No WAIT! Now you're screwing ME up! (the ass) Greg Puciato is the singer for the DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. He does not appear on their first three EPs (one of which features vocals by Faith No More's Mike Patton), two split-singles or one full-length album, but in 2001 after the band had an amicable split with original singer Dimitri Minakakis, Greg won a big fancy MTV-style contest to become their new singer. You can currently find him screaming a couple of Black Flag songs on the Black On Black tribute CD, and on tour with the (Johnny) DEP, who presumably will issue their new CD some time in the next 8 or 9 years. Just so you'll understand a couple of things I reference in the interview, (a) Greg has huge arm muscles and (b) he made headlines in August 2002 by pooping on stage at the Reading Festival, putting it in a bag, throwing it into the crowd and comparing it to Puddle of Mudd, another band appearing at the Festival. HA!
Greg is a very nice guy - about 23 years old, I believe. We spoke on the telephone one fine September afternoon after I got home from taking my dog swimming. My questions are in bold; his answers are in clear.
Hey! How ya doin'?
I'm alright, man.
Where are ya?
I'm in Baltimore actually. I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I'm trying to run a bunch of little errands before we leave for tour.
How long is the tour gonna be?
Well, just three weeks. Not too long. It's actually kinda the perfect length `cuz you can expend all your energy and not have to worry about getting tired later in the tour. Two or three weeks is great, man. We'll have decent weather, so it should be a fun time.
Okay. Is that - I mean, I have all the records. Is that you on the Black Flag tribute?
Okay! Have you released anything else with you on it?
We just did a song for that movie - I don't know if you've heard of this movie coming out called "Underworld." It's - I don't know, some vampire movie, I don't know, but I guess we were approached to do that, so we put a song on it and that just came out a few days ago. So that's kinda cool. I haven't really had much out with me on it yet, just because this album hasn't come out.
Have you finished recording the album?
We're pretty close. It should definitely be out in the next few months. We just have a little bit - we actually just wrote two more songs and we wanna get these on the album, so we're gonna go into the studio when we get off tour in October and record those two songs, and then mix everything and try to get it out by the end of the year hopefully. If not, it will definitely come out in January. It's kinda weird, man. I just realized today that this month I will have been in the band for two years, and they still don't have an album out with me on it. So it's like whatever, dude. It'll come.
I guess people are used to you by now at least.
Yeah, it's weird. The time went by so fast, and we've played so many shows. I was such a big fan of the band before I was in it, like I already associated them with Dimitri. And I know that I would have been super-critical towards the new guy if he had been anybody else. So I'm just glad that everybody's been so accepting of me.
Did you encounter anyone who didn't like what you were doing?
I'm sure there's people that are - I've actually seen a couple kids on the Internet, it seems to be the same kid every time sends us an email or posts something on some kind of message board or something where they're just like.. It's usually the kids that don't like Patton's stuff either. It's just like there's no room for anything but screaming in Dillinger. There shouldn't be - get Dimitri back, and Mike Patton sucks, blah blah blah. Yeah, whatever. We're trying to move forward. Dimitri's an awesome dude; we actually all hang out. He's still a good friend of everybody in the band. Everything like that. Me and him actually get along really well. People just don't understand that it was a mutual thing and it was just time for both parties to move on. There's not anybody in the situation that is not happy with the way it turned out.
Was he tired of all the touring or what?
He, from the band's standpoint, I guess that he wasn't really - yeah, he didn't really want to tour. He's getting married actually in a month or two, and he's got a pretty serious graphic design job. He's super into graphic design. Things like that. And I guess when the band started, everybody was kinda like into it, into doing what it was, just playing locally and things like that. And then as it started to get bigger, they had to take on more responsibilities, and I guess it started to eat up other areas of time, and I don't think he was really into that. And he didn't really want to have to sacrifice all that time, so he kinda started showing his disdain for the whole lifestyle and the band kinda picked up on it. It was brought up and I think they both decided to let each other go. It was really weird - we actually just played Hell Fest in New York recently and Dimitri came out on stage and sang a song with us, and it was just really cool from my perspective because I was really worried at the beginning that when he saw us, he was gonna be mad. Of course it's weird to see another guy singing your songs, you know? But he was just like, "I couldn't ask for another dude to sing." Like, he was totally happy. And that really meant a lot to me considering I was a huge fan of the guy before.
So he's pretty much retired from music altogether, I guess?
He's in a band called Tokyo right now. It's kind of like a more straight-ahead hardcore band, just more like Earth Crisis-type hardcore. And they're doing just like local stuff around the northeast and whatnot, but it's not a huge time commitment, and it's more like just for fun. I don't know how serious they're trying to become with it. Maybe just release some splits and things like that on some indie labels. It's more like a hobby.
What was going on in your life before you joined? Did this interrupt something you were doing?
