HMX Alum, Eric Chon aka Veng catches up with drummer Derrick Nau and guitarist Scott Hedrick of Skeletonwitch. Bassist Evan Linger stops in quickly to weigh in on playing the band’s song “Crushed Beyond Dust” in Rock Band. The interview took place outside the venue for the New England Metalfest, so please excuse the incredible amount of excellence going on in the background.
Mr Veng: I’m here with Scott and Derrick from Skeletonwitch
Derrick Nau: Yes, sir.
MrV: Hey how you guys doing?
Scott Herrick: Doing f***in’ great man. We played last night in DC. We’re on tour right now with Cannibal Corpse and 1349 and Lecherous Nocturne.
SH: And just rolled in today
DN: A couple of hours ago
SH: …to Worcester for the 'fest.
MrV: Nice, nice.
SH: Can I swear by the way or is that bad?
MrV: Go ahead, we’ll just bleep it out.1
SH: Ah, ok, cool.
MrV: I slip in to it anyway, doesn’t matter.
SH: Yeah, I have a bad habit, I just thought I’d ask that up front.
DN: Kind of a long drive, but we made it. Got here in time to kind of relax a little bit.
SH: Waking up at 7 sometimes is rough on some hungover heavy metal dudes.
SH: I mean we’re touring with Cannibal Corpse, of course we’re going to party a little bit.
MrV: Awesome, awesome guys. Yeah, so, let’s get down to business first. Rock Band Network – you guys have got a song out there right now
Skeletonwitch: Hell yeah!
SH: We do!
MrV: Which song is that again?
DN: Go ahead Scott
SH: It’s called “Crushed Beyond Dust,” and it’s off of our newest album, Breathing The Fire which is out on Prosthetic Records.
Chance Garnette, vocalist
MrV: So how did you guys get that to happen? How involved were you guys with that?
SH: Ah well, that’s a great question.
DN: I have no idea.
SH: I’m not sure exactly how it initially got started but at one point we got asked, like the label guy said.
DN: “Hey, we talked to the people at the Rock Band Network, they want to put this song on there are you guys cool with it?” And so essentially, it kind of came to us and we were just like, it was up to us to give the ok or not…
SH: And we were like yeah, f*** it let’s do it.
DN: We were like hell yeah.
SH: Absolutely. So I’m not sure who did the inner working there but we’re happy to be on it, absolutely.
MrV: That’s awesome. Have you guys played the game?
DN: I have played the game briefly. I think I played a Nirvana song, at Walmart, when it first came out.
SH: [laughing] At Walmart?
DN: You know when they have the display ones like “check out this game!” And I was like “I’ll check out this game, I used to know how to play some Nirvana songs.”
SH: Evan, our bass player, actually has it, and he’s downloaded our song and played it. [random person interrupts]
DN: One second, buddy.
SH: So he’s downloaded it and played it and stuff. I actually haven’t played it yet because I don’t have a gaming system. I’m sorry.
SH: I know that’s bad but...
Evan Linger, bassist
DN: I think that I’d be real bad at it. I’ve watched some videos of people playing it on the internet and I’m like ahhhh.
SH: Oh yeah. Sadly I know.
DN: I, uh, you know – couldn’t even play your own song!
SH: I know when I actually do get to play it, when we get home from the road, I’m going to be terrible at it. I’m not even going to be able to play our own damn song.
MrV: So you guys haven’t played your own song yet?!
SH: I think Evan has.
MrV: It is hard.
SH: (shouting to Evan): Did you play our song yet?
E: No, I hadn’t. I saw a friend do it.
MrV: It is hard as balls.
E: I was actually like, I even made a comment that he was playing it better than I do, 90% of the time.
E: That’s my quote!
SH: [yells at Evan]
DN: Hard hitting questions.
MrV: Oh yeah, hard news.
SH: That’s right.
MrV: Well that’s pretty awesome. I’m glad you guys are on there. I’ve been a big fan for a long time.
SH & DN: thanks
MrV: The first time I saw you guys…
DN: A big fan of Rock Band?
MrV: Ha ha, no.
SH: Yup, he’s been a big fan of Rock Band since it started.
MrV: The first time I saw you guys was at South by [Southwest] last year.
SH: Oh, cool.
MrV: With Kylesa.
SH: Oh killer.
DN: At the Metal Texas?
MrV: That show, that was awesome, it was intense.
SH: Thanks, dude.
MrV: I started at the back of the room and I eventually ended up like right next to the stage.
SH: It was intense. I think we played 32 shows in three days.
SH: Yeah, it was nuts. I think Jackyl still has the record for most, they have some kind of Guinness World Record, like most shows in the least amount of time.
MrV: Talk about bringing it back.
SH: [To person to the side]: You might know what I’m talking about.
Other dude: Jackyl with a “y”?
SH: F*** yeah. C’mon.
MrV: With the chainsaw?
SH: Yeah! But, uh, we gave them a run for their money. South by was killer last year. It was great.
MrV: That’s awesome. The only times I’ve ever seen you have been in these small venues. Is this – how many times do you guys play bigger venues?
DN: I think this is the fourth time we’ve played at the Palladium.
MrV: here at the Palladium?
SH & DN: Yeah.
SH: This is our third Metalfest. We also played here when we were on tour with Danzig.
DN: Is this our fifth time? Did we play here with Amon Amarth?
SH: We may have played here with Amon Amarth as well.
DN: Or Children of Bodom.
SH: Or Children of Bodom.
SH: So yeah, we’ve had the chance to play some big rooms like this. Like on all the dates on the Danzig tour, the Amon Amarth tour, the Children of Bodom tour, and then now we’re on tour with Cannibal Corpse so we’re getting used to it.
DN: For awhile it made us real nervous. Like the first time we played here it was like our first big show and we were just like…Oh my God!
SH: Oh, it’s kind of an ongoing joke, because maybe it was the first Metalfest, I can’t remember, if it was the first or second one, we weren’t used to a stage this big and everything. I was so f***ing nervous! Everybody was like, “dude, I thought you were gonna go down! I thought you were going to pass out.” But every time we come back and play here the stage seems like it shrinks a little bit. We’re a little bit more used to it, a little more comfortable.
MrV: Well this is a good metal town man.
MrV: It knows you guys, it loves you guys.
Derrick Nau, drummer
MrV: Do you like the big venues? Do you kind of prefer the smaller ones or is it just that each one has its own..
DN: Each one has its perks. Like we were talking to somebody about being on the bus versus being in a van. Obviously there’s a lot of perks to being on a bus but then you’re kind of limited to what you can do and when and where, so.
SH: Yeah, so both are great. To give you an example I guess, when we toured with Danzig the last show we played was at the Warfield in San Francisco.
SH: F***ing killer. Then we drove home from there and played our own shows on the way home. The very last show we played was in someone’s basement in Milwaukee.
MrV: That’s awesome.
SH: and it was also freaking awesome. So it takes all kinds you know. You just play where you can. As long as people are into it and they’re there and the energy’s there, it doesn’t really matter, you know? Because, clearly, we’re doing this because we love it.
MrV & DN: Yeah, oh yeah.
SH: If we were doing it for any other reason, we’d do something else.
MrV: So speaking of your home town, it surprised me to learn you guys are from Ohio.
SH & DN: Yeah
MrV: That’s uh, like how did…I never thought of Ohio to be like a great place for f**king awesome metal bands.
DN: Well it has been, and it is sometimes, I think it is.
SH: It’s not any worse than any other place. I mean, ****, I don’t know. There’s plenty of metal bands in Ohio. Like it’s funny because people do say that to us a lot and I’m kind of confused by it because, like, when you think of a lot of metal bands that you like, I mean, Lamb of God is from Richmond.
MrV: Yeah, it’s true.
SH: Or like bigger metal bands, like Slipknot, they’re from Iowa. People just come out of weird places, it’s just…
MrV: Maybe it’s just that coastal bias thing right?
SH: Yeah that’s it! Where are you from?
MrV: I’m from around here.
SH: Oh, okay.
MrV: So if it’s not metalcore, then it’s not comin'…just kidding.
Scott Hedrick, guitarist & Evan Linger, bassist
MrV: Boston’s got its crop of good metal bands.
SH: Definitely. We did some shows with Doomriders, those guys are great. I don’t know if you'd call it straight metal but whatever you call it, it’s ****** sweet.
DN: Straight KICK ASS!
MrV: Those guys are pretty awesome. Sweet man. I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, but I really thank you guys for hanging out and talking.
DN: No problem.
SH: My pleasure. Absolutely thank you so much.
MrV: Can’t wait to see you guys on stage again.
DN: Oh yeah.
MrV: I mean you guys bring the showmanship into the game – I love that. I think that’s amazing. You know a lot of bands just kinda, well they just kinda sit there. Or stand there and do their thing, but…
DN: I think it’s, well I mean, not to knock anybody that does that but I think it might be well, more boring than what we do. I guess, try to headbang and stuff, you know.
SH: Oh yeah, you gotta, well you gotta give it f***ing all. Like we’re in, you know a perfect scenario, having just as much fun as everybody that’s in the crowd, so like we’re into it. And that’s not faked or like “oh we have to, you know – time to put on the show” it’s that we do what we do. We love doing it. I guess maybe that translates.
DN: It’s going to bed wearing the same s**ty clothes I played in.
MrV: That’s awesome. Awesome. You got any last words you want to throw out to any fans out there?
SH: Yeah, just a word of thanks to anybody who’s come out to the shows, bought a CD, supported us in any way. It helps us keep doing this and doing what we love to do and what we always wanted to do. It doesn’t go unnoticed and we’re grateful for it.
DN: Hell yeah.
MrV: Thanks guys. Oh and I do also want to give one shoutout, thank you so much for putting your albums out on vinyl.
SH: Oh, you’re welcome!
DN: Oh, yeah.
SH: Hell yeah.
MrV: That’s the only way to do it.
SH: I love vinyl myself so…I always want to have it.
DN: And people like it so whatever people like I like, so…
SH: Oh I like it! So I’m people.
1 Despite Veng’s nonchalant “we’ll just bleep it out,” removing the plethora of swears from this interview fell to HMXThrasher, who considers metal interviews to be the marathons of the swear-bleeping world.