By Drew Ailes. Published on 1/29/2006.
First and foremost, what are you working on in the studio right now?
I'm just finishing up the Icepick album. It's been a labor of love. We've been working on it for months and months, when I have time, and now we're really cramming to finish it. We're just finishing vocals tonight and then we're doing some gang vocals and then I'm out of the studio on Monday because Zeuss starts another record. Not only did Zeuss engineer the whole thing, he also played guitar and bass on the whole album. Solos, pickslides....we've been having a blast. Basically, it's just been me and him. But Derek from the band Seamless came in and did drums.
How long has that been in the works for, because I know it's Icepick has been talked about for a while.
It's been a long time. I mean, we were supposed to have this record out in the summer, and then with everyone's schedule it got too crazy, and then we had a song demoed, but we didn't have a line-up set. Then we had a line-up that was doing live shows, but their schedules conflicted with the recording...so it ended up being me, hiring Derek from Seamless, and then having Zeuss track everything himself. But the outcome has been awesome – the record is a classic. I really believe in the record. I think for anybody who likes old-school New York hardcore, they're going to like this. Madball, Agnostic Front, Killing Time, Leeway...it's got, I think, a really classic sort of tone to it.
Did you pretty much write all the music on the record?
How long have you been working on that for?
I've had songs and riffs for like, two years now. I think we had a song last year on one of the free Hellfest giveaway compilations, and then we had a song on Ultimate Beatdown for UFC CD, but those were demo recordings. It wasn't like a real album recording. I don't think it's going to disappoint. For the people I've played it to who are real sticklers for quality hardcore, the reaction has been really good. I took some songs out to the Bruisers reunion in Boston and played them for Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror, who does a guest spot on the album, and Al Barr from the Dropkick Murphy's and the Bruisers, he does a guest spot on the album...Roger from Agnostic Front is on it. I mean, I've played it for a lot of people who were really, really, impressed. Just because I think when we played the shows, we were so drunk and sloppy and just doing cover songs, people thought it was just a joke band. But the album is twelve songs of pure hardcore.
How long does it run for?
It actually runs longer than Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire. We were laughing about it because it runs for 32 minutes. It's twelve songs, so we were pretty happy it made it over the 30 minute mark. Most bands, nowadays, especially with dealing with labels – I'm putting it out myself so even if it was an 18 minute record, I would still put it out. But labels want at least 30 minutes for an album to be considered a full-length.
I have a hard time stomaching longer releases. Especially if it's a heavy band. If it's something sort of poppy or whatever, I can do that. But whenever I load up a CD and see the 55 minute mark, I just kind of rub my temples and moan.
Yeah, I mean, there's only so much you can do, and I think now with ADD running rampant across America, I don't think we'd want it to be much longer.
So you're going out on the 10th Anniversary Tour soon, what's your first thought when you hear the words "10th Anniversary Tour"?
Uh...it's a little weird. I mean, it's crazy to think that a lot of our fans were six or seven years old when we started the band. But then again, we're very luck to have so many diehards that have been with us since the beginning that still show up to every show. It's a short tour because we have to go to Europe on December 1st, so we weren't able to squeeze in all the dates that we wanted to as far as the midwest, the southwest, and the west coast, but we're not playing any major cities. We're just doing smaller clubs, and it's a six band bill, so it's going to be worth everybody's money and it's just a fun thing to just sort of go out and play some new songs and play the smaller places that we haven't played in a while. Like, I don't think we've played in North Carolina or Vermont...those were places that we would hit a lot when we first started out. As we got more popular and got on bigger tours, it was just one of those things where we didn't have time to go back. So this is kind of cool for us to go and kind of bring a six band package in, where kids can get into the show for twelve bucks, and we had all the control. It's not like us and Slayer, where the tickets are 35 dollars and we're playing these huge places.
Kind of dwarfing your fanbase with that.
For some kids, they're psyched about that. But for the kids that want to see a hardcore show in a smaller and intimate setting, this is going to be cool. We're playing Peabody's in Cleveland, which I've seen a ton of shows at. It's a tiny place. Normally we play the Aghora, which holds like, 2500 people. It's going to be fun.
Do you prefer smaller and more intimate shows like that, or do you just sort of go where you go?
Yeah, to me it's all just about going out and doing it. It doesn't really matter the setting. I know for the other guys, I think the last big tour we did on the Satisfaction album, it was just like, "okay, how many times can we have our cabinets knocked over on one tour?" So they probably prefer the big stages where nobody's diving all over the equipment, but I don't care anyway.
