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Off The Record

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One of the most refreshing new bands on the Tooth & Nail roster is punkband Off The Record. The first time I heard their music I liked the way they combined punk rock with metal. To get to know this new band a little bit better here's an interview with vocalist Keith

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Interview With: Keith Allen (vocals)

Date: February 29th 2000

Where: This is an E-mail interview. Date refers to date first E-mail answer

Other Bandmembers: Ryan Schueller (Guitar), Dan Atkinson (Guitar), Chris Ozorio (Bass) & Danny Hidalgo (Drums)

Band's Geographical Home: Lakewood, California, USA

Discography: Remember When...(2000)

Available Through: Off The Record & Tooth & Nail Mail-Order

Official Website: Off The Record

Interview By: mpo

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You just released your debut-CD for Tooth & Nail Records. Personally I like the way you combine metal and punk rock. Like the first song makes you think you're a metalband at first. How do people seem to respond to this combination?

Great question.  Our younger fans initial reaction is that of, "You guys must be joking" but after two or three songs they're totally into it.  We love metal (Pantera, Metallica...) and why not combine metal with punk?  Our style of punk is rooted in metal, from the distortion sound of the guitars to the sound of our drumset.  When we play now it's cool to see kids backing the metal style.  Don't get me wrong, we're not a metal band, but anyone who listens to us can see where our influences come from.

The way you combine those styles sounds very natural. The outcome is attractive for both punk rock fans as well as metalfans I think. Off The Record started some years ago. Was this the combination you started with or did it grow gradually?

The Off The Record you hear now is definitely not the OTR we once were.  When we first started out we were very melodic.  I played guitar back then and could only do simple things (basic riffs and octaves), this held back our music a lot because our other guitar player (Ryan) was so good.  Over a year or so Ryan progressed a lot with his guitar skills. Within no time he blew me out of the water.  He was listening to a lot of Strung Out and Pantera, which got him into the metal sound, and over time he just started combining the two styles.  Once I saw that he was the man I knew I should step aside as a guitar player and bring in someone who could accompany him.  This of course was Dan.  Dan has a ton of skill and he adds a lot to the band.  Dan is more into the melodic punk which is great because it adds a uniqueness to our band.  We played with this line up for 7-8 months before we got signed.

When I listen to the guitars I hear that they sound very metal, not only because of the sound of the distortion but also because I hear all those harmonic sounds, and that great solo in Good Times. Am I right to conclude that one or both guitarists grew up as a musician playing metal?

Actually neither of our guitar players grew up playing metal.  Ryan was a huge Green Day fan and that's all he played (this in his early teenage years).  Dan has pretty much been into melodic punk (Lagwagon/No Use For A Name).  It wasn't until recently that our guitar players started getting into metal.

When hardcore is combined with metal, they call it metalcore. How do you feel about calling your music metalpunk?

Um metal punk is cool I guess. I really don't think we're that metal. I think the guitar distortion and the drums is what gives people that impression. Metal has definitely shaped our music. It's funny because some people don't really consider us punk. I think it's because punk has become so poppy. Somewhere in-between lies Off The Record. I wouldn't feel comfortable giving my CD to Pantera or Metallica and saying "Yeah, check out my band, we're metal." They would listen to it and laugh! On the other hand a lot of fans of Slick Shoes or MxPx listen to our CD and say we're not punk, we're metal. So, whenever someone ask what do we sound like we just say The Supertones, they're popular aren't they?

That's a good one! Something else now. I received a promo-copy of this CD with no booklet, so no lyrics. Can you tell me what the lyrical-side of the band has to offer?

I write all the lyrics and my lyrics usually deal with my own convictions. I'm real into theology and philosophy and if you were to label me then I would be Reformed (Calvinist). The majority of my lyrics deal with total depravity, how without God ruling your life it's impossible to do anything good. I'm sure when I say that it makes a lot of people mad. But these are my convictions. None of my lyrics say Jesus, God.....but they are all rooted in scripture. Our desire as a band is show people Christ through our actions. We don't feel called to be an evangelistic band like POD or Supertones, that's not our style. But we do want to show people who Christ is through our actions. The first letter of Peter says, "without holiness no one will see the Lord." When people read our lyrics they will know that we are Christians and hopefully our lyrics will challenge them to understand that they are nothing without Christ.

Okay. If you could tour with any band from the Tooth & Nail or Solid State roster, what band would you like to pick?

I don't know, who's popular? Supertones? We just want to play in front of people, and of course the more the merrier! Seriously though, playing with Living Sacrifice, Zao, and Project 86 would be pretty cool.

In the next few months you will be promoting the CD. What may people expect as it comes to touring and playing festivals?

They can expect to hear some crappy music!    We really put an emphasis on playing tight.  We won't play a song if there's any doubt.  For example, don't expect to hear Another One. We can't play that tight.   I don't know why we just can't.  We really don't care about that song though. It was written as a joke.  It was written when everyone was getting into Blink, so the whole structure of the song (drumbeats/chorus/style of singing) is a spoof on Blink.   We're not dissing Blink, we all like them, we just thought it was funny.   People can also expect to see a very energetic live show.  Too many punk bands just stand there and try to look cool. We don't want to be like that.   We do all the cheesy jumps, mostly myself and the bass player. We're always jumping over each other.   We also joke around with the crowd a lot.  We always point out the big jock who's knocking over the little kids in the pit and make fun of him.   We try to create an atmosphere on stage that shows how we live off stage.  Off stage we joke around a lot and bag on each other so why wear a mask on stage?  Too many bands disassociate themselves with the crowd but we want to make ourselves venerable to them.

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