Actually I was pretty sad. I really wasn't happy with the direction my life had taken. Music was really all I ever wanted to do. Because I spent so much time playing music and playing with friends and things like that, I kinda didn't do as well in college as I should have. So I ended up having to drop out of college, hoping that a band was gonna work out; like if I just kept putting all my effort in getting better as a musician, it would eventually pan out, you know? But I was starting to actually become concerned that maybe that wasn't the case and maybe I should have stayed in school and not, you know, but when the Dillinger thing came up, I knew that was the opportunity I'd been waiting for, so I kinda put all my eggs in that basket. I didn't even think of what the outcome would be if I didn't get the position. I was just feeling so bad, I didn't really think of any alternatives, and I think they kinda picked up on that determination in my audition.
How long was it between when you sent in the CDR and when they called you to audition?
I sent that in in July of 2001, and I went to my first audition the second week of August, so it wasn't that long. They got back to me actually about a week after I sent it, and they had to go play a festival called Beast Fest in Japan, with a bunch of other - Slayer, Pantera, a bunch of other bands. And I guess it was Dimitri's last show. And they were just like, "We have to go do this, and then when we get back, we'll call you up and you can come audition." And they told me they were really psyched about the CD, and that was pretty incredible to hear. Because I didn't really know what to expect. To hear anything coming from them was such a compliment. So I went up there and we did five songs in my first audition, and then they were just like, "Could you go home and try to learn some more?" And then two weeks later, I went out and we ran through about ten songs, and they were just like, "You know, you have the job if you want it." So I was like, "Yeah!" I was like, "Definitely," and it was like, "Well, we have to play a show in a week, so you're playing your first show next week." I was just like, "Whoa." That was not much time at all. We practiced like twice before I played my first show, so they definitely weren't wasting any time.
Jeez! Did you have any - I mean, these songs are pretty complicated! Did you have any problem jumping in and -
Honestly, all the credit somewhat goes to a friend of mine, who's a drummer. He's actually one of the dudes I'd been playing with before I was in Dillinger. I played with this drummer guy for a few years and he was really into crazy time signatures and playing a lot of odd rhythms, things like that. Our guitar player in the band really had a pretty terrible tone; he just had a horrendous sound, and you couldn't really hear anything he was doing, so I couldn't follow the guitar at all. Any time we'd play, I'd just tune out everything but the drums because that's the only thing I could figure out what was going on, because the other guys sounded just terrible. And when I got to Dillinger, everything is so drum-oriented and so rhythm-oriented that it kinda wasn't that big of a jump. I mean, it was definitely a huge jump and even still, I mean I'm not trying to undermine how creative and talented a band they are or anything like that. I'm just saying that it was a lot easier for me coming from a band that wasn't playing easy timing before that. I mean even still today, when they write new songs, they still have to get the drummer to play them for me because I can't figure out what's going on. There's little tricks and little - like it's kinda like cracking a code. Like once Ben or Chris show me the pattern or the trick to whatever seemingly complicated pattern they're playing, it's a lot easier. But if we showed people the tricks, it would be a lot less interesting, I think.
How long does it take them to put together a song like that?
That's another reason this album is taking so long to come out. Ben is just supercritical, almost to the point of shooting himself in the foot a little bit, about throwing away parts and riffs if it's not - songs don't even get out of the gate, it's not like we're a band that has like thirty songs and we pick ten or eleven for the album. We'll spend like three or four months just getting one song to the point where he thinks it's a great song. He just doesn't want any song to be a filler song or a wasted song. He puts everything into it and it's sometimes a little bit frustrating, but a song usually has a lot more interesting things going on in one song than a lot of bands have in a whole album. Him and Chris have definitely got kind of a vision, and they don't stray far from it. In terms of the time it takes them to put out albums, I don't think they really care about trying to stay and keep your face out there all the time. They would rather be a band like Tool or Nine Inch Nails that only puts an album out every four or five years, but when it comes out, it's a masterpiece. So it's respectable, but at the same time, sometimes it's like, "Goddammit! When are we gonna write a new song?" But it always works out.
I'm thirty years old, and when I was growing up, I was listening to - instead of the music of my time, whatever the heck that was - I was listening to all the old hardcore stuff. Just the real fast 4/4 beat Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, all that stuff. And then all of a sudden I turn around at like 27 or whatever, and people are telling me about all these bands like The Locust and Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge and Coalesce and all this, and so I started buying all of `em and I love `em, but I was like, "Where did this come from?" Have you been following it since the start - is it called "metalcore" or is that just another -
I'm not really sure exactly what brought it on. I know Coalesce was one of the earliest bands. I think it honestly came up more from the `80s melting pot of people listening to bands like Slayer and Metallica and Testament and things like that on one hand, but also having the whole punk/hardcore scene growing up alongside of it. A lot of purists like to keep that stuff separate, but it's pretty inevitable as a kid if you like extreme music in one format, it's not that big of a jump. And if you're listening to both Slayer and Black Flag at the same time, or Slayer and Bad Brains at the same time, it's not that hard, I'm sure both of them got incorporated into the same style. As far as all this math metal stuff goes, as far as bands getting into that school, I have no idea where that progression came about, because I really don't imagine that kids like that were also listening to Rush and Dream Theater and stuff like that, so I don't really know exactly how all that came about.