I know you also did a Hellraiser's Ball show, what exactly was that, and how did that get arranged to begin with?
That was just a one-off show that our booking agent said, "hey, Motorhead is doing this outdoor festival and your name came up." So we were like, "sure, why not?" They agreed to fly us in and pay for all the expenses, so we said, "why not?"
You mentioned getting out and playing some new songs. Can you tell me about the next Hatebreed record and if there's anyone you're looking at for production/engineering and what sort of changes people can expect? The typical new album questions.
Well, there's not going to be a ton of changes. Obviously we do want to challenge ourselves, but we are what we are at this point. If you hate us, you're definitely going to hate the new album. If you love us, I think you're going to love it. It kind of is what it is. We want to speed it up on some parts, slow it down on other parts – I mean, we're going to...I think, add more of Sean as backing vocals and stuff, which he's been doing live now for four years, but we never really did it on the album. I think we're definitely going in almost a more metal route. If people enjoy songs like "Doomsayer" and "A Call For Blood", the ones that are pretty fast and brutal, I think that's the direction that we're going. At least the two songs that we're going to be playing on the tour are pretty fast and in your face. They're called "Spitting Venom" and "Defeatist".
While I know you've done a lot of guest work recently or in the past, I'm curious if you have any guest musicians slated for the new album?
No, you know, I don't think we probably will have any guests on this record. We talked about having Freddy from Madball and Roger from Agnostic Front being on one song together, because they've never been on a song together, but we ended up making it happen for the last Agnostic Front record. It never made the record but we got a remix done where Freddy was on the song and ended up being in the video. But no, I don't know. It'd be killer to get Zakk Wylde or someone to do a solo on it, but we'll see what happens. It's going to be a totally and completely bombastic album. I think we want the focus just to stay sort of on us. I think so many people are so used to seeing the big stickers like, "featuring this and that...."
I don't really know how I feel about those stickers. Usually I might actually be steered away as I figure it might be a gimmick to rope fans of bands that wouldn't normally check it out. I think that might exactly be what it is.
Like on Perseverence, even though we had Kerry King singing and playing guitar on it, it was never in the deal that we were going to have it on a sticker. We just didn't want it to even be a mention, but for people who read the liner notes, they'd say, "oh wow, that's Kerry King playing that solo on that song."
I like the stickers that have the reviews on there, well, usually because they become really dated around ten years from now. I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but there's some great ones out there.
Oh yeah, I just was in the store and I saw a CD from this band, Pulse Ultra, it was like, "See them on Ozzfest 2002!" It's still on the CD.
I wanted to ask you a few questions about Headbanger's Ball. Namely, what notable people did you beat out for the position?
I don't even know. I know Howard from Killswitch Engage went in...um....yeah, that's the only one I know of off the top of my head. Oh, Evan from Biohazard.
I can't believe they broke up.
Yeah, well, we just did their last European tour and they were bigger than ever there, and their last few records did really well, and their new record is killer. I think Evan's so busy doing his porno thing and managing his wife, who's in Maxim magazine, and when we went to South America, she was in magazines down there. So I'm sure he's really busy with that. Danny's got Bloodclot, and Billy's got Suicide City...
I'm just happy that they're all at least doing something. They're not going to break up and become...bankers or something.
Danny's new band, Bloodclot, is killer. We had a song of theirs on the bonus CD that comes with the new Subzero album and we got tons of great feedback about it.
Have you ever gotten an opportunity to meet Headbanger's Ball's former host, Ricky?
Oh yeah, yeah! He was my first guest. So he handed the torch, so to speak.
Was it kind of weird?
No, not at all actually. I had talked to him before when it was still going around that they were looking for a host, and he was a Hatebreed supporter from way back when, just from his radio show and all the other stuff he had been doing since he stopped hosting. He was like, "yeah, I put your name in the mix and I told them what a fan of the music you are and how you pretty much know all the bands and stuff." He gave me a vote of confidence, which was cool.
I would've thought he might've felt a sense of entitlement to pick it back up, but I guess that might be sort of unrealistic.
I don't know. I mean, I know he told the producers and everything, "make sure you play heavy stuff," and really tried to give some input, because he got a lot of flak.
That guy got too much shit.
