EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LAZARUS A.D.’S JEFF PAULICK
When Billboard Magazine recently asked some metal industry insiders (including our own Vince Neilstein!) to name some bands that they thought were poised to be the next big thing in metal, only one band got multiple mentions: Lazarus A.D.
Little wonder. As evidenced by the recent release of their Metal Blade debut, The Onslaught, the band’s unique of modern thrash is a breath of fresh air in a scene increasingly dominated by kids interested in little else besides just recycling their favorite Exodus riff from twenty years ago.
As the band prepares to hit the road this May and June with Testament and Exodus, I got the chance to e-mail vocalist/bassist Jeff Paulick some questions. After the jump, get Jeff’s thoughts on the band’s new album, working with the legendary James Murphy, the pleasures of pissing off fans who claim to be “tr00,” and more.
Let’s start at the beginning: can you tell us a little about the history of the band? How you formed, how you got signed to Metal Blade, etc.
Well I originally met Dan [Gapen, guitarist] in the 4th grade, picked up bass because I knew then and there I wanted to play music with this kid. We were in bands in high school with Ryan [Shutler, drummer] that never amounted to anything and started Lazarus our junior year. We added Alex [Lackner, guitarist] to the mix about 3 months after and we haven’t changed the lineup since. That was almost 4 years ago, since then we have done a small amount of touring, opened for Anthrax and Testament, and “Last Breath” was featured on the Thrashing Like A Maniac compilation from Earache. I got a call on my cell phone from Mike Faley, president of Metal Blade Records, saying they were interested in signing us, a few months later the deal was inked!
I know your band was originally just called “Lazarus.” Why the switch to “Lazarus A.D.”?
Some 40 year old fag ass Iron Maiden rip-off band apparently had the rights to the name, we tried to come to some compromise… that was a letter in the mail from their lawyer telling us to change the name or a lawsuit was coming, haha. Metal Blade still wanted Lazarus in the name, we added the A.D. to it, I guess it means whatever… “After Death,” “Alcohol and Drugs,” “Almost Drunk,” we really don’t give a fuck, it saved our ass and the logo looks cooler now!
What’s the songwriting process like in Lazarus A.D.?
Very precise, sometimes things flow really quickly and others take a fuck of a long time. We never force anything and we all are really particular on which riffs make the cut and how songs are structured. Too many bands are simply throwing whatever comes to them on a record, we are really against that, and if everything doesn’t sound amazing to us… it’s garbage. Dan writes a majority of the riffs, but we all take part in the actual writing process.
Can you tell us a little bit about the experience of working with Chris Djuricic and James Murphy?
Well we originally recorded the CD back in January of 2007 with Chris. We had our own budget to roll on, so it was a quick 2 weeks, mostly first takes and a lot of practice before hand to ensure we were tighter than a baby’s asshole before we showed up. James mastered that particular release. I got to chat with him a little bit back then and it was cool. When it came time to remix, we called upon him again, and he really loved the project still so he moved his schedule around and made it happen. He did an amazing job on the remix and we are all very happy with how everything turned out… it’s been a long journey to this point with this fucking CD. Christ, Dan and I wrote “Last Breath” in Ryan’s room when we were still juniors in high school!
The Onslaught is, technically speaking, a couple of years old already. Do you still feel like it’s a valid representation of the band? Are you itching to get new material out?
Like I said, a lot of it is old, we have grown so much in that time, and really we are all better musicians, and I am much better vocally. We definitely still feel there is life left in this record, otherwise we wouldn’t have opted to re release it. It’s a kick in the face start to finish, and it still works today, which is a great sign, because ultimately you want a disc that can stand the test of time. We have a few new songs already sealed and ready to go and plenty more in the works right now, things are sounding absolutely amazing. The songs are more mature, we are trying new things yet still being true to what we know and love… which is simply good songwriting. We want songs that people remember for the right reasons, we feel we accomplished that in the “thrash” genre with this record. The next record will be even better, we simply can’t wait to record it.
As a young band just getting their start, how do you feel about the issue of illegal downloading?
Well, it obviously hits us financially. People steal music, no way around it. I don’t condone downloading, but I know that we have to work a lot harder to make money other ways. The best way is to put on a great show, which we do. People are still paying to see live music, and we deliver an intense live show… ask any of the fans. We won’t put out bullshit merch, we want every single shirt to be fucking awesome and make people not only want to wear that shirt wherever they go but be proud to promote our name as well. Ultimately, in these “hard” times, people will put their money where they need to and only buy the luxuries they feel are worth buying, our job is to put out a record that is worth buying more than any other record on the market… otherwise why the fuck are we in the business?
What do you think the single best thing about metal today is? The worst thing?
Metal today… ahah, not a whole lot going on right now. Too many bands are over saturating it, and honestly the weak are getting weaned out with the economy. Realistically LoG and Slipknot are keeping it alive, even though I really don’t care for the new LoG [Wrath]… the new Slipknot [All Hope is Gone] isn’t bad, but it’s these guys who are carrying the flag through the shit, just like Pantera did. The worst thing about metal today id have to say is the new wave of death metal, we personally cannot stand it and there are just wayyyy too many people wearing colorful death metal t shirts, people who are only wearing them because they are on sale at Hot Topic. I don’t know, I think it’s a trend that’s well on its way out, and pretty damn quickly I hope.
Your promo pic features Dan sporting an Avenged Sevenfold shirt. This band is incredibly unpopular amongst the “tr00” crowd, but we happen to like them, too. Please tell the readers of MetalSucks why they should listen to A7X.
Well its actually me wearing the t-shirt lol [My bad! – AR], but I wore that shirt just to piss the “tr00” fans off haha. We all love and adore A7X in a super non gay way. I shouldn’t have to tell people to listen to these guys, they simply are beyond amazing songwriters and ungodly talented musicians. Forget how they look, drop the fact that they have commercial success, and start realizing they are the best band to emerge since Metallica and Pantera… bold, but how I personally feel.
Whose side do you take in the following metal feuds, and why?
a. Hetfield and Ulrich vs. Dave Mustaine
Hetfield and Ulrich, because Mustaine is a bitch.
b. Axl Rose vs. Slash
Slash, because Axl is a bitch.
c. Eddie and Alex Van Halen vs. Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony
Halen, because Hagar and Anthony are bitches (you can’t replace Roth and that other dude was replaced by a 14 year old!).
d. Gaahl vs. Infernus
Infernus, because Gaahl doesn’t fuck bitches, he fucks dudes.
What’s next for Lazarus A.D.?
Everything. We aren’t here to be a mediocre band, we want to be the next big thing in metal. We understand its not gonna happen on this record, but this is only the beginning for us. We are so young and have such a driven attitude, that literally nothing can stop us but the music…so we ensure that the music is the BEST part about us. As for 2009, touring and more touring, gaining a decent fanbase, winning over crowds night after night, drinking as much free beer as possible, and partying with as many people as possible. Like I said this is only the beginning, and we can’t wait to start the journey.