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Chimaira - A heavy day in the park with Chris Spicuzza
Fields of Rock 2005. A great and especially hot festival. Hot because of the weather, but that’s not something new I’m telling you. No, not the weather was the hottest thing for me that day, it was the incredible, awesome, ass-kicking, fantastic line-up that pleased me so much. Well, fortunately there weren’t playing any real good bands in the early afternoon, so I went backstage and got to talk to Chris. Let’s see what he had to tell us.
So welcome back to The Netherlands. You have played your last show here about a year ago, tell us what happened in the mean time?
After that tour in the Netherlands, we went home for a while. Right after that, we started a tour with Machine Head (US Roadrage Tour 2005 that was), which was fucking awesome by the way. And after that, we did the Australia/Japan package with In Flames, another major time! Then we went back home and started writing new material. Then we also did a weekend in Mexico. Since then, we locked ourselves up and started to write our asses off until February, then we recorded our album and now it’s finally mastered.
Your new album is going to be released in August, the only thing we have heard was ‘Nothing Remains’. Your bio tells us it was written on the day Dimebag was shot, what was in your mind that day?
Ehm, I personally wasn’t there but I know the whole story and everyone was really bummed about the situation. There was no reason to just go home and be like: ‘ok, whatever!’. I believe it was Rob who started to play the riff for the song and after that we build the complete song around that. And because of the fact Dimebag got shot that day, there’s really a lot of emotion in that song, and you’ll hear it! The song isn’t like an oath to Dimebag, it’s more like he’s responsible for the emotion behind it.
About the album, what can we expect more besides ‘Nothing Remains’?
Fully developed songs, no limitations, just complete, brutal metal mayhem. The album is just really brutal. And you can hear that there weren’t any limitations, because we didn’t stop writing a song because it already reached four and a half minute you know, we just wrote it till it was finished for us. It’s Chimaira as a unit now. We finally reached the point where it sounds like there are six people in the band. Sometimes that wasn’t really clear in our songs but you’ll definitely gonna hear that Chimaira has become a strong unit now. We’re really proud on this album but yeah, it’s kinda hard to say what you can expect when you haven’t listened to it. At least it’s sure that it won’t be a radio-friendly album.
What are your electronic impulses into the new album?
Well, the last album (The Impossibility of Reason), I wasn’t happy with how I was portrayed. No one really heard my input on the album and I really wanted to step up man, I wanted to be recognized and heard as the sixth band member. I’m playing an instrument as well you know, I don’t wanna be that ‘sampler-guy’ anymore. But my input on this album? Well keyboards, strings, a lot of orchestra stuff. I didn’t just stick with samples. I wanted to really add something to the songs, to bring the songs to a next level.
Drummer Kevin Talley joined the band last year, after a short period with Ricky, what are the experiences with him?
Kevin? Well, he’s a handful. He’s a great drummer. He was great in the studio and he has great ideas but sometimes he’s a bit too much. He’s talking a lot and gives a lot of impulses to us. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But anyway, he’s a great addition to the band, he’s quite a character though. He actually the adventurous guy of Chimaira. He’s like disappeared in a second and we won’t see him back the first couple of hours. And that’s weird, ‘cause most of us are kinda like ‘just stick with the group’.

About your first album and the DVD, in the documentary almost every member says the first album isn’t their thing. Why this opinion?
That record was a weird time. We weren’t like a solid unit at that point. We just got signed and we were all like: ‘well, fuck it! This shit is good enough’. And so we put in on the album. But basically these songs were all demos and stuff we wrote before. Personally I don’t think this should have been our first effort because of that reason. And since then the line up has changed as well. We’re still proud of that album, we really are! But it’s just that the material we wrote after that, is far more stronger and better then the material from our first album. It’s not something we’ve changed, it just happened to be like that. The perception in the band has become way better now, so it was a logical thing.
About last years DVD, you created –in my opinion- a masterpiece, a great documentary and the Dutch Roadrage show. You pleased a lot of Dutch Chimaira fans with that show. Can you tell us something about creating that DVD?
Well, for us it wasn’t really creating anything. We were just ourselves. We let Todd, Garret and Nick just do their thing. They just filmed everything and nothing on that DVD was planned or something. It all just happened that way. We’re really happy they captured us like that, just us being Chimaira and not faking anything. We didn’t want to say: ‘oh, cut that out man!’. We were all just like: ‘Fuck it! Let it in there. It’s just who we are and what we think’. It’s all just how it is to be in Chimaira. And nothing have really changed ever since actually.
After ‘The Impossibility of Reason’, you guys toured for quite some time. Was it hard to hit the studio again after non stop touring for 2 years?
Yeah, that really was difficult. In the beginning it was all one big mess. Everyone was, well we weren’t fighting, but we surely weren’t cooperating either. That took a couple of months and then we all finally understood the direction everything was headed to. We grew together even more in the studio and well for me it became a masterpiece. I all took a long fucking time be now I see the big picture and I’m really proud we all worked to this point.

Today you're playing 50 minutes, normally we always see short powerful sets, what can we expect?
Well, it’s mostly from the ‘The Impossibility of Reason’ album. You’re gonna hear two new songs. And from ‘Pass Out Of Existence’, I think one song. The biggest problem with those song is, that the songs from that album (Pass Out), are played in a different guitar tuning. So we have to ship all the guitars and that’s really expensive you know. Because we’re only here for about five days, we couldn’t afford to ship all the guitars. But for the show, we’re just going to bang our heads of and try to get the crowd go crazy.
The organisation planned you together with Slayer, but due to dropped bands you are playing after Slayer. Isn’t this a bit awkward?
Well, yeah! We really hated to play at the same time as Slayer. And now we’re playing at the same time as Velvet Revolver I believe, so the metalheads will come our way anyway. Which is a good thing of course! But it was a big issue though. We wanted to watch Slayer ourselves so we’re really fortunate with this situation right now.
Any big plans for the future?
Well, we’re just gonna put our record out, tour our asses off and hoping it will all go very well. And ehm maybe next year…no, sorry! We’re coming back to Europe earlier, I believe it was late September or October. I’m not sure if we will play in the Netherlands as well, but we will be back here in Europe. But basically we’re gonna tour our asses off and you’ll all see a lot of us. And when the record does well, you’ll see us the sooner.
Anything left to say to our readers?
Well, not really. We’re just really excited about the new record which will be released August 08th. And we just hope you guys will all enjoy it! And we will see you all on tour.
Thank you very much for your time!

For those of you who are interested in the new Chimaira song 'Nothing Remains', check it out here: