Interview conducted by Drew Ailes. Published on 10/25/2006.
First and foremost, Alex, our webmaster and editor, wants to know why you're not around on the board anymore. Are you afraid of his amazing liberal perspectives?
I..fear...no liberal, and I'm not on the board because it's difficult to get an internet connection here on the Ozzy-fest. And because as the band gets bigger, I do less actual interaction with people on the board. When I was on the board I was working a day job. I stopped working the day job to do the band and we've been touring so much and stuff that I just don't have the time to be on the internet. If I am on the internet, then I'm certainly playing video games, which is far more interesting than arguing with liberals on a messageboard. I do that every once and a while, now, but I don't feel the desire to try and change anyone's opinion anymore, at all, in any way, shape, or form. I'm far more interested in shooting at them.
So would you say that the Lambgoat board members are indeed a bunch of liberal...
Of course! C'mon!
...and very fat?
I don't know about fat. I don't know. I've met a few dudes, I don't know if this dude still posts there, but there's this dude, Vaugh, 123keepitup123123, like the Every Time I Die song. He was on there for a long time. We had such opposing viewpoints and I met him and he wasn't fat at all. We actually hang out every time - er, we've hung out a few times. He's a good dude. He's a nice guy.
When you say that you fear no liberal, I suppose that implies you're more on the conservative side of things. Not to charge full-on into kind of a political thing here, but how much of a conservative are you? Are you a Michael Savage kind of guy or what?
No, no. And believe me, I'll tell you what: I am a realist. I do understand that you have to compromise to get anything done, so you cannot be hard-line hard-right. You cannot be hard-line hard-left. But, I will say that the people that post on Lambgoat tend to be far more left than they are center, and center is where you're going to find common ground, and common ground is where you're going to get things to move forward. It's not going to be because you're...I mean, PETA? They're not making friends in the middle ground. They're not. And you know what? As long as they're at shows, that's cool, but the reason they're at underground shows is...
Those are the people that are going to latch on to them.
Exactly, because those people are looking for an extreme. That's why they're into extreme music. They're looking for something that is outside of the norm. So there are people who have opinions that are extreme and they're entitled to those opinions, but if you want to affect real change, don't be so extreme. You need to find common ground. You need to find where your interests meet up. But don't think that that's me saying that current situations in the Middle East should not be dealt with with bombs. Because if you ask me, I know that people that are reading things right now are thinking are probably like, "get to Israel, get to Israel," and it's like, dude, they're not fucking wrong.
Israel is not wrong?
Is not wrong. There is fifty million Israelis. No, no, is it fifty million? Maybe fifty million. Yeah, in a country the size of New Jersey. Every country that borders them wants their complete and total annihilation. If they're going to survive, they need to respond to aggressive actions with far more aggressive responses. I mean, look at the six day war.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Exactly, exactly. Because if they don't, that will no longer be Israeli. The Israelis gave up a ton when they gave up Gaza and the West Bank. They said, "there you go," and I know that there's politics involved that your average person doesn't understand, but still. They gave up a lot and still, it's not enough.
To put it in simplified terms, Israel's kind of like the guy who's in prison and instead of getting his ass kicked and fucking raped up and down, he immediately runs out and stabs somebody and goes, "look! look!"
Exactly. He's the dude that's on death row that's not going to get out of jail, so instead of being the bitch, he's going to kill three dudes who may want to make him the bitch, to prevent anyone else from wanting to make him the bitch. Exactly.
Now that we've gotten the political side out of the way, how are you and the other members of All That Remains getting along with some of the other bands and acts of Ozzfest?
Great. I mean, for the most part, half the band is very...well, most of the band kind of keeps to themselves. Shannon's on the phone a lot, Mike and Oli...Oli's got a wife and he just kind of likes to mosey around and do his own thing. Plays a lot of Guitar Hero and stuff. Mike spends a lot of time on the bus. Me and Jeanne do a lot of bouncing around and hanging out and stuff like that. I mean, we get along with pretty much everybody on the tour. We know a lot of the bands. We know A Life Once Lost, we did Sounds of the Underground with them last year.
They're very stoned.
Yes, I am.
Oh, no, no.
That was even better.
