Interviews Retour
mercredi 27 juin 2012

Pro-Pain - English Version

Gary Meskil (Vocals/Bass)

U-Zine, webzine musical metal actif entre 2004 et 2015. Fermé en 2015 suite à sa fusion avec 2Guys1TV, ses articles (chroniques, live-report, interview, dossiers, ...) sont désormais disponibles directement sur Horns Up via ce compte !

Pro-Pain is at the Little Creek Studio in Switzerland to record its 14th album, ‘Straight To The Dome’. U-zine went there to meet the whole band in order to bring you a studio-report (with pictures) but also a few interviews, including this one, along with singer/bassist Gary Meskil. The occasion for him to tell us more about the band, also and of course on this new album and about the hardcore scene and Metallica ...

How are you Gary ?

I’m doing great thank you !

You’re actually at V.O’s studio (Gurd), Little Creek Studio in Switzerland. Where are you in the recording process? And how have things been going so far?

Well we are on day 10 and all of the tracks were recorded in 6 days, and everything has been recorded, mixed & mastered in 10 days so we’ve just finished up today. Currently we’re in the process of recording a couple of cover songs because we have extra time. And it’s always good to have a couple of extra things in the archives in terms of some bonus tracks. And make use of the studio time as we finished a little bit early. So we figured out we would just get together and record a couple of extra fun songs. One being a cover of the Beastie Boys called Egg Raid On Mojo which is a New York Hardcore classic. And another song from one of my favourite old school punk bands, U.K Subs, called Party In Paris which is a kind of fun party song.

Concerning the writing part of this new record, did Tom worked on those new songs even if he’s not part of the band anymore? We remember he did 4 songs (writing/recording) on last year’s 20 years of Hardcore CD/DVD set…

No, not at all. The entire new record is just a collective work of the current band members. As a matter of fact Marshall Stephens and Adam Phillips wrote most of the music on this new record. I wrote probably 30% of the music and 100% of the lyrics. I also did a lot of the structures and arrangements, stuff like that. But it was a tremendous contribution from the 2 guitar players.

You have a new drummer, Jonas Sanders. His particularity is that he’s European. How did you end up asking him to join Pro-Pain?

We toured a couple of times before, he played in some support bands of ours. Particularly Resistance from Belgium and Komah from the French speaking part of Belgium, and also Dark Sensation! Jonas has been on tour with us quite a few times. I’ve gotten a chance to admire his drumming over the years and I respect him as a person, and when things unfortunately didn’t work with Rick, I always had Jonas in mind. Jonas was my first choice as a drummer.

And one year before Jonas came in the band, Adam filling in for Tom

Well, losing Tom was a very difficult thing. It was a big blow to the band. I didn’t know whether the band could survive losing Tom because he’s been such an important part of the band for so many years. After so many line-up changes over the years, people perceived Pro-Pain as being Tom and I, and some "other" guys. And I didn’t know if the band could survive without a band member like Tom. So I had to do a lot of serious thinking about what the future holds for Pro-Pain after Tom exited the band. And I was talking with Rick and to Marshall at that time, and Marshall said that he had a friend that he knew could fill Tom’s shoes, at least on guitar. And we try out with Adam and it was just the perfect match right away. It’s different without Tom, it’ll never be the same without Tom, I mean he was such a force in the band, he’ll always be carved and stoned as far as Pro-Pain’s history is concerned. So it’s not the same but it’s also very good! It’s a different representation of the band and that also comes with new excitements. With new band members it’s just a new level of involvement. Jonas is in his mid twenties, he’s very hungry to really do something. And that’s cool, to have new members and veterans because veterans can rest on their laurels a little bit and things can become a little bit jaded so I try to avoid that a lot. When you’ve been doing this for so many years, it’s good to have new fresh blood to give me a kick in my ass to get me going and to remind me where I should be and what I should be doing. This is a nice line-up we have right now and I think the record speaks for itself in that regard.

So you really have the feeling Pro-Pain has now a new energy and it’s like a brand new chapter for the band?

