Interview with Sons Of Poseidon's Carter Evenson
The best part of my job this year has been getting to discover true rockin gems from the underground scene. Fargo, North Dakota's SONS OF POSEIDON are one of those rare jewels that you come across that just makes you scratch your own damn head and ask: "How the hell are these guys still unsigned after playing their scene for over ten years now?" SOP have just newly released their third album, entitled 'North American Metal' and these guys have straight up delivered a knockout punch that I do believe will finally get them the notoriety that they deserved long ago. I also want to say that with all the primadonnas in this business that I deal with, mainly coming from guys that couldn't hold a candle to this heavy as all hell band, my experience with SOP has been one to remember. They are that down to earth and appreciative of the work that I do here. I got some Q&A in with their front man, Carter Evenson.
Rocket: When did you first start performing in bands, brother man?
Carter: Late 80s. It was mainly metal cover bands.
Rocket: Briefly, how did SOP initially form?
Carter: SOP was conceived while I was living in Phoenix. I was unhappy with how things were going with the band I was in down there, so I decided to come back to Fargo for a few months & then move to LA to get SOP rolling. While back in Fargo I found out Hat was available, so we got things going here… and then ended up just staying here.
Rocket: I love your vocal style. Who are some of your biggest singing infuences? Past or present.
Carter: That’s so hard to answer.
Rocket: It is a pretty lame question, huh? Haha.
Carter: Because I’ve always listened to such a wide variety of stuff. I don’t know how much of it actually influenced my vocals – I suppose all of it. I like a lot of current metal singers – too many to mention.
Rocket: You also handle guitar duties. Who are some of the players that have helped shaped your playing over the years?
Carter: Dimebag first and foremost!
Rocket: Alright, all the devoted Dimebag fans across the world right now, yell it out together: "Getcha Pull!" Hell yeah!!
Carter: I like a lot of “80s” guitarists too simply because that’s when I learned how to play. Warren DiMartini and George Lynch were two of my favorites. I took some guitar lessons from George Lynch’s teacher when I lived in Arizona and that was quite an eye opening experience!
Rocket: I'm sure it was, man. See that's why I believe every single aspiring metal musician needs to take lessons at one point to really learn the ropes of the trade properly. It forces you to learn the more difficult techniques. Guitar playing doesn't start and end with knowing how to do a hammer on.
Carter: If you wanna go way back, Angus Young was my first influence!
Rocket: Oh, man. That's awesome! See, a lot of my readership here weren't even alive when real old schoolers like me and you were listening to Maiden and AC/DC, Judas Priest, Motley Crue way back in the late 70's and 80's. I remember thinking back then for a long time that Angus was like 'the' definitive guitar player to follow and emulate. Jimi Hendrix and even greats like SRV, Clapton and Beck were pretty much obsolete to a metal fanatic then, even as important as they all were and of course are in the overall history of guitar, you know? But, yeah, for a long time there, man, it was all about Angus fucking Young and that basic, crushing guitar sound of his. What kind of guitars are you playing live and in the studio?
Carter: My main guitar is a custom Peavey Wolfgang. I pulled the pickups out and put a Duncan Distortion in the bridge and just left the neck pickup slot empty. I like the neck on that guitar and the de-tuner is nice for live playing because we go back and forth between drop D and standard tuning throughout the night. I have three other guitars, but I use the Peavey 99% of the time.
Rocket: What kind of amp rig?
Carter: Live I just use a Peavey Rockmaster pre-amp and some sort of power amp. I don’t even know what’s in there now. I’ve used a bunch of different ones I was gonna have Hat fill you in on that one because he knows, but I guess it’s kind of funny that I don’t know. Haha.
Rocket: Screw it. You just plug it in and watch it go!
Carter: As far as the studio, I used a 50 watt Marshall head for the first two CDs, and three different heads for North American Metal: a 5150, Randall, and Bogner Uberschall.
Rocket: That's a perfect segue way, bro. SOP's 3rd CD "NORTH AMERICAN METAL" is available now. How do fans go about purchasing it?
Carter: It’s available on our site www.sopweb.com , also on Amazon.com and CDBaby. As far as retail stores, we’re still in the early stages of what’s gonna happen with distribution, so I’ll just have to keep ya posted on that!
Rocket: Well, buying music at a retail level is pretty much an obsolete thing now as wel anyway. With Tower Records going bankrupt along with so many other music retailers here in the states. It's all about digital distribution now. That's why it's so important that the fans and players who read my work realize that what we're doing here with this interview is a revolutionary approach to marketing 21st century music. I suppose one day down the road they're all gonna look back and say, "Goddamn, Rocket was a genius!" Haha. Oh well, for now, I'll settle for being the one everyone loves to hate! Who engineered and produced this album?
