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 HateTimesNine started out as a recording project by vocalist Travis Neal and guitarist Tracy Swider in San Diego, CA, in late 2005. After a month in the studio and recording a 3 song demo, it was evident that the songs and sound had definite potential.  The band has now issued "Shadows", a twelve song collection of steady metal rockers the way they oughta be played: jammed to the brim with highly impressive dual guitar work coming from Jeff Poremba and Tracy Swider, along with the super charged double-bass drumming of Mikey Pannone, perfect low end rumbling from bassist Shane Monaghan, and passionate, deeply felt vocals from vocalist Travs Neal. The album was produced by Swider himself and immediately showcases the band's incredibly well honed heavy progressive/thrash sound with the stalwart tracks "In Darkness", "The Process Hate", and the epic "Leading The Fare", which is highlighted by Mikey Pannone's technically-dazzling drum playing that holds its own with that of any of hard rock's hot, upcoming percussionists on the scene today.


The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody interviews:

 Mikey Pannone of HateTimesNine

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Rocket: Where were you born and raised?

Mikey: I spent the first 19 years of my life in tiny little Rhode Island, until I joined the military and got transfered down to San Diego.

Rocket: What first drew you to playing music?

Mikey: Well, I come from a very musical family. My mom played violin all over the country and in Europe, and my dad has had some success with his songwriting and being in bands playing all sorts of types of music. So I would sit and watch them play. I became fond of classical music as well as rock, jazz, fusion, and a little country as well.

Rocket: When did you first start playing the drums?

Mikey: I guess I tapped on everything when I was a baby! I also had this obsession with circles for some odd reason. My grandparents finally bought me a little toy drumkit for my 5th birthday. I sat behind it, and my dad put on Toto's "Rosanna", and apparently I did pretty well for a little punk! From then on, everything became a drum to me…even to this day!

Rocket: Did you ever take any drum lessons?

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Mikey: I've never had a formal lesson with an instructor, but I'm always reading about and studying techniques, patterns, and notation. Sometimes if I get a cool idea, I'll jot it down in chicken-scratch drum notation for later reference.

Rocket: Who are a few of your biggest drumming influences?

Mikey: Alex Van Halen was my first hero, but the ones who have left a lasting impression on my playing would be Mike Portnoy, Simon Phillips, Jeff Porcaro, and Sean Reinert.

Rocket: Can you please give us the specs on your drum kit?

Mikey: It's a wine red Pearl Export 7 piece with a single kick drum, with which I used a Pearl Eliminator double pedal, a Pearl "Firecracker" snare, 4 rack-mounted toms, and one floor tom. I have some crash cymbals and a few Chinas, but a lot of small "accenting" things like splashes and bells.


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Rocket: How did you join up with HATETIMESNINE band?

Mikey: It must've been early '06 when they began looking for a new drummer. Travis had seen me perform in my other band, Discord, and later approached me about possibly auditioning for Hate Times Nine. As soon as I heard the demos, I was instantly impressed. I began charting out drum parts that night, and two weeks later I went into the audition nervous as anything! But everything went very well, and we all had a really good time that night. I absolutely love jamming with these guys!

Rocket: I really love your drumming work on the debut LP from HATETIMESNINE entitled “Shadows”. Did you have a good experience with the recording process?

Mikey: Thank you! It actually was a very good experience, if a bit frustrating at times. There were a few songs that were written not long before we began tracking drums, and those were the most challenging, because not only was I still getting used to all the time-signature changes and different passages, I was still trying to decide on what my approach was going to be for each section. So it was a bit of trial and error, but very rewarding in the end.

Rocket: Is HATETIMESNINE working on new material?

Mikey: There have been some ideas bandied about here and there at rehearsals, but we're mostly working on the material that's written, getting as tight as possible for future shows. But we like to have some fun, too. You should hear us jam some AC/DC!

Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you while performing on the stage?

Mikey: I did this Halloween show a few years back at a venue that was very poorly ventilated, and I made the grave mistake of putting on facepaint as part of my costume. After about the 3rd song, the sweat was just pouring down my face, and that mixed with the facepaint eventually oozed right into both eyes! That stuff BURNS! I don't know how some of those bands out there do that every night, but I played a whole song completely blinded. Someone had taken a few pictures of me with my eyes all squinched shut, teeth gritted, and greasy facepaint smeared all over. Most pics of me playing are pretty bad; I make a lot of goofy faces, but those were the worst!

Rocket: With all the new metal albums released in 2008, what are a few of your personal favorites right now?

Mikey: I'm really into a band called Textures right now. Their new one is called Silhouettes, and it's amazing! Very technical stuff. I'm also into Biomechanical's Cannibalised, and I really like Slipknot's All Hope Is Gone!

Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for HATETIMESNINE?

Mikey: All of our upcoming shows will be posted on our website (www. hatetimesnine. com) as well as our myspace page (www. myspace. com/hatetimesnine).

Rocket: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your music. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.

Mikey: You're very welcome, and many thanks to you as well. And to ALL of our H8ers out there, thanks so much for your love support, we can't do this without you!