Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

On Friday the 19th of October 2012 I headed up to the Ottobar in Baltimore to see Pig Destroyer perform at their album release show. Their new album, Book Burner, is their first full length release in over 5 years and anticipation for the album has been high not only in the DC area, which the band is from, but in the overall world of metal fandom. I missed the opening act, Wargames, though they’re a Baltimore based hardcore band so they’ll probably be playing in the area again soon. Royal Thunder was the first band I saw play. They’re a slow paced hard rock/metal band from Atlanta and while I didn’t think they were all that bad, they were certainly out of place on this bill. The crowd who showed up to see a spastic grindcore band wasn’t really interested in seeing a drowsy southern rock band with clean vocals. Royal Thunder, along with Pig Destroyer, is signed to Relapse. I guess they were just trying to get Royal Thunder more exposure by adding them to this line up but they really sucked the energy out of the place. Luckily the next band, Baltimore natives Necropsy, came to the rescue with their set and got the mosh pits started. They play some catchy death/thrash and they are really fun to watch live. They’re all pretty young, I’m not sure if any of them are over 21, but they are certainly worth checking out if you haven’t seen them yet. They’ll be opening the first day of Maryland Deathfest next May. The next band to play was Washington DC’s own Ilsa. I’ve seen them a ton of times and as always they brought the heavy, chugging riffage doused in crusty filth. They started their performance off by throwing stripper glitter on the people standing close to the stage and I have to say that was rather unexpected. Just when you think you’ve seen it all at a metal concert… Anyways, Ilsa was in really good form, mostly playing songs from their upcoming album Intoxicantations which is due out on Black Friday (Nov 23rd) from A389 Records. I’ve got the set list posted here if you’d like to see it. They didn’t play the song Frostthrower, a personal favorite of mine, but it didn’t matter, they’ve got a lot of great songs and you could tell the audience agreed. They were loving the weight of the band’s sound and I’m sure Ilsa won some new fans with their performance.

After Ilsa’s killer set it was time for Pig Destroyer. They don’t play a lot of shows in the area and there was a good sized crowd out for this rare appearance by the local grindcore legends. Vocalist JR Hayes (who I recently interviewed here) was rather jovial between songs then like a light switch he would just turn on his pent up rage and funnel it through his throat. He was like a caged wild animal suddenly set free into the confusing world with his microphone as his only weapon. Guitarist Scott Hull stayed pretty cool on the left side of the stage, grinding out his bizarrely unique riffs as the songs jarringly started and stopped. This was the first time I had seen Pig Destroyer with with their new drummer, Adam Jarvis (also of Misery Index) and apparently it was his birthday as well. Even after taking birthday whiskey shots on stage he still ripped through those crazy Pig Destroyer songs with total precision. The band doesn’t have a bass player but they do have Blake Harrison who basically “plays” some sort of DJ console making noises and adding clips and samples to their songs. Since a lot of what Blake does is basically prerecorded he spends a lot of time on stage essentially acting as a hype man by helping pump up the crowd and keep them into the show. There were also a few guest appearances during the set. Kat Katz (vocalist for the now defunct DC doom band Salome) performed vox on a few songs and the Grindfather, aka Richard Johnson of Drugs Of Faith, did some guest vocals as well. Pig Destroyer’s set list didn’t include a whole lot from the new album though they did play a cover of a Void song. You can see their full set list here. Overall it was a great performance by one of DC’s biggest bands and it was awesome to see them in a local venue. During Pig Destroyer’s set I was up front trying to get some photos and videos and, unsurprisingly, the crowd was wild, hyper and just violent overall. I’m lucky I didn’t damage my camera but I think it was worth it to get some straight on, close up shots from this rare show. The videos are all the way at the end, I hope you enjoy them. Until next time, stay metal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!

