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Interview with Chimaira bassist Jim LaMarca

At the moment, one of the most intense and brilliant metal acts in the world has to be Chimaira. Ironically, despite the fact that this the Cleveland, Ohio sextet is already touring in support of their fifth full-length studio release, they remain one of the most under-appreciated groups around. This my friends is what we in the music business call “fucking bull-shit.” For a band as freakin’ phenomenal as Chimaira to still be relatively…



At the moment, one of the most intense and brilliant metal acts in the world has to be Chimaira. Ironically, despite the fact that this the Cleveland, Ohio sextet is already touring in support of their fifth full-length studio release, they remain one of the most under-appreciated groups around. This my friends is what we in the music business call “fucking bull-shit.” For a band as freakin’ phenomenal as Chimaira to still be relatively “un-loved” by a huge majority of loud music fans is totally unacceptable. I ask… no, I insist, that you respect this band’s authority! If you want to continue with this interview, then you ought to be sampling their music as you read. Head over to their myspace now and hear ‘em! All belligerences aside, Chimaira does truly roll with the kings of metal. And to make ya’ll appreciate where they’re coming from… well then see what Chimiara bassist Jim LaMarca had to say about the band’s latest record, re-recording old Metallica tunes, and touring with Children of Bodom.

Your third and most recent self-titled album was released back in August of 2005. In the time since its release, how has the fan and press feedback been?
Jim: Well we had a little short period of time that we were off, from like Christmas until recently, so from that time it was like, “fuck, these kids are going to forget about us,” you know? Like we’re kind of not around right now and it’s like, here we come. The music industry changes so much that we’re lucky we got on this tour with Children of Bodom and it’s like, holy shit man, there’s kids out here and they know the music and they’re still there. We’ve been doing this for six years, so to see the response that we get every night, it’s still fucking gratifying to know that people still know about us and people still care, you know what I mean? Because it’s hard, most bands that started off when we started touring, you know like a long time ago, didn’t get any longevity in the music business and it’s like, all those bands are gone now and it’s like fuck man, we have new friends and newer bands that you know, we’re a part of, so it’s still good.

I feel as though your latest album is concrete proof of the band’s musical maturation. How do you personally feel about the album and its songs when compared to previous Chimaira records?
Jim: Um, it was definitely a record where a lot of the music came a little bit harder to actually, um, it was a little harder for me to swallow at first where I was like, ok yeah this music’s like, the songs are a lot longer, they’re like more of a, you know, they’re longer you know what I mean, there’s more to them now. So it’s like, it didn’t take me long to get into it, I was like fuck yeah this is great, but like you know, it was more the point of just saying, ok we’re doing more complex stuff now, like how do you actually interpret this in your mind? How are you going to do this live? You know what I mean? So going to the original part of the question, I guess that mostly I look at our new music as like you know… it’s a new rejuvenation for us, as will our next record be for us now you know. So you just kind of look at it like, you know, step by step by step, that’s I guess the only way to really look at it right?

Speaking of the changes and improvements on your last record, what do you think are some of the things that contributed to Chimaira’s recent evolution?
Jim: Um, just touring I mean, when you tour on the road for any extent of time, you know, you start to realize what stuff sounds like through a PA system instead of just playing through a PA system and then like three weeks later you’re playing in another club. You get use to doing that and you’re like, ok let’s try to work this out where you’re like you know, we are writing a live record because we are a live band so, root it to you know make sure that it goes back to, yeah you’re going to be on stage performing this stuff so, you know, work at that angle.

Speaking of CD releases, in January you guys re-released your self-titled album as a special limited edition. What contributed to this decision and how has this release been fairing compared to the original one?
Jim: Just more songs. Some extra bonus songs that we put on there, some live stuff you know, just something to get people to buy the record you know, to like rejuvenate the sales of the record. Other than that….

To kind of give more motivators to buy the album?
Jim: Well you gotta look at it this way too like you know, people that listen to metal music are like paying money for the CDs and sometimes they burn it, whatever, it’s going to happen in this day and age of technology. But for the most part, it (the re-release) gives them a chance to go out and buy the record, maybe they didn’t have money when the record first came out and now you’re getting more now for the record and the people that bought it in the beginning are buying it again you know what I mean, it’s just the way the business goes.

Recently news has been posted about Chimaira’s involvement in a special re-recording of Metallica’s Master of Puppets. This tribute will honour the 20th anniversary of the album’s release and the 25th anniversary of Kerrang! magazine. How did you become involved in this project?
Jim: Uh I don’t know, I think they just contacted someone from Roadrunner and then we recorded that song so, that’s about it. It’s an honour to even be apart of Metallica in some way. Hopefully they get to hear it and say “ahh cool, Chimaira fucking did a song.” You know, they’re on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducting Black Sabbath you know, just to even know that we’re doing something like this, we’re apart of this where they will actually probably listen to it, it’ll probably be like amazing that they even get to listen to it and I mean it’s a cover of their own song, so….

For the CD, you contributed a remake of the Metallica song “Disposable Heroes.” What made you guys choose this track in particular?
Jim: Ahh I’m not sure about that. I don’t know the list of details, I don’t know exactly, I mean shit, you can do any Metallica song and be happy you know?

