Each security team member received a briefing prior to the event, which ended up being completely accurate. It read: People expected: 14,000, mostly male and a very active crowd.
As I approached the Mayhem Metal Festival I immediately began hearing people say, “Fuck yes!” and “Fuck that!” The swearing was an unintelligible indication of what was lying behind the entry gate: Metal fans that will stop at nothing to hear their anthem of thrashing guitars, loud vocal abuse and thundering drums. The second stage presents up-and-coming bands along with old fan favorites. Legends such as The Metal Melitia and Hatebreed brought the crowd to their highest hope and prepared them for the chaos that was scheduled to follow. The main stage headlined such acts as Machine Head, Megadeth, Godsmack, and Disturbed.
The crowd starts cheering, “Machine fucking Head!” and it feels as though the crowd is an army going into battle, with Machine Head giving them the best pre-battle speech they’ve ever heard. The pit starts and the fists start pumping. Machine Head was a perfect band to open the main stage. They prepped the crowd with energy that I didn’t know even existed. Once they finished their set, people were prepared to take on anything and everything.
Megadeth approaches the stage and the older crowd gets excited as the younger crowd tremendously calms down. The crowd had nothing but respect for them, but as a whole, the crowd didn’t have as much energy as they had for Machine Head. Megadeth takes the stage with a veteran’s approach. They’ve been around for years and have continued to wow generations of metal fans. They know their routine and they know how to put a killer show that has gotten them to where they are today.
Megadeth plays a very safe performance. They play older songs like “Rust in Peace” and close it out with “Peace Sells.” They also play newer songs to promote their new album coming out in November. Once Megadeth leaves, Godsmack approaches with a no-holds-barred attitude. Sully Erma is quite possibly one of the best front-man performers I have ever seen. Erma brings an unsettling excitement for his music and enthusiasm. He sounds just like he does on the album and you can tell that he loves his craft. He was one of the only performers who moved around the entire stage and engaged the whole crowd. Godsmack performed songs from their entire collection bring a presence that will satisfy any concertgoer.
The band was a great breath of fresh air that main stage needed. Godsmack revived all fans of metal music, and closed with “I Stand Alone.” The stage was set, the crowd was ready, but no prayers could be spoken for the Atom bomb that exploded when Distubed struck their first chord. I’ve seen many concerts explode in an arena, but none were as insane as Disturbed. They open their show with “Stupified” and I wish I brought a crash helmet. Everyone is glad to see their boys back home and give them the best homecoming a band could ask for. The crowd sings every line to every song as they welcome their hometown boys. This year’s Mayhem Festival delivered a satisfying tour-de-force with crowd-pleasing bands that delivered an outstanding show.
*Photos by Carl Burke
The night is still young and the fun is about to begin. The energy of the Cubby Bear is bouncing off the walls, and fans are excited. Lords of Acid take the stage, lead by Praga Khan, and the enthusiasm is higher than an ADHD child without medication. The announcement of a new lead singer makes the crowd even happier. DJ Mea comes to the stage with a confidence of a performer that has definitely been on a stage for more than a few performances. She is like the hot girl that every guy wants, but can never take home. She interacts with the crowd as though they are her friend, but they will never be good enough to walk down the aisle.
DJ Mea is able to talk with the crowd and share in their enthusiasm. She enjoys singing all of the greatest hits just as much as the fans love hearing them. They played everything from their Lust album, including the song “Pussy.” The band plays as fully charged as they want their crowd to be. Khan keeps the crowd going better then any hip-hop hype man, and DJ Mea keeps the crowd intrigued. The people in the crowd are able to enjoy the hits that cover an entire lifetime of an average of five bands. They’ve been around for a long time and consistently show us why; their drive for always being fresh and new in unmatched. Don’t miss this band on tour—you would miss one great show!
