SOiL - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Tazz Stander   
Sunday, 20 November 2011 05:00

Fourteen years ago, SOiL landed with a deafening thud on our doorsteps, originally a side project to death metal band Oppressor, they cut their teeth with the release of 'Throttle Junkies' two years later, a release made up of tracks off their 'SOiL' and 'El Chupacabra' EP's. A folding record label is never good for a new band but it seemed to do wonders for these Chicago based boys after they developed more demos and finally got snapped up by a major label - J Records. 'Scars' was the resultant release and in all it's 43.14 minutes of glory it has just gone Silver here in the UK. The band are now touring the 10th anniversary of said album and a few line-up changes aside, the best news of all is we've now got SOiL back along with the legendary Ryan McCombs on vocals.

 

Sitting in a dressing room three floors up at the Electric Ballroom, it really did feel like I had walked up to see God. I've never hidden the fact that SOiL are my all time favourite band and I'm lucky enough to have friends like Tim and Adam in this world. It still astounds me as to how humble these two musicians are, after all that has happened to them musically; how they've never given up, how they've always believed in what they do as musicians, and that in my opinion is what has finally got this bunch of hard playing men back together.

 

This interview is what a normal conversation between us is like, and the only thing that you won't necessarily read about in this interview is the vibe that was pervading the dressing room. It was all about that oneness you only have amongst old friends. The same old friends who were about to do something very special indeed on stage somewhere in North London. So Adam poured us all Jägerbombs and we got on with the conversation....

 

Soil_2011

 

 

In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the release of 'Scars', we've finally got you back in the UK. Since the release, what has been the pinnacle moment for SOiL?

 

Tim: We've just found out that 'Scars' has gone silver and we're getting plaques for it.

 

Congratulations, that is so fucking cool.

 

Adam: Yeah.... How cool is that?

 

Tim: It's probably the coolest thing we could ever have. The UK has always been a second home to us as we kind of broke from here first, and to actually get a silver award for it after all these years is huge.

 

Ryan: To this day, one of my favourite memories is UK related, the first time we came over.

 

Tim: Across the street? [the old bar monsta]

 

Ryan: (Laughing) Yeah but it was that flight. Being a country bumpkin from Indiana and looking down and seeing the lights of London as we were landing and just thinking, "How the fuck did I get here?"

 

Soil_Ryan_Hi_PO1How important is the return of Ryan to this particular tour?

 

Adam: It's fucking great. I don't know how else to say it. We did a warm up show for this because we didn't want to come to London with it being our first show in 7 years together. We had a fucking blast when we did the show. At one point Tim and I just looked at each other and it just felt that time ... like that horrible black hole between us .... even when times between us weren't so great, we kind of came back to a time when things were amazing. We didn't know what we were stepping into. We all had our feelings of just seeing how it would go. It couldn't have gone better I don't think, in my personal opinion.

 

Ryan: It sounds like SOiL again but I could have called Massachusetts, Massachusetts.

 

Tim: What did you call it?

 

Ryan: Connecticut.

 

[Lying in the middle of the floor around where we're sitting is tonight's set list and I've been trying to memorise it for 5 minutes already whilst drinking Jägerbombs and interviewing and I can't help but say something now]

 

I've just been looking at your set list for tonight - it's fucking awesome.

 

Adam: That's not for tonight. We're playing all Stevie Wonder covers tonight.

 

Jon: Stevie Wonder? I thought it was Boy George? (Everyone laughs)

 

Adam: That's tomorrow night.

 

Jon: Oh that means I will be playing the wrong songs.

 

Tim: That makes two of us, I'm going to have to go and tab them out on the Internet (Everyone laughs)

 

With the departure of Tom (Schofield), how true to form will tonight set spanning 'Scars', 'Re: define' and 'Throttle Junkies' be perceived by your earlier fans?

 

Tim: Well, we have one of the best rock drummers out there, Jon Wysocki who was in Staind. We don't need to say another word.

 

Jon: Exactly (Everyone laughs)

 

Tim: He is killing the SOiL songs.

