What´s the name of your band? JOE - Axemaster
How was the band formed? JOE - Originally, I put it together because I wanted to have a band that played my original material. Myself and drummer Brian Henderson (who appears on "Overture to Madness" but is no longer with the band) had been playing in a cover band together and he was into putting together an original project with me. Then we found vocalist Christopher Michael in an ad. When we were not able to find a bass player who fit, Chris took over bass duties. That 3 piece lineup was together for around 3 years and recorded our debut album on Azra Records.
Can you tell about your band? JOE - I started it back in 1985, I'm the only oringinal member still in the band and the only one who played on everything Axemaster's done. While the band was active in the 80's/early 90's we did 5 official releases, the ones we did with Azra International Records ("Blessing in the Skies" and "The Vision") really got us going in the international scene. In like 93 the band (unfortunately) changed its name and direction and was not totally active again until a few years ago (we did briefly start it up around 2006, but never played or put anything new out). But during the years the band was not together, the name stayed active because 2 European labels did 3 different re-releases of older material. Those were REALLY important because they both kept fans from forgetting about us and introduced us to new people who became fans. I started the band back up again with NO turning back a few years ago and got working on the new album. It took a long time to complete, but all the time and effort really paid off because I totally love the result of all the work!
Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band?
JOE - We are all from the Akron, Ohio area. I'm Joe Sims and I play lead guitar. Geoff McGraw does vocals and rhythm guitar, Jim Curtis plays bass, and Denny Archer is the drummer.
Geoff - Joe also did the production of the new album, so I guess that also makes him our Producer...ha ha ha
What was the ambitions of the band when you started? JOE - Both at the very beginning and when I brought Axemaster back a few years ago, my first and most important ambition was (and will continue to be) to write and put out the most kick ass metal we possibly can. Of course we also always also wanted to play as many cool shows as possible and make the project as big and well-known as we could. But that all starts with having great material!!!!
Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? JOE - The way I see it, the stuff from our new album "Overture to Madness" and the material we've written since then (as well as the older songs we do live) are basically a cross between non-speed thrash metal and doom metal. It has the quick crunchy/chunky guitars and double bass drum work that you find in thrash, but with the really dark sounding/feeling guitar riffs you find in doom. I'd also say there's a small element of just traditional metal that can be heard here and there. Overall, it's like if you took early Metallica and a little Slayer and mixed it with (mainly) Dio era Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell and some Candlemass. Then add in a hint of Iron Maiden and Savatage. A little of the band's oldest material (especially a couple songs from the album "Blessing in the Skies") has a different kind of sound, I think because I was still defining exactly what my main writing style was gonna be. But I see the thrash/doom mixture as being the basic style of pretty much everything we currently do.
Where was your first gig? JOE - Damn, it's tough to remember since the first shows were way back in 85. I think the first REAL gig the band did was outside on a flatbed truck in the middle of Main Street in downtown Ravenna (where I now live) for a festival the city was having. It wasn't a MUSIC festival, more like a carnival, which made it a little odd because even in the 80's you would VERY rarely ever see an original metal band playing at a city festival here (especially during the afternoon!).
Where was the latest gig?
JOE - We haven't played in a while because we wanted to take the time to totally concentrate on working on/finishing the album. This release is probably the most important one Axemaster has ever done because it's what's now defining us as a current band, so we wanted to put every bit of time and energy possible into it. We're playing a cool gig on April 18, but the last one we played was the Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse Festival in Chicago last spring with bands like Riot and Grim Reaper.
Geoff - Techincally by the time you have read this we will have started our new gigs, the 1st of which is a show with our label mates Power Theory, Wretch, and Sunless Sky. What a way to kick off the shows supporting our new album, by sharing the stage with 4 great bands all of whom are on the same label.
Who writes your songs?/ who writes the music who writes lyrics?
JOE - On the old stuff, I wrote probably 95% of both the music and lyrics. Like I wrote all of both on the last release of new stuff the band did before this new one ("5 Demons"). On "Overture", I wrote all the music and Geoff wrote all the words. But since the album, Geoff has been writing a little of the music as well.
Geoff - I really appreciated being able to write the lyrics for the album from scratch, when I joined there were a couple tunes that had vocals recorded, but Joe was into letting me create.
