Interview with Five Bolt Main
This interview was conducted on Friday, August 12th of 2005. The interview took place in the VIP room of the Monkey Bar in Huntington, West Virginia. All of the band members were present, though Cris fronted most of the questions with Ivan and Chandler playing back up. I really enjoyed talking with these guys, their all down to earth and take their music very seriously. Talking with them simply made me want to see them play live even more.
Wes (aka Sundown): Why didn't you guys start over on another record label as Flaw, what was the reason to bring in new people and start a new band?
Cris: Well basically the story like behind the former members of Flaw, I was in Flaw the whole time, I sang for Flaw the whole time. Ivan played drums for Flaw and helped write pretty much the first Flaw record. And Ben played bass for Flaw for awhile. But these guys ah, while I was in Flaw and I was touring with Flaw these guys had another project called Silent Q. So they were work'n the whole time I was out with Flaw. And then things just pretty much slowly deteriorated ah between band members in Flaw, ya know attitudes really starting sucking. And umm... we got dropped by Universal, so it was really just kinda like a perfect situation. As soon as Flaw ended these guys already had an album worth of material and all I had to do was write vocals to it. I had already worked with two of them before and so after Universal dropped us I got a CD from these guys, we just started jamming and writing together and within, I'd say seven months or so we had a record deal. And ah... I think we're a lot better off then if we had been on a major label because we have a lot more artistic control, there's a lot more personal attention from the label and ah... I'm just real happy about where we are at right now.
Wes: Is there a reason you guys decided to go with Rock Ridge instead of any other label?
Cris: Well yeah.. It’s actually kinda funny, I've had a relationship with one of the principal owners, Tom Durr, he was the Vice President of Marketing for Universal and we didn't even shop around this record. As soon as he made an offer, we thought about, we had an attorney check it out and we just jumped on it. As far as marketing is concerned he's hands down, knows exactly what he's doing. And also we didn't want to be in the kind of position where we got a huge advance up front like majors do all the time. I mean by the time your six months into the whole marriage between bands and labels your already half a million dollars in debt and you just keep going further and further into debt. So with Rock Ridge the way that they do their system was perfect for us.
Ivan: Yeah, I mean, the thing with Rock Ridge came about... Cris had a relationship with Rock Ridge's owner so he was pretty comfortable and wanted to go with them from the beginning. The rest of us, after meeting Tom, he seemed like a really cool guy, really straight forward. I mean my past experience with labels has been pretty shitty. It seemed like... it just seemed people... he just like... he wasn't full of shit, ya know. Then I think the rest of us four sorta put Cris's word on it, ya know, Cris has a relationship, we sorta trusted what he was say'n about the guy. I mean for me I think its... probably the best music business decision or career decision I've made. They really are really straight forward, their down to earth, they don't... they don't fill your head full of crap, ya know and they just work their butts off for us and it's been a really, really good experience so far.
Chandler: Also, Rock Ridge's mission statement is very different than a major label. I mean most major labels sign two or three bands in the same genre at the same time. And whichever one hits with their first or second single they'll promote them and let the other couple go if they don't hit. Major labels are sorta consuming bands to stay alive now, as opposed to how it used to be, where majors would let a band develop over a couple of albums and develop a fan base over touring and albums and sustain a career. Rock Ridge has the financial support among it's principal owners and they've all worked at major labels and so they've started this one to go the opposite direction of majors today. Their in this to develop artists over the short, long and middle run instead of expecting us to hit sell a million or your dropped. That was very attractive, their mission, whole reason they exist was very attractive for a band like us.
Wes: Because of your connection with Flaw, do you think you'll pick up a lot of the same fan base?
Cris: Sure. I mean yeah, we've already seen it across the country, I mean there's probably about 80 percent of the Flaw fans are already 5BM fans now. Your still gonna get a small percentage, maybe 20 percent of people that are just so pissed off that Flaw's broken up that they don't wanna come over to this side. Yeah, we've seen it all over the country. One of the things we were able to do is obtain the email database from the Flaw's message board, so we were able to balk email all the people that registered on Flaws board to tell them about 5BM. So we're definitely using, ya know, certain areas of marketing to our advantage that have pretty much been created by Flaw.
Chandler: We're in a similar genre position as Flaw. I don't think we sound really, other than vocally, I think we don't really resemble Flaw's music a whole lot. But we are in a similar genre position, as far as where in rock we fit in. Being able to, at this point, to make immediate contact with people who already know Cris and his work already. Ya know it's sort of... we're starting at some place other than flat zero, we're starting some place ahead of that. So we've been able to move from zero to mid sized clubs sort of immediately, which has been very nice.
Ivan: I think, I think ah... one thing's really important that we probably should say is that we're not trying to be Flaw or trying to be like Flaw 2 or Flaw-like, Flaw-next. We're not formerly Flaw. Some promoters have been using that and that's cool but it's not something from the band and it's not something from the label, it's promoters trying to get kids in the door to the show. Our whole thing is we're not the next incarnation of Flaw but if your fan of Flaw, especially if your fan of Cris's vocals, chances are your gonna like this band. We write music in the same genre, we have the same vocalist. You can't get Flaw records anymore, ya know, so you mise well check us out.