Death metal stuff is kinda fun. It's always been hard for me to follow because there are so many different parts that are always changing, and there's always a guy in front going, "ERRRRR," but for some reason, this stuff, although I know there are elements of the death metal kind of thing in it, it just seems more real. Less laughable or something?
Than death metal?
Yeah, death metal seems like, as cool as some of it is, it gets tiresome. It seems like a joke after a while.
Yeah. Honestly man, I really am a big fan of a lot of - I think a lot of the cool death metal bands had a lot of influence on a lot of bands like us and Converge, like I was really into the Death albums. The band Death? All his albums?
Yeah, that kind of thing!
I was really into that. I thought it was a lot more interesting and that musically it had a lot more going on than things like Cannibal Corpse, which I could never really get into. And I know Ben and Chris listened to that stuff too. But I'm not really sure - I can't really figure out the death metal genre, to be honest with you. I don't really know if there is anything less laughable or more laughable about what bands like us are doing. I guess it's all perspective, because I think to the outside eye, like I have friends that listen to Dillinger and I have friends who don't listen to this kinda stuff at all, and they're just like regular dudes. And when they hear us - If I were to play them us and then play them Nile or whatever, they probably wouldn't be able to hear much of a difference, even though there are drastic differences obviously. I think when most people hear screaming, grunting, growling, whatever, it all just seems to them like noisy music and they're just "Ew." I think from the outside eye, it probably all seems pretty ridiculous.
I don't know what it is. I can't really put my finger on why it is that I keep going back to your records and Coalesce's records, and I don't - I have all the Death CDs, but I hardly ever listen to them. And I don't really know why that is. Maybe it's just -
Like you don't feel ridiculous still listening to this stuff, but you'd feel kinda ridiculous putting in Cannibal Corpse.
Yeah, maybe that's it.
I don't understand. I don't know if there's anything more challenging about it or not. Who knows, dude?
There seems to be more irony in it.
Yeah, perhaps it doesn't take itself so seriously. I think honestly man, there's elements of both that are pretty ridiculous. When you get too wrapped up - death metal people tend to be really wrapped up in death metal. There's very few people that I know that listen to a lot of death metal that don't listen to - that listen to nothing but death metal. Like I know a couple of dudes who just every time I see them are like, "Have you heard, you know, the new Vomit Fuck or whatever?"
It's like, "Dude, I don't know who you're talking about!" But if I even bring up another type of music, it's like, "Ahh, that's, you know - I don't listen to that stuff." Like, "Whoa!" And people in our scene tend to be a little bit more open-minded and listen to other things.
Stuff with more of a melody or a guy singing?
Yeah yeah! Because I don't think there's anything wrong with having a melody. A lot of people who listen to death metal, not to bash `em or anything, but even a lot of people in hardcore which is kinda sad to see, but people that are like, as soon as they hear a melody or something, they're just like, "Uhh, they're trying to sell out!" We got some of that on the Patton thing, when there were a couple of parts where he actually did something besides scream, a couple of kids were like, "Uhh, they're selling out!" It's like, come on man, you're trying to tell me that you could honestly still hear this on radio? Whatever. That guy - it kills me to listen to kids bash Patton. That guy's done more for music probably than any of us will ever do.
Kids bash him? I usually just hear people calling him a genius all the time.
Calling him a genius?
Yeah, we definitely get a lot of that, man. There's a lot of kids come to shows - when that album first came out, there were a lot of kids coming to shows, just like asking where Mike Patton was. "He's not here, dude! He's got like eight other bands that he's actually in!" Like we'll be sleeping in a van or an RV or something, and they'll be like, "Is Mike Patton here?" We're like, "Oh yeah! We've got him stuffed in the back of the RV. He's gonna hop out and do two songs every night!"
But yeah, the kids are - like that guy's got a whole other thing going on in terms of following and devotion, things like that. People love that dude.
Where did his - I don't guess it matters. I guess it's a question for an interview with somebody else. I'm just curious where did - was it from Faith No More that he got so popular? Or Mr. Bungle? Or just the fact that he's done so many different things?
Honestly, I don't think any of the stuff he's done now would be possible if it wasn't for Faith No More, even though he likes to try to play down his involvement with that band as being a silly thing from the past, but -
No one would have ever heard of him had he not been in that band.
