Street Light Suzie

STREET LIGHT SUZIE

The Austin420 recently caught up with the guys of STREET LIGHT SUZIE! It is only right that we feature this rock quartet as their support for The Austin420 has always been there since day one, gracing the cover of issue #1 to be exact. Fifteen issues later, while we have evolved, so has this band, originally forming as a trio in 2008. The critically acclaimed Red Album was recorded in L.A. after catching the ears of ex-Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Gilby Clark! Street Light Suzie brings home an honest, hard, gritty, down-to-earth rock sound, and have a unique way of getting reaction with their high-energy performances! They just rock!

AUSTIN420: It’s been a few years since we interviewed you guys, what happened with the first line-up?

WILEY: We went on tour, a long tour like two months. I think it just started to get too much. Chuy quit, and then Ben quit and that’s kind of how it was. That’s about it. (Laughs)

AUSTIN420: Tell me about your most recent release.

WILEY: The red album. We went out to L.A. and worked with Gilby Clark and it was a blast; I personally found out that I was not as prepared as I thought I was. It was hard man; it was definitely a clinic for me.

AUSTIN420: How was it working with Gilby Clark?

WILEY: It was awesome; he was really cool, he was all business, his energy never dropped. He was totally cool, but I don’t think that, I personally, didn’t feel to his caliber of musicianship. He asked me, ‘have you ever had singing lessons?’ and I go ‘No’, and he goes, ‘you can tell’. (Laughs) I was like ‘Oh…okay.’ It was cool though because he played on the record, “Dobro” and “Cowboy” and sang on it and stuff like that.

NIKKOLI: Oso almost broke his foot!

WILEY: Yeah…oh that’s right! I felt so bad about it. (Laughs)

OSO: There was a spider downstairs and they needed somebody to get it out of there and when I was going to toss it, I jumped back and then Gilby and Wylie both jumped back; while Wylie landed good, Gilby stubbed his toe.

WILEY: We looked back and he’s talking to his wife and he was like, ‘I think it’s broken’ and Scott’s like ‘oh god!’ (Laughs) The next day he showed us his foot dude and it was all fucked-up.

OSO: I felt like shit! It from FUNNY to FUCK!

WILEY: I was so glad that wasn’t me. (Laughs)

AUSTIN420: What are you guys up to now, as far as currently?

WILEY: SXSW is coming up, all that stuff! Getting a full-time drummer; we have a couple of guys that we are talking to and stuff. We’ll see.

AUSTIN420: As far as the songwriting, how have life changes inspired it?

WILEY: Oh with Street Light we haven’t. Originally the other songs, those were really more written during when we were living together at the apartment, you know.

OSO: The haunted apartment.

WILEY: Yeah it really was! Just weird shit went down in there and well, just those songs, you know, and then we sent those songs out to Gilby to see which ones he, you know, was looking to record, and it just kind of went from there.

NIKKOLI: Some of the new stuff though that we’re working on is pretty heavy.

WILEY: Yeah, definitely a lot heavier.

NIKKOLI: And Wiley has some solo-stuff going on, Oso has some solo-stuff going on too, and I play in Hyde-Park Showdown as well, so it’s cool to be able to put this kind of music into one place. I think that’s why we’re all still totally into it because there’s a place for this and we really enjoy doing the live shows, which still have crazy entertainment!

WILEY: We all started to just move back to just heavy, you know, just crazier stuff. We tried some stuff on this album, like harmony stuff and all sorts of shit, and just growing as a band.

OSO: The songs were just kind of written without aiming for a certain type of thing you know. And then once Gilby was brought in to sing, he was the one that was like ‘let’s shape them like this’. Those songs could have gone either way; they could have made a hip-hop record out of them, they could have gone rock with it you know. So Gilby added his little taste production-wise, but these were going back to the old style of just making Rock!

WILEY: Exactly! Not taking things so seriously.

AUSTIN420: What makes Austin home for Street Light Suzie?

WILEY: Street Light was created here!

NIKKOLI: People are absolutely insane in this town; the only place in Texas where you can be absolutely insane and everybody’s like ‘alright’. (Laughs) With bands in Austin, you’re seeing the best of everything; if it’s a music type, it’s in Austin; the best guys are here doing it.

