Interview With Ninetail's Max Melton
The Central PA music scene has a real heavy metal war machine in its midst with NINETAIL. The band is simply shining like glinting chrome over all other acts in its home scene. They have been touring around from one venue to the next with an increasing army of fans in support of their debut CD entitled 'The Process Of Conversion' from Level Nine Entertainment. I got a chance to get some Q&A done with their drummer, Max Melton. Let's take a deeper look into the brilliance behind these steel-toed musical soldiers.
Rocket: Where are you from originally?
Max: I'm born and raised in York, Pennsylvania.
Rocket: When did you frist start playing the drums?
Max: I first started my drum experience at age 8. Began by playing the snare drum for about 6 years, then moved on to a full drumset at age 14. Been playing the set hard for about 8 years.
Rocket: Who are some of your biggest playing influences? Past or present.
Max: My first biggest influence was Lars Ulrich (pre-"...And Justice for All").
Rocket: Everyone always refers to the good Metallica as pre-Black album. Haha. But you take it one album further.
Max: Although I draw from different influences nowadays, Lars helped me develop a concept that I haven't forgotten; the ability to mix simplicity and power, and create a synergy of those elements. As for today, Chris Adler of Lamb of God has really been catching my ear. Noone can touch the man.
Rocket: Right on. Adler is awesome. Can you give us the specs on your drumkit?
Max: I use a 5-piece Tama Rockstar kit bought in 1998. Bass Drum - 16"x22", First Tom - 9"x10", Second Tom - 10"x12",
Floor Tom - 16"x16", Snare Drum - 8"x14" (Tama Artwood Maple Series). I've just purchased a Pearl ICON rack system,
and have found that to be an excellent replacement for 5 or so stands! The other Pearl item I own is the double-chain drive
Eliminator slave pedals, and they're smooth. Maybe too smooth, haha. I've found a really good sound with Remo Pinstripes (toms, batter), Remo Diplomats (toms, bottom), Remo CS Dot (snare, batter), and the Remo Powerstroke 3 (bass, batter w/ Falam Slam kickpad). Screw the drumset, it's all in what heads you use and how you tune them.
Rocket: That's quite a setup! Thanks for all the detail. So did you ever take any formal drum lessons?
Max: From 2000-2002, I was instructed by Don Frey of York, PA. He taught me everything I know about music, and he was a fuckin' hard ass about it to, which, at the time sucked. But in the long run, that knowledge helped open up a lot of doors I may never have seen be opened.
Rocket: Teachers take a lot of heat, man. But they are so vital from the big picture standpoint. So how did you initially join up with Ninetail?
Max: That's like asking what was the exact and real cause of WWII!
Rocket: Oh, man. He slams me! Haha. It's cool, man. I can hang.
Max: So many things happened. I was in a band (Shattered Beneath the Shade), Don and Chris were in Spinebelt, and Jay and Jerad (former member) and Jose (former member) were in a band called Contention League. When Spinebelt decided to call it quits, Don and Chris wanted to get together a group of heavy hitters. "Brutal" was the word Don and Chris kept telling us about what they wanted in a band, "Fucking Brutal". So we all (Me, Jerad, Jay, and Jose), left our respective bands to join this endeavour. This happened in December '04/January '05 area. And we didn't even have a band name until 3-4 months into the project!
Rocket: Damn, that was complicated shit! Haha. Now I know you guys just rocked out at the PA Halloween Metal Fest on
Oct. 28th at the G-Man in Mechanicsburg. How was it getting to perform with Hostility? Are those guys awesome live or what?
Max: It just so happens that those guys will nail your balls to the wall and lay some shit down! Their stage show was killer, their full-length CD is very well produced, and they happen to be some super nice and respectable dudes! Hard to find people like that somedays.
Rocket: Yeah, real dudes like Greg Haran and Tony V of Hostility are much appreciated. I was happy that I could help put them on that show bill with you guys. Total honor. When I hung with those guys out in front of The Whisky weeks back drinking The Crown, I couldn't get over just how down to earth they are -- and too cool for words. Alright everyone knows I like to have some fun at this. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on the stage?
Max: In terms of funniest, this band (Ninetail) has been DAMN straightforward about knocking people's teeth in during our performances and not apolozing once for it. The best things I can think of are people ralphin' all over our speakers during our set, and definitely cat-fights. They make me giggle, hehe.
Rocket: Nothing like seeing chicks rip eachothers clothes off, huh? That IS heavy metal. Bro, Ninetail has been getting real strong praise for its new album "The Process of Conversion". How do you feel about the end results with it? Are you satisfied with how it turned out overall?
Max: The end results with "Process" were excellent. Our producer (Frank Phobia) and mixer (Mike Radka) were awesome to work with, and gave us a killer end result.
Rocket: Are you guys working on some new material already? And what can we expect?
Max: As of the middle of November, we have lightened up our schedule enough so that between work, family, and performances, we will work on material for the upcoming album. We succeeded well with "Process", and couldn't be happier with it, but it has also set a standard for us as a group. Progress is necessary, and our next production will make "Process" seem like a garage-recording.
Rocket: So what's been your favorite metal album for 2006 so far?
Max: Easily Lamb of God "Sacrament". The music is god-damn tight, the drumming is phenomonal, and LoG is just a forced to be fucked with. I love that band so much because I want to defeat 'em! They set a high bar for extreme metal bands, and (respectively), I want myself and my brothers in Ninetail to surpass LoG. It's all respective competition.
Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for the band that we need to watch out for?
Max: Well, I have to mention we did just tear up some shows with Soulfly, Mushroomhead, and Marc Rizzo as of recent! But as for upcoming shows, we're at Marysville Tavern on the 22nd of November, the Wheelie Bar on the 25th of November (Thanksgiving Throwdown!), the downtown Gingerbread Man on the 1st of December, and Nightcap's on the 2nd of December! If anyone wants to get details or check out more of our performance listing, check out www.myspace.com/ninetail or www.ninetail.org! Much love, stay metal, and come have killer times with the boys who wear nines!
Rocket: Thanks for taking the time on this with me. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Max: Greg and Haley Bowman of Level Nine Entertainment, our families and friends, and our fuckin' fans!
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