Bless The Good Times with Ruby The Hatchet

2005
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Another day another interview, this time with John Scarps and Jillian Taylor of Ruby The Hatchet, one of the most exciting up and coming rock & roll bands on the scene today. Yeah these guys are silly, but they’re also endlessly dedicated and fiercely intelligent. They seem destined to carry the music forward for all time.

So how have you guys been since last September?

John Scarps (JS): Good! Busy.

Jillian Taylor (JT): It’s been good – we did a run down to South By. Things have been picking up exponentially.

Why do you think that is?

JT: We put so much fucking energy into it, it has to! We are at it all the time every day. Booking stuff, reaching out, all that.

How are you guys adapting to playing a much higher volume of shows?

JS: We’re only just starting to adapt.

JT: Even the second show was miles better than the first.

JS: You pick something up every day. Jillian has been doing a lot of vocal exercises that kind of make the shows a little stronger.

Do you think that Ruby The Hatchet will be a full time touring unit?

JT: Now that we’ve all quit our jobs, yeah! We’re working on lifestyle changes to making it happen and staying on the road.

What kind of lifestyle changes?

JT: Mainly the work stuff. You get into such a thing of being a 9 to 5 person and then you realize you don’t have to do that. We’re letting go and focusing on the band more. The band is becoming able to sustain us in a way.

So how much does casual alcoholism impact that?

JS: None of us are heavy drinkers so it’s pretty casual. I haven’t seen anyone losing motor function yet.

JT: I was the heaviest drinker and now I’m not allowed because of my throat. I’ve noticed it definitely. I’m singing better than ever. On a tour like this you don’t even have time. I was thinking about it but we wouldn’t have a chance between driving, load in, soundcheck, talking to people and all that.

JS: At our level you can’t get trashed, load out and then drive for five hours. I don’t think anyone cares about drinking so much.

I’m impressed with your professionalism – was that learned or was that something you always had?

JS: It was probably from our previous management positions at the mall.

JT: John and I worked at a skate shop and were managers. You definitely learn as you go. A lot of it is just a knack. Some people have it and others don’t. John and I like handling the logistics and we like talking to people.

JS: It makes things easier – it’s a big professional party. We’re the grandparents of the tour.

But it’s working out…

JT: We couldn’t do it any other way.

JS: With all the hard work we put into it it would be stupid to get to this point and party hard and make fools of ourselves. We’re having fun either way.

JT: We all live together and are best friends too. We don’t have to drink to stand each other. It always feels like a party because we’re best friends in a van!

I didn’t realize you guys lived together…

JT: It’s kind of like a commune. The only person who doesn’t live there is Owen the drummer, he lives with his girlfriend ten minutes away. Otherwise we’re all at the practice house. We’re always together.

Is that like handling multiple marriages?

JT: Everyone is easy going. I used to take it for granted but it’s actually kind of weird. I realize more and more that there are people who make great music but can’t stand each other. We’re lucky enough that that’s not the case.

That seems so idyllic it’s kind of scary…

JS: It’s been five years so I think we’re set. It’s like they say – if a marriage will fail it’s in the first thirty minutes!

JT: That’s only if you get married by Elvis! (Laughter)

Is this commune lifestyle meant to reflect the hippie spirit you communicate with your music?

JT: I’ve never noticed the correlation between the music we make and that, but maybe it’s just that we do it all the time. The lifestyle goes along with it but is not influenced by it.

We do a lot of circle massages, that helps! (Laughter)

Do you think this method of operation will work for a lot of bands?

JT : I think it’s just something we lucked in to, and it’s very personal. It’s unique to every person and the weird ways that we met and have changed and grown together. For us it works so perfectly. The way that we write is all together. There’s no one person who comes with an idea. That all comes with the living situation and all of that. It’s organic. If you broke the band up into other bands the magic would be lost. We’re good musicians, but the magic is in the friendship. That’s part of the brotherhood of the band.

JS: It’s like the concept of the perfect storm except instead people are just bumping into each other on the street because they’re goofballs. It just kind of happened.

JT: We’re just amazed people want to hear the music that we make in our basement. That still blows my mind! That’s all we’ve ever been doing. Then it was like “Oh if we answer more emails we can get more stuff done!” It’s been a constant build.