WILEY: Especially like those “old-kats” that have been doing it for like 40 years dude! That is just ridiculous; they’re pretty good at it because they’ve been doing it for a very long-time. Aw man, it’s insane. All those who just shaped their tone over that long, you know, so it’s just this perfect, almost-like listening to a CD; it’s too good!

NIKKOLI: It’s the best of everything, you know.

AUSTIN420: What your take on the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington?

WILEY: I think that’s pretty obvious.

OSO: We’re actually moving there next week. (Laughs)

NIKKOLI: We’re looking at homes right now.

OSO: Street Light Suzie is going to be the band formerly from Austin!

WILEY: That’s funny. ~

 


Powderburn

POWDERBURN: IS IT A DEAL?

The Austin420 recently caught up with bassist Greg Enkler and guitarist/vocalist Eric Anthony of Austin favorite Powderburn; needless to say that this was one of the most fun, of many interviews for me to conduct in a long while. Drawing from a wide-range of influences, Powderburn has developed a sound all their own, a sound that’s original, gritty, melodic and 100% in your face! While in search of a record deal, Powderburn has also been able to share the stage with the likes of heavy-weights Slayer, Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, Machine Head, Three Days Grace, and Staind, and have also been a part of SXSW for the previous 5 years. So have a seat and have a listen. Powderburn is one band to watch as they are definitely on their way!

AUSTIN420: How would you describe the Powderburn sound?

ERIC: In your face!

GREG: It’s really, really, good hard rock; it touches on different elements of metal, thrash metal, speed metal, whatever, but really when it boils down to it, it’s melodic, it’s got big hooks, and it rocks!

AUSTIN420: How has the response been to your 2009 One Fix release and have you received any label attention?

ERIC: A little bit, ‘hey, you want to come and talk to us?’ And we go to talk to them, they disappear.

GREG: Yeah. I don’t know if really anybody is getting label attention right now. The industry is kind of trying to find its own footing. We’re kind of waiting for it to figure it out, and then we’ll figure it out from there.

AUSTIN420: What do you guys particularly like to express through your lyrics and music?

GREG: With the music, it’s whatever we think is going to be either fun to play, fun for people to listen to, fun to play on stage, you know whatever we are going to enjoy playing at that point. Lyrically, we’re usually telling stories about either people we know or people who know people who we know, it’s always about somebody in particular, but it may not be somebody like obvious.

AUSTIN420: Where do you draw your inspiration from for lyrics?

GREG: Anywhere and everywhere; I could hear something on the radio, I could hear something in the background of a TV show.

ERIC: Life experiences.

GREG: Eric can just be listening to the engine of his jeep going.

AUSTIN420: While Powderburn is self-managed and self-produced, how has going the way of sponsorships helped you guys out?

GREG: That’s been like the one major stepping stone that we’ve really had. Between Jagermeister, Coffin Case, an often case of Budweiser, we’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things like the Jagermeister music tours.

ERIC: A lot of cases of beer a month.

GREG: We’ll get special events here and there opening up for a lot of major acts which has all been through the sponsors.

ERIC: And a lot cases of beer a month. (Laughs)

AUSTIN420: I think I know where I need to go. Sponsorships! (Laughs) In having such a wide range of influences, how has Powderburn been able to appeal to such a wide and diverse audience?

GREG: Because we all have such different tastes in music, it generally gets reflected in the songs, so, in like some songs, the one’s that Eric writes are way more geared for the speed-metal, thrash-metal type of people, the ones that my singer writes, they tend to lean a little more almost industrial and experimental, and the ones I write are very straight ahead like rock, almost radio rock. And when you start blending them, you get some of the different sounds and styles that we play with every now and then.

ERIC: We played Six Flags in Dallas and you know, a bunch of kids were all screaming like we were the Jonas bros. or something, little girls little boys you know, and their parents going crazy. And the very next weekend we play a strip-club and get the same reaction from other people, and I’m like “What are we doing wrong or what are we not doing right”, because we hadn’t got any attention or management and all that, but we’re playing to this huge variety of audiences.

AUSTIN420: That’s got to be something to see. You guys have shared the stage with many great acts, which of those experiences really stand out the most?

