ON THE ROAD PART 2:
The Madness of the Round Table with members of 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, THE AGONY SCENE, STILL REMAINS AND TRIVIUM
Interview by Ray Van Horn, Jr. - March 2005
For this section, I chose a couple of questions I like to ask many bands plus a few off-the-cuff queries fired off to all four bands on Roadrunnerís Road Rage Tour. If you havenít read Part 1 (and shame on you if you havenít), the players here are Shane Clark and Justin Hegberg of 3 Inches of Blood, Chris Emmons and Steven Kaye of The Agony Scene, Jordan Whelan and Mike Church of Still Remains and Corey Beaulieu of Trivium. The fun of a round-table format is that chaos theory prevails. What follows is a highly entertaining lightning round that not even the booming sound checks behind us could drown out.
(laughs) Okay, this is what I call The Great Big Plug section. I mean, I know
"Advance and Vanquish" for 3 Inches of Blood has been out a little bit, but the rest of you guys have albums still about to come out (as of this writing, Triviumís
"Ascendancy" is now officially on the market). Letís hypothetically say weíre standing in a record store and youíve got a group of people in front of you itching to buy something. In order to sway votes to your cause, plug your album.
Steven Kaye: Oh, shit!
Jordan Whelan: Oh Ö
Mike Church: Wow, man, thatís a good question!
Shane Clark: Uhh, hey guys, check this out! (laughs)
Justin Hagberg: I havenít been one to Ö Iím a pretty modest guy. Iím not one to personally know what to say when plugging my own stuff, but I was a fan of "Advance and Vanquish" before I was in the band, so Iíd probably tell them itís a fucking awesome album. They should buy it because when I first heard it I was totally blown away, so I would just tell them itís everything you want in a metal album, really. I mean, I love heavy metal, so yeah. Itís a well-educated metal album.
Shane Clark: Yeah, I wouldnít put myself in that situation. Iím sorry, I donít mean to ruin the question Ö
RoughEdge.com: Nah, donít worry about it.
Shane Clark: Because itís more like word-of-mouth is where I get a lot of my metal, not to be a goof or anything.
RoughEdge.com: No, itís a valid point. However you want to answer is cool. Corey?
Corey Beaulieu: Iíd probably say if you want a really strong metal album that rips your face off Ö if you like guitar solos, hit stuff, melodic stuff Ö itís got every style of metal in it and itís a really strong album. No matter if you listen to death metal or thrash metal or prog metal, thereís things in there that can grab every person that listens to any style of metal. So if anyone listens to metal and likes good music, then "Ascendancy" is definitely an album to check out.
RoughEdge.com: Cool. How about for Still Remainsí "Of Love and Lunacy"?
Jordan Whelan: Itís so hard to toot your own horn Ö
Mike Church: Right.
Jordan Whelan: But at the same time, Iíd say we go to depths that a lot of metalcore bands donít go to, like our keyboards Ö I think what really stands us out, and I know it sounds kind of clichť, you know, from other bands with keyboards, but I donít think any band goes into any depth that we go into with it. I honestly think it reaches all ends of everything. It goes from the fast metal riffs, the heaviest breakdowns you can imagine and some of the most beautiful, melodic singing parts like we were saying earlier, three part harmonies. Even when people donít like heavy music, they tell us they like our music, just because it hits a certain listenability that Ö itís not too heavy all the time, itís not too soft all the time Ö
Jordan Whelan: So thatís one of the main reasons I enjoy the music that we play, because it touches a lot of styles of music, a lot of different levels of rock and roll. But it all relates to each other, you know what I mean?
RoughEdge.com: Yeah, thatís cool. Chris or Steve? How about The Agony Sceneís "The Darkest Red"?
Chris Emmons: Itís generally a catch-all as far as heavy music. You donít have to be into one kind of heavy music; itís sort of the kind of shit that youíd like if you just like heavy music period, you know? Itís really something to kick someoneís ass to, is basically what Iíd call it. If thatís the kind of shit youíre looking for, then pick it up! (laughs)
Steven Kaye: Itís catchy!
RoughEdge.com: Itís a way to get yourself amped up in the morning.
