Darkest Hour Guitarist Mike Schleibaum Talks About New Album, Tour Stories
Formed in 1995, Darkest Hour is a melodic death metal / metalcore band from Washington, D.C.. In 1996, on Death Trunk Records, the band released its first EP titled "The Misanthrope." Then in 1999, on label Art Monk Construction, they released another EP, "The Prophecy Fulfilled." Since then, the band has gone through many lineup and label changes, solidifying the band and their sound. Darkest Hour was able to garner enough exposure to catch the attention of Victory Records. Their Victory debut, "So Sedated, So Secure," was released in 2001 and since then released four more albums on Victory. 2008 saw the addition of guitarist, Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan. With Lonestar officially on board the band is heading back into the studio to write and record with Producer Brian McTernan of Baltimore's Salad Days Studio, and in 2009 released "The Eternal Return." Roya Butler sat down with Mike Schleibaum, Darkest Hour guitarist, to talk about the 2009 Summer Slaughter Tour, and co-guitarist "Lonestar's" antics, including throwing human feces on cops.
Roya: Tell us about your new album. How does it compare to your previous releases? What are your favorite tracks and why?
Schleibaum: I would say it's definitely a lot heavier and more aggressive then the last few. It takes the Darkest Hour sound and it goes way heavier than we ever thought possible. It's fitting because we really wanted this to be a dismal/depressing record, which is where we were as artists when writing it. It's not that I don't think the other side of Darkest Hour (that being one favoring more melody) will be back. There is still plenty melody in the album, but also a nice mix of, well I don't know...bad ass ness! My favorite tracks are: Bitter, Death Worship, The Tides, Into the Grey, and of course the album opener.
Roya: Tell us about your tour.
Schleibaum: Well there are a few coming up. We're headed to Eastern Europe in a few days. We then head back to the US with Trivium, White Chapel, and Dirge Within. Finally we go back to Europe with Canadian death metaler's, Katakyslum! We love playing live more than anything, so you know it's gonna be a good time no matter where we are.
Roya: Tell us a funny story about one of your tours.
Schleibaum: On our last tour, Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan, our newest addition to the band, happened to throw a bag of human feces at a cop. It was totally an accident and well the details are really funny, but I will reserve it for if or when any of you reading this have a chance to party with Mike. Look, just come out to a DH show; I promise you will be able to find us, and OH WE WILL TELL YOU the whole story!
Roya: Did you ever get robbed on any of your tours?
Schleibaum: Yes, one time in Toronto we were robbed of over 10K in cash. At the time we weren't a "pro" band by any sense of the word, and we were not really ready to deal with all that cash on hand. Needless to say the situation got the best of us and some jack ass broke in and really fucked our whole day up. There is nothing more violating then having something stolen from you, especially when you're traveling.
Roya: Have any of your fans given you gifts?
Schleibaum: Well we have gotten all sorts of free drinks and high fives. Oh and there is the occasional free CD or shirt. But I'll never forget, a long time ago we used to give free entrance to anyone who would bring us shrimp! Yeah it was kind of a known thing. So one time we played in Tempe, AZ with Six Feet Under, the promoter was tripping because he wasn't sure if anyone was going to come to the show. It definitely wasn't helping that he was getting calls all day asking about the "Darkest Hour"/free shrimp deal! Yeah we had to change that policy, we never thought about what would happen if we had more shrimp then we could eat, Shit I mean that would have to be a lot shrimp!
Roya: Have any of your fans gotten tattoos of your band name/ any stories like that?
Schleibaum: Oh yeah there are some sick ones on our myspace. You can see them all at: www.myspace.com/darkesthour
Roya: Tell us how the story behind your name 'Darkest Hour'
Schleibaum: Well, in 1995 we had our first show coming up, and we needed to have a band name. We had already booked a show and wrote a whole record, with no band name. So we made a list, and sure enough we picked the ONLY one we could half agree on. We said we would change it as soon as we came up with something better. But, it worked so well that it stuck, and 14 or so years later, it's still the name we go by!
Roya: I know you've played Ozzfest in the past; do you have any comments on the cancellation of Ozzfest 2009?
Schleibaum: Yeah it's too bad; Ozzfest did have some sick bands. Where else could you see Slayer, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath on one tour? I hope one day Metallica will headline a summer tour like this and just kill it. Metal lives in fest-ville form and Ozzfest was a sick one for sure!
Roya: Anything to add?
Schleibaum: Nope, just thanks for the interview! And if anyone is reading this that has never checked out Darkest Hour and are reading this make sure to check out The Eternal Return our newest record on Victory Records. It's for sure the most intense, heavy, bad ass, balls out, record we have done.
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