Part 1 is over here.
WARNING – THIS WHOLE THING IS LIKE TEN FRIKKIN’ PAGES – which is why it took so long to finish.
Read the first part of the interview to see where we left off…
JZ: LOA hopefully one day… I want a platinum album one day.
MI: Well, I grew up in Jersey, born in Brooklyn, and I moved out to Israel…it’s a different world out there. It’s a different market. I mean, one time in Israel I saw something of yours, in Tower Records. How does it work between the markets here and there? I mean, how could you, Joey Z., be like, I want to get in over there… I mean, you have a large following in Europe, no?
JZ: Oh yeah. Thank G-d, knock on wood, and y’know. Europe has been so great to all of us. Collectively and individually. To all the band members in New York. To Type O, to Biohazard, Sick of It All, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Madball, Sworn Enemy, all those bands that derive from New York, Europe has been so supportive to all of us. Dog Eat Dog. But to answer your question, corporate America…it’s the difference between…it’s a tricky thing. Music, we want to keep it as kind of like an art form, and unfortunately in America, and I’m sure to an extent it’s like this in Europe, but in America it’s extremely corporate here. It’s like, the guys in the suits are making the decisions that you’re gonna have a life, that you’re going to have a career or not. But you know what? That’s just how it is here. And you know what? I feel more, that in Europe, the people are kinda making the decisions. The fans, and what they’re believing in at the moment, and what they’re into, but here I feel like music is kind of shuttled towards, “OK, this is what’s going to be big right now. You know, it’s kind of like chosen, whereas in Europe it’s kind of like the opposite. The people choose what’s big, and here suits choose what’s big.
MI: (can’t make out what I said but it was something to the point of that LOA may not have sold many albums but they’ve been around for years, vs. one-hit wonder acts that put out one album and subsequently die.
JZ: Let me tell you something. Music, and this is something I’ve learned over the years, music that comes from the heart, is timeless. Think about all those pieces of music you’ve heard from the 40s and 30s. Way back. There are pieces of music still around that if you play it for the first time today you are going to feel something. You know what that means? That piece of music was written from the heart, and it was recorded from the heart. That equals timeless music. Timeless music doesn’t necessarily mean it has a hook. There are a lot of ‘hooky’ music hooks that disappear. I can name a billion songs that if I heard it today, I probably wouldn’t like it as much as when I heard it the first time. And there a bunch of songs that no matter how many years go by, every time I hear it, it gives me the same feeling.
MI: Like what?
JZ: A song?
MI: Yeh! From like when you were, yea high.
JZ: From when I was young? Umm…. What’s that song by Billy Joel? Pressure? Do you know that song?
MI: (Like I know about Billy Joel)
JZ: Pressure, it’s just an intense song. Let me think about it, back when I was a kid…
MI: Yeh, a song that just like, really got you.
JZ: Bob Marley. I mean, forget about it. Talk about heart. Talk about meaningful, beautiful lyrics. “No Woman No Cry,” I mean, I can listen to that song and still feel the same thing that I felt when I listened to it for the first time.
MI: It’s a beautiful song.
JZ: Great, great. Timeless. You could hear that song 100 years from now and the person will still get the same feeling, because it’s full of heart and he meant every word. It’s not about the hook. It’s really about where it comes from, the place inside. Really. When it comes to rock music, shit. S.A.T.O., by Ozzy Osbourne, from Diary of a Madman, the way Randy (Rhoads) played, I mean put that on today, and I got the chills. I still get goosebumps. Just thinking about it. Just thinking about that riff, how that song starts. Like amazing. The lead, I’ll tell you what. This is gonna sound really weird, but a lead, every time I hear it blows my mind. Just the lead of a guitar player? Yngwie Malmsteen, “I Am A Viking,” on the Marching Out record. The lead when he blows into that thick wailing climb, it just sounds to me like, it just grabs me every time. He played that with such heart you could hear it. I mean, I’m not even a huge Yngwie fan, but I totally respect him. Very awesome guitar player, very brilliantly talented. Do I listen to him every day? No. But I respect him. The guy is amazing and he has done a lot of things that I have listened to, over and over again. And the biggest thing above all, I mean, is any Metallica song. And that’s why I saved it for last. Any Metallica song I hear –
MI: Even the new stuff?