Who has the best sense of humor in the band?
JOE - I'd say it's our drummer Denny. He's funny as hell, always has good one-liners!
Geoff - That's not to say that everyone else is boring, put us all into a room and jokes will flow.
What's good/bad with the band?/What genre do you feel you are?
JOE - Most everything with the band is good! We are getting more attention from both the media and fans than Axemaster has ever had (even back in the 80's). And, not meaning to disrespect anyone I worked with before, this is by far the best lineup I've ever worked with in my over 35 years in music. It's like a dream, everyone is an excellent musician as well as being a great person. No egos, no drama, no bullshit, just total professionalism. I love being around everyone, I could be on the road with these guys for years and not get tired of being around them! I'd say at the moment the only bad thing is that it's gonna be a little while before we will be able to play in Europe.
Like I said before, I consider us to be thrash/doom metal.
Geoff - I don't think there's anything bad right now....well except that we need a billionaire philanthropist to fianance us so we can make music 100% of the time. If someone reading this is a billionaire philanthropist and would like to apply for the job we are accepting applications...ha ha ha
Why did you pick that particular style?/What are your songs about?
JOE - The first part is an easy one, I play what's BY FAR my favorite style of music overall. Especially at this point in my career, I have no interest in playing anything but the genre and style of metal I love. Even if I got an offer to play a different kind of music for more money and fame, I would turn it down in a heartbeat! I'll turn the second part over to Geoff.......
Geoff - The lyrical content on this album covers many subjects, various types of madness (both temporary and the slow fall into insanity), politics and society, fantasy, drug use/abuse, mythology, dreams, betrayal. I touch on a lot of subjects, sometimes combining ideas within the same song. I don't consider anything taboo, I even wrote a song from the point of view of a serial killer on this one.
Do you write your own material or mainly covers?
JOE - Nothing but our own stuff. Maybe at some point we may decide to do a re-make of something or maybe even play one cover song live, but never any more than that.
Geoff - I think it would be fun to do a cover or 2, but nothing that you would expect. I have some ideas for a few completely NON-metal songs that could be adapted...we'll have to see if that stuff ever fits into what we're doing.
Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? JOE - "Overture to Madness" is the 9th release Axemaster's done, too many to list here. If you're interested in checking out the different releases, you can see about them on our website at www.axemasterofficial.com
Do you have any clips on YouTube? JOE - There's a whole Axemaster channel on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/axemasterofficial . There you can find a large assortment of stuff; from the first official video from "Overture", to a vintage live cut of a tune from before we even recorded our first demo, and a ton of stuff in between!
How old are you?/What got you started in music?
JOE - Man, you gonna make me admit that shit? HAHAHA! Seriously, I'm 49. But the strange thing is, I feel better and stronger than I did in my 30's! I'm better able than I've ever been to kick some ass all over the world!!!!!
Ever since I was 7 or 8 and got my first hard rock/metal album (Kiss Alive 1), I've been addicted to heavier music. There was one kid in my neighborhood who played guitar and another who played drums, so I thought if I could play bass we could make a band and be like Kiss HAHAHAHA!!! So I ended up getting a bass, that's how I started out.
Geoff - I'm 43, so I can still call Joe "OLD"...just kidding. I have been perfoeming in one way or another ever since I can remember. As a kid I used to wander around with a little red and silver transistor radio, and the family got me involved in singing and performing very early. 3 years old was my very 1st on stage performance. My mother used to tell me that my 1st performance was imitating my dad snoring before I could walk.
At what age did you start playing?
JOE - I first started with the bass when I was around 11, then switched to guitar when I was like 13.
Geoff - My sister tried to teach me piano early on, which I never took to like I should have, my 1st electric guitar was given to me when I was 12, and I had a crappy no name classical acoustic for a bit before that..but it wasn't nearly as cool as the electric....even though the electric was still a knock off strat...lol
How old were you guys when you first stood on stage?
JOE - I hadn't been playing guitar long, the first time I played a gig was when I was 14. It was a birthday party at my grandparent's bar.
Geoff - Like I said before, my 1st on stage perfomance was when I was 3 years old. I recited The Night Before Christmas in it's entirety all alone on stage at a Christnas pagent, pretty good for a 3 year old.
