If you’re a fan of current heavy metal music then September Mourning likely requires no introduction. Formed in New York City in 2009, the group is led by the visionary frontwoman Emily Lazar who has created the multimedia conceptual platform which has helped define them as a standout act in an oversaturated environment of heavy metal bands. If you’re not already aware, September Mourning’s narrative is centred around the story of a human grim reaper hybrid named September who traverses between the worlds of the living and the dead. Their unique approach to hard music has led them to international notoriety, the love and respect of their peers in the industry, and the release of a studio album, along with two successful EP releases, including the most recent, Volume III.
Volume III was released on December 13th via Mortem Media and has received a hefty amount of attention thanks to some creative marketing. An ad card for the EP has been featured in almost 4,000 health clubs worldwide as well as over 3,000 bars, clubs, and restaurants in North America. Just in 2019, September Mourning toured with Rob Zombie, Smile Empty Soul, Hed PE, and Flaw with many more dates to come in 2020.
Despite all this success, we put music aside for just a few moments to speak with September Mourning guitarist Rick Juzwick. In addition to writing and touring, Juzwick also loves a damn good meal, so for this new edition of Art of The Meal we spoke with him about his “home” and “road” diets, favourite food spots in several cities the band has toured in, and interest in cooking.
“Overdose” is the latest singer off of Volume III. Watch the lyric video:
Do you follow a particular diet?
Rick Juzwick: “When I’m off the road I try to cook from scratch as much as possible, making my own sauces, salads, etc. I don’t necessarily avoid or limit any particular food groups but I do try to avoid anything processed or pre-packaged. I only use frozen or canned items when there are no fresh options.”
How does the food you eat on the road compare to what you eat when in the studio or not working?
Juzwick: “On the road, I, unfortunately, eat the complete opposite of when I’m at home. I eat whatever is convenient but do try to be mindful of not eating too many fried or processed foods.”
Do you prepare a lot of your own food?
Juzwick: “At home I prepare most meals, occasionally eating out when I have particular cravings. But I really love to cook when I can.”
Which of your bandmates are cooks? Or foodies?
Juzwick: “I’m definitely the cook/foodie of the band! Kyle (Mayer), our drummer also likes to cook when he’s at home.”
Check out these videos and images of Rick Juzwick’s yummy lasagna:
What are some of your favourite restaurants in your hometown of Cincinnati?
Juzwick: “Trotta’s Pizza. I used to work here in college. The pizza is always fresh and full of garlic. Penn Station East Coast Subs: I’ve had cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and around the United States. Penn Station is still the best I’ve ever had. Cincinnati Chili: There is always a debate about who has the best Cincinnati style chili: Skyline, Gold Star, Camp Washington, Price Hill, Empress, etc. I don’t have a particular favourite but I love getting off the road and indulging in a five way or cheese coney!”
Do you have a favourite “food city” when on tour?
Juzwick: “I don’t have a favourite food city, but I do have restaurants I always try to stop at when I’m in town:
Pittsburgh, PA: Primanti Brothers
Chicago, IL: Portillo’s
Los Angeles, CA: Bulgogi Hut
Dallas, TX: Pecan Lodge
Houston, TX: Jinya Ramen Bar
New York, NY: Veselka
Providence, RI: Olneyville New York System Restaurant
Lansing, MI: Meat BBQ
St. Louis, MO: Pappy’s Smokehouse
Flint, MI: Big John’s Steak & Onion
Waffle House, wherever I can find one!”
What are some of the food items on your rider?
Juzwick: “For riders, I usually try to keep things simple, only the essentials: fresh fruits, veggie tray, chips, salsa, protein bars, etc. I don’t get too crazy with requests.”
Check out the comic book cover art for September Mourning’s latest EP Volume III:
If a fan were generous and to give you a food or drink-related gift, what should they get you?
Juzwick: “Gift cards are the way to go. They never go bad and I can try it when I have time. Sometimes we get too many food gifts at once and it’s hard to eat all of it before it spoils…”
What is your drink of choice?
