Games Meet Metal: Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ As I Lay Dying's Phil Sgrosso!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Blast Beats and Boss Battles w/ As I Lay Dying's Phil Sgrosso!


(Well, the "Cool" Tour may be a horrible tour name, but cool things did happen there. The coolest of which was GMM's first ever sit-down interview! Yours personally got to torture  chat with AILD's Phil Sgrosso about a few nerdy things. This is kind of a short interview, since like I said, it was my first in-person deal. But Phil was mega-cool and patient as I fumbled with technology, aka my voice recorder. Okay, enough yapping. Onto talking!)

As I Lay Dying are knee deep in touring behind your new album The Powerless Rise. How’s the crowd been reacting to the new material?

The crowd's been great! We've been playing a few new songs this tour, and they've been very receptive. It's fun for us to play some new stuff too.

It's goota be, a few years on the road, get tired of the old stuff, and then "NEW STUFF YES!"

Oh yeah, new excitement.

IMG_0046-2 AILD is one of the few metal acts today to have two consecutive albums in the top 10, save for Lamb of God and Megadeth. How does it feel to be in that good of company and to have that much success in the face of sagging record sales?

I think it's incredible that we have that much of a dedicated fan base that is so excited to go pick up the record on the first week and give us those numbers. We're grateful that they're still supporting us.

It's good to hear people are still spending their money on physical music.

IMG_0071-2Yeah, because we're music fans as well, and when there's a record I'm really looking forward to getting, at the first hour it's available I'm at the record store getting a copy.

It’s all about the Cool Tour right now, and the tour itself has a very diverse line-up. Melodic with Underoath, progressive with Between the Buried and Me, and bludgeoning with The Acacia Strain. Did you guys have any say in the line-up, and what’s your opinion on the final set?

Well, basically, how this tour was created was there were a handful of bands that didn't have anything going on this summer and wanted to do something. So, we got to thinking about doing a summer headliner anyways, so it just kind of worked out. We approached a lot of these bands, and they said it was awesome. We've wanted to tour with Underoath and BTBAM for a few years now, and the opportunity for that to happen was great. Few years in the making, you know?

Oh, I think it's a great line-up right at the front there.

To end the night is very good. Plus, there's a group of up-and-coming bands to show some of our fans some upcoming stuff.

Was there any major personal decision from not joining with any of the major metal festivals this year? I.e. Mayhemfest, Warped Tour, Ozzfest’s short stint.

I think we wanted to keep it a little more low key this summer, since we took all last summer off to write our last record. Just too much of an overload of bands on those tours, and we wanted to get out and headline. I guess we wanted to take charge of what our production could be for a tour and it ended up working out. Those are some good festivals that we hope to do in the coming years, but this ear we wanted to do the Cool Tour.

IMG_9774-2For all the guitar tech guys out there, what kind of rig are you using on this tour?

I'm playing PRS guitars. I've got a few tour models and a few single cuts with my EMG pickups. I'm playing through EVH 5153 heads. Also got Max on pedal and Decimator noise suppressor system. G-Major guitar processor for all my effects, Voodoo Labs midi-pedal with looper. Avatar cabs, with 36-inch speakers. Yep, that's pretty much the whole set-up.

When we asked who were the biggest gamers on the tour, the finger was pointed straight at AILD. So, give us the scoop! Is it Guitar Hero jamborees every night, or does everyone just slink away with their DS’s?

It's funny, because I probably play the most games out of everyone in the band, but on tour it's kind of difficult to bring all that gear and it gets to be a big mess. It gets thrashed easily. No Xbox or anything, but I love Halo. I'll play Halo until I'm 50! For now, most of us find comfort in the games on our iPhones.

IMG_9843-2Honest Guitar Hero question. Being a guitarist yourself, do you find the idea of Guitar Hero and Rock Band insulting to real musicians, or a step up for younger players?

I think if you just view it as a game and nothing more then it's fine. It's not truly guitar related when it comes to playing. i think it's awesome that a lot of young kids are being shown these classic rock songs and classic metal songs, ya know? They're in the game for a reason. They're such a staple of what hard rock and metal's about. And kids are being introduced to it through this game. Hopefully, it inspires kids to pick up a real guitar and see what it's all about, but if not, they'll still get exposed to the greats.

Actually, they're gonna be doing a level up with the next installment of Rock Band. they're actually doing guitars with strings now.

Really? Maybe that will definitely push kids in the right direction to getting really involved with the guitar.

What’s the future of AILD after the Cool Tour? Europe perhaps?

We just got back from Europe five days before this tour started. we were over there for five weeks. We'll be heading back there in November, but before then we're gonna be doing another U.S. headliner that ib being put together at the current moment. There will be some bands on the bill that will be very guitar oriented which we're very excited about. I think fans of Guitar Hero will be very interested.

(If that next tour happens to be a new-age Gigantour, I will promptly crap myself. Big thanks to Phil for being a good sport! As I Lay Dying are still headlining the Cool Tour, so be sure to get a ticket or two. Also, their newest cd, the Powerless Rise, is totally worth your hard earned money. You can either pick it up at the the Metal Blade store, or click on the handy Amazon link below.)

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