Apr 17, 2009

The Bronx - Interview 2009

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

THE BRONX

4/17/09

Baltimore, Maryland

The Ottobar

I first got turned onto The Bronx, a band that's ironically from California & NOT from New York, when I saw the 2008 Van's Warped Tour...the billing for that show was kinda lame, there wasn't much in the area of good rock music, but I remember seeing The Bronx set early in the day & being blown away by their twin guitar attack...it was standard riff rock played at a very loud volume, the bands music was a mix of hard rock, punk & hardcore...I could see & hear elements of old & new hard rock in their style & I fell in love with their music at that point & had the opportunity to see them 2 times after that initial Warped Tour stop in Maryland, so it was a no brainer that when I saw The Bronx were playing a headlining show at The Ottobar in downtown Baltimore, I made it my mission to bring back a nice feature on the band & I'll be totally honest with you, The Bronx are a hard working, honest to god, blood sweat & tears, every day man kinda of band...none of the members have big egos, none of them are cocky, they are all very down to earth, & about an hour before the doors opened for the show I had an opportunity to conduct a sit down interview with Joby & Matt from the band..the cool part was that the entire band was there though & various members would chime in at random times, I got a good sense for the brotherhood within the band...The Bronx is more like a family than a band...the guys in the band, as well as their crew, all seem to look out for each other, they get along, they like each other, & I have a funny story to tell you about Joby & how he signs autographs, so before I start this piece, let me tell you my story on that matter!

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When I asked my last question after the interview was done, I asked the band to autograph my cd...Matt signed it first, then he handed it to Joby & I noticed Joby had it for a minute, but I was talking to the other guys about the upcoming season of Rock of Love that's supposed to feature Glenn Danzig & when I got my cd back from the band I looked closely at the signed cover & noticed that Joby's signature was NOT a signature, it was a stamped signature...Joby uses a stamp & just stamps his autographs, so after the show I asked him if he'd please sign my cd personally with my sharpie, he was hesitant at first, I said, "Please?" & Joby replied, "I'm a germ-o-phobe & hate using markers, but since you're a cool guy I'll sign it for you." & he hand signed my cd! I did some research on the inter-web & found no one else talking about that matter, so I thought it was an interesting little "Bronx" factoid...Joby usually does not hand sign his signature, instead he'll use a stamper, so if you meet him & ask him to sign your cd, watch that man closely to see his stamper! I'm sorry, I just found that fact funny as hell & it's not said to be a jab at Joby, Joby's a very nice person, I just love that story, so now, onto the interview!

Rock N Roll Experience: Why did you use the Flamingo heads on the new cd cover?

Joby: Acid mostly...no, not really, I just like artwork, especially album covers that have a very distinctive sorta rearranging common place images in a different sorta way that conveys surrealism almost, that mixed with type & I had to do that one on the road & I really didn't have time to set up a photo shoot & it just kinda came out while we were parked in Louisiana in this really horrible neighborhood that was still bombed out from Katrina & it just kinda seemed to make sense with whatever was going on around there.

Rock N Roll Experience: So what kinda bands influenced The Bronx?

Joby: All kinds of stuff really, I mean obviously punk & rock music, we all come from pretty extremely different musical backgrounds & listen to tons of different stuff, I think probably the universal thread of stuff that influenced us though is just real music whether it's..everything along the spectrum from blues to hip hop to punk & rock & just all kinds of stuff..metal, hardcore, stuff that comes from a place that's really true & not watered down.

Rock N Roll Experience: I hear Rolling Stones in your music alot too

Joby: Right, they are one of our favorite groups...we listen to them all of the time!

Rock N Roll Experience: Is the song "Inveigh" a jab at Yngwie Malmsteen?

Matt: No, definitely not (laughs), although...I can't really talk shit on him, I don't really know him too much, that guys definitely not an influence on The Bronx, that words kinda always been stuck in my head & I found it when I was a younger kid looking in the dictionary & it just means to protest with words so I just kinda took it upon myself when I was a young lad to use that as a thing since I didn't have a talent with an instrument & I became a singer in the band & that was kinda my mantra I guess you could say.

Rock N Roll Experience: In alot of your lyrics you portray yourself as a villain...how come?

Matt: Probably because I've got low self esteem, I'm depressed all the time, I don't know why, I think it's just probably easier that way, it's more realistic atleast for me, because when I write, especially with Bronx stuff, I don't know how or why, but it just ends uip always taking a negative turn, so that's just what the band pulls out of my state of mind.

Rock N Roll Experience: How was it playing the 2008 Warped Tour?

Matt: It was alright, it was cool

Joby: We all got tans, we all looked pretty funny, it was what it was...it wasn't very musically redeeming, there was alot of crappy bands that were there..it was a means to an end & we're always looking to kinds put ourselves in different situations & we haven't toured the US forever, & that was a kinda means to an end for that

Rock N Roll Experience: Honestly, that was the first time I'd seen The Bronx & it's what turned me into a fan.

Matt: There you go!

Joby: That's cool, then it worked!

Rock N Roll Experience: I love the fact that you don't use Drop D tuning in your music

Joby: That's really funny that you say that, because tons of people think that we tune to Z or something & we do one song where I'm tuned to C, I play a baritone guitar, but that's it. I've always been a firm believer that if you can't make the basics work...I don't know, it's kinda, I don't like the way that Drop d sounds, it sounds very lazy to me, I remember reading a guitar magazine when I first started playing & I think it was Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) & it was like, "How to Get that Grunge Sound" & it was like, Just take your E & drop it to a D then you only have to play with like one finger or it was something like that & I thought that sounded corny & dumb, I don't know, it's not for me, it's for everybody else though, evidently!

