Friday, November 2, 2012

Amazing extended Interview of FISTER by Grant from IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS !!!

Let me start by saying that I'm not a journalist, and I don't profess to be a writer either. If this interview sucks, sorry. It's my first one, and this was all transcribed from a phone call, so keep in mind that this is conversational. I wanted to talk to Fister because their music is rife with everything I love about good doom: it's ugly, menacing and visceral. Fister are not trying to be your friend or provide you with a heady groove to accompany your buzz. To paraphrase The Cramps, this is Bad Vibe Music for Bad Vibe People, and I wouldn't ask for anything less.

G:  Alright.  So, I’ve never really interviewed anyone before, so I appreciate your patience and sorry if this sucks. 

K: yeah, no worries, man.    I had to do something similar to this with my buddies in another band for a website like this, and they didn’t even end up using it.  (laughs)

G:  Hell, I hope it gets used.  I dig the shit out of you guys.
K:  Thanks, man.  You guys are in Denver right? 

G:  Yeah.
K:  We’d like to come out that way but it’s such a fuckin’ haul.  I’ve got friends in Denver, and I’d love to play there, but we’re literally going to have to route a tour around it.  And Denver would probably have to be the starting point, because the closest places in between us and Denver are still kind of way far from denver.  But once you get over those mountains, everything’s there.  You’re practically in California by that point.

G:   We’ve barely ventured outside of Denver county, much less toured nationally, but I know a lot of bands around here will tour to these plains states where there just isn’t ever any live music.  There will be metal kids out there, and they might be in a slipknot t-shirt, but they’ll come out in droves to shows.

K: whatever, man.  It’s like anything, man, or business in general.  Like, I’ll tell my boss at work that you can’t pick your customers, and it’s the same with playing music.  Would you want to play a show to 500 people only wearing shirts for bands you’re into?  Sometimes there’ll be someone there in an affliction shirt, you know?  And they’ll probably buy you a drink.  (Laughs)

G:  …or Some Ed Hardy dude coming up to you like, “Hey, Bro! Nice Set!”

K:  Right!  Exactly, man!  It happens.  Some dude with a Tapout hat on or something will come up and be like, “hey man, you guys kick ass!  You remind me of Mudvayne.”   (laughs)

G: Whoa, man, I’m glad I haven’t gotten that comparison yet.  

K: I haven’t either, but in that situation, it’s just like, “Alright.  Thanks,” and then you try and find an out.  I met a guy at our show Thursday, and he came up and introduced himself to me, and says “hey man, I enjoyed your set.”  So I said, “Thanks, man.  My name’s Kenny.”  And he was like, “My name’s Bong.”  Like B-O-N-G, like a water pipe.  I was like, “Bong?  Your name is Bong?  …Uh, cool, man, alright.  Well, what’s your story?” He’s like “Oh, I’m a rapper.”  (Laughs) “Right on, well I know a band called Bong.” So then he’s like, “Oh, well it’s actually short for MC Bongalicious,” or something ridiculous like that, so my out was this:  I’m not normally rude to people, but my buddy was there talking to his girlfriend, so I went up to them and said, “Guys!  Have you met Bong?” And as soon as he went to talk to them, I kinda slowly walked away. 

G:  It was a “Hey guys!  Whatcha doin’?  Big Gulps, huh?  Cool.  Welp, see you later” moment. 

K:  Fuckin’ bonging Bonger.  I feel bad.  This dude’s gonna be huge, and he’s gonna be like, “Fuck Fister.”

 G:  You know what’s gonna happen?  He’s gonna vanity search his stage name…
K:  Good luck fucking google searching the word “Bong.” (Laughs).  But, yeah, he’ll probably find this, and I’ll just be like “Whatever.”  You know what?  I’m gonna just go ahead and go on the record and say, “Fuck Bong.”  But, you know, not the band, Bong.  The band’s pretty cool. 

G:  I don’t think I’ve heard Bong.  I know Bongzilla, Belzebong and Bongripper, but I don’t think I know just Bong. 

K:  They’re pretty good.   Again, good luck searching for that, though.  I don’t know.  Maybe try “Bong Doom” as your search.   (Laughs)  That might not be much help either.

G:  That’s just gonna whittle it down by 5000 out of 2 million results. 

K:  That dude, Bob, from the Soggy Bog, turned me onto them.  Check with him. 

G: Right on.  Well, on that note, I want to ask you who your favorite relatively unknown bands are.  Is there anyone out there who you think has been receiving criminally little attention?

