Yakuza - Evolution


Forest: Sold Out
Jul 5, 2003
[IMGLEFT]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/yakuza.jpg[/IMGLEFT]By Jason Jordan

Perhaps it’s ironic that Yakuza – unlike their name implies – are nice guys. First reaching out to the metal audience through Amount to Nothing, their big break came when giants Century Media released their follow-up Way of the Dead in 2002, which, as a result of their whimsical nature, garnered both acclaim and ridicule. After revaluation and noticeable downtime, Yakuza signed to Prosthetic Records – known for Lamb of God, Himsa, and The Esoteric – and unleashed their groundbreaking Samsara recording this past March. Charging headfirst into the seedy underbelly of Evansville, Indiana, I cornered Bruce Lamont (saxophones, clarinet, vocals, effects) and James Staffel (drums, percussion, keyboards) to discuss their relationship to various labels, album artwork, and of course the new Guns N’ Roses.

I want to talk to you guys first about Century Media. What exactly happened with them? Describe your relationship with them, for me, if you would.

Bruce: Really simple: we did a one-off licensing agreement with them to release Way of the Dead in 2002. That’s the end of it. It was a five-year licensing agreement. That’s all. We were never signed to Century Media. That’s been a topic of conversation, like we were dropped. That was never the case at all. It was one record. We did it. It went through its cycle. It’s done.

Yeah, that actually explains a lot because when a band releases an album with a label, you think, “Well, maybe they had a multi-album contract with ‘em, so why weren’t there any others?”

James: Originally they wanted, like, seven. The first company wanted a lot of records. They had just signed Candiria, and were trying to branch out into death metal. So we said, “Okay, they’re making an honest move.” We went for that, but they were unsure and we were unsure. Between negotiations it got down that one record was gonna be released, and then we talked beyond that. How they handled it didn’t go well, so obviously we didn’t give them anything else.

That makes a lot of sense.

James: It went okay. Their staff was awesome, and their networking was awesome. It was the higher-ups that were just scared, trapped in their little genre and that’s it.

It seems like they don’t like to put a lot of financial muscle behind bands, except the major ones.

James: No, we didn’t take anything. We didn’t ask for anything basically, just the recording costs of the album. They put out some decent advertising, and they did help in certain areas. Ultimately, no, there wasn’t a lot of push or support. They were scared.


You guys were picked up by Prosthetic, which is cool. I’ve been in talks with Bob (PR). Seems like a really cool label.

James: They’re not as scared as Century Media. They don’t have the huge roster that Century Media does. They don’t have one type of music that they support. It’s pretty varied, you know. They like the record, and they like what we do. They’re not scared.

They heard Way of the Dead….

James: Well, they actually approached us about Way of the Dead, but we passed on it. They were pretty early on. They didn’t have the distribution like they do now. Century had all of that, and we were already in talks with Century when they came around. It just never worked out. Obviously later on down the road they did some good things. Lamb of God. They’ve got some great bands on their label. Kylesa. It proves that they attend to music, and they can push a record and do good things with it.

Like The Esoteric.

James: Yeah, exactly. Himsa’s doing really well. They’re pushing that record really well.

Congrats on Samsara. Good record, I think. I have a friend who writes for UM as well. He’s out in California. He actually works with Century Media some, but he was wondering why you guys decided to release only an inlet card as a booklet. Can you get into that at all?

James: The original artwork for the album was supposed to be a digipak. It was not supposed to be a jewel case. It was all set up for a digipak, and at the last minute – well not at the last minute – they never agreed to the digipak. He agreed to do it later, so it might actually come out the way it’s supposed to. I mean, not in the jewel case. The original idea of it being a digipak was it wouldn’t have a booklet, be open, and all these things. It’s just a one-fold object. When he was like, “Oh, we’re gonna jewel case it,” I thought about other ideas about adding on to the artwork that was done. “All right, let’s make a booklet out of this” – I had the material, but ultimately it just wasn’t the idea. If we were gonna cram and throw something together, it’s gonna suck too. Our past few records had been fairly simple also, as far as the packaging, the images are nice and they’re strong. I don’t feel a need to put out a huge eight-panel booklet just to be redundant or anything like that. The cover’s strong, and as far as lyric printing, we’ve gone back and forth. We’d like the lyrics available, but not necessarily in the artwork. I’ve listened to an album for years, and you think you know what the lyrics are but then you hear it and–