The lights go out and I wish I'd gone to church this morning. Cradle of Filth bassist Dave Pybus takes stage with guitarists Paul Allender and James McIlroy. The three of them strike a chord and I can feel that my trip to hell has officially begun. People in the audience are raising their fists and their heads start bobbing like popcorn popping. Lead singer Dani Filth takes the stage and stands on a riser that seems as short as he is, but he can still deliver a powerful punch. With a fury of words machine-gunning out of his mouth, Dani Filth performs lyrics that cover everything from rape to Greek mythology and, of course, demons from hell. The problem with Filth’s lyrics isn't necessarily the content, but trying to figure out what he's actually trying to say.
Filth has mastered the art of deep growling vocal abuse while spouting a tale of England’s medieval history. As a matter of fact, Filth has become so good at his graveling vocals, that perhaps only Cookie Monster could understand what he's trying to say. Cradle of Filth's performance stays true to their recordings; they sound exactly how they do on their album. And, Dani Filth sounds just as intense on CD as he does live. For black metal fans, this was one hell of an amazing show. However, if you've never understood black metal, you might feel lost. But, you can't deny a strong performance when you see one, and Cradle of Filth leaves fans knowing why they've set the bar for English black metal.
A young woman walks on stage, looking like a cross between Janis Joplin and Sid Viscous with the theatrics of Jimi Hendrix. She stands looking at her amp as though she is truly in love. She stares into the eye that is the power light, cranks it to 11 and the eruption starts. Playing fast-speed notes flying by like an Indy racecar, the Fabulous Miss Wendy now has everyone’s attention. The crowd is thrown a left hook when they are preparing for a right-handed upper-cut. People didn’t know what to say about the sight of a young woman playing a guitar like a true guitar hero. She sings of being a “fucked-up bitch,” to pay tribute to Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.”
The Fabulous Miss Wendy packs a youthful, innovative punch to an appreciation that is rooted from 60s and 70s rock stars. She flails her axe as though it’s a part of her body. She can shred as well as any metal enthusiast and she can strum a bar chord with as much keenness as Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong. The Fabulous Miss Wendy is the type of guitar player that will make female guitarists happy and male guitarists horny—she puts on a show that should never be missed and will always be appreciated by any fan of rock ’n’ roll.
Looking like a combination of the 1980s Musclemen mini action figures, Rob Zombie comic books and Fangoria magazine, Gwar takes the stage with a no-holds-barred attitude. Having been around since before Rob Zombie,they’re everything one would expect. Playing metal music in their natural clothing and letting people wonder if any of them are the original members.
The time is October 26, 2010, and the place is House of Blues. The lights dim and the green laser lights with fog are on and the zombies spewing blood creep onto the stage with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” resounding. Aiming for fans and photographers alike, Gwar sprays blood everywhere. The fans who wore white to celebrate the event are now head-to-toe in red. Wanting blood like a vampire in *Blade*, the crowd receives their sustenance to live.
Flattus Maximus strums an opening chord and the crowd becomes rowdier than the at a Justin Bieber concert. The energy is ironically happy and positive. The fans of Gwar take their music seriously and you better not call it a joke. They’re an army of plenty and are willing to cast these people to outer space if they choose to insult their form of entertainment.
Gwar brings the essence of a true experience to the stage. They play metal music and bring more props than a sex toy salesperson; and unlike that salesperson, Gwar actually uses their props in person. They include fake genitals, dead pig fetuses and robots with buzz-saw arms that rip apart evil aliens and creatures.
Gwar has continued to set the bar for metal bands from other planets and Earth. They never apologize and they never back down from what they do best: performing a top quality show that could make anyone enjoy the art of Metal.
Beats Antique brings two rhythmic styles of music together. With the combination of electronic house sounds and middle-eastern drum beats, this group is one that will turn you into a belly dancer. David Satori and Tommy Cappel are classically trained musicians who provide a rhythm that is as tight as ?uestlove on his three piece drum set, and producer/arranger Zoe Jakes belly dances to the counts of each pulsating drum. The three of them are able to drum tightly and cleanly. They provide a great show that is more of a celebration of rhythm and dance than a traditional concert.
If you love a fusion of belly dancing with electronic beats, this is the band for you. Beats Antique display music very well, and they are just as engaged with their live performance as they are with their music. Job well done!
