Q&A With John Matheis From Deliver Us From Evil
Evansville, Indiana may be home to the legendary retired New York Yankee great, Don Mattingly, but I believe it is going to become just as well known for a little metal band that is slowly but surely inching its way out of unknown status called Deliver Us From Evil. This is a band that came together in 2003 initially under the moniker Mutiny Rise. After changing that, it seems they have fully found their identity and true calling, now steadily offering up very technical, aggressive, and the truest metal music they can possibly create. They have also been playing by all accounts, some of the most dynamic live shows in their local music scene and are working hard right now to begin their climb for the national spotlight and worldwide stardom. I am happy to have gotten some conversation in with their lead guitarist, John Matheis.
Rocket: So are you originally from Evansville, Indiana?
John: Yes, I am. I've lived here my whole life. People bitch about this place a lot, but it's my hometown and I feel comfortable here. E-ville 4 life. Haha.
Rocket: Nothing wrong with that. Where I grew up in Venice, Calfornia is pretty much a shithole... but it means the world to me. So I can relate, bro. When did you start playing electric guitar? And did you ever take any lessons?
John: I started playin' guitar when I was 10. My father was always into music, mostly classical. He is a member of the "Classical Guitar Society of Evansville", so he took me to get lessons from his teacher who runs the "CGS of Evansville" and is also a professor of music at the University of Evansville. I took 4 lessons from him. He is a great classical guitarist from Italy, but I was about 15, going through my Eddie Van Halen stage. He would come in and I would be finger tappin' on my classical guitar that I hated at the time. I'm not a big fan of acoustic guitars really, but I do play classical music. Anyway' he would come in and say in his Italian voice, "what are u playing". I would tell him , "It's Van Halen". And of course his response was ,"Who is this ...Van Halen?".
Rocket: Sorry to cut in... but that teacher needed a slap right then and there. Hahaha! Who is Eddie Van Halen? OMG -- that pisses me off! Eddie could take apart any classical mumbo jumbo guitarist alive still to this very day. What a joke.
John: Anyhow, he had never seen finger tapping before, or really fast playing for that matter. So on the 4th lesson he told my dad ,"Your son has chops, I've never seen a guitar played like that". So that was the end of my lessons. I haven't had a lesson since. I preferred being self taught anyways.
Rocket: Totally. What kid's reading and learning from Uncle Rocket need to be aware of is that most guitar teachers or any music teachers for that matter are teaching it... guess why? Cause they can't play the damn instrument for a living! Hahaha. Straight up. So what kind of guitars are you playing on?
John: My stage guitar at the moment is an Epiphone gothic flying V, with an Ibanez Floyd Rose, and a Dimebucker. I love my V more than any guitar I've played. It just has attitude. So yeah, I think I'm stickin' with the black V's.
Rocket: Awesome. What kind of amp set-up?
John: A buddy of mine just sold me a Peavey Triple X.I've liked that amp since I was 16 and never had money for one. I got a good deal on it so I finally got one.YES!
Rocket: Very sweet. Peavey cranks. Do you play with any effects?
John: Not really. But I do use a Dime signature wah pedal. And on some solo parts I use delay to kind of cheat double harmony guitar parts. But other than that it's all raw amp sound.
Rocket: Well, it's all working just fine. You shred. I really dig your work on that song Until Tomorrow. Very nice solo work. Some of the best fretburning action I've heard in a bit. Very fluid and tasteful. Sounds a bit Maiden'ish. How did Dimebag Darrell's onstage murder in 2004 affect you?
John: Uh, I'm not really sure still. It's still kind of weird to me. Like, it hasn't totally sunk in yet. I was up when the first newscast went on and just could not believe it. Still can't. The thing that drew me to Pantera was how Dime just kind of would play whatever he felt, but still could shred it up. Watching him play live was just fuckin' badass. All the improv' and shit he would pull out of his ass in his solo parts onstage are unbeatable. I think thats what makes him the greatest. Just so much energy and creativity. RIP Dime.
