You're about to release the
follow up to Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm which came out three years ago. There
was a time when Tourniquet released almost a CD every year. Why took it so long for us to
wait for Where Moth And Rust Destroy?
Well, we were kind of working on some other
things. We're doing some video things. We came out with this Video Biopsy 2000 and then we
came out with a new DVD that we'd been working on. Some of the older albums when we were
coming out once a year, you know, one of them was a live EP and one of them was a best of
and one of them was an acoustic album. So, I really think only the first three albums that
we did were kind of by the year. You know 1990, 91, 92. And then it was quite a while
between the studio albums, the full length studio albums like you would consider
Microscopic or the new one Where Moth And Rust Destroy.
I was thinking, because you
got married two years ago, I think...
Oh, almost five years ago!
Five years ago? Aha, I
thought that was one of the reasons...
No, not at all. That's actually given me
more free time and so on. Yeah, we had in 1994 Vanishing Lessons and I don't think it
wasn't until 1997 till we came out with the next one Crawl To China and then it was 2000
between Crawl To China and Microscopic. So, two or three years is not unusual for us. But
maybe the next one, there seems to be such a great excitement, to be honest, almost more
than I've ever seen, for this new one, that maybe next time we won't wait so long and get
it back down to a year.
I was wondering because you
got married, five years ago, did that change your perception of being in a band?
Being married? No, not at all. My wife is
very supportive of what we do and what I do. Tourniquet has never been a touring band.
People ask us "when are you gonna do a tour?" We've never done tours. We did in
the US, once we went for three weeks on the road. But we've always been a band that's done
not so many live shows a year and it's mostly been fly-out shows where we play in a
weekend or something. So, nothing's changed with that.
A few months ago you
communicated to the fans that you're quite pleased with the new album. What makes you so
happy about it?
Well, now I'm especially happy because I've
probably done 30 or more interviews so far and there's a lot of early reviews coming out
that we couldn't be happier with, that are beyond what we were hoping for. I'm happy with
a few specific things. I'm very happy with the production. Once again, Bill Metoyer... I
told Bill, I said "Bill, I want this record to have a bigger sound to it than the
last album, a fuller sound." And Bill definitely accomplished that. But still you can
hear all of the notes and all of the things that are going on in the music. And then I'm
very happy with Luke's performance. I think this is Luke's best album, without a doubt,
that he sounds the best on. Of course, to have Marty and Bruce come in and play guitar
solos, I mean, that's more than you could ask for. And I'm also very happy about the way
the drum sound came out.
I've got quite a tricky
Do you actually listen to
it at home?
Yes, aha. Yeah, we listen to it. Of course
when we are mixing we listen to it in all different formats. But, actually, the best one
we're mixing, the way we really mix it, is in my car. That's kind of how we know when the
sound is right. I know how things sound in my car. And people might find that surprising
that a lot of times that's how we listen to the final mix is in the car.
So, it's especially for in
the car to listen to?
Yeah, 'cause I know how things sound. It's
one of the European. It's the old German BMW. So it's got a sound system that's very good
and you can hear how things are supposed to be.
Aren't you afraid that
people on Route 66 are going to drive to fast with this music?
Hahaha! That's right! We test the music
sitting so maybe next time we should listen to it going on the autobahn, come over there
and test it out.
Okay, next question. In
1990 you were about to join Bruce Franklin's band Trouble as their new drummer, so I
understand. For Where Moth And Rust Destroy you invited him to do some of the lead guitar
parts. How was it working with him?
It was terrific! Actually, I was in the
band Trouble for a time. It was not in 1990. I think it would have been in 1988 or
something. I played in the band for a short time. We did a couple of shows and then it was
kind of a downtime for the band, tours didn't work out. So, I went back to LA. But I
remained friends with Bruce for all these years. And I talk to him and see him once in a
while. He lives just a couple of hours from here, down here in Chicago. So I said
"Bruce, do you wanna come up and do a couple of songs?" So, he was kind enough
to help out a little bit. I've always liked, not only his playing, but also his sound.
He's got that great seventies stoner sound going on that I really liked.
Did he also have some kind
of impact on the way songs were done?
No, the songs were totally written, all the
songs, as they always are with Tourniquet. You know, when I've written a song it's
finished. But he definitely wrote his own lead. We got him the rough mix and he, of
course, wrote his own lead solo on it.
You also had Marty
Friedman, formerly of Megadeth joining you in the studio. You know Marty for quite some
years. How did you get to know him actually?
I met Marty years ago when he was doing a
guitar clinic with Jason Becker. So I met both of them at that time and kept in touch with
Marty and he's very familiar with Tourniquet's music. To have him on the album was really
terrific. People that know his playing, you hear two notes of his playing and you know
it's him. He just has his own, totally unique style.
There have been rumors
saying Marty is going to be the new guitarist as Aaron left last year. This appears not to
be true but how is the search for a new guitarist actually going?