Yeah, he was telling me horror stories, which, to me, is not something I'd ever really worry about just because where I go people sort of show me respect. So I think with him it was just harder because he was playing all these glam bands and there was such a division in that world. If you like Poison and Slaughter, the guys who are into Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death are like, "fuck Poison!" So it's sort of like, torn between.
Almost like the same thing that's going on today.
With some of the more fashion-core kind of fans, I think the diehard hardcore and death metal fans don't like it, but they're not going to come to me and complain about it, because what's the point?
I don't know. I'm a huge metal fan in general, but I can confidently say that most death metal fans are assholes anyway. I mean, whatever you're going to put in front of them they're probably going to say, "fuck you, this sucks," and then a year later maybe pick it up and listen to it while hiding in a corner, maybe.
Yeah, well. A lot of the people that have gone through phases in their life are into a certain style of music and then grow out of it. Then it's not cool to them and they think it sucks. I'm just not one of those people. I don't have the time to focus negative energy on a band because of the way they dress or if they wear make-up or anything like that. It might not be my thing, but, to me, music is like food. I don't like tomatoes but I'm not going to go on a messageboard and be like, "I fucking hate tomatoes and everybody should boycott the tomato company!"
I guess you obviously don't read the Lambgoat messageboard.
I mean, if I had time I'm sure...I mean, for entertainment...
Yeah. No, I know what you're saying. I'm just joking around. But that's the majority of posts. "Tomato Hating Post #37!" Well, what sort of say do you have in what videos get played? Do you have any sort of push for everything or do they just sort of slap it in front of you and have a playlist designated?
You know, when I wasn't really busy doing recording, touring, and playing shows, I was trying to stay on top of them and trying to push for more extreme videos. Even if it wasn't stuff that I was necessarily into, I just felt like they needed to be represented. They have to be diplomatic, you know what I mean? Even if it's two sort of straight-forward death metal videos, then two grind videos, or two hardcore videos, or two fashioncore videos, or two...power metal videos, I think every genre needs to be represented to a certain extent.
There are power metal videos?
Yeah, you know. Manowar...Hammerfall...
I didn't know Hammerfall ever made a video.
Yeah, yeah. We actually – Hammerfall actually had like, four weeks in rotation, I remember. [laughing]
That was a gold or platinum record in Europe.
Did you ever hear about the lead singer getting punched in the face?
By Billy Milano?
No. Wow, poor guy. He's been punched a few times, I guess. He was just in a bar and someone came up to him and said, "Hey, are you the lead singer of Hammerfall?" And the guy just responded, and then he just unwound on him.
Wow, that sucks.
No reason at all. But I mean, that's the price you pay for Hammerfall. Glory to the brave.
[laughing] I guess that guy wasn't a Hammerfall fan.
No, no. But we can't all be. It's what makes this world great.
It's not for everybody, but I will tell you that when that video got played, I probably had about 50 emails of people like, "finally, you played some fucking real metal!" And then there was 150 that were like, "this sucks, play some Avenged Sevenfold." [laughing]
Ah, the irony. We'll let that one pass. How is Stillborn Records coming along?
Good. We're still pushing the releases that we had come out back in March, like the Danny Diablo - Street CD, and then we're actually still pushing the Full Blown Chaos record. It won't stop selling. So it's been good that those guys have been on the road.
Yeah, they've been touring so much, I'd understand it.
Yeah, they did like, 200 shows this year. So that was really cool. They just finished a tour with Madball and they're on the tour with us, coming up, and then they're coming to Europe with us and going right back into the studio. So that's been doing really well. It's sold way over 20,000 in the U.S. and for a band that style, that's a major accomplishment. Especially being on a small indie label, Stillborn, which I don't really have a lot of time and energy to put into it. We just released the Subzero record, which is doing awesome, and all the back catalogue stuff is still selling. Sworn Enemy, With Honor, Love Is Red, A Thousand Falling Skies...so I can't complain.
I know With Honor is catching a lot of shit lately for their new record. I hear people go back and forth on it a lot.
It's weird with those guys. When we put out Heart Means Everything, everybody said, "oh, the EP is better," but now that they've put out another record, everyone's saying, "oh, Heart Means Everything is better." For With Honor...I remember hearing Heart Means Everything, thinking, "wow, this is a killer record for what it is, but if they wanted to ever really break through, they'd have to really challenge themselves." I don't think that's a band that could really go and try to sound like Thursday. Maybe for one song, just to see how the fans react, but I just don't think their fans would be into something like that. What more really can they do? What's the...if you think about the bands from that genre that people really love, like Bane and Comeback Kid, which is the sort of world I put them into, if they could break out and be like a Rise Against, great. But Rise Against has acoustic parts, so, you know. They'd need to do bigger tours.