Wes: Five Bolt Main is releasing their first album on September 13th, is that correct?
Cris: Yes... yes.
Wes: It's titled Venting?
Cris: Yeah, it is titled Venting.
Wes: On your website it says you guys also have an EP for download, right?
Chandler: It's an internet download on the internet sites, itunes, anywhere you can download music legally. We have a two song EP, it's been out for about a week, week as of this moment. You can get the video edit of our first single Pathetic, and then you can get one of the other songs, Wait in Line, you can get those two packaged right now, completely finished, mastered, done, album versions of those two right now for two bucks online.
Cris: Actually another positive thing we just found out about, umm... the video we shot for Pathetic is going to premiere on Head Bangers Ball tomorrow, it'll probably run for like four weeks. Ah, but we also have a couple of songs on Ringtunes and ya know everything’s moving really quickly.
Chandler: Harddrive is a syndicated rock and metal show which is on... ya know their on 30 or 40 markets nationally. That syndicated show has shown some interest in us, their gonna start consistently spinning our record in regular rotation, it's called Pathetic, starting on the twentieth of this month. And then also, their gonna be a tour partner with us, sponsor part or most of our next tour, it'll be sorta the Harddrive-5BM tour.
Ivan: I think ah... also... all that stuff we're talking about, we have to say that comes from Rock Ridge. I mean all stuff a major label could have done for a band starting in our position, they've done and than some. I mean we're a high priority for them, we're not in debt 250 grand for our first record cause we bought some big name producer, they don't do it that way. But they're getting our video on MTV, we shot a video which is more than most bands being on major labels. It's going to MTV2, it's going on the radio, so I mean we have insane internet buzz and it's happen because Rock Ridge guys work as hard as they do.
Chandler: It seems like Rock Ridge really notices... where they are today... then they signed an artist that obviously had a pretty developed following and then they really made themselves a name based on that band. I mean, I'd love it if that's what happens here.
Wes: Is there place you can download the video for Pathetic?
Cris: ah, yes... it's called ifilm.com.
Ivan: Yeah, you can link to it off of our website, we're pretty much on the front page of that website.
Chandler: the front page of the downloads section right now.
Ivan: Check that out.
Wes: Did you guys record anything this time around that didn't go on the album, b-sides, singles?
Cris: Umm, we didn't do that. I mean we did have a few songs that we did actually track in the studio. But I know like with my experience with Flaw, if you put twelve songs on a record a lot of times they want you to record fourteen because of b-sides. We didn't have the time or the budget to do that, other wise we would've.
Chandler: Before Cris came on board the four us had been writing together for almost a year and half, so we had the band musically... basically had a year and half of preproduction time for an album we didn't even realize was ever gonna exist at the point we were writing this material. We were just writing it, then everything, Cris came on so quickly. We really had an idea of the songs that we thought were album worthy. Given the budget restraints, the time restraints, we went in, busted out the twelve we knew were the best material.
Cris: Yeah, there was actually very little tracking preproduction done at all. The songs were pretty much ready to go when I heard it.
Wes: Are you guys starting to work on new material for another release?
Chandler: Yeah, yeah a little bit. We're writing as much as we can on the road. But ah... we've got three or four more songs that are Five Bolt Main material that are either not completely vocally finished or are not completely locked down and ready to go yet. But we've got the material already there, we've got plenty of riffs and parts and fragments of songs, it seems like we could put together right now. We are definitely beginning to think about our next album.
Wes: If you could record a cover of any other band is there one in particular that the band would do?
Cris: Well we all kinda have probably different opinions about that. We've talked about some ideas here and there. I think as a general consensus we feel that the most important thing for us to do is to make sure that we establish an identity for ourselves before we take on any kind of a remake. Plus there's so many bands doing it now it's just gonna, kinda look like we did it cause it's something to do. I mean, second album if we're established enough, enough of an identity, enough of a fan base then I don't have a problem with it, with the second record.
Wes: You've mentioned everyone has different influences, are there specific influences which went into recording Venting?
Chandler: In terms of just writing styles, we're all products of our environment in the ways we learned our instruments and things like that. Does it sound... ya know, can you point your finger at certain parts and say well this is derived from that, maybe not. Each one of our influences ya know certainly colors the way I approach our instruments, the way he approaches his instrument, we all approach our instruments based on the way we learned them.
Wes: The band is based out of Louisville, is that correct?
Cris: Louisville, Kentucky, yeah.
Wes: Is there a reason for that?
Chandler: I'm originally from there. Everyone else moved there sometime later in their life, ultimately that's were they all wound up.
Wes: I know Louisville has a pretty good club and concert scene, do you guys get a good response playing in the home town?
Chandler: Yeah, yeah. Louisville was a real hot spot there for like six or seven years, I mean Days of the New came out of Louisville, Flaw came out of Louisville, Primer 55 was out of Louisville, Tantric was basically from Louisville.
Cris: We did have like a five or six year explosion since then it's kinda dyed down, I think it's like just a general cycle.