James: It’s not spoon-fed. There’s interpretation allowed. It should be simple. I have lots of elaborate ideas, and different paper, and different things, but this is the first record for Prosthetic. Let’s keep it simple. The artwork is fairly minimal, generally. Our first record was the same way, the Century album had only a four-panel that opened up once, and it originally wasn’t gonna have that. Hopefully it [Samsara] will be released on digipak like it should’ve been, and there’s no booklet required.


So what about the issue of downloading music? Do you think it would dissuade someone from buying the record if they knew they were only getting an inlet card?

James: I hope general people who go to buy an album aren’t buying it because of the 4 x 4 inch booklet that comes in it. It’s about the songs and the music. Obviously there’s art and there’s imagery, and all of that has something to do with the music they’re about to hear.

Bruce: But cool packaging does tend to draw people in at some point. We didn’t have the budget Tool had for Lateralus. If we had that, of course we would’ve went all out. And not to draw people in, “Hey, look at our cool artwork!” It’s part of the whole experience of the record itself. If they’re going to download it, as opposed to buying it, because of the fact that there’s not this elaborate artwork, then whatever, sorry.

James: And you know there’s still a cover. There’s still a back cover. It is a package. You get CD-Rs from your buddy – it’s fine and great and you like the music – but you’re still kinda missing something I think. I have some CD-Rs that I’ve never even seen the artwork, and you go back and see the art and you’re like, “Woah!” Of course if I get a CD-R and I generally like the music, then I go buy the real product. Same thing with downloading: you get a song and the song’s really good. I will go and support music that I like, and that’s it. I’m not gonna be like, “I’m gonna rip this whole album – artwork aside.” I’m gonna buy it anyway.

Sometimes you’ll notice that different age groups have different M.O.s as far as what they do with a CD.

Bruce: True.

It seems like the younger kids are just downloading stuff, and filing it away on their computer.

Bruce: Oh yeah.

James: We’re really psyched to release it on vinyl, which is the ultimate representation of that artwork. There’s no booklet. It’s the same as the digipak. It’s the exact same thing, aside from the vinyl itself.

Bruce: And that’s a medium that you can’t really reproduce digitally.

James: For art purposes, like you’re saying, the younger generations didn’t have records. They grew up on cassettes. Their first albums were the first cassettes they bought, and after that CDs have been around for 15 years. You’ve got 12 and 13-year olds getting into metal. They only know CDs. They see dad’s old records, maybe, and play ‘em, but for us we love that 12-inch package and big art. That’s what an album was.

For me, personally, that’s the most satisfying way to have it.

James: It’s the most pure.

Maybe it’s not the most practical if you’re playing it all the time….

James: I’ve had records forever that still sound awesome.

Bruce: Yeah, aesthetically – especially sonically – I prefer the vinyl. A good turntable and a good set of speakers – you just can’t beat the warmth. I mean, you’ve heard that a million times over the years, but even more so now. If someone’s out there looking to combat the digital download – “Oh, I want you to buy the product or whatever.” – well there you go. That’s it. You just cannot get that sound to be reproduced digitally, properly.


With being on lots of different message boards at UltimateMetal, there’s always the people who are arguing that CD has a better sound quality versus vinyl. It’s like an ongoing debate. There are all kinds of stats about how many – well, I don’t really know the technical aspects of it. So you guys are saying that you prefer vinyl?

James: Oh for sure. I think it’s probably the purest way to get the warmth and the sound you want. It’s the same aspect when looking at a movie that was done with digital cameras as opposed to film. It’s the same thing with recording in ProTools or recording on tape. Tape is real. Film is real. Vinyl is real. CD is fake. It’s not a real thing, so it loses some of that warmth all-around.

