Archive for the Concerts Category
The last time I saw Motley Crue perform live was January 3rd, 1990. I was sixteen years old, and the band was touring in support of their fifth album, Dr. Feelgood.
After 33 years together as a band, in 2014 Motley Crue announced their farewell tour and publicly signed a contract stating that they would no longer tour together as a band after 2015. While many bands have announced “farewell tours” only to renege later (KISS’s farewell tour was in 2000; they played Tulsa last month), I’m taking the Crue at their word here and assuming this is the last time I will ever have the opportunity to see Vince and his buddies Sixx, Mick, and Tom perform live.
For their farewell tour Motley Crue brought along “very special guest” Alice Cooper as an opening act. Alice Cooper is 66 years old and I did not expect much from his show. I was wrong. Despite the fact that most members of his touring band weren’t even born when Alice first took the stage, they performed each song as if it were their own. (Lead guitarist Nita Strauss was born in 1986, the same year Alice Cooper released his sixteenth studio album, Constrictor).
It was great to finally see the father of shock rock and the predecessor of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie do his thing on stage. Throughout the show we got to see Alice Cooper strapped into a straightjacket and tortured by a demented nurse, electrocuted, and ultimately, beheaded in a guillotine. After Cooper was “electrocuted,” the band was joined by a ten-foot-tall monster. Check out this “not from our show but it looked just like this” clip. Jump to the 2:15 mark for the good part.
I was disappointed that the band didn’t play anything from Raise Your Fist and Yell (my favorite Alice Cooper album) but they certainly ran through Alice Cooper’s most classic material.
Alice Cooper Setlist
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Billion Dollar Babies
Welcome to My Nightmare
Feed My Frankenstein
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead
School’s Out (with “Another Brick In The Wall”)
After roughly 30 minutes, Motley Crue took the stage, opening the show with the title track from the latest (2008) album, Saints of Los Angeles. People cheered not for the song but for the band. This was our last time to see Motley Crue perform live. People wanted the band to rip through their entire discography, and that’s exactly what they did. The band didn’t waste any time playing less popular songs from “those years,” completely omitting all material from 1994’s Motley Crue (1994), Generation Swine (1997), and New Tattoo (2000). Instead they stuck with their biggest hits, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted.
There were three breaks in the action. The first was Tommy Lee’s drum solo, an event that has been evolving since the early 90s. Back then, Lee’s drum kit would spin 360 degrees as he played to the crowd. For the farewell tour, his entire drum kit is connected to a roller coaster track that carries him out into the audience as it spins him 360 degrees. Gimmicky, decadent, and over the top? You’ve just described Motley Crue.
I wouldn’t watch this entire clip, but you should watch the first minute of it.
The second break in the show came from Nikki Sixx, who asked the entire crowd to sit down and get ready for story time. Sixx spent the next five minutes telling the story of Motley Crue; how the band members met, how they struggled, and what decisions we all made to get us all in that arena at that time. It was pretty deep. Moments later he strapped on a bass guitar with a built-in flamethrower and shot fire over the crowd as 20,000 people pumped their fists in the air and screaming “Shout at the Devil” at the tops of their lungs.
The final break in the show was Mick Mars’ guitar solo. Mick Mars’ health has seriously been on the decline for the past decade, but you wouldn’t have known it from last night. Note for note, Mars ripped through every song and every solo, nailing every note. Unfortunately, and maybe it was where we were sitting, but his solo sounded like a muddled mess to us. The stage amps were in competition with the house speakers, causing enough of a delay to make the whole thing sound like muddy noise. The guy can still shred though.
Vince Neil did what Vince Neil does, running around the stage, hitting most of the words while working the crowd. Perhaps it’s nostalgia that makes him sound better than he really is at this point. If you’re going to see the band perform one last time you need to see it perform with all four original members and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As the show closed and the band made their way through their biggest single (“Home Sweet Home”), a slideshow of pictures (starting with the guys’ high school yearbook photos) was projected on to a screen and I have to admit I got a little teary eyed. I have followed this band for as long as they’ve been a band and saying goodbye, as silly as it sounds, felt like saying goodbye to an old friend, a real friend.
