I have two drummer updates in the March issue of Modern Drummer with Terry Bozzio on the cover: Jim Bonfanti of The Raspberries and Raymond “The Machine” Herrera of Fear Factory!
As a special New Year’s treat, here’s a preview of my Top Ten Favorite CDs of the year, to be elaborated on in my upcoming 2005 Year End Rewind! Enjoy!
1. Crash Kelly, Penny Pills (Liquor & Poker)
When I got the advance of this album last winter, I predicted that Penny Pills would be my favorite CD of the year 2006 and, no surprise here, I was right. Embracing a full-on 70s sensibility of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out and T Rex at its most glam, Penny Pills is the only drug you need.
Baltimore’s Lake Trout bring us acid rock for the aughts and are one of the best live bands around.
Kasabian are such a great band I can’t even believe they’re signed to a major label, let alone RCA. Which reminds me of joke:
Q: How do you stop the spread of AIDS?
A: Let BMG distribute it.
Eric Anders is an obscure, independent singer songwriter whose unaffected ability to turn a phrase and otherworldly knack for arranging transcendent, melancholy melodies would have made him superstar, you know, if records still sold based on talent.
I still love the Prog rock and nobody bends the mind quite like the dark masters of the genre, Steven Wilson’s Porcupine Tree.
6. Turbonegro, Party Animals (Liquor & Poker)
What’s going on up there in Scandinavia that gives bands hailing from that part of the world such superior ass kicking power in the Rock & Roll arena? Norway’s Turbonegro might say it’s a higher tolerance for alcohol.
7. The Greenhornes, East Grand Blues EP (V2)
The Greenhornes play fuzz-toned garage rock that’s impressively faithful to the sonic hallmarks of the classic British Invasion bands (Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds) and their counterparts in the original wave of American garage rock. East Grand Blues EP completely obviates the need for The Strokes to ever make another record.
Managing to stay authentically dangerous without becoming a parody of itself, heavy metal juggernauts Fear Factory have in Burton Bell and Raymond Herrera the best lead vocalist and the best drummer, respectively, in the genre today.
9. Black Halos, Alive Without Control (Liquor & Poker)
My hands down favorite band to see live and, individually, my very favorite group of band dudes to hang out with, Vancouver’s Black Halos sweat Rock & Roll from every pore. I just adore them.
Five words: Ziggy Stardust meets Sergeant Pepper.
In the world of heavy metal drumming, Fear Factory’s Raymond Herrera is an unstoppable machine, renown for his innovative, brutal rhythms and lightning fast double bass playing. On Fear Factory’s latest album, Transgression, Raymond continues to create the intricate, pounding cadences that define his band’s ground breaking, signature sound. Metal Edge caught up with Raymond for a brief chat on the last day of summer 2005’s Gigantour, which also featured metal juggernauts Megadeth and Anthrax, as well as modern prog rockers, Dream Theater.
Metal Edge: Did you and Christian (Olde Wolbers, guitarist) write all of the music for Transgression, as you generally do, building the songs around your rhythms?
Raymond Herrera: Well, it’s not all about me. Christian also comes up with really cool rhythms that I’ll end up following. As long as we get that tightness between the rhythm and the kick drums, that’s the signature Fear Factory sound. The biggest change on this record is that we wrote the majority of the music on the road, when we were on tour last year with Slipknot and Lamb of God. Most of this record was written on a drum machine.
Metal Edge: How does that work?
Raymond Herrera: It’s got sixteen pads with all of my different sounds programmed in there, such as my kick drum sounds from Obsolete, my snare sound from Demanufacture, my cymbals and everything. With all of my actual drum kit on these pads, I can start programming stuff and it really sounds like a drum kit. I don’t really know any drummers who write records on a drum machine and I think it’s next to impossible for a lot of bands to do it, but Fear Factory’s music revolves around rhythms and patterns. Most fans know that.
Metal Edge: Transgression features a terrific cover U2’s “I Will Follow.” How did you add your own feel while still being faithful to the original drum parts?
