This weekend, Houston's Venomous Maximus will bring the metal to the mostly punk Riot Fest, featuring Rise Against, the Descendents and more. Sonic brothers with Dallas' own Maleveller, we talked about dubbed cassettes, worst show experiences, and what their parents think of their music.
Venomous Maximus was described to me by Brian Smith of Maleveller as "The Maleveller of Houston." Is this the first time you've heard such a comparison? Gregg Higgins (vocals): We call them the VM of Dallas. We all listen to the same bands, grew up with similar lifestyles, but Maleveller are the Saviors of the Texas. Christian Larson (guitar): I have heard it a couple times. Maleveller is fucking heavy and one of my favorite bands to play with in Texas. I still wanna see them do a show all in robes like on the back of their new record.
See also: - Riot Fest expands from Chicago to Dallas
What came first: getting a dubbed cassette from a friend or relative, or buying a cassette from the record store? Either way, who was the artist and what was the album? Higgins: I grew up in the country, so if I didn't hear something on the radio I didn't know about it. My older sister had this one friend who came from a broken home and she would always come and stay with us. She would bring over her cassette tapes in the tall black cases with the rows. Now that I look back on it, that chick was hip as shit. She turned me on to a lot of bands like The Cult, Danzig, Depeche Mode, The Cure and [Metallica's] Ride the Lightning. Larson: The first metal record I got was from one of my dad's friends' son that was visiting from Norway. They came down here to visit when I was 12. I swear he bought every album he could get his hands on. He let me hear Master of Puppets and I was hooked. I had never heard anything that sounded like that and my parents didn't approve so it made it even better. Can't ever get enough of that record and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" was one of the first songs I leaned on guitar.
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Have you ever played VM for your parents? If you have, what did they think? Higgins: Yes. My mom checks us out on Facebook all the time. She likes VM way more than any other band I have been in, due to the fact that the singing isn't harsh. Larson: My dad tends to pretend that I don't play in bands and I don't know if he has ever heard the band. My mom, on the other side, really likes it and I assume looks at our stuff online because she's always asking questions about what's going on and asks about updates we post.
Any fond memories of the first VM show? Higgins: No! Larson: Our first in theory went well. It was supposed to be with Torche and Nebula, but Nebula broke up on the way to the States for the show, so they never showed up. Good for us, I guess, because we got to go on later. I remember we got some shirts made and were gonna sell them but somehow we ended up giving a bunch out and only getting about ten bucks for it all.
So far, what's the worst onstage moment that you've had? Breaking a string, forgetting lyrics, drummer is too drunk to play, etc. Higgins: I don't know about a worst moment other than seeing your enemies walk through the door and being forced to entertain them. Larson: Worst moment I had on stage was in San Antonio. We went on late and I had a little too much to drink. I ended up pulling it off until I came unplugged during the last song and when I looked down there were chords all over the stage and I couldn't find mine. Supposedly it was hilarious and they won't let me live it down.