As the lights came up, Tommy Lee stood at the edge of the stage shouting, “I’m gonna miss you guys.”
We’re gonna miss you too.
And now… on with the show.
Motley Crue Setlist
Saints of Los Angeles
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Looks That Kill
On With the Show
Too Fast for Love
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
Mutherf**ker of the Year
Anarchy in the U.K.
T.N.T. (Terror ‘N Tinseltown)
In the Beginning
Shout at the Devil
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Kickstart My Heart
Home Sweet Home
Posted at 5:20 pm by robohara in Concerts, Reviews
St. Patrick’s Day — a national holiday set aside for good beer, good friends, good music, and good times. For two weeks my friends have been asking each other, “what are you going to do for St. Patrick’s Day?” And each time they asked me, they got the same answer. “I’ll be down at the Green Door, listening to Bongzilla, Brothers of Conquest, RPG, and Alabama Thunderpussy.”
Since doors at the Green Door open at eight and I arrived a few minutes early, I headed next door to Size Records. Size Records is one of those indie music shops straight out of another time. Long haired/long mustached owner Dustin knows his music and knows his customers. Each time I’ve gone in he’s sent me on my way with something good. This time, it was Dead Meadow’s s/t disc. With a huge selection of metal/stoner/punk/hardcore/indie CDs, it’s almost enough to make you forget you live in Oklahoma.
I was standing there talking with Dustin when in walked a couple of guys that he obviously knew. They introduced themselves as Johnny and Brian, and it dawned on me who they were — Brian Cox (drums) and Johnny Throckmorten (vocals) of Alabama Thunderpussy! After exchanging pleasantries and bullshitting about music for a few minutes, we all headed over to the Green Door for a night of good beer, good friends, good music and good times.
Seeing a band at the Green Door is like seeing them in your own home. There’s no back stage area, no green rooms, no VIP lounges. You sit where the bands sit. You piss where the bands piss. You rock where the bands rock. The club is set up like a big studio apartment. The stage is to the left, the seating area is in the middle, the pool tables are to the right and the bar is in the back. And shortly after eight o’clock, the Green Door’s complete roster included its staff, the band members, and me.
On my way to the bathroom, I ran into Erik Larson, ATP guitarist and legend in his own right. After taking care of business, we spent a few minutes at the bar bullshitting about the tour, the shows, and how sick everyone in the band was. After taking a couple of pictures of Erik and Ryan (the other ATP guitarist, amazing on the six string as well), I headed back to my spot in the corner, waiting for the festivities to begin.
These are the exciting things that go on at a show before the rock commences. After the stage was loaded and people began arriving, it was time for the show to finally begin.
The first band of the night was 16 (no, not their age, their name). 16 had the unenviable task of playing first, which almost always means ironing out technical difficulties. 16 wasn’t on the original bill, so the crowd turnout for their gig was pretty light (read: myself, and seven people from the other bands). Still, the three-piece outfit rocked as if they were jamming to a thousand people. The bassist lost his strap during the opening notes of the first song but never missed a beat, crouching to the floor and continuing to jam until Erik Larson (of all people) jumped on stage with a replacement strap.
Apparently Bongzilla was slated for the second slot of the night, but didn’t show. I don’t know the details of their absence so I won’t bash them too hard, only to say that there were at least a couple of people in attendence wearing Bongzilla shirts. I’m sure some people went home disappointed.
This change of events caught RPG a bit off guard, as the guys had been out muching on some Sonic hamburgers. “You’re next!” they heard as they walked in the front door. The guys got their stuff together quick, mounted the stage, and rocked the house.
To tell the truth, I’ve never considered myself a fan of “stoner rock”, although it must be said up front that the stoner rock I’ve heard to date sounded nothing like this. With the volume turned to 10 and the fuzz turned to 11, RPG sounded more like a hard rock/punk attack from the 70s rather than anything you would listen to while sitting in a bean bag. In fact, I can’t imagine sitting at all while these guys are playing! Despite a shortened set list, RPG kicked ass and took names at the Green Door. The band’s dual guitar attack sounded thick and juicy, and the bass had plenty of tone, volume, and attitude.
