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Bloodsimple / Tim Williams interview

By Devin Braden
Tue, December 4, 2007 3:48 PM PT10,544 views

The Fillmore Auditorium sits just a few blocks from Denver's capital building on Colfax Avenue – one of the busiest commercial thoroughfares in the state of Colorado. With a capacity of almost 3600, it is Denver's largest "standing room only" club, and no doubt a point of conversion for underground bands finally tapping into the mass music-buying public. After wrangling with some crossed wires, miscommunications, and overzealous parking attendants, I find myself behind the Fillmore Auditorium, sandwiched in a narrow walkway between two large tour buses shaking hands with ex-VOD/current Bloodsimple frontman Tim Williams. As he gestures toward the only sunlit area in the otherwise shaded backlot, I notice a folded copy of The Dharma Bums sticking out of his back pocket. "Kerouac," I say, "outstanding."

It's good for the road," he answers back in a thick Long Island accent, walking toward the sunlight on this unseasonably warm November afternoon, "and we've been spending a lot of time on the road this year."



How's the tour been going so far?

Good, man – it's goin' good. The whole first week was great, but the weather was fuckin' cold, which sucks. It's nice out here, though. This isn't like you guys at all, right?

No – this weather's sort of unseasonable. It's nice, though – definitely a nice change of pace.

Yeah, this is great.

Definitely. So, Bloodsimple has a new album out. How has the response been to the new material?

The live response has been amazing – really positive, puts you in a good mood after the show. We've been having some good ones. We're looking forward to tonight. We've had some pretty good shows here in Denver. I'm excited.

It looks like it'll be a pretty big turnout. I guess Hellyeah had a huge crowd last time they played here.

It was that radio show, right? With Static-X?

It was some big deal they did. This radio station here puts on a show like that 3 or 4 times a year, and I guess they usually get pretty good turnouts.

Nice.

So, the riffs on the new album seem to have a slightly more metallic feel than those on A Cruel World. Was the band consciously moving toward a more traditional metal sound this time around?

Yeah, you could say that – sure. There are definitely some more metal influences in there.

And you guys changed producers for this album, too. Is there any particular reason you decided to go with Machine this time around?

I've worked with him on numerous projects. He's just over in Jersey and we're in New York. He did a VOD record, he did my all-star track for Roadrunner [Records], he did the vocal recording for the demo that got Bloodsimple signed. I love that guy. He really knows my voice. He's like a boxing coach to me. We've worked together so many times and he really knows what works with my voice, and really brings out – for me, personally – an amazing performance.

Going through the album, the song "Truth" sticks out to me as having a really different vibe than the rest of the record, and I think a lot of that has to do with the melodic vocals.

Yeah, we like to do that. We like to throw curveballs and shit like that. I don't like records that sound the same all the way through. We had, like, four or five mellow songs to choose from and we chose that one. It's a pretty good song, and it came out really good [pauses] ... though, I think it could've maybe come out a little better. All in all, though, it's a good track.

Have you ever considered doing a more melodic side project?

Yeah, I think something like that will happen eventually, because I've been doing this shit for, I think, almost … well, this is my sixth record. So, sooner or later. I'll always do heavy shit, but eventually I'll cross over. I already tried to do a mellow thing, but then Bloodsimple got so busy I had to put it on a backburner.

What sort of project was it?

It wasn't anything. It was just a studio project, just having some fun. Had about, I don't know, maybe 10 songs, but they never got off the ground in the studio. We were just jamming, drinkin' beers, havin' fun. Did a bunch of live jams. Some of the shit was actually really cool, but again Bloodsimple started to get really busy and it was getting too hectic. People were getting mad, so I'll just lay low and [release it] when the time's right for that, which actually might not be too far off. I don't know where I'd go with it – I'll probably have to go with an indie label, but something like that will come out eventually.

Sounds interesting. You know, something that stuck with me after listening to the new record was your choice to quote Jim Morrison in the first song. Anybody who knows "The End" will immediately recognize those lyrics, and they create a pretty strong impression right out of the gate. Also, I had read that you recorded a cover of "Five to One" for a myspace-only release. I take it The Doors are a pretty important influence, then?

The Doors are, like, my favorite band of all time. They're the reason I got into music. I discovered them in early high school, and Machine – he always knew that. We were both just bummin' around the studio one day, hangin', you know, had a couple of glasses of wine, and he was like "dude, you got to fuckin' start this right. You have to make an impact with this first song. We've got to grab some fuckin' people's attention" – like it grabbed your fuckin' attention.

It definitely worked.

That's exactly why we did it. He's like "you know, you love The Doors, I love The Doors – let's fuckin' do something!" And, lo and behold, we had that track and I was already going to make it a narration song. It was pretty much set up the way it was, so we were like "let's do this and see what happens." And then we did the "Five to One" thing because we wanted to give everyone a teaser – [we said] "let's just put this out on myspace, whet everyone's palette a little bit, and then the record will come out and boom!" We've been playing that song – "Ride With Me" – live, and it's been getting an awesome reaction. It's one of my favorite songs to play in the set. I like that shit because it also set us apart from the whole "metal" pack, and to see it impact, to see people dig it, feels even better. It's a very significant, important song, and to see it get a good reaction makes you feel like you did the right thing.