JZ: Yeah. I’ll tell you why. Yeah, everyone can complain about it, that they don’t like the snare drum, or they don’t like the way James is singing now, everyone can have their complaints, but you know what? Those guys are still putting a lot of heart into what they do and I hear it. As a musician, as a listener and as a fan, I still hear their heart. “Bleeding Me,” OK? I don’t care who hears this, that I said this. I’ll make a statement right now. And people can write back whatever they want. But “Bleeding Me” is one of my favorite Metallica songs of all time. It just grabs me. It does something to my insides, it grabs my soul, it grabs my heart, I can relate to what James is singing about, what he is saying, I understand him, I understand where he was coming from. And it’s just – Two songs: “Master of Puppets” and “Bleeding Me.” That’s what I’m talking about. Metallica will always have it, they always did and they always will, I don’t care if you like their style now, if you don’t like it, whatever. They got it, they will always have it, because they put heart into what they do. They believe in themselves and they love what they do. Bottom line.
MI: So speaking of what you do, – (waves hands around the studio and puts on thicker (than usual) Brooklyn accent) “What’s up with you Joey, what are you doing over there??
JZ: (laughs) Are you sure you’re not Italian?
MI: I’ll tell you the truth, I grew up in places where I always dealt with a lot of Italians.
JZ: But you got some kind of Italian thing going on sometimes. You got like that –
MI: Heh, well when I was in Israel and I was watching The Sopranos, I was like, “oh shit I grew up like this,” I was seeing these places in the show and I was like “Oh my G-d,” but like, I identify with it. My mom dresses like this. Her best friend is Italian, my best friend was Italian…
JZ: Well Italian and Jewish people are very similar. Especially in New York. A lot of people say, oh Italian and Jewish people are very alike, talking about –
BOTH: “EEEEEEEEEY YO” (laugh)
JZ: What are you talking about when you talk about and we pete and repeat what you’re talking about (or something like that). I’m not even sure what that means. Well it’s kind of really simple, actually. I always had a passion for being in the studio. I’ve probably been recording since I was a kid, I mean, we were recording in Josh Silver’s basement, in his house when I was like 18 years old – I just started going out with my girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, Michelle, and we have a baby together – anyway, so I always had a passion for being in the studio, for being in the studio environment. I loved it. I loved the whole idea that you had to work on the sound, y’know, it was very cool and it was always intriguing to me. And I always knew that some day I would want my own studio.
MI: And now you have one.
JZ: See, what did I say? You put out that positive energy! So basically, after, when we were on tour with Broken Valley, we were on Gigantour and things weren’t going the way we planned and the label wasn’t really behind the album, so we were kind of like stuck between a rock and a hard place. We didn’t really know what was going to happen. And my whole life, I’ve always like, put all my cokies into one thing. And I’ve always ended up getting screwed. Like, “The album didn’t do good? Oh no, now I gotta go move boxes.” Like, “I gotta go to work for three months before we do another record.”
MI: Johnny Kelly once said something if the band thing didn’t work out, then he’d just be flipping burgers.
JZ: Yeah. So I was tired of having that feeling inside, and this time it was really scary because I’m married, I’m older now, and it’s not like I’m gonna go and hole up with a moving company and move some boxes. It just really didn’t seem like that’s what I should be doing. So basically I decided I was going to put myself through school when I got off that tour, and I committed myself to learning the ProTools program in and out, so I ended up purchasing a bunch of gear and bringing some of it on the road with me when LOA was on tour, and I went to school between tours and that album. I learned more about recording, about recording with ProTools and (Media Realm?) and I just kind of amped myself up. And I found myself a spot. Luckily it worked out, y’know, I put the energy out there and it worked out that I got a really nice spot. I’m very happy. I’m grateful for it. I put it together myself. All by myself. With my hands. It took me seven weeks to put the whole thing together. I wired the whole thing together myself. Funny, My wife told Kirk Hammett, we were eating dinner together, and my wife said, “Y’know, Joey, he put the whole thing together himself. And Kirk said “Wow, I can’t believe Joey. He’s such a crazy bastard.” Or something like that, he said. “I can’t believe he put it together himself.” And that was really nice. I love that guy. He’s like a brother. He inspires me and yet he gives me so much advice. I look up to him. Not only is he a great friend but he’s like a brother.
