AN INTERVIEW WITH BRUTE FORCZ
By David Iozzia
Brute Forcz is an up-and-coming heavy metal band, originally based in Atlanta, and now based in southern California. The rhythm section consists of two former professional wrestlers, Slammer and Jammer. I've always enjoyed pro wrestling, so I jumped on the opportunity to interview Jammer about his band. He's a pro sports fanatic like me. Anybody who loves football, liking the New York Giants and hating the Dallas Cowboys, is all right in my book. He's also a Florida Gator and Tim Tebow fan. But you've stopped by my rockin' website to hear about music. So I've limited most of my questions to Brute Forcz and music, salt and peppered with a little bit of wresting and Hollywood. Here's hoping you enjoy reading about Brute Forcz and listening to their brand of heavy metal as much as I enjoyed chatting with Jammer.
Dave: Thanks so much for the interview. You're Jammer, the bass player and vocalist in a new
"kick ass heavy metal" band from Los Angeles called Brute Forcz. Your brother Slammer is the drummer. Introduce your guitarist.
Jammer: Slammer is not only my brother; he's my fraternal twin brother. Will Wallner, who is from England, is our guitarist.
Dave: How'd you hook up with Will?
Jammer: Slammer and I were acting out in Los Angeles, but the last few years have been pretty lame for actors. The bad economy and the strikes in the actor's union were taking its toll. We started talking about getting a band back together. I was looking to get better on lead guitar so I started taking music lessons. Will was my guitar teacher. Things didn't work out in a band he was with. I told him Slammer and I were looking to start a 3-piece, and I asked Will to consider playing with us until he found something else. Will's been with us ever since.
Dave: As I listen to your first EP, I can hear the influence of 80s heavy metal bands like W.A.S.P. and Motorhead.
Jammer: Thanks Dave. We take that comparison as a compliment.
Dave: I'm going to like your Facebook and MySpace pages so readers of this interview can check out your sound. Since my website is text only, I'm going to get you in my patented submission hold and force you to either tap out or answer the difficult question of describing the sound of Brute Forcz.
Jammer: People tell us we have the sound of classic 80s heavy metal. We just call our sound heavy metal. Over the last 10 to 15 years, metal has gone off in many directions. Brute Forcz is good, old-fashioned heavy metal. Our motto is big, thick, and in your face.
Dave: Intense straight-ahead heavy metal is how I'd label Brute Forcz. But I like the band mantra of big, thick, and in your face.
Jammer: That's what we're all about Dave.
Dave: What musician influenced you the most as a bass guitarist?
Jammer: I have three: Lemmy from Motorhead, Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, and Gene Simmons from KISS. Nikki and Gene are more of the glitter or the glam. Some people think they are good bass players and some people don't. But I do. Sometimes, just like in a sports team, you need team players and people who fit in. Gene and Nikki also influenced me on the showmanship angle. Lemmy influenced me everywhere else. He has a unique voice. I didn't think that I could sing, but Lemmy taught me that I could fit my own voice around my songs.
Dave: Who do you think your brother would name as his biggest influence on drums?
Jammer: Slammer would name Tommy Lee from Motley Crue or Mikkey Dee from Motorhead. He's also a big fan of Neil Peart from Rush.
Dave: What about Will Wallner's biggest influence on guitar?
Jammer: Will's biggest influences are John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Randy Rhoads.
Dave: I threw in the wrestling terminology a few questions back because you and your brother were professional wrestlers.
Jammer: I liked that Dave, but I never tap out!
Dave: What was the high point of your wrestling career?
Jammer: We wrestled as a tag team with Jake the Snake Roberts. Slammer and I wrestled in Georgia, which is where we're from. The league we were in encompassed the whole South, and we were tag team champions for over a year. In that league, no one ever remained tag team champions for that long. Even though it was a starter league or a minor league, it was a great time for us. We were the stars and everybody hated us. Wresting as tag team champions, and becoming friends with superstars like Jake the Snake Roberts, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, were the highlights for us.
Dave: Take us back to the point when you decided to move on from wrestling to start up this band.
Jammer: We were based in Atlanta, Georgia. You would wrestle for three or four months in a row, and then you'd have a month or two off. We wanted to fill in that space so we signed with an agency that would book us for gigs and auditions. We did a movie with Joe Estevez, who is the younger brother of Martin Sheen. He's Charlie Sheen's uncle. We worked for three weeks on that film with him in Tennessee. He thought that we did a good job, and he encouraged us to come out to California. He hooked us up with his agency so that we could try to further our acting careers. Wrestling had hit its pinnacle, and we had some bumps and bruises. Nothing serious though. I just felt that it was time that we find something that would pay us as much if not more than wrestling, without having to beat up our bodies. Slammer and I moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and we've been acting periodically ever since.
Dave: It's a pretty crowded music scene in Los Angeles. What is Brute Forcz's game plan to try to stand out in that crowd?