Steven Kaye: Yeah!
Chris Emmons: Yeah, pretty much. It does work for that.
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Now guys, this year marks the 25th Anniversary of Roadrunner Records and I used to get much of the old Roadrunner catalog back in the day like King Diamond Ö
Shane Clark: Oh yeah, SepulturaÖ
RoughEdge.com: Right. Whiplash, Znowhite, all those bands. You four bands together on this tour, plus your other labelmates represent the new breed for Roadrunner. What responsibility, if any, do you feel as ambassadors of not only your label, but of the metal scene right now?
Shane Clark: Itís not so much of a responsibility, itís more like creating music that we love and having a chance to bring it to other people.
Justin Hegberg: Itís just being who we are, you know?
Shane Clark: Yeah, and Roadrunner having us is just another great thing that can happen for us as a band in getting the music to the people, which is job number one, right?
Justin Hegberg: Right.
Shane Clark: But it feels good doing our thing and having a chance to do it for a lot of people. The other bands on this tour are awesome too, theyíre doing their own thing and Ö Justin, you want to help me out here?
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, my opinion about this band being on Roadrunner is that it is a great opportunity because Iíve been in past bands where itís been all DIY, you know? Youíre planning shows and youíre arranging tours, and thereís a lot of time consumed into that. With being on this label youíve got a golden opportunity to just focus on your live show and itís nice thereís people helping you out and setting you up with shows. But I think the main priority is to do music that you want to do. Everyone in 3 Inches of Blood likes playing this music and weíre going to continue writing music that we all like to play, you know? We hope weíre making other people happy as weíre making ourselves happy as well. Weíre just having a fun time on the road.
Shane Clark: I concur!
Chris Emmons: I mean, when I was in middle school and high school, Roadrunner bands were basically it for me, you know, like Sepultura, Beneath the Remains, Arise, Chaos A.D., all these albums were on Roadrunner and were basically all that I was listening to at that point, so yeah, it means a lot.
Steven Kaye: I was into punk rock when I was younger. I mean, I love Sepultura, so yeah, I guess I feel it a little bit. This man (Chris) knows it more than I do.
RoughEdge.com: Ahh, punk like Dead Kennedys, DRI Ö
Steven Kaye: Oh yeah!
RoughEdge.com: Ramones, GBH, Exploited.
Steven Kaye: TSOL?
RoughEdge.com: TSOL, definitely.
Steven Kaye: Love it!
RoughEdge.com: Gang Green Ö
Steven Kaye: Yes!
RoughEdge.com: So incredible.
Steven Kaye: Absolutely!
Corey Beaulieu: Everyone on this tour is ecstatic to be part of the Roadrunner family that has a great history, a lot of great influential bands that Ö they know how to pick them! A lot of their bands are some of the biggest bands on the scene and I think thatís been our goal since day one, was to be the biggest metal band in the world.
RoughEdge.com: Right on.
Corey Beaulieu: And Roadrunner had that bad rep for a little while with the whole nu-metal pump and stuff like that, but we just want to be part of the comeback that proves Roadrunner releases high quality good metal albums, and itís great to be leaders of the pack for them to show that Roadrunnerís the top label in the game for metal and everything like that.
RoughEdge.com: Yeah, they are today what Megaforce was back in the eighties, you know, just putting out the best of the best.
Corey Beaulieu: Yeah, no doubt.
RoughEdge.com: All right, this is my favorite topic I like to discuss with bands: road breakdowns.
Jordan Whelan: As far as like Ö
Mike Church: Breakdowns mechanically or personally?
Chris Emmons: Mental or vans? (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Vans! (laughs)
Steven Kaye: Both! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Mechanical failures on the road!
Mike Church: Oh, mechanically! (laughs) Okay, I gotcha!
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) No, Iím not going there! Mechanically speaking. (laughs) It happens to everybody Ö
Shane Clark: Oh yeah, totally.
RoughEdge.com: To me, itís an underappreciated thing that fans donít necessarily know about; they donít have any appreciation for what it takes to get from one venue to another. So do any of you have any breakdown stories youíd like to share?