Ivan: What was cool was somebody had a run of bands... a few of them made it, some of them on major labels... Flaw, Tantric, Days of the New they were all doing really well, eventually it all dyed down, it was sorta dead around Louisville for awhile, once there were that many bands but no one was really grabb'n anybody's attention. But recently it seems like it's turned around and picked up a little bit and you have some bands that are just now coming out. There are some good bands in the air that are just coming out.
Chandler: Louisville was one of the top five or six music cities in the country. Cause of that, the clubs developed, and a sorta network of websites, fan meetings, new clubs all to support unsigned local music, ya know, original stuff out of Louisville. We have pretty fertile ground for a band to come out of, it's easy to get a good solid push from your home town if your from a place like that, it seems bands like that go play places like Ozzfest and things like that.
Cris: I did.
Wes: With all the summer music, is there a specific band or tour you'd like to play with or be a part of?
Ivan: I really want to do the Twisted Sister reunion tour, especially if they go to Japan.
Chandler: Ozzfest would be great. I mean we would be the least heaviest edged of the Ozzfest kinda of bands.
Cris: The thing about Ozzfest is unless your moving albums and getting on the main stage, you've gotta pay to play. Like Flaw had to pay 75 grand to play and Rock Ridge is not all about that.
Ivan: We would love to play Ozzfest, but I don't think it's in the budget to pay them 75 grand.
Wes: Are you guys planning on doing any West Coast dates on the tour?
Cris: Yeah, we're actually looking to put some together, and this isn't confirmed yet, with a band called Dry Kill Logic. That should go through October and November and that will go all over the West Coast.
Wes: If you guys weren't playing music what would you be doing?
Ivan: Wishing I was playing music.
Cris: I think I'd be a full time dreamer. Honestly, I have had probably one of the widest ranges of regular jobs, I mean I've done everything for work; from the back of an armored truck to building houses for people, there's no telling what I'd be doing. Honestly, and this may seem a little drastic, but I don't think it's not possible for me to not play music, I would just go completely insane. So if I wasn't doing this I'd be in a mental hospital, I'm boarder line there now anyway.
Ivan: Actually he was in last week, we just got him out.
Ivan: I actually took off my last year, my senior year of college to do this, so I'd probably still be in school. I got two more semesters.
Wes: So that being said, you guys look at Five Bolt Main as a career?
Ivan: That's the goal.
Chandler: That's the goal. If this doesn't work out than we'll just do whatever we were doing before.
Chandler: You know it's nice to have something to fall back on, an education or career of some kind that's not music related, but I mean as of this moment in time I believe this is everyone’s 100 percent priority right now. Everything else has been put on full hold, depending on what's gonna happen with this.
Ivan: Yeah, I dropped outta school do this so I'm pretty serious about.
Wes: Where did you come up with the name Five Bolt Main?
Ivan: Actually I stole it. I was in a band with a guy about five years ago that he wanted to name the band Four Bolt Main. It's part of a car, basically most cars either have a two bolt or four bolt main. A four bolt main goes on higher torque higher RPM kinda cars, sports cars, muscle cars, stuff like that. I always thought it was a really cool name, we couldn't find a name for this band, we thought that'd be a really cool name, but there is five of us. So I thought Five Bolt Main, instead of four.
Chandler: And there are some like super high performance engines that do have a five bolt main. They actually do exist so it wasn't that big of a stretch, ya know, add one bolt.
Ivan: When I first came up with it everyone thought it was cool and everything, but I thought that'd been sorta cheesy if they don't exist so I sorta went around on the internet a little bit. There was one for sale on EBay and you could count the bolts in the picture, so they definitely do exist.
Wes: Are you guys going to play any material tonight that's not on the new album?
Chandler: As it stands legally, I don't think we can play any of Cris's, Ivan's and Ben's former material. So until that's completely finished and that sort of thing. I mean until that's completely done.
Ivan: Well I mean even beyond that, until we completely establish ourselves as this band, none of us really want to over exploit the whole Flaw thing.
Cris: You'll confuse people.
Ivan: Yeah, I don't wanna confuse people, I don't wanna make them think this Five Bolt Main record is the new Flaw record. Cause it's not, ya know.
Cris: And also we don't want fans coming to hear Flaw, we want fans coming to hear Five Bolt Main.
Wes: Is there any place in particular you guys want to play a live show?
Ivan: I'm really looking forward to Woodshock, tomorrow, the Woodshock festival, I really am. It's on an Indian reservation out in the middle of no where, no rules, no cops, it's a really cool place.
Chandler: I'd love to play CBGBs, the Whiskey, ya know the classic venues of course, but... I mean...
Chandler: Europe would be great too.
Ivan: Like Amsterdam.
Wes: Do you have plans to release a second video and single off Venting anytime soon?
Cris: Well I mean a you always really hope for the kind of support and outreach that a video does. I think at this point we have to wait and see how this video clip for Pathetic does and then we'll have to wait and see how the record does. If it takes off, like I hope and I think it will... then there's no question Rock Ridge will do another one.
Wes: That's all I got for you guys, thanks for having me.
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