By Ryan Meehan
(BIO via Earsplit Compound)
On November 12th, Superjoint will release the punishing wares of their new full-length album Caught Up In The Gears Of Application. Captured at Nodferatu’s Lair, the eleven-track offering marks the band’s first new output since 2003’s critically-lauded Lethal Dose Of American Hatred. Produced by Superjoint co-founder Philip H. Anselmo (Down, Pantera, Scour, Arson Anthem etc.) and Stephen Berrigan (Down, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Eyehategod, Haarp, Classhole, etc.) and mastered by Scott Hull (Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Pig Destroyer) at Visceral Sounds, Caught Up In The Gears Of Application remains true to Superjoint original strategy: To spew forth an acrimonious crossover of hardcore punk, metal, and unrelenting, hostile, New Orleans-style angst. We are thrilled to have head Superjoint skinbasher Jimmy Bower as our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: How long did it take to complete this album; and which portion of the recording process was the most satisfying for you as a musician?
JB: It really didn’t take that long…Two of our members live out of town, so knowing that we went into it – not in a rushed kinda mode – but knowing that we couldn’t fuck around…We really had to buckle down and get it done. And the fact that we hadn’t done anything in over eleven years to me made it that much easier. To me, definitely the writing process of the record is really fun. I tend to get nervous once we start recording, because you’re recording one performance on an album and…I tend to overthink things, so it’s like “Well, we could have played it better” or “We could have sounded more ferocious if we’d have done this” and when you’re making a record you can’t really think like that. You know what I mean?
RM: For sure…This is the first record the band has put out in well over a decade…Was there ever any point over the past 13 years when you doubted whether or not we would see a new Superjoint record? Why or why not?
JB: Totally, dude. Up until about two or three years ago we weren’t even gonna do the band again. It wasn’t until Corey Mitchell (Rest in Peace) who was the Housecore Festival organizer had the idea and he was like “Dude, what if we had Superjoint play?” So that kinda got the ball rolling…and here we are. But before that there was absolutely no thought of ever doing this band again. So thanks goes to Corey Mitchell.
RM: In a recent press release, you said “The minute we started writing, I knew this record was going to be brutal”…I was listening to “A Lethal Dose of American Hatred“ at work the other day when I read that quote, so I feel like I have to ask: How the fuck did you guys go about approaching the idea of taking that brutality to the next level on “Caught Up In The Gears of Application”?
JB: “Lethal Dose of American Hatred” is actually my least favorite Superjoint record. I like the first one…me and Phil have talked about it a lot. Like “Let’s try and make the new one in the vein of the first record” because the first one was more spontaneous, it was a brand new band…To me on “Lethal Dose” it got a little more technical. And that happens with bands, you know…But we we talked about concentrating more on the first record and trying to get that old hardcore style back. And what I think we came up with was a pretty good mixture of a little of that element – it’s a completely different band, and you can hear it too. It still sounds like Superjoint, but it’s definitely taking a newer direction within the songwriting process.
RM: How did Phil come up with the name for the LP; and what does the title suggest?
JB: “Caught up in the Gears of Application” is basically…I take it as being caught up in the bullshit of society. Cell phones, emails, just being caught up in that trap – everybody’s got a damn cell phone in their hand…I’m almost 50 years old so when I grew up there were no cell phones, you had to find other shit to do. I mean, you didn’t have to find shit to do, there was other shit to do. Now everybody’s got their fucking face in a phone all day. It’s just real weird man, it just seems like everybody’s going backwards you know? But Phil came up with the title – he comes up with all of the titles for the songs and everything like that as well. He might give you a give you a completely different interpretation.
RM: What is the most metal artifact that can found at Nodferatu’s Lair; and what are some of the things which make those rooms such a great place to record?
JB: Hmmm…I’m trying to think, man. There’s like a bunch of different posters that are really cool. There’s a picture…it’s funny because when I first started playing drums I used to hang out with this dude named Mark. I used to go over to his house and play drums and we’d put our drum kits together – I was like 14 or 15 years old – and it turns out that when Phil moved back to Texas he bought that house. So there’s a big picture in a frame there of me playing drums in the house that he would later buy. Kind of a weird coincidence, now whether that’s the most metal artifact I have no idea. It’s just a really good vibe there as far as being able to…I mean, (Phil’s) house is on 18 acres of land so you go over there and if you want to walk away and just go take a walk in the woods…It’s not like being at a studio in the city or something, it’s actually got a vibe to it and we definitely use that to our advantage. Because a lot of studios are either in the city or around a bunch of other shit and it’s kinda hard to put all that aside. Out there it’s just out in the country, so it’s just really cool.
RM: It seems like nowadays with Facebook and other social media sites that some of these metal publications are really fiending for any questionable soundbite or video clips of any big name artist, trying desperately to stir the pot…Does it ever concern you that some of these sites like Blabbermouth are trying to turn the day-to-day exchanges between metal musicians and the media into sort of a TMZ-like tabloid experience? Is there any material on the new album which addresses shit like that which makes most of us die hard metal fans want to fucking pull our hair out?