In between bands, I found my way back to my table. A collection of Bud Light longnecks crowded the center. Sweat rolled from my hair, down my face and onto my neck. I folded my coat up and hung it over a railing next to the stage. It was hot and it was muggy. Everyone at the club was hot, tired, exhausted, and having the time of their life. For seven bucks, this show had turned into the deal of the century.
Next up were the Brothers of Conquest, another band I hadn’t personally heard. The Brothers delivered a straight-forward style of rock and roll from another era — the 80s, this time, instead of the 70s. When “The Rock n’ Roll Outlaw” (vocals) took the stage, he certainly had the crowd’s attention. Donning a vest covered in WASP and Judas Priest patches, the Brothers of Conquest delivered a metal onslaught I haven’t seen the likes of since 9th grade. Armed with leather wristbands, plenty of attitude and even a Warlock guitar (how metal is that!), BOC worked the crowd and put on a stellar performance.
Normally people sit down in between sets at a show due to boredom; that night, it was from sheer exhaustion. During all four of the bands’ sets, you could find members from the other three bands in the front row, watching and cheering. So while we were energetic during the performances, after each one we plodded back to our chairs, resting, recouperating, and conserving valuable energy for the next band.
Around 11:30pm, Alabama Thunderpussy (the last band of the night) took the stage. It’s an amazing moment to capture, the moment where people stop being “people” and become “rock stars”. Brian and Erik had spent much of the night at the bar, talking with other patrons and hanging out. Erik was much shorter and skinnier than I’d thought. Ryan had spent much of the night sunken into a leather couch in the main lobby. John (bass) and Johnny had kind of been quiet throughout the night. But there’s that moment — the moment when people who just a minute before were sitting at the bar next to you are suddenly on stage. They’re suddenly 10 feet tall. Their instruments and amplifiers can drown you out and take over your head, your thoughts, your actions. It’s that moment when five guys you’ve seen wandering around all night suddenly come together and become something bigger, something important, something massive. The lights dimmed, the guitars roared, and those five, normal guys became Alabama Thunderpussy.
Cranking out new tunes, old tunes, songs I’d heard and songs I hadn’t, ATP tore the place apart. More loud, more furious, more raucous than any of the bands before them, ATP rocked on through the night. Despite being the loudest and hardest rocking band of the night, somehow they did it with a laid-back appearance. While bassist John rocked and spasmed his way through the performance, it was the calmer approach of guitarists Ryan and Erik that really caught my attention. The two axe-grinders dished up a three course meal in rockin’ that filled everyone’s bellies. In the back of the stage, perched high behind a kick drum with “FUCKING BULLSHIT” stickered to it sat Brian, complete with a backwards trucker hat and tattoos, glistening in the spotlight. At the front of the stage stood Johnny, a guy who somehow transformed from the quietest guy in the club to the most energetic. When he wasn’t singing, he was microphone twirling, chest pounding, fist thrusting and dry humping.
Those looking for good beer, good friends, good music, and good times this St. Patrick’s Day at the Green Door didn’t leave disappointed. For seven dollars, we had our butts rocked hard by some great bands all night long. Although the night went on for everyone else, I eventually had to excuse myself from the festivities. With a stack of CDs in hand (RPG 4-song EP, ATP’s River City Revival, ATP’s Staring at the Divine, Erik Larson’s The Resounding, and that Dead Meadow disc), a sweat-soaked shirt, a pocket full of free stickers and a ringing in my ears that still persists as I write this review, I headed out into the cold night and back to reality.
If this is stoner rock, then roll it up and pass it my way.
