Todd Jolicouer interviews MY DARKEST DAYS
Toddstar: Thanks for taking the time out for The Rockpit – really appreciate it.
Sal: Anytime my man.
Toddstar: Congrats on the #1 – hit this morning in the US. No small feat.
Sal: Thank you very much. No small feat at all.
Toddstar: A lot of bands strive for it, especially first time out, so kudos to you guys.
Sal: I remember when it hit Top 20 and we were on tour with Sick Puppies and we thought that was like the craziest thing, like to have our first single hit Top 20 in a country we never toured before. You know we thought it was amazing and it’s just crazy now to see it actually can’t get any higher on the charts than it did right now for rock, so we are very grateful and excited man.
Toddstar: Now if you had to pick one of the two versions that is your personal favorite of ‘Pornstar Dancing’ which would it be?
Sal: Ohhhh… personally, well, I’m obviously the lead guitar player and I remember being a kid like 8 or 10 years old and learning some of Zakk Wylde’s stuff, so for me personally I’m a rock head and would have to say my fav is the Zakk Wylde version, however, I am a huge fan of Ludacris – I’ve always been a huge fan of him, um, besides like you know the old school guys like Tupac and Biggie, he is my favorite. Him and Eminem are probably my favorite modern rappers, so it’s a very close second, but they’re very close – very, very close.
Toddstar: Want you guys to know you are bringing generations together now – my son who is a freshman in college is a huge rap fan and I’m an old school rocker, so he and I can finally agree on a good song just by listening to the two different versions, so again you are bridging that gap
Sal: Yeah, we see that when we look out at the audience.
Toddstar: Which leads me to the next thing – you guys remind me of some of the old school garage bands like I used to listen to growing up – Cheap Trick, Rush before they hit big – you guys remind me of that, in that your whole album will tell a story, not necessarily in itself but in little snippets and kind of put a picture together. Is that something you guys do going into it or you guys just kinda play okay “Let’s do these songs and let’s see what sounds best?”
Sal: We write music off experience whether its good times like ‘Pornstar Dancing’ ya know, or bad times in songs like ‘Can’t Forget You’ or songs about infidelity like ‘Every Lie’ or ‘Fucked Up Situation.’ We write about whatever we are going through at any given moment so I guess you can say that it’s a compilation of experiences we’ve gone through and since you have your whole life to write your very first record - since forever really. The second record will be, you know, a compilation of songs about experiences we have gone through after the creation of the first record up to whenever we create the second record. It’s a compilation of experiences, emotions, feelings, parties, and excitement that we’ve gone through forever really.
Toddstar: What’s the next step? You got the #1 now, you guys are still going out on another tour – you have some dates coming up I think with Hinder…
Sal: Saving Abel as well, yeah.
Toddstar: You guys even thinking about the next record yet?
Sal: Um. You know what, like these songs to us are so old, like their ancient. Really, like, some of the songs on the record existed; versions existed before I even joined the band
At this point, bassist Brendan McMillan joins the conversation.
Brendan: Before I joined the band, and I’m not even kidding and that was like 5 years ago.
Sal: That was like 5-6 years ago. Old demos of like ‘Goodbye’ and old demos of ‘Save Me.’ Like ‘Save Me’ sounds significantly different now, but the idea, like ‘Still Worth Fighting For’ was called something different and its like an extended version.
Toddstar: One of my favorite tracks on the CD.
Brendan: That and ‘Save Me’ were the first two tracks written. It used to be called ‘One Last Time.’
Sal: (singing) “and then look into my eyes one”
Brendan: Yeah, those were like the first two songs that my brother, my brother used to be the guitar player, he’s like “Join the band, here’s the songs, learn, learn, learn.”
Sal: Yeah, it’s weird, but um, it’s kinda cool to see how its all come together a long time later, so I don’t know if we’re so much like you know in right now writing mode, like I mean we write when we’re inspired on the road, got our guitars and the riff is right there, but um, Brendan does the same, everyone does the same, but um, we are just excited to be the hell out of our basement in rehearsing mode and touring.
Brendan: Yeah, I mean, don’t get us wrong, there’s lots of ideas, like from these, like we’ve written tons of stuff, like from when we left off with these songs right it’s not like we kinda sat, there’s tons and tons of stuff we just have to, its gonna take after a big long tour and we get a break and sit down and go “Okay.”
Sal: There’s a lot of material.
Brendan: There’s a lot of material we are gonna be able to sort through and obviously we’re gonna be able to write some new stuff, whatever, but there’s a lot of…
Touring keyboardist and rhythm guitar player Reid Henry pipes in for the first time.
Reid: There’s lots of stuff.
Sal: There’s a lot of material that’s been written that just even not necessarily didn’t make the record, but like, just we put it in the stash and it’s just like…
Brendan: Keep that one for later in our pocket.
Toddstar: Has the record company come out and talked about the next single yet or are they looking to ride this (‘Pornstar Dancing’) high out as long as they can?
Sal: We’ve had a, we’ve talked about a bunch of potential ideas. Nothings been 100% set in stone yet. Um I guess it’s a good problem to have, choosing a single. You know, when you can choose a single very quickly I think that’s a sign of a record that doesn’t have a lot of throw away material.
Brendan: Yeah, there’s three or four potential singles on the album like Save Me, Every Lie, Move Your Body. Those are three right there – three other ones.
Toddstar: To me, your album is really an album of singles. There is maybe one or two that wouldn’t be radio friendly, but to me it really is an album of singles.
Brendan: Oh yeah, like each one of those songs, like ‘Can’t Forget You’ is like, I remember like 3 or 4 months, I associate that time in my life to that song.
Sal: Period songs.
Brendan: Those songs to me represent weeks or days or months – just little periods of our lives, like I remember that.
Sal: It’s not a concept record by any means, like a Dream Theatre record, or anything like that. But these songs didn’t come out of thin air; they came from a place or an emotion or an experience.
Toddstar: That makes sense when you listen to the album. Listen, I know you guys need to hit the stage, but let me ask you, if there was one song in the history of music that you wish you had a hand in, be it writing, recording, producing, just being an observer, what would it be?
Brendan: Don’t know if I could pick one.
Sal: There are so many.
Toddstar: How about an album then?
Brendan: The Wall.
Reid: ‘YMCA’ (laughing from everyone on the bus). Nevermind. ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ I think that song changed radio.
Sal: I would say my favorite, I wish, it still freaks me out when I watch the DVD is ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by Led Zeppelin. Every time I hear that song it just trips me out it like, it’s just like perfect. I don’t wish, I just wish like I could played or just been there when they just like first hand you know the first time they jammed it, it probably didn’t change from then to when they recorded it. I would have to say that. Brendo, what do you say?
Brendan: I said The Wall. I still, actually on the way here (The Machine Shop - Flint, Michigan), I just listened to that, that was the very first album I ever, like CD I ever bought when I was a kid, before I ever started playing bass guitar and that’s, I still listen to that all the time. I fucking love Pink Floyd. Just a stoner at heart I guess.
Toddstar: Okay, finally, what is the meaning of life?
Brendan: I don’t know.
Reid: Rock and Roll.
Sal: The meaning of life? I think that’s part of the fun if you don’t know.
Toddstar: Otep once pointed out to me the middle word in life is if.
Sal: That is cool. I think to create as many experiences as possible so…
Through the bus door walks Matt Walst, lead singer extraordinaire,
Reid: The meaning of life is to pound as many bitches as possible ~ (laughter erupts through the band) ~ in a row ~ (more laughter) ~ in one day.
Toddstar: And I will quote you on that (continued laughter). Well guys, time to hit the stage, so thanks – The Rockpit really appreciates your time and here’s to continued success for My Darkest Days.
Sal: Thanks, man. The bus keeps on rolling.