And I think they'd lose so many fans. I think their fanbase is already getting sort of divided. To go ahead and make another move towards a different take on that sort of sound...
Right, for a band like that, they have to keep doing different styles of tours and try to gain different kids. I don't think they should really worry as half of these kids aren't going to be into this style of music at all anyways in a couple years, especially in that scene, where I think a lot of kids come and go. For us, we had to make a decision in 1998/1999, when Satisfaction... had already sold 100,000 records. What other bands could we tour with? Everyone said, "you've gotta do another record, you've gotta do another record." Well, we toured with Danzig, we toured with Motorhead, we toured with Sepultura, and the record kept selling. We would go back and do smaller shows and we never really lost a lot of our fanbase because we always made it clear that we wanted to do bigger things and wanted to do bigger tours. But we also didn't want to alienate any of our original fanbase. But you're going to regardless. You can't please everybody. I think, as far as With Honor goes, they played it really safe with this record and I don't think the fans are going to like it more than the last one. They're a great band, nonetheless.
The Hatebreed DVD is still being worked on, right?
Yeah, we've been working on it for a long time. There's so many shows and so many great clips that we have from over the years.
So much of it is documented.
Yeah. There's stuff from our first show with Earth Crisis in 1995 right down to the tour we did in England with Crowbar. How do you decide what makes the DVD and doesn't? We want to give every past member their due in the DVD, talk about the line-up changes, talk about all three albums and the EP, and give a history of the band that's accurate. It might end up having to be two DVDs.
I don't think too many people would complain with that.
At this point, we've got to get something out. We're kind of late in the game. Bands that started two years ago already have double DVD sets. That's the nature of the business. Killswitch Engage just did a DVD and it's a live show – that's something I would want to see, definitely. But for me to put out a DVD, I'd rather do a DVD that's more of a documentary.
I pretty much stopped even considering buying DVDs after I finally got all the Pantera ones.
Yeah, those are the best.
They're so hilarious. I just kind of gave up.
No one could ever make a DVD like that. It just can't be done.
I actually managed to figure out that my friend's older brother was every member of Pantera combined by watching those. I'll just have you know that he's a great man. So on a completely different note, how was working with Necro, and do you really think that he needs drugs so much or do you think he just wants them?
Working with Necro was cool. He was recording a record right in New York, not too far from where I tape Headbanger's Ball. He had known that we were fans and had seen Sean wearing a Necro shirt that I actually got him at a record store in Lawrence, Kansas. I walked off one day and was looking through shirts at a record store and I saw this glow-in-the-dark Necro shirt. But it was like, a double XL, so I was like, "I'm not going to wear this, but I'll get it for Sean," because he was also a fan. Then he wore in in Metal Hammer or Kerrang or one of those English magazines and Necro saw it and contacted us and was like, "yo, thanks for the support, would you ever be interested in doing a collaboration?" So me and Sean both went and were on the album, and I'm actually in the ill-Bill and Necro video for "Chasing The Dragon," which you can find online on Necro's website.
What's he like? Is he as hilarious as I imagine he is?
Yeah, he's a great dude. He's just a thug and a goon. He's just...you know.
Yeah. There's no one else like him in the world, I'll tell you that much.
That makes me really happy to hear. I'm sorry, that's just something that needed to be asked.
Totally. I'm glad that I did that, because not only did so many people went and checked him out, but I've been stopped on the street just by underground hip-hop fans saying, "that was a cool collaboration you did with Necro and I'm not even into metal or hardcore."
That's what happened with that guy, Jesse, who used to be in Killswitch Engage. I found out he was roommates with a guy named Sage Francis and somehow my worlds smashed into each other and managed to split open my head.
Yeah, yeah. Sage Francis, his name always gets submitted for our tours. Like, when Hatebreed tours, his booking agent always says, "submit Sage Francis, he wants to tour with Hatebreed." Atmosphere comes out to "I Will Be Heard," and Mr. Dibbs does a little...
Yeah, he's way into metal.
So it's cool. I've done songs with M.O.P., and I've actually done a bunch of hip-hop collaborations and stuff. To me, it's cool, because I'm kind of from that school of hardcore anyways. I grew up on Biohazard...
