It was actually very cool. We ended up in New York which was cool. We got to come home and play in front of a sold out L'Amours which is cool It was fun. It was pretty cool. After that we took a couple of months off. I had my son. My baby was born. I was just chilling out until December. Then Murphy came up and he lived with us for a couple of months. We went on a tour with Anthrax and Motorhead and then we were home for a couple of weeks. We just got home from being out with Overkill.
How was the tour with Anthrax and Motorhead?
That was awesome. That was a great tour. That was the best tour I've ever been on. Every night was crowded. I don't think we played in front of less than 1,500 people. I think that was the smallest crowd we did. That was really cool. That was awesome just hanging out with Lemmy and those guys. It was really cool. He's awesome. He's a funny guy.
I met him once.
He's a pisser. Even Mikkey too. The drummer. He's a pisser too. We didn't really hang out with the Anthrax guys too much. Scott and Charlie, we didn't really see them too much. We hung out with mostly the new guitar player, Rob. He used to be in a local band up here called Boiler Room that we've known for years so it was cool seeing him again. It was like just hanging out with friends. Frankie was really cool, the bass player. He was really outgoing and goofing around all the time. He was like exactly what you'd expect out of him. Like the goof guy you see running around on stage? That's totally him off stage too. It's really cool.
You guys toured with Overkill.
Yeah, we just got off that. I just got home. About a week now. That was pretty cool.
You've been on some kickass tours.
Yeah, it's definitely been a lot of fun. We're psyched. It's weird because the record just came out a month ago. We've toured four times already for it and we're going into the studio October 10th to start recording the new record already.
And here we are talking about the old record. We'll talk about the old record and the soon to be new record. You guys recorded This Violent Earth in 2001. You decided to rework it and release it this year. Why the long period of time?
It was weird. Just from playing the songs constantly live, we were finding out what was working off the original recording of it and what wasn't. Just becoming friends with Murphy over the years, I've been friends with him since he was back in Testament and he came up and stayed with us for a couple of months in New York. We were working on putting a studio together and when we had it together, we were listening to the record one night and we thought it would be so much better if we'd get the drums to sound like this and the guitars to sound like that and if we could remix this and if we could remix that. Murphy was like "you know what? Let's just redo the whole damn record." So that's pretty much what we did.
You redid all the songs?
Yeah, we fixed up a lot of shit on them and just some things we weren't happy with. There are actually things now we're doing that aren't even on the record that I wish were on the record. It's one of those things I guess. Being a musician, you're never happy with what you're doing.
And you're always going to fix that on the next record. He also played on the record.
Yeah, James did some guest solos and a lot of harmony parts. A lot of doubling. If you're hearing any double guitar parts, it's all James playing those. It's really cool. It's awesome. James was an idol of mine growing up. We're like brothers now. I know James like he's family and it was really cool to get close to him. To be playing with him.
You guys got signed to Root Of All Evil Records. How's that going?
Yeah, we did. Eventful, let's put it that way. We're not really that happy. There's been a lot of things. Just crazy shit with him. He's a small label is what it was. He wanted a band that was touring and he promised us the world and he can't deliver that. He's having trouble. He's finding out that there's a lot of things I guess he didn't know. He has I guess 10 bands on his label. I don't want to say that they're bad bands because they're not. Some of them are actually really good bands but they just don't tour. They don't do as much legwork as we do. We're constantly out touring. We love playing. That's why we do this. He's not used to having a band that is constantly out touring. For him it's something totally different. His distro is really crappy. You can't even go to Tower Records and buy our record. It's like an Internet-based deal. It's not an in the store record deal. It kind of sucks actually.
Yeah, it does because not everyone is on the Internet.
Exactly and he tells us we just need to tour more. We need to tour more? What, are you kidding me? We're actually at other places now. We have a new singer. He came out and did the Overkill tour with us. Mallek bought a house and he's in the middle of getting married. It just became a different thing for him. I guess dreaming about it was one thing and then once it started to become a reality where we needed to tour and we needed to be out doing these things and we weren't making the kind of money we can make working regular day jobs, it became an issue for him. We've moved on and we've got this awesome new singer. He's amazing.
Tell me about the new singer.
