Josh James of Evergreen Terrace Weighs in on Touring, Barbecue, Side Projects, and More
Band Photo: Evergreen Terrace (?)
Evergreen Terrace, unlike most metalcore/hardcore acts, has been around for more than a decade. With five albums and five other releases to date, the Jacksonville five-piece has little to prove among seasoned listeners and are actively getting to younger listeners by way of touring with bands like Asking Alexandria, Chiodos, Emmure, and Miss May I on the Reckless and Relentless tour.
On their stop in Nashville, TN at The Cannery on April 12th (after the show was moved from Rocketown with much controversy,) the charismatic guitarist Josh James caught up with MetalUnderground.com to shed some light on a whole assortment of things from side projects to new album plans, and from touring tips to food tips.
Frank Serafine (Progressivity_In_All): So, you guys played Memphis last night.
Josh James: Yeah, Memphis last night was the package without Asking Alexandria because they played Jimmy Kimmel last night. So it was a cool show. It was a lot of fun. We don’t go there too much, but playing right there on Beale Street is pretty cool. You get some good barbecue. There’s a good vibe in that area.
FS: Where’d you go for barbecue?
JJ: Last night, actually, my brother and I went to Pig Barbecue – not very good. That place, Beale Street Café, we had ribs last time from there. It was awesome.
FS: Dry rub (barbecue type) or wet rub?
JJ: Wet, for sure. We went to Rendezvous one time and weren’t fans just because we don’t really like the dry rub. You’ve got to get a wet.
FS: You should try Corky’s next time.
JJ: One of the guys from Death Before Dishonor took us to a place called Central Barbecue. It’s not in the downtown area. It was FUCKING unreal. It was so good.
FS: Memphis has all sorts of barbecue. Other cities with good eats on the tour?
JJ: In Sacramento, I had the best burger I’ve ever had in my entire life. [It was] a place right next to the venue called Beers N Suds. It was a spicy avocado cheeseburger, cooked perfectly medium rare. Everything was perfect. Bread was perfect, toppings were perfect, it was great.
FS: How many new moshes have you seen on this tour? I know you did the segment for Metal Blade awhile back on moshing.
JJ: No, no one’s really coming up with anything original on this tour. There’s a lot of push-pitting on this tour and bounce-up-and-down. I haven’t seen anything too out-of-the-ordinary yet. But I’ve got a week left, so you know, I could be impressed later on.
FS: The average age of the crowd this tour looks 16 or 17, so there’s a whole lot of energy.
JJ: For sure, across the board for the entire tour. Average age, I’d say probably 16 years old and that’s really cool to be playing for a younger audience.
FS: What’s your favorite song to play after twelve years as a band?
JJ: I’m trying to think. For this set, I think "Wolfbiker." We play it second in the set. I think it’s perfect because I’m warmed up at that point, I think it’s a crowd favorite, kids really get into it, and there’s a good mosh part. There’s a good sing-along part. So, on this tour, I think "Wolfbiker" is definitely my favorite to play.
FS: What’s your favorite song to play that’s not your own? You’ve done the whole cover album, "Writer’s Block."
JJ: "Mad World" is always awesome because people really get into it. There’s usually a lot of sing-alongs. Earlier this year, we did an all-cover show.
FS: Did the U2 cover ("Sunday Bloody Sunday") go over well?
JJ: It went over great. We did "Enter Sandman" by Metallica, which was rad and "The Kids Aren’t Alright" by The Offspring. That was pretty cool.
FS: Have you figured out any future cover songs? Are you going to do any new cover songs like on "Writer’s Block"?
JJ: I don’t know. About a year ago, we released Foo Fighters’ "Everlong" as just an iTunes single. We’ve talked about doing some more covers and originally, we had planned to have a five song cover EP and put it out for this tour, but it just kind of fell through. Right now, we’re going to work on some original material and then maybe throw a couple covers in here and there in the future.
FS: Are the plans for the new album still for 2012?
JJ: Yeah. Everything is based around touring, so we look at the tours we have potential offers to do and then we decide. If we wouldn’t have done this tour, we would’ve been at home writing, but we didn’t want to pass it up. It’s an awesome tour and a great time. So we come home from this tour, we’ll probably start writing, and then I would say later this year or the first half of next year, it should be released.
