Blessid Union of Souls – Walking off the Buzz

Blessid Union of Souls
Artist: Blessid Union of Souls
Title: Walking off the Buzz
Label: V2
Rating: 5/10

After being tossed around between record labels, Blessid Union Of Souls finally settled down with Push/V2 Records to release their third album, Walking Off The Buzz. The whole album has a rather smooth flavor, easy on the ears, pleasant enough for a Sunday afternoon. If you are already a fan, I must warn you: this album does sound slightly different than their previous ones. I see it as an improvement because they come out sounding a little more genuine. It feels like they let their hair down as they spit out some swaggering, creditable rock and roll.

The first single, “Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)”, is an upbeat ditty about being in love with a girl that just about every guy out there would like to call his own. A fairy-tale romance of a song that anyone with a smidgen of passion in their heart will enjoy. “Standing At The Edge Of The Earth” is the song that is most reminiscent of the old Blessid Union that some of you may be looking for. It is one of the slower songs on the album, a ballad of love and longing for a woman long gone. When you get to the title track, “Walking Off The Buzz”, you find that this album is not about waking up with a monster hangover and an empty bottle of regret like you may have thought it was. Really, I’m kidding you, because this song too is drenched with regret for a lost love. If you have never tossed someone aside and then realized what a fool you were, you are fortunate. But if you have, you will recognize the pain that is apparent in this song. They also slid in a cover of The Beatles’ “Revolution” and they played it well, which was a nice surprise. It is a hidden bonus track at the end of the album.

These guys have only gotten better since their first disc. If you are a Blessid Union fan, I think that you will enjoy the slight change of pace in their music, and if you are a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls, then you should definitely pick up this disc. The only reason I did not give them a higher rating is because this kind of broken-hearted rock ballad has been played to death, but I guess as long as there is sexual tension, pretty girls, heartbroken guys, or a combination of the three, this music will endure. And I am pretty sure there will always be people out there ready to listen.

+ kevin cousins

Ben Folds Five – The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

Ben Folds Five
Artist: Ben Folds Five
Title: The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
Label: 550
Rating: 9/10

Don’t be misled by the mysterious title of Ben Folds Five latest album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. It plays the same game as the band’s name, which implies that there are five members in the band when actually there are only three. Why they named their fourth release after a man who climbed Mt. Everest twenty years ago will remain a mystery. Ben Folds, the front man of the band, is an expert pianist and an emotional yet comical songwriter. The album falls directly in place in the evolution of his songwriting ability, with one especially notable distinction. He shies slightly away lyrically and explores some other instrumental possibilities. A small orchestra of violins, saxophones, keyboard effects, and the occasional kettledrum can be heard along with the usual drum and bass. As for the guitar, it’s still not included.

The first explosive track, “Narcolepsy,” will probably be the first single off of the album, with “Army” being the runner-up. “Narcolepsy” reminds me of a theatrical production, the way Folds so dramatically spills his emotions. “Army” is quite the opposite, a rockin’ tune with lines such as, “Well I thought about the army/ Dad says son you’re fucking high.” To wrap up the album there is the appropriately titled “Lullaby,” with such soft tones that it really could sing you to sleep.

If you don’t like passionate songs about love and life, you may not be interested in what Folds has to say, but you may not be able to pass up the music so easily. The catchy melodies and carefree charm of Ben Folds Five leaves you wanting to listen to the cd repeatedly. On the other hand, some of the tedious shouts from the background vocals seem a little too generic. For those who have never heard Ben Folds Five, the best way to describe them is very John Lennon-like, with a modern pop framework, and a touch of upbeat jazz. To categorize the band is hard because of the diversity in the music. The most recent issue of CMJ magazine pictures a cartoon of Ben Folds Five on the cover as superheroes “making the world safe for pop music.” I can just about guarantee anyone interested in quality music will not be disappointed with this album.

+ matt crafts

Atari Teenage Riot – 60 Second Wipeout

Artist: Atari Teenage Riot
Title: 60 Second Wipeout
Label: Elektra
Rating: 7/10

Atari Teenage Riot just might be the angriest band in the world. Having been a fan since Burn, Berlin, Burn wrecked me a few years ago, I knew their latest release, 60 Second Wipeout, would prove to be a chance to see a much more mature ATR. And if you were a fan in the past, you’ll quickly realize that they haven’t lost their touch. Their pounding punk/jungle mix is enough to make even the angriest bands turn yellow.