Yeah, he would never have, like Mr. Bungle I guess signed with Warner Bros., and that's just ridiculous. They would have never been signed by a major label if not for -
And I guess, from what he's told us, Mr. Bungle was signed to Warner Bros. without them ever hearing it. That as soon as "Epic" took off, they were just like, "You have another band? What?" and signed them, thinking it was gonna be another smash Faith No Morey-type band, and they were probably like, "You can't put this out." But they were stuck with it. I guess the joke was kind of on them, but I think his legacy now is much bigger than Faith No More for sure, but I don't think any of it would have been possible without that. It's weird, man. It's weird how many people still know that dude that aren't even aware of - because of all this nu metal shit that's been going on for the last couple of years, man, some people have just gotten serious Patton interest. He could put anything, man, and people are just like totally interested. It's like such a great freedom to have. That was one of the main reasons we wanted to work with him - was to kinda like associate ourselves with somebody who you never really know what they're gonna do next, so that maybe we could have a little of the same freedom. Maybe if kids see us working with him, they'll think of us as a band where we don't need to stay in the constraints of making a million albums that all sound like "Calculating Infinity."
Yeah. Yeah, I hadn't thought of that! That is actually a good strategy, way of introducing, through somebody who's already respected, a way of introducing the fact that you want to do different types of things.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
Does the new stuff you're recording sound - I mean, how would you describe the sound of it?
There's definitely five or six songs - I think there's gonna be eleven or twelve on the album, and five or six of them are definitely normal Dillinger style like "Calculating Infinity" taken more to the extreme, taken way over the top in terms of intensity and things like that, but a lot of the other stuff - we don't really listen to this type of music because we play it, so it'd be kinda hard to sit around listening to the same type of stuff. Everybody's into a lot of different stuff, and one of the bands we're really into - Chris, our drummer is really into Nine Inch Nails - tons of stuff, like Massive Attack, electronica, stuff like Aphex Twin, so there's a couple of songs that definitely reflect that, and have more of an actual song structure-type vibe, but there's a lot more of an electronica influence in some of the songs. I'd say six are typical Dillinger, what you would probably expect the progression to be, and a few of them are more in a direction like that, bringing in a lot more melody and things like that. We just don't want to lose our edge. We don't want to bring in melody at the expense of intensity. I don't really think we ever think like, "Okay, there needs to be a big singing part here." It just kinda comes out.
What does your - I know it's kinda hard to describe your own approach -
This is a horrible question. Ha!
You're gonna ask me what I bring to the band or something like that?
What you what?
What I bring to the band?
No no no. I know it's hard to describe your approach, but all I've heard is the Black Flag thing where you just scream.
Yeah, that was actually a few months after I came into the band. I guess it was kind of an ironic release to be on, since the uhh -
The whole Henry Rollins -
Yeah! Kind of a mirror situation from my perspective.
Yeah, you come in with all the muscles, people call you a jock..
Ha ha! Ah dude, I can't even believe it! That's so fucked up, man. That was actually my main thing that pissed me off when I joined the band, because I'm totally not that type of person. I didn't even go to a school where those cliques existed. My school was so small and run-down, we only had like thirty people in our senior class. There was no room for those types of cliques. We didn't have jocks and geeks and - it was all just people. We didn't get along or not get along; it was just like, "Here we are. If many more of us are gone, we're not even gonna have a class." We didn't have that kind of clique stuff, and I'd never really been - none of my friends that know me have ever associated me with that type of behavior or that type of personality. I just like to work out because it's something to do. It's something I started doing when I was younger, and I just kept going with it a little bit. And it kinda kept me out of a lot of trouble - I mean, I don't really drink or do drugs or anything like that. So it's like what else do you do? I didn't really have a whole lot of hobbies outside of music, so it's one thing that I could go do by myself and I didn't really need anybody else to do it with. So when I joined Dillinger and I heard a couple of comments like, "Awww, their new singer is a jock" or "Awww, their new singer is like a meathead or something," I was just really taken aback by it. I just don't understand peoples' mentalities. What, do they think that if I was like 90 pounds and vegetarian, then I would be a more valid musician? My position would be more valid? I don't know. Whatever. It's just kind of weird to hear some of those reactions. I don't know if all those concerns have been extinguished or not, but I hope so. And if not, those people can fuckin' -
I guess you just have to kinda understand that a lot of those kids who are into this kind of music were probably laughed at or picked on by the bigger, more muscular guys at their schools. And they have no idea about your background, so they kinda just base it on stereotype.
Right. It's easy to understand, man. I understand it. It's just funny how things go in cycles, man, `cuz like ten years ago, hardcore was filled with big giant dudes.
That's true! Yeah.
And now hardcore is filled with like 90-pound kids in women's pants. It's hilarious to me. Either way, man, I'm not really concerned. If people saw me, I'm not really that big of a dude. I don't know whether or not pictures make me look bigger, but I'm a pretty small dude in real life, so whatever.
