Walls Of Jericho interviewBy Mark Keraly
You guys have accomplished quite a bit as a band, big shows, big tours... to what do you attribute all this success?
The only reason anyone is ever able to have opportunities like this and be able to go out and go out on the road all the time is people coming to the shows. You know? People who are into the music and not just into the scene. I'm going to be very honest, and a lot of kids that we see at our shows aren't even in the hardcore scene anymore. They just come out because they love the music, but they're a part of different scenes. All this is because we have good people that work with us that like…you have band like Hatebreed and they're making things just so much bigger than it used to be which is absolutely amazing. Especially someone like that who deserves it so much. We work our asses off and play the music we want to play. Everyone who comes out and supports and just wants to have a good time.
What are your goals as a band? Where do you see yourself in say a year, or five years, or more.
Honestly, I don't know where I see myself. It changes from day to day. Some days we'll have shows and people will get really into it. That's what I want to see. Tonight, we're at the Chain Reaction and there's something like 400, 450 kids here. A lot of people seem like they're really into it but then there's a few people who seem like they don't care. I would much rather play a show to a hundred or two hundred people who are just stoked…who just really want to see the band. People who don't care about all the bullshit politics that they hear here and there. They just care about the music. My goal, to be honest, is I want to be able to enjoy myself and not have to worry about stupid bullshit drama. This is what I do for a living and I want to have fun doing what I do.
How's the new drummer working out?
Amazing. Dustin has been amazing. He picked it up really quick.
Where'd you find him?
We've actually known him forever. At least 95, 96. He used to be the drummer for Premonitions of War, and they parted ways actually a couple of weeks before he came with us. We found out he was free and we needed a drummer because we parted ways with our drummer. Within a week he learned all 13 songs that we're playing on this tour and he's been doing a really good job.
How have the shows been doing on this tour?
They've been really good. They've been a lot of fun.
Any major highlights or lowlights…anything crazy happen along the way?
There's some... nah, I'm not even going to mention it, because nothing like that is worth mentioning. I'm going to not talk about the negatives. The positives…I love stage dives. I love watching people do those. People singing along, people crawling on top of people, I love seeing that. During Bury your Dead's set…I don't remember what city we were in but everyone was on stage and he switches on and off with me and Ray and lets us sing the very last "bury your dead." Ray was singing it and all these kids jumped on stage and it was so crowded that I jumped off the drums and I crawled on top of everybody and honestly it was amazing how easy it was to do. It took me like two seconds, and I love that kind of shit. Also, in "Revival Never Goes Out of Style", the "whoas", the first time all the guys had decided to come out and sing it with me and here's like four or five dudes on this tour with their backs facing the crowd, one leg up on a toe, and a hand in the air pointing disco style, and like…shaking their hips. I was just like, "what the fuck is going on?? No way!" I love that stuff! Again, we went out last night in Vegas, and a few weeks back we went to Marti Gras and had a really great time. Everyone just was there to have a good time and hang out.
Man, sounds awesome.
Bro down! (laughing)
How was Europe? That had to be incredible...
Amazing! It was amazing. We didn't really know any of those bands, really anyone on that tour. We just showed up, we were a day late. Actually, us and 7 Secconds were on the same plane, like one of the same planes, and something was wrong with the plane. So they made us get off the plane and stay the night there, but we didn't even talk to the guys. We were like, "Those guys have to be in a band! They're older dudes, a guy with dreads, that has to be 7 Secconds." None of us wanted to ask them, because they were 7 Secconds, you know? We just had way too much fun.
Wow. Ok, so as far as the band goes, what's working now that wasn't working when you guys originally broke up?
Well we broke up because our drummer moved to Seattle. It wasn't because things didn't really work...
So basically, it's now working because you have a drummer.
Yes. We now have a drummer that we all enjoy.
Can you compare the hardcore scene now to what it was say... five years ago?
I'd even say seven years ago, that's where there'd probably be more of a difference.
Why do you say that?
