Interview With Scott White From Victim Of Thought
Birmingham, Alabama's VICTIM OF THOUGHT truly is one of those rare underground finds for me this year that I just sit back with a big ole grin on my face. These guys are what heavy metal is all about. Period. They almost seem like they've been locked up in a room somewhere since the end of the 90's when bands like Pantera and Alice In Chains, who they draw so much inspiration from, were taking the genre to new heights. These guys are clearly untouched by the corporate manufactured metal -sound and influence that is seriously tarnishing the great name of metal. It's bands like Victim Of Thought who are going to be at the forefront when all the faux metalers finally call it a day. I am really excited to be working with them and even more thrilled to have a chance to interview one of the underground's most talented singers, Scott White.
Rocket: Are you originally from Birmingham, Alabama?
Scott: Yes. I grew up in Tarrant City right next to the Birmingham International Airport. Known for being a rough little town, I think that’s where most of my aggression for metal spawns from. I spent most of my youth raising hell with my buddies, getting completely wasted and fighting with my old man who was appalled at his punk hoodlum son. I could never seem to stay out of trouble. The fact that I lived in probably the biggest dope house in Tarrant didn’t help. That part would have been credited to my older brother, Ross. My parents didn’t seem to care that every puke in town came to our house for drugs. They stayed in their bedroom in the back of the house. I can remember one time after school, me and a couple of friends were sitting on the couch next his room watching TV. I swear at least 15 people came in and out of his room in no longer than 15 min. That’s about 1 person per minute… almost like he had it planned out that way. I’m not making that shit up! One of my buddies looked at me and said “what the fuck is he doing in there?” Haha. After some assholes tried to rob our house and shot the place up missing my dad by just inches, mom made him either stop or move. So guess what? I got the big front room! I later moved my future wife Jaime in with me and we left the place together. My brother Ross unfortunately was robbed and killed years later for a lb. of weed and 5g in cash… man, fuck the rat race!
Rocket: I'm sorry to hear that, bro. Yeah, that's a tough thing. I've seen so much of the same go down where I grew up in Venice, California. Too many death tales to share for sure. Man, I love your vocals, bro. Who are some of your singing influences? Past or present.
Scott: Phil Anselmo, Scott Wieland, and Axle Rose…guys like that. But I marvel at the approach of guys like Vince Neil, not the best vocalist in the world, but being a bad ass front man is what it’s about. I totally like to get into the whole entertaining the crowd kinda thing.
Rocket: Did you ever take formal vocal lessons?
Scott: No. but I have taken the occasional advice from people. I actually started out playing drums when I was 12 and just started banging on the damn things until I got it right. My brother Ross was a bad ass bass player and huge metal head. He got me interested in all this at a very young age. Jamming with him in the living room as a kid, I guess, taught me the basics of playing with others and not just bang on drums by myself. After playing drums in an endless list of loser bands I felt like drums weren’t enough and I wanted to jump out from behind them and just show my ass. I’ve been singing in bands for about 4 years now and all my musical abilities are totally natural and self taught, it come straight from the gut.
Rocket: Can you tell me about some of the other bands that you performed with leading up to joining this one?
Scott: Well like I said I played drums with a lot of “nowhere” bands, cover bands, etc. The last band that I sung with was Machines of Ash. The same kind of band as Victim of Thought but not quite as fine tuned. We spent more time partying, getting trashed and raising hell, than trying to be a good band. That band taught me a few things about what a front man should do and should not do.
Rocket: Right on. So how do you warm up your voice before a show? Is it pretty much just slam back some Jag shots and go get her done or are you using various techniques like some pros do, to ensure you are not harming your vocal chords later on?
Scott: Yes!!! Back in the old days, alcohol was definitely the way to warm up and lots of it! But now, I have picked up some good vocal exercises from our guitarist Eddie (the cat’s a well educated musician, unlike myself). I even do these before practice now so I’m not hoarse the next day. Usually before a show, along with the vocal exercises, I’ll do a few jumping-jacks and push-ups to get the blood flowing good and strong because for me it’s a physical performance as well as a vocal performance. I drink room temperature water on stage to keep the pipes good and loose. So now I save my binge drinking for after the show. It works out much better this way, not only does the crowd get a sober performance from Scott, but I still have a voice left for the next night.
Rocket: Who are some of the other underground heavy music acts around that impress you?
Scott: I really don’t get out and get into other metal bands that much as I should. It’s not intentionally; I’m just kind of stuck in a Victim of Thought shell – undistracted, focused and ready to kill!!!
Rocket: Got yah. Can you tell us a bit more about the new material this band is working on and when can we expect a new album?
Scott: I am very excited about the new album. The material we’re working on now is a very matured and distinct sound that is heavier than anything any of us have previously done and we love it. We’re not trying to write a bunch of hit songs to make it big. We’re totally into this album and vibing off of each other so strong that it excites the shit out of us when a song comes together in the studio. We can’t believe that it’s our own shit sometimes.I’m in love with the guitar sound on this album.Eddie and Myke have created an awesome fuckin sound together with wicked harmonies .Ricky and Derek do a an outstanding job of backing it up. It’s lyrically about what we know as a band, what we’ve been through and what we do.”Raisin fucking hell”! It’s not some scientific, dark, poetic, evil bullshit that I just made up.Vocally It’s very challenging for me. I want push out every thing I possibly got. It badass when me and Myke belt out these horrific mad screams. Eddie’s got my back with all the melodic harmonies .Our vocal sound on this album is just as thick as the guitars! There’s a lot of “crowd parts”(I like to call em)in the songs .Kinda like old school chant rock but in a much heavier way. It gives people something to shout and sing when the come see us live .It shoots the energy level through the roof and makes for a very loud show! We definitely want that aspect of the band to show on the tracks. We should be expecting to finish the album up sometime after the first of the year. A lot of people have been waiting for it for quite some time, but they are still hanging in there, coming to shows, singing the songs they already know. That pushes us everyday to get the new album done and in their hands, yours as well.