K:  A couple weeks ago we played that Mutants of the Monster fest in Little Rock, and there was this band there, Crankbait, that fuckin’ blew me away man.  They were awesome.  They had a drummer, two bass players, and a keyboard sampler guy.  They fuckin’ ripped, man!  I thought I had heard them before, but I guess not, or I didn’t remember, or maybe I heard the wrong stuff, or what, but I watched them play, and they had this nice industrial doom sound.  Kinda Godflesh-y, but they had their own thing going on.  One of the bassists was playing traditional style bass, but the other one was playing all of these crazy chords and was high up on the neck, not even touching his low string, just shredding.   I try to watch a little bit of every band we’re playing with, no matter where we are.  I rarely stick around to watch a whole set, especially at a fest, because it’s just so much to take in, but I stood there and watched their entire set, and they were unreal.  They blew me away.  As far as I’m concerned they stole the show.  That being said, another band that played that night was Sons of Tonatiuh from Atlanta, and they were killer too.

G: Oh, yeah, man.  We’re playing a show with them in a few weeks with Rabbits and another local Denver band, Western Ritual, who kick ass.  Sons of Tonatiuh kill it live, huh?

K:  Oh, yeah.  They’re great, man.     I’m booking them later in St. Louis, and we can’t play that show, but we got some killer local bands on there, so hopefully they’ll be able to get some money for beer, pizza, and, most importantly, gas.  That band, Pallbearer, came through St. Louis a couple days ago.  I was talkin’ to them, and there was some issue with a shady promoter where they weren’t gonna get paid.  I told them to just book directly with me the next time they came through & I’d make sure they got paid.  They were like, “well, we don’t really care about the money.”  So I said, “Yeah, but your gas tank does.”  If gas were free, we’d all just play everywhere for free and not give a shit.  You know, you’d have bands not even bringing out merch with them.   Just playing for food, you know?  Like, “Show up to the show and bring a hot dog with you to get in.”  But, unfortunately, people need gas.    When we just did our tour, I had a sign up in Minneapolis that said “Shirts are $10, or two gallons of gas.”  Gas is the killer, and it’s the reason we haven’t been out west yet, or even out to Denver.  When we did that little one-off down to Little Rock, I think we spent $400 round trip just in gas.

G:  Add in all that gear, and the mileage is shot. 
K:  Right.  We’re pulling a trailer with four guitar cabs, drums, and all that shit.  And we spent all that money to go down there and play for a half hour, mostly to other bands!  It was great, though.     It was worth it, and I hope they ask us again next year, because it was a great time.  Next time we’ll probably plan a small tour around it, but we’ll see. 
K: Right. We’re pulling a trailer with four guitar cabs, drums, and all that shit. And we spent all that money to go down there and play for a half hour, mostly to other bands! It was great, though. It was worth it, and I hope they ask us again next year, because it was a great time. Next time we’ll probably plan a small tour around it, but we’ll see.

G; I’ve got a pretty fleshed-out backline if you guys ever want to play here without hauling gear. You’d probably wanna bring your own heads, but I’ve got and Ampeg 8x10 bass cab & a full stack of 4x12s.

K: If we do it, we’ll probably have to bring our own stuff anyways, because we’ll try to knock something out between here and there. But, yeah, I still might use that 8x10, because those things sound awesome. I’ve got this crazy Emperor stack, but man, it’s hard to beat the sound of an 8x10.

G: Yeah, but they’re a bitch to move. I’ve got numbers for two or three handicap van taxis around town just so I can move that thing. I can fit the majority of my rig , minus one 4x12, in my girlfriend’s Nissan, so that gets me to the gig, but of course everyone wants to drink at the gig, and no one wants a DUI, so then I end up calling these cabs to get home. A couple of times I’ve ended up having to leave my gear in the bar overnight.

K: That’s kinda the nice thing about our situation. In St. Louis, often, but not all the time, we end up playing at the same venue, and luckily we practice in the basement there. When we opened for YOB, all we had to do was bring our stuff upstairs to the show. Before Norska (the other YOB opener) started playing we already had our stuff back in our practice space and we were back upstairs. But, it’s not always like that, and we forget that sometimes on these tours, and we don’t have a van, so we end up taking our drummer’s SUV pulling a trailer. It gets expensive.

