Whitechapel Guitarist Discusses Mayhem Tour, New Album + More
Loudwire caught up with guitarist Ben Savage after their opening day performance to get the vibe on how the new songs are going over. Savage also spoke about the video for ‘I, Dementia,’ the direction of the new album, and their expectations for this year’s Mayhem run.
You’ve gotten your first taste of Mayhem 2012. How was it and what do you expect from this tour?
Well the first show is done for us, and we had a couple of technical difficulties, but overall it was cool. It was overwhelming just seeing that many faces out there. We were playing new songs for the first time, so it felt good playing out there. It’s just a great, great tour. Great food, great that the show’s sold out, so it’s fun to see over 25,000 people for a metal show. That’s great.
So playing new songs for the first time? Feeling good about the response?
I feel we did pretty damn good. Alex, our guitarist, had some difficulties with his guitar so I bet he wasn’t having a good time, but I was having a good time with it.
Had a chance to hear ‘I, Dimentia’ off the new record and the guitars are sounding great. Can you take me into that song and where it comes from?
That song, the first riff I was kicking around for six months. It didn’t really fit, because it seems like every note in that riff just has to be there or it wouldn’t work. So I worked on that riff for a long time, but the verse riff after, that’s Alex’s riff, and we’ve had that on for like two years. So a lot of riffs stood the test of time on that song and it felt like it came together and all the parts just fell into place.
And also had a chance to see the video as well. It’s visually striking and kind of has that White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ thing going on. What are your thoughts on the final product?
We definitely got inspiration from it. But the song is about dementia and we wanted sort of an endless feel to the video, kind of like how thoughts are and how they just occur and keep coming right at you. So that’s how we wanted it to be and ‘Seven Nation Army’ was a good template for it. We didn’t have it going the entire time, but it still gave that vibe out. I remember that White Stripes video from when I was a kid and it still stuck with me after that long, so might as well pay homage to it.
I love the cover of the album. That’s kind of a cool look for this disc with the emblem of Tennessee worked in. Why did you choose it?
We’ve been looking for a symbol for a long time as a band and we always had that, but we put it off to the side. And we’ve been through other symbols and that one stood the test of time the best, so we’re like, let’s just use that.
I mean this record’s definitely a different sounding record, so we wanted kind of a sort of fresh thing on it, but yet pay homage to the three records that came out beforehand. So that book kind of symbolizes wear and tear and what we’ve been through and everything and the symbol, it represents a new era for the band. It was all kind of last minute. We were done with the record and we still didn’t have a cover and couldn’t think of anything, but that was the only thing that made sense so we just went with it.
Is there a song off this new record that you really want to get out there and play live?
I love ‘Possibilities of an Impossible Existence,’ and we were playing that live, but one of the songs that I want to get out there is ‘Make It Bleed.’ I really enjoy that one. It’s a strong, strong, powerful, anthemic song.