Posted at 1:09 pm by robohara in Concerts, Music, Reviews
On August 6th, 2003, Weird Al played to a sold out crowd in Oklahoma City’s own Bricktown Event Center. The demographcs of that crowd could basically be split down the middle into two even groups. One group consisted of kids, ages ten to thirteen, around the same age that I myself was I was when I first discovered Al’s weirdness. The other half of the crowd was made up of guys like me, people in their late 20’s/early 30’s, who discovered Al early in our adolescent years and never let go.
When Weird Al took the stage, it became clear that we weren’t the only ones who haven’t grown up. With his accordian blazing as loudly as his Hawaiian shirt, Al wasted no time kicking the night off with “Angry White Boy Polka,” a double-time polka happy medly of recent radio hits including songs by Papa Roach, System Of A Down, The Vines, The Hives, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Disturbed, Rage Against The Machine, Limp Bizkit, Staind, Kid Rock, P.O.D. and Eminem.
From that moment on, the stage was set for a wild night of music, accompanied by videos which were projected onto a huge screen behind the performers. While occasionally videos ran behind the band while they were performing, more often they were used to give the band members a few moments between songs to change costumes but keep the momentum rolling. Videos shown included clips from several of Weird Al’s “Al TV” MTV specials as well as several clips from Weird Al’s movie “UHF” (which was filmed in Tulsa, OK).
Weird Al’s twenty year catalog of comedy classics were all fair game during the show. Al played at least one song from each of his eleven studio albums, spanning from 1983’s “My Bologna” (a parody of the Knack’s “My Sharona”) to several songs from 2003’s Poodle Hat, including “Party at the Leper Colony”, “Wanna B Yr Lovr”, “Ode To A Superhero” (a parody of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”), “Ebay” (a parody of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way”), “A Complicated Song” (a parody of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”), “Trash Day” (a parody of Nelly’s “Hot in Here”), and “Couch Potato” (a parody of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”).
Many of those songs included costume changes, not only for Al but the entire band as well. At different times throughout the night, Al took the stage as an overweight Michael Jackson (for “Fat”), a regular-sized Michael Jackson (for “Eat It”), Kurt Cobain from Nirvana (for “Smells Like Nirvana”), Eminem (for “Couch Potato”), Nelly (for “Trash Day”), and even as a pizza delivery boy for his Titanic-theme parody “Free Delivery” (a song which has not appeared on any of Al’s albums).
Weird Al was not the only chameleon on stage Wednesday night. Al’s band, consisting of guitarist Jim West, bassist Steve Jay, drummer Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz, and Ruben Valtierra on keyboards, showed their versitility by changing musical styles between every song, switching from rock to rap to ballads on a moment’s notice. The band covered songs from the 80’s to today all night long without missing a beat.
After playing 26 songs in over two hours, Weird Al left the stage, only to return for a short encore. The encore consisted of two Star Wars related parodies, “The Saga Begins”, sung to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie”, and “Yoda”, Al’s 1985 tribute to the little green Jedi master, a parody of “Lola” by the Kinks. As was the case with most of the songs throughout the night, Al and his entire band took the stage in Star Wars-esque robes. During the middle of “Yoda”, Al and the band stopped to perform “The Yoda Chant” (a two minute long silly chant) before swinging back into the grand finale.
In a world of Southpark and Gangsta Rap, it’s nice to see that a silly guy with a few costumes and some funny lyrics can still make kids and adults alike laugh.
