Its your first European tour, how is it?
Yeah thats right! Its really good! Its been long and
stuff. Its had some rough times, some rough shows and stuff, but
overall its been really worth it. Really good. I had a good time.
you have any special feelings playing with Agnostic Front and Sick of
it All today?
Yeah, there two of my favorite hardcore bands so its fun to play
with them. We did the whole tour with AF here in Europe. Our last tour
before we got here was with Sick of it All in the States and I had a
chance to tour with them a couple times before with Terror so its
really good to see all those guys again. I was looking forward to it
for sure. I didnt think wed get a chance to play together
on this tour but its good.
Can you tell us more about the beginning of First
Um, I think it was 2002 and we got together and we just wanted to start
a simple, heavy band. So we wrote five songs really fast and put out
a demo, and played a few shows in California. We never really expected
to do anything else besides, you know, shows for our friends. But then
our original guitar player, he left to play with Terror. So we couldnt
play that many shows for a while. And then a few months after that I
joined Terror, so we were both touring with Terror the whole time, and
First Blood just only played a few shows here and there. In 2003, 2004,
maybe a weekend here, a Friday here, whenever we could, you know. And
then it just got to the point at the end of last year, 2005, I just
wanted to do something different, you know. I just wanted to do First
Blood full time a little more. I was just getting tired of playing bass.
So thats when we took First Blood full time to tour as much as
we could. And so far its been fun , its been really good.
I cant complain.
you tell us more about the current line-up?
(Laughs) Its different almost every tour. I mean, our guitar
player, hes married, hes got a job at home, an apartment,
and stuff like that. He likes to spend time with her. He tours every
now and then. Our original guitar player, Doug, hes still with
Terror, so he cant tour with us at all, really, because were
both trying to tour full time, at the same time, you know.
Were on our six or seventh drummer right now. We cant find
a guy whos either, not in another band that were trying
to pull away from, or just someone who could commit full time, and not
worry about a job or anything like that. Just want to tour and not worry
about money and stuff like that. So the next tour were going to
try to find a new drummer. Its been really tough going tour to
tour teaching guys how to do the same stuff over and over again. The
line-up we have now, I dont know how to even talk about it because
itll be different the next tour anyway, you know.
youre the only recurring member?
Um, well yeah, me, our bass player whos going to play guitar on
the next tour. He plays guitar in a band called Alcatraz. Him and I
are the only two guys, for years, who have been the same.
I hear First Blood, I think a hardcore band, but I also hear some metal
influences. I say that because a song like First Blood makes
me think a bit about Machine Head.
Oh yeah, (Laughs). Its a blatant rip-off. I listen to Machine
Head, Biohazard, Metallica, Pantera, all that stuff a long time ago.
I like a lot of hardcore too, like, Madball, Sick Of It All, and Agnostic
Front. Stuff like that. When we put this record together we kind of
wanted to mix all of the stuff that we were into, you know, hardcore,
metal, maybe a little bit of extreme metal, kind of like death metal,
but not like RAHH. Keep it simple but at the same time maybe at a little
bit more metal stuff into it, and stuff like that. You can hear it in
a bunch of our songs. Kyle, our guitar player writes most of the songs
that are just a little too crazy for me to listen to sometimes but I
try to keep the songs simple. First Blood, was kind of like
a simple headbangers song . Its got the Machine Head part
in the middle and then it goes back to the head bobber part at the end.
We just try to mix a whole bunch of things together and keep it interesting
for us, you know.
Whats hiding behind the name of the record
Oh, I hate it. When we were putting the artwork together for the record
there was a guy, a photographer in the Bay Area. I dont know if
hes in San Francisco or Oakland, I cant remember, but, he
does a lot of photography, and full page adds for a lot of hip-hop and
rap groups. Especially a lot of artists in the Bay Area. He wanted to
have the cover with this cop arresting one of our friends in the street,
and have all this graffiti. And you know, not be a typical San Francisco
scene with the Golden Gate Bridge and whatever touristy stuff. We couldnt
get that photographer because he was too expensive. He charged a lot
of money just to do all that stuff. I was just like alright. So me and
my friend went out, and we just took pictures of old warehouses and
some of the alleys around some of the grittier neighborhoods in San
Francisco. Not too bad but not the pretty stuff you see when people
want to go there for vacation or something. We had already submitted
the name to Trustkill, but I dont know. I dont like it but
its done. You cant change it now.
it doesnt have a special meaning for you?
