Getting Down On The Bass: South Gate's Treadway
There is a rare type of seed that is planted within the breeding grounds of the underground metal scene that can bloom into a true metal act with the ability to straight up show honor to the great extreme metal bands before it and still push the boundaries of heavy music as it now moves forward Post-Dimebag Darrell. Detroit, Michigan's hellspawn South Gate is just that very kind of band. A dangerous mixture of old Sabbath and Slayer, this group's been delivering now a very mean and death-grinding brand of old school thrash metal to metalers all throughout the currently thriving Michigan metal scene. They are right now clearly one of the top underground metal acts, and I jumped at the chance to interview their beer slamming and pick hand swolen bass player, Treadway.
Rocket: I notice you list Static-X in your music favorites on your personal MySpace profile page with Slipknot, Mudvayne and Slayer, among others. What's you opinion of Tom Araya from Slayer making a joke about Static-X getting booed off the stage while opening for the mighty Slayer back in 2001?
Treadway: Well, to be honest this is the first time I've heard about it, but my first reaction is to bust out laughing. I mean what kind of suit wearing dick bag had the bright idea to put Static-X on a Slayer show? That just gave me a great idea, how about having promoters put down their Ashlee Simpson filled ipod's and take a listen to the bands that they're trying to work with? As for the guys in Static-X they kind of have to take some of the blame, I understand, finding out that you would be opening for Slayer would be awesome, but when reality sets in you have to think it's fucking Slayer, do we really belong on a Slayer show?Rocket: How old were you when you started playing the bass? And what made you decide out of all the Rock instruments to go with the four strings?
Treadway: 16. The first instrument I played was guitar, my parents bought if for me when I was about 5 or 6, I played that for a few years but it wasn't for me, so when I was 13 I bought a drum kit, that was cool for a while but something wasn't quite right with that either. I played at a party on devils night and the next morning I went to the music store and bought my first bass, a BC Rich Iron Bird, it took all of about an hour of being plugged in to know that I finally found my instrument.Rocket: What kind of bass are you playing currently?
Treadway: My main bass is a Warwick Vampyre. I also have 4 Gibsons: a 1968 Ripper, a Thunderbird, a 4 string Les Paul, and a 5 string Les Paul, 2 Fenders, and a G&L Telecaster, and I just pre-ordered a Dean Razorback, which should be out by the end of summer.Rocket: You play with a pick, right? I would think you being a 'hands on' type of guy due to the fact you are make a living as a Diesel mechanic that you'd be all about playing with your fingers. I know that now most metal bass players, so they can play faster and more steady, go with the pick. Is that your way of thought on it?
Treadway: Yes, I do play with a pick. There are a few reasons for it, 1. like you said, you can play faster and still maintain a crisp, clean sound. 2. You can get more than 1 sound without changing any of the settings on your amp or on your bass just by changing the position of your picking hand, going higher up, on the neck, or lower down by the bridge, or if you want a really cool kind of eerie sound, you turn the pick sideways and instead of strumming downward, you kind of scrape the pick across the string as you pick down. 3. The worst of all, because of my job I have Carpal Tunnel real bad, if I have to work on a day that we have a show my pick hand swells up so big that we, in the band, joke that it looks like a fucking baseball mitt without the webbing.Rocket: Haha. That's pretty hardcore. What kind of bass rig do you crank out of?
Treadway: Right now I use 2 Ampeg svt3pro heads, and 2 Ampeg 8x10 cabs.Rocket: Think hard about this. Who is your single most important bass playing influence? And why?
Treadway: I've been asked that before and I can't narrow it down to 1, it has to be 2. Geezer Butler and Rex Brown. Geezer, first and foremost being that he played bass - not a four string guitar like so many other "bass players" do. I mean listen to any Black Sabbath album, every song has an awesome bass line. Then there is Rex, for starters he was in the best band ever, Pantera. One thing they both have in common, ask most people who listen to metal if they know who Terry Butler or Rex Brown are or what band they're from and they don't know. Imagine Black Sabbath if the bass just followed the guitar, or Pantera songs if the bass just rode notes, a, e, d, etc., the fucking songs wouldn't be the same.Rocket: Very well said, bro. Geezer is the greatest bass player in metal history. I'd say Cliff Burton is second and ole Rex isn't far behind. John Paul Jones can't be forgotten. Everyone forgets Zeppelin was the first true superstar metal band. What was your favorite metal album for 2005?
