After many years of admiring rock journalism, Jeff Alexander decided it was time to make a positive impact with his written word. He first cut his teeth in the national pages with Hit List magazine, exposing the debates that raged across the music world with Napster‘s arrival. Once Hit List folded, Alexander joined the ranks of American Music Press in 2002 where he composed his most ambitious article to date back in 2010. In recognition of his dedication to journalism, Alexander was recently interviewed live on the “Screaming Woman Radio Show,” hosted by Toni Quest. Alexander now works with BigTakeover.com and is pleased to join the ranks of such a respected publication.
“I’ve never been the type of person to say anything in life was easy, even Anthrax. My father had abandoned my family, for whatever reasons, when I was 10. Music was my outlet and it saved me. I knew music was something I HAD to do! I got tunnel vision very early and focused on nothing but that goal. Joining Anthrax felt like I had even more purpose and my family were supportive though I was really going thru a lot.”
“Jazz offered me a whole new world and it was very exciting! I enjoyed the new challenges of improv. Why should I limit myself? It was certainly difficult at first and at times, felt like starting all over! I had technique, I could sweep pick, play fast but a lot of my other techniques I relied on didn’t transfer. The dynamics are totally different. The chords don’t transfer and the natural feel is a different level,” stated Skolnick.
“Tomahawk has always been this special place where we can play hard, heavy music and mix in expressionism with a vocalist who can do anything. Tonic Immobility is a statement we’re still around and still doing it. You can take life at your own pace. Sometimes, you just have to wait until the time is right.”
“From the moment we’re born into this world we have a natural, rhythmic beat; Our heart. The pulsing rhythm is just like drums,” affirmed Horn.
“It will be great to get back out but I am sure once on the road, I’ll laugh and say ‘Oh God, why am I doing this all over again?’ We always worked to play all-ages shows, why preach to the converted? We’re like a sick rock & roll cult that wants to recruit a new congregation,” laughed Hopeless.
“In the face of futures postponed or cancelled, the underbelly of civilization shows itself in increased violence and racism while caution, politeness and caring are disregarded without a thought by those who feel freed to do so by the examples set by their leaders.”
“It all began in a very grassroots way. This was their Metal, for the new fans. Not hokey rock and roll and it was the real thing. We worked to give these bands to the people that wanted more and were willing to support it,” reflected Zazula.
“I proud to say that I think we came back strong. I know it’s been awhile since the last record in 2013. I’m happy our fans our loyal because we never relied on radio, we relied on touring and with what has been happening it has been difficult. We’ve played together for so long; I have learned not to argue over childish stuff and just enjoy each other.”
“I don’t feel any burnout or pressure, more like being thankful that I’m still able to do this. Everyone gets along so well playing with Michael Monroe and we all realize that nothing is more important than the music. This is our livelihood and for me, it’s my only job so I make sure to do it at the highest level, no matter which group I am in,” stated Jones.
“It’s high praise that people struggle to define us. I don’t want to be a Goth rock band or an exclusively Metal band. The longer I can hold people off from genre defining statements the better,” laughed Franco.
“We’re not naïve in believing we’re the ultimate solution but this campaign is to make people understand that shootings and violence should not be an accepted, normal part of growing up,” stated Hegel.
“I’m proud of what we do and how this record turned out. There’s no mystery to what we do and we approach music not with some master plan or ultimate goal, except to take these songs and perform them the best we can. We always hope for some kind of response from people because even though songwriting is very personal to me, I’m still communicating with people.”
“How many people our age can just get out there and become relevant to a new generation? We don’t have any illusions of record deals and we’re thankful just to wake up every day and play rock & roll. How many people can be fortunate enough to say that?” said Molinare
“I was moved by the actual words of the Statue of Liberty and was especially drawn to the message of inclusion. Our parents and grandparents came to this country from rougher lives and to start creating something new. People have the basic human right to work and create a better life for themselves and loved ones,” stated Lashley in his hallmark Boston accent.
“Guthrie said anything more than two chords and you’re just showing off. That’s a great sentiment because sometimes keeping things simple is the hardest thing to do,” exclaimed Engine.
“I really am grateful for everything. As for the planned tour, I feel that if you’re touring you should be supporting a new record. Kerry and I will continue writing and we’re looking at recording next year. Kerry was the original catalyst for the band and he got my son and I into music. I forever love him like a brother for that,” concluded Bartsch.
“I’ve never been the guy to say the newest record is the best. With Digital Garbage, I’m very happy with it because there has been some new dynamics. Dan (Peters) wrote a track and Guy(Maddison) added some synth. I know there might be a political statement or two in Mark’s lyrics but I don’t consider us a political band,” said Turner.
“I was always raised to fight for my beliefs. My family goes back generations as being involved in unions and I’m still appalled at the ongoing disrespect toward the American worker,” he stated.
“Our sound wasn’t planned or contrived in any way, we just play like we do because it’s all we know. With this lineup I feel this is the one; in it for life because this is really all we do,” stated Lawrence.
“People always ask how my new music will sound and I tell them, it’s me and will always have the power, passion, and energy. It’s a magical time and it fills me with joy to be able to do this every day,” exclaimed Pesch.
“Rap and hip-hop always had a lot to say and back then social climates dictated what artists wrote. It did have a backing large enough at that point to call out injustices that were covered up by Disco, which focused more on partying. There was a climate of people suffering and I think artists made a supreme effort at that time to be different than stereotypes,” stated Chuck.
