Taming The Beast: Q&A With Chad Of Scarefactor
Scarefactor is a seasoned metal act from Detroit, Michigan, and unlike the motor city's hometown hero, Kid 'I went Country' Rock, this extremely volatile and fueled by pain thrash metal band personifies the true underground heavy music scene. I hear literally hundreds of metal singers through my research every month, and I am really thrilled to have a chance to interview Chad Elliott, lead vocalist for Scarefactor, one of the more talented screamers I've heard in recent years.
Rocket: Tell me a little about your background in music, bro. When did you start singing?
Chad: I started playing guitar about 13 years ago when my cousin showed me how to play Working Man by Rush. I learned it up to the solo in about ten minutes. He told me I had a gift and that I should not waste it, so I didn’t. I started a band two days later. I had all the ingredients but was missing a vocalist. At that point I said what the hell and started singing. I sucked really bad but I never gave up and my first Scarefactor show was three weeks from when we started. I never gave up and I got into Pantera real hard and heavy and developed my scream. The rest is history.
Rocket: I understand Scarefactor has been on the metal scene for twelve years now. What do you know about the music business now that you didn't know then?
Chad: I was really naïve back in the day and I was surrounded by snakes, so one thing that I learned to do is weed out the snakes and the fakes. I know how to do that very well now. A suggestion I have to the new local bands is to background check when people offer you the world.Don’t learn the hard way like I did.
Rocket: Right on. I really want to hang myself every time I listen to a metal band that begs me to listen to their music because when I do, I quickly realize that they not only should have their instruments set on fire, while they're still playing them, they just don't seem to understand how to write a good song. What would you say are the three key elements to delivering a great metal song?
Chad: You need obviously a band of talented individuals as well as screwed up minds.You need lots of issues in your life to channel emotion into the songs to make people feel it. The wack experiences we as a band have had has been definitely channeled into our music. Its not all anger and darkness.We have a song called Bullfrog that we played for the first time at The Bullfrog in Detroit.That song is just a heavy hitting get down in the pit kinda song that we all have fun with when we play it. The crowd just goes nuts when we lay that down --and it’s just one of those songs that everyone feels. I guess you could say that’s a Scarefactor trademark.Our fans feel it every time.
Rocket: Again, I'm basically brutal when it comes to analyzing a metal band's music. I do not have time for nonesense. The true metal cause is at war right now with mainstream Faux metal acts like Avenged Sevenfold, sounding closer to the Archies than the great Iron Maiden, who these Hype-machine, sell-out trash rag writers repeatedly compare them to. What's your opinion of the current state of metal music in the mainstream? I imagine a talented guy like you has got to be pretty damn frustrated, right?
Chad: I think mainstream music is getting worse and worse as the years go on. I can only hope that it will get better or maybe that we can set an example as members of the underground and bring the real metal back to the scene. I usually stick to my CD’s: Lamb of God, Devil Driver, Down, Superjoint, or late night metal shows on the radio. To summarize it mainstream sucks.
Rocket: I wanted to commend you on your new sobriety from drugs, there are alot of people out there reading this who are themselves dealing with serious addiction problems and feel totally helpless. Why did you decide to finally get cleaned up and how proud does it make you feel inside to be handling this head on once and for all?
Chad: It feels so good to finally deal with this head on. I almost lost the love of my life over this as well as my friends. I chose to not deal with it for so long surrounding myself with people that wouldn’t tell me it was wrong and making relationships I will regret for the rest of my days. I hurt a lot of people around me while I was drugging and I look forward to a clean life. I have been an addict for over ten years and it feels so good. I still have a long way to go but it will be worth it in the end. To all the people out there take it from me, all you are doing is hurting yourself and your families and friends, seek help before it is too late. I had an angel to save me from my demons, someone who never gave up on me, my wife Karen Elliott who I love more than anything. I realized it wasn’t worth losing her that’s when I finally opened my eyes
Rocket: That's killer you shared that with us, bro. And you're right. You're lucky to have someone like that who loves you unconditionally.
Listen, I can hear a variety of metal vocal influences in your style, mainly from Phil Anselmo of Down/Superjoint Ritual and Mike Williams of Eye Hate God. Yet, it's seriously impressive that you have managed to keep it distinct, a very hard task to achieve.