He's amazing. He's awesome. He's everything that we needed. He's got a great voice. He can sing. He kind of sounds like the guy from Nevermore. He can growl like Chuck Billy if you can picture those two being mixed together. That's exactly what Jimmy sounds like. He's more like us. He's into hanging out and he's got his hair down to his ass. Mallek is still involved in some of the stuff with us but just as far as touring and stuff right now, he can't make the commitment to do it right now.
He's getting some stuff settled.
Yeah, so we needed to keep carrying on.
Sometimes you have to get your life settled and once you have it settled, you go forth.
That's exactly what we said. We told him the door is always open. When he can do something again in the future, it would be awesome. If he can't, we understand completely. It wasn't on bad terms or anything like that. I still talk to him all the time. He had to do what he had to and I completely understand. He's ready to get married and he just bought a huge house so I understand. He's got an enormous mortgage he has to pay every month. He came out and did the record release party with us out in Minnesota which was August 3rd or 5th and that was the last thing he did with us. Then we just went out and did the Overkill shows. It definitely bothered him. It definitely hurt seeing another guy doing his thing but at the same time he understood that we needed to move forward. We couldn't sit and wait for him. It's definitely cool. It's definitely like we're still family which is awesome.
Tell us about some of the songs on This Violent Earth.
This Violent Earth was written right before September 11th happened because I remember we had this weird artwork that had these two twin towers in New York City and a big demon coming up out of New York City and just ripping the buildings apart. It's crazy because two months later that's exactly what happened. Michael made us change the album cover and all that shit. It was weird. Mallek and me are always talking about that. It's crazy. We live in New York City and it's the biggest city in the world. There's a lot of crazy shit going on there all the time. I was kind of emotionally caught at one time. It was weird how we wrote the song. If you listen to the song, it's kind of like what went down. It's weird. We had to change the album cover.
It's weird. Mallek says that all the time but I don't believe in that shit. "Years Of Abhorrence" was just about all the people we knew growing up that told us we couldn't be in a metal band. That we had to conform to every day things and we had to go to work every day and we had to do this and we had to do that. It was just a matter of a "fuck you" to all of them. We can do this and we are doing this.
"Vindication" I guess was a lot about Mallek.
Yeah, lyrically that was about Mallek. Musically I wrote that the day I came home from when my dad died. I wrote that the whole car trip home. I was just sitting there fucking around with an acoustic and just wrote all the music to it and the chorus to it. Mallek and I were just sitting there talking and he had just went to a high school reunion. Lyrically that just hits on exactly what he was feeling at the time. It was weird because he was the loser in high school. Nobody talked to him and he was kind of a weird dude. Now he was in a band and people had seen his shit in magazines and now everybody wanted to be his friend. Lyrically that's what it was about. "When God Dies" was pretty much about those people who take 90 percent of their paycheck and donate it to the church. First thing when something bad happens is where was your god? That was just a kind of "fuck you" to the whole religious thing. Okay, I go to work every day and I say my prayers and I donate my money to you and then my kid gets hit by a car. Where were you? "Cyclical Life" was about how every thing just goes in cycles. You wake up in the morning, you go to work, you come home, you eat dinner, you go to bed. You just do it day in and day out. You want to just break away from it. "Right To Die" was written by Mallek. Musically it was just a chorus we had laying around and we just threw it together. He had some lyrics and it just worked out. "Kill Or Be Killed" was another one he did all the lyrics to. We had cool riffs thrown around and kids ask me about that all the time. They ask me what it's about and I don't know. Lyrically I don't know what he was thinking on that one. "Pull The Plug" was about his girlfriend's niece or nephew who had a friend who was in a car accident and the kid was in a coma for a couple of months. The kid actually wound up passing away. That was Mallek looking inside the kid's head. What he was thinking. He didn't want to be there anymore. Just laying like that with tubes tied into him. He was a really young kid, 16 or 17 years old and he didn't want to live like that. I guess he was saying that if it was him, that's what he would want to happen.
Sounds like those three songs tie together.
They definitely could. "Drenched In Sweat" was another Mallek one. That touches on his drug addiction days back in the day. He used to lock himself in the bathroom and just go on benders for days on end. I don't know if you've ever been in that position but you wind up getting all fucked up, sweaty, and all paranoid. That's pretty much what that was all about.
I never messed with drugs.
Same here. Thank fucking God.
