10 Questions with Jimmy Bower of Superjoint

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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10 Questions with Scott Chaplain

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by Ryan Meehan

Scott Chaplain is a comedian and writer residing in Brooklyn, New York. He first began doing stand-up at the age of 17, and now at the age of 25 is a rising star on the New York comedy scene. His brutal, straightforward, and almost frightening honesty can only be topped by the totality of humor his act is capable of. He is currently a regular at clubs in New York City, was recently featured at the New York Comedy Festival, and finds himself as our guest today in this week’s version of 10 Questions. Continue reading

10 Questions with Toby Harnden

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By Ryan Meehan

Toby Harnden is Washington bureau chief for The Sunday Times of London. A dual British and American citizen, he has reported from across the world in a 20-year career in journalism. His bestseller Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan was winner of the Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for political writing. An American edition of Dead Men Risen, containing a new epilogue and fresh revelations, has been published in the United States. Harnden also wrote Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh. He was presenter and reporter for the 2013 BBC Panorama special Broken by Battle, about PTSD among British troops and veterans. The programme was shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award and a MIND Media Award, and I am very excited to have Toby Harnden as my guest today in 10 questions.   Continue reading

The Marination:  Bobby Ray Bunch

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by Ryan Meehan
 
Everybody loves comedy roasts because they give us a chance to pay tribute to the ones we care so deeply about while also mercilessly destroying their feelings.  In standard roasting practice, the individual who is being lampooned for the audience and the dais’ entertainment usually has to wait until everyone involves gets their shots in before they have an opportunity to take over the mic.  That’s where we’re going to shake things up a little bit, and give the man who’s the focus of an upcoming Quad Cities roast a chance to talk with us first. 
 
Typically before preparing an actual roast in the world of cooking, occasionally the piece of meat in question will be left to soak in some sort of liquid.  This procedure is called marination, and at this point in the paragraph I’ve realized that I probably shouldn’t be talking to you like you’re a fucking fourth-grader.  Anyway, whether it be a chicken, a goat, or a rare breed of delicious panda that was simply too slow to escape the tranquilizer dart that would eventually be its downfall, the marination process enhances the flavor of the main course.  (I’m still doing it, aren’t I?  Did you finish your homework?  Don’t make me call “weekend mommy”…)  In this instance the flavor-enhancing agent is going to be my sub-par journalism, which is sort of like using rat poison to give your salad an extra kick.  
 
Local comic Bobby Ray Bunch has been performing stand-up for several years now, telling stories about his time in the military, excessive drinking in public, and just about everything in between.  The guy knows a great deal about comedy, and I recently had the opportunity to discuss the business of funny with him in the week leading up to his roast.  That event will be taking place on Saturday, July 11 at the Speakeasy in Rock Island at 8:00PM.  It’s right next to Circa ’21 Dinner Theater, and you can get tickets by calling 309-786-7733 ext.2.  In the meantime, feel free to grab a carafe of stale breast milk and check out our artist profile.  This is the pre-roast marination of Bobby Ray Bunch.  
 
RM:  First off, how’s your summer going so far?  Any highlights or lowlights worth mentioning?  
 
BRB: I am enjoying the summer so far. I decided to get back into running which was a dumb decision. Running is stupid, but I felt my lower back jiggle as I ran down my steps so I think it’s time for me to be more active. I picked up golf this summer and I am really good already. If there is sand or water in front of me, I’m really good at getting the ball to land there. I’ve found that I don’t like most golfers, though. They usually tend to fist bump and that’s the worst thing that’s happened to human beings in the last few years.
 
RM:  Have you ever participated in a roast where you weren’t the comic being skewered?  If so, how would you rate your own roasting skills on a scale of one to ten where one is “The Situation” from Jersey Shore and ten is Greg Giraldo?  
 
BRB: I have participated in a few roasts. I would say I am an 8.3 when it comes to roasting someone. I’m pretty quick with insults, which is why I enjoy hecklers, and being able to write mean things ahead of time is fun. I always end it with something positive, unless I truly don’t like the person, which happened at the last roast I participated in. As long as you say it into a microphone and there’s an audience, it’s not mean, right?
 
RM:  When were you first approached about becoming the subject of a roast?  What was your initial reaction when you found out?
 
BRB: This roast came together much like my 30th birthday party. I planned it. Hell, I even bought my own balloons. I have a good relationship with the Circa ’21 Speakeasy and have been putting shows on there this year and wanted to change things up a little bit. I figured it would be a good opportunity for the local comedians to have a chance to rip me apart. I am looking forward to seeing how creative they can get.
 