What has that whole experience been like for you guys and where did Metallica lie in your realm of personal musical influences?
Jim: Well that whole experience, like I don’t know what it’s going to pan out to because you know, depending on what Metallica… if they hear it and they’re like kind of behind it. But Metallica has been a very big influence on my life, not like I was suicidal or anything when I was younger and “Fade To Black” saved me, but yet I was one of those fans who listened to Metallica and actually was like… dude, like now I see them now and they’re frikkin getting old and I’m like, fuck I’m right there too, I’m getting old too. It’s just amazing to see them still doing it and still being Metallica and hopefully Chimaira will be that band for me you know, like we’re that band that’s still around after twenty years.

I guess that’s the ideal right?
Jim: Of course, not everybody gets to do it though. We’re lucky right now we’ve done it for this long so that’s about all I look at, it’s just like enjoying it you know?

What other musicians, bands or even external influences have played a big role in developing you as an artist?
Jim: Slayer. You go back to a lot of that old school metal stuff which a lot of the bands nowadays sound like any of those bands. I listen to Pantera, I listen to Testament, any of those bands, Suicidal Tendencies, like, you know those are the bands that influenced me to get to where we’re all at right now and you know, I’m one of those people who loves that style of music and now that we’re doing it, yeah I think we sound like a lot of those bands and you know, there’s a lot of those bands that are still influential to bands that are out today but yet, I grew up in that time era. When Slayer’s Reigning Blood came out, I was in fucking junior high riding the school bus to school listening to that, you know, on a tape that was like auto reverse you know, like I listened to both sides all day long. So, I mean, now we’ve toured with Slayer and it’s like, when you do all that kind of stuff, you’re like fuck man, dude, remember when I was this young listening to this stuff? And now that we’re touring with them it’s…

Mind blowing?
Jim: Yeah it is.

How did you guys get added to this current bill and what’s it like touring with Children of Bodom?
Jim: I don’t know how we got added to the bill; I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I know that like management and all that kind of stuff boils over for everyone to get on a tour and stuff like that. But, I never knew these guys before, I mean I’d heard of them, a bunch of friends of our band had toured with them before and it’s been a hell of a week. We’re only doing the first week and then we’re doing the Jagermeister tour with Arch Enemy and you know like, to tell you the truth, this tour’s been great, we’ve gotten along. The first day, they just got in from Finland so you know no one really hung out and we had the Metal Twins with us so they kind of livened up everything for the guys and made it a party for like a week. And now we’re going to try to eventually tour with them again, have some real fun with them, you know, do a real proper tour with them.

What about the fans? How have the fans been responding to you on this tour?
Jim: They’ve been awesome, like you know, they know our songs. Sometimes, there’s been one show where I don’t think everybody really knew the stuff but they were still bowing and they were enjoying it you know and there were some really good shows. So it’s like, you know it’s a good tour for us, we want to get out there and still prove our point, it doesn’t matter what fucking kind of bus you have or what equipment you use, but the thing is, it’s like if you get up there and kick ass, people are going to remember that you know, then they go out and buy the same kind of guitar you use or whatever. I mean, it’s just influential to kids now and it’s been a lot of younger kids, that’s what’s been really nice, a lot of younger kids on this tour so, when you see a lot of younger kids out there…. Like right in the front row and I’m just like, dude I feel like an old man, I’m thirty one years old and I look at these kids and I’m like, I was that kid, I was that kid and now I’m reversed and it’s like I look at them and I’m like, ok, I understand where you’re at kid so enjoy this concert, go to school, get a good job and you can still enjoy music and do whatever you want to do.

Speaking of the Jagermeister tour, soon you guys will be hitting up the Jager tour with Arch Enemy, Nevermore, God Forbid and Hate Eternal. What are your feelings about this pending tour and also sharing the stage with Arch Enemy and Nevermore for the first time?
Jim: We’ll see, I don’t know, I don’t know any of those bands personally so you know, when you start touring, the first couple of days of a tour, everyone’s getting use to being on the road, getting use to that and then boom, hopefully everything clicks and becomes a really good tour. I don’t really you know, honestly to tell you the truth, I don’t wanna like burden anything or black market right now, but I’m just hoping for it to be a fun tour, because that’s all you can hope for. When you’re on the road and doing this as a business, hopefully you can also enjoy it too you know, instead of being like, fuck these people suck, why are we on tour with them? We’ve never had a tour like that so you know, that’s why it’s always like you go into it with a positive attitude you get out something positive.

There has recently been news that you guys have been hard at work putting together material for the next Chimaira album or at least that you have a few songs together. Can you elaborate at all on this?
Jim: No, nothing, that’s it, haha.

Other than touring and writing tunes, what does the near future hold for Chimaira?
Jim: Um, I don’t know, I really don’t know. I just try to do whatever I can to be entertaining with my music you know, listening to it, jamming it out, whatever. If you check my myspace page, you can check out that, add me as a friend, write me your input, tell me whatever you think about the band and then I’ll like write some tunes, I’ll put some tunes on there, I don’t know…  [ END ]

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