chatting with BOB!
How did you guys get hooked up with Metallica? And how did they get turned on to your music?
They were playing in town at the Rosemont Horizon (in Chicago) and we had a show the same night at the Double Door and they ended up going to the Double Door that same night. So, we got them our disc and they ended up liking it a lot. It was pretty cool.
I’ve read a few interviews with Metallica where they were saying how you guys are this great new band.
It’s been overwhelming. The whole thing has been pretty surreal. It has definitely gotten us a lot of interest and a lot of help along the way. I wake up and I still can’t believe it.
So how did you end up finally getting signed?
We shopped around for management and we really needed good management and we sent stuff out to like ten different managers. Steve Stewart and Michael Goldberg got the disc and flew out to see us the very next day, to see us at a band practice that was like one hundred degrees in July in Chicago. (laughs)
So they came out to see us and they thought they could get us a record deal in a couple of weeks. We’ve been together for like six years and we were like, ‘Whatever.’ We were like, ‘Go for it,’ and they went and did it. They shopped us to Geffen, Sony 550, Atlantic, and Hollywood. Hollywood jumped in right away.
It doesn’t hurt that they do a lot of soundtracks either.
That is great. The Varsity Blues thing was pretty cool.
So do you think metal is making a comeback?
I hope so. Whether the papers want to write it or people want to read it. I don’t know what happened with electronica, it was supposed to be the next big thing. (laughs). If it comes back then that is great, but we are hard rock either way. We’ve been hard rock for a long time, even when it wasn’t fashionable or en vogue or whatever the hell you want to say about it. We’re a hard rock band either way and if it makes a big comeback and we are there, then that is cool. If it doesn’t, then we are still there.
There are a lot of bands that transcend no matter what the hell is going on in music.
That is the thing. Look at Black Sabbath, they are still huge. The guys decide to get back together and they sell-out concerts everywhere they go.
There always seem to be fans, but people are more interested in reporting what is supposed to be the new big thing.
People want to make other people believe that this is hip. I mean, Marilyn Manson comes out with this glam image and all of the sudden, glam is back. No, it’s not.
Like all of the sudden the whole Bowie thing is back.
Exactly. The whole Bowie thing, glam thing, the whole ‘man fell to earth’ crap. I think that people are always looking for the next big thing and the always true, remaining thing is hard rock. I mean, Aerosmith would be hard pressed not to sell out a concert no matter what Rolling Stone is telling people.
I mean, I’m still waiting for electronica. I’m waiting for the Chemical Brothers to fill stadiums.
I don’t see it happening.
I think the problem with electronica is that people like songs with meaning and lyrics that they can relate to.
That is what we’ve all grown up on. From Francis Scott Key to the Black Crowes. People want to relate to something that another person is saying as opposed to what a computer is telling you. You know, technology is great, but as far as music goes I think people want to listen to somebody else and not a computer.
Speaking of feeling it, your songs seem very autobiographical. Are the songs something that are influenced by your everyday lives?
I grew up just like anybody else. I’m from a divorced family, grew up with not a lot of money, but I still had a dream. I went to high school and had all the problems that everybody else had and I think I just put my own twist on it. Hopefully people can relate with what I went through because I think it is probably what a lot of other people went through. You just write from your own experiences and sometimes your own experiences aren’t as unique as you might think they are. Which is kind of cool for us because we think a lot of people can relate to our music.
When did you know that you wanted to be in a band?
I really knew in second grade. I started playing in sixth grade with our drummer John (Sullivan), and he has been my best friend since sixth grade. We’ve been in a band together our whole lives. We really knew really early on that we wanted to do this; whether we were going to be able to was another question.
You got to be one of the lucky ones.
Yeah. We never really wanted to do anything else and we never pursued anything else so I could make this happen.
Where did the name Loudmouth come from?
Our drummer’s dad thought of it. You see, I used to play bass and I didn’t want to play bass anymore; I wanted to sing. And his dad said, ‘You might as well call the band ‘Loudmouth’.’
Since you guys write together and apart, how do your songs come together?