In the pictures, your arms always look really big. That's the thing.
Yeah, I think that's definitely, I mean, I'm not a big dude, but out of the rest of me, they seem to have, for some reason, taken a little - well, they feel a little of place, but I'm not a big dude. I'm fifteen pounds heavier than Ben, and Ben is a fuckin' little itty-bitty Jewish guy.
When you're on tour, do you have to skip all that? Do you have time to exercise?
It's funny. Since I joined the band, everybody else in the band has become equally concerned with it. Ben's started to feel a lot of aches and pains from touring so much and fooling around with the bass. He was like, "Man, I gotta get into some workout routine." And Chris is the same way. Everybody is. It's so funny. But going on tour, we really can't. We really don't have time, and honestly our shows are so physical that I really wouldn't want to exert any other kind of energy except touring. Most of our day on tour is spent walking at a snail's pace trying to find food, feeling like you really have no idea how you're gonna be able to play another show tonight, because you feel so beat up from the night before. So I really don't want to come close to any other kind of workout.
I actually just about a month or two ago read Henry Rollins' "Get In The Van" book -
Yeah! I just actually read that not long ago too. That's funny!
Yeah, I was uhh. I mean, I know that was a completely different scene and he's a completely different guy, but just because we've already made the comparison, do you feel like this experience of being in this band and touring and everything has changed you at all? The way it seemed to really change him?
I think it brought out a lot of aspects to my personality that maybe are more true to who I really am but maybe had been suppressed because of having to live in a normal environment before. Whereas being around the dudes who - like, I was at a job, I worked a job that was really morally like - I just wasn't into it. I actually worked for the state government before I was in Dillinger for a couple of years just trying to make ends meet. During the day, I worked for the state government. It was a horrible office job where I sat inside dying all day long. I wasn't interested in what I was doing at all, and it was definitely killing any spark of personality that I'd had before that, and I kinda would get bummed out. And when I met Dillinger, I think that being around people who also didn't give a shit about anything but music just made me more comfortable with being completely who I am and not giving a fuck about fitting into all the aspects of the world, I guess. Of everyday life. So, I mean I guess so, but I don't think it's really made me like - I mean, his transformation was pretty extreme. He came out of that a totally different person. I guess everybody comes out of any experience you have, no matter how small, a different person, but I wouldn't say it's as drastic as his transformation was.
Oh, okay. Are you having to deal with any issues that you weren't expecting? Anything like band fighting or club managers ripping you guys off or -
Our label situation is - I didn't really know that Dillinger was having any problems with Relapse, I guess.
Oh, they are?
We're having a little - it's not, I don't know. It's a problem. I'm not gonna beat around it, like whatever. But by the time the CD comes out, it will probably not matter. I don't know how much I can really say about it.
Okay. Are they just mad because it's taking so long?
They're mad because - actually, they kind of are a little bit shady in some of their dealings. I don't wanna say bad shit about our label - I don't wanna be in that position, but we were unhappy with a lot of ways they were dealing with stuff and a lot of ways they were treating us as not a priority in some respects. Which is really weird. We got offered this System of a Down tour in Europe about a year and a half ago. A lot of times when you go on a big tour, they ask for ??? from the little bands, where you pay shitloads of money to go on tour. But System of a Down didn't ask for any of that. They were just like, "We like you guys a lot. We really want you to come. We're not gonna ask you to pay any money or anything."
Yeah! It was a really amazing chance for us, because we don't have a lot of money and Relapse certainly doesn't have a major label budget by any means. We just asked for tour support so we could get our plane tickets and transportation so we could do what was gonna be, what ended up being the biggest selling rock tour in Europe that year. So we were like, "We really have to get on -" I had no idea they were that big, but we went over there and System Of A Down is fuckin' huge. But regardless, Relapse bitched about it, and we had to twist their arm to just get some funding to get us on the tour. It took a lot of haggling just to get basic tour support out of them, and it's the same in a lot of other ways, man. They're just like very, very, very tight with their money in terms of tour support or any kind of funding for anything we do, and we've ended up having to buy all our plane tickets for all our European tours ourselves - put them on credit cards, things like that. Which is kinda fucked up considering that this band has definitely sold more albums than any other band on Relapse, not that the other bands aren't great bands. It's just that, from a financial standpoint, it's kind of annoying that they don't really seem to view us as a financial priority, putting just a little bit of money into us in hopes of getting a little bit back. They just really don't want any part of it. So now we put out that Patton thing on Epitaph, and they were great. I mean, great! It was like a whole different world. They put a lot more into us. They put more into us in the six months following the Patton thing than I guess Relapse has put into us in the four years following "Calculating Infinity." And it paid off. We got a lot more exposure, a lot better distribution, and every time we went to a club, there would be tons of posters up and tons of promotion that had been done, and lots of legwork. They were really just on top of their game with that kind of stuff, and more willing to give us tour support, and then we ended up selling a lot more copies and getting the name out a lot more in just a few months. A lot of that had to do with Mike Patton's involvement too, but just from a label standpoint, they were just a million times better to work with. And we were just like, "Man, this really sucks that it had to be a one-time deal."