Bruce: As far as the way to archive things, digitally hands-down. It’s obviously the wave of the future. Tape is unrealistic in that sense. It doesn’t hold up. It falls apart, and that’s why every artist under the sun is going back and remastering their works and whatnot because tape won’t survive, unfortunately. I don’t know how film is transferred to digital, if that’ll hold up or not, but they’ve gotta figure out a way quick or those films are gone forever.

Yeah, they’re always fooling around with that kind of stuff. Another interesting thing with vinyl is it’s an opportunity to make the artwork shine. You’ve got a very large casing.

James: Like I said, the original intention – even for the digipak – the digipak to me is paper. It’s not this plastic thing. The photo’s not under this little plastic sleeve. It’s the closest you can get to a vinyl package, with still being a CD. It’s still a paper product. It has a texture to it. That was the original intention – the digipak – and then hopefully the vinyl, which is the same only four times as big. That’s the ultimate way to present your art: big, opens up, and those images make more sense if they aren’t right next to each other, and there’s not this jewel case and plastic and hinges separating it. Even the hinge juts up the middle of the jewel case that Samsara came out with. That little strip wasn’t supposed to be there. It was a bad thing. Digipak wouldn’t have had that. It would’ve made more sense. It’s going to come out on digipak, hopefully by the end of the year. We agreed to something that hopefully will happen.

With Prosthetic, have they said, “Get this one disc and we’ll see what happens,” or….

James: We have options with them. They’re gonna get some more stuff from us, for sure.

It seems like they’ve been handling it really well.

James: We’re very comfortable with what the future holds, with us and them, and they’ve been great so far.

Most of the press has been positive about it.

Bruce: Yeah, pretty good.

Especially stepping up from Way of the Dead.

James: It’s an evolution of the band. That album came out a while ago under different circumstances – different players. Half of the band is new, and I can’t even listen to Way of the Dead anymore. If you compare the two, it’s a huge evolution. We’ve grown and changed, and become what we should’ve been. Not that Way of the Dead was a bad album, but this new album is far superior on so many levels.

As far as influence, I know you guys have probably answered the question a million times, like–

Bruce: We actually don’t answer that question because it’s way too difficult. And I know every other band is, like, “We don’t sound like anybody, dude!” We can’t even begin to start with one. You’re talking about some serious, serious music geeks in different realms and different genres, through all of recorded history. I’m not kidding when I say that. The sky’s the limit – anything goes.

James: There’s a lot. Too many.

Bruce: Too much.

That’s why I was wanting to sidestep it and say, it seems like you guys have some Eastern influence and Oriental as well as Arabian, metal, and –core. It doesn’t seem, maybe, as seamless as far as your influences. You wear them on your sleeves. Would you say that’s an accurate statement?

James: It’s very natural. Like, “Here we’re gonna bust into this Middle Eastern raga rhythm” – there’s never any of that. We don’t intellectualize it. We all have this variety of influences that is very strong.

Bruce: There’s very little verbalization when it comes to the creative process.

James: I listen to a lot of Indian music. It comes through, but I’m not going to say to the band during a song, “Hey, let’s do this.” It’ll come out naturally or things will happen, or somebody will play something and I’ll react in a certain way based on those influences.

Bruce: Yeah, that’s how we are.

James: It’s all just a filter. We all listen to so many different things, and they come out unintentionally.


I jotted down some notes as far as about what certain songs remind me of, a little bit, like the Arabian-esque “Cancer of Industry,” especially the beginning of that. Have you guys thought about how Dimmu Borgir was approached for the Hellboy soundtrack? Have you thought about movies or videogame soundtracks?

Bruce: Sure, of course.

Would you create new music for it?

James: I mean, I think that’s a natural evolution of our band, actually scoring some type of film that’s really good. Or say a director hears us and likes us and vice-versa, and we like what they do – find a project that’s right, score an original film, or lend stuff to movies and videogames. There are two movies that our songs have been, y’know, put out for. They haven’t been chosen yet, but they’ve put into the mix.

Bruce: There’s been some talk of a couple things.

