Yeah, it's about fucking time right?
Shit, we've been waiting on this one.
Yeah, us too.
Cycle Of Pain. Tell me what kind of heartache you had to go through to get this out.
It's ridiculous. If I told you, you wouldn't even believe it. Timmy's wife died in October in the middle of vocals. That went on. Band members in and out. Ovie going through his whole rehab thing getting a couple of DWIs slapped on him and looking at jail time. It's just been crazy. It's been fucking insane. It's been a definitely long road. We were amazed when we finally handed it in to the record company. We're like "wow, we're actually just handing the record in."
It sounds like you went through a cycle of pain all right. You guys have a brand new lineup. You had one guy who did the drums in the studio.
Yeah, that's Ronny, the guy that played for Hades for a while. Ovie's back getting ready to do shows with us.
Cool, he's all rehabilitated.
Yeah, he's doing great. He's clean. The first time he's completely clean in fuck I can't tell you how many years. As long as I've known him.
I bet he feels better.
Yeah, he feels great. He's says it all the time. He feels so much better not drinking anymore.
You guys found Timmy in a want ad.
Yeah, completely by accident. We had just gotten off the tour actually with Manowar when we found him. We were actually working on another project together and when everything went down with Mallek, it just made sense to give him a call. We told him to come on down. It worked out really good. Two of the songs that are on the new record were written for another project that we were doing together and we were just like fuck it, let's just bring Timmy in. He's been here since.
You guys finally found a new label. Why did you go with Indecent Media?
Dude, they have the coolest fucking people ever. Our deal is, they gave us anything we wanted really. They're a new label. They have another label called Radical which does all dance and disco shit. He's got multi platinum albums with that so the guy's got money to burn. He found us and wanted to get involved. We talked for fuck about a year before we actually even signed anything with him. He's been great. Jurgen actually became one of my really good friends. I hang out with him actually all the time now. That worked out really good.
I know you guys weren't happy with the last label you were with.
That fucking guy. We found out that he's selling our record in Europe. It was just a mess. He wasn't supposed to do any of it and he still did it. He's not even supposed to be selling it now. You still see him selling it all over the place. On the Internet, E-bay, and he's got our distribution still so it doesn't really hurt us too much.
Are you talking about your new one or the old one?
Nah, the old one. Jurgen's actually been really good. We just signed a deal. It just got signed last week with another label in Europe. It's going to be through Jurgen through Indecent but it's distributed by Sony in Europe.
Cool deal. You know that fucker's going to get out.
Yeah, so that should be good. Distribution is a little bit slow in the beginning but they're starting to pick it up. It's getting better.
Now that we finally have it. It's so way different from This Violent Earth.
I know. I was partially nervous about the way people were going to think about the new stuff versus the first one. A couple of years went by between that first one and this one. It was like fuck, are people going to hate it? We're really happy with it.
Apparently when you guys wrote this album, it was actually a total band effort.
Yeah, it really was. On the first one I would throw riffs around and I'd say okay, come on. Let's just put this together and get some fucking songs written so we can get out of here and go play. This one, it took us roughly about a year to really write everything and pull it back. If parts just weren't happening, they weren't making the record. We yanked them off. It was good to be able to write with Timmy especially based on the simple fact that when we had a melody line in our heads, he could sing it whereas Mallek couldn't. It was cool.
Timmy seems to have a pretty wide vocal range.
He definitely does. Wait until you see him live. I just got off the phone and it looks like we're going out with Savatage in June sometime and then I think we're coming through the whole Texas area on the tour. I'm just waiting for my itinerary back. It should be a good one. I think we're going to finally make it back there.
It's been a while since I've seen you guys.
Yeah, we're a little different now. It should be fun. We're looking forward to just getting out and playing. I miss fucking playing. We haven't done really any actual shows in a year.
What the hell have you guys been doing?
Just working on this record and getting the band to sound like the record. The last show we played was in August so our first is one is actually next Friday. We're doing an in-store at Tower Records up here which should be interesting. We'll see how that one all pans out.
Tell me a bit about Cycle Of Pain.
For me it was a lot of stuff. It had to be more real than the first record. The first record for me was a fun record and it was cool. I still listen to it now and I crack up and think it was pretty cool. Whereas this one, in my point of view it was well thought out. All those songs are written for a reason. There isn't one song on there that didn't mean something to us personally.
There is so much emotion on all of this.
Yeah, there definitely was. We looked at it this way too. There's a million and one fucking metal bands out there that are just screaming about absolutely nothing. What are you doing? Why are you doing this? They have no answer. "This is because this is what we're supposed to do." We didn't want that. We wanted to show people that we can be as heavy as they were but at the same time still be human beings. Still have depth to our record.
Do something because it's the way you want to do it, not because somebody thinks you should do it.
Yeah, exactly. That's really what we set out to do with this record. We're just going to make the coolest record that we possibly can and in 10 years from now when we look back and listen to this record, we're going to be proud of it. It's like a picture. That's the best way I can put it. It's a snapshot of what we went through at that exact time when we wrote those songs.
It's one of those records that people can relate to.
