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Joacim Cans of HammerFall

For nearly 15 years, the name HammerFall has been synonymous with European power metal mastery. LarryMac sat down with frontman Joacim Cans during their North American Tour and the two discussed everything from the band’s new album, No Sacrifice, No Victory, to the state of heavy metal, to the rigors of touring, to Sweden’s musical dominance. Heck, they even touched on the weather. Enjoy.

LarryMac: I’m here with Swedish Metal Award winners, Hammerfall. First, thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us and congratulations.

Joacim Cans: Thank you…I’m not really sure what (the award) is and who’s voting. I think it’s the fans voting, right? (Guitarist Fredrik Larsson confirms that yes, it’s the fans)

LM: Then that makes it the most important one to win.

JC: Absolutely! So, thank you very much!

 

LM: How is it that so many great bands come out of Sweden?

JC: I know, it’s so cold and boring, isn’t it? (laughs all around)

 

LM: But you guys are on the coast. It’s not that cold down there, is it?

JC: It’s even worse because, if you go up north – where it’s REALLY cold – the cold is not AS cold as it is back home, because the wind and the humidity from the ocean make it really unbearable sometimes.

(Returning to the original question) You get a lot of support from the government. In school, if you want to play an instrument you can actually do that during school time. You don’t have to pay anything for it – it’s like a yearly fee of 20 bucks or something.

LM: So it’s a big Swedish conspiracy to unseat the Americans.

JC: Something like that. Also, when you get your first band together, you can actually get some funds to pay for, like, your rehearsal space. I know bands that are actually, maybe not at our level, but below our level that are still getting some funds. But I said “No, once you start MAKING money from your music, you should let someone else”.

 

LM: Would you say that you guys were influenced more by the Swedish acts that came before or the power metal acts, like Manowar?

JC: In Europe, we always refer to everything being “heavy metal”. But in the U.S., it’s “power metal”. It’s really hard to understand the difference. I don’t think there’s a difference, you know? It’s two different names for the same thing. I would say that the 80’s, as a concept, the whole era of heavy metal probably influenced us. Mainly, I would say, the German scene, with Accept, with Helloween, then Gamma Ray and Stormwitch and so on. But of course, Manowar’s Manowar (phew)! We can talk about Manowar for hours, can’t we?

 

LM: How’s the tour going? It’s been four or five years since you guys have been over here hasn’t it?

JC: Yeah, 2005, the last time. We played the House of Blues, I think, here in Cleveland. We’re doing good. It’s nice to be back, to be able to meet the diehard fans and also to be able to meet some new fans. Funny thing has been, in a lot of cities so far, a lot of young fans. I’ve never seen that before. I’d say they might be around 17, 18 now so when we released our debut album, they were like, 3 or 4 maybe. Yesterday, in Canada, this old guy on the left side might have been like 58 and there’s a 7 year old on (the other) side – and that was really cool, that you have like three generations of people in there, listening to the same music.

 

LM: Obviously, for the last five years, you guys have stayed busy overseas. Why does metal continue to thrive in Europe and meanwhile, here in the States, it has to fight for its life?

JC: I don’t know, really. It feels like there are two different movements going on: one here in the U.S. and one in Europe. The main markets in Europe, like the U.K. and some parts of Germany, are very influenced by what’s going on over here. It’s really hard to see the other way around, where we are influencing you guys over here. Like, when “grunge” came, we have to blame you for that! We did not sit at home and come up with anything like that. (laughs)

LM: (laughing) You’re also welcome for country music. That was also ours.

JC: Yes, but that’s actually better, I think.

(Returning to the original question) I think that if European metal, we got more room in the media – on radio, on tv – more exposure, I think more people would get into it. Every person in their early 40s or late 30s grew up with melodic metal and they have no idea what’s going on on the other side of the pond. So, maybe they should be more creative and check things out and don’t, you know, don’t take everything that they try to force feed you.

 

LM: With the metal scene in the shape that it is here, does that make it harder to convince the label to send you guys over here on tour?

JC: I think they wanted to have us already, on the previous album. We felt it was too much of a struggle coming over here. You tour for five weeks and come home with a bag of peanuts. And it’s really hard to convince the family: “Hey! Peanuts!” But now we’re giving it a try. We’re doing five weeks and then we’re coming back in September – we’re doing Progpower, down in Atlanta. Then we might do a couple of dates around that festival and see what happens after that.

 

LM: How has the response been this time? Better than just peanuts?

JC: Very good. Maybe a bag of chips!

 

LM: Are you guys still focusing on touring behind No Sacrifice, No Victory? Or are you already working on the new one?

JC: We are working on the new one, but it’s still kind of in the background.

LM: So, when you’re bored on the bus, maybe you write something?

JC: No, then we drink!

 

LM: Tell me about the new album. How does it stack up against the others? What’s new with the sound and what’s the same?

JC: I think, since we got two new members in the band – well, Freddy (bassist Fredrik Larsson) came back, he played on the debut album, Glory to the Brave – the overall sound is different. I think this is more “metal” than anything we’ve done before. I think this album, we captured the spirit, the same spirit we had when we recorded Glory to the Brave, which is a good thing. We all felt good in the studio, we had a good time. Because two members left the band and they left for a reason. Stefan, the guitar player, he became a pilot so he was kind of focused on his studies for a long time. Magnus left the band for personal indifferences. It’s really hard to focus in the studio when you’re not on the same level. But now, we’ve got Fredrik and Pontus on guitar and they also kicked our butts a little – “Come on guys, you old farts, let’s do something good here!” So I think it a sounds very fresh; it’s a very refreshing album.

 

LM: Is there one track on the album that you can point to for people who haven’t heard you guys and say “THAT is what Hammerfall is all about”?

JC: I think, especially live, “Hallowed Be My Name”. Somehow, it’s become my new live favorite. I also think the first single, “Any Means Necessary”, works quite well because you have the big choir to it and a little edge and a lot of melodies.

 

LM: Is the live set all your current stuff or will you be breaking out some of the old standards? “Legacy of Kings” is an album that I still find myself reaching for every so often.

JC: What we do is play songs from every album. It’s so boring to see a band and they play seven or eight new tracks and MAYBE one or two old ones. I think you should do it like that but, of course, the main focus is on No Sacrifice, No Victory.

 

LM: In 13 years, you guys have built up a pretty broad library of songs. Any songs that you particularly like or dislike to play live?

JC: The songs I dislike to play live, I kind of dislike for a reason. It can be that it’s too hard to sing them, there are really tough ones that if you’re going to last for five weeks, performing for an hour and forty minutes a night, you can’t do. They might be songs that I really like but I hate to perform live. But I’m really proud of all the songs we have done, there are no really crappy ones in there.

