InterviewsAugust 8, 200818,706 views

Rob Fusco interview

By Alex
Former One King Down and current Most Precious Blood frontman Rob Fusco always has a lot to say. We thought we'd record some of it for posterity.

One King Down was heavily touring from '95 to '98, and from '99 to '01, and with MPB you've been touring heavily from '03 til now. What are some of the main changes, positive and negative, of touring in those different eras?

Aaaaand begin.

Firstly, low to mid-level band touring in the present day compared to even seven or eight years ago is infinitely easier from a technological standpoint. Navigational technology (Mapquest, GPS) has made it rather easy to get from point A to B. The internet has eased the touring band's task considerably on multiple fronts. However, there was in the mid-90's much more of a feeling of community at shows and the homes touring bands would visit I think because it was necessary for people to rely on one another more so than they do now. We have more technology and independence, but in exchange for what? It also seems that there is less of a political and issue consciousness at shows, less idea-sharing, less intelligent debate and just less intelligence overall. But this may be a natural by-product of the exponential disconnectedness and autonomy people everywhere and from every walk are experiencing now because of the internet and of increasing conveniences which make it less and less necessary to leave one's home and interact with other human beings on any level exceeding ordering a medium hazelnut at Dunkin Donuts. It could also simply be severe apathy as a backlash to the extra effort put forth in the mid-nineties. Who knows (/cares)? It's a technological step forward, but a crippling blow to the human element which was once very palpable not only at shows, but outside of that forum, and it is this which seems to be the most obvious unraveling thread in the fabric of our music and culture, at least from a personal perspective.

Not everything is so different people-wise, however. Zealotry, moral one-upsmanship, clique elitism, inadvertent self-parody, self-caricature...all human constants with varying degrees of intensity, even outside of the scene. Ah...the "scene". What a joke. One which constantly rewrites itself, becoming more of an ignominious groaner with each successive iteration. This isn't to subtract from the gems of positive elements found very often amidst the worthless gravel stones of the aforementioned common elements, it's just to say that there will always be someone to laugh at and learn from. People have a habit of making examples of themselves more often than they will readily admit.

Speaking of touring, I remember a particular part in the book "Get In The Van" by Rollins where he was out of his mind and Ian Mackaye saw him and began to cry because he said Henry had "road burn." Have you ever had such a thing? What kind of psychological strain does so much traveling cause?

Road burn? Absolutely. Every tour. Without fail. It's unlike anything, this stress, except maybe shell shock, if there's much of a difference there at all. Tour enough and it becomes like war in a way. You catch yourself in the thousand-yard stare, you question your sanity, your connections, your worth...everything. The days blend together, you lose track of your location. Sometimes you wonder if you're going to make it home.

Something which immediately jumps to mind is the amount of thinking you'll tend to do. In this profession there is a LOT of down time - in the van, in the hotel, before sound check, after sound check, after the show... Too much of anything is not a good thing, especially thinking. Left unchecked, my thoughts root through some very stony soil and they grow deep quickly. Speaking personally, after time I find myself entertaining some fantastic (and completely laughable) hypothetical scenarios which eventually germinate into distrust and high-level paranoia, obsessions, nightmares... it eventually changes the way I think and behave towards people, and I'm conscious of it, but powerless against it, which leads to shame and's a dreadful cycle to anticipate.

I think that this deep response is more so a symptom of my own psychology and not necessarily a by-product of tour, but I couldn't say truthfully that tour doesn't affect me or magnify my inherent and already nearly unmanageable psychological flaws. I'm afraid of these patterns permanently altering my brain chemistry, if they haven't done so already. Ah, fuck it. There's no way for me to know anyway, I suppose. But yes, after a while you really do feel very disconnected and out of your head and it absolutely will affect you in strange ways. For example, when I return from tour, I am, for quite a while, completely socially inept. I feel almost crippled, dumbed and unable to interact with people on a reasonable level. The burnout had the potential to be pretty debilitating. For example, once after coming home from a particularly long and trying tour I tried to go food shopping but instead just blankly shuffled through the store's aisles and left empty-handed. I feel like I fail miserably at the most elementary functions and it's a difficulty to re-acclimate for a long time. Things aren't quite the same for a while after returning to the world, as the vets put it (ah, the parallels between tour and warfare). Yes, such simple tasks tend to feel infinitely complex. It's almost like living in two wholly different worlds which you must relearn upon returning each time. Then again, like I said, this could have very little to do with tour itself. I could be that I'm just mildly retarded. The more I analyze it, the more plausible that possibility seems.

