Interview: Black Tide
Thu, 24 Jan 2008 10:15:11
Black Tide simply rock. On their Interscope debut, Light from Above (Out Mar 18), the band unleash pure hard rock with a fire that's been absent from the genre since Guns N' Roses' heyday. The vocals meld infectious harmonies with hard-hitting lyrics, while the guitars rip, shred and destroy. Yet, none of the band members are even old enough to drink! It doesn't matter though, because Black Tide's music exudes honesty and attitude. Rekindling the spirit of rock's past, they are the future.
Guitarist Alex Nunez sat down with ARTISTdirect and showed us why being of age is overrated when you can rock this hard.
You guys have such a fresh sound, but it definitely draws from classic metal and hard rock. What did you grow up listening to?
We all started off listening to a lot of classic rock: like Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Then we started to get into Guns N' Roses and Motley Cure. That was during the prime of the band, when we started really playing out, doing shows and getting noticed. After that, we started getting more into metal like Metallica and Pantera. Basically, we went from classic rock to heavy metal.
The dynamics are really astounding. What inspired that acoustic intro on "Warriors of Time?"
That acoustic part rules. Our singer wrote that. We were wondering if we should have an intro to the album. We thought that maybe we'd use the riff from "Warriors of Time," and use it as the intro. However, we thought instead of using it as the album intro, we'd just use it for that one song. We have other acoustic parts as well—some even with violins in the background. "Warriors of Time" is awesome live too.
The lead work is also amazing. How do you split the solos?
When we started out, a lot of our songs actually had two solos in them. We used to have two in every single song. We switch off the leads though, like Metallica.
Did you guys originally meet in school?
I was in seventh grade. Gabriel and his brother had just moved into the area I live in. Gabriel was in elementary school, and his brother was in middle school with me. He was actually Black Tide's original drummer. We were both really into skating. We were in class doing this project, and he didn’t really know anybody. So I asked if he wanted to be in our crew. I found out that he liked music and skateboarding. We became best friends all through middle school. He told me he had a band with his little brother, and he invited me over one Friday to jam. We began jamming and doing cover tunes. Then we started skating all day, and jamming all night. I was there every single weekend for like three years. Gabriel's brother left the band years ago though.
For your first big tour, how was OZZfest?
OZZfest was fucking great, man. We got kicked off at first though. We were put on just to do one show in West Palm Beach, and then we got asked to do the whole tour on the second stage. We were psyched. Eight hours before we were going to leave, we got a call that Jagermeister—owners of the second stage—found out we were under 21. They couldn’t let us play the second stage, because they didn’t want people to think that they were trying to promote under-age drinking. Shortly after that, we got offered a spot on the main stage of OZZfest, which could've been risky, because we were a new band. However, we said, "Fuck it! Let's take the risk!" We packed up our shit, and did the Main Stage. We were on the same stage as Lamb of God and Ozzy, which was fucking insane. OZZfest ruled!
The Avenged Sevenfold tour seems like it was a good transition from OZZfest.
The Avenged tour was insane. We were a lot closer to the crowd. For these shows, everyone was right there. We played to super-packed venues with people right in our faces. Everything was way fucking cool. Every band on that tour was fucking awesome; and the Avenged guys were super-fucking cool too.
Of Metallica's huge catalog, why'd you choose to cover "Hit the Lights?"
We were in the studio one day, and we wanted to do something a little different. Someone suggested we do a cover, and we knew we wanted to do something old school. So we recorded that and put it on the record. We do it live, and the kids go off. It's a different cover. Most of the kids that come up to us say they've never heard it covered.
Your chops are super tight. How long have you been playing?
I've been playing for five and a half years now. I think I was around 12 or 13 when I started. All the songs from the record are old songs we'd been playing for years already. I think two or three songs on there were written in the studio, and the rest are old songs we've been playing forever. "Shockwave" we've been playing for I don't know how many years [laughs].
Where did the name "Black Tide" come from?
Our first name was Radio. Once we got more serious, we had matured a lot more, and we kind of outgrew the name. When we got the deal, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out names. Pretty much everybody in the band skates—except Zakk, who rollerblades and longboards. Since we all skate, concrete is like our wave. Asphalt is a "Black Tide." So that's why we named the band that. We were skateboarders who did music as a hobby. Now we're musicians who skate as a hobby [laughs].