Runner Runner is a band who has a schedule just like their name. They are a promotional powerhouse and aren't ready to stop. From being signed to David Letterman's record to being on the latest *Now That's What I Call Music *compilation, they are ready to become the next best thing. Nick Boyle was able to some time out of their busy schedule to discuss, life, music and being in a rock band.
Buzz: You guys are the first artist on David Letterman’s record label. How do you guys anticipate living up to the hype of working with such a legend in the entertainment industry?
Nick: Wow, it’s a dream come true for us to be working with Letterman. Honestly, it’s been great. We feel very lucky about it and we are going to do everything we can. We are pouring our blood, sweat and tears into creating great songs. We want the world to hear them. Hopefully, being a part of Letterman’s amazing team will allow us to have a lot of fun together.
Buzz: Rumor has it your band mates know what it’s like to be in a band and how to make a band become famous. Can you elaborate on what it’s been like for you and your band mates, from going from one band to the next?
Nick: We all came from separate bands that toured with each other. That’s how we actually met. We were all in these other bands that met on the road, and we all gravitated toward each other as songwriters and musicians. Basically, we had a lot of experience with touring, being in the studio and all of the logistics of being in a band. It was definitely a catalyst for us as we started Runner Runner. We were able to hit the ground running—no pun intended. I feel really good about it. We came to a place where we envisioned and we have been to make the project come together.
Buzz: You guys are heavily promoting to make this project comes together stronger. The album hits stores December 7th and you guys have been touring non-stop. Has this tour been your busiest?
Nick: Absolutely. We’ve been on tour since we finished the record. The tour right now, we actually routed our way to play “The Late Show” in New York City last Monday night. It’s been crazy; we’ve done lots of fly-in shows. Lots of radio appearances, lots of press, but we love it. I say: the busier, the better. The more opportunities to have our music heard the better. We aren’t the kind of band that turns down a gig without hesitating. We are totally committed to just promoting our band and getting the word out. Anything it takes to do that, we will do; happily, with a smile of course.
Buzz: Along with your busy touring, you were recently selected to be on the latest compilation in the *Now That’s What I Call Music* series. How did you guys accomplish that?
Nick: Wow. It was a great opportunity that came to us through the label. Being a part of EMI is what helped push that through. We were so excited to hear about it. Our track, “It’s So Obvious,” was selected for up-and-coming artists. It’s just such a great thing to be a part of these compilations. They’ve put out all the great hits for the past 35 albums. So for us, to be even included is an awesome opportunity. We are really stoked to hear it. We love hearing that people found our music through that CD.
Buzz: You just recorded your first full-length album. What were your inspirations?
Nick: We like to look at this record as a joy ride through life. We have songs where people are able to feel good, and then there are songs that are more serious and thunderstorm-grey skies. We tried to take these experiences and be as positive as we could. The message is keep going, keep being positive and enjoy this ride. Taking that perspective on it really helped us use these experiences in our lives and hopefully help our fans through tough times and makes them want to dance.
Buzz: What are the tracks on this album that make you want to do dance?
Nick: I think the song “Unstoppable” is a song that hopefully people can hear and make it the soundtrack to a party or even a sports team getting ready for a game. I really love “So Obvious.” It’s our first single. That song is being pushed to radio now. It’s just amazing to have that opportunity to hear your song on the radio.
Buzz: What the best words that describes the feeling of when you hear your song on the radio?
Nick: Surreal. Awesome. Maybe it’s like the first time you go sky-diving or maybe the first time you catch a wave and get off some rides; somewhere between sky-diving and the best meal of your life.
Buzz: Speaking of your life, how are you able to take the surroundings of southern California—where you guys are from—and incorporate the essence of that area in your music?
Nick: We group up listening to a lot of great 80s bands like the Cars, Elvis Costello, The Clash and Cheap Trick. So we kind of took those sounds and mixed them up with modern-day bands on the radio that we love; for example, The Killers. I think influences like them really inspired us. Also, you get the experience of being on the road. That inspires you to write music. It kind of gives the inspiration of where creativity comes from. The songs are all experiences we’ve had, whether they were yesterday or years ago. It’s
still something that is effective and we want to write about it and hopefully people can relate to it and appreciate it.
