INTERVIEW: Pennywise’s Fletcher Dragge

Hermosa Beach, California punk rock pioneers Pennywise released their tenth studio album, All Or Nothing, on April 26 via Epitaph Records. It’s the veteran punk band’s first release with new singer Zoli Téglás from Ignite, who stepped in for already-booked live dates in 2009 when longtime vocalist Jim Lindberg was unable to make the shows due to documentary making commitments. A few months later Lindberg announced his resignation and Téglás was brought on board permanently. In addition to continuing to work with Orange County hardcore punk band Ignite, Téglás has filled in on vocals for The Misfits, he has collaborated with Motörhead, and he is head volunteer for Pacific Wildlife Project, rescuing and taking pelicans and other sea birds to rehabilitation hospital. And he’s also the volunteer music and outreach coordinator for Sea Shepherd. It sounds like he’s definitely the man to match the passion, intensity and fire of Pennywise at their finest. And the results are all there on All Or Nothing. I caught up with guitarist Fletcher Dragge to see how the newly revitalised Pennywise is settling in.

At what point did the band realise Zoli was the guy?

We had a situation where originally we had a couple of shows we were contracted to play. We didn’t want to cancel some shows, and he agreed to come in and do the shows. He was down for it. At that point we knew how things were going to be and we told him we would try some other people out [to be the new singer] But he did those shows, and he got the best try-out because he actually did those shows live with us. And he just brought it. He’s got a great stage presence. He’s got similar political views to what we have. He supports some causes we agree with. And he’s got a great voice. The thing is, you hear Pennywise, you near NOFX, Bad Religion, you think it’s just another punk band, but the fact that this stuff is really, really hard to sing. And although a lot of people we tried out were really good, Zoli was just that much better. He can do the older stuff that has a lot more dynamics and a lot higher register, because he has a higher voice, but he can still do the lows stuff. So we just mulled it over, tried everybody out, and said, well, he’s as crazy as they come, but we all are! So the rest is history. We’ve had a couple of ups and downs, a couple of bumps in the road, but for the most part I think we picked the right guy.

Read More …

INTERVIEW: Rex Brown talks Vulgar Display

It’s twenty years since Pantera released Vulgar Display Of Power. That’s the same as the span of time between the Beatles’ first world tour and Van Halen’s Jump. Or between Led Zeppelin IV and Pearl Jam’s Ten. It seems hard to believe now, where crunchy metal riffs are used in everything from kids’ movies to breakfast cereal ads, but once upon a time the closest thing to metal heard outside bedrooms and car stereos was the likes of Poison and Bon Jovi. Vulgar Display helped to change all that. Along with Metallica’s Black album, it was enormously influential on musicians looking to break free of the stylistic quirks of cock rock without switching gears to the grunge sounds that were rapidly gaining prominence. Pantera combined jagged, hi-fi, post-thrash guitar tones with aggressive vocals, harsh production and a sense of groove – borrowed from Southern Rock – and in the process they ignited a revolution.

“We had a lot of hunger. A lot of the juices were flowing, big-time, and I just remember it being a really creative period for the band,” bass player Rex Brown says of 1992-vintage Pantera. “Very creative. We knew what direction we were headed and we were very aware of where we wanted to go, yet it just came out so naturally that we didn’t have to second-guess anything. There it was! Every day we were waking up just wanting to go to work.”

Read More …

INTERVIEW: Garbage’s Butch Vig

When Garbage went into hiatus around 2006, nobody expected the band to be gone forever. It really did seem like more of a ‘recharge the creative batteries’ break than a ‘we hate each other and can’t stand to work together ever again’ thing. So when they announced their plans to return, it was not really a surprise. What is a surprise is that their new album, Not Your Kind Of People, sounds like they never missed a day. It does what Garbage – Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson – have always done best, and that’s to sound like themselves. That indefinable quality that makes each Garbage album sound different to the one before it, yet makes them all sound like part of the unified output of those four musicians and the dynamic between them.

“We did not want to reinvent ourselves,” Vig says. “We wanted to embrace the sensibilities of what we like as the four of us. And just basically try to capture what it is that makes it sound like who we are.” Part of that was the realisation that nobody else sounds like Garbage, and that there’s something about having an identity that’s very hard to define and quantify, but that when you find it, you hang on to it. “I think that’s a huge, valuable asset in today’s world, to have that kind of signature sound. So we decided to simply do what we like to do. And that’s the sound of this record. A lot of people said it reminded them of our first album.”

Read More …