GOD FORBID – interview by mike bushman
Bushman: What’s in the water in New Jersey? It seems to be the breeding ground for a LOT of the contemporary metal scene.
Bryon: The scene right there now is being restructured. A lot of our venues are being closed down. There are not a lot of places to play. So a lot of different styles of bands are getting together to throw shows. Just for the sake of having somewhere to play.
Corey: I don’t think anything is in the water. I think there is just general frustration in that area. When you pack that many people into area, things are gonna happen.
B: What’s the touring life like for God Forbid? Out of hand? Drugs and women? Broken hotel rooms?
Bryon: Get up. Drive to the show. Play the show. Leave the show. Go to the next show.
Not outta hand? No broken hotel rooms?
Corey: No broken hotel rooms man. We can’t afford that shit. If we could afford to break shit, we’d definitely breaking stuff. So for future reference, when we do get enough money to break shit, I will be the first in line.
What would be the ‘Ultimate’ God Forbid dream bill for you to play on?
Bryon: There are three bands I can think of off hand. Slayer, Pantera and Meshuggah.
Corey: I want to tour with Candiria.
Where do you see the current trends in heavy music going?
Bryon: God Forbid. It’s just going to get heavier. More melodic. More extreme.
Corey: It’s expanding now. You see it in a lot of bands that people think are metal, that aren’t metal. I’m not gonna mention any names I don’t wanna start no fights. (y’know, they’ll see me at shows and want to fight or some shit)
Do you think this years Ozzfest was a good representation of metal?
Dallas: Who is on the Ozzfest?
Disturbed. Linkin Park. Slipknot. Manson. Ozzy.
Bryon: I could see Slipknot. I could see Ozzy.
Corey: None of those bands are metal. They are traumatized rock.
Bryon: There are a couple of bands that should be on the main stage, but they are playing the smaller stages.
Corey: Like Hatebreed. They are not exactly metal, but they have a lot of metal elements.
I want to steer away from the tired questions about being black dudes in a metal band but does that lend to people getting a preconceived notion of your ‘sound’ (which is then blown right out the back of their skull when they actually hear you?)
Corey: I’ve been waiting for this question. I’ve been pretty reserved about answering this type of question, but I’m gonna speak what’s on my mind. There is no way for us to know how us being black and playing this music affects how people look at our band. No one comes up to us and says, “Well, there’s a bunch of niggers in the band, so I’m not gonna buy the record.” Or, “Hey, I like niggers and metal, so I’m gonna buy the record.” So we really have no idea so if they say that shit, its behind our backs.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a band?
Corey: Being broke. Other than that, everything else is cake man.
Bryon: That and surviving accidents.
God Forbid prone to accidents?
Corey: We got into a huge accident on the way here. We almost got killed.
There are a lot of traditional metal influences in God Forbid, what got you listening to metal as kids?
Corey: All the standards I think. Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Maiden, Exodus. Lots of Exodus. Before you realized how bad the vocals were.
Metal kids are usually in trouble growing up. Did you find yourselves in dealing with police often?
Corey: Not anything serious,
Bryon: just kids
Corey: the same…
Corey: Bullshit kids get into y’know. Hanging out in the woods and starting bonfires and shit, and the cops come. Or just being a fucking delinquent some place you shouldn’t be. That’s about it.
What kind of environment did you grow up in? Did you know each other as kids?
Bryon: Me, Cory and our Bassplayer Beeker, we all went to high school together. We all used to play around and jam together for a little while. And then we had another friend who we grew up with who had a cousin who knew two guitar players. He introduced them to us. So it started out like a premature family. We were all friends before we actually played together. So it just made it easier to play together.
What stimulates the creative drive of God Forbid?
Bryon: For me it’s the will to succeed. To prove people wrong. That’s what drives me. I love people who say you can’t do it or it can’t be done because of this or that. I like to prove them wrong.
Corey: I think its because its fun. That’s it for me. Because if it stops being fun, I’m gonna fucking quit.
Your music seems to come from a very angry place. What angers and disgusts God Forbid?
Corey: Being broke. We’re not really angry people. We’re all about having a good time. People think its angry music. I see people at shows like that. They’re always angry and roll around with that scowl on their face. None of us are like that.
Why ‘God Forbid’? Why that name.
Corey: Because Dallas nagged us. Basically is what happened. There wasn’t really any other important names. We just shot a bunch around. We had a name before that, but nobody could pronounce it. Got really annoying.