Yes, they are very stoned, as am I. Um, but uh, and I'm conservative and I smoke pot. See? I'm not the devil. But uh, A Life Once Lost, Unearth obviously, we're real close to those guys...the dudes in Strapping Young Lad...The Red Chord, they're from Boston. There's so many people that we know so we're getting along with everybody. It's hard not to. To be on this tour, you kind have to want to be a dick or be some kind of loudmouth or whatever to not get along with people. You have to be an asshole.
[someone's cell phone rings with a guitar solo ringtone, Drew sings a sweep arpeggio]
Just a little Between The Buried And Me there. I've been talking about interviewing them and pitching my songs to them, which are just [makes ridiculous guitar noises], like, that's what I want to do. I haven't gotten a chance to and I don't have any questions written for them. If I get to do it, it would probably just be one very long interview which would be three pages of me transcribing it: "bee-dee-doop-doop-deep".
I really wonder what people think of BTBAM being on Ozzfest.
They seem kind of like the lone act out there...
I don't know, I mean, they're one of the bands, in my opinion, that's always been a Lambgoat band. BTBAM has always been a Lambgoat fan. I wonder how your average Lambgoat dude feels about BTBAM being on Ozzfest. I think they're doing great. I mean, they're definitely a change of pace because they write very big songs. There's so much music that's going on and stuff. The way they write songs, they're far closer to compositions than songs. There's other bands that have as many members and people who do as many things with keyboard or whatever, that's not a big deal. There's three bands that have keyboards on Ozzfest this year. Norma Jean has like, an extra drumkit with Nick from A Life Once Lost. But anyways, yeah, they're great. They're doing great. But I wonder what the Lambgoat dudes on the board think of the whole fact that they're on Ozzfest. [in a gritty strained voice] "Oh my god! My Between The Buried And Me is on Ozzfest! Say it isn't so!"
[nerd voice] They've become terrible sellouts and I hate the cover CD! Their Soundgarden rendition was absolutely dreadful! They should team up with Evergreen Terrace and get aids!"
You are pretty stoned. Nobody else would laugh at that.
No way! That's so everybody on Lambgoat! C'mon!
Lambgoat's awesome! But the board? Dude, I was one of those dudes. I can't like, I don't want to sound like I'm crapping on the board, because I was one of those dudes.
You're still one of those dudes at heart.
Yeah, exactly. People still remember Directassault. Now people are going to look me up on Adult Friend Finder.
I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
You want me to edit that out?
No, no. You can leave it in there. But make sure people know that I'm kidding.
Alright, I thought you inadvertantly slipped up and revealed your Adult Friend Finder name.
No, no, no. If I was on Adult Friend Finder I certainly wouldn't have that as my name. It'd be like ASS-ault.
You already kind of answered this discussing the people you know on the tour, but who are the bands you're excited to see at this year's Ozzfest?
Dragonforce. Dragonforce, every day, amazes the absolute hell out of me. I think I've missed them five or six times.
They seem like the band that...like on the Sounds of the Underground, every person I asked was like, "Gwar! Fuckin' Gwar!" A lot of the people I'm talking to here is like, Dragonfest, Dragonfest, Dragonfest. Wait, Dragonfest?
Yeah, I know. I'm very familiar with Dragonforce.
Are you very stoned?
A Life Once Lost made me drink a few beers.
Ah, well cheers.
So anyone else you care to toss out other than Dragonforce?
I mean, I like Unearth's new stuff. Their new record is cool. The songs on the new record are fucking awesome. They're still Unearth, so everyone who hates Unearth, you can go ahead and stop paying attention because they're still Unearth, but it's not ripping themselves off. It's a progression. They haven't changed immensely. I don't think the progression was the same kind of progression with us as it was with us with this new record; they went more in the same direction that they had gone with on The Oncoming Storm, but much more aggressive. Which is really awesome because they were a really and heavy aggressive band in the first place. A lot of fast stuff, really thrashy and awesome. But they still sound like Unearth. It's a really great balance that they managed to walk. It's fucking awesome.
Having had experiences with both Sounds of the Underground and Ozzfest, how do the two compare?