Royal Thunder:

Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder

Royal Thunder at the Ottobar

Necropsy:

Tyler Carnes of Necropsy

Travis Stone of Necropsy

Necropsy at the Ottobar

Sebastian Phillips of Necropsy

Sebastian Phillips of Necropsy

Ilsa:

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Garrett of Ilsa

Ilsa at the Ottobar

Orion of Ilsa

Pig Destroyer:

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

J.R. Hayes of Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

Pig Destroyer at the Ottobar

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer

J.R. Hayes of Pig Destroyer

Win A King Giant Prize Pack

As Halloween draws closer there’s still more treats to give out to you readers of DCHeavyMetal.com! The local southern metal band King Giant has a show on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at Empire (formerly Jaxx) in Springfield, Virginia, their first area appearance since back in January. To mark this occasion I’m going to give one of you a free pair of tickets to this show! However I really want to stuff you pillowcase this time so in addition to the tickets the winner will also get this show’s limited edition concert poster with artwork by Laurie Lipton (seen at right) signed by the entire band. But wait, there’s more! The winner will also get both a sticker and a t-shirt featuring the new King Giant torch artwork by Jess Zadlo (seen below)! To enter just tell me what your favorite zombie movie of all time is by leaving a comment on the bottom of this post. The winner of this awesome prize pack will be chosen at 5pm EST on Halloween (that’s Oct 31st) at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours then I’ll pick another winner to get the tickets so be sure to use an email address you check regularly so you’ll be able to claim your prize. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. And if you cannot make it to the show please don’t enter because the prizes will be awarded at the show. If you simply can’t wait to find out if you have won or not, or the contest is already over, you can buy tickets to the show for $10 from Amped & Alive here. The posters, stickers and shirts will all be available at the merch booth at the show as well.

Due to an injury in the band King Giant didn’t play for a while but now they have risen again and they are ready to eat your brains rock out on stage once more! They always put on a great show so you won’t want to miss this. Also playing this show will be Philadelphia’s Kingsnake, another southern styled metal band who should be a perfect support band for this show. The show will be opened by Richmond’s Fire Faithful. They might not be kings but you can consider them your ace up the sleeve to get the beer and whiskey drinking started right. Be sure to check out this zombie infested music video for King Giant’s song Appomattox while you think of your answer (things like Frankenstein, Evil Dead and I Am Legend all count. I’ll even accept the Walking Dead!). Good luck everyone, and happy halloween from DCHeavyMetal.com!

Dethklok ticket give away

Dethklok at the Fillmore Silver Spring

If you’re a metal head and you’ve got a TV then you’ve probably seen Metalocalypse on the Cartoon Network‘s Adult Swim. The humorous show is about the fictitious metal band Dethklok which Brendon Small, the show’s creator and song writer, brings to life using animated back drops behind live musicians (including the legendary Gene Hoglan on drums!) playing the Dethklok tunes. Well Dethklok has just put out a new release, Dethalbum III, and so they’re hitting the road again. On Friday the 2nd of November 2012 they’ll be playing at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland and DCHeavyMetal.com wants to give you a free pair of tickets to this show! To enter just tell me who your favorite member of Dethklok is and why by leaving a comment on this post. Just to help remind you, the members are: Nathan Explosion, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Toki Wartooth, William Murderface and Pickles. On Friday, October 26th at 5pm EST one lucky winner will be picked at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win a pair of tickets to the show. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours then I’ll pick another winner to get the tickets so be sure to use an email address you check regularly so you’ll be able to claim your prize. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. And if you cannot make it to the show please don’t enter because I want people who can actually attend to get the tickets! If you simply can’t wait to find out if you have won or not, or the contest is already over, you can buy tickets to the show for $35 from Live Nation here.

Dethklok is the headliner but don’t think they’re the only band worth seeing on this tour because there are some killer support acts as well. Direct support comes from Boston’s All That Remains. Their new album, A War You Cannot Win comes out on November 6th and I’m betting you’ll be able to hear some of those new songs live at this show before it is even released! Machine Head will also be playing and these Bay Area shredders will be sure to bring the heavy. Be sure to get there early to check out opening act The Black Dahlia Murder as this Michigan band plays some of the songs from their latest album, Ritual, live for the first time in this area. Still not convinced this show is going to kick ass? Then check out the music videos below, one by each band, and enter the contest while you’re getting your headbang on!

Municipal Waste and Napalm Death ticket give away

Municipal Waste and Napalm Death are co-headlining a tour that will be at Empire (formerly known as Jaxx) in Springfield, Virginia on Friday the 26th of October 2012 Municipal Waste and Napalm Death at Empireand since it sounds so damn fun DCHeavyMetal.com is giving away a free pair of tickets to one lucky reader of the site. All you’ve got to do to enter is tell me your favorite Halloween themed song (metal or otherwise) by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post. On Wednesday, October 24th at 5pm EST I’ll pick a winner at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to get the free pair of tickets to the show. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours then I’ll pick another winner to get the tickets. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If you simply can’t wait to see if you win the contest you can get tickets from Amped & Alive here for $16.