What year was the band started? JOE - Originally I started the band in 85, then brought it back in late 2010.
Best/worst gig you've played?
JOE - The best one would probably be when I was in a band called Reign. This particular gig was the first time I ever played with a full pyro show (this was years before the tragedy with pyro at that Great White show). It was fucking awesome, unless you've actually played a show using those huge explosions and fire, you have no idea how cool it is, it's impossible to describe!
Worst one would probably when I was with the band Dream or Nightmare and we were one of the openers for Mushroomhead. We were screwed over from the very start by the club and it kept going downhill from there.
Geoff - Best show ever? I was playing in Cincinatti, the crowd was so into what we were doing that we sold out of tshirts before we finished our set and spent the rest of the evening signing them and getting to talk to the fans, it was great to have so many people who liked what we were doing.
Worst show - driving in the ice and snow in very unsafe conditions to a gig where because of the weather absolutely no one showed up...I actually mean NO ONE. it was just us, the sound guy and the bartender. Even the support bands pulled a no show. We still played.
What places will you be playing in in the imidate future?
JOE - :Like I said, on April 18th we'll be playing in Akron, Ohio with 3 other Pure Steel bands. We personally know a few of those guys so it should be a really good time.
Geoff - stay tuned to the website www.axemasterofficial.com and click of the events page to keep up with additions to the show schedule.
Witch band is the best you´ve seen?
JOE - The best SHOW I've ever seen was Kiss on their "Creatures of the Night" tour. The visual effects they used were totally unreal! The tightest band had to have been Queensryche back in the day. But the show that means the most to me is I got to see one of Dio's very last shows with Heaven and Hell. So happy that I got to see him one last time!
Geoff - Best show I ever saw was Heaven and Hell! Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, And Vinnie Appice just tearing it up. It was a life changing night for me. Add to it the openers of Machine Head and the Mighty Megadeth, I don't think that night will ever be topped.
Is it always the same songs live? JOE - For the moment, yes. But we will soon be adding more material to choose from for a set once we better know which songs from the album that fans most want to see us play live. Plus we'll be continuing to write new stuff and there are a couple older tunes I'd like to add.
Have you had any bigger tours from start to now? JOE - We haven't yet. Once the album gets around more that's one of the things we'll be trying to do, just have to see what the possibilities will be. We would really like to put together at least a mini-tour in Europe next spring and/or summer for sure. Hit at least on cool festival over there.
What are the plans for the rest of the year? JOE - To promote the album as much as possible and play as many cool shows as we can. We will also keep writing and work on getting things together for our next album. We're also planning to record 4 of our new tunes in the not too distant future. We want an example of the kind of stuff we've been writing since finishing the album to show people that our next one will be at least as good as "Overture", that we'll NEVER sit back and rest on what we've done in the past and will ALWAYS keep pushing and working to put out the best stuff we can!
How do you get psyched up for a gig?
JOE - I really don't need to get psyched up, I get PLENTY psyched by just standing on the stage in front of a crowd and hearing myself make my guitar sing loud as hell!!!! If I psyched myself up too much before, I'd probably end up being WAY too pumped up when I'd hit the stage! I usually do the opposite and try to mellow out and relax, warm up some, maybe go over in my head some things I need to remember (like if we added something new). I can be all mellow right before, but as soon as I walk out on stage, I'm instantly as psyched as I'd ever need to be!!!!
Geoff - I'm with Joe, I don't need to get excited. Just being able to play makes it exciting, I do try and warm up so I'm loose and able to do my best, but I don't need to artificially get pumped up that just comes anturally.
What are your goals with your music?
JOE - I have a lot of goals like to continue to improve as a guitarist and performer, and to keep writing new stuff that kicks some ass. To NEVER rest on what I've done in the past, always work to get better. I always try to enjoy and be proud of what I've accomplished, but at the same time never be completely satisfied, always push to improve myself and Axemaster. One specific goal now is to play some cool European festivals and do at least a mini tour over there. I really believe it will happen, it's just a matter of time!!!!
Geoff - Of course I want to keep getting better, and to give the world more and more music, but I dream of seeing Axemaster on the main stage of W.O.A, and with the music and lineup we have I can see it happening.
When did you decide to go all in for the music?
