Posted: October 28, 2009
"Who would have thought that a few hundred drunk skaters in one building could be so destructive?"
Interview by Schmitty
How long has the band been together?
The band started out in 1999 but there where a lot of line up changes and not many recordings. In 2003 the Nihilist that you hear today formed and we put out Call Down the Thunder in 2005, and we've been doing it ever since.
Where are you guys from?
A creepy little yuppie-filled suburban surf town just north of San Diego called Carlsbad.
What are some highlights from the past few years?
Our favorite shows we played would have to be the random skate events. To name a few there was the Burnside benefit last March—shattered glass, broken booths, and heads up there were chandeliers hurling through the air, and don't forget to thrash with one eye open to watch for grenade-style tall cans coming your way. Then there was King of the Road in SD. Who would have thought that a few hundred drunk skaters in one building could be so destructive? Duh, Renegade Jam at the Carbondale run in the rain with Sam Hitz on sleazy management and Pete Hewitt on bongs and beers, countless bowl bashes, last minute Fourth of July at Navarette's house with a giant vert ramp in his tiny driveway, Damn Am, Hot Dogs for Hessians, Volcom tour with Bad Shit in Europe. I don't know what was better, watching a few hundred skaters destroy the Bitter Zoet in Amsterdam or watching Phelps relentlessly torment unsuspecting Euros?
Was it a bigger deal for you guys to play at home in SD at the end of King of the Road or to travel to Europe with Volcom and play at the pro contest?
Obviously Europe was fun and thrashed hard. We had Remy Stratton on manager status keeping everything stony baloney and Jake Phelps there to throw a wrench in the plan at every turn of the way. We traveled like a well-oiled machine. Jake introduced us to true suffer sleep, being zorched. The people in Amsterdam are crazy, or is it just Jake? I have to say playing at the House of Blues in our hometown for a few hundred drunk and disorderly skateboarders was radical. There was Bad Shit, who needs no introduction to your readers, there was a cracked-out stripper ridding a Harley on stage, you had some of the best skaters in the world brewing under one roof and by the time we went on the place erupted and the guard rails came crashing down. Security learned that giving beer to a few hundred skateboarders is a bad idea. Our set turned into King of the Stage when at one point during Joe’s guitar solo, some drunk idiot thought it would be fun to get on stage and do the truffle shuffle. Permission denied. Needless to say, both where ripping.
Nihilist playing during the finals in Amsterdam. Photo: Joseffer
Talk about the recording process?
We've been trying to record an album for a while now. Our friends over at DC Shoes, who are way hesh, you just thought that they all where like, "yo, dog, that's dope shit nigga, MTV and shit.” Well, down in the skate department things are hesh. They decided to help us out and let us record our album down at Danny Way’s Music Laboratory. A dirty dungeon underneath a 16-foot vert ramp full of recording goodness. We hammered out our songs in between vert sessions. It took about three weeks to get the recording done. Our engineer was a young, up-and-coming vert skater, Elliot Sloan, who worked into the late nights with us hammering out tracks of doom and blood. So we finish tracking at Danny's Lab and we took it to Skull Seven Studios. Down in the dungeons of his laboratory sat Bill Metoyer (for those of you who don't know he did Slayer’s first four albums). He turned the dials, moved the faders, and tweaked the knobs until the album was finished.
Does the new album have a message or theme?
Yeah. Life, death, metal, blood, beers, bongs, and bitches.
Who did the artwork for the cover?
Lucas Musgrave, the artist for Creature and Santa Cruz did the cover art. We gave him free range to come up with whatever he wanted, and this is what he came up with. Some topless chick getting decapitated with a straight razor by a longhaired renaissance era skeletor in order to finished painting his blood portrait.
Is Sam Hitz your manager?
Only on the full moon, or when there's free beer involved. When you need dirty deeds done dirt cheap, Sam's the man. But you do have to lurk deep into the shadows of darkness to find that fucker.
How many cover songs do you average per show?
We usually like to crank out a couple tunes from bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Motörhead, and bands of the like.
Has that number grown or decreased since your start?
We definitely play more Nihilist shit now than we used to.
New guitarist? What happened with the old one?
We started recording the last album and our old guitarist Joe Walker went missing right in the middle of recording and was suspected to have been eaten buy a pack of wild saber-toothed tigers, all that they found left was his blood saturated guitar, a bag of beef jerky, and some old navigator sunglasses. May his anthems plague the heavens, and his solos rock the devil. We needed to keep spreading the disease so we recruited the guitarist from a local band called Damcyan. He laid down some ripping and shredding solo tracks on the new album and now he's touring with us, melting the faces off of America one city at a time.
Show in Prague while on a European tour with Bad Shit. Photo: Joseffer
Do you have a good story from traveling with Bad Shit?
Not to get into all the details because we'd be here for hours, but just imagine being in Amsterdam for four days to play one show and all you have to do ‘til then is cruise around the red light district full of hookers, beers, massive joints, and mushrooms with Jake Phelps, Tony T, Trixie Con Carne, Remy Stratton, Nihilist, and a hand full of pro skaters. Words cannot describe the things we saw and heard. You'd have to try it yourself sometime when you’re there. Ripping. Fucking ripping.
Top five influences?
3. Iron Maiden