InterviewsMarch 19, 201011,535 views

Winds Of Plague interview

By Alex
Winds Of Plague INTERVIEW

Multiple line-up changes, theft, substance abuse, lascivious photos leaked to the Internet, the breakdown of interpersonal relationships, critical scorn, and the much-maligned "deathcore" tag: these are just a few of the hurdles Winds of Plague have faced in their short career. But to the delight of scenesters (and often the derision of critics), they have managed to solider on, releasing two popular albums on Century Media in just two years' time and landing major tours with metal and hardcore stalwarts like Hatebreed and Fear Factory.

Vocalist Johnny Plague has no qualms with the niche his band has carved out for themselves these last couple of years. For him, their music is an outlet – a way for him to blow off a little steam and have a good time. On a snowy day in late February, I had a chance to sit down with him to discuss the state of his band and the drama that has followed them these past couple of years. With the same brevity and candor you'll find in his performances on stage every night, he graciously addressed their reputation and the more sordid details of the band's history, but did not let it phase him for a moment as he revealed their plans for the future.

How's the tour been so far?

It's good. Snow sucks. We've had a few shows that have been snowed out this tour – there's been, like, 400 presale and 150 show up.

You've been playing the eastern part of the country?

Yeah. It's only been a few occasions, but it's still really weird.

Is this officially a "B" markets tour?

Yeah. The last one was the primary markets.

Will this be the first time you've played these cities?

Well, it's our first headliner, but we did that Hatebreed/Chimera ["B" markets] tour. We actually played this exact venue.

Hatebreed puts on quite a show.

It's always good.

What kind of response are you seeing to the new album now that you've been touring on it for six months?

It's been, uh – [pauses] it's been weird. The way we play our set is half new stuff, half old stuff. There is a huge difference in how much better the old stuff goes over. I don't think our new CD targeted our fan base.

What traits would you say the fan base is looking for in a Winds of Plague album?

I'd say simple and fun. People want to come out, say ignorant shit, and jump off the stage, I guess.

Did you consciously try to change your style with this album?

I just feel like we tried to write a more mature album.

Would it be fair to say you were trying to rid yourselves of the "deathcore" tag?

Well, before that, we were metalcore. I don't think we sound like Whitechapel or Suicide Silence, but I imagine we could be compared to them because we came up at the same time.

Alex from Suicide Silence told me in an interview that deathcore "is a name for kids that don't want to say they listen to death metal because they're not really into death metal."

Well, our band definitely shouldn't be compared to a [death metal] band like Hate Eternal. I think we're two completely separate entities. I don't think there should be any separation, though. I'll go see a band like Hatebreed. I'll go see Hate Eternal. I'll go see Behemoth. It's all music to me.

Do you feel like your band has an obligation to write parts – breakdowns, for instance – that your fans will appreciate?

I don't feel like we have an obligation – we do whatever we want. But we are learning that our old songs that are maybe not as well-written are more enjoyable to play. We have way more fun. It's not so technical, so you can move around a little bit more. There's more participation. When it comes down to it, we're out here to have a good time. When we're playing the new stuff, I find myself just waiting to get to the older stuff. It kind of [reminds] us of why we're on tour, I guess.

Do you feel like you run the risk of playing a style that may oversaturate the market?

Yeah. I feel like the hardest thing about this [market] is staying current. We watch bands that come up and go so quick, but then there are bands that come up and stay. You've got to dissect what they did – figure out what works and what doesn't work. I think a big part of that is taking a step back from your band and seeing it for what it is. Right now we're doing okay, but by no means do we have a career.

You're playing the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this year. Do you think it will be good exposure, or do you see yourselves maybe playing to the wrong audience?

Well, when we did that Hatebreed/Chimaira tour, it definitely was a lot of that Ozzfest/nu-metal crowd. As far as a support tour, it's the best we've ever done! We sold more CDs on that tour than ever before. I feel like we can control that kind of crowd better than we could a black metal or death metal crowd.

What are your thoughts on the line-up?

Our stage is sweet, I can say that. I don't know. Lamb of God – I'm stoked on them. It's always cool to get to say you played with Korn and Rob Zombie, I guess. You talk to some random-ass dude and he says, "you're in a band?" You can say, "yeah, I'm on tour with Korn."

It is safe to say it will be very different experience than last year's Summer Slaughter tour.

Yeah, it was alright.

Just alright?

Wasn't stoked on that tour.

Do you feel like you didn't go over as well with that crowd?

That's probably the worst we've gone over. I don't think it was devastating by any means; it just wasn't a very fun tour – for us, anyway. Playing after Dying Fetus is kind of rough.

Did that tour take place after the incident with former drummer Jeff Tenny?


How has that panned out since it took place?

Well, now we have a drummer who's sober, which is nice. Our old drummer was drunk from the time he woke up until the time he went to sleep or passed out drunk somewhere. Now we have a drummer that is not only sober, but is capable of playing and writing. It was definitely for the better. It sucks that we lost a bunch of money, but hey – it worked out.

So, I take it you have not patched things up with him?

No, not at all. Never will.

Is it safe to assume you are still straight edge?

I am.