G: The YOB show was another thing I wanted to ask you about- I dig the hell out of them, and when they played here I had my shitty fanboy moment when I gave Mike Scheidt a copy of our cassette, like “listen to my band, please.” In any case, that’s neither here nor there. What was the reception to that gig like? Was it a pretty solid show?

K: It went great, man! They’re really cool guys, , and Norska fucking kicked ass, YOB kicked ass, and I guess we kicked ass.   I don’t know-  people clapped afterwards, so…  I had a great time, though-  I partied a little too hard, so I don’t remember the end of the night. 

G:  Yeah, that’ll happen.

K:  yup.  Apparently at some point our drummer had to wrestle me to the ground, and I don’t remember that. (Laughs) Oh, also I ended up giving one of the guys on the tour ALL of my weed for some reason. I don’t know why I did that.  (Laughs)  And it sucks, because I don’t believe in karma.  I rolled one joint out of the fuckin’ bag, and at some point I guess I was wondering where my weed was the next day, and our guitar player was like, “Oh, you gave it to YOB or Norska.”  “Oh.  Cool.  Great.”  I found out Saturday that I also bought a Norska record, so that’s cool.    I didn’t know I did that.  I remember most of YOB’s set, but I don’t remember what they closed with.  Honestly, I don’t even remember leaving.  I woke up at 7am the next morning on my couch completely naked, and I guess somebody drove me home, because my car was parked fine, and I don’t think that in the state I was in I would even try to drive, so I guess it worked out.  I had a good time, and apparently I was still having a good time when I got home and passed out naked. 

G:  (Laughs)  You took the express ferry to blackout island.

K:  Oh, man, seriously.  I had a two day hangover.  No Shit.  I was hungover two nights later when I was watching Pallbearer. 

G:  ughhhhhhhh.   That’s the worst, man. 

K:  Yeah, it was pretty rough.  Whatever, though.  I had a couple drinks before we played, and had a couple drinks while we played, but, boom from then on … like, we were looking forward to this show for two months, and I had the next day off, so I was in full-on party mode.  Apparently a lot of the people who went to that show had already planned the next day off work.  The whole fuckin’ venue was filled with smoke too.  It was unreal.  I don’t think the DEA is worried about a bunch of stoners at a YOB show right now. (Laughs) You know?  I don’t see any raids happening.

G:  Probably not anytime soon.  Well, I know that’s not the first time you’ve opened for a pretty heavy-hitting band, as far as  the doom scene’s concerned.  Have you got any advice for some of us other bands as far as landing those killer opening slots?

K: It definitely helps being one of the only doom bands in your town. (Laughs) There aren’t a lot of options in St. Louis, so if one of those types of shows comes to town, we’re usually the first people somebody asks.  It’s more about supply and demand in our case in St. Louis, you know?  But Denver’s got a lot of bands, so, you know, just have your shit together.  (Laughs)  I’m sure a lot of promoters care about draw and all that shit, and how many people you can bring to the door yourself.                                                                                                                                           I think that’s all that really fuckin’ matters to promoters & club owners, which is stupid, but, you know, understandable.  They’re doing it as a business, and we’re doing it because we like to get stoned and play really slow.   When we first started, I wanna say we were probably the only doom metal band in town.  There were some bands that kinda played around with some sludgey parts, but we were the only band fully doing that, and that’s why we got asked to play with Eyehategod.  That was probably one of our first big shows that we were asked to open, and I think that show helped us gain a lot of fans.  Then we just decided to start playing a lot of shows, essentially, and I guess people dug it.  Sometimes it’s still weird to me that people I don’t know will pay money to come see my band.  (Laughs).  Like, even in town I’ll walk off the stage and see somebody and be like, “who’s that dude?”  Whatever, though.  Cool, you know?  At first it’s just a handful of your friends, and where would we be without our friends?   Then when other people start coming that don’t know you, that’s another story.   So, honestly, I guess I’m not any help to this question. (Laughs)  I think we ended up like the luck of the draw because we were some of the only dudes in town doing it.  There were a couple other bands for a little while afterwards that were doing it.  Unfortunately, one of them, a really cool band called Iron Hills, just broke up.  Our buddies in the Lion’s Daughter are a little faster.  I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re a doom band, but they played on a lot of these bills too.

G:  You did a split with them right?
K: Yeah.

G: that’s the only material I think I’ve heard from them, but I’m familiar because of the split you did. 