Me? Not at all. Kyle, our guitar player named it Killafornia,
and I couldnt think of anything so I was just like allright,
lets do that!Ok.
I thought it was because maybe California is a
hard place to live in or something like that.
Um, I dont think any of the dudes in the band have had it that
hard, haha, to be thinking about it that way, you know.
that because of the T.V. program called The Shield...
Shield? Isnt that like
where does it take place?
Shield, I dont know. I know NYPD Blue. I heard thats the
most realistic cop show. The Shield, I might have seen it once or twice,
but I dont know. Theres one show in San Francisco where
the cops Don Johnson and stuff like that. But thats stupid,
I dont think I like that show. Thats not like San Francisco.
Terror, I read in the booklet of the last record, "Always The Hard
Way", that you played the guitar and the bass on the record...
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
did you end up doing that as you werent in the band anymore?
When I was leaving Terror at the end of last year, they asked me if
I could still record on the record so they wouldnt have to find
someone really quick to learn all of the songs. I was like yeah, sure,
I dont care. So at the end of last year I spent all the time helping
write the record for First Blood. Those guys are writing the Terror
record, putting it together. I think I went up to the studio around
January with them to practice songs real quick and learn them really
tight. I just recorded guitar and bass for like, a week maybe, and just
left. I had to go on tour with First Blood and just help out as much
as I could with them, you know. I made a promise to help them and I
just wanted to follow through with it. Nick wrote all the songs and
everything. I just played the guitar. I didnt write anything.
I didnt have a say in writing but I think he did a good job. I
think the records a lot better than the older one. I think its
got more of a different feel, so thats good.
did all the guitars?
All the guitars except for one or two little leads. I think Nick came
in and did a bend here and there. But for the most part I did all the
guitars and all the bass. Then I left the studio and Scott starting
doing all the vocals but I didnt see any of that stuff get done.
I think it turned out really well. It came out good.
First Blood, why did you choose to record songs like Victim
and Unbroken which already appeared on the EP?
Um, I think back then when we recorded those songs for the demo we didnt
have a lot of time. I think I wrote Victim the day before
we were in the studio and our drummer didnt really know it. So,
I was just teaching him right there. We just did it really fast. I didnt
feel like I recorded it the way I wanted to. I wanted to redo them,
have everything a little bit more tighter, and have more time to over
parts. Thats the first time I ever really screamed in the studio
or recorded anything vocally so I didnt really pronounce anything.
Its hard to understand what I say. Plus, Trustkills a bigger
label than Bridge 9 and theyre going to be reaching that have
never heard of us before so I wanted to do some older songs about how
we were a few years ago so these kids can have a chance to hear it.
Like, kids who might not have had our demo or downloaded it off the
internet or whatever like that. I wanted to give them a chance to hear
it too. Sometimes its cooler just to leave the songs the way they
are but I felt like I liked them enough to where I would do them again
and make sure people heard them the way I wanted them to be.
At the beginning of the year you were in a video for PETA2 I thought
there was some confusion in the message of not eating meat and not hurting
animals. Even if I eat meat and stuff like that, Im very shocked
by some of the images we can see on the DVD. Do you think there is confusion
in what they say?
Its interesting you bring it up because I never really thought
of it that way. When I always thought of PETA I always thought of them
as an organization to promote animal welfare. Like ending cruelty and
animal food production and animal testing. All sorts of stuff like that.
Live stock treatment, and um. The inherent message that I always got
from them included not eating meat. They always have pamphlets for eating
vegetarian and vegetarian recipes and cooking for yourself and stuff
like that. So I always saw those two messages together, like, ending
cruelty to animals includes not eating meat. But at the same time a
lot of people who are on PETA or campaigns, or literature, theyll
have people up there who will do little campaigns promoting animal welfare
but theyre not vegetarian. But most people will think that they
are just because of how they mold those messages together all the time.
So, I could then see how people would think, like, oh hey, that persons
not vegetarian but theyre on PETA so what are they trying to say?
