Interview with Jim Neal of Lathe
Fort Wayne, Indiana's LATHE is a hard-hitting metal band that cites Slayer, Slipknot, Pantera and Mudvayne as their main influences. They are still working hard at getting the word out on their self-released debut full-length effort 'Now Or Never' from 2005 and are looking to start playing hotter venues in the east here in 2007. I got some recent Q&A in with their drummer, Jim Neal, to find out more about this upcoming act and their highly aggressive and ready to take over the world attitude that they possess.
Rocket: Are you originally from Evansville, Indiana?
Jim: No. Nowhere near there. I am actually from Angola, IN. We based the band out of Fort Wayne, IN. Now I live in Orlando, FL. I’ve never even been to Evansville… no offense to anyone in Evansville.
Rocket: I think I just heard about a hundred shotguns being loaded in Evansville. And they're coming for you, bro! Haha. Just kidding, I think things are probably quieter than a fly on cow shit in ole Evansville right about now. So when did you first start playing drums?
Jim: I started playing in 1989 in the highschool marching band – yep, I was a band geek. In 1990 I started jammin’ heavy metal in a “garage” band. In 1991 I started jamming with friends outside of the garage, I guess. Haha.
Rocket: Who are some of your biggest playing influences? Past or present.
Jim: Vinnie Paul (Pantera & Damage Plan), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Neil Peart (Rush), Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Joey Jordison (Slipknot), Devil Driver, Mudvayne, and just about anything OzzFest. What keeps me going? The pure power of a marching drumline can be even heavier than full bands; plus playing drums gives me the perfect view of the show: the band in front of me and the crowd in front of them.
Rocket: Can you give us the specs on your drum kit?
Jim: I have an old Pearl Export Pro from 1993. A 16”x22” bass drum, my rack toms are 11”x12” and 12”x13”, a 16”x16” floor tom, a 5 ½” x 14” snare drum. I also use an electronic expansion – a Roland TD-7. I like to use Zildjian cymbals and Easton Ahead 5B Rock sticks. I have a Tama Iron Cobra Jr double bass pedal. Someday I’d like to have an 18”x22” bass drum and an additional 10”x11” rack tom and a whole new drum kit for that matter! An all black set ‘cause the one I have now is all chrome and lookin’ scary!
Rocket: Nothing like having a drum kit that makes the kids run in fright upon first gaze of it! Haha. Alright, let's talk about the debut album 'Now or Never' that Lathe self-released in 2005, bro. Where can fans purchase this album online?
Jim: “Now or Never” was recorded in Syracuse, IN, at T. Bush Record Plant. Tim Bushong was the recording engineer. We actually recorded at the end of 2005 and released it for sale in April 2006. There are 12 tracks on the CD that cover topics from a tribute to 9/11 survivors (Unbroken) to our government (Salvation) to relationships. There are also a few good old-fashioned headbangin’ party tunes. Fans can buy the CD online through CD Baby. The best way to buy it is by using the links on www.myspace.com/lathemusic and www.hollywoodmusic.tv/lathemusic. Fans can also purchase a wide variety of shirts on these sites.
Rocket: Right on. Briefly, how did this band first join together?
Jim: I first started jammin’ with Jon Julius (singer) in 1993 in Decatur, IN. In 2002, Jon and I hooked up with Fuzzy (bassist) in yet another band. In 2004 the 3 of us started jammin’ with Marck (guitarist) and LATHE was born.
Rocket: Are you guys working on some new material? If so, what can we expect?
Jim: We have a few new songs in the works for a follow-up album. Writing has slowed down a little since I moved to Florida and they are still in Indiana. But we are not letting that stop us. Fans can expect more headbangin’ adrenaline-pumpin’ tunes. We will definitely keep people informed.
Rocket: Who are some of the other local Indiana metal acts that have impressed you?
Jim: We played a show with Deliver Us From Evil (out of Evansville) at the Wildcat Saloon in Owensboro, KY, and they were a kick-ass band.
Rocket: Yeah, Al and the 'Deliver' gang are something else. I've been covering them here since early last year. Great band.
Jim: Sudden Death – originally from Angola, IN, and now in Florida – has been friends of mine since I started playing drums and they are still kickin’ it hard with the original members. Consumed by Fury out of Fort Wayne has been around for a few years and they kick ass. And Slagg and Lucidus also out of Fort Wayne have been good friends of ours for a few years now.
Rocket: Now I like to have fun with this next one. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing?
Jim:One time when I was jammin’ (and headbangin’) my hair got wrapped around a cymbal stand. I was stuck like that for a whole song. I had to be cut loose. That’s why my hair isn’t down to my ass anymore – just the middle of my back!
Rocket: It was a great year for metal in 2006. What album was your personal favorite?
Jim: That’s a tough one. There are so many bands that I like…..”Now or Never” by LATHE was a pretty good one! Haha. Seriously, “New American Gospel” by Lamb of God was really good.
Rocket: I do believe you mean 'Sacrament' and yeah, that's one helluva album. So tell me, what are some of the upcoming gigs for this band?
Jim: We’ve played in some smaller venues in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. We are currently working on getting bigger and better shows at bigger and better venues with some national acts. Anyway, nothing is set in stone yet for this year. Fans need to keep checking www.myspace.com/lathemusic and www.hollywoodmusic.tv/lathemusic for the calendar. We post the shows as soon as we have them booked.
Rocket: Well, with this high profile interview and a stronger presence developing now on the scene, anything is possible. Thanks very much for your time on this. Please give a shout out to all your biggest supporters.
Jim: First and foremost to my wife, Jenny. Marck’s girl – Lisa. Amanda – “hang in there!”, Bob Hamilton (one of my best friends), and of course to the guys in the band – Jon, Marck and Fuzzy – I couldn’t do this without ‘em!
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