Spock\\\'s Beard

Interview date

16 Septembre 2010




Interview Dave Meros (face to face)

Hi Dave, thanks a lot for accepting this interview for the french metal webzine http://www.auxportesdumetal.com
Spock's Beard hasn't released an album for four years now, what have you done ?

We've done a lot of different things. I've been playing in cover bands, just playing in a few bars, playing a few session. It has been like a strange world for the last two years, the economy is bad, all of us have a different situation.

When you say "cover bands", what do you mean ?

Little bands which play in bars where I live in California.

Could you try to explain us why it is so difficult to find your new album X in the french record stores ?

It's a mistery, I don't really know the answer. It was just released about two weeks ago in Europe. Before that, we released it privately maybe two or three months ago. It should be in the record stores. If not, that's not good. I know it has been in Germany since August 28th.

The fortunate people who had the opportunity to listen to this album say that it's your best album since Neal quit, even your best album of all times. Why is it so great ?

I don't know ! (Laughs) We did the same things as before ! It's like football players, they're phenomenal one year and not phenomenal the other year. We wrote songs, we recorded them and people like them better this time, we didn't really decide to do anything different, I'm happy that everyone likes it.

How did you get a such great production ?

We spent a lot of money on that. That was the reason why we took preorders and why we relased it privately first because the record industry is not selling very much right now and our sales are going down. They wouldn't have given us a recording advance as much as we need to record. That's why we did a prerelease and why we took preorders. We spent quite a bit in recording in a nice studio. That's why it sounds good and we've also a great engineer too. If I could pick anyone in the world, I would use him always.

Edge Of The In Between, the first track of X, sounds very seventies. It reminds Tarkus from Emerson, Lake & Palmer and also contains some Pink Floyd influences in the arpeggios. Was it a choice to start the album with a seventies song ?

I don't know... I think that we just chose that song because it starts very strong. At the beginning, everyone plays very loud, it's like "Bam !". We just wanted to start the record like that, instead of doing like all prog bands do with some little sound that comes in, we're tired of that. Just press play and it starts ! That's why that song is first.

Neal Morse was one composer of The Emperor's Clothes. Do you have any news or contact ? Do you know what Neal thinks about this new album ?

I haven't heard from him about that song. Alan, about three or four years ago, did a solo record and it should originally have been half instrumental and half vocals but he decided to do it all instrumental. He had written that song with Neal for his solo record about four years ago, it was just a straight rock song. That's what this song comes from.

Kamikaze is an instrumental song. This new album X is really between the progressive rock and the progressive metal. In some parts, you sound like Marillion & Pink Floyd, on other parts you sound like Dream Theater or Arena. Finally, what is the Spock's Beard music category ?

I don't even know, we're sweet personalities, all of us have played in different kinds of bands, different kinds of music. We're all fourties and fifties, I can't choose my favorite style. You know, there are other bands today who are a mix like Porcupine Tree, they have some heavy riffs and some Pink Floyd sounds. Riverside also is similar to Porcupine Tree. I don't think we're alone in that.

As I compared you Dream Theater, what's your reaction about Portnoy choice to leave the band ?

That's a big surprise for everyone. What is surprising about this is that this is basically his band. The thing that is not suprising about it is the fact that he's playing with a gigantic band right now, they have hit records, they play in stadiums, how can you say "no" to that !? What I know is that he asked the band Dream Theater to give him some time to do other things and they replied "No we can't sit and just wait" and that's why he decided to leave. Big schock to the progressive rock world.

You recorded X thanks to the fans' subvention. To thank them, Nick sings all their names in the song Their Names Escape Me. Who got the idea of that ?

I can't remember who got the idea but I think that this was the idea of John, the guy who I write with. At the beginning, we didn't know ho we were going to fit all these names in the song but it worked really good, I really like that song.

Can Spock's Beard live financially from its music today ? Is Spock's Beard music concerned with P2P ?

Everyday, I get a little email with "Download Spock's Beard", there're maybe two hundred download sites. Some of them host the whole discography, everything. There's nothing you can do against that, I'm sure that it hurts us. It helps us a little bit because people who had never heard of us can get the album. To answer your first question, we're not making our living with Spock's Beard. These tours don't make any money, we make money and we spend all the money with the bus, and it's the same for the records. We spend the money in recording. If people would buy the album instead of downloading it, that would be our profit. We're a middle band, in a middle CD sales range. Bands who sell a few never get any money, bands who sell really a lot can take 15 or 20% of illegal download and they still win money.

Jaws Of Heaven is a long and complex song, it's the last song, the weirdest one. Could you tell us some words about this song ?

That song was originally an idea that I had which is now the middle of the song. This song was originally supposed to be five or six minutes long. John, the guy who I write with, liked a riff and decided to expand that. And then it kept growing, we wrote the slow section... I was actually nervous about this song because I thought it was too blooded, too big. People really like it. This song could be no other place except the end.

In which places are you going to play during that tour ?

We were in Holland last night, in France tonight and the next days in Germany. Then we're going to Switzerland, in Germany again and the last part of the tour will be in Slovakia and Poland.

What will be your setlist tonight ?

The integrality of X. After we play Jaws Of Heaven, we come back on stage after two or three minutes and we play On A Perfect Day, Thoughts, The Doorway, June. Last night, we played 2h25... and there's a drum solo with the two drummers. But tonight, we have to stop after two hours.

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