01. Angry White Boy Polka (polka-medly of current songs, from Poodle Hat)
02. Party at the Leper Colony (original song, from Poodle Hat)
03. Your Horoscope For Today (original song, from Running With Scissors)
04. A Complicated Song (parody of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”, from Poodle Hat)
05. Melanie (original song, from Even Worse)
06. One More Minute (original song, from Dare to be Stupid)
07. Dog Eat Dog (original song, from Polka Party)
08. It’s All About The Pentiums (parody of Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins”, from Running with Scissors)
09. Wanna B Ur Lovr (original song, from Poodle Hat)
10. Trash Day (parody of Nelly’s “Hot In Here”, from Poodle Hat)
11. Beverly Hillbillies (parody of Dire Strait’s “Money For Nothing”, from the UHF Soundtrack)
12. Jerry Springer (parody of Barenaked Ladies “One Week”, from Running with Scissors)
13. Jurassic Park (parody of “Macarthur Park”, from Alapalooza)
14. Free Delivery (parody of the Titanic theme, unreleased track)
15. eBay (parody of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want it That Way”, from Poodle Hat)
16. Theme From Rocky XIII (parody of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D)
17. Ode To A Superhero (parody of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”, from Poodle Hat)
18. Lasagna (parody of Los Lobo’s “La Bamba”, from Even Worse)
19. Pretty Fly For A Rabbi (parody of the Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”, from Running with Scissors)
20. My Bologna (parody of the Knack’s “My Sharona”, from “Weird Al” Yankovic)
21. Gump (parody of Presidents of the United States’ “Lump”, from Bad Hair Day)
22. Eat It (parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D)
23. Smells Like Nirvana (parody of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, from Off the Deep End)
24. Amish Paradise (parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”, from Bad Hair Day)
25. Couch Potato (parody of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, from Poodle Hat)
26. Fat (parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”, from Even Worse)
27. The Saga begins (parody of Don McLean’s “American Pie”, from Running with Scissors)
28. Yoda (parody of the Kinks’ “Lola”, from Dare to be Stupid)
Posted at 12:47 pm by robohara in Concerts, Music, Reviews
Andy called me yesterday to tell me that he had an extra (and more importantly free) ticket to see Nine Inch Nails last night at the Oklahoma City Ford Center. So after work, the two of us hooked up and headed downtown.
Andys girlfriend Lea (who does part time radio work and is friends with several people who work at the KATT) told Andy that the KATT would be broadcasting before the concert from the Courtyard Marriott across the street from the Ford Center, so after parking underground we headed over to the Courtyard to hang out for a bit before the show. Andy introduced me to a couple of the KATT DJs and we spent about half an hour hanging around and talking to Paisley and Tony Z. Paisley even had someone take a picture of all four of us together for the KATTs website. After that, Tony Z asked Andy and I if we wanted to cut some promos for the KATTs Dirty Thirty birthday party, so we both recorded little sound bites with our names and where we were from, wishing the KATT a happy dirty 30th birthday. So now we are all BEST FRIENDS FOREVER K WRITE BACK HOLLA PLAYA? Just kidding. But it was pretty fun.
Apparently we spent too much time hanging out in the Marriott because by the time we went outside the line to get into the Ford Center wrapped around a couple of times and took up most of the city block. When the doors finally opened the line moved slowly but steadily. Every person entering had to empty their pockets and be patted down from head to toe by security guards. Times have changed.
The Ford Center is notorious for having small seats (think airplane), so we were less than thrilled to see the enormous guy sitting in the seat next to mine. The guy filled his entire seat and half of mine, which was bad news for me since I fill every square inch of the seats there and Andys not exactly tiny himself. Things got better once the concert started and everyone stood up, but until then I was physically wedged up against two peoples shoulders.
The shows opener was Saul Williams. Apparently Saul Williams has two gigs; slam poetry readings, and live concerts in which he performs slam poetry readings over music. Most of Williams lyrics dealt with his urban struggles growing up black. Unfortunately, his audience was 15,000 white kids, all there to see Nine Inch Nails. As a performer, Williams stage show was largely unimpressive. Both Williams and his DJ were animated throughout the performance but there were no set pieces and no light show to speak of (other than blindingly bright strobe lights). Sauls vocal diatribes are probably very powerful in small venues, but lose something in a large arena setting.
After Williams left the stage, thick screens (I dubbed them mosquito nets) dropped down from the ceiling, blocking view of the stage. The cube was pumped full of smoke, the lights were dimmed, and Nine Inch Nails took the stage.
Despite being deeply rooted in electronic and industrial genres, there is no doubt that Nine Inch Nails puts on a hell of a rock and roll show. Trent Reznors touring band (which rotates members every tour) included bassist Jeordie White (A Perfect Circle/Marilyn Manson), drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle/Devo/Studio musician) and guitarist Aaron North, who covered every inch of the stage throughout the show while throwing guitar stands, kicking over amplifiers, and even stage diving (with guitar in hand) during the middle of a song.