Has their been any reaction to the religious associations in your bands name and lyrics?
Bryon: A lot of people really never speak on the lyrics.
It’s an important part of what God Forbid presents as a package.
Corey: I think people are intimated by Byron. Whether they like him or not, they just kind of look at him and keep walking.
As you become more successful, are there any aspects of the music industry that are disillusioning?
Corey: I think it’s going pretty well. We went into this with certain expectations. Some of it is how the music industry treats you. And a lot of it is what you want to do for yourself. If you want to bust your ass really hard and tour nonstop and only be home a week and a half out of every six months, then you are going to succeed. You can make a better way for yourself. Certain bands think they are going to sign to a label and the label is going to make everything go away, and make everything happen for them. It’s not like that.
Do you hope to get ‘mainstream’ radio play, or do you enjoy being something more elite. (Meaning, people who tend to like God Forbid are probably very into heavy music and music in general. Not for the people who listen to whatever is on the radio).
Corey: I want a lot of people to hear our shit. I don’t think there is a point in doing it if you don’t want other people to hear it.
Bryon: We’d like to go mainstream without changing who we are.
Do you think the mainstream is ready for you?
Corey: They will be ready man. We have one important thing that’ll sweep anyone man, and that’s groove. Everybody knows what groove is man. I don’t care who you are. There are people I see at shows, and they are trying not to feel it. But they have to start moving. And they look mad that they have to start moving.
Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass onto the bands that just formed last week?
Corey: One, get a set of shower shoes, cause you don’t want to get no hoop-jiggers from the showers. Second, almost make sure you get your shit on the rider. Hard liquor, beer, towels and water. You get those four things, and you have a pair of dry socks…
Bryon: If you really want to do it, just go for it. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Follow-through. There’s a lot of good bands that we’ve seen do it our way to where we are now, and they have been really good, and pissed it away. Just stay focused and anything is possible.
Century Media handled your last album. How has that affected your career?
Bryon: Helped us.
Corey: As far as the America office, everybody there is really dedicated. They not living lavish and shit like people from Sony. They do it because they really love to do it and they love the bands they are working for. So we are really lucky in that respect. The labels not the biggest, but they bust their ass to help us as much as they can. I think we all felt like we’ve been taken care of. And we are not like selling millions of records. For a band on Century Media, we are doing pretty good. But I have to say Century Media has treated us very well.
Where do you find hope?
Corey: I find hope in the idea that when I go home off tour, that I don’t ever have to deal with regular life again.
Bryon: I find hope just hanging out being with people in my band. They keep me sane. Through a lot of times when life was just too crazy. I put myself around positive people. It just makes everything so much easier to deal with.
Best moment of God Forbid so far?
Bryon: Surviving that goddamn fucking van crash.
If people were to listen to one song of the new album, which would you recommend?
Bryon: Network. That song pretty much puts a handle on what people have come to. A lot of people just sit around and really don’t do anything but sit and watch. People just watching TV and doing nothing else. Just being drones.
What’s the plans for the end of summer and fall of 2001?
Corey: We are doing a two-week tour with Poison the Well and Martyr AD. And then a tour with VOD and Nothingface. Then we are probably going over to Europe with Opeth. Sometime in the fall, we’d really like to go to Australia, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
Who is a sinner?
Corey: All of us are sinners.
Who is a Saint?
Corey: There is no such thing.
No one deserves Sainthood in God Forbids world?
Corey: Not in my world. Not in the real world.
What is the coolest?
Byron: Freedom I think.
What is the lamest?
Dallas: He used to work at this club in Jersey. And every band he thought was good, he would go on and tell them they were, ‘his boys’ and he was going to manage them. He tried that stuff with us but we really paid no attention. So then he copped attitude with us. Now he is parking cars. That’s his gig. Running the parking lot. So that’s about as lame as you can get.
Messages to the masses?
Corey: Smoke weed everyday. Smoke it with yourself, and if you see us, smoke it with us.
And since I could comply, we ended the interview.
The band was sincere as hell. They really do wear the title of their album, ‘Determination’ as a badge against any negativity they come across. The band is not the ‘traditional’ package a metal band comes in, but haven’t we learned by now, different is fucking cool. Different breaks the mold. Variety is what keeps the world from being a clone of itself. God Forbid fuels off this, and the result is metal that makes me proud as hell that America still can breed something of this magnitude.