Metal hails Jeff! How is life been treating
you lately? Please introduce yourself to the readers of Canadian Assault.
I'm Jeff, the bassist/vocalist/mastermind of
Birth A.D. I am 6'1”, and I have a hell of a jawline. I am doing well, and
so is our new album, “I Blame You”!
At what age did you first discover the
aggressive and violent sounds of metal? Who
were some of the early bands you listened to? Who are some of your current
I was familiar with stuff like early Motley
Crue, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, and the like as early as age 9, but I
didn't start actually embracing it of my own volition until about age 11. I
heard a bunch of things at once, including Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer,
Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, and of course DRI and SOD. I'm still heavy on the
Slayer, SOD, DRI, and Nuclear Assault, and I like a ton of death metal both
old and new. As for new stuff I'd like to mention three death metal bands -
Imprecation, who are a long-standing Texas band but have a killer new album,
Venenum from Germany, and Chthe'ilist from Quebec, who are very new and have
a great demo that everyone should look up. Immolation is always a winner for
me, and I like their new album as well. As you may have noticed, I'm mostly
locked into current death metal and old thrash, as the new crop of thrash
doesn't do much for me overall. I'm still waiting to be impressed by
When did you and the other members of Birth
A.D meet? How did you guys come up with name of the band?
We've known each other a long time, since
1995. Mark and Brian had a death metal band called Death of Millions for
years, and Mark started playing drums for my previous band in 2000, so we're
all well-acquainted. I came up with the name since my first-ever band was a
crossover thrash band called Afterbirth and I wanted something to point back
to my origins. It was a multi-layered reference to the band's rebirth and a
homage to the Misfits' “Earth A.D.” album, which was also an inspiration.
What is the current line up? For the
readers who have never heard Birth A.D's music how would you best describe
It's still me, Brian on guitars, and Mark on
drums. Mark has to stay closer to home these days now that he has a family,
so we also have the awesome Mike Vega of Dr. Know and Battalion of Saints on
tap as a session player. As for how it sounds, it is the sound of a
blood-boiling tirade and the urge to kill compressed into millions of ones
and zeros. Past that, it's crossover thrash, and if you don't what that is,
then get on that Google, kiddos!
Birth A.D. recently released the debut cd "I
Blame You" through Unspeakable Axe Rec. How did you guys come in contact
with the label?
I wasn't happy with the handful of offers
we'd gotten, they were either unfair or didn't really provide for anything
we couldn't do ourselves. I kept pestering Matt to work with us since I knew
him to be honest, reliable, and supportive of his bands. He finally had room
for us, and on top of it he was hatching a sub-label called Unspeakable Axe
and wanted us to be the debut release. So it was perfect timing in the end.
How long did it take to write and record the
songs for this release? How has the response been from the press and the
Even though there was a three-year gap
between the EP and recording the full-length, it didn't take long, maybe six
months of actual planning. I included all the songs we already had and then
wrote new ones as we went. I'm always writing songs, though some of them sit
for a bit until I'm satisfied with them. I find it's actually harder to
write a short song than a long one, because you have to be judicious with
the edits and can't just include everything that occurs to you. The response
to the album has been incredible so far, even better than I hoped. The great
part is that everyone seems to respond to it as intended. There's no
misunderstanding as to what it's for, and nobody is taking it the wrong way,
which is something of a surprise considering how many people seem to walk
around just waiting to be offended. Anyway, the fan reaction has been
excellent and we've yet to get anything close to a bad review, so I'm very
Does the band have any upcoming shows or
tours in support of I Blame You? Who are some bands you guys will be playing
/ touring with?
Actually, we don't have any shows coming up,
and we need to fix that! It's kind of hard to get it going since our regular
drummer is sidelined. I want to do a tour for the album by year's end. I
prefer to come around when people have had a chance to get the album and
learn the songs. It's more fun to have everyone chanting along.
If you could set up a "dream" show / tour
who are some bands you would love tour/play with?
