Interview with Wes Pollock (Drums)
Interview conducted by Barbara Williams (Crowley)
Date online: December 25, 2003
You have a rather unusual name for a metal band. Why Low Twelve? Who came up with the name?
Pete: I stumbled on it when reading a book on Freemasonry. It means "midnight." But some I've read says that it can mean much more like the very end of something; like the moment right before you die would be your Low Twelve.
Looking at your touring schedule, you have been pretty busy playing live and touring. As a matter of fact, Low Twelve will soon be hitting the clubs again with some other bands. How do you feel about playing live and have you considered touring across the US?
Wes: We always try to play as many shows as we can. I happen to think that our live sound is what makes us who we are. You will not find many bands that are louder, more intense and that play their asses off like we do. No matter what the size of the crowd, we give 110%. U.S.Tour. When does the bus leave?
What is one of the greatest experiences when going on tour and when playing with other bands?
Les: The greatest experiences are that we three meld like brothers...we have way different hobbies, yet we all enjoy each other's company and actually thrive for it. We don't have arguments, never have and surely never will...but we do throw out "constructive criticism"....and come to final agreements jointly. It's like being members of a corporate board without the uppity business suits. We all enjoy playing with other bands because they are usually HEAVYCORE bands…and that means total BROTHERHOOD.
Which songs do you like most playing Live?
Pete: There are so many. Right now I love our newest material - songs like "Low Twelve" and "A Private Hell." From the older material, "Sex Sin Sermon" kicks ass.
When you play live, do you try to stay close to the studio version or do you like to change things up?
Wes: I will not lie. All of our songs are based on a very solid structure. If you change too much, you lose the feel of the song. Many of the parts in the songs have to remain as they were written. Now in some solo sections and jam parts I have some fun and improve a little. I personally have always been against "theory" and all for playing what you feel at the time.
When was the first time you performed in front of an audience?
Les: Personally, it was in high school with a badass barbershop chorus. The outfits, the choreographed moves, the over the top music director. We had the girls screaming at the assemblies and the old folks standing ovations on the big stage shows. Made your hair stand on end, and it was in your veins to want more. That has now transitioned over to our live LOWTWELVE shows.
What was your first concert you ever attended?
Pete: I saw the Kinks back in the mid 80's. My first metal show was Iron Maiden back in 84. That was incredible.
What would be one of your ultimate "dream tours" that you would like to undertake?
Wes: Wow! That is a hard one. Ummm. Bring Chuck back and here would be the line-up: Low Twelve, Slayer, Testament, Carcass, and DEATH!!!! Hey you did not say I had to be realistic. Ha Ha.
I got a copy of your DVD (thanks) and was wondering what gave you the idea to film your road tour experiences and band practices for your fans?
Pete: We wanted to show our fans what it's like from every angle. We have a great time doing what we do and wanted to show that in the film.
Your CD artwork reminds me a bit of the CD by Infectious Grooves. I absolutely love it. Who is doing your artwork for you and why did you choose the humorous approach to the rather macabre drawings?
Les: Our artist is Jeff Gaither at gaithergrafix.com. He and Pete got together a few years back. Immediate friendship began, and Jeff has done a ton of work ever since that meeting. He does our quarterly newsletter art, the CDs art, and all the art for HEAVYCORE as well. We met him over the summer at a show in his hometown of Louisville, KY. He invited us and insisted we stay at his house. How cool is that? And then to see all his artwork that he's done for The Misfits, Guns 'n Roses, VanHalen, Mushroomhead, Testament, Outlook Skateboards and an endless list of others.
Are you pleased with the current record sales or will there be more promoting?
Pete: We do it all ourselves, so it could always be better.
Tell us little about Heavycore. Founded by Pete, this has been taking off pretty well. You have quite a few bands, new and more established, sign up for your program. How does it work and what can bands do to be part of it?
Pete: Bands can sign up for free and if we dig them, we let them in. It's that simple. Bands should really use Heavycore for gig exchanges and passing on good information to others. We've seen nothing but positive things at Heavycore shows.
In addition to your band, Heavycore, the video, you also have LOW TIMES, a brutal quarterly Magazine. Where and how do you distribute these and how many magazines do you print each time?
Pete: Thanks. We publish 1,000 each time and pass them out at gigs and at various stores throughout the Midwest. We just put out our 27th issue in August. It's quarterly now, so the next issue will be in late October. You can subscribe by sending $10 to Low Twelve Command Center, PO Box 4324, Bloomington IL 61702 for one year (4 issues) of the zine. Each issue is black and white, 16 pages, and totally kicks ass!
What kind of content does LOW TIMES focus on?
Wes: The Low Times is mainly a way of keeping our fans updated on what the band is up to. Most of the stuff in the Low Times is not posted in the Brutality Report or on the site. I do drum tab; Pete writes various articles; Les talks about his Hot Rod. We write about cool stuff like Killers, all kinds of sick shit. It is very entertaining and great for a long bathroom break.
So, what's the next album or project you are working on? What can fans expect?
Pete: It's going to be like nothing anyone has ever done before. It's called "This Side Toward Enemy" and we'll be recording a full-length CD, filming a DVD, and I've just finished a book that Jeff Gaither will be illustrating. It's about a serial killer named Nolan Weeks and how he confesses his horrible crimes to a TV journalist. Check out more on that at www.ThisSideTowardEnemy.com
Any label you might be using?