JOE - It wasn't that I made a decision one day to do it 100%, it kind of happened over time as I got to be a better guitarist, and being a musician got more and more in my blood. But I guess I knew it FOR SURE when I was 17 and had a possible chance to (believe it or not) play professional baseball. I was offered a contract from the Pittsburgh Pirates but was underage and was having some physical problems so my mom told them I wasn't in the position to sign anything at the time. When I found out about it, my first thought was that it was all good because I was more into doing music anyway, so I didn't pursue it any further. I guess that really showed that from then on I was all in for being a musician.
Geoff - I'm not sure when I decided I wanted to do everything with music I could. I have always been involved with music from a very young age, as I said before. it just seemed to be a natural progression. I don't think I ever made a concious decision, it's just what I want to do.
Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern?
JOE - Well, the main way I get inspiration from other music is when I hear an interesting idea for something like the use of a scale, a chord progression, an arrangement, something technical like that, and it sparks an idea from me of something I could try that's different than what that band did, but inspired by their idea. So I've been inspired by things I've heard in everything from from hardcore metal to classical. But since I listen to bands that do the same basic genre of metal we do 90% of the time, I'd say most of it does come from older bands.
Geoff - I draw inspiration from everwhere, usually something gives me an image in my head and then I try and put that image into sound. So it's not so much the riff or the arrangemnt.. or even the decade, but the image it creates in my head.
What are your sources of inspiration?
JOE - It's mainly an extreme true love of metal. It keeps me pushing to do everything I can for Axemaster, work as hard as possible in all aspects of music (from writing to promo) to get us known as much as I can. It's basically an addiction!!!!
Geoff - My taste in music is very eclectic, I listen to many many different types of artists. That being said I find inspiration in all kinds of sources, sometimes just your environment can be musical. Combine a semi truck idling and a motorcycle zipping by and the wind blowing and you have a song...music is all around you.
What's the first step when making a new song?
JOE - The way I usually do it is to mess around on the guitar and when I come up with something I like (usually a riff, but can also be just a note combination) I record it and try to think of ways I can expand on it. Then, unless it TOTALLY blows me away right from the start, I let it sit for a day or 2 then listen to it again. If I still like it at least as much as I did at first, I consider it to be a possible start for a song. Many other bands/musicians do it differently, but this is the way that best works for me.
Geoff - As I kind of said, for me an image or a feeling comes to my head, and I try to put that feeling or story or picture into a rhythm or pattern or sound...then I play it over and over and over again and try to expand on the sound until it takes form.... I need to get better at recording my ideas so I don't forget as many as I do.
How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums?
JOE - I take it you're meaning legal/paid downloads, because the answer for illegal ones would be pretty obvious, doing that TOTALLY SUCKS! For legal ones, I understand why a lot of people want to get music that way, but personally if I like an album enough to buy it I want the whole package. I'd feel like I was missing something if I just downloaded it. I do understand it more when it's one of the many albums that only has a couple cool songs on it with the rest being ordinary at best, and you only want to get and pay for the tunes you like. One of my main goals for this new album was to make all the songs be as kick ass as possible so people would be more into buying the CD because they consider ALL the songs to be worth getting.
Geoff - I have ranted about the illegal downloading of music from time to time, and I don't really want to spend too much time doing so here. I will just say this... If you want a band to succeed buy the album, illegal downloads don't just hurt the label. Despite all the rationalizations out there, in the end the album of music is a bands' only true product if it doesn't sell then the band doesn't succeed. Sure there are exceptions to the rule, but the majority of bands live or die by this rule.
In the end it should be up to the artist to sell or give away their music, as it should be for anyone. Is it ok to take someone elses brand new car design without asking because you want to take it for a test drive. Or should you have permission, either by paying for it or obtaining permission. Anything else is a cop out.
What would be your dreams for the band?
JOE - I guess the ultimate "dream" for most musicians, which would obviously be GREAT in our case as well, would be to have a huge top selling album and a big time headlining world tour. But I really don't think about things like that. I mainly try to appreciate the success we've had (because when I first started out, the point we're at now was just a dream!), and work hard toward shorter term goals that are currently within reach. I do totally believe that many more good things will happen for this band, it's definitely headed in a direction to where it's realistic that more and more dreams could easily come true for us. But even if we end up staying at this level of success, it's surely not a bad place to be!!!!!!
