As The Taste of Chaos Tour rips through the UK, I`m lucky enough to get the chance to interview headliners Killswitch Engage and opening band Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster in a rather wintery Newcastle.
Due to time constraints and the usual soundcheck setbacks that are commonly experienced on a tour this size, especially when you`re the opening act, it`s not until In Flames take to the stage that I`m able to sit down with Matsod guitarist and tour manager Kelly Scott Nunn :-
OneMetal: So, Kelly- third night of the UK leg of the tour- how`s it going for you guys?
Kelly: It`s been really good, I think tonight got our best reaction so far and it takes a few days to get aclimated so maybe some of our energy levels aren`t quite up to where they should be yet, but our job as openers is to get the crowd fired up for the headline band and tonight was a great show, it`s been good so far.
OneMetal: In terms of headline acts, is this the biggest tour you`ve done?
Kelly: Well we did a tour with Underoath which was pretty massive, there`s some big, big stages on that one but as far as a band we`ve never played places like Sweden where there`s like 8 or 9000 cap rooms that are sold out already on this tour- we`ve never played to something like that magnitude.
OneMetal: With the Underoath tour, yourself ,(drummer) Matt Clark and (vocalist) Dallas Taylor all previously played in Underoath- the band that Dallas originally founded in `97 before being “asked to leave” in `03- so was it weird going out on tour with those guys?
Kelly: Well I joined Matsod right after that tour but we did Australia with those guys and everything was cool- I regularly talk to those guys and the thing with Dallas happened so long ago, like 6 years or so, that people patched-up their differences and made peace and that happens you know? In my opinion you can`t let things go unanswered and you should address a situation at some point so everything`s cool.
OneMetal: Really? Alot of people wouldn`t be so forgiving- do you think your christian beliefs contributed to resolving that situation?
Kelly: yeah some of it I guess- my personal belief is that life is too short to be pissed-off all the time- it really is. I`ve been playing in bands for over 12 years now and I wouldn`t want to live my life as so upsetting all the time- that would be retarded. If there`s a problem, you address it and whether the relationship can be mended or not, you give it your best shot and move on.
OneMetal: As a band, what would you say your influences are?
Kelly: Er, as a band alot of it is the old 70`s southern rock like Skynard, Molley Hatchet, Boston and some of the 80`s stuff like Skid Row, Motley Crue and bands of that nature….
OneMetal: and you personnally?
Kelly: Me personally, my list of bands that I listen to is classic- I`m not gonna lie, I`m a huge Journey fan- they`re just incredible songwriters, love those guys, Boston, I love Skid Row, I listen to alot of different stuff, country, Johnny Cash and indie bands like Coldplay. I`m really into the new Bluegrass scene too- I love the instrumentation and like, 4-part harmonies – I think being from the country I`ve kinda grown up with a huge appreciation for that.
OneMetal: I hear alot of the country and western influences coming through in your music, especially on the new album III- is that why you have three guitarists in the line-up?
Kelly: Alot of it yeah- with three guitar players we`re not limited to what we can do- like on the track “Step Up” there`s a slide-guitar part, a rhythm guitar part, a banjo part and a lead part. Live, with three guitarists we`re able to duplicate what`s on the record cos there`s never all four guitar parts being played at the same time.
OneMetal: Up until 2008, the band had a different drummer and the three guitarists and then there was a complete change- what happened there?
Kelly: what happened with that was, during the summer `07 Dallas called me saying Lee (Turner- matsod drums 04-08) wasn`t working out and would I be interested in coming on board, they then got the Underoath tour off the back of the Warped tour and I was told to hold off cos other stuff was going on. Then about half to three quarters through that tour he (Dallas) called me asking to play guitar and I was like, sure, it didn`t matter if I was playing drums, bass or guitar. At the end of that tour the other guys left for various reasons and Dallas pretty much asked me to find their replacements- I already new Matt and Chad (Huff- guitar) so I got that all sorted and we had about two weeks of intense rehearsals before going straight out with Clutch.
OneMetal: That`s quite an upheaval- changing 4 out of 6 band members at the same time…..
Kelly: Yeah, at one point the whole future of Maylene was up in the air and with any line-up change, especially three guitar players, you never know how things are going to work out- different people bring different styles to the band and it could change the whole sound of the band to being different to what the fans know and expect but we just kinda locked ourselves in a room and wrote a whole bunch of stuff for the new album and it`s worked out really well.
OneMetal: Dallas isn`t with you on this tour- how come?
Kelly: Dallas had some personal stuff that he needed to address back home but don`t worry- this line-up is solid and we were looking to cancel our appearence on this tour because we didn`t want to do it without Dallas but it`s such an opportunity to reach a new fanbase that it was decided to go ahead with it. We`ve got Schuyler Croom from “He Is Legend” helping us out and the two bands are very similar so it works.
OneMetal: Soundwise, the rest of the bands on this tour are alot heavier than Matsod- has it been tough for you guys to open such a heavy show?
Kelly: (laughs) No it`s been fun- If I was to go to a show I`d rather see four bands who are all different rather than who all sound the same- I think it makes the show more interesting and means reaching new listeners who maybe wouldn`t have checked us out beforehand.
OneMetal: You`ve had tracks used on Guitar Hero and Tony Hawks games, aswell as WWE shows- are you guys into that stuff and has it had any effect on album sales?
Kelly: Yeah absolutely- I was a huge wrestling fan growing up so it`s flattering to be asked to contribute songs for that- in fact we`ve just been asked for another song by WWE and if more people are hearing and getting into our songs because of that, it can only be good for the band.
OneMetal: so what`s next for you guys?
Kelly: After this, we`ll go home and have a break for christmas and new year, Matt`s wife just had their first kid, and we`ve been out on tour for the last five months since the album came out so we`ve been gone a long time.
OneMetal: You`re often referred to as a christian band- has this caused any problems for you in the music business?
Kelly: Not so much anymore, I remember when I was in Underoath we had a band in Canada announce in french that if anyone ate from our table they`d give them $100 and we opened for a band once, called Dead Guy and they wouldn`t be in the same room as us and all their fans stood outside and ignored us just because we were a christian band. As a christian I`ve seen the persecution we get for standing for what we believe in but if you`re an atheist, you`re standing for something you believe too so why can`t I ???
Kelly: We`re a christian band in the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives but we`re not preaching to anyone or trying to change people- it`s more a personal thing and the fact that we`re able to make a living in the mainstream market and have a career regardless of being christian means that we`re being accepted because we are a great band.
OneMetal: as we all saw tonight- thanks for a great show and on behalf of onemetal.com I`d like to wish you all the best for the rest of the tour and your continued success.
Kelly: Thank you very much- we`ll be back through for a handful of dates with Every Time I Die real soon so give us a call and we`ll hang out again.