Juzwick: “I don’t drink anything during the day except water. I avoid sodas and manufactured beverages for the most part. When I’m off the road I’ll have some red wine after a meal. On the road I’ll have few drinks if I’m hanging out with the other bands or club staff. To keep me going, I used to drink a lot of coffee on the road but I’ve cut that out.”
Were any of your songs ever conceived at a bar or restaurant?
Juzwick: “I’ve recorded voice notes for songs at multiple restaurants but I don’t recall which specific song ideas made it to final recording.”
When was the last time you barbecued?
Juzwick: “I haven’t barbecued for a few months. Over the spring and summer, I would barbecue constantly, not only grilling meats and veggies but cooking dishes in big cast iron pans.”
What is your go-to meal when headed to a barbecue?
Juzwick: “I usually get a sampler, so I can try multiple meats and sides.”
When did you overcome being a picky eater?
Juzwick: “I was never super picky about food. The only things I avoided were onions and peppers. When I was a kid they just made me gag. When I got into my 20s I started cooking more and slowly grew a fondness for them. Now I use them in my cooking all the time!”
Watch the music video for “Hiding From Heaven” off of Volume III:
Which toppings go on your ideal pizza?
Juzwick: “I usually start with Italian sausage, mushrooms, banana peppers, and onions. Most of the time I’m sharing pizza with other people, so I’m flexible and will eat any combination that the group agrees on. Any style of pizza is good pizza!”
When did you first get interested in cooking?
Juzwick: “When I was a kid I had more of an interest in eating than cooking. I worked at restaurants in high school and college, which is when I started to realize more about the fundamentals of cooking. When I moved to Los Angeles my interest in cooking started to take off. I used to have dinner parties with different themes. In my last band, I would have other bands and industry people over for holidays, tour launches/returns or just because nothing else was going on… I think the largest dinner party was Christmas of 2011, about 100+ people showed up!”
Do you have a favourite chef?
Juzwick: “I don’t think I have a favourite, but there are a few that I’ve followed over the years. The first cook I remember watching was Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook). Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood, I was drawn to the Asian cook on TV. Recently, I’ve been a fan of Gordon Ramsay, Alton Brown and Guy Fieri.”
What sort of cooking set-up do you have at home?
Juzwick: “I don’t have anything fancy, just the essentials… regular four-burner stove, oven, rice cooker, grill outside, etc. Someday I want to have full flattop and indoor grill like they do at diners.”
Have you ever owned a George Foreman Grill?
Juzwick: “Yes! I had one in high school and college. I used it a lot at first but it was such pain to clean… A few years ago, I received another one as a birthday gift. It got a lot of use but slowly got phased out as I cooked for large groups more often.”
Watch a live music video for “Unholy” also off of Volume III:
What is your favourite fast-food chain restaurant?
Juzwick: “I don’t eat fast food very often. I guess the chain I eat the most is Chipotle.”
How do you usually get your groceries? In-store? Online delivery?
Juzwick: “I go to the store. I’m usually armed with a general menu and grocery list in my head but sometimes I get inspired by things I see. There are so many different styles and variations of cooking that seeing something on sale or on display can trigger a new idea. That’s the great thing about cooking… it never has to be exactly the same!”
Upcoming Tour Dates:
02/07 – Astronomicon – Sterling Heights, MI
(w/ Madame Mayhem, American Grim)
02/08 – Music Factory – Battle Creek, MI
02/09 – The Forge – Joliet, IL
02/11 – Stage West – Scranton, PA
02/12 – Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
02/13 – HMAC – Harrisburg, PA
02/14 – Dingbatz – Clifton, NJ
02/15 – Fishhead Cantina – Baltimore, MD
02/16 – Loft @ The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
02/18 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
02/19 – Kingsland – Brooklyn, NY
02/20 – Average Joe’s Beernasium – Baldwinsville, NY
02/21 – Greasy Luck – New Bedford, MA
02/23 – The Fire – Philadelphia, PA
04/25 – Arctic Comicon – Anchorage, AK
07/11 – Inkcarceration – Mansfield, OH
07/16 – Rock USA – Oshkosh, WI