Raymond Herrera: I love that song, so I didn’t want to steer too far from the original. On a cover song, I usually start by doing what the original drummer did. As I get more comfortable with that, I get a little bit more experimental. When we started doing “I Will Follow,” I really liked the original drum parts and there wasn’t much I wanted to change. I added some parts in the middle of the song and I probably played a little bit behind the click. Otherwise, I just played it harder.
Metal Edge: The song “Supernova” is very progressive sounding. It seems like the band is confident with its ability to really experiment and step outside the accepted “What Fear Factory Does” box.
Raymond Herrera: We could easily have written more songs like “Spinal Compression” and “Moment of Impact” – we could do that all day long. But we started writing songs that were a little bit different. We realized our singer can belt it out with the best of them and we have the freedom to try new things. When Christian and I wrote the music to “Supernova,” I didn’t know exactly what Burton (Bell, vocalist) was going to do over it. The fact that he sang the whole way through and made it more of a pop track is very interesting. It was great to be able to follow through on that idea, because it’s cool and different. A lot our fans loved Archetype because it was very much Fear Factory, but at the same time many people didn’t like it because it sounded just like Fear Factory. So go figure.
Drums: TAMA StarClassic in Maple Brown Finish
Sizes: (2) 18X22 Bass Drums, 8×10, 10×12 & 11X13 Rack Toms; 16X16 & 16X18 Floor Toms, 4X14 Maple Snare
Hardware: Tama hardware; DW 5000 Pedal
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raymond-Herrera-122079087830648/
Official Website: http://fearfactory.com/
This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.
It’s CMJ week here in New York City and that means…well not much to me, actually. I’m bypassing the convention/ panels/ parties/ endless-showcases-of-lame-bands -enjoying-their-five-seconds-of pre-fame this year in favor of attending just a few choice shows. Last night was my designated “Night of Rock,” despite the fact that my Quest for Rock Action meant I would miss the debut of Survivor: Guatemala. Sometimes we must make sacrifices in order to rock.
The first event on my evening’s agenda involved a pitstop at downtown hard rock landmark, Don Hill’s, where Munsey from Skateboard Marketing was holding his own version of a Metal Mania Party, featuring a performance by my favorite band of scary guys with facial hair, Fear Factory.
This is a picture of Fear Factory singer Burton Bell. He is my very favorite heavy metal front man at the moment. Though Burton is not traditionally “hot” in the pop star sense — being kind of scary looking on stage — he is nevertheless unbelievable sexy, outrageously charismatic and has the best voice for the kind of somewhat melodic aggro metal Fear Factory does. I also love his tattoos. Burt, like me, is an Aquarius and that is probably why we get along. We had Mexican food together once, but that is another story.
It was so crazy to see Fear Factory in a teeny tiny club like Don Hill’s because they play huge venues like Roseland these days, and that ‘s part of the reason their set was so mind blowing. They were so tight and so loud and so fucking metal. My ears still hurt. Have you heard their new CD, Transgression? It just rules; a perfect mix of eat-your-face-off aggressive metal and heavy melodic rock. They remind me what Nine Inch Nails could be if Trent had any balls and wasn’t completely self-absorbed. Before their set, I had the chance to talk to Raymond Herrera, FF’s drummer, who I’ve interviewed a couple of times for Modern Drummer Magazine. He is amazing and completely hilarious to talk to.
Munsey’s party was a total blast because I also met up with some of my metal scene friends who I had not seen since winter, or in some cases over year or more, such as Jon Paris, Liz Ciavarella, Felix Sebacious, Rachel Martinez and Steve Prue. It was rad.
Next I jetted over to the Continental for the Liquor and Poker label showcase featuring two of my favorite bands in the Universe:
and The Black Halos
And I will get to that part the evening soon, but now I have to catch a train . . .more later involving much rocking, very cute rocker boys and lots of hugging and sweatiness.