Rob Moschetti : Our current drummer Jim DiMaria, it was basically his idea to team us up, me and Rob Dukes, 2 guys from Rockland county, well known in the underground.
We knew of each other but we were never close friends. Jim thought it would be a good idea to team us up. Dukes contacted me, expecting maybe Jim would be the drummer at the time. Jim owned a businesss so he didnt want to commit to something at the time. So I would write the music, Dukes would write the lyrics. Dukes was watching band of brothers and had that war theme in his head. So we just started there. Originally i was playing guitar on the stuff, but i wasnt sure what my role would be yet. When it started taking more of a metal turn, I realized we needed shredders, cause I'm not really a shredder. So in come Jay and Lou, 2 guys i knew from high school. just 20 years later. For Lou, he just coudnt get his personal life together, and it started getting in the way. For Sam our drummer on the album, it was more creative differences. He was expecting more of a Reign in blood record than a ride the lightning. I always wanted to do stuff that I couldnt do with M.O.D. or Pro-Pain. Rob always wanted to do stuff he couldn't do with Exodus. When Dukes is screaming, i'm believing every word he's saying. You never know when its going to be your last show. I've bit the bullet many times on the road. I want every show to be important to these kids that come to see us. I want them to be blown away.
Jaymz : You already touched on my next question. Why did Sam Inzerra (Mortician/Funerus) part with the band?
Rob : Sam is a great guy and a killer drummer. He was expecting something super extreme like Reign In Blood and we gave him Ride the Lightning. Me and Rob just didn't wanna be submitting our material for anyone's approval. I'm done with that. I had to do that with MOD and Pro-Pain.
This is the first record, in 6 or 7 records that i've done, that I'm not diverting from what i'm doing and if you don't like it i'm not going to change it for you. A lot of times the songs that don't get the recognition they deserve, they become my misfit songs and go off to Ashes Of Fire. Sam's replacement is Jim DiMaria. Jim had already filled in for Sam at some shows while Sam was busy with Mortician and Funerus, we didn't have to audition him or teach him the songs. Jim just jumped in and was just a better fit for what we're going for. Lou just stopped showing up to practice. To me, when you stop coming, you quit. He blew off the 3 practices before of a show we had with God Forbid. In walks Jay Velez, who knew the material, wanted to be with this band from the beginning. He had filled in other times. Two rehearsals and he's with us on stage opening for God Forbid.
Jaymz : What are your biggest Musical influences?
Rob : My 2 favorites are the first 4 Metallica albums and the first 5 Sabbath Records. I'm from that power chord background - Metallica and Sabbath were the 2 bands that really innovated that style. For some reason my material, the faster stuff comes out sounding like Punk or hardcore. Which i'm not really a fan of. But my style just comes off as hardcore or punk. Hardcore guys are all about the attitude. That's what I love. I'm not the hugest hardcore fan, but its unintentional. I try to incorporate the Geezer Butler bass style, and the Hetfield chunk style when I'm writing guitar parts. Jason is pure old school metal, Slayer, Exodus, early Metallica. Dukes likes Rush, Pink Floyd, and a lot of really obscure punk bands like the Exploited and Discharge. He's ADD, OCD, everywhere with the music, He's wants to try everything and be all over the place. Musically he's open to anything. And it's really fun to work with a guy like that. Velez is more into Kreator, old school Metal. He has played in a hardcore band, but he just wants to play and create. Jim, a true metalhead, huge Slayer fan. We're playing with Dave Lombardo and his side project next week. Jim used to be a drum tech for Exodus. None of us really listen to any current metal. There's stuff going on right now. As long as it's passionate and original, I'm not anti anything really. As long as it's genuine i respect it.
Jaymz : How Long Did it take to write & record "Red, White & Blood"?
Rob : We recorded in spurts because of Rob's schedule. Within one year we had half a record recorded. We didn't work on it 24/7 365. When Dukes wasn't around I would write. Probably within a 2 year period the songs were written and recorded. Then when Rob had another break, we worked on it a little more. It was recorded in 3 different locations. Some in my house, some in a studio in New City, some in Pomona. We tried to make it all sound uniform. But each song completely has it's own mix and own idenity. You don't want it to sound redundant. Each song has a different vibe. But it wasn't too diverse where it was all over the place. The order of the songs created a concept. We didn't go into it trying to create a "war" concept. I read the lyrics as I was going along and realized that it tells the story of a soldier going to war, wondering why he's there, getting into drugs, coming home, going into the looney bin, and the only way to escape was to blow his brains out. It was very creepy and bizarre and we just said "Roll With It". An unintentional concept album. The song "Self Medicating" is very personal about your demons inside of you are yelling back and forth at each other. My Dad died in '84 and there's lines from "Dark Days" that I've been wanting to put into a song since then. "Self Medicating" and "Dark Days" had nothing to do with war, They were just about the human condition. Walking dead had nothing to do with the war theme, But put into the context of the ghosts of people this soldier killed coming back to haunt him, it made sense.