RM:  What can you tell us about some of the other Quad City comedians who will be on the dais?  Which comic are you most looking forward to seeing take shots at you; and who do you predict with be the most ruthless with regards to their material?  
 
BRB: This is a really good group of comics that I am happy were able to do the roast. There are a few guys I wish could have been a part of it but the lineup I have is going to be fun to watch. I have a wide range of guys that are going to be ruthless to some nice fellows. I tried to book some females on the show but they all turned me down due to some sort of pending legal action against me. Women, am I right? Folks? Hello? I’m looking forward to getting after Jim Petersen, only because he was a big influence on me at the start of my comedy career and I will always appreciate the help he gave me along the way, but he deserves to be beaten down with words. Also, I invited a long time friend of mine, Dan Ludgate, to roast me. He knows me better than anyone roasting me. We lived together for a year and had a little bit of a falling out, mostly due to me being an asshole. He’s very creative and funny so I’m guessing he is going to use that night as a way to get back at me for some of the shit I’ve put him through.
 
RM:  Last Monday you jokingly posted “It’s a good thing I don’t have feelings” while sharing the event link on Facebook.  Is it even possible for an individual to become really successful in the stand-up comedy industry nowadays if they are a little too thin-skinned or over-sensitive about what another comic might say on stage?  Have you ever heard somebody you’re working with do a bit and thought to yourself “This is just way over the line and I’m not cool with it”; and do you ever find yourself asking that question internally while you’re developing new material of your own?  
 
BRB: I could talk about this for hours. I have personally never been offended at anything someone on stage has said, but that being said, that doesn’t mean it was funny. I don’t agree with censorship and I think it’s getting a little ridiculous nowadays with how hyper sensitive this country is becoming. The majority of the people don’t get easily offended, but the media loves to blow EVERYTHING out of proportion and make people feel that they SHOULD be offended. And if people do get offended, so what? Are we really going to live in a kindergarten sized world where I have to worry about everyone’s feelings? And this is comedy. Everyone needs to relax. Sure, people are allowed to be offended and be sensitive, but where do we draw the line? I did a show in Des Moines and said ‘nigga’ on stage right in front of a black guy. The crowd gasped/laughed and guess what? He laughed too, because it was funny. Did the world end? Did a race riot start? No. There’s a difference between using a word and calling someone a word. But I get, it people are conditioned to be offended at every little thing. That is not the life I want to live.
 
I don’t consider myself an offensive comedian or even that dirty, really. My writing process usually consists of me thinking something is funny, trying it out and if the crowd thinks it’s funny I keep working on it. If they don’t find it funny, and I’m passionate about it, then I keep trying to reshape it until I either find the funny or I get lazy and let it go. When I stopped caring about trying to get laid after every show, I stopped trying to please the whole audience, which made me a better comic. Now I just need new material…
 
RM:  Speaking of hypersensitivity, comedy seems to be in this really weird place right now where roast jokes are more brutal than ever, but political correctness as a topic of conversation litters the blogosphere at every corner.  How is it possible for those two things to exist at the same time without destroying each other; and how did stand-up comedy go from being the one art form where you could literally say anything to being so over-analyzed in a period of under forty years?   
 
BRB: I kind of touched on this in the last answer, but this is a great question. I think people love watching someone else get roasted or made fun of, but when it affects them, that’s when they get uptight and hypersensitive. We live in a world of entitlement and everyone thinking their fucking opinion matters because they have Twitter followers and a Facebook page. People want it both ways and that’s not the way it works. I have always hated political correctness. I remember in elementary school, my family had moved and I had to take a different bus home so I was trying to figure out which bus that was. I asked the principal and he pointed at the bus and I said, “The one with the old guy?” and he gave me a stern look and said “No, Bob, the chronologically challenged gentleman.” I laughed, he didn’t. I love when people say to me, “You can’t say that. You’re not allowed to say that.” Says who? Who is saying I am not allowed to use certain words? It’s getting ridiculous and the PC Police and media are winning. The more I respond to these questions, the more I sound like a disgruntled Vietnam Veteran.
 
RM:  Alright, let’s switch gears  and play “Fuck, Kill, Marry” for a second…The three individuals on the list are James Draper, Donny Townsend, and Andrew King.  Who would you fuck, who would you kill, and who would you marry if sexual preference wasn’t a part of the equation?  Why did you select each fate for each comic; and if you had the opportunity to do two of these things to one of these guys at the same time who would it be and why would you do it?  
 
