Interview with Matt 'The Lord' Zane of Society 1
Los Angeles, California's SOCIETY 1 band is one that needs no introduction at this point. An industrial metal unit for the ages fronted "Mr. Hooks in His Back", Matt 'The Lord' Zane, a true talent that has pretty much seen and done it all in the heavy music world to this point and he's still not anywhere near thirty years old. Let's be more to the point that people either love this band and Zane or they positively despise them. They have undergone a label change and a lineup facelift in over the past year and I can guarantee that those people that hate this band are really going to be pissed at the fact that Zane, unlike many rockers of his stature, has not decided to slow up on his continued assualt versus the mainstream way of thinking in the music business. The band is currently at work on putting out a brand new album and so I ventured into his dark realm recently to get some Q&A in and think you'll all enjoy the brief trip into The Lord's world.
Rocket: First off , I know what a busy guy you are and so I want to let me readership understand what an outright honor this is to be doing this interview together, brother. Let's talk about the new album, bro. I know you guys switched labels from Earache to Crash. Who is producing and engineering it and where is it being recorded?
Matt: It's all me this time around. We are actually recording in the same place we did Slacker Jesus.
Rocket: Right on. So familiar territory. What is the title and expected release date?
Matt: Sadist Messiah. Release date is unknown. It has been awhile since I have produced a record.
Rocket: Haha. Well, that's okay. I know how much eager anticipation is going on in the underground among your diehard following to get something new from you and this great band. And yes, I said 'great'. People out there will have problems with that and I don't give a shit. Ninety-nine percent of you out there couldn't do what Matt and Society 1 did at Download Fest couple years back. That shit was absolutely one of the baddest things I have ever witnessed in metal. And I been going to shows longer than most. As far as the theme of this next collection of songs you're creating, what can we expect? You are known to deal with some pretty extreme religious ideas and are a self-professed satanist. Is there something important from a personal standpoint you're trying to say with this next material or are you just rocking it out more? Which if I may interject here is I think also part of what you do that people lose fucking sight of. As you get older you are becoming more of an incredible entertainer up there when it comes right down to it.
Matt: It'll be more extreme. More intense. More passion. The depth of my soul has has become greater through suffering and opposition. My strength is grounded within a new foundation that is proving to be indestructible. The music will reflect this.
Rocket: Yeah, I can sense you have a lot you want to dish out with this next one. And I for one cannot wait to see what happens. Now any devoted Society 1 fans are well aware that Sin is of course no longer in the Society 1 lineup because as we know he went on to tour last year to play guitar with Revolting Cocks and is now working with Al Jourgensen on the final Ministry album. In fact, Sin and I will be doing an interview next. Can you speak briefly about your past work with Sin and is there any one past funny or special memory you have of him from being on the road from those days that you'd be willing to share with us?
Matt: I refuse to allow myself to focus any of my energy or time on people who are no longer involved with my journey. It may sound egotistical but once you leave my surroundings you cease to exist in the world that I perceive. I live in the present. I project into the future. He is in neither so no longer exists.
Rocket: I think 'Crikey' is the appropriate response to that! Haha. I can dig it. My grandmother was raised around the Capone brothers back in the 1920's of Chicago and that's pretty much how she dealt with things too! Haha. Please formally introduce Sin's replacement to us.
Matt: We have Atron from Prong and Iblis from the planet Mars.
Rocket: Yeah, I was stoked to see that Atron joined on. Very solid and talented guitar player. Let me shift gears here, Matt. What is your definition of a satanist?
Matt: Depends on what word goes before it. Most people these days into these things tend to lean towards LaVey's definition. I could discuss this but no one would agree.
Rocket: Well, I think that's kind of what makes you such a controversial figure in music and the world in general is that you clearly have your own understanding of the way you see life. And it's one of the coolest things about you in my mind. Okay, now last year was a great year for metal with all the releases from Maiden, Lamb Of God, Sick Of It All, Slayer and other well known heavy hitters like Cannibal Corpse. What was your favorite album?
Matt: Celtic Frost! An amazing album. Everything about it was great!
Rocket: Monothesist. Yeah, what a comeback from that band. Absolutely sickening! You know I'm currently handling a review for your latest release, the first thing off the Crash label "The Years Of Spiritual Dissent" CD/DVD and I must say that in the start when I listened to the CD a couple times, which is basically a retrospective of your past works mixed with spoken word tracks that I must admit totally flew right over my head initially. Ha! But, let me be clear on the very fact that each time I do listen to all of those spoken word tracks now that I am actually really into it. Isn't that odd? But I really did always get into reading poems from Jim Morrison. Are you going to be doing more recorded spoken word?
