Dave Bone of the Company Band Explains Band History, Recording New Album and Love for Thin Lizzy
The Company Band will release its “Pros & Cons” EP on July 31st through Weathermaker Music. Legendary rockers Clutch own the label and their front man, Neil Fallon also sings for The Company Band. Most fans can only hear the group in their cars and home systems because the group primarily works from the studio. However, they scheduled rare appearances in the Northeast to promote “Pros & Cons.” In a way, a The Company Band recording is a corporate retreat from their full-time gigs in Clutch, Fu Manchu, CKY and Fireball Ministry. This time the group’s five members met in Venice, Italy.
Now the group has put down their paddles, wiped away the marinara sauce from their chin and is ready to get down to business. The said album is for all those who have kept their radio knob on Classic Rock stations for the past twenty-five years. Guitarist Dave Bone spoke to Metal Underground.com about this “basic, meat-and-potatoes hard rock and heavy metal” album and served up a heaping portion of history about the band and himself.
Darren Cowan (Rex_84): Hi Dave, what are you up to? Are you doing interviews all day?
Dave Bone: Yes, and doing a lot of practice for these shows we got coming up.
Cowan: So the band has a few shows scheduled?
Bone: At the end of July we are playing in Philadelphia, Brooklyn and D.C.
Cowan: Do you play a few shows after putting out a record or are those special appearances?
Bone: I think it’s pretty special because the only other time we played live was when we were putting together The Company Band self-titled record. We got together in Jess’ [Margera] neck of the woods and played a couple of shows. We played those songs before they were recorded. People in the crowd only knew the EP. It will be nice to return out there and have a couple of releases under our belt.
Cowan: Not counting the new release, you have four albums.
Bone: Yes, that will be released at the end of this month [July 31st.] I’ll be happy to get that out the door.
Cowan: You recorded “Pros & Cons” in Venice, Italy, correct?
Bone: Neil rented a house in Venice. We were getting together there. We recorded it at a studio called Grandmaster Recorders in Hollywood. That’s where we have done all the other stuff, too, with the same producer Andrew Alekel. Winning combination if there ever was one! [Laughs]
Cowan: What is it about Alekel and Grandmaster Recorders that works for you?
Bone: Andrew Alekel has been long time friends with separate bands—working with Fu Manchu, Fireball Ministry and Clutch—so he’s been in the mix as a friend and professional for many years. I think he’s the best! He’s one of those producers that just knows what to do. You don’t need to have an hour-long conversation about your sound. He’s got it before you have it. He knows how it is suppose to sound before you have it in your head. Every time it’s great in his studio. The studio he works at, Grandmaster, is one of those old school places that are becoming extinct. Inside it’s crazy; it looks like a ‘70s pirate ship, which I can understand is a pretty odd description. It is made for rockin’! The drum room has such a cool vibe to it. We all love it! If you want to sound good, use him and go there. [Laughs]
Cowan: What was your role in the recording process? Are you doing the leads or just the rhythm parts?
Bone: If the Company Band had a main guitar player, it would be me. I come up with most of the riffs and handle the majority of stuff that you hear pumping out of the speakers. For the recording, Jess, Brad and myself recorded all of our parts live, together, which is really cool. We were doing it the old school way, no Pro-Tools thing. We got a real vibe going. We would lay down the basic tracks like that. Afterwards, Rota [Rev. James Rota, vocals] would come in and lay down all of his stuff. Then afterwards, we would do some solos together. I’m doing most of the solos on this record, but it’s really like a twin-guitar attack.
Cowan: Are the twin guitars homage to Thin Lizzy? The album definitely has an old school, heavy rock, hard rock kind of vibe.
Bone: Yeah, that’s awesome dude! I’m a huuuuuge Thin Lizzy fan! I literally have every single thing they ever put out. There is no doubt that they have influenced The Company Band.
Cowan: Did you tune your guitar differently because you took the classic rock approach?
Bone: Yeah, I am a big fan of standard E tuning with no tuning amp or anything like that because while I’m a fan of down tuned guitar sound, I’m really into that spinning, snappy, attacking vibe that you get from standard tuning. It kind of gets lost in the sludge if you go further and further down. That’s totally old school. If you play Scorpion songs tuned down, you’ll notice that the energy kind of leaves the song. When you got it pumping in that hard rock kind of way, I’ve found that standard tuning is the most effective.
Cowan: There are some really awesome riffs on this album. Do you have any favorite riffs on the album?
Bone: It’s always so hard to tell because your face is so close to it that it’s hard to gain that perspective of knowing which one is killer above another one. We wrote enough songs for this EP—we wrote ten or twelve songs—because we were able as a group to select which ones we liked the most. I think it benefits from that because there is no fat. These are the best songs out of twelve, so it represents the most killer stuff. I’m pretty stoked on all the music for this one. If I had to choose, I got really excited when we did that “Loc-Nar” song.
Cowan: Was the idea of doing a roots of heavy rock album something you’ve had in the oven for some time?
Bone: I think it just comes down to you doing what you love, no matter what that is. Even if it’s chasing a new sound, developing different avenues of hard rock and metal the way a band like Baroness does. Or there is the exact opposite, which is what The Company Band does, which is almost like hero worship. We’re trying to play really basic, meat-and-potatoes hard rock and heavy metal. That’s just what comes out when I sit down to write riffs. I can’t do anything else. I’m thankfully one dimensional in my approach.
Cowan: Jess Margera brought you into the band. Have you known him for a while?
Bone: I have known Jess since, basically, the start of The Company Band. It was actually Jim who invited me into this project when it was an embryo of an idea. I’ve known Jim for years. There was no way that we wouldn’t meet in L.A. because Fireball Ministry was one of the only real, true rock bands in Los Angeles. We became friends immediately, and he actually invited me to become a part of The Company Band.
Cowan: Everybody in the band has quite an extensive list of work, but there isn’t much about you. Not to take away from your playing, but what were you doing before The Company Band? Were you jamming with other bands? How long have you been playing?
Bone: I’ve been playing since I was in the fifth grade. Ever since after college when I moved from New York back to L.A. I’ve been trying to get something off the ground. It was really difficult to do because L.A. isn’t interested in hard rock music, so it was really difficult to assemble a team of bad-ass dudes to kick out the jams. I did become friends with a guy named Andrew Sample who is very important in the pre-history of The Company Band because we formed a great friendship and jammed a lot—he played the drums and I was on guitar. We came up with all sorts of stuff, but it never got off the ground. What was important was all those riffs that I wrote with him while jamming became Company Band riffs on the EP and a lot of the self-titled full length. It’s one of those things, if you think about it; The Company Band probably wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Andrew Sample. It just wouldn’t be there.
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