Interviews

THE RED CHORD’S GUY KOZOWYK HUMORS METALSUCKS

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It wasn’t that long ago that we interviewed The Red Chord bassist Greg Weeks via e-mail, but since a) that interview turned out to be one of the best we’ve ever done and b) we love The Red Chord, we just couldn’t resist the chance to sit down with vocalist Guy Kozowyk at the Long Island stop of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Guy was happy, or at least very good at pretending to be happy, to talk to us about the tour, playing in front of such huge crowds, and the already legendary Ladder Up an Ass project, but, like his bandmate, he was also cool enough to humor Axl Rosenberg when he asked a stupid question on behalf of his girlfriend. Check out the full transcript of our chat after the jump.

So how’s the tour going, man?

Good. [Points to a bandage on Axl Rosenberg’s forehead] What did you do to your head?

AR: What?

What did you do to your head?

AR: Oh… bar fight.

Bar fight?

AR: [Changing the topic] So you said the tour is going good.

Yeah.

As a performer, do you approach playing for such a large crowd differently than you would for playing a smaller club show?

Yeah, you have to talk to people like they’re three years old.

Do you find that irritating?

No, I think it’s fun. It’s your dream to talk to everyone like they’re four, and they have to listen to you for thirty minutes whether they like it or not. It’s interesting.

What about whittling your set down to only thirty minutes as opposed to your usual time?

We like playing for thirty minutes. It’s not really that far a cry from a lot of our stuff. Like when you headline you play for forty to forty-five minutes, so it’s not that far of a cry from it. When we went out with Cannibal Corpse, it was like a thirty minute set as well. It’s really not much different. It’s kind of neat that we got thirty minutes on this as opposed to Ozzfest, when it was like twenty or twenty-five minutes.

And you don’t have to go on at ten in the morning.

Yeah, it’s much better.

As one of the heavier bands on the festival, do you feel like the audience has been receptive to you guys?

Yeah, I get to talk to them like they’re four.

So what you’re saying is, Disturbed fans are are like four years old?

No, I’m just saying that like anytime you have a mob of 10,000 people, everyone has varying degrees of attention to what you’re doing. If you’re a Disturbed fan and you’re just along for the ride, you might be fucking drinking, eating, waiting around to see another band… So if someone is going to get up there and say something witty or involved or whatever, it might just go over your head. If you dumb it down and use short words and small sentences, it’s more likely to catch somebody’s attention. If you have somebody’s attention maybe you can throw something a little bit wittier. It doesn’t matter; David Draiman can get up there and say whatever the fuck he wants and everyone is dangling off every word.

Can we talk about that amazing performance piece we saw about an hour ago?

The first and only Ladder Up an Ass show ever?

You guys aren’t going to put out a full length now?

We might. I’m just kind of along for the ride a bit. I’m just the session guy. What do you want to know about it?

How the hell did the idea to get fifty guys with triangles and surgical masks come about?

Well, The Red Chord is actually kind of the backbone of it, [guitarist] Gunface and Greg [Weeks] in particular. Our guitar player and bass player over the years had many side projects that randomly play shows, including such gems as Tit Beard, Mt. Fuckasaurus, Dirt Mistaken for Weed… Let’s see, what else am I missing? Because there are some good ones in there. Mun was a good one. It’s M U with umlauts N. We’ve got some interesting musical collaborations from the dudes from A Life Once Lost, Between the Buried and Me, and all these random-ass bands that we’re friends with.

So Corey Taylor from Slipknot happened to embrace the ridiculous ideas of Greg and Mike. I guess when you’re in the position of headlining a tour like this and you have all these managers and whatever, and you say “Hey, you know what I want to do? This band with like all these triangles and a tuba and whatever,” if you’re in that position, you can make a call and suddenly it kind of happens. So he ended up talking to John Reese, who is one of the co-coordinators of this entire tour, saying “I want to put this band Ladder Up an Ass on one of the spots.” Specifically, Airbourne had flown off to Germany for a couple of days to play the Wacken Open Air Festival, so they missed two of their sets. I guess they’re flying out again to do Jimmy Kimmel or something like that. The idea was, “Why don’t we jump into the first spot with Ladder Up an Ass and open the show?” John Reese just said “Well, let me do you one better. Why don’t you close the show right after Machine Head? What do you guys think of that?” We were like, “I guess, sure, why not?” He gave us the time and suddenly you have a hundred SARS masks and all this ridiculous stuff going on. It’s funny, because Corey ordered the triangles…

We were wondering where the triangles came from.

He ordered the triangles and they never showed up. Somebody screwed it up or lost it or whatever. So one of his production managers was making the triangles backstage up until an hour before we did it; he was just all about it. So all of a sudden we’ve got all of these triangles and SARS masks. It was just a ridiculous weirdo thing that just kind of happened. It was like, “Dragonforce is a kind of hit-or-miss type thing for a lot of people, so I guess we’re going to be going against Dragonforce and people who really don’t want to see it can maybe see this.” If they’re not getting food or something while Dragonforce were playing. Obviously it seems like Dragonforce kind of won the draw.

No, that’s your imagination.