Richmond thrashers Municipal Waste are among the leaders in the modern wave of thrash metal and if they do anything better than shred it’s party. They’re known for putting on crazy wild shows and you can bet this Friday night show will get crazy. If you’re looking for an excuse to wear your Halloween costume in a mosh pit this year then this is it! Napalm Death is a legendary UK band most known for pioneering the grindcore genre and in case you didn’t know they put on intense live performances. The band still keeps it heavy after all these years while also bringing attention to important social issues. California’s masters of gory death metal Exhumed will also be playing this show, which is perfect leading up to Halloween. Expect to see blood, guts, and a maybe even a real chainsaw on stage during their set. Philadelphia based Vektor is a futuristic tech-thrash band that is paving the way for the future of thrash metal and they’ll melt your damn face off while they’re at it. You will also be able to catch March To Victory from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and NoVA locals Krass Judgement opening this concert. This Friday night metal gig is jam packed with so much awesome that you’d be crazy to miss it. Now check out some of these creepy videos and songs by the bands playing and go enter a the bottom of the page!

Epica ticket give away

Epica at the Howard Theatre

The Dutch symphonic power metal band Epica will be playing the Howard Theatre in Washington DC on Tuesday, October 23rd and you can win a free pair of tickets to this show here on DCHeavyMetal.com! All you have to do to enter is give me a good reason why you want to go to this show by leaving a comment at the end of this post and at 5pm EST on Friday, October 19th I’ll pick one winner at random (using Random.org) from all the valid entries to win the tickets to this killer show. Be sure to enter with a valid email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours then I’ll pick another winner to get the tickets. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any email lists or anything like that, I hate spam too. If you enter more than once then all of your entries will be disqualified. If you simply can’t wait to see if you win the contest you can get tickets from Ticket Master here for $23.

Don’t let redhead Simone Simons’ good looks fool you, she’s not just up there to look pretty. She can really sing and Requiem For The Indifferent, their album released earlier this year, is definite proof. I’ve posted their latest music video below so you can listen for yourself. This will be the area’s first chance to hear any of Epica’s new material live and I’m sure they’ll play some older classics as well. There are several other bands on this tour as well including Alestorm, a pirate themed metal band from Scotland. Insomnium is a melodic death metal band from Finland with some very heavy riffs. System Divide is a band with members from Europe, the Middle East, and various parts of the US including their guitarist, Steve Miller, who area metal heads will recognize as the guitarist for local death metal band Loculus. The opening act is Blackguard, an up and coming epic metal band from Montreal, Canada. That’s a hell of a line up coming to the Howard Theatre, a new venue with great sound in DC that is just around the corner from the 9:30 Club (and just as easy to get to). So check out the songs below, one by each band playing, and tell me why you want to be at this concert!

Interview with JR Hayes of Pig Destroyer

I was lucky enough to get JR Hayes on the phone for a 20 minute interview where he talked about the new Pig Destroyer album, how the band almost broke up before it was even released, and even the upcoming presidential election. You can either download it as an mp3 here, listen to a stream of it by pressing the orange play button on the player, or read the full transcription of it below. The headshot photo is by local photographer Josh Sisk and is used with permission. As usual, my words are in bold. Now get to it!

Hey this is Metal Chris of DCHeavyMetal.com and I’m here talking with JR Hayes, the vocalist for the DC based grindcore band Pig Destroyer. Their new album, Book Burner, is their first full length release since 2007 and will be out on Relapse Records on October 22nd. Book Burner is one of the most anticipated metal releases of 2012 and Axl Rosenberg of Metal Sucks has already dubbed it “the best metal album of the year.” So to start off JR, why don’t you tell me what the fans can expect from the new album.

Well uh, JR Hayes photo by Josh SiskI don’t know if we’re going to win any new converts cause we’re pretty much doing what we always do which is just try to make the craziest grindcore record we can make. I think that the trick with grindcore is, you know you’re trying to make it as chaotic as possible but then at the same time you’re trying to make it memorable and it’s kind of a difficult balance to achieve sometimes. I’m really happy with it.

So you’re having an album release show for Book Burner at the Ottobar in Baltimore on October 19th. Now are copies of Book Burner going to be on sale at the show?