Another weird thing I found out that also fascinated me were that the guys from Fear Factory were so closely involved in hip-hop. Like working with Non-Phixion and even working with Snoop. It's just weird.
Yeah, Christian's been doing stuff for those guys for years. You've got to have an open mind, really. Music is music. You've got to be able to appreciate all different styles.
One time I looked up "Hatebread" and the only match I got was some kid on a forum claiming that some video for AFI or My Chemical Romance or something, and they brought in a whole bunch of kids to dance and they said, "What? I can't mosh to this! Put on some Hatebread!" So this kid goes on and on about how when you watch that video, just remember that it's Hatebread they're moshing to. So the question that leads into is, what would you say to a group of kids who take Hatebreed lyrics and rewrite them to bakery themes, and call it Hatebread?
You know, Hatebread started with Igor from Sepultura drawing a piece of bread on one of our backstage signs for a tour. I don't know what city it was, but it was in the year 2000, when we were on tour with Sepultura. He drew a piece of bread with arms, legs, tattoos, and like, a bandana on. One of our guys on our road crew, or maybe one of the guys in the Sepultura crew started going with it. "Yeah! Hatebread!" Next thing you know, there's lyrics about us.
Yeah, "Before Dishunger" and "Burn The Ryes".
Hah, yeah. But actually, the story about the band shooting a video and using Hatebreed is actually true. It was AFI. The same guy who did our video, Marc Webb, when they shot one of their videos, they brought in a bunch of kids to dance to it and they played "Burial For The Living" or one of our songs on the PA. The kids moshed to it and they got the scene, and it made it into the video. So you get two stories out of one. The guy explaining the story was probably just trying to mock us by calling us Hatebread.
No, I can guarantee that he's just stupid. I mean, if you read the rest of what he wrote, you'd know he has no idea how to spell.
But that makes sense.
So when did you first see the Hatebread lyrics?
I don't even remember it.
Does it make you mad?
No, no. I mean, hey. People got time and they want to have fun...[laughing]
I read them almost daily. They're inspirational.
The best one is Frank from Terror wrote new lyrics to Perseverence. If those ever get out, that's going to be the new hit. They're talking about re-recording it as Terror. You heard it from me, first.
Wait, explain that again. I know I've got it on tape, but I feel like I'll be listening to it and writing this interview, but I won't understand it.
Frank from Terror rewrote Perseverence, but with his own lyrics about a topic that's close to him, and there's been talk that they're going to record it as Terror. So...be on the look-out.
[Laughing] That's great. I still don't get it, but it's great. I know it's good. Aw man, I already busted out my stupid questions. I feel like I can't go back to a serious one now. I've only got a few more serious questions, and then I've got some more stupid questions for you if you don't mind.
Sure, no problem.
Well, how do Ozzfest kids react at shows with hardcore kids? Have you noticed anything consistent between the two crowds? Do they co-exist a little more than in the past, or –
Yeah, you know, the first Ozzfest, I think, was the most culture shock involved. We were coming off of our first album and we were one of the only bands that never had to pay to get on Ozzfest. We were rotating bands, but we weren't a nu-metal or like, a rapcore band. We were the only pretty much heavier sort of band on the bill. It was Spineshank, Unloco, Nonpoint...so by the time we came out some days, it was just people getting mauled. At one show, actually, I remember MTV was there, I think it was somewhere in northern Florida, and during our set it was like, 300 skinheads just beating the entire crowd. People actually left the second stage because it was just people getting beaten. Security came out and it was this big ordeal and MTV had footage of it and they were appalled at what had happened and...I don't know. It was pretty crazy to see because there were definitely a lot of fights going on at one time. But I guess as that style of music became less popular and the heavier stuff started to grow...you've got to understand, in 2000, Limp Bizkit was still really popular, and more of the radio-type bands. So we were a real, real, different kind of sound for that bill.
That was a weird year, too, as far as the line-up went. I remember the first Ozzfest had anything from Machinehead to Type O Negative.
Yeah, and that one had like, Chevelle and Taproot...we just really didn't fit into the mix. But our fans did come out and represent for us in a lot of the bigger cities. The New Jersey show alone was just one big riot. It was an awesome show. And Hartford, too. Going back to our home state, that really sent a huge message out there that a hardcore band could go on a big tour and go over well. From then on, Ozzfest completely changed their line-up.