It’s absolutely a brand new chapter and it’s an exciting time. I mean I would have never guessed that after so many years into the game I would be as excited about the future of the band as I am now. We’re the kind of band, I suppose, that could run on fumes for a long time and play just the old stuff and not even make new records. A lot of bands have done just that. They even stopped making records! But as long as we feel like a creative force and that we have something artistic & cool to offer people and if we can presented in a way which is honest and has integrity, then I say we should do it. I didn’t know how this would turn with new blood in the band. It’s always a big question mark. And just hope it’s going to work. We made it happen in a very short period of time. For this album there were only 3 days of rehearsal so it was up to each individual to really have their own thing together so when we got together in a room that it was almost there to begin with. So these guys played a tremendous role. I’m very impressed with these guys. Adam is stepped into the producer’s chair now, he’s taking over some aspects Tom would have handled and that’s really cool. So everyone has stepped up to the plate very nicely.

Which topics are you developing this time? Were you more in The Age Of Tyranny mood or The End In Sight one?

Yeah Age Of Tyranny was a much more political album than probably all of the Pro-Pain records, it’s probably the most political one. Prophets Of Doom has its share of politics on it, but Age Of Tyranny is the Pro-Pain political statement album. Mainly because my father was a big hater of the Bush administration, and my father passed away shortly before we did Age Of Tyranny. So I did it so as a dedication to my father, I wanted to write an album he would have wrote if he had gotten a chance to write an album. I really wanted to focus on politics. He was very passionate about politics also. That’s how Age Of Tyranny came out, as it took a very sceptical and very angry look into the political scene in the Sates. I think it was a good barometer at the time it was written. Now it’s our take off on the politics, because the internet especially is so saturated with everything you’d want to get out of politics, no matter what your view is, it’s at your finger tips. If we just continue to hope on politics whether it’d be pure and genuine which it’s always is, or not, it could misconstrued and just being some kind of internet stuff. (Laugh). I’ve written some very pointing things that I thought were very poignant in the past and then I’ve read some reviews in which they said like I’ve read to much of Alex Jones or something. I’ve talked about these stuffs before Alex Jones was even around. This is the sign of the time, people always assume you don’t have a mind of your own, (Laugh) which is ridiculous! I laid off the politics, I mean I stuck my neck out in a lot of regards and settle lots of things and I don’t think it got the respect it deserved from a lot of people. I said "Well if you don’t want to listen about it, I guess I’ll talk about something else for awhile". I’m amazed more bands aren’t politically active these days because these times we really need it. We need bands to speak about all the bullshit that’s going on in the world right now. But unfortunately the music scene is saturated with every other things, it’s escapism. There are so many fucked up things happening in the world that they need to escape to the land of pirate metal and fantasy metal and all these things. I don’t understand. In these times we need bands that speak about things that are just really fucked up and we need to put minds together and figure out how we can change things. That’s why hardcore music & punk rock music started in the first place. The musicians were more about being discontent with society than learning how to play instruments. That was just a vehicle to get their minds across to the people. They didn’t care, they weren’t really bothered about whether they could play that well because it wasn’t that important. What was important was in their mind and the point that bands were trying to make. It was almost like their car to get them from point A to point B. Again it’s very unfortunate, even in the hardcore genre, there’s not a lot of politically savvy bands out there. It seems that hardcore has just turn into a big tough guy contest over the years, and I have dissociated myself with it.






Do you think that’s why Pro-Pain isn’t really considered as a typical hardcore band? I mean you’re from New York City and there’s this big hardcore scene there with Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All, Madball, Subzero, Merauder… You seem to be really apart of it…