Geoff - I would like to simply be able to make music my 100% career, leaving my day job behind in order to make music all the time is every musicians dream.
Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to?
JOE - 99% of the time I listen to metal, and most of the time it's a similiar genre to what we play. Other than that it would mainly be a little hard rock. I listen to so many bands I can't hope to list even half of them. The ones I listen to the most are probably Chastain, Dio era Black Sabbath, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and some old Kiss. One album I've been really into for the past year is "Formation of Damnation" by Testiment.
Geoff - I listen to vast quantities of music, everything from classical to extreme metal genres. My collection of music includes Roxxette and the Corrs as well as Iron Maiden and Fleshcrawl. Currently 2 metal bands I have really gotten into include Necropsya from Brazil, and Headbore from Austrailia, and you will always find Nevermore, Sanctuary, Megadeth, and Dio fronted Sabbath on my player
What do you hold most dear?
JOE - One would be the relationship I have with my wife Mary. Especially when the deadline to have the album done was getting near, I was spending 12 to 16 hours a day working in my studio and she never once complained. Never gives me a problem with anything I do with the band, no matter how long it takes or how much money it is. Not many ladies would be as cool about things as she is!!! Also, the brotherhood I have with the guys in the band is really important to me. Never been in a band where all the members were such kick ass people as the guys I work with in Axemaster. Another thing would be the memories of my mom, Cherie. I probably wouldn't be in music right now if it wasn't for her constant help and support through the years, from the time I started playing up till when she passed.
Geoff - honestly ...music, everything always comes back to it. It's somewhat cliche, but music has been my support. It is always there, even when I thought nothing else was.
What would be your greatest fears for the future?
JOE - Hmmm, maybe to die and go to heaven and find out God's a country music fan and plays it 24 hours a day. Seriously, it would probably be that (hopefully) MANY years from now my health will get bad to the point to where I couldn't play music anymore.
Geoff - Actually my greatest fear has always been suffering an injury that would prevent me from actively making music, for instance losing my hearing completely. As a matter of fact years ago I broke the fingers on my left hand playing football, after they healed I couldn't bend them right for 6 months and I was afraid that I would not be able to play guitar. That experience changed how I approach activities that might cause me that kind of injury.
When you are on stage, what do you fear most then?
JOE - When you're onstage it's suicide for the show to FEAR anything. If a performer has any fear at all it shows to the crowd, and fans want to see a confident band that's having a good time onstage. Especially if they don't know the band, fear is an instant major negative to them and if there are any haters in the crowd, they can swoop down like vultures when they sense that. Of course there are things like an amp blowing or something stupid like tripping and falling onstage that you hope will never happen, but you can't let it go any further than that. When you play enough shows you're going to have bad things happen from time to time. It happens to EVERYONE, including the biggest bands in the world. It's important to remember that a show isn't life or death, when bad things happen you move on the best way possible and try to forget about it.
Geoff - As long as I have prepared once I am onstage I don't fear anything, there is no point in it. Trust in your preparation and your bandmates and everything will be fine, if something unexpected happens you just deal with it and move through it. Fear is just lack of preparation.
Have you been part of any other projects or bands?
JOE - Yeah, a couple. The best known one is probably a band called Reign that I was in during the mid/later 90's along with our drummer Denny Archer. Actually, last year, Divebomb Records re-released the CD I did with them back then. Other projects I did releases with were The Awakening, Dream or Nightmare, and Inner Terror.
Geoff - Yes, I have been part of a few projects. Nothing as noteworthy as Axemaster, so I like to think of all of them as stepping stones that brought me here
What do you work with outside of the band and the music? JOE - I'm REALLY lucky to where right now I just do music and can totally concentrate on only that. It's a damned good thing I had the time because I spent A TON of hours producing the album which I obviously wouldn't have been able to do if I was also doing something else. If I didn't have that kind of time to devote to it, the album's quality would've greatly suffered or it would have taken another couple years to finish!!!!
What would you do if there was no music?
JOE - Some people might think I'm nuts for this, but if it wasn't for music, my dream would be to be an Indy car driver. Only problem is, I don't think they make indy cars for a guy who's over 6 feet tall and around 250 pounds!!!!