Do you feel like you'll be able to stick with it?

I think so. If I drank, I'd be out of my mind. I already kind of am and I'm sober. Right now, I want to stay focused. When I was younger, I guess I had some temptations – all my friends were partying and having fun. Now, I don't even care. I'd rather just chill.

The band has experienced some additional turnover since the incident with your former drummer. Would you like to talk about the situation with your former keyboardist?

Oh, I love talking about this. Sincerely, I do. What do you want to know?

Well, you have actually gone through quite a few keyboardists. Want to give a quick recap?

Well, I guess we'll start with my brother [Chris Cooke]. He moved to Japan. That's when Kristen [Randall] came along.

And that drew quite a few comparisons to another band from Southern California.

To Bleeding Through, of course.

And then there was the infamous incident involving a topless picture of her that appeared on several different websites.

Fucking retard. She is a miserable person. But whatever – she's out of my life.

After her departure, you brought in Lisa Marx from Kittie, but she left abruptly a few months later.

To be honest, we used her to overshadow the Kristin thing. We know that Kristin was popular within our fan base, so we needed to find a way to overshadow that. Our friend Lisa Marx filled in for us for that Australia tour. That's all it was – she was just filling in. When we got home, we found [current keyboardist] Alana [Potocnik]. She's awesome.

Do you think the current line-up will stick?

Yeah, definitely. [Alana] is a very happy, positive person, and that's what we need. It's like a dark rain cloud has lifted and there's sunshine on the other side. I would be surprised if [our line-up] changed again.

After this tour, you're going to head out in another supporting role, correct?

We're doing direct support for Fear Factory. It starts March 22nd, and it's a pretty quick three-week tour. We're pretty excited because it's a big reunion tour for them. It's pretty awesome to be invited. They were one of the first bands to blow me away with how fast they played.

What kind of venues will you be playing?

I actually haven't seen venues yet, but I'm going to guess it's, like, House of Blues-type venues – [a capacity of] 1000 to 1200. Something around that, I'd imagine.

What are your plans following the Mayhem Fest this summer?

We're planning to record as soon as we get home.

Do you have the album written yet?

We've got about half of it.

Would you say the new material falls into the older simple-but-fun category, or the newer mature-but-tedious category?

It's probably a happy medium. It's a more well-written fun record.

Does that mean it will include mosh parts and gang shouts?


Are there any albums you're anticipating in 2010?

Stick to Your Guns is putting out a new release. I got to hear a little bit of it – sounds pretty good. Really good, actually.

What have you been listening to lately?

Honestly, nothing. Nothing at all. On tour, we get so sick of listening to hardcore and metal. We just watch movies – that's it.

If you had to name five influences, what would they be?

Shit. Influences? I can honestly say the only thing that has influenced the new record so far is Danny Elfman. Oh, and Dexter – the TV series. We've been watching it a lot. I guess Hatebreed would always be one. Nile, I guess, is a pretty apparent influence on some of our songs.

That's not a bad influence to have.

How many is that? Four?

Yes, but could you elaborate a little more about how Danny Elfman ended up being an influence?

We were listening to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack and looked him up on some search engine, then downloaded all these different soundtracks. We sat there and we listened to it, then as soon as it was over, we picked up instruments and started writing.

What is the worst thing you've read about your band on the Internet?

I don't really take any of it seriously.

Well, is there anything that stands out as being particularly ridiculous?

Uh, that Kristen's hot? Yeah, that's the worst thing I've read.


Post Comment
anonymous 3/19/2010 10:25:12 AM


anonymous 3/19/2010 10:31:04 AM

this band f*cking SUCK

elf_ 3/19/2010 10:34:31 AM

shamwow_ 3/19/2010 10:46:48 AM

wow, this band sucks...

anonymous 3/19/2010 1:53:09 PM

What a boring f*cking interview. And they used that Danny Elfman shit the last time they were asked their influences the last time they were about to release a record.

anonymous 3/19/2010 2:23:58 PM

What a stupid butt-hurt gay. Her departing statement was positive and I haven't seen her shit talking any of the idiots in this band. Grow up. Maybe that can be a change that will reflect in your "music".

shitleech_ 3/19/2010 2:27:40 PM

Dude must be pissed because she wouldn't sck his dck.

metal_bob_ 3/19/2010 2:38:18 PM

I saw her boobs on an internet site on time.

TronxTaylor_ 3/19/2010 3:28:56 PM

Kristin and Jeff were the coolest people in that band, and now they're gone. No care.

anonymous 3/19/2010 3:31:39 PM

This guy and the singer for Daughters should have a competition for worst vocals ever.

anonymous 3/19/2010 3:36:32 PM

Dude is a f*cking butthurt, immature idiot.

anonymous 3/19/2010 6:10:57 PM

everyones a critic

Godfather_ 3/19/2010 7:33:33 PM

lol @ gay singer snarling, the whole band can burn.

shitstaunch_ 3/19/2010 8:11:06 PM

this band sucks of course, to no end actually, but its good to finally see someone tell it like it is about problematic ex band members. best to tell the truth of how you feel rather than being fakely diplomatic. f*ck this band anyways, they're horrible cannot wait for this shit to die.

