Last time he caught up with Casey Chaos the anger was literally brimming over with every single word he spoke. With a new album "Death Before Musick" out on EatUrMusic / Columbia records Casey seems strangely mellow and the antithesis to what we had seen a few days earlier on stage in Preston. The new line-up of Amen may hold the key and with that in mind Designer Magazine looked at how the inter-band relationships over the years have made Amen and Casey what they are today. With Scott and Rich also in attendance we got the full picture of the band we know and love.
Q: Last time you were over here it was just a really short tour for the fans that had stuck by you through all the troubles. This tour you're literally heading out to the provinces and away from the big cities to reach out to those people that can't normally see you. How have the first few dates been going?
Casey: We could have came and done what most American bands do, which is play 2 or 3 shows and play to bigger audiences. But we wanted to go as many places as we can, hence Preston and Middlesborough Town Hall, just to show we are grateful. The thing is you really don't know what to expect in these places. Sometimes you go into a show thinking it's going to be terrible and it's great, and vice versa. And you know, sometimes the real big rock shows are shit.
Q: Amen are known for their live shows, perhaps more than the actual records themselves. After spending like what seems an eternity recording this record and obviously finding a home for it, how does it feel to be back on stage?
Casey: We did a tour in the US with Killing Joke and we've come straight over here. I'm f**king dying. My back is crushed, were all sick and my arms are wrecked.
Rich: It's like putting on some old dirty shoes...and some more dirty underwear. I'm still waiting for my tour strength to kick in. I don't know if you get used to it, or something kicks in but it takes about a week and a half for it to really feel right. By that time your level of what's acceptable just goes down the line
Q: For you guys it's your first full scale assault on the UK. Have you got used to the UK fans yet?
Scott: It's really really different because in the States no-one knows who you are. Over here its and alternate universe, it's almost as if it's not real yer know. The other night I was in a bar and people just kept staring over at me and it was like we're gonna have a fight on our hands here, then my friend reminded me that people actually know who I am over here.
Rich: I've been in Amen for two and a half years so i'm used to that with this band. But I feel lucky that people give a shit that i'm in a band or wanna see us play. If you're going out and playing shows that's ultimately what you want.
Casey: We've got much more exposure over here than in the States. Our new record hasn't even been released in the States yet. We released it everywhere else in the world outside of the States and that was partially because the record company wanted to do that and also cos we wanted to focus on where a lot of people care. In the UK there's a good bullshit detector and I think they just see that were just a working class band.
Q: How was it for you personally, with what happened to the old band members?
Casey: Money, it's the route of all evil. People gotta do what they go gotta do and some people go to join shitty bands to get a pay cheque. In that situation it was truly about money.
I still talk to Larkin all the time. He has a child and i'll really respect that guy to my dying day. He's like a walking Picasso. He's a piece of art.
Rich: The whole band saw him about a month ago. In fact both bands all came together in one room and it was kind of weird.
Casey: We don't have any resentment. I'm grateful towards them because Amen's a vehicle and they drove it so far. It's a pretty destructive vehicle and it can only take so many hits, but now we're here where we are.
Q: I read in a recent interview that you said the new Amen is how it should have been in the beginning?
Casey: When Amen started theoretically in the Press' eye. Theoretically i'd been doing what i'd been doing for a long time, but that line-up had just started and a deal was in place. There was publishing deals, stuff like that and all that bullshit and people got money. Then when the money ran out so did their faith.
When the new band came in everyone came in because they were fans of the band. There was a different motive. That's the way it should be. Everybody should start and band and do what they wanna do, not to be signed, but just to make a bunch of racket and hang out with who they want to hang out with.
Q: How was it for joining Amen as fans? It must have been strange?
Rich: I guess so. I joined at the end of the old line-up and they all made me feel welcome which was cool. No matter how much of a fan of the band you are, you have to feel you relate to everybody you play with in some way or another. I didn't really have much in common with Sonny for example, he's a great guitar player but I ran out of things to say really.
Casey: Every groups got to have chemistry. If you put any group or collective of people on stage and there's no chemistry then it's just not worth doing.
Q: And the way you worked the album with the different line-ups was quite innovative. Wasn't there 4 drummers used throughout the records itself?
Casey: It was meant to be something that was unorthodox and something that hasn't been done before. I needed their personalities at that time on tape. Getting everything that was happening, documenting and I think that's what makes it such a special record and a different record. It has more aggression and more songs. It has a good diversion. "Summer Of Guns" is a very open song, "California's Bleeding" is a very hooky song. It has a little bit of everything. It's bisexual - it likes men and boys!!!
Words: Alex McCann
Photo's by Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com
"Death Before Musick" is out now on EatUrMusic / Columbia
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