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Kerby’s Exclusive Interview With Bloodsimple Front Man Tim Williams

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Friday, February 24, 2006 @ 1:44 PM

“Some people stick it in my as

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Boy, I don’t know how familiar Mr. Williams is with KNAC.COM or the Internet in general, but….I’m sure this quote regarding the sharks that lurk in murky depths of the music industry should be worth at least a few good comments at the bottom of the page alone. Don’t let that be a distraction though---or the fact that Williams, on occasion, will also let loose with a reference to “dope”—not utilized as a noun either, yet simply as an adjective meaning “cool” or “great.” Regardless of the drop of the occasional Tommy Lee-esque slang, William’s band, Bloodsimple, doubtlessly plays the type of intense, driving music that is guaranteed to satisfy the inner demon in us all.

The vocalist’s previous band, Visions of Disorder, were once considered originators in what has become the genre known as “metalcore” and at the time was partially comprised of the aforementioned Williams and guitarist Mike Kennedy. When that group eventually disbanded, these two musicians formed bloodsimple with the idea that they would diligently try to step outside the musical parameters set forth by their previous band—an idea that became more readily attainable with the addition of classically trained six string aficionado Nick Rowe. When the band was eventually signed off the strength of their live shows by Chad Gray of Mudvayne to Bullygoat Records, all of the variables seemed in place to see if the group’s new musical vision would translate to disc. The result is bloodsimple’s debut entitled A Cruel World—a record that topped many metalheads lists of favorite records of 2005.

The group has currently been touring with your favorite baldheaded guy, Dave Draiman, and the rest of Disturbed on the Jagermeister Tour. According to more than a couple of reviews, bloodsimple is actually doing a lot more than simply holding down their supporting slot—in some instances, it has been said that they may even be upstaging their hosts. Although throwing down the rock may be this band’s specialty, it isn’t simply all about aggression with bloodsimple as “Sell Me Out” and “Leaving Song” from A Cruel World are both ballads that manage to be thoughtful while never betraying the band’s ideals or propensity for pounding out metallic bluster on a consistent basis. The group seems to adhere to the idea that the live show should be the primary selling point for the band rather than some kind of mass-produced album featuring slick production. Whether it is a concert performance or a copy of the band’s debut that a fan connects with, bloodsimple should prove to be a band that surpasses the previous legacy of its individual members in the years to come.

KNAC.COM: How cool was it to be able write a song like “Plunder” and have it be released in a context where it could realistically be accepted by the fans?

WILLIAMS: It feels really good because “Plunder” is a landmark song for us. It was born and written at this really cool place on a camping trip with Mike Kennedy. At the time we were just doing the music the way it was supposed to be done. We were out there by this campfire with some beers just chilling out, ya know? Going through the whole process of having this song make it onto the record when it wasn’t even slated for the album was pretty cool. We were lucky that Garth (Richardson, producer) happened to catch it though during the sessions, and he was like, “why aren’t you guys recording this? This fuckin’ song is dope.” For “Plunder” to make it all the way onto the record and have people like it is definitely cool.

KNAC.COM: It has to be especially gratifying when you write a song like that which automatically puts you into the mental state and atmosphere in which you wrote it…and then to be able to play it live where you can see how that vision touches others has to be special.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, we’re very lucky to be able to do it. Me, as the vocalist in my past band, there was a lot of diversity, so I think it opened up the door and made it easier for the people who bought this to know where we were coming from by what we used to do. In the past, there were attempts, but this one just came out better.

KNAC.COM: Can you mostly attribute that to the lineup of this particular group?

WILLIAMS: I think it always comes down to good chemistry. When you’re in a band and people don’t get along—especially in a band that’s just developing—you can tell. Usually they don’t last that long. Bands that hate each other but have millions and millions of dollars can survive because they can get different tour buses or whatever. With us though, we have to eat, sleep and shit together.

KNAC.COM: In fact, you’re on tour right now. How cozy are the quarters exactly?

WILLIAMS: We’ve been out for pretty much a year straight. We may have had like a week off here or there, but the quarters are tight. There are eight of us in an RV that we bought and own so that we don’t have to rent anything. It’s tight, but on the Disturbed tour, sometimes you get lucky and there will be a big ol’ back room where some of the guys can go and hang out. Sometimes when there is a day off and you’re all cramped in an RV for 900 miles--that can get a little crazy. I like to just crawl into my bunk and listen to music though until it’s my turn to drive.

KNAC.COM: So everyone has to take their shift on the wheel?

