All That Remains, like their peers in Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Unearth, keep the flame of modern metal burning. Clearly influenced by '90s European metal but filtered through an American hardcore sensibility, the Springfield, Massachusetts, quintet makes their second Dallas stop this year on Saturday night.
Only a couple of days into their current tour supporting this year's For We Are Many, guitarist Mike Martin shared with us his first show experiences. Given the rich history of frontman Phil Labonte, who also sang for Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage, we asked Martin for his take as a fan. And when it comes to Martin sharing his first show memory, you could say it left a life-long impression in the eardrums.
Read more after the jump.
What was the first show you remember seeing? Were you with your parents? I was a late bloomer. I never went to a show until I was 17 years old. I didn't bother asking my parents when I was 10, 12 years old if I could go see Guns N' Roses or something like that. I knew the answer I was going to get. When I was 17, me and my friends got a driver's license and we went and saw Metallica. It was Metallica and Corrosion of Conformity in Hartford, Connecticut, on the Load tour. My first concert was when everybody was starting to get pissed at Metallica. [laughs]
I think that was the Reload tour because I saw the Houston date, also with COC opening. Did everything on the stage collapse at the end and they played "Whiplash"? It was definitely on the Load album. You really thought something was going wrong. There were dudes running across the stage on fire. I was in the front row. I think it blew out my ears permanently.
I was going to ask if you were wearing earplugs. Nope. I was born with bad hearing anyway and now it's just even worse. [laughs]
What was this the first show you paid to see? Yeah, I think it was $90 a ticket which in 1997 was really expensive.
Phil mentioned on the All That Remains Live DVD about driving hours by himself to see Sarah McLachlan play. Do you have a similar experience? Where do I start? How much time do you have? [laughs] The first one that comes to mind would be ... I will go anywhere. I don't care how long it will be; I will fly to see John Mayer. I'm a gigantic John Mayer fan.
That is awesome because I like a lot of Mayer's stuff, and I like All That Remains too. You're a versatile guy as well
It's music at the end of the day. Music that's good music. Last summer, I went and saw him three nights in a row. Around Christmastime last year, I live about two and a half hours away from New York City and I went to Madison Square Garden and saw Prince, which was the best show I've ever seen in my entire life, actually. More recently, a few weeks ago, I went to the House of Blues in Boston and saw Colbie Caillat.
Wow! Yeah, me and Adam from Killswitch Engage and bunch of dudes went. It was hilarious, a bunch of drunk guys yelling because we love her so much. There were all these 12-year-old girls at the show beside us. [laughs] It was way, way out of place. I listen to some stuff that the metal fans definitely disapprove of.
To me, you can talk metal with metal bands for as long as you want, but I always enjoy talking to people who listen to much more different stuff out there. Oh yeah, I've gone and seen Dashboard Confessional. I've seen everybody. The gayer it is, the better it is, to me. [laughs]
You're not an original member of All That Remains, correct? I'm as close as you can be, but I'm not.
OK, what do you remember about the first time you saw All That Remains? And on a related note, what do you remember about your first show with the band? The first time I saw them, I was so excited to see them because I was waiting for Phil to get into another band after he was done with Shadows Fall. So I got the first three-song demo that he was handing out one day. I was so pumped to see them live. I remember it was a Halloween bash at the Fat Cat in Springfield. All That Remains, Killswitch, Unearth all came out of that bar. That was the place to play. The show was one of most packed they've ever had. I was right in the front row. And I was taking lessons from Oli [Herbert, All That Remains guitarist] at the time so I was excited to see my guitar teacher and All That Remains at the same time. I was having a blast, rocking my ass off at that show. [laughs]
My first time playing was also at that same bar, and it was little weird. Right when I joined the band, the bass player quit and the drummer broke his arm playing hockey. Literally, the day I joined, the band was in shambles. So we got a new bass player and he was all ready to go and we had a fill-in drummer and it was real awkward. It wasn't a great experience. [laughs]
Had you seen Phil sing with Shadows Fall? Oh yeah! Like a million times. I was total fanboy. Every time Shadows Fall played anywhere, I was in the front row. I thought Phil was such a rock star, it was so funny. Now all we do is send each other crappy text messages, so times have changed. [laughs]
Did you see any of the Killswitch Engage shows where Phil filled in for Howard Jones? Yeah! We were writing our last album while Phil was gone. The very last show was in Connecticut, which is about an hour away from me and I went to that show. That was fun. Phil's voice was so blown by that point, you could barely hear him. It was weird, because I had been in a band with him for 10 years so it was the first time in 10 years since I'd seen him onstage when I wasn't playing. I thought, "Wow, this is bringing me back to my youth." That was the last Killswitch Engage show. There hasn't been a show since then.
Times of Grace [which features past and present members of Killswitch Engage] has been doing stuff. Yeah, they've been busy, but they're doing a new record. They'll be back soon.
Any memories of the first time you played Dallas? Remember that complex where they used to have shows -- I don't remember the name -- but it was a bowling alley, and then a Mexican bar, and they had a bunch of different rooms for different sized bands?
This was in Dallas and not Denton or Fort Worth? I remember being in Dallas and everyone was like, "You have to go to the Clubhouse. It's the Pantera strip club." We played for 15 people. It was horrendous. [laughs] It was my first tour and we played for no one. Somebody we knew drove us to the Clubhouse. I remember the guy at the Clubhouse told me to tuck my shirt in. I was like, "This place sucks." [laughs]
Can't say I know the name of this venue. We played this place twice and it was like 15 minutes away from the Clubhouse. Both shows we played there, combined, we played to maybe 100 people. [laughs]
What do you remember about the last time you played Dallas? We did House of Blues with Black Label Society in May and that was awesome. Zakk Wylde is one of my guitar idols. That tour was just really cool. I got to get off stage, go to our merch table, grab a beer and watch Zakk Wylde every night. You really can't go wrong there.
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Last question, and this is a total fanboy All That Remains question. Before you got Jason on the drums, did you guys check out any of those drummer auditions uploaded on YouTube? There's one guy who's incredibly earnest and dying to play with the band. It's a little funny, but cool too.
Yeah, we checked 'em out. There were some terrible ones. There were some good ones. We had our eye on Jason for a long time, so once he caved, we didn't have to watch a lot of those auditions. He came down to rehearse, played three songs, and we were like, "You wanna be in the band?"
When I saw you guys play the songs even faster with Jason on the All That Remains Live DVD, I knew you found the right guy. We can't even watch that DVD. It makes us cringe. We play to a click track now. He's a nervous guy when plays. If don't have him on a click track, he plays the songs twice as fast. It drives everybody insane.