They're very similar. If you're a second stage band on Ozzfest, it's very similar. The differences are when you get over to the main stage. There's no main stage on the Sounds of the Underground tour. When you go over to main stage and you're from second stage, not everywhere and not all the time, sometimes people let you know that you're second stage and you're at main stage.
So if you try to go try have one of Ozzy's celery-dip platters do they smack your hand?
You certainly are not going to be anywhere near Ozzy Osbourne.
Has he talked to you or anybody? Have you seen him?
I saw him twice, walking on the stage and getting out of his van. In Los Angeles it was awesome because he definitely solidified the fact that he genuinely is a humongous rockstar. Getting off-stage and getting into a helicopter which flew him home. Now that is fucking awesome. You know what, some people are bummed that they don't see Ozzy and stuff like that, but I tell you what, Ozzy is a real-life legend rock star. So shut up.
He doesn't know you and there's probably no real reason he feels that he should. Which is rational.
He's been doing this for ten years. That's 80 bands that have been on second stage.
Not to mention, been a part of a band that helped build heavy metal. Is he really going to want to run out and meet you? No.
He is one of the biggest rock stars who helped create what heavy metal is today. He had a very large hand in creating what metal is today. So do whatever, you're Ozzy. Go. Fucking...take a helicopter.
Speaking of being incredibly huge rock stars, I wanted to touch on the fact that your new record debuted at number 75 on the Billboard charts.
How the fuck did that happen and were you expecting this?
No, lots of voodoo rituals. Lots of me cutting off the heads of chickens.
I didn't expect that. I'll be honest, in terms of all the bands on here, I'm kind of "meh," but I actually really like you guys. I really liked This Darkened Heart, which was one of the first reviews I did for this site, Metalreview.com. It was the first album I reviewed that I gave almost a near perfect score to. I've listened to the new one a little bit and it's better, I would say. I haven't gotten fully into it yet because I haven't had the time. But really, how did that happen? Were there marketing strategies employed or what?
I think that it was the way...I think it was some of the career choices we made. Like last year, we had the option of doing Ozzfest in the summer and we were like, at the time, the band was like, "fuck yeah," because we didn't know shit. But our management and our label really were really the people who kind of made the call. They're like, "look, don't do Ozzfest. This other thing is coming," and Sounds of the Underground was new and no one knew what it was. So obviously, think about this: you're in a band and you get a chance to do Ozzfest. No idea who else is on Ozzfest and no clue about how the record industry works, no clue about how to deliver a record to people, and no clue about timing. No clue about that. You just know that you want to be you're on Ozzfest because if you get on Ozzfest you're a "big band", right? And your label is telling you for a whole year that, "yeah, we're probably going to do Ozzfest," and then Sounds of the Underground comes up and we're like, "fuck you!" We were so bummed out.
[someone walks in talking to Phil about scheduling other interviews]
Yeah, if this interview runs into your other time...
No, no. Lambgoat's important to me because I love it. It's the truth. It's one of the sites that I've spent a lot of time on.
It's one of those things that you almost have a personal investment into.
Obviously people talk shit on Lambgoat, I don't care, but at the same time I'll be at home talking to someone and be like, "oh man, you gotta read this post, it's about Paris Hilton's gay sunglasses!"
Yeah, hah, exactly.
And all they say is, "they're fucking stupid, the site is fucking stupid, you're an asshole," and that's serously what happens. And I don't care.
But yeah, I agree. I was always on Lambgoat talking to people. I still remember people who posted on that site. I've met so many people. A bunch of people from there. I still spend a lot of time on our site on our messageboard. Our thanks list on our record has like, ten dudes that are constantly on our messageboard that I'm constantly bullshitting with. I'm an internet faggot.
It's fine. We're all internet faggots in this room. How was working with Adam of Killswitch Engage in the studio for The Fall of Ideals as opposed to before with This Darkened Heart?
It was cool because when we did Darkened, we didn't have Pro-Tools. Like, that was the last record they did at the studio in Westfield before they got Pro-Tools. The record they did right after us was The End of Heartache. Adam was like, "we're going to have Pro-Tools to do our record. Fuck All That Remains, but the new Killswitch..." No, I'm just kidding. But the last record they did without Pro-Tools was This Darkened Heart. Recording Darkened compared to recording The Fall of Ideals...it was so much easier to do The Fall of Ideals. We had a new drummer, first of all, and Shannon is a great drummer. He's a fast drummer. He's really solid and he was a more solid drummer than Mike was.