I watched everyone else and it didn't look like fun.
That was the same with me. I've seen everyone around me doing it. I was like fuck no. I don't want to look like that. "Remind Me" was written about an ex-girlfriend of his who left him and how just everything in his house just reminded him of her. He did all the lyrical writing on the last album.
Who's doing all the lyrical writing on the new one?
Timmy's doing a lot of it. I'm doing probably 50 percent of it on the new one so we're touching on it more.
Have you guys been introducing new material on tour?
We pulled out two new songs. One called "Fiction People" which is pretty much about how people lie straight to your fucking face and next thing you know, they're talking shit behind your back. People are really surprised to hear us doing it. It's definitely not a ballad by any means but it's more like Nevermore meets In Flames. A lot of melodies happening and then the guitar player Mario who is the other guy in the band now, is singing harmony parts to the new vocals. It's really cool and a lot of kids came up to us saying that song was like something you'd hear in a movie so it was really cool. Timmy wrote the lyrics. The other one was called "Tentacle" that we did live. That's just a heavy grinder from start to finish. Kids are really receptive to the new stuff.
When are we going to have the new stuff?
Hopefully early January. We're looking at January or February. Somewhere in there. I can't say where it's being released yet because all our contract stuff isn't done yet and with us still being with Root. It's definitely coming out and it will be in stores. We're looking at a worldwide release on this one.
This new one will be released on Root as well?
No, Root doesn't even know we're recording it yet.
Are you guys looking for a label?
We just signed with a label in the States called Radical and they're licensing it through Polygram worldwide.
That's where the new one will be.
Right where it needs to be. Our producer, this guy Kip Kaplan, produced Al DiMeola and has produced some amazing records. Gold and platinum records. He's been awesome to us. He's helped the band really learn how to write and really just develop as a band. Not really touching on so much of the old school metal stuff but trying to create something that we can hang on to for years that really is going to stand up against the test of time. He's really beating on us which is great. He's really helped us write some amazing songs on this new record which is really cool.
Do you have a contract with Root saying you have to do so many records with them?
No, that was the cool thing. I never even worked out our agreement with Root. Michael Mazur did all of it for us. Michael did it on a handshake kind of knowing that other things were going to come up. He was really smart about that actually. Michael really protected me on it. He's got his shit together. I tell him "thank you" every time I talk to him. I can't thank him enough because if it weren't for him, none of this shit that we've gotten to do would have happened at all.
When are you guys bringing your sorry asses through Dallas again?
We were supposed to come through on the Anthrax/Motorhead tour. We were on the tour through Motorhead, not through Anthrax. Then Motorhead wasn't allowed to play down there or something like that. They had to get ready to go do this Maiden and Dio tour that they were doing. When they pulled off we said to Anthrax that we'd come down and do the shows with them. They said they weren't even sure if they were going to go down there. Presales were really shitty.
I think they had a full house for that one at the club. 400 people or so which was a lot for that club. It's rather small.
I promise you after the new record comes out, we'll get down that way. We'll make sure we get there. I was really looking forward to playing there.
I was totally disappointed. Where were my guys?
You and me both. We were supposed to be going to Texas and then we were driving from Minnesota to New York. That sucked. That was a 32 hour drive or something like that. We did it straight through. We should have went to Texas. Then we were going to wind up taking up with Death Angel and then that tour didn't go together so we wound up sitting at home for a couple of months until this Overkill thing came up. Those guys don't go anywhere except the East coast. We were supposed to do the King Diamond tour too. It was supposed to be us and King Diamond and this band,. Single Blow Theory. Diamond's fucking booking agent was being a real asshole and they were telling us one thing and promising us a certain amount of money. Then the next thing you know, when we got the contracts it was all changed. We told him to stick it up his ass. We weren't doing it. They wanted us to go out on tour for $100 a night and we were like "I don't think so dude." And no guarantee. If they can give it to us, they'll give it to us.
If you only do two months of touring at $100 a night...
Yeah, we'd go home and be really broke. I'm skinny as it is. If I don't eat every night, forget about it.
You also have another mouth to feed.
Exactly, a little fat baby. He's going to be a guitar player. I can't put the guitar down without him jumping on it, banging on the strings, rolling on it. He's a year old already. He just turned a year September 10th. He's walking and talking.