The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world











Mark:  Hi Tom, thank you for taking time to speak with us at The Rockpit! So, you’re headed Down-under for Soundwave 2012?  Great to see you back. You were originally on the bill for Soundwave Revolution, last year. Were you disappointed that it didn’t happen?




Tom: Initially, yeah, but the promoter was kind enough to offer us this set. I was excited first time around, but a lot of my friends are going to be playing with us at this festival and with the band. I think it’s a stronger line up this time to be honest; it’s more geared to a metal crowd. So, I think it worked out for the best, it was a shame, but I guess everything happens for a reason.




Mark: Yes, Soundwave is always seen as our Australian Metal festival, and the whole Soundwave Revolution thing with Van Halen headlining, was a bit of a surprise to us down here: it would have been interesting though. Have you managed to get any other show dates, outside the festival?




Tom: Yeah, we actually did. There was a rumour about us doing a couple of shows with Hatebreed and Biohazard, but I think the way it worked out was we were going to be doing two shows in between the off dates with Black Label Society. So, it will be us, Black Label and a couple of other bands, who they will be I don’t know yet. So, there are two shows that I know of at the moment.




Mark: That will be a great show. What a match!




Tom: It’s awesome you know to go out as Hell Yeah and Black Label, although we’re not the same style, you know the vibe is there! It’s a cool collection right there! I think it’s going to be a really strong show.




Mark: Yeah, it’s definitely two of our favourite bands on the bill. Do you guys know what time of day you’re playing Soundwave yet?




Tom: No, it’s kind of been the on going wonder! I’m sure it won’t be too drastically early, or something like that!! But, no time yet, I’m still waiting to find out.




Mark: There’s a lot of guys over here who want to get a bit of beer and barbeque under their belts before you come on, so don’t make us do that too early!!




Tom: Well hopefully we’ll do the hour where everyone can get a little beer and barbeque before and we can get a little after as well. That’s kind of like what we do all the time. I know when we’re out here doing a bigger tour or a Summer Festival tour, we all do our own thing. We travel with our own grills, and there’s always a party going on.




Mark: There is a lot of rivalry between the US and Aussies on the subject of  barbeques, now that you’ve been over here a few times, and probably sampled a few. What makes a Texan BBQ better than an Aussie BBQ?




Tom: Well, you know what I really don’t know! To be quite honest with you, I’m not a big fan of Texas barbeque! I’m not from there, but we do go down there quite a bit, I mean it’s really good and I’m not saying I don’t like it, but there’s so many different types. You have East Coast style, which is more vinegar based and then Texan style, which is spicy and heavy handed. So, I really can’t answer that, as I haven’t had a really kick ass Aussie barbeque, and I’m hoping I have my first shot at it when I come down there next month!




Mark: Well when you come over to the West, we’ll certainly invite you to one!




Tom: Absolutely! That’s kind of like our thing. Drinking and barbeque! Playing some good music and hanging out with our friends, good food and plenty of bubbly!!




Mark: That sounds pretty good, you could have hit on the meaning of life there!




Mark:  I read that somewhere that you didn’t use to rehearse a lot before you go out on tour, and that you let things develop more naturally, has that changed over the years?




Tom: You definitely have to have rehearsal, and it also depends on the kind of production you’re going out with as well. If you go out with a big production, things really have to fall in to place time wise, so you really need to rehearse that kind of stuff. But, with us we don’t really travel with dungeons and dragons on our stage. We’re a very traditional band when it comes to a live show it’s just a lot of amps, big drums and a lot of energy. If you need all those props and all that other shit to make your show better, then you’re definitely doing something wrong as an entertainer. It’s good to have certain things to look at, and it’s cool to add things to your show, but, when you don’t have a big production, you don’t need two weeks to rehearse. We’ve been doing this for so long and have been around the traps a few times, we let the music do the talking. We get together a few days before the tour starts and hash out what songs we’re going to play, not going to play and what songs we’re going to keep in reserve, just in case we get a longer set time. And we’ll run through it half a dozen times, to knock the dust off a little bit. I think the true rehearsal is the first week on the road, no matter how much you have everything in order, nothing really puts you to the test until you get in front of the crowd, because anything can happen! We are such a vibe kind of band when we get up on stage, we get the crowd involved in our show, and we like to have fun and have a good time.




Mark: Yes, that definitely comes across. I think the thing for us is the new album. Any updates?