It is always different. Sometimes I might have a song completely different with lyrics and music and I’ll bring it to the band and they are like, ‘Great.’ And other times I might have a song and it is kind of a skeleton and it will have a bridge or a chorus and Johnny will pitch in. The same goes with him; he’ll bring in a song that is all music and it’ll need some lyrics and we’ll do it like that. It is all just kind of never a set way. It’s kind of who needs what for a song. Sometimes there isn’t anything needed at all. “Rats In The Maze” is a song that Johnny wrote completely by himself. He brought it to the band on a four track and we were like, ‘Wow, this is a great tune. There is nothing to add, let’s just do it.’
Who inspires you to write?
Definitely the Doors, Metallica, Led Zepplin, The Beatles. And I put my twist on everything. More or less classic rock. A lot of the late ’60’s early ’70’s bands influenced my writing. There is a handful of new bands like Metallica, Monster Magnet, and Corrosion of Conformity that have some influence.
Do you find that a lot of the metal bands that you listen to are poppish, so to speak? I’m asking because you guys write those really big choruses ala the Beatles and the Doors.
I think that is the most important thing in having a song is that people can sing along with you. We are definitely not a closed-door type of band. We want everybody to get it and everybody to understand what we are saying and to be able to sing along. That is something that is lacking in metal. Metal lately is either over the top agro, like screaming in your face, or it is just on the other end with these power ballads. I don’t think there have been too many good hard rock songs that you could sing along with and not feel like a wuss.
You have songs that you don’t forget the names of either.
We want to drive it home. There have been so many bands out there where its like, ‘You don’t get my thing,’ or ‘I don’t want you to get it and I want to be this underground mysterious thing,’ and no one can sing along or understand. We are like, ‘Let’s drive the choruses home, let’s make it relate-able and make everyone feel they are a part of it.’
Where did the crazy album cover come from?
That was our guitarist’s idea, Tony (McQuaid). He thought of it and everybody thought it was a great idea. That is our friend Pauly Lopez’s, he plays harmonica on our record, tongue and that is Tony’s hand pulling his tongue down with the tattoo needle. We just thought that it would be a really sick idea and tattoos are so huge right now. We just thought it’d be cool. Like who’s tattooed their tongue?
Do you guys get the chance to live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle?
We hang at the shows and have some beers, but it is really a lot of work and it is really pretty busy. We are playing four days in a row and have a day off and then four days on the road and a day off. And that is in different towns every night, so there is a lot of travel. There really isn’t that much hang time. You go to your show, you load up, and you do your sound check. Then you chill until it is time to go on, then you go on, then pack up all of your stuff, watch a half-hour of Godsmack, and then you drive to the next town. It is pretty grueling. It is pretty intense.
I think that fans are under the impression that bands party like hours and hours every night.
You’d kill yourself. It is fun to party but you still have to have recoup time. You can’t just scream your head off at a show and then party for six hours and get up and do it all again. You’ve got to pace yourself.
If someone asked you, ‘Why should I come to see you live? I already own the disc,’ what would you tell them?
I’d say we are better live then we are on the disc. We made a record so that we could tour. In the old days a lot of bands made records just so they could go play live. Our intention was really to out twelve tunes so that people could sing the songs when they come see us. It is just good energy when we are onstage. We have been playing together for six and a half years so we know each other like the back of our hands. A lot of people have told me they like [our live playing] better than the record, which I think is cool.
Does it make it easier on the road since you have known each other for so long?
Yeah. Definitely. Everybody gives each other space and everybody knows what buttons to push and what buttons not to push. It is a situation where we know each other so good that everybody doesn’t just step on each other.
Lastly, does Loudmouth have a plan for world domination?
Oh, yeah! We make no bones about it; we want to be huge. Whether that happens or not, we are going to play like that. No matter if we are playing the Odeon in Cleveland or a stadium, it doesn’t matter. We play with the same intensity and intentions no matter where or what we are doing. It is all fun, too. Of course, every band wants to be the biggest band in the world. Chances of that are slim or none. We are just going to keep going out there and giving it our best. It is up to people. If people like it and enjoy it, then it will happen.
+ charlie craine