 

LM: So what’s next for you guys?

JC: We go back to Europe and we start a smaller tour in the UK in May, then we’re gonna do a lot of festivals. We’re gonna dfo a lot of the mainstream, big ones like Rocm am Ring, Rock im Park in Germany…the other ones aren’t really confirmed yet, so I can’t really talk about them. But there are going to be some really big ones.

 

LM: The stage is yours. Any parting words?

JC: Like I said, we need to force feed the Americans with some European heavy metal, so bring your friends to a heavy metal show and next Christmas buy every relative a HammerFall CD.

Greg Wayne of Something To Burn

What would you call joining a rock band and then not only signing a record deal, but catching the attention of a rock icon who signed you to his label? That’s exactly what Something To Burn have done and their debut release Transitions on Scott Weiland’s Softdrive Records is the result. LarryMac got a chance to check in with singer Greg Wayne and find out all about the ride, where they’re from, where they’re going and what’s in store.

LarryMac: Thanks for giving us some time – I know you guys have got a lot going on right now, getting ready for the tour and everything else. Tell us about the band, how did you guys come together?

Greg Wayne: Divine Intervention. The band lost their singer and had been searching for a long time for a replacement. They were on their last leg, about ready to call it a day, and decided to do one more online search. I had just left a band and decided to look online for a new one. I found these guys in less than five minutes. I wrote them and said “I’m your new singer”. The rest is history.

 

LM: How would you describe your sound to people who haven’t had a chance to check you guys out? Who are some of your influences?

GW: There’s something for everyone…so let’s call it “universal rock”.

 

LM: You guys made your name out in L.A., which is a great place to get noticed, but does it make it harder to stand out with so many other acts out there?

GW: It’s an overly saturated market, but it’s really rewarding to rise to the top out here cuz it is so hard to do.

 

LM: You guys got signed pretty early on, how did you get hooked up with Softdrive Records so soon after coming together?

GW: The band met (Softdrive Records owner) Scott Weiland before I came aboard. Once I was in and we wrote some stuff…Scott loved it and it was quickly a done deal.

 

LM: It’s been said that your name is a jab at the record industry, specifically file sharing – does that mean that you guys are for getting your music out there, even if people are ripping it?

GW: We believe that once people hear our music, they will support us by coming to shows, buying merch, etc. cuz they understand that we have to make a living.

 

LM: Tell me about the album. It came out not too long after you signed with Softdrive – or at least it seemed to – how long did you spend writing and recording it?

GW: It really happened fast cuz (guitarist) Jimmy (Norman) had a bunch of songs that were musically ready to go. So I just stepped in and wrote vocal melodies & lyrics for the ones I liked and suddenly we had a bunch of great tunes. We fine tuned em in the room as a band, and after that experience, we were able to write new material really quickly because we trusted each others’ abilities and input.

 

LM: How has the support for the album been so far?

GW: The feedback has been phenomenal. Ya know, it’s hard to judge your own art because it’s…you. So it’s impossible to be truly objective. Therefore, you just do what feels right & hope a few people feel it. With this record, it seems we’ve created something pretty universal cuz so many different kinds of people are diggin’ it. I love that it seems to be transcending genre/age/race/gender/etc. I’m super excited for it to really get out there on a larger scale.

 

LM: Any work going on for a follow up album, or is it all about touring right now?

GW: Good Lord, we just released this record! Haha! We’re always writing, but the focus is on touring and getting this record out to the masses.

 

LM: How’s the touring been so far?

GW: MUY FANTASTICO

 

LM: What are your greatest and worst moments from the road so far?

GW: I was sick as a dog for the first few gigs we played with STP…so I got both the best and worst all wrapped up in one pale, skinny, sweaty package…LOL!

 

LM: Any bands that you’d like to share the stage with, but haven’t yet?

GW: Led Zeppelin!

 

LM: So, what’s next for Something to Burn?

GW: Tour ’til the wheels fall off the fuckin’ bus…then tour some more.

 

LM: The stage is yours. Any parting words?

GW: I just want folks to check us out (www.myspace.com/somethingtoburn) and then, if you like what you hear, help us spread the word…call your rock radio station and demand they add us, come to the gigs, buy a shirt, etc. We just wanna keep doin’ this for y’all as long as we can. And thank you very much for all the love and support.

Bill Bailey interviews the members of Decyfer Down

While out on tour supporting Skillet on their “AWAKE and ALIVE” tour. Bill Bailey and Nathanael Dolesh had the chance to sit down with the Grammy-Nominated artist DECYFER DOWN (TJ Harris – vocals, acoustic guitar, bass; Brandon Mills – guitar; Chris Clonts – guitar and Josh Oliver – drums, percussion) during their Cleveland show in December. Where they discussed road stories and injuries, Play Station 3 tournaments, their Grammy nomination, and how Jesus Christ changed their lives. And much more. Enjoy the interview.

Bill Bailey: You guys are gonna be our first like, Christian rock band interview for Domain Cleveland. I’m trying to branch it out, you know, to get the word out there. And I thank you guys for your time and for doing this with us. Then I’ll go ahead and get into the questions here. Let’s see, this is the chit-chat question. How are you guys enjoying this Cleveland weather?

Everyone: It’s cold; not so much. Makes our bones ache.

Josh Oliver: At least we missed the snow. Keep the snow away so we can get home.

 

BB: Yea you guys got Michigan tomorrow right? I hear it’s colder up there usually…

Brandon Mills: I heard they have snow up there.(laughs)

 

BB: Well are you guys gonna take a holiday break and then go back out on the road?

Chrid Clonts: Yea a much needed break.

TJ Harris: Maybe a little bit more than a holiday break. (laughs)

 

BB: (To Brandon) Alright, well yea you need to heal don’t you?

BM: Yea that’d be great. (laughs)

 

BB: So what’s it been like being on the road with Skillet and Hawk Nelson?

Everyone: It’s been great.

JO: Lotta cities.

CC: Skillet’s always great with people and to draw huge crowds and stuff.

BM: They’ve been really good to us the last few years.

 

BB: With me transitioning from the kind of bands I listened to before, like Marilyn Manson, Slayer, and all that stuff. I grew up a huge KISS fan and everything, which I still like KISS, you know…

CC: How dare you man! (laughs)

BB: But yea when I got home I got to take my kids to last year’s Alive Fest, which is in southern Ohio here, and witness Skillet for the first time. And it was just like “YES, here’s like my Christian answer to KISS” or something, you know, with their stage show so I’m definitely excited about this.

JO: We’ll be there this year.