Geoff - Probably write a novel or act. Starngely enough all of my career decisions have been based around music, I was even a radio air personality for a while until radio automation replaced me a few times...ha ha ha. Music has been the center of my life for so long I would be very lost without it.
How important are your fans?
JOE - Our fans mean everything to us! NO band has any chance of doing anything cool without the support of fans, I think too many musicians loose sight of that. No matter how busy I am or will ever become I take the time to do everything I can to show all the fans how very important they are to me. The fans have always really supported me and my bands over the years, so I surely want to show my support for them! It's a cliche, but it's totally true that I'm a fan too and I know how cool it is when a band takes the time to acknowledge you. I consider it a total honor that fans seek me out to talk to, sign autographs, things like that. I don't take that lightly and will always feel that way no matter how successful I ever become!!!!!
Geoff - I myself am a fan first, and a musician second. Fans are what keeps the entertainment industry alive, without fans bands have nothing. What would it be like to create something and have no one to appreciate it? Frankly, I believe it would be hell! I want to be able to share my creations, and I want others to share their creations with me. How amazing is that?! We can create a never ending circle, we can share, be inspired by others and share again! To me that is the best form of expression and it is also incredibly intimate. So are fans important?.....HELL YES! I can't properly express how important they are.
What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? Geoff- I think the most memorable thing a fan has done thus far would be making me a "guitar pick holder". It's a handmade ceramic dish of sorts, with the logo from my band at the time as a handle, It's the perfect size to hold around 20 guitar picks. I was so touched by the gesture, and despite the fact that the band is no more I still use it.
How often do you rehearse?
JOE - It depends on what's happening and what we have coming up, but usually once a week. I'll tell you what, we get more accomplished in one rehersal than most other bands I've been in got done in 3 or more!
Geoff - The band itself gathers once a week, but honestly we all work more than that at home. It's kind of hard to quantify how many hours that really totals up to.
Where do you rehearse?
JOE - Our drummer Denny has a rehearsal spot at his house that we practice in.
Geoff - And again....home
Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment?
JOE - One is my favorite tune from the new album called "Epic". Not only do I dig the song, but I'm more proud of my songwriting in that one than any other tune I ever wrote. The other would be a brand new song called "10,000 Pound Hammer". It just has an absolutely killer feel that I totally love.
Geoff - I have spent time calling all of the songs on our new album my favorite at one time or another, currently I am digging "Chylde" and "Sinister". Although like Joe one of the brand new songs we haven't even recorded yet is really got me going, and it's called "Shallow Grave".
What do you feel is the best live band you've seen?
JOE - Queensryche was the tightest, Kiss always had amazing stage props and effects, but I would say the best overall is Iron Maiden because they're not only tight, but always get into the show like they're having the time of their life playing. When a band's obviously having a great time onstage, that translates to me as a fan and I have a good time watching it!
Geoff - I would go with Heaven And Hell, just a mind blowing concert.
What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing?
JOE - For me it was always because of a pure love of metal and the culture around it (the scene and the fans). The music flows through my veins, it's an addiction, I have no choice in the matter hahahaha! Seriously, I thought about giving it up a couple times in the 90's, and just the thought of quitting made me so depressed that there was no way I could do it!!!!
Geoff - Creating music is what I need to do. Sure it's great to have any level of success and fame, those things help to bring my music to more people who appreciate it. Again going back to the drive to share creativity with others, I love that, I will always want to continue doing that. If I can ever make a living at it by itself, then that is a beautiful bonus! Fame and success are really steps toward the greater goal, which is sharing the music with as many other like minded souls as possible.
Do you have any webpages?
JOE - Oh yeah, we're all over the internet! You can find us at....
Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? JOE - I don't know if this is a pearl of wisdom, it's really pretty simple to say but a lot harder to do, to me the most important things are to work your ass off and never give up. Another very important thing is to ALWAYS act like a professional, if a band gets a reputation through the scene of being hard to deal with, unreliable, anything like that, it's tough to get anywhere because it makes people not want to take a chance on you; and once that reputation is out there, it's awfully hard to change
Describe your show, visually and musically JOE - To have a good show, it has to be a good combination of the visual performane and the music. If the music's tight but the musicians stand around with no energy, it's boring; and if you put on a great performance but the music sounds messed up, people don't want to listen. So it's important to us that we have both going on, the music be tight and the band puts on a show. Gotta have energy and show that we're having a good time giving the fans a show. The main goal is to make our show be one that fans enjoy both watching and listening to. From the feedback we've gotten we've done a good job on both aspects!!!
