Mightier Than The Sword?!
Here’s the thing about digital voice recorders: the “record” button must be pressed in order to record something.
Actually, there are voice-activated options, but I don’t trust ‘em. There’s too much at risk when conducting an interview to trust a tiny-ass sound sensor inside a tiny-ass digital record to kick on and off when it hears voices. Huh-uh, girlfriend. If that tiny-ass thing inside the other tiny-ass thing doesn’t work, you have no interview, and, therefore, no story. Your time – plus that of the interviewee – is wasted, and you have to tell the editor you’re a dumb-ass piece of shit who can’t remember to push a button.
Luckily, I only forgot to record half my interview with The Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt. Unluckily, it was most of the talk about his band’s new – third overall – full length, Warp Riders (Kemado). Luckily, the rest of the interview is still very interesting. Unluckily (not for The Sword, though), Warp Riders is absolutely killer and the Austin, Texas-based quartet’s (Shutt, guitarist/vocalist JD Cronise, bassist Bryan Richie, and drummer Trivett Wingo) best effort yet, so having that particular conversation for this column would have been nice.
But I don’t. Sorry, O.K.? You might be perfect, but I’m not. Now, who wants to read about touring with Metallica?! The Sword are at Metro October 23rd.
Mosh: I read your story about meeting Lars Ulrich while on tour with Trivium, so I won’t make you rehash, but one question: How did The Sword end up touring with Trivium?
Kyle Shutt: That’s a really good question. We’re really not the kind of band that listens to much new metal, I guess you’d call it. That was ‘06, I think. It was right in the middle of the Age Of Winters tour, and we got a call from our booking agent. We had the summer off, and he’s like, “Hey, there’s this band Trivium, it’s a six-week tour, and you can get direct support.” It was pretty decent money for the kind of band we were at the time, and [sighs] . . . we hadn’t heard them before. We were like, “We need a tour, it’s pretty good money, and they’re suppose to be the new band that’s sorta old-school, right?” So we get in the van and are driving to Orlando, and somebody puts on the CD that our booking agent sent us and we were like, “Oh, no. What have we gotten ourselves into?” It was something to watch every night. That band . . . I hate to talk bad shit on people, but Jesus Christ. Talk about playing shows where all the kids are 14-years old and sleep on the barricade in front of you while you play. It did some good for us, but all in all I wish I had my six weeks back. [Laughs]
M: Did you find the Metallica fanbase to be more or less accepting than you expected?
KS: A lot more accepting, to tell you the truth. I’ve heard opening for Slayer can be rough ’cause they only want to see Slayer, and it was like that to a certain extent in the United States. The arenas here are so big and they have malls in them and bars and shit, and people go hang out until Metallica goes on. Sometimes you end up playing a 15,000-seat arena and there’s 3,000 people watching you, and it feels empty. But sometimes you get in there [and go] on to a full house. Honestly, it’s hit or miss with those big shows. But we got nothing but positive feedback, and if there was anything else I really haven’t heard it.
M: How did you get on with the other support bands?
KS: Really well, actually. Down was awesome because we actually partied with Pepper Keenan a couple times. We heard Phil Anselmo was a fan, and he was. He was a total riot to hang out with. It was just ridiculous. The shit that comes out of that guy’s mouth is golden. That guy was sayin’ shit that I . . . I couldn’t believe. [Laughs]. He wrapped himself in this huge flag that’s got pot leaves all over it. He’s in front of a sold-out crowd, and he’s like [in a remarkably good Anselmo voice], “Marijuana smoke. All day. Every day.” You hang out with him, and you just, whew. He’s a funny, funny guy. Lamb Of God did a bunch of shows, and we’ve been friends with them for years. They took us to Japan back in the day. You know honestly, the reason we have a record deal is because of Lamb Of God in a way, so we owe them a lot. And they’re a class act. They’re some really great dudes to hang out with. Machine Head, I used to listen to them when I was a kid. I remember going to see Pantera when I was like 14, and they were the opening band. It was cool to be able to hang out with those dudes. It was a trip.
M: You guys have been in three editions of “Guitar Hero” . . .
KS: Four! Count ‘em! Four!
KS: We did “Guitar Hero 2,” “Guitar Hero Metallica,” “Guitar Hero Smash Hits” . . .
M: Ohhh . . . “Smash Hits.”
KS: “Smash Hits” is actually pretty cool because we recorded “Freya” for them. So it’s a special version you can’t get on Age Of Winters or anything like that. So it’s actually kind worth it for super-nerd fans to track down that version of “Freya.” It’s recorded at the same studio we did Gods Of The Earth in. We just went in there one day and recorded “Freya” and a couple Kiss covers.
M: Do you play “Guitar Hero”?
KS: No. I mean, I did when “Guitar Hero 2″ came out. They sent us all some copies, and I played it and went “O.K. I did that.” I’ve played the Metallica one.
M: That has to be a bit surreal because that game sells zillions of copies.
KS: I kinda feel like the house band at this point. You look at the back of those games, and it’s like, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and then Sword. Whoa! What are we doing on there?! It’s a trip. Honestly, it’s about as close to mainstream exposure bands like us can get nowadays. When “Guitar Hero 2″ came out, that was in October, I think, of ‘06, and before Christmas it had already sold a million copies. And the kids have to play your song to get to the next part of the game. It’s ingenious.
M: “Metal revival” is a term often used in conjunction with The Sword. Thoughts?
KS: “Metal revival.” I don’t know. I don’t think too hard about words [laughs] and their meanings. I hate to talk big on us or whatever, but we just play riffs like bands used to play. We sing instead of scream. We’re trying to just rock like Thin Lizzy used to, you know? Just write some fuckin’ songs for the metalheads out there, ’cause there’s not that much metal like that anymore coming out these days.
M: Can you tune out talk like “hipster metal” and “ironic”? It has to be frustrating.
KS: It was years ago, but I’ve accomplished so much more than anything I ever thought I would with this band, so honestly every day is a gift to me. It they want to say we’re some hipster, piece-of-crap band, then you know what? Start your own awesome band and take over the world. See how far you fucking get. I don’t have time for people’s negative attitudes.
MOSH-WORTHY: Iron Thrones The Wretched Sun (self-released), Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden, Mustaine (It Books), Invasion Orchestrated Kill Maneuver (Rotting Corpse), Riot God Riot God (Metalville), Dawnbringer Nucleus (Profound Lore).
– Trevor Fisher
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