Aside from the psychological strain, one's body takes a fucking beating just by virtue of the work. Sleep on enough floors and your shoulders and back will never forgive you.

One King Down was a straight edge band, and you yourself still are. I know you are probably sick of edge questions, but what has helped you "stay true" in an age where ideals in underground music is almost frowned upon?

I understand that it sounds pretentious and unlikely, but I'll go ahead and say that I've never really been tempted by escapism, drugs, alcohol, what have you, so to "stay true" wasn't really a challenge. It was as simple as just being myself. If someone chooses to "frown upon" a decision I've made for myself, well...that's their problem, not mine.

Honestly, when I was about thirteen I smoked weed a handful of times, and got fucked up beyond belief on acid on fewer occasions than that (imagine me outside, stark naked in winter, sliding face first down a huge icy hill into a river...laughing hysterically), and this was all within the span of about four months or so. But the sobering (heh) realization came to me that all these drugs did was make me lethargic and hungry, and I couldn't grasp what was so 'mind expanding' about them because I had more of a vivid imagination than any drug could induce, and I enjoyed my energy and intelligence, so it became apparent that drugs weren't for me. It was a strong turning point in my life, come to think of it. I would probably now be (more of) a completely disastrous mess of a human being if I had continued down that path, and I'm thankful I had the foresight to say at such a relatively young age "I see where this bus drops you off, so I'll stay off of it, thanks anyway." I'm also proud to say that I've never once been drunk in my life (but not TOO proud. Understand?).

My adoption of straight-edge philosophy came only after I had been living that way anyhow for about a year. I discovered the ideals through kids at shows, recognized the similarities between that way of life and how I governed myself, and voila! I had an ideal to cling to and a flag to wave. Now I see sxe as a purely personal decision and I couldn't care less about what other people do to themselves so long as it doesn't affect me or the people I care about. In so far as people "selling out," so to speak, I look at it simply: If a friend chooses a lifestyle different from my own, friends are my friends no matter what, so I don't judge them. I love them regardless of what they do and I'm loyal to the death. If a person I don't know chooses a different path from mine regarding what should and shouldn't go into the body, EVEN SIMPLER! I don't know them and couldn't care less! Besides, people will govern themselves as they see fit regardless of my, or anyone else's opinion. It's illogical for me to stress over whether or not a person I'm not connected to abuses substances. I spend my energy on governing and improving MY OWN life.

I remember when I was so infused with energy to spread the good word, so to speak, about this amazing lifestyle I had discovered and sought to share a good thing through music, but in retrospect my approach came off as a little inflexible, overbearing and elitist, even though at the time it was just me being amped on the edge. Don't get me wrong, I'm still every bit as proud today to have made the life decisions I have, and I take benefit from it every day, but being just a little older and a little wiser I understand that it's not for everyone. Acceptance comes through experience and understanding. I have a little bit more of these things than I did yesterday, and a lot more than I did ten years ago. We all have free will and a right to exercise it as we see fit. My decisions are for my life, just as someone else's are for theirs. No one thing is right for every person.

Yes, it's true that it's very out of fashion nowadays to have ideals and something to stand for which you believe is more important than yourself, but go ahead and ask anyone who truly cares about something if they give half a fuck.

Why are there bands like Eighteen visions and Atreyu?

Why is there AIDS? I kid. But no, really. Why is there AIDS?

18v killed it back in the day when they had some power and solid ideas, but I suppose when bands (and their unjustly inflated egos) become colossal enough to devour themselves, and they make drastic concessions to "move more units" (as is the current rage), it gets real embarrassing real quick for everybody. Especially those with tattoos of aforementioned bands (there is free comedy everywhere!). Abandon your artistic integrity and keep chasing that radio hit, suckers!

...and where's your mascara, nancyboy?

I left it behind at THE PRETENTIOUS DIPSHIT STORE. Or was that the COSTUME STORE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK IDENTITY AND PERSONALITY? Oh! Maybe it was THE TRENDY BANDWAGON DICKRIDER STORE... I forget...probably in a mall in California somewhere. Can you order that shit on yet?

Many of your former contemporaries from the mid nineties have ventured into the realms of indie rock, or indie hip hop, or indie what have you and you have stayed continuous with playing aggressive music. What is your drive?