Mike Church: Yesterday, I was bawling my eyes out for eight hours! Just kidding! (laughs)
Mike Church: Actually, before we left Ö How many days into the tour was it as far as Ö It was a couple of days into the tour and we suddenly realized we had a huge gash in one of our tires. We brought it to a place and he put a pen into the gash in the tire and the pen went in a quarter of the way! (laughs) And he was like, ďMaybe you should get that fixed!Ē
RoughEdge.com: Maybe! (laughs)
Mike Church (to Jordan): Have you guys broken down on tour before since Iím the new guy? Iím trying to imagine Ö
Jordan Whelan: Oh! One time when we just got home from a weekend Ö this was like two-and-a-half years ago when we were half a year into the existence of the band Ö weíre driving from the town of Kalamazoo, which is about 45 minutes away from Grand Rapids where weíre from. Weíre driving this old í86 Ford, rusted to heck and barely staying alive and barely staying together, you know?
Jordan Whelan: And weíre about two miles away from our bass playerís house where we just dropped him off at, and our complete bottom axle fell off!
Mike Church: (laughs)
Jordan Whelan: And like, Steve, our old guitar player had no idea what happened, you know? We thought the whole engine fell out or something, we had no idea!
Mike Church: (laughs)
Jordan Whelan: That was probably the most intense moment ever! We were just about to get on the highway, weíre going about 40 miles an hour and all of a sudden itís the loudest scraping noise you can imagine!
RoughEdge.com: Oh, man, thatís nuts!
Jordan Whelan: Weíve been fortunate, though. We havenít had anything too intense like having a tire blow out while on the road or anything like that, so weíve been pretty fortunate. Plus Iím paranoid about all that stuff, so we just make sure weíve got transmission plus the oil change, you know, make sure the tires are okay, so that helps.
RoughEdge.com: What about you guys, Chris?
Chris Emmons: On the way home from the last tour we hit a patch of ice and did a complete 360 and we went on the side of the road with the trailer and the van Ö
RoughEdge.com: Whoa! (laughs)
Chris Emmons: The whole fucking thing did a 360, so that bent our axle a little bit, which had one of the wheels turned a little sideways Ö
Steven Kaye: Oh, man, yeah Ö
Chris Emmons: So we were driving home, it was snowing, and everythingís white, I couldnít see anything.
Steven Kaye: About 45 minutes from home!
Chris Emmons: You couldnít see anything and I guess we had a blowout and I didnít know it.
Chris Emmons: (laughs) We were driving on a rim!
Chris Emmons: And it melted down half the rim Ö
Steven Kaye: Half the rim was gone by the time we Ö
Chris Emmons: We pulled over for a toll and it was like, KKKKKKKKKKKKKK! this horrible noise Ö
Steven Kaye: We didnít even hear it, man!
Chris Emmons: And then the highway patrol pulls up and says ďYou know, you canít drive like that!Ē Weíre like, ďYeah, weíre aware of that!Ē (laughs)
Steven Kaye: (laughs)
Chris Emmons: We didnít know Ö there was a white cowlick, you look behind you in the mirror, the trailerís white, you canít see anything, and you couldnít hear it! Nobody even woke up!
Steven Kaye: Weíve got a big fucking van!
Chris Emmons: I got to ride home with a tow truck driver for like an hour and he was telling me all about life.
Steven Kaye: (laughs)
Chris Emmons: Whatís worth it and whatís not.
RoughEdge.com: Nice, and the watch goes tick, tick, tick, tick, tick Ö
Chris Emmons: Yeah, pretty much.
Steven Kaye: I think thatís the only serious Ö
Chris Emmons: Before you were in the band, the only thing was overheating here and there, like in California in the summer itís so hot that you have to Ö well, you know.
RoughEdge.com: Shane or Justin?
Shane Clark: Well, weíve had a bunch. Weíve had cooling problems in our van, but thatís something that we all expect to happen all the time, so when it does happen, youíve just got to deal with it and have a Ö you just make light of the situation and joke around, get some pot, just hang out until the vanís fixed. You know, just goof around, go get something to eat. Iíve heard of bands just losing it and wanting to quit going on, you know. Youíve got to use all of your money to fix the van, but itís no big deal because hopefully youíll sell some shirts that night!