Well anyway, so getting back to this place, I invested some money, obviously. The place kicks ass. It fucking sounds great. I already did Brand New Sin’s record here, I’m about to do in just three weeks from now, Sworn Enemy’s record, which I’m really excited about. I’m co-producing it with Tim from As I Lay Dying. And I’m getting a lot, a lot, a lot of, Thank G-d, knock on wood again, I’m getting a lot of business from local bands that not just want to make a demo, but want to make a great recording. Forget the word demo. We’re not making demos here, we’re making recordings. I don’t like saying I make demos here. I make records here. Even if it’s four songs, I treat it the same as if it were (a full-length). You know what I mean? The budget doesn’t figure for a record but I do my best for what the band has to work with. And I make it sound fuckin’ pretty phat.
It’s been really working out. The people have been great. Again, thank G-d (knocks on wood) I haven’t had any bad experiences. There were some bumps in the road here and there but so far, so good. I’m very happy. I love it. When I used to get off tour, it used to be –
MI: – move boxes.
JZ: Yeah, no, well, it wasn’t like that. I’ve been pretty lucky. I only had to do that once when LOA broke up for that first time. Otherwise, I’ve always at least made enough to cover my bills until the next record. So, thank G-d it wasn’t like moving boxes the whole time I was off the road. That only happened once. I used that as a reference because I didn’t want to go there again.
MI: That was your low.
JZ: That was my low, yeah.
MI: Well, it’s not a low, it’s honest work, y’know.
JZ: Yeah, it’s honest work…but when the whole thing kind of fell apart with Soul Searching Sun and Keith split and did some solo stuff, and we kinda tried the whole thing and it didn’t work with Whit (Crane, formerly of Ugly Kid Joe)-
MI: Yeah! What was that all about?
JZ: After that, it was low.
MI: Did you ever play “Everything About You” onstage?
JZ: No fuckin’ way.
MI: (laughs) Well it wasn’t exactly Life of Agony material.
JZ: I mean, it was an OK song and all, but LOA was just different.
MI: Yeh, California boy coming to Brooklyn, it was just like, “Hello.”
JZ: It was cool. You know what? He did a really good job. He’s a great singer. He’s a great, great frontman.
MI: Yeah, he’s very good.
JZ: He really knows how to grab a crowd and keep them in the palm of his hand. And that was our biggest… you know, at the moment, we were ready to go on tour with Megadeth. But we really needed to take a vacation. Dave Mustaine loved Soul Searching Sun. He loved the song, “These Weeds”-
MI: Awesome song.
JZ: And he wanted to take us out. He heard it on the radio in his car when he was driving around, I believe, with his wife, and he was like “Who’s this band? I want them to go on tour with me.” It ended up being like a movie, and we ended up doing three months with Megadeth. But we needed a singer cause Keith had quit. And we needed to find someone pretty quick. And I think Whit actually saved the day.
MI: This all happened, like, way before.
JZ: Way before, this all happened in ’97, 98. So that was a really exciting time. We did Ozzfest. That was exciting. That was a great, great tour.
MI: So wait, weren’t you saying you’re going on tour now?
