|I've read many interviews with the band but I still
don't know how it all began. It seems like in 1990 it all started out of nothing. What is
the history of the band before that?
Aaron: Basically the
history is Ted and Guy Ritter got together, and I believe it was early 1990, and shortly
after Gary Lenaire joined because Gary's Guy Ritters friend. The three of them started it
and got signed to Frontline in 1990 and put out Stop The Bleeding, the first album. And in
Los Angeles is where it all came about and the rest is history.
Since Stop The Bleeding, the debut-album, you released a CD every
year so that makes up to nine CD's right now. Looking back, what are your best memories.
You've not always been with the band, but what are your best memories?
Yeah, I've been in the band five years this year, I think. It's
hard to choose just one thing. When I first joined I was still getting used to the guys
and learning what they're all about and obviously they got to learn what I was all about.
But I think it gets better every year and especially with Ted and Luke, we're such great
friends and I can't really think of any time that we've ever argued or whatsoever. We
might disagree on some things but it's never gotten to the point where we were buttonheads
or we were yelling at each other. So, it's really easy to work with them. And I think that
with each year and each new thing that comes around it just gets more and more exciting.
So, we look ahead to what we do next.
And how does the new bass-player fit in the group?
Uhm, Steve Andino is filling in for just a few shows now. So,
we're still looking for a permanent player.
I thought you had a guy named Vince Dennis?
Yeah. Vince played with us for about a year. Almost a year and a
half. I think of some other commitments that he had and some personal things with his
wife, family things he had to deal with on his own and we thought he wasn't one hundred
percent into it. We wish him just all the best with his other bands. He's just a busy guy
and he gots a lot of personal things going on. So, it didn't quite work out.
Most of the albums were produced by Bill Metoyer except one which
was produced by Jim Faraci....
Vanishing Lessons and Carry The Wounded.
Oh, yeah, the EP. But why only two because I read in an interview
that you had very good experiences with working with Jim. So, why only two?
Uh, yeah. I joined right after Vanishing Lessons so I wasn't part
of that. I was part of Carry The Wounded. I think with Luke being the new singer the band
thought they could do some other things that they couldn't do in the past. Not that Guy
Ritter is a bad singer but Luke is....You know, his range. They thought, let's experiment
with some more rock-type stuff and the next thought was, what about trying a new producer
to get some different sounds. I think it was just to experiment and Carry The Wounded was
after the success of (the song) Twilight. The label wanted us to do like an EP with, I
don't wanna say mellower, but more mainstream rock oriented. So, working with Jim was
really great but Bill is such a cool guy and we get along with him so well and he lives in
LA and it's really easy to work with him. So, when we did Crawl To China we thought, let's
go back to Bill. But Jim was really good and he did offer some things.....Anybody you'll
work with is gonna be different.
Is Bill such a nice guy....
Yeah! He knows how to translate.....Like when Ted says "I
want this certain guitar-sound so and so" or we ask Bill "how can you help us
get this sound". I mean, a big part of it is: What do the drums sound like, just by
them without miking them. And what is the amp-sound? What is coming out of the cabinet?
And Bill knows what mics to use, how to set it up. What part of the room. Is it in the
corner or are you using a room that's carpeted or is there wood? He just knows a lot about
sound. And he's really easy to work with. Some producers might have a lot of opinions and
Bill offers his suggestions but he's not trying to take over the project. So, he's really
easy to work with and we know what to expect when we go into the studio.
Last year you played the Milwaukee Metalfest with lots of famous
bands like Meshuggah and more. How was that?
It was really cool. Actually, Living Sacrifice played right after
us. So, it was cool to see them there. We just had a good time and we were only there for
a very small part of the day and it's like three of two days. And you know, you have some
hacklers and some people yelling stuff while you're playing but the response was really
good. Just the chance to be around people that maybe never have heard of Tourniquet. Or
they sit for whatever band to play and they see you play and start getting into it. But we
did have some fans there too so it was nice. Actually, one guy has a magazine that he's
starting up and wanted to interview us. He has always known what Tourniquet is all about.
And I think he's gone through some things in his life, even contemplating suicide and he
said, recently he's really been feeling God is been tapping him on the shoulder. So, he
was curious about talking to us. You know, it's really cool talking to someone like that
and after the interview he turned his tape-recorder off and he was like "this might
sound kind of strange but would you pray with me" and Ted was like "you know, I
was just thinking the exact same thing: I really like to pray for this guy". So it
was really cool to meet someone that was reaching out and possibly thinking about coming
to the Lord. Especially, considering some to the things he said: Bad childhood and just
being into the whole satanic scene. And seeing someone reaching out was worth the whole
experience. And the show was good too!