BB: Yea! I was reading that. So hopefully maybe I’ll get to hook up with you guys again out there and bring in the family. Anyway, next question is are there any good road stories to share from this tour? I know you have one (at Brandon).

CC: Yea, and that whole process (pointing at Brandon’s ankle) started the downward spiral of getting home for Thanksgiving.

BM: Yea that was a tough week for everyone.

CC: It started with him (at TJ).

BM: Yea his wife totaled two cars…

TJH: Well yea she totaled her car – hit a deer – and then wrecked my car the day after that, so I was dealing with just everything with insurance people and all that kinda stuff.

BM: And then I got ran over by a semi on my foot. And then we flew home the next day and my luggage didn’t show up, Chris’s truck got a flat tire at two in the morning…

CC: And that was after the bus bottomed out at three in the morning and we got stuck for like three and a half hours, and missed all of our flights…and then we almost missed our backup flight. So he’s in a wheelchair and we’re sprinting through the airport…

BM: They’re like “YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES” and called out our names and we’re like aaahhh!

CC: So that was a whole scene that was just ridiculous. Then we get home and his (Brandon’s) luggage didn’t show up. And it was only one bag. Of all the bags. And it got lost.

JO: So it was pretty much a 72 hour period that was just intense.

CC: And then we got home and we just got sick. Like pneumonia sick all week for Thanksgiving. It was just miserable.

 

BB: So you had to drink your turkey pretty much? (laughs)

CC: Yea things are on the up-and-up I think though, everybody’s healing. And we got a Grammy nomination.

 

BB: Yea! That’s one of the questions I got here. Actually the next to the next one. What was life like growing up in North Carolina?

CC: It was amazing.

BM: It was great man.

JO: Beaches and mountains man.

BM: Definitely slow-paced.

 

BB: Ever have to deal with hurricanes?

BM: Oh yea. I live for hurricanes. I love surfing man. (laughs) We pray the hurricanes just come up and kinda graze us. Nothing inland, just keep it offshore.

 

BB: And hear’s the big question: I just read that you guys received your first Grammy nomination. Tell me about that and how that feels.

JO: We had no idea, we didn’t even know we’d be considered. And the guys from the band Red started texting us telling us congratulations and we’re “like what are you talking about?” I called our manager and our manager looked it up and was like “absolutely!” Everybody was all like “what?”

BM: Yea it was pretty shocking.

CC: We definitely don’t look for that; like ?this year we got nominated!? Cause it’s just so far fetched.
At this point, a security member or someone leaves the bus telling Josh to practice Madden for next time. He replies ?man, I’m bringing 2010; you’re going down Josh.?

JO: That guy talked a mad game about playing Madden…and I destroyed him.

BM: Josh dominated him.

TJH: Which is normally what happens.

 

BB: What system you guys got?

JO: PS3.

 

BB: Man I use some of my ? you know I’m looking for new things to do now that I don’t go out and party and stuff anymore – Kuwait money and rebuilt my mancave at the house and I got a Wii for the kids and then I got an Xbox 360 and a PS3 for me. So now I guess my new addiction is just video games and Blu-ray movies and stuff. With these Cleveland winters I’m gonna be hibernating down there.

JO: ‘Modern Warfare 2’ man. Great game. I enjoy it.

BB: Yea. I gotta wait until the price goes down on that one.

Nathanael Dolesh: I’m getting that over break for sure.

 

 

BB: So you guys have been around the music industry for some time now. Are there three pieces of advice you would give to a younger musician and what is one thing that really surprised or still surprises you about the music industry?

BM: I think something that surprises us all is that it just fluctuates. How there’s no really rhyme or reason to how a band will hit or not hit and be successful and not successful and there’s so many great bands that we love that just fall off the map. It’s like ‘why?’ And there’s other bands that just sit still and ya don’t really understand that. So that’s probably something that surprises us. Have some vision behind what you’re doing, cause if you’re just going out there getting money you know and try to be a rockstar, it’s a tough road to go. There’s got to be something driving you besides that, you know?

JO: There’s got to be a purpose behind it, there has to be a vision behind it, and there needs to be a calling behind it. You know, you can’t force it. You’ll go home a couple years later, and we hear many stories about dudes that are sitting in truck stops at four o’ clock in the morning in North Dakota going, ‘Dang, I’m going home.’

BM: Shouldn’t have quit my job. (laughs)

JO: So just make sure that your heart and your motives are right and always take advice. Never think that you got it all planned out.

BM: Touring is a young man’s game.

CC: Yes it is.

BM: Yea the last six years of being in a band were tough.

 

BB: Now what are three bands that you think they should require people to listen to in high school before they can graduate?

TJH: Everything from the 70’s.

CC and BM: “Three bands!” (laughing)

JO: Western mountain man down there… (pointing at TJ)

CC: I think Zeppelin definitely.

Everyone: Yea.

TJH: Eagles.

BM: Metallica.

TJH: About ’86-’90, Metallica. Soundgarden.

CC: Naah.

BM: Chris Cornell (laughs).

CC: TJ’s a big fan.

TJH: Anything grunge.

BM: Anything with Chris Cornell. (sarcastically)

TJH: No, not anything.

JO: 2Pac. No, maybe not. There’s so many bands to choose from.

CC: John Mayer.

JO: Yea, John Mayer is pretty good education, and smooth music. Bluesy, soulful..

 

BB: Yea. What bands would you say have inspired you along the way. A lot of the same?

Everyone: Yea.

CC: We definitely grew up when the grunge thing ? you know we were all in our teens and that’s when we’re most influenced it seems like ? was prime.

BB: Oh yea, I was a huge Nirvana fan.

CC: Yea.

BM: Alice in Chains.

BB: Yea and that new Alice in Chains album, it’s like that guy sounds so much like…

Everyone: Yea!

BM: We really like that record actually.

JO: We like it a lot.

BB: And I was huge into Kurt Cobain and everything, like when I was actually first in active duty outta high school in the navy, you know, that’s when he committed suicide and I was just like ‘man!’ ya know it sucked.

Everyone: Yea.

 

BB: What books and movies would you say have changed your life?

CC: “Purpose Driven Life” man. Definitely helped me cope and understand a lotta things and why I do certain things, and it’s just a great book for anybody, believer or nonbeliever, to read. For you to stay focused.

JO: There’s a book called “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan and that really impacted my view of what church should be and how you should walk out your faith. Both of those are great books.

TJH: “Armageddon”. (laughs)

BM: “Point Break”. (laughs)

CC: “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. (sarcastically)

BB: I know for me, the one whole slew of movies was Star Wars that really influenced me. I took my daughters Thursday night; they had that Star Wars live in concert come to town and they had the live orchestra play. And they had the guy that played C3PO, Anthony Daniels, was there narrating the story and stuff and on this big screen they had the main course story line and the movie played out while they were playing the music and it was just pretty cool.

