Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview: Eric Wood

Ladies and gentleman, I have had the pleasure and honor of interviewing a true legend. Someone who has helped inspire countless hardcore, powerviolence, grindcore and noise groups through his bands Pissed Happy Children, Neanderthal, Man is the Bastard and Bastard Noise, among others; Mr. Eric Wood. Here we talk about Bastard Noise's incredible new line-up, the new full-length "Skulldozer", and the history of the SKULL. This interview was done over email.

VII: Let's start by hearing some praise towards your newest member Aimee (also a member of Progeria). How did you get her involved with Bastard Noise?

Eric Wood: Having Aimee join BASTARD NOISE wasn't actually planned but it proved to be the best thing for CONNELL and myself and BASTARD NOISE in general. On our U.S. tour last summer (2010), we had a nearly unbearable time to say the least with former member NELSON (electronics). That tour was to promote "A CULTURE OF MONSTERS" and we featured a number of "guest" vocalists that shared vocal duties with me on the track "THROUGH MODERN EXISTENCE" (THE MARCH OF THE TROLLS). In AUSTIN and DENTON,TEXAS we had Faiza Kranchei formerly of HATERD SURGE (and now with her own power unit MINDLESS), in SOMERVILLE,MASS. we had JAY RANDALL of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED , in MONTREAL and TORONTO, CANADA we had MATTHEW CARROLL formerly of THE ENDLESS BLOCKADE (R.I.P.), BRUTAL KNIGHTS and now also of DEATH AGONIES and finally in LOS ANGELES,CALIFORNIA we had Aimee Artz (PROGERIA) to accompany me on the piece. Our last show of our 2010 summer tour was at THE BLVD CAFE (in Los Angeles,Ca.) on July 16th with the magnificent PLUTOCRACY. CONNELL and I knew the end was near with NELSON so we made this set as unforgettable as possible, unified as the most dramatic sound bass and drum unit we could be and the crown jewel of positivity was Aimee doing "THROUGH MODERN EXISTENCE" with us "live" ! She totally ripped with such significant power, I was blown away. That was the last day incidentally CONNELL and myself ever spoke to NELSON again. Just a few days later I was on the phone with BEATTIE (NO COMMENT, MAN IS THE BASTARD) and he remarked how sick Aimee sounded and mentioned I should hit her up to join forces with BN as a permanent member. I was glad I took his advice to heart. I called up Aimee to see how she was doing and asked her at the same time. She agreed and the rest is history...

VII: Has the response to Aimees recruitment been positive?

Eric: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, YES ! Aimee is a fixture in Los Angeles AND has a lengthy musical background for years playing in bands. Also a very important thing (to me personally) is her musical taste which is very diverse. She is personable and works extremely hard. She is not afraid to learn. Her membership has brought about a "rebirth" to our "lean and mean" skull machine.

VII: Has Aimee brought anything to the table that Bastard Noise has never had before?

Eric: She has brought HERSELF to the table. That is the most important thing. She is proactive, intelligent, positive and the sickest vocalist !!! She adapted very quickly to the previous songs from "A CULTURE OF MONSTERS" and was a one third equal in writing and rehearsing the upcoming "SKULLDOZER" album.

VII: She handles the noise duties for live shows now, did she have to get used to handling noise equipment like that has she had previous experience?

Eric: Absolutely ! She has had to learn ! The ROARAFC "CAVEMAN ELECTRONICS" boxes have minds of their own. They are not "UL approved" so to speak. Developed as pure prototypes by BARNES back in 1989 even before he was a member of MAN IS THE BASTARD ! They constantly challenge the operator including myself. She, to my knowledge did not have previous experience. She also took her role one step further and purchased her own custom built light sensitive theremin to carve her own "niche" within the band. This is what I meant earlier by referring to her as "proactive". Certainly she is still learning. She isn't intimidated though and that is a skull blessing for us as a whole. With BARNES ROARAFC units, anyone that operates them is STILL learning.

VII: What can you tell us about your new full length "Skulldozer"? I've heard you say that this will be the best Bastard Noise material yet, what makes it the best?

Eric: I can tell you "SKULLDOZER" is our best recording to date because of three major points : 1) This is BASTARD NOISE' best line-up of personnel - Aimee adds so much vocally. Our sound now is much more driving with her. 2) "SKULLDOZER" possesses the best writing to date. "SKULLDOZER" is rich with tone AND aggression 3) "SKULLDOZER" is our best recording. It was again recorded and produced by MICHAEL ROZON ("ROGUE ASTRONAUT", "THE RED LIST" and "A CULTURE OF MONSTERS").