GREG: That’s a tough one because I remember all of them. When we played in Lubbock with Staind, that was a big indoor/outdoor amphitheater, and it was PACKED! And because we went on as the sun was going down, we could see every single person. It was the same thing when we played Mayhem Fest, one of Eric’s first shows with us in ’08, there were thousands of people there, like 10,000. And this is at 3 in the afternoon; it was hot as shit, you burned your feet standing on the speakers, but it was worth it because there were so many people there. I can tell you about every single show and why they were awesome!

AUSTIN420: In talking about the Powderburn live-experience, what do you guys hope for fans or first-timers to take from your performances altogether?

GREG: We want them to have fun, that’s the main thing! We want everybody to leave our show, basically as happy as they can possibly be. We get people who come up to us all the time saying “I don’t like this kind of music but you guys are great”, “I don’t like this kind of music but I like you guys”, “I don’t like this kind of music but you guys are so much fun to watch”. So that’s all we care about is that they enjoy it! We’re not trying to necessarily have any type of agenda; we just want people to have fun!

AUSTIN420: What makes Austin home for you guys?

GREG: That was kind of dumb-luck. Like I said, we had moved down over from the Northeast and we kind of just, we came down here on basically ‘a dare’. You know, we took a shot in the dark to see what the Austin music scene was like and we fell into it. And we got lucky and landed Powderburn, you know. So it’s treated us well. Really tired of the heat, but it’s treating us well. Eric you know (from Houston), he made the whole two and a half hour drive here, and our drummer was born and raised here, so he’s the only actual Austinite in the band.

AUSTIN420: What do you have coming up for you guys?

ERIC: The guy that produced Pantera, he did 3 songs with us, so hopefully that’ll be coming out.

GREG: We have some shows lined-up and we’re probably going to end up back in the studio sooner than later. Stay tuned, check out our Facebook, our Twitter all that stuff; keep in touch with us. We always have something interesting coming out of left-field or random, and if you don’t have some kind of contact with us, then you won’t know what’s happening. Just keep tabs on us.

AUSTIN420: Any final comments?

ERIC: Thanks for having us over! ~

 


Ashes Of Babylon

ASHES OF BABYLON: CULTURE OF LOUISIANA REGGAE

Throughout the Austin Reggae Scene there have been quite a few bands that have earned a tremendous respect among fans and fellow locals not just for their great music, but in the manner in which they communicate that music. It’s a universal connection between the music and the fans, and only a certain few can capture it; Ashes of Babylon is one band that has truly captured that essence and it shows time and time again. Ashes of Babylon is a unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and R&B, all brought together under the umbrella of reggae, and need I say, is one of the most talented groups I’ve seen in a long time. I recently caught up with guitarist/lead vocalist Jacob Crenshaw, (while in between tour dates) as we talked of the early days, the songwriting, and the fans responses to their most recent effort Day to Day Living!

AUSTIN420: When did you guys come together as Ashes of Babylon?

JC: Ashes of Babylon was started in 2006; I actually was not a part of that. I joined the band a couple years later. Cory and I had been playing music in the Virgin Islands and then again in Georgia in a couple different bands starting in ’03. Then Cory had to move from Georgia back to Louisiana and within a couple weeks, he started Ashes of Babylon. Living in the Virgin Islands, you know, reggae music just gets into your blood. It was only a matter of time before I just kind of followed because we had been playing music together before, and it was reggae music; they were even playing a couple songs that Cory and I had written together, so I just kind of jumped right in. Yeah man, we’re going on 6 years now.

AUSTIN420: Who are some of your biggest influences, musically?

JC: Well, it’s hard not to sound too cliché and to say what every other reggae band would say, but obviously Bob Marley because he was responsible for exposing the world to reggae music. We like to blend a little bit of everything that we listen to, to the music that we make. So, I have to say everything from jazz greats like Louie Armstrong and Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, all of them to the funk bands like George Clinton, not to pin down particular influences because we’re such a big band. There’s eight of us and we all listen to various things and we are all inspired by different things, but we all come together under reggae music, and so we like to mix everything that we like. Our common ground is reggae which is sort of why we call our music “Louisiana reggae” because everything that comes from Louisiana is just a mixture of cultures.

AUSTIN420: With an ensemble of very talented musicians, how are your songs, typically composed and written?

JC: Well, it depends. We have a few songs that kind of start out as a jam and someone will run with it, but for the most part, we have 4 individual songwriters; most of our hip-hop inspired songs are Beau’s, and then Cory writes more rootsy stuff, Scott is a little more pop, a little more Louisiana. So a lot of times, we’ll have one of us write a song and have it (for the most part) done, as far as structure of a song, but then we bring it to the table and rehearsal, or whenever we’re on a writing kick or have time to pursue something new, then we’ll all bring it together, and that involves a lot of co-writing and eventually they end up becoming the signature Ashes of Babylon sound (no matter who wrote the song). We always aim to keep a consistent sound no matter who is singing. That can be a difficult task sometime, considering that the four of us have such different styles from one another, but that’s where coming together and being on the same page comes in. No matter what kind of solid reggae bass-line Cory or I may come up with for one of our songs, it’s going to get funked-up as soon as Eric starts slapping away, it’s just inevitable, just one of those things.

AUSTIN420: How has the response been to your previous effort in Day to Day Living?

JC: Well, pretty good man! It’s always good to have a record out there because our goal as a band is to play live no matter what. No one’s really buying records anymore, everyone can download your stuff, but that also means they can download your music for free, and we understand how that works and so, we always aim to bring a good live show and have fun while we do it, but at the same time, to have fourteen songs, all with the same vibe, all the same sort of feel, and something they can leave the show with in their hand, put into their CD player, their I-pod, whatever; it’s something that they can take with them. I think the response has been pretty good. We don’t have a huge national fan base because we don’t tour, we’re strictly independent, we don’t have a manager, we don’t have a booking agent, we don’t have anything outside of the AOB camp. We’re strictly grass-roots to this point, not to say that’s not going to change, but as long as we can rock it, just the eight of us, then we’re going to do it. With that being said, the album peaked at I believe 24/25 on the I-tunes Reggae Charts and it saw some good reviews. We haven’t had any negative press about it and we’ve got nothing but love from the fans, so I can’t complain.

AUSTIN420: Where are your tour plans taking you guys this summer?

JC: We started our summer tour (I guess unofficially) a couple weeks ago. Since we all have other jobs, we take in a week to two weeks at a time, but aim to stay ‘on the road’ as much as possible. We get to play a lot of fun gigs. We have some shows in Austin coming up and then we’re going to set out for a good two-week stint at the end of July where we’re going to do a Gulf-Coast, more just a south-east U.S. Tour. We’re going to head all the way out to Georgia, maybe go as far as Savannah, and then cut back through Florida. So we’ll have an opportunity to play all the cities that we’ve been building a fan-base in over the last 6 years as well as some new ones. Our destination gig is Fort Benning, Georgia on July 28th and so we get a chance to play for the soldiers out there on post! And then that night, we’re going to play in Columbus, Georgia downtown at a place called The Loft that Cory and I have been really dreaming about playing. We actually lived in Columbus and went to school at Columbus State University; that was in the pre-AOB Years, after the Virgin Islands but before Ashes of Babylon was founded in Louisiana. When we were playing in Georgia that’s where we were living, and so we have some friends out there, and this is just one of the spots that you can go see your top notch musicians and has the best sound in town, has the best atmosphere, etc. We always wanted to play there and this time it just kind of fell into our lap, so we’re pretty excited about that, and to get to play for the soldiers, and then to be able to play at the premiere music venue (all in the same day) ought to be fun! And we’ll be playing The Austin420 3rd Year Anniversary show, which ought to be a fun “homecoming” for us!

AUSTIN420: Where do you guys particularly stand with medical cannabis and/or the legalization of cannabis in Texas altogether?

JC: You know bro. I really think that as a nation we’re making a lot of progress. We’re coming up to the point to where very soon we’re going to have more states than not that are just plain out decriminalizing for medical use. To ignore the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, it’s a sad thing, you know. There are so many medicines out there, but for lack of a better way to say it, the cure is worse than the disease. But then you know there’s a natural remedy that we can turn to. I think the state of Texas with as right-wing as it is, it’s a red state and the biggest one there is. I think we may be a little slower-growing in the movement than maybe other states, but we’re going to do what we can. I feel blessed to have a voice with Ashes of Babylon; people know how we feel, because it’s evident in our music and we don’t shy away from talking about how we feel.