Did you have your new bassist?
Yeah. When did she join?
Last August. She was there for the whole writing process and stuff like that. So her input's there as to what she did and didn't like and stuff like that. But it was still written predominantly by me and Oli. We wrote the last one and we'll probably end up writing the next one, although the next one will probably be me even less. I think I wrote...four...Oli wrote...five...no, wait. Oli wrote six, I wrote four, and Mike wrote one.
What makes you predict that there will probably be less of you writing on the future record?
The management and business side of the band is taking up more and more of my time. We actually take time off to record, the level that we're at now, if we want to go ahead and be a successful band we need someone in the band that does the band business all the time.
How do you rate This Darkened Heart to The Fall of Ideals?
Oh, The Fall of Ideals is a far superior record to This Darkened Heart.
I know you have to say that anyway.
Oh, well, I know. But it is. Because we weren't quite the band that we wanted to be with Darkened. We always wanted to have the ability to really have real blast-beats, real double-bass, real fast drums. So the addition of Shannon made writing so much easier because we could just say, "do this," "okay," "can you do this at this speed," "yep," "hey, try this," "okay," "hey, do this," "okay," "play double-bass there," "okay," "play it faster," "alright." There was no, "I can't, I don't know what to do." I mean, there were times where he didn't know what to do and what he wanted to play, but it was never a question of "can you do this?" It was always, "hey, do this," and he was like, "okay." [makes machinegun noises] Some of his fucking goddamn drum fills sound like old ladies falling down the stairs and shit. [makes noise] He can do whatever he wants.
What is the actual Fall of Ideals?
Oh, the title? Nobody, nowadays, like, people only have convictions as long as it's comfortable. They only say they believe something...like, straight edge kids who are straight edge kids from when they're 15 and all militant and blah, blah, blah, then four days later when they turn 21, they're down at the bar with their friends. They've got friends that are older that drink that don't think it's cool that they're straight edge. They're not as young and looking for something to belong to anymore. I'm not shitting on kids that are straight edge, I'm shitting on people that don't really believe in things and say they do. Don't sit there and say that, "oh, I believe in integrity and this and that," and then pick up someone's wallet and take the money out and toss it in the garbage. When no one knows, are you really going to do what's right? There is a right and a wrong and you do what's right because it's the right thing to do. Not because you're going to get in trouble, not because someone's going to catch you, not because you could go to jail or whatever, but because it's the right thing to do. There aren't enough people that think like that anymore.
Moving on to a label question, with Prosthetic, all I hear is how great they are and how they're a wonderful label. Are they really this fantastic label that brings you to shows in chocolate chariots with rainbow racehorses, or is there a darker side?
[laughing] Rainbow racehorses. No, I'll say this. You're talking to the dude who's first record on Prosthetic sold 3,000 records in a year. Right after the first record came out, the band exploded into pieces. We were supposed to play Hellfest. Our drummer broke his arm, our bass player quit, and we kicked out our guitar player. That's when Jesse quit Killswitch Engage and that's when I went and tried out for them, because our band was falling apart and Killswitch Engage already had a record deal and an amazing record out. I heard Alive or Just Breathing and I thought, "I know what's happening now, I know what's going to fucking go on." But Prosthetic, you're talking to a dude that they should've dropped. They should've dropped All That Remains. They didn't. We actually got to do another record. So it was awesome. We put out Darkened and things went well. And now you're talking to the band that had the biggest debut on Prosthetic. So of course they're good to us. Of course I'm going to say good stuff about them. If you want to find out if the label's crappy, talk to some of the bands that don't sell as many records as we do. And I'm not trying to sound like an egotist or whatever, but it's just numbers. Of course I can call EJ, which is the dude that runs the day-to-day, I can call him at his house. Of course they're great to us. So, I love them. That's the reason I love them so much. They stuck behind me when my band fell apart and nobody knew who All That Remains was or thought there was going to be a second record. They figured I'd be always, "the dude who used to sing for Shadows Fall", and that's it. I'd be down at the towney fucking bar, screaming, "I USTA BE SOMEBODY I USTA [mumbles]," all hammered and stuff. So...they stuck behind me.
