff. It was just that whole idea and just a transition. Also to keep the name going while we were still writing the new record and whatnot because it had been two years already. We'd been touring so much that you don't want people to forget about you so it was kind of like "hey, we're still here. This is what's coming."

Derek: It was also something that we just wanted to do for fun. Just to have out there. We realize that we're not a band that has all this huge history behind us. We've been around for a while but we're relatively new in a lot of people's eyes. It was something that was fun to just put out there. Just to do as a fun DVD. It's never sold for more than 10 bucks. It's a nice little fun thing to check out and if they don't like missing us.

You're going to have a new video from the record called "Sleezeevil".

Derek: Yeah, we shoot that on Sunday actually. We're trying to work out some of the coordination and it's been interesting as it's coming down to the wire and the grand idea wasn't even either one of ours. We're the ones trying to follow through with it right now. We'll see how it turns out. If it turns out the way we're hoping it will turn out, we'll be really excited. It's kind of a dark comedy in a way.

You guys are on the Blackest Of Black tour. How has that been going so far?

Johnny: When it comes down to it, it's awesome because it's with Danzig. For me personally it's amazing. With The Misfits set too and him and Doyle play. That's the band I grew up with.

They're still doing The Misfits thing.

Johnny: Yeah, they do a half and half kind of thing. For the most part Danzig comes out and really sounds awesome. I've seen every Danzig tour from the start and I was able to see Samhain when they were around in their prime. Just seeing the transition of him going back through his catalog and whatnot and still sounding awesome. There have been some rough nights but it's part of touring. Us being a young band, we've got a really good spot on the bill. We're third every night and we get a decent crowd. Unfortunately the prices are really, really high so a lot of kids that want to see us can't come see us or don't want to pay that much. The merch is pretty high. The selling prices we have to match so that hurts us in that aspect but we're also reaching a lot of new people. A lot of people have never heard of us before but they think it's awesome which is cool. On the other side of it too you get a lot of people that just want to see Danzig and The Misfits so they stand through five bands with their arms crossed and you try to win them over but you can't always do it.

Derek: It's fun being on a bigger tour. We don't get a chance to play really big tours like this very often so you just have to revel in it and have fun with it while you can. When we do our own tours, it's way smaller venues to way smaller crowds. It's fun to come in and this place is gigantic. I just walked in here and I was like "wow, this is huge."

Johnny: You have to laugh because we're not used to that. We're not used to big stages and barriers and huge lights and huge sound systems and stuff like that. So you come on stage and go "all right, 30 minutes. We're going to shine and give it our all 100 percent and see what happens." It's a gamble.

Derek: It's definitely overwhelming at times. The next tour we come out on, no one will even know. Basements and people's living rooms.

Johnny: That's what I actually liked after we did Headbanger's Ball. It was almost the same setting. Coming back on our next tour and just playing small clubs, kids couldn't believe we were playing these small clubs after the Headbanger's Ball tour. We said we were used to this. This is what we like. They couldn't believe that we hang out in the crowd and come to talk to people and I said well yeah, I'm a normal person. There's no reason why I should be hiding.

Don't you know that you were born a rock star? That's the way some of these people act. "Oh my God, I met so and so." Yeah, once upon a time he even shit in his diapers.

Johnny: Yeah, exactly.

And he didn't even know he was going to be famous. What do you guys have going on after Blackest Of Black?

Derek: In December we're going to Europe to do a three week tour with 3 Inches Of Blood and that will be the coldest tour of our entire existence.

Make sure you pack parkas.

Derek: I'm wearing a sleeping bag at all times. We do that in December. As soon as Hail Horror drops in February we'll be back out on the road just probably touring throughout most of the rest of the year in the U.S. and Europe. We'll probably end up going to Japan and Australia at some point next year too. We're looking forward to that. Some of those places are places we haven't done before. Just keep touring. That's what we do.

That's where you make your money.

Johnny: Right now it is. Sometimes like now it's not that much. That's cool. We get by.

You put up with you have to put up with because then people are going to be like "Oh my God! I saw them on the Blackest Of Black Tour." Any other thoughts or comments?

Derek: You covered our world right now.

That's what I do.

Derek: You've done well.

I cover your world and you rock mine.

Derek: Thank you for your support.

Johnny: Thank you for your time.

Himsa