AUSTIN420: What has made Austin home for Ashes of Babylon?

JC: It was kind of a funny set of circumstances. We had played a few shows in town while still living in South Louisiana and hadn’t really considered just out-right moving, but we realized that we had a good response and that we were building a group of fans here in the Austin area and Cory and I had talked about “possibly” moving. We cut our first record Revolutionary Roots, we recorded it all ourselves and then Eric’s uncle, who lives here in Austin, he works at Yellow Dog Studios and he did the mixing on both of our records, and was an engineer on Day To Day Living. So we had been in touch with a few Austinites and set up some shows. We had a warm response at the Flamingo Cantina and every time we play there, it’s a blessing. Cory and I talked about ‘maybe Austin would be a good place for us to live?’ It’s a bigger music scene and in Lake Charles, Louisiana it’s not a huge scene. We got to where we were packing the shows, but then you know we really weren’t traveling a whole lot, due to day jobs and school from one person to another, but the problem is that it’s a hard thing to bring up to a 7-piece, which we were at the time. How do you bring that up to five other guys some of which have children and wives? One day after practice, Dan, our drummer, told us that he’s going to have to quit the band because he’s going to move to San Marcos, Texas, so we looked right at him and said, ‘alright dude, then we’re moving too’ (laughs). ‘You’re not going to quit the band!’ ‘We were going to move, and didn’t want to move without you. Great, now we get to move together; you’re not getting out that easy.’ That’s what brought us out here. If Dan wasn’t going to move, I think we probably wouldn’t have moved, but we’re a band, we look out for each other, and we lean on each other at times, and we’ve become a family over the last few years and forget finding another drummer, we have a great chemistry and we’d like to stick with that. We’re not one of those bands to have hired-guns, you know; we have a solid brotherhood between all of the members and I think that’s important to making good music. So we stuck with that and made the move, made the most of it and it’s turned out to be a good move. Austin has treated us great, we’ve made a lot of great friends, there are countless places to play, a lot of shows with world-class sound and staff all over the town; it’s really a fantastic place, because my favorite thing to do besides play live music, is to see live music. I mean we’re in the Live Music Capital of the World man, I can see anybody I want to see. All I got to do is look in the Chronicle or look at any entertainment rag, or google it and I can find somebody that I want to see on just about any day of the week, possibly for free! Any style of music man!

AUSTIN420: Since you guys are headlining the 3rd Year Anniversary Bash for The Austin420, is there anything you want to say to the folks out there or any final comments?

JC: It’s going to be about a month since our previous time playing in Austin, it’s kind of close together but we do play in Austin a lot, so it’s really no biggie. We played Red Eyed Fly before for your birthday party and that was a blast, so I don’t see why it should be any different? We feel blessed with the opportunity. You’re going to have an anniversary party; we’re honored to be the band selected to play. ~

 


Beyond The Blood

BEYOND THE BLOOD: SOMETHING CALLED MURDER

With a brutally in-your-face attitude, the hardcore thrash metal assault of BEYOND THE BLOOD is one that is quite worthy of paying attention to. Comprised of Henry Ellizondo (guitar and vocals), Danny Gonzales (guitar), Lennon Lopez (drums/sequencing), and Alex Campos (bass), BEYOND THE BLOOD delivers a sound of ferocious speed and a thunderous intensity, just enough to rattle every bone in your pathetic body! This is old school thrash at its finest, but with a modernistic feel. These guys are far more than just another metal band!

AUSTIN420: HOW DID YOU GUYS COME TOGETHER AS BEYOND THE BLOOD?

HENRY: I want to say we got together in January/February this year, 2011. I had some riffs, you know, a couple songs I had written and I was looking to start a new band. Lennon and I (prior to this band) had a band going before this. We had lost touch for about 8 months to a year, so we couldn’t actually get together to start jamming or anything, so Danny and I started to get together. We sat down one night at my house. Danny brought his amps over and within 2 to 3 hours, we had come up with a song. We thought it sounded pretty good, so we had a friend of ours bring in a drum machine and delay and we recorded the song that way; it sounded pretty good. After that, I tried to hook up with Lennon and gave him a call. I showed him the songs, and said, “if you want to try out?” I mean, he already had the job! (Laughs)

AUSTIN420: WHAT BANDS DO YOU HOLD CREDIT TO THAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW?