Justin Hegberg: Yeah! Hopefully you play enough shows prior to accidents you have Ö
Shane Clark: Yeah, because we really enjoy living on the road and thatís just one of the things that come along with the whole deal.
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, I could tell you something thatís not Ö well, itís 3 Inches of Blood related just because it happened to me when I was on the road a couple of years ago with another band. We were on the I-5 going from San Francisco to LA and in Buttfucknowhere Ö
Justin Hegberg: Our back tire and axle comes off our van, shoots across the highway into oncoming traffic going the other way! The tire flies into someoneís windshield heading the other way!
Justin Hegberg: We skid in the van Ö thereís like sparks and fire behind our van and weíre passing a semi at the same time, right? So weíre just all over the place! So we get to the grass and weíre in a place like Los Banos, which we ended up staying at for a week while we were waiting for our van to get fixed, but when we pulled to the side there was about a hundred yards of fire! It looked like Back to the Future when the car goes back in time, thereís the trail of fire.
Justin Hegberg: Thatís what happened to us on the side of the road, you know, melted tire Ö Weíre putting the fire out Ö Iím dumping Coke and water and all this stuff all over the fire, anything weíve got in the van there. Speeding cars are going by, it was just insane! It cost a couple grand and we were in Los Banos for almost a week and it was a fucking brutal time, and we ended up having to cancel a few shows but regardless, we managed.
Shane Clark: You made it out alive!
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, we made it out alive. So thereís a little story there.
RoughEdge.com: Wow, thatís a crazy story!
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, it was a story and I wouldnít say it was little!
RoughEdge.com: No! (laughs)
Shane Clark: (makes snoring noises)
Justin Hegberg: Thanks, Shane!
Shane Clark: Sorry about that, Justin! I didnít mean to burn you there, man!
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Corey, anything to report in the way of breakdowns?
Corey Beaulieu: Yeah, we just had that happen to us the other day for the first time! We were in the what, I think fourth show of the tour, we were in Grand Rapids, Michigan and right when we got there, right outside the city maybe ten minutes away we stopped at a gas station and as soon as we turned the van on, it started making this weird noise and stuff, like the belts being funny, and stuff like that. So we went to the venue and played the show, then the next day we found a garage to bring it to and we told him what the problem was and he was like, ďOh, youíre going to need a new alternator and oil change,Ē like, two hours of work. So we went out and got something to eat, you know, we figured kill two hours, we wonít be late. We found out there was all sorts of problems that was going to take a day or two to fix!
RoughEdge.com: Oh, man!
Corey Beaulieu: So we were like, ďShit, weíre going to miss the next two days!Ē since we couldnít drive with it because there was at least four or five problems and four or five major things had to get fixed. So luckily Still Remains, that was their hometown, they had a friend in a band with a van and they let us borrow his van to go to the show in Illinois. We figured our van would be done Ö they said it was going to be done by the time we got back from the show that day so we could make it to the next one and everything would be cool. We got back, the parts company sent him the wrong parts for the van, so we had to wait an extra day.
RoughEdge.com: Oh, shit! (laughs)
Corey Beaulieu: So we actually missed one show on the tour in Cleveland and then we had to drive from Grand Rapids to New York the next day. The van didnít get done until around noon and itís about a twelve hour drive, so weíre figuring weíre not making that show and we were really bummed out because itís the biggest show on the whole tour because all the label people are out, the 25th anniversary thing, itíd be a good show for the tour. So we end up telling them weíre not going to make it, weíre not going to get there until at least 1:00 in the morning, so they ended up Ö we drove to Cleveland and they flew us to the show! So the band flew, we got there 20 minutes before we had to play! We had to rent equipment, borrow equipment Ö
Corey Beaulieu: And a couple of our tour guys made the long haul of driving the van and the trailer all the way to New York!
Corey Beaulieu: So that was our little couple day fiasco trying to get things going!
RoughEdge.com: Wow, man!
