Throwdown, The Chariot, It Dies Today, See It Through
The Emerson Theater
Wednesday, March 9, 7 p.m.
Hardcore's latest success story belongs to Throwdown. The Orange County band won over middle America during last year's Ozzfest and saw its video "Forever" spun in regular rotation on MTV2's Headbanger's Ball.
Most may not know it, but Throwdown actually started as a joke. On the Warped Tour a few years back, members of Eighteen Visions and friends played their first show pretending to be thugs, wearing boxing gloves and screaming about stuff like family, respect and sXe oaths. After four albums, several lineup changes and a new DVD in the can, the band is in Boston recording at Planet Z with producer Zeuss of Agnostic Front and Hatebreed fame.
Ready to hit the road with a stop in Indy at the Emerson on March 9 with The Chariot, It Dies Today and Cold War (tickets for the show are $10 in advance at kulture-entertainment.com), guitarist Matt Mentley talks via phone about the reality behind the attitude.
NUVO: How did Throwdown go from a joke band to what it is today?
Matt Mentley: We just started as five friends who wanted to joke around and write songs that sounded tough. Just write heavy riffs. We had no intention of it becoming what it is today.
NUVO: What's it like for a straight-edge band to be up on stage and see, let's say, someone smoking a cigarette?
Mentley: We get asked that a lot. We're not militant at all, I think we're all pretty laid-back dudes. Being straight edge is a big part of our lives but we're cool about it. We don't tell people how to live their lives and no one tells us.
NUVO: Does hardcore even exist anymore? There's about 20 different styles with "-core" at the end of it.
Mentley: (laughs) We're a hardcore band, and we grew up in the hardcore scene. Our lyrics and beliefs are very grounded in that scene. To me, it's an approach to a way you live your life.
NUVO: Who did more for hardcore, Hatebreed or Earth Crisis?
Mentley: Uh, tough one. They're all buddies of ours. Hatebreed has gotten bigger for sure, but Earth Crisis was the first hardcore and straight-edge band to ever do Ozzfest back in '96. They've both done a lot for the scene.
NUVO: Did you grow up listening to Black Flag and Minor Threat?
Mentley: Yeah, I love those bands, but I first got into music when I was in junior high. I was into bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and my favorite was Helmet. Oh and Soundgarden, they were awesome.
NUVO: It looks like you got a lot of good reaction from your new DVD.
Mentley: You think so? I read a lot of reviews from people who hated it. I think if we picked up new fans it was from touring with Lamb of God and Ozzfest, of course. But people get to see us as we are, and we're not tough guys. (laughs) I don't know if saying that hurts us or helps us.
NUVO: Here's a stupid question that I always love to hear the answer to: Pick any three bands, past or present, to tour with.
Mentley: Nah, I love these kinds of questions. Helmet would be No. 1, then Pantera. And I gotta say Nirvana, too.
NUVO: Speaking of Pantera, do you think it's likely we could see another incident like what happened with Dimebag?
Mentley: That's the first time anything like that has hit this close to home. We had just played that club like a month earlier. It definitely could happen again but I hope it doesn't. It was just a really sad day for all of us.