Well you know we did a Terrifyer album release there and we thought that Relapse was bringing us copies and they didn’t know that so we actually didn’t have any copies of our record at our record release show and that was really embarrassing. So uh, I would hope that there would be copies there, yeah.

So is that why you’re doing it again in Baltimore instead of DC, because you had done one there previously?

Well we’ve probably played at the Ottobar more than any other one place. I mean we even go back to the old Ottobar when it was a little closer to the harbor. You know I’ve always kind of considered that our home stage. Two of our members live in Baltimore. I do love playing DC but I definitely have a very close relationship with Baltimore as well.

I don’t think you’ve played DC since 2008 at the Black Cat with Misery Index.

Yeah, yeah that was a sweet show. I really enjoy– used to enjoy playing the Casa House and [the] Black Cat’s always fun. The Warehouse was my favorite though. I was very crestfallen when it closed.

Yeah me too. So here’s another question about the new album: What is the Book Burner cover art supposed to represent?

I’ll be honest with you I didn’t really think it that far through. That photograph was taken by my friend Chris [Taylor] in Richmond and it was going to be a 7″ cover for a Richmond band. It never ended up coming out cause the band broke up and I always admired that picture you know when I saw it like seven or eight years ago, it might have even been longer I’m not sure. I was just hanging out with him one night and I just kind of randomly asked if he still had it and he did. As soon as I saw it again I knew that, at least in my mind, that was the cover of the album. I don’t know if I could tell you why. But just something about that image I was very passionate about and [I] felt it was very evocative and you know I had Chris dress it up a little bit in his unique style and Pat added some different colors and stuff and I think it turned out really good.

Yeah it definitely stands out, it’s very unique.

I think with the cover you know me and Scott [Hull, guitarist of Pig Destroyer] were doing the artwork for this record and we kind of more knew what we didn’t want. We didn’t want just a book burning, you know like just completely literal with it you know like cause that just wasn’t interesting to us. It wasn’t really all that important what the image was as long as it was a strong image.

Book Burner cover art by Chris Taylor

Ok so I read the story that you wrote, The Atheist, and I thought it was really good by the way. It sort of seemed like the first chapter of something maybe. Is there going to be more added to this or a continuation of any kind?

I’ve seen a couple people mention that. That was actually Adam’s [Jarvis, drummer for Pig Destroyer] comment when he first read it that he wanted there to be more. For me it all kind of wrapped up in a nice package and I don’t really see where else to go with it but I try to never say never you know? Maybe the inspiration will take me and I’ll want to do something with it. I think for me the most fascinating thing about it is that it starts out seeming like it’s not really fictional and then it kind of twists and becomes fictional all of a sudden and I think that juxtaposition was what made it interesting to me as a single piece.

I remember in the story there were these almost stormtrooper like characters that were called book burners and so it kind of got me thinking is the album Book Burner supposed to be taking place in the world of The Atheist or are there any other kind of tie ins with that other than the name?

Well there’s also a track called Book Burner on the album too and the lyrics to that are totally unrelated to the story. Because the story wasn’t going to be included with all the different versions of the record, it’s supposed to be a limited thing, I didn’t want the people who were just hearing the record to feel like they were missing something, you know what I mean? So I kind of intentionally wanted it to be a separate thing but I just put a couple of little minor tie ins like book burner obviously just to kind of string everything together but I didn’t want the two parts to be dependent on one another. You know what I mean?

Yep. Now, how has working with Adam Jarvis of Misery Index been because he’s a great drummer and it’s pretty exciting that he’s working with you guys now?

Yeah I mean it’s been great. When we parted ways with Brian [Harvey, former drummer of Pig Destroyer] that was probably the darkest period that we’ve had as a band. Everybody was really down in the dumps and we didn’t really know if the band was even going to continue at all. Cause you never know if you’re going to find– You can bring in a million drummers and never find the right one. The chemistry has to be right. We were just really lucky in that we already knew Adam as a person and he’s a really driven guy and he wanted the job from day one. I don’t want to say he like forced his way in there but he was ready when we came calling and from the first song that we played together with him I knew that it was right. I was sold from the first song that we played.

Now Phantom Limb came out in 2007 and you had the single track EP Natasha that came out in 2008 and then you guys hadn’t really put out anything until this new album. Was a lot of that because of the line up change?