I think if you look at the literature from PETA and not from the PETA2
side. PETA2 is more like, the music scene, and concert crowd stuff.
If you look at the organization itself I think they try to push the
message of vegetarianism and stopping animal cruelty all in one thing
I think, as there primary goal. I think that maybe what PETA2, and how
theyre trying to promote to younger kids. Like, younger generations
there. They might not necessarily have a hundred percent vegetarian
people speaking the message but they might not agree with factory farming,
and KFC, and how they use mass food production. And junk food, and cruelty.
Stuff like that. So even though theyre not vegetarian theyll
still push that message, like, this stuff needs to happen.
They eat meat too but they think more about where its coming from
and maybe you dont need to have this huge factory of stuff. Maybe
theres people who live on farms who have small stocks of animals
and stuff like that. I guess theyre just trying to get the message
out there to people, but I understand the confusion, maybe.
Lets back to First Blood again, what would be your plans for the
Um, actually tomorrows our last show in Europe and then we fly
home after tomorrow. We have a couple weeks off. Gorilla Biscuits is
doing some kind of reunion tour. I dont know if theyll be
a band again. I just know theyre doing this tour and were
going to play one show with them in San Francisco in a couple weeks.
I think a few days after that we leave for another U.S. tour with Hatebreed,
Exodus, and Napalm Death. I think its like, a month and a half.
Full U.S. tour. We start on the east coast, we end in California. In
San Francisco, coincidentally. A few days after that we fly to Japan
for 10 days I think. After that were probably going to start writing
again for a new record. Hopefully well get on other tours. Well
try to get something organized in the time being. I want to be on tour
until December, but if were not well start writing again,
and start working on the next record. So we can start recording that
early next year.
cant get the record in France. I had to get it from the U.S. I
dont think its available in Europe...
No, um. Its weird. I just assumed that Trustkill would license
there records out to Roadrunner another label in Europe to distribute
it to the main land, you know. Right before we got this tour with Agnostic
Front, I asked Trustkill what their plans were and they didnt
have any plans to license it out here. I guess Josh, the guy who runs
Trustkill, is trying to set up a label here. So its Trustkill
Europe, you know. So he can have his own label out here too. We just
had to bring all the CDs from home and we found a lot of kids
were getting it from us because they cant get it anywhere else,
so, I really dont know what to say about that. I mean, its
expensive when you buy from the U.S. and have it sent here, you know.
Actually, its cheaper to buy the import than the European version...
its strange. And whats also strange is that your record
is not available from Roadrunner and to see the Terror records which
are also released on Trustkill in the U.S., and this one, its
available through Roadrunner, in Europe.
We just signed the contract with Trustkill at the beginning of the year.
I think for the bands at this point on, I dont think they wanted
to distribute Trustkill anymore. Terror signed their contract like,
last year, or the year before. So, I guess they were committed to putting
out the record. And, if thats not the case, maybe its because
Roadrunner didnt want to take a chance with us because were
a new band. We didnt have a history of touring or anything like
that. I can understand that, you know. I think there could have been
good labels out here to distribute the record that maybe Trustkill didnt
give the opportunity to do it. Maybe because hes looking for more
money or, I dont know. I think its a shame, you know. I
think its too bad. I mean, we do all this touring out here and
kids cant even get the record unless they buy it from us. Itd
be difficult for them to find it. Maybe after this tour thatll
change and theyll just decide to license it out to, like, GSR
is a label I was talking to. I think they would do a good job.
Abacus thatd be cool. Dead Serious does our vinyl, Reflections...
Hopefully, within the next record I want to definitely figure that out
before it comes out so its not the same situation, you know. Because
theres no promotion anyway. And we come out here and were
lucky to be with Agnostic Front because they have a solid fan base,
you know. For us, most of the people never saw us before, or had heard
of us, you know.
you sell the CDs at your shows?
Yeah, weve been doing pretty good, I think because kids cant
get it here. Usually we dont sell a lot of CDs when were
on tour in the U.S. Well sell a little bit but they can get it
at any store they want, or they just download it off the internet, you
know. So, well see what happens...
Interview Manu & O.S.
Translation Will Cox