ROCKET Interviews Travis Spaulding of DOWNLOAD
May 3, 2007
Rocket: What’s crackin, brother. Are you a native of Virginia?
Travis: I might as well be, Rocket. I’ve been living here since 1985. This has pretty much become my home town. I was originally born in Rockland, ME though.
Rocket: Cool. So when did you first start playing the guitar?
Travis: when I was about 12. My grandfather got me a cheap guitar from a pawn shop. I’ve been playing ever since.
Rocket: Get the hornz up for grandpa! Haha. Did you take formal lessons?
Travis: At first I did. Right after I got the guitar, I immediately started taking lessons at Alpha Music from Scotty Mishoe. He’s a really good guitarist. Back in those days, I think he was the youngest Fender endorsee. Anyone who’s been in the local scene earlier than 1994 knows who he is.
Rocket: Kick ass. Thanks out to him for giving you the boost. Who are some of your biggest playing influences?
Travis: Oh man, there’s a lot, Rocket.
RocketL Let’s try and keep the list down to a hundred. I just might have to go father a family in the meantime though… if you’ll please forgive me.
Travis: Haha. As far as songwriting goes I would have to say Kirk Windstein (Crowbar), Sammy Duet (Acid Bath/Goatwhore/Crowbar), Death has been a huge influence on my playing. Bill and Mike from Carcass and I really like Eyehategod’s use of feedback.
Rocket: Gotta love that shit! What kind of guitars are you playing live and in the studio?
Travis: Jackson’s. That’s always been my favorite. I’ve tried other brands in the past, but I always go back to Jackson. right now i’m mainly using a King V.
Rocket: What kind of amp rig?
Travis: I have an old school Ampeg VH-140 head. They don’t even make it anymore. I’ll never understand why they stopped making them. they’re so crunchy and ballsy. I don’t use any effects, the amp’s distortion is plenty for me. I push that with 2 Marshall 1960 Classic cabs.
Rocket: Briefly, how did you initially form this band?
Travis: In the beginning, the band was formed from the ashes of another band called Reign Of Terror. They were some heavy hitters in this area. Over the years the band has gone through a few line-up changes. Me and Jamie (drums) were in Six Steps South together and Download were nice enough to give us a home after 6SS split up.
Rocket: Who are some of the other upcoming metal acts in your local scene that have impressed you?
Travis: Haha, this is always the toughest question. Let’s see, who do not want to piss off today?
Rocket: Fuck it, man. Piss em all off. They can all come after me for all the two shits I care. Spit the truth from heart, man. That’s why The Metal Den was created and that’s why I am the baddest muthafucker standing in all the shit right now. Period.
Travis: Most of the bands in this area are bad ass, but the first bands that immediately come to mind are Chaos Theory, Final Obsession, Moment Of Violence, and Endchain. Virginia bands in general, I think are an untapped resource. record labels are doing themselves an injustice by ignoring this scene. Va has given the world Gwar, Lamb Of God, Alabama Thunderpussy, and there are so many more quality bands. the metal scene here is the best it’s been in a long time.
Rocket: That’s killer to hear. I like to have fun with this next one. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you while on the stage?
Travis: Haha, this is kind of embarassing, but when I was singing in a band called 454, we were playing an all day show and we were playing last. By the time we got on stage I was so wasted, I ended up puking on the stage in front of everyone. During the guitar solo I found a mop and was cleaning it up and singing at the same time. I thought everyone was going to bust my balls about it, but people kept saying how cool it was that i puked on stage and cleaned it up without missing a word. Haha, I’ll take their word for it because that night is still a little fuzzy. That was almost 10 years ago. I hold my liquor much better now, haha.
Rocket: Metal enough for me! Haha. Last year was a great one for metal. What one album was your personal favorite?
Travis: I would have to say Mastodon’s Blood Mountain. They’re definitely going against the grain with this one. I like it when a band does something that is the total opposite of run-of-the-mill. They think so far outside the box that I don’t think they even know what the box looks like, haha. You can definitely hear the old prog-rock influence in their music now.
Rocket: You guys have been working on some new recordings. How involved are you with the songwriting process? And when can we expect a debut EP or LP, you haven’t ever officially drop anything yet, right?
Travis: Nothing official has dropped yet, but that’s about to change real soon. We are currently recording eventhough the process is slowed by the shows we’re playing. we definately want to get our debut full length out soon, but we don’t want to miss out on the shows this summer. we have a couple breaks in the madness where we plan to pick up the studio work. our goal is to get it out by July. I’m fairly new to the band, so as far as the writing process, there will be 2 new songs on the cd which i was an actual part of the writing. on the older songs,the guys were real cool about my creativity. I didn’t want to make any drastic changes, but on “Imposter” and “Lab Rat” I added a few guitar harmonies that give them my stamp. you can hear the older versions now on our myspace pages. You’ll hear the diference when the newly recorded versions come out or if you see us live.
Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for Download, bro?
Travis: Rocket, we have a show May 11th we are going to be back home to The Half Shell in Va Beach with ThisMeansYou from Charlottesville, VA Further From Failure and Nothing Sacred. another one we’re looking forward to is a big one in Richmond, VA at a place called The Rocks. there’s a lot of bands playing that night. Choke Chain is the headliner and TMD’s very own Moment Of Violence is playing as well. last time I saw MOV live, they were still going by Lofat, so I’m really looking forward to that one. if interested our schedule is always up at www.downloadva.com, www.myspace.com/downloadva, or www.myspace.com/downloadstreetteam.
Rocket: MOV and Violentkor have been rolling OG TMD Promo since the start. They were my very first band when I got going. Killer peeps! And yeah, they are certainly one of those bands to keep your eyes on. Thanks very much for takin the time out to do this with me. Best of luck in ’07. Give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Travis: Thanks man, your support is greatly appreciated.
Rocket: Thank very much, bro. It’s all for the love of the TRUE metal.
Travis: Underground metal needs more dedicated people like you.
Rocket: I think we all know this. But it ain’t easy doing what needs to be done…I been doing 10-12 hour days a week for over two years straight now to get the damage done… and I seen tons of wannabe promoters fall off during my run. So again, thanks for the recognition.
Travis: Also I’d like to thank our biggest supporters are of course our fans, the hardcore hooligans. our past couple shows have been nothing short of a riot thanks to them. Rocky and The Virginia Metal Alliance have always been there for us. last but not least Steve at Skinnies Records has definately shown support. right now we are working out a deal for Skinnies to not only carry our merchandise, but to have them available for mail order at www.skinniesrecords.com. I’ve been a customer at Skinnies for years, so i’ll be proud to have our merch sold there.
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