Andy Herrick and Chris Spicuzza of Chimaira - Back
1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Andy Herrick: The band got started in late 1998, but I didn't join until February of '99. I am best friends with Rob the guitarist, and we used to be in a band togther in high school. He put in a good word for me, played them the stuff we recorded with our old band, and that's how I got in.

Chris Spicuzza: I use to play bass in a band called Fromandafly. We practiced next door to Chimaira at our rehearsal studio. Both bands became pretty good friends and we played a bunch of shows together. Fromandafly eventually crumbled. I decided to get into sampling. This past November Mark asked me to join Chimaira, and I gladly accepted.

2. How would you describe your music?

Andy Herrick: I would say its in the "new metal" style of bands like Machine Head, Fear Factory, Slipknot, etc. Even so, it doesn't sound like any one band. I think it has a unique vibe to it. We take the best elements of metal and hardcore: the songwriting, technicality and musicality of a new metal style band, and the stage presence and intensity that a lot of good hardcore bands have.

Chris Spicuzza: Intense, aggressive metal/hardcore. We have a hardcore edge, but we choose to be metal. Everything is going more towards the "new" metal direction now with all the electronics being added to the sound.

3. What are your biggest influences?

Chris Spicuzza: For the most part I grew up listening to bands like Megadeth and Motley Crew. Then my life changed in 95 when I heard a small band from California named after a vegetable. They are now the biggest heavy band in world. Korn has opened the doors for bands like us.

Andy Herrick: My earliest influences in metal were Lars Ulrich and Charlie Benante. I think the two drummers who inspire my playing the most now are Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Gene Hoglan (Death). I am really big on Alice in Chains and Machine Head right now as well. I am a huge fan of Christina Aguilera as well, her voice is amazing, and she smokes the other teen girl singers. Plus, I have determined she is my future wife.

4. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren’t in the band what would you be doing now?

Chris Spicuzza: All I did in high school was attend concerts. I admired all the bands I was watching. I wanted to be the one onstage showing off what I have created. It feels great to play music for people. If I wasn't in Chimaira I would be searching for a new band to play in. If that fell through I'd continue my education, or work at Pilot selling cowboy boots.

Andy Herrick: I've always had a love for playing music, and I was glad when the opportunity came about to work with great people and musicians. I want our band to be really well known and liked. If I wasn't doing this, I would probably be in school full time and working. There's nothing wrong with that really, I do want to finish college, but there's no way I can pass up the opportunity we have right now.

5. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Chris Spicuzza: Our bass player is also in a death metal band called Nun Slaughter. They are quite a sight to see live. All the bones and ramskulls anyone could ever ask for. They are good for a laugh. If you love Satan (I don't) then they are the perfect band for you. Viva la ram skull!

Andy Herrick: Our bass player is in a local death metal band, they are quite amazing. Outside of that, we all stick to our #1 musical priority. We have plenty to do between Chimaira, our jobs, and life in general.

6. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Chris Spicuzza: If a band used us as one of their influences and became popular..I'd be thrilled. On the other hand.. I would be pissed off if a band completely ripped off our songs and received full credit. I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Andy Herrick: I would be highly upset, but I don't really worry about that happening. That's how things work in Top 40 music though. The Backstreet Boys paved the way for N Sync, Britney Spears pioneered the trail for Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson. As far as our stuff goes, if anyone else gets big replicating our style, that would just make us bigger as well.

7. What current bands do you like or respect?

Chris Spicuzza: I love "new" metal bands like: Slipknot, Nothingface, Korn, Deftones, Ultraspank, Static-X, Deadlights. I'm also into bands like Mr Bungle, Dillinger Escape Plan, Candiria, V.O.D., Will Haven.

Andy Herrick: My three favorite bands right now are Machine Head, Dream Theater, and Alice in Chains. I am also a huge fan of Fear Factory, Slipknot, Creed, and Days Of The New. I'm big on jazz as well, I love Chick Corea, Miles Davis, stuff like that.

8. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Chris Spicuzza: "This Present Darkness" just came out on January 11th, 2000. Other than that there is a demo which is nearly impossible to find because it wasn't pressed. Two of the songs, "Silence" and "Empty", are the extra tracks on our new cd. "Refuse to See" can be downloaded off our website in mp3 format. The cobbedge song maybe released someday. That features Rob (guitarist) and Moody (band assitance/good pal).