Alec Empire, ATR’s general, takes anger and makes it hooky enough for those of us who get confused by anything that lacks cohesion. “By Any Means Necessary” is a perfect example of their anthem-atic preaching. The coarse sound and blood-curdling screams will have you looting in no time.

“Western Decay” is slower and more toned down, but still grinds you to rubble. “Atari Teenage Riot II” picks up where part I left off. Within minutes you’ll be screaming the bands anthem, “Atari Teenage Riot”, loud enough to put fear in the hearts of your neighbors. You’ll be lucky if your parents don’t check you into therapy. ATR has everything Rage Against The Machine has, and more: politics, anger, and anthems, but their use of four vocalists adds an unrivaled army of destruction. You’ve never heard anything like this.

“Too Dead For Me” will bring back the late ’70’s, early ’80’s ferocious punk of the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and The Exploited. “Death Of A President D. I. Y.!” starts of with a playful sounding chant of “Pussy cat/ pussy cat,” which is as eerie as it is awkward. “Your Uniform (Does Not Impress Me)” is jungle that tears at the juggler.

Atari Teenage Riot are revolutionists who owe as much to the Sex Pistols as they do to the Beatles, but they are a breed of animal many have never encountered. This is as refreshing as it is scary. If you haven’t heard them yet, what are you waiting for? The revolution will not be televised.

+ rae gun

Art of Noise – The Seduction of Claude Debussy

Art of Noise
Artist: Art of Noise
Title: The Seduction of Claude Debussy
Label: Universal
Rating: 7.5/10

“Music is not just the expression of a feeling – it is the feeling itself.” Claude Debussy was definitely on to something when he made that statement nearly a century ago. Art of Noise must have thought so; they have devoted their entire new release to his memory. The Seduction of Claude Debussy is original, to say the least. It is an eclectic mix of classical sounds with a touch of operatic vocals and even rap and a spoken word narrative thrown in. While not a disc for everyone, Art of Noise deserves praise, if for nothing else, for having the guts to put out a disc that so deviates from the norm. They strive for something more than the standard Top 40 pop song.

I am not even going to pretend to know what they were thinking during the production of this cd, though. The Seduction of Claude Debussy is described as “featuring the dream life of Claude Debussy as a metaphor for what a difference a century makes and the real life of art of noise as a metaphor for the fantasy life of a pop group.” Sure. The liner notes are quite cryptic and undecipherable at times as well. For example, the “Extract from a novelisation of the film that doesn’t exist of the seduction of Claude Debussy.”

However, it is the music that matters the most, and to simply say that it is unique would be a gross understatement. This is not an album you can jam to, or one that will tug at your heartstrings, or one that will get you moving in the morning. It is definitely mood music; something you’d pop in when you’re in a pensive state of mind. Otherwise, listening would take a great deal of patience.

Right away you realize you’re venturing into uncharted territory. You first hear John Hurt telling you to “imagine an actor saying the following” Add Sally Bradshaw’s soprano over a drum machine after the Enya-like introduction. It makes for an interesting and enjoyable initiation into the world of Art of Noise.

What they appear to be going for, much like Debussy himself, is the creation of feeling by telling his story. They do it well. For example, “Born on a Sunday” evokes the beginning of life and the excitement it brings with a faster, more energized beat, whereas “On Being Blue” naturally has a more melancholy, minor key sound.

They also have a few guests featured throughout the disc. Donna Lewis lends her voice to “Dreaming in Color” and quite a few tracks feature the hip-hop vocals of Rakim.

The Seduction of Claude Debussy exhibits the work of some very creative minds. It is not something that can be truly appreciated by everyone, nor is it something that can be fully explained. As the French poet Charles Baudelaire is quoted as saying: “In music, and in painting, even in the written word, there is always a gap, to be bridged by the imagination of the hearer.”

+ julie pecoraro

Aqua – Aquarius

Artist: Aqua
Title: Aquarius
Label: MCA
Rating: 5.5/10

Aqua is the band most of us love to hate. Do you know what did it? It was that unlikely, annoying hit single “Barbie Girl”. They’ve been marked for certain as one-hit-wonders, but they’re back and apparently getting better.

“Cartoon Heroes” begins with helium-voiced Lene Hedin Nystrom and deep-voiced Rene Dif. On occasion, Lene will sound like that punk princess Gwen Steffani (No Doubt). While this track is silly as hell, it’s also really entertaining and infectious. It’s just as Lene sings, “Don’t take us all too serious.”