The search is, I would say, not going very
well. If I would say it would be going great, if we had found the right guitar player, but
to be honest that hasn't happened yet. We've had people sending in videos and so on. But
the guitar player position is very important. It's not just about how great a lead player
you are, but you have to be a terrific rhythm guitarist as well which is almost more
important. And be able to play things live. And the guitarist also did a lot of the
yelling vocals live, so that's really important too. We're still having people that are
interested. At the right time, I feel, we get the right person.
You brought Tourniquet to
such a high level that it seems very hard to get a good guitarist?
Well, there's guitarists up there that are
good at one thing or another. But to find someone that can do all those things good, and
have a certain image that people like to see on stage, not to mention the fact we're a
band made up of Christians, so that's an important part as well. It wouldn't make any
sense to have someone up there that doesn't believe or doesn't agree with what our lyrics
As you have guest
appearances on the new album, I started wondering. As you are quite known as a prominent
drummer, do you get requests yourself to work on someone else's album?
I've gotten a few. But generally I don't
have the time or it hasn't worked out for one reason or another. Most people know that I'm
dedicated to Tourniquet. I can pretty much do whatever I want on drums on our albums
anyway. Although I do have a whole side to my playing that people haven't seen. When I do
this drumming instructional video I think a lot of that's gonna come out. There's very
different drumming things that people really haven't heard before. But I would be open if
there was something interesting to playing on an album.
You also have wide range of
influences. You also said that there's another side of you as a drummer that people mostly
don't see. You're also known for being a huge fan of classical music including Bach and
Beethoven. Many artists do solo projects. Do you have a desire or even plans of doing
something outside of Tourniquet that you couldn't do within the Tourniquet format?
Yeah, I might like to do that sometime.
There are, as you said, other kinds of music that I really love that I would maybe
interested in doing a solo album some day. So, that would be down the road a way. But it
would be interesting.
And Tourniquet's music is a
kind of music people listen to and like it. But classical music is some kind of timeless
music because it was written hundreds of years ago and people still like it. Do you think
that the music of Tourniquet is timeless?
Oh, I would never sit here and presume that
200 years from now someone will be listening to and loving Tourniquet. I don't really know
what will happen. I can say that to me good, well written music is always timeless. You
could talk about timeless as 200, 300, 400, 500 years ago, or you can talk about timeless
like listening to a song like Yesterday by The Beatles. It's only timeless because it's 30
years ago. But maybe in a hundred years people will still be saying "boy, what a
beautiful song that is."
Yeah, that's possible.
So, it's possible, sure.
Is it also something, as
classical music is timeless, that you want to do something in that kind of direction?
Well, I would love to. I firmly believe
that I could really, and I have some of the parts in my head, that I could write a whole
symphony. I would really love to do that. But the costs involved, the trials of having a
whole symphony learn your music especially when the person writing the music can't write
any notes down, is a daunting test to say the least! But I would sure love to. If the
situation was right and I had ten million dollars that would be fun to do.
The last few years
Tourniquet didn't do a great amount of live shows. You were on some big festivals though.
Two weeks ago you released a DVD called Ocular Digital with a show from 2001 at the Flevo
Festival and old footage from a show in 1991. This DVD is available
through Tourniquet Productions and it's a great opportunity for those fans that
didn't have a chance to see you live. My question is, are there plans to release it
through a major company?
Well, right now Metal Blade is looking at
it. They're interested and they've been having a great success with the label with DVD's.
So I think they're interested. They know that Tourniquet has a worldwide fan base. So,
we're talking with them and seeing if maybe we can work something out with them. Because
it seems a lot of people are really getting DVD's. Like you said, it's great for a band
that doesn't play live all the time. And there are two different concerts, ten years
apart, so you can see what it's like.
When it's out through Metal
Blade it would be easier to get for many people.
I would imagine, yeah. Not to say that it
will be out on Metal Blade, just that we're talking and we'll see what happens. Yeah, I
would imagine that if it came out on Metal Blade it would be like finding a Six Feet Under
or a Gwar DVD, it would be like that.
I haven't seen the
DVD but I do recollect that Tourniquet used to work with a pyro technician called Devino
in the early days. Some weeks ago there was a disaster at a Great White show killing many
people including Great White guitarist Ty Longley. With this in mind, what are your
experiences with the use of fire works at a concert?
Yeah, that's a great question. We obviously
have seen this terrible, terrible situation. So sad. Not only for the people who passed
away. But you can imagine the heartache goes through the families and lives and all the
girl friends an all that. It's just horrible. Yeah, we have used pyro stuff before. And
Devino did some stuff with flames coming out of his face and things like that. They're
mostly outdoor shows where there was lots of air. We never did in a cramped, stuffy place.
Just looking at that video of that Great White concert, I mean, it just seems ridiculous
when you look at the video and see these sparks slamming into the ceiling. And you just
can't imagine what they were possibly thinking. I don't understand how... It was obvious
the flames were just... So, not to say who's at fault. But it was obvious that was not
appropriate for that venue however the decision was arrived at.
With this in mind, do you
think it's not appropriate to do this on a concert?
No, I wouldn't say that at all. It depends
on where it is. You know, we've had a couple of concerts that I have on video where Devino
did pyro stuff on a huge outdoor stage and there isn't anything around for fifty feet. No,
I'd say that's totally fine. I think common sense comes into play and be very careful
about things. Just like you take a child to a concert and the band's playing at 120
decibels and you bring your child and don't put earplugs in their ears. I mean, that can
be very harmful. A lot of it comes down to common sense. I think there were a couple of
clubs early on where we said "the stage is a little too small, we'd better not do
this, it's not a good idea," and we ended up not doing it.
When you've filled in the
position of a guitarist, are you planning to do some shows?
Yes, we sure would like to. There's so many
places. Even in the US, I'm embarrassed to say, we haven't been to some of the major
cities. And countries over there, it's awful we haven't been to. We have so many fans. You
know, Finland and Sweden and places like that, that we really need to get over there.
And on what does it depend?
Are promoters supposed to contact you or is Metal Blade perhaps interested in arranging a
tour with one of their bands?
Yeah, all we would have to do is tell Metal
Blade we're able to do some shows. They've got so many contacts and bands that are out
there and so on, that we can either hook up with one of their bands or... you know, we get
e-mails all the time of promoters that want to bring us to different places, different
countries. So we just kind of have to put that on a hold for now.
Finally I want to go
through the entire track listing. I was wondering if you could give a comment on each
song? Maybe something about the background, or how it was recorded or some kind of story
attached to that specific song?
Where Moth And Rust Destroy
That's the title track and just a great
message about whether you're a Christian or you don't have any interest in God at all.
It's something we can all relate to. There are things much more important in life than
material things. When you pass away you're left with, whether you're rich or a homeless
person living on the street, you're left with what you did with your life and with your
soul. It's for people to keep that in mind.
Restoring The Locust Years
That's musically a good old metal song.
It's greatly influenced by Iron Maiden. I thought their combination of catchy guitar riffs
and melody was really great. People have commented that it kind of reminds them of a
classic Iron Maiden track.
Drawn And Quartered
If I had to pick one song on the album that
would kind of encompass everything that Tourniquet is about, it might be that one. It's a
long song, eight minutes or something. It has the classical influence. It's got the very
slow to the very fast. It's got some great lead playing from Marty and great vocals from
Luke. And also it's got something else Tourniquet is known for, using weird instruments.
It's got an instrument called the dulcimer on it, which is a native American, kind of a
A Ghost At The Wheel
That song has a great guitar solo by Bruce
Franklin. You can really hear what I was talking about, that kind of seventies guitar tone
in there. It's the kind of song that talks about... Maybe we all have a friend or someone
we've known, someone in the family, someone that loses touch with themselves. And we kind
of look at them and think "I don't think I know you anymore, what happened?"
That's what that song is about.
Architeuthis is the Latin word for this
genus of giant squid. It's one of the last mysteries left on earth as far as the animal
world is concerned. They've had a couple of hundred of these things wash up on shores
around the world but they've never seen one alive. The song is talking about relating this
to how we can't see God doesn't mean he isn't out there. I think musically that song, to a
lot of people... They seem to really like it. That song, it's got a real good classical
feel to it with a lot of double bass drumming and so on.
Melting The Golden Calf
It's kind of that story of the old
testament of Moses that brought the two tablets with the ten commandments down. Now the
people didn't want to follow it. It just got a really great groove to it. It's a song you
can really rock out to and really feel where the beat is. That's actually one of our
That's another song that Luke wrote the
lyrics to. That's just a very heavy, overdriven sound with a lot of groove to it. And it
kind of talks about our society how we've, in the last five years even, ... That things
seem to be, instead of black and white... How you could say ten years ago "well,
that's wrong" and "that's not right to do", that things that seemed
definitely wrong ten years ago now we kind of say "well, you know, it might be wrong
unless somebody had a rough childhood or this and that." Convoluted is another word
for watered down, where things are in the grey area. It's a song about that.
Healing Waters Of The
Well, that seems to be a lot of people's
favorite track on the album. It's a long song. It's got an incredible three minute guitar
solo in the middle that Marty did. It's got a very Middle Eastern sound to the whole song.
I played on an instrument that's called the bouzouki and it's the national instrument of
Greece. It's got a really neat sound to it. That's definitely another song that takes you
on all the twists and turns from the very fast to the peaceful.
In Death We Rise
That's definitely the big surprise of the
album. Some people don't know what to do with it and other people say "oh, my gosh, I
love this song!" It's by far the slowest tempo of any Tourniquet song we've ever done
on any of our albums. It's just a very slow, doomy, plodding song. The vocals are
practically buried in the mix to accentuate the sound of the guitars. It's a good one to
either fall asleep to or meditate or whatever you want to do (laughs).
When you look at the entire
track listing, is there any specific song that you can relate to personally best?
Oh, gosh! Let's see. I think maybe the
second track, Restoring The Locust Years. It's got a really great message for people. No
matter where you are in life, God takes you where you're at. You don't have to clean up
your life before you can come to God and say "I've really messed up my life." It
takes it all right where we're at. That's really the song that I think has a great
Is there a specific song
you really want to play live?
Well, I'm sure we'll play the title track
live. That's a definite.