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, mainly our drummer does most of the driving, but lately he’s been riding with some other friends. It’s no big deal, you know, it’s just every couple of hours or so.

KNAC.COM: Ok, you’re in your bunk and you’re waiting to drive—what do you typically listen to?

WILLIAMS: All sorts of different shit. Some of my favorites would be like Mark Lanegan. Old Crow Medicine Show, and the Brother Where Are Thou? Soundtrack. I also listen to bands like Pantera, Slipknot and the Doors. When I’m in my bunk, I’m usually laying low and chillin’ so I will toss in some Rolling Stones or whatever. I like to listen to a little bit of everything because it’s almost like doing research in a way listening to the singers and how they enunciate shit.

KNAC.COM: How much attention does a band trying to find their niche today have to be conscious of image?

WILLIAMS: I don’t think our band is really based on image. I dress the same as I always have. I’ll wear a pair of shorts onstage because I just feel fuckin’ comfortable that way. I just fuckin’ get down. Image isn’t a really big priority in this band.

KNAC.COM: Do you think that has a lot to with the genre you’re in? Do you think metal fans are just less concerned with that type of thing? The people who listen to it tend to be like, “what you see is what you get.”

WILLIAMS: I think we’re just that type of band. We solely depend on our live show. Our record is definitely good, and we put a lot of work into it, but we sell records after people see us. That’s what we do. That’s what we’ve always done. It’s like you said, “what you see is what you get.” Just come and see us live, and you’ll be impressed.

KNAC.COM: Has it been an easy transition for bloodsimple playing on a pretty high profile tour such as the Disturbed tour?

WILLIAMS: We’ve been playing larger stages and some of the smaller ones too like at The House of Blues. I like a little room to perform, but I don’t like big, gigantic stages. I like to have a little room to move around and breath a little bit. Disturbed is really good about moving their kit up and everything for us. The only thing that has happened is that on a couple of the stages, we just couldn’t fit.

KNAC.COM: You guys have been on the road with Static X and Soulfly. I know you’re probably going to tell me that you liked all of the tours, but is there one that ranks a little higher in your estimation?

WILLIAMS: I liked all of them like you said, but I’d have to say the Mudvayne tour that we did with American Head Charge, us, and Life of Agony was like one of the best tours ever. We were on Chad’s label, and we kinda knew him before, but when you’re on the road with someone for seven weeks, you get to know them. We just really had a fuckin’ blast. Our record wasn’t even out yet, and we were just kickin’ fuckin’ ass. We just had a great time, and everyone was just hanging out all the time. There were barbeques every night. It was great.

KNAC.COM: Isn’t it kind of sad when a band comes out and says, “we pretty much just see each other in the studio and on stage.”? Whether it’s because of marriage or even dislike, does that have to be inevitable?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, well I don’t know. I am very careful what I say in the press because five years from now I could be one of those guys. All sorts of things come into play when a band hits a certain level. Like I said, if there’s money coming in, that could be a factor. I’ve also seen girls ruin bands throughout history like if some guy marries the wrong chick and somebody doesn’t like it…if they band has money, they get two tour buses. That’s it. I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think it’s up to the individual, the band and where they’re at in their career.

KNAC.COM: In fact, “Sell Me Out” is about a bad relationship.

WILLIAMS: A relationship gone wrong.

KNAC.COM: Is there anything more rock than writing about a breakup or some type of betrayal?

WILLIAMS: A good drug overdose never hurt. (laughs)

KNAC.COM: Maybe the bad relationship is what caused the drug overdose.

WILLIAMS: Could be, ya know. I like to write lyrics that just reach certain people. If it reaches some guy on a military base in Saudi Arabia or some kid in Texas, and they come up to me like, “dude, your lyrics are really fuckin’ great. I’ve been there”, then that’s what it’s about. I don’t try to write lyrics to reach a particular audience or get on the radio or something dumb like that. I just write if it does well and goes far, then great.

