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



Evan "Loosh" Linger

MARCH 2014


One of the hottest metal tours coming to Australia in 2014 is Toxic Holocaust and Skeletonwitch, the latter which will be their first time on Australian soil. Skeletonwitch have only been around for a few years but their reputation has been something which has been building for some time now and the buzz surrounding this band will only get bigger. We managed to catch up with bass player Evan Linger to talk about their Aussie debut and a little history on the band.

Andrew: Hows it going?


Evan: Well! How are you?


Andrew: I'm good thanks. First off, thanks for the interview, it's good to be talking to you. I don't know too much about your music to be honest. I've heard your name being thrown around a few times but I guess black thrash would be the best way to describe your music?


Evan: Yeah I don't know, I think a lot of people like to put labels on it and stuff like that. We just call it heavy metal. Obviously if you listen to it you can tell we like black metal a lot and we like the original new wave of American thrash a lot but at the same time you can also listen to it a little bit more and kinda realize we also like Scandinavian death metal and even rock n' roll and stuff like that. So it's just a combination of all of our influences through-out our lives. We got some old guys in the band who have heard a lot of shit.


Andrew: I love the style of music that you guys have got actually, I'm surprised I never got into it earlier to be honest. Who would you say are your biggest influences then?


Evan: Personally or as a band?


Andrew: Let's go with both. Personally on your end and then as a band collectively.


Evan: Well I play bass in the band so I've always been a fan of bass players that don't overplay. Some of my favorite bands aren't metal bands, they're rock bands like Scorpions, Thin Lizzy and stuff like that. So if you listen to those bass players, they're tastefully playing and playing with the drums which I think a lot of metal kids forget that you're supposed to do. You're not a guitar player, you're a bass player. As far as the band goes, like I said we have a lot of different influences. It just goes back to that whole labelling sort of thing, like for what your first question. I don't really like to put a label on it. There's kind of more bands or whatever that we kind of tip our hats to. It's not a secret that we really like Witchery, a Scandinavian band from the early 90's, we really like it and I think the band never got it's due. We toured with Arch Enemy a while ago and they have a bass player who used to be in Witchery and he came over to Nate (Garnette, guitars) who writes most of our songs and he said 'You really like Witchery don't you?' and he was like 'How can you tell?'. So don't tell anybody but that's one of our biggest influences.

Andrew: Yeah that's cool. But you are absolutely right in saying about a lot of bands where the bass player and drummer don't really play together and you can hear that in the music as well. You can tell when the bass and the drums go together and it sounds better in my opinion.


Evan: Yeah we do but I'm coming from more of a rock n' roll perspective so you got kids out there that play 5 or 6 or whatever string basses and go wild and try and be the star of the show and that's cool I guess but that's not what I'm going for, not what I like to listen to.


Andrew: So obviously you had joined the band a little after the band had started. How did you first join the band?


Evan: These guys had moved to Cleveland, Ohio before they were signed by Prosthetic, maybe in 2006 or 2007 in hopes to just play more shows. But the band's from a small town called Athens, Ohio that's in the southern part of the state on the Ohio river and you just don't get a lot of shows down there or anything so I think the hope was in moving to Cleveland the band would get more opportunities to play in front of more people and meet different bands. There's a lot of different places to play up here and that's where I live. So those guys ended up moving up here before they were signed to a label or anything like that and I just eventually became friends with them. I used to play in a local band and we would play with Skeletonwitch sometimes and when I wasn't playing with them I would find shows with them, go to concerts with them. I would just go see them because I liked the band and I think in 2007 they got signed by Prosthetic and then released "Beyond the Permafrost" which was the first record and then a year after that they actually lost the bass player that played on that. So I had already known these guys and they kind of got the ball rolling or whatever but a year after the first record came out, that first record on Prosthetic came out, I ended up joining the band. So no I wasn't from the beginning but that's the story of how I met those guys so I was already friends with them I guess for years before I was ever in the band, just going to see the band and kinda move in the same circle that they did. So it's fun to play in the band seeing as how I was a fan first and there's still some songs, a few songs, maybe 3 or 4 that I don't know. Maybe someday I'll learn them, maybe not!

Andrew: Obviously that helps when first joining a band, to already know the band, to know the music, you are already friends with them. That probably eased not only from the band's perspective but from your perspective as well, in joining the band. It was probably not as daunting when you first joined them.