I heard there's a DVD in the works. When can we expect this to be in stores and what might be on this DVD?
Lots of stuff and in no time soon. We have a bunch of odds and ends footage, but we don't have a good quality or good presented show the way it should be. We haven't had the budget and the time to do the show right. We're going to do one, but if we're going to do it, we don't want to put out a piece of crap.
What were you doing before you dedicated yourself fully to playing and performing music?
Selling cell phones. Working in the mall is fucking sweet. I loved working in the mall, and probably too old to do it now, but I tell you what, when I was 22, 23, 24, it was amazing to hang out and work at the mall. That was my college years. That was when Matt Bachand was working across the mall and we would all go to the coffee shop that had the internet connection and we'd all go there after hours and play fucking Quake 2 online all connected. It was just hanging out at the mall having a good time. It wouldn't be the same anymore.
Did that pay well? The guy who sold me my cell phone said he made $75,000 a year, blah, blah, blah. Can you really make good money selling cell phones?
You can. If you're good and you work for certain companies, yeah, you can make real good money. Last year that I worked; last full year, and it wasn't even a full year because I missed some of the Christmas season, which is when you make your most money; I made like, $42,000? And I quit that to go on tour with Today is the Day and Bloodlet.
Was Today is the Day quite possibly the most amazing band you had ever seen or witnessed?
There's nothing wrong with Today is the Day except that they asked us to do that tour. Because fucking...shit. I quit a good paying job to go and do a terrible tour.
It was All That Remains, Today is the Day, and Bloodlet? That is a fucking odd combination.
And that was before This Darkened Heart, so that was all our most European-metally sounding stuff. Our first record is very European sounding. There's no chord to be found anywhere on it. It's mostly noodly guitar stuff and then we kind of tone it down. Our management was like, "hey, go do this," and we were like, "are you serious?" And then our label was like, "yeah, you should be on tour," and I'm like, "why," and they go, "just cuz." So they I said okay. I mean, it was fun. Steve Austin and all these dudes in Today is the Day are super nice and stuff, but the crowd thought we were the biggest piece of shit ever in all history. It sucked.
I know you're a big Justin Timberlake fan.
Absolutely. You know, my new one is Panic! At the Disco.
Give me a comprehensive review of the new single "Sexyback".
I haven't heard it. On this tour, I haven't had any kind of internet time. I get most of my new music by downloading stuff from iTunes. I'm an avid $15 to $25 dollar card buyer from my local Walgreens. Buy the card, bring it home, put it on there by going there once and a while, see a song or an artist that I like, and I buy a song. If I like it, I'll buy the whole record. But I don't buy CDs in the store anymore. iTunes and my iPod are the best things in all of creation right now. Right up there with Cold Stone Ice Cream.
I read an interview that you had mentioned Carcass and that the song that really got you into them was, "Corporal Jigsore Quandary".
Oooh! Does his fucking homework!
...which is the most fan-fucking-tastic Carcass songs ever. If not one of the greatest songs on earth.
Have you found a song better than "Corporal Jigsore Quandary"?
I'm saying no, because that's my favorite song ever. Neatly cubed and diced?
NEATLY CUBED! AND DICED!
I don't know, I don't know. As far as extreme metal goes, probably not.
There is no better song. This was actually a test and if you had said something else I would've ended this interview. This next question I have a visual aid for.
This oughta be good.
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
See, this is why I love interviews with Lambgoat.
So this next question, I want you to do me this personal favor. I know you guys are kind of on your way up, I want you guys to get really fucking famous and then die at the height of your career so I can sell this CD [pulls out an ancient three song All That Remains demo] on the internet.
[laughing] I can't believe you actually have this! "Contact Scott Lee...155 Cooley Street."
I got that CD at Milwaukee Metalfest in like, 1998.
Dan Eagan, the bass player for Exhumed, the Massachusetts one, which had Matt Bachand, who is now in Shadows Fall, in it. But yeah, original bass player for All That Remains. Oli wasn't even in the band when this was made.
