Well this is certainly a special interview! Not even for the fact that these guys are brutal and worth a listen, but because this may be the only interview that I've had out for 3 years before being answered! The Elfion interview came close, but Reverend Scott must be into breaking records and refused to be denied.
Regardless, it was certainly worth the wait and will hopully shed some light on this band.
Find out his thoughts on today's metal, Phil Anselmo's actions and why a Twinkie fight can create a great time!
D-Day: Describe the sound of Samsarra to those who are not familiar with you.
Reverend Scott: It's Metal...and some acoustic. Elements of Speed/Thrash, blast beats, old school NWOBHM solos and vocals sometimes,etc. I like to think that we aren't too limited to a particular style, as long as we remain as original as possible.
D-Day: You are also with Juggling Chainsaws. What are they like?
Reverend Scott: Everything else that Sam, Terry and I (and any other current members) feel like writing and/or playing BESIDES metal that doesn't fit within the framework of Samsarra. I write some things that are punk, some that are sort of "commercial", even a rare love song or two and some that are extremely mellow acoustic. Sam and Terry sometimes bring in things with strong jazz and funk elements, and those don't quite fit within the framework of Samsarra, although on the new Samsarra album I added a couple of my acoustic Juggling Chainsaws songs for diversity, and I think I'll do that with the next couple of Samsarra albums. There are a few of my darker and more emotional acoustic songs that I think fit within the metal framework of Samsarra. And we plan to broaden out to include some other forms of music as long as our center has a pure metal foundation.
D-Day: We'll make this question twice as hard for you. Name the three bands that you would most like EACH of those bands to tour with. Not necessarily just your favorite bands, but which three would fit best with Samsarra and Juggling Chainsaws in your mind.
Reverend Scott: Ok, for Samsarra maybe Machine Head (opened for them before in an older band of mine, Evolution), Bleed The Sky ( we had a clothing sponser in common: Evil Threads), and Devildriver (Friends from my hometown, great band and wonderful people!).For Juggling Chainsaws I guess maybe Death Angel on an acoustic tour, Tenacious D (Huge Jack Black fan that I am, and I think the audience might get my bitter lyrical sarcasm) and Jessica Simpson-just because I'd like to spend five minutes in her presence.
D-Day: As a vocalist, is there a certain routine that you follow before each performance? Do you do that "doe-ray-me-so-to-la-de-da!" (or whatever) thing or suck on tea bags or anything like that? What advice do you have for aspiring singers in that regard?
Reverend Scott: Absolutely, obviously excluding than the tea-bagging thing , lmao. I do scales (the do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do thing, among other classical warm-up techniques), and several other vocal warm-ups I've picked up over the years from different vocal coaches; garggling with warm salt water is always a good thing; the warm tea and honey thing works for me as well, and a shot or two of Jack Daniel's to stop the throat muscles from clenching, although any more than that defeats the purpose-TOO relaxed!
D-Day: I see that you also play guitar. Did the vocal or guitar duties come out of necessity, or did you always want to do both?
Reverend Scott: Lmao! Excellent Question; I started formal vocal training at the age of eight, and singing/screaming/yelling on key/etc has always been my primary love.Guitar came out of necessity. I wanted to play as a kid, but never applied myself to it. I guess I was too busy in vocal choirs and musical theater, bell choir and drums in the school orchestra, and sports, a paper route and all that regular kid stuff. I didn't really pick up guitar seriously at all until I was in my early twenties. I finally picked it up because I wanted to be able to express myself musicly BY myself, lol, although I seriously enjoy collaborating with other musicians. There is a certain sublime joy in producing a complete product from inside one's self alone. But I generally leave the complex music writing to someone like Sam, who is a far better guitarist than I could possibly ever be.
I also don't really like playing guitar live onstage because it forces me to stay in a certain spot in a certain position and takes away my freedom of movement and audience interaction.
D-Day: Being out in California; did you ever poof up your hair and wear some lipstick back in the day?
Reverend Scott : Only Once, and it was for an air-guitar contest (which I won, BTW) , not an actual band gig. I won with Metallica's "Whiplash", and this was in mid 1984.