Evan: Yeah I already knew the material as far as knew it by ear. So they didn't have to tell me where parts went because I was a big fan of the band and was listening through CD's and stuff like that prior to joining. But also it just helps on a friendship level and business level. I mean a lot of people think being in a band is all about playing your instrument and you have to be able to know how to play it and know how to write good songs but it's really only about 50% of it. And even when you think about how much time is spent doing things, that's 10% of it because when you're on tour and we tour a lot and that's the kind of band we are, we are not a studio band, we are a live band, you gotta live with these guys in a van for 8 hours a day, or on a bus when you do these drives. And you also have to be able to get along with them and learn how to deal with people and stuff like that, so yeah it was a good thing that I already knew them. I wasn't joining with a bunch of strangers or anything like that, we already had a friendship and got along pretty well which was really important. I think the end of a lot of bands is that people don't get along or the only reason they are doing it is to try and make some money and they're not friends with anybody but we're all friends first you know what I mean? I'm glad we're doing this, we're in a band but if this all stops tomorrow which not that it would and hopefully it doesn't, I would still talk to these guys, still hang out with them and we would still get drunk just like we would do while we're on the road playing the songs.


Andrew: Obviously that's important for any band, the chemistry has to be right otherwise it simply won't work and that's all there is to it I suppose.


Evan: Yeah that's a big thing. You hear a lot about good bands shot down in their prime just 'cause guy A and guy B was an asshole and couldn't learn to get along, or at least get along good enough to keep the band going. Everyone's got an ego!


Andrew: That's exactly right. I've just been listening to your latest album "Serpents Unleashed" and it sounds fantastic. I've become a big fan now but can you tell us about the new album and was there anything you did differently on this album which you didn't do on previous albums?


Evan: Yeah we kind of have a little bit of a formula when it comes to doing everything. We arrive extremely prepared and Nate, kinda like I said before writes 85% of the material as far as the skeletal version of the song. Like he'll write some drum parts and then record guitar parts to it to kinda get the song together. So that's been pretty much the standard on all these records, we haven't done anything that differently. On this record though, we kinda collaborated a little bit more. I kinda spruced some riffs towards Nate and Scott (Hedrick, guitars) wrote some songs on the record. I worked not maybe harder than I did before but I worked more dynamically on writing bass parts to it, just trying to fit things in really good and made sure I weighed it all and made sure it was the right part for the guitars that we were doing. The other thing that we did differently that was on every record was we went for a different producer. The guy that we went for this time, his name is Kurt Ballou and he's in a hardcore band called Converge. But anyway, that's always different, you can probably record the same record every time but with a different person behind the sound desk. You're always going to wind up with a different product and you don't know how it's going to be. Some guys think you know their style and you dont and then you go in, or you have a more slick style or a more blues rock n' roll style. But Kurt's recording techniques really kinda complimented what we were going for. Like I said before, we are kinda more of a live band in the sense that we are more energetic live 'cause you get to see what's going on stage and I think Kurt kinda captured some of that magic so that was a little different. He's the only producer that we've ever talked about going back to so if that says anything about obviously being happy about the product.

Andrew: You've mentioned a few times that you are more of a live band, so when you hit the studio is that something that you try to capture every time you record an album?


Evan: Yeah it's the biggest struggle I think for this band to capture the way everything sounds and also some of that live energy in the studio and that's really, really hard to do. I don't know even after recording...we have 4 albums in our set and I've recorded on 3 of even after recording the majority of the records with these guys, I still don't know what that key is. You gotta have good songs, make sure the tones are right and it's kinda like this perfect storm I guess. Kurt kinda knows what it is, like I said before we're really happy with the end result with him, but we do try and get that every time. Make sure things sound powerful, come out sounding as powerful as they are live onto CD. But it's hard and we are continuing to struggle with it and we will continue to struggle with it. I think it's good to try and keep going towards a goal when you do every record, working as hard as you can towards an end goal every time. Even if you don't achieve it, you learn a lot in the process.


Andrew: It's like a motivation kind of thing I suppose.


Evan: Yeah definitely.


Andrew: I see that a little while ago the tour was announced for Australia with Toxic Holocaust which I'm a big fan of as well so I think this is going to be an amazing tour. How did this tour with those guys come about?


