Billy: I used to be in a band before and we lived in this town called Fresno. It's a shithole in California. We were in a band and the band broke up. We both ended up moving to the Bay area not knowing that each other was moving to the Bay area. We met up again and started a new band.
John: The name actually comes from a headline in a newspaper that Matt read. It was about a priest in the Midwest who welcomed the Hell's Angels into his church and he would bless the motorcycles.
Billy: He was a vicar. They showed a picture of the dude in this cool Grecian regalia and fucking sprinkling holy water on the motorcycles. That's where the name came from.
John: It was the headline. It said blessing the hogs. Matt figured that was a good band name.
Billy: It is a good band name.
Fucking A. Blessing motorcycles. What more can you ask for?
Billy: People think it's a swine thing but it's not.
You aren't fucking farm animals.
Billy: Not at the moment.
That's for later if they can't find a gig on the way. Since you guys are from the Bay area, what's the current metal scene there?
Billy: It's ever changing.
John: Right now isn't a great time for metal in the Bay area. It comes and goes. From time to time there springs up a club or a scene that can support metal but generally in the past, clubs don't last very long at all. In the past decade or so, it's been kind of tough for metal bands but it's been kind of tough for a lot of bands in general in the Bay area because the dot com thing took out a lot of clubs for sure. Rents skyrocketed.
Billy: There are a lot of good bands though. We're on tour with Impaled from Oakland.
Tell me about your release, The Twelve Gauge Solution and how that record came about.
John: How did that come about? It came about because we had to do one.
Billy: We had 11 songs and we wanted to put it on something. They don't make eight tracks anymore. We had 11 songs written and our label that put out our last record said it was time for the new record and we said we had it about half done as far as writing. We just continued writing and there you go. There's history for you. There's no magic story really.
Tell me about the three songs on there that best represent your band.
Billy: "Botched Messiah", "Let's Play Doctor... Kevorkian".
I like that title.
John: That represents our band.
Billy: It's cheeky. Brutal but tongue in cheek.
John: Yeah and "Botched Messiah", the first song on our record, I think that represents our band really well because we finished writing that under the pressure of recording. We finished writing it basically in the studio. Putting the finishing touches on it. That's how we operate best. Under pressure at the last minute.
How's the tour been going so far?
Billy: It's been really fun to say the least. We've had some fun experiences. The tour with Impaled is great. We know those guys back in the Bay area so it's like touring with your brother.
Are they here with you?
John: Oh yeah. The best thing so far is that we got to sleep in a multiplex the other night. A movie theater. The guy promoting the show in Houston works at a multiplex and after the show he had to basically go there and I guess receive new movies and do whatever they do with them. One thing we got to do is hear our alum in the IMAX theater. That was fucking cool.
Billy: We got to sleep in the projection room at the IMAX and we got to watch the new Tim Burton movie in the theater all by ourselves. Everyone had their own row laid back watching the movie. Fucking metal, that's what we did on tour.
Sleeping in movie theaters, fucking farm animals, and having interesting experiences. We don't have the farm animals yet.
Billy: Not yet but they're on the list.
You guys recorded, mixed, and mastered at different studios. Why all the different places?
John: Mostly because we could.
Billy: Yeah. We started doing some recording before for a different label. They kind of became assholes so we just kept the recordings and used them for this one. That was like three or four songs.
John: Three that we used and we started some months before the actual recording of the body of the album at a different studio for a different label. They ended up being jerk offs so we continued at a different studio. We basically did a lot of it in our practice space.
Billy: We did some of it in our practice space just because we're clever like that. We did a lot of it at my house.
John: We did a lot of it at his house.
Billy: We mixed two songs at my house. We're clever like that and we can get away with it. We're recording geniuses too and we were broke. We ran out of budget basically is what I'm trying to say. The whole genius part. That's the main reason. It wasn't because we wanted to have a bunch of different studio names on our album. It was out of necessity and because we could.
You were being creative.
John: Budget creative. Doing what we could with what we had.
You guys have a video game on the album called Metal Man. Tell me about the game and who designed it.
Billy: It was him.
John: I didn't have a job for a while and I smoked pot all day. I became a computer geek so I made that. It's been around for a while. I finished it I guess.
Billy: It's gone through different permutations as John got more and more clever with the computer.
Or he smoked more pot.
Billy: That's what I mean.
John: Yeah, we kind of geeked out on this album to make the whole ECD thing which I'm very proud of and glad we did. Looking back we are computer geeks. I've become such a geek. If I knew me now when I was younger, I'd have to kick my ass.