LENNON: As for anyone, a musician, you know, we just jam to jam you know and along the way, in doing what you do, you’ll hear good music, and people tend to follow the good music; you know if it’s good because you can feel it, no matter what it is. If it is good shit, it is good shit, if it’s not, then it’s not.

AUSTIN420: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SOUND OF BEYOND THE BLOOD?

LENNON: Thrash, Fuckin’ Thrash! It has its modern tones to it, it has its grooves, it has its breakdowns, you know, it’s all over the place. It’s done well; it’s done by good musicians.

AUSTIN420: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LYRICAL THEMES THAT ARE INFLUENCING SOME OF YOUR SONGWRITING?

HENRY: A lot of that has to do with what’s going on in the world today, you know, all the mayhem, all the violence, what’s going on with war, with all the stuff like that. “The Sacrifice” is one of our songs based on the troops down there. You know, they’re just rushing down into something they don’t even know what they’re getting into. They’re getting blown away and then, I’m sure they get a funeral, but then they get a flag and that’s it. I mean, for what? We have no business down there man! Stuff like that inspires the songwriting.

LENNON: And you hear that concept too, and it drives the music even that much more. There’s meaning to a song, you know what I mean. The lyrics are pretty hardcore!

AUSTIN420: ANY STUDIO PLANS AND/OR TOUR PLANS FOR 2012?

DANNY: We’re due in the studio in early January, so we’re hoping to be done with it, hopefully by the 1st of February. At least the recording will be done for sure. The mixing, we’re looking to see who we want to mix it because that makes a big difference there. We’re going to go to someone who has a nice studio, Pro Tools, everything! But mixing, we need someone who knows what they’re doing to make us sound big!

HENRY: We want to send it out to somebody who hopefully already has the background to do this kind of music, but if we can you know. It just depends.

AUSTIN420: AS FAR AS YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCES GO, WHEN PEOPLE SEE YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE FOR THEM TO TAKE FROM THESE SHOWS, ENERGY-WISE?

ALEX: Just enjoy the show! It’s bad ass! You know, give them 100%!

HENRY: Yeah! We want to have fun, and that’s the main thing. That’s why we do this, to have a good time and for the crowd to have a good time. It’s hard because you get certain crowds, where you’re not going to please everybody man, some are gonna hate you, some are gonna like you, some are gonna love you, I mean that’s just the way it goes. But for the most part, we try to keep that energy going through the whole time and not give them a chance to back down you know what I mean, just keep them on their toes, the whole fuckin’ time, if we can.

LENNON: It’s the type of gig (and I’ve said this over and over), you’re either going to hate the music or you’re going to love it. The ones who love it are going to be die-hards, they’re going to be fuckin’ all balls deep into it dude! It’s some good shit!

AUSTIN420: WHAT NEW TERRITORY, IS HARDCORE/THRASH EVOLVING INTO THESE DAYS?

DANNY: I think it’s coming back! What I see is that there are a bunch of bands who go 100 miles per hour, they’re just goin’ and there are these other bands that have all these great breaks you know…CHNK...CHNK…CHNK, but there’s no drive. It doesn’t go anywhere but sit there, one break after another, it just doesn’t go anywhere. You know what I mean. It just stays in that little rut, so, what we’re doing is, we have breakdowns, but we also thrash it out! If you just have rhythm breakdowns, the people don’t feel the drive or need to move, to push somebody and get a pit started you know.

LENNON: That’s about the majority of them, right now. There are the good ones you know.

AUSTIN420: A 420 QUESTION HERE.

LENNON: Yes! (Everyone Laughs)

AUSTIN420: WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE WHO’S SUFFERING IN SOME WAY WITH A MEDICAL CONDITION, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CANNABIS MOVEMENT?

