Doc welcomes Killswitch Engage vocalist, Jesse Leach, to the show and they talk about Jesse coming up in the Rhode Island punk and grind scene with his first bands Corrin and Nothing Stays Gold, how Killswitch Engage came together as side project, what he thinks made Killswitch special and stand out from the pack, breaking through with Alive or Just Breathing, why he quit the band shortly after starting to tour for the album, why he decided to get back on the horse with a new band, Seemless, how struggling to make a living and toiling in the underground scene evolved his mindset, reconnecting with Adam D for the band, Times of Grace, what it was like rejoining Killswitch, getting vocal surgery, and his new hardcore punk band, The Weapon.
This episode features the songs “Sorcerer” by The Periwinkle Massacre and “Pink Tax” by The Weapon.
Doc welcomes Nora vocalist, owner and head of Good Fight Entertainment, Carl Severson, to the show and they talk about how Carl first discovered the hardcore scene, befriending NJHC band, Endeavor, who became the first release for Ferret Records, his time at Roadrunner Records, how the band Nora started, the trial and error process of developing an up-and-coming label, discovering Killswitch Engage, why he sold Ferret Records, Nora’s artistic impact over the years, and branching out into artist management, sports as well as a new label with Good Fight Entertainment.
This episode features the songs “Lex Talionis” by The Human Extinction and “The Goddamn Champion” by Nora.
For those who don’t know, Hatebreed frontman and Jasta Show host Jamey Jasta has a killer solo band called Jasta. The band just released a brand new EP entitled The Lost Chapters on March 31st. Doc co-wrote the song “Chasing Demons” which also features Howard Jones of Devil You Know and Killswitch Engage fame on guest vocals.
Catch Jasta on Tour with Anthrax and Killswitch Engage and you can listen and purchase The Lost ChaptersHERE.
Doc vents about the holiday blues, and speaks with Century Media A&R guy, Mike Gitter, about his start as a journalist in the early punk and hardcore scene, his time in the major label world at Atlantic records, the process of making records with bands, his legacy at Roadrunner Records and working with bands like Killswitch Engage, Glassjaw, and Ill Nino, and reveals what he looks for in upcoming bands.
This episode features the song “Calculating Fate” from Death I Am and a live version of “Numbered Days” from KiIlswitch Engage.
“This is the end!” This is the emphatic, anthemic line in the God Forbid opening track from the album IV: Constitution of Treason, which was released during the peak of our powers in 2005. In fact, it wasn’t the end. The end came much later. At the time, it felt like we were invincible, destined for heavy metal immortality. And we were in the lower tier of the NWOAHM (or Metalcore or whatever you want to call it) in all metrics for determining the success or popularity of bands. If you look at album, ticket, and merchandise sales, Myspace friends, Youtube views, Facebook “likes”, or the ever mystical buzz on the street, God Forbid was probably never half as big as any of the rest of the Big 4 of Quitters (I should trade mark this) including Bleeding Through, Shadows Fall, and now Chimaira. Knowing that, even we felt invincible. That’s how intoxicating achieving any discernible success with your art can be. Shadows Fall and Chimaira hanging it up in the last couple weeks have brought an outpouring of sadness, shock and disappointment from fans. It seems like the end of an era, and maybe it is.
Hearing that these great bands are moving on makes me sad and disappointed, but not shocked. The truth is that amongst peers a good majority of our conversations have to do with figuring out how to stay relevant by finding new audiences, getting great tours, signing with the right label, writing the next game changing album, and more. Teetering on the edge of existence has been much of our collective realities for half of our careers. As the O.G. quitter, I’m here to explain why this is happening and why you shouldn’t be surprised.
When it comes to music (and other things really), I tend to play devil’s advocate. If everyone is shitting on a certain band, for some reason, I become more attracted to that band and seek them out. I don’t know what it is about my personality, but I think it stems from the same perspective that inspired me to write the antagonistic blog about rethrash. It may be a character flaw, but I’m sure it has something to do with a need to be an individual. From what I gather, this website is inhabited mainly by “true” metal heads. What I define as “true” are people whom are purists in the realm of metal and usually scoff at any band or trend that reeks of premeditated commercialism or an overt play for popularity, and who usually demand a certain level of musicianship and underground credibility. These fans usually hate every Metallica record after …And Justice For All, and for that matter always prefer any particular band’s older releases, which usually have a more raw and unrefined recording quality, as well as more abstract, less traditional song writing. For example, they will prefer Carcass’s Necrotiscim to Heartwork, or Morbid Angel’s Blessed Are The Sick toDomination. Oh yeah, and these guys gave up on In Flames and Soilwork years ago.
I have a good deal of that purism in my bones, but it always seemed short sighted and close minded. You have no idea how many arguments the Adler brothers from Lamb of God and I have gotten into over the merits of a particluar Metallica or Megadeth record. If you even bring up Disturbed or Limp Bizkit on MetalSucks, it is mocked and disregarded 100% of the time. I think metal heads often have a sheep mentality because of the fear of being viewed by their peers as less credible for liking bands that aren’t considered “true” or “real” enough. We all have guilty pleasures, but the real question is “Why should we feel guilty about something we enjoy?”
Last week, during one of my daily perusals of this very blog, I came across a rather scathing recounting of Killswitch Engage’s self-titled album, which came out earlier this year. This caught me a bit off guard, as I considered it to be one of my favorite albums of the year and a step in the right direction from Daylights Dies, which was at first very disappointing but grew on me after some time. I was even more surprised when I saw that most user comments tended to agree with the blog entry.
Most of the criticism seemed to center around Killswitch’s supposed inability to stray from their winning formula. People seemed to think that their sound had become stagnant, and that there wasn’t enough variety between albums and songs. Now I don’t disagree that KSE has a pretty standard formula for their songs and a definitive sound that really hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, but I am disagreeing that this is necessarily a bad thing. I want to ask you guys if you think it’s better for a band to stick to a relatively confined style through their career like Hatebreed, Cannibal Corpse, or Motorhead, or is it better to expand and experiment like Mastodon, The Haunted, or Cave In.