Interview With Shimera's Susanne Gentry
Tampa, Florida death metal act SHIMERA throw down a lean, mean and technically supreme form of heavy music. Unlike most current bands of this genre, Shimera isn't at all plagued with the over-used blast beat and ridiculously distorted guitar syndrome. They know how to find the groove. And to me, that's what Rock n Roll is about in the first damn place. The band, currently auditioning bass players for their lineup, is made up of James Seaton on lead/rhythm guitar & vocals, Brian Mourer on lead and rhythm guitar and Susanne Gentry on drums.
Rocket: So are you originally from Tampa, Florida?
Susanne: Yes, born and raised in good old Tampa. I'm actually proud to be part of a city that was once the death metal capital. Maybe someday we can recapture that title.
Rocket: When did you first start playing drums?
Susanne: I started playing when I was 17 and absolutely love the drums. My first project was a hardcore/punk band. After that, I just jammed with alot of musicians until meeting James(guitar/vocals) and forming Shimera.
Rocket: Did you take any formal lessons?
Susanne: Actually I did take lessons for about a year. My teacher was a female double bass player - she was mind blowing. The rest I just learned as I went along.
Rocket: Who are a few of your biggest drumming influences? Past or present.
Susanne: Well, I have several, but I'll try to keep the list short. My all time favorite is Terry Bozzio. Others would include Dave Lombardo, Igor Cavaleras and Peter Criss. Yes, I admit I'm a huge KISS fan. Growing up, I wanted to be Peter Criss. He's who first inspired me to even play the drums.
Rocket: How did Shimera initially form together as a band?
Susanne: Well, many years ago, James (guitar/vocals) and I met while auditioning for another band. That fell through, but we both shared the passion for metal and from there we formed Shimera. Together we've been the core of the band. In April of this year, Brian joined as our second guitarist and now our sound is even heavier. We are currently auditioning for a permanent bass player.
Rocket: I really think you guys are making big strides from your earlier EP 'Bloodpact' and the band's new LP 'Christian Annihilation' from this year. What do you attribute that to?
Susanne: The fact that we've never stopped. We are always trying to raise the bar. Also, after our experience with 'Bloodpact, we really knew how to make the studio work for us.
Rocket: Who are the primary songwriters in Shimera?
Susanne: In the past, it has primarily been James. But now with the addition of Brian, they are both writing new material and it's brutal! As a band, we all have some input and I do think that's important. It keeps things interesting.
Rocket: Is the band planning to release another new album of material next year at some point?
Susanne: Absolutely! I can tell you we are already working on new material that will outdo 'Christian Annihilation'. Our plans right now are to complete the next cd closer to the end of 2007.
Rocket: There's all sorts of new metal releases that have been coming out, including Iron Maiden's latest. Do you have a personal favorite for 2006 yet?
Susanne: My personal favorite is Deicide 'The Stench of Redemption'. I just picked up the new Slayer and Lamb of God as well.
Rocket: Who are some of the other local Florida metal acts that impress you?
Susanne: That's tough because I feel there are so many talented metal bands in Florida. I'd have to say Nailshitter, Dark Faith and Diabolic, just to name a few.
Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing?
Susanne: I really haven't had anything funny happen to me, but I can think of one incident that I found amusing. There was one show in particular where the fans had an insane pit going. James (guitar) decides to join in the pit while wearing his shin spikes. We’re talking sharp, 3-4 inch spikes. The crowd is going crazy and pitting hard, and in the meantime he’s just impaling people and they loved it! Sounds sick, but it brought a smile to my face.
Rocket: So what are some of the upcoming shows for this band that we need to watchout for?
Susanne: Right now we have some local shows going on. We'll be at Madhatter's in Lakeland Sept. 30th and Oct. 27th. And the Uptown Bar in St. Pete Nov. 4th.
Rocket: Thanks for taking the time out with me on this. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Susanne: First off, I have to thank you Rocket and the Metal Underground. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated. I also have to thank Punchy at Diet of Worms studio for the awesome job on our cd. And of course, all of our fans - you all rule, we fight for you!
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