Buzz: What’s the best praise you’ve heard about your music?
Nick: Probably when Audrina from "The Hills" said she loves Runner Runner, or when Perez Hilton was like, “it doesn’t suck.” For me, the best compliment is when someone says a song of ours helped them through a tough time in their life. We have a song of ours called “Dedicate,” which is about a cousin of mine who committed suicide. I used the song as a way to get over the experience and share a positive light with my family. Songs like that are just ways of assurance of me doing my job. That’s why I am playing music in the first place. When I was 16 years old, my best friend passed away. The only thing that helped me get through that experience was music. After I got over that loss, I realized that music was the only thing that helped me get back to my life. I want my music to give back to those people who may have been or are in trouble spots in their lives, and give back to something that can mean so much. We want to make you laugh; we want to make you cry.
Buzz: Just like the perfect movie, right?
Gwar has been a tour de force since their beginning 25 years ago. And they've apologized for nothing. They've embraced what they've become and they haven't looked back.
Hailing from outer space and landing in Antarctica, Gwar has evolved from creatures that created humanity (by committing adultery with apes) to watching the very species they created turn into the inspiration for their musical art form. Oderus Urungus was able to take a moment to answer a few questions and talk about the amount of respect that many musicians lack.
Buzz: Oderus, thanks for taking the time talk to us, since you guys have been around since the dawning of the continents.....
Oderus: Actually, we created the continents. When we landed in Antarctica, our spaceship crashed into the land and created the continents. We then fucked a bunch of apes and created humanity. We are immortal.
Buzz: So since you guys have been around for a long time, how have you been to keep your looks and not wear make-up?
Oderus: Simple. We've always bathed in Jack Daniel's and ate a lot of crack. We also look great without costumes. We have always worn the same clothes--for the past 30,000 years. Let's be honest, why would you break something that works?
Buzz: That is true. Your formula has worked well for the past 25 years. You guys have been all around the world and have played countless gigs. You guys have also been a part of movies and video-games. How did it feel to be a part of the Beavis and Butt-head video-game?
Oderus: Basically, Viacom comes to us. They sit us down. Then they explain how they will place us in the video-game and we will make 2% of every game that sold after the 20,000 mark. We figured that we would do it because crack is kind of expensive. We are still waiting for our check.
Oderus: Viacom works their deals as a way to promote you. They viewed it as us getting publicity.
Buzz: Yeah, because you guys need more publicity, right?
Oderus: [Laughs] Exactly. We're fucking Gwar. We create our own publicity. We know we're awesome. We are over-sized and we have always been more concerned about girth rather than height.
Buzz: Along with being in a video-game, you guys had the honor of being nominated for two Grammy Awards. What was it like going to the awards show?
Oderus: We had a discussion with the head of the Grammys; he told us that we were not allowed to show up as "us." We were told that we have to show up to the ceremony in tuxes and if we arrive looking like "us" on stage, we will then be asked to leave. We walk out of the limo and walk through security; as soon as we turn the corner from the security check-in, we got dressed as though we were on stage. Security then came to us and escorted us out of the venue. We then walked across the street to Sir Mix-A-Lot. Sir Mix-A-Lot rented a lot from across the street from the ceremony. He then placed an inflatable, 50-foot butt on the street across from the ceremony to protest the Grammys. We then partied with him and had more fun with a 50-foot butt then we would have had at the ceremony.
Buzz: Another highlight of your career was when you guys played Bonaroo this past summer. Tell us about your performance and why it was such a different gig for you guys.
Oderus: Well, first, it's Bonaroo. We're Gwar. We literally usually eat hippies for breakfast, though it was cool because the crowd was awesome. There were a lot of people that came to watch us; it turned out being one of our best shows. We played that festival to prove that we aren't going anywhere. We wanted to show people that we never change who we are regardless of the rest of the bands or comedians at the festival. The rest of the bands and comedians were really cool, too.
Buzz: I hear Margaret Cho treated you well.
