Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins
I have followed Brand New Sin ever since
their inception. Rising out of the ashes of its predecessor Godbelow,
Brand New Sin took a new route in metallic influenced music and created
their own brand of heaviness. These gentlemen from Syracuse, NY take
no prisoners on their albums "Brand New Sin," "Recipe
for Disaster," and "Tequila." With tracks like "My
World," "Black and Blue," "Motormeth," and
"Crank It Up" Brand New Sin has left a lasting impression
not only in metal but the music world, and this continues today.
I was lucky enough to secure an interview recently with Chuck Kahl,
bassist of Brand New Sin. We talked about the current happenings in
the band, some of the past accomplishments, the future outlook of
the band, Chuck's equipment, a few incidents on the road, and much
Shed your "Sad Wings" and join me for this "Once In
A Lifetime" experience. Prepare yourself for hell as this "Brand
New Sin" is more lethal and ominous then the seven deadly sins
Metal Fanatix: Hey Chuck, how’s
Chuck Kahl: Swell Me'al [Metal] Jeff,
How are you?
Metal Fanatix: Things are good. I’ve
been looking forward to this interview for a while.
Well let’s start off with the hot topic that I’m sure
everyone is asking you about. I read in the Syracuse Post-Standard
newspaper that Brand New Sin has made some lineup changes recently,
including your vocalist, Joe, leaving. Can you clarify what has happened
with the band for everyone?
Chuck Kahl: Joe and BNS parted mutually.
Joe wants to do other things. And we understand and respect that.
Metal Fanatix: The majority of the band
is still together, correct? Did you guys part on good terms?
Chuck Kahl: Yes, we are still cool.
In the end, a band is a business and we all know that. We didn’t
want to make it a personal thing. Everyone has control over the outcome
of their own lives, and sometimes you gotta do what’s best for
you. But the business end of it can get ugly when someone leaves if
your not careful. We kinda made a pact to keep it in the family so
to speak. It’s the outsiders that usually start shit and try
to ruin bands and the relationships with in it. The rest of us want
to write and still make music.
Metal Fanatix: Since Joe left the band
you guys are looking for a new singer. Are auditions going on right
now? How can serious and prospective vocalists get in contact with
you guys to audition for the band? What specifics are you looking
for in a new vocalist?
Chuck Kahl: Just send an email to [email protected].
Leave your name and email address (only) and we’ll contact you.
We don’t have specifics besides holding a pitch. You can’t
predict because everyone has their own sound and style. We want the
auditions to be open to the talent out there. It's one of those things
where it will just have to be the right person. We won’t know
until we hear it. We’ll know when it’s the right person
all around. From their voice to being able to take our humor. It was
the same when Joe tried out. We just knew. There’s a lot of
hungry people out there. It’s just a matter of linking up.
Metal Fanatix: Are you guys going to
continue with the Brand New Sin moniker?
Chuck Kahl: That will all depend on
who comes along. When Joe joined, we knew it wouldn’t be Godbelow.
If the new person pushes it to a new level, then by all means it will
change. Only time will tell.
Metal Fanatix: What does the future
hold for Brand new Sin now with these changes? Is it to early to tell?
Chuck Kahl: Write and finally put out
something new. As far as labels, the industry is so fucked right now.
Who knows. First things first… writing a record that we are
completely happy with.
Metal Fanatix: How long was the discussion
going on in the band before the lineup changes occurred? Or did it
just happen one day?
Chuck Kahl: Um, that’s a difficult
question to answer. I guess if I was a mind reader I could answer
it. I think the end result “just happened one day”.
Metal Fanatix: I see that Joe is continuing
with music (singing and piano) in the local area of Syracuse under
the name Brand New Joe. Has he told you guys what his plans are for
Chuck Kahl: No, I’m sure his close
family and friends know.
Metal Fanatix: As with many bands, when
members leave, rumors start to fly. Dan, your vocalist from your former
band Godbelow has recently parted ways with his band Unholy. Are there
any future collaborations planned with him and anyone from Brand New
Sin? Or do you want to squash those rumors right now? There is no
Godbelow reunion planned, correct?
Chuck Kahl: I haven’t heard of
any Godbelow reunion. That doesn’t mean anything though. It’s
a small town, so people talk a lot of shit. I love Godbelow But its
magic was in the time it was around. We were the band you loved to
hate because of the members that comprised it at the time. As fun
as it would be to do, I don’t think it wouldn’t live up
to our memories of it back then. What would be better would be to
have a sit down party and have everyone tell stories of the past.
I know that sounds stupid, but I guarantee everyone would leave with
stomach pains from laughing so hard. [as I was re-reading my answers,
I got this message from Danny “I just read your blog. I'm writing
a Godbelow record and your playing on it whether you like it or not.
You have a human heart but a metal soul. Roots bloody roots ~dj~”]
Metal Fanatix: Besides the recent lineup
developments, what have you and Brand New Sin been up to?
