Interview With Strapping Young Lad's Jed Simon
Band Photo: Strapping Young Lad (?)
In anticipation to the Sounds of the Underground Tour, I sent a few interview questions via e-mail to one of the bands on the bill – a local Vancouver metal band by the name of Strapping Young Lad. Guitarist Jed Simon took the time to answer these questions:
darkstar: How do you feel your new record, Alien, is doing?
Jed: It's doing better than anything previous, so I take that as a positive...let's hope it continues.
darkstar: How was Alien different from the previous Strapping Young Lad albums?
Jed: It's not that it's different...it's just where we are right now in time. There was no emphasis on being 'different', or trying something 'new', it's just us...and a generous side helping of stress, haha!
darkstar: What made you guys decide initially to do the Tom Jones cover of "What's New, Pussycat?" for Alien and then drop it later on?
Jed: We love Tom, Tom is a 'Mans' Man', so we thought it would be cool to do a cover, but in the end, it just didn't 'fit'...so we dropped it...the Melvins cover we did of 'Zodiac' came out awesome, and it was included on the Japanese release...I'm hoping to see the Melvins tribute album soon, as this is what we recorded the song for...we love them!!
darkstar: Exactly how many instruments does Devin know how to play? Did he take lessons or did he learn them himself?
Jed: We are all self taught...Dev has just got those big long 'alien'(no pun intended) fingers, so he can usually twiddle on whatever he picks up! You know, Devin may have taken some lessons at some point, for theory, but he is a natural.
darkstar: How did Strapping Young Lad end up on the Sounds of the Underground Tour?
Jed: I don't know, but we are there and freakin excited about it!!!
darkstar: Strapping Young Lad will be touring with Sounds of the Underground Tour until the end of the July and Fear Factory will be on Gigantour beginning July 21. Wouldn't there be a conflict for bassist Byron Stroud?
Jed: Yes, we have to 'sublet' Byron out towards the end, and I believe Brian Waddel from the DTB band will be filling in for the Viking while he is away slaying infidels. We knew this would happen at some point, so we made sure to have a contingency plan ready...it's all good!
darkstar: What's the symbol on the cover of Alien, and other SYL albums, mean?
Jed: It's a giant bug. Really. That's it. I hate bugs, but this one is cool...the feather on the last album represents purity, or innocence, being 'defiled', I guess...The Death of Innocence...thanks Gene, an old Dark Angel title describes the feather perfectly!! City is self explanatory, big, dark and dirty...full of hate. Heavy as a really heavy thing...well...it's a mess...but it looks good on one of my custom flying v's!! haha!
darkstar: What's with the song "Satan's Ice Cream Truck"? It seems as if it's about pedophilia.
Jed: Naw...it's a joke song...in the vein of Zimmers Hole...pure silliness and nothing more.
darkstar: In "Dirt Pride," you sing of Gigbutts and Bunksocks. What are they?
Jed: Dirtpride is all about touring. Gigbutt is a condition you get when...aw man, do I have to describe this? Let's just say it's very uncomfortable 'greasy cheeks'...time to take a shower. Bunksocks are the 'depository' for...um...well...stuff when you are in your bunk and missing your girlfriend or wife...
darkstar: Can you tell us a bit about the Strapping Young Lad track on the Melvins tribute album, "Zodiac"? Is the song "Joan of Arc" a collaboration with members of Fear Factory and Mastodon?
Jed: Well, I have yet to see or hear the album...so I can't comment further other than what I said above about the cover we did for it.
darkstar: How would you say your side projects are musically different from Strapping Young Lad?
Jed: Well, you just got to get all the music you have in you 'out', and that is why we have so many side projects!! We like to be serious sometimes...(Dev's 'DTB' band, my upcoming 'Tenet' album, Genes 'Punchdrunk'), or silly...(me and Byrons 'Zimmers Hole'). There are a couple more projects in the works too...I'm working on a straight up hard rock album, and everyone else has got similiar stuff happening, it's great to always be writing...it soothes the soul.
darkstar: Is it true that all members of Strapping Young Lad have also been members of the Devin Townsend Band at the same time?
Jed: Yeah, we have all 'done the duty'! We used to tour as the DTB/SYL band and play songs from everything...I'm glad Dev got another band to do his other stuff..it was fun, but not my 'release', ya know?
darkstar: Is there a release date set for the upcoming Devin Townsend Band album, 'Synchestra,' yet? What can we expect from it?
Jed: No idea, he is recording in Aug/Sept, I believe, I would expect more of the same!
darkstar: Will there be another Zimmer's Hole album coming out?
Jed: We were thinking of folding the Hole, and after doing a show recently, we looked at each other and went, "we have been together as brothers for almost 13 years, let's just keep going"...I love ZH, and I do have a bunch of new songs written, so when SYL permits, and we can work things out, I'll say YES to a new Zimmers Hole album...and I personally guarantee, it will be over the top!!!
darkstar: Thanks and see you on the Sounds of the Underground tour!
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