Interview With Black Label Society Drummer Will Hunt
Will Hunt is the new drummer for Black Label Society. Initially, he was only going to stay with the band as a session artist for their new record “Order Of the Black.” Since Hunt is between records with his main band Evanescence, he has continued his stay with Black Label Society on the Ozzfest tour, and now the Bezerkus tour. The question remains: does Hunt have enough time to become a permanent drummer for Black Label Society? After seeing him live at The Rave in Wisconsin, all I can hope is he will since his drumming was phenomenal!
Daniel Becker: You are around two-weeks in the tour. How has it been going so far? Any interesting stories you would like to share with us? You guys just got back from Ozzfest. Did you guys even take a break? How busy have you been?
Will Hunt: It’s going great man. Everyone on the bill is very cool. We are excited to be on tour. I’ve chilled with Clutch before and meeting Children of Bodom is new, so things are great. Everyone is bringing a different flavor to this tour. It is Underground music, but at the same time, everyone is really cool and pure at what they do. Everyone is taking their crap very seriously. As far as Ozzfest goes, we had a good short break. We had eight or nine days off I think. Zakk has been especially busy lately. He has tried to revamp some songs by creating acoustic versions and piano versions as well. I think they want to do something like that for Christmas.
Becker: So any interesting stories thus far?
Hunt: Not yet. I’m sure in enough time there will be though. We just finished the Canadian gig and everything has been very smooth so far.
Becker: You are the new drummer for Black Label Society. How did Zakk Wylde recruit you?
Hunt: Coming in as the new person is always usually hard to do. The guys from Black Label Society have treated me like I’ve been here forever though and welcomed me in open arms. I got into this gig because I knew Nick, the guitar player for a very long time. Actually, I called Nick in February for something completely unrelated. He thought I was calling because Craig had left, but I told him I had no idea. He asked me what I was up to. I told him that I was just hanging out in between Evanescence records. He made a couple of phone calls, and it initially started out that I was going to come in the studio and just do the record, but the Evanescence project is taking so long that he asked me if I wanted to tour. I agreed of course.
Becker: How has working with Zakk Wylde been? What was the process like in recording “Order of the Black?” Also, how was it different than your other projects?
Hunt: Well, it’s interesting man. I’ve played a little bit on Tommy Lee’s new “Methods of Mayhem” Project. When I went out to LA to record “Order Of the Black” I was in Tommy Lee’s studio recording that project. When I was done with Tommy, I hopped in my car and drove all the way to Zakk’s place. You know it’s pretty awesome to come directly from Tommy Lee’s house, and then head directly to Zakk Wylde’s. I told one of my friends, and it’s really hard to make this up.
Becker: Yes, that is pretty awesome. You’re living every drummers dream!
Hunt: I agree. It’s the stuff that you can only dream of. I guess you can say that I’m very grateful and blessed. When I got to Zakk’s house, he basically created these powerful riffs, and I just started throwing out different beats at him. He would either dig it, or guide me to something that he saw more suitable. We started working at it, and in the end, we came up with something really cool. One thing that I told Zakk at the table is I miss some of the grooves that Craig Nunenmacher played. I wanted to revisit those. He was totally open to it. I think that style is really evident in songs like “Parade of the Dead,” and “Crazy Horse,” and “Godspeed Hellbound.” Those tracks, in particular, I try to inject that flavor into them. He totally let me do my thing on those, which was really cool.
Becker: I guess the only thing cooler than that, would be if you were the replacement to Mike Portnay, who recently departed from Dream Theater. Have you ever consider asking them about possibly joining?
Hunt: Dream Theater? Nah. A couple of things come to mind. I don’t think that particular band fits my flavor. I totally respect it, and those guys are virtuosos at their instruments. The other thing is, not to put down my playing because I know how to play weird and offbeat time signatures, but Mike Portnay and all of them can really tell you the ins and outs of them; I cannot. Another thing is Dream Theater was Mike Portnay’s band. As far as I know, he was one who did all the interviews and all the business ends of the band as well. I mean if Dream Theater wants to go on without them, more power to them. I would come into a band like that if I really loved it, and if it were the case that I was not replacing the leader of the band since that is really difficult to do.
Becker: Now, I read that you are involved in many other projects. Will this affect your stay as a permanent member with Black Label Society? What other projects are you involved with? I read that you are the drummer for the alternative band Evanescence?
Hunt: As far as the situation goes with Black Label, I really just take it day- by- day. Like I said, originally, I was just going to do just the record. When I was asked to do the tour I became committed to that as well. At the same time though, I’ve been working with Evanescence for a very long time, and I really love my brothers and sisters in that band. Amy is a very amazing person. She’s a talented musician, and I’m honored to work with her. I did the “Methods of Mayhem” thing too. I just got to take it day- by- day man. I learned in this business you couldn’t take things too far ahead. You just have to take it as it comes.
Becker: So does having a lot of eclectic projects reinforce your tastes in music. In other words, do you listen to all types of music, not just metal? What other types of music and metal do you prefer?
Hunt: Man, I listen to everything. I’m not one of those guys were everything has to be metal, or it’s bad. On my IPod, I have everything from Slayer to Dimmu Borgir to Michael Jackson. I listen to everything like Steele Dan, Kiss, electronic music, and Dead Mouse. If an artists’ songs move me either emotionally or rhythmically, I dig It.
Becker: Are you guys playing just “Order of the Black” on this tour? Or are you playing other songs from classic Black Label Society albums like “Mafia,” “The Blessed Hellride, and “1919 Eternal?”
Hunt: I think there is a song or two from each record, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t want to give away the set but there is shit from “The Blessed Hellride;” shit from the first record "Sonic Brew"; “Shot to Hell;” and of course the heavy “Order of the Black.” So I would say yes, there are definitely songs from other records.
Becker: How long have you been playing drums for? Who has been your source of inspiration?
Hunt: (Laughs), I guess I’m putting an age on myself now. I’ve been playing the drums for around thirty-four years. I love The Police, Tommy Lee obviously. It’s hard to take anyone because I listen to so many bands. ACDC as well.
Becker: After the “Bezerkus Tour”, what does Black Label Society have planned for us?
Hunt: I know there are a lot of scenarios flying around. As It stands now, I think we are going to Europe after in February, and then Australia, and other countries like China and Japan as well. I think that is all for right now though. We got a lot of touring ahead that is for sure.
Becker: Any other news you would like to share with us today?
Hunt: Everyone I think should come out and check it out. The Bezerkus tour has a great bill. If you are coming out to the show, come early because 2Cents is an amazing band. They are one of the most entertaining bands I’ve seen in a long time.
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