by Ellen Gager / Schwegweb.com
Schwegweb had a chance to sit down with Robert Meadows of the band A Live Once Lost. Here is what came from it.
Schwegweb: You recently finished up the Sounds of the Underground tour with Lamb of God and Clutch, went on the road with Dillinger Escape Plan and Unearth, and now you’ve just launched the Shadows are Security tour with As I Lay Dying and Norma Jean. What has it been like touring so heavily this year with so many great bands?
Robert Meadows: “It’s all been pretty much a dream come true. Since I was younger I’ve wanted to tour, I’ve always wanted to be on the road. I think when we first started this band; it’s kind of always been a dream to be able to be in the situation that we’re in right now. We’re very lucky and we’re very thankful for all of the opportunities that we’re getting, and for all the bands that have been taking us out. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and it’s not even near halfway done. This is pretty much the beginning of our touring schedule.”
With being on the road so much, has anything changed within the band dynamic? There were rumors of a squabble or two.
“Yeah, yeah. There’s always gonna be a squabble, there’s gonna be some kind of bickering going on, especially when you’re inside of a van with the same four people, five people for pretty much the next like two years. It gets rough sometimes. Buttons can be pushed and it takes a lot of nerve to actually get in the van and go and do it. This isn’t for everyone, and definitely you take it with a grain of salt. When you get into a fight, you know that tomorrow is going to be a better day, and that the person right next to you that you’re fighting with is gonna be still there, and still loving you, still caring about you. It’s just like life. Everyone gets into fights in life. It’s just another thing, it’s just another bump in the road, that’s all.”
Do you think in the long run it’s brought you guys closer together?
“Yeah, it definitely doesn’t push us apart. We know when to stop pushing buttons and when to kind of just walk away and let it go now and let it die, so that it doesn’t get into the situation that it gets into. It’s really hard to avoid it. But other than that, it does bring you closer together. It’s kind of like make-up sex after you’ve been fighting with your girlfriend.”
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Musically, lyrically, all around inspiration.
“I tend to be very open minded and not really judge before I actually know the person or the situation or know what’s going on. It’s kind of a judging a book by the cover kind of a thing. You just don’t know exactly who that person is. It’s not really worth your time judging someone. You can always look forward expectantly, you know? I try to be a sponge. It’s kinda funny my name is Bob, so I suppose Sponge Bob’s my theme. Keeping an open mind and being able to absorb everything that you read, and everything that you touch, and everything that you see and everything that you come in contact with. You take the little things that you like and the little things you dislike and you learn from and you learn from there. You build off of that. You know what buttons to push, you know how far to go with something, you know when to pull back. You know when to say no; you know when to say yes. It’s just life; it’s the situations and the lessons that involve yourself in. I don’t claim any type of religious belief, and I don’t claim any type of belief. I’m just a very open minded person and I tend to just weigh the situation out. There’s always the ups and always the downs and always the pros and the cons of any situation in life, and that’s why life is so interesting, and so undiscovered. It’s always a surprise. There’s always something going on, there’s always something happening, there’s always something that just totally floors the human mind.”
I read that Hunter was designed to be about “going out and taking what it is that you want”, and not settling. Is this a brainchild of real life events?
“Yeah, lyrically I tend to write and focus more on relationships in life. Whether it’s relationships with your loved ones, with your family, with your friends, with your band, with the music scene, with anyone. Reality, you know. Just waking up and then doing the working thing, or going to school, just really busing your ass. Just kinda realizing that ‘dude, this is life’. No one’s really gonna give anything to you. You have to go out and take what you want. There’s gonna be people out there that tell you you’re not good enough. They’re gonna tell you that it’s not worth your time, to get over it, to forget about it, it’s a waste of energy, it’s a waste of imagination. But they’re wrong. Anything is possible in life. Anyone can be anyone, and anything can be anything. I think that’s the way everyone should really look at life, and shouldn’t settle with someone telling them that they’re ugly, or telling them that they’re stupid, or telling them that they’re not good enough. I’ve heard it time and time again since I was younger and every time that I hear it, it really just brings something out in me that’s kind of fantasy-like, kind of surreal. You just get this feeling of power, and just wanting to conquer, you know, not settling with someone saying that you’re not good enough, because they’re wrong.”
That’s very good that a band is actually spreading a positive message through their albums.
Yeah, you come to a show and people see it, our show is usually pretty intense, it’s usually pretty nasty, and can be very uneasy for a person to watch if they don’t know who we are. So, with them seeing us, it kind of looks like we might be a little off our rockers, but it’s just the intensity and the ferocity of just being the hunter. Being that person to take control and to take life and to take fatality into your own hands and create what you want. Anyone can do it. I’m doing it now and I don’t even know it, it’s just the way it works. It’s this weird, weird funky thing.”
There seem to be a bunch of bands out there with similar names: A Life Once Lost, As I Lay Dying, It Dies Today, Every Time I Die, do you ever worry about causing confusion?
“There’ll always be confusion, you know, but that comes with anything. There’s so many bands out there that sound similar, and there’s so many bands that look similar, and there’s so many bands that do similar things. It kinda just happens, it’s kind of unavoidable, it’s gonna happen. It’s like the Rap industry; you have Little Bow-Wow, Snoop Doggie Dog, and some other like Little Romeo Guy or something. In every I guess genre of music, even in movies or art, there’s always the group of somewhat similar characteristics of people being so pretty much similar in a way. They feed off of each other. You see a band play, or you hear a band, you hear a riff, you hear something, and you’re going to take influence. You’re gonna be like, ‘that’s pretty sweet, I never even thought of that’, and you take it and just kind of morph it into your own thing. Everybody uses everyone, and that’s just the beauty of the music scene that we’re involved with.”