Jammer: I don't think you could ever stand out in Los Angeles. It's a crowded music scene as you said, but I don't think it's a good music scene. It's terrible! Everything is pay to play. There's no place to play where people come out to look at you like in the old days. You have to do something spectacular like blow up a building to get attention in Los Angeles. For Brute Forcz, I don't think getting noticed out here is possible. Our plan is to try to get out of Los Angeles, maybe touring in Europe or hooking on to a tour here in the States. Next year, there will be Monster Jam gigs in Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The Monster Truck finals are in Las Vegas, and they have a couple of bands play beforehand. We're trying to line up things and get into those shows.
Dave: Recording your music and trying to get it heard are the next big challenges after forming a new band. Brute Forcz has a four-song EP that fans can download at iTunes and Loudtrax.com. When was the official release date?
Jammer: The official release date of the Brute Forcz EP was June 10, 2011.
Dave: Can music fans purchase physical copies at Brute Forcz shows?
Jammer: Yeah, fans can purchase physical copies at our shows, or they can download it at the sites you mentioned.
Dave: Your EP was produced by the legendary Bob Kulick. How did you hook up with him?
Jammer: We tried to record some of the songs on our EP with different producers. Every time we tried, it didn't come out the way we wanted. We've walked into studios with copies of songs that we wanted our songs to sound like. We were bummed out when we didn't get that sound. You'd think it would be easy to hook up with the right guy in Los Angeles, but we're not in that inner circle. My brother and I work out in a local gym and every once in a while we'd see this guy walking by. We kept thinking to ourselves "Who is that guy? We know that guy." We finally realized that it was Bruce Kulick from KISS. We got off the exercise machines the next time we saw him, and we backed him into a corner. He had some look on his face when two gorilla guys cornered him. We introduced ourselves, telling him that we were ex-wrestlers and actors that were looking for the right guy that could produce metal. He introduced us to his brother Bob, and we talked wrestling for over an hour. Then we got down to the business of doing our EP. He had listened to some things we had already given him, and he assured us that he could do a much better job. We hooked up and did the four-song EP. Slammer and I were very happy with the sound we got. Bob Kulick is amazing. If we had our choice, we'd do all of our recording with him. Bob is so professional; he pushes you. That's good. He doesn't take any crap. That's good. He tells you straight forward the way it is, and you have to get over it. He made me a better vocalist, and he made my brother Slammer a better drummer. Music-wise, our guitarist Will was very happy with his sound. Bob Kulick pushed us to new limits.
Dave: Walking into the studio with Bob Kulick must be like walking into school. What did he teach you about your vocals and your instruments?
Jammer: Slammer and I are not long-term musicians. We've always wanted to have a band and we started playing a few years back, but we don't have the number of years that most musicians have. Brute Forcz played about 40 shows before we hooked up with Bob Kulick. I didn't know how to use my voice. He encouraged me to use my personal deep voice to match the heavy metal songs we were playing. He brought my wimpy voice into more of a man's metal voice. Bob Kulick fine-tuned me to fit our music.
Dave: How close was Bob's vision with these four songs to the vision you had walking into his studio?
Jammer: Pretty close. He tightened up the guitar leads quite a bit. He put more crunch into our songs. As a band, Brute Forcz was live-ready and tour-ready. Bob Kulick helped us learn the big lesson that playing live is not the same as playing and recording in the studio. Bob added the crossover that our songs needed, and he got more of an 80s sound.
Dave: I listened to your songs over and over again while I researched and wrote this interview. Songs like "Live for Speed" and "Leather and Chains" are straight-ahead tributes to the heavy metal lifestyle. I'm guessing no power ballads or love songs are being written by Brute Forcz.
Jammer: You're very articulate Dave. We do have a song called "Freedom's Heart (Neda's Song)." It has a bit of crunch, yet lyrically it's about a young lady who was killed two years ago in Iran. It's more of a tribute song. I can promise you that Brute Forcz will not be writing any love songs or power ballads.
Dave: Are you writing material now for a full-length record?
Jammer: Brute Forcz has 13 songs, and we can play a full hour set when we have to. The reason that we released only a four-song EP is that we wanted to test the waters first to see what would happen.
Dave: Let's talk about getting your music heard. The old school approach is playing shows and pounding the road. The new school is social networking through websites like MySpace and Facebook. What's the Brute Forcz approach?
Jammer: I believe that a new band has to get out on the road to create some interest. Then, you can build social networks with people who know you, and they can keep up with everything through the networks. Brute Forcz has to get out there and tour to bring the live feel we have to the people. For Brute Forcz, it would suit us more to tour and get our name out there than spend hours and hours of our day doing social networking.
Dave: Your band has supported long-established metal acts like W.A.S.P. and the Michael Schenker Group when they played at the Key Club in Los Angeles. How well was Brute Forcz received by its fan bases?
Jammer: Very good. That's why we know we have a good thing going. Everyone has liked our stuff. Everybody has had compliments. Fans were looking to buy downloads before we had them. We got caught off guard when we first played with W.A.S.P. We had no t-shirts and no way for people to purchase our music. Yet everybody wanted something from us. Brute Forcz has been well-received in front of every crowd we've played.
Dave: For music fans who have yet to see Brute Forcz play live, what should they expect at a show?
