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36 Crazyfists - Brock Lindow: Hockey, doing things yourself and Tori Amos
On the 18th of June, everyone's favorite Alaskan metalband played in the De Helling venue in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Half of the Metalrage crew seemed to be present, but next to some excellent music and excellent drinking we also had a lengthy talk with Brock Lindow about the band's new record "The Tide And Its Takers", producing the album themselves, being able to stay at home and much more! This is part one of a two part interview, come back soon for an elaborate "The Tide And It's Takers' track by track explanation from Brock himself!

You guys just got a new record out, and it’s called ‘The Tide And Its Takers’. It’s the first record that you produced as a band, with guitarist Steve Holt at the helm. What convinced you guys to do it ‘on your own’ instead of picking a ‘known’ producer?

"Steve co-produced our previous two albums, and he has been doing our demos since we were 18 or 19 years old. I think that we always wanted him to do it, long before he actually got the chance to do so. He always did the pre-production demos and they often ended up sound exactly the same as the final recordings, and this also saves a couple of thousand dollars as well. So when we got with Ferret, we said: “Steve is going to produce the record”. And they’re said: “Awesome”. That was a surprise, because I don’t think that Roadrunner would have done that. Maybe they would nowadays, but it was still something new for us. We recorded it in our shitty little jam room, and it turned out killer, production wise. Andy (Sneap, mixer) and Steve are a really good team as well, so we’re proud on the end result."

The last time we talked we actually had a talk about how a producer can be an addition to the band, with fresh ideas, basically the ‘extra band member’ story. Is it harder to get things done, because you control everything yourself and you want to make the best of it?
"It’s nice to have an outside ear, someone who isn’t attached to the band emotionally or physically, but in the end with all the producers that we had, we already wrote all the songs before we went into recording. Maybe they tweaked a few things here and there, and I`m not saying that they don’t deserve any credit, but for the most part the songs were basically left the same as we presented them. Most of it was there, and for a lot of it it was already done and they just pushed ‘record’. So our theory was, ‘who knows us better than us’, so not why give it a shot. That was basically the idea behind it..that and saving money!"

Did this decision influence the writing process?

"I think this was the easiest writing we have done so far, but also the most different. I was in Alaska the whole time, and the rest of the guys were in Oregon. And during the summer, Thomas and Steve would call me every day because they were stoked about the material so far. And this was much better than getting in a room and stare at each other for days, and four months later suddenly have an album. That could get pretty miserable sometimes. And this time I said: “I`m not doing that. I’m staying at home because I want to be at home, play hockey, etc”. So they would record some music, send it to me on email, I would listen to it for a few days, write to it, record vocals at a buddy’s studio, and send it back. That’s how we did the rough demos. And it was so nice for me not having to go anywhere, being able to get in my little office at my house, sit down, crank the music up and write a few hours, and then be done and go to bed. The next day I would call my buddy and ask him to record some vocals. Mentally, this was just better.

Also, this gave me the chance to come up with something different. If you’re in a small room for days, writing with the whole band, everyone knows what’s going on. And this time, I would come up with something and the other guys would go like ‘we’re not really feeling that!’ So I had to deal with that a lot, because I thought it would be awesome! That was the most difficult about not being there. And we didn’t really practice the songs together before we went on the road. Usually, you write and rehearse them before you go recording, but this time we have been playing them for about a month now, but I would do it exactly the same way. Downside is that we still have to get those songs tight, but this way of working was great for the band’s morale, and it was really great for me being able to spend time at home."

So, you played a lot of hockey?
"Definitely! Actually, the most since high school. I played in 2 men’s league teams, a co-ed team with my wife, and with a group of guys called the ‘lumberjacks’, getting together, play for an hour or so and then get out the beer! I’ve been home for 6 months straight, and again, that’s the most since high school. I am already struggling with being back on the road!"

In our previous conversation you told me that in 10 years time you didn’t see yourself playing this kind of music and getting on a stage every night. Have you changed thoughts about that?
"Before the end of the last touring cycle, with all the ups and downs we had, stuff regarding our label situation; I was getting emotionally detached from touring and the band. I just got married, I bought a house, there were all these other things going on in my life. I really wanted to open a bar back home with a few friends (and still do..) But I never wanted to end this band and I really want to do this forever. I think we have been a band for almost 15 years now. But yeah, I was definitely ‘over’ it for few months, about the ‘not getting anywhere’. When we signed with Ferret, the first thing we did was a conference call. And they told us that they were 110% supporting us, and that they would support anything we would put out. That’s something that never happened with us before. The thing is, Roadrunner UK and Roadrunner Europe have always been awesome to us, and a lot of Ferret bands were on Roadrunner over here (in Europe). But Ferret was also starting an office in Europe, and it was just the best choice for us to sign with them if we wanted to do better in the States. And it’s pretty different. I am tourmanaging at the moment, and when we got to the UK, there always was a Roadrunner representative taking care of things and took you wherever you needed to go. And now I`m doing everything myself, mailing and talking to guys and hoping they show up for the interviews! But it’s not a big deal, I would take the lesser help over here to make it better for us in the US."

Regarding that, you guys are finally jumping on the ‘bigger’ tours. You just finished a tour with Napalm Death and DevilDriver. How did that work out?

"That was excellent, one of the best American tours we’ve done in years. If you look at it on paper, it’s weird. Napalm & 36..I laughed a good five minutes when I heard that. It’s a weird line-up..but hey, I get it! All the guys were great, and next to us and Napalm and DevilDriver, In Vitro and Straightline Stitch, it was a cool, diverse line-up."

I read in an article from an Anchorage newspaper; that you consider yourself to be ‘the last kid picked for the kickball team’.

"Yeah, that was about the fact that a few years ago, nothing really happened. We wanted to play Ozzfest and the Warped tour, but we never heard of those guys. And when the years go on, you see other bands getting picked, and that was frustrating. But when we signed with Ferret; they gave us the chance to play on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem festival. And that’s the thing with Ferret; they are smaller but have more ‘street credibility’, and they know people who can get you on these kinds of tours. Mayhem is a big tour, with bands like Machine Head, Slipknot, Walls of Jericho; it will be the rock/metal thing of this summer."

Next to a new album you also released an EP called “The Oculus”, which had a cover from a band called Satchel, and it looks like you often cover the pretty ‘unknown’ bands. So since you guys recorded everything yourselves this time, are there any more tracks we can expect to surface?

"We did a weird thing at my friend’s studio. I recorded Crucify by Tori Amos, my friend’s girlfriend played piano, and he did some drummachine parts.  It turned out pretty cool, and my wife is a big fan of Tori Amos so that was a nice, slightly retarded gift as well. I`m getting pretty sentimental at my old age! But the Satchel track was the only b-side that we did. They were a band from Seattle in the early 90s, and we’re just big fans of them. It was difficult to sing, because I think the original singer has way more soul than I got."

I think that’s cool, since most bands usually cover really classic, well known tracks. Same for working with Jonah Jenkins from Only Living Witness..

"Did you know that they recently did two reunion shows?"

Well..they’re actually playing their ‘last’ show ever here in Holland..

"Lucky bastards! Jonah told us five months ago that this was going to happen, and he asked us to come over. But I looked at the plans with 36C and I was really bummed that I couldn’t go. I saw some of it on YouTube, and that was awesome. The band themselves look like normal guys, and Jonah really just stands there and sings, but the crowd went wild and singing every word. I told him that if they ever decide to do another tour, we would kill or steal or do whatever is necessary to be a part of that! I also heard a rumor that Quicksand is getting back together..if they two would do something together that would be insane."

Stay tuned for Part 2!!