 

ScarsFor me, as both Adam and Tim will know, 'Halo' is probably my favourite song in the world ...

 

Adam: You love that one we know but it's not in the set list tonight (laughs) we're not playing that one tonight.

 

You are. It's your last song

 

Ryan: YOU ARE (Laughing)

 

The thing that amazes me is that very few of the people in tonight's crowd would have actually seen Ryan singing Halo live.

 

Adam: That is a very good statement.

 

I seriously can't wait to see the crowd's faces when you open with a 16 beat face melter of a scream after having either Shaun [Glass] or AJ [Cavalier] in the band, which we all seemed to accept on the basis that they were in SOiL but it does make me curious as to how people will perceive you since Tom has left and Jon has joined?

 

Tim: You know, life changes and everybody goes through it in some way or another. Nobodies around forever, except for me and Adam (laughs)

 

Adam: (Laughing) we're stuck with this shit.

 

Ryan: Exactly. I think Tim made the joke early on when we were doing a meet and greet. Somebody came over and he said, "You're tall, wanna join the band? Everyone else has".

 

How relevant is it that you're not playing anything off 'Picture Perfect'? What message does that give to your newer fans?

 

Tim: Nothing off 'True Self' either.

 

TEK_4592I know, but that was Shaun singing back then, this was AJ singing recently.

 

Tim: I kind of look at it as the "Motley Crue/John Corabi era". They don't play anything off that record even though it was a good record. Ryan's come back and it's just different you know.

 

Do you think your fans would understand that without you being vocal about it?

 

Tim: Oh, of course. We're spanning over two of our biggest records, 'Scars' and Re: define" and Ryan's back.

 

Ryan: Really, when it comes down to it, I'm going to have a hard enough time remembering the lyrics that I wrote, never mind the stuff that I didn't.

 

Jon: It's just like riding a bicycle (everyone laughs)

 

Ryan: A bicycle that's got no tyres, my chains broken, my handle bars are bent ... no pedals (laughing)

 

Following this, could we be expecting more from this version of SOiL considering Ryan's duties in Drowning Pool and even the straightforward punch he delivered with the song 'Enemy'?

 

[Dead silence and we're all just looking around staring at each other]

 

Jon: Well done, you just put a silence on the whole room (everyone laughs)

 

Adam: I think Ryan should answer this one.

 

Ryan: Day by day by day by day by daaaaaay. By day by day by daaaaay. (Everyone laughs) Could you repeat the question?

 

Jesus, are you actually going to make me say it again? [The question is asked again, hesitantly]

 

Ryan: Ah, that's what got me, it's a 2 parter. I think where we are right now is summed up best when we were in rehearsal. Two week ago, we all got together and rehearsed a couple of days, we caught ourselves at one point, during a night of 'doing it', we stopped and asked when the last time was that any of us had been in a band situation with our band mates, laughing our asses off to the point where we were almost in tears.

 

Jon: I can honestly tell you, after doing this professionally for 17 years, that I can't remember the last time that that happened to me, in my situations I mean.

 

Ryan: Where we stand right now, we're having a lot of fun with it. I don't know what tomorrow's going to bring or what next week's going to be so I'm taking it day by day and having fun with it. With that said, onto the 'Enemy' thing (laughs). This can be said very easily actually because the people I had issues with aren't in the room. The lyrics to that song, I still stand by. There were a lot of comments made about me ever doing a SOiL song, how it would just be a cover; those words are mine and that is mentioned in the song. Just the way things went down at that point of time that song encompasses the feelings that I was going through at that moment. I wish I could do a Bruce Dickinson and write about books and stuff like that; or Hetfield, he writes about subjects. I've never been able to; it's always what I'm going through at the time.

 

Jon: I think there's something to be said about that. It's more real when lyrics are written about life stories.

 

Ryan: You don't need to read 7,000 books to be a good lyricist. I don't know how many times people have asked me, "are you ever going to write a happy song?" Well, make something happy happen then!

