Looking at the band picture below, I'm sure you'll recognize 2-3 familiar faces, especially if you are into Chicago Metal scene... That's right; this is SPILLAGE coming back from a 5-year hiatus, so METAL KAOZ grabbed the chance soon after the news about their comeback had broken out for an exclusive interview with three gentlemen who have done more than just a couple of tour of duties in the Metal scene so ladies and gents, please welcome Tony Spillman, Lothar Keller and Bruce Franklin from SPILLAGE! 'Njoy!
Hi guys and welcome to METAL KAOZ! Please take a minute to introduce SPILLAGE to our readers. When did it all start and what did drive you to form this band on the first place?
Tony: It all started about 7-8 years ago. I had a few songs from over the years from playing and was writing a few new songs with Mark Kasavich (drummer in EPITAPH). So I asked Bruce Franklin and Lothar Keller, two of my favorite musicians, to do the record with me.
What is the band’s lineup and how did it come together? Do you all share the music-writing duties? Who is responsible for the lyrics?
Tony: Well, besides Bruce on lead guitar and Lothar on vocals, there is Chris Martins, a LONGTIME friend as well. He was the second drummer in EPITAPH, so I was familiar with his playing and asked him to join. I met Willie Max a few years ago and knew that he was a great player from his days in SHADOZ EDGE, and Derrick Simpson is simply a great keyboardist. As far as writing goes, I have done all the writing of the music and half of the lyrics. Lothar will continue to help write the rest of the record.
Correct me if I am wrong but the band has been on a hiatus for some 5 years; what was the spark that gave life to this fire?
Tony: Just timing, I guess. I just figured I couldn't keep putting it off or might not ever get done!
Lothar: I guess timing is everything. Tony got in touch with me a few months back and informed me that we were finally ready to start pre-production. All the members were in place which was part of the hold up in being able to get these tunes ready.
Ok, I have to ask the origins of the name SPILLAGE; any similarities with Tony’s last name?
Tony: Well, kinda... The first name I was thinking about was FADED, but it seemed to be popping up everywhere. So SPILLAGE was somewhat coined by Eric Braverman of Killing Time Productions. I think of it more like the SPILLAGE of music.
Can you describe SPILLAGE’s sound in a nutshell? What are the main influences?
Tony: Not really! (laughs) Rock & Roll? The album will have songs that are over 20 years old, 10 years old, and some brand new songs just written. As far as influences, I loved THE BEATLES, IRON BUTTERFLY, THE DOORS, DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEAP... you get the idea.
I know that you are involved in other bands, so how can you manage your time and most importantly your dedication to SPILLAGE?
Tony: SPILLAGE is not a fulltime band. I have EARTHEN GRAVE, Bruce has TROUBLE (looking forward to the NEW record btw!), and Lothar has a couple of very cool bands that he is working with at the moment. The same goes for Willie and Chris as well. However, we WILL be doing some live shows! Our debut show will be at 'Days Of The Doomed Fest III' in Milwaukee this June. More shows will be announced soon.
Lothar: I guess you could say I have had to become the master of time management (laughs). Between having SACRED DAWN, playing guitar for THE SKULL and singing for DIVINITY COMPROMISED, I do have a full plate. I also have a couple of other projects that I have been helping out with as well! (laughs) In all seriousness though, with the digital age now upon us we can swap files, record your part and resend it to the next guy faster than we could before with cassettes and snail mail. It also helps that all the guys in the band are seasoned musicians so minimal rehearsals are required. We manage to fit in a day here and there to get together when we aren’t rehearsing or gigging with our other bands. So far it’s working well!
Along with the band’s reactivation announcement, we got the chance to listen to a short demo for the song “Insomnia”. So, can I assume there is a full length album coming our way?
Tony: Yes! Right now we’re working on 10-11 songs and one cover.
Do you have a working title? And what about the tracklist; are there any songs at least in primal form?
Tony: Haha! Yes, "Spillage"! Right now we’re still writing and arranging the songs with Bruce producing.
Expanding the previous question, is there a record label behind SPILLAGE or are you planning to self-release your music?
Tony: We have a few labels interested, but nothing in writing at the moment.
Following up to the previous question, how difficult is for a musician nowadays to have a day job, and at the same time fuel his inspiration and run a band (or two)? Can you prioritize your life and still be able to hit the studio and then the stage?
Tony: It keeps getting tougher every day. Inflation goes up and pay rates go down. I work between 50-55 hours a week and play in two bands. As you can imagine, there’s not much personal time! Strange Daze! (laughs)
Lothar: Considering how much the music industry has changed over the past decade, it’s more difficult to completely replace your income with playing music unless you plan out your finances well. Most musicians don’t which is why a lot of bands fall apart before they make it. The other factor is having a job that is flexible enough to take time off when needed. Luckily I am a freelance audio/video TV engineer so I can make my own schedule for the most part. As for the other bands, I treat my schedule with them the same as I do any freelance job. You just have to be careful and not double book yourself.
Bruce: It is not easy, but recording can be done while working a day job, or in my case, a day and night job. Computers, Pro Tools, etc. have made it possible for bands to make decent album recordings on their own without having to book recording studio time. Then a recording can be done at whatever pace you are able to fit in time wise. Touring can be much harder to try and do with job responsibilities. In my case, I am self-employed and only have to hire people to work for me while I am gone. Even so, I don't think any of us in TROUBLE or SPILLAGE or the other related bands can really afford to do more than 3 weeks at a time. Usually it’s less than that.
What about some live shows? We know that you’re going to hit the stage of ‘Days Of The Doomed’ festival this June. Are there any thoughts of taking SPILLAGE on the road?
Tony: As far as touring goes, very unlikely, but like I said, we will be doing some live shows whenever possible.
Lothar: Sky's the limit as far as I'm concerned. If the opportunity arises and SPILLAGE is in a position to do so, then I'm there!!!
Since the band’s members are involved in TROUBLE, EARTHEN GRAVE and THE SKULL, do you think they can be part of the same billing, or even an entire tour?
Tony: I honestly don’t think that will happen. Although EARTHEN GRAVE and THE SKULL do share the stage on occasion.
Lothar: Double dipping for a show or tour would be fine by me. I can't necessarily answer that for the other guys, but it’s doable for me. Would love to see this band do well!
Bruce: I think that the possibility of any of these bands touring together is slim to none. Sharing a bill on one show is more possible, but who knows. I am mostly committed as a producer to the SPILLAGE project. If they were able to do a tour, even a short one, I think that it would have to be with someone else playing lead guitar. I'm sure if that happened, it would be no problem at all for the band.
Thank you guys for taking the time to answer to METAL KAOZ questions and please add your words of wisdom for the METAL KAOZ readers.
Tony: I just want to say 'thank you' to everyone at METAL KAOZ! You guys ROCK!!! See you on the road!
Lothar: If you don't like what you hear, you have every right to turn it down... But if you like what you hear, then by all means crank it up!!!
Bruce: All the best!