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Chimaira – monster with six heads

They really do their band name credit: A chimera (Greek: “Chimaira”) is a fire spitting creature of the Greek mythology, a merge being which shows extremities of different animals and three heads and threatened both humans and animals. Chimaira, the band from Ohio, even consists of six heads. The Stalker met one of them, singer Mark Hunter, for an interview.

First of all he is presenting the band members to us:
Rob Arnold is the lead guitarist. He likes hanging out with drinking lots of beer and listening to Metallica.

Chris Spicuzza is the keyboard player and he never is without his computer. Heīs plugged into the Matrix, we always make fun about that.

Jim LaMarca, our bass player, likes to eat and eat and eat and then he likes to eat even more claiming that heīs on a diet.

Matt De Vries is the rythm guitar player and he has red hair and is probably going to be in trouble with alcohol in sight of how much he drinks of beer and vodka. (laughs) Just in a funny way.

Then there is Kevin Talley, our drummer. Heīs the new guy in the band, so heīs the one weīre making fun with, especially because heīs originally from Texas and weīre all from Cleveland in Ohio. Heīs our little Texas redneck.

Talking about me, I love horror movies, love touring and I love making records.

Letīs talk about the reason why drummer Kevin is your newest member. You have changed your drummer quite often – what is behind it?
We had some bad luck. Our original drummer Jason Genaro left the band just some weeks after Chimaira was founded, because his sound wasnīt fitting to what we wanted to have. The next one was Andols Herrick but after a while he left as well, because he was sick of touring. It requires a special kind of person to be on the road 300 days a year and be away from home. He couldnīt handle it. Then we got the next drummer, Rick Evensand who is in another band called Soilwork and he played with us, but then we realized itīs very hard to have a European drummer as an American band. He couldnīt get an appartement in America, he couldnīt get a cellphone - nothing! In the end we thought it would be easier to get a new drummer even if that sucked. Now Kevin has been in our band for a year and we all knock on wood!

The new album is self-titled “Chimaira”. Self-titled albums are usually a milestone for bands. What makes this record so special for you?
I can say without any arrogance that this is the clearest sound and itīs finally an album that sounds like Chimaira. If you listen to a Slayer record without even knowing what it is, you know by the first song that itīs Slayer. I finally feel that confidence that when you play this record, you know immediately itīs Chimaira. Itīs the first time I feel that we sound like the six piece band that we are and itīs just like the band name itself: being different animals forming one monster.

One song on your new album is called “Nothing Remains”. I heard that it is dedicated to Dimebag Darrel. Is that true?
The day that we found out that horrific news that he was shot dead on stage, we were all at our rehearsal place and obviously very shocked and sad. We just basically stared at the floor without talking for an hour or longer. I said then: “You know what? What the fuck would Dimebag do right now if one of his buddies died? He would have picked up his guitar and written some bad-ass music.” And thatīs what I made sure that we did. So the lyrics are not about it but the music captured the feelings that we were going through on that particular day and sure it is a bit of an hommage to him.

Another song from “Chimaira” is called “Lazerus”. Is it related to the Lazerus out of the bible?
No, definetly not. Itīs a song that was written for a friend of our band who committed suicide. The name “Lazerus” has personal significance to the story.

Metal is becoming big in the States again. What do you think is the reason for that?
Itīs definitely a great time in America for heavy bands. Lots of bands come up and are becoming really good at what they do, but at the same time itīs also getting very scary, because of the hype around those popular bands. When we work on a new record we have to keep setting ourselves apart, we have to keep taking risks and thatīs so important to us, because we donīt want to do the same album again and again. We have to work harder with every album.Weīre also listening to many other bands, because we donīt want to do, what they do as they did it already. Itīs hard to do something which really stands out. We donīt want to stay in the past, so it takes as long as itīs perfect in our eyes. Weīre not under pressure, so we donīt care if it takes one, two or three years until the next record will follow.

If you say you are not under pressure, does that mean, that you have other jobs beside the music?
Oh no, we were definitely under pressure when it came down to writing, because we wanted to be even better. We havenīt had daytime jobs anymore for five and a half years, because with so many touring times itīs impossible. We donīt even have time to sit at home and watch TV, because if weīre not on tour, weīre in the studio. Itīs just music, music, music. Weīre not rockstars and not rich, but we are able to survive without daytime jobs.

How do you handle the relationship with your family and friends at home?
Very carefully! Of course, itīs sad for us and sad for them that we canīt be with them all the time but all our families are very proud of us as musicians, proud that weīre seeing the world, proud that we live our dreams and weīre still so young, so itīs not going to be a mistake. Weīre having the times of our lives right now. I know they wish they could be a part of it as well. They give us the background we need, the love and support. Sure it sucks sometimes and we get homesick and when we get home we spend as much time with them as possible.

What is your opinion about the last elections in the USA?
I think it was finally fair, there was no controversy surrounding it this time. It was done fair and correctly and there were none of that crazy re-counts. Am I happy with the outcome? Certainly not, but the majority of America voted in that certain way. I really donīt think that John Kerry was able to take over but I also donīt believe that Gerorge Bush is the right person to be in the Oval Office. So Iīm kind of in the middle.

If you could change something, what would that be?
This perception that is almost like racism. What everybody of every race has when travelling in different countries. For example Iīm American and sometimes I go to some countries in Europe and they just assume that we all are war loving monsters and thatīs not the case and sometimes like in America people of Arabic descent are just assumed to be a terrorist, but itīs not like that. I wish people would take their heads out of their asses and let people be people. Itīs just unfortunate that everywhere in everyplace there are people who assume that the whole country is like that. Not everyone in Germany is a nazi and not everyone in France smells like shit.

And last bot not least: Please tell us some funny or strange tour story.
Sure! We were on tour with Slipknot and Fear Factory on the Jägermeister Tour. We played in our hometown in Cleveland and partied really hard. I donīt drink that much and usually Iīm drunk by two shots of Vodka or something, so in this particulary night I drank, and drank and drank and had many beers, many shots and many mixed drinks and in the end of the night I drank a half of a bottle of Absinth. I got home to my girlfriend and told her that I didnīt feel so well and wanted to sit in the bath tub. As soon as I got to the bathroom, I vomitted all over the bath tub and all over her. This is the reason why I donīt drink that much anymore.

Author: Saskia Meerbaum, Photos: hfr
Date: 2005-09-26

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