36 Crazyfists’ Brock Lindow Talks ‘Time and Trauma’ Album + More
36 Crazyfists just celebrated their 20th anniversary and they're just about to return with their new 'Time and Trauma' disc. The group dropped the single 'Also Am I' just before the holidays and they're currently ramping up to the album's release on Feb. 17. Loudwire had a chance to speak with frontman Brock Lindow about the disc and you can check out the discussion below:
Congrats on the new album, but first, I wanted to ask about your 20th anniversary show. How does it feel to be two decades now into this band?
You know, it feels good, you know? You always set out to have a bit of a career with this and you know 20 years went pretty fast to be honest. I was pretty shocked to tell you when we hit the 17th anniversary in Germany a few years ago and I was like, man, they showed it on TV and it was just, I was thinking about what kind of cool thing we could do for the 20th of course. We played a show which was amazing but you never really have enough time to set something up. I was thinking about maybe some kind of slide show going on behind us with all the years and I was like, wow, we're going to look really old and fat if we do that so maybe we shouldn't. But yeah, it's great. We'll still be kicking around with the band and 20 years in we've seen a lot and had a lot of fun so we're grateful.
What's the biggest change you've seen in the band since the early days of getting this thing off the ground?
Well the industry, I mean boy, when we started out there were no cell phones, there was no Internet, I mean the internet was just firing up so you know, all of that stuff from the beginning just touring was a lot different. I wouldn't say it was extremely hard because I remember having that book where you book your own tour that came out years ago that was kind of talking about how to set up your own tours and it was super helpful. I remember that was all you needed. That is just what you did and you sent your press kit to the club and they'd guarantee you a couple of pizzas and a beer and you'd be on your way. So, you know those days was a lot different.
You had MapQuest papers all over the van and now you don't need that at all. You got Siri telling you exactly where to go on your phone. So I guess in a sense there is a good and a bad of the industry's technology enhancements. As for the band of course, we're a lot more professional than we were back then. We know how to get the job done on a nightly basis as opposed to maybe just doing it for your buddies and the house parties in the garage or wherever you were. So it's definitely more of a business now and most of the changes are just the technology of it all.
'Time and Trauma' is a cool title for a disc. Can you tell me about what led to that being the title?
Well, the entire, most of the record is a recurring theme about the past and my mom in 2011. So, that is kind of where we first started writing the record. It took a few years to get it done mostly because all of us were here in real life and wanted to get off the road for a little bit. We had toured pretty hard up until 2011 and then I got the call when I was in Europe about my mom being diagnosed with cancer so the tour ended and I came home and basically got off the road after eight years straight. I just hung out with my family and my mom passed away in 2011 and I had already been kind of writing tunes and basically waiting and hoping we would get back to the right part of it. Thankfully Steve [Holt] was very patient and kept sending me songs and I started writing.
I never really realized how much I really needed music until after that. I've always had music in my life. It's always been there for me for the use of emotional outlets but nothing in my life that had happened was that heavy for me personally. Luckily we have awesome friends. At an early age we lost our original bass player in the first year of the band but you know, losing someone so close to me was probably one of the most difficult things that I've gone through. I have a lot of parents writing in and that really made me be able to find some peace and some closure writing the record. So the record is all kind of trauma. The very first lyric I wrote for the record is, "I've seen the devil in so many of my days lately I've decorated far too many graves." That was the original lyrics that I wrote before I wrote anything else that turned into this song. Kinda trauma and you know just seemed like a fitting title for the overall theme of the record.
I'm sure over the years, you've put your own experience into the music but this comes from a more personal place. Was this a more challenging record for you to open yourself up and put all this out there?
I don't know if it was more challenging. It was just something that I wanted to get really right. Let it really resonate inside of me and be that, that piece of closure that I probably needed, unconsciously. Mick, our bass player -- his mother also passed away during the writing of this record. It was a lot of that stuff just going on. It just seemed like, it was good to be challenged, i think you need it to create something special for yourself. So, the material was there. The material just came out whenever for me. I wasn't grateful for the situation but I was grateful for the opportunity to get it off my chest by writing the record.
You mentioned Mick going through the same thing. Did that draw you closer together in terms of where this was going?
Yeah - I think it did. Mick has always been the teddy bear in the band. Everyone gravitates towards him, he's a little older than us. He was a dad before I was a dad. I've always looked at him as a guy to look up to and we do share the same experience, unfortunately. I did it first, so yeah, it brought us closer. But I think that the entire situation and the career of the band, we get quite a good brotherhood that I feel that's the reason we've lasted 20 years.
We've had the chance to hear the single 'Also Am I.' Talk about that song.
That song is about kind of finding your own solace in prayer, for me personally, I've been praying my whole life to a spiritual connection that I wouldn't say obtains to any structured religion or book that you may have read. It's something that I've always had in my life and it's really helped me. But it's always made me question who am I talking to exactly? Am I talking to a part of myself, to tell myself to do certain things a certain way? Or am I really talking to a higher power? I think I am but i'm not totally sure and that song is about the mystery of prayer, I guess.
Would you say that song is representative of the rest of the record?
I don't know. I think it all has its own little ... I wouldn't say it goes too far to the left or right, really. I don't know if I would have picked that song for the original first look for everybody but it was a group collective that decided that it showed all the facets in the band. I totally dig the song. I think there are similar cuts to it and I think it goes all over the board.