I'm driven to play aggressive music because its one of the precious few things I truly love. Also, I have so many ideas still. I mean, I have years worth of ideas recorded and accumulated and they just keep piling up because I can't utilize them fast enough. I just don't feel like I've at all even put a dent in things with the amount of work I've done thus far. I believe I still have a long way to go before I feel as if I've even accomplished anything. I know that comes off as slightly ridiculous, but for me it's the truth. I focus on where I'm going, not where I've been, and as far as I'm concerned, there lies an infinite road at my feet (and my feet point forward for a reason!).

To speculate, perhaps people who go from playing aggressively to playing indie whatever have somehow exorcised their demons which brought about their aggressive and cathartic song writing in the first place, but somehow still possess a creative drive, and now they have the impetus to play acoustically or sing about rainbows and magical puppies, or how awesome their girlfriend's lasagna is or whatever. And cool, good for them. Maybe they've had some kind of paradigm shift and now they focus on different things which have become their reality. Likewise, I express fragments of my own life, my own feelings and what I know - and to sing about happy, positive things just isn't honest for me and the logic of this is simple: what drives me to create aren't the things which are right in my life; it's the things which are wrong and have gone wrong which stoke the fires of self-expression. It's pure catharsis, really. I'm not hopelessly negative - that's just a sheer waste of time, so I don't sing about negative things so I can fixate on them. I dredge and expel all the nasty stuff and put it outside so that it has less of a chance of surviving on my inside, and in a way it's almost like I'm trying to make myself a better person emotionally and psychologically through this self-styled therapy.

Now let's think about the nature of most of my vocal work for just a second which can be summed up simply in one word: screaming. In so-called normal, everyday life, when someone screams it's typically indicative of something which has gone wrong or is intensely disturbing. Similarly, in our music and in my choice of vocal expression, I scream because there are still just a few things upstairs which keep rattling around and causing damage, and I scream because there are things in my everyday life that I notice which are fairly fucking disturbing, and these things tend to stay with me.

So yes, genuine people scream when there's something genuinely wrong. I think that's why it's so easy to distinguish someone who sings aggressively because they're fucked in the head and are desperate for relief and answers from someone who sings that way because it's what's expected of them, or they believe that having a screamo part in the bridge of a song will appeal to the Hot Topic demographic or whatever.

To give a simple comparison, take a look at Rennie Resmini (Starkweather), Sean Ingram (Coalesce) or Tim Singer (Deadguy/Kiss It Goodbye) and contrast them with the likes of, say, what's his name from Papa Roach, or dude from Linkin Park and whatever that self-absorbed douchebag's name is from Avenged Sevenfold...singers of that ilk, you get the idea. They're a fucking joke and they don't know it. The former vocalists couldn't give a flying fuck about selling albums or appealing to a larger fan base - they're driven to do what they do for themselves, whatever their respective reasons; but rest assured that those reasons are about as real and honest as it gets, whereas the likes of the latter are most certainly not screaming out of honest emotional or psychological discord...they're well-fed, well-paid mamma's boys who wouldn't know hardship if it flew out of their royalty check envelope and bit them in their faces. The point is that there's an obvious difference between fake fucks and the real deal and people can tell. Don't fool yourself into thinking they can't.

How do you get to writing a song? i.e., any vocal training, or the method of writing lyrics, etc. also, what do you think of kids who just grab a mic and randomly scream?

I think constantly about composition, vocal work, lyrics... my engine is constantly running and my RPMs are very high. For the past couple of years I've visited a vocal coach who really helped my understanding of vocal work and mechanics by leaps and bounds. I felt as if I had taken myself about as far as I could go vocally on my own and looked to learn something new. My technique improved not only because of what I was taught, but also because I worked my ass off every fucking day, doing scales, working on new things, exploring my voice and range, trying to absorb these new takes a lot of work to improve for someone like me who hasn't been blessed with a lot of natural talent to begin with, so what I lack in talent I compensate for with pure work ethic. So, there was work to be done and I put the work in and then some. I still do to this day.

I have enough respect for my craft and my instrument to learn it as well as I possibly can. Sure, the voice is part and parcel of what I do overall, but to me it is the hub, the main thing around which all other considerations orbit. If I'm strong vocally, I'm confident. If I'm confident on stage, it clearly shows. More importantly, if I'm NOT confident, it shows and shows hard. I owe it to myself, my bandmates and most importantly, the kids who come to see the show to be in top form at all times.