Rocket: That's a good segue way into my next question, bro. What's been your favorite metal album for 2006 so far?
Scott: The new Lamb of God! Those guys are fucking awesome!
Rocket: Yeah, they dropped the hell hammer on the new one, didn' t they? I don't understand how anyone can say Trivium is better. The one thing Lamb has done is taken 'their' sound to a new level, you know? Trivium just keeps ripping off Maiden and getting called the next Metallica. They have never written a heavy song that I like. And last I looked... it's called 'heavy' metal. Bro, I like to have fun with this next one... and so I expect for you to have a really great story for us. Ha! What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on stage?
Scott: Ahh, yes! I do have a great story! We were playing in Birmingham at the Nick one night, back before I quit drinking prior to shows. It was probably the most intoxicated I’ve ever been onstage. Me & Derek got started early that afternoon. Usually when we start the show, I’ll stay behind the speakers, letting the guys take the stage to start the set. Then I’ll run out, grab my mic stand and start rockin. Well, this night, everything went just that way, except when I made it to the mic stand, the brakes for some reason (lots of alcohol and drugs) didn’t work. I went straight off the front of the stage and fell all over some girls that were crammed against the monitors in front of me. I thought to myself then “Boy, this is gonna be a rough one”. I probably fell onto and off of the stage 10-15 times. Yeah, I pulled a real classic Hank Jr. All the while screaming obscenities and crowd pumping lines, totally aborting my own lyrics, but the crowd still seemed to love it. But that’s not the good part. About halfway through the set, I was on top of Ricky’s drum riser, rockin out with him as usual. I went to do my signature David Lee Roth jump off the riser (doing the splits in mid air move - LOL). I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this venue, but the ceiling is kinda low over the stage, with these huge fucking iron I beams that run crossways overhead. When I jumped, my head made perfect contact with the edge of a beam. The next thing I know, I’m waking up flat on my back on the stage with Eddie’s ass gyrating back and forth above my head, making a huge spectacle of me. Not realizing exactly what had happened, I get up and continue on with the show, it never stopped. I knew I had fucked up when one of my friends, Ali, reaches up from the crowd, wipes a handful of blood off my head, and shows it to me. Yeah… I was gashed to the skull. I finished the show constantly wiping blood off my face, but I didn’t care, I didn’t feel any of it. All and all we still ripped the place apart and kicked ass. I think we just gave them more to talk about the next week.
Rocket: Hell yes, Scott! Finally, someone with real war stories! I love it, man! Haha!
Scott: Then there’s the mad puker Capt. Redbeard. We were opening for NIN here in B’ham .at Verizon Wireless, an outdoor venue. So the sun was just beaming straight down onto the stage during our early evening set. It was HOT!!! We’re about 2or3 songs into it when I look over and see Derek pukin his ass off. Yea, I know a lot of people half puked onstage but this was classic. He hadn’t eat much in 2 days, just massive amounts of alcohol. He projectiled that shit at least 5 feet in front of him. That’s the thing …in front of him. He never stopped playing or even turned his head to the side to try and hide it! Looking directly at the crowd with vomit blasting out of his throat. Almost like some kinda stage act. But the blood in it let everyone know this was no act. One of the sound guys running monitors made the comment “I’ve seen Gene Simmons puke on stage and not pull it off that good”. After we were finished the rescue team heard about one of us puking blood and they made him sign a release or some shit saying that he was alright.
Rocket: Haha. That is totally classic! So how involved are you with the whole MySpace thing? Do you ever actually answer fan messages?
Scott: It has definitely helped us push the band! We packed the local venue to near capacity at our first show as Victim of thought. Without Myspace that would not have been possible. We had tons of fans before our first live performance. Back before myspace you had to play a few gigs to start building a fan base. I try to get on my personal page as much as possible. My life is a very busy one. Between spending precious time with my wife and two daughters, studio, practice, shows and work, it’s hard for me to get on here everyday and spend a lot of time emailing with dial-up LOL. I always try to answer emails and even send the occasional comment, though it might not be promptly. Life’s a bitch sometimes, ha ha.
Rocket: What are a few of the upcoming Victim of Thought performances we need to watch out for?
Scott: Other than the occasional gig here and there, we’re not thinking about main tour dates until the album is complete. We do have one major show coming up on Halloween night. We're sharing the stage with Century Media artist "In This Moment" @ the Nick in Birmingham.
Rocket: Yeah, I just saw that band open for My Ruin @ The Whisky months back, right before they got their record deal. And the singer is hot! And if she'll change out of that Cinderella dress she wears into leather, she just might become more photographed than that chick from Lacuna Coil. Listen up, Scott. Thanks so much for your time on this, brother. I have a real good feeling in my gut about Victim Of Thought going major places in the metal game. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Scott: We appreciate our friends that help us out, some come religiously just to rock out and scream their balls off, others come to take pictures, record audio/video, setup & tear down equipment, drive the van when we’re too drunk and make sure none of us do anything too stupid (you know who you all are) Behind the scenes we have a friend that does our web design work as well, thanks bro. Then there are these awesome people we don’t know as well that come to shows just to enjoy the insanity of Victim of Thought’s live show. That’s the fans. We fucking love you people more than anyone. This shout out definitely goes to you Alabama Freaks!
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