by Mel House
If you've been reading SCR for a while, you might remember that one of our earliest interviews was with Arty Shepherd from Errortype:11 -- a band who was doing pretty well for themselves, mainly due to their "Quicksand-goes-pop" vibe (I'm oversimplifying here, but go with me). Fast forward to three years later -- Errortype is no more, but three of the members (Shepherd, bassist Adam Marino, and drummer Ti Kreck) have joined forces with none other than Quicksand axeman Tom Capone. And if that wasn't enough rock to punch you in the gut, they then added a third guitarist -- Joe Grillo from Garrison. The resulting amalgam? Instruction. Instruction rocks. Big time. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the guys before their gig opening up for Papa Roach.
SCR: So, refresh our audience's memories and tell them who you are and what you do.
Adam: I'm Adam, and I play bass.
Arty: My name is Arty "The One Man Party," and I play guitar and sing...and I party.
Tom: I'm Tom; I play guitar and I also cause chaos and havoc in the band.
Ti: I'm Ti; I babysit Tom, and I play drums.
Joe: I'm Joseph, and I'm the band's cheerleader and dancer.
How did the band get started?
Arty: Errortype broke up about a year...no, I guess it was about two years ago. Then me, Adam -- and you didn't know this, but Ti was our drummer back then [Ti replaced original Errortype:11 drummer Erik Matheiu] -- we decided to continue playing, and played as a three-piece for a little bit, then Tom came along, and we just kinda wrote stuff real quick, all together, and that was it. We were in England playing within two months of our existence, we had a demo within a month and a half -- it was all very quick. But a lot of the groundwork had been laid over the years [with Errortype]. I always said that if we changed our name, because Errortype had a bit of a stigma, if we changed our name we'd get a record deal in six months, and lo and behold we did. That was pretty much it -- we spent most of our time in England, and that's pretty much where it happened.
Instruction -- http://www.instructionrocks.com/
Instruction (Geffen site) -- http://www.instruction-music.com/
Geffen Records -- http://www.geffenrecords.com/
Tom, how did you get drawn into playing with these guys?
Tom: I knew Errortype:11 and I knew Arty. I heard that they broke up, so I talked to him, and just came out and jammed. It just worked out, with the chemistry.
Arty: It was just really easy... Tom has like a super-dark thing about the way he plays guitar. I always kind of had that too, but our other guitar player in Errortype:11 [Phil Hanratty] was always a more melodic player. Tom and I, with this combination, it's much more atmospheric and a lot darker in sound, and visually a lot darker, so it worked a lot better than what we were doing. Phil and I always felt like we were fighting each other -- it sounded good, but it was always a compromise. With Tom and I, there's not a compromise, it just works, which is cool.
I have to say I agree with that, because TOM CAPONE IS A F%$KING BADASS. A F%$KING BADASS! [Everyone laughs; Tom laughs uncomfortably, and gives the "metal horns" sign.] Tell us a little bit about adding Joe into the band. I thought that was kind of interesting to add a third guitarist -- not many rock bands do that.
Arty: Well, it's actually kind of cool, because it opens us up to do a lot of things. Basically, none of these dicks wanted to sing...
Adam: Or could sing.
Arty: Yeah, or could sing...and I wanted a backup singer. I also wanted to be able to perform a little bit more onstage, and play less, and Joe and I have very similar styles of playing, and we've been friends for a long time. Honestly, it was just cool to have another friend who's a good songwriter; there's a good tone, the chemistry was just already there, you know, and it's just like adding another member to the "gang." And it's been great. Now, for me, personally, I enjoy playing a lot more because I don't have to worry about playing the guitar as much. Tom can be a lot more atmospheric, and he doesn't have to worry about playing rhythm as much. It actually opened us up to new musical scapes. We've written a bunch of tunes already that we've recorded for B-sides...some of them won't be B-sides, but I'm really excited to get into writing the next album because I think we're going to be able to do some stuff that I think is going to be amazing.
Joe: I think, in addition to that, I add the "male cheerleading" aspect that the band was missing before. I had to change the color -- I actually had to dye the pom-poms that I brought with me. So, things are a little bit different now, and I think it goes along with what Arty was saying -- the whole darker vibe. They used to be tie-dye, kind of a Bomb-Pop color, and now they're black and red, so that's sort of the vibe.
Arty: Black and red? Thank you, thank you for that.
You guys have an album coming out soon on Geffen Records, the home of Guns N' Roses.
Arty: Former home, I think.
Well, you know, where they mattered the most. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Arty: We did the album over about three or four months, mostly in Los Angeles and Connecticut. We did it with a producer named Bob Ezrin, who was responsible for Alice Cooper, the high times for KISS -- Destroyer, Pink Floyd's The Wall, of course, which was probably the peak of his career. He's still been doing great stuff, and he's an awesome guy and the reason that we... We didn't really seek him out, we just kinda found each other because we had a lot of big producers that we'd been talking to. The circumstances kinda worked out, but when we found out that he had done that last Jane's Addiction record, we got pretty excited about the fact that he was interested, because...although it's not their best record ever, it does sound sonically amazing, and we knew that we already had the tunes, so if we could get those sounds, we'd be in good shape. Of course, we're not Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, and Perry Farrell, but we knew that the tunes were there and we could do it our way. Working with him was great -- it was an interesting experience working on a record with a budget that was bigger than six thousand dollars. But it was fun, and the record came out great; what more can I say? It's called God Doesn't Care -- it comes out on August 24th, go buy it. We're all really proud of it and don't think we could have done a better job. Tom's been in professional situations before, but we really haven't, and I thought that when we walked in there we suddenly realized that we could do this, and do it right. You're never confident until you really do it.
