Stick To Your Guns: Diamond
Stick To Your Guns, not only a motto everyone should live by but also the name of a band that has held down their place in the hardxcore and metal scene for years and have no end in sight. With a new album titled ‘Diamond’ that very well may top all their previous albums, I had to get the inside scoop on the band, touring and how their minds work.
HMTV: Jesse, it seems like now a days many bands not only evolve in their writing process/content but also tend to stray away whether intentional or not from their roots and original sound from album to album. You haven’t done that and your fans can always count on hearing the STYG’s sound they first fell in love with the bands first album. How do you manage to do that?
Jesse: Well, I believe that we have strayed unintentionally simply because when I started the band I was 15 years old. I’m 25 now. If I were doing the exact same thing I was 10 years ago then something would be very wrong. Maybe the best term would be not strayed, but grown. Our sound is a little different, and my vocal style is different. Fact of the matter is that when I was 15 I had no idea what I wanted from the band, but now I do. I went from being directionless to knowing what I wanted. One thing still remains the same- the passion I have for this music and its message. Maybe that’s what people can still relate to. I still believe in what we are doing, and I still want to do it. I think that it goes for everyone in the band. When a band is passionate -or not passionate- about what they are doing, it’s easily recognizable. You can’t fake the funk.
HMTV: “Bringing You Down (A New World Overthrow)” was a song said to be inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement which happened not so long ago, what is your take on that whole ordeal.
Josh: What was so amazing about the Occupy movement was seeing the level of American activism on such a large scale. I don’t feel like that’s typical for this generation. We usually complain about things but never get off our asses to do anything. The whole movement was inspiring to us because we saw so many young people getting involved. If you want change, if you’re tired of the way something is then make yourself heard. Even if in the end you don’t get the result you were trying for, you spoke up, and that creates a path for change in the future.
HMTV: Josh, if I’m correct, you’re a newer addition to the band. Care to give us a brief history on your upbringing and what led you to end up playing with these guys?
Josh: I was raised in a right wing, conservative, Christian household. At a very young age I discovered punk rock through a Misfits tape. The lyrics were frightening. The imagery was evil. It was everything I was told was wrong. I hid the tape from my parents for fear that it’d be chucked in the trash – it eventually was. I’d come home to find my tapes or CDs displayed on the kitchen table. My stepdad read the lyrics out loud, and then created a pile to be destroyed. It sucked…However, it did help me to be very clever with my hiding spots.
In my early teens, I started playing in punk bands with friends that I skateboarded with. When I was about 17, a few friends and I started Evergreen Terrace. I spent the next 12 years touring and managing Evergreen. During that time, I started and sang in Casey Jones- a Straight Edge punk-hardcore band. Chris (STYG guitar) and I have been friends since 2000 through touring. The rest of the guys I met around 2008 through STYG / ET tours.
In 2011, I got a call asking if I would be interested in playing with STYG. I knew I was moving away from Evergreen. Things weren’t working in the band, so that call was perfect timing. STYG’s songs and lyrical content blew me away, so I flew to the studio and officially joined the band. I couldn’t ask for a better group of friends to be in a band with. I’m very thankful to be part of this.
HMTV: Touring isn’t for everyone, I would know. How do you guys keep yourselves sane when spending 99% of the year in a van/bandwagon/bus?
Josh: After my first tour with STYG I realized that the atmosphere is somewhat like The Little Rascals or The Sandlot…always looking for adventure. Typical on-tour activities are movies and good food, Crossfit, comic book shops, record stores and self-serve Fro Yo. On the worst of days we just watch our merch guy, Drew, live regular life. He is a real version of Kramer from Seinfeld.
Jesse: Honestly it does get rough, but because I’ve been doing this from such a young age, my mind has become conditioned to it. I love being on the road. When I’m gone I miss my girlfriend, dogs, friends and family very, very, very much, but when I’m home for too long I start missing the road. I love playing shows and everything in between; late night drives, staying up all night with my dickhead friends talking about absolutely nothing. It’s everything I’ve always wanted from life. Also, everyone in this band is lucky to have amazingly strong, independent girlfriends who put up with this shit and who hold down the fort for us. They encourage us and never make us feel bad for doing what we love. That makes everything so much easier.
HMTV: It’s a touchy subject for everyone involved in the music industry but the passing of our good friend Mitch Lucker was something so unexpected I still can’t really believe it’s true. Your 3rd annual ‘Keeping Warm In A Cold World’ event is coming up and it’s said the proceeds will go to Kenadee Lucker’s Education Fund which has been set up for her by her mom Jolie Lucker and of course the Suicide Silence family which are in deep mourning at this time. Can you give us any more info behind this event and what it means to you guys as a whole band?
Jesse: “Keeping Warm in a Cold World” is a two-day event of shows that we have done every year for the last 3 years to raise money for various charities. Its success has always moved us. We try to give back to people who are trying to make the world a better place. It was a no-brainer to play in honor of Mitch and his family this year. You do what you can, and this is what we can do.
I have known Mitch for a very long time. I was there at the very beginning of Suicide Silence. When I started STYG, we played some shows with SS, and we all became very close because we really liked each other’s bands but also because we came from the same area. We recently toured with them, a tour that would be Mitch’s last. To be honest, because we hadn’t seen each other in so long I figured he wouldn’t really notice me. At the Anaheim show (All Stars Tour), a home show for the both of us, someone came up and hugged me from behind. I turned around to see Mitch. He told us how awesome it was going to be to tour together again. “Just like old times,” he said. I was shocked when I heard news of his death. I’m still shocked. So this year’s Keeping Warm event will be dedicated to him and his beautiful daughter. Mitch, you will be missed dearly. Rest in peace.
Infamous Tour dates that they are currently on with Motionless In White and Chelsea Grin:
11/28 Louisville, KY @ Vernon Club
11/29 Tulsa, OK @ Eclipse (STYG headliner)
11/30 Dallas, TX @ The Door
12/1 San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
12/2 Odessa, TX @ Dos Amigos
12/3 El Paso , TX @ The War Room (STYG headliner)
12/4 Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theatre
12/5 West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
12/6 Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse
12/7 San Diego, CA @ Soma
12/8 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
12/9 Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
12/11 Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
12/12 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
12/13 Chicago, IL @ The Bottom Lounge
12/14 Pittsburgh, PA @ The Ironworks
12/15 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
12/16 Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
INTERVIEW BY: Nadia Guardado