Ohio is not very well known for having much of a scene as far as extreme metal goes. Being the Columbus music examiner, it makes my heart warm to be able to claim Skeletonwitch as one of the heartland’s own. The five piece death/thrash extraordinaires got their start in Athens Ohio, the rural college town that is home to The Ohio University main campus. Despite their rise to success Skeletonwitch still frequently start their tours off at The Union Bar and Grill, in the little college town where they got their start. They stay true to their roots but are also looking forward to touring in as many new places as possible in 2013. It seems Skeletonwitch is constantly on the road, a recipe for success. I caught up with singer and spellcaster, Chance Garnette long enough to ask a few questions in this exclusive interview:
EXAMINER: You have finished recording your new album, which is scheduled for release this fall. How much of the new material can we expect to hear on this tour?
CHANCE: The new record will come out in the fall so we figure we’ll play one new song on this tour and then really get into the new stuff after the record comes out.
EXAMINER: Skeletonwitch contributed the song “Bringers of Death” to the compilation album “Metal Swim” in 2010. I understand the track was not performed live until the U.S. Abomination Tour in the fall of 2012. However, it was not a part of the setlist when you performed at the Show No Mercy SXSW party in March of this year. What exactly is your relationship with “Bringer’s of Death”? Will it be a part of the setlist for this tour?
CHANCE: “Bringers” was written as a European / Japanese bonus track on the “Permafrost” record. Honestly I really never gave it all that much thought after it was recorded until Adult Swim approached us about including it on their digital comp called “metal swim.” After the video they did for the song came out, the response to it was crazy. Kids were yelling out “play Bringers of Death” in between songs at shows, and hitting us up online asking if we were ever going to play it live n stuff. Funny how a last minute “bonus” track can actually end up being your most popular video as well as an introduction to Skeletonwitch for a lot of people. With all that being said, I guess it’s also kind of odd that no, no it’s not on the set list for this run.
EXAMINER: There was a word of mouth buzz about how much Skeletonwitch kicked ass spreading through Ohio before you had even signed to a record label. Considering your relationship with the Athens community, will Skeletonwitch keep the tradition of starting their tours off at home?
CHANCE: Athens definitely is a special place for Skeletonwitch. It’s where we started, where we played our first real show. It’s awesome to remember playing shows there in Athens at The Union in the beginning to somewhere between 20-50 kids and now playing on that same stage under that same roof for 250 kids. Athens has been very good to us and whether we’re starting tours off there or not we will always find a way to make a couple shows at The Union happen every year no matter what.
EXAMINER: Besides the Union in Athens, what is your favorite venue to play in Ohio?
CHANCE: Probably The Grog Shop in Cleveland, I guess. It’s been around for a long time and we seem to always have great shows there. The staff has always taken care of us and the crowd is killer. As far as Columbus goes Chris “Woody” Woods has always been great to us and I’m more than stoked to play his shows. We played Ace of Cups for the 1st time last year . We were in Columbus with Woody and that was awesome. So yeah, either the Grog shop or wherever Woody has us in Columbus usually rules!
EXAMINER: Speaking of community, I think everyone will agree that every metal musician and fan the world over has derived some influence from Slayer. In light of the recent passing of Jeff Hanneman, may I ask what your favorite Slayer album is?
CHANCE: I’m going to have to go with “Seasons in the Abyss” on this one.
EXAMINER: Some of the more technical bands emerging the in the metal scene recently are citing influences in genres that have not been historically associated in any way with metal. What are some of your “non-metal” influences? Any jazz buffs or James Brown fans in the band?
CHANCE: I really like those sad tear jerking old country songs. George Jones, Willie Nelson, David Allen Coe, Waylon… Things of that nature. Maybe not so much as an influence on Skeletonwitch though. We all love Classic rock stuff which I do feel has had quite an influence on our sound.
So far this year Skeletonwitch has conquered Canada, and Puerto Rico, while hitting some US clubs along the way. They are about to embark on a five date journey with Ghost B.C. which surely will prove to be a most spiritual journey on the path to “Serpents Unleashed”. Check out Skeletonwitch on this limited run:
- July 27 Hartford, CT – Webster Theater
- July 28 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
- July 29 Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
- July 31 Brooklyn, NY – Town Ballroom
- August 3 Chicago, IL – Double Door