An Interview With Drummer Jess Margera Of Viking Skull
Band Photo: Viking Skull (?)
The UK based old school metal band Viking Skull just recently released their third full length album titled "Doom, Gloom, Heartache and Whiskey." The band will soon be embarking on a tour across the UK in support of their new album with their original guitar player Darren Smith. Viking Skull's drummer Jess Margera, who also plays in CKY and The Company Band, answered some questions about the band's newest album and what's going on with the various band members.
xFiruath: So where are you at right now, at home or on the road?
Jess: I’m in Pennsylvania but I’ve got to catch a flight to England in a couple of hours for the UK tour.
xFiruath: Congratulations are in order as I hear you are having a new baby soon. You got a name picked out?
Jess: No, nothing yet. It’s pretty crazy though, three bands, three kids, its total insanity.
xFiruath: All right, on to the music stuff. How would you describe Viking Skull’s music to someone who had never heard it before?
Jess: It’s definitely straight up beer drinking rock in the vein of Motorhead, Maiden, Sabbath, and AC/DC. If you just take all the best things from those bands and squashed them together that would be Viking Skull in my opinion.
xFiruath: Tell me what’s different about the new album from the previous ones.
Jess: It’s definitely more versatile, there is a lot less Maiden chugging and more like, you know “Start a War” sounds like it could almost be a hardcore punk song and then it kicks right into “Doom, Gloom, Heartache, and Whiskey” which just sounds thoroughly Motorheadish. It’s just all over the place. Then “In Hell” had a Maiden-y type gallop you know, which is really the staple. Sounds like you are going to into battle or something. I just think it’s cool that this record is way more versatile than the others. They did some kind of joke stuff before but it’s pretty rare these days to see the joke type stuff. It’s more about drinking now, drinking and rocking.
xFiruath: All of the good things in life.
Jess: Yeah, totally.
xFiruath: You are actually a relatively new member of Viking Skull. How did it come about that you joined the band?
Jess: They lost their drummer because he wanted to focus more on Raging Speedhorn and Viking Skull was a huge favorite band of mine. They asked me if I could do it, and being as CKY takes so long between albums I had plenty of time to do it. It was a win-win. They got to have me on the record and they are getting a lot more recognition in America especially from it, and I get to play in a band that I love.
xFiruath: I saw on IMDB that you were in the movie Return to Sleepaway Camp. Are you a fan of the original? I’ve also got to know if they use the same gender twist ending as the first one!
Jess: You know what’s funny, we did that movie I think like five years ago and it just came out now. I haven’t even seen it yet. I’m probably going to catch it when I go over to England. I’ll get it on DVD or something as we have a long drive ahead of us. All the way from Bristol to Glasgow in Scottland is like an eight hour drive, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to watch some movies.
xFiruath: What originally got you into music and what made you want to be a musician?
Jess: I saw “The Song Remains the Same” when I was a kid and just watching Bonham (John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin) play on that film I think was enough to make anyone want to play drums. I even have that exact same kit from “The Song Remains the Same.” They made a hundred of them back in ‘03 and I was lucky enough to get one.
xFiruath: I saw your most recent MySpace blog that Viking Skull’s guitar player Rich is missing or something? What’s going on with that?
Jess: Yeah, no one can contact him. People think he went to jail or something. He had a lot of arrests under his belt and it probably just caught up with him or something. We’ve got the original Viking Skull guitar player Darren Smith playing with us now.
xFiruath: You guys are touring the UK next month, what bands will be playing with you?
Jess: We’re touring the UK very soon. I think it will be Motor City Daredevils playing. It should be fun.
xFiruath: What’s been your favorite show or venue so far in all the different shows you’ve played?
Jess: On Wednesday we played The Note, by brother’s venue here in Westchester, and that was with The Company Band, another band I’m in with Neil Fallon from Clutch, Brad Davis from Fu Manchu, and Reverend Jim from Fireball Ministry. We kind of just got together to play some shows for fun and it ended up being completely amazing. It was probably one of my best gigs I’ve ever played. It was sold out and everybody was so pumped. My brother came up to me and was like “You guys broke the bar record of all time!” Our band sold more booze than any band that’s ever played there. Beating out even Blues Traveler, Eagles of Death Metal, you know all those bands that have played there. I’m kind of proud of that.
xFiruath: What about the metal scene today do you like the least?
Jess: The same thing I’ve always hated about music is that someone comes out with something and then there are a million bands that copycat it. It starts to become really dumb. That’s what’s great about a band like Viking Skull. Rock music has never gone anywhere since the ‘50s. It always stays there. It’s not like Nu-Metal or rap metal or grunge or Emo or metalcore or whatever. All those things come and go but rock never leaves. That’s what’s really awesome about it. It’s the truest form of music. If you have a distorted Marshal playing rock music, that never gets old.
xFiruath: When you aren’t playing music what album do you personally listen to most often?
Jess: My favorite bands are Clutch, Led Zeppelin, Faith No More, stuff like that. That’s what so cool about bands like Primus, they are their own thing. CKY I feel is kind of that way too. Well what does CKY sound like? It sounds like CKY. What does Primus sound like? It sounds like Primus, it doesn’t sound like anything else. It’s pretty hard to do that today, since everything has been done, but it’s pretty amazing when it happens. No one could ever match that CKY guitar tone, I’ve never heard it anywhere.
xFiruath: Well that’s all my questions so do you have any parting words for the fans?
Jess: Check out the new record because it kicks ass.
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