BRB: I would fuck Donny Townsend, because he just plain doesn’t age and he’s a beautiful chronologically challenged gentleman. I’d marry James Draper, because I think he’d appreciate it more than the rest. He’s decent looking, he’d be fun to bring to social events, we have stuff in common. I’m better looking than him and he’s fat, so it’s not like he’d cheat on me. I’d kill Andrew King, because I’m becoming jealous of his success. Fuck that guy.
 
RM:  What venue outside of the greater Quad Cities area has been your favorite to perform at thus far in your career; and what is so special about that room which allows you to feel so comfortable and attain control of the crowd with greater ease?  
 
BRB: My heart will always belong to The Mill, in Iowa City. I was able to start a monthly comedy show there that is still running four years later. I am proud that I was able to leave some sort of footprint in the Iowa City comedy scene and I had the opportunity to work with some great comics that came through there. I’ve worked with different bookers and club owners and they were always professional and followed through with their word. That afforded me the opportunity to open for Tig Notaro and Janeane Garafalo at a sold out Englert Theatre. I remember when I moved to Iowa City I had just started comedy and I looked at that theatre and set a goal to do comedy there and it actually happened.
 
RM:  If you had the opportunity to go back to the first time you ever did comedy and do one thing differently, what would it be and why? 
 
BRB: I would’ve started sooner, that’s the only thing I would change. I thought my first time went well. I was happy to have a comedian there actually give me good advice after my first set. Chris Schlichting recorded my first set (without even knowing me or me asking him) and put it on a DVD for me. He told me, “It’s five minutes man, you don’t need to bring a written out set on stage with you. If you can’t remember five minutes then what are you doing?” He also told me to tone down the language. He said if I ever wanted to make money doing this I had to work cleaner. He was right. It’s easier to write dirty than clean. He’s been a great guy to have in my corner along the way. He should be famous by now. He gave me money and t-shirts to say that.
 
RM:  I’ve been to a show of yours where a couple of your family members were in the audience…Do any of them plan on coming to the roast; and do you feel as if they are more critical of your material than the other members of the crowd given the fact that they’ve known you longer than the rest of the patrons?  
 
BRB: My family is strange. My sister is currently not speaking to me, my dad doesn’t stay up past 8pm and the rest of my family is sort of spread out. I think my aunt and uncle might come to the roast, but I’m not sure. My dad and sister were pretty supportive and critical at the same time. I think it comes from love but we have a blunt way of putting things. I think I’m the most normal person in my family and that’s not how things are supposed to be. I have a lot of untapped material involving my family that I plan to start implementing.  
 
RM:  What are you looking forward to more than anything else at this show?  
 
BRB: I’m looking forward to being surrounded by people that I’ve known and loved for years, whether it be old friends or the comedians I’ve come up with. My favorite place to be is on stage and I love being made fun of. The Speakeasy is the first place I was ever paid to do standup and I absolutely love the room. It’s well run and the staff is incredible. The owner and I have a great relationship and he supports local comedy. I’m just looking forward to having a whole night about me! IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!
 
 
RM:  Anything else you’d like to say before we throw you in the oven?  
 
BRB: I would like to thank everyone who has supported my comedy from the beginning until now. I love performing and making people laugh and there are a lot of people who have gone out of their way to support me. I have a lot of exciting things in the works and I hope everyone stays tuned because it’s only getting better from here.
 
Bobby on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/bobby.r.bunch
 
Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/433842233464368/
 
James Draper on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jamesdrapercomedian
 
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.
Meehan

7 Questions with Jarrod Harris

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Photo by Andrew Buckley

By Ryan Meehan

Jarrod Harris is an oddly comfortable mix of trailer –park filth, comic angst and hipster irony. While his style may fit into several categories along the comedy spectrum, his clever writing only fits into one. Jarrod Harris has performed at premier comedy clubs across the US including the World Famous Improv Comedy Clubs, Punchline, Side Splitters and he has been featured on TBS’ “Lopez Tonight”, Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and has received recognition for his comedy work with San Francisco Comedy Competition Top 4 Finalist, 2010 Detroit Comedy Festival “Best of Fest” Selection, Host of the 2010/2011 Laughing Skull Festival and Campus Activities Magazine Top Comics to Watch for 2010. Jarrod was also the former voice and writer for the Jungle character on “Action Figure Therapy” series receiving over 30 million views. He was featured on the “Holy Fuck” album in 2013, and the LOL Comedy Festival 2014 held in Santa Barbara, CA which was filmed and released on Hulu. His new album is called “Present and Talkative”, and he’s our guest today in 7 questions. Continue reading