Horror punks Johnny B. Morbid have come back from years of silence to unleashed their sixth album to date "Welcome to Die!". Now that this release is out in the open the band plans on touring relentlessly and write and record even more music! Johnny himself discusses the tour and this sixth album under their belts.
1. Can you tell me why there were several years of silence for Johnny B. Morbid? What happened to cause this silence and why break the silence with this comeback?
The hiatus was due to me working as Marky Ramone's drum tech and also playing bass in Michale Graves. It seemed as though that both of these new developments were taking up enough of my time and dedication to prevent me from working on my own material which was totally fine. It was my choice and having new opportunities after already having done Johnny B. Morbid for six years up to that point, I thought that maybe I was due for a little break.
2. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Johnny B. Morbid was established in August of 2005 and originally intended to be just a solo side project separate from the metal core band I was the vocalist of at the time. There were never any initial intentions of ever performing the material live until it was suggested by a friend of mine who would later become one of the founding members of the live band (Mark E. Mortal). We would perform as the opening band for mostly just the metal core shows I would already be playing with my other band at the time. I began to lose interest in the metal core band I was in while Johnny B. Morbid seemed to be conveniently taking on a life of its own so it was at that point that it became my main focus.
There are currently six full length Johnny B. Morbid albums available. The first three albums were performed, recorded and mixed by myself. It wasn't until the fourth album entitled "Some Things Are Better Left Undead," that I decided to include members from the live band on the recordings because I felt it overall more beneficial to incorporate their talents to the songs I had written. The fifth album entitled "Monsterpiece," featured four different drummers and was the first Johnny B. Morbid album to be mixed elsewhere. The most recent and sixth album entitled, "Welcome to Die!" was the first album to ever be recorded, mixed and mastered all at a professional studio. This was made possible by a loyal fan base and a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The live band has gone through many line up changes since it was first established but the most consistent members have always been myself, Archie Panic and Count Vlad Cadmus. Some of the more notable members over the years have included Mike Joffe of I Call Fives, Rick Flanegan and Dan Leonard of Divinity Destroyed and Pat Henry of Swashbuckle.
3. You share the same stage name as the band, were you already performing as a solo artist prior to the formation of Johnny B. Morbid and why is the band named after you?
Johnny B. Morbid is actually the first band I ever started. Any other band I had been in up to the point of forming it, I was almost always the final piece to a pre-existing puzzle. I decided to name it after myself because I write all of the music and lyrics. Archie Panic writes his own drumming parts for the songs of course and Count Vlad Cadmus writes his own guitar solos, but I write everything else as far as guitars, bass, and vocal melodies go.
4. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?
The Misfits, Behemoth, Immortal, Faith No More, Metallica, The Ramones
5. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?
The lyrical subject matter is usually dark in content. I actually don't write lyrics with the intent on sending a message. It's up to the listener to decode them and discover how the lyrics relate to them. One song can mean different things to different people. That's the beauty of individual interpretation.
6. Your style of choice is horror punk with metal and punk rock of course but what makes Johnny B. Morbid stand out above all the other horror bands out there?
I feel that what makes us stand out the most is our musicianship and ability to write songs of all different sub-genres within the confines of metal and punk. I've always said we're a horror band as opposed to a horror punk band. We don't just play punk. I think we're more heavily influenced by metal if I had to settle on one or the other. You don't typically hear other bands in the genre who have blast beats in their songs or blistering power metal guitar solos.
7. Can you tell me about the song and video behind "Forever"?
"Forever" is simply just about a toxic relationship. The video is the product of a creative cocktail of ideas blended together by myself, Keryn Thompson and the director, James Morgart and stars Suzi Lorraine as what is first perceived as a victim.
8. That song comes off your latest release "Welcome To Die" which was released on Halloween, why choose to title this release by that and why release it on Halloween?
The statement, "Welcome to Die!" has always held a special place in my heart because it is from an X-Men arcade game made by Konami in 1992. Magneto says it the first time he appears in the game. I used to play it all the time as a young child and have always been a huge fan of superheroes as well as most things that go along with that such as action figures, comic books, trading cards, video games, etc. It seemed to have completely disappeared until it was released for download on Playstation Network a few years ago. I had also been playing Marvel V.S. Capcom 3 around that same time and discovered that this infamous quote had returned, but this time stated by Deadpool in a sarcastic manner and only when facing Magneto. It was then when a friend of mine suggested that I should just name my next album "Welcome to Die!"