How the heck did that end up on Epitaph? Rather than Ipecac or -
It's kind of a - I guess Brett Gurewitz, the president of Epitaph, Bad Religion dude, came to one of our shows without really knowing who we were; he'd just kinda heard a buzz about us. He came to a show of ours in L.A. and said, "Man, I really wanna sign you guys, I really wanna to sign you guys." And we were just like, "Oh, well we're already signed." And he went, "Aw shit, that sucks!" So that kind of ended, and then when the Dimitri thing happened - well, let me go back. When they split with Dimitri, they had four or five songs lying around that they wanted to put on the next album, but they didn't want to wait forever to release them. So they contacted Mike Patton about putting them out instrumentally on Ipecac. And he just wrote back, "If you need anybody to sing on them, I'm here." So they were just like, "Okay, definitely!" Because that's the opportunity of a lifetime. So while they were working on that, I joined the band and then we went on tour and then Brett saw us and the situation I already described occurred. And he was like, "Man, I'd really like to put something with you guys out. Like anything. If I can't sign you, I'd like to put anything out." And we were just like, "Hey, we've got this thing we're doing with Mike Patton." And Mike Patton wasn't too thrilled with the idea of putting it out on Relapse; he wanted to put it out on Ipecac. And we really weren't too thrilled about putting it out on Ipecac, just because it would kind of be a slap in the face to Relapse to put it out on a label that was of comparable size. So the only way to rectify the situation was to find a label that had nothing to do with either party. Like we don't have any ties to Epitaph, Patton didn't have any ties to Epitaph, so we just got back in touch with Brett and said, "Hey, if you still wanna work with us - if you wanna put this out, we can only give you one EP. We really can't sign a record contract." He was definitely into it, man. That guy - it's weird, because that label is just considered a pop-punk label to most people - you know, Offspring, Pennywise, Dropkick Murphys, all these type bands. But on the same hand, recently they signed Tom Waits and -
And the Locust!
And the Locust! Yeah, totally! True. That's why it might not be a bad home for us. After we found out how great they handled the Patton thing, we found that we were really interested in continuing to work with them. So now Epitaph and Relapse are trying to negotiate something where they can make the next two albums joint releases so both parties benefit from it, but we get the added benefit of Epitaph's extra push. Hopefully it'll work out, but it's been going on forever. We have this album almost ready to go and we don't even know what label it's gonna be on or the exact, you know - the contract hasn't even been finalized yet. So we're just sitting around hoping that when we get done -
It won't be another two years.
Exactly. Well, we won't wait. We've already said that if we get done and a month or two goes by and we don't have this shit worked out, then we're just gonna screw both of them and leak it on the Internet. Start burning copies of it ourselves and selling them at shows. Whatever. I'd rather get it out so people can get it some way, even if we just sell it on the web site and it gets all over through file-sharing and things like that. I'd much rather get them access to it and have the music still be relevant than wait another year to put it out and have it -
Oh yeah, that's a good point. In your opinion, how is your approach different from Dimitri's?
It's hard for me to say, just because I don't really know how he went about writing or whether he wanted to do other things. But I think that maybe there's a little more of the melodic influence. Not that it's gonna be standard sing-scream-sing-scream metalcore- type stuff. I was way more into Bad Brains-type hardcore, Fugazi-type hardcore than I was into just straight-out Vision of Disorder screamy type stuff. So I don't know if that's gonna come more into play. There's definitely more melody, but I don't know if that's entirely my doing. It's something that the band has been consciously kinda going towards anyway. At the same time, I don't want to have a one-dimensional approach vocally. If the music is gonna be varied, why not make the vocals equally diverse. It's difficult for me to come after Mike Patton and try to fill - I mean, he did so much on that EP, it's really a challenge to step up to the plate and not look like an amateur coming after him.
Do you perform any of those songs live?
Yeah, we've done pretty much all of them and we're gonna continue to do them.
Do you do all that crazy stuff he does?
Yeah, they're pretty much done faithfully. Growing up, I was always a huge fan of his. If there's anybody that I tried to mimic when I was a kid, it was him. I probably wouldn't have even started singing if it wasn't for him. He and H.R. from Bad Brains were my two big influences when I first started it when I was really young. Not only is it an awesome honor and everything to have to come after him, but it's also not as difficult as you would think just because I was already so influenced by him to begin with. It's kinda like, "Alright, whatever." It works out. We actually were playing those songs live before that EP came out, some of those songs.
Are you writing lyrics?