A Perfect Murder and Throwdown's vocalists get into that kind of area as well, but I think you're better due to the fact that you seem to have worked harder at defining your own voice. The song River So Cold is really a bad ass song that seems to speak volumes about the animosity you have against deceptive people. Tell me more about what this song is all about?
Chad: River So Cold is about fucked up people that are deceptive, and believe me I have met a few. People that try to lead you into a way of thinking and ply you with drugs to get what they want, feed into your addiction. I think a lot of metal heads out there can relate to that. I wrote it when my river was so cold and I hope others can feel it too. Anyone who feeds your addiction is not your friend no matter what you think.
Rocket: Quickly rundown the rest of your bandmates and how long they've been with Scarefactor. Besides you, the longest standing member is four years, correct?
Chad: Well my boys and I have been together for five years. We are brothers through and through, and I want to thank them for putting up with all of my bullshit. Like I said before I started Scarefactor 12 years ago and this is the perfect mix of players.We would not be here today had we not found each other! Steve Driver is the drummer, man can make drums sound like machine guns. Drew Driver, obviously his brother, is our low tones man who rules the stage.You gotta see this crazy mofo in action! Todd Forsythe, lead guitar, this is a guy who listens to so many genres of music to help his creative drive that he comes up with some tearin ass shit, and finally ,JC Goins on rythym guitar player who gives us the final ending to our sound.His addition made our set complete.He's an extremely strong guitar player
Rocket: Does Scarefactor have a full album's worth of material ready to record and if not, what are your immediate future plans to make this happen?
Chad: Our album is in the process of being complete.The tracks are laid down. I just have to lay down the vocals, and I was in the process of doing that when I admitted myself into rehab. So yes, we have a twelve song EP due out midsummer. Keep an eye out, it’s the heaviest, darkest, most intense shit we have done to date.
Rocket: What has the MySpace music networking/marketing tool meant to you personally? I'm sure you'll agree it's revolutionary, in terms of being able to have vast exposure all over the world at the touch of a button.
Chad: MySpace is the fucking shit! We would not be here doing this interview if it weren’t for MySpace. The world at your fingertips.The creators of MySpace should rule the world. It rocks when people use it for what it is intended, there are those stupid fucks out there that stay on it to create drama, but I guess that’s everywhere.
Rocket: On a lighter note, I like to give the young upcoming metal musicians a reality pill when it comes to performing live. Being in bands myself growing up, I have had some serious things go wrong that one can never see coming. What was the most disastrous stage moment you've ever had?
Chad: We were opening up for Mushroomhead two years ago at Harpos Music Theatre in Detroit and I was a little wacked out and decided it would be a good idea to stage dive. I went headfirst, head butted someone and got the biggest knot on my head, and once I finally got put back onstage, it took a minute to figure out where the fuck I was!
Rocket: Haha, that's some metal shit, bro. What was your top metal album for 2005? I went with Devil Driver.
Chad:Oh yeah man, definitely Devil Driver. And one of my personal favorites is Lamb of God.
Rocket: As I touched on earlier, it's obvious how important Phil Anselmo and Pantera's musical legacy means to Scarefactor. What exactly does Dimebag and The Cowboys From Hell mean to you?
Chad: They mean the fucking world to me.If it wasn’t for Dimebag's untouchable solos and the pounding bass of Rex, Vinnie Paul's unheard of drum technique and Phil's voice and way of thinking, I probably would have offed myself by now. Dime RIP, you are a legend and we miss you everyday brutha. I’ve seen Pantera 18 times and it is so sad to know there will be no more. Every great thing has to come to an end but we were definitely robbed. Hats off to you, Phil, you are my personal hero. I was totally stoked to hear that DOWN is back! Music is all I have to keep me occupied in here, and my wife just bought me NOLA and God is it amazing! HORNS HIGH!!
Rocket: Getting back to the future for Scarefactor, are you guys gonna do some more touring this year and will you venture further out than your immediate local scene?
Chad: We toured out to California two years ago, so we definitely would like to hit the road again and definitely the East Coast.We can crash at your house, right? We all loved the experience of being on the road.We learned a lot from that experience. So my wife says your gonna do a Metal Den tour…hahaha, just givin you shit, man.
Rocket: It's all good, bro. I am breaking it off from TMD promotions. I'm not even gonna deny that. Haha!
Chad: But I know we would definitely be down for touring, so count us in if this comes to light! Definitely want to thank you for having me here on metalunderground.com, it’s a perfect place to begin a new way of life.
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