The Grammy nominated metalcore masters Norma Jean have had a remarkable career so far. They have headlined the Vans Warped Tour, toured with the Ozzfest and their latest CD, The Anti-Mother has been receiving critical acclaim; it even debuted at number 29 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. It is clear that Norma Jean is a force to be reckoned with. This year they have been touring the globe in support if their latest disc, including stops in Russia and Australia. I was able to sit down with vocalist & guitarist Cory Brandan Putman at the Canal Club in Richmond, Virginia on one of the final shows of the tour to chat about the band’s live show and their plans for a new record in 2010.
How is the tour going so far?
Cory: It is really awesome. This is one of my favorite tours we have ever done, actually. We have had a blast and this has been a great tour.
What kind of preparation goes into your live show?
Cory: We actually put a lot of work into it and it kind of changes every night depending on the stage size and the size of the venue. Everything you see on the stage, light wise or prop wise, we built ourselves, we have always done that. We want people to get their money’s worth. People pay good hard-earned money to come and see us play and we want to put on a good show for them.
How is the current economic slump affecting your band?
Cory: It affects us a little bit I guess. It is kind of hard to tell where it is affecting us though. Despite all of the economic worries that have been going around, this tour has been awesome. Ticket sales have been fine. We do not sell as many T-shirts as we did last year but people are still coming out and that is the most important thing to us. We have definitely heard horror stories of bands playing shows where barely anybody shows up. We just played a sold out show in New York City and it was awesome.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Cory: We do not really do anything. There is no preparation. Literally, it is just like we jump into the water; we do not know what temperature it is going to be or what is going to be in it. We just go for it. Once we are on tour we cannot just go home and take a couple of days off if we are not feeling good. These shows have been booked for months we cannot just cancel them. On this tour, we have only had one cancellation because our trailer broke and we had to stop. That old saying “the show must go on” is totally factual.
Are you playing a good mix of new and old on tour?
Cory: On this tour, we are doing something really different. On certain dates, this one included, we are playing our entire first record, Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child, front to back in order.
Is that going over pretty well with the fans?
Cory: Yes, it is awesome! It is just a cool, fun thing to do especially with people wanting to cut back on entertainment related things. We figured we would do something different and not just play the same show that people have seen for years and years. It brings the old fans back in and they can have fun as well.
What are some of the songs you get the best audience response to?
Cory: We have at least one off of every record that the fans go nuts about “Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste,” and it is probably one of our most popular songs live. “A Small Spark vs A Great Forest” is also quite popular as well.
What song do you like to perform the most?
Cory: Definitely “Vipers Snakes And Actors” is my favorite song I do not think I will ever get sick of it. It is fun and it was written for the live setting so it is a blast.
You guys have been around the world. What have been the best countries to play so far? Is there anywhere you have not played that you want to?
Cory: We have played all over the world. We have been to Mexico and Canada, of course, all over the place a billion times. We have been to Australia twice, the UK and Europe. I would personally love to go to South Africa because we have not been there yet. It is really hard to get there because it is so far away. We just got back from Russia.
Was Russia pretty cool?
Cory: Russia was pretty awesome. It was very different but it was kind of what I thought it would be. It was the first place that I have been that, stereotypically, was very accurate.
You guys just signed to Razor & Tie Records and according to your bio you will be heading into the studio in January to begin a new record is that right?
Cory: We have been writing all year, we will be in the studio in February and hope to turn the record in during April. We still have a ton of work to do but we are hoping to have the record out by summer 2010.
Do you have a producer picked out already?
Cory: We are wanting to record with this producer Jeremy Griffith. He is a young dude that is really talented and knows every instrument. He is a great singer and is someone that is talented in all areas and we are really excited about recording with him.
When you have some free time and the band is off the road what do you like to do?
Cory: I kind of have trouble getting away from music. I have other side projects that I play with and I spend as much time as I can with my two kids and my girlfriend.