JS: One door leads to another.

What do you think draws people to your music?

JS: I think it’s accessible. It has good melodies. I think we do a good job of balancing heavy rock influences with melody which is lost on a lot of newer bands. It gives us an advantage with reception.

JT: And with playing shows we fit with a lot of different people because of that.

JS: It puts us in a good spot.

What do you love so much about music?

JT: I love the reaction it gets from people – it’s the best. People come up after shows and they’re like “Sorry to bother you” and I’m like “What! You are the person I desperately want to talk too! You are why this is happening!” It’s the best feeling to make something like that and have it received well. You are leaving something behind that will outlast you. That’s transcendent!

Do you have any final words of wisdom?

JS: Don’t run with scissors!

JT: In regards to music just don’t get jaded! I’ve seen so many great musicians get jaded. Always remember that if you’re a musician this is a gift that you’re allowed to do this. It’s amazing and you should stay humble and appreciate every step of the journey. Even the setbacks lead somewhere. You learn from them.

JS: The best thing I’ve taken is you get out what you put in. That goes for every aspect of music. That goes for musicians as well as people going to shows. We try to go to shows as much as possible because why come see us if we don’t go see you? So if we keep pushing it before you know it Kanye West will be off the air!

Keep up with Ruby the Hatchet as they close out their tour with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and follow them on Facebook

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  • Dagon

    “Don’t run with scissors.”

    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/rNxn3gwpWxU/hqdefault.jpg

  • Madmartigan

    I am the greatest swordsman that ever lived.

  • Dagon

    She does have a good voice, and the music is definitely enjoyable. Doomy rock like this is easy listening for me, which is not a bad thing at all.

    I’d love to see them live.

    • KJM, Doom Hunter General

      Showed up way too late and only caught their last song.

  • Guppusmaximus

    I’d love to just enjoy this band if I hadn’t already heard it a million times before and it’s easy to be humble when you’re riding the trend train. Yup, I’m a dick:P

    • Vote for Jeb

      I’ve honestly never heard of this band.

      • KJM, Doom Hunter General

        Never heard of them until the Uncle Acid tour was announced.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative It does sound a little derivative…………………..

      • Guppusmaximus

        Which wouldn’t be so bad if the vocalist had a stronger voice and the guitarist had actual solos. #Ghost-lyreminder

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    I have nothing to add, per usual. Embrace the void and die.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6rLKknO7U

  • JJD Misses Witch Ripper

    I’ll have to listen to this band. They seem awesome.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Seen these guys thrown around a lot but never listened to beyond one song. Might try now (well I did, I’m on song #3). Seem like nice people, would like to see them live. Not a band I’d listen to a lot outside gigs (based on these songs, although Tomorrow Never Comes is pretty cool)..

  • KJM, Doom Hunter General

    At least it’s not yet another fat, sweaty guy growling into a mic about vivisection and vomit. Strange how we don’t hear the cries of “It’s been done already” then.

    • UGH THIS BAND IS SO DERIVATIVE.

      HEY LOOK ANOTHER BAND IS COPYING THE SWORD/ELECTRIC WIZARD, JAM THIS THIS RULES YEAH BRO.

      At least power metal usually doesn’t pretend we’re original in any way

      • KJM, Doom Hunter General

        Neither does Doom, Stoner, or Sludge really. If anything, they make it really obvious how much they love Black Sabbath & Sleep.

        • Dagon

          A good, current example is Creedmens Arise, who just put out an album that is supposed to further explore the storyline of Dopesmoker.

        • I think it’s more the fans then the bands, 99% of the time. You’ll find power metal fans calling something in their genre ‘original’ far less than stoner fans, at least in my experience.

          both fans are usually woefully ignorant of their genres rich histories 🙁

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            I’m far too old to be that ignorant.

          • Didn’t call you ignorant <3

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            I know. It’s all good.

        • This conversation/argument has been brought up before so I won’t get too involved in it again but, there is nothing wrong with being derivative.

          • I play in a band that just wants to be Manilla Road, you know I’m on your side.