Rocket: You know,man. I totally agree. I have studied all the great guitar players from Hendrix to Clapton to Rhoads... and I do not think any of them could touch Dime in that area... or really in many others. Even his tone was better than Van Halen's, who used to be always considered the best in that respect. Ted Nugent talks all that shit, but I love how he always was asking Eddie how he got his sound. What a lame... and then to trounce on Dime's legacy as he has lately just shows that guy has zero class and wishes he coulda played half the magical guitar Dimey did for all those years. So who are some of the other bands you've played shows with recently that impressed you?
John: Life Tragic Curse is a badass local band around here. Those guys are really cool and write good metal music, so I gotta give them props first. Other than them, its pretty much any metal band we've played with. I'm a metal fan period. So their all badass.
Rocket: Yeah, I dunno, man. I review shows and bands all the time. here on the famed Sunset Strip scene and most of them flatout suck. Hahaha. Does the songwriting process for this band start with you on the riff?
John: Yes. But, I don't just sit down and play a bunch of bullshit riffs. I put a lot of thought and time into my playing and creativity. I refuse to have a weak riff even if a weaker riff makes the next part sound that much better. I say fuck that. You may think that is a flaw in my playing but I play what I wanna hear, you know? And what I wanna hear is one badass riff to the next. Nonstop fuckin' badass metal. But I also am very pattern oriented. When I come up with a badass riff I hear in my head with all of the music. And really I don't usually come up with riffs while playing, I'll just hear something in my head and run with it. Then just apply it to the guitar. Sorry guys (my band) but yes it all starts with the guitar in this band.
Rocket: Right on, Switching gears to a lighter topic, what's the funniest thing that's happened to you on the stage?
John: Nothin' that funny has happened to me onstage but at this one show we had a group of girls came ontage and start dancin' on us while we were playin, and I look down and there is this girl drunk off her ass wanting to get up there to. She has her drink in her hand and tried to step up on to the stage,slipped and went face first into the edge of the stage next to me. I actually felt really bad for her and looked away, but goddamn it was hilarious.LOL. Man, it looked like it hurt.
Rocket: Good stuff. She shoulda set her drink down first. Oh well. A drunk's life. Haha.
What's been your favorite new metal album for 2006 so far?
John: I hope no one gets mad at me for this but listening to music drives me crazy. I don't ever listen to music by myself. Plus I haven't heard much 2006 metal. I'm always too busy daydreamin'. Sorry.
Rocket: Don't worry, bro. None of us have heard any real metal this year. What a bust. But that's why I work so hard at what I do to promote bands like yours from the true underground. I have heard so much killer stuff from you guys and so many more that I've worked closely with this year... you are what is saving heavy metal... not Disturbed. Plain and simple. So do you enjoy answering your fan mail on MySpace?
John: Oh my god, I love it. I'm such a fuckin' dork.
Rocket: Yeah, you do sound a bit excited, brother man. Haha. Roll with it though.
John: But I just love hearing what people have to say. So to all of you reading this, you can send me anything anytime. I eat it up, man.
Rocket: I think that's one of the main things that endears your band to everyone, dude. Alex, your drummer, is like having that totally excited metal fanatic around... just makes you feel like he's as into it all as you are... which he really is. It's great to see. What are the next upcoming shows for the band?
John: June 23rd and 24th in Owensboro, KY at the Wildcat Saloon.
June 27th in Daytona, FL at the Seabreeze Metal Lounge.
June 29th in Jacksonville, FL Not sure were.
June 30th in Myrtle Beach, SC at 007's.
July 1st in Hickory, NC at The Wizard.
July 21st in St.Louis, MS at Pop's.
July 22nd in Owensboro, KY for the Murderfest.
Sept. 1st in Evansville, IN at 1123.
Rocket: Well, I have heard some seriously great things about your live show. I really think people need to get out there and support a band like this when they are playing out and spread the word... tell some friends, grab a few buddies and get out for the night. Alright, John, great talking. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
John: All of the Deliver Us From Evil army. You know who u are. The Metal Den (that means Rocket) for the support and this interview. Uh... marijuana, alcohol, pills...I'm already out of ideas. lol.Thanks again, Rocket.
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