I recently had the chance to sit down with Brock Lindow, vocalist for 36 Crazyfists when they made a stop at The Filmore Silver Spring while out supporting their latest release “Time and Trauma”.
Shockwave Magazine: You’re currently out on tour with In This Moment. How is the tour going?
Brock Lindow: It’s been good man, it’s been good. The crowds have been great. Every night a large majority of the people have never heard of the band, and that’s all the more reason to do it. Our band has been together for a long time. We haven’t had the opportunity to get in front of these crowds that are maybe just not underground music listeners, where I feel we have resided for a long time. It’s great to be in front of those kinds of people that are largely still buying records — you know the active rock radio crowd. So this year we’ve had the opportunity to go out on the road with Nonpoint, Five Finger Death Punch, and now In This Moment who are all active rock radio bands. I don’t know if it will ever translate over to what we’re doing, but I think the opportunity has been great, and it’s nice to get them at this stage in the game for us. So, it’s been great, and In This Moment are great friends of ours, and it’s nice to see their success as well.
I had a chance to catch the show in Richmond this past Saturday and the crowd was really into you guys.
Yeah, the Richmond show that you remind me of — there were awesome people at that show. Some of the markets have our people and some of them don’t and that’s great. So either way — even when we don’t we feel like by the end of the set, based on the CD sales, we’ve gotten more fans [it’s] because most of our fans already have our albums. So when we’re selling records at the live show that means to me that they thought we were decent enough to want to go check it out more. So it’s a win-win for us and we’re happy to be out.
You mentioned being around for a long time. I don’t think people realize you have been together as a band now for 20 years. How have you seen the scene change over that time?
Well, I think that the people — it’s kind of funny — I was talking about this the other night with my guitar player. Back in the early days we went out with strictly metal and hardcore bands, and this year getting to go out with the radio bands, we feel the worlds collide better now than they used to. Now you can see Hatebreed out with Black Label Society; those are pretty different worlds. That’s a great rock band and a great hardcore band that’s got a lot of metal influences. Back in the day those things didn’t really exist together. So I think you’ve seen that change; things have opened the listeners ears, and they like more than just one dimension of music, so that’s a big difference. The other thing is, the live show is always going to be needed as far as how the record sales have declined so much. And so it’s really hard to do this still, but people really want to still come and see that live show. So that’s one thing that hasn’t changed, thankfully, because when that goes away everyone is in trouble. So I think a band like us kind of tiptoes in a few different genres, and it’s nice to see that you can do that easier now than you used to be able to.
You guys have had some lineup changes over the years, but what does it take for a band to last 20 years these days?
Man, you know the thing is, I think it’s so hard these days, even if you’re an up and coming band to just get signed, because labels just don’t have the resources that they used to have because of the lack of sales. So unfortunately it’s a lot harder. I think it takes having another job more than anything, because if you’re a new band and only getting paid $150 a night, that really isn’t getting you from point A to point B, especially when you have a break down or whatever it is. So you have to really have a label that’s willing to help when you do get in that situation, and everybody else has to save their money if you’re really trying to do it. Luckily we’re no spring chickens so we have a couple other eggs in the basket, and we didn’t throw them all in one basket. Well, we actually did in the beginning, but you know as you get older and you have families you have to be able to make it. Obviously our guarantees are a lot better than they used to be as well. Bands that are starting out, its difficult, so I think you really do as much as you can by yourself. The DIY is more prevalent now than ever. I think it’s just more a punk rock ethic of wanting to be that, but now it’s a necessity. You can’t have overhead that is so over your head. You can’t have seven guys on your staff. I’m the tour manager for my band. I do all the press. You have to be multi-faceted; that’s the most important thing. I think you just have to be able to grind and work. It’s still doable, it’s just more difficult.
Do you think it was harder for you as a metal band coming from Anchorage versus another city?
I don’t know. It’s hard to gauge against someone else’s scene, but I know where we’re at is about as isolated as it gets. It’s not on the touring map so there’s not people coming thru a lot. When I was growing up, to open for or to get exposure — there’s no labels coming to check it out. Ultimately we got discovered in Portland opening for a band called Skinlab, so I think Alaska is one of the harder places in the world to get noticed. It’s just isolated. There’s a lot of isolated places in the country and I’m sure it’s just as hard there as well.
So how do you feel about the online music sites where you can stream music for free or for a monthly fee? Do you think these sites help or hurt bands?
The whole streaming thing is a bit confusing to me. I’m not sure where that money is going. I mean I don’t know. It definitely doesn’t hurt the band as far as exposure goes. Bands have never really made money off of CD sales. Bands that are selling 500 thousand records are making money, but bands that are doing what we’re doing — I don’t really see the effects either way on that. You take a song like “Happy” that had close to 100 million hits, and I think he got paid a couple grand. So you can imagine what the bands below that are making, so it’s not a lot. Maybe somebody is. I don’t know, but it’s confusing to me with the streaming part. I think if you sold more records than we do then you would be more apt to find out where the money is going. But we just kind of know. We get an advance from our label, and we do a record, and we get our chunk. And if you don’t recoup, which you hardly ever do — and that’s their gamble so that’s kind of the way it goes. Those sites are cool. I mean I listen to them too. Spotify and Pandora — the premium is pretty cheap and you can listen to a lot of really cool music. So I would say it’s a really cool technology, but I really just don’t understand that well as far as where it’s all going and who’s getting paid for it. Are they paying the record companies? I mean it’s just all a little confusing.
Speaking of albums, you released a new album in February titled “Time and Trauma.” You guys have been playing some new tracks off of it in your current set. Tell me a little about the album.
The album was written in 2012 and 2014. We had a five year break between our last album. Lyrically the album is about the passing of my mom. That was about a three year process learning about loss and managing loss and trying to find positive in loss as well as dealing with loss at the same time. It was kind of a journey. Unfortunately we all have to go thru it and that made that album very important to me lyrically especially. At the same time my mom passed, our bass player Mick’s mother passed so it was kind of just a whole life dealing time. Once the dust settled, we finally got a chance to get on Spinefarm and have the record come out. It’s been the best charting album for us so far. Our fans were really patient and we’re super grateful for it. It’s been a really positive thing that came from a very negative thing in my life, which is really nice. At almost 21 years out, getting the opportunity — we got with a new label, a new manager and a new booking agent along with the new album. I can only take positives from it. It’s cool to find the light in the dark, and it’s been really fulfilling for me.
So what do you guys have set for the rest of 2015?
After this tour we will take our first break in seven months. We are going to go to South Africa for the first time. We’re headlining a festival over there which is cool and crazy. Then we’re going to start writing the new album. We’ve started a little bit, at least the mindset of it. Early January we go to Europe, then tour the states again in the spring, then finish the album. After that, maybe tour Europe again, hit the summer festivals, and hopefully have a new album out late next year.
Sounds great. I want to thank you for the time to sit down and talk with us.
Thank you for the coverage.