Oderus: [Laughs] Yes she did. She was a great sport. I don't know too many lesbian comedians that are able to suck a cock as well as she can. Honestly, you have to be a good sport if you are a lesbian comedian and take a huge load of semen on your face and mouth. I mean, I made her mouth look like a sliced watermelon.
Buzz: Along with playing Bonaroo, you guys are in the middle of doing a two-year celebration tour of being around for 25 years. How are you guys able to do so many gigs in such a short amount of time?
Oderus: Well, we have a bat-shaped helicopter that goes about eight miles an hour.
Buzz: How are you guys able to get through Arizona without papers?
Oderus: We carry weapons not papers. Usually once they see our weapons, they just let us go through. That's the nice thing about having your own vessel. They don't worry about it.
Buzz: What can people expect from you guys on this tour?
Oderus: I think the name says it all: Bloody Tour of Hell. We are destroying celebrities and people are going to be terrified. We also have sex with Sarah Palin. See, people forget that she is a fucking MILF. They can't get past the voting-booth politics and just admit that they would do her if they had the chance. I personally feel that the voting should be able to get you off. You know that everyone will vote for the person who gets them off the best.
Buzz: Who were the musicians that got you off the best? Influentially speaking, of course.
Oderus: Motorhead. They are the only band that has given us as much respect as we have given them. One time Lemmy came back stage and complimented us. That was something I will never forget. There aren't a lot of bands that really give us a lot of respect, which doesn't make any sense to me. We have helped influence the metal music world and helped make it what it is today. I awarded Kerry King a Golden God award. This motherfucker just snubbed me. I said congratulations and he wanted nothing to do me. That man is the jock of the metal music scene. I have even tried to call him out as often as possible in the press and he still hasn't done shit about it. Another band that doesn't give us any credit is Lordy. Really? These guys try to do what we do, and they completely suck at it. There's a reason why we have been around for years and bands like them aren't.
Buzz: Since there are bands similar to you guys, what are your sole missions as musicians?
Oderus: Rock out with our cocks out. We view our music as the closest thing to war. We like to keep making metal music. We understand it's difficult to get passed the sexiness. We're Gwar! We stand by ourselves. There is no other band that will ever take it to the level that we do. If people really want to see how far we take it, they can look on www.gwartv.net.
Eyes Set to Kill is a band that follow their name. The fierce and intimidating looks from vocalist Alexia Rodriguez are like she’s ready to take your soul. Alexia and male vocalist Cisko Miranda bring a co-op presence to the stage similar to that of Joe Perry and Steven Tyler. They play off of each other’s presence well. Through the loss of their former vocalist Brandon Anderson, Cisko Miranda does an amazing job at stepping in and grabbing the crowd’s balls and placing them in a vice; and the crowd loves it!
Alexia and bassist Anissa Rodriguez were recently nominated as one of *Revolver* magazine’s Hottest Chicks in Metal. The band has gone through a lot of hardships and they express it beautifully. Their latest album *Broken Frames* emphasizes the hard times of life through a heavy and melodic emotion. Band members Cisko, Anissa, Alexia and drummer Caleb Clifton were able to take some time off of their extremely busy schedule of Warped Tour to discuss life, inspirations and the future of females in the metal music industry.
Buzz: Welcome to Chicago! Ladies, I have to ask you what it felt like to be nominated as one of the hottest chicks in metal.
Alexia: It was really exciting and it was fun for all of us because we got to go to their Golden God awards and hang out.
Cisko: It was actually really cool because anyone in rock royalty was there; like Dave Grohl.
Buzz: That’s the hard part of the job right? [band laughs]
Anissa: Even the first Freddy Krueger was there.
Buzz: Robert Englund?
Buzz: That guy is one of my heroes. [band laughs]
Cisko: Marilyn Manson, (and) Zombie was there. It was nuts! A dream come true!
Buzz: That’s cool that you guys were able to be in the same room with musicians that give you inspiration to play. What were the inspirations for your latest record, *Broken Frames*?
Alexia: For *Broken Frames* I just wrote a bunch of memories that were on my mind that I can’t forget; just stuff that I kind of regret. That was the concept. It started out with a relationship that I kind of regret and after I wrote the song “Broken Frames,” every song just started being about different things in my past that I want to forget but can’t. So I figured that I might as well write about it and hope people can relate to it.
Buzz: How did the lyrics push you as musicians, and how were you able to match the lyrics musically?
Alexia: We don’t usually write to match the music with the lyrics. Sometimes we write the lyrics first and then the music. If it’s going to be a sad song, there’s a song called “Ryan” that [Anissa] wrote on the piano. I first heard it and knew it was going to be a sad song, and it reminded me of a friend of mine who died. For certain songs, we can do that. We can match the themes with the music, but for the other songs, they’re mainly heavy and I just write what I am feeling.
Buzz: How did producer Andrew Wade push you guys to really match the music and emotion on this album, while pushing you to become better musicians?
Alexia: For me, he helped me by having sing an octave higher, which I didn’t know I could do. He pushed me to sing all of my melodies an octave higher,which allows the song to sound more emotional sounding and more fun to sing on stage.
Caleb: I went in there knowing that he was just going to be the man. He helped me by knowing that I need to be a smart drummer not just a drummer who is trying to make the fastest fills or crazy double bass the whole time. I pretty much just stuck to the roots. Just did some simple stuff.
Buzz: So he made you focus on making the mastering the simple stuff rather than make the fast stuff sloppy?
Buzz: How about you Anissa?
Anissa: Sometimes I would rush making a bass line. He told to take my time and not rush it. I was able to go into the other room and take my time with figuring out a bass line and then it would always work out.
Cisko: I didn’t record the album.
Buzz: So what’s it like being on tour as the screamer and how has being the screamer of lyrics that have already been written, changed your persona as a musician?
Cisko: It’s actually helped me grow. Before this I was in a band and I did mostly singing. There was some screaming. I get to play them live, which is just as important as the lyrics being recorded. Mainly because kids go out to shows to see and hear what is on the album.
Buzz: Who were the musicians that you heard on an album that made you want to do this for a living?
Caleb: Travis Barker.
Anissa: I think for all of us Blink 182 was an influence to start a band. I would also say Thrice.
Alexia: I used to want to start a band of a Blink 182 female band. Me and my friend used to call each other Mark and Tom because we were nerdy like that. Our music is a lot different now, though. [band laughs]
Cisko: Vocal-wise for me, Schuylar from the band He is Legend has always been an inspiration. Brandon Boyd growing up has always been an inspiration.
Buzz: It’s cool to hear that you guys have a common thread of music. What do you think the future will look like for females in metal music?
Caleb: I don’t know. There are a lot of bands out there that have women in them that do metal, like Lacuna Coil. But, we’re kind of from a different realm of metal and hopefully we can bring something new to the table, and possibly bring a new item that the whole world would want to see. So far, all of our fans go up to us and tell us that we are different. I don’t think we are that different. We’re just doing screamo metal stuff. But it’s always cool to hear that, so, maybe we a little different. [band laughs]
Cisko: I was going to say that hopefully we contribute to the many bands that have females in them, and hopefully we have helped opened doors for them. Hopefully we have helped and don’t have people that look at us as a joke and view us as a band that brings more of variety to that genre of music.
Anissa: I was talking to a guy the other day and he was saying that it doesn’t matter if the girl is talented in the band, it only matters if she is hot and then she will make it big.
Buzz: Did you slug him?
Anissa: No, I didn’t. But I should have! [band laughs] I don’t know why he said that to me. I think the future will look at women and know they can play and that it’s not about their looks or how hot they are. I really think they will see that it’s about talent and not about their fashion or looks.
Buzz: I read a recent interview that states how you guys are always trying to become musicians. If you keep trying to improve and become better musicians, then at what point will you be satisfied with your musicianship and your music career?
Cisko: I think that once the music keeps growing then the people in the band will always be growing because that is what it’s all about. You’re growing. So no matter what you are thinking … everything else will grow with it. There is always going to be a growth.