LENNON: To sum it up in one simple answer for however long this interview is going to last, we can go on forever! It’s ridiculous on how it’s being regulated, and it’s ridiculous how a majority of rule and freedom in this country is being regulated, but you know, I’m just another guy amongst millions, and so it’s going to take more than just me. What I could say is, think about how many people have thought, ‘well, what’s the #1 killer today in America?’ Alcohol & Tobacco! It’s the shit that’s available to you readily, know what I mean. Do your research. There has not been 1 death due to marijuana use. The most you’ve seen from it are ‘kats’ trying to hussle it, or slang it, and get shot for it, but who overdoses on ‘pot’? You know what I mean? (Laughs) Smoke more pot people, look into your history, and look at where we came from and where we’re going. There are a lot of things that are going on right now, it’s right there for everyone to see if they want to just see. They don’t have to believe, but think about the possibility, the question of possibility, could it have happened? And move on forward, you know what I mean. Make your decision, but smoke more pot though. (Laughs)

AUSTIN420: ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

LENNON: Smoke more pot, listen to Beyond the Blood, support your local scene, you know, really support them. Thrash Metal brother! ~

 


Del Castillo I

DEL CASTILLO: CASTLES IN THE SKY

AUSTIN420: How’s the reception been for Del Castillo throughout Europe?

Mark Del Castillo: We had great reception, as good as we could hope for at this point. We’ve only been there like three times and it just keeps getting better and better. We got great crowds and packed up a lot of places. We were surprised! We have a full team of people over there working for us; they did a great job getting everything set up, so when we got there, people knew we were coming.

Albert Bestiero: There were a few places that we played at that we were returning to. So those places, especially, were SOLD OUT. It was like going to visit old friends, they were very receptive. Everybody treated us well, so it was real fortunate.

AUSTIN420: What were some of the new places that you guys hit this time around?

MD: We went to Norway. We’d like to go to Norway on different circumstances, I think, next time (laughs). We had to play at the late spot of a great festival, which wasn’t bad, but then we had to go straight from there to the airport.

Alex Ruiz: Like 3 in the morning, after we played at 1. So, we played two gigs that day.

MD: We played at 1 in the morning that day, and we got to the airport and flew out to go set up and play that night.

AR: But that was just the exhausting part of it, but the cool part of it was that we found out that the Norwegian sun does not go down until 10pm (laughs), then it comes up at 4, 4:30 and people are already out and about.

AB: We also did a gig in this town of Bergin, where there’s a mountain, and the only way up to this place up there, is by cable car. So we went up by cable car, all of us with our equipment, and one guy with a big backpack who was going to jump off the mountain. So we go and we set up, and we’re playing and then all of a sudden, we look out, and you can look out over the city, and there’s this guy paragliding.

AR: He just flew off, jumped off the mountain and… (laughs)

MD: We did a music video while we were over there; he’s in the video. It looks amazing, you’ll see.

AB: For the amount of time we’re over there, you try and cover as much ground because you know you’re so far away from home. Sometimes it was tough, but every night was rewarding because there wasn’t one crowd that wasn’t receptive to what we did.

AUSTIN420: So what’s life on the road like for Del Castillo?

MD: In Europe it’s different because we’re going constant, constant, constant, boom, boom, boom; 21 gigs in 25 days! You can’t really compare ‘life on the road’ over there to here because it’s not the same; we have breaks here, and we get to go home after a weekend or whatever.

AR: We get to feel ‘human’ again.

MD: If anybody was feeling stressed or frustrated or tired from the day, by the time we all got on-stage, nobody showed it and then the next morning, we’d all be tired. (Laughs) Every time everybody got on-stage…we’d be better. Everybody would step up and we’d do what we had to do.

AUSTIN420: When you guys are off the road, how do you spend your time?

AB: Definitely, time with family.

MD: That’s become very important lately, especially with all the time we’re spending over there. It makes you realize how much time you need to spend at home.

AR: Yeah! Gotta see the kids grow, because every time you turn around, it’s like ‘my god did you stretch’ or ‘you already know how to skateboard?’ ‘I wasn’t around!’ (Laughs) ‘How did that happen?’

AB: It helps in keeping you to appreciate when your home. You’re not home for long, so you really appreciate it that much more, and then when you get on the road, you’re kind of glad to be back doing what you love to do. You long for one, and you long for the other. When it’s in balance, it’s great!