The way I see it, the vocalist and the drummer have it the hardest in terms of carrying the weight of the show. The vocalist - in the short term: song to song, crowd interaction, keeping things moving and interesting. The drummer - in the long term: keeping time, being the backbone, the primary instrument to which the others must abide. That is to say, if the vocalist sucks, you could have Eddie Van Halen himself on the fucking stage and it wouldn't matter. If the drummer sucks, the rest of the band could be tighter than a bullfrog's asshole, but it wouldn't matter. The strings have a little bit wider berth than the drums technically speaking (see: Dillinger Escape Plan).

Although I suppose the relative degrees of live musical responsibility also depend on the nature of the music itself...that is to say that in a guitar-heavy band (Eye Hate God, Crowbar, Iron Monkey, Entombed) the strings would carry more weight than in a technical, drum-oriented style (Necrophagist, Nasum, Cryptopsy). But on the same token, the guitar-heavy bands typically have moderately simpler fret board work to put in than the tech bands.

Lyrically, my work comes pretty automatically. It's a strange process and one which I'm not sure I understand fully even at this stage in my practice. See, I do a lot of writing independently of lyrics and such, so at times I'll be writing in a prose context and I'll spit out something lyrical or with a poetic tone and I'll make a mental note of where to look when it comes time to stitch a song together. Sometimes I won't write for months on end and the repository will stay empty, then out of nowhere the reservoir is overflowing in a flash and I'm unable to write fast enough as the ideas spill out. Sometimes I'll find inspiration which will take me into page after page. Other times I feel blind and stale and literarily hopeless - especially when I try to force things, like, force my writing out. It feels creating a vacuum, overdrawing an account.

I keep a composite set of writings for reference when the time comes for lyrics, but surprisingly to me, maybe fifteen to twenty percent of a song's lyrical content on average comes from previous writings. My main ideas when I'm presented with new material to sink my teeth into are as follows: I absorb the song's mood and feel; I listen for what the song calls for and when the song wants to speak first, then I fill in the gaps; I feel out rhythms and patterns independently of lyrics; I search composite writings for fragments congruent with the song's personality; I hear in my head several different versions of phrasing and vocal sound (sometimes simultaneously. weird); I sometimes scratch out rough ideas in note form and then somehow tie all of these considerations together, and this is all even before I begin concrete composition! Sometimes I'll find a line or two of what I will call "concentrated writing" (so named because the writing is often so potent and rich with possible interpretations that it allows me to expand infinitely on a single theme) and I may develop writings for entire songs based thereon. Writing this all out gives the illusion of a protracted process, but it's actually much simpler than it looks. It could also be that to me, the process is almost second nature.

Oh, and kids who randomly scream into mics are just louder-than-normal tourette's syndrome sufferers.

Most people within aggressive music usually turn to it at a young age because of some early trauma or shaking realization that the world is a pretty bleak place. What is yours? Where do you draw your fire from?

Funny enough, this is a tough question to answer for me primarily because my "fire" has been raging out of control for so long that it's almost impossible to pinpoint a precise starting place or time for the first flashes of flame. To expand on the analogy further: it's almost as if on the landscape of my life countless little fires were set by one trauma or the next relatively simultaneously, and the individual fires grew so large that before long, it felt like one great, inexhaustible inferno.

Also, yes, the world has the potential to be bleak, but it also has potential to be beautiful. This depends on place, time, and most crucially, one's perspective and attitude. Even in crummy situations there are always things to be learned, and conversely, there are some shitty things about seemingly good situations. Sure, there's tons of shit that I wish were different about our world and humanity in general, and I understand that nine times out of ten, humans will destroy what they have of value, then they will self-destruct. However, I have a choice! I may choose to focus on the negative aspects of my life and the world around me, relinquish power over my destiny, wallow aimlessly in self-pity and blame everyone but myself for my own shortcomings and faults and worse, do nothing to change them; I may also choose to take a different path - to realize that I am in complete control over my life, govern it intelligently and move forward, take an absolutely fearless moral, emotional and intellectual self-inventory to root out my imperfections, constantly strive to make life better and change the things which need changing. The choice, for me, is crystal clear. The law of life on this planet is simple: ADAPT OR DIE. If survival is our primary instinctive drive, then I will abide by adapting. This is my single greatest strength as a person.

There's also a wise old saying which I heard as a boy which stayed with me: "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone."

You are highly addicted to chess. Many bankers and generals throughout history leaned heavily on chess as a means of honing some mental precision. Does any of that creep into your music?