James: And one of ‘em sounds great, and one of ‘em we’ve been…it’s become an inside joke the past three weeks, and it just keeps getting funnier. Originally we were like, “Yeah, sure, submit it. We need some money.” We can’t turn stuff down, but after, we were like, “I think we should turn this one down.” But we’ve even been rethinking that. Music and movies are interchangeable, and most of my favorite movies – a lot of it has to do with the music. We do a lot of instrumental things. We have a side project band where we improv a lot of stuff, and a lot of it is very score-ish sounding – not intentionally but it just happens to come out that way. A natural progression for the band is to get into some of that, for sure.

I guess a classic example, in recent times, would be Fear Factory. They’ve done a million things like that. They’ve even created new music for videogames and stuff, like Raymond Herrera – their drummer – was always involved in videogames.

James: That’s great. That’s a great outlet for music, and videogames need that. Same way they work in movies, they work in videogames. Make it stronger. I would rather create original music for a movie or a videogame rather than giving them a song that really wasn’t meant to be in a movie or a videogame, but we’re open to whatever. If you want to use our stuff for other media – that’s awesome.

That’s the main question: would you create something new?

James: Oh for sure.

Probably because if you could actually look at what you were going to be scoring….

James: That’s the idea. A long time ago, one of the first guys to really do a huge score – who was a popular musician – was Miles Davis. He worked with a French filmmaker, and one of his agreements was he wanted to see the film, and he got to see almost the final cut of the film. Then he did the music in time with what he saw. And we’d write music for a movie, but if we have no idea what it is or what it’s about – it’s kind of foolish. We want to talk and find out what this is about, and what’s going on, but we also don’t want to give something really strong or put a lot of time into something that we don’t believe in. It has to be equal, like I said someone searching us out and, “We like what you do. Let’s work on this.” There’s an independent filmmaker in Chicago named Justin Ferrin. I met him a long time ago – we’ve collaborated on several projects, some involving his films and some involving video work for us. He’s done live footage. He did our “Chicago Typewriter” (Way of the Dead) video. He did our new live video, and we’ve been working with him obviously on a small level. Hopefully we’ll get even more of that.


Cool. Yeah, I mean, uh, kinda switch gears real quick and talk about “Back to the Mountain” with Troy Sanders of Mastodon. How did that arrangement come about?

Bruce: Troy’s been a friend of the band for years. We were looking to add something else to the song, towards the end of recording everything, and we just got the idea of adding a third vocalist. We kinda threw it his way to feel him out. We kinda talked him into it – they had come through on the Slayer tour about a year before that, or six months, and I was like, “Are you interested in collaborating? Have you ever done that before?” He was like, “Oh no, I’d love to! I’d love to!” Guy’s got a cool voice. So he came through, they were playing in Chicago toward the end of what we were doing, so we brought him in the studio – a bottle of Jack and a can of Coke, and bang, bang, bang, and done. He did his part. Yeah, it worked out good.

Yeah, they’ve done really well, which is an understatement, you know?

Bruce: Sure.

James: We played shows with them very early on, and they had just signed to Relapse before Remission came out. Was it even before Lifesblood?

Bruce: Yeah, it was before Lifesblood.

James: We met them a long time ago just out of the blue. They didn’t know who we were. We didn’t know who they were. Over the years we became friends. We’ve played five shows with them over the years, and every time they come to Chicago we hang out. They’ve become buddies, and Bruce had this vocal idea in mind for the song and Troy was perfect for it. We had their number, “Hey, you wanna sing on this?” “Yeah, let’s make it happen.” It was pretty simple.

Have you guys been fortunate enough to hear anything from Blood Mountain?

Bruce: No. We just talked to those guys, though, last week

James: The recording’s done. They’re mixing, what, next week?

Bruce: Yeah.

Think you’ll get an early listen, I take it.

James: Probably, but we’re not gonna talk about it.

Bruce: Yeah. We’re not even gonna see them until they’re touring.

James: They’re in Chicago when we’re gone, right?

Bruce: I think we just cross paths a bunch of times.

James: Maybe we’ll meet them–

Bruce: –in Milwaukee or something. We’ll have to see them at least one time, dude. Unholy Alliance tour.

Yeah, Thine Eyes Bleed, Mastodon, Slayer.

James: Lamb of God.

Bruce: And Children of Bodom.

James: Pretty good show – bummed that we’re not gonna be in Chicago for it.

What are your expectations for Blood Mountain, just to be curious? Is it gonna surpass Lifesblood, Remission–

Bruce: Who knows!

James: My only hope is that – on the new record they got into some different stuff for themselves, a little more melodic things, just branching out. Hopefully they’re evolving as a band, which I’m sure they are. Like the last record, everything’s been an evolution for them. I’m sure they’re gonna take it a step further. Hopefully I like it a little better than the last one. They are evolving as a band, so it is gonna be awesome.


They’ve got a lot of work to do if they want to surpass Leviathan.

James: Yeah, but they’re just the guys to do it, though.

Bruce: I know that didn’t even come to mind, like they feel they have to outdo themselves. They’re just naturally gonna do what they do, and that’s it. If you like, fine. If you don’t, then whatever.

James: They’re very genuine. It’s gonna be awesome.

I mean, they’ve already proven themselves as far as–

James: They have nothing to prove. I don’t think that’s ever been their intention. Once again, they just do what they feel is right for themselves, regardless of style or genre. They fit in with a lot of things, but they do their own thing. I don’t view them as “just another band.” It’s not that simple. Once again their new record will be just another evolution of what they do. I can’t wait to hear it.

Bruce: Different personalities, down-to-earth….

I’m really looking forward to it.

James: I guess we’re similar in the fact that they don’t have a lot of outside influence – I don’t think they’re gonna, “Let’s go for a radio hit here.” They’re just gonna what they’re gonna do, and that’s what makes them what they are.

With them signing to Warner, do you as a band think you’re a little too eclectic to reach that kind of audience as far as such a wide base?

James: I’d say probably.

Bruce: I don’t know.

More streamlined, maybe?

James: I wouldn’t say they’re more streamlined. I think there’s some accessibility in what we do that things could probably come through, but I never really look at the band that way or try to think about that type of stuff. Honestly, no, I don’t think we’re the type of band that would sell millions and millions of records. Maybe we’ll sell thousands and thousands and be able to keep doing the work we do. I mean, major labels, c’mon. You gotta sell millions of fuckin’ albums.


James: Hopefully something that we didn’t plan will break through, and that would be fine, too.

Bruce: That’s the thing, though, too is that–

James: I don’t even see that as an option or even really care.

Bruce: I don’t think the industry itself has the grasp on what’s going on as much as they’d like to. I know that – especially the major industry – would like to channel things to go a particular way because it’s easy for them to market and whatnot. But all of a sudden some band will come in and rear its ugly head and screw it all up, and it’s like, “There we go.” Oh, and what’s funny – then there’ll be a thousand bands that follow that little path, whether it be good or bad. I’m not talking about the revolution of the alternative rock of the early ‘90s or rap metal or whatever the hell. I’m just saying it seems like the industry is always still trying to catch up. They’ll attempt to create things that they feel are marketable, and they’ll reinforce that to an audience, “Oh this is good! This is good! See?! Look, there are people out there!” No. Just because there’s 40,000 people out there and two million records have been sold does not mean something’s good. That’s just the way it is.

I mean, a lot of it seems to be a numbers game.

Bruce: Right.

–as far as how much you sell. I think a few years back it was like, you sell 20K and you’re unsigned, you get signed immediately.

Bruce: Sure.

A lot of ‘em seem completely outside like they just pay attention to numbers.

James: That’s what it’s about for them. It’s huge money at stake. They drop huge money in the bands, and then these bands have to come through and make a profit. I don’t ever see us fitting in with that – not intentionally or unintentionally. Personally I would like to shy away from that as much as possible. All my favorite records come out on indie labels, on smaller labels, and from people who put out music for music’s sake rather than what’s marketable. I don’t think we’re very marketable, and even Prosthetic kinda scratched their heads. Everybody does. To me, that reinforces what we do – not that it’s intentional. There are no pop hits. There are no 3-minute radio-friendly songs here. That’s just the way it is. I only imagine it getting worse.

Even if you reach that plateau, if you don’t try to further expectations, then you might be turned around and dropped.

James: Right. I like the idea of a lot of past major label bands that sell great and do this awesome, amazing successful record, and go into their second record in debt.


James: Who wants that? Fuck that.


I’m sure you guys are really familiar with Earache.

Bruce: Oh yeah.

About how it’s come out recently that they’re treating – I can’t really remember – Justin, maybe? Their main guy there, but apparently he treats his bands really shitty – won’t return phone calls/emails, won’t pay studio costs, stuff like that. But yet they’re still a pretty major label and they’re selling really well.

Bruce: Huh.

There have been so many bands – have you heard of Lee Barrett, started Candlelight Records?

Bruce: Yeah.

And done some stuff with Elitist Records….

Bruce: Elitist is done now.

Yeah, exactly, but he’s had a real tough time with them, even making it to that milestone – still, there are some people who run into bad luck.

Bruce: True. We’ll have to ask the Municipal Waste guys. They’ll let us know.

Yeah, what label are they on?

Bruce: They’re on Earache.

That’s right. That’s right. They’ll be in Louisville pretty soon – Keswick Democratic Club. Just a couple of general questions for you guys. What’s been the most satisfying thing about your career in music thus far?

James: (Laughs)

(Laughs) Anything at all.

Bruce: (Taps trailer) This 5 by 8 trailer.

James: Yeah, that trailer is really fuckin’ fun.

Bruce: If anything, the best we’ve ever gotten was a 4 by 6, and a 5 by 8 – we’re really moving up in the world.

James: That fucking tofu dog I ate earlier.

So it’s a unanimous decision then.

James: I don’t know. I’m happy as a person when we’re writing and creating songs, and playing music. All the other bullshit that comes along with it – you gotta deal with it in order to get to play. I think ultimately that’s probably when I’m my happiest, playing. We write music based on what the four of us feel and think, so it’s not like I’m playing other people’s music or playing someone’s whose doesn’t relate to me. It’s an expression. It gets all this shit outta my head, outta my fuckin’ spirit or whatever. So yeah, that’s my favorite part – to get to play.

Playing live’s great. You can’t match that energy.

James: Live’s great, and then there’s also the energy of when we’re in a room, arranging songs, putting things together, and recording songs. All of it. They all have different dynamics to them, but they’re all the same thing. They’re all the same expression.
I wanted to touch on the biggest disappointment as far as music so far.

James: For the band?

For yourself, or the band.

James: We went through a lot of bad shit with members of the band, things I don’t wanna get too deep into. When this band was started, with the original guitar player and I, as things went along he couldn’t hang it. He couldn’t be there. Things got really hairy there for a while as far as what we were gonna do to a point that it might’ve been fuckin’ done. We didn’t know what to do, but obviously Bruce and I kept it together. We realized there was more going on here – we shouldn’t just drop this. It led to where we’re at now, which is the best place. We’re glad it happened, but there were some bad points with ex-members. That’s prolly the darkest it got.

Line-up changes will often kill a band, and spawn new projects in the process. Do you have any regrets at this point? Anything you would go back and change?

James: Not really. No. Personal – has nothing to do with the band. Regrets as a band? I don’t have any. I’m very happy where we’re at now. We’re playing better than ever. We sound better than ever. This is the happiest I’ve been musically in my life, and I’ve been doing this a long time.

Albums to look out for this year? Next year?

James: The new Tool record’s coming out in May. That’s gonna be huge. I’m expecting that to drive home the fact that all these genres, rip-offs, and copycats of music, formulas, and the mainstream ideal and what everybody’s being fed – Tool breaks that every time. They do what they want. That’s gonna be huge. Mastodon’s gonna be huge. Isis has a record coming out hopefully by September/October. That’s gonna be huge. What else?

Tool’s leaked, supposedly, already.

James: There’s a radio song out–

Bruce: No, the record got leaked, too.

I think within the past few days.

Bruce: Yeah. I read that.

James: I’m gonna wait. I’ll wait and go buy it.

Coming out soon, anyway.

James: Yeah, I know the record song got released. A friend of mine heard it and said it was awesome.

Bruce: And then the radio single. That’s nice, too.

James: Yeah, that’s gonna be a huge release.

