Some serious posting scheduled for this weekend… great review from Cloudy, and a killer review from PJ….Dillinger Escape Plan fans will want to see this one…and I’ll talk about a stellar summer tour season. Stay tuned, -AS
You had me – you bastards… You had me when I saw you open for Biohazard and Slayer at the Aragon in ’94 during the Divine Intervention tour. I was only 15 at the time, but I’d been listening long enough to realize that you were the very first of the second generation of nineties metal that was beginning to emerge. I tagged along with my Mom to Best Buy the next day so I could spend my hard earned cash on ‘Burn My Eyes’. It was good enough to look past the ‘Shedding Skin’ riff at the end of ‘Davidian’ and the ‘Raining Blood’ rip-off purge at the beginning of ‘Blood For Blood’ – perhaps just obvious nods to influences and not a just-budded genre already becoming cookie-cutter mediocrity. It was good enough to ignore the haphazard use of vulgarity lyrically injected into the songs as syllabic filler to complete a stanza in rhythm – perhaps another influential nod to the likes of Max Cavalera, maybe this Rob Flynn guy’s second language is English too. It was good enough to dub onto a 90 minute TDK cassette tape opposite Meathook Seed’s debut album so that I could listen to it in my car. It was good enough.
You had me when I heard the fourth track on your second release ‘The More Things Change’, it was almost good enough to make up for a phoned in sophomore slump of an album. It was almost good enough to look past the tough guy posturing on the inside cover of the CD. It was almost good enough to get over the horrible harmonics that plagued over half of the riffs on that record – I hope Dimebag got some phat royalties on that one. It was almost good enough.
You lost me when I saw your video for ‘From This Day’ on the very short-lived hard rock video station MTV X. It completely baffles my mind that people still give you stock as career musicians in heavy metal after that cinematic gem. I know long-haired tough guy heavy metal types with tattoos and bolts through the nose always pretend not to know about the goings on in pop culture, so bare with me and pretend to know about how that hip-hop Chris Brown guy beat the living shit out of that pop princess Rihanna a couple of years back. The media posted pictures of her battered face all over the news, talk shows and magazines – fat lips, black eyes, bite marks and all. He admitted to doing it and he somehow, someway beyond anything I can even fathom, he still has a career…That’s pretty much the equivalent for me of that video/song and you guys still selling records. Dreadlocks and jumpsuits, hand gestures and high knees, whipping your arms around at the camera like the gay love child of Vanilla Ice and Puff Daddy – er, P Diddy, or Puffy Combs…You get it. I hope Jonathan Davis got some phat royalties on that one. That’s not riding a money train, that’s taking one hostage and engineering it. I don’t have anything against ‘Nu-Metal’ either, I do however, have a problem with the fact that you changed your sound and image to ride that wave. That’s what jerk-offs who criticize bands in the form of blogs behind their keyboards call selling out – and that move ranks right up there somewhere between Metallica’s ‘Black’ album and Sepultura’s ‘Roots’ (but at least Roots was an original concept). I stopped paying attention after that.
But believe it or not some years later you had me again, when I somehow, somewhere heard the track ‘Imperium’ off of your album ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’. Not sure if it was a momentary lapse of reason or just a lack of anything else out there at the time – I know I was drinking A LOT in 2004 – but I remember thinking that song was pretty balls. I ended up buying the album and couldn’t tell you anything else about it except that ‘Seasons Whither’ was a half-way decent track too. Other than that it was the epitome of the blowing-your-wad-on-the-first-song formula. I listened to ‘Imperium’ again for the first time in like 12 years the other day and it doesn’t do anything for me these days, actually it’s more like a ‘what the fuck were you thinking?’ kind of thing – as are the other two albums I own from MH. But then you went ahead and lost me again with your incessant babbling about ‘The Blackening’.
