THE SKULL (US) The Line up Photo is by Ty Klingsick
Left to right : Jeff “Oly” Olson – drums/keys,Matt Goldsborough– guitar,Eric Wagner – vocals Ron Holzner – bass Lothar Keller – guitar
Stonerrock.gr: Hello guys and thanks for accepting the
interview. The name of the band (The Skull) from the classic Trouble album
refers to the classic doom metal days of the 80’s, is it an attempt or is it
random? I listened to o 'Sometime Yesterday Mourning' and it evokes a very
strong to early 90's (Trouble/Manic Frustration) period, and the "The Last
Judgment" has a classic metal vibe – Does The Skull have a certain direction
tag on the music? What can we expect from the new album? Billy Anderson
(High on Fire, and Sleep) is very famous to the stoner rock audience. Are
there any plans to debut a full length LP with him?
Ron Holzner: The name "The Skull" seemed very fitting for what we wanted to do. It is part of our history and now our future! We are who we are and what we are! We are musically in the same mind frame as the 80's, but with more miles and experience. The new record will feature a bit of everything from our collective minds and adventures, as well as cover a lot of musical diversity! We had fun with Billy on the two new songs, but I think we will produce the full-length record ourselves.
Stonerrock.gr: Tee Pee Records is a traditional stoner rock label - It seems that the stoner & doom genres are very close... many audiences listen to the same 'shit' & do not categorize. Is there an idea to deal with this company for the 7" inch? Just a notice: Here in Greece, Trouble is most known in metal heads than stoners. Church of Misery from Japan has a main inspirations/themes the serial killers (they have a cover of 'Come touch the Sky' from 1999) Is there any source of inspiration books/movies or other?
Ron Holzner: Its all heavy Rock and Roll to me. Tee Pee Records is an old fashion family vibe that we like and share within The Skull. This is the main reason for working with them. We actually have not got the Ok for a 7" vinyl as of yet, but I think it will happen. We plan on releasing much more than just the two-song single (white vinyl 45 replica CD) on Tee Pee… I love Church of Misery. They are good friends of mine.
Stonerrock.gr: Let's talk about Doom history! Some said Blue Cheer is “the first to claim heavy sounds…” some others say Black Sabbath… Wino said Bobby Liebling from Pentagram during the 70's, and other opinions. In this case will help your influences (each members, & including Trouble years) as U.S. Doom most important bands along with Saint Vitus, the year of doom music… we are interested to know about your thoughts.
Ron Holzner: The Who "Live at Leeds" (crazy heavy and wild), Zeppelin, Hendrix, and Steppenwolf. I was inspired by Sabbath and Grand Funk, but never really listened to Blue Cheer. To me, heavy is more than volume, noise and intensity. It’s about the words and music. I do love loud guitars and bass though…Grand Funk Live will kick your ass. Black Sabbath "Into The Void," and Pentagram delivers the goods as well. The "important" bands, Trouble, Vitus, and Pentagram were not Doom bands when we were doing what we do… We just got labeled that later.
Jeff “Oly” Olson: I like Duke Ellington's Blues from the 40's, songs like Dead Man's Curve from the 50's (co- written by one of the promoters of the infamous Woodstock Festival). From the 60's and 70's I like Black Sabbath, Lucifer's Friend, Night Sun, and Bloodrock. In the eighties when we formed Trouble, a lot of us liked Angel Witch (who were a big influence). There were some bands forming at the same time as Trouble like Death Row/Pentagram, Saint Vitus, and The Obsessed... they were cool.
Eric Wagner : I think the first doom-sounding album was Iron Butterfly’s first album, “Heavy”… especially the song “Iron Butterfly Theme.” If Sabbath was not listening to that then I don’t know what they were listening to.
Matt Goldsborough: I always think of Sabbath's “Master of Reality” when people talk about doom-metal. Every record I've ever heard that someone told me was doom-metal sounded to me like whoever made it really loved that Sabbath album. The guitar sounds, the tempos, the down tuning... I really think the "doom" version of heavy metal started there. Heavy metal in general, I think, started with Pete Townshend on "Live at Leeds." In “Young Man Blues” there's a part where he plays what I imagine must have been, up to that point, the heaviest guitar riff ever played. Its raunchy as he'll and just ferocious. It's either that or the outro baseline on “She's So Heavy” by the Beatles from the Abbey Road album.
