Currently in Australia, Evergreen Terrace have been proving that just because their name is ripped from the longest running cartoon series ever (we shouldn’t have to name names here, people), doesn’t mean that they can’t do some serious damage to your ear drums, spine and dignity, inciting embarrassingly enthusiastic pits wherever they go. Blunt caught up with guitarist, Josh James to talk about things more pertinent than cartoon violence.
Before hitting Australia, James and the band had their first proper break in a long time, giving them the opportunity to do everything from see a finance graduate to generally hang out and act like ‘normal people.’ The guitarist says that the constant touring from 2003 onwards has taken its toll on the band and that the break was sorely needed.
“Its really hard to have relationships and friendships when you live like this, it takes a lot more effort than most people realize.”
From the formation of Evergreen Terrace, there has been no set in stone formula for the sound that the band is going for, and with the release of the act’s latest work, Almost Home, the group showed that they have well and truly defied the labels of melodic hardcore and metalcore, as well as the joke band tag that is sometimes thrown at them due to their propensity for including pop culture references in their lyrics including everything from Grandma’s Boy to Fight Club to Eastbound and Down, not to mention their covers album, Writer’s Block.
“With every record, we get better and better,” says James. “Not just the songwriting, but overall, stuff like how the mixes turn out and the lyrics, too. We have been constantly growing as a band and I don’t think that we will be stopping any time soon.
“Almost Home really put us on the map. It destroyed all of our past records. It went on the billboard charts and the fans have been super pumped on it! We really had the best blend of what makes us Evergreen Terrace, you know? We had the really good balance of the heavier side and the melodic side and so I think that kids are really getting into it now because it has what they wanted to hear, that kind of mesh and something really catchy.”
As much as James loves Almost Home, he assures us that the band have a very deep well of even better material to be dragged up for future drinks. The guitarist says that even now, months on from the release of their last album, the group is in a completely different place as musicians and as people.
“When we were writing that last record, we were going through a really big transitional time, and our bass player (Jason Southwell) had just left the band while we were touring with Soundwave in 09. We came back and started writing this record and we used it as some kind of therapy to get us through all the shit we had been through in the two years since we released Wolfbiker – the shitty economy in the States, how much the band reflected the bad economy, losing a long time member and friend. We were going through a lot of change and when you look at the lyrics, they reflect what we were going through at that time.”
With such serious subject matter, it was business as usual on Almost Home with some of their renown media references sneaking into the album.
“A lot of the time, it just comes up naturally as we write,” explains the guitarist. “Like in the song, Enemy Sex, Craig was like, ‘I was watching this Joe Rogan stand up thing and he had this joke about enemy sex, let’s call the song that!’
“The weird thing is, in the end, the lyrics always sync up with the song titles. Over the years, we’ve become really embarrassed by these serious song titles, you know like The Dying Winter Spreads Its Wings,” laughs James. “Shit like that, no one wants that kind of stupid bullshit. Better to go to a book or movie that we think is funny!”
Keeping a sense of humour is important to touring bands, never more than when everything is going to hell. Last time the group were over here for Soundwave, their plane had engine trouble – luckily for us, James and Co. were willing to laugh off the potentially cataclysmic event and return to our shores.
“It was really weird, you know? It was us, Goldfinger, Riverboat Gamblers, Saves The Day, Nine Inch Nails and The Bloodhound Gang and we were all on the same flight. The flight was being delayed, and a couple of hours go by and we realized that Nine Inch Nails and The Bloodhound Gang had disappeared. I guess that that is because they are Nine Inch Nails and The Bloodhound gang, so they’re able to get on any other flight that they want to get on. That’s not the case with us, so Goldfinger and the rest of us just sat in the airport for like eight hours and we snuck into the VIP room and all this shit, they kept on telling us that they just had to fix something on the plane and that everything was fine, but as soon as take off, the captain tells everyone that they reason we’ve been so delayed is that the engine isn’t holding the fuel and that we might run out of gas! I was like, ‘why the fuck would you tell us that right now, as we’re about to cross the ocean? We had to stop over in Hawaii, but in the end, we made it back to LA, safe. I don’t really think about it now, but Comeback Kid told me that once when they were heading out to Australia, they hit such bad turbulence that the oxygen masks came out, they thought they were going to die! I can’t think about that kind of stuff when we travel, because if you let that stuff get a hold of you, you freak out over stuff that you can’t control and I really don’t like to waste my time.” B