In every interview you said it was going to be the next Master Of Puppets. Your Master Of Puppets. Master Of Puppets was the inspiration. It’s going to be better than Master Of Puppets – Master Of Puppets, Master Of Puppets, Master Of Puppets. Alright, got it…good luck with that. I think that was right around the time bands like Trivium and all that tripe started making that the thing to do. Even sell-out kings Metallica followed suit and tried to cash in on it – the resurgence of a genre that they were originally one of the trademarks for – by doing Death Magnetic and claiming they were going back to their roots. I gave ‘The Blackening’ a shot, my brother bought it and we sat and listened – your little hype machine worked on my peanut of a brain, and I don’t even like Master Of Puppets (though admit it’s a good album). My dick failed to move. Thanks though, for trying something that’s been tried about a hundred thousand times before and not doing something even a quarter of the way original. Your big masterpiece was an emulation piece – that’s like being the best tribute band in the world, artistically worthless. I think that’s been my problem with Machine Head through the years. They got their start riding on the musical ideas and trends of other people and never got off. I know it’s probably just me, but Machine Head has always flown the flag for those bands that continue to meander in complete heavy metal mediocrity, and yet the genre is so littered with fans of that nonsense that these guys are even starting to fool themselves into thinking they’re a link in the spine of heavy musical evolution. What they are is pop music – safe, easily digestible, candy in a big ugly wrapper to give it that heavy metal appeal casual listeners of this kind of music thrive on to fool themselves into thinking they’re edgy and outside the norm. Everything Machine Head does sounds like something else that was better to me. You’re not heavy enough for me to want to listen to you when I want to get the pulse going, you’re not rock enough for me to want to listen to you when I want to have a good time, and you’re not interesting enough for me to want to listen to you, er – well, ever. It’s generic, like the Arch Enemys, and Godsmacks, and Avenged Sevenfolds, and Sevendusts – I just don’t know where to put you and your heavy / hard rock musical miasma. Machine Head is good at what they do, they are an amazing 90’s thrash cover band – and damn good musicians. Rob Flynn’s vocals are distinguishable and unique in their own right, but doesn’t it seem like he’s just trying too hard to try too hard, and still comes off as not trying hard enough? That goes for his lyrics as well.
There are people that feel something in it that I just don’t, and I’m sure they would have a lot to say about some of the garbage I listen to, I totally understand that. How can I critique anything as subjective as art? Who am I to say that the creativeness that comes out of someone’s head is vapid? For me it depends on the motives of that inspiration. You can use the same kind of paint, brush and canvas as Leonardo Da Vinci and not have to try and paint another Mona Lisa, but people are going to try because they know it’s going to get them on the wall at the big gallery downtown and sell for a ridiculous amount of money. I know I sound like a jaded fanboy who probably got blown off when he was waiting to get his CD signed by the band after the show, but the truth is I’m just sick of bands like this thriving and not being called out for what they are – pop music, and if that’s your thing then be awesome and embrace it, but don’t try and mold it any other way. E-mail me if you want to know what the next Machine Head album is going to sound like, I’ll tell you – cause it’s whatever money train is riding through “heavy metal” that year.
I guess I should just let people like what they want to like – in reality how much does it really effect me? And the band is just making a living doing what they’re cursed to love – making vapid sheep metal for the masses, so kudos to them for working the system the way they did and following their dream, even if it is at their own artistic expense. I guess it’s all just how you approach life. Wow, this is a whole chunk of my life that I’ll never get back. Damn you again Machine Head…
“Always on Tour” The band “with a heartbeat” is bringing Rock back to America. An interview with Mitch Arnold of Wayland
I met these guys by accident really. I work with a video crew that works with Dean Guitars every year at the Winter NAMM. Dean puts on a big show the Friday of NAMM and Wayland was the first act. I honestly hadn’t heard anything about them until that night. The buzz started Friday on the NAMM floor as we promoted the show as we broadcast. As we set up the video at the Grove of Anaheim I was really excited to see Kyng and Shinedown so my focus was on those later acts as I set up the camera. Soundchecks proceeded as they do.
