My son Chris Olsen, 17, is our secret teen weapon in the metal wars. Bass player for the black metal band Blood Omen, he covered Ozzfest last summer, Primus in December, and he recently covered the Road Rage Tour for us in Cleveland, interviewing members of Trivium, Chimaira, and Machine Head.
By Chris Olsen
My girlfriend decided to come with on this trip to a metal concert. We got there early since we were interviewing all day and went straight to the front row. Trivium was the first band up and there was a small crowd that was fairly low-key.
Halfway through I realized that their heavy riffs and breakdowns crawled underneath my skin and made me want to kill something, and I had to go into the circle pit. Every time Matt would let out a low scream his eyes would roll to the back of his head. They tied with Chimaira as the best band there.
Machine Head came up next and I could feel my rib cage being pushed in by the pressure of the crowd. While being crushed to death, I also had to protect my 4-foot 11-inch 97-pound girlfriend from being killed. She could not see anything besides the perfect view of the back of the guy in front of her.
I was getting punched and elbowed and the crap beaten out of me – she was getting crushed to death and laughing hysterically in the process.
We started out in the first-row-center, but by the time Machine Head stopped playing we were all the way on the left side and about 7 or 8 rows back. Machine Head wasn’t bad: I’m not a big fan of the music, but they put on a pretty good show.
Then came Chimaira. Ashley and I were a little worn from Machine Head so we went back and hung out with Trivium. Chimaira played my favorite song by them, “Severed.” I ran up to the moshpit although I was hesitant because Matt from Trivium was hitting on Ashley, but I trusted her so I went. I got the crap beaten out of me and got a nice gash on my forehead that I am hoping will leave a scar so I have a free souvenir.
They were awesome, every song was a headbanger. They were going nuts on stage. They, Slipknot and Primus are my three favorite bands live.
Not only did I see an amazing metal concert, but I also got to interview a member from each band. My first interview was Matt Heafy, lead singer and guitarist from Trivium. Trivium is going on five years as a band, releasing Ember to Inferno in ’03, and hoping to release another at the beginning of 2005.
The band originated in Orlando, Florida. They started out playing in garages and house partys, then moved up to high school battle of the bands. They were soon playing every night at local bars and receiving good responses from the crowd. Their first big show was at the Hard Rock Live with a crowd of over-1000 people. A label out of Germany called Lifeforce soon signed them, and they did a week tour in Germany, Belgium, and Holland.
They write their songs by bringing in riffs and working them out with the rest of the band until it all comes together. Their influences include In Flames, Metallica, Pantera, and Machine Head.
Matt was born in Japan and moved to the U.S. when he was one. His favorite movies are anything by Quentin Tarantino. He likes South Park and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. His family is very supportive and they have been to every one of his concerts in his hometown.
Matt prefers smooth peanut butter over crunchy. Some people may not figure it, but Matt gets into bands such as Taking Back Sunday and the Used.
My next interview was with Jim LaMarca, the bass player from Chimaira. Jim is a fellow Northeast Ohioan, and grew up in Chagrin Falls. Chimaira is also coming up on their five-year anniversary. They started off with a few local venues but moved on quickly to the New England area and the east coast. They then moved on to California and played the rest of the West Coast. Jim is a big fan of Tom and Jerry and drives a Blazer. He listens to, and is influenced by Sepultura, Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot, and Machine Head.
He is also big into rap and produces some. Jim is a crunchy peanut butter man and can’t stand smooth. His favorite movie is Goodfellas. While in Germany, on the fourth of July, Chimaira had their worst show. Jim’s favorite city to play in is New York City.
Over the past year and a half, the band has toured with some of the biggest names in metal, played Ozzfest, shot three videos, gone through three drummers, and fought illness, English thugs and one another: The Dehumanizing Process is this period of time caught on video. It comes out October 26 and the tralier is here.
Machine Head Interview
Rob Flynn from Machine Head was last my interviewee. “We write our songs in a Beavis and Butthead way,” he said, saying “that riff rocks, or that riff sucks.” His craziest moment on a tour was with Ozzfest in Cleveland when a riot broke out. When Marilyn Manson went on stage he had a tantrum and stormed off stage. Nobody new that Ozzy was sick and had lost voice. By that time the crowd was getting restless. Rob Flynn was talking to the lead singer of Pantera and Black Sabbath came up to him and asked him to fill in for Ozzy, and he said, “not unless my good friend Rob Flynn goes up there with me.”
Black Sabbath is one of Rob’s favorite bands. He had also been drinking all day since he played early in the morning. Rob was sitting there talking to Black Sabbath about what songs they are going to sing and he was just ecstatic.
They went on stage and sang a couple of Sabbath songs and then Manson got on stage and sang a song too. About a half-hour into the show the crowd realized Ozzy was not going to show and started to riot.
Rob and the rest of Machine Head sprinted to their tour bus, turned on the TV, saw the riot on the news, and looked out the window to see the same riot scene outside.
His most embarrassing show was at Oklahoma when Machine Head was playing in the middle of the day and it was really hot out. The set was ending and he had taken his shirt off, and when he plays on stage Rob does not wear underwear.
On that particular show he was wearing baggy camouflage pants and needed a belt. Soon enough his pants fell down in the middle of a song and everything was hanging out, so he was trying to pull his pants up and play at the same time.
Their influences include Metallica, Slayer, and Attitude Adjustment. He prefers smooth peanut butter over crunchy, but will eat both.
Until next concert, Goodbye!