For today's interview, I have Zamboni frontman, Chris Butera. Not only is he the frontman of one of the most controversial new bands around, but he will also be contributing to this blog every now and then with some reviews, so keep an eye out for those! Here's what went down...
SFM - Could you give us a little background information about Zamboni for those who have never heard of you guys? Location? Releases? Sound?
Chris - Zamboni is a hardcore/crossover/thrash band that takes nothing seriously and pulls no punches with everyone. We hate everything, we hate everyone, and we don't care. We are mainly from Wantage, New Jersey. Mainly because Rob and Nathan, the other two members are and I travel from Brooklyn every time I can because there's no thrash in Brooklyn. There's really not much. We've got our infamous "Blood on the Ice" demo and our better received EP "Mother of the Resistance" which are both up for free download on Bandcamp.com. The sound comes from a lot of things. Rob's crunchy/grindy/buzzsaw tone comes from his Johnny Ramone style of playing and his love for DRI. His Megadeth and Metallica comes out too but I'd say He gets it mostly from the Ramones and DRI. I use a boss metal zone distortion pedal with my bass which gives me a Danny Lilker kind of thing only my tone is awful and his is amazing. My vocals are as close to Carnivore as I can humanly try and the drums come from Nathan's punk rock background. He's actually Ritchie Ramone's newphew if you can believe it. The best way to put it is a cross between Carnivore, DRI and the Ramones with SOD, Motorhead, and bunch of other things mixed in.
SFM - I've seen first hand the kind of ridicule that the band Zamboni suffers on the internet over your guys' music. Is that discouraging for you guys to continue, or does it serve as a motivator to get better?
Chris - It's completely meaningless. Like I said before, we take nothing including ourselves seriously. A failed troll is an obvious troll as they say. As far as I'm concerned it adds to the bands personality as well as gives us undeserved publicity. Chris from Insinnerator called us "A very brave band." when we played and hung out with them. I don't think were brave at all, Just realists. We aren't making music to be the best band in the world or please anybody. And we certainly won't get signed or make money. We're making music for people who like our music, including ourselves. Everyone else can eat a box of nails for breakfast without any milk.
SFM - Well I'm glad you guys' are all great sports about it. Could you explain where the idea to name your band after a piece of hockey equipment came from? What about your mascot?
Chris - When I had the idea for this band in my brain I knew the name had to be something stupid. Plus to be honest I'm tired of every band coming out having a "super serious angry manly heavy as hell ultra cool" name because that's overdone and you don't need a cool name to be considered a good band (although we aren't). I was watching an old wrestling clip from '98 or '99 when Stone Cold drove a zamboni to the ring and started beating up the McMahon's on youtube. That was when wrestling was good and had talent. I was watching the clip and "J.R." goes "ZAMBONI 3:16! STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN IS DRIVING A ZAMBONI TO THE RING!" or something along those lines and that was it. Jim Ross named the band, not me! Then the logo came and the mascot was Zamboni Pete. It was supposed to be the re-animated corpse of Peter Steele who drives a suped up zamboni over his victims. That didn't work out so well because every time we tried to do a Carnivore cover something weird happened. Either the gear got messed up or our drummer couldn't practice or we couldnt play a show or something. And after we stopped playing everything else would be fine. Or after practice or the cancellation the first thing that would come on in Rob's car was a Carnivore or Type O Negative song. So we believe we were cursed by Lord Petrus and to stop that we changed our mascot recently to "Zamboni Jack," who has not been unveiled to the public yet but he's condemned to ride the devil's zamboni for all eternity!
SFM - What are some future plans for Zamboni? Shows? New material?
Chris - Right now we have a show on August 20th at the Meatlocker in Montclair, New Jersey with our friends Bomb Scare, Condition Critical, Gorematory, Divided Skies and Cerebral Decay which features Sam Agnew, from Midian, which will feature a new song from us and a cover i think the fans (if we have any) will like. We've been writing over the summer so there's a few plans for a few EPs. I'd like to say that well have another one before Christmas but I won't know until you do. I've been making patches in my spare time by hand and Rob's stepdad just got a T-shirt press so hopefully we'll have some shirts to sell soon but we'll see what happens.
SFM - Sounds like you all have your hand's full. What is the metal scene like in New York? What bands should I keep my eye on?
Chris - The scene in New York is pretty dead. Most of the bands are deathcore/ NOTcore bands whom I don't pay attention to but there are a few bands that aren't bad. I usually only see them if a good thrash band gets booked without realizing they ever existed. It's mostly dead, the scene. That's why I've been traveling to New Jersey to play this music. They have a really cool one. The only good bands from New York I know of are our friends Bomb Scare, Carcinogen. Vermefug and Brohammer are also from New York. They're great live. They're the same band with different singers. I just started listening to Cerebral Ballzy, theyre a hardcore punk band from Brooklyn that Adult Swim is pushing for some reason, but they're awesome. Some band Earache signed recently is supposed to be from around here but I'm not sure and I haven't checked them out yet so I can't tell you if they're good or not. I think Egokill and Orion are from some part of New York but they usually play in New Jersey so I put them in with the Jersey bands but for the most part, there's not many good bands in New York. You're better off upstate or New Jersey if you want a good scene.
SFM - Have you ever opened up for any bigger bands? If you could open for any band, who would it be?
Chris - I've opened up for Hexen, Mantic Ritual and Rattlehead with my old band (the one before Zamboni) before we split. As Zamboni, Insinnerator and Terrorist was our first show but that show we were with Midian also and that was their first show in 15 years so it was great to be a part of that I think their singer just left so I have no idea what's going on with them now. I booked it and worked the door and everything for that show so It was a good experience and a thrill to play with them. Bomb Scare and Condition Critical also made their live debuts at that show and they were awesome. We were supposed to have our first show with Witchaven and Coffin Dust but that fell through due to our drummer's work schedule. Skull Hammer from Massachusetts was supposed to headline the show on the 20th but their drummer Dan has a busted thumb or half a thumb as of last week and their bass player quit. Those would have been fun but oh well. If we could open for any band, I would say Carnivore but that won't happen for obvious reasons, but I think it would be a blast to open up for DRI. I think them Overkill or Exodus would be a great time for us. GWAR would be great too or the Misfits on a Halloween. There's too many good bands to pick just one.
SFM - Hopefully you guys' get some more awesome gigs. Are you involved in any other projects outside of Zamboni?
Chris - I am currently not. Zamboni is the fifth band I've been in and its already been the biggest due to shameless self promotion and self degradation, but there's a few projects floating around in my brain that I'd like to see the light of day.
SFM - Well thank you for your time, do you have any words for your fans?
Chris - Why do you like this band?
There you have it folks. Be on the look out for any reviews that are posted by Chris and check out his band Zamboni on Facebook if you have the guts!