Yeah! I think so! I think at the international level we’re considered part of that scene. But I think we’re very different as a band, you know we’re not a "scene" band, we play different music. If you really listen to the music for better or worse it’s different. We’ve always emphasized certain things in our music and we’ve always tried to be a bit of a thinking mans hardcore band, and not just preaching clichés about unity, I really never understood that, what are they talking about? Who’s uniting? It just doesn’t make sense to me, it’s just a word that seems to be cliché in the scene but it seems to be a lot of preaching to the choir which is very safe and easy. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to change things. If you really want to change things you have to not preach but you have to try to enlightened people that might not be into your music. And then you’re doing something cool I think! Preaching to the choir is too safe because everybody agrees with you. But we’re a very different band than most of the bands you’ve mentioned. I love all the bands you’ve mentioned, I love Biohazard, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front are one of my heroes you know! But we’re a different band, we’ve always known it from the start. And we’re proud of it, to be very different and to be a little bit outside of the scene and not really associated ourselves much with any particular scene. There are a lot of pros and cons that come along with that to, from not being a "scene" band because we have to have our own fans. Like if you’re a black metal band it doesn’t matter who you are, there’s a black metal show all the black metal scenes’ got to go. If you play hardcore and you’re in the scene then the scene’s got to go to the show. But to a Pro-Pain show there’s no scenes there, there’s only Pro-Pain fans that come. But at least we know that the people that come to see us are very enthusiastic about the band and they really care about Pro-Pain, about what we do, about what we have to say… So we have a great relationship with the fans of the band and we’ve captured a very comfortable level for ourselves over the years.

But in a way, aren’t you like a bit angry not to be, for example invited, to shows, or festivals like the Superbowl of Hardcore that are organized in your city by Black N’ Blue production, by the D.M.S Crew…?

No, not at all! I suppose Pro-Pain just marches to the beat of its own drummer. We’re such an independent band, and we only really care about playing for our fans. We don’t really pay attention much to all the other things on the festivals with all the bands… I never really thought about it. It would be nice to be on this festival but I really never did. I appreciate what everybody else is doing and I respect it. One of the most important thing for musicians, is respect to the other bands that are out there, working hard at what they do. And I certainly have all the respect in the world for bands not matter what the genre they’re playing, but we have to try to make things work for ourselves. We have different needs as people, as family, persons. I mean some of us have children and we have to make sure that we can put food on the table for our families you know! So it’s always better for us to just go on and do a Pro-Pain tour, to have our own support and try to make a living you know.

I said that because for me you showed the way to many of those guys from the bands I’ve mentioned previously, when you played with the Crumbsuckers in the 80s. You can’t imagine how many people are talking to me about the Crumbsuckers in these days, almost every week someone talks about the band which sounds a bit crazy to me…

Well, the Crumbsuckers were more an active part of the hardcore scene than Pro-Pain. I mean Crumbsuckers were part of the CBGB’s scene. We were from Long Island so I can’t say we were fully embraced by the New York Hardcore scene but we certainly made a statement because when we would go to NYC and play we were a very dominant force. We were respected from everybody and that respect really put us on the map. We had good musicianship in the band and we were playing something that was new at that time. That’s why people still talking about it to this day I think. It was a good band but it was also a fun band to be a part of. It certainly was an important part of my childhood musical upbringing.
And we did a reunion a few years ago, it was really successful, more than I would have ever imagined. I thought we were maybe playing a place that was too big but we sold it out and it was an amazing thing. We talked about maybe doing other stuff together but it just never materialized.

Not yet!?

Well, it’s easier for me to get back into that than some of the other guys because they’ve been out of the scene for so many years and they have businesses, and families, they’re older you know! Some are even older than me if you can imagine. (Laugh)
But the great thing about the reunion is that we played as it was supposed to be played. It was almost as if, if you close your eyes you could visually imagine that the show was in the 80s. That’s the way it sounded. We worked really hard, we rehearsed a lot to be able to give that level of performance that we did at the reunion, so I’m pretty proud of it. Everyone wanted us to do another one but I don’t see that happening (Laugh)

That was this show with Subzero right?

Yeah! Very nice guys! I like Lou! The band is great, there was also another band from Long Island called Kill Your Idols, very good band too! And there was a band on Relapse Record called Car Bomb, also from Long Island, technical metal. And I think there was one other band but I forget the name… (NDRL : This band was Ironbound NYC)
Well that was a good show!