How do you view the music industy of today?
JOE - It's definitely not in great shape. Pretty much everyone's heard how big of a problem illegal downloading has been and how much it's hurt the music industry. Companies can't afford to take a chance on investing in a band that isn't as much of a sure thing, and they won't give any (or not as much) money up front to bands that aren't really big for things like recording and touring since record sales have dropped so much that companies can't be as sure as they used to be that they will be paid back through the band's royalties. The things that really haven't changed are how cut-throat the business can be and how many labels rip bands off. It's a tough business all the way around. To me, honestly, unless you TOTALLY love writing, playing, and performing music, it's probably not worth getting into!!!
Geoff - People forget that the music industry is really just you and me. Whether or not there are big labels or just artists self financing their own projects, it still all boils down to the people making and buying the music. Don't blame everything on the labels, instead if folks will support the bands they like then the music industry will revive. Don't download an album and say "Oh the label won't pay the artist anyway", buy the album directly from the band and instead say "I like you guys so much I am willing to help you make more music"
What advice would you like to give other bands? Geoff - It sounds cliche but....No one owes you anything, You however owe whatever fans you have everything. They are the ones who by buying your album, or paying to see your show have provided for whatever level of success you have. Treat them with respect, and never abuse their belief in you by failing to live up to their expectations. This doesn't mean compromising your artistic integrity, it does mean following the golden rule.
What are the biggest obstacles for a band? JOE - Many bands hurt themselves by some of the members having attitude problems or lacking professionalism, so a major obstacle a band needs to avoid is doing anything to hurt their own cause!!! Other things would be there are so many great bands out there that there is a lot of competition. And like I said before, the record business isn't in very good shape and many places/companies don't have the money to take a chance on a little known or unknown band like they did say 20 or 30 years ago. Another thing is that it's normally always difficult to have the money you need and be able to arrange work schedules with especially things like touring.
What is best/worst with playing the clubs? JOE - The best thing to me is that you usually get the chance to interact with the fans. It's cool to have that kind of personal atmosphere. The worst, other than that in most clubs you obviously aren't able to play in front of nearly as many people, is that you never know if the place is run professionally or not and some do try to rip bands off. Also, you never know if their soundman and sound equipment are decent, so you have no idea what your sound will be. I've seen bands have a totally shitty sound at a great looking club because the soundman either didn't know what he was doing or didn't care!
Tell us about upcomming gigs and why we should be at them? Geoff - It's hard to tell what gigs will be in the near future by the time you read this. However I promise you this, we will make your head bang, your heart pound and your fist pump. Come along on this ride with us, I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
How would you describe your sound in one sentence JOE - The dark sounding riffing of doom metal combined with the energy and aggression of non-speed thrash with a hint of traditional metal thrown in.
What was one of the most quarrelsome times for you in the band? JOE - Around 10 years ago I was in a different band where all the members seemed like they couldn't live without drama and bullshit. It was one thing after another, got to the point to where a lot of the time I dreaded just going to practice because I knew there was a good chance that shit would go down. Just WAY too much stress, getting out of it was one of the best things I ever did. Funny thing was I started the band, came up with the band name, and ended up quitting!!!!!
Whats your Pre-show ritual?
JOE - Well, I don't really have an actual "ritual". But I normally just try to relax (which sometimes isn't possible if weird things happen at the last minute), maybe check to make sure everything's in order and go over some mental notes, and play a little to warm up.
Geoff - I warm up my voice and fingers, drink some gatorade to keep hydrated, and put super glue in Joes underwear. (just kidding about that last one)
Do you have anything to add?
JOE - Hope all will check out "Overture to Madness"! You can see the first video from the album (for the tune "Sanity's Requiem") on our website and YouTube channel, a great way to give you a taste of what the album's like. Feel free to contact us anytime, we always love to hear from fans. And to the fans, THANK YOU, you kick some ass!!!!!
Geoff- I look forward to sharing music with everyone, and hope that you will help us continue to make more through your support. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for letting me share my dreams.