Even though I’m two seconds from digging a hole and sticking my head in it for admitting I like this track, I continue on.

“Around The World” isn’t too damn bad either. “We Belong To The Sea” might be the best track as Lene gets a bit more serious, and it suits her. I could see her being a huge success as a solo artist.

But finally, the letdown you knew had to come does. When Aqua relies on the clich, they are extremely annoying, enough so to make you want to vomit. Listen to “Freaky Friday”, “An Apple A Day”, and “Halloween”. Pure torture.

But Aqua has the ability to sound as professional as a Disney soundtrack, in a good way, with giant orchestration and power. “Aquarius” is made for Disney. It soars higher than any track and proves these guys can get serious and sound like a real outfit.

The best thing about Aqua is the power of Claus and Soeren who write the music. The dance rhythms are so powerful that you often forget the weak lyrics. The music makes the songs go down like candy while the lyrics are often like jawbreakers. Good or bad, Aqua is fun.

+ rae gun

Sixpence None The Richer – Interview [1999]

Sixpence None The Richer

Why sign with an obscure label like Squint when major labels like Arista were courting you?

We have been doing this for six years and over the years we have had several major labels interested. We’ve pursued them and they’ve pursued us. Eventually, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out. We heard horrible stories of what has happened to other bands. It is really difficult to get a good shot because they try to sign tons of bands in hopes of getting that one band that will be really great and make them a lot of money. That is just a lot of pressure and more than what we wanted to take on. So, we always liked the indie thing better.

Squint was a dream deal for us because Steve Taylor (owner of Squint Entertainment) is a really great man and someone who we have been a fan of for a really long time. We are very like-minded artistically. It was a really good match up.

Were you nervous about hooking up with another small label after what had happened with your last label?

I guess we were. It was just that one thing outweighed the other. We were more afraid of signing to a major label and getting dropped and then having a record die because it just didn’t have a chance.

Do you think it is passe to be called alternative?

I think so. I don’t know what to call stuff anymore. It seemed to identify a certain type of music a couple of years ago and now it covers such a broad area that I don’t know what it is.

Have the band influences changed?

Yeah. Matt (Slocum, guitarist/songwriter) is inspired by a lot of strings now and is getting into his cello playing. That wasn’t the case for This Beautiful Mess and the albums before. This Beautiful Mess was very guitar driven. The last album (Sixpence None The Richer) has a lot of strings. It has changed a lot from record to record.

What about the Christian rock tag? Does it hinder you?

I think it does. It is going to and it has, but we are not ashamed about what we believe in. We’re all Christians in the band, but it is really scary to just come out and say we’re a Christian band because you are lumped in with all of the other Christian bands, which we are not exactly proud of being lumped in with. Sometimes because their music isn’t very good or they don’t represent themselves the way we want to represent ourselves. It doesn’t mean they are wrong, I just think music needs to be lumped into the same pile so everyone can hear it. That is what music is for and we want to be heard by everyone.

Do you find that the grass roots approach taken by your label makes the success of your chart climbing single, “Kiss Me”, just a little bit sweeter?

It is nice. It feels like a natural progression. I’m very aware that next month it all could dissipate and then we’ll just start over with a new record. We’ve been doing it for a long time, so it’s nice. We’ve worked really hard and these are the results. We learned a lot on the way.

How conscious is Matt about writing lyrics for you?

He just writes. I don’t think he has ever said, ‘I’m going to sit down and write about this or that.’ He is inspired by a book or by something that happens.

How would you describe your vocal style?

I just sing (laughs).

It seems that everyone uses the same word to describe your vocal style

Yeah, ethereal. Are you gonna come up with a new word?

We were hoping you would have a new word.

No, I’m sorry (laughs). I don’t know.

I heard you had some fun in France filming the grave scene for your video to the single “Kiss Me”.

Yeah, it was really interesting. I wish we had all that on tape. That would have made for a great video by itself.

I’m a really paranoid person when it comes to messing with the law.

Especially in another country?

Yeah, and the fear of never getting back [to the U.S.]. It was really weird. Steve Taylor is like a seven foot tall, crazy looking man and we were walking around this graveyard together. I was dressed up for the video and he looked relatively normal, but it was probably a strange sight when you have this really young, red headed girl and this huge, tall fellow walking around the graveyard. We had to get flowers twice and bring a potted plant to put on a grave, then go back out again. The guards must have thought it was weird that we had so many people to pay respect to.

