Actually I guess the band started in '95 with the drummer, Ryan, and I. We pretty much just jammed in the basement for a while and started looking for other players. Around '96 Rodney answered an ad out of a local magazine. Seems like the typical story but true. Then we continued writing. We didn't actually play out until '99 because we broke up for a little while. Ryan moved away and Rodney and I didn't continue with the band. One thing led to another. Ryan moved back into town in '99 and we started jamming together again and writing some songs or continued writing songs I guess. We started playing more gigs around '99 and 2000 leading up to releasing the first demo last year. That actually went better than I expected anyway. We got good press. We decided to record four more songs. Everyone complained the other one was too short so we figured we'd put one more song on this time and put it out and see if we got any interest. I don't know yet.
The last one was a demo called 2k1 and this one is So Low. Tell us about the tracks on So Low.
The first track, "Center Stage", actually that was a co-write with Victor Griffin who plays with Skulls. They pretty much tour around quite a bit. It was a co-write with him. I think that's pretty much all of the band's favorite song right now. There was a long time writing actually because it was completely different. We just added a part here, a part there, and it's a pretty simple song so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the layout of the song. The second song, "Solo", we seem to fine tune and tweak things. That started off as a song called "Forever Song". That actually was the last song we wrote before Ryan moved away the first time. It was simply just called "Forever Song" because it was forever between writing songs and it seemed to fit for a while but we reworked it right before we recorded it this time and came up with "Solo". Actually I really like the words. Rodney wrote the words to that song. I really like those. Kind of like the double meaning if you listen to the song. "Solo" kind of fits the EP title So Low. It's obviously so different or could be solo as alone if you listen to the song. It's got this quirky part to the song the first time you hear it. It catches you off guard, the little guitar parts. Some people like it, some people don't. I personally like it. I just like weird things. I enjoy throwing people off. The third song, "Black Sky", what's really interesting about that to me is, that's my favorite song on the CD. It doesn't seem to be going over as well with people that review it and we spent a lot of time rewriting that one as we were recording it. I just like the way it turned out. It's like a dirge type song. It's really slow, heavy, melodic, and then it has the weird bridge part. It's a short song. The final song, "Nothing Changes", actually is the newest song that we've written. It's a little bit different direction then the other three, to me it seems like anyway. Also it's really melodic but straightforward and it seemed to be fitting for the final song on the EP.
I listened to the CD and got a real strong Black Sabbath influence. So who's the Black Sabbath fan in the band?
Actually we all pretty much are. I'm 28 years old now. Seems like I've been listening to Black Sabbath since I was two or three years old. Obviously I guess it probably is true. Both my parents were into it. We all are. Obviously they are a big influence to everybody. It would definitely be in the top five of everybody's band in CounterShaft.
You define yourself as a heavy thinker's heavy band.
I think it goes back to just our line of double meaning things in Countershaft. Meaning the title of the new EP So Low. It stops and makes you think especially if there's a song called "Solo" but spelled s-o-l-o instead of s-o l-o-w. It just seemed a lot of stuff happened to be like that in this band. Maybe the only people that think heavy about it and are heavy thinkers are the guys in the band. Everybody seems to label everything nowadays as something subcategorized as something different so it's our own little stick at that. That's pretty much it.
You have an interest in motocross and an intense addiction to adrenaline.
When I'm not injured from riding. I also race motocross. Just another outlet as music is on my own part. All the other guys think I'm insane for hobbling in from another injury to practice but it works for me.
You incorporate modern post-industrial and neo-psychedelic sounds as well as the heaviness of Black Sabbath.
Right. We try. Like you were saying, you can definitely tell the Black Sabbath influence. I'm also into a lot of other bands too. Like Black Sabbath and combine that with newer influences, it just seems to fit without putting your finger on it like we were influenced by Black Sabbath period. There's also the new music out today like Disturbed although I can't really say that they are an influence because they're so new but I do enjoy listening to them, Marilyn Manson, and all that type of stuff. It just seems to fit into the same genre I guess. You couldn't classify us as a Marilyn Manson type band but you can't classify us as strictly a Black Sabbath type band. That's where that came from.