JB: Yeah, I think there’s a lot on the album that addresses that. This dude who runs Blabbermouth…I used to talk to him every day on the phone in the nineties. He used to work for Century Media, and he was a fuckin’ gossip hound back then. So it just makes sense that he runs that. I try not to pay any attention to those sites…it’s not like a fuckin’ paper mag, man. I guess they can kinda sit back where they are and kinda be that keyboard warrior without any repercussions. It’s stupid. It’s got nothin’ to do with music, man. It’s weird with all of this social media and everything…everybody talks about music – not too much, because that’s a bad thing to say – but tries to figure it out too much. There should be more concerts, there should be more people going to shows and interacting with other people face to face. That’s how I grew up here: The scene in New Orleans was really beneficial for somebody that was into music. You’d go to a show and it wasn’t just the show, it was hanging out with everybody, talkin’ to ’em, finding out what bands they were into…because back then there was no internet. So you’d talk like “Dude I heard about this band from Texas you gotta check ’em out!” you know…There was a sense of excitement about it and it just seems like that’s kinda died out. At least for old fucks like us.
RM: Returning to the record, one of the things that has made Superjoint so memorable in the past is the ability to really shake things up with regards to tempo and dynamics…Obviously as someone who has also played drums quite extensively for some time, you have a great sense of control when it comes to when those changes need to happen…Is that something you really want to bust out as much as possible when writing a song, or do you guys tend to just write based on the overall flow of each individual riff and let the feel of the hook take you to the song’s completion?
JB: That’s a great question, man…great question. We call ’em “drops”. Drops to me happen in so many different forms. You can either build up to ’em or you can have ’em abruptly happen or whatever. And of course, if you write songs with those elements in ’em of course you’re gonna be conscious of it to the point where it’s being discussed. It’s without a doubt discussed and taken into massive consideration. That’s a cool question, man.
RM: What is the biggest difference between playing live shows in this day and age compared to doing so twenty years back? What – if anything – do you miss about doing shows that took place in the early to mid-nineties?
JB: I guess the only difference for me is the physical aspect of it. I’m older and it’s not as easy to go nuts per se as I could when I was 25 or 26 years old. To me, live shows are still the same. You show up…The only difference is people got fuckin’ cell phones recording everything, takin’ pictures and stuff like that. Which bums me out, but I don’t really do or say anything about it because if that’s the way they wanna have their experience at a concert, so be it. When I was a kid, we just fuckin’ soaked everything up and it was like “Dude, they’re right there. They’re right there and they’re jammin’” and all of the attention was on them. No face in a cell phone or all that. But I think live shows are – as far as playing the shows – pretty much the same. I think they’re very important, man.
RM: Let’s say that we were doing this interview in person and you felt it wasn’t going well…If you had to smack me over the head with one album that isn’t your new one to knock some metal sense into me, which record would you select and what makes that so release so abrasive that you would feel the need to hit me with it?
JB: I guess like an old Black Flag or Sabbath record or something. I would never smack anybody over the head, I’d rather just tell you to shut up and let’s jam some tunes or whatever. Old Black Flag dude, you can’t beat that man. The music is just so violent and…That’s kinda what we try and go for with Superjoint is that massively violent car accident sound.
RM: Where does Down currently sit at the moment? Is that something that those of you who are in the band don’t really feel like you need to address either because the time isn’t right or projects like Superjoint are front and center of your musical output?
JB: Well you’ve got Pepper, who’s doing Corrosion of Conformity right now. They’re doing a record, and obviously we just did the Superjoint record. Bobby does Honky and Pat is doing this band with Pinkus from Honky called Pure Luck…it’s a country band, and I’ve been workin’ on my solo record. Down is one of those bands that…it is a side project, so sometimes it doesn’t get 100% full attention and that’s what’s happening right now. We have two more EPs to come out in the set of the four, so hopefully starting next year we’re going to get down to starting to write on that because I think a lot of Down fans – and a lot of other people – really dig Down. One thing we learned between NOLA and the second record is the amount of time we took in between records…Being a fan of music myself, it’s not fair to the fans to disconnect yourself from it for that long. So, hopefully soon!
RM: If you had to sum up your group of friends within the New Orleans music community in one sentence on less, how would that passage read?
JB: We’re all sluts for music. It’s true, everybody in New Orleans…There’s like ten people in the scene that all jam with each other. So it’s like…everybody kinda cheats on their band, but it’s cool. That’s just talkin’ about my friends…constantly starting different projects, jammin’, gettin’ together and stuff like that.
RM: What’s up next for yourself and the rest of the band in the remainder of 2016 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about? You mentioned your solo album…
JB: Yeah, I’m working on that at a snail’s pace, man. But I am workin’ on it…The Superjoint record comes out on the eleventh, I’m gonna try to figure out what to get my daughter for Christmas and that’s about it. We’ve got one Superjoint show on the twelfth in Dallas and we start touring in January, so 2017 looks to be a high point for us – getting back out there and getting busy – and hopefully another Eyehategod record, too. And then like I said, hopefully new material with Down and getting another EP released with them as well.
Housecore Records Official Website: http://www.thehousecorerecords.com/
Superjoint on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Superjoint-7066758901/
Housecore Records on Twitter: https://twitter.com/housecore_press
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