I'd love to play with the
Cro-Mags (their current iteration still kicks ass, regardless of the scene
DRI (we did this before, but I'd like a rematch), Nuclear Assault, or Slayer
(with a still-living Jeff Hanneman, of course). We'll play with just about
anyone though. This band is very modular and pretty much we go in with the
idea of being a hard act to follow regardless of who's on the bill.
your opinion what does the term "underground metal" mean to you?
In simple terms, it's music made by fans,
for fans. There are so many legacy bands out there who clearly
continue in the name of making a living (Deicide, Kreator), but the
underground is fueled by the raw desire to create and share. Money is rarely
an object, and most of the bands actually operate at a loss. Some bands will
drive hours to play some weird little town and get paid with a pizza, but
they do it because they love the whole process. A lot of people would look
at that and think it was crazy, but to me that's what the underground is all
about – anytime, anywhere, as they say.
I have read / heard
some people say over the last few years the underground metal scene is
dying or dead. Do you agree with this
or maybe just changing with the times?
I was just going over a stack of borrowed
fanzines from 1984, and bands were saying the same thing back then! The
ancient Greeks also used to lament that the next generation was going to be
the death of organized society, so I think that's a cyclical perception. Is
the underground as strong as it was 20 years ago? No fucking way. However, I
do thing it's doing better than it was about 15 years ago. That was a cold
winter for metal! It's much healthier now
overall, though. The Europeans are back to taking their death metal
seriously (though they're already about to glut the market again), and there
are a lot of worthy reactivations among older bands. I'm actually a fan of
that if it's done right, because so what if a band has been gone for over a
decade? If they have something new and worthwhile to say, I want to hear
from them! Then again, I don't want them to overstay their welcome, either.
That's pretty tedious as well. So yes, it's all a cycle of peaks and
valleys, but then again I don't get the feeling we've got anyone who is
going to replace Dio or Jeff Hanneman, which is a bit of a worry.
Birth A.D comes out the great state
of Texas, so I was wondering what is your opinion of the underground metal
scene in Texas?
It is a scene with a proud history for sure,
even if some of the bands didn't get as big as they deserved. Nevertheless,
we are resilient and dedicated, and we seem to garner respect across the
globe. I've always liked being part of the “third coast” in that regard,
along with the culture that goes with it. I've seen some beat-ass places in
America where nothing is going on, which makes me additionally grateful that
Who are some of your all-time favorite Texas
bands? Are their any new bands from Texas you think the readers should watch
That's a big list, actually, but Absu,
Imprecation, Necrovore, Rigor Mortis, Fearless Iranians from Hell, DRI (yes,
they were a Texas band), and Dead Horse are among the all-time greats. As
for newer entries, I highly recommend Hod, Morgengrau, War Master, and
Coming back to the band you handle the
vocals for the group, when did you become interested in singing? Who are
some of your influences/favorite vocalists? Is there anything special you do
to keep your throat/voice healthy while recording or when preparing for a
I actually did it in earnest for the first
time when I formed Birth A.D. Before that, it was just a few attempts here
and there. It took me a bit to grind my voice in the way I wanted it, but
now I think it gets the point across quite well. Most of my influences are
from the bands I already mentioned, but Tom Araya, Tom G Warrior, Kurt
Brecht of DRI, and Billy Milano of SOD are big ones for me. A lot of people
say I sound a lot like Kyle Toucher of Dr. Know, which is a worthy
comparison as well. I'm not trying to imitate anyone, though. What you hear
is just my voice without any kind of affect, which is the whole idea since
it's my ideas and views being expressed.
When not working on new music or band business
what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Any hobbies?
I like classic video games and watching lots
of European films, indie films, and documentaries. Lately I've been doing a
little work as an extra for big-budget films, and I'll occasionally do some
graphic design for someone else when I feel inspired. I also do the normal
crap like read and hang out with my cat, but doesn't everyone?
Well Jeff we have reached
the end of the interview. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this
interview with me do you have any final comments for the readers?
Hipsters are the new posers, and they must die. Purge them from the scene!
No tolerance for band wimp-outs, either! Buy our album and cause problems!