JO: I never even heard of that.

BB: Yea it was pretty cool. I spent some money down there; George Lucas always seems to be able to get my money. And ya know now that I’m saved and I look back on the storyline with like the force and the dark side and everything else too, it’s like wow, there’s a lot of similarities and stuff in there. I don’t know if you guys were huge fans or anything…

CC: I’ve never even seen “Star Wars”, believe it or not. The only thing I’ve seen out of all of that was “Return of the Jedi”.

TJH: I saw “Episode I” in the theaters when it came out, but I never had seen ? I guess there were three before that ? I had never seen them all and so when I saw “Episode I” it was like I didn’t know what the heck what going on really. (laughs)

BB: But “Episode I” was supposed to be the beginning; they went back to retell it.

TJH: Yea people can kinda make those connections once they’ve seen the other ones; I wasn’t able to do that.

BB: Yea. Well I highly recommend it. It’s definitely something to kill time on the bus.

TJH: We got plenty of time to watch movies. (laughs)

 

BB: And what would you say has inspired you guys the most when you’re writing your music?

CC: Real life.

BM: Trials and real life stuff.

JO: Experiences that we’ve dealt with, the person that we want to become. A lot of that has to do with the writing.

CC: It just depends on what you’re going through at that time. I know for me if there’s something that’s on my heart, then writing is kinda a way to get it out, know what I mean? It’s hard to just sit down and say ‘Hey, let’s write a song!’ And I think emotion’s a huge key role in it.

 

BB: And what are three major mistakes you think that younger bands make?

JO: Chasing after other people’s success. Thinking they have to tour, tour, tour, tour, without anything really to tour with. And just not being genuine to what it needs to be, you know you’re just copying someone else just to have that…I guess it would go under ‘chasing after someone else’s success’. And there’s good things to be influenced by bands, but it’s another reason basically to take what another band’s doing and to just try and be successful, be a rockstar; ya know it’s not about that. It’s kinda going back to what we said earlier: you gotta have a purpose, you gotta have a vision, and you have to have a meaning behind what you’re doing instead of just playing rock music.

 

BB: And what kind of message do you hope fans get out of your music or take away from your shows?

BM: Hope is definitely a message we like to portray.

JO: Bringing some light into their situation. You know, a lotta people are going through some dark stuff. We’ve all gone through and we still go through it on a regular basis and if you don’t have anybody to turn to then that’s something we really hope to get across in our show is that Christ has a plan for your life and he’s your creator and he’s given you a purpose, and that’s something we wanna translate through our music.

 

BB: Awesome. And then any message that you guys would like to send out to the troops that are serving overseas?

Everyone: Thank you. Absolutely.

JO: I’ve got a lot of friends in the Marine Corps cause we’re from Camp Lejeune Cherry Point area. Fort Bragg and the Army and a lot of military where we live. And so we’ve got a lot of friends and fans that are from those different branches of service and so we got a lotta love for the military. And they get a bad rap sometimes but we know that they’re doing what they need to do and we couldn’t be any more proud of ’em and they have our full support.

 

BB: Awesome. You guys ever consider doing like a USO tour?

Everyone: Oh we’d love to.

TJH: That’d be awesome.

BM: Just waiting for the right doors to open.

BB: Definitely. When I was over there – I mean I see a Creed CD here, and this was before Scott Stapp got back with them ? I actually got to do security for Scott Stapp when he played our base and stuff. And he was really cool. I mean ya hear all the rumors and all that stuff…

BM: Aaah yea. (dismissively) I heard he’s a nice guy actually.

BB: Yea he was awesome. When he played our base, after the show, there’s a huge autograph signing; everybody from base was there and it went forever. I was like man is this guy gonna have time for us to get a picture or something afterwards standing there doing security? And he was real accommodating for us and in fact it was a couple days before my oldest daughter’s birthday back home and he sang Happy Birthday to her for her own video and stuff.

CC: Aw wooow. That’s cool. Fan for life!

BB: Yea. So I sent that home and she’s like, ‘Who is that?’ But mommy knew and she was just like, ‘Wow that’s really cool.’

CC: You hear the new record?

BB: No I haven’t yet.

CC and TJH: It ‘s good man.

BB: But yea we (at Nathanael) went and saw them when they came through town and yea it was real cool. But no I haven’t picked it up yet; definitely need to.

 

BB: Ok, and then I wanted to see if you guys wouldn’t mind sharing like a brief testimony for us of like what your life was like before you received Christ and then the changes he’s made in your life and what your life is like now that you have Christ.

BM: I’ve always known that Christ was real I guess. I grew up in the church and I guess I never really started believing his purpose for my life until I guess ten years ago or more. I guess growing up and kinda running from that, you know, I started smoking pot when I was like 12 years old I guess. And it kinda opened doors to everything out there, you know as far as partying and just doing every drug out there pretty much. Basically it was a life of in and out of jail, in and out of rehabs, always letting my family down and letting people down and ruining relationships. That started when I was 12 and by the time I was 21 I was extremely addicted to cocaine, and pretty much thought I was gonna die and go to hell cause I couldn’t stop doing cocaine and that lifestyle. I remember being in a friend’s house one night just really jacked up and really depressed. I kinda just leveled with the Lord. I was like, ‘If you can hear me right now, I feel like I’m gonna die and go to hell and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. And I would love to stop it.’ And just kinda said a quick little prayer there when a buddy walked outta the room. Two weeks later, I actually got arrested for cocaine and a few other things and I remember being in the back of the police car between the seats handcuffed and actually thanking God, which is totally weird, but I actually thanked the Lord, because I knew for the first time like there’s no way I’m getting a hold of this, of coke, you know there’s no way I’m getting high for at least the next however many hours or days or whatever. My mom – she was a single parent; my dad passed away when I was really young – but she kinda let me sit in jail for a while. She was sick of bailing me out and always coming to my rescue. So that gave me a lot of time to think. Somebody brought me a Bible while I was locked up and I just felt like God was just really telling me to choose which way I was gonna go, you know cause I kinda dabbled with the Lord growing up; like I probably asked the Lord into my heart several times when I was a kid but nothing stuck. I didn’t really pursue it. So in there I made a decision that no matter what happened – cause I was facing like, jail time for what I had done – and I pretty much made the decision that no matter if I went to jail nine months from now, and had to do all the time, that I was gonna live a life for the Lord. So from then until now, it’s been absolutely crazy. It’s like, I have a family, all my relationships of my mom and my stepfather, and all those relationships, God has mended. And there’s trust, and I have a beautiful wife, two kids, I play music for the Lord…and I mean it’s a total flip, like looking back at that person, it’s like it didn’t even seem like he existed almost, you know what I mean? It’s just been an amazing journey to see what God has done for me, and all of us really. To come from that and look back, it’s like wow. It’s like, it really changed my life. You know what I’m saying, it wasn’t something that happened like that. There was definitely struggling when I made that decision. And I would always – like if I would fall, or if I got high or something – I’d beat myself up and be like ‘when am I gonna change?’ And then one day you wake up and it’s like dang, God has really changed my heart, and my life. So that’s my story I guess.