Treadway: Devil Driver, The Fury of Our Makers Hand.Rocket: South Gate's debut release is scheduled for June 6th, 2006 (6-6-6), as I understand it. Roughly how many songs will be on there?
Treadway: 11 for sure, we're still working on number 12, if it gets done on time it will be on there.Rocket: Have you guys come up with a name yet for the new album?
Treadway: The working title is Psychological Warfare.Rocket: That's really cool. What's the funniest thing that's happened to you while performing on stage?
Treadway: I got my Gibson Thunderbird, had my roadie put the strap locks on it, I hadn't even tried it out yet mind you, tuned it, played it at sound check, loved it. I started the show with it that night, 3 songs in the strap lock ripped out of the fucking body. Now for people who haven't seen us live, I play my bass pretty low, so there was no catching it, I had 2 choices, let the brand new bass hit the floor, fuck that, or option 2 throw my legs out forward, hit the ground on my ass, let the bass smash my fucking legs and finish the song and then switch basses. I went with option 2, luckily for me we have the entire thing on video.Rocket: Who are some of the other Michigan metal bands that you think are good?
Treadway: As They Sleep, Mindrought, and Pillowblock are probably my favorite 3.Rocket: How did Dimebag Darrell's on stage murder back in 2004 affect you?
Treadway: We had practice that night, I went home, went to bed, and got woke up by our singer, who called to tell me, I ran to the computer, turned on the radio, and stayed up all night to get every bit of info I could. I even called off work the next day so I could find out what happened. Even now I couldn't tell you how long it took me to get back to 'normal'. I walked around for weeks feeling sick to my stomach, just not right, no emotion, almost comatose. I remember seeing clips of people from when Elvis and John Lennon died and thinking that there was something wrong with them, acting that way over someone they didn't even know. Now unfortunately I know exactly how and what they were feeling. I just wish that there was some way we could spot those crazy ass hole murdering shit bags and deal with them accordingly before they could kill anyone else.Rocket: I totally agree. We need more mental hospitals. I think the mainstream metal rags pushed it too far by overhyping the conflict in Pantera's ranks. I mean, what they did was flatout wrong. This kid's inner turmoil toward DImebag started there for certain... and then he made up the part - or should I say became totally delusional - to the idea that Dime and Pantera stole his songs and that Dime was gonna pay for it all. Do you answer any of your MySpace fan mail or do you not even care?
Treadway: I try to always answer, but to be honest, I don't quite understand what's going on. When we play a show or are out somewhere and someone wants an autograph or to take a picture with one or all of us I just plain don't understand. I'm flattered, but I just keep thinking why? Who the hell am I? Who the hell are we? I'm still floored by the response that we get when we play shows. It makes it hard sometimes to answer some peoples messages, not because I don't want to, but because I don't know how to answer. It probably doesn't help that almost every comment I have is completely sarcastic and to the wrong person that can come off the wrong way, just ask Sticky.Rocket: Give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Treadway: Have to say Sticky who has been there through thick and thin, we definitely wouldnt be where we are today without himc heck out what he is doing for the Michigan Metal scene www.myspace.com/michiganbrotherhoodofmetal and Karen of Elliott Booking who we just met recently, who made this interview possible and has hooked us up with a few shows in support of Dope on their upcoming tour in June. Speaking of Dope, Sticky (MBM) is putting on a huge show this Saturday May 13th called the Metal Til Death Fest with Virus coming from Chicago to be the guest emcee in which we are co-headlining with Mindrought. For anyone that wants more info they can go to the MTD page www.myspace.com/metaltildeathfest .
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