JZ: Yeah. In June, LOA are going to Europe. We’re sharing a bill with Iron Maiden. Korn is going to be on the bill. Ozzy Osbourne. So we feel great and very lucky. It’s great to be going on tour, out there playing to all these people, 20,000 people, and I gotta tell you, Carnivore, just switching gears, since we talked about LOA a little bit, Carnivore is totally amazing. How this worked out is so killer. And Pete (Steele), it’s funny because I’m working here at the studio one night, and it was right at the pinnacle when everyone was doing their own thing other than LOA, and I was doing some production here but I wasn’t doing any playing. And I really like playing a lot. And I was thinking about starting a band so I was starting to call some musicians to have them come here and jam, and at the same time I started doing this, one night I was working here at about 1:30 in the morning, of course, 1:30 in the morning and I get a phone call. And the person on the other line says “Hello, I’m looking for Joey Z. (does an impression of Pete’s voice). And I was like, “Who’s this?” “This is Peter Steele.” And I’m like, “Alright man. Well listen, whoever this is, stop fuckin’ around.” Everyone wants to disguise their voice as Pete, so he was like, “No you fucking mountain goat, it’s me.” And when he called me a mountain goat I knew it was him. Because back in the day, in the L’amour’s days, I had my long goatee and he would pull on it and go, “Yaaaah,You fuckin’ mountain goat.” And he’s the only one who ever called me that. So I knew it was him and I was like “Eeeeeey,” we caught up a little bit because we hadn’t spoken in like six or seven years, I just hadn’t seen him or played shows with him. And so basically he said, “I have a proposition for you, I’d love you to be the second guitar player in – well actually, I don’t even know if he had a first guitar player in the band at that time, he probably did – but he said, I’d love for you to be in Carnivore.
MI: That guy that works for the MTA, is he still in the band?
JZ: No, he passed away. Oh, no! You mean Louie Beat-0 (like I can spell a Frenchie last name, whatever) no he didn’t die. He was the guitar player (?) No, he still works for the MTA. Steve Tobin is playing drums and Paul Bento on guitar. Two amazing musicians.
MI: Didn’t Paul Bento play sitar on Bloody Kisses?
JZ: Yeah. Paul is great. We hang out all the time. Let me tell you something. These guys are great musicians and great, great people. I can’t tell you, I can’t begin to express to you, how much fun it is playing Carnivore songs. How much fun it is to tour with Carnivore. Not only do we have, put it this way. It’s like being in a band where everyone is just having fun like 100% of the time. There’s no arguing. There’s no drama.
JZ: It’s kind of like a side thing for Pete, and it’s kinda like a side thing for us, cause you know, I have LOA, Paul and Steve both play in a band called MHA, which is Metal Health Association.
MI: Why have I heard of them?
JZ: Because they’re from Brooklyn and they’re getting popular. So they’re in that band. That band is killer, you gotta check them out. They’re really good. Great musicians, killer people, so much fun to hang around, funny, friendly, Pete is great, he’s funny.
MI: Yeah, he is (but looks aren’t everything).
JZ: He’s a brilliant musician. Great guy to jam with, and to open up doors and inspire you to try new things musically, and it’s a lot of fun. I look forward, every time Pete says we’re going to do something Carnivore and we’re going to get together, I really look forward to it. I prepare, I play a lot of Carnivore stuff at home, the same thing I would do for LOA. And to jam with him is just, he’s pretty much a musical genius. He’s a musical messiah.
MI: (involuntarily yells something in Yiddish) Stop that, stop that. He thinks he’s Jesus now, I don’t know, what the hell? But Dead Again is a great album. It has a lot of tinges of Carnivore, I think it does.
JZ: Yeah, I think it does.
MI: And it has a lot of catchy riffs too.
JZ: Oh, man. A lot of stuff.
MI: It’s more alive.
JZ: Yeah, I told Pete. I was a huge fan of Slow, Deep and Hard. And I was a huge, huge fan when they first came out as Repulsion. And I had that green demo –
MI: I never saw it.
JZ: I have it still. I have that green demo. And that shit is fucking AWESOME. When they came out, it was just like, whoa. So Carnivore is just such a positive thing in my life, I’m happy to be part of it, I’m so proud to get up on stage and we cover ourselves with blood and we have fun –
MI: Yeah, and you have the girls, I saw, I know.
MI: I know someone (Yochai Davidov of Acropolis) who went from Israel, because Orphaned Land played at Wacken. And those are our guys (I mean, I consider Brooklyn also ‘our guys,’ I’m kinda like torn between the two, dual loyalty) but anyway, so he was like “Oh wow! Carnivore was the best! They had the girls!”
JZ: Yeah, it’s really a great show. It’s visual, it’s heavy, it’s sick.