We have one demo, with the orignal versions of "This Present Darkness" and "Divination". The first hidden track on the new CD is called "Empty" and it was the last track on that demo. We recorded that back in April.

9. What demo/album do you like the best?

Chris Spicuzza: I love the new disc (This Present Darkness). It captured Chimaira in the rawest form.

Andy Herrick: I think "This Present Darkness" is the best work any of us have been involved with, I am beyond happy with it.

10. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Chris Spicuzza: All the songs are quite personal. "Painting the White To Grey" is about someone in the band attempting suicide. "Lend A Hand" is about AE (former bassist) having to leave the band. We have our reasons for writing our songs. The lyrics are written in such a way for people to relate their own experiences to them.

Andy Herrick: All of the songs relate to personal experiences such as dealing with love and the loss of close friends. Every word on the album is very personal and emotional, I think that comes across very clear on the CD

11. What are the bands favorite songs?

Chris Spicuzza: All of them. If I had to choose it would be "Painting the White to Grey" and "Divination". "Divination" brings out the most in me.

12. What does the future hold for the band?

Chris Spicuzza: We plan on touring as much as possible. If all goes well we are going to record a full length in the fall.

Andy Herrick: I see nothing but big things happening. I hope to reach as large of an audience as possible with our music. As long as we have a tour bus, I will be happy.

13. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Chris Spicuzza: Slipknot because they are the craziest fucking band I have ever met and seen.

Andy Herrick: I would love to play with Slipknot or Dream Theater.

14. Who writes the majority of the music?

Chris Spicuzza: Mark(singer), Jason(guitar) and Rob A(guitar) come up with all of the core ideas. Then Andy(drums), Rob L(bass) and I add onto it. Too many people with too many different ideas at once scrambles everything up.

Andy Herrick: 90% of the music is written by Rob, Jason, and Mark.

15. Who has been the favorite band you’ve played with and why?

Chris Spicuzza: I haven't played enough shows with Chimaira to answer that truthfully. Although, when I was in Fromandafly both us and Chimaira opened for Puya. Those guys rule.

Andy Herrick: Who has been the favorite band you've played with and why? I think so far the best bands we've played ith have been Zao and All Out War. Our first show was with Napalm Death, and they are probably the best death metal band ever, always way ahead of everyone else in that game.

16. Where did you get the band name from?

Chris Spicuzza: I'm going to quote this from our singer. Chimaira is a Mythological creature consisting of many animals forming a beast, similar to what we are. There are several spellings of the word, and we chose this spelling because it also can be translated to a different meaning. It means and unreachable dream... a fabrication of the mind. If you read our lyrics you can understand why that additional meaning was chosen.

Andy Herrick: They picked it out before I joined, but its meaning is "an unreachable dream" or a "fabrication of the mind." They thought it fit well. It's pronounced "Ki-meer-a".

17. Describe what the band is like live?

Chris Spicuzza: We put everything into our live show. It's our emotional release. If we finnish a set without being completely exhausted then we didn't do our job. We just recently had our cd release party. It was the craziest show I have ever played in my entire life. The crowd destroyed chairs, tables, and broke bottles all over the floor. We were overwhelmed by the response everyone gave us.

Andy Herrick: Extremely intense, lots of energy from the band and the audience. I'm kind of in my own little world, trying not to pass out. We give everything on stage and it shows.

18. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Chris Spicuzza: We joke around about remaking Savatage's music video for "Hall of the Mountain King". It's fucking incredible.

Andy Herrick: I have no idea what it would be, but it could only help to have one I suppose.

19. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them?

Chris Spicuzza: As of now we only have a few shows booked. We will be playing the New England Metalfest, March Metal Meltdown, and the Milwaukee Metalfest. A U.S. tour is in the works.

Andy Herrick: We are playing various out of town shows through the spring. We want to tour a lot over the summer, but its gotta be worthwhile. If you're gonna make the transition from working a regular job to making a living as a musician, you can't just say yes to anything that comes along. We hope to get a booking agent soon to help hook us up with good tours.

20. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now?

Chris Spicuzza: Twenty years is a long time for a band. We defintely wouldn't be able to move like we do now onstage. I'd love to still be rocking like Black Sabbath does now.

Andy Herrick: That's hard to say. I doubt I'd be doing the same thing, just because the way people change over time. We'll just have to see, I'm sure we'll all be involved in music in some capacity.