Careless to me seem more like the name of a punk band than a metal one. What significance has the name for you guys?
-Well for me, the name represents an attitude of not giving a shit as to what current musical trends are or not having to worry about getting my teeth capped for our next video. Basically, it’s about keeping it real and playing music that you believe in, with all of your flaws, come what may. I guess in spirit you could look at it as kind of punk although the music is certainly not punk
Trends usually do suck but how do you feel about this new resurgence of classic heavy metal that we now see, with a handful of Swedish bands leading on?
-I think it’s great that what we are doing is sort of coming back. The music that we play will really resonate with someone who came of age in the late seventies or eighties. I was listening to Led Zep the other day, “How The West was Won”. What a monstrous rock n roll band! I don’t think there are a lot of groups that are playing at that level anymore. Being influenced by bands like that can only be a good thing.
Do you pull a big following playing the kind of metal you play? Do notice an increase in interest every time you play live or get mentioned in the press?
-Since we’ve released “Coalition”, we have been steadily gaining momentum as far as building awareness of the band. Walt has been written up in Guitar Player magazine a couple of times. James is probably the most well known of the three of us for his stint with Dirty Looks. They had a record deal with Atlantic a few years back. Since he is located on the west coast and Walt and I are on the east coast there are some logistical challenges to touring but if there were sufficient demand, it is something we would look in to.
How hard is it to be true to yourself and not succumb to outside pressure to change in order to get gigs and radio play?
-I don’t know. For me, you have to do something that you really believe in or you are doomed, especially with all of the work that we have to put in to bring an album like “Coalition” from concept to finished product. It’s a lot of work. If you don’t love what you do, you might as well not even bother. You need the strength of your convictions and belief in the validity of what you are doing. If you produce really good music, a lot of the other stuff will happen.
I guess that for every band being seen and noticed is A and O to being in a band. How do you best go about getting the biggest publicity?
-Initially, we did all of the PR work ourselves, which was a real education. It’s really hard doing the music, the business stuff, and all of the promotional things at the same time. Recently we’ve been able to hire a professional firm to handle that area which has been working out very well.
In releasing an album on your own you have to do most of the job yourself. What rewards are there in doing it on your own and what drawbacks are the hardest/biggest to deal with?
-Again, when you are an independent band, each guy wears a lot of hats. Each member of the group has their own sub-set of skills that they bring in. James is a great sound engineer, so he was instrumental in the recording of the album. Walt comes from a marketing background, so he kind of oversaw a lot of that stuff. I come from a business background, so I got a lot of that stuff together. Besides playing in the band, you have all these little side jobs that you need to get done as well, so it’s a lot of work. The reward is, you get the music out there, which is what it’s all about. Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you create this great painting and don’t share it with anyone, it serves no purpose. Unless people can experience your music, it is really of limited use. The whole point is to communicate with someone. If the music isn’t out there, it’s kind of like sonic masturbation.
How pleased are you with your album? Can you let go of it now that it is out and let it become an entity all its own?
-Yes, I can let it go. With any recording, all you can do is put your best in to it. Out of all of the recordings I’ve done, this is definitely the best playing that’s ever been captured on tape for me.
When you do the album by yourself how much research do you have to do in order to find the best/most valuable result?
-When you are doing an independent album, there is no shortage of work to go around. In essence, if something needs to be done, someone in the band has got to either do it or delegate it out and make sure it gets done properly. Really, we all put our heads together to try and solve problems and we all discuss the most efficient and economical way to do things.
As a small band, with no financial backing and with little or no touring experience what chance do you stand against those backed by the big buck?
-Well for an independent band, these are challenging times. The primary problem is people don’t seem willing to pay for music anymore. Plus, since we released our cd, there have been well over 30 webites posting our music to file hosting sites where you can download it for free I think that with all of this digital proliferation of music, somewhere along the line it got devalued. The dagger of the digital revolution has cut two ways. Yes, it’s great that anybody can release a record and through the wonders of the internet, have the capacity to reach what is literally a worldwide audience. What’s more amazing is that even with all of that exposure and a whole bunch of reviews which are generally very good, you still can’t recoup your expenses, let alone turn a profit, so it’s tough. The members of Careless write and perform music as a labor of love, so to speak. This whole “freemium” marketing model which is currently in vogue is the exact opposite of what people that grew up buying albums and such in the eighties were used to. I guess it’s like Mr. Dylan says, the times they are a changin. We, and every other recording artist out there, need to figure out a way to monetize our work. As much as we love doing it, you can’t continually operate at a loss no matter how much you enjoy what you’re doing. It’s ok. I’ll stop crying now. I don’t mean to be a downer, I’m just being honest.
If you could choose how the future would look for Careless what do you envision?
-The future of Careless? Wow, I hope Careless goes on for as long as I go on. I consider myself fortunate to be able to play with those other two guys. They play on a real high level, so it’s really a privilege to hang with them. They are both extremely creative and cool people, so what can I say? I’m just glad to be considered a part of it. We have plenty of ass kicking music to make. We’ve already started demoing stuff for our next album. We’ll be stretching out a bit and trying some new things. I’m very excited about it.