What is the funniest memory you have of the band?

There are so many things. It is always a blast. Oh, wait, here it is. We had a talent show on our bus and we were on tour with this girl, Sarah Masen. Her sister was also traveling with us. So, we all had different talents. My husband did this dance for Matt (Slocum), you know, like this personal sort of dance. (snickers). It was just a brilliant night of fun. I wish we had that on tape, too.

What can someone expect when they see you live?

We’ve worked out the songs differently than they appear on the record so it’s not the same old thing. Obviously we can’t bring strings, so we fill that with a lot of guitars.

We don’t jump around a whole lot. A couple of the guys do move around a bit, but I tend to just not (laughing).

So you’re not exactly the Beastie Boys on stage?

No (breaks out in laughter) I wish I had the moves. And I’m not going to pretend that I do!

If you could sit in with any band, who would it be?


What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I don’t know. I have other dreams and the biggest is to have a ranch in Texas where kids can come that are disabled or are not getting along at home. They could just send them to me.

Unfortunately, the call came down and it was time for Leigh to part for her show, so we weren’t able to ask what the band was planning for the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.At least we got it all on tape.

+ charlie craine

Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event

Busta Rhymes
Artist: Busta Rhymes
Title: Extinction Level Event
Label: Elektra
Rating: 8.5/10

Busta spreads propaganda like butter and his rhymes are just as smooth.

Calling out to the cities across the nation to rise to his power, “Everybody Rise” is the quintessential gnarling Busta. He is one of the rare artists who can continually use hooks that are made up entirely of screaming out just one word without sounding repetitive. Busta’s blaring of “Rise” rings much like that of his first qualified hit, “Whoo-ha!”

The futuristic sound meets the challenge set forth by Busta’s apocalyptic concept. The title track, “Extinction Level Event”, inundates us with Busta’s ferocious rhymes. “Against All Odds” showcases the futuristic qualities, featuring the Space Invaders sound filler. Busta is a business maven and this track is another chance for the entrepreneur to put forth his product, the Flipmode Squad.

Busta’s knack has always been unlikely rhymes with grit and a comedic element. The intro of (actually appearing at the end of track nine) “Gimme Some More” is a funny little piece of chatter. It’s the lyrics that keep you coming back for more. “Ever since Jimmy crack corn/ rockin’ on ever since the day I was born,” found on the song “Party Is Goin’ On Over Here”, is Busta at his playful best.

“Tear Da Roof Off” is destined to be a nightclub smash. Awesome beats flow behind the recurring “where my crew yo?/ Flipmode hit you off/ ya’ll know what to do okay/ tear da roof off.” Next on the hit list is “Keepin’ It Tight”. Its smooth chorus, “alright ya’ll/ you know we keepin’ it tight ya’ll,” is a rhythmic rapture that lays claim to Busta’s name. “Do The Bus A Bus” is a thumping party, satisfaction guaranteed.

Then there are the duets. The first is with Mystikal. “Iz They Wildin Wit Us & Gettin’ Rowdy Wit Us” is a drag racing flurry. Mystikal’s rap firestorm of verbiage is almost impossible to decipher. It took a few days to even begin to comprehend and still I don’t understand all of it. Lest you think that Busta was left in the cold by Mystikal’s pomp, you will quickly hear that his tongue is as twisted and quick as that of his counterpart.

Then there is Janet. Busta brings Janet Jackson on board for an erotic duet entitled “What’s It Gonna Be?!” Janet has been working hard to exchange her girlish image for a more sensual, sexy one. Busta has broken her mold. You’ll be surprised to hear Janet sing “gonna make your body wet/ gonna make your body scream out ‘yeah’/gonna make your body cream/ make you have wet dreams.” Busta’s fans will love this. If you thought the team of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mariah Carey was hot, wait until you hear the heat in this lewd exchange.

What better way to celebrate the last year of the millenium than with Black Sabbath? “This Means War!!” features Sabbath’s “Iron Man” as it’s musical backdrop. Although Sir Mix A-lot has previously covered “Iron Man”, Busta took it to another level and decided to bring in the iron man himself, Ozzy Osbourne. This is one bizarre, yet intriguing partnership. Ozzy reformulates his lyrics for the chorus allowing Busta to show his dark side.