Jaymz : Have you ever thought of contacting the people from Walking Dead to see if they would use the song in the show?
Rob : Actually the guys wife or daughter hit us up on Facebook, the creator. Rob got the idea from the book. We were a little nervous about it - them giving us shit about using the name. But they are cool about it, and the series is done now. We're actually in a mafia movie called "Goat" that comes out in 2013. "Slow Burn" opens this mafia movie with Armand Asante. Ice T and Ja Rule from the rap world are also in it. From what I see from the trailer it's about a mafia guy who gets out of jail and immediately gets pulled back into that life. It's really powerful, Its a revenge movie. Slow Burn was written about a pyromaniac. But it actually fits into the movie, in the theme of burning in hell.
Jaymz : What bass gear did you use on the album?
Right now I'm endorsed by Halo Guitars from california. They were cool enough to give me a few basses. But that was after we were recording the album. But prior to Halo I was using ESP. I used an old SWR head and cabinet. I rely a lot more on the clean signal direct when recording. Which allows you to split the signal. A lot of guys take their clean signal and alter it, and you lose that clean sound. A lot of new metal bands, theres really no bass guitar cutting through because they're so focused on compression. My trick is I want the Bass to stand out. I don't want it to sound like "And Justice For All". One good thing about the Black album is that the bass is huge. The bass is such a pure signal that I feel why corrupt it?People think my bass cuts through a lot. Maybe it's because I produce it. But The bass is the balls of the album. People think bass is an unimportant instrument. But tell that to Steve Harris, Geezer Butler and Cliff Burton. Those are the people I look up to.
Jaymz : How do you feel about the current metal scene?
Rob : I'm just not really exposed to a lot of the newer metal bands out there.
They hear our stuff and theyre probably not impressed. I think our live show defines us more than the record. One song on a record can't define us. You have to put on the entire record and listen to the full thing. Like when you listen to Master Of Puppets, after "Battery" is over, you know what song is next. Even with Sabbath.
The song after each one completes the song before it. I used to lay in my room with the headphones on and you just know what song comes next. The order of the songs on the album is so important. It's gotta flow. It's hard with these new bands. Some people don't understand. They think our record "dies" halfway through because some of the songs get melodic and have acoustic guitars. That's intentional. There can't be a heaven without a hell. You cant have heavy without soft. We don't want just one flavor throughout. One song alone might not make sense, but in the context of the two songs on either side of it, it makes sense. I don't think a lot of bands are doing that nowadays. They just want that processed crunch guitar sound. There's no personality in the drum playing. Bill Ward and Lars are incredible and under-rated drummers.
Jaymz : What are your Favorite Venues to play?
Rob : I'm gonna give the "Lemmy" answer on that one. As long as theyre going hooray and hoorah, it doesn't matter where you're playing. I've had equally as much fun at a festival opening for Motorhead for thousands of people, as I've had in a 200 capacity club with kids just going crazy. One of my favorite clubs was the Alrosa Villa, and then Dime gets killed there. The owner, the fans were all cool. Pro-Pain used to play there several times a year. Everyone knew us there. That place is completely ruined forever now. That was one of my favorite places. The load in doors were right on the stage. The back doors could be right open during the show because there's train tracks back there. That was my favorite place, but I haven't been back there since. I wouldnt want to step foot in the place again.
Jaymz : Where can people get CD's and merch?
Rob : Merch you can get when we play live. The label is in France, Seasons of Mist, They take care of merch. CDs are available at Bestbuy.com You can order the hard copy cd there. Nuclear blast licenses the record. You can get it on iTunes. Also Amazon will have it. Right from the 2 labels - Nuclear Blast and Seasons of Mist Or from BestBuy.com
Jaymz : What shows do you have coming up?
Rob : Tomorrow in Brooklyn with Slam One Down. Sunday with Straight Line Stitch up in Poughkeepsie. Our street team is out of Florida, They hook us up with a lot of shows. The week after that 2 shows in NJ at Dingbatz and Champs in Nj with Dave Lombardo's side project Philm. Also we're playing with Diecast up in Albany. DRI in December. After Christmas we're really gonna get knuckle down with this new record. We have about 20 tunes written, musically (for the new record)
We're shopping for producers now. Peter Tagtgren from Hypocrisy is one we're thinking about. But we'd have to fly to Sweden and our budget doesn't really allow for that right now. We're talking with Zeuss, he worked with Hatebreed and Crowbar so I'm sold on him. We'll see, I mean it's all about timing and money, and finding someone who's passionate about it.We have to take our own path, it's a little bit different than most bands. We gotta be careful about how we present ourselves.
Jaymz : Last question, what are your Top 5 Albums of all time?
Rob : Well, if you say Metal,it's hard to even give a straight answer.
Metallica - Ride the lightning
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Vulgar Display is a perfect blance of groovy and heavy. Just like Master of Puppets, heavy and eerie at the same time.
Peace Sells is like a staple in Metal. And Reign In Blood is just classic.