Talking about the Crumbsuckers makes me think about an old story with Kirk Hammett

Yeah! We were scheduled to play CBGB’s Matinees and some people from some record labels were coming out to see us. Right at that time there was a lot of labels interest in these matinees, the hardcore scene was starting to attract some industry attention. That was the first time it ever happened so we had people from Roadrunner Records, Combat Records, Megaforce… At the time we were a regular band at CBGBs so when the Crumbsuckers played there it was packed, it was always a really good show. So Johnny Z from Megaforce showed up, they had Metallica at that time and he came out with Kirk Hammett and a couple of guys in Anthrax, Scott and Dan Lilker, who was still in the band at that time. They were big Crumbsuckers fans you know, and Johnny Z wanted to sign us. He thought it would be a cool idea to get Kirk Hammett in for a solo on one of the songs. The other Metallica guys really like the Crumbsuckers to. So we invited Kirk onstage to play Hubrun, one of our songs that has like an extended guitar solo. We thought that would be cool. Everything was going great, Kirk was on the stage, he busted out the solo. And I think that was Tommy Carroll (Straight Ahead), he didn’t like the fact that Kirk was on stage playing the solo with us and he started spitting on him and a big fight erupted. But Billy Milano came out of nowhere and drags him out of the door. It was a thing back then between metalheads and hardcore skinhead guys, lot of frictions between those 2 fractions. And I guess there was a certain percentage of concertgoers that didn’t respect the fact that Kirk Hammett "the Metallica guy" was on stage playing with the Crumbsuckers, they didn’t enjoy that. But we certainly did because we loved Metallica at that time, we were big fans and we still are!
That was a big thrill for us, this is something I tell my son about like "Hey Kirk Hammett came up on stage and played with us!". (Laugh) It was pretty cool but we had a lot of big-league fans of Crumbsuckers, surprisingly. Mike Patton was a big fan, Henry Rollins, The guys in Anthrax, Pantera, Joe Satriani… They are all fans of the Crumbsuckers, can’t believe that! It’s beyond me! (Laugh)
I think they just appreciate we were doing something we were taking chances musically at that time and that’s what they liked about it.

Are you’re still in touch these days with all these guys you’ve mentioned, from Anthrax, Metallica…?

I saw the guys in Metallica a couple of years ago. We were playing in Copenhague at a place called The Rock which is a pretty cool club. And they called me up a few weeks before we played there and they said :
- "On the day you’re going to play on the Rock we want to schedule a Metallica release party for Death Magnetic."
And they said : - "Do you mind?".
- "What do I mind? Even if I did mind what the fuck I mind?" (Laugh)
"So why are you even asking me this?"
And I said : "That’s great!".
So we shared the dressing room up in The Rock. We knew each other from the old days but it’s been a long time. We talked about some old stuff and they’re very nice guys, the Metallica guys are really great! Especially Lars Ulrich, he’s a really nice guy. I got the guy to sign a poster for my son and there was one signature missing and I asked Lars to get the missing one, and he told me that he was gonna try in a few hours after the press release thing. And I didn’t see him after that, and I left the poster in the dressing room. And sure enough, he remembered and came back, grab the poster, went out to the bus, got it signed, brought it back and left it there for me! Pretty cool! There was not a lot of guy who would do that in his "league" so it speaks well for him.

Did you talk about Pro-Pain with them?

Yeah a little bit! They’re familiar with the band. They certainly remember our early stuff in particular and we talked about the Crumbsuckers a little. And I talked a bit with Lars him as he’s living in Florida, in the neighboring town where I’m living now. And I know he plays a lot of tennis, I play tennis to and I said ‘I wish I knew you were living there, so we could play tennis!’ (Laugh)

Back to Pro-Pain now. So you’re recording an album in Europe for the second time, you now have a European guy in the band, you’re touring Europe twice or 3 times a year… Is Europe a special place for you? More special than any other places in the world?

