Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bone Shaker interview


Bone Shaker are a classic metal style band from Wisconsin and they formed back in 2006. They have appeared on various compilations and they recently released “Bang,… You’re Dead” on Turkey Vulture records. I recently interviewed Vocalist/Guitarist David"Gonz"Gonzalez to find out more about this band.

MM-Can you tell us a little about how and when this band formed?

Gonz-It sort of grew out of nothing. I was spending a lot of time in cover and tribute bands and had a large number of originals laying around. I decided I wanted to record some of them for personal reasons and it sort of got out of control! Myself and some friends from another band went into Triple Six Studios and before I knew it, we had recorded 14 songs over a few weeks time. This wound up being the '13 Ghosts' demo and I decided the material was good enough to be rocking the clubs with. Some of those early versions of songs wound up on a couple compilations!

MM-How do the songs on your new album “Bang,…You’re Dead” compare with the material on your “13 Ghosts” CD?

Gonz-The new songs are true to the band and what it offers. '13 Ghosts' has a lot of the same songs at a very young stage. The songs developed further once I decided to back the CD with a real band. We used the demo to shop labels and there are actually only a few hundred out there. If you have one, dispose of it immediately for fear of contamination! Ha, ha! The new material has a raw edge to the fidelity which is one of the targets we we're aiming for. I don't like over-production and fills everywhere there's space in a song. You have to let a song breath a little even if it's just a guitar chord sustaining. I also wanted it to feel as closely as possible to a live Bone Shaker show so we purposefully didn't layer too many guitars.

MM-Who have you opened for? Who would you like to open for?

Gonz-We we're lucky enough to open for Metal Church on our second show. We've opened for lots of bands and headlined ourselves. We did a gig with Lillian Axe recently and also the side stage for the Viva La Bands Tour last fall. I think it's one of the things that boosted our confidence and sort of let us know that we could go further with this band. Hearing it from seasoned national artists and industry people really helps a lot.

MM-What have been some of your most memorable shows so far?

Gonz-The unexpected ones! We had a show that we thought was going to be pretty tame and it turned out the crowd was damn near on stage with us! They were eating it up so much and getting as close as they could. We loved it. That's what it's all about. Any of the shows where first timers are singing along, that's the goal, that's the high.

MM-What should someone who comes to see Bone Shaker live expect?

GonzHonesty. What you see is what we are. We dress a little better on stage because that's what I expect of my favorite bands. I don't like casual dress on stage. Dress casual if you want to be taken casually. We also play as close to the original version as possible.
That goes back to not adding things in the studio you can't pull off live. We are looking at bringing in another guitar or maybe keys but it has to be a perfect fit. Also, as much of a set change as possible from the other bands. I want you to know Bone Shaker's on stage when you look up there. Not some nondescript act you won't remember the next day.

MM-I know you have a few local shows coming up soon. Do you have any plans for a bigger tour in the works?

Gonz-Actually we plan on many bigger tours. We've got some things in the works that could pan out in a huge way. We are joining up with some great management next month. We have a song going out with the April issue of Metal Edge Magazine. That will be a lot of exposure for the band. We hope to do Europe as soon as it's feasible. We are dying to do those metal fests over there. We also plan to do a North American tour coming up. Once the new cd picks up steam.

MM-You have only been around for two years and you have done CDs, had songs on compilations and toured. It seems like you have done a lot in a short time period. Are you surprised by how much this band has done so far or was that all part of your plan?

Gonz-We're very thankful for the opportunities that have come our way. We also take a lot of credit for it because we don’t waste time. It's just the nature of the people in the band. We are very dedicated to do more than the next guy. As long as it is possible and doesn't disrupt normal life, we'll give it a try. We take an idea and we see how we can do it better. We don't like to be the band that forever rehearses and never does a show or sells a cd. You will become super at your instrument if you practice all the time. Screw that, we want to get out and gig! The song may only be 95% ready but we're going to play it for you and see what you think so far. We are also very into networking all the time. Always trying to see who can help us in the industry. If someone tells us no, or we're not good enough, that's o.k. We just move on to the next person or idea. There are lots of people out there and the trick is to find the ones who like you and believe in your music. We don't care about the rest.

MM-What do you hope to accomplish in 2008?