Pete: Heavycore Records - it's a label that I founded through Heavycore. We would love to have someone put up a ton of cash for us to record and tour. The fact is that when that happens the band loses some control, if not ALL control. No one is going to give a metal band money and say, "here you go, spend it how you think would be best." That would be stupid on their part. Many bands go into a huge debt with their label and never dig themselves out. We did a couple of shows with Pro-Pain in 2000 and I learned a lot from how they operate and how they like to keep as much of the business end of things. That's the way it should be, but most bands see dollar signs and make dumb decisions. Right now, we're content doing it all ourselves and seeking private investors for projects. I've even formed Brutal World Pictures along with director Jeff Feasley to film our videos and movies.
How do you write your music? Is there a set guideline or do you write what you feel as you go along?
Les: Pete comes in to practice with the structure of the lyrics and the ideas for the melody lines, verses, choruses, and solo rhythm sections. We then take that and add our own twist until we are all satisfied with the song's structure, being the guitarist is like having the cake made, baked, and cooling, and having to put a wicked icing job on it. Pete and Wes are the bassist and percussionist and always write parts that compliment each other. It seems to always be a major challenge to me to play something that puts a final twist to it. Those two keep me on my toes to keep everything fresh, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
How do you get the inspiration for writing your lyrics?
Pete: For the "Enemy" songs, I followed the story along. But for our mother - material- I just write about things I see on the news or events from history that I think are interesting. We wrote three songs about the Mao Tse Tung/Pol Pot era in Asian history. I've also written songs about John Wayne Gacy shoving kids in his crawspace. Sometimes I'm in the mood to just be a sick bastard while other times I enjoy really coming up with something to blow people's minds.
The music scene really changed between the 70's, 80's and 90's. What would you say has been your strongest influence?
Wes: I have to come out and say I did listen to some of the Cheeeeeeeezz metal in the 80's. There were really some great musicians in those warped times, though. I listened to a lot of Metallica and Megadeth back in the day. (You may have seen them lately known as the metalliberries and mega-muff) but really started changing my ways when Pantera came on the scene. I also must mention the impact that Slayer has made from the 80's to now.
Which bands are on your list of favorites? If I were to look through your CD collection, what would I find?
Pete: Testament, Carcass, Pro-Pain, Slayer, Blood Duster, and tons of old school metal. For all of us, we love metal and have much of the same tastes in heavy-ass tunes that really rip it up musically.
Outside of playing Metal, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
Les: I've had a long-time love for muscle-cars, dirt bikes, and auto racing of all kinds. Dates back to my dad drag racing when I was a little shit. I've recently reconnected with that after many years of band affiliations, and now I spend more of my free time building the first of many to come street rods "1937 Chevy"- Low and Fast. Actually, I'm building it for the wife. So maybe not as fast as I would like, but hey, I'm older and wiser now to: Fast can get you killed. I'm a firm believer in "there's a place and time for everything." This street racing stuff isn't like the days of where you go out in the country on a desolate road. These young guys don't think for one second that when they loose control of their 2000 lb-4000 lb car on a side street at 80-100 mph that they now are in an uncontrollable lethal weapon. Take it to the country roads guys! Don't kill the neighborhood kids. It's not worth it!!
What kind of books do you read? Any good books or movies you would like to mention?
Wes: I mostly read adventure-fantasy stuff or killer war books. I also dig Steven King. As for movies I really dig a good comedy. After a long week of dealing with the bullshit of life, there is nothing better then watching Cris Farley do a fuckin' cartwheel and tell you you're gonna live IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!!!!!!!!! War movies are cool, too. Don't forget the Saprano's. By the way, next time you go to rent a movie, check out JIGSAW. It's a killer horror movie and they use our song "Brutal World" while a guy gets chopped up with a saw. Good Stuff!
What's in store for Low Twelve? Where do you hope to be a couple of years from now?
Pete: We continue to write songs and enjoy performing them. If we could make a living doing this, that would be the shit. We take things one day at a time and just have a blast hanging out and kicking ass at shows.
Since you have been doing quite a bit for yourself, might you have any words or advice to young bands and musicians?
Wes: Play your ass off. Play as many shows as you can book. Don't be a dick. If you play a show and the crowd is small, still play your ass off. If you get one fan, you did your job. The next time you play, he will bring his friends. Do as much as you can on your own. The more people involved, the less you get back in the long run. Don't be a lazy fuck like a majority of metal heads in the world. Get a good site set up, hang fliers for your shows, and just support fucking metal anyway you can. Oh yea, and JOIN HEAVYCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What holds your band together?
Les: Without a doubt, it's the camaraderie we share. We've been through some major stuff - Pete's cancer, Tim's passing away. We've seen ground zero and met some of the NY firefighters and police. Those kind of experiences shared together draw us closer together and in some way inseparable. However, we aren't getting any younger, but we don't feel the end of this anytime soon. If and when it isn't "together" anymore, we without a doubt will be the closest friends you will ever meet.
Any last words to fans?
Pete: Thanks so much for all the support. Check out the site at www.lowtwelve.com and also www.heavycore.org - thrash or be thrashed!
|Other information about Low Twelve on this site|
|Review: Splatter Pattern|
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