I first saw Tyler setting up his drums, which was appropriate since my sole job that night was the drum cam. He rocked through his soundcheck and I was impressed. I then saw Dean setting up his bass. I knew right away he was a character. Phillip then Mitch gathered and set up their gear for the show. They were all in black. A very cool and understated look. I like it a lot.
The lights went down and what happened next still gives me the chills. The show these guys gave us was absolutely incredible. Words can’t do it justice. It was hard, it was loud, it was professional, it was soulful……we were all floored. If you’ve seen this band you know exactly what I mean. And if you know me, you know I am not easily impressed. I am a self-admitted music snob.
Seeing Wayland in action has rekindled my faith in Rock music. Everything that this music emulates as part of Wayland. Hard workers, they tour incessantly, without complaining and solely for the love of bringing their music to their fans. And boy do they have fans. These people are loyal to the bone and would follow these guys to the gates of hell. But that’s not where they’re going. They are headed for stardom and fame and man do they deserve it.
So far they have one EP “Welcome to My Head” which was their first single. “Nobody’s Perfect” is being played on terrestrial and satellite radio as we speak. “On My Knees” is a soulful number destined to be a hit. And the Bob Seger cover “Fire Down Below” is a nod to their Michigan roots and, I like to believe, a respectful tip of the hat to one of the hardest working guys in Rock.
I got to meet the band while working with Dean Guitars and Ddrum, and I was honored. Not only are these guys talented, they are really great, genuine guys. And Mitch (lead singer) was kind enough to give me (us) this interview. I hope you enjoy it. And if you’re new to the band check out the videos of their fine work, then visit the website to find out where you can see them live. It is an experience you will not forget. I should really rename this interview “Destined for Greatness,” because, that’s what they are.
MAT: First of all who is contributing to this interview? I’m sending this to Mitch but are all the guys replying? Where exactly is Wayland right now? You guys tour relentlessly. One day you’re in Anaheim, and the next you’re in North Carolina. Explain the phrase “Always On Tour.”
MA: I don’t know many lifestyles that are this exciting. The ups and the downs of the road are so vast, it’s really hard to convey how it is living day to day as a rock n’ roll band that is “always on tour.” And let me assure you…Wayland continues to be “always on tour.”
My name is Mitch Arnold and I’m the lead singer of Wayland. At the moment, I’m sitting in a booth in a little bar in Fargo, ND. Our gear has been placed neatly on stage and we’re waiting for the sound man to get here so we can start making noise. Local patrons are scattered through the bar listening to soft rock 80s songs on the juke box and Prospect Hill (a band from Boston) just showed up. As they tote their gear inside, they inform us all they’ve adopted a duck. Out of the van they produce a neat cage with a yellow duckling in it. While they were staying with a mutual friend in Illinois (who happens to run a rescue for all kinds of animals) they became slightly attached to the young duckling who was living there and all parties involved decided it would be a good idea for the duck to come along. We’re all very good friends and not long after they arrived, we all took a shot of whiskey in celebration of a birthday we weren’t all together for. The duck, who has been named Emilio is waddling around the bar chirping with an occasional quack. I am never surprised as to what comes to be out on the road. It’s all a part of a beautiful picture. It’s not always beautiful, but the picture it all makes always is. I am the one responding but as a collective voice. The others have read the questions and they all have agreed to have me respond.
Like I said, we are playing a show tonight 4/3/13 at Nester’s in Fargo, ND with our good friends Prospect Hill…and of course their mascot and new friend, Emilio. We have played shows with hundreds of bands, these guys have become incredibly close friends of ours. The phrase, “Always On Tour,” is pretty self-explanatory. That’s exactly what it means. We’ve toured for years but this phrase came to be when we left home January 5th 2012 and we’ve been touring non-stop ever since. We did take a couple days for Christmas but we ended up playing 332 shows in 2012. Bands would always mention, people would always say, “You guys are always on tour.” We started using it as kind of a slogan. One, because it was true and two, because we are proud to carry the torch of rock n’ roll like we are. We are living the words we write, we are bleeding and sweating on stage and anything that is wrong in the world disappears when we plug in a play our music. It’s magic to us and when things go well in a night, it’s magic to an audience.
