InterviewsJuly 21, 20018,879 views

Throwdown interview

By Mark Keraly's West Coast correspondent, Mark Keraly, caught up with Throwdown on July 19th before a show at Chain Reaction in California.

Ok, if you guys could just say your name and what you play?

Dave: I'm Dave and I play guitar.
Keith: Keith, and I do vocals.
Tommy: Tommy, I play guitar.
Dom: Dom, I play the bass.
Keith: And Mark, he plays drums.

It's been rumored that Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst was seen wearing a Throwdown shirt during some interview. Is that true?

Keith: What?!
Dave: I've never heard that.
Keith: Where did you hear that?

Just been hearing it from a few people...

Keith: Wow!
Dom: That would be absolutely amazing but I think we all doubt it.
Keith: That would be so random. I'd be stoked.
Dave: I mean, I gave him one. But I didn't think he'd ever wear it. (laughing)
Keith: Bastard's always trying to steel ideas for my jokes. (laughing)

Who's idea was it to cover Sir-Mix-A Lot's "Baby Got Back"?

Dave: A collaboration of Dom and Tommy pretty much.
Dom: Yeah, I think Tommy pulled that one out on his own.
Keith: We wanted to cover something else. We wanted to do House of Pain.
Dom: Yeah, "Jump Around".
Keith: Then we decided there was too much in the song.
Dave: Hip hop songs are like hard to cover. But Sir-Mix-A Lot was easy and funny, and that's what we're all about, playing easy stuff and trying to be funny.

Is it true you guys got some airplay on Southern California's KROQ?

Keith: I think it is true.
Tommy: As far as we know.
Dom: I don't think anyone in the band has heard it, but too many people have said they heard it and stuff for it to be a rumor.
Keith: It's pretty cool to be on that late night show or whatever, Death by Stereo had the same thing and like, we were in Jersey and they have a college radio station and before we played there we f*cking heard Throwdown songs and two Martyr songs within three hours. WSOU, it's like the big college east coast station.
Dave: It's like the KROQ out there I guess, for kids. So it's really cool.

So what do you think about the airplay on KROQ? Do you think that's a great thing for the band?

Tommy: I don't think it's great, I just think it's cool that it happened. Because we wouldn't even have thought that we'd get played on KROQ.
Keith: We weren't pushing it to get on the station or anything like that. It literally just happened; I don't even know exactly how it happened still.
Dave: I think a friend of ours, this guy Al, mailed the CD in to them. He was all 'Hey I sent you guys into KROQ' and we all just kind of laughed about it or whatever. But yeah, I guess they played it.

Do you guys plan on covering any more songs like "Baby Got Back"?

Dave: Yes.
Keith: Yes, we're definitely going to be doing covers.
Dave: We always talk about 'Ok we should cover this.'
Keith: We're trying to figure out, well we're doing this split 7" with Poison the Well right now, and for the 7" we're like each doing our own song. Originally we were doing "Say it Ain't So" by Weezer, we actually even recorded it.
Dave: It kind of sounds... well... whatever.
Dom: It sounds like punky Weezer, its just not Throwdown enough. We couldn't make it heavy without bastardizing the song. So we're going to just do something else, something a little heavier, a little more our style.
Dom: We're working on a Cro-Mags tribute comp, we're doing a song for them, and this is news to you guys probably, but there's like a Slayer tribute album we might be a part of.
Dave: You're kidding me!
Keith: Did we tab out any of the songs yet?
Dom: I don't know, no not yet.

photo courtesy of Throwdown

That's awesome. So what are your thoughts about Bleeding Through getting signed to Indecision Records? Did you guys have anything to do with that?

Dave: Those guys suck. (laughing)
Tommy: We told Mandel not to.
Dom: We were really pushing against it. (laughing)
Dave: No they're big so you know...
Tommy: We were pushing them as much as possible, and we took them on this little West Coast tour and they got like great responses. We were really stoked, they were stoked, and we didn't really push Mandel to do it. He was going to do it himself. But we wanted to help them as much as possible.

How do you guys feel about the whole Napster, MP3 battle going on right now?