Chuck Kahl: We each have songs in the
works, it’s a matter of finding a singer, and putting it all
together. There’s no reason to move forward on writing complete
songs til a singer is there so you know what it’s gonna sound
like. A new member is always on fire, and gets everyone excited. It’ll
be exciting to hear.
Metal Fanatix: It’s been over
a year since the release of “Tequila”. Have you guys started
working on new songs for your next album? Are there any working titles
for songs, complete tracks, or songs you are currently working on
for a future release?
Chuck Kahl: We’re always working
on new stuff. Even right after a record is done you get creative urges.
We always have stupid nicknames for songs until the recording is done.
Nothing’s ever set in stone until it’s on tape.
Metal Fanatix: Is there anything to
note about what you are currently writing? Is there a projected release
date for the next album?
Chuck Kahl: Way to early to tell. We’re
not going to rush it. We don’t want to get someone that we end
up firing in a year. We don’t want to be the next Anthrax.
Metal Fanatix: Joey Z helped you guys
with producing your last album, “Tequila.” How was it
to working with him? Any plans to work with him in the future?
Chuck Kahl: I think it was a one-time
thing. We work better locally, and it saves a hell of a lot more money.
Joey was great though. He’s got more energy than a five year
old. He had just had a new born when we were recording, and with out
sleep he would still get us energized to record. He’s a great
person all around.
Metal Fanatix: Brand New Sin has 3 studio
albums now and an EP. What is your favorite tune that you’ve
written so far?
Chuck Kahl: Shit, that’s a hard
one. I think it depends on my mood. Changes, Wyoming, Once in a Lifetime,
Metal Fanatix: Who writes the majority
of your material? Or is it a group effort for the most part?
Chuck Kahl: It’s a group effort.
Someone has the idea, or a part, then it just builds from there. Although
sometimes one person will have most of the song done and it may stick.
Metal Fanatix: What’s the first
thing you think of when I mention these following BNS tracks?
My World: NYC
Black and Blue: LA
Motormeth: Dinosaur BBQ and Dean
Crank It Up: Steroids
Metal Fanatix: From what I understand,
Brand New Sin parted ways with Century Media Records last year. Any
Chuck Kahl: They wanted us to renegotiate
and we said "HELL NO". Our contract was out of their league.
They bought us out of another contract that was pretty fair to us.
Labels are in dire shit right now as far as CD sales and the cost
of touring. It was an easy way out for us and it worked. CM was good
to be on because it gave us a home, but BNS is a commercial sounding
band, CM doesn’t have much of publicity department so it wasn’t
beneficial for us over all. We had a five record deal that we skated
out of. We wish them the best. They are good people. Just not the
right label for us.
Metal Fanatix: Is the band now with
the Bodog Entertainment Group? How has that worked out for you guys?
Chuck Kahl: No. We entertained the idea
for the TV show. But we decided not to do it.
Metal Fanatix: Chuck, when I first saw
the movie “School of Rock” I was a little surprised when
heard one of your songs in the movie, I believe it was “Sad
Wings”. Then I noticed that your band was in the movie at one
point. How did Brand New Sin end up on the playlist and make a cameo
appear in the movie?
Chuck Kahl: The owner of Now or Never
Records (our first label) was friends with the casting director.
Metal Fanatix: Did you get to hang out
or talk with any of the stars in the movie? If so, what did you chat
Chuck Kahl: Nah, the stars don’t
talk to the extras. I think it’s protocol so the real actors
don’t get bombarded with fans and extras trying to break in
to acting. There was one scene we had with Jack Black. It’s
not in the movie. But between takes Jack was playing Zeppelin on his
guitar and Slider murmured, “Zeeeppeliiin”. And Jack Black
looked and smirked. That’s all the attention we got from him.
The kid drummer hung out with us a lot. He’s probably old now.
Metal Fanatix: The song 'Crank it up'
was written for the entrance theme for WWE’s former wrestler
the Big Show. Who helped you make this possible? How was it working
with the Big Show and the WWE?
Chuck Kahl: I think CM sent in our CD
along with the Shads [Shadows Fall] and others. The producer there
heard us and thought we’d be a good fit for the bluesy song.
Big Show is a trip. He told us about his toilet and how his wife has
a GPS unit spying on his every move from satellite. Funny shit.
Metal Fanatix: I’ve recently
read that Brand New Sin provided music for the UFC DVD “Ultimate
Iceman - Chuck Liddell.” What did BNS contribute this video?
Are you guys fans of the UFC? Was this a good experience for the band?
Chuck Kahl: I think Mr. Liddell (or
his people) found us. I think our fans informed us that UFC was using
it. Kenny is big in to UFC. Kris too. I try to watch it, but I get
Metal Fanatix: What would you say is
the highlight of your music career so far?
Chuck Kahl: Hmm. The Mafia tour with
BLS. It was a dream I didn’t want to wake from. Everything was
perfect on that tour.
Metal Fanatix: Recently you headed out
to Anaheim, California for NAMM. For those that don’t know about
the National Association of Music Merchants, could you explain a little
bit about it? How was it?