Bambi_ 3/19/2010 11:05:01 PM

I LOVE WOP!! My whole house does, including my one year old daughter, she will bang her hEad to it!! There amazing and anyone that thinks otherwise is insane!! I would love to meet them one day!!! Cant wait for another album to come out!!! AMAZING!!

DaveClinch_ 3/20/2010 12:11:55 AM

So what I gathered from this is Kristen is pretty smart and this Jolly Plague guy is a 5ft tall only child with rich parents and a anger management problem.

butthunter_ 3/20/2010 1:36:23 PM

f*ck this gay. f*cking straight edge pssy

Representing all of WI_ 3/20/2010 1:55:58 PM

How can anyone look up to this band. 1. they interviewed the "lead" singer, bad idea. 2. References to markets, i dont want to hear that shit in a supposed "metal Interview". 3. How obvious does Johnny "plague" want to be about the intention of this band, purely money machine to juice the c*nt out of and not taking any means to change there shitty sound. 4. Please dont ever mention Nile and WOP in the same sentence.5. This band likes to act like there above bands just because they've been tourin

drewcifer_ 3/20/2010 3:04:03 PM

a wonderful man

matt_ 3/20/2010 6:59:14 PM

Why do they HAVE to have a girl keyboardist? I mean, it's such a f*cking gimmick. "We lost our original hot chick keyboadist gimmick so we needed a new chick to keep the gimmick alive." It's so fake.

Samuel_ 3/20/2010 10:55:10 PM

Dear lambgoat: Please stop saying the word "Butthurt". You are not witty or funny. At all.

Samuel_ 3/21/2010 1:33:23 AM

I only bring it up because of an unfortunate incident at a 311 show where I had my butt hurt. It's not funny. It's a real epidemic.

Samuel_ 3/21/2010 2:13:21 AM

Seriously, I'm still in a lot of pain. I've been pooping rectangles for months.

anonymous 3/21/2010 2:15:59 AM

Immature guy making deathcore that won't be around in about a decade what else is new.

Samuel_ 3/21/2010 4:00:06 AM

Hey, I thought we were talking about my hurt butt here!

anonymous 3/21/2010 4:45:21 AM

Why do they HAVE to have a girl keyboardist? I mean, it's such a f*cking gimmick. "We lost our original hot chick keyboadist gimmick so we needed a new chick to keep the gimmick alive." It's so fake.------i see what youre saying but honestly try to imagine a dude playing the keyboards after a girl..kinda gaygy imho

fuckusamuel_ 3/21/2010 6:05:01 AM

"Well, it's our first headliner, but we did that Hatebreed/Chimera ["B" markets] tour. We actually played this exact venue." Who's this 'Chimera'?

TheGhost_ 3/21/2010 10:32:01 AM

this is one of the fugliest bands that i have ever seen. kind of glad that i have never heard their music before. this much fugly can't make good music

TomDelay_ 3/21/2010 12:20:02 PM

They should've interviewed the dude in the glasses on the right. Seriously, he looks totally high and would probably be a hilarious interview. Also, I would not bang their keyboardist with Tony Stewart's dick

YouGotScanned_ 3/21/2010 6:23:38 PM

I liked this interview. It was honest. No bullshit. But, I do have to go ahead and say Kristen is hot and does have nice t-ts.

anonymous 3/22/2010 5:34:30 PM

the guy on the right looks like david cross but uglier

anonymous 3/22/2010 5:36:48 PM

this guy is a complete f*cking idiot. 'decimate the weak' f*cking hitler nazi gay f*ck

TimDilay_ 3/22/2010 9:17:25 PM


Marilyn Manson_ 3/22/2010 9:22:38 PM

My one gripe about this is that there isn't enough black in this picture.

chicken_gang_bang_ 3/22/2010 11:24:45 PM

Do you feel like you didn't go over as well with that crowd? That's probably the worst we've gone over. I don't think it was devastating by any means; it just wasn't a very fun tour – for us, anyway. Playing after Dying Fetus is kind of rough. LOL

jammaface_ 3/24/2010 8:12:11 AM

Why do they HAVE to have a girl keyboardist? I mean, it's such a f*cking gimmick. "We lost our original hot chick keyboadist gimmick so we needed a new chick to keep the gimmick alive." It's so fake. posted by matt" Why wouldnt you want a hot keyboardist in the band? gimmick or not, gives you something good to look at while they play. also thought the new cd was damn good

anonymous 3/24/2010 10:20:15 AM

yeah you could tell this pssy was a numetal gay molded into some metalcore/deathcore gimmick gay so scenester pussies can look up to him. this band needs to GET f*ckED

AaronForBattle_ 4/11/2010 9:49:33 AM

ROFL! the only reason why they cant control a dethcore band is because there not a good dethcore band. Suicide is a f*cking sell out band that things they can speak for dethcore just because they are in hot topic now

anonymous 4/14/2010 2:57:40 AM

/\ lol wut?

Godfather_ 6/14/2010 9:29:12 PM

OMG would f*ck the shit out of that keyboard bitch. IF she was a black male with a big black hard on nigga c-ck n' ballz