Yeah, everything is written. All the vocals for the songs are written. Pretty much all the songs are completely written; we just need to finish recording them. Our recording time is kinda all over the place because Steve Evetts, the guy who produces our stuff, is so busy, we can only get a block of time here and a block of time there. A lot of bands go in and record their album all at once, and ours has just been kinda like - it doesn't even feel like we're recording an album. It's like, "Okay, we've got the drum tracks for these songs done!" and then the next week, it's like, "Alright, we've got a couple more done!" Whenever we can get money and time to do it.
Are you writing about. stuff? I mean, are there themes in the writing?
It's not all personal. There's definitely some political stuff and some personal stuff. It doesn't really have an overall theme; it's not like a concept album by any stretch of the imagination. I don't know. You'll just have to judge it for yourself when it comes out.
Also, I have to ask you this, even though it was a long time ago -
I know exactly what's coming -
How did Puddle of Mudd react?
Ha ha ha!!! I knew it was coming!
Yeah, of course! But how did they - did they approach you about it or -
Well, it's funny, man. That guy - the whole thing was actually because that guy had been walking around - We played Leeds Festival a few days before Reading, and then we played another festival - we played Leeds, then we played some festival in Ireland and then we played Reading. And Puddle of Mudd played all three, so we'd already played with them the two days before Reading. And that guy - I don't know what his name is, the singer from Puddle of Mudd - was walking around just like, "Hey, I'm the dude from Puddle of Mudd! Hey, I'm the dude from Puddle of Mudd!," just really stuck on his own stardom, I guess. First of all, not many other bands in the world, in my opinion, are as appalling as Puddle of Mudd. Seriously, that band is pretty wretched. The story behind that band is even more disgusting. That band got signed to Fred Durst's label and it was a band of dudes who were all friends - like a real band. And then Fred Durst was like, "Alright, here's the deal. I'll sign you if you fire everybody in your band and hire all my friends to play." So all the dudes in that band except the singer guy are just Fred Durst's cronies that he wanted to get into bands so they could be famous.
Yeah! It's kind of a disgusting situation. Needless to say, their music's terrible. And then we get to the Reading Festival and everybody there is pretty cool. Like the guys from Incubus were super-nice and a couple other bands were really nice to us. But that guy was wandering around like, "Hey, I'm in Puddle of Mudd! Hey, I'm the guy from Puddle of Mudd!" Every time I turned around, that guy would be there, like "Hey! Don't you know who I am?" He was killing me with this shit. So it was just like alright, that's enough. Someone's gotta take this guy out. I don't know what really came over me to do that. I think it was a combination of that - being disgusted with that band and that guy, I guess, just the way, the whole situation with that band and - ugh. I mean, there were other bands that played that day that I was not a fan of, but something just about Puddle of Mudd I think rubbed everybody the wrong way. Like "This guy needs to be taken out."
Did you have to encounter him at all afterwards?
Actually, yeah! After we played, later on in the set, later on in the day, we were watching Incubus because we're all - we all actually like that band. I know a lot of people tag them as nu-metal, but we think that band might actually have something more to offer. We all kinda dig that band. So we were standing onstage watching Incubus, and you know how you can feel someone standing behind you?
I could just tell there was somebody behind me, and I turned around and it's the shitbag from Puddle of Mudd. And he just looks at me and gives me the metal horns!? And makes like a metal face. He gives me the metal horns and gives me a metal face. "Uhh. alright, dude! Whatever! I don't know if you heard what I said or.." But the whole day was basically him trying to walk up to people and be buddy-buddy with them. It was just - ugh!
Wow. Sounds like a winner. Alright.
Whatever. I didn't really realize that that was gonna become so big of a charade or whatever.
Well it's funny!
What was more funny is that the people in the crowd were totally - it was like 12:30 in the afternoon and we were the first band to play. Like people were coming out of their tents and stuff, totally asleep. And I didn't even realize that there was a giant Trinitron on each side of the stage. There were these huge baseball stadium Trinitrons. And after we played, every band got a videocassette of their performance. And the videocassette - all it is is exactly what people saw on the Trinitron. So during that part, there's this giant close-up of my actual asshole!
Like quivering! There's like the inside coming out and shit's falling out - we couldn't even watch it, it was like shit-porn! When we realized that like 60,000 people had saw my asshole on a giant, just HUGE screen, it was just too much. It was funny, dude. Just knowing that people were - I mean afterwards, we got email from people saying they wanted us to send them money for the price they paid for their Reading tickets because they were so disgusted by that, they couldn't eat for the rest of the day and they couldn't even enjoy the rest of the bands. We got emails from women who said they went home because they were sick after that. I was just like, "Whatever, man." People need to lighten up! You can go on the Internet any time you want and see people shitting on other people and throwing it at other people.
