Roundtable Discussion With I.R.A.T.E.
There's been so much drama going on lately in relation to I.R.A.T.E. (Infinite Rebellion Against The Establishment) from Los Angeles, who have recently concluded their 30 date Project Independent Tour, that I wanted to take a different route and have some fun with the bandmates and their manager, Jeff Totten of Celestial Entertainment, by conducting a basic follow-up with them. The very first Project Independent release "Brothers of The Same Struggle", for which I have written a review on here at the almighty metalunderground.com, is currently available at your local Tower Records music store. Fans of Century Media may also order through their catalog.
Rocket: So, Erik. How was the tour this year?
Eric: It was my first experience, and I’d do it again.
Erik: I’ve been touring for awhile, and I thought it was awesome!! A good
working run… lots of hard work!!
Rocket: Big question that I want to ask, right off the bat is how was the food? Can you refresh us on some of the grub you were eating?
Erik: Dollar burgers, 99 cent salads and yogurt parfaits.
Rudy: McNuggets, that gave me the McShits.
Eric: It sucked because it was all fast food. The dollar menus, and Rolaids.
Erik: Ah… life on the road… fast food and pizza.
Rudy: Food? We didn’t get any… Jason ate it all.
Eric: Oh my God!! There was always enough food for everybody... but Jason...
Jason ate all the food and I don’t know why.
Jason: Hey, it wasn’t mom’s cooking but I ate the shit out of it.
Rocket: Jeff, I know you ran the whole show. Can you tell me more about the Tour's attendance overall… or maybe just give me an average number per show. I was at the first gig and it was a packed house for I.R.A.T.E.. I imagine it was much of the same, right?
Jeff: A couple of things… first of all, don’t go spreading rumors, that I ran this show. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Project Independent was made successful by everyone involved, I just brought everyone together.
Rocket: I stand erected.. I mean, corrected! Haha.
Jeff: The bands had to agree to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and that can be pretty hard for musicians, if you know what I mean. The venues and promoters had to participate and cooperate. From all of the companies that donated their instruments, right down to the kids that helped pull the amps off of stages… night, after night, after night…. These are the people that ran the show. Tre and Larry… ran the show. Everyone had their moment to shine, and with a few exceptions, everyone took advantage of that moment. From a personal aspect, I’m quite pleased in the first Project Independent promotion and very proud of the efforts that everyone has given. From a business aspect, I say that, more needs to be done. The revenues grossed on this tour missed our estimated mark by less than $1000.00 over the course of 30 shows, meaning that this tour was a financial success. Seeing as how 100% of the revenues are retained by the artists and crew, this is a major accomplishment, but again, this program has flaws and we are working hard to fix them.
Rocket: Flaws, that segues me perfectly into the next question? Any that you care to talk about?
Jeff: Sure… let’s talk about them. Maybe your readers can give some ideas or solutions to my problems, after all, they are the one’s that make this shit happen, right?
Rocket: Haha... oh, man that sounded like David Lee Roth.. very Rock n Roll!
Jason: Oh shit! Here he goes!
Everyone: Shut Up, Jason!!!!
Jeff: Project Independent is nothing more than an elaborate show swapping database, but more defined than most of the more “commercial” ones out there. We deal with metal artists only, and we try to find the bands that are ready to make shit happen, and not just talk about it. If you are in band that wants to play in L.A., the first call you should make is to I.R.A.T.E.. If you want a show in Dallas, the first call you should make is to Grain. Not because these are the “best” bands, but because these bands will take care of you. They’ve been on the road and they understand the value of extending hospitality to touring artists. There are a few bands that we’ve worked with, that don’t yet understand this concept. It doesn’t mean that we won’t work with these bands again, it just means that they have a few things to learn before we will. This brings me to my first problem, choosing the artists for the compilation. As of now, these artists are hand picked and it’s causing problems on a political level. I don’t need these kinds of problems. We are considering a “battle of the bands” style format for determining the compilation artists. In regard to future feature artists, they are currently selected by the fans. This will never change. Other problems that we foresee, are determining the winners of the competitions, as well as just picking the cities that host them. It’s a lot of work but we’ll make it happen. The cool thing about Project Independent is that we are so independent. Our philosophy is simple… we consider all ideas. If the idea is a good one we ask ourselves two questions… Can we afford it? Do we have the manpower and resources to make it happen? If the answers to these questions are yes, then it happens. Simple enough.
Rocket: So would you guys say that this tour was an overwhelming success?
Erik: I set my expectations high, but on an Independent level I’d say absolutely!
Eric: If I can live the way that I’ve just lived for the last month and play music then that’s a big success for me.
Rudy: It can be improved upon, but each tour has been better than the last so we must be doing something right.
Jason: I break too much shit. Being a drummer sucks.
Rocket: What can we expect will be different with the next tour coming in September for both I.R.A.T.E. and Grain? Will there be a lot of the same bands returning from the spring 2006 lineup.
Erik: Yeah, You’ll see a lot of the same bands, but you’ll see a lot of new bands as well.
Jeff: The biggest difference is that I.R.A.T.E. and Grain will be touring individually. I.R.A.T.E. will do more west coast and mid west dates, whereas Grain will be concentrating on southeast and east coast dates.
Rocket: Now I know that you guys did some partying after the shows. I was at The Whisky A Go Go on the tour kickoff evening. I saw the tour bus that you guys had, and it looked like trouble was going on in there. Give us the tour’s funniest Spinal Tap moment… or something we can laugh at. You know where I’m going with this. Please tell me that the Jager bombs were devoured.
Erik: Let’s get something straight right now. The boys in Grain do a lot of drinking. Us boys in I.R.A.T.E. smoke a lot of fucking pot. Every night we drank their beer and they smoked our pot, therefore every night we were a bunch of stoned drunks, and drunken stoners. We don’t remember much. This should've been called the Sodom & Gemorrah Drunken Debauchery Tour.
Eric: Any night with free beer was a good night, and that was pretty much every other night.
Rudy: Beer alley in Lubbock was sick man.
Jason: Dude, that was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. We have 5 minutes to get beer, and the locals send us down this dark alley. We’re driving down this alley, thinking we’re not gonna make it out alive let alone get beer, then all of a sudden we come to this street that’s lit up like fucking Las Vegas…nothing but liquor stores.
Erik: We got that shit on video.
Rocket: Right on. Another big question that I must ask, not to be a party downer, but it is a pertinent item. Did the recent New York Irate interview rub you guys the wrong way?
Erik: My anger comes from several different issues, but mainly because of accusations that made us out to be the aggressors. If we wanted to be the aggressors, we would have just gone after them to stop using the name. Why did we just go through all of this trouble to make acronyms to show distinction? We did it so that each band could get along and not step on each other’s toes. Those guys on the east coast act like we owe them something and it pisses us off… it pisses me off. But whatever… if it’s fuckin’ dead, it’s fuckin’ dead! I don’t want to talk about it! But yes there’s anger there.
Eric: I mean, come on man… don’t you have something better to do, than to fuck with us?
Rudy: They need to put as much effort into their band as they do hating a band that has no beef with them. We don’t like drama queens in our personal lives we surely don’t like drama within the band.
Rocket: Very well said. I thought the overall complaint from the NYC Irate was pretty retarded. What seemed to be the crowd favorites? Can you give me some of those song titles? And what was the reaction that you saw from these?
Rudy: Deadman’s Party, Ganja and Traitors.
Eric: Deadman’s Party totally tore it up..
Erik: Yeah those were big crowd hits…big live points of the show. Anytime you can get the whole crowd singing is a good thing. Deadman’s gets a real good response, not only at the shows but on the record as well..
Rocket: Yeah, bros. I never could stand one minute of hearing Oingo Boingo back in the 80's... but that is a kick butt version you came up with. One of the best performed covers I've ever heard.
Jeff: Should we start pushing it? I would prefer not to push a cover song as a single..
Erik: Well, I’m not really down with bands that push a cover as their single, but there’s just such an overwhelming response to this song. Maybe we should just leave it at that..
Jason: Deadman’s Party would be an awesome video!.
Rocket: Will there be some different I.R.A.T.E. songs performed on the upcoming tour that were not performed on the last tour?
Erik: I’m sure that we’ll be previewing some new stuff, just to spice things up and get some new anthems rolling for the next album..
Rudy: Hopefully, we’ll have the time to record these between now and then..
Jason: We need to add L.D.G.- Life, Death God to our set. We didn’t get to play it much on our last tour and it’s usually a real strong live song..
Rocket: Best song on the new album. Hands down. Let’s go around the table on this with each of you. What are two words you would use to describe this first Project Independent Tour?
Rudy: Drunken Debauchery!!! Didn’t we already go through this?.
Erik: Yep! That’s it!.
Eric: Two words? That’s it? Ummmm….. fucking interesting!.
Jason: I don’t remember much..
Rocket: Good times, true Rock n Roll spirit that will not die. I have seriously enjoyed all the work we've done together up to this point. Thanks for taking time out with me on this. Go ahead and give a shout out to the other people that were behind the scenes of the tour and that were your biggest supporters.
Rudy: Larry and Tre..
Erik: Yes… those guys first and foremost. Tre was our tour manager, and we couldn’t have asked for a more pro, more fun, more into is job kind of guy than Tre. He’s definitely an extra member of this band..
Eric: Larry busted his ass too. He’s the tech of all techs. If it was broke, Larry could fix it..
Jason: We made a bunch of great contacts on this tour as well..
Erik: Too many to name… Marty and Sadie in Montana and Todd at Club Illuzun in Casper, were a couple of the new faces. We met lots of new bands that we’ll be working with in the future. 2-Headed Chang, Thend… I could go on and on. .
Rudy: Yeah, and it wasn’t just us this time. We had Grain with us, so there were 10 of us that needed a floor to crash on, or a shower to use. .
Erik: To everyone who supplied us with a roof and running water…. THANK YOU!!! You’re the people that make independent tours possible. Our goal has always been to make friends not fans. I hope we’ve accomplished that..
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