Chuck Kahl: It was like the state fair
if you replaced the horse shit for guitar amps, circus music for thousands
of doodlers on THOSE amps, AND you replaced carnies and rednecks for
sales people and music geeks. I love California. I didn’t want
to leave. It’s funny to me how everyone gets LA attitude when
in LA. Although they are people you’ve met and partied with
before, they get cocky all of a sudden when under the LA lights. It’s
funny to watch. You can sort out the genuine people from the kiss
asses and cock stars in seconds. I get a kick out of it. Shrooms makes
it even funnier to watch. Anyway, NAMM is a must for any musician.
Metal Mecca. You have to go at least once.
Metal Fanatix: Did you find any new
equipment that you liked, or run into anyone you’ve toured with?
Chuck Kahl: I’m not much of a
tech dude, so it was cool to see all of the stuff, but it’s
very overwhelming. I liked the custom guitar displays. EVERYONE is
there, so yes, I ran in to a lot of people from touring and partying
in the past. I ran in to Nick Fuoco every other hour. A little piece
Metal Fanatix: You guys have toured
with numerous great bands all over world, who have been your favorites?
Are there any bands that you would consider as good friends?
Chuck Kahl: BLS and Motorhead were the
best. I love COC, but Pepper is a strange dude. Mushroomhead and Soil
are good friends. And Autumn Offering are a trip.
Metal Fanatix: When on the road, what
do you miss the most? What is your favorite thing about being on tour?
Chuck Kahl: My bed... I miss the most.
Drinking every night is fun when touring, but ya get the jitters the
few nights that you don’t drink. I like the comradery from touring.
For 8 of us being together day after day, you’d think we’d
fight all the time, but you become a big family. It’s a life
I that never want to end.
Metal Fanatix: In your travels, have
you found a favorite place to play, as in, a certain country, city,
Chuck Kahl: Flint, Michigan. The Machine
Metal Fanatix: Is there any place you
would like to play in the future that you haven’t yet?
Chuck Kahl: Japan. I want Kris and Kenny
to be forced to eat Sushi.
Metal Fanatix: What is the most unusual
item you’ve asked for when on tour?
Chuck Kahl: My band! I went to the ER
in England after a fight. After being stitched up, I couldn’t
find my band. I had no phone numbers (our cells don’t work there)
and no way to find them. It was scary shit. The hospital was old looking
and foreign. I totally felt like I was living The Wall or Clockwork
Orange. I just layed down in the waiting room and hoped they’d
find me someday.
Metal Fanatix: As a bassist, who are
your biggest influences?
Chuck Kahl: Not that I think playing
reflects it, but my favorite bass players to listen to are John Paul
Jones, Geddy Lee, and Cliff Burton. I also really like Karl Alverez
of Descendants and the dude that was in Sunny Day Real Estate, now
in the Foo Fighters.
Metal Fanatix: How long have you been
playing? Do you play anything besides the bass?
Chuck Kahl: I’ve been playing
bass for about ten years. I played guitar before that. I studied classical
guitar and piano in college, but that’s all gone to shit.
Metal Fanatix: Do you have any endorsements?
What’s your favorite bass? Tell me about your equipment.
Chuck Kahl: I’m endorsed by Hartke
amps and Schecter guitars. I can’t believe I have Schecter.
The bass they sent me (diamond series studio 4) is so fucking badass.
When companies send you guitars, nine outta ten you won’t be
happy. But I am in love… and it’s not just because I’m
endorsed. It is a really nice instrument. Hartke is very, very good
to me. I play through a 5500 head and an 8X10 cab. They are both great
companies to their bands.
Metal Fanatix: So what is the deal behind
the pig logo and tattoos the band members have? It would seem to have
a special meaning to the band.
Chuck Kahl: Kris’ father used
to customize Harleys. He drew the pig and put it on his bikes. We
wanted a symbol and that was the one that fit.
Metal Fanatix: Well Chuck, I’m
just about to finish up with this interview, but I have one more question
for you. First I’d like to thank you for your time in doing
this interview, it’s appreciated! Do you have any final words
for the Metal Fanatix of the world?
Chuck Kahl: Drink Jager. Seriously.
Those people by far are the only corporation that truly loves music
and bands, and weren’t afraid to be associated with metal or
it’s fans. That is important these days when bands are struggling
so much to survive. They will send you so much free shit to promote
your band. If you are in a band just ask them, they may help you.
Thank you Metal Jeff, for the interest in the band. It’s underground
zines and sites that keep metal going. Metal fans ARE the most devoted
fans of any genre of music. Don’t ever stop. I’d like
to thank Metal Fanatix readers for reading.
Metal Fanatix: Thanks dude! I hope to
catch you guys at an upcoming show! METAL!!
To keep up with all the latest news & much
more on Chuck & any of the bands he works with check out the following
- Official Brand New Sin Site
- Brand New Sin MySpace Site
- Godbelow MySpace Site
- Official The Undesirables Site
- The Undesirables MySpace Site
© Jeffrey D. Adkins February 2008 Not to be re-printed in any
form without written permission.