Jammer: Real heavy metal, both loud and aggressive. We don't have any socially redeeming values. We care more about partying, having a good time, enjoying life, and letting your hair down and banging your head.
Dave: Other than the four songs from your EP, how does Brute Forcz fill out the setlist?
Jammer: We have 13 songs, all originals, no covers. We have songs like "Out for Blood" and "Hang 'Em High." Brute Forcz is fully prepared to do anything we need to. We have a part of our show that we haven't done yet because it hasn't been needed. During "Out for Blood," I have a set-up on my hand that will splatter blood all over my white bass guitar. Real theatrics!
Dave: A little homage to Mr. Gene Simmons?
Jammer: Or Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P.
Dave: Another new-school approach with regards to getting your band seen and heard is YouTube. How much of a presence does Brute Forcz have at that website?
Jammer: Between you and me Dave, we need to clean up some of that stuff. It's not the best quality video on YouTube. But it'll give fans a glimpse, Brute Forcz isn't doing the best job that we need to on the social networking websites. We need to step up our efforts. We have plans to do a quality video for our song "Thrill Queen." It's about porn chicks. We hope to have some of them involved. That'll draw attention for sure.
Dave: I mentioned before that Los Angeles is a crowded music scene. As you open shows for bigger bands or bump into musicians around town, how supportive have they been toward Brute Forcz?
Jammer: Joey Belladonna, the singer from Anthrax, heard our set. He said that we have a good sound and that he enjoyed our music. That compliment was an honor to receive. We try to mind our own business so we don't know who all of the local L.A. musicians are. If they were actors, we'd know. There are two crowds in Los Angeles: the inner circle and the Craig's List crowd. If you break into that inner circle, you at least have a shot. The Craig's List crowd is people who don't do things professionally.
Dave: Another aspect of Los Angeles we can't overlook is the influence and opportunities provided by the film-making industry in Hollywood. Tell my readers about your hookup with comedian Adam Sandler.
Jammer: My brother and I have an agent and manager, and we go on regular auditions. When we first moved to Los Angeles, we did three or four I.B.M. commercials and another for Budweiser. Our agent called us earlier in 2011 and said twins were being booked for an Adam Sandler movie. To be honest with you, we didn't want to go. My brother and I are fraternal twins. If you ask 10 people, five will say we look alike, three will say we look like brothers, and two will say we don't look alike. In the past, whenever we've auditioned as twins or as bikers, we didn't get picked.
Dave: But you went anyway and auditioned for "Jack and Jill."
Jammer: When we walked in to the audition, Adam Sandler was right there. Our jaws dropped. Slammer rushed right over and introduced himself. We did our little intro as far as the audition. The director, Dennis Dugan, is a good guy. He worked with Adam on the "Happy Gilmore" movie. They both liked our audition, and we got the part a few days later. As of yet, we don't know if we're in the movie or on the cutting room floor, but we had a real good time. Adam Sandler is the nicest person you'd ever want to meet. He's professional, easy to talk to, and really good to work with. Adam brings to the film industry what Bob Kulick brings to music.
Dave: Placing a song on a movie soundtrack would be huge. Were you able to get your music to Adam and the film's director?
Jammer: We didn't get that far. Plus, we hadn't recorded our songs with Bob Kulick yet. We did our movie part in late April, and we didn't go into the studio with Bob until May.
Dave: I'm based on the East Coast in central New Jersey, and I'd love to hear your band play live. Any plans for 2011/2012 to take Brute Forcz out on the road?
Jammer: We're trying Dave. We just missed out on doing a month-long tour with the band that did "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor."
Dave: I'm guessing you mean the song "Bodies," which was done by Drowning Pool. Coincidentally, that song was used quite a bit in professional wrestling.
Jammer: That's the one Dave. We're trying to do everything we can to tour. In my opinion, we have to tour. If we can get Brute Forcz's music out there, it'll help tremendously. It will really boost us up.
Dave: Europe has such a passion and demand for metal music. If the opportunity presents itself, can Brute Forcz pack up and move out there?
Jammer: We're open to touring in Europe, but I don't know about packing up and moving there. We'll do anything we can to get over to Europe.
Dave: It's been great chatting with you Jammer. Best of luck to you and Brute Forcz. I hope you reach all of the goals you've set for this band. Whenever you have confirmed tour dates, shoot me an e-mail and I'll add them to the text of this interview at my website.
Jammer: Thanks Dave. We checked out your website and it's really cool. I love your tribute to Dimebag Darrell.
Dave: Then let's close the interview this way. Give me your thoughts on Dimebag's legacy and tragic death.
Jammer: There's only one Dimebag. I loved his guitar style and sound. Pantera saved metal music during the 90s. If it wasn't for them, music would have been nothing more than Kurt Cobain and all of the grunge music from the 90s. Pantera wasn't a band that received a lot of radio airplay, but look at the popularity they had. In Atlanta during the 90s, radio stations didn't play people like Pantera. Yet they sold out every show when they rolled into town. You know they had something. I feel bad that I never had the opportunity to meet Dimebag. I hope I meet Vinnie Paul someday. I'll tell him to hang in there. I have a brother, and I don't know how I'd continue if my brother was taken away from me like that.