K:  oh yeah, they’re killer man- they’re awesome.  Seriously, like when we both recorded we each did an EP and our side of the split.  They recorded a week before us, and then we recorded on a Saturday.  We recorded Bronsonic and our side of the split on the same day.  In fact, the only reason Santabbath is on our side of the split is because we realized we had more time for another song, and were like “Alright, well let’s just throw a song from Bronsonic on there.”  The reason why both of our bands even went to the studio is because there was a label that was willing to put it out.   So we were like, “Well, we’ve got all these other songs too”, and we weren’t sure if the split was ever gonna happen, so we each recorded like EPs and our side of the split.  We tracked live & then added some overdubs and vocals & stuff, & I wanna say they did the same thing. 

G: Doubled the guitars and shit like that?

K: Right.  That’s the only way we’ve recorded so far.  I’m kind of curious to see if we could actually record the proper way, but…

G: Ugh, don’t do it man.  I’ve recorded the other way where, you know, you get a scratch track just to get the drum rhythm right, and then you piecemeal every little individual thing.  I was in another band a while back, and we did that, and I think it takes a lot of the life out of what can be there. 

K:  I think you’re right.  I mean, we don’t drum to a click track, and we’ve got a lot of speed-up & slow-down parts.  I think it would be harder, and I think you’re right: it would kinda make it a little more sterile, where as we’ll leave fuckups in our stuff.  I think it’s better that way.

G: Yeah! It makes it more tangible, you know?  That’s a record that’s played by human beings, not studio robots. 

K: Right.

G:  I prefer that type of recording.  I’m not the sort of musician who’s going to sit there and judge a single note that wasn’t articulated as well as it could have been when it doesn’t detract from the overall aesthetic of the song, you know?  I think having that kind of intensity is usually garnered from a live performance, and that’s more valuable than whatever kind of meticulous studio wizardry you might come up with.  It is for me, at least, especially with genres like doom/ sludge.

K: I agree.  You know, all we wanna do is try to capture as much as we can from what people get out of our live show, and we still haven’t done it yet.  I don’t even know if it’s possible.  Like, when you’re listening on two speakers, earbuds or however you’re listening to our music, it’s not the same as having a bunch of fuckin’ guitar cabinets screaming in your face.  (Laughs)  In the same breath it might also sound better, and you could probably tell what the hell’s going on better from a recording, cause half the time we play shows I can’t even hear our guitar player, cause I’ve got the amps two feet behind me. 

G:  Do you use earplugs when you play?

K:  Usually I do.  I promote people doing that because it’s loud, and if you go to these shows without them you’re doing serious damage to yourself, and we & a lot of other bands play loud enough that you’re gonna hear just fine with the earplugs in.  You know?

G: oh, yeah. 

K:  When you turn up that loud the high frequencies will hurt your ears, & you’ll notice, but those low frequencies that don’t hurt as noticeably are doing just as much, if not more damage.  I’ve played a couple without ear plugs, and I’ve seen bands play when I’ve had earplugs in, but my ears still ring the next day.    I think they’re important, man.  When I see bands up there playing really loud stuff without earplugs, I’m like, “Jesus, man. You’re not gonna be able to hear in a couple of years.”

G:  Like, “You’ve got five more shows until you’re not gonna be able to hear each other anymore.”

K:  Right! You know, I absolutely agree.  We had earplugs for a little while, like on a little keychain that had a little inverted cross that said Fister on ‘em.  When I ordered them, I got the choice of the type of earplug that you’d get in the keychains, and I got, like, this military-grade shit.  They weren’t even a music-grade, they were like mortar-grade. (Laughs)  It’s not my goal to make people sick to their stomach or to clear a room.  

G: Right.  What we encounter a lot, depending upon the venue we play, is that the people in the bar may have only ever heard doom in the form of Black Sabbath on the radio, and I don’t wanna clear that room so I bring a baggie of foam earplugs & just leave it next to our merch.   “These are free, by the way!”

K:  Yeah before we had the keychains I would do that, and just stick them at the front of the stage.  Like, “If you want earplugs, they’re up here.  I encourage it.”  I don’t really say much on stage, but yeah, totally.  I think people know now, at least in St. Louis, what to expect, but we’ve definitely cleared a room before.  Like, the only people left were the sound guy and the bartender.  (Laughs)  One time we did it on purpose.  We didn’t fully clear the room, but almost.  There was this band, and I don’t even remember what they were called, but for some reason they were added to this Jucifer show that we played. 