After Phantom Limb we took a couple of years where we were just playing shows and kind of enjoying ourselves and just kind of supporting the record the best that we could. Then we lost our practice space so we turned Scott’s basement into like a real deal studio. You know we built it all ourselves and you know double dry wall and sound dampening stuff. You know we went the full nine yards and that took us about a year and then during that time me and Scott were both working on the last Agoraphobic [Nosebleed] record [Agorapocalypse] and that was very time consuming and then when it came time for us to record Pig Destroyer that’s when everything just kind of fell apart on a personal level and we had like a year where we just either didn’t practice or our practices sounded like shit. It was terrible. It was really awful and to be honest I would have rather not done the band at all than kept [it] going like that. When you’re killing something that you love like that it’s just a horrible experience.

So what was the big turn around then for you guys? What really got you back into it to the point where you’re now putting out an album like this?

You know even when Brian was still in the band we had like maybe five songs written from this album and I thought that they were some of the strongest songs that we had written. So I knew that the inspiration to do it was still there but we just couldn’t physically do it. So we needed someone else to come in and inject some youth and some enthusiasm into it and then once you kick it and it’s going then we’re off. You know what I mean?

Yeah yeah.

We just needed a kick in the ass basically and Adam’s a really enthusiastic guy. I’m used to Scott pushing everybody in the band but Adam’s definitely been pushing us as well. He’s also a very driven individual.

Alright now so who are some of your main influences in regards to writing the lyrics and performing with Pig Destroyer?

I think musically my influence is just all the great hardcore and grindcore singers. Jeff Walker from Carcass, Lee Dorian and Barney [Greenway] from Napalm [Death]. From a writing standpoint it’s kind of just pulled from all over. There’s a lot of people out there who write good lyrics. Leonard Cohen, [Bruce] Springsteen, Nick Cave, there’s a million people. The content of what’s being written doesn’t really matter to me as much as the style of the person who’s writing cause I think a great writer will get you into whatever it is that they’re talking about. So I’m just always looking for people with a very strong and confident style.

Ok now where exactly did the name Pig Destroyer come from and what exactly does it mean?

I remember that me and Scott were at an amusement park and we were standing in line to get on a roller coaster and we weren’t even talking about a name for our band, even though our band didn’t have a name at that point. We were just trying to come up with the most ridiculous band name we could come up with and I think he came up with Cop Destroyer and that kind of immediately morphed into Pig Destroyer and that was just the name of the band. Anybody who has ever started a band knows that coming up with band names really sucks. If you’re lucky somebody will say something that everybody just knows immediately that that’s it. It’s actually very much like how we came across the cover art. It was just a very random kind of– instinctually I just knew that it was right.

Just had the right feel.

Yeah it just felt right. It sounded right. Sometimes you’re in danger of over thinking things. I can be very picky and meticulous about working on some things but other things like album titles and band names it just has to be a moment of inspiration or creativity. It has to just feel… correct.

So what was the metal and grind scene like in 1997 when the band was just getting started?

Well anybody who was into metal in the 90s knows that the 90s weren’t really kind to metal. I wasn’t really paying a whole lot of attention to death metal stuff. I had already kind of gone through that phase. I was just fascinated by the whole Southern California grindcore scene and the Bay Area scene with like Spazz and Crossed Out. You had Assück from Florida. There was a lot of amazing grindcore bands that were out back then. A lot of American grindcore bands doing great shit so it was a lot of fun. Then of course you had the whole metalcore thing going on at that point too which is a whole nother can of worms.

So what’s the best concert you’ve ever been to in the DC area?

Oh man… Fugazi at Fort Reno was pretty amazing. I don’t know I mean it would be a list as long as my arm but probably my personal favorite show would be Nirvana and The Breeders and Half Japanese at American University [on November 13, 1993]. That was like probably when I was about 16 or 15. That show kind of set the tone for all of the shows I would see after that. That was a very important night in my life.

Do you have any favorite metal or grind bands from the area?

Well there’s Suppression from– well they started in Roanoke [Virginia] but then they moved to Richmond. I mean they’re kind of always, to me, the consummate Virginia grindcore band. You know you had Jesuit from Virginia Beach even though they were only around for a short time. Where I grew up in Sterling [Virginia] the big band was Pg. 99. I was at I would say probably at least 40 or 50 percent of their shows you know so uh, I’m very you know intimately familiar with those guys. They were very important to me personally just because they were from my home town.

How has being based in the DC area affected you as an artist or has it?

