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20 Questions with Killingbird, 10/7/03



Killingbird Guitarist August

Every now and then we like to do 20 Questions with new, upcoming bands, like Brand New Sin, Handsome Devil, Breaking Point, Injected, Slaves On Dope, American Pearl, Mars Electric, Hair Of The Dog, Chlorine, Crabtree, Society 1, and Halfcocked, and as you can tell by that impressive list of bands, they all became huge after doing 20 Questions with us and went onto to multi-platinum status! So since we love to help new bands, and the small fact that they actually paid for a banner on our site, we’re doing 20 Questions with the guitar player from Killingbird, April! Or August. It’s some fucking month. Whatever. Anyway, enjoy!

1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote your shit.
Well, we are currently preparing for the release of our second CD "Waste Another Yesterday" which will be in stores on October 7th. Our record release show is October 9th at Club Vodka (www.clubvodka.com) in Hollywood and then we go up to play shows in San Jose and San Francisco. In November we will be playing shows in the midwest. Check www.killingbird.net for more details. Also, people can hear two songs from the new CD on our mp3.com page (http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/228/killingbird.html).

"Waste Another Yesterday" features a guest appearance by Dave Zink of Blackboard Jungle who kicked ass on the song he plays on.

If you like straight ahead hard rock, I think you will like this record.

Other than that, we are rehearsing, doing press and just generally getting ready to support this new release.

2. Do you realize the only reason we’re doing 20 Questions with you guys is because things have been slow around here and that you actually bought a banner from us?
The fact that you sent the questions along with the bill was a dead give away!!!

3. You guys said you’re signed to EMI. How is it a band that sounds similar to Faster Pussycat can get a record deal these days? Did you guys have to blow somebody for that or what?
We would have blown someone, but I’m happy to say that we did not have to. Actually, we were all set to release our debut CD back in 2002 on our own label. While we were talking to various people about distribution for our label, 2K was interested and asked for a copy of the record. They liked it so much that they offered us a record deal. They are a relatively small label so it’s not like we are signed to Interscope or anything, but they do have distribution through EMI which is really the hardest thing for any band to accomplish…getting your CDs in to stores. We are very happy with our relationship with 2K and everyone at EMI.

4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
I hate to take the easy way out on this one, but I don’t think that it is up to me to tell anyone to "call it a day". If you are still having fun and making music for the right reasons, more power to you.

5. Rate the following guitarists on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody
who sucks and 10 being a virtuoso.
Tracii Guns = 8 – love his style and I am a huge LA Guns fan, particularly the early stuff. I’ve never been a fan of guitarists who are technical, and Tracii does a great job of combining style with technique.
Gilby Clarke = 8 – I liked him back when he was playing in Kill For Thrills, so when he got the GNR gig I was stoked. Looks killer on stage (which is important) and is an amazing song writer.
Yogi = 6 – Got to see him play live a few times and I always thought he was great. However, I have taken off points because he wears his guitar way too high. If he lowers his guitar a little, I’ll add some bonus points.
Brent Muscat = 8 -From what I have seen he is not the greatest player, but I dig what he does. When I was younger I had the guitar tab book for their self titled CD and I learned to play the entire record, so I have probably stole alot from Brent over the years.
Slash = 9 – I think he is one of the best guitar players of the era. Plays great on rock songs and on ballads. I was just listening to the first Snakepit record this week. Great record. Whatever happened to Eric Dover?
C.C DeVille = 8 – I know CC is not the greatest guitar player in the world, but everytime I have seen Poison, he looks like he is having a blast…and that is really what it is all about, right?
Mick Mars = 8 – He gets a few bonus points just for being in Motley Crue.
Ted Nugent = 3 – Never been a fan of his songs or his guitar playing. He is a good example of why I hated living in Michigan so much.
George Lynch = 7 – Great player, but not the style of player that I like. I like a few Dokken songs, but just not generally my style.
Zakk Wylde = 7 – I’m not a huge fan of his style, but he is definitely a great player.

6. You guys used to be called Suicide Circus and released a CD called "World Of Hate" on Perris Records back in the day. Whatever became of that great record deal?
Three of us played in Suicide Circus, and we did release this record on Perris Records. Actually, we never even signed a contract which should have been the first sign of how "professional" the label was. At the time we were just young kids playing in a rock band around Detroit. We did not know much about the business, so when some guy tells you he wants to "release" your CD, you get pretty excited. We also contributed a song called "Shake My Soul" to one of the Cherry St. CDs and our singer wrote lyrics for a few other songs. Again, we signed no contracts and as a result never saw a penny in royalties. We have since had a falling-out with Tom Mathers (or I should say he had a falling out with us). When we first started working with Tom, he was a very cool guy. But eventually he just turned "weird" on us. I can actually point to the time when things started to change…it was right around the time Roxy (ex-Cherry St. singer) got the LA Guns gig. That seemed to piss him off so much and from that time on he became very paranoid, jealous and a host of other words I could use. Anyway, Suicide Circus eventually broke up and several of us moved out to Los Angeles over a 2 year span. Once we were here we started writing songs together again and put Killingbird together.

7. There are no mentions of band members named August, Skyla or Christian in Suicide Circus’ credits. Are you guys trying to hide from your past? Explain.
Actually, we had to hide our true identities so that Mathers would not come after us saying that we were under contract to Perris Records!!!

8. Which do you prefer and why:
Bret Michaels or Vince Neil = Tough call, but I will go with Vince Neil. He’s more unpredictable. In their prime, they were both great.
Pink’s Hotdogs or Pink the singer = While I have no big aversion to Pink, I love Hotdogs…so I’ll go with Pink’s Hotdogs. Although I prefer Oki Dog when given a choice.
Kendra Jade or Jenna Jameson = Jenna
The Donnas or Good Charlotte = Good Charlotte has better makeup, but the Donnas kick ass. I’ll take the Donnas.
Godfather or Scarface = Scarface just for the huge mound of blow in the movie.
Johnny Crash or Ana Black = Never got to see Ana Black live but I heard they were awesome. I have their EP and it is pretty good, but I dig Johnny Crash. I saw them open up for Motley Crue and Tesla at Alpine Valley, WI (the same show when "Same Ol’ Situation" was filmed). I’m taking Johnny Crash.
Robins or Sparrows = Another tough one. Robin Black kicks ass, but Sparrow is the original name of Buckcherry. Robins seems kind of like a weak ass bird though, so I’ll go with Sparrows.
The Whisky or The Roxy = I’ve never played the Roxy. But we just played the Whisky recently and they were good to us. My final answer is…whoever books us next.
Seagulls or pelicans = Penguins
Ace Frehley or Tommy Thayer = I loved the band Shake The Faith, so Tommy scores points for that. But not nearly enough points to surpass Ace.

9. What was the biggest crowd and the smallest crowd you’ve played in front of?
The biggest was probably around 1,000 or so. The smallest I remember very well. We were playing in Lawrence, KS and it was raining like a motherfucker. The opening band was called All American Rejects and they never showed up. We ended up playing for 5 people and the other opener. All American Rejects missed their chance to play with the mighty Killingbird and their career has suffered for it ever since!!

10. Yes or no, has August ever:
Appeared in Metal Edge = yes. Rock On The Rise back in like 1995 or something (Suicide Circus)
Seen the inside of a tour bus = yes. never our own, but plenty of other peoples.
Had a chick flash you her tits from the crowd = yes.
Scored an 8-Ball at Wilcox & Yucca = no, but I have scored at 8-ball at Balboa and Stagg.
Been arrested = no, but it’s good that I’m the one from Killingbird doing this interview.
Lied about your age = yes…always.
Autographed a chick’s ass = We’ve autographed a lot more than just the ass!
Had dinner at Tom Mathers’ house = no, but I have had lunch there. Hot dogs and sloppy joes if I remember right. No, really.
Seen a bird kill something = umm, not that I can remember.
Auditioned for an 80s band = No, but I once tried to get an audition for the Newlydeads, and I can’t remember what happened, but I never did get the chance.

11. The new Killingbird CD comes out today. Really, how many CDs do you think you’ll be selling this week and what are your total expectations for it?
Hard to say. I would like to think that based on sales of the last CD we will be able to sell 500 – 1000 units in the first couple of months. Selling records is a tough thing to predict these days (just ask Fred Durst). The good thing is, that because of this interview we know that we will now sell twice what we would have sold before!! Long term, we would just like to sell more records than we sold of the last album. Hopefully some of your loyal readers will pick it up.

12. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Can I just make a huge list here, because there are SO many. Gene Simmons would be a good place to start. I loved Kiss, but the guy is just starting to drive me nuts. Lars could use a good smack or two as well.