But how was the feedback of the public?
It was good, I mean, 98% of these people are just lost. You know
what I mean? They're not evil as far as what they do. They definitely haven't got a
commitment to God. I think they're just into the music-scene and sure there are some of
those bands that are really violent or anti-Christian. But we didn't run into any of them
But there are bands that have an image that is satanic and stuff
like that. How do meet those guys?
We didn't really run into a lot. It's a quick thing when we play
on a smaller stage. You know what time you've got to be there to set up and you know what
time you have to stop playing. So, you go on and off. You might see guys that are in other
bands but there's not a lot of "running into so-and-so". We didn't have time to
hang out to watching other bands either. Got a little bit of Living Sacrifice and said hi
to those guys. But then we had to run off for our next show.
You released the Collected Works featuring great songs from the
past and two new songs which were really heavy. But then came Crawl To China. And it
sounded much more mellow, much more rock oriented, to my opinion. There were some heavy
songs but there were also some quite soft songs. How do you look back at that album?
Uhm, we're really happy because it's kinda like what Tourniquet
is all about. The variety and I mean, I have always thought of Tourniquet as heavy but
then there's always been something like Skeezix, which is a heavy song but it has a weird
intro and an acoustic part at the end. So, we're such fans of music whether it's a heavy
song or a mellow song. That's what we try to put out and I just think Crawl To China was a
good album to put out at that time. It was a good experiment to experiment with different
sounds and different guitar tones. Some people might have thought, "wow the new songs
on Collected is what the next album is gonna be like" and then we go and do Crawl To
China. So, I think we're really happy with it and we're looking forward to the next album.
Your latest album is Acoustic Archives. It's kind of like the
idea the Resurrection Band did with Appendectomy. They did old songs acoustically too. How
do you look at such an album, electric songs done acoustically?
Well, we've done quite a few shows acoustically and there may be
some places, like a smaller church or a youth-group kind of setting, that it's kind of fun
to play acoustic versions. And we just thought it would be really cool to do an album. The
timing was right and it's really fun. It's like another side. Ted gets to play guitar and
Luke sings along to these songs and very minimal percussions were added and it was really
cool. Another twist to the Tourniquet line of albums. And then we put on a really heavy
song at the end of it, so....(laughs)
Yeah, that's the weird thing! An acoustic album with a very heavy
song in the end, I read in HM. What's the idea of that?
It was just so that people didn't think we're all gonna be
acoustic now or something. And I think it's to let them know Tourniquet is still heavy and
hopefully give them a sneak peak into the next album and....
Sooooo, the next album is gonna be really heavy....
I think so. But wait and see what happens. There definitely will
be the variety that there always is on a Tourniquet album. But there also will be some
really heavy songs. And stuff like that new song.
And are you already recording or writing songs, whatever?
Yeah, we're getting our ideas together and hopefully be in the
studio in June or July this year. Couple of shows in Europe now and then we'll start
getting all the songs together and finishing them up.
Okay. I read in HM that you've met Ronnie James Dio and he was,
perhaps, going to do some guest vocals on an album. Uh.....
Ted, in response to a hint from Aaron, answers: Oh, you want me
to answer? Oh, yeah, we met Dio at LA airport in Los Angeles last year, I guess, and he
was coming back from South America and we were just going to Europe. Yeah, he was very
friendly and he's agreed to do something for the next album and it's just about timing. I
mean, he's in the Los Angeles area and we just have to get him to the studio when we're
recording. I've certainly been a fan of his vocal abilities for years, you know. I told
him as soon as we met him. I said "man, your abilities to sing in key live is just
amazing". And the tone to his voice...He's one of those guys, you know right away,
who's singing. And I know he's been around Christians before too. He sang on Kerry Livgren
from Kansas on AD a couple of songs, years ago. But anyway, I thought he did such a great
job on that. So we talked about that. He remembered doing that. And he knows we're a
Christian band and he said "don't worry, I'm not evil" and I said "I know
And you're going to record a new album in June/July, around that
time. Is he available for Tourniquet then?
We haven't really checked yet to see. But I know he's in and out
the LA area all the time. It's one of those things you'll do everything you can and then
like we do with everything, we'll look for God to bless us in those areas. To open doors
or to close doors and that's the way it will be with him appearing on the album.
You did one album through Metal Blade, Psycho Surgery. Why only
Actually, we didn't officially do any album through Metal Blade.