I've never been so excited about a record in a long time anyway because of the entire new team that we've put around ourselves for management, booking, record company. We've had a sit down with everyone that's listened to the album and we really haven't done that before. Maybe for the first two years with Roadrunner but It's been really refreshing and getting to Spinefarm and listening to everybody's thoughts on the songs. It's been a while since we've got that in depth into the record per se, with other people outside of the band. So, I think it's a strong record and I think they all have their own little life but i wouldn't say they're too far one way or the other from the song you've heard.
To offer a little preview, do you want to talk about one or two of your favorite songs on the album and why those tracks stand out?
'Time and Trauma' was the first set of lyrics that I wrote for the record so that song had it's own special little kick off of the album, for me. It sets the tone for the lyrical content being about the due process that I went through with my family and just the whole fragility of life concept. That song, for sure, and it's a cool song. It's very droney, slow and heavy -- one of my favorites on the album.
There's another song on the album I love to play called 'Sorrow Sings.' We've been playing that song live since our last UK tour last year. It's been getting a lot of practice and it's a great heavy, groovy jam. The cool thing about it for me, I tried to get back to a lot more of a melodic approach. I didn't scream just for the sake to make things heavier. I tried to sing over heavier parts, just to get back to what my original style was. It was more of a melodic vocal singing style. So there is still some screaming going on for sure but there's definitely more of a melodic singing record. I'd say it's like a dark, moody hard rock album more than i'd say metal core or anything like that.
You've had some lineup changes over the years. With Kyle Baltus now on drums and Mick Whitney back on bass, can you talk about what that meant to the recording of this album?
I think Kyle is one of the reasons the band is still going. Thomas [Noonan] wanted to retire. That was kind of around the time of us all taking a break from it and dealing with our own lives. I thought, well, maybe that's the end? I've played music for over 20 years with Thomas, even before this, so one of my best friends. I really didn't see us doing much without him and then Steve our guitar player came to me like, 'Hey man, I've been jamming with Kyle. What do you think about jamming with him?' I knew Kyle, he's a bit younger than us. He's a really great talent from Portland, Oregon. I was like, 'Yeah, let's talk to Thomas.' I really wanted to make sure that we had his blessing because we had gone through so much together growing up. Thomas was totally on board about it, gave his blessing to Kyle and has been super supportive.
We went with Kyle and about the same time we were also hearing that we could get Mick back, so it's unfortunate that Thomas quit but having Kyle has been a wonderful addition to our band and definitely having Mick back is just ... everything is so much easier. We've got a different drummer but it's from the same family. I couldn't be happier with the lineup right now.
You mentioned you've already worked one of the songs off the new album into your sets. But anything else off the new record that you really want to see how it goes over life with the audiences?
Well, any of them really. We've been playing 2-3 of them off and on over the last year and you never really want to play too many new songs to people who haven't heard it because people want to hear what they want to hear and it's usually old stuff. It's gonna be cool to test out any song on the record. It's one of those albums where I feel we can play any of the songs live. We haven't always had that in the past. We write songs that just seem to not work in the live setting. Every song on this album except for maybe the last track, it's a slower song -- it's a song I love but I don't know if it will really get much live play. It also has a guest vocalist on it so it'll be difficult to do without 'em. I'd say I'm excited to play all of them and that's going to be the beauty of February hurrying up and getting here so we can actually have it out where people can hear the songs.
I smiled when I saw the limited edition hockey puck you have in the bundles, very cool.
So excited about that! I'd like to take some credit for that but I really can't, even though hockey is me eating in the morning. It's my favorite thing in the world. Tim Brennan at Spinefarm came up with that idea and it's just so genius. I don't know if we're the first band to ever do it, but I haven't seen bands do it before.
I know you're a huge hockey fan. What are your thoughts on the current NHL season?
I'm a huge Flyers fan so it's been an up and down season so far from the boys of hockey in general. It's like listen to Ozzy. Ozzy always makes me super happy and when hockey is on TV I really don't care who's playing, it just makes me happy.
I've run into a few bands that are huge hockey fans and I've seen them do the thing where they'll detour through hockey arenas when they play shows. Ever done anything along those lines and get in some free ice time?
Nah, I haven't. I just flew out to New York to do some press and I skated at Rockefeller Center for the first time which was really a lot smaller than it looks on TV. Then we ended up going to the Rangers / Penguins game that evening which was super cool. But nope, never have. We hit some games on our days off that just happened by chance. We saw the Flyers play the Devils in Philly on a day off which was great. Then our tour ended in New York and the next day was a Rangers game and we ended up staying the next day to watch the game, which was also cool. But no, I haven't had the chance to set my tours up around NHL games, but that'd be something great.
Lastly, new record coming out and you're looking to tour in the new year. Any other things we haven't talked about that we should be looking for from the band?
I think this is the first time we've ever had a pre-sale bundle. I could be wrong, but I don't think we ever have. Just in general, we're excited about February. It's been about five years since we've had an album come out which is totally crazy. It's about as crazy as 20 years in the band. I couldn't believe that five years had gone by since the last album. We're just excited to get back to work and out on the road and connect with the people who are interested in our band and build on that. Twenty years into it obviously we're not the biggest band in the world so we're chomping at the bit to get up the ladder and all these opportunities that are starting to come our way are something we're super grateful for. We're lucky to still be able to do it.
Watch 36 Crazyfists' 'Also Am I' Video