VII: The CD version of "Skulldozer" comes with a shirt and 2 extra tracks, which is normally the type of extra additions you see with vinyl releases. Why did you decide to put them with the CD version?

Eric: Concerning the two additional bonus tracks, it was due to time constraints between the analog and digital formats. Obviously the digital format holds a lot more time so the bonus tracks being present reflect that. The t-shirt ONLY comes with the c.d. because it is an incentive to buy the less desired (or popular) format of the album.

VII: Do you think CD's are even worth releasing now? It seems like now people are more attracted to buying vinyl and definitely downloading from the internet.

Eric: I like BOTH vinyl and compact disc but the compact disc format (as far as official recordings go) was set up to fail in the long term. When PHILLIPS and SONY invented the first compact disc, they could have easily also invented the technology to not have them be copied but that would have dug into blank c.d-r sales for them and as corporations, they looked at that potential lost revenue and the rest is history. While bands like METALLICA were extremely admirable for fighting against dogfuck shit like NAPSTER, they can also take the hit better unlike little ol' BASTARD NOISE. I love their crusade though. Music thieves should die. Especially computer downloaders. Fuck all the human maggots that steal a persons soul with the click of a fucking mouse. Dirtbag scourge.

VII: In addition to "Skulldozer", you've also released a split 12" with A.C.T.U.A.R.Y, and have another noise release and a live 12" coming out. The 2 latter releases seem to be pretty underground in terms of publicity, are they gonna be self-released?

Eric: "SKELETAL UNCERTAINTY" has been released by DUSTIN JOHNSTON (LOVE EARTH MUSIC) and the "live" BASTARD NOISE album (untitled at this point in time) will be released by DEEP SIX RECORDS in the near future.

VII: One of the songs on "Skulldozer" is about Rachel Corrie, a woman working for peace in Palestine who was run over by a bulldozer. Why did you decide to base a song around her?

Eric: Her story, like so many other peace activists was incredible to me personally. I LOVE Olympia, Washington where RACHEL CORRIE happened to be from so for some strange reason, she resonated with me. I remember the day it happened. So horrifying. She already had goals in the 5th grade to end starvation in the world especially when it came to children. There is a video on YOU TUBE of her giving a speech about that very subject to her 5th grade class. Really makes you stop for a moment and think of what you've got. The first time that I saw/heard this I was moved beyond words. There are many "RACHEL CORRIES" in the world as well as many peace activists that give up nearly everything if not their own lives for the benefit of others. I just felt strongly about it so myself and MICHAEL ROZON (our producer) put it together to include on the album.

VII: Is their going to be any touring in support of the new album?

Eric: Once we have guarantees to support our travel and the actual physical time to do so, yes we will tour. We are touring Europe in October through DOOMSTAR BOOKING in THE NETHERLANDS.

VII: This may be a sensitive subject, but what was up with Maryland Deathfest?

Eric: This is my opinion only : MDF is a "QUANTITY VS. QUALITY" event that is nostalgic to say the least. No sound check, bad on-stage sound, stage hands/sound persons unwilling to work with equals disaster and dis-satisfaction. It is also held in an open sewer of a location also. NEVER AGAIN without a contract to protect our musical interests and peace of mind.

VII: You recently played the 10 year anniversary show for Short, Fast and Loud, what was that show like?

Eric: The SHORT, FAST + LOUD two day event last january was great as far as attendance but I and CONNELL were sick. Playing last is fucking dire when too many bands are on the bill. But I got to sell merch next to DAVE of P.L.F. and "the brotherhood was truly born ! Aimee ruled. Terrible sound. GREAT crowd. GILAMN's soundman has no business fucking bands over the way he did. Not ATHENA KAUTCH's fault !!! P.L.F., CAPITALIST CASUALTIES and F.I.D. ruled. So many great people there though !!!!

VII: A lot of veteran bands played that show as well, it is surprising to see that bands from west coast hardcore scene like Lack of Interest and Despise You still have relevance? Even bands like Crossed Out, who only played something like 12 shows and had a handful of releases are still an influence to many hardcore/powerviolence bands today.

Eric: I think the human race is embarrassing and that's why in a general sense, good quality h.c. will always have relevance. LACK OF INTEREST and DESPISE YOU are no exceptions.

VII: Do you even think that there are any new powerviolence bands? Or that bands that claim to be powerviolence are what they say?

Eric: No - scabs need to start their own genre.

