Founded by The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s frontman Greg Puciato and the legendary Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura), the band also features Troy Sanders from Mastodon and ex-The Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch.
Thanks to our good friend John Howarth from Bullett Proof and to Soundwave touring, we had the chance to speak with frontman Greg Puciato, in order to find out more about the band’s preparation for their live debut next year at Soundwave. We also asked him about working with Max Cavalera, mosh-pits, his iconic “number two” incident, as well as some hilarious and controversial words dedicated to one particular band included on the Soundwave bill, and much more!
SR. SR. How did this idea of creating a heavy metal super group with Max Cavalera begin?
GP. Well I had known Max for a while and I did some vocals on one of his records back in 2009. We had such a good time doing it, we got along so well. We have similar reference points in terms of metal, hard-core and punk, so we started kicking around with the idea of ‘hey, let’s do a whole record together’. Plenty of people do collaborations together but they only do it for one song, they don’t do it for a whole album. You don’t really see that, so we thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if we did a whole album together.
“…playing Killer Be Killed songs is going to be a
completely different thing. None of us have ever done it before, so it’s really exciting.”
After a couple of years of getting together whenever we could, I was on tour with Troy (Sanders) at the time and he asked about my project with Max, because he had heard about it. He asked ‘Well, who is on bass?’ I said I didn’t know and he responded ‘I’m your f*cking guy!’ so I said that if he wanted, then obviously he was welcome to do that. So that’s how he came on board.
SR. How did you convince Dave Elitch to join the band too?
GP. I have known Dave for a couple of years as well. He actually tried out for Dillinger in between Gil and Billy, he was in the running. He was one of the few people that we actually got in a room with to try out, so I knew that he had the ability to play whatever we threw at him.
He lived nearby as well, so it was really natural and we were hanging out. It was really simple, just saying to him: ‘Hey man, this is happening. Do you want to play drums on it?’ And that was all, really smooth.
SR. As a lead singer, how different for you is to play Killer Be Killed songs as opposed to Dillinger songs?
GP. Well these shows will be kind of like our first shows, so its really exciting for me because it is completely out of my comfort zone. We’ve probably played like two thousand Dillinger shows and if you give me a microphone I could play a fucking show right now like it’s no problem. But playing Killer Be Killed songs is going to be a completely different thing. None of us have ever done it before, so it’s really exciting.
In the studio it was really interesting and fun to not be the only person singing. It was really cool to see what someone else could do vocally that you wouldn’t have thought of, like if I gave Troy a riff or if Max gave Troy a riff or if I gave Max a riff. It was really interesting to see what they came up with as far as vocal phrasing goes; because usually it was completely different to what I would have thought of.
“…Plenty of people do collaborations together but they only do it for one song, they don’t do it for a whole album.”
I think we all really learnt a lot and grew a lot as vocalists from being in the same room together and having so many ideas. It’s also easier for me to listen to the record because I’m not singing all the time. So I’m not criticizing myself the whole time. It’s more enjoyable for me because I get to listen to somebody else.
SR. Will Killer Be Killed be a long-term project? Are you planning to release more albums?
GP. Yes, we a probably going to do some more stuff. We are already talking about it. We are going to try to get together shortly after Soundwave and start writing for the next album. It takes a long time because our schedules are so different and we don’t really share files via email or anything like that.
So, everything that we write, we write organically in a room together so it’s really hard for us to find time when we are all free. But I think 2015 is looking like we are going to have some time where we are all available, so I think we are going to try get as much written as we possibly can, shortly after Soundwave.
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SR. Well, obviously we want to know how you guys are preparing for playing Soundwave. For you it is not really a new scenario, as you played it before with Dillinger?
GP. We probably going to spend a lot of January and February together playing these songs and getting a feel of what we can do differently live. We might even try some new stuff, that isn’t even on the record to try play at Soundwave.
“…it’s exciting for us because we have all had so much love from Australian fans in our other bands so it feels right to play the first shows that we are going to play, in Australia.”
We are all pretty excited about it. Since we wrote the record we had all been trying to find the right time that we can all book some shows and we didn’t know when that could be. We made it all the way through 2014 and we couldn’t find any time this year to get together and play some shows. So, when we saw all of us had Febuary and March open, we were like ‘Hey everyone, don’t book anything during that time and lets finally play someKiller Be Killed shows’.
As soon as we put the word out that we were looking to play, Soundwave was like ‘Hey, we would love for you guys to play’. It was kind of a no-brainer really, we had all played it before, so it was a really easy decision to make. So it’s exciting for us because we have all had so much love from Australian fans in our other bands so it feels right to play the first shows that we are going to play, in Australia.
SR. The album is an absolute hit here. I am curious to know why you included the song Ghosts Of Chernobyl as a bonus on the vinyl release only?
GP. Truthfully, I didn’t think it was that good of a song. It’s really that simple. You know when we listened to the record I was trying to figure out where to put that song on the record. To me, if you listen to the whole record from front to back, you don’t need to add anything.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing a band I have never seen before and just being surprised and becoming a fan of somebody new.”
When you listen to a record from front to back it should feel a certain way, and the energy should flow a certain way. There was no place where I could put that song where I felt like it made sense to me. Just because you recorded something doesn’t mean that it has to go onto the album. So when we took the song out the album made a lot more sense.
SR. Going back to Soundwave, you are well known for being one of the bravest singers out there, someone who likes to jump into the mosh and scream to the crowd…
GP. I don’t know what you are talking about. I have no clue what you are talking about. (laughs)…I’ve never done that (laughs)… I’m joking man, I’m just joking! (laughs)
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SR. (Laughs) How important is that crowd interaction for you?
GP. It’s so important man, I don’t know any other way. I don’t even think about it. I understand punk rock and hardcore more than I understand metal as far as crowd and energy go. When Dillinger started playing, we didn’t have a booking agent or any big tours on real stages and real venues. So, the way we got big was by starting with playing these real small places where you are like standing on the floor and the crowd is only a couple of inches in front of you. That energy is something special, and once you get a taste of it, it’s really hard to get away from that.
I identify with punk rock more than I identify with heavy metal singers, so I far like that energy is something that really comes naturally to me and I don’t really know any other way.
SR. Following on that, generally speaking, what can fans expect from your Soundwave 2015 set?
GP. Absolute fucking chaos! (laughs)
This is the first time we are ever going to play, so we are all going to be very excited. We’ll probably explode the second we walk on stage, just because we are going to be so fucking excited. It’s going to be so different than all the other times.
We’ve been to Australia probably seven or eight times with Dillinger, so that feeling of being able to do something for the very first time is going to amazing, we may spontaneously combust!
SR. Who are your favourite acts on the Soundwave line-up, that you’d personally like to see live?
GP. A lot of the bands that are playing we have seen a lot but we don’t know what day we are going to be on yet. They haven’t told us yet but I’m crossing my fingers that we can see a lot of bands. It’s a bit of a bummer that we can’t probably see everybody.
“Judas Priest are fucking legends of metal, they are one of the greatest metal bands of all time”
Dillinger just got off tour in the US with Soundgarden, and it was really good to see them every night. Faith No More is obviously really cool to see. So the idea of possibly seeing Soundgarden and Faith No More back to back, is fucking crazy. So, that would be the obvious answer that everyone gives, but it’s pretty exciting. I’m also looking forward to seeing a band that I have never seen before and just being surprised and becoming a fan of somebody new.
SR. There are a lot of metal fans complaining that Fall Out Boy are playing the festival, and they are even in a higher spot than Judas Priest on the poster – what’s your opinion on that?
GP. I didn’t even know that Fall Out Boy was playing. That’s a bit weird. I mean, I hate that kind of shit. I personally think that’s disgusting. I think that Judas Priest are fucking legends of metal and that they are one of the greatest metal bands of all time, so it’s a little bit disgraceful.
I don’t think there is any reason to have a band like that. When you have a band like that on such a festival it is a really slippery slope. Once you put a Fall Out Boy on there it becomes one step closer to becoming a pop festival. Adding those kinds of bands is an obvious strategy to sell tickets.
Honestly, they probably shouldn’t even be playing, but you know what happens… a band gets on a festival and they find out where they are playing or they make a big thing about how high they want to be on the bill, but there is a lot of politics involved when there are bands that size, because their egos get hurt. They want to be as a high as they can be on the bill. I mean, its fucking Judas Priest man! it’s like fucking almost Black Sabbath. They are metal royalty. So that is a little bit sad for me to hear.
SR. You want us to keep this answer off the record?
GP. Nah!, feel free to post everything I just said. I don’t give the shit. (Laughs)
SR. Do you have any funny or weird stories that involve a fan while on tour that you could share with us?
GP. I always get ambushed with these types of questions and I never have an answer ready for this, because there is so much weird shit that happens that you can’t ever really remember any.
Sometimes people ask you to write something on them because they are going to get it tattooed on them later, and they just want you to write something really fucking ridiculous on them. But there is nothing else I can think of from the top of my head that is really that funny. I mean all our fans are really cool. I think we’ve got a cooler fan base. Every fan that we have met of ours has been pretty fucking cool. I have never really met anyone that I was like ‘wow, they were fucking weird’ or anything like that. Everyone has just been super cool, so I don’t really have that many funny stories, well at least nothing compared with a certain show in UK some years ago (Laughs).
SR. So, you are not planning on taking a dump on stage anymore? (laughs). We assume you get asked about that a lot?
GP. (laughs) Yes, and people always ask you as though you don’t remember, they will ask me if I remember the time I took a shit on stage…Of course I remember that time!
Maybe I’m just going to throw my own shit at Fall Out Boy during their set and leave, so I can have some new stories to tell! (laughs)
SR. Lastly, do you have a message for your Australian fans ahead of Soundwave?
GP. Man, we are fucking excited! We have been looking forward to it since the very first time that we ever came to Australia, we didn’t know what to expect when Dillinger came for the very first time.
That was so far for us to go and we were scared that we were going to get there and no one was going to care and we funded it with our own fucking credit cards and shit like that – so if we would have gone down there and nobody cared about us we would have probably still been paying for it. So, the fact that the very first time we came, people were receptive to us made us all really love Australia so much. So I cannot be thankful enough for how fucking rad all of you are. We are stoked to get there and we are going to fuck shit up when we get there and we can’t wait to see everybody.
Killer Be Killed Performing at Soundwave 2015
SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY, 2015
BONYTHON PARK, ADELAIDE
SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY, 2015
FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 1 MARCH, 2015
OLYMPIC PARK, SYDNEY
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY & SUNDAY 1 MARCH, 2015
BRISBANE SHOWGROUNDS, BRISBANE
For tickets and more information head to: