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Roundtable 2

| July 30, 2008 | 0 Comments

IE: Is “community” a better choice of words?

BL: I think it’s a more positive thing.
SP: There’s less competition in Chicago.
BL: That’s the thing I wanted to say is, if you go back to like ’99/2000, I think there was definitely in the air, there was a mentality that doesn’t really exist as much as it did where you wanted to be like king of the Chicago mountain. But you know what? The Chicago mountain is a fucking molehill to the rest of the world, nobody cares. So I think everyone in a sense came to the realization, subconsciously or not, that you know what? There’s no need for competition when you’re playing music. We’re not playing sports. We’re bands.

IE: So the city is more conducive to this type of music. But is it where you want it to be?

BL: It seems as if people are generally a bit more excited. Maybe not so much for the local talent, but when like Baroness came [to Empty Bottle] last year on a Free Monday Night, it was the first time they had ever been to Chicago – yeah it was a free show at the Bottle, which has cheap drinks – but the place was packed. People were generally enthusiastic about seeing them. Fuckin’ Disfear came [to Subterranean in April], and they said it was the biggest crowd they had played to on their whole tour.
MA: Which is weird. I thought it would have been way more packed. [Ed note: Sweet Cobra and Yakuza opened.]
BL: It was 368 paid! On a Tuesday? That’s pretty amazing. And those guys were like “Whoa. We just played Cleveland last night and there were 20 people there.”
SP: That’s the thing, man, you can get some people out to shows around here. I mean, a lot of times you can’t, too, but there are a lot of factors involved.
RD: Weather.
SP: Yeah, weather being one. But there is definitely the opportunity compared to L.A. or New York, where you’re never going to play to people like that, unless you’re like huge.
BL: And you guys’ [points to Defries] record-release show at Hideout, it was wicked. It was super packed. Hideout didn’t even know what to do with themselves, they had never had a heavy . . . that’s another thing – Hideout. Of all places. The first [heavy show] they had they didn’t know what to expect. The owners there are really nice and everything, but they have the same idea of metal fans coming in and throwing glass around and beating the shit out of the guy next to him because he’s wearing a suit or whatever, and that’s not the case at all, man. So the Hideout got a taste of that and they were totally blown away by the crowd.
RD: I was blown away by the crowd.
BL: It made sense to me. It didn’t seem foreign for them to be playing there. I almost think that maybe the term metal is not entirely accurate in the sense of metal is pretty broad and general, but like we just explained, the way fans are, people may have a general preconceived notion of what metal is. They think it’s fuckin’ Motley Crue.

IE: So do you guys ever have issues with being called “metal”?

RD: I wouldn’t classify any band represented in this room right now as a metal band . . .

IE: Do you take issue with it?

RD: I could give two shits what you call it. I don’t take issue.
BL: Yeah, that’s other people’s problems as far as I’m concerned.
SP: As long as it’s not in the same category as fucking Unearth, or Job For A Cowboy or something.
MA: Maybe the stoner rock tag I’m a little weary of. I get that a lot, “you guys are great, man. Stoner rock forever!” But I wouldn’t say I’m weary of being called metal at all.
BL: What’s beautiful about metal now is that there’s a history there, I mean we’re talking like 40 years now. If it stays loose and vague and can stay any of this [gestures toward everybody in the room] that’s fine, as long as there’s that oneness there.

IE: When you guys were getting into heavy music and “coming up” or whatever, were there bands around here to look up to?

RD: You remember when Wax Trax was on Lincoln Avenue and they had the fucking studio upstairs? You could walk in that fucking place and [Al] Jourgensen’s in there, [Steve] Albini’s in there selling bootleg CDs. They had a record store downstairs.
BL: I remember seeing Albini around, man. I loved Big Black and Rapeman. I was like [whispers] “Oh, there’s Steve Albini . . . awesome.”
SP: I grew up in Florida and I used to be super huge into the Wax Trax thing. To me, Chicago was the fucking shit. When I was in high school I used to just imagine living in the city. I was like “Oh man that’s got to just be a big party and fucking bands all over.” But then I moved here and it wasn’t quite what I imagined [laughs]. But to be a high schooler and think about shit like that, I mean I didn’t think that way about L.A. or any place.
BL: I was in high school in the late ’80s, and I lived out in the Southwest suburbs and I drove into the city for shows. I remember getting my first taste of local talent opening up for bands, I saw Trouble open for Slayer, and I think I saw Devastation back then too. I think in the suburbs the only band we had that was doing well was this band called Quickchange, who did one record called Circus Of Death for Roadrunner.

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