MI: I got an eye infection at a Carnivore show. For like six months. Cause they poured the blood out and I was all up front looking like, “Oh, Pete” and boom.
JZ: Yeah. For reasons like that we choose to use blood that isn’t an issue. Stage blood.
MI: Stage blood? Real blood? Is it real anymore?
JZ: No. I’ll tell you why.
MI: Good. Cause I got a freaking eye infection!
JZ: These days, there’s too many… we’re staying conscious of possible problems you could run into with diseases. OK, it would be cool to have real blood all over you, but let me tell you something, there’s a lot of people out there that fuckin’ have a lot of diseases and stuff, and that’s not really the Carnivore that we’re spreading.
MI: (does slight Peter impression through shits and giggles) We don’t want to spread any diseases.
JZ: We want to spread the chaos. That’s really what Carnivore wants to spread.
MI; Wow, it’s funny because Pete has kind of a dichotomy now. In Carnivore, he’s singing stuff like “You worship a dead man, hung with nails, only a fool would die for the sins of humanity,” and now he’s singing, y’know, against abortion. It’s a dichotomy.
JZ: Yeh, but the thing is, I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that’s just Peter’s mind running free. It’s not really.. Peter is unique. He’s a good guy, he’s a nice man. He is actually really caring about people. When he writes Carnivore lyrics and stuff, that’s just like a wild imagination , letting him run. It’s not really what he lives by, y’know what I’m trying to say? Anyway, I just want to continue about the Carnivore thing. Hopefully, there’s still going to be a lot of life left with Carnivore.
MI: Heh heh, (imitates Joey yelling) Don’t die! Don’t die!
JZ: I’m really psyched for Type O Negative, and this new album and stuff, and hopefully when the cycle spins around and Pete has some time, if he wants to do some stuff I’m ready.
MI: New stuff?
JZ: Yeah, stuff like that.
MI: Have you worked on any new stuff?
JZ: We’ve dabbled. You know, we jammed on a couple of riffs here and there. We talked about it. I think when the time will come. If we get more serious about it, we’ll know we’re more serious about it. For now, Pete’s concentrating on Type O. He has a great new album, and nice things are starting to simmer there with the new album. It’s already starting to catch fire, and that’s going to be really good. So he needs to go through that whole cycle, and if there’s some life and time left for Carnivore, that will be great. And I’m into it. I’m ready. I’m fucking ready to go. Cause I love heavy stuff. I love all kinds of music, but I really, it’s about the heavy stuff.
MI: The good thing about Carnivore is that it’s heavy, but it still has melodic. Like he knows how to break it down. It’s also hardcore but it’s also poppy.
JZ: I know. So that’s like every avenue, Life of Agony, Carnivore, my family life right now, I’m really happy, I’m grateful. I hope to live to see my great-grandchildren, and will be around. I’ll be playing golf, and fishing.
MI: You play golf? OK, fishing I understand. But golf?
JZ: It’s very relaxing. You’re laughing? Believe it or not, it’s very good for you. You walk a lot. You get a lot of exercise. You carry the heavy bag. It’s good for you. It’s athletic.
JZ: Swinging those golf clubs all day? I’ll be honest with you. I get started sometimes, then I feel a little strain here and there, like I got a little bit of a workout. Swinging a golf club for six hours, and carrying the bag and walking, it’s gonna do something. And I really enjoy being out there with the trees.
MI: You’re a hippie! Woodstock, trees…
JZ: Well I like that. I’m always in a concrete jungle. I play clubs, so it’s good to get out and do something outdoorsy…and it’s a fun game!
MI: Wait, I hope you’re not taking this bad that I’m like, making fun. I don’t mean it in a bad way.
JZ: Naaaaah, nah. But you can see, I’m passionate about it.
MI: You’re a heavy metal golfer.
JZ: Yeah, I’m a heavy metal golfer like Alice Cooper.
MI: You should get someone to endorse you.
JZ: I want to play a game with Alice Cooper, actually.
MI: Hey Alice, Joey Z. is sitting on the horn with you right now, and he challenges you to a game of golf.
JZ: Take your shot, Alice.