MAT: I follow your Facebook page and love your videos featuring Dean. What is one of your favorite Dean Pizazz moments? Favorite moment or moments since the band has formed?
MA: Dean Pizzazz is a huge part of Wayland’s success on and off stage. He’s an incredible musician, an amazing bass player, he sings like a bird and his charm radiates far beyond his arm’s length. No matter what kind of mood we’re all in, he is always willing to put himself on the line for a great joke. Multiple radio stations have used him for stunts, whether it’s him putting on a ketchup mask (he hates ketchup) or having a 600 pound woman squash him on a bed, he’s pretty much willing to do whatever it takes make the party. He never fails at this. Never.
MAT: Touring is no easy task. Can you talk about some of the things you guys deal with that readers might not know about? Yet you continue to do it, an average of 330+ times a year. What do you love about touring?
MA: There is nothing better than watching something you have created grow. To nurture it and nourish your creation with the best of your ability. It’s the same with creating a rock n’ roll band. We love touring because we get to share the music we believe in with anyone who will listen. From the grandest of halls to the dripping underground hallways you sometimes have to play. There is nothing like playing a room one night and bringing 20 people, and then six months later coming back and selling that room out. There is nothing like watching that grow. Each time we meet new people and create new, lifelong friendships. There is no dull moment. I literally cannot remember the last time I was bored. It’s been years I promise you. You don’t always eat but you’ll never starve. You might not find the best place to sleep. Sometimes you’re on a couch, or on the floor. Sometimes one of us makes a pallet in the closet because that’s the only carpet left in the place. Sometimes we each get our own hotel room and you literally don’t know what to do with yourself. This life is not for the faint of heart. Nothing goes the way you plan it and if you’re not able to just ride the wave, you are going to crash in a coral reef.
MAT: Speaking of Dean, guitars that is, talk a bit about your relationship with Dean and Ddrum. How did that come about? And talk a bit about working with Jesse James Dupree (Jackyl, Full Throttle Saloon) and how you guys got together.
MA: Dean Guitars and D Drums have been such an amazing addition to our team. Not only do they supply us with incredibly well made musical instruments, but the support they offer on the road is second to none. Amazing people built that company, amazing people continue to run it and we feel so lucky being a part of the family. Being that Jesse James Dupree heads our up our management, through Jackyl and his son Nigel Dupree, we were put in touch with the Dean Artist Relations department and we got things sorted from there.
Jesse is the model of a blue collar working rock n’ roller. We were making a record with Jude Cole in LA and upon making the leap to the Midwest, he suggested that Jesse and Wayland would make a great team. We’ve always prided ourselves on being blue collar workers. Our parents were blue collar, we all come from blue collar, Midwestern towns and we found a very familiar bond with Jesse because our work ethic matched up. He pushes us to be a better band and to be harder workers. One of our goals was to be a band that belonged to the people. That takes the blue collar band working around the clock and keeps us working really hard. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Because of the way we work together with Jesse, we are seeing huge progress in what we are doing and realizing that the people are reaching out begging for something real. A band with a heartbeat. We’re here on this planet to bring the heartbeat back to rock n’ roll and give something the blue collar worker and raise his fist over!
MAT: If you could tour with any one huge National act, who would you choose?
MA: Personally, and I can’t speak for the other guys but if there was anyone we could tour with it would be The Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl can do no wrong in my book and playing with them every night would be incredible. I think we all would love touring with Shinedown, Halestorm, Muse, Dead Sarah, Foxy Shazzam, Sick Puppies and many more. We’re really lucky to be a part of a time in musical history where there is a lot going on in rock n’ roll. Not everyone knows this. But it’s the truth.
MAT: What do you guys find yourselves doing between gigs?