I did not know you guys were the same band until about two years ago when I was sorting through a bunch of promos and shit and I said, "hey, wait a minute, I think I like this band." I think when I actually first listened to it, I communicated somebody via Email critiquing that CD and offering suggestions. So just don't forget who helped you get where you are today.
That's so fucking cool that you have this. I don't even have one of these.
Do you want it?
Are you serious?
Yeah, I mean, I'd be more than happy to give it to the person who created it who doesn't have one.
I really don't even have one of these, this is really cool. Thank you.
No problem. It's rightfully yours. What was going on in your life at the time that this CD was pressed?
Uh...god. How old was I? It was 1999, so I was 24? Um...I don't know. This was the year before my dad died and it was a really weird time because when they asked me to leave Shadows Fall, it was a really big ego hit. You know what I mean? I had started writing stuff for this. It was done probably three or four months after they had asked me to leave. It was January or March when we recorded? I'm not sure. But either way, it was very soon after they asked me to leave and it was a situation where I was like, "wow, man, this really sucks, am I ever going to be able to do anything? Am I going to be the dude who doesn't do anything?" Because then I heard that they had gotten a deal with Century Media, and at the time, that was a big thing to me. That was huge to me. That's where Grave was...that's where all the old good death metal was. That was such a big deal. I was like, "aw man," but you know, things worked out pretty well.
Are there any bands that you feel people should be keeping their eyes open for?
Dragonforce. I know there's a tremendous buzz on the band, but your average person or mainstream person...there's a lot of people I think who don't quite get it. Dragonforce is an amazing band to watch, an amazing band to listen to, they're amazing players and stuff like that, but people kind of forget that there's an element of silliness and fun. It's okay. There's too many dudes that listen to extreme music that all they do is walk around making this face all the time. [makes angry face] They just look mad. "Derrr...I'm a metal guy, grrr, give me a beer and cigarette. I gotta be mad or I'll lose my death metal, derrrr." It's like, c'mon. Shut up. I get on stage and I scream for a half an hour. You can't take that too seriously. C'mon. C'mon. Don't you get it? There's a little bit of a joke. And Dragonforce? They're from Europe. They may not quite get it, but they definitely have a little tongue-in-cheek. The guy wears leather pants with tassels. It's fucking amazing. It makes me want to go get leather pants for myself.
Will you be getting leather pants soon?
I think that I actually still have leather pants.
Can you fit into them?
I haven't grown any in like, fucking twenty years. It's hard for me to gain weight.
What are the rest of your plans for 2006 and 2007?
Going to do Dragonforce...there's talk of another tour after that. A very metal tour. I can't say who it is because nothing is set in stone, but um, I just found out that it's probably not going to be as breakneck as I thought. It's kind of like, okay, you're going to tour, but you don't need to be out there on tour every...we're going to get done with this tour and have two and a half weeks off before we go out with Dragonforce. That's only a month. Then we're going to have at least a month off, or three weeks off, before we start the next tour. That's unheard of. Last when we were out, when we started touring on This Darkened Heart, it was tour, two days off, tour a week off, just, go-go-go-go. So now for it to be like, you're going to go tour. Then you're going to go home. Then maybe you'll tour some. Then it'll be Christmas. Take some time off, see your family. Then you tour a little more and go home.
I've got one last question for you. It doesn't involve a prop, but it does involve a little bit of elbow work. Would you armwrestle me?
Me? I have a bad wrist and it would be funny. You saw the one where I armwrestled Ken Susi, right?
On Uranium, they had me armwrestle Ken Susi right before Mike Martin held it down again for being the armwrestling champ. But uh, yeah. I'm terrible at armwrestling. It'll be ridiculous.
Let's try. I think you have longer arms than me. And I think you're stronger than me.
Probably not true.
Alright, lets do it. Ready? Set? Go.
Amazing. Alright, that really makes my day at Ozzfest. Are there any parting words you have for us?
Nah, not really. Go to our website. Fuck Lambgoat for a little bit and go see AllThatRemainsOnline.com and check out our messageboard because it's way nicer than Lambgoat's is. The dudes on our messageboard aren't going to hate on you just because you're new. [laughing]