Interview with Magna-FI
Band Photo: Magna-Fi (?)
I recently did an interview with Magna-FI who was opening for SevenDust at The Plex in Charleston, SC on 12-08-04. All the members were present Mike Szuter (Vocals/Guitar), C.J. Szuter (Guitar), Rob Kley (Bass) and Charlie Smaldino (Drums). First of all I have to say that this was one hell of a show, these guys played there hearts out. And secondly, they kicked ass. If you don’t own there album, you need to get it. From Mike’s melodic vocals to Charlie’s heart stopping bass kicks and driving percussive beats, which command you to move. This band is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Charles (aka XxREEPERxX): What's up guys?
Magna-FI: How's it going man?
Charlie: You want a beer or coke?
Charles: Sure, I'll take a beer. At this point I am laughing my ass off because, I never turn down beer. And they had a fridge full!
Charles: So, How is the tour going with Sevendust?
Mike: It's Amazing! Even Though we did Ozzfest this is definitely up there as far as cool factor goes, you know these shows are sold out, the bands are awesome, Sevendust is great. All the other bands that we are touring with BobaFlex and a couple of other bands have been on the tour with us, it's just been really cool. The crowds are awesome, we are having good responses, and having a great time.
Charles: Cool, I have to ask you about Ozzfest though. [Laughing in the background] I just couldn't stand it guys, I have to know. What was it like performing on the Ozzfest tour?
Mike: At first we were scared shitless because, we are a rock band and everybody else is pretty much hardcore you know so we were like oh man. But for me it was a huge challenge to take on. But we figured if the other bands like us and they got our backs then were going to be good, and after the first show or whatever all the other bands came out and said you guys are awesome and we like what you're doing. So, it was very uplifting to hear you know, especially coming from some coolest bands around.
Charles: I know you guys have been on tour for a while now you just came off the Ozzfest tour this summer. With all of your touring how do you still maintain a family life?
Magna-FI: [Everyone is laughing]
Mike: What's cool about that is being on the road and all over the country, we have a lot of family all over the place because everyone in Vegas is from somewhere else. So, I have actually seen more of my family on these tours this summer than I have normally.
Charlie: Yea that's true and less than your immediate family that's for sure.
Rob: Yeah I don't know what they use to do in the old days without cell phones are emails. It's crazy ye olden times before cell phones. [Laughs in Background]
C.J.: What was that about ten years ago? [Everyone is cracking up]
Charles: So, do you all get along good with your tour mates? I mean are you able to hang out?
Mike: They obviously have a pretty rigorous schedule, but the times that we do see them it's pretty cool. A couple of the guys come out and watch our show, when they get a chance.
Charlie: "Get Drunk" every now and then with the guys. [Laughing in the background]
Mike: Yeah, I just drank whiskey with Lajon from Sevendust the other night. And we sang karaoke [everyone's laughing]
Charles: What's your favorite song to play live?
Mike: Eruption by Eddie Van Halen. [Laughs] I do actually play that live and I played it every show on Ozzfest.
C.J: I would have to say the first one, its going to be on our new album its called "Inside the silence", and its our first song we usually kick off with it, and it pretty much sets the tempo and gets my mind right for the show. And then kill' em, you know like get em, you know. [Re: the audience]
Charles: What the craziest thing that has happened on tour so far?
Charlie: The Zakk Wylde thing was pretty interesting.
Mike: Yeah that is pretty good. Zakk is a great guy, he has more heart than any musician, I have ever met. The guy still practices five hours a day when he is on the road, he is insane about music. He had heard me play that Van Halen thing, so when I met him he was like warm already right. He said "hey man that's great, you're a great guitar player" people aren't doing that shit anymore. At the end of the sentence he was like "bam" in my chest, he hit me so hard, I was like holyshit so, we were sitting there talking for awhile and every time I would bring up something or he would bring up something "bam" in the chest again. By the end of the conversation, I was thinking, Should I hit him back or something? I'm like naah. By the end of the conversation I am like completely demolished, and the next day Charlie is like hey let's go over and hang out with Zakk, I'm like no not today, not today I think I'll pass. [Everyone is laughing]
Charlie: Yeah, Zakk use to throw these big bar-b-que's after each show it was great!
Magna-FI: Everyone is saying, awesome bar-b-que!
