Monday, August 9, 2010

In This Moment Are Home At Mayhem

In the movie "Almost Famous", Creem magazine Editor Lester Banks tells aspiring fifteen year old writer William Miller that whatever he does, do not become friends with the band. Writers and reviewers are seen as the enemy. That advice ran through my head the night before I was to interview In This Moment. You see, I became friends over the last few years because, well to be honest, I was totally captivated by them. I had never experienced anything like them live before. I have seen them numerous times since my first show with them on OZZFEST in 2007 and we have become friends.

I went to their show in Charlotte,NC on August 1 where they played with Norma Jean and Chimaira. It was an off date from their successful Rockstar Mayhem Festival this summer. In This Moment played first and proved why they are stealing shows on the secondary stage at Mayhem on a daily basis. Their set that night was a very tight eight song set focusing heavily on their new CD "A Star-Crossed Wasteland". The band opened with "Just Drive" and proceeded to rip through tracks like a buzz saw through fresh lumber. "Daddy's Falling Angel", from their first CD, closed the show with more intensity than most bands combine into their entire set.

After a meet and greet with the fans at the merchandise booth, I was escorted back to their bus for the interview. The band is sharing a bus with Norma Jean, so it was a bit crowded and chaotic. So, Chris (Howorth, lead guitarist) led me to the back of the bus to Maria's quarters where we were to conduct the interview sitting on her bed. Yes, you read that right! I conducted my interview while sitting on the bed with Chris, Maria and her dog Twinkles. Don't be hatin' people!!

JP: "Hey guys! Well, it's been a while since we last talked and alot has happened in your career. Can you tell me a little about being on this year's Mayhem tour and how it's been going?

Chris: "Mayhem has been amazing, right from the start! This is the kind of tour we belong on. We know all the bands and are friends with everyone, so it has been great. Last year's Warped Tour was fun, but we didn't get to meet as many bands and weren't friends with as many like we are at Mayhem. The crowds have been absolutely insane!

JP: "So tell me, what was your initial reaction when you heard the first week's sales of the new CD. According to Billboard Magazine, it sold 10,500 copies the first week and debuted at number forty!"

Maria: "We were really, really excited about it. He was more stressed about it than me."

Chris: "I had been thinking about it like 2 weeks before the news came out. We were getting reports from the label of how many copies different outlets had sold. Nowadays the trend is to sell half of what you did last time. We knew we were growing and we were really shooting for 10,000. So, we were really stoked when we heard."

JP: "You worked with producer Kevin Churko again. What type of working relationship do you have with him now? Does he challenge you to think outside the box?"

Maria: "We love him and we're like family with him, yet at the same time he will tell us if something is good, yet not quite good enough. So, I think we have a great relationship with him."

JP: "The Promise" has generated alot of buzz amongst the fans. I had heard that the song was originally suppose to be with Ivan from Five Finger Death Punch. Can you fill me in on it?"

Maria: "Yea, we have been wanting to do something with Ivan for a while now. He was originally our choice to sing this duet with me. Adrian Patrick was the fill-in for Ivan to show him how the track was suppose to go. So, we layed down a rough track for Ivan and sent it to him and he loved it."

Chris: "Literally, the day before we were suppose to record with Ivan, the record company stepped in and for whatever reason, it didn't happen."

Maria: "So, instead of going out and looking for a big name person to step in, we decided to go ahead with Adrian. He totally shocked all of us with his voice and it is so rich and alluring. It's also kind of cool that nobody really knows who he is either."

JP: "The marketing of the new CD, with the utilization of Facebook and all the different exclusives that the outlets had for it, who was involved with all of that?"

Chris: "The plan was that we wanted to make it different than the last time because of the timing of the CD and how we were growing. So, we wanted to do something special for the fans and give them alot of options. The exclusives and the preorders were the record company's decision. Some fans actually bought multiple copies because of what they wanted."