With an album released each of the last three years, Busta’s knack for writing hooks puts him at the pinnacle of hip-hop’s elite. This seventy-minute album is outstanding.

+ cc

VOD – Interview


Hailing from New York City, Visions of Disorder is a perfect example of the evolution of the vicious east coast hardcore sound. The five-piece band offers a wide variety of metal, ranging from the kick and stomp groove present in their past two releases to a more developed, tighter sound that creates a new presence for the band. They landed slots on last year’s Ozzfest tour and stints with Earth Crisis, Machine Head, and the reformed Sepultura. V.O.D. has progressed into one of heavy music’s great up and coming groups. We spoke with Tim Williams, lead singer of V.O.D., who is one of the best vocalists in the business. With the last album, he elevated himself to the level of Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) and Chino Moreno (Deftones). V.O.D.’s Imprint is sure to be legendary in hardcore circles. They may very well be able to make the big leap into stardom very soon.

How’s the tour?

Excellent! Couldn’t be happier with this shit. The shows have been big. I’d have to say each show has been great. On the east coast, we’ve already done all the shit, but in Texas and Cleveland we’ve probably had the best shows we’ve ever had in those states.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We go to Japan, then Australia, and we’re doin’ one show in Hawaii. That’ll be fun I guess. We’ll get home christmas eve, take two weeks off, and we’re booking shows for next year. Probably another tour of the states.

Who would you like to play with?

Bad Brains would be a cool. Sick Of It All would be fun. I would like to play with the Deftones and I’d like to get Overcast out, but i don’t know when the fuck that’ll happen. Of course, Pantera.

What do you think of Derrick(Sepultura’s new lead singer)?

He does great. Man, he does a good job. I mean, shit, Max’s shoes are hard to fill, but he does a great job. Sounds like him and he’s a great guy. He reacts to the crowd well. People are going off so I guess he’s doing good.

The new album is great.

Thanks man.

It’s progressed. It’s a little punkish. Some death metal.

I think we loosened up as a band. I think we realized that noise is a good instrument to use, so the noise influences started coming out a little bit and I think everybody just got more..You know, the first record everyone was nervous. We didn’t know if we wanted to do this or if we wanted to do that. Now, everybody just did their part, scrutinized each other, reworked shit, and everything seemed to go perfect.

Your vocals have changed a lot. You have a lot more range.

I’ve always taken lessons. I’ve also had more time to develop it. We were touring for a year and a half and that doesn’t hurt anybody. I got a lot more comfortable doing my thing.

Did you do anything different in recording?

The whole fucking thing was different! The first record, man, it was a complete tragedy. We were just listening to it last night and we all had to turn it off. It was just horrible! The material is there, it’s just the performance. The production is horrible. About the second record: We did it our way. We had a producer that was more into our thing, our style of music, and more like one of us. Plus, we recorded live and we didn’t do that on our first record. We were just way more comfortable the second time around.

How did you hook up with Phil(Pantera’s lead singer)?

Just through the Ozzfest [’97]. We became friends with him, took a liking to him, partied with him. I went down to his house a couple of times this year and I just asked and he said cool.

Is “Jada Bloom” written for someone?

No. I just always put myself into characters when I write lyrics in certain songs. It was just a character that I brought out of me.

Colorblind is more extensive than any other song on the disc. What were you trying to accomplish with that?

That’s our tribute to the fucking Doors, man! In my eyes it is. It just came out to be a long song. It seemed right so we just did it.

You’ve been all over the U.S. Where do you see the best hardcore scenes?

I don’t want to offend anybody, but Boston has one huge fucking scene. New York and Salt Lake City, Utah. Lawrence, Kansas is another good one. Sacramento, California has a vicious one. They get a little rough and edgy, but it’s good. Texas is cool. We haven’t really been to the south and northwest all that recently, but pretty much any big city is cool. Philly. East coast is just great.

Who do you think deserves more credit as a great band?

Man, Madball, Faith No More, if they’re still around. We had a chance to meet up with Mike(Faith No Mores vocalist) in San Francisco and that guy is great. I mean, he’s a fucking nut, crazy and shit, but he’s great. Overcast, Fury of Five. Off the top of my head, that’s all I can think of.

Where do you fit in?

I think we’re doing alright where we are. We’re getting a lot of respect from musicians and big bands. That means a lot because musicians are the hardest ones to impress. The metal kids are slowly taking to us.