Corey Beaulieu: But everythingís all set, we got everything fixed and weíre rolling strong again! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Right on, man. As far as coping with the road, since this tour is called Road Rage, does beer, wine, whiskey or none of the above do it for you guys?
Shane Clark: Um, mix wine with beer, uh, thereís some limerick you could say Ö (laughs)
Shane Clark: No, everything but the wine. Beer, weed and whiskeyís an excellent combo! Even just whiskey by itself.
Justin Hegberg: I wouldnít say no to any of those, really.
Shane Clark: Iíll drink red wine.
Justin Hegberg: Yeah.
Shane Clark: Even though your mouth gets all purple.
Justin Hegberg: You could get grape ... But yeah, beer seems to be pretty much a daily ritual for us.
Shane Clark: Oh! You know what? I think I mixed beer with wine in Colorado Springs and got kicked off Metal Churchís bus!
Shane Clark: I barfed twice at least. Not a very good combo, a little bit of crazy-used combo! What do you think, Justin?
RoughEdge.com: You mustíve had Cold Duck Ö ugh!
Justin Hegberg: I concur. You were Ö I remember that night. That was awesome.
Shane Clark: It was a fun time up until a point.
RoughEdge.com: Sounds like a train wreck.
Shane Clark: Yeah.
Corey Beaulieu: Beer and whiskey definitely is a daily drink. I never drink wine, though, but definitely drinking beer and whiskey is definitely the evening drink.
RoughEdge.com: The antidote.
Corey Beaulieu: Yes!
Chris Emmons: Whiskey, if possible.
Steven Kaye: I donít really drink that much.
Chris Emmons: It all works. Pretty much most of us will partake in any of it, but whiskey if possible.
Steven Kaye: I think whiskeyís probably a definite for this band.
Chris Emmons: You actually nailed it, thatís our choice. Any kind.
Steven Kaye: Any whiskey will do!
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Well, Iím a drummer and a shitty one at that Ö
Mike Chruch/Jordan Whelan: (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: But I just got my wife a Jasmine acoustic guitar for her birthday. Do you guys still have the first guitars you played and if so, what were they?
Justin Hegberg: Iíll start. My first acoustic guitar was a Samick acoustic and I actually gave it away to a really good friend of mine who went away to Europe. It was a going-away present. My first electric guitar was a Squire Strat that came out when Wayneís World came out, so it had an actual Wayneís World logo on the back of the guitar!
Justin Hegberg: It was made Ö it was like a promo for that movie.
RoughEdge.com: Wow, pretty cool.
Justin Hegberg: So thatíd be worth some money now, I donít know. So that was my first guitar and then I had a really shitty Fender Jaguar and then it was BC Rich for awhile, Ibanez and now Iím using LTDs. Theyíre fucking awesome guitars.
Shane Clark: My first acoustic is a Samick. I still have it. Itís been around the block a few times, it looks like a campfire guitar. But it still sounds awesome. I play it at least once every couple days still. My first electric guitar was a Peavey T-15, which was one of the first guitars made by CNC Machines, which make planes, armor, guns and shit, but anyway it had an amp built into the case and the first time I got electrocuted was, I took the amp out of the case, had it plugged in and picked it up, but it wasnít grounded and it flew me across the room with the guitar!
RoughEdge.com: Holy shit!
Justin Hegberg: Back to the Future!
Shane Clark: Back to the Future.
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) You guys have a theme going!
Shane Clark: So that was my first, then Ibanez, tons of Les Paul copies over the years. Iíve gone through lots of Gibsons. My main guitarís a Gibson SG but I also play LTDs too. So there you go.
Chris Emmons: Oh man, mine was a Strat copy. I still have it. Itís in pieces because I decided I wanted to practice working on guitars with it and I didnít get very far, so itís still in pieces in a bag!
Chris Emmons: But I have it!
Steven Kaye: Mine was also a Strat copy. I got it when I was in Europe. Actually, my uncle gave it to me when I was visiting them. I never really played on it that much but I donít have it anymore. I decided I was going to work on it and I fucked it all up, so itís gone now.