Oh yeah I mean uh, everything about this area influences me. The history– my family personally has a lot of history in the McClean [Virginia] area. I don’t necessarily like get down with all of DC’s music but it has a very interesting, one of a kind– I mean any city that can create stuff like Bad Brains and fuckin Rites Of Spring, I mean, there’s just a lot of unique bands from this area you know and very smart bands too.

Oh definitely. Being in DC here there’s always been a lot of political music here you know with Bad Brains and Minor Threat and then the Dischord [Records] bands. And you guys were a more political band when you started but you’ve sort of shifted away from that over the years lyrically. Why do you think you’ve evolved that way as a writer?

Well I was really political and then I started really getting involved in it to the point where I was going to all of these anarchist meetings and going out to protests and things like that. I just became really disenchanted with people and the attitudes. Then I think around that same point I got my heart broken really bad. That kind of set me off on a more personal direction I guess you might say. You know that’s just one of those phases that you go through in your life. I mean I still have strong political convictions but I don’t express them in the same kind of ways.

Now I wouldn’t normally ask this but since the election is coming up are you planning on voting and if you are would you like to say who you’re going to vote for for president?

Aw man I just really want it all to be over to be honest with ya.

Yeah I hear that.

I can’t get juiced about the Democrats because they always let me down but the Republicans are just so two faced and poisonous. I usually end up pulling the lever for the Democrats just because I can’t stomach the Republicans. It’s just too much for me. I feel like it’s almost a lose-lose. The only person who was– and I didn’t agree with him on a lot of issues but, I felt like Ron Paul was the only candidate who was proposing real change, even if I didn’t agree with it. You know these two candidates [Barack Obama and Mitt Romney] are kind of just like– it’s the old hot shit, cold shit argument. Take your pick.

Alright now back in April of 2009 David Rowell wrote a lengthy article about Pig Destroyer [link] in the Washington Post Magazine and I was kind of curious what effect did this have on the band?

The thing about us is we don’t play locally as much as a lot of other bands. We usually go out and play. So when I come home I’m kind of anonymous at my job and I’m just another dude which is kind of how I like it. But because that came out in such a huge publication that was local everybody I knew either heard about it or read it personally. So that was kind of unusual. You know like even my parents’ neighbors were coming over to me and being like “Oh we read about you in the paper” you know. So like you know those experiences are as cool as they can be.

Now way back in June of 2000 you were playing a show at the world famous CBGB’s in New York City and the microphone went out and you just kept on screaming at the top of your lungs. There’s a video of this that has been going around the internet for some time and has become a little bit legendary and on the video you can still be heard over all the guitars and everything. Do you remember anything about that show or was that a special experience to you? Because it’s kind of a legendary thing now and I kinda had to bring that up if I’m going to interview you!

Well at the time I was just– Cause I mean it wasn’t like the mic just shut off. The mic literally crumbled in my hand into like five different pieces. It was like it just gave up and died. It just fell apart and disintegrated. And so I was confused for a second and nobody really seemed like they were going to give me another mic so I just screamed. I didn’t really even think about it but the video is kind of funny. Any time you play at CBGB’s it a pretty awesome experience.

Ok well here’s something a little more recent that I wanted to ask you about. In 2010 there was another DC based grind act, Magrudergrind, and they had their album Crusher which was released by Scion A/V which is a branch of Toyota. Jay Randall of Agoraphobic Nosebleed wrote a blog post [link] saying that grind bands and metal bands in general shouldn’t be working with giant corporations and putting their logos on their albums and such. And I know that Pig Destroyer had played a Scion sponsored event prior to this in 2009 in Atlanta and I’m curious about what your take on all of this is. Do you think local grind acts should be working with big companies like this or that if they’re working with them it’s sort of selling out or what’s your take on all of this?

I just think that when you’re in the public eye, even if you’re just an underground band, when there’s people paying attention they’re going to get stirred up by certain things that they don’t like. And I definitely understand where people are coming from when they cry sell out or whatever. That’s just a risk that you take when you make a move. I was kind of uneasy about it. You know once we did the first gig with Scion and it was like– I felt that it was run really professionally. You know he promoted it well, like it was free for the kids to get in. I just really didn’t see any negatives and they seemed like they were really into what we were doing and I thought it was cool and we’ve done actually maybe half a dozen things with Scion. We played a show in New York at the Masonic Temple with Brutal Truth and I thought it was rad.