What do you think of the Black Sabbath tour?

Phenomenal. We might be away, but if not, I’m there…

I want to name some bands and I want you to tell me what you think about them. Snapcase.

Great band. Progressing, but they can’t make up their mind if they want to go to school or be a full time band. I heard they were recording a record, so more power to them.


Phenomenal. My favorite fucking band. I’m not kidding!


Old Clutch, it’s unreal, but I don’t know what the fuck they’re trying to do now. They’re just doing their own thing.

Do you want to add anything?

Just be yourself, don’t get caught up in bullshit, and that’s that.

Alright. Well, thanks alot, man. It was great talking to you.

Thanks and you take care of yourself, man. Have fun.

+ rick hinkson

Incubus – Interview [1998]


The crossbreeding in styles of music has become increasingly popular in the late 1990’s. Bands like Sublime, Limp Bizkit, and the Beastie Boys have all crossed over into the spectrum that many bands would be afraid to step into. The West Coast groove outfit, Incubus, has also been unafraid. They create a sound that can be heavy, yet melodic and emotional at the same time. They are strong, both instrumentally and vocally, and possess a knack for writing soulful tunes that allows them to integrate the elements of various musical genres. Their sound is recognized as thick by metal standards, while it is considered smooth by those in rap circles. Landing a slot on Korn’s “Family Values Tour” has given them an opportunity to play for a large audience. The response has been overwhelming. They’ve just been added to the huge Black Sabbath Reunion tour, sharing the stage with Pantera, the Deftones, and, of course, Sabbath. I had a chance to chat with guitarist Mike Einziger about the relatively young group and about their imminent success.

How long have you been on the tour?

We started the Family Values tour in Michigan. I think that was the 26th[of October].

Had you played with any of those guys before?

Yeah. The first tour we ever did was with Korn in Europe about two years ago. We’ve done quite a bit of touring with Limp Bizkit. We were with them at the Ozzfest.

What’s it like playing for so many people?

It’s fun, but it’s very different. We’ve been headlining clubs for the past seven weeks and just to jump up to arenas is pretty fun. There’s more room on stage and you can breathe.

Are you getting a good response from the fans?

Yes. It’s been amazing.

Did you expect this kind of exposure with just one major release?

I don’t know. Things just happen the way they do. We don’t really expect anything or not expect anything. We just kind of let things fall into place. I guess we just have fate on our side.

How would you describe your sound?

Our music is a mixture of different sounds and textures. Very funky, a good groove. It’s up and it’s energetic. Sometimes it’s heavy, at times it’s mellow. It’s got a lot of different faces.

Are you playing anything new on the tour?

No. We’re just sticking to material on the album.

Do you have any plans to record again?

After we’re done with Korn, we’ll have a few weeks off and then we’ll start a headline tour of the West Coast. We’ll probably spend a good amount of time while we’re home writing music. I don’t know if we’ll be doing any recording, but we’re going to start writing music. After we’re done with that headlining tour, we’ll go home for Christmas. Then we go back out on the road with Black Sabbath.

You’re doing the Sabbath tour?

The big Sabbath Reunion Tour. That’s going to be awesome, but we’re not really sure what’s going on after that. We’d like to make a new record sometime in ’99. We just don’t know when that’ll be.

Do you try to incorporate anything different into your live shows?

Yes, but when we’re not headlining it’s more difficult for us to do because we don’t have the stage time like we would when we’re playing our own shows. Between songs we do a lot of kind of weird drum and bass jams. We have this thing where I come out with an electric sitar and do this strange jam. We have little breaks where our DJ messes around. There are a lot of things we like to do, but we can’t when we open up for other bands. Plus, when [we’re] playing in front of a crowd where ninety percent of the people don’t know or care who [we] are, we like to stick to our material that’s on the record.

How long ago did you record SCIENCE?

It’ll be two years ago this March.

What did you try to draw from when you recorded that, lyrically and soundwise?

Well, soundwise we didn’t really rely on anything too much, except our own intuition, you could say. We’ve been working in this studio in Santa Monica, CA since we were sixteen years old and we really like the vibe of the studio. We know it really well. We know how to get sounds that we want, so we weren’t spending much time listening to other records. We just did a lot of experimenting with a lot of different things like microphones and that kind of stuff. We have a lot of confidence in our own taste and ourselves. Lyrically, Brandon writes the lyrics and they’re pretty much based on his experiences in life and his own views on society. Different mindsets, I guess. Most of it is based on a positive outlook or ideology. You know, unity, all that good peace and love stuff.

Has it been pretty much the same band since you started? I know you have a new DJ.

Yeah, the four of us, we’ve been together for seven and a half years. We started when we were fifteen and still in high school. Then we hooked up with a DJ after about four years together. We had our first DJ in the band for about two years, then we parted with him about ten months ago. Now, we have DJ Kilmore with us and he’s amazing. We’re really looking forward to writing music with him.

Was it a clean split?

There were problems in the band that were solved when he left. Things weren’t cool for a long time and then as soon as we did the thing we needed to do, everything went back to being cool. Everything’s wonderful now.

There are rumors of a live disc. Is there any truth to that?

No, actually there’s not. I haven’t even heard that one yet. They’re started all summer and on other tours throughout the year. This is the first time we’ve done anything with Rammstein.

What do you think of that group?

I think they have one of the most amazing live shows I’ve ever seen. We get kids trashing them on our web site, but you know it’s funny, when you’re a little kid, just listening to music, it’s more about popularity and perspective. When you’re a musician, you see what goes into a performance. You have a whole different respect for it and those guys definitely have it together.

Do you see the next big thing being bands crossing over into various genres?

I think bands like Korn and Deftones have blown a door wide open. I mean, we’ve been through thick and thin as far as styles of music coming and going. When we first started, Primus and Faith No More were in their prime. Then that all went away and grunge came in. We’ve just done the same thing. Punk rock came back and got huge, then ska. Korn had nothing to do with any of that and when they came out, we weren’t even signed. They just blew the door open to a new realm of possibilities, a different style of music. It wasn’t punk or ska. It was hard, but it had a groove to it, not like hardcore thrash music. We’ve always had the problem [that] we’d get stuck at a punk show or a ska show and we always just stuck out like a sore thumb. I think both musically and lyrically between [the Deftones and Korn] there’s a world of difference. I think that the difference between those two bands, and even us, is so big. [It’s] lyrical content and music. I don’t think you’d see the Deftones bust out into a funk breakdown. There are big differences, but people just feel the need to lump things together. There’s just a lot of crossing over.

Where would you like to be a year from now?

It’s really fun opening up for Korn and other bands, but we’ve spent a majority of our time headlining, so I think ultimately we’d like to be doing our own shows. Make a really big production of it doing our own thing.

I’d like your perspective on some bands. Can you give me your opinion on a few that I name?



Their style of music is not something I’m very into. I’d prefer mellow music, but I respect what they do and what Max (lead-singer of Soulfly) has done.

What about Clutch and Fu Manchu?

I’ve barely heard Clutch, but everyone we play with loves them. I listened to Fu Manchu and I really dug what they’re doing. They’re so not like everyone else. It’s almost like Hendrix and Black Sabbath, but not sounding anything like them. I really like what they’re doing, though.


That’s one of my favorite bands. That music has flavor. It has soul. That’s the kind of music I like. Whether or not it’s heavy, I like it. I’m just not into the all-out, hardcore screaming. It’s just mindless what to me.SabbathI grew up listening to them, and now, it’s a huge honor for me to play with them.

That’s about all. Anything else you’d like to add?

No, but thanks. Good questions!

Thank you and good luck on the road.

+ rick hinkson

The Wood

The Wood
Cast: Omar Epps
Studio: Paramount
Rating: 5/10

The Wood is all about a group of three male friends and their embarrassing boyhood experiences involving women. Bringing back the old school beats, the afro picks, and the Geri Curl is Taye Diggs, Omar Epps, and Richard Jones. The movie goes back to their days of growing up in Englewood, California, which means a whole lot of foot stomping, fist pumping non-stop laughter. The crowd in the theater was going wild. This movie doesn’t have any gang banging or drug dealing. We’re getting out of the hood and into The Wood.

The movie is built around Diggs, Epps, and Jones as three kids growing up and the evolution of their male/female relationships. Narrated by Epps as Big Mike, we hear the story of what has shaped them as men and what has cemented their friendship. The movie is laid out before us based on Diggs’ upcoming marriage. The three naturally get nostalgic and reminisce about life as boys in The Wood. Growing up in The Wood is like growing up anywhere else, and life is sometimes hard, but these guys put it all into perspective. This is a comedy that everyone will enjoy.

+ jonathan lin