Interview with R.R. "Metal Trucker" Shumate (Lead vocals)
Interview conducted by Michel Renaud
Date online: February 24, 2003
Hey Russ! How's it going? I understand from the band's bio that Brian came up with the idea of forming Chaingunn? He wasn't busy enough with October 31 and K-Octave?
Yes, and I have been on his case for years now.To get something legit together that brings out the dark side of Mr.Williams, HA- HA. After being around him for roughly 18 years now, we pretty much agree it's time to get nasty. All of a sudden he just up and asks me if I wanna front a new project of his. I damn near fell out of the chair. HA-HA. He has his hands full with October 31 and K-Octave was on a back burner due to some personnel problems. October 31's charismatic front man and damn good friend of mine and his King Fowley had one the worst years anyone could have had, with the loss of his dear mother and his health turning upside down. Trust me, we all felt the repercussions of his bad year. Everything came to a screeching halt when King's mother fell ill. Me and Brian both felt like we lost a member of the family when she passed on. Both of us miss the hell out of that lady. When I say lady, absolute class act. Brian has a ton of riffs all in his head and I just picked the dark ones for my own in the Gunn. He has a busy schedule still and will continue to have. But, he has time for me. He knows what I have paid in time, money and dedication to the art of Heavy Metal. I am enthralled at his wish to wake up and kick peoples heads in again. Like it's 1984 all over again.
You two are essentially Chaingunn's founding members, I think you had a bit of trouble finalizing the lineup? Did you already know the other members from before? How were the contacts formed?
I had met Scott Pletcher one time before at Brian's one evening. Never spoke a word to the dude. Real quiet and subdued type of individual. I could feel a vibe of darkness from him when he stepped into the room. I had heard of his reputation from Dark Moon and Demonic Christ. That his feet where the shit, a warp fucking speed drummer. But, I had met another drummer, then front man Dennis Warren of the band Cryptameria. I invited him in to get us started and to see if he could still drum. Well, he tried like hell. But, his other commitments and time away from the kit had set him way back for us schedule wise. We had to get this thing rolling as soon as possible. In so, Brian brought Pletcher in and he fit like a glove. More drummer than we really needed. Hell of a guy, I cannot say enough of his drumming capabilities. Jason Tedder, already a member of K-Octave and soon to be 2nd guitar for October 31. Seems to have made it clear to Brian that he wanted the other guitar slot. Jason himslef is one the most off the wall riff writters I have encountered for the grind riffs I like so well. We had picked up Joel McGee on bass, but that didn't pan out as well. With a mix up in the communications somewhere. So, I asked Brian to bring in one of his students for the bass. You know, give someone that hadn't really done anything yet the chance to showcase what they could do. The dude has a $7000 BC Rich custom built by Mr. Rich himself. Talk about one sweet sounding fucking bass! When he laid down the tracks on the cover VooDoo I could have died right then and there. He nailed that son of a bicth and added his own mark to it.
Was/is everyone involved in the songwriting? Who does what? - Is Brian the only one playing with other bands at this time?
I soley write the lyrics for this. Where Brian and Jason write the majority of the music, outside of Scott and Steve adding what they wish later on. As for other bands right now. Jason and Brian both play in October 31 and K-Octave. Scott is the current drummer for the Death Metal band Wehrwolfe. Steve I guess is having freaky sex with his girlfriend in Charleston, SC. HA-HA.
I think you did some work on the lyrics. Being a trucker, can we expect to see songs such as "Get off your cellphone and drive you fucking bitch!" ?
Yeah, I was pretty much pissed and "off the rails" when I sat down to write them all out over the past few months. Nah, no "get outta my fuckin lane bitch" lyrics, for now. HA-HA. Beleive me, I would love to, but, I just don't think it would sit well. HA-HA
Is there any specific lyrical concept behind Chaingunn?
A lot of my life experiences I guess you could say. I've been in the ditch line brother, face down. Counted out and all done in I guess you could say. But, I have fought my way back form the gates of hell. I try to write about what pisses me off about society and such. From the crooked politicians to the crooked criminal justice system. "He whom has the money shall walk" is the real way the words should read over the Supreme Court entrance in DC. Fucking joke I tell ya, it's a "fuck the little man mentality". Well, I am goddamn sick of it. The church, oh yes, the money machine of all time too. Fuck you if you aren't like us. We will just lock your ass away and forget about you. I DON'T FUCKING THINK SO. This is one son of a bitch that will stand up in there faces, period.