Stonerrock.gr: This goes only to Eric Wagner.... at 90's and 00's there are
so many vocalists that channel Sabbath's Ozzy voice. For example, Steve
Hennessey from Sheavy has a great voice but maybe dramatically overdo it. Is
there a singer with a unique voice that you have heard lately?
Eric Wagner : Honestly I have no idea, as I’m so busy writing my own music.
Stonerrock.gr: We read in the press release about: 'The Wings of Metal Festival' and the old material that will be performed. Is there any chance for new songs?
Ron Holzner: We will be playing a lot of songs at this show besides the whole Psalm 9 record. We plan on trying to play at least one song off every Trouble record. We would like to play the new singles "Sometime Yesterday Mourning" and "The Last Judgment," as well as slip a brand new one in since our new record will be recorded by then. It will be a special night!
Stonerrock.gr: There are some big festival events here in Europe like Desert Fest and Hand Of Doom - any plans for The Skull here after the album?
Ron Holzner: We were hoping for those festivals in Europe this year, but finishing our new record is the number one priority right now. I believe most festivals will want us after hearing the new record, and we will play many of them in 2015. However, things might change for 2014 so we just might play some festivals this fall.
Stonerrock.gr: What are your latest 'loved' albums played on your turntable or CD player?
Ron Holzner: Grand Funk Railroad "Closer to Home" and Black Sabbath "Technical Ecstasy."
Jeff “Oly” Olson: Spirit, Bloodrock, Alice Cooper, and Lucifer’s Friend.
Matt Goldsborough: As far as the latest music on my turntable that I've been really into... I have to say ZZ Topp's “Tres Hombres” has been getting played a lot over at my place. I also just picked up a bunch of great vinyl at a record store in Philly that was closing down. I have live albums from both Blue Oyster Cult & Deep Purple that have really been blowing my mind. My respect for Ritchie Blackmore as a guitar player has just gone through the roof. There's no one out there that plays like that guy at all. I picked up some old 70’s Aerosmith albums that I've been listening to constantly. Their first album in particular is, to me, just damn near perfect. Some newer shit I've been listening to is the new Earthless album & a band I just discovered called Black Angels (they're from Texas I think). Both bands have a killer almost psychedelic sound, but they're super heavy. The guitar player from Earthless is a real wizard.
Stonerrock.gr: Do you know PŸLON - 'the harrowing of hell' a European epic Christian doom band that was influenced by Trouble… recommend to us!
Ron Holzner: No, I will listen one day.
Stonerrock.gr: How do you see the stoner music style trendyness in the worldwide, from the eye of a Doomer?
Ron Holzner: Doom and heavy music is more popular than ever right now for some reason. You got to hand it to the new people, young and old, hearing it for the first time digging it, and for the dedicated base of doomer’s never letting go of it! Thank you all!
Jeff “Oly” Olson: You have superstars like Queens of The Stone Age and then you have the underdogs… lots of bands trying to make it. Then you have the oldies, like our band, St. Vitus, The Obsessed, and Pentagram. What’s cool is that people can see all of these bands at new festivals celebrating doom and stoner rock like The Days of The Doom Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and The Fall into Darkness Festival in Portland, Oregon.
Stonerrock.gr: Best doom metal bands overseas?
Ron Holzner: Black Sabbath… need I say more!
Matt Goldsborough: As far as overseas metal, I've been really into In-Solitude's latest album, as well as the latest record from Kadavar. The latter band in particular really blows me away… they're a power trio, you know? I have a lot of respect for any band that can make that much noise with only three instruments. I had the opportunity to meet both bands the last time I was overseas and both aren't just incredible musically, but they're also just really solid guys. It might sound weird, but it always makes me feel better about liking a record when I find out the guys who made it are good people.
Stonerrock.gr: Thanks all the members for be part of this interview . Doom Salutes Overseas, i have to say to Matt :check Year of Goat from Sweden they rock.Special thanks to Leigh Olson you are great!.
bio:Leight Olson have a roster and managed a bands include: The Skull ,Retro Grave ,Heady Metal with Jeff Olson (podcast), Las Cruces ,Victor Griffin