And now you're one of the bigger draws.
Right, we were lucky to co-headline for two years. We did it once with Down and we did it once with Slipknot. But when we did it with Down, that was the summer of the Perseverence album, and that album sold 300,000 copies in the states. So that was like, that was one of the biggest hardcore/metal type records of that time. So it made more sense that we were doing it and we had more fans that were from different walks of life. It wasn't what it was in 2000 when we were still unknown to a lot of those Ozzfest-type fans. We had done tours with Slayer at that point and that's when really sort of crossed over.
People had gotten a chance to warm up to you and not just scratch their heads and wonder why there were basketball jerseys in the crowd.
Right. Well, you know what the cool thing was? In 2000, every day I would walk through the crowd and meet kids, and these were kids that had on like, eyeliner and mesh...
Yeah, the mesh undershirts?
Yeah, and Coal Chamber shirts. And then at the headlining show in the same town, six months later, they've got a shaved head and camo shorts, and a Bane shirt on. We were lucky to inspire a lot of kids and push them in the direction to more underground hardcore music.
That was a very diplomatic way to put that.
[still laughing] It's the truth.
No, I know it's the truth. I don't know, usually when people mention those mesh undershirts it goes somewhere...bad.
Well, you know what? Unless you're Freddy Madball, you can't say, "I was born into hardcore." Everybody goes through phases when they're young and you find your way. Sometimes it's a band that influences you or an album or a song.
When you're young, that's why you're young. To look one way when you're 15 and look completely different when you're 16. That's what those ages are for.
That's the thing. Look at a band like Slipknot who sells millions of records and have total longevity, no matter what anybody says on a messageboard or an internet. Their fans aren't going anywhere. They're bigger than ever. Their last record sold more than the record before that, and almost as much as the first one. They're selling out arenas and they're giving opportunities to more extreme bands, and by doing that, they're turning on all these new kids to a world of new music.
How is that ever a bad thing?
Exactly. They made Hatebreed a household name, and we were playing arenas with the band in North Dakota and South Dakota, places that when I would call back in the day and try to get a show, they would be like, "Oh, no. We only book bands on Ebulliton or Dischord." So it was like, those people weren't helping us, but Slipknot was.
Friends in the most unlikely of places.
Yeah, we used to go play Des Moines, and Clown, Shawn, he'd be in the front row singing along in 1997. He gave me the tape of Slipknot and when I heard it I was like, "yeah, these guys are probably going to be the next biggest thing ever."
Is that right after he got out of Anal Blast?
That was Joey and Paul. But Paul actually owns the place, Hairy Mary's, that we had played a bunch of times. I said to Clown, "if you ever get huge, take us on tour," and they did.
How do you feel about the Hellfest cancellation where you were supposed to headline?
I kind of saw that coming. Keep in mind, as a promoter, I've done arena shows. I've booked them and I've put up my own money. Like the Aggressive Music Fest, where we just had at the Glen Falls Civic Center, I've done that two years in a row. One with Slipknot, Slayer, and us, and one with Mudvayne, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and us. It's not an easy thing. With the union fees, the insurance, all the permits, the police...there's a lot of work that goes into playing an arena show. Hellfest has never been the most organized fest as it is, so when I heard it was going into an arena – I didn't say this publicly, but I said to myself that I never thought the show would end up happening. It sucks for all the bands that were displaced and lost shows and all the people that came from out of the country. I knew two girls who came all the way from Australia. It just sucks, because nobody wins in that situation. All the promoters are people that I've known for a long time and it's just too bad.
I was reading on your journal that you're actually reading RZA from Wu-Tang's book and Jose Conseco's book.
Yeah, I finished RZA's book, and it's a great book. It's all knowledge from start to finish. Conseco's book is interesting, I read a little bit more of it on my flight back from Tampa when we played with Motorhead. I'm not all the way through it, but there's some good dirt in there.
I guess you sort of gravitate towards more biographies, or do you read any fiction?
I don't really read any fiction. I just bought...um...I just bought a book, now the name is going to fucking escape me...but um...
Hah, no. But I read Rodney Dangerfield's biography. That was a great book.
Really? I didn't know he had one.
Yeah. I was a big Rodney Dangerfield fan and when he died, I was pretty bummed out. But what was the book that I was just about to start reading? It's basically about literacy in America and how it's the cause of violence. I can't remember the title.
