Previous Pro-Pain Interviews
On the verge of Pro-Pain's upcoming Euro tour and the bands return to Greece, The Gauntlet caught up with Pro-Pain frontman Gary Meskil to talk about the upcoming tour, new material and the Crumbsuckers reunion.
The Gauntlet: What's been going on Gary, great being able to talk with you.
Gary: Not much, see any shows lately?
The Gauntlet: I caught a Throwdown show a couple nights ago. I think it will be my last hardcore show for a while. I got hit in the head with a can of Coors. It busted me open above my eye. A couple months back I took a bodysurfer to the ribs and had 3 ribs and my sternum crushed while in the photo pit.
Gary: Oh man. I strictly go to hardcore shows as a spectator sport. I am not one to get involved in the pit or the stage diving aspect.
The Gauntlet: Nor do I. Both times I was standing next to security guards.
Gary: Yeah, the hardcore shows in the US attract a certain element. You have a lot of guys that get in the pit strictly for the intentions of hurting people.
The Gauntlet: Exactly. What's with the karate kicks. Give me a circle pit anyday.
Gary: I don't know. I steer clear of that stuff. It is one thing to be on the stage and peer out into that kind of stuff. As for being a spectator, I don't want to be apart of that. I'll be the guy at the bar listening to the music. A lot of the new bands have spawned a new generation of karate guys in the pit.
The Gauntlet: I'm sure that moshing will be a sport at the X-Games soon.
Gary: It's much different from the European scene. The European shows are much more mellow. The scene is more peaceful and more festive. People seem to never forget they are there to have a good time first and foremost. When people get violent, it's really frowned upon which is cool. It's crazy. We have been a bit removed from the scene in the US for a while. We have resurfaced and done some shows in the US. We noticed some things have changed quite a bit. It's a darker scene today. A lot of black metal bands are coming to the forefront. It really changed in not too many years. It was our first time playing in front of a US audience in like 5 years. It was a big shock for us.
The Gauntlet: Is that why Pro-Pain has stayed away from the US for so long?
Gary: I guess we had to prioritize a little bit. We saw that our record sales were really holding up over seas. It seemed to be where our main support level was coming from. In the US, provided there was a good opportunity to come out, we certain would. This last time was such an opportunity. We acted on those oppurtunities. I guess we had to kind of go with our priorities. If we wanted to go on being a fulltime band we had to go on were we could make a living. We have really been accepted overseas for one reason or another.
The Gauntlet: That's good for Europe, not the US.
Gary: Well, when opportunities like some really good package deals are offered for us to go out we certainly will do those.
The Gauntlet: Is Pro-Pain writing new material?
Gary: We are writing a lot of new riffs. We are also gearing up for an April tour which is going to take place overseas. The main focus this time will be our return to Greece for the first time in seven years. We have 3 shows in Greece, a show in Holland which is part of the No Mercy Tour. We also have assorted shows in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria. It's going to be an eighteen show tour in April. We still see a lot of the same faces throughout the years. We have had so many supporters who have followed our careers since we started. It's really comforting to have fans who support us through thick-and-thin. I would say we have done over 50% of our touring overseas. In the beginning our main focus was touring in the United States. The band isn't quite as active as we used to be. These days since most of us have families it's a little hard to tour year round. We clock in somewhere around 100 shows a year. That's still pretty good. In order to still be a band, we block out a few weeks during the year and then that's the time we are Pro-Pain together. We write new music and figure out when to record new stuff. It's really become less of a fulltime thing and more of a part time gig for us.
The Gauntlet: Is it difficult getting together to write with everyone so far away from each other?
Gary: I don't find that it's that much more difficult to write a record that way because we send riffs back and forth via the computer or send CD's back and forth. Where it does hurt is in terms of comradery. You just miss that being a band together day in and day out. The jamming every night each week. This is more of a professional situation, and also more of a colder one. It's something we have grown accustom to over the years.
The Gauntlet: Have any songs come out of the riffs going around yet?
Gary: Not yet. Everything is still really fresh at this point. There are a lot of riffs being sent right now. We had initially set aside time to get together and start arranging but our rhythm guitarist had to go overseas to produce another project so we had to put it on ice right now. The plan right now is to work on this record when we get back from Europe. So the finalizing and recording will most likely take place in May.
The Gauntlet: Isn't JC Dwyer getting married in May?
Gary: Yup. Generally he doesn't get too involved in the writing process. In terms of recording, for 'Prophets of Doom' it only took him 3 or 4 days. The wedding is up in Pittsburgh and that's where one of our studios is located so it's actually going to work out just fine.
The Gauntlet: Did you give him choices of where he can get married based on your studio locations?
Gary: [laughs] No, no. He was living in Austin, but prior to that lived in Pittsburgh. That is where most of his family is also so it works out perfect.
The Gauntlet: How is the Crumbsuckers reunion coming along?
Gary: The reunion date just got booked for Aug 3rd at BB Kings in New York City. It's going to be a great show. We just added subzero to the show. That's a New York City band. We will probably end up adding one more band. There has been a lot of excitement around this. It's been great. All of the guys in the band have been talking to one another a lot over the past few weeks. It's a pretty fun and exciting time. I haven't talked to some of these guys in years.
The Gauntlet: How did the reunion seed get planted?
Gary: The idea came from our biggest fan who lives over near London. He is a guy named Alex Meissner. He saw all the old Crumbsucker shows back in England when we toured with Onslaught back in the '80's. We remained good friends over the years. I got a phone call from him a few weeks ago. He asked what I thought about getting together with some of the old guys. He had talked to Danny and Chuck about it and they were pretty gung-ho about doing this. It was just a matter of tracking down Chris. I said if we were ever going to do this, this was the time.
The Gauntlet: What about the possibilities of expanding the reunion show and doing a tour?
Gary: We are going to take a backseat to this and see what happens leading up to the one gig. We will see what kind of vibe we get from the one show. It's certainly not something we are going to entertain going into fulltime as everyone has there own businesses and stuff like that. I think if the show goes well, and we have a good vibe jamming, we might entertain doing some festivals and more shows.
The Gauntlet: Would you be open to working on new Crumbsuckers material?
Gary: I would certainly be open to it. It's not anything we have been discussing at any great length at this point. We are just taking this slowly. We have to kind of get acquainted with each other again. We will see what happens. I certainly wouldn't close my door to anything at this point.
The Gauntlet: Has it just been phone calls and emails at this point?
Gary: Yeah, just emails and calls. Three of us live down here in Florida, although on different coasts. We have plans to get together as soon as Pro-Pain comes home from the tour. That's when we start rehearsals for Crumbsuckers. Chris is the only guy left in New York so we'll have to fly him down.
The Gauntlet: Was New York picked for the reunion show since the band originated there?
Gary: Yeah, we did most of our shows in the immediate Tri-State area there. We figured that would be a great place to do it. New York City is a good central zone for everyone.