Snake Skin Prison


On December 4th, I caught up with the guys of Snake Skin Prison, and need I say how extremely cool these guys are! With an infectious flare for that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, the sound of Snake Skin Prison is in-your-face, hard-hittin’ and literally brings out the rock ‘n’ roll hell-raiser inside us all, as quite obvious in the bands recent release of 9 KINDS OF BAD! Drawing from influences such as Metallica, Lynrd Skynrd, Thin Lizzy, Pantera, Lamb of God, Slipknot, and death metal/tejano, this trio has produced a gritty, soul-driven, thunderous sound of their own. With Matt Ballengee on vocals & guitar, Keith Ploeger on bass & vocals, and Marc Coronado on drums, Snake Skin Prison, like a snake crawling out of its skin, is solidifying their presence onto a new horizon as one of Austin’s premiere hard rock acts! This moment was living the life on both ends; the spirit was alive as nothing else could have captured it better!

AUSTIN420: With the new record, how’s the reaction been so far?

MATT: Extremely positive!

KEITH: Yeah, it’s been incredible! People are loving it!

MATT: We’ve been excited about releasing this album; we’ve put a lot of work into it. So, I don’t have a negative thing to say about it.

MARC: Accept our ex-girlfriends don’t like it! (Everyone laughs)

AUSTIN420: How would you describe the studio experience of 9 Kinds of Bad?

KEITH: It went lightning fast, we got drums setup and Mark was done with them; I mean 10 songs in three hours, just laid it out, and the engineer was like, “Dude, that was solid! Want to do another one for fun while we’re here?” (Everyone laughs) He just knocked them out! Two takes for every song and killed it! Bass took about 4 hours and then, guitar took a bit longer because it was layered and Matt went back and did vocals, did solo’s, I mean, that was it! It was just fast! We knew what we were doing. We’ve been playing these songs for a while. We went in there knowing exactly what we wanted and how we wanted it. And that came right out, just how we needed it!

AUSTIN420: Tell me of your new video for “Alcohol of Fame”.

MATT: We did that in Dallas with Dreamwork Conquer. I had seen some work that they had done with a couple of other Austin bands, so I hit him up, and we went up there and stayed a couple nights. I’m really satisfied with the outcome that as well. I think it’s awesome!

KEITH: As for the filming of that, again, I guess “FAST” is just one of our words man! That was done in like a day and a half, you know just speeding all over Dallas to all the different locations, getting everything done. Matt went back up for a couple other shots, but with the band, it was about a day and a half. The director didn’t even sleep; he just stayed up all night coming up with ideas, getting stuff ready, editing. All that good stuff!

MARC: He brought chicks for all of us and they all had boyfriends! (Everyone laughs)

AUSTIN420: As far as the songs, what inspires the writing?

MATT: Just the lifestyle, you know, that I live, that we live. One thing that I really take to heart with my lyrics and stuff, is I write about stuff that’s happened to me that I’ve been through and any song, any lyric, I can literally sit down and say ‘this is why I wrote this’, ‘this is what this means’, and just life experience, from “Alcohol of Fame” to “Liquor Roulette” to “Moonshine Shake” to all of them. It’s just living the life!

KEITH: Most of it, is true stories and it’s great to just sit down with a brew and just listen to Matt tell you a story; you’re like ‘Hey Matt, what’s this song about?’ He’ll sit there and tell you the story. It’s really incredible and all the lyrics just sort of come together when you hear the whole story.

AUSTIN420: With the new record, what’s 2011 look like as far as touring goes?

MATT: Well, that’s definitely on our plate! We have been discussing possibly doing like a southern tour. Obviously, we feel like our music will do really well, I mean not just in the south, but the whole beer-drinking, hell-raising atmosphere and that’s obviously not just in the south, but with me being from West Virginia, we’re thinking about shooting over to the coast, shoot up to West Virginia and then come back to Austin, so we really don’t have any concrete plans, but that’s definitely in the works.

AUSTIN420: What’s life like on the road for you guys?

MATT: A blur! (laughs) It’s a lot of fun!

KEITH: We’ve hit all the major cities in Texas and man we have a blast I’ll tell you what! We know how to party, we know how to have fun, whether it’s pissing in ice machines, or throwing furniture into the pool, breaking stuff man, getting the cops called on us at 4 in the morning! Ah man, I think we’ve done it, we surely know how to have a good time!

AUSTIN420: What’s your favorite thing about living and performing in Austin man?

KEITH: Man I’ll tell you, there is no other feeling in the world like getting up there and playing “Rock ‘n’ Roll” for people. That is my ultimate high in life. I have never done anything that is that fun and feels that good! It’s what I live for man! It sounds crazy, but that forty-five minutes, that hour, every night, it’s just makes it worth it and it’s everything that I live for!

AUSTIN420: Any final comments?

MATT: I mean we just love to play! It is a full-time job and it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work. We are just very thankful for the support we are getting, from the people in Austin and from the people of Texas and people around the country. Me personally, it’s really fulfilling to play a song that we’ve written and see how it really moves another individual, you know what I’m saying? Money’s great, girls are great, food is great, booze is great, but it’s not a cliché when there is no feeling like being on stage and playing your songs and not having to sing because everybody knows all the words. And that’s very special! To me, that’s the biggest pay up! We’re just very thankful for all the support and have a  fuckin’ blast! That is what life is all about! ~