D-Day: What was your first influence to become a musician or start a band?
Reverend Scott: Well, I have to give a few musical influences , but they all came from my Mother; She always had something playing, like The Doors, The Beatles, Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Jefferson Airplane, The Four Tops and The Rolling Stones, so those are my primary influences. In terms of things I discovered myself in grade school, I would have to list Black Sabbath, Kiss, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Ramones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, The Who, Styx, Bad Company, etc, and then in 6th-9th grade I discovered Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Dio, Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and Motorhead, Queensryche, Jag Panzer, Fates Warning, etc.
D-Day: Let's try a multiple choice question....
"Arch Enemy offers an opening gig for a world wide tour. Angela is looking FINE as usual. Does Scott:"
a) Act professionally the entire time. It's a business after all.
b) At least wait for the first few paying gigs, then make a move.
c) Wait until the tour is over, then act all "Rico Suave".
d) Do nothing cause you think she's a skank.
Reverend Scott: Thanks for lobbing me an easy one; Angela isn't single- she's in a serious relationship with her guitarist-one of the Ammot brothers, the one from Carcass, I think. But the answer is always A). But she is incredibly talented and attractive- I think I've seen them about four times and they always kick much ass.
D-Day: What has been the craziest moment you've witnessed or been through since you've been performing?
Reverend Scott: Well, for the sake of balance I will briefly tell you about one positive experience and one negative experience.
The negative one was while I was playing an outdoor park for an all afternoon multiple band thing about 16 years ago. Some drunk (and probably drugged out) guy climbed up on the stage between bands while the crew folks were doing the teardown/setup between bands and whipped out his male member and started urinating on the stage- cables, equipment and all. Keep in mind this was in broad daylight in front of about 500-600 people with women and children in the crowd. I was so...shocked, I guess, that I froze for about three seconds. Then one of the other bands' drummer's father (an ex-NFL lineman, lmao) and I removed the drunk...breaking a couple of his ribs in the process. The whole audience, other than his buddies, stood up and applauded us. Needless to say there was no more trouble that day. The funny thing about that incident is that that group of guys stayed through the whole day and even cheered when we played.
The positive one involves a food fight with Twinkies between an audience and I. In 1996 I was in a band named Sheister with current Samsarra members Sam and Terry in the lineup as well - www.myspace.com/sheistersb if anyone wants to check it out. We had a song called "Gordo", one of our humorous ones with Twinkies actually mentioned in the lyrics, and we always used that song as our closer to end on a happy, funny note. Somewhere along the way we got the idea to bring a box of Twinkies to gigs and I would toss them out into the audience towards the end of the song. It always went over really well, and people loved it. Well, at this one gig we played with some friends of ours named Pornstar (yes, the clothing company of the same name was started by a guy named Barret who was one their singers for a brief bit- he bought the name from their guitarist, my friend Thomas Franquet after Barret was booted from the band) and things went a little differently that night.
*Brief pause for A public service announcement:
We lost Thomas to suicide a few years ago. Suicide is NEVER the answer! It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and forever damages the friends and family.
Anyway, that night of "The Twinkie Incident" is one my favorite memories of Thomas. His band had the opening slot, so he was in the crowd for our set. When I started tossing the Twinkies out, Thomas caught one, opened it, and chucked it back at me. Well, that started a food fight between the audience and me. I still laugh thinking about that night. The show ended quite well...with several of the ladies in the audience smearing Twinkies all over my upper body.
In terms of what I've witnessed as an audience member, well, I've seen a huge riot at Ozzfest, Motley Crue so drunk they got in fistfights on stage, Phil Anselmo so wasted on herion with Superjoint Ritual at Ozzfest that he started and stopped a song about 30 times, telling all 50,000-60,000 of us to "suck his dick" and that we didn't matter, and that the festival was all about him; lmao- he was opening for Dimmu Borgir, Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. I think Phil is the one who doesn't matter anymore, although I like a lot of old Pantera and some of the Down material. A performer just CANNOT treat his audience that way. I have never even listened to anything he has released since then and neither have any of the group of friends I went with that day. And the most disturbing of all: Marilyn Manson wiping his ass with an American flag. I got up and went to the beer garden and have never bought any of his music since; and that was in 1997. As dissident as I may seem at times, I was raised as and still remain a patriot.