Of course, Nine Inch Nails IS Trent Reznor, and he did not disappoint fans. Whether standing in the middle of an intricate light show or standing onstage alone lit by a lone spotlight, Reznor both commanded the crowds attention and spent time hiding from them in the shadows as well.
The only downfall to the show was the mid-concert pacing. Halfway through the night, the mosquito-nets were once again lowered and turned into makeshift movie projection screens. Movie clips of monkeys fighting and George Bush ballroom dancing were projected onto the screens, all but completely blocking any view of the band. It was a neat effect for one song, but by the end of the third song the crowd began growing restless and I saw lots of people sitting down. The lull continued as Trent and company worked their way through some of the bands slower material. Its good to see some traditions never change the stadium was a sea of lit lighters.
Overall, the show was great (especially for the price!). Its been a long time since Ive been to an arena-type concert, so if nothing else it was nice to get in touch with how out of touch I am. ;)
Posted at 12:29 pm by robohara in Concerts, Music, Reviews
Life of Agony is a band without a label. They’re funding their current tour out of their own pocket with no label support. Their last studio album was released seven years ago in 1997. There’s no logical reason that kids should be lined up outside the Diamond Ballroom in 20 degree weather an hour before the doors open, but they are. A few of them are patrolling the area between the tour bus and the rear entrance with posters and CDs in hand, hoping for an autograph. This is loyalty. This is what Life of Agony means to its fans. This is the Underground.
In 1998, shortly after lead singer Keith Caputo parted ways with the band, Life of Agony decided to call it quits. In January of 2003, the band performed two reunion shows (which sold out in 20 minutes!). Those shows were recorded and released on both CD and DVD late last year. Response has been overwhelming, and in February of 2004 the band launched their US tour.
Local metalheads Element kicked off Friday night’s show. Despite being broken up for the past two years, Element put together a decent set and began working the crowd early. Next up on the set were Apartment 26, followed by Flaw. Apartment 26’s sound varied between Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction, and didn’t do much for the crowd. Flaw’s nu-metal performance was louder and heavier, but there was no question that night who the crowd was there to see.
My press pass allowed me backstage/sidestage access for the first three songs. Although I was supposed to be taking pictures, when the band came out and kicked off the show with “River Runs Red”, I dropped the journalism act for a few minutes. It’s hard to take pictures while you’re singing at the top of your lungs with both hands in the air. By the beginning of “This Time” I had composed myself, and shot as many pictures as I could during both that song and “Bad Seed.”
Throughout the night, the band sounded tight. TIGHT. All night. This would be the fourth time I’ve seen the band live, and they’ve never sounded better. Every song played sounded as good, if not better, then their album counterparts. Life of Agony is hungry, passionate, and dedicated, and it showed throughout their set. The songs played reflected both the fans’ favorites and the band’s finest moments. “Weeds” was the only song to sneak in from Soul Searching Sun; the rest of the band’s hour+ long set list was composed of material from River Runs Red and Ugly. There were no cover tunes that night, no solos and no bullshit — just straight up metal the length of the show.
Near the end of the set, the band snuck in “Love To Let You Down,” an as-of-yet unrecorded track planned for LOA’s new album. If this song is any sign of what’s to come, Life of Agony is returning to the scene with a bang. The song has a thrashy bridge and verses that show of Caputo’s maturing voice. Can we go ahead and prepay now guys?
On February 13th 2004, Life of Agony was back in full force. This band has suffered, learned, and grown over the years, and it shows. While the band’s live DVD is a must have, it’s no replacement for catching the band live. Hopefully, we’ll get many more chances to do so over the years.
Posted at 12:29 pm by robohara in Concerts, Music
Life of Agony once sang, “if you won’t walk with me, I will walk alone.” On February 13th, 2004, they didn’t have to. Hundreds of kids are standing out in the cold, waiting for the Diamond Ballroom’s doors to open. My wife and I aren’t with them — we’re sitting in the rear of the Life of Agony tour bus, hanging out with Joey Z (guitar) and Alan Robert (bass). Here’s what the two of them had to say about the band, the tour, and their future.
ME: So when did you guys roll into town?
Joey: Yesterday. We had a day off here yesterday.
ME: Did you all do anything here?
Joey: We went to the mall. (Laughter — the Diamond Ballroom is located right next to Crossroads Mall).
ME: You guys have been here a few times. Have you ever been down to the bombing memorial or anything?
Alan: No, we don’t really do a lot of sightseeing …
Joey: We’ve got a lot of work to do, believe it or not, you know a lot of bands do a lot of stuff but we’re trying to work on a new album right now …
ME: Yeah, I read that you’re working on some new material.
Joey: Yeah, well, writing, we’re in the process of writing, and that takes up a lot of time. It’s very time consuming when you have ideas all over the place.
ME: So when you’re working on the album on the road do you have a way to record material?
Joey: Yeah we have numerous ways of recording out here with us. We have two home studio machines and we have Pro-Tools out here with us that we set up daily …
Joey: Yeah, so we’re out here working hard, both individually and as a band, we’re working hard. We also try and keep the website updated for the fans.
ME: Yeah, we checked it before we left the house.
Alan: We just put up a new Tour Diary section yesterday, a whole new section. We did it from here.
ME: You do it from the road?
Joey: Alan does most of the artwork for the band, all the cool images you’re seeing like the border stuff and symbol stuff, that’s all Alan’s work. And colors, all the cartoon characters, that’s all Alan’s stuff.
ME: Yeah, I saw the new Instant Messanger Icons you put online …
Joey: And there’s new merchandise out, Alan did a new shirt that’s selling like crazy. The cartoon shirt, the same image that’s on the site.
ME: The one with Keith standing behind the three of you holding the mic stand?
Joey: Yeah, that shirt is selling like crazy.
ME: So tell us what the new album is going to sound like.
Alan: Well, we’ll be playin’ one song tonight off the new album.
Joey: We all really, really want to do this. We’re lookin’ … we’re hungry. The only word that comes to mind is hungry and aggressive. We’re not Slayer and everyone knows that, but at the same time, the band … we had some polite music on Soul Searching Sun, and I think we’re going to try and stay away from politeness and go with more dementia and hungry sound and aggressive.
ME: It seems like casual fans say Soul Searching Sun is their favorite album, but the more hardcore fans seem to like the albums best in the order they were released.
Joey: So far what we’ve been doing is taking the better qualities of the band and bringing them forward. You know, the aggression of some of the guitar riffs, the passion of the vocals, the realness of the vocals and where that’s coming from. That’s being brought up to the table, all the great qualities. You’ve got to pull some stuff out, like the politeness. It was never really Life of Agony, that polite sound.I don’t know, I think we got kind of distracted.
Alan: Sometimes you gotta go back to the masters, and see what really influenced you.
ME: It’s hard when your fans are used to a particular sound and then you change that sound …
Joey: We did drastically. If you listen to Soul Searching Sun it doesn’t sound like the same band. Literally, like if you put one record after the next.
Alan: It wasn’t done intentionally, that’s the thing. We just grew and grew. And we really didn’t have anybody telling us “well you can’t do that,” so we just went with it, whatever we felt like.
ME: Do you have anybody telling you that now?
Alan: No. We tell ourselves now actually, we’re a little more conscious of it now.
ME: Are you aiming for radio play with the new album?
Joey: I don’t think we think about it.
Alan: I think … radio is at a certain state that I can’t even turn it on. So you know, if we get radio play doing something that we wanted to do, that’s a different story.
Joey: If it’s bad ass, and they can’t help but to play it ‘cuz so many people like it, then that’s cool.
ME: I’m curious to see if the new Headbanger’s Ball will sway the radio back towards heavy music. It’s different living in Jersey than living in Oklahoma, here you have limited outlets to see and hear new music. Kids are going to see stuff on Headbanger’s Ball.