            It’s more when fans become hypocritical about not liking one thing because it’s “derivative,” but then go nuts over something that is obviously a ripoff.

          • JamesGrimm

            Self indulgence.

          • If you are in music for any other reason, I’m not sure why you’re there

          • JamesGrimm

            The Art.

          • Even the ones that claim that are doing it for the satisfaction it brings. Whether copying your favorite band or trying to create a work of art, you’re doing it for the satisfaction and fulfillment it brings.

          • JamesGrimm

            I’ve had very little satisfaction in my music ” career”. I do it to perpetuate the art. nothing more.

          • I guess everyone’s different. I would quit music immediately if I wasn’t having fun with it.

          • Btw, that video you posted for “Facebook Karaoke” was maxlolbuttz. I would love to watch it another 20 times if I could find it…

            GL

          • Which one? haha me and my friends were going back and forth all night with that

          • You sounded like an opera singer. So I guess I am not sure?

          • I think I was singing Handel? I am classically trained, you know!

          • I did not know! Post the video again??

          • You should be able to go through my profile to photos, then videos, and find it? Not sure where it is

          • JamesGrimm

            The band im in has caused my relationship to 4 people in my life to be permanently altered in a very negative fashion and been the catalyst for two suicide attempts. I find in myself not my hobbies.

          • Sure, I don’t think I’ve ever judged a band for wanting to sound like someone else before. I mean just look at all the fucking Entombed worship bands out there. Uncountable.

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            No, there isn’t.

          • Dagon

            As long as you derive from the right stuff

          • Yup, and it comes to taste really.

          • Guppusmaximus

            I don’t mind derivation if it isn’t by the numbers and has some f’ing passion. Not to say these guys don’t have passion but the music doesn’t really communicate it, imho.

          • I hear you. There are a lot of bands that don’t do it well or don’t appeal to me. For example, The Black Dahlia Murder is one that does nothing for me and they are very derivative of the Swedish death metal scene.

          • Guppusmaximus

            This^ I kinda liked them when they first blew up (can’t remember the album) and that was the same with BTBAM. It’s definitely not limited to the psychedelic rock revival (of sorts)

          • Hubert

            I agree completely. I think that by having these derivative artists we can better understand the strengths and limitations of the style, which the really innovating artists can work off of.

          • JamesGrimm

            or just get repeated, homoginized and turned into undercooked, stylistic trash.

          • Guppusmaximus

            aka The Trend Train *choo-choo*

          • Absolutely. That’s kind of what makes it interesting in a way. Black Metal especially with the different waves and everything. It’s really rad to hear all the influences and progressions through out the years.

        • Guppusmaximus
          • Yay, moar Candlemass.

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            If your knowledge of Sabbath goes beyond the 1st 4 albums, then it’s still at least somewhat obvious in this case as well.

          • ME GORAK B.C.™

            DEHUMANIZER ROCK!!!!!

          • Guppusmaximus

            That was an underrated Doom album if ever.

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            ‘I’ is based on yet another kickass Iommi riff.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Yup… There is an obvious influence and they have done some covers but Sabbath never had double bass and even DIO didn’t have the vocal strength like this guy. It may remind you of Sabbath but, imho, it crushes any of their albums.

          • JamesGrimm

            Age gap.

          • Guppusmaximus

            True…but you can’t deny the progression. Candlemass is definitely heavier and more doomy, imho.

          • JamesGrimm

            Thats fine. But they didnt define a genre, or influence many artists to build upon it.

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            None of it would’ve been possible if the Almighty Iommi hadn’t blazed the trail.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Again, true… however, back then, it would’ve taken some GIANT BALLS to release something similar, plus, I don’t believe there were any musicians that could match the talent. You can’t deny that these guys killed it in their prime.

          • JamesGrimm

            Again, thats fine, but comparing them to Sabbaths strongest albums…..comes off as silly and misinformed….

          • Guppusmaximus

            In your opinion…But, I’m also a person who loved DIO’s Sabbath material far more than Ozzy’s

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            Comparison is fine, it’s proclaiming their superiority that the issue for me.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Just my opinion:)

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            Exactly.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Actually, I’d argue that they established what was possible with a strong Sabbath influence, killer musicianship & song-writing. Again, not exactly easy to expand upon what Candlemass did without aping them

          • JamesGrimm

            monkeys with a type writer.