Tom: There is so much going on with this record, it’s taking a few minutes to finish it!! We are really putting a lot of time in to it, and it’s coming together, so it’s pretty much done. I think today is the last vocal day, where Chad’s putting the finishing touches to it, and we start mixing this weekend. It’s a heavier record; it’s more of a take off of our first record.




Mark: That’s what we are hearing, it sounds great.




Tom: It’s a little darker, heavier, there’s definitely a little bit of what made us individuals beforehand. You can really hear Vinnie’s drums on this record, and his style, and definitely Chad’s vocal style. I’m not saying that we didn’t have that on the first two records, they are true representations of the band, but this one really dug in to our individual roots! This music has evolved in to something real. The first two records were very “vibey”, we just got together and went for it and had fun with party rock and roll stuff. We went in to the studio very excited about the new record, and we were transitioning away from our current label at the time, and transitioning in to a new management. We got time off and really threw ourselves in to it and dug deep and made a really strong Hell Yeah record! Very song orientated, really heavy, and we worked on it so hard, I had to take a couple of weeks off to clear my head. I listened to it today and it’s really bad ass, and I know our fans in Australia are really going to love it.




Mark: Will you be previewing some of the songs on tour?




Tom: I’d love to, but we have to sit down and have a conversation with our management, because we don’t want to do anything that’s going to jump the gun or spoil anything. You know how it is, once you get on stage you could play anything, the ‘Theme to The Love Boat’, someone’s going to record it and it will be posted on line!




Mark: Yeah, within seconds!!




Tom: Exactly! So we need to be smart, but I really want to, there’s a couple of tracks that are blistering, and I would love to come out and just give everybody a sample!




Mark: It would be so cool to be the first people to hear that!




Tom: It absolutely would be. There are no shows between now and then, so they would be debuted in Australia!




Mark: There was talk of a cover song on the album, I know you’ve done “Stone Cold Crazy” live. Can you confirm or deny?!




Tom: I can’t say what song, but I can say it was a huge band back in the day, and the song is rockin’ bad ass! And it was a huge song for this band, it’s our Hell Yeah mentality, we kind of put our own stamp on it, and made it ours, and I cant wait for you to hear it! I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but the music’s done and that’s all I can tell you!




Mark: That’s going to be driving me crazy for a while! On to equipment, the last time you came out on tour you had your own Dean Evos, you’ve got your own Dean signature model now? What are you going to be touring with?




Tom: I think I’m going to be bringing at least one of them, it’s called The General, it’s one I’ve been co developing with the guys over at Dean over the past year and a half. It has debuted and has been selling really well, it’s a really rich guitar, and it’s kind of like similar to a Les Paul in shape and body 15.44. I have guitars scattered all over the place, I’ve got 4 or 5 sitting at Vinnie’s house, in Texas, so I’ll probably grab those, string ‘em up and take them with me.




Mark: You’ve played with a lot of diverse bands over the years, and because you don’t fit in to any real genre, it’s great to see you out there with so many different sounding bands. Where would you draw the line? And who would you love to get a call from?




Tom: I don’t think our band is cut out for skinhead/punk, and I’d draw the line at “cookie monster” death metal bands!! As for the call, I would love,love,love to go out with Alice in Chains! These guys are great and good friends, and consistently put out great, fucking records, that’s a tour I would love to do. I wouldn’t mind going out with Tool, and get out and try some different stuff, without getting a little too “artsy”




Mark: Yeah, Tool was over here last year, and Alice in Chains was over a couple of years ago and blew us away!!




Tom: Yeah, I’ve been a fan since the beginning, and would drive to DC to see a lot of shows, and saw them on the very first record they put out, nobody knew who they were, and there were 200/300 capacity, so it was real intimate, and you remember those shows. I saw the Smashing Pumpkins there and nobody knew who the fuck they were! And then boom, you’ll never see them in that venue size again!




Mark: It’s great to see that you are such a music fan; do you still get out and see bands?




Tom: Not as much as I would like to, being at home and out on the road, the last thing I want to do is go out all the time, but I fill my tank up when we are on tour as there’s other bands out with us.




Mark: Our final question, and one we ask everyone is, what is the meaning of life?




Tom: Dying!! (laughs). I’ll leave it to Paul McCartney who said “ In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make”.




Mark: Good answer Tom. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to The Rockpit, and we are really looking forward to seeing you guys when you are over. And I can’t wait to hear what the song is!!




Tom: Thank You, and I can’t wait for you to hear it!!





By Mark Diggins



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