VII: Getting more into the past now, way into the past; how did Man is the Bastard start? How did the concept manifest itself?

Eric: MAN IS THE BASTARD was born from the ashes of P.H.C. and NEANDERTHAL. In the beginning (1990) we were known only as CHARRED REMAINS (named after a cassette tape v/a compilation featuring all Los Angeles bands like ILL WILL, SIN 34 NIP DRIVERS, etc.) but on the inside of the first release (a split 7" e.p. with BELFAST, N.IRELAND's PINK TURDS IN SPACE) we put CHARRED REMAINS A.K.A. MAN IS THE BASTARD. The name MAN IS THE BASTARD was coined by our drummer CONNELL during an early rehearsal for that 7" split e.p. release. We just quickly realized that CHARRED REMAINS was very limited in its' view of where we wanted to potentially go with subject matter (i.e. lyrics) and with what music that we wanted combine with it. It just came out of him ! It stuck right away and we never looked back. We knew due to the punk and hardcore bands of our era (1979-1990) that the world was obviously a corrupt vacuum if you play the game of "societal interaction" and of course we did so like any normal people we were often frustrated with the humans that controlled the world as we knew it. Those bands that helped so much to "cope" were early BLACK FLAG, N.O.T.A., THE OFFENDERS, early PRONG, M.D.C., YOUTH OF TODAY, HARD STANCE, B'LAST!, NECROS, MIGHTY SPHINCTER, NO FOR AN ANSWER, early CROMAGS, AGNOSTIC FRONT, RAW POWER, TOXIC REASONS, early C.O.C., CONDEMNED TO DEATH, DEPRESSION, STARK RAVING MAD,J.F.A., TH' INBRED, REAGAN YOUTH, DEAD KENNEDYS, WASTED YOUTH and the list goes on forever... MANCRUEL pisses and shits where he/she eats.

VII: Man is the Bastard was, musically and sonically, an incredibly forward thinking group for the type of scene you guys were involved in. Were their any limitations when it came to creating music?

Eric: Not really. Between CONNELL,KENYON and myself who wrote the bulk of the material, we worked fairly efficiently and with real passion for the music and its' vision. "THOUGHTLESS..." was our "peak" album to me personally. I always thought we could have gotten a better mix for the MUMIA ABU JAMAL/MAN IS THE BASTARD split 12" L.P./c.d.

VII: Another thing that I love about MITB was that you guys sort of became a collective. Was it easy to find like minded people to get involved?

Eric: At that time, it just sort of operated itself. I asked Barnes,Kenyon and Beattie all to join. Each of them possessed something unique that added character to the band. Kenyon asked Lawrence to join (the last two years of the band's existence). We were fairly compatible up until just before the very end where drug issues destroyed all of our hard work. People are human and make mistakes. It is not worth crying over spilled soymilk any longer.

VII: Where did the iconic Skull image come from? Was it adapted from Neanderthal?

Eric: I found that exact skull in a reference book at THE CLAREMONT LIBRARY in early 1989. It was in an anthropology book and it was the first "modern man" skull ever to be unearthed by a profession expedition team of anthropologists. It is directly related to NEANDERTHAL because NEANDERTHAL was an earlier project/band and M.I.T.B. was obviously its contemporary hence the "MODERN MAN" skull versus the NEANDERTHAL one.

VII: Even though MITB is done, are you still tight with Aaron and Barnes?

Eric: Only BARNES. BARNES is a true brother and giving soul who's "real" to me on every level of friendship. KENYON and I do not speak. I do not hate him. KENYON truly helped define MAN IS THE BASTARD and was a gifted player/lyricist/performer to collaborate with. I will leave it at that.

VII: I assume you don't use "the boxes" anymore?

Eric: Yes we do. One isn't fully operational at the moment and is in the transition of being "tuned up". These original units are simply blowing. Aimee uses one of the original ROARAFC "CAVEMEN ELECTRONIC" boxes "live" and on the new album "SKULLDOZER". Just wait until you hear it !

VII: Bastard Noise started pretty much the same time as MITB, and as it's own project, which a lot of people might not get. It was never a side project to MITB as I understand, right?

Eric: You are correct. Using the term "side project" is what people who truly don't "get it" say. It was its own enigma, origin of expression and identity. Thank you for realizing this important fact.

VII: BN has been pure noise up till the Endless Blockade split. What made you pick up bass again and bring it into the fold?

Eric: I came out of severe drug addiction in 2004. From 1999-2004 I was in a horrible place. I hadn't picked up a bass from 1997-2007 ! That was 10 years of not ever touching the instrument I loved so very much and that defined part of my creative identity. It took me at least 18 months to get back what I lost during my "personal darkness". That was a grueling process with no one to hold my hand whatsoever. The instrument will not play itself. You have to pursue it with everything in your being to re-achieve the past, present and future ! So to answer your question as to what made me pick up the bass again, it was missing the instrument and knowing in my heart there was so much more to be accomplished. "THE RED LIST" was that first rung of the new musical "ladder". "A CULTURE OF MONSTERS" was the second and now "SKULLDOZER" is the third.

VII: I feel that MITB has sort of become reborn in BN. The recruitment of Conell has definitely influenced that thought.

Eric: I agree completely. With CONNELL it is joyous again. The chemistry is divine with him (and now with Aimee) Credit MUST be given however to DANNY WALKER (INTRONAUT/MURDER CONSTRUCT) who assisted BN highly in getting our footing initially as a "musical force" and who plays drums on the BN portion of "THE RED LIST" and who toured with BASTARD NOISE in JAPAN in 2009.

VII: Pretty much all of the songs on your last full length "A Culture of Monsters" were resurrected Cyclops and MITB songs. Why did you decide to bring these songs up again and give them new life?

Eric: CONNELL and I agreed that the CYCLOPS compositions we wanted to "resurrect" would be the ones on side one or the first three tracks on "A CULTURE OF MONSTERS". Those three we decided to "run into one another" sequentially. It felt natural to do so - not contrived whatsoever. They came very naturally to us. Back in the CYCLOPS days, we were not experienced with knowing how to acquire good recording or mix. All three of those tracks were recorded previously but not on the level of quality they have been now. Also the tracks lacked quality musical embellishments that I feel at least, are there now on "A.C.O.M.". The added vocals really gave the music life and the production by MICHAEL ROZON gave us a true realization of this. Truly only "PINCER'S MOVEMENT" , "ME AND HITLER" and "A SILENT NIGHT IN THE HORRIBLE GARDEN" are "old" ones. Everything else was brand new to the album.

VII: Who are some of the bass players that inspire you?


VII: What's the future looking like for BN?

Eric: Incredible. We are already starting the writing process for the next album already after "SKULLDOZER" !! This IS the line-up of BASTARD NOISE !!!

VII: Final thoughts?

Eric: Please check out our website as there are many amazing videos created by good friend JAY RANDALL (AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED) that feature the music of BASTARD NOISE, SUPPRESSION, ANB and more ! If you have any merchandise or related questions to the band please write
Thank you for the interview !!



  1. Great interview. I loved his position on downloading, because it is so far removed from the line people usually give.

  2. Yeah, good read. Eric Wood is an interesting dude. How old is he? I'm curious how he feels about bands referencing him in albums/songs. I could guess he doesn't like it,"No - scabs need to start their own genre."
    Oh sorry Mr. Wood, I download music. Don't think I'm a scum sucking mother fucking road whore.

  3. Awesome interview VII!

  4. Great interview. What a true legend.
    I download music and post downloads to bands that I enjoy with the intension of spreading the word about their greatness. I like to think that none of the bands I post would object to their music being given away for free, but sometimes people have different opinions. I know that when I download something illegally, I have no other way of getting that music. I condone the downloading of out-of-print and rare titles because I want that music to live on forever, not fall off into obscurity because someone didn't have the chance to buy one of the 500 copies before it went out of print.
    On the other hand, new and in-print titles deserve our hard-earned money and support.
    I can't wait to PURCHASE the new Bastard Noise albums.
    Anyway great interview. Keep 'um coming!

  5. never in my wildest dreams would i ever have imagined a dude from mitb defending metallica. i'm gonna need a minute to process that.

  6. I think Wood's defense of Metallica is refreshing, though yeah, I had to pause as well. Because in a sense, not adequately compensating musicians is fucked. But at the same time, when those musicians seem like corporate whores and you might be out of a job, or realize that the musicians get an infintismal percentage of the sale anyway, where do you draw the line? The only thing I can come up with is supporting local musicians and going out to see shows as much as possible.
    Also, love the Rachel Corrie reference. Thanks, Eric, for infusing this interview with some major issues that we all tend to forget about.
    Brilliant and genuine. Very fundamental.

  7. heard he dig tranporn

  8. Metallica reference is hilarious.

    by the way, if i support bands buying their music and also download it from the inet, what kind of heinous criminal am I?

  9. that's what I do. If i buy the vinyl and it doesn't come with a download, i find a link on the internet. Totally justified