So is there someone at Scion that is just into underground grindcore cause it just seems really random that bands like Magrudergrind, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth…

The guy that we talked to, he is kind of in charge of putting these shows together, he’s just into all kinds of extreme bands. I mean I don’t know what his relationship is with Scion but he obviously has their ear as far as bringing out a bunch of money for promotion and stuff. When we played at the fest in Atlanta you know with like Boris was there Neurosis. Fuck it you know you get to play with Neurosis and there’s no negatives there for me. Plus I was upset cause I love the Magrudergrind boys cause they’re local and they’re a great band and I was really sad that they had to take shit on that. All of these other bands, including us, kind of got spared.

Yeah they definitely got the most attention for that.

Yeah you know they got singled out. I don’t think that’s really fair. Didn’t the Melvins just put out a free thing with Scion?

Yeah The Bulls & The Bees I think.

Yeah I mean if it’s good enough for the Melvins it’s good enough for me. I guess the times have changed a little bit. I remember in the early 90s it was if you put a bar code on your CD that was like a no no. Heh heh. You know so I mean, fuck it man, you know? It is what it is.

Now Pig Destroyer is going to be playing Maryland Deathfest XI in May of 2013. Do you know what day Pig Destroyer is going to be playing on?

Oh man I don’t even know if I’m going to be alive in 2013! [It’s] so far away right now. I don’t know what day. Hopefully it’s like a Friday.

Are you guys going to do anything special for Deathfest? Maybe have a special set list or a guest come out or anything like that?

I don’t know we’re really impulsive about stuff like that. It’s hard to say. If we were going to come up with something we wouldn’t do it this far in advance. I think we’re just kind of a band that we’re just kind of focused on whatever the next thing is that we’re doing. For me it’s like we’re doing these record release shows so that’s the thing that I’m kind of looking forward to and I’m not really looking past that. Luckily Scott has a little bit more of a vision as far as that goes. I tend to just get very focused on one thing at a time.

Are there any bands that you personally are excited to be seeing at next year’s Deathfest?

I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from a lot of people who is actually playing.

Well of course I’ve got them all listed on the DCHeavyMetal.com calendar of upcoming concerts.

Oh OK, sweet.

Some of the headliners are Bolt Thrower and Carcass and Venom I think.

Bolt Thrower was just absolutely crushing the last time they played. I think I’ll probably always remember that set the rest of my life. [It was] pretty brutal. I really wanted to see Godflesh last year but my pussy ass couldn’t make it up there.

Well that’s pretty much the end of the interview here I’m out of questions. Is there anything else you want to say before I let you get out of here?

I just hope people check out the new album and give it a chance and hopefully they dig it. We’re all really, really proud of it so we want as many people to hear it as possible.

Well it has been getting really good reviews in a few places and it will be reviewed here on DCHeavyMetal.com shortly as well. Thanks for taking the time to do the interview with me and I’ll see you at the Ottobar.

Oh right on. Yeah well come up and introduce yourself and we’ll have some beers.

Sure man, sounds good.

Cool man.

Take it easy.

Bye.

Down at the Fillmore Silver Spring

On Sunday, September 30th of 2012 the New Orleans based southern/stoner metal band Down played the Fillmore Silver Spring. Also on the bill was the doom metal band Pentagram, the Texas based thrash metal band Warbeast and a blues rock band from Ohio called Mount Carmel. I had just seen a great doom and stoner concert with Saint Vitus and Weedeater at the Black Cat three nights before (read that concert’s review here), so would this show live up to it?