Evan: We just ended up talking to this promoter in Australia and he said he wanted to do like a co-headlining bill with us and Toxic Holocaust. So that's just like any other tour, that's how it came about, that there was just this offer to do it. A, we've never been to Australia or New Zealand or South-East Asia before so that's really exciting I think. One of the best parts about being in a band is going to new places and playing in front of people that have never seen you and have a clean plate. It's kinda like a rush I guess a little bit when you go out on stage and noone knows what to expect. We played in Oslo, Norway a few years ago and we had been to Europe a bunch or whatever but we had never been to Scandinavia so when we get on stage there and me being a big fan of bands from that area, it kinda ends on a rush. Like you've never been there, these people don't know what to expect, you just knock their socks off with energy and a good performance. So that's exciting, the fact that we go there. But also with the Toxic Holocaust thing, we've toured with them before, we toured the States with them a few different times now, we also toured Europe with them back in 2009. We're just good buddies, it will be a good time but I also personally really like the band. There's a lot of metal bands now, I'd say 90% of them that I don't like and I think a bit fake, as far as they're not doing anything that anybody hasn't done. So maybe they're doing things for good reason, I don't mean they're being fake metalheads or whatever but it's boring and rehashed and I think Toxic Holocaust has this bit of raw, organic quality that not a lot of bands have. So even to be able to see them every night again, I'm really excited about it.

Andrew: Yeah I know what you mean, Toxic is...I mean when I first heard them I thought it was a bit different, there's this punk attitude that they have in their music which I thought sounded a bit different than a lot of the other thrash metal bands that have been coming out in recent years. They are amazing and I think you guys playing with them is going to be such a good show, it's going to be awesome!


Evan: Yeah I think so too. We had really good shows with them in Europe and also they've been over there (in Australia) before so that's another thing that's always kind's nice to go over with a band that's done it before. Not saying that we wouldn't just come to Australia and headline next time or whatever, but Joel (Grind, singer/guitarist for Toxic Holocaust) is a friend of ours who front's that band so it will be nice to go with him and he can say 'Here's some tips for this city'. It's good to get tips from somebody whos'been over there a few times before.


Andrew: I'm in Perth which is on the west coast of the country and on the same date that you guys are playing here, your show is actually clashing with Kreator and Death Angel so a lot of fans here have been up in arms about it saying which one are they all going to attend. I believe they are changing the show times so that fans can go to both shows but if there was anything you would like to say to Perth fans to mak sure they come see you guys on the night, what would you say?


Evan: Haha well I don't want to start dragging people's names through the mud or anything like that! I would have to think about that and come up with a diplomatic response to it. But if you look at all the bands that are playing, I'm probably...the person you are talking to right probably the youngest person in any of the bands so if you try to see me headbang and even if I'm going to be sore the next day from it, I'm still just going to do it. Maybe those old guys will stand still and sound really good but I'm going to go nuts so come see me be an idiot. And then afterwards I'll be at the bar and we can hang out and chat.


Andrew: That's one of the cool things about some of the metal bands that have been coming to Perth is that some of the venues are very conducive to just hanging out with the fans and all that. So I'm sure there will be a lot of fans that would love to have a couple of drinks with you so it will be a great night out.


Evan: Yeah I think so too and that's something that we always like to do. If we weren't playing shows that we would obviously be going to them, if we weren't in a band and stuff. I think hanging out with the crowd and talking to people, whether they say that they like you or whether you're in Germany you can often meet a kid who didn't like you which you don't get in the States, people in Europe do say stuff like that, it's fine. It's good to get to gauge the crowd, I don't think it would be a very fun to play a show and then go hide for the rest of the night. Everybody wants to be told they did a great job and stuff and they really want to talk to the people, especially when you go to a new place. I think it's super interesting to talk to people and talk to people not all the time about metal, it's cool to go to a new place and ask what's good to eat around here or what shall we go see and what do you do for a living and stuff like that. It's interesting for me to talk to people about other stuff besides just music.


Andrew: Yeah I totally agree with that! Well it's been awesome talking to you, thanks so much for the interview and we are really looking forward to seeing you guys over here with Toxic Holocaust so thanks again!


Evan: Yeah no problem we are super excited about it!



Evan spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe March 2014





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