MA: When we’re not playing, we’re writing. I meditate a lot and like to work out when I have time. One of the things I say to myself when I’m taking a short break is, “I only put down my sword to sharpen the blade.” Even if I’m not working, I’m most likely going to be working on myself to be better. I love to write, I love to play music. I’ll do that whether I’m working or not. We go see movies too. And more times than not, even in our time off, we do all these things together. If we go on vacation, we usually spend some of it all together. We’re a family on and off the road.
MAT: What are you working on right now? LP? EP? Any plans for a West Coast tour?
MA: We are currently in the process of writing and recording a full length LP. I can speak for everyone in saying we are all really excited about the songs we’re laying down. It’s by far our most exciting work. When you tour this much, it comes out in your writing. Our fans are going to hear the road on this album, for sure. And we’ll be headed west after festival season. Late September….October maybe? Hahahahah but who knows what is really going to happen. Things spin on a dime, I never know which side of the coin is going to land.
MAT: Name some of your biggest influences. Any music you love that your fans might find surprising?
MA: All of our influences are very different. I started writing music because of a songwriter named Marc Cohn. Other than that I love and am inspired by Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Shinedown, Halestorm, Queens of the Stone Age, Rolling Stones, I fucking Love Journey and originally wanted to sing because of Steve Perry. Aerosmith, I fucking love Bon Jovi which you can probably hear when I sing. I think out of all those, people might be most surprised to know I listen to Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. I’ve always loved pop music and further than that, I just love great song writing. I think they both write incredible songs about real experience. A lot of people hate on Taylor Swift when I tell them. She’s been a professional song writer since she was 14 and continues to stretch herself as a songwriter. Bad mouth it all you want but when you break it down to just an acoustic guitar and a voice, both artists stand up. That’s hard to do and impressive when it’s done.
MAT: What advice do you have for that 12 year old kid jamming in his basement right now?
MA: To any young person thinking of getting into music as a profession, I say, do your homework. Finish high school with flying colors. It will teach discipline and focus. You’ll need both for a career in music. Also, getting great grades in school will give you the freedom after it’s done to tell your parents, “I’m a good student and have proven to be responsible. I’m a good kid and this is what I want to do.” Most case scenarios, parents know what is best for their kids, if they turn 18, stay out of trouble and graduate with honors there isn’t a lot a parent can say if the kid wants to go to college and study music or decides college isn’t for them. I will say this, the music business is like becoming a doctor. It’s that hard or harder. It can be humiliating and for the first few years you fall and fail and get shot down. If you haven’t gotten shot down yet, find someone that will. You’re going to need a couple ass kickings to make it through this. If you find success without an ass kicking look out. You’re in for the biggest beating when it all get strips away. Nothing incredibly special comes without a lot of work. What Wayland is doing is incredibly special and we have sacrificed our lives, friends, family, finance, and at sometimes our own well-being to do what we do. I say, do good in school, ground yourself, study all aspects of music including business and stop at nothing to get what you want. I believe this is the only way.
MAT: Say ANYTHING you want to your fans:
MA: To our fans, we are nothing without you. You jumped aboard a train going nowhere and because of your love and support, now that train is always going somewhere. A band is just a basement jam without it’s fans. We have the very best fans who support us around every turn. Thank you. We love you. We promise to keep working our asses off if you promise to do the same in your life and cut loose with us when we come through town. We are only here because of you….and we only continue because you have asked us to.
If you aren’t a fan after reading this, you should read it again. I cannot think of another example of pure American Rock touring today. Check these guys out when you can. They will not disappoint and if you’re still on the fence, the show will put you well over the edge. April 19th they will be at Bada Brew in Crest Hill, IL with Emperors and Elephants (soon to be interviewed I hope), Eye Empire, and A.D.D. They’ll play Bobby McGee’s in Chicago Ridge on April 20th, and Cheers Pub in South Bend the night after that. Like I said, these guys are busy. Check out their site and all the tour dates at waylandtheband.com