Gonz-A bigger label. A new cd. A world tour would be nice. Honestly, as much as we can. We are surprised every day by what happens to this band and we know we are truly blessed. What ever happens, it's going to be by our fans doing. So, in advance, thank you fans!


MM-Obviously you are big fans of 1980’s metal. What do you think was so good about metal from that decade as compared to other decades?

Gonz-Better melody. I'm not trying to regress or anything like that. I just prefer certain moods in my songs and today's metal doesn't have it. Everyone is too wrapped up in singing about death and dismemberment today or trying to sound like the last band to have a hit song. The subject matter was lighter in the 80's. Singing about dragons or mythology takes you away and lets you escape. I don't write about those things but what I do write about for the most part doesn't exist. I want you to visualize and escape for a moment. The new screamo type metal gets old to me. There are so many doing it; I wonder where metal will go from here. The 80's also had better showmanship. Big productions and arena shows. I've been told those days are gone. Well, music goes in cycles and I believe it's coming back. I'm already noticing tours are getting bigger and the Swedish metal scene is kicking stage shows up further every year. Iron Maiden is doing a huge world tour this year.

MM-What’s the metal scene like in your area?

Gonz-Brutal. The bars prefer cover bands for the most part. The good venues don't allow covers so that helps us a lot. But you can't play the same place every week. If you don't sell merch, you can't make much. There are tons of metal bands in the Milwaukee area. We also have the Nightmare of the Chicago club scene in our backyard. The venues will just find someone to play cheaper or for free if you ask for too much up front. Shows outside our immediate area always go over better. It's a shame, we have a better time away from home.

MM-Why should someone buy your new album?

Gonz-Because it's fresh to the ears. Yes, it's heavily influenced by our favorite bands but it's what everybody else isn't doing right now. We don't tune down to D for a reason. It's an easy way to achieve heaviness but we use E Flat because it winds up sounding very different today. Fresh in an old way! It takes you back and let's you know you're not the only one who was alive before 1990.

MM-What are some of your favorite tracks off of “Bang … You’re Dead” and why?

Gonz- "Hell and Back" because of the lead break. I used to ad lib that solo live. Now I play it just like the studio version. "Judge, Jury..." I like because it goes over great live. We extend that one and get people to sing along. I like "Hell Razor's" attitude. I think it's bad-ass. And "Dr. Strange" for sure.

MM-Do you play any cover songs live, if so then what?

Gonz-Yeah, we do "In The Dark" by Billy Squire. I know that sounds weak but if you take out the keys and heavy it up, it rocks! We also do "See You In Hell" by Grim Reaper. We did "Looks That Kill" from the Crue but we may stop that now. Covers take away from original material even though they do serve a purpose.

MM-I saw that you are going to have a song on an upcoming compilation that will distributed by Metal Edge. Can you tell us more about that and how did that opportunity come about?

Gonz-They decided to let a deserving indie band be on the comp along side the big boys. Who else could it be?! Honestly, the call went out and we were chosen. We were on a compilation last Summer that went out to the Ozzfest tour dates and we were noticed off of there. The Ozzfest compilation was a small investment that may pay off in a huge way.

MM-Pick the band from the following pair that you prefer and briefly state why.


Accept or Grim Reaper

Ouch! Tough one...even though I love Grim Reaper's melodies and guitar work I have to give this one to Accept. They had some awesome dark, gloomy stuff and Udo is living proof that metal doesn't care what you look like. Short hair from the word "go".

Iron Maiden or Judas Priest

Iron Maiden, hands down. Big tours. Big albums. The best use of harmony guitars ever. Completely consistent to this day.

Ozzy or Dio

Great songs aside, Ozzy. Just because he was better at picking guitarists over the years. They both changed up often but Ozzy just knows how to pick a great guitar player. I prefer Jake E. Lee over Zakk, by the way.

Motley Crue or WASP

WASP. Anyone who knows me knows this answer. Blackie is one hell of a frontman. I hope to do a show with him sometime in our career.

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?

Gonz-We always try to put our best foot forward. Bone Shaker is what it is. Not contrived. We love our influences and when I write, it shows. I think you can say that about most bands early in their careers. If I write a song that seems too long I chop bits out. I want to have fun on stage and not have to think too much. I'd rather not be standing still because I have to nail something. Keep an eye out for us; we're coming your way!


**Thanks to David for doing the interview.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home