The first band to play was Mount Carmel, however I only caught about one of their songs. They did make an appearance on stage later in the night but I’ll get to that later. They’re really more of a throwback bluesy rock band and since this is a metal site I’m not too upset I didn’t catch enough to review them. The second band of the night was the heavy thrash band Warbeast. They’re from Texas and feature members of the old school Texas thrash bands Gammacide and Rigor Mortis. Warbeast seemed to get a good response from the crowd with their catchy riffs and flashy showmanship but they didn’t really do anything I hadn’t heard from a thrash band a dozen times before. The highlight of their set was when Down’s vocalist Phil Anselmo came out to do guest vocals on a song with them (my video of that is posted below). You could tell Phil was really trying to get the audience into Warbeast which makes sense because they’re on his record label, Housecore Records. Warbeast played a lot of material off of a yet to be released full length which was cool for their fans. Overall I thought they were a decent opener but as far as thrash goes they were pretty typical and generic. They just didn’t stack up to the Vektor show I had seen two weeks earlier (my review of that concert is here) and while their energy got the crowd pumped up they just didn’t seem to fit in with the other slower paced bands on the bill that night. The next band to play was the legendary doom metal band Pentagram who were originally based in Washington DC. It was announced (here) the day of the show that this would be guitarist Victor Griffin’s final US concert with the band as he will be leaving them, again, after their upcoming European tour to work on his other projects. While offstage the band’s vocalist and founder Bobby Liebling comes across as a man whose years of hard drug use have left him rather frail and weathered he showed that when he gets on stage he’s still got it. Like most of the older legends of the doom metal scene he knows heavy, depressed and weary, but he also has a quirky side that isn’t afraid to laugh at himself. If you had any doubts about this going in they were instantly dashed when Bobby dropped trou on stage to reveal some skin tight pants covered in eyeballs of various sizes. While I had a photo pass for the band’s first three songs he did this afterwards so I have no photos of said pants, although I have posted video footage you’ve got to see to believe of him wearing them below. The band really was in great form and played a lot of their older classics as well as a few from their latest album, 2011’s Last Rites. The biggest problem was due to no fault of their own as the microphone had technical issues throughout their set. It got so bad that Phil Anselmo walked out on stage and started yelling at the sound guy to get things fixed! Regardless Pentagram played their asses off and really showed that after all these years their material still holds up, their sound is still heavy and they’ve still got it live! Bobby walked around on stage like he owned the damn place and Victor, cool as ever, cranked out those classic riffs and even did some back up vocals on some songs. Had the show ended after Pentagram played it would still have been a great concert but next up was the headlining act, Down.

Down is a stoner band with a strong southern metal bent from New Orleans. They are often referred to as a “super group” since the band’s line up includes such notable musicians as Pepper Keenan of Corrosion Of Conformity, Kirk Windstein of Crowbar, Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod (on drums no less!) and Phil Anselmo of Pantera. Since the members have so many other band commitments Down doesn’t tour very regularly so when you hear they’re coming to town you should probably get off your ass and go because who knows when they’ll be back. That said, if you missed the show the band just released Down IV Part I: The Purple EP so perhaps a part two will be coming soon and Down be touring again in no time. Down started their set off with their song Eyes Of The South and followed it up with their latest single, Witchtripper. The song was just released twelve days prior to the show but already most of the audience seemed to know the words! Down’s frontman Phil Anselmo really had the crowd in his palm throughout the show and while the stage at the Fillmore isn’t small he had a presence that still seemed confined by it. His voice was cracking and going hoarse throughout the night plus he had more of the same microphone problems that plagued Pentagram’s set as well, but none of it seemed to matter much to the enthralled audience. At one point Phil pulled a teenager out of the audience and brought him on stage to headbang with him for half a song. Not because the guy paid extra for a special VIP ticket or was somehow friends with a band member, but just because Phil thought he was so damn metal looking! I actually have some video footage of that so if anyone knows the guy tell him to get in contact with me. Let’s not forget the dual guitarists of Down, Kirk Windstein and Pepper Keenan. The guys have a great chemistry on stage and even though Phil commands a lot of stage presence, and thus attention, Kirk and Pepper reminded everyone that this wasn’t just Phil’s band. Their solos were on point, their timing and exchanges precise and more than anything, you could just tell they were having fun performing for everyone. Down’s sound owes a lot to those dirty southern riffs they cook up and while there were vocal issues throughout their set the guitars were excellent all night. The band walked off stage for the pre-planned encore and came back to play three more songs. Hail The Leaf saw people openly smoking joints in the mosh pit but when Stone The Crow’s instantly recognizable opening riff started people really went wild with the moshing and crowd surfing. Finally Down played the song people had been requesting all night, Bury Me In Smoke, to close the night. They didn’t just play it though, they actually played a 10 minute plus version with members of Mount Carmel and Pentagram coming out to the point that I’m not even sure if any members of Down were playing any instruments by the end of the song! Of course there’s video footage of that below as well. Overall the show was a great performance by a great band that had the crowd moshing, singing along and just rocking out to some great music. Thanks for reading my review and be sure to check out all the photos and videos I’ve posted below. There are more great metal shows coming to the area (calendar here) so get out to some of them and support the scene you’re a part of!

Warbeast:

Pentagram:

Down: