Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Scarecrow is an integral part of the Bay Area’s metal, its members having made up such bands as Exhumed, Dekapitator, Repulsion, Old Grandad, Vicious Rumors, and Cutthroats 9. With this band history, you wouldn’t expect anything less than what Scarecrow brings, but you might not be ready for it. Matt Harvey’s and Bud Burke’s dualing solos are seemless, Will Carroll exploding like a suicide bomber behind them, and Damien Sisson’s bass drives them onward. To put it simply, Scarecrow’s concept of a break down is a drop from 300bpm to 250bmp. But they don’t skimp on catchy riffs: the hooks are there, as the audience at Annie’s Social Club attested, their fists raised to the chorus of Twilight’s Last Gleaming. I actually cracked a few ribs that night, while trying to photograph them, and that, in the morning, if not anything else, made me think of Scarecrow.

Mattie: How would you describe Scarecrow‘s sound?

Matt: Ugh, metal? Old school metal.
Damien: I always say “classic metal?”
Will: I always say all the “M” metal bands: Metallica, Motörhead, Megadeth, Metal Church, Mercyful Fate… all those bands. We’re just a big M.

Mattie: What are you looking forward to about the tour?

Will: Playin’ to people other than ex-girlfriends and drunks I’ve known for 15 years. (laughs) It’s the first tour any of us have done in a while, so it’s a bonus.
Damien: I’m interested to see how the band works together, and see if by the end we have a new perspective on our playing.

Mattie: And you’ve got a new album to promote?

Matt: It’s a split with Landmine Marathon, a kind of death-core band, similar to Bolt Thrower. It won’t be one of those splits where you can’t tell the difference between the first and the second band. (laughs)

Mattie: How’d recording go?

Matt: We’d only been playin for a couple months when we started to record. The guitar tracks turned out to be unusable so we went to a whole separate studio, and then those weren’t usable and that was totally my fault. So we did it again. It seemed like this endless process, and definitely the last time we record like that.
Damien: I remember what you said, Yeah, it should be done and out by January, 2007.
Matt: I meant ‘08. (laughs) I think when we started, we didn’t even have Bud yet.
Will: I didn’t even know this guy yet! Neither me or Damien. Actually, we didn’t know Bud until a couple days before our first gig.
Damien: Like first practice, it was like, lets take some photos.

Matt: Bud, yr solos are crazy, how do you play guitar so fast?

Bud: No life. Stayin’ at home and just jammin’. It’s not a very exciting story. I’m just totally addicted and love it.
Matt: The lady of the lake came out of the swamp and taught him…
Will: Yeah, he goes home and squeezes madballs all the time.

Mattie: I thought a madball was an eight ball in a sock?

Will: No, the little monster head balls.

Mattie: Did you approach it technically or just from loving it?

Bud: For a long time I didn’t know what I was doing, just jamming’ and havin’ fun. Eventually, I learned some music theory because I got more curious about how it worked. From there I began to practice scales. I’m the scale guy and Matt’s the riff guy.
Will: Before our first gig I walked into the studio and Bud was doing the Pac-Man theme song, and I was like: This guy is in.

Mattie: Will, you’re playing in four bands right now?

Will: No. Scarecrow is the only real active band. Old Grandad plays here and there and Ulysses’s Siren and Warning are both on hiatus.

Mattie: How do you hold all those songs in yr head?

Matt: This guy has a photographic memory. He not only knows all of those songs, but he knows every metal cover song, straight through.
Will: Yeah, I really don’t know how, cause I don’t take care of my brain, that’s for sure.

Mattie: Where do most of the lyrics come from?

Matt: I wrote the first few songs when I was working at Alternative Tentacles (Jello Biafra’s record label) and I got exposed to a lot of political shit. So the earlier ones were political and the most recent ones are about kickin’ ass.
Will: It’s about putting the scalple down and pickin’ up a baseball bat.
Matt: Just shit that fits the engery of the music. The music is heavy and aggressive and powerful so… even the political lyrics aren’t about telling people what to do. The whole thing for me is keeping them open ended enough for people to take what they want from it, if they want to. Or else they could say, I like music that’s loud and angry and I don’t care what the guys sayin’. Nothin’ too fancy. Not savin’ the world.

Mattie: Speaking of saving the work, if Scarecrow were president for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Bud: I’ve definitely got my agenda planned. If we were president, #1: legalize pot.
Matt: I’d use it to make lots and lots of money.
Will: While they’d be doing that, I’d be sleeping.

Scarecrow recently released a split with Landmine Marathon on Level Plane Records. They’re available at www.level-plane.com and at all their shows. With the new album done, they’re looking to work with a record label.


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