So what's it like being on a major label? Like you said, Tom's been in that situation before, but you guys really haven't.
Arty: Chaos. You know, the climate isn't really very good right now. Like every month, or every week, we worry about somebody else losing their job, or another budget getting cut. It's really chaotic, but at the same time, we've been given the ability to work with Bob Ezrin, and we've been given the ability to tour and not have to sleep on people's floors anymore, which we were doing up until recently -- we played in front of 40,000 people at Download Fest last year, and slept on our drum tech's floor -- his mom's floor -- after the show. So, it's nice -- they give us the resources to better ourselves. But really it's our job, you know. In the end, you can depend on the label as much as you want, but you kind of make your own destiny. We've learned that over the years, and we're doing our damndest to make that happen.
Speaking of new opportunites, I just saw that you guys were added to the the Projeckt: Revolution tour with Linkin Park, Korn, and Snoop Dogg.
Adam: Yeah, we're definitely looking forward to it. This is definitely going to be a new experience for us. We've played festival "one-day" kind of things, but as far as a touring festival, it's new for us, so I think we're all excited to see what that's going to be like. I think load-in's gonna really suck, and the drives are really gonna suck, but I think the shows are going to be awesome. That's going to be a really open-minded crowd, because you have like metal, and hip-hop, and a whole bunch of other things going on.
Arty: Plus, we get finished by four o'clock in the afternoon.
Adam: So we get to drink a lot of beer.
Right. So far, what I've heard off of the album or the EPs has been more "rockin'"-type stuff -- can we expect any tender balladry?
Arty: There's two songs on the record that could be considered softer, I guess. One is called "I'm Dead," which is more in a U2 vein, and a song called "Feed The Culture," which Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction played percussion on, and we had a drum circle -- it was very hippie, very cool, actually. That's probably the closest we get to a ballad, because it never gets really big -- it turns into more of an Indian raga, which, honestly, for me...I was really excited that we were able to do that particular song where we were able to get an orchestra in... Again, it was one of those things where we were given the resources to do something that I've always only evey dreamed of doing. And I thought it came out great -- it was just one of those things that you listen to and go: "That's us? Damn, that's cool!" It was really exciting for us to sit there and see Stephen Perkins playing -- we had a big drum circle and Ti was sitting right next to him -- and he [Perkins] looked like an octopus with like six instruments around him. I'd have to say that in the last year and a half, we've had a lot of "what the hell are we doing here?"-type stories. Like "wow, I can't believe we're doing this," and that was one of them. But no, no tender ballads. I'd have to say you'll have to wait for the second album for the tender ballads, like when you've got the mortgage to pay or something. That's what all the big guys tell me. We've got a couple up our sleeves, actually, but we wanted to put a few aside for the first album, because we wanted to come out as rocking as possible, 'cause that's really what we're about. The real rootsy rock-and-roll stuff is what we try and do the most.
There's a history of drop-D tuning [with Quicksand and Errortype:11]. Do you guys still play in drop-D?
Arty: Yeah, unfortunately. We like to call it oour "context." We all listen to lots of different kinds of music, and half of the stuff I'm taking from is like weird '70s prog-rock, but my "context" is drop-D rock. So I tend to write a lot of that, and Tom is very experienced in playing it; in Errortype we did it. I want to break out of it, believe me. It's just a matter of when you start playing different tunings, you need ten different guitars, and we just didn't have that. So hopefully we'll have more time -- again, this record was written very quickly. It was all done...basically, within the first three months of our existence, we had written the entire record. So now we've got some more time while we're touring... I want to do everything. Give me as many Led Zeppelin tunings as possible, and I'll do it.
Final question -- I know the last time we talked, you mentioned that the one band that you'd like to tour with would be the Foo Fighters. I'll just pose that same question to everyone.
Adam: I think that, at this point, any band that I'd actually really want to tour with is either broken up, or has absolutely nothing to do with the type of music we play, so the people would absolutely hate us. Honestly, I don't think there are any bands out there right now that I would be totally psyched about playing with.
Arty: I want to start an alt-country band and tour with Wilco.
Sweet! Can I be in it?
Arty: [laughs] You know what? The Foo Fighters of course are the most obvious band for the type of music we play. But again, I think that's because I know I'm not that far off from Dave Grohl's age, and we kinda come from the same place. I wish we could be as good as them...I think their crowd would definitely be open to us. Queens Of The Stone Age is a band, which, if it were still together -- I'm not sure if they still are or not -- I think that would just be awesome, because I know they had a lot of older people who didn't really buy records before come back and start buying records. People who like Led Zeppelin would love Queens Of The Stone Age. Sabbath, things like that. So, I would have to say that to me, Queens is even more of an ideal than Foo Fighters.
Tom: Judas Priest and Audioslave or something.
Ti: Probably Nine Inch Nails. They have a new record coming out, and I think it would be pretty cool to go on the road with them.
Joe: I don't know if we wear enough makeup for that. I'd love to do a tour with Rocket From The Crypt, so I can rip off John Reis even more than I already do, or maybe the resurrected Happy Mondays, so I could figure out how he shakes those maracas in a more pom-pom sort of way. I would like to learn from the people that we play with. END