Where has been your favorite place to perform so far?
“There’s a lot of amazing cities, but my favorite show is when can look out in the crowd and see kids going off just as hard as I am onstage. It doesn’t matter where I am, and it doesn’t matter if I’m on a stage or if I’m on the floor, if I can look out and I can see the kids getting down with what we’re doing, or just being totally floored by what we’re doing, it’s a pretty amazing feeling to have that kind of power for 30 minutes over someone else’s life. It doesn’t really matter though, where we play, not at all, just as long as we’re playing. That’s all we want.
Why did you switch record labels?
“It was just a thing…we wanted more attention. We wanted more focus. I guess you can call it selfish, but it was us wanting to grow, and wanting us to expand, and wanting just to move forward. We’re not the type of people, and I’m not the type of person to sit in one place for too long. What I do myself, when adjusting to a certain style, or adjusting to a certain anything, I tend to try to move and try to get away from it, and try to reinvent myself. And I think it’s the same way with our music. The label that we were on, they weren’t really on the same page as us, and they weren’t looking to move forward with us, they were just looking to keep us, and keep us in a certain slot. We’re not very into that. It’s just something we didn’t like. It’s a little bit about the money, but it’ not about the money, but when you have the money to invest in something, that something grows. That something prospers, that something has more opportunities to get to that certain place. That’s was an issue, the money wasn’t there, again, and being a more of a punk label, it brought us to a certain point, which is amazing. But from there, we were looking for something even higher. It’s just been a steady growth to where we are. I guess that’s kind of the way it goes. When someone’s not there and willing to back you and support you, it’s more of a thing where you leave, you walk away, not on bad terms, but with both parties understanding that this is the time when you’re growing, you’re outgrowing your shoes. So, that’s one of the reasons we left.”
Who has been the most enjoyable artist or band to share the stage with?
“I love playing shows with this band from Philadelphia called The Minor Times, they just signed to Prosthetic Records, and I think Prosthetic just re-released one of their records or something. Just the intensity that they have onstage, the singer, the lights and the music, and just how tight the band is, the drummer. They’re just an amazing sounding and functioning unit onstage. It’s very awesome to watch them play live, and we really feed off of them. When you see them play, and you’re watching them from afar, and you can see it, and just starts really gets your stomach going, and your adrenaline going, and you feel like you’re about to explode. So when you go up on stage after watching them, they punch me so much harder to really push myself, just to make sure that I’m tired when I walk off that stage. So it’s definitely an amazing thing, it’s very cool to play with them, and especially being able to help them out and take them to certain cities and certain areas that they have yet to play, and giving them opportunities that they have yet to get. They’re definitely a local band that we’re looking forward to taking out as much as we can.”
You played last night ( December 8 ) on the anniversary of Dimebag Darrell’s demise, did you do anything special to honor him?
“I don’t drink on tour anymore because I get sick. I have a pretty weird stomach. So, I just smoked a lot of grass for him, and took a few bong rips for him. But I’m sure there’s a lot of people all over the country, and all over the world that were remembering his death. It’s very tragic and it’s very unfortunate, but it’s something that we have to…we hold him high, and we keep moving forward, and we keep doing what he would want us to do. And that’s keep it going, keep metal alive and keep it brutal and keep it real, and keep it true, and keep it true to yourself. Not to be fake, and not to sit there and just not to be fake, you know. He was always real, he was always someone that never cared what he looked like, and never cared what he smelled like, and never cared what he said. He was a guy that was just real. He was just as real as they got, and it’s a shame, a very upsetting thing to think about, to actually look back on.”
What can A Life Once Lost fans expect from this new tour?
“It’s our sets getting tighter and tighter, we’re getting tighter as a band, we’re functioning better as a unit onstage. Now we’re growing into the stage, we’re growing into the barrier, as weird as it is. With as many punk tours as we’ve done, the barrier always threw a little stick into the spokes. It can be an uncomfortable place to be if you’re not used to it. We’re starting to use the stage a lot better, I think, the intensity is growing, and I think kids are starting to really take an understanding to what we’re doing. They’re not afraid to move around, they’re not afraid to sing along and they know exactly what’s gonna happen at a show – it’ll be pretty much complete insanity. If they’re willing to participate, or they’re willing to let go and not hold back. Life is too short to sit there and hold back and care what people think about you. You just have to do what you do, and do it well.”
I have to ask, so being from Philly, did you purposely plan the California leg of the tour in late December when it’s all crummy back home?
“Ah, God. We didn’t plan this. As I Lay Dying is from there, so I’m guessing it’s just easier for them, and kind of a welcome home. We have to drive all the way across the fucking country in order to get back for Christmas. We’re not even really sure if we’re going to make it Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. That’s kind of crummy, but that’s just all part of the touring. You’re gonna have those shitty drives, and we’ve had a lot of shitty drives, but that’s when you just kind of have to roll with the punches and keep going with it. Don’t let it stop you, and if it stops you, then you’re fucked. Keep your head up, you know?”
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any words you’d like to get out there for the fans?
“Ah, no, just if the fans that are reading this don’t have our CD, you know, help us out in any way you can. Buy a shirt, buy a CD, help us, we need it. (Laughs)”