[My girlfriend interrupts]
Girlfriend: Hey, we're going to the liquor store.
Alright, have fun.
Girlfriend: Did you talk to him about Hatebread yet?
Yes. Well, he actually talked to me about...
Sorry, my girlfriend's a big Hatebread fan.
Well, you know she is when she sticks her head in the door. "Hey, you talked about Hatebread yet? What's the deal with Hatebread? When are they going to bake a new album?" Anyway.
That book, I think it's called "The Violence Of Literacy". There's another book I got, too, called "The End Of Faith: The Future of Reason," basically about how religion is the cause of all wars.
When was that written?
I actually saw it about three months ago on Book TV on C-Span.
There's a Book TV?
Yeah. They'll have the author come and talk about the book. I was flipping through and the guy was actually speaking at a synagogue telling people, "hey, look, you might get upset and walk out, but I'm going to tell you right now that your religion has caused wars and people have died for your religion, just like I spoke at a church last night and I'm speaking somewhere tomorrow." I came home from tour and I went and got the book and it's been sitting in my basement. I haven't read it, but it looks interesting.
What would you say to all the kids out there who have just went and got a band started and need some words of advice?
If any aspiring musicians, artists, or anything, if you're passionate about it and it's what you love to do, don't let anybody throw cold water on your ideas or steer you away from it. One thing about any part of the music industry is that if you love to do it, you love to do it, and there's nothing that can really stop you. I've been in every aspect of it, whether it was putting out records, doing a TV show, or being a booking agent, and I love it all, because it's just something that's fulfilling to me. So if someone's fulfilled by getting into the van and going to see new places and meeting new people and playing the music that they love, go for it, and do everything that you can in your power to stay at it. For me, I just booked shows, put out our own records, ran our website, traded shows, networked with people; it was all something I enjoyed to do. I think that really helped get the band off it's feet, having our demos available for trade and we would trade off 7". The distros used to sell our 7", like Relapse used to sell our records, and Revelation, and Victory. It was all about just networking. We would trade off a lot of shows. We'd bring Cold As Life to Connecticutt and they would bring us to Detroit, and vice-versa. We'd do that all over the country. That was the beauty of it. So that's kind of the advice I'd give to young fans. If you really like the scene and you want to be involved in it, you're going to make lifelong friends. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm still friends with people I met over a decade ago through the scene. The worst you're going to get out of it is if you see a video on Headbanger's Ball and you think, "oh, I want to be a video and get girls," I mean....that's possible too. But out of...whatever, a lot of people that have tried and failed...it depends on your agenda, I guess.
What would you say to a group of kids who formed a Metallica cover band that features the comedy of Gallagher and called it Metallagher?
You could probably make some money with that.
Alcoholica, the Metallica tribute, makes more than most original bands make.
What do they do? Just mix drinks on stage?
I actually don't know what they do. I just know they make a shitload of money and draw a lot of people.
And they haven't been sued yet?
No, because it's just a cover band.
Yeah! That's right. That's what they were telling me.
They're not infringing on any copyrights because the clubs have to pay publishing on that. Like, live performance fees. If they're performing Metallica songs, Metallica probably somewhere down the line gets paid.
So what about Hatebeak?
Yeah, I remember someone sending me that. Like, that 7" or whatever a long time ago. It's a bird singing over grind. I don't think it has anything to do with Hatebreed other than they just used the logo over a Judas Priest...
Do you ever fear that you'll end up on a reality show ten years from now?
Uh...that's not something I would really fear, no.
Is it something you'd look forward to?
I mean, it would really depend. It would depend on the salary.
Would you ever do a reality show?
Okay. I think you just crushed a lot of hopes and dreams. What would you say your favorite bands are of the last five years?
In the last five years? I would say...like, bands that I listen to, listen to, I would say Municipal Waste, they're killer. I probably like them the best. Who else? I really like The Haunted. I like everything they've done with both singers. Me and Zeuss were just talking about this and now it's going to slip my mind. There's a couple of other bands that I just recently got into that I've been listening to a lot. In the last year, I would say I really enjoyed the Impaled album.
The latest ones?
I like the songs but I can't get pasted the production. And the weird skits in between.
I don't know, I kinda like it...
"Doctor, hand me the brain...driller."
Hate Eternal is amazing. Um...I'd say like, a hardcore band, Madball never disappoints. I love the new album. Hold It Down, I thought, was one of the best hardcore records ever. Other than that, I mean...I would say ill-Bill. I love his stuff. I love all his records. That's hip-hop. I like Non-Phixion too. Anything he's involved in I really enjoy.
