Q&A With Tyson of Downspell, Scumchrist
I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to interview Mr. Tyson Montrucchio, lead vocalist for San Diego-based hardcore metal outfits, DOWNSPELL and SCUMCHRIST. The underground scene needs to holds its brightest talents up to the light and help expose them. My interview with the man follows.
Rocket: Man, there's so much I want to talk about with you. Let me first get this out of the way. Tell us exactly what is going on with you Directing EYEHATEGOD's very first music video. This is insane!
Tyson: I met Gary from EYEHATEGOD/Hawg Jaw through mutual friend Jason Corley (ex 16, Trenchant, etc...) when I was trying to line up some shows for Downspell in NOLA. Well we got to talking at the Swampsong benefit show EHG did up in San Francisco 3 or 4 months back (to raise money to free Mike Williams). He had seen the movie I did for XYZ called "Decade of Destruction" and he was really impressed with my editing skills. I told 'em let's make a REAL EYEHATEGOD music video. He was bummed cause he knows the budget it usually takes to make a broadcast quality video. Well I don't know about you guys but this band has changed my life, seriously. Sabbath, Slayer and EYEHATEGOD are the only bands that REALLY matter to me when it comes down to it, period. I felt the least I could do is make it for free. Especially after all the crap they had to deal with lately with thier town getting wiped out and Mike getting arrested. We haven't figured out which song or how we're gonna do it, but I can't wait to see the finished product. Man, I get goosebumps just thinking about it...
Rocket: Back to the main subject at hand, brother. DOWNSPELL. What's up with the new album "AFTERBIRTH"?
Tyson: Well we just finished it and are gonna master it here shortly. It's already been mixed by Mike from Spineshank/Machinehead. We're putting the finishing touches on the artwork, wrapping up 2 new music videos that will be on the CD and also putting other XYZ trailers and extras on it too. We also might have a guest vocalist on there but I can't say who until it's 110%. He's working on his own bands next release so it might not happen. Let's just say he's got the sickest voice in metal right now as far as I'm concerned.
Rocket: What puzzles me, not unlike so much other stuff about the music industry, is how DOWNSPELL remains un-signed at this time. Have you guys been getting offers from anyone?
Tyson: We've been talking to a bunch of labels, but that's all, talking. We've had some major interests from some big guns but nothing worth our while yet. Metalblade was checking us out but ended up saying good luck. I wasn't surprised. They haven't had a single band like ours on there label in years. The thing is we're in a very unique situation. We have done everything on our own up until this point and don't need the financial help to record or mix or tour. The product is done and ready to hit the stores and we're ready to hit the road. What we need is distribution, tour hook ups, and promotion. That's it. We have the ability to tour anywhere at the drop of a hat. Not many bands are lucky enough to be able and do that.
Rocket: What type of touring will you be doing this year? Is that even laid out at this point?
Tyson: Hell Yeah! We're going to tour for a month, every other month, for the whole year. Month on, month off, etc... We're leaving for New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas in a couple weeks. Then we're going to do a Northwest tour. And after that we're going to hit the East up at the end of the summer. Followed by another one to the South in the winter.
Rocket: Switching gears, what's up with the SCUMCHRIST project?
Tyson: Oh man, I'm fucking honored to be apart of this project. Here's the lowdown. Jason Corley was planning on going out to Ohio and playing drums for the new FISTULA album. Shit had to go on hold for awhile with Fistula I guess. Well Corley and Corey (FISTULA, ULTRALORD etc...) still wanted to do something really bad. They had the studio time on hold so it would be stupid to let it go to waste. So they started throwing my name around and finally asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I talked to Downspell and they said it would be cool cause it didn't conflict with any of our tour schedule. So Corey started sending Corley and I riffs and Scumchrist started to take form. Well the next thing you know all these other fucking badasses wanted to be apart of it too. Musicians from bands I've looked up to for a long time. So we solidified the line up and are going to be recording at the end of January. I can't fucking wait! When we're done, we're probably going to put it out on Corley and I's label Heretic Productions. We put out Trenchant, God's Iron Tooth and other stuff on it before. We're also putting out a new double disc from -16- soon that's being mixed by Billy Anderson right now.Hemight be mixing the Scumchrist album too, you never know. Donald Depew(Breaker, Cobra Verde,Fistula) will be engineering it, that's sick.
Here's the official SCUMCHRIST line up:
Jason Corley- Drums
Here's a list of previous and current bands of the members:
Downspell, -16-, DieHard (pre-Integrity)
Trenchant, Maxmillion, Rune, Hemdale, Rue, Ultralord, Fistula, Shadowcast, Accept Death and the list goes on and on...
Rocket: XYZ Entertainment is your business partnership with legendary skater, Danny Way. Tell us about the new 'extreme skating' video you guys have just produced?
