FPSF 2014 Preview: Venomous Maximus
It’s 5:00PM on a Sunday, and I may have woken Gregg Higgins from Venomous Maximus. He won’t say.
“Sometimes I don’t even know what day it is, either,” he adds, almost seeming to brag about what sounds like a very nice life. He doesn’t know what day, which stage, or what time Venomous plays Free Press Summer Festival, either.
“I don’t even know what day Summerfest is. I just know that we’re playing it.”
Gregg runs Secret Tattoo, a parlor in the Montrose, soon to reopen to a new location on Westheimer. I first saw him a few years ago, opening for the newest incarnation of deadhorse at Warehouse Live. I bought their 7-inch that night, and read about them in Blabbermouth soon after. European press followed.
“We went on tour with Phillip Anselmo‘s band, Down, which was a big fucking deal. And we played with Guns ‘N Roses in town after that.” Trevi Biles, the bass player for Venomous, even started what Gregg calls “a hot sauce cover band” with GNR’s guitar player. I ask him if it’s true, what I’ve heard about Axl Rose travelling with a security detail like a president of a country.
“He doesn’t even travel with the band; he comes separate, and you never see him. There’s a whole lot of bands with singers who do douchey shit like that,” he adds, “and they’ll buy restaurants and start clothing lines and shit.” I laughed, but Gregg didn’t, so I moved on.
“Shit, man, we wanna be the biggest band in the fucking world! Did you really think we’d be scared of a fucking camera?” On the recording of the interview I, again, hear myself laugh (perhaps nervously); Gregg stays silent. Strong and silent, at that.
He’s serious. But has anybody ever been in the biggest band in the world without doing douchey shit, like buying restaurants and starting clothing lines?
“You can’t box me in, because I do not give a fuck. I’ll talk shit about whoever I want, and then I’ll turn around and do all of that if I fucking want to. And I’ll laugh at all you poor motherfuckers, too.” I tell him I believe him, but he knows it.
Now I know what he meant earlier when he told me about his hard-earned credibility in the tattoo business, starting at age 16, convincing what he calls “maybe not the nicest people” that he was the right person to tattoo them.
“That’s the thing about our band, man. We are the real fucking thing. This is not a fucking act, and we are not fucking playing around with you.”
It comes through in the live performance, I tell him; I think people come away understanding exactly what he means. Find out at Free Press Summer Festival this Sunday. END