Intervju med Trivett Wingo i The Sword!
Ännu en intervju som blivit liggande opublicerad. Senast Metallica var här, 2009, träffade jag trummisen Trivett i The Sword i deras loge i Globen. Det blev en trevlig pratstund om lite allt möjligt, bl a författaren Cormac McCarty, Guitar Hero och recensioner.
Nedan följer hela intervjun.
So, what is it like being in cold Sweden?
Trivett Wingo: Uuhm, what is it like? I don´t know. It´s actually been really gloomy as well. Kind of like what the Hebrew afterlife is supposed to be like in the Old Testament. A cold, grey place for our souls.
Did you guys come in to day?
TW: Yesterday! Came in yesterday and went to museums and saw the Vasa and it was very impressive. But we haven´t really explored the town too much.
I guess that´s the way it is. You come in, play your show and…
TW: And hang out in this room! Walking the room and then you leave, unfortunately.
You guys started out in 2003. What were you up to before The Sword? A lot of different bands?
TW: Yeah you know, JD, the principle song writer and singer, he and I had played together for years in Richmond, Virginia in a band called The Ultimate Dragons and then that band dissolved and most of those guys moved down to Texas and I kind of wandered the earth for a little while in both hemispheres and then I kind of haphazardly made my way down to Austin and we started playing together. JD was in a band called Those Peabodys and after The Sword started taking off a bit, he quit that band and the other two guys… Brian was in another metal band called The Pirates of Dark Water. They broke up and Kyle quit his other band he was in, so we were all playing in other bands except for myself really. I´d taken a break to kind of get lost somewhere and the sort of all the players we needed to put the band together were hushed from other groups and then kind of ultimately all those bands dissolved and The Sword went on to do the things we´ve done to this point.
Did JD come up with the name The Sword as well?
TW: He did, technically. Other people have come up with it before.
Yeah, because it´s such a cool name and I just thought that somebody must´ve thought about that before?
TW: It is a really cool name and yeah, there´s a band from Canada called Sword, but they had no objection to us being called The Sword and then there was a band in Richmond, Virginia called The Sword and they had started at the exact time we had, but we I guess kind of blew up or whatever and I think they thought we were gonna sue them, so they changed their name. We never threatened to do anything. They got weird and I tried to talk to the guy on the phone. I thought they were gonna sue us or something, so I tried to call the guy and say “Hey, are you ok with us using the same name?”, but then he he just wouldn’t return my phonecalls or whatever. I think he thought we were gonna do something horrible to them, or something. We´re not that predacious. But yeah, JD came up with the name and not only that but the general aesthetic of the band, sort of the philosophy. What it would be like visually, sonically and he still is sort of the final arbiter of all things The Sword.
A name like that, do you copyright it or what?
TW: No, what happens is when you go to release your first album, at least in the States, someone at the record label will go and check the copyrights and see if someone else has a claim to this and as it turns out, bands go and put out records and realize that somebody has already used that name. That´s why you see so many bands with “something” AD or “Something” UK. It´s because someone else already had their name. We went actually to release our record and there was a band from Seattle or Portland, I think, called The Sword´s Project and the claimed they were known as Swords and that we were infringing on their indierock territory. Anyway, that was all sorted out and I don´t think they exist anymore. But that´s sort of what happens. The record label will look and see what there is and sometimes sadly you discover that someone else has already used your band name.
The logo then, as that something you came up with or did you give that job to someone at the label?
TW: We really control everything and give directions to all of the artists we work with. The logo was something that JD and a friend of ours who does a lot of drawing, sort of collaborated on and created. We made that to look specifically like it does.
And the same goes for the album cover I guess? It´s kind of an “Excalibur” thing.
TW: Yeah, there was an artist whose work we had seen and really liked and we said “Hey, we want you to make an album cover that sort of includes these elements!” and that is what he came up with. It looks really killer, if I do say so myself. It´s a beautiful cd!
Is this released on vinyl as well?
TW: It is! It´s an embossed cover where the like the columns are raised and everything. I think that with the latest pressing they did not emboss the cover. It is a bit expensive, but yeah, it is available. It´s in its third pressing now, I think.
About the drumming? When did you pick up the drums?
TW: When I was 15! I guess I got a drum set when I was 15. I was always intensely interested in playing the drums since I was very young, but my parents were never receptive to that so there was never a way for me to actually play a drum set anywhere. But then after I nagged for about five or six years, I got a really crappy drum set and I played it constantly for months and months and they realized it was something I was seriously interested in. I don´t think they ever started liking it, but they were very tolerant or even supportive.
Were there any “legends” that kind of influenced you? Like Bonham?
TW: Yeah! It´s extremely cliché, but I have to admit that John Bonham probably was the single greatest inspiration for me to start playing the drums. I was obsessed with Led Zeppelin from the time I was a little boy. I´ve always loved Led Zeppelin and I used to have a little tape case that held 12 tapes. I had all of the Led Zeppelin tapes in there and it was all I listened to for years really. I was obsessed, like very literally obsessed with Led Zeppelin and so before I even ever had a drum set I listened to the songs 1000´s of times and learned them in my head. When I finally did start playing I already had a very definite idea of 1000´s of things that I wanted to do and try.
Have you read the latest biography by Mick Wall, “When giants walked the earth”?
TW: No, I haven´t!
It´s really good! What was it like releasing your first album? Did it turn out they you wanted it to?
TW: It was pretty awesome! I personally had never… I had been in so many bands that had never really generated anything that I could be proud of, so when that first album came out and it was a real release, video on MTV and finally had press and all these things, it was very validating. I felt like I was actually legitimately a musician in some sense that I had not been before. That record was really a watershed for me personally in my life.
How long are you staying with the record company Kemado?
TW: We owe them another record, but no one knows what the future holds.
Then the giants step in and…
TW: Crush everything.
But this is an independent label right?
Because I saw that a Swedish band are signed to them, Dungen.
TW: Dungen, yeah! That was one of their earlier releases.
Which is very different from the stuff you do.
TW: It´s very different yeah. Their whole roster is very eclectic to put it mildly.
I read that someone over at Allmusic.com called you “at the forefront of the retro metal movement”. What do you think of that?
TW: I don´t know! Retro seems to imply something anachronistic, somehow out of place in time and I really don´t see that as the case at all. I think it´s obvious that we´re influenced by a lot of heavier bands from the past. Everyone´s influenced by bands from the past, because that´s the only possibility in a universe where time goes forward. I think what we do is actually pretty inventive in a way that we combine elements in a novel fashion and I think some people are just too astute to appreciate the subtleties and complexities of the music. I don´t know! I don´t think of it as a retro thing. The albums are coming out now, it´s in the present, it´s new and it harkens to something that was maybe lost from the press and the public eye for a long time, but something that´s always been there and resonates with people very deeply now today. It´s current.
Are you all avid readers?
TW: JD and I are pretty avid readers. Books are like kryptonite to Brian and Kyle reads here and there. He likes to savor some of the finer works of literature. (laughs9. JD really… his literally tastes dictate the lyrical content for the band and my studies (laughs) if you will, is really for my personal enrichments, kind of apart from the band.
Have you read any good books lately?
TW: Yeah, I´ve read quite a few good books lately. I read several books by Cormac McCarthy. He wrote “No country for old men” and “The road”, but I read this one called “Blood Meridian”. It´s about these Apache scalp hunters down on the Texas – Mexico border, like in 1849, and it´s kind of about good and evil, the war and the devil. A lot of things, but it´s one of the most brilliantly, ingeniously crafted books I´ve ever read! Actually, I read it twice in a row. I read it and I was like “Shit, I have to read this again!” and I started back at the beginning. That´s probably the best book I´ve read in ages.
But that guy´s been around for a long time, hasn´t he? But it seems like he´s taken off now.
TW: Yeah it´s weird. He´s been around for a long time and I hadn´t really heard of him and it´s one of those things where they just started making movies out of his books.
Isn´t he the guy that doesn´t do interviews?
TW: I don´t know! I know that Thomas Pynchon doesn´t do interviews, but someone said “You should read The Road!” and I thought “Ok, I´ll read this.” And I didn´t think it was something I would like, but it was really amazing. Then I kind of went on a binge and started reading one after the other of his books and I´ve got a whole stack at my house that I haven´t read yet, so I can´t wait to get home so I can dig into those.
I gotta check that out! How did you guys end up on “Guitar Hero”?
TW: You know, it´s kind of random. They just approached us. I don´t have a name to put with anything. I don´t know whose flavor we happen to be, but it was just one of those random phone calls and then the new Metallica edition of “Guitar Hero”, that is of course Lars´ doing. But the first time around it was just random.
That´s got to be pretty cool? That´s got to be a great way to reach the masses, so to speak?
TW: Yeah! It sounds kind of cheesy, but it is a really good way to expose your band to a lot of people that otherwise wouldn´t hear it. They´re just trying to get to all the levels of this video game and they have to play your song, so yeah, it was actually really good for us.
You´ve been out with Metallica now for several times?
TW: We´ve been out with them since July of last year.
Did they pick you or is it a company thing?
TW: No, Lars… for what I understand, they are all fans of ours, but Lars is very outspoken and kind of an obsessed fan. He actually came out to see us one night at a club and introduced himself and told us that he loved our band and that Metallica would be taking us on tour. That was the first time we met him and we said “Ok, that´s interesting!”. We took that with a grain of salt, but he came out again and talking about it more elaborately, like “Here´s what I´m thinking! Metallica, The Sword, Machine Head!” and lo and behold it happened. We went to Eastern Europe with them and then we came back to the States and we just did three runs over there, western Canada, western United States and the north east and now we´re over here and this is the first of three more trips we´re doing and hopefully we´ll be able to do the whole world tour with them. We couldn´t really ask for anything. We´re really flattered and enamoured of Metallica, so it´s quite an honor.
It´s got to be an incredible opportunity for being such a new and young band as you are? Playing all over the world in front of gigantic crowds.
TW: Yeah, it is the most badass shit you can do! It´s unreal! We´re kind of blown away and just very happy to be here.
Do you ever get to meet the guys or is it total security?
TW: They´re pretty… they´re very accessable. They´re really nice, down to earth dudes and we see them and occasionally go out to dinner or chat. They´re all really cool. I really admire Metallica and especially Lars is very friendly and kind of wants to hang out a lot, which is totally weird but totally awesome too.
Next album then? Are you coming up with ideas or do you have songs already?
TW: We´re always kind of thinking about it and we´re always thinking about doing new stuff and we have a couple of songs written, but nowhere near enough material for an album. We´ve been on tour now almost without a break since “Gods of the earth” came out. It´s been about a year, so there hasn´t been any time to do any intensive song writing, but it´s something we´re definitely aware of and when we have the time we know we have to get on that. But when Metallica asks you to go on tour forever, you just say yes and pack your bags and go.
Do you think it will be like the stuff on your latest album or will you take it further?
TW: It´ll go further! We always have our eyes set on something transcendent. We want to go beyond where we´ve already been. I think the second album is a lot different than the first album and hopefully the third album will be the best of the three. Yeah, I´m really looking forward to making that third record some day!
Finally, as a band, do you care about reviews? Do you read reviews? Concert reviews, record reviews and stuff like that?
TW: You know, I used to read more of them. It´s funny, even the ones that are positive often are so inaccurate and the ones that are negative seem so confused, you know. Reviews are just… I do not know what the word is… it´s just some wind blowing. It´s no big deal! I used to be interested in press. Now I kind of accept it as a part of the job. I tend to read interviews. Sometimes to kind of see how they turn out. Certain writers are interesting to me, but interviews are really of no concern. It´s part of the regiment. You know, everyone´s got an opinion, so you can´t be bothered with the negative stuff and you can´t really rest on the laurels of the positive stuff. It´s all kind of worthless really. At least there´s a little tiny picture of your record in there. That´s the best part of the review. (laughs)
Right! Well, thanks a lot!
TW: No problem, man!