Tyson: This thing took 10 years off my life, I swear!!! We lost jobs, girlfriends, sanity, sobriety and our good friend put himself into a coma. The only one who had his head still on straight during the filming of this thing was Danny. He was skating his ass off while all the rest of us were on a mission from hell! We would go up to Steve-O's and just fucking terrorize Hollywood. Fucking level his apartment complex, drink gallons of Jack Daniels, destroy everything in sight, and hide from the cops for days (all this is in the movie). We had like 30 of the gnarliest motherfuckers looking for Steve-O and I for weeks cause of the chaos we created. Oh man, I'm getting a hangover just thinking about it. Anyways, this movie makes Jackass look like Romper Room. If you don't believe me just watch the trailer at decadeofdestruction.com and then decide for yourself. Then buy it so you can support us to make another one. Besides Steve-O and Danny, there's all the other freaks and skaters in there too. We also got tunes from Lamb of God, The Dream Is Dead, Slayer, God Forbid, Isis, Vampire Mooose, Downspell, Keelhaul, 16, Pig Destroyer, Nile, Coalesce and more... Go to decadeofdestruction.com and support underground metal and skateboarding.
p.s. Steve-O LOVES metal
Rocket: I understand you had another surgery on your knee. How's the recovery going?
Tyson: Dude, this shit sucks. But it could be worse. Corley just had surgery too. They told me I wasn't ever going to walk normal after I broke my femur and blew my ACL when I was 20 (don't drink and drive). I had a full size truck roll over me and crush the entire right side of my body. I was a pro snowboarder before I got into that accident and that pretty much ended my career. That's how I got into the video and editing end of the industry. That was the only way I could still be involved with the sports I love. Well I tried to make a little comeback with my snowboarding career when I was 25 and destroyed my knee again. But this time I blew EVERYTHING out but my ACL. I can still skate and surf (nice and mellow) and I am grateful for that. So the snowboard is in the attic until I bust it out for my grandkids to laugh at.
Rocket: I know, like myself, you are heavily influenced by Cyco Mike Muir and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES from my hometown of Venice, California. He's still recuperating from his double-round of back surgery, so the new ST album won't see the light of day til 2007 it looks like. What exactly has this hardcore musical legend meant to you over the years?
Tyson: I just read some stuff about his surgery, can't remember where. Man I feel for him. It sucks having to rely on Viccodin every day. He'll be back swinging full throttle in no time. He's Mike Muir for Christ's sake! He's up there with Superman, ha! Oh man, he's had such an impact on my life growing up. All my surfer friends listened to the worst crap growing up. My skater buddy gave me the first ST album and it was over. I was Suicidal for life. Skating was such an unaccepted thing in the early 80's and so was punk rock. They went so hand in hand. God I remember getting a Zorlac for Christmas with the Suicidal graphics on it. I didn't even open the rest of my presents until I rode it for at a least a half hour. I still flip my hat up when it's forward to this day, seriously Ha!
Rocket: The Dimebag Darrell murder is still something that won't go away... all of us in the extended metal family are still devastated and trying to keep his legacy alive. Do you remember the moment when you heard the news?
Tyson: Dude, I'll never forget that morning. I was working on my girlfriend's house and I turned on Stern and caught the tail end of what they were talking about. All I understood was that a musician got shot on stage but I hadn't heard who. I was expecting 50 cent or someone like that. Then when they came back on from a commercial they said it was Dime. I listened for 20 minutes waiting to see if he was just hurt until I heard he died. I was tripping. My phone started blowing up with calls from my friends. Most my friends are skaters and surfers and they don't listen to metal really. So right when it happened I got like 10 calls from friends who instantly related it to me. It was crazy. Soooo lame every time I think about it. I don't want to think about it right now. I was in a good mood and now I want to punch someone.
Rocket: On a lighter note, what was your top metal album for 2005?
Tyson: That's hard. I'd have to say BLESSING THE HOGS new one. It's so good. Or Entombed's live one with the orchestra. I forgot how good they are.
Rocket: Who is your single biggest musical influence, band or just solo artist?
Tyson: Jason Corley and Slayer. Slayer of course. I don't have to explain that one. But Corley made me look at metal and music in a different perspective. I was into most the bands he was into but when I would listen to it with him, he would just freak out and I would see it in whole new light. It was like taking acid for the first time again, I swear, Ha!
Rocket: Finally, where do you see DOWNSPELL in five years?
Tyson: 2010 Downspell update! Wayne was murdered. The case never got solved. Rumor had it it was committed by one of the fellow band members. Jake is a writer for High Times and an Okanowan Christmas japanimation magazine called Ringle Rells. Eric was running a stray dog shelter in O.B. until he got a lethal case of rabies and mixed his anti depressants with his antibiotics. Mike spontaneously combusted due to frustration caused by his singers.. Kenny died choking on his chain i.e; INXS style. Tyson moved inland to a trailer with his chick and started tattooing tweekers in Hemet. He died from a vain rupturing and exploding while he was screaming at one of his 12 kids.
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