FS: Anything inspiring hitting you right now on the road? Any themes for the next album?
JJ: That’s a good question. We haven’t done a real themed record. The last record, I guess, if there was a theme, was about the hardships the band has gone through. I don’t know, maybe we’ll think of something clever this time like wizards or some shit.
FS: Can you explain the meaning behind the song, "Chaney Can't Quite Riff Like Helmet's Page Hamilton"?
JJ: Yeah. In 2005, whenever our record "Sincerity Is an Easy Disguise in This Business" was released, Alternative Press did a review on it and they gave it a pretty good review, but it kept saying that we ripped off Helmet and that we were a wanna-be Helmet. If you ever heard Helmet and Evergreen Terrace, you’d know we don’t sound anything at all like each other other than we use guitars and drums.
Craig’s, the other guitar player’s last name is Chaney. So, one of the quotes from the review was, "Chaney can’t quite riff like Helmet’s Page Hamilton, but he sure can try to sing like him." So, when we wrote the actual song, "Chaney Can’t Riff," the lyrics were kind of about no matter how beaten down we get or how much shit’s thrown at our face, we’re still going to be standing there. We’re still going to be pushing forward. It was kind of our stab back at them.
FS: So the way MetalUnderground.com can really impact you guys is just to diss the shit out of you? (laughs)
JJ: Yeah, yeah! Just diss us real bad and then we’ll have to retaliate somehow! (laughs)
FS: Do you have any side projects going on in the meantime?
JJ: I’ve had a band called Casey Jones for awhile. We actually just released a record this past January, called, "I Hope We’re Not The Last." You can pick it up on iTunes exclusively. Casey Jones has been a band for about seven years now. We’re going to be doing our final tour within the year and then calling it quits. Other than that, I’ve got a few small things that I’m working on. Me and Tim Lambesis (of As I Lay Dying and Austrian Death Machine) started a punk band in the vein of Good Riddance and Bad Religion, which is real cool. We’re just taking it easy and just doing it whenever we feel like it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop just fucking around with other genres of music if I find something I really love.
FS: What’s on your playlist these days?
JJ: This is going to sound weird, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Linkin Park’s "Minutes to Midnight" and then Regina Spektor, which are just two opposite ends of the spectrum for sure. Other than that, in the van a lot on this tour, we always listen to a lot of Rancid, Good Riddance, Stretch Armstrong, Trial, Hatebreed. Especially on tour with all these bands, we’ve checked out all their records. The new Chiodos record’s getting a lot of play in our van as well, which is a great record, so check that out as well.
FS: Do the Chiodos guys ever come on board and hear you guys playing them and laugh to themselves?
JJ: I always fuck with the singer. The second song on the record, it’s like… (sings a series of notes without words) There’s no words. It’s not a whistle, but like a weird melody thing and it’s really catchy and awesome. So now every time on the tour I see him, I just start doing that melody and he’s like "Ahhh, shut the fuck up," but it’s a great song. We used to listen to it on repeat in the van a lot.
FS: You guys have been on some long tours. Do you have any big tips for surviving long tours?
JJ: Yeah, when you can get away from each other, do it. That’s the biggest tip. The hardest part about a longest tour, I think, is that you never have real personal time. You’re always surrounded by people. You’re sitting two feet away from someone constantly on a ten hour drive. You’re sleeping two feet away from someone every single night. The shower [situation] is like "Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!" You’re eating with everybody, so it’s real easy on real long tours to start getting stressed out or fed up with other people.
You’ve got to be putting yourself in place and realizing that you signed up for it – you’ve got the best job in the world, don’t be a bitch. I feel like that if you can just keep a chill mood, a chill attitude, and not let anything get under your skin, there’s no reason to stop touring.
FS: Do you have any tips for new bands trying to break out of the underground?
JJ: Yeah, as weird as it is, because we do not come from an internet era, right now it’s all about just getting yourself hyped up on the internet – Facebook, PureVolume, and all that shit. That’s what record labels and managers and other bands are looking at to base what your band is worth. So really just hit that shit hard, and I’m sure if you post some nudes of yourself on the internet, that doesn’t hurt either. (laughs)
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