Rock N Roll Experience: Eddie Van Halen kinda pioneered Drop D tuning though back in the day.

Joby: You know what, we went & saw Van Halen & I'd never seen Van Halen...we flew in from Iceland & we were doing a festival over there, & we flew back to like Minneapolis I think & we ended up getting tickets to go see Van Halen & like everybody knows that Eddie Van Halen is a complete guitar god, but seeing it live, I had forgotten how much that dude had reinvented, I mean every kid I had grown up with wanted to play like Eddie Van Halen & it's kinda like, man, finger tapping is so dumb, who would do that, but then you watch him do it & I was floored! I could not believe how amazing & fluid Eddie Van Halen is live, it blew me away! It was the most hilarious thing I'd ever seen was those dudes up there, but when it comes to talent, Eddie Van Halen is un fucking believable!

Rock N Roll Experience: So what band would be the dream band that you'd love to tour with?

Joby: I would have loved to have been around & to have done shows with Elvis Presley to be honest with you, to see, like historically speaking, that was a rock n roll revolution that happened extremely quickly, I would have liked to have been around to kinda experience touring in that way where it was more of a revue of where different people were on the shows & it would have been strange traveling from gig to gig in a car & no internet, not really any phones, I mean some, but, I just couldn't imagine pulling into a town, into a club, & you have no idea who's gonna show up, if anybodies gonna show up, & it's like, how caveman-esq, compared to technology today, advertising shows, getting bands scheduled on time & all of that stuff & like today, we got lost in Baltimore & every one of us gets on our GPS & goes alright, we are here, make a right, you know? It's like, think about back then, it was tough & I wouldn't mind just experiencing those days.

Rock N Roll Experience: Plus Scotty Moore was a great guitar player!

Joby: Yeah...I saw some BBC thing & it was Scotty Moore & guests show & everybody came out & did a few songs & its crazy, he plays the crappiest Peavey amps & just f**kin smokes & it's incredible!

(our conversation takes a turn & we begin talking about buying singles)

Matt: One of my favorite things used to be cassette singles

Joby: Thy used to come in those paper cases

Matt: The B-sides were always awesome! Rock N Roll Experience: What was your favorite cassette single?

Matt: Oh man, I can't tell you...it would be horribly embarrassing...I think it was a band called VIXEN

Joby: Remember that video they had?

Rock N Roll Experience: "Edge of a Broken Heart"?

Matt: Yeah, that's the one!

Joby: (Joby starts singing the chorus to "Edge of a Broken Heart")

Matt: There was a B-side on that cassette that was soooo good! It was like so much harder than their other stuff so it was so cool & there was a Warrant single too that had a b-side that was, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" & that was like their harder song, it was actually the "Cherry Pie"..it was the "I Saw Red" which is the ballad on that, the B-side of that cassette single..."Uncle Tom's Cabin", that's a good song!

Rock N Roll Experience: Do you have the cassette single for Cinderella's "Gypsy Road" which has the cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash"?

Matt: No..see, when Cinderella got all Stonesy, I never liked Tom Keifer's voice, he drove me nuts, him & Mark fuckin' Slaughter, I hated those dude's voices.

Rock N Roll Experience: I thinK Cinderella could have been taken more seriously if they didn't look so goofy.

Matt: Yeah, they were some goofy looking motherf**kers!, they definitely were! Especially that one like lead guitar player that had long blonde hair that was just straight & long & he just looked like a goofball.

Joby: I'd go see Cinderella though!

Matt: See, he's (Joby) a Cinderella fan, but they got so Stonesy towards the end & it got so bad towards the end. Joby: That's the thing about it though, I went & saw Skid Row, the version not with Sebastian Bach & I was like, Oh No! Dude, it sucked! Snake broke his leg on the tour when I saw him, so he was playing in a chair & he was just wasted

Matt: I spent alot of money years ago to see Iron Maiden & I was unaware that Bruce Dickenson wasn't singing for that tour, & the super short Irish dude (Blaze Bailey)..it was the hugest bummer, but dude, DIO killed it! DIO came out& it was awesome, but then Iron Maiden came out & I was so excited, then this little frumpy dude comes like running out & I was like alright, then was like, "Who the f**K is this dude?" I was so pissed!I was so bummed!

Joby: Matt's sister was in the Bon Jovi "Bad Medicine" video

Rock N Roll Experience: So who was your favorite hair metal band?

Matt: I f**kin LOVE TESLA! Hands down SCORPIONS is my favorite band from that era! SCORPIONS are the shit! I f**kin love The Scorpions! This is going to be one of the worse quotes probably that I've EVER said in my entire life, but "The Five Man Acoustic Jam" changed my life! (EVERYONE IN THE ROOM BEGINS LAUGHING!) It really did! It did dude! That record got ahold of me, it was f**kin good, that record was f*kin' good! I was so stoked on that record, you know when you get so stoked that you like buy it for your friends? You're kinda like, hey, check this out, this is a good record! I bought that for my best friend Matt Morgan & he was like, we were so young, I forget what age, & I gave it to him & he was so bummed! (laughs) he was so bummed, I was like, No, listen to this song, this song, this song & he was like, dude, this f**kin sucks!