G:  You cleared the room on account of volume, not Jucifer? (Laughs)

K:  Here’s the deal: There was us, this band, Thorlock & Jucifer, and it was a last-second show.  I think we got added to the bill maybe, like, a week out.   The promoter was just kind of scrambling to find some bands, so he finds this band… I swear to god, they did a 311 cover.

G: Oh, god.

K:  Maybe it was Sublime.  It was one of those.

G: So, it was a promoter who just had no idea about what the bands on the bill were like. 

K:  I don’t know.  Maybe he was just trying to get some money to cover for the touring bands.  So Jucifer was the first band to confirm, then we confirmed, then Thorlock Confirmed.  They’re from Cape Girardo, which is about two hours from St. Louis.  Thorlock’s good friends with Jucifer, so we were like, “We’ll put Thorlock right before Jucifer, and we’ll play before Thorlock, and this other band will go first.”  So we talked to this other band about it, and they were like, “well our drummer’s not gonna be here until later.”  So we said, “Fuck it.  We’ll play first, then you guys. Whatever.”  So this band that sucked so fucking bad was also the only band that brought anybody to the show.  I think we brought maybe 5 people, and Jucifer might have brought 5 people, and then this band brought probably 40 people.  Like, their parents were there, their grandparents were there.  (Laughs)  And they’re looking at us & we’ve got these big upside down crosses on our cabinets, and we all look like fuckin’ rednecks to them, probably.  They’re in the audience snickering as we’re setting up & getting up on the stage.  So finally I just looked at Mark, and was like, “Just turn it way up.”  Normally we don’t turn up super loud, because it’s already there.  You don’t have to really crank the amps.  So this time we ran it up to 7 or so, and normally we’re like at 3.  I just turned up my amp all the way and started playing bass before Kirk’s drums were even set up, and people were just filing out the door.  By the time we had started playing, everyone was like, “Ok, This sucks.  This is loud.”  You know?  They didn’t know what Jucifer sounds like, they didn’t know what Thorlock sounded like, they didn’t know what we sounded like.  So we’re like exposing these people to doom metal at very high volumes, and they were freaking the fuck out.  One of them tried to start a fight with our drummer.  Yeah, it was a mess.   But, yeah, it was one of my favorite times being in this band.  We cleared a bunch of people who liked Sublime out of the room, you know?  (Laughs) 

G:  I think that’s a victory, man.  (Laughs)  I mean, they’re at a show with y’all and Jucifer, you know?   Shit.  We’re playing with Jucifer in a about a month down in Colorado Springs, and I think that’s gonna be the one show we play where another band’s backline completely dwarfs mine.  

K:  Oh yeah, absolutely.  You know what, though? It’s funny cause it just looks so cool, cause you’ve got all your band’s gear up there, but then you’ve got Jucifer’s backline behind you… (Laughs)  I remember turning around while playing and looking up, and there’s speakers fuckin’ ten feet high up in the air.  I don’t know, man-  I’ve never been there early enough to see them set up.  I don’t know how they do it.  We’ve played with Jucifer twice, and I’ve never seen them set up or tear down.  I have no idea how these two people set up all this shit, cause they tour, and I’m pretty sure it’s just them and their dogs. 

G:  In an RV, right?  Where are they putting all these cabs?

K:  I think they pull a trailer.  If not, then they have to have carved a big section out just for all those cabs. 

G:  I remember hearing at one point that Fugazi had mapped out the back of their van to scale, and plotted everything out so they could Tetris their entire live rig into one vehicle that they’d ride with.  You know how some bands will tour with mapped stage plots & shit?    They had a stage plot for the back of their fucking van.  I’d imagine Jucifer’s trailer has a similar schematic drawn up somewhere. 

K:  Yeah, I’d believe it.  Actually, Fugazi got it right, man.   That’s the ultimate goal for touring-  have a vehicle large enough for all your stuff to ride comfortably and not have to pull a trailer.  I mean, you pull all this expensive equipment that you’ve attained over the years by this thing that’s maybe the width of a forearm. 

G:  …And it’s also easily detached from your vehicle and loaded onto someone else’s. 

K:  Right.  No matter what kind of fancy locks you buy, people can get into it.  I don’t like it.  There was one time we stayed in a really weird area, and they had the shittiest hotel in the fucking universe.   Like there was mold, and it was just gross.  Whatever, though-  it was cheap.  Anyway, I was telling Kirk he should disconnect his car battery, cause I was worried about waking up in the morning and everything being gone & us being stuck.  I don’t remember if he actually did it.  It turned out ok, luckily, but, yeah, I remember being dead serious, like “You should pop your hood and disconnect the battery.”  (Laughs)  

G:  “Let’s just straight-up put the battery under the bed.” 