But the premise of it is that Ladder Up an Ass stands up on stage for gummy rights, for the rights of gummy bears, peeps, things like that. Which is why we randomly handed out peeps, which didn’t turn out to be such a good idea because as people were throwing them back, we were stepping on them and it was getting all over the stage. That’s the same stage we play on every single day. So it’s just all mashed up. I was late for doing press today because I was scrubbing the stage to get the peep gunk up.

It was a good thing man, to help out like that. They were saying there was some pre-recorded stuff for Ladder Up an Ass.

Yeah, that started a couple of days ago. The last three songs were recorded within the last six hours. I think it’s more entertaining to listen to. I don’t know if it’s more entertaining to watch it or listen to it. Listening to it probably makes a little bit more sense even though it’s completely ridiculous.

So back to The Red Chord… What’s on the horizon for you guys when you wrap the tour up?

We finish the tour up on the 20th of August. We have a month off where we’re going to start dabbling in writing and things like that. We’ll go overseas for the Hell on Earth Tour with Walls of Jericho, Animosity, and I think All Shall Perish is on a leg of it, Evergreen Terrace and Cataract and a couple of other bands are on it. Then we’re going to be writing for the remainder of the year unless we got some weird Japan/Australia offer or something like that. Otherwise, we might get back on tour at the beginning of next year, but it’s really up in the air as to when exactly we’ll be off and writing.

[To a passing Rockstar Mayhem publicist] You look mad or confused.

Publicist: I can’t find my binder that I use.

Don’t worry; we’ll say the Saint Anthony prayer. I’ve been hanging out with Underoath.

So the goal is to get a new album out next year?

Yeah, probably sometime in mid-next year we’d like to have a record out. We’ve started dabbling in writing and stuff. We haven’t been actively having writing sessions and practices. We’ve just been kind of writing on our own and throwing ideas around.

So do you have a conscious vision for the direction you guys want to move in?

No, it’ll probably be a little bit more of a strange adventure [than our last album] I’d say, but at the heart of it I don’t know if we’re really looking to shed the death metal cross. It’ll have a little bit of everything. I don’t know if it’s a guideline as much as it is a backbone and basis for the stuff we’ve always done. I don’t think it’s going to change drastically, even though I think it’ll be a very different record than the last few.

You just get that impression from the early dablings you’ve done so far?

At the end of the day it’s like, I’m a vocalist and one of the two original guys [still in the band], and vocally I don’t know if a band . . . I’ve always tried to sound different from record to record. I’ve had people be like “Oh, whatever happened to your first vocalist?” And I’m kind of like, “Oh, that’s me.” I think it’s easy for death metal bands to fall into the Deicide pattern where every record, the vocalist kind of sounds the same. There’s nothing wrong with consistency, and it’s great that one band can be brutal in the beginning and be brutal now. I’ve just tried to diversify it to the point where I’m still doing brutal vocals but there is some sort of difference from record to record. I don’t think you’ll get me singing clean or something like that. If I was going to do that, I’d probably do it in a different band as opposed to The Red Chord. With that being said, I don’t know if we could suddenly become that mellow of a band or whatever. Even if the music slowed down, we’d still be heavy and have the essence of it. Again, the music might speed up, it might slow down, but overall, it’s heavy music.

Heavy music has expanded a lot over the years. There are so many different sects of it now. It can be stoner metal, it could be doom, black metal, death metal, and so we kind of encompass all of that as well as hardcore and even some punk and grind. There’s a lot of different ways we could go. I kind of love that we’ve always thrown in that minute-long song on our records. I would like to see a few more of those. But I also like the fact that the last track on the recent record [Prey for Eyes], “Seminar,” is just so slow and heavy and atmospheric, and I love that we’re throwing in more of that. Those big, drawn-out atmospheric parts on songs like “Pray for Eyes” and “Seminar”… you might see more of that. We get a lot of requests for it. People are catching onto it. There’s a little of everything. I kind of feel like over the years the riffs themselves have become a lot more emotional. I think there are times where I think we’re writing better leads and becoming better guitar players. The riffs themselves are telling a story and have more of a vibe as opposed to in the beginning, when [the riffs were] mechanical on the first record. People might have liked it for that reason, but it was really all over the place. There wasn’t much theory to it. It was more like “Alright, let’s do it.”

AR: Okay, so very last question. It’s a ridiculous question but I’ve got to ask…

Sure, go for it.

AR: My girlfriend swears that on “Send the Death Storm,” you’re saying “Save the Death Star.” Pretending for a second that she was right, why would you want to save the Death Star?

When you think about it, you could potentially colonize the Death Star. As the world gets more overpopulated, you could make it a retirement home or something like that. Like, when people get to a certain age, You say “Alright, you’re 68, I don’t know if there really is much of a purpose for you here anymore. You’re retired or whatever. Maybe you should just go and hang out on the Death Star for the rest of your days.” It could be that, or something for, like, upstart internet companies and things like that. It could be cheap real estate, like people going to Alaska or companies buying up land in the Mid-West. You might just go “Alright, we’re kind of sick of Kansas anyway, we might as well go to outer space and hang out on the Death Star.”

AR: That’s an awesome answer.

Think so? Thank you.

-AR & VN

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