Interview With Recoil
Band Photo: Recoil (?)
Montana rockers Recoil bring their own spin on iconic rock and metal favorites from the 80’s and 90’s to the bars and festivals of the Great Falls area. Vocalist Preacher, bassist Justin "Darcwulf", guitarist Rod, and drummer "Drumboy" answered questions for me about how they started out, why they have chosen to do more covers than original material, and what they love about music just before a show at a local bar.
xFiruath: How long have you been playing music and what originally made you all want to be musicians?
Drumboy: I kinda started at around five I guess.
Preacher: Well basically since I could talk. My mom and dad always said that I was a tape recorder. I think they actually have a little cassette recording of me singing along to Queen. I don’t remember what song, not that I would ever incriminate myself that way. Nah, Queen is like great, Queen is cool. I’ve been singing pretty much since I could talk and then I got roped into actual organized singing in high school, of course, and I’ve pretty much been on the stage in one shape or form since. Since getting together with these guys it’s been pretty educational, and not in the way that a voice instructor can coach you on. There’s a lot of tricks to singing rock and metal that you don’t learn in your normal voice lessons. There’s a couple voice instructors out there but there very pricey, especially given their locations you know, major metro areas.
xFiruath: Anybody else?
Drumboy: Well I guess I don’t want to date myself but basically at five I’d watch my brothers play in their band. My older brother had a drumset so I started banging on that, did bands in grade school and highschool, the whole pep band thing. Failed three years of pep band because I was metalling everything out, play the notes and then throwing drum sticks at the band teacher.
xFiruath: That’s never a good idea.
Drumboy: Well he was throwing things at me, his was chalk though.
Preacher: What was that you were saying though, that you were one of his only students he had that’s still actually playing music?
Drumboy: Yeah that outta tell you something.
xFiruath: How did you guys initially meet and decide to start a band?
Preacher: I actually met Rod a couple of years back when he was with Mr. Spanky and jammed once or twice with him and when we were putting together Arcane a couple years ago, that became like the magnet for Rod and I and then we just recently acquired Justin and his punkness.
xFiruath: Montana isn’t very well known for rock or metal. How are you finding the scene here and what kind of support and reaction are you getting?
Rod: We’ve actually got a pretty good following.
Drumboy: Yeah we’ve got a good following we just don’t have that many places to play. We hit here, in fact they’d like to see us play here more often, and then you’ve got the Loading Zone. I do stage work around the whole state and come to find out a lot of bands are trying to get here. This is one of the best places to play, the most rock place to play. Everything else is alternating country or blues grass.
Preacher: We’ve even been forced to compromise a little bit in what we offer for a set list depending on where we play, we may do a little more southern rock, we’ve got some ZZ Top and Georgia Sattelites. That’s pretty much as country as we like to get.
xFiruath: You’ve got to keep your audience happy.
Preacher: Yeah you’ve got the people there.
Drumboy: We’ll start out with that light rock thing and then all the old people go home and we can move into the hard rock stuff.
Preacher: We had this cute blonde come up and ask me once if we did any country…
Rod: I think she was asking me actually.
Preacher: I don’t know, by that point in the night I had enough shots she could have been talking to Neil. So she had asked for country and I said well, no, but we’ll get you as close as we can. Georgia Sattelite at that point became our country song, and that pretty much is as far as we go, and still that’s not even close to how the Georgia Satellite’s recorded it, and we’re kind of proud of that. We cover stuff and we put our own twist to it for sure. “Purple Rain” is a crowd favorite and it’s definitely nothing at all like what Prince recorded it.
Rod: It’s interesting picking songs because you have to mix what people want to hear and what you want to play personally.
Darcwulf: Like “Running Down A Dream” is a good example, we just totally punk rock that thing out.
Rod: So we kind of compromise, we’ll play Georgia Satellite but then we’ll Alice In Chain’s it out.
Drumboy: We haven’t Slayer’d it out yet, but it’ll happen one day.
Preacher: And then we fool around, remember that show we did out in Fairfield last year, we called in Uncoiled and we did it in acoustic style and it’s really bizarre how “White Wedding” turns out in that kind of format.
Rod: And Slayer…
Drumboy: Yeah, I did hands playing on the drums instead of sticks. It was a lot of fun. In this area actually, people don’t really go for the original stuff that they don’t know, they want to hear something they know so they can sing along and enjoy it. That’s why we’ve kind of gotten away from the original stuff because this makes us money, but then you start doing the original thing and you get maybe fifty bucks and you’re trying to promote yourself. We’ve already got a paying gig at this. We probably do throw one in the set just with the regular stuff.
Preacher: Now that we’re finally settled with our play list.
Drumboy: We’ve got just enough songs to play a couple of nights without repeating every song.