K:  (Laughs)  Right.  “Just bring the battery inside, and stand guard over it all day.”

G:  I’ve downloaded or picked up all your shit, and one of the things that interests me is that you guys have a pretty cool aesthetic.   Like, on the one hand, you’ve got elements of occult imagery like that etching that’s on the Infernal Paramount vinyl.  Like an Enochian symbol for conjuring extra-dimensional beings, or whatever.

K: Right.

G:  And on the flipside of that you’ve got songs like “Mazda of Puppets” and merch with pictures of Charles Bronson fucking some dude’s ears up with ‘Deaf Wish’ written on it.  I think it’s cool to meld that humor with what is otherwise intense, dark imagery.  What I want to know, basically, is whether that’s something you’ve consciously cultivated, or is it some kind of reflection on who you guys are? 

K:  When we started we didn’t think we were ever gonna play a show.  So it was literally me and Marcus getting stoned and cranking out songs in our old apartment, which was 3424 Hartford in St. Louis.  That’s what the 3424 thing is.  So 3424 was a four-bedroom apartment that just had so many different people live there over the past, like, four or five years.  I lived there for, I think, about three years.  Marcus lived there for about two years.  It was a rotating lineup of people living there.  We actually even kicked around the idea of all of us getting 3424 tattoos.  Anyways,  we didn’t think we were gonna play a show, so we didn’t take it that seriously.  There was a lot more humor involved, especially at first.  I would go as far as saying that we’re funny guys.  (Laughs)   We like to joke.  Like, fucking Marcus has done standup comedy.  So it kinda comes out, you know?  If I’m hanging out with my friends there’s gonna be some laughs.  A lot of it kinda started off as a big joke, really.  The whole Bronson thing-  we liked Charles Bronson.  I still do-  he’s the fuckin’ man.  I don’t even remember why we decided to do the whole Bathory/Bronson thing, but I’m sure pot was involved. 

G:  I’ve got that shirt with the Bathory logo with Bronson on it instead of a baphomet head.  

K:  That’s like the number one thing we sell that we’ve ever come up with. 

G: I get comments about it every time I wear it.  People are like “Who the fuck is this band?”

K:  We’ve had like five different shirts so far, and that’s the one that everyone wants.  We just quit selling it.  Like, “You know what?  Fuck that.  We need to sell these other shirts.”  We’ve probably made, like, no shit, 200 of those.  We’d order them 50 at a time, and we’ve done it four times, so we were like, “Fuck it, we’re done with these things.”  Our Bathory cover doesn’t sound anything like Bathory.  We never ended up putting vocals on it, cause we were fucked up.  We were doing a lot of drugs that first year, and we’ve definitely dialed that back.   We just decided, I think, to take the band just a little more seriously.  The humor’s still there, but not as much.  I think that we’ve gotten a lot more serious.  BUT, Deaf Wish was such a great title.  I thought, “Why didn’t I think of this in 2009.”  So that still made the cut, and then we ended up making the shirts that have got Charles Bronson like shooting dope into somebody’s ear.   Now we’ve definitely dialed back the humor, and some people don’t like that.  They don’t like that we don’t play stuff like “Witchfucker” and “Trainwrecked” anymore.  We’ve definitely lost a handful of fans.   When we first started we had the mean sounding stuff.  The first song we ever wrote was brilliantly named “First”, and that was a meaner song.   After that we did, like, “Chemothunder” and “Blood Bong” and “Trainwrecked”, and “Trainwrecked” is Sleep worship.  That’s all it is.  It’s just us jamming.  The original, the demo version, I wanna say is like 16 fucking minutes long, and it’s all one riff until the last 3 minutes really, and then the riff changes finally.  And that stuff’s fun-  I like when bands do that-  but I think we started pushing out a lot of the Stoner-y, fun-sounding stuff to stick with the mean shit.  I personally feel like we excel more with that stuff than the fun-sounding stuff, if that makes any sense.   