Keith: I just saw today actually on that they went through and they're ok.
Dave: Keith, the worldly political man of the band. (laughing)
Keith: No honestly. There's supposed to be like free form the chains... how do you say it?
Dom: I have no idea what you're saying.
Dave: We don't know Keith. (laughing)
Keith: Well you know how the court was like trying to shut them down and everything, but I guess they got... freed from the chains. (laughing)
Keith: I'm trying to be as cliché as possible, ok? (laughing)
Dom: You mean found innocent?
Keith: Found innocent? I mean its not like they're guilty or anything.
Dave: I don't know, I'm kind of torn between and there's really no right choice. (Hatebreed reference) I don't know, I mean I think it's cool, I burn CDs or whatever. I don't know if I'm a dick or whatever, but I think that like, as much as people knock Puff Daddy, or all those dickheads for getting all pissed off about people taking their songs, and you know, being greedy about money. It's cool on one level because bands like us, and the people that have never heard us can get a hold of our songs and that's great exposure for us, but I can understand that bands that are kind of in between the "big thing" and where we're at, kind of on the ground floor, it's like they're trying to break through the ceiling. When you're trying to like live off the sales. I have really mixed feelings about it.
Dom: It's really a double edge sword, it's got it's ups and downs, obviously. But I can't say that I don't back it because I'm getting stuff off there all the time. But from a band's standpoint it's kind of hard because you could be like selling more CDs. It's good and bad.

After listening to your latest album, it's pretty obvious you guys pride yourself on having that "heavy" sound. In your opinion, what do you think are some of the heaviest bands out there right now?

Tommy: Um... Martyr.
Keith: Hatebreed and Martyr. Like before that, it was Disembodied, but I think its Martyr now.
Dom: Now Martyr has made it twice as heavy. I don't know a lot of their stuff, but Living Sacrifice is really good.
Keith: They're straight up amazing.

Where does Throwdown get their lyrics? Where do they come from?

Dave: Napster usually.
Dom: We download them. (laughing)
Keith: I usually get them from this guy I pay. No but really, I want to sing about hardcore and about Straightedge. We're all f*cking straightedge and drug free kids in the band. And I feel that like when we started there was a lack of Straightedge bands. So obviously that's a big thing with us. Besides that, I try and tackle different issues that people can actually relate to. I don't try and like make lyrics really vague and weird, so people can't understand what I'm saying. I like it to the point you know?
Keith: Not completely like f*cking See Spot Run or something. You know what I'm saying? I want kids to be able to like read the lyrics and know what's going on. And if they feel the same way then sing along.
Dave: Don't ever say that again.
Keith: Yeah, that's a new song we're working on, "See Spot Run." (laughing)

Throwdown has a really unique live show, how would you describe a Throwdown show to the kids who have yet to see you play?

Tommy: Prison riot.
Dave: Hot. I don't mean like, 'Hey, that's pretty hot.' (laughing) What was I saying? I don't know. Yeah, it's really hot in there. I mean there's all those kids on stage making it hot.
Dom: The live show's my favorite part.
Tommy: There's so much energy you know?
Keith: If there isn't like crowd reaction and kids going off and singing along we wouldn't be Throwdown. At a live show, its 50% us, 50% them. When the kids are all standing around, it doesn't feel right... you know what I'm saying?
Dave: So many bands you hear on a recording and then just suck. The ultimate test is how you pull it off live. Well whatever, I mean we f*ck up our songs kind of a lot, but you know, whatever. We try to make it... well it sounds corny, but a performance. But it's better to be like moving around up there rather than sitting there and making sure you play a f*cking open E chord the right way.

What would you say is the most memorable show you guys have played as a band together?

Dave: Hellfest?
Dom: They're all memorable in like their own different ways.
Tommy: That first Halloween show. That was the first time it went crazy for us.
Keith: Hellfest shows were ridiculous. It was amazing.
Dom: We have so much fun everywhere we play.
Keith: That Glass House show was pretty f*cking crazy.

Are there any Throwdown side projects?

Dave: Keith is in Eighteen Visions.
Keith: Yeah, I play guitar for Eighteen Visions.
Dave: Dom and I are in a little side project right now that barely practices.

What are you guys called?

Dave: The working name is Red Halo right now.
Dom: Butt Monkey?
Keith: Mark plays drums for Wrench.
Dave: Tommy grows his hair out most of the year. When he's not on stage. (laughing)
(For the record, Keith and Dom have started a new indie side project band that sounds like Jimmy Eat World or Open Hand. Look for news of that on their website.)

You guys played some East Coast shows, what major differences have you guys seen between the East Coast and West Coast shows?

Dave: Neck tattoos. (laughing)
Keith: And less circle pits on the East Coast.
Dave: We were all 'Hey, circle pit!' and everyone just kind of looked around. And they were all 'What?'
Keith: They just kind of jump around in the middle and they dance at the end. They don't really get it.
Keith: Except at Hellfest, Hatebreed said circle pit, and they f*cking listened.
Dave: They circle pitted!
Keith: He said, 'Circle pit, and don't let me down!' It was the coolest thing.
Dave: They didn't let him down.
Keith: I see that there's more girls singing a long and in the pit at shows and stuff back east, a lot more girls participating.
Tommy: There were a lot of girls tonight though.
Dave: The first time we saw it we were like 'Whoa, you guys like do stuff.' They dance a lot meaner too. They don't f*ck around; they're a lot bigger than we are. I don't know what's going on over there. Dayton Ohio, it's not really the East, but there's some big boys out there.

photo courtesy of Throwdown

Do you guys have a favorite? East Coast/West Coast?