Well I’d say that in our career we probably split our time between the US and Europe. We’ve also done some shows in Mexico and played a few shows in Canada to. The later half of our career we spend more time in Europe but at the start of our career we focused mainly in the States. At States that’s in order to play a handful of good markets there’s some dead spots for us in between. It’s hard on the band’s moral, when you play a couple of nights it ain’t really happen. So I thought the best would be to keep Pro-Pain a little bit more rare in the Sates and only play maybe once every couple of years, or maybe 3, 4 years… This way the crowds are good because they haven’t seen us in a long time. If we keep on playing on there it gets to thin in a lot of markets. North east is always great, New York, Philadelphia, and certain spots in the mid-west, but for others we have to keep ourselves more scarce to draw a respectable crowd.least we know we were getting more popular in Europe so we gave Europe a little bit more of attention. For us in the Sates it’s been more difficult over the past handful of years. We still do well, there’s a lot of market where Pro-Pain does well but it’s so big in the

You’ve just joined Mad Booking Agency. Do you have particular expectations working with them like playing in other places, with different line-up of bands…?

They have a big roaster of bands and I’ve known the Agency for a very long time but we never worked together until now for various reasons. They’re certainly a capable booking agency, they booked some pretty good shows for us so far but I think it’s gonna take some more time before we really come and test the relationship and see how things are going. You know so far so good! The booking’s been going pretty smoothly, they put us on some markets we haven’t hit before so we’ll see what happen you know!
They have an admirable roaster of bands, with lots of hardcore and punk bands.

I talked about Japan, Australia… Did you play those places recently?

We never played in Japan or Australia! I certainly would play there, I’d love to play anywhere, new places. I would certainly not enjoy the flights cause those are very long flights and I have pretty bad back issues and for me to sit in a chair for a long period of time iand it’s almost impossible these days, but I would love to go and play for the fans there.
We hope to go to South America next year, we’re booked to play a big festival in Colombia in july, I think it’s called Rock Hellpark, something like that. A very big festival. We’ve been invited there for a couple of years now but we couldn’t as we were always over here in Europe at that time, but now we’ll be at With Full Force (Germany). So we’ll see for next year, we’ll put out some other South American tour dates and make a little South American debut. I think it’ll be cool because we’ve never been there and we have a lot of fans there to.
Australia would be great to! We’ve just never been invited (Laugh)
We’ve been invited to play Japan before but again it was a matter of time and we were just doing other things. There are certain markets we unfortunately had to pass up just because of bad timing. Israel to! So eventually we’ll play those markets and be glad to do so!
I don’t think the band would be complete without at least going to Japan once, and maybe playing in Israel too, and definitely South America and Australia.

You have a wife, a son, and of course like many musicians you spend a lot of time away from home. Especially you, as Pro-Pain is a hard working/touring band. How’s you and your family deal with this lifestyle?

Well it’s difficult! It always comes with its share of challenges. I think it was more difficult in the past because when my son was much younger it was really hard. Maybe not so hard for him as he was too young but for me it was very difficult. He’s 17 years old now so he’s the man of the house when I go away, but it’s still hard! When you’re home you have your own routine, I’m a bit removed from all the band things when I’m at home. And then it’s hard to get back into the swing of things on the road so the beginning of every tour is really hard for me. It takes maybe a few days for me to really develop my persona out here and try to get into the swing of things to remember how it goes. (Laugh) But then, once I’m in gear I can keep it in gear for a long time, then I’m good. When I pass the one week mark I can stay out forever. But again, going back to the question, it’s difficult, that never changes. It’s hard being away from home.

You never thought about quitting Pro-Pain and the music business to do like a ‘normal’ everyday job?

