Interview: Tim Williams of Bloodsimple
Tue, 12 Feb 2008 15:05:49
"I just got back from the UK. So I'm almost fully adjusted to being normal again, but not quite yet," Bloodsimple frontman Tim Williams exclaims. "The UK always puts a zap on your brain. So for me, it takes a long fucking time to feel normal again, but I'm getting there." And why was Bloodsimple in the UK? "We were there with Avenged Sevenfold for about three weeks. It was very different. We played to a really young audience, almost Trivium-young. I ain't gonna complain, because every night was soldout to the tits. The shows were really fucking good. It's just really weird. The English, they like to drink, so there's always a pub right downstairs on campus. The pubs are just loaded with 18-year-old kids, and you feel like you're ancient. It's really weird."
Tim has been around, but he's certainly not ancient, by any means. If you've caught him live, he brings even more intensity than some of his younger peers. His is a name that every heavy music fan should know. In Vision of Disorder, he brought together hardcore and metal in an innovative fashion, far ahead of its time. On the band's classic CD Imprint, Tim and Co. created a template for countless imitators to follow. The likes of Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Chimaira, Job for a Cowboy and Shadows Fall would not exist, if it weren't for Vision of Disorder. After Vision of Disorder disbanded, Tim went onto form a Bloodsimple. Once again, he broke creative ground. On the band's second Warner Bros. full-length, Red Harvest, Tim conjures lyrical stories of weary killers, addiction and love lost. A violent and intelligent epic, this album is not to be missed. Tim talked to ARTISTdirect about his legacy with Vision of Disorder and the future with Bloodsimple. It's looking very bright.
I wanted to backtrack, because we've talked a lot about Red Harvest. I went back to Vision of Disorder's Imprint, and that record set a big standard for heavy music. In the same way, you break ground on Red Harvest. Both albums have that in common.
Yeah, in Vision of Disorder, we were so young, dumb and arrogant. We didn't give a shit. We just did whatever the hell we wanted to. That was how a record like Imprint came out. I remember we went out on OZZfest the summer before, and we were just like, "Holy fuck! We can do some insane shit." Without slinging any mud or anything like that, we were like, "Fuck this!" We went back into the studio and just fucking tore it up. We just fucking blazed out that record. A lot of people say that about that record. That's probably my proudest moment in V.O.D. The first record's great. It's got some classic songs, but it sounds like dog shit. But Imprint, the first five tracks, and I think the last track, are some of the finest things V.O.D. has ever done. They're just so fucking vicious and uncontrolled. We didn't even think about it. It just fucking happened. We recorded that record in 17 days, no bullshit. We did it all here in New York City. We were crazy kids. We were drinking, writing, recording and just going fucking nuts. It was a very good time for all, and I think it shows on that record, because that record still sounds good when you put it on. It's just so vicious. It has a bite to it. There's nothing that special. It's just fucking raw, and what hardcore should be, in my eyes.
You always did things differently though. Imprint's last track "Jada Bloom" remains one of my favorite songs of all time. It's something new. I could hear a lot of what you did on that in Bloodsimple.
Oh yeah. "Jada Bloom" was one of the last songs that we wrote. I think [Bloodsimple, V.O.D. Guitarist] Mike Kennedy started that riff. All through the rehearsal, he kept playing it. Finally, it just all came together. That song became a monster, and a lot of kids really dug that song. It's a good one.
How did the collaboration with Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo come about on "By the River?"
It's so funny you asked that. I'm supposed to see his other band Down tonight, but I can't make it. Phil and I bro'ed down hard the summer before on that OZZfest. He kind of took V.O.D. under his wing. He's kind of a punk rock and hardcore guy. I guess he saw that in us, and he really liked us. So we hung out with him, and drank with him. The following Halloween, I went down to his house and hung out with him for like a week in New Orleans. I got a couple friends in New Orleans, and we bro'ed down even harder then. I think the following Spring I just called him. We wanted something different on the record, so I was like, "I bet I could call Phil and get him to do this." So I went to Roadrunner and told them he would guest on the record. I called him up, and he said, "No problem, just bring it down here for me." I was like, "I'll fucking fly right down there tomorrow." Two weeks later, I flew down there, and I spent like four days with him. That was one of the best times, because we weren't really partying. We were just chilling. We were just drinking beers, smoking weed and listening to music. That was a really cool time. Of the times we've hung out, it's been so crazy, but that was one of the coolest times. It was just myself, him, his girl and my girl of the time, just hanging. It was awesome.
That record always felt natural for you and V.O.D.
That's what it was. It was us being us. That's what V.O.D. always was. It maybe kind of killed us in the long run, because we were just so shutoff to the rest of the world—the music world and people in the business. We were down with all of the bands, but we just didn’t give a shit. We didn't care about anything. We let people run our business that shouldn’t be doing it. I think in the long run, it probably killed us, but whatever, man. We were fast, furious and crazy. I'm happy that it ended where it ended. And that's it.
Why I tie Imprint to Red Harvest, is people look back on it in the same way they will this last Bloodsimple album. That was a groundbreaking record. You were onto something.
I wouldn't compare it to the Bad Brains at all, but the Bad Brains were kind of like that too. They were way ahead of the game in the '80s. They survived the test of time, and I think V.O.D. still does that. Everywhere I go, all over the Goddamn world, people come up to me and they're all about V.O.D. and Imprint and everything we'd done. It was a good time. I don't know who owes us what. It doesn't matter to me. Everyone knows what influences them. I've had people come from the biggest bands to the smallest bands, and say all kinds of great shit, and that's where I'll leave it. I'm not a dick about it. I think it's awesome that we were lucky enough to do what we did when we did it. To me, that's more important than flying to the top, and then a year later, nobody knowing who the hell you are.
You've left a legacy and inspired people. That should be the goal of any real artist.
That's awesome. I appreciate that. That's what we try and do. Bloodsimple's got a lot of shit going on in the future, and we hope to keep everything going. We just had an amazing UK run. We're hoping to do shit back in the states. I'm sure we'll wind up in Europe again as well, but as of now, I think we're going to stay at home. We've got some studio projects coming up and a new video. We might go record an EP, which I know we're going to record—we're just getting everything squared away. That's totally fucking different. I'm not even going to talk about what that's going to be. It's something we've all wanted to do for a very long time. Now, it's time. We're just going to take some time to chill and calm our nerves. We're going to go into the studio and just do a bunch of studio work, and maybe in the Spring or Summer, we'll come back out and do some more touring.
I always find something new in Red Harvest every time I listen to it. You can come back to it.
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