Corey Beaulieu: The original guitar I got was an Epiphone Les Paul and I never really liked it so I ended up selling it so I could get another guitar. So that guitar I got, which was an Ibanez, I still have it today. Thereís only one guitar Iíve ever gotten rid of in my life; every other guitar Iíve owned I still have.
Jordan Whelan: I started off playing bass and in this case, yes, I still have my bass. Itís a Fender Squire. I bought it off of my brother for like a hundred bucks. Piece of crap, itís a junky bass. My first guitar though was a Fender Stratocaster.
RoughEdge.com: Right on.
Jordan Whelan: And unfortunately I sold it because when I was what, 14? The only way for me to buy new gear was to save a hundred bucks and sell my old gear.
RoughEdge.com: Mmm hmm. I feel you, I had to sell my original kit back in college.
Mike Church/Jordan Whelan: Ugh!
RoughEdge.com: That was my life then, so be it. Itís all good now.
Jordan Whelan: I really wish Iíd kept it. I realize now what it really means, but yeah, itís gone! (laughs)
Mike Church: (laughs) My original electric was a Lotus. Have you ever heard of a Lotus? Itís like a starter guitar. Itís like the Fisher Price of guitars!
Mike Church: Or a Wal Mart guitar.
Jordan Whelan: (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Oh no, the Wal Mart guitar! (laughs)
Mike Church: And what happened was, I was in an old band driving down the highway and we had it strapped to the roof Ö
Jordan Whelan: This is hilarious.
Mike Church: With plastic bags because it was going to rain and thereís two bands crushed into this minivan Ö
Mike Church: Because our vehicle had broken down Ö
RoughEdge.com: A two-for-one question answer!
Mike Church: So needless to say there were a couple of clunking noises up top and you look back and thereís guitars flying across the highway!
RoughEdge.com: Shit! (laughs)
Mike Church: So I run and grab my guitar and the only thing cracked on it is the neck.
Mike Church: Yeah, the actual guitar itself was preserved, amazingly enough!
RoughEdge.com: Wow, man. You donít see that happen every day! Last question. Mosh pits: Skanking or traditional whirpool?
Shane Clark: I personally like the whirlpool.
Shane Clark: Because my first experience with that was when I was 13, I saw Slayer for "Seasons of the Abyss" Ö
RoughEdge.com: Nice, man.
Shane Clark: And that was easily the most insane pit Iíve seen to this day. I still havenít seen anything that crazy since, so that just brings back lots of memories. Thatís a real metal pit, you know? All the other dancingís cool too, but thatís my first initial memory I can relate to.
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, the whirlpool circle pit is my Ö if I had to choose one mosh it would be that, but Iím not going to say ďHey stop picking up change!Ē or whatever the dude wants to do.
Shane Clark: Do what you want.
Justin Hegberg: Yeah, they can do whatever the hell they want, man. Itís their sport; they can do whatever the hell they want.
Shane Clark: Get out your aggression in your own way.
Justin Hegberg: Yeah.
RoughEdge.com: As long as youíre tripping off the music.
Justin Hegberg: Thatís right.
Shane Clark: Yeah.
Corey Beaulieu: I like the old school style. I like circle pits and I like the regular moshing, pushing and just running around and stuff. I donít really like the kung-fu stuff, of course Ö
Corey Beaulieu: Itís kind of ridiculous, just kicking around and flailing your arms, doing cartwheels and stuff. Itís not really a slam. Weíre a metal band, so circle pits, or not even circle pits Ö we donít have to have a pit, we like it when people just bang their heads. Itís all good.
RoughEdge.com: Cool, man.
Chris Emmons: Itís hard to say. Whatever, as long as people Ö
Steven Kaye: Yeah, as long as theyíre moving, man!
Chris Emmons: Any movementís cool! Almost to the point even when fights are okay because that means they were moving before they got into a fight!
Steven Kaye: (laughs)
Chris Emmons: Itís better than the fuck-you horseshoe thing.
Steven Kaye: Which we hate!
Chris Emmons: Yeah, Iím down with any kind of movement.
Steven Kaye: Yeah, any movement is amazing!
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Guys, thanks a mil for all of your time, this has been real! Have a good show.
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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:10 -0400.