13. Of the bands you’ve played with, who treated you the worst and who treated you the best?
Most of the bands we have played with have been very cool to us. LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, SR-71, The Exies…they have all been cool. Blackboard Jungle were probably the nicest guys though. From the minute we walked in to the club they were very cool to us. We’ve talked to all of them alot since then, and of course Dave Zink ended up hanging out in the studio with us and playing on the song "Whatcha Want". He is an amazing guitar player!

The band that treated us the worst was probably a band called Slick Shoes who are a pretty big band in the indie/punk rock scene. We played with them at an EMI showcase and I think they were just generally offended by us. We had just returned from a summer tour and were all just exhausted. We were drinking WAY too much and, as I remember it, acting like assholes. As a result, I don’t think the guys in Slick Shoes were to happy with us. Also, we were supposed to share equipment, and we went on right before them. We proceeded to destroy the stage after our set, breaking guitars and knocking over the drums. So, in the end we probably brought it on ourselves…

14. On your first CD, you covered a Cure song. Not a Crue song, but a Cure song! Was that really fucking necessary?
"Just Like Heaven" was a song that we played around with a little at practice and it was sounding pretty good, so we decided to break it out at a show. It went over so good that we kept playing it at shows and eventually we realized that we should put it on the CD. We would probably never cover a Crue song, because you just should not fuck with songs like that. I mean really, how can you improve on "Public Enemy #1" or "On With The Show"?

15. Last of August:
Last time you got a royalty check from Perris Records = NEVER. What the hell were we thinking.
Last 80s CD you bought = I just bought the new Hardcore Superstar CD which is pretty bad ass, but I think the last 80s CD I bought was a used copy of Salty Dog.
Last rock star you shook hands with = Stevie Rachelle
Last concert you watched from the audience = Norma Jean
Last time you heard your song on the radio = probably about a year ago…roughly.
Last time you shoplifted = About 6 months ago I stole a Hollywood Hairspray CD.
Last time you drove drunk = Last week.
Last movie you saw = "Bottle Rocket" for about the 6th time.
Last book you read = "Collateral Damage: The Zodiac Mindwarp American Tour Diaries"
Last drug you did = Not sure what it was, but it I think it went up my nose.

16. Which 80’s band should have been bigger than they were?
Blackboard Jungle for sure. I will never understand how they did not get signed. I also thought Vain was one of the best bands of the era, but just never seemed to break through. Junkyard, Dirty Looks and Kill For Thrills were all great bands too. Dogs D’Amour are a band that I think are still relevant today. They were awesome song writers!

17. On your website, it says you’re looking for people to join the Killingbird Street Team. We’ll humor you and ask, "how’s that going?"
We are trying to take over the US one street at a time…so far we have one person. He covers Cherry Street.

18. If you guys could tour with any band, who would it be?
I hate this question because there are just too many good answers. On a smaller, club scale it would be awesome to tour with Backyard Babies. They are one of my favorite bands and seem like they would be a blast to tour with. It would also be great to tour with someone like The Murderdolls who obviously take some influence from 80s rock, but have a more modern sound and fanbase.

19. Your last CD had no guitar solos. Is that because:
A: Nobody can play guitar solos
B: You’re trying to be trendy
C: You’re all big fans of Erik Turner
D: All of the above
Actually, I do like Erik Turner. I love big guitar solos, but when we made the first record it just did not feel like the songs needed solos. We’ve never been a band that writes by a formula. So if it did not feel like we should play a solo we didn’t. I am happy to report however that the new CD has more solos!!

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Gene Simmons = how do you go from so cool, to so NOT cool in that short of a time?
Taime Downe = one of my favorite singers. Love the Pretty Ugly Club.
Nikki Sixx = a legend. Wrote some of the best songs ever!
Jani Lane = has banged some hot chicks in his day
Alice Cooper = innovator.
Marilyn Manson = knows how to push peoples buttons, and that is pretty kick ass as far as Im concerned.
Howard Stern = please bring back Jackie The Jokeman.
Lars Ulrich = overrated drummer and the kind of guy I would not have hung out with in high school.
Limp Bizkit = I think Fred Durst beat me up once when I showed up at his Frat Party wearing eye liner.
Tom Mathers = a bitter man who really needs to consider hiring a professional to design his album covers.

For more info on Killingbird, you can visit their website at www.killingbird.net.

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