You seem to be interested in the literary themes of Poe, Kafka, and Joyce.
Rodney writes 90 percent of the lyrics and he's big time into reading and writing. That's actually more his area than mine.
What does your live show consist of?
Actually Rodney and I and, to some extent Ryan, are really influenced a lot by early KISS and Alice Cooper. They had big stage shows although we donít go to any extremes like that. When we're playing, we like to give 110 percent while we're on stage meaning looking like a band and playing like a band. It must sound good also. I've always been of the mind that if you're going to see a band, you should know who the band is. I'm not saying wear 6 or 8" platforms or anything like that. If you like to then fine but at least set the band apart from the crowd. We actually had formed our own production company to start booking shows. We have been doing for I guess the last six or nine months. I wouldn't exactly call us a headlining band yet. We're hopefully working our way up. We're fairly new at everything. We've all been in separate bands but as this thing is growing, we actually formed this production company where we go book the shows and then bring the bands in and put ourselves in the right slot. That we feel is the right slot anyway. It seems to be working pretty good although for some reason there's not as good a turnout as what the club owner had hoped. We're the ones that take the complaints. It's working out pretty good so far.
I understand a club gig got cancelled because the club owner didn't like the lineup.
Yeah, I'm glad you asked that question. I mentioned before the band plays with Skulls. They're on tour with another band, Spirit Caravan, and they're coming through town. We booked this show and actually we didn't even book it. We just got involved with the show and another band was going to open the whole show up. Then it was going to be us and the two headlining bands. The club owner for some reason was really angry with the opening band. One of the guys in that band did booking for another club, probably 20 miles away, and he was upset that that guy was going to be playing at his club. The band Spirit Caravan had played at this club. The club is called The Spotlight and is down the road from Jack's, the club we were supposed to play. Spirit Caravan played there a month before and he was upset at that as well. He decided to cancel the show and he called us up. We didn't really have anything to do except we were going to play the show and we were promoting it. I had already printed the fliers and from the website you could already see that I had the flier on there. He calls us up, cussing at us because the other two bands he didn't like for some reason. He ended up hanging the phone up on us, cancelled the show, and cussed us. I would say typical club owner but nothing that drastic. He went from having a pretty good lineup where there was probably going to be several hundred people at the show to not even having a band playing that night just because of his own ego. We haven't actually talked about it very much around here. There's not a whole lot of clubs around here but it's kind of a bad situation for everybody. One, he didn't have any bands playing and two, all the bands booked that night had already begun promoting it. We were out the money for the fliers and everything else. We didn't have a gig that night. It was kind of strange.
Seems to me if you want to be a professional business owner you shouldn't let your personal feelings get in the way of business. Business is one thing and personal feelings are something else. That's like saying well I don't want to work with this person because I don't like this person. It's like who gives a rat's ass. Just do your job.
I couldn't have said it better myself. We're the ones losing the money. The bands aren't making money there. Not making a lot of money anyway. We're out of pocket money for the fliers. We're promoting his club at the same time. It's not just like it's only us. We've decided that we probably never play there again. We probably will. If everything else closes down, what's a band supposed to do.
That would be a bitch. When are you guys going to put out a full length CD?
We're hoping to do that our next album. We just put this one out in the process of mailing it out to everybody and see what kind of response we get. Labels and everything else. Hopefully the next product will be a full length CD of all new material.
What kind of response did you get with the first one?
Actually it was pretty good. Most of the reviews that I saw were positive reviews which kind of concerned me anyway. I expected to hear some bad reviews and I never really got any it. I'm not sure if they just didn't review it at all if they didn't like it. I'm pretty sure that everybody didn't like it so there's got to be somebody out there that didn't.
On a search for that bad review...
If every day was sunny you wouldn't know what a bad day was. We all like the new CD better. I don't know if it's just naturally that a band likes their newest product better than the previous. We'll see what happens with this. Kind of go with the flow. If not then we'll do our own thing until we bother everybody so much that they have to talk about it.