What about – have you guys heard the new Dissection?

Bruce: I mean, I know who they are, but no I haven’t checked that out.

I understand he spent some time in jail, for murder and stuff like that….

James: Rwake and Minsk?

Bruce: That’s not till next year.

James: I’m excited to hear both those records.


James: Yeah.

Really good album.

James: Yeah. Sanford Parker’s [ex-Buried at Sea] a good friend of ours. He assisted on this record, and he did some song manipulation on one of our songs. We’re all very good friends with him, and Minsk is a great band.

Bruce: Do you have the Minsk record?

I do.

Bruce: Oh, cool.

I think they actually – I wasn’t able to make it out, but I wanna say they played in Louisville one night. I mean, I heard the attendance wasn’t that great, but a guy who also writes for MetalReview.com – I don’t know if you’ve heard of that – but Matt Mooring. You ever heard of him?

Bruce: Yeah, I know Matt.

He went out to that show.

James: Did he write up the record?

Bruce: No, I talked to him.

James: I know that name, though.

He reviewed your record for MetalReview.

Bruce: I talked to him one day, too, but he knows Sanford really well.

I actually tried to get him out tonight – to come to the show – but he’s got a couple kids–

James: That would’ve been cool.

Bruce: Yeah, he’s got a family and stuff like that.

–full-time job.

James: Fuck that! Put ‘em to bed! Come out!

He’s anchored.

James: Yeah, that’s cool.


One of the last things I want to ask about is the new Guns N’ Roses.

Bruce: No, no, no – don’t answer it. Don’t answer it. We’ve already been asked that before. You know what? Nobody cares.

James: Nobody cares. Don’t read that question. Don’t ask that question.

Bruce: But seriously, if one person’s like, “New Guns N’ Roses?” Who fuckin’ cares?

James: He’ll never top Appetite, so tough shit.

With a long absence between albums, just like Dissection and even – what about Queensryche with Operation: Mindcrime II?

James: Just like Guns N’ Roses – I think it’s kind of irrelevant.

Bruce: Isn’t Chris DeGarmo not playing on that record, or did he play on it?

Yeah, I think he actually came back. Don’t quote me on that, but I think he might’ve. I know it was the most original line-up they had had….

James: Operation: Mindcrime was awesome. Scott Rockenfield is a phenomenal drummer, and all that aside, it’s not really relevant. Maybe it is – I don’t know.

Bruce: I thought DeGarmo played on the last record and then they toured for that record – he wasn’t on the tour–

Constant problems.

Bruce: I saw that show, and wasn’t really into it.

James: Once again, who cares? I really don’t. I hope other people really don’t either. There are so much better things being done in music – new bands. You’re just gonna go back to this rehash that hasn’t released an album in 13 years, and the last stuff he did, I mean, c’mon! Use Your Illusion I and II? Talk about a fuckin’ piece of shit. Two pieces of shit! Wow! Appetite for Destruction obviously is a phenomenal record, but it has to do with those five guys at that point in time and Izzy Stradlin had a lot to do with that record being the way it was. It was a point in time. They’re about to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame forever. They’re about to put out a new record – who cares?

It’s selling really well, they’re touring – Queensryche is – hitting all the charts.

James: Really? That’s awesome. Maybe it’s good. I haven’t heard it yet. But so does Britney, and so does fuckin’ Backstreet Boys….

Bruce: Like I said, just cuz it sells so many records doesn’t mean it’s gonna be good.

Sure, sure.

James: Sometimes things appeal to the fuckin’ masses – the sheep. “Hey, this is what’s hot!” I’m glad we don’t fit in that. I don’t think that’ll ever happen to us.


James: Hope not.


James: Thank God.

So, uh, any last words for UltimateMetal readers?

Bruce: Thanks!


All photographs, with the exception of the first, copyright Jason Jordan 2006. Thanks to Rodrigo Escandon for the question regarding the inlet card. Thanks to Mike Smith for scanning the photographs.

UM’s Live Review of Yakuza / Blood Tribe / Deliver Us from Evil
UM’s Review of Yakuza – Samsara
Official Yakuza Website
Official Prosthetic Records Website