What are the band's main musical influences?
Anger and Violent riffing Metal is about as close as I can put it brother. I myself am an avid fan of the old school way of things. Iron Maiden, Priest, the OLD Slayer, Venom. Oh Jayzus there are so many of them. Mine being Bon Scott, Udo and that fuckng David Wayne character. HA-HA
How would you describe your music to newcomers?
Brute Force Heavy Metal, that has a lot of messages for them to decipher and use for themselves. I am a pissed off individual but, I still care for the youth of the world. Where I fucked up in life, maybe they will take heed to my words and use them to their advantage.
Got anything to say to the airheads who consider your style of music to be past due stuff for old washed up rockers?
I could care less ya know. They can take that bullshit they call metal these days on the radio and stick it completely sideways up their asses. I'm not washed up though, I'm just getting to spread my wings after 18- 20 years of being a general fuck up. Whether they like it or not. If they ever get to meet me face to face, they can see for themselves that I am all I say that I am. I love Heavy Metal with a passion and defend it with deadly force if need be. Sure, they can and will listen to whatever they may. But, after riding with me one time. All alone in that room by themselves. Just them, me and the stereo head phones. They will learn a whole new meaning to fear of the dark.
Is the band more like a side project, or are you guys putting some very serious time into this?
I am giving it 150% of my devotion right now. Where Brian and the rest take it is totally up to them. I just wanna rock and roll and nothing is gonna stop me. We have plans for a full length later this year called Mommy Dearest. An immensely dark and disturbing CD for our first full blown effort. We may loose Scott soon to fulfill his obligations to Wehrwolfe and that's all good too. He has done what he said he would do and there will be no hard feelings. But, he shall be replaced quickly. Like I said, nothing is going to slow me down. I'm in this for keeps and take no goddamn prisoners.
Is your work schedule flexible enough to permit you to play pretty much when you want? What about the other guys? What do they do for a living?
I own my own trucking business and work a very flexible schedule. I can take a week off, a month or just all together hire someone to drive my truck while on tour. Brian is in high end electronics, and you can tell by them virgin hands of his. HA-HA. Jason lays rock foundations and builds rock walls. No wonder he uses such large gauge strings huh? HA-HA. Scott works the loading docks for a large trucking company in Charlotte, NC. What Steve does, I have no fuckng idea, Brian keeps tabs on him.
Where was the first CD recorded? How much time did you spend in the studio?
Old House Recording in Mt. Airy , NC USA and the drum tracks at the haunted house practice room. 12 hours for the drums and 4 days for the rest, and I mean a FULL 4 days too. GODDAMN! HA-HA
Do you already have a label who will release the album?
No label as of yet as of this interview. ((HELLO)) But, hopefully real soon. There are a number of labels looking at us right now. All they need to do is turn me and US loose.
Are you planning on playing live in bars and/or at festivals any time soon?
No bars I'm afraid for right now. It isn't worth my time or the money it takes to do it. Now festivals? You let Wacken Open Air e-mail me by fucking god. I'm already on the damn plane and half way to Germania! I don't think Europe will be the same after the Gunn let's go some rounds! Brian and Scott have a lot of live experience, as Jason has as well, but not as so much with larger festivals yet. Steve, again, thats Brian's protege' HA-HA!
Are you going to send me a copy of your CD, or am I going to have to hire someone to go kick your ass? (I'm not stupid enough to even think of doing that myself - lol)
On its way my friend. Try not to use it to sit that Canadien beer on until you listen! HA-HA
Well my friend, I'm out of questions for now... The last words are yours!
METAL! METAL! METAL! DENIM AND LEATHER FOREVER! AND UP THE GODDAMN TOMBSTONES!!!!!!!!!!!! We intend to take your heads clean off. POINT BLANK. Look for Mommy Dearest and get the Hell scared into you ALL.
|Other information about Chaingunn on this site|
|Review: s/t demo|
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