Caleb: I will probably never think that I am good enough. Even if I am 10 times better in 10 years, I will still think I am not good enough.
*All photos by Carl Burke
Flatfoot 56 is an Irish punk band that hails from Chicago’s Irish south side. Their live show message is simple: Forget your pain and live like you haven’t lived before. They base their music on Gaelic folk songs and encourage the audience to release all of their negative energy at the door. Their fans are loyal and their sense of modesty always instilled. They’re extremely proud Chicagoans and never afraid to show that pride. Flatfoot 56 was able to take some time out of their busy Warped Tour schedule to have a chat about their videos, Irish heritage and Chicago.
Buzz: I first heard of your music from MTV 2. Where was that video shot for the song “Brotherhood”?
Tobin Bawinkel: That video was shot in a pub in Orland Park called Sam McGuire’s. It’s an Irish Pub that was built on the south side, built by Irish craftsman who came over. The place has a whole history. We shot that video the year that the Bears were headed toward the Super Bowl. It would have been the Sunday after they lost. We booked it and tons of kids came in and destroyed the place for the afternoon. It was awesome.
Buzz: What is the one thing that you miss most from Chicago every time you go on tour?
Brandon Good: The food. There’s so much to eat and it’s all good. The cultural differences in this city are extremely diverse. You can go anywhere and get great Italian, Chinese, Mexican or whatever.
Tobin: We are big fan’s of the Nicky’s pizza puff—it’s on Menard and Archer. It’s deep fried, it’s huge; definitely check it out.
Buzz: To go along with your diverse enjoyment of food, what was the main reason to take punk and hardcore music and blend them with the influences of Irish Gaelic music?
Tobin: We originally started out as a three-piece punk band, and, with the intention of wanting to be different, we had a friend who played bag pipes. We then decided to show the pipes in a song. He then came up to us and told us that he played guitar. We then decided that he could play bagpipes whenever he wanted and play the guitar on the other songs. Then throughout time we just got more and more influenced by bands that were playing at the pubs. Bands like the Chieftans, the Dubliners and others that we got into. We then got really into the street punk scene of Chicago. That kind of influenced everything.
Buzz: Gentlemen, let’s talk about your new album. I’ve read interviews that say your album is mainly about going through rough times. Why did you decide to write about hard times?
Kyle Bawinkel: Because we’re in a band. [Band chuckles]
Tobin: We are on tour with the Street Dogs when the recession hit. There was a lot of inspiration on that tour … opened up our eyes. … A lot of the lyrics were written as we started feeling a lot of struggles, and other stress from other things. … We all go through tough times and that is the history of Celtic music in general. All of it was written on a trial and that is the strength of it and where the Irish Celtic music comes from. I think it’s a resounding theme that everybody can appreciate. Right now, seems to be hard times all over the place. It definitely feels good to be putting something out that just being positive and working through what you are going through.
Buzz: That’s the kind of attitude you guys try to promote at your shows right?
Buzz: No matter how bad life may be, you want people to come to your show and let it all out and have the time of your life. My last question for you guys is about something I saw on your website that states: “When you have a reason to sing, you sing louder.” What is your reason for singing?
Tobin: I think each of us individually has different things and reasons. I think that as a band, we are big fans of being grateful for the talents God gives us with the intention that we are here to make music that matters. We are the kind of guys that were raised on music that matters. And I think that encouraging people and challenging people to think outside the box, and move away from what TV tells you to do. Live a life that is yours and not something that is a stamp of the outside world. Our faith has a lot to do with where we all stand. But in the same time, there’s people that aren’t of the same faith and believe in the same stuff. We’ve had people say to us, “I don’t understand how you guys can believe what you believe and still be encouraging to me.” We kind of look at them and say, “Maybe you should think about it.” We feel like we’ve been given talents and gifts to play and do what we do, and people appreciate it. If people are willing to like it, then we are willing to do it with our whole heart, and we are good at it, too. There’s a reason it’s there, it was put there for a reason. We’re here to have a good time and show some appreciation to the kids.
*Photos by Carl Burke