Because when I was in my teenage years, it was five years ago so I was almost twenty. Things were already changing then so a little bit further back. I think what's different is…which is not a bad thing, I'm never against that kind of thing. I myself have changed as a person. You go to a show and you just didn't care, you just moshed your ass off the whole entire set. I remember I went to Hellfest before we ever played Hellfest. I didn't stop dancing almost the whole entire time. I had pants, didn't know how hot it was going to be. Walked down to some place and bought a pair of really god-awful shorts just so I could continue to mosh while it was so fucking hot. It just didn't matter. I think more now a days people wait for the mosh call and they wait for the heavy part. I've actually had some kid say, "I cant really mosh to your band because we're not really a moshable band…" and I guess that's kind of true now because we're not as "chug-chug" as most. Back when I was younger it was music, you dance to music. You don't wait for a certain part of the music. You would dance your ass off and when that chug-chug part came you danced even fucking harder. Catch your fucking breath and them mosh because you were enjoying the music. I hate to sound so hippy-ish, but "feeling the music" and getting into it and expressing yourself your emotions in a physical way. People still do that but it's a bit different to me in that I have to say "Here's your mosh part" Or "Everybody move." "You have my permission to tear down these fucking walls." I'm saying enough in my lyrics to where I don't feel I have to add that much more to get people pumped up because they're obviously not pumped up by my lyrics. I mean it's cool, I understand and things have to change, and I guess that's cool.
Is that what you miss the most?
Yeah, I do. I'm not saying everyone is like that. I'm going to be very honest and say that we've been around for a very long time and you can look into the crowd and tell who is into what. You can tell who is here because they really give a shit, you can tell who's here to just be seen, you can tell who is here just to act tough and mosh in the pit. You can tell who just wants to have fun and has maybe never heard us before. I can tell these things just by people's expressions. People don't realize that I stare at people while we're playing, I look at people. Even tonight I had some chick looking at me and as I'd say the name of a song she'd shake her head like, "Oh God…this song?" And I'm just thinking like, "Go the fuck out the door, I don't give a shit."
Yeah, really, there's the door.
Yeah, I'm not here to fucking please you, get the fuck out. I don't want to look at your damn face. And that's me because obviously he/she was just here to be seen by the pit in the Bury Your Dead, Premonitions of War, Full Blown Chaos, Walls of Jericho show. You know…I don't give a shit, at least you're dancing. At the same time though, we can tell, we watch and we see that shit.
That's almost obvious while you guys play. WOJ does have a very personal live show, a lot of crowd interaction.
Yes. I definitely pointed at her and told her the next song was for her. I'm sure she's a really nice girl, but still, we see that stuff.
Ok, now did you want to spend any time on some of the things we were talking about earlier?
Let's see. All I know is that if people continue to talk negatively about each other, you're just tearing down your own scene. There's no reason to do that. Granted…some of it's funny and we'll get a chuckle here and there when people are talking shit, but there's just no reason for it. Hardcore itself, especially if you are a hardcore kid in the scene because metal is coming in so much, the hardcore kids are really trying to push how hardcore they really are because they don't want to get lost in the mix. It's totally understandable but make it a positive thing, make it a good thing. Hardcore is about having a message and actually trying to make a change and a difference whether it be in yourself or in other people. I personally just don't understand why people continue to try and rip each other down.
Would you like to send those people a personal message?
Wow. I wont sugar coat this shit. Get a fucking life. Get the fuck out and join something else. Go be negative there. If all you're going to do is stick around and be negative you're probably just doing it because you don't have anything better to do. So get the fuck out if that's the way you want to be. Otherwise, if you want to have a good time come on in, that's what it's all about. It's all about being angry, being happy, having some fucking emotion to what life has handed you and expanding on that in the pit, in singing along, wearing a t-shirt, wearing a patch, or doing something that actually matters. And you know what? You do not matter when you're sitting in that fucking chair and typing on that fucking computer. You know who matters? People at the show, people who are playing the fucking show, people who actually make hardcore happen all the time and everywhere. People who push to succeed.
So to them you say?
Right on, thanks a lot, Candace.