Definitely. So, you guys did the Family Values tour this summer. Um, how did that go? Big crowds, I assume.

Huge crowds. Yeah, we played Denver. That was a good show. Uh, yeah – it was cool. We kinda got on it late. I was at home on, like, a Thursday night and I got a call saying I had to be in St. Louis [the next day] – yeah, right. We pushed it out, like, a week or so, and then jumped on. We kicked some fuckin' serious ass on that tour. It was quite an experience.

I'm guessing the audience was a bit different than the kind of crowds you're used to.

Yeah, but that's good, though – that we were getting the reactions we were getting. We didn't have one bad show on the whole tour.

I remember reading something about a tooth problem...

Yeah, I don't have that tooth anymore – it's gone.

They pulled it out?

They had to – it got … where the fuck were we? We did Denver, then I think we went to New Mexico the next day. I was just eating some catering and I was like "what the fuck? Something hurts." I had always had a little bit of a problem – long story short, it would always come and go, but this got worse and worse and worse each day. By the time I got to L.A., my face was fuckin' blown out and the doctor was like "why'd you wait so long? One more day and you would've been in the hospital." So, yeah – it was some serious shit. [He said] "it's got to come out right now." So, that was the end of that tour.

Wow - that's pretty crazy.

You're tellin' me.

So, I know you worked with Phil Anselmo back in the VOD days.

Yeah, long time ago.

And you're on tour right now with Vinnie Paul. How's that been?

It's awesome. I mean, those two are so separated by now, you know … I dunno, everything's great. Vinnie's cool as shit. He's a really mellow guy – he does his thing, says "what's up?" He's polite. Phil, obviously, I'm closer to because we did that track together. Whenever I see Phil, it's awesome. But it's the same shit – those guys have always been good to us. Vinnie's been cool. His crew has been cool to us. It's all good.

Have you ever thought about trying to talk them into burying the hatchet?

No! That's a serious, uh, I mean, that's a whole other … man, I wouldn't even bring it up. I don't even know if [Vinnie] makes the connection that I'm friends with Phil. I don't think he knows about that. I mean, they all know who VOD was and that shit. But, no – I would never, ever. No way. To see Vinnie Paul even out here after what he witnessed … [pauses] I don't even like to talk about it. He's a very strong person to be able to do this – no matter whether Hellyeah's doing good or not. For that guy to be out here again after what he witnessed … [pauses] I would never talk about it.

It is pretty amazing that he's able to get up on stage and play every night.

He's doin' great. He comes out every night and he really does well. I don't think you'll ever see Pantera back together, though. Never.

Well, you know, I saw Down here a couple of week ago and Phil seemed like a completely different person.

Phil's definitely different.

He seems like he has a more positive outlook now.

Well – if you think about it, he went through something, too. He lost an important person. When something like that happens, you realize what's real in life and what's not. I think that really woke Phil up. And now he's got his back all fixed, too. I actually haven't heard Down III just yet because I've been busy with so much shit, but I've heard some really good things about it.

I love it – it's really good.

I'm a huge Down fan. I love everything they've done. Anything that guys does I fucking love. He's still one of my top three fucking singers – even at his worst, he's fucking amazing. I saw him at the Roseland [Ballroom, NYC] not on this tour, but on the one before that. It was totally cool.

Since you mention VOD, I'm curious to know what the most noticeable difference is between playing the bigger shows with Bloodsimple and playing all of those VFW halls and tiny clubs with VOD?

Bloodsimple is just presented with so many more opportunities. VOD never had a chance. I think if VOD had half the chances Bloodsimple got, I'd still be in VOD. It was just a different time, so there just weren't that many avenues. You were either Hardcore or you were Metal. There was no crossing over back then. There was no Internet – none of that shit. I'm happy to be where I am, but that's the biggest difference. Bloodsimple has been offered so many opportunities in just two records. I mean, the first record just came out and we've already toured so much more than VOD ever did. We've done Europe, like, a million times. That's a big difference right there.

VOD has done a couple of periodic one-off reunions, right? I guess you guys did part of the Sounds of the Underground tour one year?

Yeah, we did a couple of gigs. We're all still really good friends. We all still live in the same state. Brendon [Cohen, Drummer] plays for fuckin' Bloodsimple sometimes. He came to Europe – he did the whole European tour with us, and then he played on the last track [on Red Harvest]. If you've got a keen ear, you'll hear that the drums sound a little different. It's probably one of my favorite tracks. Listen for it – the drums are totally different.

I'll check it out.

But, yeah – VOD's in the process … [pauses] you know, Warner Bros. is a fuckin' bitch. It's a big label with a lot of bands. Me and Mike [Kennedy, guitar] are kind of tied in. We did a live CD/DVD with VOD. We're just waiting on a release – they're either going to release us, or they're going to put it out themselves. Once we hear [from them], we're going to put that out. And we'll probably wind up doing some shows. Shit, we might even do another fuckin' record.

Really?

If the vibe was right and the music sounded up to par. Why not, man? To put a record out these days, it's easy – it's fun. There's no reason why not. I don't know that I'd do any significant touring, though.

Maybe a few more one-off shows?

Sure – we'd maybe come out and do a little West Coast weekend. Something like that.

To get back to the subject of opportunities available to present day bands, what are your thoughts on Hot Topic's role in the underground music community?

That's like asking if Starbucks is good or bad – it's good for bands, but it's corporate garbage. I'm against any of that shit. I hate Starbucks, all that fuckin' shit. Hot Topic's maybe good because a kid can go in and buy a shirt he couldn't get at the concert. But, c'mon – that's the enemy.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the band name come from a Coen Brothers' film?

Yeah – we're huge on those guys. It doesn't really have anything to do with the band, but we love the Coen Brothers. The Big Lebowski is one of my top two flicks of all time.

It's my number one, actually.

We're getting "Abide" tattoos, actually. Yeah, me and my lady just opened up a tattoo shop. Once we get home, a couple of us are going to get "Abide" tattoos.

That's awesome.

Yeah. But anyway, the name – Bloodsimple needed a name. Because "Vision of Disorder" was so long, we wanted something that would hit right away when you heard it – something that's easy to print on a t-shirt. We were just driving along one day and Mike was like "Bloodsimple – that's not bad." And that was it. Now, to lead into Red Harvest – how we named that record – Mike was researching some shit and came up with another definition of "blood simple" altogether that really represented the band more.

What's the definition?

It's from the book Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett – it's like a murder mystery novel, and inside there's this definition: "blood simple" is when killing begets more killing, and murder becomes a viable solution to any problem. You become desensitized to it because you're surrounded by it. Any problem you have, you just resort to killing somebody. It's like, fuck – that's pretty fuckin' metal.

Definitely. So, tell me – what are your top three Coen Brothers movies?

The Big Lebowski; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and Miller's Crossing. And that new one coming out looks pretty hype.

It's actually based on a book by Cormac McCarthy – he's a great writer. I think the movie looks really good. I'm stoked on it.

I'm definitely gonna go check that out.

Any final thoughts?

We're looking forward to the show tonight – Denver's always been really good to us. I heard we might have done some damage on the radio here. I think we're getting some spins. In the cities where we've been getting spins, we rip into the song and it's been pretty fucking wild. That's been really cool to see – we've never really had that. We kind of tapped into the radio with the last record. Now, we show up to a city and know "oh, you're being played in Kansas City," and then you see it. No one's lying – the fuckin' crowd erupts! Shit, that's fuckin' cool. That's how the big bands do it.


19 comments

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swellsucka_ 12/4/2007 4:17:23 PM

*makes jacking off motion with hand*


destroyerofpoon_ 12/4/2007 4:25:49 PM

Nu metal BRO DOWN


joe_ 12/4/2007 4:34:02 PM

new VOD record?


13225_ 12/4/2007 4:44:54 PM

VOD > anything


me_ 12/4/2007 4:53:34 PM

the book by dashiell hammett is awesome.


brassknuckleromance_ 12/4/2007 5:04:27 PM

new VOD record eh??? and denver, wonder if andrew is out there or reading this...


PCT9000X_ 12/4/2007 5:08:03 PM

Best vocalist ever but I just cant get into Bloodsimple


Devin_ 12/4/2007 5:15:11 PM

I actually saw Andrew at a show a few weeks ago. He said something about wanting to have fun with a girl's car. True story.


anonymous 12/4/2007 5:15:23 PM

haha @ best vocalist ever!


pinkmaggiit_ 12/4/2007 5:22:43 PM

best. frontman. ever. FTW.


Bagel_ 12/4/2007 7:15:59 PM

This band brings the push-mosh.


antipop_ 12/5/2007 5:42:36 AM

VOD rules! Waaaaaaaay underestimated. BS is great too! Keep on rockin' Tim


deez_nutz_ 12/5/2007 7:48:47 AM

a new vod album would sound like a bloodsimple album


dave_ 12/5/2007 11:00:59 AM

love tim, but not crazy on bloodsimple. new vod record? hellyeah (no pun intended). now.. if only it could sound just like Imprint......


Brian_ 12/5/2007 3:19:27 PM

WTF does "Waaaaaaaay underestimated" even mean? VOD pre Green Album was amazing. I'm sorry but this guy turned into a turd. This music is horrible. At least they are paying their bills though and avoiding a real job.


TheWood_ 12/5/2007 3:56:18 PM

"Bloodsimple is just presented with so many more opportunities. VOD never had a chance." That's because Bloodsimple sounds like Disturbed.


Rick Rock_ 12/5/2007 4:30:18 PM

Definitely a Vision Of Disorder fan, save for their last album. BS is OK, but I'd rather hear a new VOD record.


mattapooh_ 12/6/2007 5:05:58 AM

I'm really looking forward to the VOD DVD


808_ 12/6/2007 6:11:53 PM

cut the shit, VOD reunion already.