Any releases you're really looking forward to? I mean, other than Icepick.
I'm really looking forward to the new Slayer. Hopefully they're going to get it out. I can't wait to hear what it's going to be like to have Lombardo back into the fold.
I like everything they've done to be honest.
Yeah. To me, I'm the same way. I'm just a fan. If I'm a fan, I'm a fan. You've got to do something really, really, shitty to lose me as a fan. What else did I just read that was coming out that I was looking forward to?
[the sound of video games can be heard]
Are you playing video games?
Yeah, Zeuss is.
What was that? That sounded like Super Sprint.
It's um...what game is this?
That's much different than Super Sprint, isn't it? Sorry to interrupt.
No, it's cool. Zeuss, who was the band that you said Metal Blade just signed that I have the first CD that they did? Eh, I don't know. We have literally 4,000 CDs here. Zeuss finally got with the times and got Itunes and an Ipod, so he's ripping every CD.
Two last questions: what's the biggest setback that Hatebreed has ever had to endure?
There was probably two. I think right when Rise of Brutality came out, losing 1100 employees at Universal. That was a major blow. Losing our A&R, our publicist, all our field reps, like, everybody that really fought to make Preseverence such a big album. And then we lost our manager. Our manager died in March. At that point, it made me really think about my true reasons for doing music. It was really super disheartening. But, you know, the amazing thing was even without the publicity and a lot of promotion and all the bells and whistles that come with being on a label with that many employees, Rise of Brutality went on to sell over 200,000 copies, we got a Grammy nomination, and we did tons of killer tours.
I was going to ask that. How does that make you feel? Getting a Grammy nomination?
It was baffling. We were in Jacksonville when we found out we got nominated. For something that has absolutely nothing to do with our style of music or any bearing on our personal lives or anything, it was just amazing to think that they noticed what we did. And to also be in a category with Motorhead, Cradle of Filth, Killswitch Engage, and Slipknot, we were like, at least we made our mark, so to speak, with the industry and the academy or the people that run that. That was pretty crazy.
Lastly, how long do you think you'll be doing this for?
I don't know. I really don't know. We're really looking forward to the next record. We're going to hit the road pretty aggressively like we did in support of Perseverence and with the DVD coming out and everything, I would hope to say we'd have another ten years left in us. I have the Icepick record coming out and the Kingdom of Sorrow record, which I'm doing with Kirk from Crowbar, which I've played for a ton of people. I've played it with the guys from Unearth, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, and a bunch of other people, and people are blown away by it because it's such a departure from what I'm doing in Hatebreed. I'm just looking forward to staying in music and having a good time.
Wait, go back to that, what does that sound like?
It sounds, I guess, like Down and Pantera, a little bit of Black Sabbath, a little bit of Maiden, mixed maybe with Hatebreed.
So the Crowbar bleeds through no matter who it's paired with.
Yeah. Me and Kirk always wanted to do a project and finally, when we toured the UK in March, I mean, he's one of my best friends, and we decided we had to do the record. People have been blown away, they're all like, "that's you singing? That's really you?" I'm really excited about it. As far as my future in music, there's a lot of stuff to look forward to. I feel very lucky.
That's interesting. I had no idea that you had that in the pipeline.
Yeah, that's kind of not really been publicized as much as the Icepick thing. It really was probably the best time I've ever had in the studio. As far as creatively, there was no...it was such a liberating thing. We were like, "who cares, it's a new band, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks." We're just doing it because we want to do it. So it was a totally genuine and pure creative process. A lot of the riffs, people are going to say, "oh, Kirk wrote that," but I wrote! But I would never be able to use in Hatebreed because people would go "what the hell are they doing that riff for?" It was really cool and really fun, and he's one of my best friends in the world. We're going to surprise a lot of people with this album and there's going to be some cool guest appearances that I can't say yet, but it's really going to surprise people and they're really going to be psyched. Steve Gibb from Black Label Society and Crowbar is playing guitar, and Derek from Seamless actually did the drums on that record, too. He's an amazing person and an amazingly talented drummer, so overall, it was just an amazing experience.
Any last things to add?
Just, thanks to everybody who still believes in us and appreciates what we do and supports me in all my endeavors. People can check out all my sites, I've got a billion websites.