Two albums, Psycho Surgery and Pathogenic, were distributed through Metal Blade and that
was all it was. We were still signed to Frontline Records. They worked out a deal with
Metal Blade to distribute those two albums and getting them into the regular stores. But
I'll think what you'll see with the next album it will far surpass the availability of
Psycho Surgery and Pathogenic. Because now we're officially signed to Metal Blade. That's
our label as opposed to just being distributed by them.
That sounds great! It's great to have you on Metal Blade. You did
the Milwaukee Metalfest last year. Are there plans to do more that kind of festivals?
Definitely, yeah. I mean, everytime we can do a secular show or a
place like that, where there's physically people there that absolutely have an intense
hatred for anything that has to do with God, you know. You have the Norwegian deathmetal
bands there. Bands that are serious about the dark side of life and the satanic side as we
are as serious about the light and about the Lord.
But don't you think a lot of these that call themselves
satanic....that it's just kind of a facade? To sell more albums or whatever? Or to look
Yeah, from what I've seen in past years I'd say probable 95% of
it is that. They see something on TV about a serial killer and they say, "oh, wow,
let's do half of our album about a serial killer or about having sex with corpses" or
something like that. It's just cool, something they saw on TV. But there are a few out
there that are serious about what they do. But I'd say at least 90% is exactly as you
said. It's to sound brutal, musically and lyrically.
In Europe the last few years we've had a revival of the black
metal scene, especially in Norway and around Sweden. Does that kind of music appeal to
you, does it influence you, or whatever?
Well, I think I'm influenced by sounds. So when I hear on those
albums the sounds, they interest me. Obviously the lyrics don't have anything to do with
something that would be appealing to us. But, I think anytime someone puts something to
music intelligently and has interesting sounds on it, then sometimes the musicianship is
great and sometimes it's not so good. But we listen for originality and things like that
and I think all music has something to offer in those areas. But we're very clear about
that we don't seek out that kind of music as a habit to listen to because there are a lot
of Christians that have a hard time with that. And they find themselves going back to
things that really don't help them in their Christian walk. So, once again, it's about
music and it's about sounds and hearing things that you enjoy hearing.
In Europe metal's never been away. But in the States there are
hardly any metalbands coming up. How do you look at that, as a metalband?
Uhm, well, I think one thing is great for Tourniquet. I've heard
Aaron talking about we have such a wide variety of sounds. Not just now but from 1990 when
we started out. I've said all along that we love really ugly, terrible sounds and we love
beautiful sounds. And it's about the extremes and exploring everything that music has to
offer. So, in that way, whether metal is in or not, hasn't affected Tourniquet very much,
to be honest. We've always had, fortunately, a lot of fans that enjoy music and they don't
care if metal's in or out. They care about what the songs sound like and if it's good and
they like what they're hearing then they still like the band. So, and we were never about
gimmicks or about whether we have long hair or short hair. People came because they want
hearing the songs and that's what we'll do.
And in America you see a lot of alternative bands popping up out
of nothing. Does that kind of music affect you somehow?
Well, there's always people and labels that jump on the
bandwagon. They wanna sign and all of a sudden ska-music is cool or rockabilly is cool or
industrial is cool and all of a sudden labels are scrambling to sign any demo that came
in. "Oh, let's look through the pile and find a ska-band. Ah, here's one!" And
it goes on for a while but the labels, at least in the States, actively seek out bands
that sound.... Well, when Greenday was big, all of a sudden there were 5000 bands that
were playing that kind of poppy punk stuff. So, I think the labels are just as much
involved in that as the bands. But eventually, I think fads definitely will change. From
Glam metal to dark metal to deathmetal. So, you know, you look at something like
deathmetal. Years ago that was the big thing and there was a time that the labels were
dropping bands like flies off of their labels. Because instead of 30000 units they were
selling 3000, you know. I know from people from the labels that's actually happening. It's
true. So, yeah, the trends come and go. I like classical music. There's nothing trendy
about that. It's just incredible music, you know. And whether it's written 300 years ago
and you would listen to it today and it's still amazing and it always will be.
As is known, at the moment the ska-scene is popular in America. I
think there are more bands then I have hair on my head. What do you think of that kind of
Well, I know, in the last year that is running out of steam in
the US. The ska-scene is definitely from talking to people and seeing the numbers at
festivals that have dropped off severely. You still have bands like the Supertones and a
few of the top ones that are doing well. But I think the days of labels just signing any
ska-band are not here anymore. From what we've seen in the US.
But in a magazine like HM you see all those kind of samplers
coming out with ten or more skabands.....
...And then they sell ten of them. When they put it out it
doesn't mean it's popular. So, it's definitely on the down trend in the US. But I'm not
criticizing it as a music-form because in the ska-scene there's really good musicians like
there is in any other kind of music. Some of it is very well done.