Well I had that in the beginning and all through the Crumbsuckers. So I’m certainly not a stranger to doing other jobs. I was in the liquor business for a very long time. My wife and I owned a delicatessen in New York that we sold in order for the band to start touring. My view on that is those businesses I could always go back to. I’m not going to loose my experience making sandwiches (Laugh) I hope not ! (Laugh)
The decent thing is that if you have some experience you can always go back to that, there’s always a time for that. As far as music and the dreams we all shared as band members, I think you have to pursue that when you’re of a younger age. You can grow and you can all grow with it but you have to start it when you’re at least reasonably young to play in a hardcore band anyway. Maybe in other music you don’t have to be youthful to start out but I think it was important for me to be at least a younger man and just give it everything and add a hundred percent of my devotion in order to make my dreams happen. And it worked you know! I didn’t think it would work because I put so many years into the Crumbsuckers and although it was artistically rewarding, it was certainly not financial rewarding or rewarding in many other places. And I figured if I start another band I would have to get involved in the business and do it properly. Thankfully enough I got another chance to do it with Pro-Pain. And so I made it to the point to do it right this time. We’ve really been in a very tight shape, I’m really proud of the band. I think we’re one of the most successful hardcore bands, we’ve been able to live doing this for so many years now. I heard a lot of guys said "He can’t make a living playing this kind of music", but that’s bullshit! You just have to be smart and to do it right. You have to know how much its worth and you can’t let anybody taking advantage of you. You just have to be your own person and just knock anything down in your sight and take what’s yours. That’s the way we really run our business and our show. We’ve done really well! For a band for our size in popularity and what we’ve been able to sell we’ve done really great!

And even when Tom left the band you didn’t think about quitting?

I thought about quitting before Tom left the band. In 2004 or 2005, between Fistfull Of Hate and Prophets Of Doom. Things weren’t just going out right and I call Tom to have a meeting at a bar between where I lived and where he lived, 15 minutes south of my house, a Tiki bar. I said "Meet me at the fucking Tiki bar, we got to talk about some stuff!". So we met there and I said to him :
- "What you wanna do man? Do you wanna keep this thing going? Because if you don’t, I’m ready to fuckin’ stop!".
And I thought he was gonna say "I think we should quit!".
And if he said we should quit, I would have quit right then, because I was ready for sure. Instead he said : "No! I think we should continue!" (Laugh)
And I said : "Alright, so let’s make a fuckin’ album then man!".
And then we made Prophets Of Doom after that. But yeah it has been discussed. It hasn’t been discussed over the past 3 years or so, but that’s one thing that comes to mind. Again, it makes me back to the earlier question about this new spirit in the band now. I look more towards the future of the band. It’s wild how certain new band members can breath new life into some situations and all of a sudden there are new possibilities and you’re not counting the days. You’re not just trying to survive anymore. Now it’s all about getting excited about the future. We just made a great record and I can’t wait for the next one, so it’s pretty cool!

In this future do you maybe see Tom coming back in the band if he’s feeling better?
Have you thought about this eventuality?

I didn’t think about it because the way we left with Tom was very final. It wasn’t like a leave of absence or anything. He told us that’s it for him with being in this kind of band. A touring band is just too hard for him, it’s too taxing on his health. He has to be responsible for himself, for his family and for his health, that’s the most important thing. If it’s dangerous for him being out here, he’s risking his health. I mean he has a daughter, so it’s just better for him to do something else. Yeah of course he can continue to play music but on this level it’s hard for healthy people to live on the road and to live without any comfort like home, your cloth are always dirty, you’re always damp, you always smell… not right! (Laugh) You’re always sleeping in somewhere that’s not used to sleep in and you’re always around a lot of people. You’re just in bad conditions all the time, you’re always showering in places that aren’t very nice…
For somebody that’s ill, it’s not the right way to go., I don’t think it is. And I admire him, tremendously, for the years that this guy persevered being ill and being in this band. Tom gets all the awards! It’s been hard for me, and I don’t have any health issues, but for this guy to endure what he has endured is huge! We’ve always been a band that watched after our money so we don’t live luxuriously, we always watch our money, we don’t get the nicest hotels, and all the other stuff so it’s difficult for a band such as ourselves to make our money and to live from this. You have to put a lot into it, you have to play a lot of shows. I think we played more shows than most of the hardcore bands, maybe all of them over the years. And bands that are touring a lot know what it is when it comes to explaining some of the bullshit, some of the bad conditions you have to deal with. You always biting your lips and you have to deal with the shit all the time. It’s not a good feeling.