Matt: At this point no. That was a very difficult record to make. The original engineer quit because he just couldn't handle it. It took one year on and off to get that thing done. There wasn't really anything to base it on. It was like floating in space. How many records could you really compare it to?
Rocket: None. I totally see your point. Now I have read critics that refer to you as the new 'Lizard King'. Is that something you are comfortable with? And what the hell do you think that means? Haha. I mean, I can see how you two are very much alike in certain ways as artists and you both don't like wearing shirts. Haha. But isn't that how kind of trivial the whole damn comparison game really is? It's stupid to me. You're two different beings entirely. Mainly, to me you seem way more in control of your inner demons, whereas ole Jim was found dead in a bathtub. Haha.
Matt: A great compliment but I think you're right, we appear to be very different people. It would seem that I have far more discipline. I have lived 5 years longer which I am happy about. I can get a hard on. So on and so forth. I think I could of became a lesser version of who he was if I stayed on my original path but thankfully I took a left turn somewhere. In many ways a great man that I owe a lot to but by no means the be all end all.
Rocket: But seriously, I think to your credit, people tend to underestimate you much like they do with Tairrie B of My Ruin. And it's funny because there is nothing to prove. You guys have all of these great accomplishments under your belt that no one else has, yet you're only as good as your last album or suspension act, right? Is this something you even concern yourself with, whether people like you or not?
Matt: If you live your life by what others think eventually you will become the worthless loser that noone cares about.
Rocket: Hey, that's my motto!
Matt: All accomplishments are eventually forgotten by most and the effects of your actions are lessened with time. Does it change what you experienced? No! Life is a subjective experience. Why let others opinions alter your perception of what you know you have accomplished? Why should their idea of you influence who you are? That is the secret to living a truly fulfilling existence.
Rocket: I really appreciate those words, man. Cause everyone knows what a rebel and a maverick I am in this business. And really, I just pretty much gear up for war each day and just let the shit fly! Now you're kind of like Gigi Allen in that way. How you tell people in your audience to 'eat shit' from the stage.
Matt: I went through a GG stage that I did a lot of the same acts on-stage. I loved what that guy was about because it was as extreme as it gets... until I introduced suspension.
Rocket: Yeah, absolutely. And we'll get to that in a moment. This next one is way off topic but I am dying to ask you anyway. What is your opinion on what's going on in Iraq? Bush is sending another 21,000 troops over there. Do you agree with what he's doing or do you think we should just pull out and cut our losses? I mean, this thing is way the hell out of control. Nothing is getting done but bloodshed and just more hate for America.
Matt: I don't know. I don't really think about it. It would do no good if I did. Don't fool yourself into thinking you actually have any type of control over the situation by stating an opinion. Waste of time and energy. Think about things you can actually change if you're into that type of action.
Rocket: I knew that one was coming from you! Haha. Back to your recording of the new album. How did the writing process work before you got there? You and Sin used to do it all together pretty much right? And is Dirt now more involved this time out?
Matt: Sin wrote music for 7 songs over the last 5 records. I wrote the lyrics and arranged those songs. Everything else Society 1 ever released I wrote 100%. Now everyone is writing but I am a little in the lead. I am sure Dirt will catch up. He is very talented.
Rocket: Yeah and let me add that having hung out with Dirt over cheeseburger and fries in Hollywood at one in the morning was one of the cooler experiences I've ever had. That dude is a comedian. Now those who follow you as I certainly have now for several years remembers your record breaking 'suspension' act from Download Fest a couple years back performing in front of 40,000. The video on that is just mind blowing, man. I wanted to ask if you plan on doing any more of that in the future?
Matt:: Perhaps but it will have to be in front of 70,000 people. Everything I do always moves forward. Or perhaps I will suspend and add a different element.
Rocket: I just think that you've got Marilyn Manson looking like a clown right now, bro. To me you are the new Ozzy Osbourne of heavy music. Period. Noone does what you do and perhaps never will again will we see your likes. You just had your last performance at The Joint here in Los Angeles this past December for Extreme Associates Adult Star Lizzy Borden's birthday. How did you feel that night went for the new Society 1 lineup?
Matt: Great! People said we shook the club to its foundation. I had an amazing time. Steve Issacs from the Panic Channel was there and he really liked the show. Actually a very cool guy. I like when other lead singers are impressed enough to tell you how they felt.
Rocket: So no Dave Navarro in attendance. He probably figured you or someone else in the band would take his date from him. Haha.
Just kidding, Dave. Or am I? Tell me what are some of the upcoming shows for Society 1 that we need to watch out for?
Matt: Nothing on the books now. We head into the studio Sunday.
Rocket: Got it. Listen, thanks very much for rocking this out with me, brother. Best of luck in 2007. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Matt: Thanks to Metalunderground as always and to everyone that just keeps coming back after all these years.
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