Carter: Mike Dresch engineered and co-produced it (along w/ us) @ Cathouse studios in Sioux Falls, SD. Mike started as just the engineer, but his roll expanded early on in the recordings as his brilliance came shining through! He understood what we were going for so we gave him more input and I think it paid off!
Rocket: I know it paid off, dude. He kicked ass all over this thing for you guys. I fully believe this album is gonna catch a hella stride. It's almost like it has that simple, yet straight ahead 'balls to the walls' approach that AC/DC was all about. Great rockin songs with killer hooks and memorable harmonies. Let's talk more in depth about this album and how you stack it up against your first two releases, bro. I know you're obviously biased because it's your own damn music but do you think it's better than the earlier SOP? And why?
Carter: I really do think it’s our best. It’s the closest we’ve come to capturing our “live” sound.
Rocket: Again, that's what made AC/DC so good. They actually sounded as good live as they were on all those albums. To me, that's what defines a true rock band, man. Can you bring the shit live?
Carter: The production quality is better than the other past albums, and there’s a raw feel to this CD that I think the others don’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I like the others, I just feel North American Metal is a step up.
Rocket: Now you brought up brother Dime earlier. We all know it was just the two year anniversary of Dimebag Darrell's death on Dec 8th. Can you speak to how he affected you personally and give us your take on his overall legacy in metal.
Carter: I met Dime when Pantera was in Fargo for a show. He was as cool as I thought he would be!
Rocket: You know with all the rockers I've interviewed this year, dude. Every single one has said the same exact thing.
Carter: To me, the true beauty of Dime was that he was a straight forward partying metal head. He never claimed to be more and didn’t want to be! He was the kind of guy everyone wanted to hang out with because he was always having fun, which makes his death even more senseless because he didn’t want to hurt anyone!! I’m still pissed about it.
Rocket: I wouldn't be here interviewing you and working to bring SOP's music to the mass audience if it weren't for Dimebag Darrell. His utter enthusiasm for this shit kind of like kept going even after he got killed. I guess you could say a part of him took possession of my damn body, mind and soul. But when he died, I remember being in my own rehearsal studio playing bass alone pretyy much every night. I was at work trying to put yet another band together. Shit was not going well. Mainly cause I was partying too damn hard. Haha. And I swear to shit that I read some article he was in a year before that went down and this lightbulb went off in my head about what 'he' really thought I should be doing with my passion for metal. So I turned in the bleeding on the four strings for this. And goddamn if it hasn't paid off here in 2006. I am pretty much the most read metal journalist on a daily basis and have that guy to singuarly thank.
Carter: Dime carried the Metal torch through the grunge period. Most metal guitarists know we owe him a lot for that, but I think his legacy will also be that he was that wildman that embraced everything Metal embodies!
Rocket: Man, I gotta go do a shot after this and crank Vulgar Display Of Power! You're getting me all riled! Haha. On a different note, my readers know I like to have fun with this next one. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing on the stage?
Carter: With Hat in the band I wouldn’t know where to start!! I’ll just throw one out at random.
Rocket: By all means.
Carter: Hat was handcuffed to the drum set naked one night while a couple chicks...
Rocket: -Haha. Okay, I think with that opener there you just took top honors for the year on answering this one. Haha.
Carter: The Chicks were giving him some sort of 'double-rusty trombone'…which was all fine and dandy, but then one of ‘em started biting his garbage. He struggled to Houdini his way out of the cuffs but couldn’t do it. We could’ve helped him I suppose, but it was just too damn funny to interfere!
Rocket: Haha. That is perfectly classic! Rock it out with your cock out for sure! Tell me, bro. Getting the word out as an unsigned band is not easy. How do fans of SOP go about becoming a street teamer in their local city? It's a helluva follow-up to that last story.. but in all reality you do need all the help you can get nowadays spreading the noise about your music, by any means necessary.
Carter: They can just contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or through our MySpace site www.myspace.com/sonsofposeidon We’re putting together some great deals for our street team in 2007 – anyone interested should contact us soon!
Rocket: Right on. Tell me, what are some of the upcoming shows for Sons Of Poseidon?
Carter: We have some really cool shows coming up in the next 2 weeks – we’re in Fargo at the Basement Bar (in the strip club) on Thurs, Dec 21. We’re doing a Big show in Dubois, WY on the 29th for our buddies that produce the 10 High Extreme snowmobile DVDs. We're at The Venue in Fargo on the 30th for Ultimate Fight Night and at The Lowerdeck in Fargo for New Years!!
Rocket: Thanks so much or taking time out on this with me. I had too much fun. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Carter: Thank YOU, man!
Rocket: I am pretty damn cool, ain't I? Haha. Thanks, boss!
Carter: Everyone keep spreadin’ the SOP word – 2007 is OUR year!
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