Preacher: We’ve gotten into a groove now where we’re starting to feel comfortable and starting to work on our own stuff. Eventually we hope to get to a point where we can have maybe an entire set that we’ll throw in of our original stuff during the course of an evening. But I think that padding it in the framework of the cover music up here is what’s going to put bodies on the dance floor and seats at the bar and money in the till. Ultimately in this market that’s what drives being able to play and getting paid it. There’s a lot of people that kind of turn up their nose at that, and frankly I think it’s a wonderful thing, it’s a magical thing. For us to get here and create tunes we enjoy and seeing reactions we enjoy from the crowd, hearing their responses back, I mean that in itself pays for it. Like yesterday we did the Easter Seals annual carnival thing, for their clients and seeing the looks on their faces was just priceless.
Drumboy: Yeah we did the whole rock and roll thing, we sat at the table and signed flyers all night and that was just the greatest thing to them.
xFiruath: So you play a lot of different styles, but what’s your favorite style to play personally?
Rod: Definitely the heavier stuff.
Preacher: That harkens back to when we three had gotten together with Arcane and we were very heavy, but back then we were also supported by Fischer radio at the time with the X 107 (a now defunct rock and metal radio station).
Drumboy: Yeah we were on the X. One day we did that Disturbed song the day that it came out actually, it came out that day and had just hit the radio. We played it that night, and then two weeks later people were like “that was awesome!” We played it too soon, but later people thought we had nailed it because we’d been working on it a couple of weeks.
Preacher: So that end of the set list has always been our true passion. Now that Justin’s picked up his five string we’re looking forward to getting back into Korn and Mudvayne and some Slipknot. There’s a whole lot of favorites we all have, we’re so inspired by everybody that has come before us. You can’t help but say “oh that’s such a great song, let’s do this one!”
Drumboy: We try to do about every monthly practice throw a new one in and then and old one. We try to balance it out something new, something old, something blue…
Preacher: Yeah, we try to stay away from the blues. We do get bluesy I suppose, or as close to it as we get.
Rod: No blues!
Darcwulf: Between Slipknot and Korn and everything, I can’t wait to do all that, but I also like the old standard punk rock fare too.
Preacher: I definitely want to bring in some more of that because of your influence.
Drumboy: Well also with the crowd that’s coming in you’ve got a new age coming up that are turning twenty-one and are listening to punk rock.
xFiruath: What album do you guys personally listen to the most and what draws you back to it?
Drumboy: I like a variety of stuff. Everybody asks me who my favorite drummer is, and there’s lots of them. Of course there’s Lars, just because he’s Lars, and he wasn’t really a drummer to start off with. Then there’s Tommy Lee, even though he uses the same drum beat every time. You’re standing right there ten feet in front of him going “come on, impress me.” He’s kind of a lame drummer but I guess he’s kind of more of the front man.
Rod: He’s so ADD with music that listening to an entire album is out of the question.
Drumboy: I can’t sit and listen to an entire album though, I’ll listen to a couple songs of it, pop it out, put in something else. Since the X left I’m more of a mixed CD person.
Darcwulf: I listen to everything from Prince all the way to Mudvayne, Slayer, The Ramones.
Preacher: I’ve got so many playlists you know, I’ve got my hard rock and metal list, my mellow kind of jazz and acoustic rock.
Preacher: Yeah jazz sometimes.
Drumboy: We’ll I’ve got so much on my computer because I’ve been DJing since the seventh grade. I’ve played for all the dances from Choteau up to Dutton. So I’ve got a wide variety of music in there and we just let it go once in awhile, hit random and you’ve got everything from chime bells from a church to Slayer, techno, everything.
Rod: The newest album I’ve bought has probably been Radiohead’s new album. I’m a huge Radiohead fan, and Smashing Pumpkins. Those two bands are playing constantly on my MP3 player, bounce back and forth constantly.
Drumboy: Yeah the complete Metallica, Megadeth, Korn, Slayer.
Darcwulf: Korn, Tool, Floyd. That tool album that had that holographic 3D effect on the cover.
Rod: Was that Aenima?
Preacher: Wasn’t that 10,000 days? I like that one, that’s a pot smoking album. I like that song “The pot.”
xFiruath: What do you think is the most silly or bizarre thing you’ve ever seen a musician or band do? It could be any genre in the history of music.
Preacher: You know the first thing that pops out of my head is the Iggy Pop performance where he damn near bled to death on stage and had no idea that he was bleeding. It wasn’t until he had collapsed I think that they had called him off because they really didn’t know how badly he was bleeding, they just kind of saw it like, assumed he was good to go. It’s just a flesh wound right? Too be that involved in your performance that he didn’t realize that he had a gut wound, I think it was a drink glass that had cut him or something, and he damn near bled to death on stage all in the name of his music.
xFiruath: Suffering for your art?