Sometimes I think people should kick their own asses. It's better than someone else doing it.
Billy: Exactly. Nobody's allowed to kick my ass except for me.
You guys made a video for "Let's Play Doctor...Kevorkian".
Billy: That was basically myself wanting to pull a surprise on these guys and I wanted to learn final cut. My girlfriend at the time was deep into video editing and I just compiled a bunch of footage of us playing live and a bunch of footage of people wrecking themselves. Over time I learned final cut from my friend and we assembled this video over time. I didn't tell these guys about it until it was done.
John: Yeah, we were actually recording in the studio and we get there. He won't let us in or nothing. He won't let us in the room. We were like what the fuck? I thought maybe it was somebody else in there recording or whatever. Finally he opens the door and it's all dark and he has a big ass screen hanging. He had the video projector set up and it was fucking cool. It was a trip. It was all huge like the size of that fucking wall right there. Fucking huge.
Billy: We decided to put it on the record because we were doing ECD anyway and it was no big deal. It came out good. It's a different version of the song that's on the album which is a bonus but it was fun to do and fun to spring on people. It's a cool part of a cool package.
I hope your new girlfriend is also into video editing otherwise you're going to have to get back with the old one.
Billy: I'll let you know when I find one.
Make sure you find one that is into video editing.
Billy: Oh no, I know that shit now.
You gleaned information.
Billy: Yeah, I'm clever like that.
You are the engineer and the producer.
Billy: I do the engineering and we all produce.
What are some of the advantages of being talented in those areas?
John: I can answer that. It's cool. It's kind of perfect. For one thing, he's always got that hook up for a studio. It's like going in there with somebody that you know really well. None of that nervousness of is this person going to know what the hell we're talking about? He's just a whiz bang kid in there and knows everything. Obviously we all have trouble communicating because I'm having trouble talking to you right now but in our savant circle we can communicate rather well. We can grunt and point at shit and he'll know what it means.
Maybe after you have the farm animals.
Billy: You're stuck on the farm animals. You're scaring me. Are you holding some?
No, I'm afraid I don't have any.
Billy: Aw man.
I'm just waiting to come across a band that has actually fucked farm animals.
Billy: Our bass player is pretty new. We don't know yet. He's from Rhode Island. He doesn't eat animals.
You guys are signed to Goodfellow Records. Why did you decide to sign with them?
John: We talked to some other labels. I don't want to say bigger labels. It really didn't go so well. We'd get contracts that were just ridiculous. None of us could even get through them.
Billy: We got a 31 page contract.
John: It was just all this bullshit of dealing with them and Chris, the guy who runs Goodfellow, you can just talk to him like a fucking person. He's a good guy and he knows good music. He's one of those people who are into it. He's just totally into fucking music.
Billy: He's a fanatic. He's a metal fanatic.
John: He's not in it for the whole business side of it so much.
Billy: He had bands that he liked and wanted to see them get played. He started putting music out and he's doing pretty good now.
I like the Mafia reference.
John: Yeah, he's good like that. Even though they're Canadian geeks, they're good like that. They know they're geeks.
Who have been some of your favorite bands to tour with and who would you like to tour with?
Billy: Impaled is really fun to tour with. I've toured with loads of bands as the sound guy or whatever and also playing. As far as with this band Impaled, it's definitely been really fun.
John: It's hard to say who you would want to go with. It's cool that we know these guys. We're already friends there.
Billy: If Matt were here, he'd say he would like to tour on the Ozzfest.
Ozzfest is cool to get on.,p> Billy: Yeah, I've heard that but it's going to cost you the rest of the money that you'll make the rest of your life.
You have to sign over your first born and all that. I was surprised when I found that out.
John: They'll kill you. We'll pretty much tour with anybody that's cool.
What kind of touring do you have ahead after tonight?
John: We've got to go back up to Seattle. We've been talking to some people about that. We have nothing set or planned right now other than we are going to go do the Northwest. As soon as Goodfellow does the festival, as soon as they nail down the dates for that we'll probably do another U.S. tour which last time it was in March.
What other things are going on besides the band?
Billy: I make records for other bands. That's what I do. John is a graphic designer. Other than that I play and think about music every single day of my life. If it's not with this band it's making records with other bands or amusing myself by playing music or making it in some way or another. We tend towards the creative so we spend a lot of our time just making music whether it's for us or others.
John: The record has only been out for a short time. We were doing long days getting that thing out and then getting ready for this. I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Billy: Right now I need a beer.
John: How about a gin and tonic minus the tonic? There's not much tonic in there, you can drink that.
Blessing The Hogs