BB: Thanks man. I mean, I can connect, and I’m still new, like drinking the milk you know, I was raised Catholic and stuff, so I knew of Christ and the stories and everything, but I didn’t have a relationship until now.

BM: Yea. That’s kinda how it was for me.

BB: And there’s a lotta times that I have that self talk where I’m like ‘man, I’m still not where I want to be.’ You know, I don’t claim my victories as much as I look at my defeats, you know?

BM: Yea…I went through that man.

BB: And it’s definitely the enemy.

BM: One day you’ll look back and be like wow. You know, you keep pursuing the Lord.

BB: Like this morning I was at my PCL group, which was Practical Christian Living, and then men’s fraternity afterwards. And for the men’s fraternity group today we got to watch the video testimony of Brian ‘Head’ Welch from Korn and it was just powerful stuff.

BM: I actually got to meet him. About a month ago we got to hang out with Brian.

JO: He came out to one of our shows; it was pretty sweet.

BM: Yea he’s a really nice guy.

JO: He’s genuine.

 

BB: If someone has strong opinions against the church or organized religion for whatever reason, what would you say to them to encourage them to seek a relationship with Christ?

JO: I’ve walked down that road few times. I’m a preacher’s kid and I got burned out on church and religion and got on the whole bandwagon of society as a church right now is useless and it’s not effective and blah blah blah. And I kinda formed my own denomination of anti-religion and anti-church people. It’s funny because I had somebody call me out on it and was like ‘how dare you say that it’s not effective and it’s not being used! It might not be what God had intended for it, but it’s still being used in a capacity that you’ll never be able to reach.’ And so, I was like wow. I need to get off that and just realize that God’s got, like Chris was saying before, different soldiers for different battles. And some of us are out in the “world,” you know, ministering to people that have been burned by church or religion, or that haven’t experienced a relationship with Christ, and other people are called to be a blessing to believers and be an encouragement and a training for believers. So we all have our different roles and as long as we find a body that we can connect with, and a group of people that are like-minded and are striving for what God’s got planned for you, then that is your church and that is your community. And so whether they’re Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, whatever…let’s not worry about that until we get to heaven.

CC: Yea, as long as all believers can understand different methods can still be effective, and not cast judgment on them, I think that’s pretty important. It’s like, we might not be into what the southern Baptists, the way they do it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not effective, you know what I mean? They might not be into what we do, but as long as they don’t look at us and say, ‘aaah you know, you look like the world,’ or as long as they’re thinking, ‘you guys are reaching people that would never set foot in this church.’ So I mean, we’re all working together, if we could just understand that. You know, everybody’s so stinkin just nit-picky about ‘well you don’t worship our way? Well then that must not be right!’ And this and that…and it’s like, if we could get over ourselves and just understand it’s all the same…that’s kinda the way we think about it.

 

BB: What Bible verse would you say is Decyfer Down’s most inspirational?

JO: I would say Jeremiah 29:11 has been my life verse for a while and is something that this band has gone through and has really grasped a hold of. It’s saying that God has a plan and a future and he’s given you that hope. A lot of times people say ‘what does God got planned for me?’ or ‘what am I gonna do with my life?’ or ‘I can’t forgive myself for things I’ve made mistakes for’ and all these different things. And basically in that Scripture it says God loves you and he’s got a plan for you, and it’s to give you a future and a hope. So we live by that.

BM: A good one for me too for you man is 2 Corinthians 5:17. And it just talks about how the old has become old and the new has become new. I used to hold on to that verse a lot when I was really trying to do God’s will, cause it just kinda confirms it you know. Like he is changing you man and all that’s behind you you know so check it out if you get a chance.

 

Nathanael: What do you kinda keep in the back of your mind when you’re thinking about how your style of music is gonna come across people that are unbelievers?

JO: I don’t think we really think about it.

CC: Yea we just write music that tries to connect with everybody and you know when you’re talking about real-life situations, believers and unbelievers are gonna grab a hold of it, you know what I mean? So it’s not like there’s this constant weight or something like “what are unbelievers gonna think?” you know what I mean?

JO: We’re all going through the same thing.

CC: Yea, whether you believe it or not, you go through the same stuff. I mean obviously there’s gonna be some unbelievers that when they hear that you’re a Christian band, they just won’t give it the time of day. That’s just the way some people are. But some can look past that and not see that stamp of Christianity and actually listen to it and say ‘hey man, I’ve actually been through that; lemme see what these guys are talking about.’

Doris Yeh of Chthonic

After a decade of building their fanbase throughout the Orient, Chthonic broke onto the U.S.metal scene with a vengeance in 2007 with their Ozzfest appearances. Now touring the U.S. on their own strength, LarryMac had a sit-down with bassist Doris Yeh and discussed everything from heavy metal, Hell and politics to tofu and toilets.

Photos Courtesy of Michael Sawyer

LarryMac: First off, thanks for taking some time to talk to us, I know touring is busy work. You guys have been around for almost 15 years now, but it seems like it’s only over the last two or three years that you’ve really hit it big. Is America just slow to catch on or has it been recent success?

Doris Yeh: We spent more time creating our market in Asia like Japan, Hong Kong and, of course, in Taiwan. Like four or five years ago we started to look at labels, with record companies in the U.S. or in Europe, and at that time our voice started to spread out.

 

LM: How have you been received over here so far?

DY: After our album in the U.S. I think we got a lot of good responses – even magazines. The fans’ responses are also very, very great. This is our second time touring in America and we can see there are a lot more fans than when we came through America before. And the fans are crazier and the promoters are happy for our coming and the response, we can see, is much more exciting every night.

 

LM: Tell me about Chthonic. Nobody seems to be able to decide if you’re black metal, symphonic death metal or progressive metal. How would you describe your sound?

DY: Maybe we use some elements of black metal, like the melodies. But, the concepts are totally different. I think, we define us as Eastern metal. Because we think we’re not only death metal. Maybe we use the screamed voices like black metal, but we use some melodies like death metal and we use the mythology and historical stories like folk metal. So you cannot only define us as black metal. Especially, we use very unique melodies that only appear in Asia, in the Orient. So, I think it’s good to just define us as Orient – or Eastern metal.

 

LM: You guys are very active politically. Does that ever cause problems on tour, where people just want to hear you play music, or are people pretty open to your message?

DY: Actually, in the U.S. or in Europe the crowds are always supportive. Like when we say “Fuck the U.N.”, they’ll say “Fuck the U.N.”, they won’t say “Fuck you” or anything like that (laughs). But some Taiwanese media, they will feel bad to say so because there are controversies inside Taiwan. Some people support China, some people support independence but basically we are already independent and just not being recognized. So in Taiwan there are some people who say “Chthonic, they’re just a political band, they’re not a real metal band, they’re not playing music, they are playing politics” and in China they always say “they are patriotic, they’re not doing music, they’re doing something related to politics because they want to be independent, so their music is shit”.

 

LM: Despite your politics, you tend to keep it out of your songs – you don’t get into heavy political songs. Is that on purpose? The songs tend to focus more on, as you said, the mythology and that – instead of strictly political songs like bands like Rage Against the Machine. Do you make that break on purpose?

DY: Well, the band formed in ’95 and at that time we weren’t that into public issues. At that time the members were very interested in history and Taiwanese tradition and culture and eastern Asia’s culture and history, stuff like that. So when we started to write songs, some songs or lyrics were about eastern Asia’s mythology. After the band had been formed for four or five years, the political situation in Taiwan was getting more and more obvious, the controversies had come out to the surface. So it naturally came up in our songs that we are an independent country and we respect human rights, we pursue freedom and democracy. So we started to put on some concerts, like the Free Tibet concerts, Say Yes to Taiwan or anti-China invasion concerts in Taiwan. We think it’s very natural: we just want to say what we want to say. We think the best way to live your life is to not limit anything. Like, “now you’re an extreme metal band so you have to behave or you have to dress like black metal guys”. We think if we can do what we want to do, what we want to say, then that’s the real me. So that’s why we have our music and we talk about history or mythology, but on the other hand we feel very involved in public issues.

 

LM: Tell me about the music scene in Taiwan. I’d guess that under China, there isn’t as much heavy metal as we get to listen to here. How did you guys get into it?

DY: The music scene in Taiwan is not like in America or in Europe. There is a lot of variety. Every music has their own market. In Taiwan, like 90% is the mainstream music, pop music. So when our band formed, it was very hard to find a chance to play and we always played in small bars, the crowds weren’t that much. But after a few years passed, the situation is getting better and better. Now there are more and more bands coming up.

 

LM: Tell me about Mirror of Retribution. How does it stack up against your other albums and what makes it different?

DY: In this album you can hear more brutality and straight, heavy power because this album is talking about Hell – the Oriental philosophy of Hell. So we had to describe many scenes in Hell. On the other hand, we combined it with a real historical event that occurred in Taiwan sixty years ago, a massacre that we call the 228 Massacre in Taiwan. It’s full of tragedy and wrath, so in this album that are far more thrash riffs inside the music and more female vocals singing and the bass and drums pitch is heavier than before. We wanted to describe the sadness and the depression of the whole story. So that’s the most different thing from this album and the other albums.

 

LM: How’s this tour been for you guys?

DY: It’s kind of weird. This is just our second time. Last time, on our first U.S. tour, we started with Ozzfest – which is a big, huge festival – and we thought all of the tours would be just like it. Every band would barbecue after their show and hang out and drink beers all the time. But on this tour, the bands are more serious. It’s only a three or four band tour and we’re very hurried, in driving, so the bands don’t have much time to hang out or know each other. But besides the friction between the other bands, this time the fans’ response is much better than last time – and that’s the biggest thing that we’re happy about.

 

LM: Is there one track on Mirror of Retribution that you could give to somebody to listen to that would sum up your sound for them? One song on there that’s going to show somebody what you guys are all about?

DY: I would say “49 Theurgy Chains”, which we made as a music video. Because when we decided which song could be a music video, we discussed it with our manager and the record label several times and in the end they all think that “49 Theurgy Chains” combined the two-string violin sound and the tragedy. That song includes two parts: one part is very wrathful, has very severe emotion in it and the other part is full of tragedy and sad emotions. The song is describing the struggle of the main character that we created in this album, who is a medium who wants to redo the book of life and death in Hell, to kill the power of the Chinese army, and in the struggle he commits suicide. So that song can describe not only the music style, but the core concept of the whole album.

 

LM: What’s next for you guys after this tour?

DY: After the North American tour, we will have our first headlining tour in the U.K. – that’s for six shows. Then early next year, we might tour in Asia: Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and after that we will tour in Europe, doing some festivals.

 

LM: OK, couple of quickies. What was the biggest culture shock or adjustment in touring over here?

DY: Why is the door of the toilet always unlocked? (Laughs)And you can see outside and the people outside can see inside. It’s very embarrassing at first, but now I’m getting used to it.

 

LM: What’s one thing that you miss from home?

DY: Tofu!

 

LM: We have it here, you know!

DY: Nah…it’s not like the tofu that…it’s totally different.

 

LM: How about one thing that you don’t miss? Something that you came over here for the first time and said “Hey, that’s a good idea, how come we don’t do that back home”?

DY: Hmmm…being a headliner and occupying the whole stage (laughs)!

 

LM: The stage is all yours. Any shout outs or final thoughts that you have?

DY: (Just) we definitely will come back to the U.S. next year!

Dave Brockie of GWAR

For twenty-five years Dave Brockie and his alter-ego, Oderus Urungus, have been delighting fans and shocking the rest of the world. LarryMac caught up with Dave as GWAR prepared for battle once again in Cleveland and the two talked about life as a warlord, universal scumdog, heavy metal star, intergalactic news correspondent and football fan. How has the ride been for GWAR and what’s next? Read and find out.

 

Photos Courtesy of Eris

Dave Brockie: Here we are, twenty-five years later, still going strong!

 

LarryMac: Now, when GWAR first crawled out of the Slave Pit – a quarter century ago – did you think you’d be sitting here twenty-five years later?

DB: Absolutely not. We started this as just a fun project that we did, just as kind of a secondary thing just to fill up time, try to get some free beers and hit on chicks. It got a little more serious when we decided to do GWAR because we knew it was gonna take a little more work and preparation, but even with all that extra work we still were building everything out of papier mache and work for months and do one show and within one show everything would be destroyed and we’d do it over again. For the first couple of years it was like that, even when we were starting to get on the road and drive around in our old schoolbus. We never thought we would put out ONE album, much less twelve! We never thought we would go to Europe or do any of the crazy shit that we’ve done and every year there continues to be new opportunities laid out for us. So, I think we’re just as surprised as anyone at how far GWAR’s gone, but I don’t think that we have ever been satisfied – even though we’re totally blown away by the success we have – I don’t think we’ve ever been completely satisfied by it by any means. So we just keep rollin’ with it.

