Originally written by Sasha Horn.
Sasha Horn: You have an alter-ego in a Thrash band called S.T.R.E.E.T.S. How goes the transition from skinny skate-thrash to the burly and bearded “stoner metal” of Bison B.C.? Do you think that it’s helped to give Bison that edge, considering that S.T.R.E.E.T.S. has about six years on Bison? I would think that the influence of the more trad-Thrash stuff would make for a secret ingredient on your newest, Quiet Earth, as I’m hearing things a bit more brash than what is typical of this sort of genre, especially in the vocal department. I really quite enjoy your delivery. It’s venomous at times, and it kind of glazes over the bite of the actual music with a fine layer of ferocity.
James Gnarwell (guitarist/vocalist): I do come from a primarily punk and thrash background, they were my initial influences. I found metal through crossover and thrash bands in the 80’s… bands like D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies, Death Angel, Sacrifice, Bad Brains… bands like these introduced me to metal, so that dynamic will forever be a part of my music… I still kind of consider Bison to be a punk band, though not many would agree. The one thing I was missing with Streets was I wanted to be a bit heavier and not as fast and chaotic… I wanted to sit on riffs a little longer and let the feel of the song really set in. The dynamics in Bison are perfect for me, the two vocal styles, types of riffs, I think we have stumbled onto a good representation of what is happening in my drunk and destroyed brain. I never set out to start a ‘metal’ band after Streets… it just so happened that the songwriting got heavier and slower, I have always loved heavy, loud nasty noisy music. And thanks for the props on my vocals, truthfully though I hate singing and hate my voice, I don”t like to be tied to a mic… thats why in my songs I keep the lyrics to a minimum, but the dynamics with Dan’s voice work over all I believe.
SH: So you guys are currently road-doggin’ it with label mates Lazarus A.D., how are you guys getting along so far? I would think that the two styles that you guys take on would make for a nice variation in line-ups. Not too much the same, but not too far removed either.
JG: Lazarus are truly a bunch of shredders man… they play some rad trad thrash that reminds me of when I was a fucking fat teenaged skater growing up in Winnipeg. I like packages that don’t feature the same style band three or four times, that’s boring to me… having different styles of bands opens up people to different types of music. I mean we can get thrashy at times, but they keep it true thrash… and Woe Of Tyrants who joined us on the American leg are rad as well. All these young shredders payin’ their dues, it’s a beautiful thing man… living in vans, scrounging for beer and sometimes food, it’s true living. In Canada we had our good bro’s Barn Burner opening the shows, they also always brought it every night, no matter how many people were there… they are true dudes.
SH: I hail from Chicago. I was hoping to make it out to the show at The Pearl Room the other night, but unfortunately, I could not. How did that show go? The crowds in the greater Chicagoland area are generally friendly and accepting. Did you find it to be this way? Was there a decent turnout?
JG: Hahaha, that show was poorly attended, the kids that were there were rad though and were feelin it. We had some good bro’s come out from Chicago for the show and our tour manager Sara b.c. is from Chicago, so the next day we had a rad GNAR-B-Q at her pad and partied till the wee hours… We have met some excellent people in Chicago, and look forward to playing there in the future. That town rocks.
SH: Awwwww, shucks. Thanks, brother. Come back soon, dudes! (Then turns to Jeff from the mighty Lazarus A.D.) “The Onslaught is the best thrash debut since Testament’s The Legacy in 1987″ (Rich Lawson, Metal Team UK). I nabbed this quote from the list of compliments on your MySpace page. That’s tall talk right there, and for a Thrash band that’s only been around for a few years during this decade in particular, I would imagine that a comment like that is next to (un)godliness. How is that on your spirit? Slightly humbling? Or a true ego-feeder….
Jeff Paulick (bassist/vocalist): Well I don’t know if I would go that far, but only simply because I wrote this music. After being on tour with Testament for 6 weeks, we came to know these guys really well and being a touring musician living on the road with other bands, you tend to throw the music aside. So as for a comparison, I personally wouldn’t ever compare the two albums, but if the fans think that, so be it. I would be lying if that was the first time I’ve heard that, and from the response we have gotten so far, the album seems to be pretty solid among the thrash community and the metal community in general. I’m very happy with the final product and even more excited to have it being promoted in the right way and getting the right tours to get to the masses. We have been very fortunate to get on some big tours right off the bat, and that has helped us tremendously in spreading the Laz. I would say it would be more of an ego feeder if it came from every fan and every higher source reviewing it, but we are just really glad everyone is receptive to it, and we can’t wait to keep moving forward with our career.
SH: Ok. So you guys are currently making the rounds with label mates and friends, Bison B.C. First of all, although I’m sure that calling this tour “Baptized In Beer” is completely justified since all of you look like you practically bathe in it nightly (that’s a high compliment by the way), I think that something like “Tagging Our Band Names With Year-Markers To Avoid Serious Legal Repercussions” would have been totally in order. But seriously, are Bison B.C. and Lazarus A.D. bonded by beer? The types of Metal that you guys play slightly differ. Some might say that Bison is more suited for belt-buckles and bong-tokes, and Lazarus more appropriate for hi-tops and denim, but it all comes down to one thing for me, a good time. And I’m having one while listening to both of your albums. Are the hair-banging masses on the same page? Or have you guys seen your fair share of discriminant assholes while on the road.
JP: I’d say its pretty well spread. The Bison dudes are totally fuckin’ awesome, always down for partying and definitely put on one hell of a show. Its always better to tour with bands that are really good live and great offstage (obviously), and this has been one of those bills. The shows have been pretty intimate, giving the fans who saw us on the big shows a little different experience, while still nabbing more heads as we destroy these venues! Especially with the big summer tours, any smaller tour is gonna take a hit, but we have been pretty fortunate so far, and really looking forward to getting back out after a short break for the rest of the year. Japan is going to be a huge milestone for us, and we just really want to keep the momentum going.
There you have it, folks. Beers, bro’s, and bangin’ hair. I wish that I could’ve made it out to the party, especially the Gnar-B-Q, but YOU can still get drunk and disorderly with the A.D. and the B.C.. This tour wraps up on August 2nd, so do it while you still have the chance to dance.