 

Adam: You're so happy about being happy there is not time to write about it (laughing)

 

Ryan: I could imagine how people would react if I did write about rainbows (laughing) I did a show a while back on a rock cruise thing and just joking with the crowd I made a comment that I was so glad they were there because I hate sunshine, which is true, I hate the sun, I hate beaches and I hate water. I went on from there and said I hate small children's laughter, I hate puppy dogs, I hate flowers, I hate rainbows; I hate all that fucking cute shit. For the rest of that fucking cruise, people didn't care about the flowers or the children's laughter; it was the puppy dogs that they couldn't understand (laughing). People were coming up to me, "great show man but you really don't like puppy dogs?"

 

TEK_4619

 

Are you realistically ready for negative feedback from fans of old or do you actually give a fuck after all the ups and downs in the last 10 years?

 

Adam: All together, "I don't give a fuck" (everyone laughs)

 

Ryan: [Takes off his shoes and throws them across to me] Give them my shoes to walk in.

 

(Laughing) I will get a lot of money for those on Ebay dude.

 

Ryan: You know, in every single situation, there will be someone who loves it and someone who hates it. There is no way you can please everyone.

 

Adam: All of us in this room have been through so much, together, individually, and collectively. We're just having a good time and we hope that inspires others to have a good time. If you aren't, get the fuck out of here; you know what I'm saying?

 

Talking about dogs, my new motto is - "every problem should be dealt with like a dog would deal with it; if you can't eat it or fuck it, piss on it and walk away".

 

Ryan: We should totally use that as a logo on a t-shirt. I'm totally stealing that.

 

Tim: This is about having fun. The shirt that we're selling downstairs is a perfect example. It's got a picture of the devil coming out of the ground and there are pigs flying in the background. I'm sure at some point in time, all of us though that only when hell freezes over, would we all get on stage together.

 

TEK_4680

 

I must say, I'm probably the happiest person in the world.

 

Tim: You've been with us forever and we love you.

 

I love you guys more. Do you still have my photo up in the rehearsal room?

 

Adam: You know what, we do!

 

Finally, Ryan, I want to thank you for all your personal time that you've invested in the troops fighting abroad. My little brother is fighting in Afghanistan and he would love to see some SOiL action in the near future involving troops.

 

Ryan: Thank you. We talked about it some time ago but we've never gotten it together to do it. We stumbled into it the first time and once that relationship was built.

 

Tim: [Looking at Ryan] I figure you could probably make a call now and say, "Let's do this".

 

RedefineIt really does touch me that musicians make such an impact on soldier's lives over there.

 

Ryan: That's just a little piece of what we can do. You could never ever thank the men and women that fight for our countries and fight for world peace, enough. I think it's amazing that they do what they do. I will do anything and everything to help them and they know, anytime they want me to be involved in anything, they can just give me a call. It's the most humbling experience I've ever been involved in. We played a lot of coalition bases over there and you're playing in front of a lot of people that probably have no idea what you're saying but also, you're playing in front of a lot of people; there's R&B fans out there and Country fans but for that hour and a half or two hours that you're on stage, they're just a fan of whatever is going on because they're not shooting someone. If you can take their minds off it for just a moment, it's all good.

 

That is so amazing and thank you again [There is another long silence as we all seem to mull over the intensity and honesty that Ryan spoke with]

 

Is that the set list? (laughing)

 

[All hell literally breaks loose and everyone is discussing which song should be dropped for tonight's set, which is being recorded for a DVD to be released next year so I decide to call time out]

 

Guys thank you so much for another amazing chat, as always

 

Tim: I can sum up this interview for you with one quote that I read on Blabbermouth ... "SOiL is like herpes, you just can't fucking get rid of it" (all laughing)

 

And with that pleasant (and rather humorous) thought I'll leave you with the fact that you can keep in touch with the guys via the following link and now let's all down a Jägerbomb or five in celebration of the 10th birthday of a rather wonderful album.... Over to you guys!

 

Live photography courtesy of Trudi Knight