No, no bankers or generals creep into my music.

Hello, is this thing on?

Tough crowd.

Anyway, I think that by nature I'm blessed with a great deal of foresight and precision, and I'm meticulous and calculative, so my attraction to the great game comes as little surprise to me. I believe that my song writing process is the only place where I'm so methodical and perfectionistic in the musical arena. Everywhere else

I feed into my animalistic side freely. Especially live. I tap into the other side of my nature. Here, I find balance and contrast...and what contrast!! The painstaking with the feral, the cautious with the savage, the civil with the untamed.

Oh, and contrary to popular belief, Chess doesn't make men mad. Chess keeps mad men sane. Take my word.

What's one of the most remarkable things you have seen in your decade of traveling?

Sifting through ten years' worth of memory to find one jewel to mount for show and tell is not easy.

Not to wax self-centeredly, but I believe that seeing my own transformation and development as a person because of countless experiences and lessons and hardships might be one of the more distinctive things I've witnessed out there. I know it makes for less interesting reading than something like "oh, dude, one time I saw these two chicks making out with Colin's wiener in the backstage bathroom at the state theater..." but it's an honest answer.

A close runner-up would have to be watching a whole gang of female porn stars in a hotel room fuck around with each other, then take turns snorting coke off of a Bible at 5am. That was pretty remarkable.

There! Are you degenerates happy now?

Actually, no...fuck that. To hell with those hookers...that's common shit. One of the coolest things I've seen on tour was this: Matt Wood is a dear friend of mine and my former band mate in One King Down. I regard Matt as one of the most astonishing musical and vocal talents I've ever had the pleasure to know. I mean, the dude is a virtuoso on SO many instruments (he's like Prince!) and I've always been impressed by (and a little jealous of) his musical brilliance. Another arena of expertise for Matt was driving...

So, OKD was on tour and Matt was, of course and as always, driving the tour van from point A to B, I forget exactly where. I sat shotgun, and we were listening to the radio, jubilantly singing our fool heads off, as we were prone to do in those days, with total and joyful disregard of our band mates' trying to nap or think peacefully. I forget which song we were singing along to, exactly...some Police or Van Halen jam, probably. I'll ask Matt later, maybe he remembers. ["It was... Van *hums quietly while looking up* ...'Finish What Ya Started', yeah." - Matt]

So I sat there, singing and air drumming and I began keeping the beat by tapping on the dashboard when Matt began to tell me about how one of his music teachers would correct him for speeding up the tempo, and talked about how that was a common mistake with a lot of musicians, drummers especially. Well, the road we were on suddenly became a tunnel winding through the heart of a mountain and we would be in this tunnel for about twenty seconds or so. Naturally, the radio cut out, so I thought I'd try my hand at keeping accurate time with the song while the air was dead and I continued tapping on the dash. Matt joined in on the steering wheel... and about seven or eight seconds in, he actually stopped keeping time to correct me for speeding up!

Then he, without hint that he had been at all keeping time, casually resumed his count, and I think he began singing the song aloud at this point, too. Keep in mind, Matt did all this while navigating a winding, well-trafficked two-lane tunnel bored through a mountain...not necessarily a mindless task! Now, I was completely lost in the song, mind you. I was simply trying not to fall out of time. Matt knew exactly where he was in the song, and continued to sing - in key. Another eight or ten seconds elapsed during this exercise and we could see the other end of the tunnel coming up.

Now may I drop dead as I write if this is untrue, but as we popped out of the mountainside and the radio kicked back on, it synced up EXACTLY to where Matt was in the song, PERFECTLY in time, PERFECTLY in key, everything... I was fucking floored. I slowly turned my head to him, jaw in my lap, as he counted along lightly with his fingers, driving, singing casually as if nothing of consequence had occurred and the fact that he had proven himself to be the ultimate human metronome was all just in a day's work...It was almost as if he could hear the music playing all along.

I've seen thousands of bands play thousands of songs across the spectrum of music and talent, but never before and never since has anything been as awesome to me as Matt Wood singing those lyrics as we drove out of a mountain somewhere in the United States.

Yes, that's it. That's probably my favorite thing. Out of ten-plus years of touring, countless cities in scores of countries and most of the continents... that's it. Thanks, Matt. I owe you one for that, pal.

What is your "regimen" to keep your body in pique shape? You are always intense live, with a lot of movement, but you aren't some spring chicken anymore. What's your secret?