But it's just funny, man. It's just funny that like Guns `n' Roses played that day and all these other huge bands, but all people were talking about after the Festival was some guy from some unknown band taking a shit. It was very funny. But it's following me like a plague.
Alright, I guess I've taken enough of your time.
That's cool, man. You actually asked some pretty good questions. So many people ask just terrible, horrible questions I can't answer.
"So, how did the band form?" "Like..uhh. I don't really know." I feel ridiculous answering those questions. "How did you guys decide on your name?" "Didn't you even read about." There's just so many people who call and don't really know anything about the band, and I have to try to explain to them that I can't really answer any questions like - I can answer them, but it's not really valid. If anybody that's interested in us is reading about it, they know I wasn't around!
But cool, man. Cool.
You guys are playing here in just a week or two, I think.
In New York?
Where are we playing? Do you know?
Is it Irving Plaza?
I think so.
Okay. It'll be a fun tour, man. We're all pretty excited for this tour. We haven't been out in a while, and the U.S. is always fun. And Poison The Well is a pretty big band, so it should be a good tour. Those guys are nice people, and it's always nice to play with people you really like as people, you know?
Yeah. That was another one where I'd heard, you know I was buying all these quote-metalcore CDs and someone said that I'd probably like Poison The Well. I liked the music, but for some reason, I had trouble with that guy's voice. I don't know what it was. I couldn't get into it. But it's more important that they're nice people, obviously.
Yeah, I'm not really 100% into that band musically, but I respect what they're doing, and I definitely feel that they're one of the bands that are gonna be a giant ambassador for this scene. I definitely think that band's gonna be pretty big. They've got a lot of push behind them right now. Kids seem to have really really taken to them.
Aren't they on a major?
Yeah, they actually just went to Atlantic.
They were on the Warped tour and my girlfriend said she saw their video on MTV2 the other night.
Wow! Could be the time.
They're a valid band. They're not some band that's like - nothing's sicker than major labels trying to cash in all this stuff by trying to put out bands that kinda sound like hardcore bands. This band was actually around for a while beforehand and they deserve it, man. So I hope that they get, you know - they're opening for the Deftones on the Deftones' U.S. tour, and that'll be a big deal for them. I hope that they're successful.
Well supposedly the one that just came out is really good. I haven't heard it though.
Yeah, I actually haven't heard it either.
I've only heard "Tear From The Red" or whatever.
But it'll be fun, man. `Cuz we haven't done a tour where we didn't headline for so long. It'll be fun because we're not gonna have to play a full thirteen songs every night. We're only gonna play like nine. It'll be fun to get onstage, play and get off. You gonna come out, man?
Yeah, I'll be there.
Awesome, man! Definitely come up and say hey, and we can go out and get some food or something.
Okay! It's a big place though. It's hard to - I don't know where the heck I would find you, but I guess I could try.
I don't know. We'll probably be outside in our little vehicle trying to find food. We don't really hang out inside too much.
There's a bunch of bands playing too, I think.
Yeah, that's the thing. There's a lot of bands, and I'm sure there will be tons of people hanging around backstage. It's kinda like, not really - we're not really party people. None of us really do anything. We kinda just sit around and. be quiet.
We aren't big partiers or anything like that, so it's kinda hard to be in an environment where people are just like smoking tons of weed and drinking all kinds of alcohol. We don't really know how to interact sometimes in that situation. So we just tend to sit in our van playing PlayStation.
Well, the way to interact is to just walk around going "Hey, I'm the guy from Dillinger Escape Plan! Hey, I'm that guy!"
Ha ha ha! Taking pointers from Puddle of Mudd, alright.
Puddle of Shitt, yeah.
Yeah, what a classic band. That band and Disturbed are two bands that just fuckin' rub me the wrong way.
Yeah. So alright! Thank you very much. It was good talking to you!
I'll fuckin' see you in New York hopefully.
Yeah, sounds good!
Alright man, take it easy!
You too. Bye!
Anyway, I have to say the DEP is definitely one of the greatest sounds I've heard come out of my speakers in a long long long time.in a galaxy far away.it would seem.
I think Greg puts up, makes people shut up...and even tho Dimitri was rad, this dude doesn't miss a beat guys. I suggest anyone reading this who never heard their music, to get off yer asses!! I liked the stories Greg told here also, just about the puddle of mudd guy, oh man, great stuff. I really don't know how he held back enough as not to tear that guys head off, shit in it, smash it back onto his shoulders..or maybe he left that part out? This was written awhile ago, the article, but today, they are playing a national tour, and Miss Machine is out in stores, its incredible, and u must go check it out!! Piece,luv.
DEP @ the showbox in seattle 10/15/04
Anyone in the area show up.
-Nix Nihil, Hidden Agenda (pending name change due to the bullshit pop-punk band who coincidentally have the same name as us)
Back to the Prindle page, also known as ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN! And you KNOW I've got a hell of a band - band - BAND!!!