JP: "I'm guilty as charged! I have to admit that I bought copies for my kids as well as getting multiple copies for myself!"

Chris: "Well, you are a part of that 10,500 so thanks for supporting us."

JP: "OK, I have to ask about your mic stand. What is going on with that?"

Maria: "I wanted a unique stand and I collect antique dolls and such. So, it was literally the night before the first Mayhem show and I said to myself that I gotta do this. So, Chris and I sat in his bedroom and he helped me hack it all together and sew it all up. He kind of surprised me because he was really passionate about it and he's usually not an artsy fartsy type of person."

Chris: "She kept on badgering me about it and I knew that I wasn't going to get any peace until it was done."

JP: "Back to last year's Warped tour, looking back on it, what can you draw from doing that type of tour?"

Maria: "To me, the positive would be all of the teenage girls who come up to us and say that they saw us there last year. We do any tour with a positive attitude and take out of it anything positive if we can."

Chris: "Also, it helped us by introducing us to Kevin Lyman who does Mayhem as well."

JP: "So, what's ahead after Mayhem for you guys?"

Maria: "We are going to a few select dates headlining and then we will take about a month off and the go back on the road. The CD is still very new so we plan on touring our butts off here and internationally, but nothing is confirmed yet."

JP: "So, if you guys weren't in a band, what would you be doing right now?"

Maria: "I would be in a circus or an actress. I would need an artistic outlet."

Chris: "If I wasn't doing this, then I would be trying to do this."

JP: "Or possibly designing mic stands?"

Maria: "Yea, but we would still need to hear the roar of the crowd."

JP: "Your fan base continues to grow and grow. You have such an amazing one on one connection with so many fans. Are you worried that connection may be lost as you grow bigger?"

Maria: "I'm not really worried about losing it. We will just have to try harder. I mean look at Korn, as big as they are a t the top of their game and they manage to do signings."

Chris: "We will continue to but just as long as it's safe. Not as much for us guys as it is for Maria. You can't help it, there are alot of strange people out there and we don't want to put her at risk. I mean, we can't go to the soundboard after or before e show as easily anymore and just hangout. Even when Korn does it, it's very controlled and organized. Yet, no matter how big we do get there will always be those fans and friends who have been there since the beginning that we will have that special bond matter what."

JP: "The next single is 'The Promise'. I know you have already shot the video. When will both be released and is there talk of a third single yet?"

Maria: "The single comes out in September and the video will follow. As far as a third one, it depends on how well 'The Promise' does. If it blows up, then we will look at what is possibly the next single."

Chris: "Yea, the record company will pick one and we will pick one and then we will fight it out."

At this point, I thought our interview was complete. I was in for quite a surprise!

Maria: "Do you want a special little treat?"

JP: "Now how can I say no to you?"

Maria: "Do you want to see the rough, rough version of the video for 'The Promise'?"

JP: "Are you serious?"

Chris: "Yea, nobody outside of the band has seen this. Not even our families, you will be the first."

At that point, they turned on the tv and DVD player and I watched the rough cut of the video. Now, Maria swore me to secrecy. She does this all the time! Last year on tour, she told us that they were on the Mayhem 2010 Tour and that I couldn't say a word yet because it wasn't public knowledge yet. I watched the video, probably not knowing that my jaw was hanging wide open. I remember that when the screen faded to black that I looked at Maria and said, "Wow, that was hot!" and she started giggling. Now, I cannot talk about the storyline at all, but I can tell all the fans that it is a very sexy and hot video that uses the art of sexuality in such subtle ways that it makes the video smolder. Oh yea, the ending, if left the same, is very hot too.

So, the interview was over and we left the bus and got pictures and autographs. My shirt smelt like Maria's perfume for a few days and I didn't want to wash it. It was a great night at Amos' and one that I will not forget. I will always have that memory of interviewing Revolver's Hottest Chick In Metal Maria Brink while sitting on her bed in the back of their tour bus. Oh yea, Chris was there too.

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