No secret. I just fuck a ANIMAL!

[The following questions posed Alex]

What is going on with Most Precious Blood these days?

Currently we are writing for the album to be titled DO NOT RESUSCITATE, laying low, staying away from people. We don't plan to play out very often in the near future, if at all. I think that because we have dropped off the radar so abruptly people are beginning to assume that we are no longer a band. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are merely secretly reinventing ourselves again.

On alternate horizons nowadays, I have a couple new bands in the works.

I was, for a while, working as frontman for a band upstate that will go unnamed (no reason to give free publicity). That soured drastically when in the studio it was decided that my voice made the band sound too much like... now get this... Most Precious Blood. Riiiiight. Whatever impending comparison they feared made no sense. Now I'm not quite sure what was going through their minds in terms of what fantasy sound they were stubbornly going for, but I did my job. Perhaps they could have hit me with their insecurities in the practice room and not in the studio. They, like so many other flash-in-the-pan bands, were after an ideal, not art. No such thing as loyalty there. Lesson here is that you should have friendship and loyalty and trust before you can create art together. If you throw some people in the room without that bond, whatever they create will be tainted and unstable. Anyway, that's not the first time I've been fucked with by ambitious, short-sighted people and I'm positive it won't be the last. It just took me by surprise because I fell for it hook, line and sinker and actually believed in that band without actually seeing who they were as people and what was happening right in front of me. Fuck it. Good luck. I hope they get everything coming to them.

I have an electronic noise side project going on in the vein of Fire In The Head and Wolf Eyes called Whisperwaking. It's still in its very early stages and it's been on the back burner because of DNR, but new stuff is coming soon. I've always been interested in abrasive, noisy stuff because of its honesty and rawness and I think also because of its current lack of marketability. It's, at least for now, simply art. Not commercial, not business. Just art. Just expression. Granted, I'm not so good at it just yet, but I'm trying new stuff all the time so hopefully that will improve and I can do more interesting things.

How many albums does a band have to sell to be able to live comfortably on music alone? Is it even possible for say your typical Ferret or Trustkill band to pull this off?

I don't know how many albums a band has to sell to live comfortably. I think it depends on what you consider "comfortable." If by "comfortable" you mean scraping by, sleeping on floors, working shit jobs between tours to pay rent and feed yourself, then yes, we have lived very, very comfortably. Look, MPB has never sold very many albums comparatively speaking to bands with a more marketable sound or with better political connections than we have, so I really have no frame of reference, here, and not that I give half a fuck anyway. Neither my band mates or I have lived anywhere close to what you would call comfortable, even summing earnings from tour, merch and record sales. The state of things does not afford hardcore bands to do anything but survive living hand-to-mouth on tour, and let me tell you, that gets old REAL quick.

The reality of it is this: we all knew what we were signing up for when we decided to do this, so you'll never hear us bitch about how small our royalty checks are, or that we don't get any royalty checks, or we're living lean. We're realists in a hardcore band that doesn't sell records and that's just how it is. None of us were deluded enough to expect to live the fantasy life that some of the more ambitious and irretrievably stupid bands out there today pursue with a lustful fever. That's not our style. We're bare bones, anti-image and, most importantly, NOT FULL OF SHIT.

I highly doubt that it is possible for your typical Ferret/TK band to make a comfortable living off of record sales. I doubt that many MAJOR label artists find it possible. The only people living comfortably are the people who run the labels. 19 cases out of 20 you'll find a snake at the helm who knows all the tricks to fuck you out of your money that nothing short of an audit will extract from them. Keep in mind this fact: at the end of the day when all fees have been paid to overblown managers and producers and label people and so on...THE ARTIST WHO MAKES THE FUCKING MUSIC in the first place is the LAST and LEAST to get paid. So all you retards out there who think you're gonna strap on a pawn shop fender, mimic Dimebag, flail like an epileptic in front of fives of kids who hate you and get instantly RICH AND FAMOUS doing it... reality check, kids: IT DOESN'T HAPPEN THAT WAY. But... you're more than welcome to try. Just more free comedy for the rest of us.

Speaking of Trustkill, obviously things have changed over the course of the last five years. What's your opinion of the label now?

Not very high. Truth is, I really don't pay enough attention to have any sort of valid opinion on the state of the label aside from the astute observation that the roster has changed drastically to a much more marketable sound overall to target a broader demographic and thus... you ready for this? That's RIGHT!! MAKE MORE MONEY!! Don't be fooled, that's the name of the game and it's always, ALWAYS the bottom line.

