Interview with Sloth

Sloth was definitely a part of the active rock movement in USA between 1998-2003 where their 2003 album "Dead generation" on Hollywood Records has cult status, there´s been silence from this band ever since until 2013 when they announced they were doing a reunion show in March. Palace of Rock couldn´t be more happier so I just needed to get an interview with frontman Richard Love.

1.You have announced a reunion show in March 2013, are Adam Figura, Kristo Panos and Andrew Kowatch in the line up of the reunited Sloth?

Rich-Yeah it sure is. This is the original Sloth lineup and we can't wait to play. It's been almost 8 years since we last toured or played together and we have an amazing show planned March 2nd at Romano's concert lounge in Riverside with our buddies The Color Red and The Shadow Principle.

2.Will you perform songs from all your 3 albums, "22", "Acedia" and "Dead generation" in the reunion show?

Rich-The majority of the setlist will be material from Acedia and Dead Generation. We have over 40+ songs in our catalogue and it was really difficult for us to narrow it down. I think we chose a set list that everyone will dig.

3.There is a new song called "It only seems alright" on reverbnation, are you planning on recording a new album?

Rich-Actually "It only seems alright" was recorded and engineered by Dave Holdredge back in 1999 or 2000. It was never officially released but generated a ton of buzz for us in the industry. With the reunion show announced we thought it would be cool to finally release it.

Sloth ,despite its lengthy hiatus, has continued to write and demo songs with the hope that material will eventually turn into a full-length album. We will make an announcement once we are closer to beginning pre-production because we still have a lot of work to do.

4.How does Sloth´s new songs sound like in 2013 compared to a decade ago?

Rich-A decade! How surreal! 

I think our sound now is about getting back to our roots. Back in the day before we were signed, we were known for being a band that jammed. We were progressive and experimental. Now I guess you could say our sound is a culmination of "22" & "Acedia" with the pro-experience of "Dead Generation", combined with a decade of life experience and maturing. After being through so much as a band we really didn't want to rush the process for the sake of the industry or to just "keep up" with the music scene. Artistically we want this to be more of the artists or fans album, or our version of "Pet Sounds". We have no one to answer to or please but ourselves which is an extremely liberating feeling.

5.How was Bob Marlette to work with on the production of "Dead generation"?

Rich-Bob was great to work with. He is a true professional and a stellar musician. He pretty much introduced us to the big leagues and taught us everything we know about and dealing with major labels.

6.The unreleased song "Falling down" could be heard on your website just before the release of "Dead generation" in 2003 but it never ended up on the album, why?

Rich-You know that's a great question! "Falling down" was one of three songs we did for Hollywood Records as a part of a "demo deal" with Bob Marlette as producer. For one reason or another it never made the final cut but did get us signed. If we ever track that song down we will make sure to release it.

7.Were there any plans on recording a follow up on Hollywood Records in 2004 or did the label drop the band?

Rich-Actually yes. Sloth was signed to a 1 album, 5 option recording contract with Hollywood Records. Unfortunately our budget was horribly mismanaged during the making of Dead Generation and it ate into our funds for tour support, album promotion and record #2 and #3. Ultimately we ran out of money and Hollywood Records put us back into the studio (NRG) with Michael "Elvis" Baskette and Dave Holdredge to see if we had any radio worthy material for another record. Unfortunately the recording was ill-timed and probably premature as we were all pretty burned out from dealing with all of the business and personal issues and you can really hear it on the recordings. 

After 6 months of sitting around and being in limbo we pushed Hollywood Records to either pick up the option or drop us. Our attorney at the time, Ian Montone, went to bat for us and to everyone's surprise he received a verbal commitment from the head of the label Bob Cavallo that they were going to pick up album #2. A week later they changed their mind and passed. We were all pretty devastated but we also felt a huge sense of relief that the wait and uncertainty was finally over.

8.In 2008, I read that members of Sloth and The Color Red formed the new band Kill Watson and would record an album with Mike Cosgrove of Alien Ant Farm, whatever happened?

Rich-Man basically life happened. I moved to Hawaii and had to leave that project while recording was under way. I tried to make it work and flew back a couple of times to finish the demo but unfortunately the band just lost its drive and momentum and eventually disbanded.

For me Kill Watson was a really exciting project and marked one of the first times that I did anything musically that wasn't Sloth and it truly helped me grow as a musician and vocalist. It got me thinking outside of the box and reminded me that I didn't have to continue to be the atypical "rock singer". When Terry Corso and Mike Cosgrove got involved it just increased the musicality of that project and brought it to a whole different level. Overall the demo came out really good but I wish that I was more prepared prior to recording.