Yeah, so far actually that is what we're hearing. It's crazy because we've talked to fuck, a ton of people and nobody has the same favorite song on the record. Everybody has a different favorite song which is cool. It's interesting to hear that whereas with the first one, there were two songs. We always knew what somebody was going to say. With this one, you have no idea what they're going to say.
My favorite is "Wicked".
Cool, I like that one a lot too. I like playing that one live. It's a blast. That's going to be in the set, that's for sure. I think "Grinder" definitely has to go in the set.
What was going through your minds as you all put this together?
It was weird. I had started writing the record with Ovie and then Ovie went through everything that he went through. We got hooked up with John Dette, the guy that used to play drums for Slayer and that lasted all of about two weeks. The only good thing that came out of it was meeting Greg. Those two were friends from out in San Diego so when I went out to meet with Dette and just jam with Dette, Greg happened to be there hanging out at dinner one night. We just started talking and him and I just connected quickly. We both had the same idea as to what we wanted to accomplish. Musically we just played really well together. It was amazing. When we sat down and started jamming together, it was like we had been jamming together for years. It just worked so that was the only good thing that came out of the whole Dette thing. Just when we started writing it, it was like a rebuilding at the same time. I didn't really know many of these guys personally like I do now. Like I knew Mallek or Dave. I've known those guys for years so it was pretty cool. We learned a lot about each other I think.
Yeah, we definitely did. When I mixed the record me and Greg would sit up in the studio for fuck, we'd start at seven o'clock that night and not get finished until three o'clock the next afternoon sitting in the studio just working together. We were just looking at things and listening and saying "hey, is this perfect?" "Nah, this could be a little better there." It definitely was more of a bonding thing. I didn't just say okay, I want the parts to be like this and that's how it's going to be. It was more like what do you think of this part? Is it fitting right? It was definitely a collective thing whereas before it really wasn't. So far we're getting pretty decent reviews on it. The lowest thing we've gotten is a 7.5 out of 10 so I'll take that any day. It's been pretty good.
I love the CD cover.,p> Yeah, it was done by this guy named Buzz. If you get the Spiderman II DVD, he's done all the animation for them in there and he does some comic book covers. It's in DC Comics I think. He's a pretty well known comic guy.
How did you hook up with him?
By accident. Greg was hanging out at a bar one night and he was just talking to this dude. He met him and the guy said he was in some comic books. We didn't know who he was. Greg didn't really know who he was and it came down to I think it was three days before we had to hand the record in. We had no artwork for our record. We were like holy shit, what are we going to do? We fucked up. We totally forgot about the artwork. We're fucked now. There's no way we're going to get the record turned in on time. Shit. More fucking bullshit to deal with. Greg has a friend named Christine who does Crusher magazine and it's an all metal thing and she's in New York. She knows everybody out there. Greg told her we need a fucking album cover done in two or three days. He asked if she could do it because she does art stuff. She said what about that Buzz that Greg met at the bar. We started talking to him. We get him on the phone and we asked if he could do this. He said yeah he could do it. I said well here's the catch. Can you do it by Wednesday? He said yeah, no problem. It just worked out really good. We got lucky.
I'd say you did. He did a great job on that.
Yeah, he sketched it up. He sent us the first sketch a day after we spoke to him. Me and Greg looked at it and said fuck yeah, that's it. We called him back and said go with it. Two days later that's what we had. He handed us exactly what you're seeing on the album cover.
My favorite part of any CD is the artwork.
The record's coming out in a couple of days.
You probably want the record to be out before you hit the road.
We're waiting it out to see what's going on. Greg has a couple of shows coming up with Testament. They're doing a reunion thing. It's all Europe stuff they're doing.
Yeah, they're going to have Alex Skolnick.
Yeah, Alex and Greg. The both of them. I think it's in May they're going over to do six or seven shows over in Europe. I think there's another string of them.
Mario made a really cool statement. He said "it was like our last record was in black and white and Cycle Of Pain is full of color and textures."
Being that Mario is brown and I'm white. Those are the true colors. Nah, it definitely did. That is a pretty good analogy of it. We said that to each other for a long time. It's just how it worked out with this. Especially with having two guitarists in the band. Especially the way him and I play together. We always are bouncing something off them and the two of us hardly ever play the same thing. There's always harmonies and other little parts going in and out and it worked out really cool. It was actually exciting to write that one.
I think two guitars in a band are really good anyway.
Wait until you see it live. Wait until you see some of the shit we're pulling off. We're doing this eight finger tap patterns and we're harmonizing them. It's pretty crazy. It should be fun. We're actually pulling off all the shit that we recorded on the record. We're actually able to sit in the rehearsal room and play it now which is pretty cool.
When do you think you're hitting the road?
I think they're saying May. End of May or early June. It looks like Savatage. We're doing some regional shit right now just to get warmed up and then there are a couple of talks of tours. I think we might be going out to Cleveland. I think we're trying to get on the Massachusetts Metal Fest. Everything got fucked up with the record getting delayed and pushed back with Timmy's wife dying. Timmy went back down to Louisiana for a while so we all just hung loose and waited for him to get over everything he needed to deal with. We all live together now except for Mario. Mario lives in the Bronx still but me, Greg, Timmy, and Ovie all live together in the house here. We're constantly rehearsing now.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Buy my record please.