Interview by Justin Pearen with Jeremy Bussey
Who's in the band and what instruments do they play?
JB: The band consists of myself on guitar and vocals, Clete Conley on lead guitar, Eric Cornett on bass, and Mike Cornett on drums and percussion.
When was the band formed and have any of you played with other bands before?
JB: This one can actually all be answered together. The band started when Mike, Clete, and I were playing in a small band called THE CROSSROADS BAND with this guy we absolutely hated. All he wanted to do was play Lynyrd Skynyrd, while we had the blood of metal running through us. So, after a botched gig at a local high school, we decided we didn't want to put up with his shit anymore and quit the band. Mike and I mowed lawns and did all the odd jobs we could and bought a used set of drums off our high school science teacher. Then and there, LIFEBLIND was born in my bedroom, around the August of `97.
Which bands have influenced you the most and does it really show up in your songs?
JB: Well, ya know it's almost as if everyone brings their own little sense of influence into the band. The only bands that have really influenced everyone of us are BLACK SABBATH and IRON MAIDEN. As far as Mike goes, ICED EARTH really is the reason he's into music and like me he also has heavy influences of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and LED ZEPPELIN. Clete is the walking AC/DC encyclopedia and is really a student of the Angus school of guitar, mixed with the classical metal style of Dave Murray from MAIDEN. Eric is majorly influenced by IRON MAIDEN and SABBATH, and I must admit, Steve Harris and Geezer Butler aren't bad heroes for a bass player. I started playing music because I was totally enthralled by JIMMY PAGE, LED ZEPPELIN, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, ICED EARTH, and (oddest of all) NAPALM DEATH have had the biggest impact on me. Together, all these influences make LIFEBLIND. Overall, I believe you can hear them in our music too. I mean, out of every review we have ever had, it's either said something about SABBATH, MAIDEN, COC, or one of the others. It's just all different types of metal crossing over to make us, to make abrasive metal.
Did "The Sky Grows Darker" demo sound as good as you hoped or were there parts of it that when you look back, you'd do over?
JB: It definitely didn't sound as good as we had hoped. At first, it was just the rush of excitement and our recording. But now, after a few months to look at it critically, we can really see that our songs didn't come across how we intended. They aren't as powerful on tape as they really are. To experience them as they should be, you would have to hear them live, and that robs people from out of our area from hearing them in their unblemished form. Looking back now, I wish that we would've went for broke and went to a higher end studio, but, a year ago money wasn't as plentiful for the band as it is now. That's why we worked our asses off for a year and now we are doing it right and recording our first CD "Beyond All Things Within". We learned a lot from the mistakes on "Darker.." and now we're gonna use that knowledge to make the new album nothing like you've ever heard before.
Among the songs on "Darker…" my favourite has to be "Inside". Do you have any favourites and why?
JB: I know that my personal favourite is "Lost December". Though it's the worst recorded on the tape, it's the first song we got together, and the strongest one I ever wrote personally. I know that Mike has quite an attachment to "Become" because he loves the slow, crawly, bass heavy drum intro on it. I'd have to say though, that all of us are most attached to "Inside" also, because it earned us shit loads of airplay on local radio, lots of fans identify with it easily, and it's a strong, straight forward song that epitomizes everything that LIFEBLIND is about.
Who writes the material? Is it a one man thing or does the whole band contribute?
JB: Usually, the writing of material starts out as a one man thing then develops into a band effort. I write a majority of the material, usually the words and the main theme of the guitar. Then I'll bring it to practice and we'll run over it a few times as basic as possible. Then Mike will start to embellish with the drum. Then Clete will start piling on his signature harmonics and runs, adding a lot of colour to the main theme. Then Eric will put a real strong bassline behind it that manages to stay in the back yet stand out on its own. After everything is strong and established, I get to throw in my colour parts and we decide who takes the lead. We pretty much know who does what best, so it is all a developing and very natural process.
Can you explain what the newer material sounds like?
JB: The new material is like nothing you've ever heard out of LIFEBLIND or anyone else for that matter, yet it'll seem so familiar to you. At least that's what's been said. It's straight forward, abrasive metal, searing, not too heavy yet never weak either. Take for example the signature track of the upcoming disc, "Beyond All Things Within". It's an instrumental that starts out sounding like a doomy IRON MAIDEN, then shapes up to be an up and down roller coaster of power. Or, look at the song that seems to be the most popular, "Necessary", a very crushing, slow rocker, reminiscent of SABBATH and SEVENDUST. Odd combo. So, in a nutshell, the new material has a lot of variation and diversity, when compared to "Darker.." and even has a conceptual trilogy about our views on life. It's the perfect combination of elegance and extremity.
Who did the art work on the demo?
JB: That, like all our artwork, was whipped up by our drummer Mike. The little guy on the front is named "Steve" and is our representation of life. We even have a cool little bio for Steve in the new press kit. Steve was a figurehead Mike and I collaborated on many years ago and he is almost like a 5th member of LIFEBLIND. He's is very important to the band. All Hail Steve!!!
I've heard you've played a few live shows. Are there any that you really remember for being standouts or just plain terrible? How many shows have you played?
JB: All in all we have played about twelve live shows in the past year and a half. That's not really many, but it's the best we can do in this asshole town. The best show we ever played was at this guy's house, which had been renovated into a small all ages club. The place was called "Plinko's" and we absolutely ripped the place apart. We hit every note perfect, not a person in the place sat still, and the moshers were right in my face begging for more. I was absolutely gratifying. Probably the worst show was the one we organized at the Hazard-Perry County Amphitheater. We got a big fucking sound system for two hundred dollars rent, and all the bands were supposed to chip in and help pay…half of them didn't, so we got stuck with the bill. Then we had one band walk off in the middle of their set. I was so fucking sick I passed out after we played, and it was just horrible. Definitely the worst experience of our music career.
Has there been any label interest?
JB: Well, we've recently been contacted by Noise Records, the label of CELTIC FROST and PISSING RAZORS, and such. They requested our demo and promo pack. We sent one out to them a few weeks ago and last we heard they are still reviewing it and want us to send "Beyond…" as soon as it's completed. All that, coupled with a press release that was issued announcing massive North American signings and I feel that this will be something good.
What do you think of the term "new metal" and bands like KORN and LIMP BIZKIT?
JB: Quite frankly we think it's a bunch of bullshit. I mean, look at what LIMP BIZKIT does, STUCK MOJO has been doing it better for many years now. KORN has some O.K. material but still, all they are is watered down metal and they're afraid to be metal on top of it. I mean, they must realize that what they're doing is nothing revolutionary, they just made it out of the underground. The only thing good I can find in them personally is that they are going to open up the mainstream for the real fucking metal to come in. Look at the rise is popularity for ICED EARTH this year. We are only half way through `99 and they are dominating.
Anything you'd like to add?
JB: To anyone in a real metal band out there, stay true. Always remember what's been done in the past and try to combine that with being new for the future. There are no new songs, just new takes on old ideas. Never forget that. And as a final note, don't mess with drugs if you plan on making it, never give up the fight, and believe in yourself above anyone else. On behalf of LIFEBLIND, I'm Jeremy Bussey.
P.O. Box 290
Dwarf, KY 41739