          • Guppusmaximus

            Great theorem….if they had come out with their first album this year. It wasn’t too long after Sabbath that they proved their worth.

          • JamesGrimm

            They could write a good song and play instruments well. Grand. A lot of bands/artists have done that for a lot of genres. This one took a primitive raw form of metal and made it their own and had a few classic albums. Some one was bound to do it eventually and the wernt reinventing the wheel. I like Funeral more…..lol

          • Guppusmaximus

            So, you think all of Sabbath’s discography was pioneering?

          • JamesGrimm

            no, just the first 3 or 4 albums

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            We’ll have to agree to disagree on that last sentence. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

          • Based Pingu

            Imo Candlemass haven’t been able to top their first album.

          • I respectfully disagree. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus is still great though.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyKi2I0m08w

          • Guppusmaximus

            The first four albums did what no other Sabbath worshipers have ever done or will ever do. They realized what Sabbath didn’t, imho

          • ME GORAK B.C.™
          • Guppusmaximus
          • ME GORAK B.C.™
          • Guppusmaximus
        • Óðinn

          I have to agree, there’s s difference between emulating Black Sabbath and emulating DragonForce. For one thing, Black Sabbath is awesome.

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            To be fair, it’s usually more about emulating a combo of Helloween, early Queensryche, and Ronnie James Dio.

          • Óðinn

            Fair enough. Helloween has always been terrible in my opinion. Queensryche had their moments, and obviously Ronnie James Dio was awesome (but again, Black Sabbath is awesome). It seems like, at some point, Power Metal began to emphasize its cheesier aspects too much and became a parody of itself. A lot of bands get too caught up in the wankery of being a musician, and then only similar musicians can appreciate what they do. It’s no longer interesting for music fans. Death Metal is doing that now too. Bands like Archspire and Rings of Saturn are ruining Death Metal with their wankery in my opinion. “Look at me, I play so fast.”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BndzIW9wevs

          • KJM, Doom Hunter General

            I’m not big on Power Metal at all, too overdone. I don’t even like Manowar or Helloween.

          • Based Pingu

            This is a very good opinion.

          • Óðinn

            Agreed. Manowar: I didn’t like them in 1984, and I still don’t like them now.

    • Guppusmaximus

      Yet, it still seems like a rehash without enough talent to rip the songs to shreds. But, hey, that was the same complaint I had about Heart…

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      TBH, no one who usually digs this kind of music seems to really have complained about derivativeness of this band.

      • Guppusmaximus

        Maybe because they are unaware of the 60s?

    • Óðinn

      I’m picky about clean vocals, but I like Jillian Taylor. She does a great job in my opinion.

      • KJM, Doom Hunter General

        I’m not normally big on harsh vocals at all.

        • Óðinn

          Yeah, I guess that I prefer a Doom Metal clean vocal style to a Power Metal style. I was into Iron Maiden and Fates Warning in the 1980s (still like their early stuff now), but I no longer seem to be able to get into any bands with falsetto vocals.

          I listen to a lot of Black and Death Metal too, and the dirty vocals are usually acceptable to me. Just my preference. I know you’re not really into Black Metal.

          I’m actually really enjoying the way Dopethrone uses dirty vocals in Stoner/Doom right now.

  • JamesGrimm

    Vest metal.

  • Matt Bacon is delicious and do impressive interviews.

    *bow with hat in hand*

    I’m listening the first song of this band, never heard of them. It have some keys, melodies and good voice. This is cool! Thanks to the band for sharing the stories, it’s so cool to read about their communal lifestyle!

    10/10!

    • KJM, Doom Hunter General

      It’s good that they can spend that much time together and still be creative and keep it fresh.

      • Exactly!

        • KJM, Doom Hunter General

          When you spend too much time with the same group of people, you start living their lives instead of yours.

  • This sounds good. Memorable riffs are always a plus in my book.

    GL

  • Óðinn

    This is good. Thank-you very much Matt Bacon.

  • Óðinn
  • Óðinn

    The more I listen to this, the more I like it. I’ve found myself going back to it throughout the day.