‘I talk about authenticity a lot and I don’t want to feel the more I mention it the less impacting it gets. There are many versions of someone’s persona when they’re part of the music or art world in general. I know onstage I feel I can settle into a character by using dry humor but I feel a lot of my songs rely on vocal melodies and that is what I don’t hide from,” stated Loveless.
“When you take the time to look around you see the diverse ways people communicate within different cultures. With music, I understood that it didn’t have to have the end goal of being turned into something tangible, like a record but instead be utilized through musical storytelling to preserve a community’s tradition and values.”
“I like to think our music always has darkness but with small rays of hope. The world is a dark place but we do have positive messages without making light of it. If our music makes someone feel less alone then I know what I’m doing is still worth it,” affirmed Vernon.
“I remember how poor we were at certain times. My dad worked hard and he always made sure we had two things, books and music. I grew up listening to anything I could get my hands on, from Cole Porter to African rhythm records. I didn’t care what it was, as long as it sparked something in me.”
“I always felt rock & roll should be raw and dangerous. Playing live is an exorcism and really just a celebration of life; Owning pain, joy and emotion,” affirmed Lewis.
“I’m never complacent. I always just try to get better and improve my work, which keeps me hungry and striving for greatness endlessly,” he concluded.
“I still love everything about it. I guess quitting for awhile helped me get even more excited about music.I consider myself very lucky to be able to still write and I feel very free and more creative now than I have ever been. I’m going to ride it as long as I can,” laughed Secich.
“I really don’t feel our rise to fame was that quick. First off, we were still touring in vans and I knew nothing when I went to record. I really have to give props to our producer, Keith Forsey. He taught me so much about music and sound and has been a huge influence on my growth as a musician,” complimented Stevens.
“Personally, I’m all for the music aspect. I love blending different styles. We’re about music and inspiration and hopefully inspiring others to start creating.”
“Never give up in what you believe in. I just remain true to myself. The newer fans now have a female guitarist they can look to for guidance and leadership. I stand still and the world revolves around me,” stated Ford.
“I was first inspired by Courtney Love. I know she’s not the best person but it wasn’t until I heard Pantera that I knew I wanted to try and make a career from music. I knew I wanted to do something to help people and inspire them and I do feel responsible to be positive,” she reflected.
“The time off has really worked to our advantage. We pursued a lot of other projects since then and we have gained all these new perspectives. I feel we’re all much more accountable now and this record, to me, has us taking control of every aspect,” said Bottum.
“I understand that our music is heavy and something a lot of people won’t get or even dance to but we work to create a special energy. I’m not into stages. I don’t think anyone should feel they’re elevated and above any one else. A lot of the Bay Area venues we play have been closing but we network to play venues where we feel we can connect better with people,” she said.
“Going solo is absolutely more challenging. It’s naked, harrowing, terrifying. I have a binder in front of me to help me remember words. With the ‘Utters and maybe rock in general, you have this safety net of volume or speed. If I make a mistake it’s not as glaringly obvious but with these songs, it’s painfully obvious,” he sighed.
“Today, our country puts away roughly 2.3 million people. California spends about $47,000 a year per person to lockup inmates. This is a deep, complex problem and the issues surrounding all of this could make it the biggest disaster in U.S. social policy history. I think it’s an embarrassment,” stated Kramer.
“Hearing early rock n’ roll made me wanna bash stuff and make a racket! When I was 4 years old they discovered me in the kitchen with all the pots and pans upside down on the floor. I was bashing on them with a spoon along to the music coming out of the radio. When I was 11 I got a guitar, picked it up and wrote a song on it, on one string! I’m still cranking on that string and bashing stuff.”
“Shopping Howl’s record around to the old guard made me realize that the kids are the new guard, here and now. I’m not going to abandon them because they straight up made my career. I don’t want to alienate people, I want to learn and grow with them. If I can challenge the kids with this band then I’m all the better for it,” he said.
“When Rasputina started we didn’t have anyone to emulate. My naiveté turned out to be a real blessing because it seemed obvious to use cello instead of guitar. I wasn’t going to get a guitarist or learn just so I could have a band,” laughed Creager.
“Hardcore indirectly gave my natural big mouth a megaphone. It nurtured the activism within my heart and made me appreciate the idea of unity and community,” shared Kevin.
“I get really down on hateful music that has no point. What good is it if all you’re doing is screaming about how angry you are if there’s no type of catharsis for you?” stated Newton.
“There’s no higher compliment than to get feedback in person. To have someone come up to you 20 years later and say something you wrote saved their life is very gratifying, especially when you look back to when you first wrote it and wondered if anyone was even listening.”
“Every time you hear that noise that says ‘We are the makers and you people are the takers’, there has to be some kind of soundtrack to that which says ‘fuck you’. I want to be part of that soundtrack,” stated Bondi.
“I really think Mudhoney’s overall integrity will draw people to this documentary. Even when they were on Reprise their music was still high quality,” said Pease.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to realize early on, that I play for myself. I play because I love playing. I don’t seek admiration or acceptance. I enjoy myself at rehearsal as much as any show. Playing is sacred to me. I can take a lot but if anything messes with my chance to play, I lose it. Any hostility I still harbor stems from those who’ve messed with that,” said Becvare.
“We took Hip Hop above and beyond the moment we got passports. I can’t stand major media companies and radio stations that show the black community has less power than it truly does.”
“I knew that it would be impossible to replicate Radio Birdman, a product of a unique combination of energies which created a new entity, much bigger than the sum of the parts. My goal was to come across as a good solo songwriter, but I knew that I could always get the energy level up there. It was never going to be “folk music” or acoustic pop,” said Tek.