You lost your bassist and found a replacement all in the middle of a
tour. How did that manage to work out?
Our friend Nick Danger from the Swellers, he's like a little prodigy. He
learned all our shit in a day, quit college and came on tour. This is just
so we could do the rest of the tour. We had to pay the cancellation fee for
college; we picked up the tab for that, and just put him in the van. He
picked everything up really quickly and now he's nailing the harmonies. He's
a freakishly good talent. We got lucky he was willing to help us out.
Between "Mute Print" and "Ruiner" I can see your lyrics getting a lot
better. A lot deeper and easier to understand. Are you in a certain frame of
mind or mood when you do your writing?
I've gotta be in a good mood to do any of my writing. If I'm in a bad mood,
all I want to do is get out of it. I find it hard it hard to accept what
comes out when I'm writing lyrics if I'm not in a good mood. If I am
in a good mood, if I feel like I can conquer the world, I can write the best
songs in the world. And that's when I want to write.
Do you ever do it like stream of consciousness, or are you constantly
rewriting and revising?
I do a lot of revision; that's my nature. I've always been a writer, all
through college. That's what I was into: playwriting, screenwriting, stuff
like that. I would do tons of revisions on that stuff, and that's part of
what I really enjoy about writing songs as well, changing them and making
them the best that we can do.
That seems to be what distinguishes A Wilhelm Scream from standard punk
rock. Most of the punk I grew up with was pretty simple and straightforward.
Listen once, glance at the lyrics once, and you know what it's all about.
With you guys there's so much detail and depth.
Well thank you. Honestly, I've written so many songs in my life that the ADD
in me comes out. It's like "this song is a little too simple", and that's
how I feel all the time; I'm always saying, "we gotta make this song crazier,
make the harmonies a little bit creepier". A little more this, a little more
that. I'm never satisifed until we've put a so much detail into it. We
really go over the songs with a fine tooth comb before we go into the studio.
That's one of the fun parts for me. We're gonna have to play these songs for
years to come; people are gonna expect us to play them. So I want to write a
new song that I'm gonna want to play in three years, that's still gonna
You always find a way to add some touches of metal without going as far
as genre-bending, crossover, what have you. Is this just a product of your
taste in music?
We all listen to so many types or bands and types of music, and many of the
riffs definitely come off as metal in an Iron Maiden sense because we all
like that style of harmonies. A big reason why we do so many harmonies is
that it's the same idea as behind the vocals. Why have one guy sing when you
can have two or three guys singing all doing interesting stuff. That'll kick
the song up. It would be a real rarity for someone to hear a Wilhelm Scream
guitar solo that isn't harmonized or have something else going on behind it.
Chris and I both like to jump around, with our fingers so to speak. Instead
of having one guy do the rhythm all the time, we both want to shred.
Your stuff seems like it would be hard to play live and still be moving
around and be physical with it.
Well, I've never seen us play before. Obviously. But, we do go all over the
place. And If you hear it on the record, you're gonna hear it live. It would
always bum me out when I'd go see a band play and the guitar player wouldn't
do that cool thing he does on the record. So whatever you hear on the record,
for the most part, we do it live. Sometimes it's sloppy because we're
jumping all over the fucking place, but I don't give a fuck. It's a good
There's a couple song titles that seem to serve the purpose of hinting at
exactly what the CD is all about. You gotta comment on "The Kids Can Eat a
Bag of Dicks" and "Less Bright Eyes, More Deicide."
"Less Bright Eyes, More Deicide" is just a play on a song title Bill
Stevenson came up with. I believe it was Dave Wagenschutz when he was
playing in Good Riddance talking about his drumming and he said "more Minor
Threat, less Deicide". I think Paint It Black used that as one of their song
titles. It's not really anything against anybody, it's just that on the
musical spectrum I think we would be a little bit more Deicide? I don't know.
Honestly, Wilhelm Scream is probably somewhere right in the middle.
With "The Kids..." song, what struck me ironic is that A Willhelm Scream
is one band that is practically impossible to shittalk. There's so much of
that that goes on in different genres, but nobody can dispute that the sort
of real, down-to-earth, authentic punk of a Wilhelm Scream is necessary.
Well, the song title itself has nothing to do with the actual song. I just
put that song title on, because sometimes I go to websites or whatever, and
it's not even particularly stuff to do with my band, because I don't put
much stock into reviewers or the kids online. I was taught at a pretty young
age to never buy into your own press. When they say things that are bad
about you, it's never that bad, because what they're saying usually reflects
something very positive about your situation, your career at that time. What
I try to live by is taking everything with a grain of salt. Whether it's a
bad review or a great review, that's not the reason why I'm here. I'm here
to have fun, make music, and have a little celebration every night with
anyone who wants to rock out with us. So "The Kids Can Eat a Bag of Dicks"
thing isn't even referring to anyone talking shit about us. My thinking is,
a fourteen year-old kid at home doesn't know what it's like to be a 20-something
year-old dude trying to do this for a living. I could name hundreds of bands,
some we're really good friends with, who don't deserve some kid anonymously
on the internet saying "you fuckin' suck".
I'm sure most fans of A Wilhelm Scream can relate to that sentiment.
Anyone who sees all the pettiness that goes on, and the bickering between
people who hate some new fad and the ones who are all about that new fad.
I think a lot of the bands that get eaten alive by all the people hating on
them are the same people who were fans at one time. And now they're in the
middle of that fad at that moment. When you're big, and you're in the middle
of that boom, then the backlash is going to come to you. It's inevitable.
You might as well put a target on the band's back. Maybe for a band like us,
we have a lot of really, really loyal fans who for years have been coming
out to every show. Our fanbase isn't big, but it's very supportive and
fucking awesome. We don't happen to be a big band in a style of music that's
huge right now. I think when a lot of those fans who come along when you are
that big, you deal with that shit.