I just wanted to touch on the Police cover you did, ‘King Of Pain,’ on the By The People, For The People compilation. That’s such an awesome song, which lends itself to a metal format, especially lyrically.
It’s a great song. I love the Police in that area, we did that in ’99 and we did a rad version of it then. But that was ’99, and it was 2007 at the time, I sing a lot different now than I did then. We talked as a band collectively about redoing the song, and I sing different now. On the original, the chorus was more heavy and I would really love to rerecord it. This was tracked in just like a day. It was done pretty quickly. We were on the road with HELLYEAH, we were in Vancouver and the hard drive showed up, ‘We have this studio for you, and we have the engineer and they came to the show that night.’ We had a day off the next day, and me and Greg were drinking, and he was like, ‘I don’t feel like doing this tomorrow,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t either.’ Let’s get on the bus and go, we got on the bus and left, so this guy had got the hard drive in Vancouver. We go to Winnipeg, all my mangers are calling me and were like, ‘What’s going on?’ I was like, ‘We don’t feel like doing it.’ They were like, ‘We’ll set it up for the next day.’ I am like, ‘Okay, whatever.’
We go to Winnipeg, and there are other guys there and they come over and introduce themselves, and Greg and I were drinking, and we were like, ‘I don’t feel like doing this.’ We left again, we went to Toronto, we tried to do it, again, we went on the bus that night, and I think at this point, it became this cat and mouse kind of game. We just decided that it was a lot more fun to get on the bus and just leave and make people frantically just run around. I was talking to my manager and this was going on now for like 10 shows and however many days off, and he was like, ‘Tell me where you want it to be, wherever you feel like doing it, and I will make sure the hard drive is there. Right now, you have a hard drive that is following you all the way through Canada.’ We finally get it done in Nashville, Tennessee, knocked it out in Music City USA.
Back to the song, which is a rad song. I have always loved that song. I mean, that’s me, man. The negative, pessimistic attitude that I carry with me all the time, I am not saying that I can’t love, but there’s that side of me that feels like that’s me. I feel like that song was written for me, I felt like that song was written for me to sing, ‘King Of Pain.’ He [Sting] is an amazing lyricist, his lyrics are all ridiculous. You are touching somebody’s soul, to really get into music, I really believe that artists are just like—people that are true to themselves, they just kind of wear their heart on their sleeve and open their chest and allow people to look in and touch. I feel that there is a level of soul touching that goes on, if you want to get that far into it.
It takes a lot of courage to show your heart that way. Aesthetically in rock, it might come off as, ‘I can sing louder than you,’ but if you delve into it.
Absolutely, we have been like that from the beginning. We did a six-song demo and we had to get the lyrics down, and back in the day I couldn’t type for shit, this was before the Internet. I dictated the lyrics to Matt for I think ‘Severed’ and the early songs off of LD 5.0., and we were going through the songs and he was like, ‘Wow, this is really fucking personal.’ He was like, ‘This is what this is about?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ He was like, ‘I can’t believe that you would open yourself up this much!’ So it was cool.
Is ‘Dull Boy’ about breaking out of your cage and taking more responsibly in your life?
‘Dull Boy’ was just a specific space that I was in, we were on this 1,000 acre, I-don’t-know-what-they-fuck-they- grew-there ranch, probably nothing, grass, but Greg and I lived in this backhouse. This was in Idaho; we were like 90 miles from the Canadian border. One of my favorite movies ever is The Shinning, and I felt like Jack, I really did. I just remember sitting by the window, and it was just white. I felt so alone, I never got out, I never called anybody. It was always just me and Greg. There is something about isolation that I can’t explain unless you ever had to live with it, it is fucking nuts. If you ever seen the movie Castaway, you would be talking to a ball, because isolation is fucked. People that are put into solitary confinement, you are fucked, you’re over. You are never going to be the same if you are put in for a long period of time.
I had a truck, we could have gotten into the truck and left. Over the few months I was there, the only place I was going was to the store to get beer. Me and Greg would go get 15 cases of beer, and just take them back to the house and we’d have them there for days and days and days. That was ‘Dull Boy’ for me. Like the verses just came out, I wrote the chorus in the studio in like four minutes. I was just feeling all this weight and all this pressure, and here we are in the studio, and I generally like to have it all by the time I get there. Then here I am, I have tracked the verses, I have tracked the bridge, and I needed the chorus for this song, and that chorus just came out. But those verses, I wrote without any music, and that’s probably one of the first times I have done that. I generally write with music, I want to hear the music and kind of have the music speak to me. The ‘Dull Boy’ verses were written as poetry. I just sat down at my computer, and I had the melody, ‘All work and no play, makes me a dull boy, feel like a clown…’ I mean I had that melody in my head, and I just kept writing and writing. I probably wrote a lot more than what made it into the song. I came back to the house and I said, ‘What’s that crazy riff that you have?’ Then I sang over it, and he’s like, ‘That’s great.’ It was like that Northern Idahoan isolation therapy. I would recommend anybody try it, it takes a couple of weeks to really start to be frightened. You could lock yourself in your room for couple of days and get board, but I mean to really get frightened… you can’t go nowhere with six feet of snow on the ground for weeks on end, then you are talking about a whole new level of the game.