Mike: Good bar-b-que over at the Black Label Society camp.
Charlie: Yeah, I asked them how much money do they spend, and they said that Zakk spends at least $300.00 for bar-b-que every single day. Every time they are bar-b-que they have like sausage, hot dogs, and steak and all this shit.
C.J: Pork chops, marinated. They do it right.
Rob: So our craziest story is about meat. [Everyone is dying from laughter]
Mike: One night on Ozzfest I can't remember the town.
Mike: I went over to the Jagermeister booth and somebody handed Randy, I was hanging out with Randy from Lamb of God. Somebody handed him a full bottle of Jager and he handed it to me, and that was the last thing I remember. The next day somebody said that saw me by the bus, clutching this bottle with a little bit of warm Jager left, and then the next day I woke up with this huge knot on my head, I had no idea where it came from at all. [Laughing in background]
Charles: Yep that's definitely a full blown Jager drunk. [Laughing]
Charles: Do any of you have any formal background in music?
Mike: I know Charlie doesn't. [Laughing]
Rob: We never went to Julliard, but lets just say we know are instruments very well!
Mike: Man and were modest. [Laughing]
Mike: My dad played guitar and taught me, like three or four chords, he had some pretty cool albums, and rest is history. That's pretty much it!
Charles: What bands influenced your sound the most?
Mike: I started out listening to Cheap Trick of all bands. That band was like you gotta be able to write songs, you gotta be able to sing, you gotta be able to scream, you gotta be able to do it all!
C.J.: Like recently though.
Magna-FI: Quicksand, Filter, just all kinds of bands.
Mike: A lot of the heavier bands that are still melodic. That's the kind of stuff we are into.
Charles: What advice would you guys give an inspiring musician who wants to make it big?
Mike: Don't do it! [Laughs]
C.J.: Stay in school!
Magna-FI: Lotta laughs
Mike: Better have a back up plan!
C.J.: Either your attitude has to be, never give up, and keep trying and practicing and working and working or just get out the game!
Mike: I read in a magazine a longtime ago, Angus Young said "Stick to your guns and you will make it." And like four years ago I was like "You fucking lied to me" [everyone is laughing] but no it's true if you're just willing to persevere, and you're willing to sacrifice everything to get to where you want to go, it'll work.
Rob: Or Not! [Laughing] just kidding!
C.J: When he says, sacrifice everything he means, a good job, home life all that stuff.
Magna-FI: And don't even think about a medical insurance plan.
C.J: Plus we rehearsed pretty much everyday it seemed like, and we played shows every single week.
Mike: You got to work hard.
C.J: Whatever job you may have, you have to sacrifice your work schedule to go play shows or to rehearse or constantly record and do demo's and constantly write a few songs.
Rob: It's really hard when you're working at a job, like driving a truck or working in a warehouse, to quit that job and to actually come on try to do music.
Mike: So kids have a back up plan!
Charles: So are you guys working on anything right now?
Mike: We are going to do a new album early next year and we wrote the whole album before we even got out on the road. Like seven months ago. Hopefully, we will have it out by the middle of next year, at least.
Charles: What's your favorite video game? When I walked in I saw Mike playing the X-Box.
Mike: Halo 2
Rob: I don't really care for video games to much!
Charlie: I was into Spiderman yesterday, now I'm into Call of Duty today.
Charles: Kelly Clarkson "I had to say that, you guys know what I mean" [Laughing]
Charles: Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans out there?
Magna-FI: If you don't have our CD go buy it! Request our songs! And make sure you go to www.magna-fi.com.
This interview was actually done before the show. Mike unfortunately took a spill while on stage, due to someone not securing cables or cleaning up correctly. When he fell his guitar hit him in the mouth and completely knocked out his tooth. But, in true rock star fashion, he got up dusted his self off, and started the next song. These guys are truly 100% Rock and Roll. On a different note after they performed, I was with the guys on there bus when there cell phones went off with news of Dimebag Darrell's death they probably had the news before anyone else did. I know the guys from Magna-FI had a hard time with the news of his death as well as myself being a big "Pantera" fan, it was quite shocking. Dimebag R.I.P Brother, we will never forget you!
You can check out photos of Magna-Fi from this show in the Photo Gallery.
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