Are there any record labels who haven't sold out to some degree?

I don't believe so, no. Well, there are a very, very few exceptions. Keep in mind why most people who run labels do what they do - money. Sure, they might be driven by the want to share cool music with the world and support their favorite genre or whatever, but like I said, the bottom line is always money. You think that a decade down the line from their starting point a label's ideals and ethics will remain completely unchanged? Think again. Some of the people who do genuine things with their label often go out of business because it IS a business and competitive commerce couldn't give a fuck about ethics or passion. Sad but true: most people who move from their heart get swallowed whole by people who are motivated by ambition. I certainly hope the few and far between who are doing the right things can help to turn the tide somehow.

Job For A Cowboy sold 13,000 copies of their latest album in its first week. Discuss.

Sure thing. Give me a ring and we can discuss it.

Straight edge and veganism don't seem to carry the same weight they did ten years ago in the scene. Are there less people within the "movement," less passion about the movement, or is it just old hat?

All of the above.

What I mean is, if say Earth Crisis played a show in 1995, 200 people might show up just because the group was straight edge. I doubt that would be the case now.

I agree. I'm 100 percent certain that a band marketed nowadays as an edge band or what have you would not elicit the same reaction from kids that said band may have enjoyed in '95. Nobody cares but the few and far between, and it's gonna decay further before it grows again. It's not good or bad, it just is what it is.

Give us a few lines of lyrics you've written that you're proud of. Tell us about them.

I'm sorry, Alex. I don't want to. Either I'm shy or trying to stay humble or both. I don't know, I'm not really proud of anything I've written per se. I mean, I can look back on a few clever things that I did write and just be glad I was the one to think of that first or whatever, but to be proud of my lyrical output wouldn't really make sense for me in that I don't really think too highly of myself to begin with, and my lyrics are a very honest response to a lot of those feelings. It'd be like saying "look how well written my suicide note is!" It may be well-written, but what is there to be proud of, really?

Do you have any favorite lyricists in the hardcore/metal scene?

I have a few lyricists in mind whom I think are definitely underrated. Rennie Starkweather, for instance. Aside from displaying a blistering focus vocally, the dude is a lyrical genius. The scope of his vocabulary is only surpassed by his command of it and the apt placement of what he writes. Sean Ingram of Coalesce has always been a good writer. He's realistic and acerbic. I like his stuff quite a bit. Tim Singer of Deadguy/Kiss It Goodbye fame writes well, although his live placement is always different and inconsistent, but that's always been his style. I guess he gets bored easily. Mike Williams of EyeHateGod gets mention because he's REAL fucked up and it shows lyrically.

I'm amped to mention Tyler of the band Mare. He once fronted The End, and he was amazing then, too. Not just lyrically, but vocally... that dude blows my fucking mind. probably one of my favorite voices ever (I hope he does another band soon. I'd follow him anywhere). Lets not forget Richie Birkenhead of Into Another. His writing is well suited for the music he sings to and he has interesting imagery and uses alliteration well. Jeff Eaton of Modern Life Is War is steeped in good literature, so his lyrics have a wonderful, original flavor and he's a good storyteller. Threadbare have always been amazing across the board, their lyrical context follows suit. Neurosis is otherworldly and I'm a huge fan. Very moody stuff. Good imagery. Turmoil have also shown some solid lyrical ideas. I mean, how can you go wrong with an album which begins with "what the fuck are you looking at?"!?

Tell us about "our scene" in 2010. Look into your crystal ball and give us the scoop.

Cthulhu will rise from his sleep to devour us all...well, maybe that's more wishful thinking than divination.

At any rate, I will leave you with this: It will get much worse before it gets any better. See you in Hell.

I know, TLNR or whatever.

All typical questions and comments by the public can be kept to themselves. Genuine people and non-idiots can direct their fire at me via email: or via AIM: DrivenToLearn

Something tells me I'm going to regret disclosing that information. Thank you, and goodnight.


Post Comment
BIGTAKEOVER_ 8/8/2008 2:14:38 PM


brassknuckleromance_ 8/8/2008 2:28:50 PM

rob is so dreamy...and smart too...

Dave Edge_ 8/8/2008 3:05:15 PM

BEEF! its whats for dinner.