KNAC.COM: Is there any particular interaction that you’ve had with a fan that is more prominent than others in your mind for a particular reason?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah. There are all sorts. There is all kinds of redundancy on the road which can kind of get to you, so it’s nice sometimes to every once in awhile meet somebody and totally get deep into something totally weird with them. There are two instances that stick in my head though. I’m not going to get too deep into them though because it would take forever. One happened when we played Miami with Korn and Mudvayne at a radio show a couple of nights before Christmas, and this dude gave a letter to Kyle (Sanders, bass). The next morning it was posted up in the RV. It was this big letter on how the guy was in the military and had friends over in Iraq. Somehow during the set, they broadcast the performance to the base and they turned around and broadcast it these guys over there, and it was playing in their helmets while they were blowing shit up. To me, that was pretty intense. He also decided to throw in that he “fucked his hot Jamaican girlfriend” while he was in the crowd—I don’t know how he did that. On the flip side of that, I was talking to this girl. I wasn’t even drinking or anything, and we were just hanging around. She had like a nice accent, and she just started into this story about how she had been in this accident about ten years ago where like five people were involved and everybody died but her. She said the engine was like, in her lap, and she had scars everywhere. I thought that was fuckin’ crazy. They were telling her she was never gonna be able to walk again. It was something you don’t hear every day. She was cool.

KNAC.COM: Do you think people unload life stories on you like that when they hardly know you because of the nature of the business? I mean, you’re in town one minute, and the next you’re gone?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I think there is a certain something about someone who just drifts in and out of town. I think certain people open up and let themselves go in all sorts of ways. It’s all good. If it’s interesting, I don’t give a fuck.

KNAC.COM: True. Better for them to bust out a story about some crazy incident rather than an account of their grocery shopping.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, they start talking about that stuff, and I’m like, “I’ve gotta go.”

KNAC.COM: How often do you get someone who comes up, and it’s like…they don’t know when the conversation is over?

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah. That happened to me yesterday as a matter of fact. The kid was real nice and all, but I went into a fuckin’ restaurant. I was alone, and I just wanted to eat. We had been on the RV for about 900 miles, and everyone went to one restaurant, and I was like, “I’m goin’ to a different one. I don’t give a shit.” I went to where I wanted to go, and right away this kid sees my passes. It’s all good, I’m not a dick to people--I don’t play that card. He’s like, “what band are you in?” I told him, and he was real knowledgeable. I’m like, “cool it was nice to meet you.” Then I went to the other side of the restaurant and looked out the window. Sure enough, right after, this kid comes up to me. From the minute I got there to the minute I left, he was just sitting and talking. At one point, I had to eat. I started eating, and I thought he’d go away, but he didn’t. Again, he was real nice and knew all his shit, but there are two things on the road that bother me when I’m interrupted. One thing is when I’m on the cell phone and the other is when I’m fuckin’ eating. C’mon, let me do my shit, and afterwards, I’ll talk to you about anything you want to talk about.

KNAC.COM: Any musician on the road has to establish certain times to be alone or else they would run the risk of hating everyone.

WILLIAMS: I just wanted to chill out and shut my brain off and look around a little bit. It’s all good. I’m not going to knock the kid. He knew his shit.

KNAC.COM: With this band’s reputation being built on its live shows, how would you rate bloodsimple’s progression on the road?

WILLIAMS: The shows are just amazing. Every fuckin’ night is a knockout. I really like the Jagermeister Tour in general because it brings out a lot of people who just want to have fun. They don’t care if they are watching a hardcore band or a heavy band like Disturbed. People just want to watch some people get up onstage and play some heavy music. That, for me, is the pristine environment for a good show. Leave your attitudes at the door. Who cares if your hair is green or blue or your wallet chain is a little longer or you’re into metalcore or something gay like that? Just come down to the show and have fun. It wouldn’t hurt somebody to open up their brain a little bit and check out some other bands. I don’t care what anyone does as long as they’re a cool person. It’s all about attitude to me. When you come up after the show and shake my hand and look me in the eye, that’s all I give a shit about.

KNAC.COM: Do you find that most of the bands you tour with also have that kind of attitude?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, no one snubs us. We’re nice people, and we’re not on high horses. We’re approachable, and we rock heavy good music. We also drink beers like fiends. I’m not saying we are a perfect band, but we’re nice, easy guys to get along with, and we don’t generally have any problems with anybody—ever. The rock world is a very small world. There isn’t any time for shit talking—just let your music do the talking.

KNAC.COM: When you first found out that Chad wanted to sign the band, were you instantly excited or how well did you know him?

WILLIAMS: I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve had people come up and want to sign me, and some people stick it in my ass--some people don’t. I don’t believe shit until it’s written down on paper. It’s amazing that he did what he did. He put his money where his mouth is. When it comes to us, what Chad says, he does. He got us his manager, a record deal, and he also got us out to go on tour with them. He doesn’t bullshit. To me, in this business, that goes miles. The guy does all he possibly can for us, and I’m proud to call him my friend.

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