G:  The meaner stuff is probably what attracted me to your band in the first place.  You’ve got some genuinely menacing shit, you know?  And a lot of bands eschew that in their approach for whatever reason.  Maybe they wanna be more approachable, or maybe they just wanna do simpler shit.  But having that menacing vibe… I don’t know.  I’m probably not articulating this very well, but that’s one of the things I find cooler about you guys.  You’ve got these macabre elements, but then again you’re a band called fucking “Fister”.   Its funny, but then on the flipside you’ve got all these really intense songs.  I like that there’s a synthesis of both of those elements alive & well in your music; I like that you can play this really menacing shit, but also not be that stereotypical “Trve Cvlt” metal band that’s like “EVERYTHING SUCKS! BARGGGGHHHH!!!”

K:  Right, man.  You know, I fucking hate those guys.  I mean, I fucking love Black Metal; I love Funeral Doom; I love these more serious forms of metal, but that’s not my personality, especially offstage.  I’m just a dude- everybody is-  but I’m a fun-loving guy.  I don’t have a “Doom Metal” attitude I guess.  I don’t like it when people take themselves way too fucking seriously.  In another interview when we first started, or maybe a year after we first started, I said something along the lines of “Bands who take themselves too seriously are assholes.”   Now, we’re also starting to take ourselves a bit more seriously, and amongst ourselves we’re assholes, so… (Laughs)  I think I enjoy the meaner stuff a little more, and I think we’re better at writing that stuff.  And we haven’t  completely abandoned blues riffs by any means, but a lot of our stuff that’s kinda bluesy, like our side of the split with the Lion’s Daughter and “Trainwrecked”, I don’t think sounds as original.  I don’t think we fully understood what we wanted to as a band at the time.  I still like the songs, and we still play Santabbath.  I’d say with Santabbath we someow lucked out, because I personally think it’s probably the best song we’ve ever written, and that’s got a definite blues influence.  But with songs like  “Witchfucker” and “Trainwrecked” and “Obsolete Amps”, I just don’t think that they represent us the best, if that makes any sense.  That’s why we don’t play them anymore.   I think we’re more serious about the band now, and we’ve got more of a vision of what we want the band to sound like, and there’s not a lot of room for the fun stuff anymore.  I think if you’ve liked what we put out this year, then you should be able to dig the new stuff we’re writing.  We put up a few demos, and it’s more of the menacing stuff like you were talking about, but then again we put that Rush cover on it.  (Laughs)

G:  Thank you for not doing a Geddy Lee voice, by the way. 

K:  That was Ben.  The guy who did the vocals on that was our buddy Ben.  We were originally a four piece and he actually played guitar and did vocals as well.  He’s a touring sound guy for a living, so he just couldn’t be in the band full-time, which worked out, cause I think it’s better being a three piece for many reasons.  But, yeah, he was in town when we did this benefit show, and that’s the only time we played that song.  I thought his vocals sounded better than ours.  (Laughs)

G:  Right on.  Well, you’ve had some really cool, unique things going on with your releases.  In particular, the Infernal Paramount vinyl is probably one of the cooler records I’ve bought this year, as far as presentation is concerned.  You’ve got a fucking record that plays backwards and inside-out with a locked groove chanting “Satan is Lord” on the outside. 

K:  You know that’s Bill Hicks making fun of people for listening to records backwards. 

G:  (Laughs)  You’re gonna have your Judas Priest trial any day now.  Anyway, I think it’s rad as fuck, and then there’s the Violence cassette release- which I didn’t get to pick up because you’d sold out of it by the time I got into you guys…
K:  If it makes you feel any better, I don’t even have a copy, and it’s gone. 

G:  I really appreciate it when a band makes it worthwhile to not just go out and torrent their shit, you know?  And you’ve got cool releases that are worth owning.  Is there anything that you go for or are striving towards when you’re planning these releases? 

K:  I want people to think it’s worth it.  When we were doing those blood booklets, doing the blood draws, screen printing, drinking & shit- we were drinking whiskey and being very unsanitary about the whole process, which wasn’t the goal.  The original goal was to be very sanitary and very sober, but it ended up turning into a weird party.  But there was a guy who said something that I dug.  He said “What I’ve always liked about your band is that you always go really big and really cheap.”  Like the Infernal Paramount, those records cost us 8 bucks a piece, and that’s with the covers, and little plastic bags, and the download cards.  The etching was actually more expensive than if we would have recorded and put a side B on that record.  So we sold them for $10, and we gave away a bunch of copies on tour, so we lost money.  And that’s fine.  The ultimate goal of our band is to lose as little money as possible.  It’s not necessarily to make any money, but to lose as little as possible.  (Mark 1:05:25:26)  Originally we were gonna do Violence on a standard, shrink-wrapped cassette, and we were gonna sell them for 5 bucks a piece.  But then we were like, “What if we had all these artists run with a theme of each section of the songs, and what if we made these booklets?”  By the end of it, the Violence tape ended up costing us about $7.50 a piece, so $750 to release 100 cassettes.  (Laughs)  In the end I feel like the $10 asking price for those tapes was very fair.