 

LM: In twenty-five years, you guys have gone through a lot of different lineups. Some of the guys, like Beefcake, just get replaced but other characters get retired. How do you decide if you’re going to replace somebody or just kill them?

DB: Well, the musicians – their identities are so established that it’s actually not difficult to just put someone else in the costume and let them just kind of sort it out. So, when Todd Evans or Casey Orr or Mike Bishop have their different times as Beefcake, they all basically play Beefcake the Mighty but they all kind of bring their own personality to it. So we just kind of let things sort themselves out. Now, as far as characters that aren’t actually in the band, that aren’t actually playing music, when they’re gone they just tend to die or just get swallowed up by the universe and we can bring them back anytime. Actually, I don’t think anyone’s ever really died in the GWAR universe, EVER. Cuz we can always bring back anyone, you know? Whether it’s Techno Destructo or Sleazy P.Martini or Cardinal Syn – it’s just like Marvel: nobody ever really dies so it’s pretty easy to bring them back or replace them.

 

LM: I’ll ask you this one because somebody wanted me to…

DB: (Laughs) Don’t worry about it, I get all kinds of questions.

 

LM: Do you still talk with the former members? And, specifically, what ever happened to Joey Slutman?

DB: We still have great relationships with almost…I could probably tell you just about every single person in GWAR, where they are now and what they’re doing. Yeah, we still have a great relationship with Joey Annaruma. He lives in Philadelphia and he’s got some band and we still see him every now and then when we play in Philadelphia. For the most part, we have excellent relationships with everybody who’s ever been in GWAR.

 

LM: Tell me about being the Intergalactic Correspondent for Fox News.

DB: Well, that’s a pretty crazy gig that we got out of nowhere. We were in New York, doing the Fangoria convention, and I got a call “Hey, Oderus, do you want to come and do the FOX News Red Eye show next time you’re in New York?” I’m like “I’m in New York right now”. They’re like “We’re taping in half an hour”. I’m like “I’m there”! So I just rolled over there and did a great job the first time we did the show and just kind of won over everyone backstage, just yukking it up as Oderus, and people were just really, really into it and the next thing I know, they’re like “Come on back next week” and the next thing I know I’m the Interplanetary Correspondent and now I’ve been on eight times. Every time I’m on I totally expect it to be my last time because I’m convinced that somebody upstairs at FOX is gonna go “Wait a minute! We’ve been letting this guy be on our show for this long? I mean, stop it”. But it hasn’t happened yet and I’m supposed to be on again next week. I think it’s really amazing. I think Oderus is a character that can have a lot of success on television, just as himself, he’s kind of the spear tip for GWAR – it’s like, if you get Oderus in there, then the whole band can shove their way through the door. So, I hope that this thing on Red Eye leads to some more television appearances; I think that Oderus, you can throw him into just about any venue at all and he’s gonna do really well so, you know, we’ll see. There’s been talk of, actually, me moving up to New York next year and trying to get involved with the media thing a little bit more. We’ll see what happens.

 

LM: With the live show: once you’ve decided that GWAR is going to be adding a new victim to the stage show, how long does it usually take to put it together as far as creating the character and figuring out what you’re going to do to them?

DB: The longest part is creating the character and figuring out what we’re going to do to them. Just because we’ve got a lot of artists and only so much resource and everybody has different victims they want to see destroyed so we’ve got to actually kind of argue it out with each other to see who actually gets built. Once the thing actually gets decided on, you can whip out those costumes in a week or two pretty easily. It just depends on the scale and complexity. Something like Cardinal Syn, that’s gonna take a couple months to build, whereas a Barack Obama decap head – a week or two at the most.

 

LM: Fame and notoriety can be kind of fleeting these days. Have you ever decided to add something topical, like the Laci Peterson bit, and then have the story die before you were able to get it on stage?

DB: We try to be timely and smart about that and I don’t think we’ve ever really had a character that died inappropriately. In fact, we were killing the Pope and then he died, very conveniently, for us. We were planning on having Michael Jackson in this show and he just died – but that’s all easily explainable in the GWAR universe. If GWAR thinks it’s important to be on stage, I don’t care if it’s out of the news or not – just the fact that it’s in a GWAR show is fucking news enough for me.

 

LM: In a previous interview, you said that you guys decided not to do a Lady Di bit the day after she died when you were in London. Have you ever gone for something controversial and then regretted it or thought it didn’t work or that it was a bad idea?

DB: No, I think we’ve been smart enough to not do…I mean, we could have done that Lady Di thing and it probably would have been really funny, but at the same time our tour bus might have got set on fire. Cuz the English people really liked Lady Di a lot and they really might not have dug us doing that so much. So we waited about a year before we started making Lady Di jokes. About the only thing I ever regretted doing, it was a little bit after Dimebag Darrell got shot and we went to this club and someone had done this big mural of Dime on the wall of the dressing room, so I drew a hand holding a giant gun to his head. (Laughs) That didn’t go over so well with the locals. I mean, I loved Dime, he was actually a friend of ours and it was an absolute, incredible tragedy and he probably would have laughed his ass off if he’d seen it. But, that was…Dimebag Darrell jokes, you’ll get your ass kicked.

 

LM: With touring and the various side projects and covering news throughout the known galaxy, where does GWAR find the time for battle and conquest?

DB: Every night on stage, thank God! Wherever we are, we have a whole day of just basically hanging around. We try to stay as busy as possible with interviews and I’ll shoot off to the local affiliate and do a FOX thing and meet and greets or whatever, but really, when you’re on the road with a band, there are just tremendous amounts of time that are just black fucking holes and you’ve just got to figure out stuff to do. So I’ve got my art that I bring around with me and do everywhere, I’m always writing, thinking about GWAR, doing GWAR business, reading, playing video games, smoking pot – I mean, just whatever you can to fill up this hole but we do know that every single night we’re going to play a GWAR show, so no matter how much you might have fucked off all day, you will do something very strenuous and very entertaining and very massive, and that is a GWAR show. Getting through that and getting out of the costume and sitting down after the show and just catching your breath IS one of the most supremely satisfying moments. You Know? It’s like having great sex or winning a football game. It’s the great feeling that comes to somebody after you’ve done something extremely strenuous that you know a lot of people really enjoyed. We do that six months a year, at least, sometimes eight months a year. I don’t know how we find the time. The way you find the time is you just do it all the time.

 

LM: What’s the real story behind the Death Piggy pinatas? Is that all just an urban legend?

DB: Oh no, that’s the truth. Death Piggy was kind of the band that turned into GWAR – it was this little three-piece hardcore band I had and we would always do kind of silly inane stunts and one thing that we did for our record release party – the first record I ever put out, the Love War 45, which is worth a lot of money on Ebay nowadays – we saved up cat shit for like three weeks in our litter box and we made a pinata full of change and candy and cat shit and we hung it up over the crowd and we threw a big baseball bat into the audience and they knocked the shit out of it. The candy and the money went everywhere, everyone dived at it and then the smell of cat shit just came up everywhere. It was horrible. That was like the sickest thing I’d ever done in my life up to that point and if you told me what I would go on to achieve later, I just would have gone “Whoa! I’ve got one hell of a life in store for me”.

 

LM: Do you see yourselves as musicians who perform a crazy live show or performers who happen to also play music?

DB: Definitely musicians who do a crazy live show and then are supported by a lot of really talented artists on the side. At the core of GWAR, there was always a band – even in the very early days when we just had two chords to our songs and we stood there and drooled on ourselves and let our guitars feed back. There was always music there. It just took us awhile to really get our sound down – about eight albums, actually (laughs). For all the slagging of our band, which is a load of bullshit as far as I’m concerned, this band has always been about having a very solid musical unit behind it and the proof of that is GWAR never would have lasted as long as it has unless people really did feel strongly about the music. Yeah, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I know a lot of metalheads are very serious people and they don’t want humor, really, in their music and that’s fine but a lot of people don’t feel that way. I think these guys are absolutely the most amazing musicians I’ve ever worked with, to be able to play that well, to be able to play that super tight, very difficult metal style while wearing sixty pounds of bloody latex. Hats off, as far as I’m concerned!

 

LM: Tell me about Lust in Space.

DB: Well, that’s the latest album from GWAR. It tells the story of GWAR’s final escape from Earth. After the events of Beyond Hell and the wrestling tour, GWAR returned to Antarctica, where their fans had built them a brand new GWAR temple, which immediately fell over. Right at that point, Sawborg Destructo showed up with a Scumdog warship that we stole from him. We went back to outer space, wanted to go back to all our old favorite bars and planets that we destroyed – see our old buddies. When we got back to outer space, we found out that Cardinal Syn had pretty much taken over the entire universe, turned it all into one big strip mall, outlawed heavy metal and crack cocaine, and was on his way to conquer the only place left in the universe that he hadn’t destroyed yet, the planet Earth…of course. So as soon as GWAR gets off the planet, we gotta go straight back to where we came from. So it’s like a perfect latest chapter in GWAR’s continuing asinine existence. The album is like Beyond Hell. It’s even more so a story record. I guess maybe some fans thought that after Beyond Hell – because it definitely told a story, the songs were in a certain order that told the story – maybe they thought we would get away from that and actually, we went even stronger at it. We made this overtly the most rock opera-y kind of thing that we’d ever done. So, “where do you guys get your ideas for your songs?”. Well we’re GWAR, not many bands have to fight intergalactic holy men! We basically just look at what’s going on in our normal lives and write songs about it.

 

LM: So what’s up next for you guys? Other than coming back to save Earth?

DB: Well we save Earth…hopefully. Cardinal Syn’s fleet will be arriving here in Cleveland tonight, so hopefully with the help of the Clevelandites we’ll be able to turn the tide. So, tour relentlessly on Lust in Space for probably the whole first year of this twenty-fifth anniversary celebration and then, after that, I’m not really sure. Go to Europe. Do another secondary market tour of the United States. Just basically tour like motherfuckers up until next year. Hopefully, we’ll do another record. I would like to have another record out by next Halloween, which is ridiculous, but I’d like to. That’s why I made the twenty-fifth anniversary two years long, so we could actually have two records released in that one little period of time and since we’ve changed history, after the twenty-fifth anniversary, we’ll just skip straight to fifty. And stay there: it’s still GWAR’s fiftieth anniversary!


LM: OK, a couple of quickies. Where is the best place you’ve played?

DB: We were just there last night: Detroit. It will always be the best. The people there. This area of the United States is one of the best places: Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit, but I would have to say just consistently, more people have seen GWAR in Detroit than any other city on Earth. We’ve always had huge crowds there for twenty-five years straight. There was never any wavering. Last night was just another gigantic, huge…I guess like 1500 people at that show. Yeah, and it’s really weird: Detroit, just about at every other level, is a disgusting shithole of an American city but it IS Rock City. The people there just support music unlike any other place in the entire world.

 

LM: How about your worst show?

DB: That would be a couple of years ago, we were playing in Spain. We were on this little tour in Europe trying to rebuild over there. People over in Europe kind of last track of GWAR, especially when we were going through the more experimental music kind of thing – they want GWAR to be a metal band. So we’ve been trying to win our fans back over there, but in the process of that we were playing this place in Spain and we played a bar in Spain that was so horrible. When we played there was only like four people there. That was so awful. To go through all the preparation and go all the way to fucking Spain to do shows and have four people show up. That sucked pretty bad.

 

LM: Even worse than that show you did a few years back here at Peabody’s?

DB: Oh that was HORRIBLE!

 

LM: Yeah, I was at that show: a thousand people jammed into a place the size of this tour bus.

DB: That was fun, though. Even if it is a total chaos fest – it was ridiculous for GWAR to be playing there – there was still a certain endearing quality about it because there was still 800 people.

 

LM: Does America still need to be destroyed?

DB: No, America needs to step up and fight with GWAR to defeat Cardinal Syn and THEN America can be destroyed.

 

LM: Cleveland: Love it or leave it?

DB: Love it. Always loved it. I just wish the Browns would turn it around.

 

LM: Hey they scored two touchdowns today!

DB: That’s awesome. That’s way better than my Redskins did, they just eat shit. But in this league, even teams like the Browns and the Redskins – they’re still not the worst teams.

 

LM: Who’s tougher, the Morality Squad or penguins?

DB: PENGUINS! Without a doubt! They’re thirty meters tall, they eat nuclear bombs and there’s a lot more of them than those motherfuckers in the Morality Squad. Morality Squad went down pretty easy. EVERY time I go back to Antarctica, we gotta fight these fuckin’ penguins.

 

LM: That’s all I’ve got. Any parting shots? The stage is yours.

DB: I just wanna say to the good people of Cleveland that we cannot thank you guys enough for twenty-five years of fanatical support. This will always be one of my favorite places to play and if you keep pumping for your GWAR, who knows? Maybe we’ll be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of GWAR one of these days.

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