Dom: West Coast of course. Our home is the best place ever to play, no matter what.
Dave: West Coast.
Tommy: West Coast.
Dave: We love playing inside the US, but we're huge in Hungary I hear, I don't know.
Dom: Budapest? (laughing)

If Throwdown could play one venue in the world, where would you want to play?

Keith: A venue?
Dom: I'm working on some sort of meat packing place, something ridiculous. (laughing) We play the most ridiculous shows.
Tommy: That's nothing compared to the Hockey Rink, or the dojo, the Chinese restaurant.
Dave: Yeah we played a dance hall.
Keith: We played on an ice rink.
Dave: We were on ice, we had ice skates on. Not really though, but...

Will we being seeing Throwdown on ice?

Dave: (laughing) Yeah.
Keith: There was like this totally abandoned f*cking ghetto roller rink, chilling out.
Dom: I think it's really hard to get a straight answer out of us. Personally I would like to play at the Whiskey A Go Go, only because its like legendary. I just think it would be cool to play.
Dave: I want to play CB's. I think it would be cool just to say you did. Because I got the t-shirt and sh*t, and everyone's like 'Hey, you played there?' I'm like 'Yeah we played there, I didn't buy this at f*cking... Hot Topic.' (laughing)

There were way too many people who didn't get to go to Hellfest that wanted to. How would you describe the fest to someone who didn't get to go?

Dom: To me it's like the Super Bowl of hardcore. Kids wait like year round to go to Hellfest. Kids from everywhere go. It's like the event for everyone to go to. It's just absolutely amazing, there's so many bands, it's like the greatest thing.
Keith: It's like you go to your record store to f*cking look for CDs and whatever, and sometimes you see a cool shirt. You can go to this show and there's like every shirt and CD you can think of and it's there.
Tommy: It's like a hardcore swap meet.
Keith: It's like bring all the money you can, because honestly everything is there, all the shirts. It's like 'Oh I want to get this.' Half the show is like... where all the bands play or whatever, but down the hall, there's just this giant merch section. It's like split half and half.
Dave: I like trading merch. That was my favorite thing to do. 'Hey do you guys want any Throwdown stuff?' No one really wants our sh*t, they're just like 'Yeah, sure...' They feel bad or whatever.
Tommy: It's really cool too because at both Hellfests, there were no problems at all, like as far as violence or anything. The best vibe you can imagine. I was hanging out back with the cops and they were talking about how they used to play guitar in bands and how they used to like beat up the bouncers because the bouncers were being dicks. Everyone was cool; no one was being a dick.
Keith: Yeah, everything went really smooth this year.
Dave: Props to Hellfest police.
Tommy: Yeah, they were awesome.
Dave: Really cool dudes. I couldn't imagine having Hellfest with Orange County police, because they blow.

What specific advice do you have for bands just starting out, really wanting to get where you guys are now. What would you tell them to do to just get the ball rolling?

Keith: We take donations all the time.
Dom: Blow a lot of cooler bands or something, I don't know.
Dave: I don't know. What did we do?
Keith: We wore boxing gloves and threw pillows in the pit. Try that. (laughing) Just f*cking be yourselves.
Dom: Yeah, find your nitch, definitely.
Dave: Do the sh*t you really believe in, and people will respect that. People always like that. Stand up for what you're down for, keep it real, and people start to notice that. It comes through when you're playing too, you know? If you're singing about a bunch of sh*t that's just like big words, and you want to sound poetic and evil or something, it doesn't mean anything to a lot of kids.
Dom Have some conviction in what you are talking about. Be into what you're doing.
Dave: Some of my favorite bands have really complex lyrics; I don't know... hidden meaning lyrics or something. I mean, that's cool, I'm just saying do your own thing, find your nitch, do what you do best.
Keith: We don't play very well so we just play with one hand, mostly. (laughing)
Tommy: On top of that, you have to work for it. At the beginning especially, put some stuff out; start recording so people can listen to you. Tell your friends to come to the shows and like go off so people can look at that. Put out flyers. Stuff like that.
Dom: You sound mad.
Tommy: I'm pissed off, I'm mad! (laughing)
Keith: We pushed ourselves a lot. As a band we have done so much.

Well that's it, is there anything else you want to add?

Dom: We're making a split 7" with Poison the Well. And some time this year we're putting out a video DVD. So check that too

Alright, thanks a lot guys.


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