Preacher: Yeah, you know that really stands out to me as being one of the most bizarre.
Darcwulf: I don’t know about on stage but for me it think it was Jello Biafra offstage from the Dead Kennedys. There was some chick in California that was running for mayor of this city or something, she was posing for the camera and had this whole thing on the news about sweeping up the city. She was in the ghetto with a broom literally sweeping the sidewalks, and Jello Biafra is like “fuck that” and he decided to run too. He ran for office and he’s out in front of her house in this ritzy ass area with a vacuum cleaner going “I’m going to clean up this city” and shit. That was awesome, that was the embellishment of punk rock right there.
Rod: This is going to betray my early concert going experience, but my very first concert was Weird Al. It was down in Bozeman in ’91 or ’92 or something like that and that impressed me as to the absolutely silliness of like the Michael Jackson fat suit and the rubber chicken…
xFiruath: The chainsaw for the Madonna song.
Rod: Yeah this huge carnival of music and it was actually very well performed if you think about it on a strictly technical level.
Drumboy: One time Weird Al came here and it was wintertime. There was snow in front of the bus so they wanted us to bring out a shovel to clear the snow away from the bus, and I think he was just looking for a crowd to do this in front of. Me and Ron Fox walk out with a broom to brush off and where about ten feet from the bus when all of a sudden the door swings open and this big security guard jumps out and goes “It’s clear, it’s clear! Go, go, go, now, now, now!” And everyone comes out and their doing this whole Groucho Marx thing (imitates marching rigidly) all the way inside. This isn’t a hilarious thing, but my favorite guy is, obviously you’ve seen the Godsmack videos where you see him off stage and in hotel rooms wrestling with the whole rest of the band and the crew and everything and flinging each other into the walls.
Preacher: Sully is huge.
Drumboy: He’s a muscled guy, and they were here for a show. What I like about them is that they were family there, you know if something stupid happens everyone was involved in it. Sully is taking a shower and Baker Bob (a local bakery) has this big bucket of ice water for pops and juices and stuff. He’s in the shower and the rest of the crew goes and grabs this bucket and throws it at him while he’s in the shower. He comes running out in his towel, chasing them down across the arena and I’m like “no way!” You could see there was a togetherness and a family thing or a brotherhood going on there. The opposite of that would have to be System of Down where at Ozzfest they each show up in their own bus and their fighting each other.
Preacher: That was there last set of appearances before they split up.
Drumboy: You’ve got to have a joint community as a band and kind of know each other. That’s what I enjoy about this band. Every band I’ve been in, Misty Flyer, Locomotive, and Bone Crush and everything else I always show up and setup all the gear and everyone shows up in their separate thing. If we’re going to go on a trip we all jump in the motor home and try to bring cookies or whatever, and playing games. You kind of see the whole brotherhood going on, having friends come with us. Having a good time down, a good show, and then enjoying ourselves on the way back.
Preacher: Yeah, it’s been one big brotherhood.
xFiruath: On no, are we about to have some hugging going on?
Drumboy: Well you know, maybe a little spooning, but what goes on in the van stays in the van.
xFiruath: On your dream tour, who would you tour with and where would you go?
Rod: I’ve never been to Europe and that part of the world loves music still.
Preacher: Europe would be the bomb.
Drumboy: Maybe Japan.
Rod: Well for the complete party experience you’d want to go with Black Label Society or something.
Preacher: Or maybe go on Ozzfest.
Drumboy: Rob Zombie was really cool, maybe something with him. My daughter wanted us to put a picture of her up on our website and we’re trying to find the right one. We’ve got these pictures of her with different bands like Rob Zombie (at this point someone turns on the Jukebox in the other room so the next few statements are completely inaudible)
Preacher: The family values tour would be cool.
Drumboy: The biggest tour I’ve seen with the nicest buses and everything, believe it or not, is Van’s Warped Tour.
Rod: I think it’d be cool to tour with Evanescence, you know and get to hang out with Amy Lee.
xFiruath: I think there might be some ulterior motives there.
Rod: Definitely one of the cutest girls in metal.
xFiruath: So any parting words for the fans?
Preacher: Stick with us.
Drumboy: There’s a lot of good bands out there and a lot of band bands, but rock music should be enjoyed live so get out there and support live music.
Preacher: Yeah and a message to the bar owners out there. It may be cheaper to hire a DJ for the night, but you’ll find that your bar will build more of a regular crowd with a live band. It will make it more of an experience. Any show that we do, we try to make it a great experience for whoever comes out to see it.
Drumboy: Yeah, we’ve had the bar packed at nine o’clock before and had them stay all the way until closing.
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