9.Do you have any great tour memories to share with the readers like practical jokes or meeting other cool rockstars?

Rich-Hahaha too many stories and too many identities to protect. We've pretty much met everyone and done everything that you might think a semi-popular rock band might do. Playing the Vans Warped Tour for 10 years will pretty much guarantee you some excellent conversation pieces. 

One memory that stands out and will always leave a burning impression was getting to know and hang with Deftones bassist Chi Cheng on the 1998 Vans Warped Tour. He was one of the nicest and most humble people that I had met. We exchanged a few books and had some great conversations. The entire band for that matter was really down to earth and cool. We hung out a lot that summer. After hearing about Chi's accident and learning that he was in a semiconscious state it just hit too close to home. It actually motivated me to get off my ass and start singing again. 

Anybody that doesn't know about Chi's accident should definitely stop by and send him a message and a donation to help his family with the huge amount of medical bills they are incurring. He is a great guy and needs your support. 

10.One of my favorite songs from "Dead generation" is "Media", I miss that kind of edgy and powerful hard rock in these times. Don´t you get the feeling pop and mainstream has infected rock music more or less today?

Rich-Yeah that is definitely one of my favorite songs both live and on the album. We've always been big fans of punk and hardcore and we wanted to showcase a little bit of that with "media".

I couldn't agree more. Infected is a great analogy. Our entire entertainment industry has become infected with the fast food mindset. What happened to the edge factor in modern music period? Most record labels or entertainment conglomerates don't believe in artist development or growing a band organically. They want instantaneous hits and that's it.. Much like everything big corporate America gets involved with they ruin and cheapen it. As a whole it feels a lot like the 80's but without any of the high level talent, individuality or songwriting. In my opinion the entertainment companies and their greed have created an atmosphere in which they have taken the individuality out of the artist and have trained the audience to only listen, see and accept their vision of what a specific group or genre should be. In general the music industry and media have created and are responsible for this version of "pop", not the audience. Just like the food industry continues to poison our health, the entertainment industry continues to poison our soul. The consumer can only buy what we supply them. Unfortunately for everyone there is an abundance of shit on both sides. Compounding the issue is the carelessness and overuse of protools and autotune. Most music listeners , modern day, have unknowingly been trained to listen to music in a completely unnatural way. Nine times out of ten when the general population hears a live band or artist that isn't using pitch correction or playing to tape support they think it sounds horrible. That's because "we" have been trained to assimilate music that way. What most people don't realize or maybe they just don't care is that the majority of their favorite artists local, signed, rock, pop or otherwise are using tape support just to try and compete with the general populations perception of what they should sound like live. It's a vicious cycle that was created by the industry. 

A perfect example being when Beyonce Knowles lip-synced the Star-Spangled Banner at the Presidential Inauguration. Everyone came down hard on her for not singing live but how many people would have been up in arms had she been off key? I mean she can obviously sing better than most and is uber-talented but that isn't even enough for the mass populous. Everyone is a critic until they have to get onstage and do it themselves.

Look at the bashing Steven Tyler received for his rendition of the same song. Despite his recent career choices, he is still perceived by most as a "real" artist and an amazing rock vocalist. Has he not paid his dues? So he sings the Star Spangled Banner, which isn't an easy song for anyone, 100% live and still got the shit bashed out of him for it. 

Until we figure out how to remove the suits from the creative process and get back to the days when the artist was actually developed, and get music back on MTV, the lack of diversity or the infection that is "Pop" will continue. 

11.What 5 hard rock albums do you think are the most important ones the history of rocknroll?

Rich-Oh man this one is gonna be hard. I'm gonna have to go with 5 albums that influenced me greatly early on.

Black Sabbath/ Black Sabbath
The Clash/ London Calling
Led Zeppelin/ ll
Metallica /Kill Em All
The Doors/ The Doors

12.Are you ever nervous before getting up on stage?

Rich-Absolutely! Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or soulless! I think everyone gets nervous before a show but it's whether you can use that energy to your advantage to actually enhance your performance or not. Early on in my career I had horrible stage fright. It was so bad that I found myself with my back to the audience for most of the show. During rehearsal I would face the band and that ended up becoming very comfortable for me, even live. Needless to say I eventually got over it but took some work. Now I feel a more anxious anticipation and a want to perform to the best of by abilities before a show.

13.And finally, what artist will make you turn off the radio?

Rich-Oh boy..... I really hate to bash any artist but let's just say that I don't listen to the radio very much anymore. It has become far too depressing.


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