Alan: Tomorrow night, Saturday night, they’re playing River Runs Red from the DVD at 11 o’clock eastern time.
ME: And where will you be tomorrow night at 11 o’clock?
Joey: In front a TV, hopefully! (Laughter) Actually, we will! ‘Cuz we’ll be playing with Sevendust and we’ll be going on early so we will be able to see it.
ME: Are you excited about that?
Joey: Yeah! They played “Through and Through” a few months back and gave it a grand introduction. Jamey from Hatebreed gave it such a cool introduction. “This band is classic, from 10 years ago, this is Life of Agony. They’re on tour again, this is ‘Through and Through’.” It was a real nice introduction.
ME: “Through and Through” was the first Life of Agony song I ever heard. I was at a party when it debuted on Headbanger’s Ball, and I literally made everyone at the party stop talking while it was on so I could hear it. I bought the album the very next day and have been a fan ever since.
Joey: Wow. Awesome man, that’s great.
ME: So talking about life on the road, is it wild or is it calm?
Joey: It’s like, the wild days are all behind us.
ME: How old are you guys getting to be now?
Joey: I’m 32
Alan: We’re both 32, Keith just turned 30 …
Joey: We’re both 32 but we feel young when we get up stage, and as a matter of fact I think we’re in the best playing condition we’ve ever been in. As far as the band sounding, if you don’t mind me saying, we sound f’ing awesome right now. I mean, we’re sounding better than we’ve ever sounded. So as far as our playability, we’re in the prime of our game and we’re only getting better by the day, by the show.
ME: And how has the turnout been for these shows?
ME: Are you surprised by that?
Joey: Unexpected, yes, very.
Alan: We didn’t know what the expect.
Joey: No album, no video, no radio song, nothing.
ME: But people are dying to hear what you have coming out, and they’ve been waiting a long time.
Joey: Yeah, and people want to hear those songs. They want to hear their favorite songs, they want to see the band play them, they want to see if we can play them live.
ME: I noticed a lot of people singing along with your songs on DVD, is that common at your shows now?
Joey: The other night in St. Louis, it was crazy. The place was jam packed.
Alan: It was the 14th anniversary of Life of Agony’s very first show … we had a nice toast on stage.
Joey: 14 years exact to the night, February 11th.
ME: It’s weird when you think like, almost half of your life has been dedicated to doing one thing. So tell us about your website, it’s constantly being updated.
Alan: People should check out our website and sign up for the message board. We have a whole mess load of people out there, a nice little community.
Joey: We interact, we answer questions as much as we can. Again we’re busy … I tend to go online a lot more when I’m at home.
ME: Do you get online at all when you’re on the road?
Joey: Occasionally. It’s very hard, kind of slim, for me like twice. Now Alan has his computer out and he’s dong a lot of work with the Tour Diary and keeping the website current which is very important.
ME: It’s very important. Like 10 years ago, we all got our information from magazines and the info was so dated, and now it’s like you can see what the band was doing last night …
Alan: To give you an idea, I posted the new Tour Diary section last night at 2:30 or 3am, posted it on the newsboard, and checked it 15 minutes later and there were already 4 or 5 messages … that’s in the middle of the night.
ME: It’s a totally different connection to the fans now.
Joey: And the problem with a lot of bands that aren’t running their own website I noticed, is you go out there and the last time it was updated was (six months ago), and it’s the same graphics, the same pictures, and it’s like, why should I come back here?
ME: You end up losing visitors and fans over it.
Joey: You discourage people, right!
Alan: Well a lot of times the label takes it over, that’s the problem. Then all the news filters through them and it’s when they get around to doing it …
ME: But you maintain control over your site, right?
Joey: Yeah. we’re doing all of this on our own. I thnk there’s something to be said about being out here with no tour support …
Alan: … No real label support, you know, obviously the DVD just came out but it’s just a one off for us. But we’re basically an unsigned band right now.