Dirge Within's Shaun Glass Talks New Album, The Shockwave Tour, And Live Oral Lovin'
Band Photo: Dirge Within (?)
Chicago's Dirge Within is hungry to take the metal scene by storm, getting its music out there to as many people as possible across every conceivable platform. The band's latest assault comes in the now released form of "There Will Be Blood," which is the follow-up to "Force Fed Lies" (reviewed here).
With the album out Dirge Within had planned to spend the summer touring with the Shockwave festival, until the unfortunate last minute cancellation of the run. With some extra time now on the band's hands, I caught up with guitarist Shaun Glass to find out what's going on in the Dirge Within camp.
Our full interview is available below, in which he discusses the ill-fated Shockwave Tour, getting songs on the Rock Band Network, the recent Randy Blythe debacle, and witnessing two fans going at each other during a live show.
xFiruath: To start off with I’m wondering about The Shockwave Tour, as that was recently cancelled last second. What happened with that situation and are you guys rescheduling any shows to play on your own?
Shaun: We are doing a couple of dates next week actually. To pull Fear Factory aside from the whole mess, it really had nothing to do with them. It’s really unfortunate, but I think there were some people involved with the tour in the business world that kind of dropped the ball, to be politically correct. It’s a shame, some people thought there were low pre-sales for the tour. Granted, I think there’s a lot of traffic and other tours this summer so it’s difficult for people to decide which they want to do. But I’m a firm believer that metal is still walkup. People wait to the last minute to see if they can spend their money, or they scam their way onto the guest list, or their schedule or life or daily job makes the date available to go to a gig. Some of the people involved were so nervous about low pre-sales they just kind of sabotaged the tour. It’s a shame, we were all looking forward to it with us and Havoc and Revocation and all them. It would have been a good heavy metal summer camp.
xFiruath: You guys recruited a new guitarist late last year. How did you end up with Chuck?
Shaun: We were in the middle of the Kittie tour and Matt was starting to show his lack of commitment. Before that tour in September we were already writing a new album, and he was missing practices and just doing things that weren’t really professional. So we had this tour coming up and we asked if he was going to do it, and he said yes, and during that time he started throwing some hints. During the tour we already started looking at some people and talking to people about it. Chuck kept coming up but he was in a band in Wisconsin, so we weren’t sure if he was interested in leaving that band. He was a big supporter and had come out to Dirge Within shows in the past, and he didn’t live too far from me, so he came into the fold. After the Kittie tour he was one of the first guys we looked at and we showed him the new material for “There Will Be Blood.” He just hopped in and learned the songs and his solos really fit. His attitude was young and hungry and not jaded. He understands how things run in a band and wasn’t trying to change the sound of Dirge Within, which is important because you should join a band because you like their sound, not just to benefit yourself. It worked out great, getting Chuck into the fold. As a player he’s a really good guitar player, both rhythm and lead. I think “Vultures” is one my favorite solos he does.
xFiruath: So Chuck was actually involved in the recording of the new album then?
Shaun: Yeah, I did two rhythm tracks and he did two rhythm tracks. He did almost 95% of all the solos. I think I do one solo, I’m not really a lead guy.
xFiruath: How has the album been received so far?
Shaun: It seems like the response has been really strong. I just got emailed a review from a publicist and it was a really good review. There’s always going to be haters. If everybody liked your album that would be kind of weird, let’s be realistic. The response so far, the majority have liked this album better, or they are new to the band and are digging this album. The main thing right now is doing shows, we’ve got a big festival coming up with a ton of bands, so we want to stay busy and we’ve already started working on new music. After the whole shockwave thing kind of took a fucking dump, we were like, well, we have some shows but let’s focus on writing some new songs. We have almost three songs already we’re working on. Who knows? We might do an EP right away.
xFiruath: You guys have a couple of songs on the Rock Band Network now. How does that process work? Is it something you guys actively do yourselves or oversee?