About 20 years of Hardcore, the idea to ask old members to re record old songs was a good idea, like inviting Mike Hanzel, Rob Moschetti, Eric Klinger, JC Dwyer… However, I’ve been a bit surprised not to see Eric Matthews on it!

I was surprised to, I tried to get in touch with Eric Matthews. I wrote to one of his bands and I never got a response from him. I asked Klinger if he had a contact for him… Well it just never happened. There’s a couple of guys who were invited but it just never happened for one reason or another and Eric Matthews is one of them. It would have been great if he was on it. I was talking to Dave Chavarri, he really wanted to be on it but he was on tour with Ill Niño at that time so that didn’t happen. I invited Dan Richardson to play on it to, but he’s very tied up, he’s got a transportation company in south Florida so it’s not easy for him to come all the way out and put down some tracks. But we got a good representation of old school Pro-Pain guys and they did a fantastic job. Mike Hanzel, this guy is unbelievable! He didn’t play drums in like a year and he hasn’t been in a studio in 10 years and when he came in he was FANTASTIC!!! He was all nervous and he didn’t think he was gonna be good and he shocked everybody! (Laugh) He was amazing! Really amazing!

I talked about Eric Matthews as I met him last week, so of course we talked a little bit about Pro-Pain and the strange thing is that he didn’t know the band was still alive!

Really? (General laugh)
Did he think we were dead?
He didn’t know if we were still active as a band?

Yeah he didn’t even know Tom left the band…

Well yeah I can see that. Somebody who’s out of the band for a long time, I don’t expect him to follow what we’re doing and I don’t know what he’s into or what scene he’s in. I know that he’s back with The Spudmonsters now which is cool! But I don’t expect ex-members to keep tabs on us. If they do, it’s cool, if he’s updated on where’s Pro-Pain but if they not …

Greg (French Taste Of Freedom - Official Pro-Pain fan club) asked me to ask Eric about a story, funny or not during his Pro-Pain years. And Eric told me this story about Tom throwing him a snow ball from a hundred yard in the ear. Do you remember that?

Yeah! I don’t know if I was physically there or not. Tom has some arm, he was a major league baseball player so if you get hit by a snow ball from Tom you’re going to feel it! He’s going to rock your world! Tom rang his bell! But Tom rang his bell more than once man you know! I remember Tom blasted Eric one time and broke his collar bone…

Yeah, that’s the other story Eric told me! (Laugh)

We came back from a bar, I think it was in Poughkeepsi, New York, and Eric was already on the bus and he was sitting on a couch but the cushion in the back was missing so there was just a wooden frame sticking out, so there was an empty box with the wooden planks coming out of it. And Tom ran into Eric and totally shattered his collar bone. But he still played the rest of the tour, he was almost in a sling and he was amazing! Really amazing! I gave Eric a lot of credit for the rest of the tour. I don’t know if he had much of a choice but he did a good job, it was amazing just to watch him. He looked like a wounded bird playing his drum set but he was great!
Eric Matthews was one of the greatest drummer in Pro-Pain, a great live drummer. He made a very few mistakes when he played live, he was excellent!

Well Gary, thank you very much for your time. Is there a message you’d like to dedicate to the Pro-Pain supporters?

Yeah, of course I’d like to say thank you for the many many years of support, to all the fans who have given us more than we ever anticipated in this journey. We look forward to our new release which is called Straight To The Dome and it’ll be released later this year, hopefully by September. And we’ll be on the road again, late august and September so the fans can look for us on tour. We hope that they’re will be at least a few French dates during the tour but they haven’t been booked yet. I’m sure we’ll be back in France soon enough to play for the French fans. And thanks a lot! We appreciate it!

'Straight To The Dome' will be out in Europe, September 9th through Sunny Bastards Records; and in the U.S, September 25th through Goomba Music.

Join the official Pro-Pain fan club on Facebook or on the regular French Page Of Freedom website.

Thx a lot to Gary & to Greg (French Taste Of Freedom - Official Pro-Pain fan club)! Special thanks to Kathy Kave for fixing my language mistakes! ;-)