AUSTIN420: What projects has Del Castillo been involved with lately?

MD: We’re trying to get back with Robert (Rodriguez), we always exchange texts and stuff about ideas, and what he wants to do, what we want to do, but it’s just one of those things like when are we gonna do it? He wants to do the song that we did for Machete “Cascabel”. He wants to do that live and that’s a work out for everybody, so we got to prepare for that. The main thing is that we’re trying to get Chingon going again, just to get it up and running and so we can make a couple of appearances here and there. It’s fun for everybody. I know Robert likes to do it and he’s the guy that’s so busy, he wants to do it, just doesn’t know how to find the time to do it.

AUSTIN420: When can we expect a new studio release from Del Castillo?

MD: We just had another meeting about that today. (Laughs) I think we’re gonna call it like a Six Pack, six new songs and it’s going to have the video we shot in Europe for a song “Canta”. So we hope to have that out in a couple of months. By the end of summer, that would be great!

AB: A friend of ours just expressed interest in doing maybe some more live footage. He has a production company that they’re putting together and they want to do something with Del Castillo. So maybe at the next Nutty Brown show there might be some type of filming, I’m hoping.

AR: There are also talks of a Los Lonely Boys/Del Castillo album, another Six Pack! It’s turning into a party now Vince!

AUSTIN420: Del Castillo has always been a fusion of many styles, has any new styles played an influence as well?

MD: We’re starting to be more expressive with the influences we’ve had that we’ve kind of held back a little bit. Everybody is trying to throw in a little more of themselves. Where before it would be like ‘uh that’s not really Latin’ or whatever. Now it’s like ‘hey, that sounds cool’. Let’s throw in an electric guitar here’. Like in Europe, I started playing the electric a lot at the end of the night just to do something different. I think we’re getting to that point where we’ve been doing it for so long, we wanted to start doing something fun with it and change it up a little bit you know.

AB: There were some pretty special nights in Europe with the ‘encores’ where it got kind of experimental, where we just said ‘Let’s try something really different you know’, and usually we’re a little bit more rehearsed for something like that and we just went for it.

AR: We did a “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Highway To Hell”! That was so fun!

MD: This is stuff that you’ll never see Del Castillo do or never would have thought of. That just happened, but it was funny and we just laughed about it. And the next day ‘how did that happen?’, ‘who started it?’, ‘you started it!’, ‘I didn’t start it. You started it.’

AUSTIN420: What’s the one thing that makes Austin home for Del Castillo?

AR: Austin is the coolest town to be in. I mean there are so many great towns, here around Austin that it makes you feel at home. And the funny part Vince, we’re all the way in Germany, right? In Hamburg, and Albert runs into the sound guy for Nomad, from here. He works at the Continental and does sound for King’s X. It’s hilarious. And the next thing you know, we’re hanging out with Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Albert’s favorite guitarists, Mike Keller, was there too.

MD: It’s funny, because over there, Austin’s so revered and to come back to Austin from over there, it definitely feels like home. When you live here, you don’t take it for granted, but you kind of expect the scene that’s here. You start realizing how special it is when you go overseas. It makes you really long for home.

AUSTIN420: In closing, Del Castillo has always had a great sense of compassion. I’m curious, what is your stance in regard to the medical cannabis movement?

AB: If something helps somebody out and it’s not harmful to other people, I think they have every right to do whatever helps, whatever makes you feel good. We all have different levels of pain. We all have different levels of comfort, and if something helps alleviate ‘your pain’ or helps alleviate ‘your condition’, then more power to you. I firmly agree that we all have the right to do that, because that’s the pursuit of happiness, to live life free. You were talking about compassion. I think that as a society, in general, we become compassionate in accepting people for different lifestyles, accepting people for different ways of looking. Everybody’s the same, just because you look different or talk different or eat different, doesn’t mean you’re different.

MD: And that’s the great thing about Austin is that you get that unity here. It’s not really the same all over the state. You go to small towns in Texas and they’re not as compassionate or understanding. So, it’s always great to come home to Austin.

AR: Smoke ‘em, if you got ‘em! ~