Shaun: I have good relationships with the people at RBN. I’m a believer in getting your music out to different audiences. I think getting songs out on games is important. People who may not know who the hell we are at all suddenly find out about the band because they’re playing a game. That’s important, because it’s another avenue to find out about Dirge Within. As far as our involvement, we have no clue had to do any of that stuff, and to be honest I’ve never played our song on that game ever, but our relatives have. My niece played the song on Rock Band, so that’s cool. My main concern is getting the music out to as many audiences as possible.
xFiruath: For this album you released a music video for “Memories.” Tell me about the shooting process for that.
Shaun: We hooked up with a long time friend of the band, a guy named Peeler, he’s not really a known director yet. He’s done a couple of videos for local rock bands and we thought his videos were cool and artistic. We filmed it down in Chicago in a facility that was oddly enough one of the first buildings the band practiced in before we got signed. It was quick and fun, there was no drama, we had a great time, and Peeler did an awesome job editing. We’re happy with it and we think the song is really strong.
xFiruath: A little while back you had sent in a Pit Story to us about Houston where apparently a gentleman was giving his lady some oral loving during the show. So I mean, what happened, did they finish? Did someone interrupt them? How often does this occur at shows?
Shaun: I don’t think it occurs a lot, but when I’m on stage who knows what’s going on or where anybody’s hands are. We were playing and everyone could see them going at it. I don’t think they finished. I think they stopped because they caused so much attention and everyone was staring at them. It was just right in between songs and everybody could see because the focus was more on them. I guess everybody was checking her out all night though.
xFiruath: Randy Blythe from Lamb of God was just released from prison after more than a month. Have you been following that story and what do you think about how that’s gone down so far?
Shaun: I think it’s awesome that he’s released and I’m so happy for that guy. How could anybody blame somebody that paid to go to a concert, obviously this kid was a fan and he paid to go there, and obviously he jumped on stage. We all know stage diving was more predominant back in the day, and since the Dimebag incident it’s not really that well to do these days. I think this kid jumped on stage when he shouldn’t have, and he paid to be there, so why is Randy being blamed for this kid jumping on stage and falling and getting hurt? It’s not Randy’s fault. For these assholes in another country to take advantage of an American to capitalize on money, which is what I think it’s all about, its bullshit. Randy didn’t do anything wrong, the kid shouldn’t have been on stage, and Randy should countersue his family for the fucking time he served in jail and the lost income as a musician because their dumbass son jumped on the stage. When you pay to go to a concert and you jump on stage, and you fall off, whose fault is that? It’s your fault because you’re a fucking moron.
xFiruath: This has created an interesting situation, because some bands are now cancelling their shows in the Czech Republic to show support for Randy. How do you feel about that? Obviously the Czech fans weren’t responsible for the incident.
Shaun: A friend of mine from Gorgasm told me the Czech Republic has an amazing metal scene, but I’ve never played there. After all this though, do I really want to go there? You’re kind of scared as an artist to be there. There would be a paranoid feeling of a kid jumping on stage, and if it happened I’d be on the next plane out of there. How come the security at the venue isn’t to blame? That’s their fucking job. That kid was obviously a Lamb of God fan, do you really think he would want his parents to try to put his idol in jail? The guy’s now got to get on tour right away to make money. Randy’s not a millionaire. Lamb of God is a pretty big metal band, but he’s got to get paid, his legal bill has to be outrageous. I saw Terror canceled a show in Prague, and I can’t blame them. It makes sense. If the government there starts seeing that bands don’t want to play their country because of this, there’s going to be backlash.
xFiruath: So what’s going on in the Chicago metal scene these days and how often do you play hometown shows?
Shaun: We do a lot actually. It’s a good metal scene, there’s tons of diversity. You have bands like us, and then there are extreme, brutal bands like Nachtmystium. Then you have old school death metal like Jungle Rot. There’s so much diversity in the Illinois/Wisconsin scene. A little rock band called Disturbed. There’s deathcore bands like Oceano. I would say there’s a really good linear thing, everyone knows each other and it’s a cool community. Not every band sounds like every other band, which is good. We’re so close to the border that we play Chicago a lot but then also Milwaukee.
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