I officially released "Welcome to Die!" on Halloween almost as joke because it is such a cliche' for horror bands to do so. It also seemed way too convenient to pass up the opportunity since I received the final master of the album at the end of September. I thought a Halloween release date would perhaps aid in building some hype as well. I'm not sure if it helped in actuality, but it felt like obvious thing to do at the time.
9. This time around you chopped your tracklisting from a usual 20-15 listing to just 11 songs why the cutback?
Time and expense are two major factors that played into that decision. This album wasn't being done in my basement like all of my previous releases so we didn't have unlimited free time. "Welcome to Die!" is the only Johnny B. Morbid album that was ever done the "right" way in the sense that we rehearsed and prepared. Most songs on my previous releases were written and recorded the same day or I would have a song prepared on guitar, then Archie and I would play it a few times through until it was fresh in our minds, then hit the record button.
10. You've released one single off your "Welcome To Die" release will we be expecting another single/video as well?
There are actually two as of recently. The second video was released on February 2nd and is a compilation of footage submitted by fans who are lip-syncing or just rockin' out to a song entitled, "Enough" off of "Welcome to Die!" Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdvgYehl5-c
11. Since you guys are a horror punk act do you know of any other horror based acts besides the obvious The Misfits.
Yes we do and have played alongside most of them over the years one time or another.
12. Why did you want to go with the half-face makeup approach, does this half-face symbolize or represent anything in particular or anything dealing with the band?
This idea was influenced by Michale Graves and The Phantom of The Opera. I suppose it can represent good and evil, but it was never intended to have any true meaning behind it. The idea was simply for entertainment purposes. It has also proven to be a convenient design because it causes zero difficulty when consuming food or beverage haha.
13. You guys will be hitting the road soon, what have you done to prepare yourselves for tour?
We've started tour rehearsals as well as physically conditioning ourselves. Some of us go to the gym while others like myself choose to exercise at home. We don't go crazy with that kind of stuff though really. The most important thing is to sound good although looking good is a plus.
14. What will the setlist look like for this round of dates?
We will be playing at or around 15 songs or so each night consisting of five songs off of "Welcome to Die!" as well as one cover song and nine songs from previous releases. I don't want to disclose specifics though because that will ruin some of the fun of coming out to see us.
15. How about transportation what do you guys ride in when traveling around?
We travel in a passenger van with most of the bench seats removed for storage purposes.
16. Do you guys have any spooky or crazy props you use in your sets or you would like to use?
The only thing like that would be my 6-foot-tall coffin-shaped bass amplifier, appropriately dubbed, "The Ampire" haha.
17. Are you guys signed to a label or are you your own label? If your not signed, do you hope to get signed someday?
We are not currently signed to or affiliated with any label. We've always been a true Do-It-Yourself operation since day one, but if a day ever comes where a label would like to chat, then I'd be up for it.
18. Do you guys have any new music in the works, in terms of a follow-up release?
A new full-length release is planned for a 2015, but only fragments of songs have been in the works. It will also mark the ten year anniversary of Johnny B. Morbid and be my final studio release, but most of my focus has been going into pushing the recent release of "Welcome to Die!" for now.
19. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
They should know not to judge a book by its cover because although we may look a certain way, we sound nothing like what usually goes along with such a visual. We can also fit in on any punk or metal show because my material bridges the gap for the most part. There is no one genre that truly defines our overall sound. It is a complex puzzle of many different genres and influences. This is the type of thing that people will either love us our hate us for haha.
20. Aside from the tour, what other plans do you guys have for this year?
I hope to book a more extensive tour later in the year so we can finally get out west for the first time ever. Other than that, I will most likely be upholding my position as bassist of Michale Graves on future albums and tours.
21. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can find every song in its entirety from our two most recent releases streaming here: http://johnnybmorbid.stereokiller.com/
We are also on Sondcloud and Spotify.
The entire Johnny B. Morbid catalog is available for purchase on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/johnny-b.-morbid/id192545631
You can also order the physical version of "Welcome to Die!" at www.johnnybmorbid.com or visit facebook.com/johnnybmorbidband to personally message me about anything else you may be interested in such as physical versions of previous releases, t-shirts and more.
22. Is that your final answer?