FranklinDelanoBluth_ 8/8/2008 3:06:33 PM

Good vocalist, but what a windbag.

anonymous 8/8/2008 3:11:54 PM


adam HELLBOUND_ 8/8/2008 3:30:18 PM

Rob Fusco da don, yo.

Devin_ 8/8/2008 4:07:55 PM

Love this guy. Great interview!

Hank_ 8/8/2008 5:09:21 PM

holy shit Rob, way to write a book

liferuinher_ 8/8/2008 5:11:46 PM

does anyone actually know this band ? - interviewflip

poopbutt_ 8/8/2008 5:22:33 PM

too bad i cant read...

anaturaldisaster_ 8/8/2008 5:59:02 PM

One of the best interviews I've read in recent memory.

Get_Some_ 8/8/2008 6:01:06 PM

One of the best interviews I've read in recent memory. posted by anaturaldisaster () on 8/8/2008 5:59:02 PM

Kyle_ 8/8/2008 7:16:20 PM

No need to sidestep shit. The albany band mentioned is It's Alive. Download the demo for free and support true hardcore.

todayistheday_ 8/8/2008 8:03:08 PM

must have been fun to type that all out..

wow_ 8/8/2008 9:00:31 PM

speak english you f*ckin prick, you didnt graduate from Harvard and you're not a big deal

rat_fink_ 8/9/2008 12:44:41 AM

i dont even know who this gay is

Z_ 8/9/2008 2:35:06 AM

Trying to compare touring with a hardcore band and warfare??? Give me a break.

fdfsd_ 8/9/2008 3:44:09 AM

tough meathead dudes are wicked insecure and angry after reading rob fusco interview

bensy_ 8/9/2008 10:29:01 AM


g_g_ 8/9/2008 8:14:00 PM

*Patiently waits for the SLK interview*

anonymous 8/9/2008 10:58:16 PM

the most interesting interview i've read in a long time.

solideogloria_ 8/10/2008 3:05:46 AM

i approve of this interview. once again robmpb: a scholar and a gentleman.

theoneironaut_ 8/10/2008 12:05:56 PM

I've always loved mr fusco's bands, and for anyone to call him a windbag shows what a mongoloid they are. In a scene full of fad and fashions its really nice to know that at least someone actually has something to say. Awesome interview, and I will continue to support MPB proudly knowing their frontman isn't some moron meathead. Oh, and next time you hit philly, I totally challenge you to a chess duel.

Mike_ 8/11/2008 12:16:08 AM

Engaging interview. Rob answers some questions that I've wanted to see him answer for a good 10 years but never had the time nor balls to get down to it. Guy is one of a kind.

Godfather_ 8/11/2008 10:11:24 AM

What Iro & Mike said, to all the people who label him a windbag, you have a brain, you may want to use it sometime.

ion_stasi_ 8/11/2008 4:08:47 PM

nice mention of Mare. They ruled.

McLovin_ 8/12/2008 11:36:47 PM

more self-absorbed grandpa hardcore garbage. this is the guy that wrote "lock me in a room, throw away the room" ... WOW

biqmyk nlxdte_ 8/18/2008 10:45:52 PM

rdbp ijmfg furscvzxo rpqumzfc mfle awdhgbtz bxgzcpy

asaf_ 8/19/2008 1:59:31 PM

i went to a most pricous blood show in winter '04 with remembering never/dead to fall.. he had the chick sing because he had a fever and he stayed in the van all night... so much for war vs. touring. WEAK

RobMPB_ 8/26/2008 3:10:35 PM

This interview is heavily ended. In reality, the whole thing consisted of my calling Alex Arnold a gay

pongo_pigmayis_ 8/27/2008 5:29:10 PM

This interview is heavily ended. In reality, the whole thing consisted of my calling Alex Arnold a gay posted by RobMPB () on 8/26/2008 3:10:35 PM ...burrrrnnnnnn.

anonymous 8/28/2008 1:25:59 AM

if you lived in albany you would realize what a dipshit rob really is. fake homo.

RobFusco_ 9/8/2008 11:54:03 AM

so many anonymous voices here... so many cowards.

ponyboy_ 9/15/2008 12:01:34 PM

no way i would ever read any of that.

jessed_ 10/2/2008 12:41:30 PM

I cant belive people are calling rob a windbag.I grew up with rob and he has always been a great guy,I think the interview was great ,one of the best recent interviews i have read in a long time.

Mimi_ 5/15/2010 6:37:56 PM

Rib Fusco is my god father and the original vocals for one king down Billy Brown is my father