G:  Well, totally.  It’s a really fucking cool package.

K:  Yeah, well we sold out of it in about 5 weeks and they were gone.  So, luckily I was right, and we’re not sitting on like 90 of them.  We probably would have bit the bullet and said, “fuck it.  We’ll sell them for $5.”  But we always want our stuff available for anyone who wants it.  We’re doing a rerelease of Violence on vinyl  with this new upstart label called Gogmagogical Records.   We’re doing 10”s, and there’s gonna be 5 different colors with 5 different covers, and 100 copies of each variation.  And this guys spending a lot of money to do them, and he wanted to know what to sell them for, and we were like “$10.”  I’m not saying we’re always gonna be able to sell things for 10 dollars, cause I definitely have some big plans for things, but we always want it to be fair, and we’re not out to make a ton of money.   If we were out to make a ton of money, we’d be playing different music.  I think a good package is important.  I love when I see a band do something really cool with their packaging.  I think 1) it actually helps fucking sell the record, and 2) they’re cool, man!  I seriously wish I had a copy of that goddamn tape, but I accidentally gave my copy to one of the artists. 

G:  I dig it man.  I’m a music fan first and foremost, and a musician second, and I think most fans appreciate it. 

K:  I think most people playing this kind of music are fans first. 

G: Totally.  So having that extra element, something really cool and unusual about it, is fucking rad.  We didn’t end up doing anything nearly as cool as what you did for Violence, but we wanted to put it out on cassette instead of just pressing a bunch of CDs so that at the very least we would have something out of the ordinary.  I feel like people appreciate that.

K: Oh, for sure!  You know, most of the people who bought our cassette, I guarantee at least 70 of them, if not more, haven’t even listened to the tape.  We had to put a download card in there.   They were buying a booklet, essentially.  The whole package.  Our stuff’s online for “name your price”, which includes free, and most people download it for free, but once in a while I’ll open my paypal and be like “Oh shit.  Someone gave us $10. Awesome.”  It still blows my mind when that happens, even though I do it too-  I’ll throw bands a few bucks, and it feels awesome.  You can fuckin’ buy a sandwich, or whatever, you know?  

G:  Haha, yeah man.  I think we’ve recouped the cost of the cassettes themselves, but when you factor in recording costs, any sort of promotion, stickers, buttons and whatever else you’re throwing in, it adds up.  It’s a similar story for us-  we have no delusions of fame or grandeur, and I think the ultimate stance, at least for us, is that we’d rather have more people who are into this kind of shit hear us and dig it, than not hear us at all.  

K:  Right. Absolutely.  I mean, there are ways we could feasibly do something we could see a profit, but what’s it worth, you know?  That’s not why we’re doing it.  We have jobs that we’re comfortable with, we just also happen to like playing music. 

G:  Fuck yeah, man.  Alright, I know you’ve gotta run here in a second, so I’ll give you my one goofy question as a parting note:  Given the name of the band, when you’re fisting do you prefer to start out with a duckbill hand position?  Or do you just go straight for the balled fist?

K:  (Laughs)  You know, we’re fucking posers.  I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m pretty sure no one in our band has ever physically fisted anybody.  I personally would say that, if I had to, which, as a side note I have no desire to, but if I did, I think I’d do the whole thing where you clump all your fingers together.

G:  So duckbill. 

K: Yeah!  Once it’s in, sure, ball your hand into a fist and go at it.  (Laughs)  I’m in a relationship, and I’m pretty sure my girlfriend wouldn’t be into the idea of me experimenting with that. 

G:  Right on, man.  Well, thanks again for doing this. 

K:  No problem.  We’ll definitely make sure we hit you up when we make it out to Denver so both our bands can play together. 

Huge thanx to Grant and Kenny for this captivating tchat...
HAIL IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS, HAIL FISTER !!! wish you guys that your bands will play together in 2013, I'm sure Steve Miller would have good times at this gig and write a nice little report of such a killer show ;)

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