You mentioned being big Metallica fans, I saw you guys at the Download Festival in England where Metallica was the surprise act, playing in a tent that only held a few hundred people.

We played that, it was ‘03 and it was a surprise for us too. We were the first band of the day in that tent, going on at like 11 a.m. We were looking at the schedule for the day, and pointing out bands that we wanted to see, and around 2:00 p.m., there was this mystery slot, just left blank. My singer Mark and I just went around the grounds, and we noticed this huge pile of road cases that had just been left there and they were covered by a tarp, so you couldn’t see whose road cases they were.

You know usually a band has their logo on their road cases, and the tarps were covering everything, so you could only see the wheels and not the body of the road cases, so you couldn’t really see what logo was on there. But because of Metallica’s logo you could see the bottom of the M has that corner that comes down on the left side and the A has the corner that comes that way. We could just see those underneath the tarp and being the Metallica fans that we are, we knew it was Metallica. Got totally excited, then word started spreading backstage, long before it did among the audience. I think the fans only got word of it maybe an hour before they were going to go on. A bunch of us just went in the pit and enjoyed the show within the crowd and went crazy. That right there was one of my life’s goals that I was able to just cross off my list and that was playing with Metallica—and we met the guys afterwards. They were all super cool, Lars [Ulrich, drums] talked to us for like an hour, it was just an awesome experience.

Are there any other artistic outlets you want to take on? Any side projects?

Well, I actually do have a new band, we’re called the Elite and people can check it out at MySpace.com[theelite]. I am really excited about it, it’s me on guitar, Austin [D’Amond] from Bleed The Sky on drums—and he’s a crazy drummer, we knew we had to play music together—TJ [Frost] who sang in a band called Stem From Buffalo, and he’s a great vocalist. Mike [Drury] who used to play bass in a band called Sanctum with Chimaira’s drummer, Anvil, and I before we started Chimaira.

We just took our time with this, recorded some tunes and we’re looking forward to launching them. If I have some time to devote to touring in Chimaira’s downtime, then we’ll take that opportunity. I love the producer and the studio side of all of this music. I do a lot of the demo recording for us with our singer Mark, and I would love to one day have a studio and just record bands. Unfortunately, while it takes a lot of experience to get those great recordings, it also takes a lot of money to make great recordings, and purchasing all that gear is a slow process. Maybe I can acquire what I need in the next 15 years, and when the touring for Chimaira winds down, maybe I can enter into that world. I am into music from all angles, I got my instructional DVD through Rock House Method, and people can check that out through MySpace, or Rockhousemethod.com. So I am into teaching, just sharing my knowledge, love and passion of guitar with people. There’s lots of things going on, but pretty much, I keep it musical.

Infection is in stores now. Catch Chimaira at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on August 30. For more, visit chimaira.com.

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