D-Day: How do you see the metal audience in your general area? Is it decent now, seems to be growing, seems to be shrinking, etc...?
Reverend Scott: It seems to shrink and expand relative to the amount of decent metal bands we have playing around at any given time. When there aren't any of us playing around locally, well, the scene sort of hibernates until another good metal or two pops up again. The Santa Barbara/San Louis Obispo/Ventura (Tri-counties) area has always welcomed metal- and plenty of folks turn out for shows. I've seen hundreds turn out for Thursday, Sunday and even Monday night shows.
D-Day: You've obviously gotten involved in MySpace, so you know the power of the internet. If you were to cut a new album and found out that 50,000 downloads have been done but have only sold 500 albums, would you feel cheated?
Reverend Scott: Absolutely not. I would be honored that 50,000 people found my creation worthy enough to download. THAT sort of underground movement is exactly what I aim to achieve. There isn't even a Samsarra album for sale at all currently- our two releases are available as completely free digital downloads at www.samsarra.com.
D-Day: Metallica or Megadeth?
Reverend Scott: What year are we talking about? 1983-1986-Metallica ; 1987-1990-Megadeth. After that, lmao: don't care. How's THAT for diplomacy? (well- I like some of the newest Megadeth album).
D-Day: What is your main goal for Samsarra and Juggling Chainsaws?
Reverend Scott: I would be perfectly happy just making a decent living solely on the musical products of these two bands. I will also be happy as long as I/we put out good, honest music that people around the world appreciate.
D-Day: And to end, do you have any final words for all fans new ond old for Samsarra and Juggling Chainsaws? This is your time.
Reverend Scott: I'll start of with a few brief expressions of gratitude.
First of all I'd like to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported what I do; I'm grateful for everyone who cares. First among those folks are my Mother, Father and Grandmother, for all these years of love, support and belief, and my extended family on the American East Coast-Cousin Johnny and Aunt Linda and all of the various offspring and other relations. Huge thanks to Adam Camardella and his father Dom at Santa Barbara Sound Design- www.sound-design.com. My eternal gratitude to the legendary Argentinian artist Valgorth for his amazing cover art, the new logo and several years of friendship and support- www.hammerblaze.com. The Official Samsarra website would not be kept running without the invaluable help and friendship of my Webmaster Michaela Schnell in Austria. My heartfelt thanks also go out to all past, present and future members of Samsarra.
Many thanks also to the websites, webzines and online radio stations that have supported what I do.
And to the rest of the world:
Thank you for caring what I/we do. While I draw breath, Samsarra will endure. We are in year seven now, and I promise much music to come. Assuming all goes according to plan there will be another full length Samsarra release this year which will feature several new songs, as well as a few re-recorded, re-mixed and re-mastered tracks that I wasn't completely satisfied with and/or that I didn't have time/finances to finish and release. The working title is "Sealed In Blood" and we are looking at a probable Fall 2009 release date.
The new album, "The Unbeliever" is available as a completely free digital download including all cover art on our Official Site- www.samsarra.com , as is the first e.p. "Savor The Taste". Simply go the "albums" tab and download. I personally have found that the Winrar extractor works best for unzipping.
I hope that my lyrics have made some small difference in the world, as I often try to address things that I view as terribly wrong without being overly political. I hope that I have at least made some folks think while attempting to entertain them. At the end of the day, I would like to encourage the world (and most importantly my own Fellow Americans) to examine issues and think for themselves; to not blindly believe and follow what their governments and churches and the media tell them; to seek truth within themselves and make this world a better place: a world that is free from religious and political hatred and violence.
D-Day: Thank you very much, Scott!
Reverend Scott: You are most welcome and thank YOU, Dennis!
Be sure to check out Samsarra at: