With the release of PRO PAIN's 10th studio album "Prophets of Doom" nearby, I had the chance to ask Gary Meskil some questions by email. Read what the legendary CRUMBSUCKERS and PRO PAIN-mastermind had to tell about the new album, the past, the present, the scene and more... |
"Prophets of Doom" is the title of your upcoming album. Could you tell us what it is about?
Gary: Prophets Of Doom is a bit of a concept album in that most of the material has to do with current events and how we feel about the big and important issues that consume us on a daily basis. America has become a country that is ruled by an Industrialist Neoconservative Oil Monarchy that will stop at nothing in order to achieve it's dirty goals, and Bush is only part of the problem.
These are hard times in which we live, and as a songwriter I can choose to either escape reality or confront it (I choose the latter). Prophets Of Doom is without question our most politically inspired effort.
"Prophets of Doom" - the title sounds very negative, even compared to your earlier album titles. Is that the role PRO PAIN has chosen? Is it
really ment that negative?
Gary: "Prophets Of Doom" are 'soothsayers" that are able to predict inevitable destruction or ruin. Considering all of the destruction and carnage that has taken place over the past several years, it does not take a soothsayer to figure out where this world is heading...unfortunately. So, I thought it was a very timely title for this album. Negative? Perhaps. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
If I'm not completely wrong, "Prophets of Doom" is PRO PAIN's 10th studio album. All in all, are there any songs you wouldn't write again? Are there songs that still send cold shivers down your back when you hear them or play them live?
Gary: Of couse, there are songs that I think are weaker than others for numerous reasons...but I wouldn't go so far as to say that I regret writing them. I do have regrets (like most), but they don't lie within the songs or the song writing process. To play the critic: I would say that I listen to some of our older material with a different set of ears nowadays, and so I don't get the same feeling from it that I used too (particularly the first 3 records). The same could be said of the recordings I did with my old band CRUMBSUCKERS. I still get the "vibe" from everything post the self titled CD (Pro-Pain).
You're supporting KREATOR on their US tour these days as replacement for DEATH ANGEL. How is the fans reaction towards you? After all, KREATOR and PRO PAIN don't have that much in common as far as the music is concerned...
Gary: At the present time, we had already completed several shows on the Kreator Tour. Unfortunately, Pro-Pain was forced to leave the tour due to a death in the family. However, we had some very good gigs on the tour. Now I'm back at home trying to catch up on a few things. Kreator and Pro-Pain are not as compatible as say Hatebreed/Pro-Pain or Kreator/Destruction, but somehow it seemed to work just fine. We are used to playing with bands that are out of our immediate genre.
Did you get to know KREATOR's Mille Petrozza? As both of you have very strong opinions on political and social issues, I'm quite sure there could be some lively discussions...
Gary: I have met Mille on several occassions during the course of the tour, and I found him to be a nice guy. Unfortunately, we never got a chance to discuss anything of a political nature.
Gary, your earlier band was called CRUMBSUCKERS and as far as I know, this band released two albums ("Life of Dreams" and "Beast on my back",
re-released by Century Media in 1998) in the mid and late 80ies. You have been a musician and part of the (NY)HC-scene for more than 15 years, almost
20 years. Looking back, how do you feel about this time? For example, what do you think about the changes the music and the scene went through in these
Gary: The scene has changed a lot since I released my first record with Crumbsuckers in 1986. Somewhere along the line, hardcore music unfortunately became more of a fashion statement than anything else, and the "tough guy", "gangsta" persona became the mouthpiece for hardcore instead of the
educated concerned "thinking man" that sought change. That is unfortunate.
As for how the music industry has changed: Obviously, downloading (especially) has put a major dent in sales, and all record companies and artists are really feeling the "pinch". It's much harder to make a living being a musician nowadays, and so I feel for today's underground artists.
Thankfully. we had some very good years when people were still going to the record shop to buy their albums. Now, the record labels are trying to settle for .99 cent downloads ala Itunes etc... Well, that may solve part of their problem, but it doesn't mean that the artists are getting compensated. As a matter of fact, I am yet to see any money as a result of anyone downloaded my material. The other side of the argument has always been the "exposure factor". I always thought that was silly, because if you get great exposure via downloading you just might get lucky enough to get signed and then be ripped off later by the very same downloading that jump started your career. So, as much as I hate to say it...I side with Lars Ulrich on that issue. As for the other aspects of the industry: There has been a scary amount of consolidation going on over the past few years. Now, 3 out of every 4 records sold in the world are sold by the "big 4" major labels. Clear Channel now owns much of radio and live music in general. So, unfortunately it's a very corporate environment and so it's a terrible time to be an independant artist.
Another word about the CRUMBSUCKERS. I saw PRO PAIN as support act for BÖHSE ONKELZ (at a concert I visited because of PRO PAIN in fact), I believe in 1995 or 1996, and I remember there were people who asked for CRUMBSUCKERS-songs. Does that still happen today?
Gary: Die Bohse Onkelz are one of my absolute favorite bands!! With regard to Crumbsuckers requests: Yes, we get requests to play Crumbsuckers songs on an almost nightly basis!! I think it's great that people still remember that band...it was so long ago!!
BÖHSE ONKELZ will split up in 2005 and play their last live shows. Will PRO PAIN be there? I know you'll be in Europe anyways, playing at the
Graspop and With Full Force festivals...
Gary: We are playing with Die Bohse Onkelz at their farewell concert at Eurospeedway/Lausitz on June 18th!! That will be a show we won't soon forget. Yes, we will also be at the With Full Force Festival, Graspop, as well as some select club gigs in support of our new album. For more details log onto www.pro-pain.com.
What do you think about the music style called "Metalcore"? Do you think it is that different from hardcore to deserve a name of its own?
Gary: I think that many of the "tags" or classifications are initially press driven in order to create hype. We're too old for hype (haha). All kidding aside: I think "Metalcore" has it's place, just like Nu-Metal. Is it as legit as hardcore? Time will tell.
I'm sorry, but I wanted to ask this question for quite a long time: did your guitarist Tom Klimchuck participate in the movie "American History X"? I believe to have seen him in one or two scenes, but if so, he's not credited.
Gary: As far as I know, Tom has not appeared in any movies since Saturday Night Fever. However, he's known to moonlight on occassion. I'll have to ask him about his possible appearance in American History X, and then I'll report back to you. My interest is peaked as well!!
Thank you very much for your time and for answering my questions. I wish you much fun and success for "Prophets of Doom" and the upcoming shows. The last words of this interview belong to you. Feel free to tell our readers whatver you feel like.
Gary: Thank you for this interview!! We hope you all enjoy our new album Prophets Of Doom, and we'll see you on tour this summer!!! For more info. log onto www.pro-pain.com.