A Talk With
STEVE GAINES (Vocals/Guitar)
Questionnaire by Nathan McLeod
Good day Steve, welcome to Metal To Infinity - Belgium. Do highly appreciate you taking the time out for this interview. An honour & a pleasure:
My pleasure Nathan. Metal To Infinity has always been one of my favorite sites. Nice to be here once again.
And thanks for having me.
Q: Could you please introduce yourself & the current Anger As Art line-up?
A: Sure. We have Rob Alaniz on drums, Dan Oliverio on guitar, and Eric Bryan on bass guitar and vocals. Oh, and me on guitar and vocals.
Q: Anger As Art if I'm not mistaken is Los Angeles based? Or is it what I have seen some places Pasadena?
A: We used to have a PO Box in Pasadena. Pasadena actually borders Los Angeles at one point. But we are definitely Los Angeles based, and quite proud of it, I might add.
Q: For those whom may not know exactly who you are Steve, you've had a pretty illustrious career in the metal industry since the mid-80's or so with Abattoir, were with Jim Durkin of Dark Angel in Pagan War Machine & Dream Of Damnation; just to name a few. Could you please if you will give the viewers at Metal To Infinity some description(s) of the bands you've been in over the years?
A: I think you left out Bloodlust (I was a founding member before AND after my time with Abattoir), as well as a recent stint with Bitch (Anger As Art backing Betsy). Oh, and Tactics, where I was the founding member, and we had members who went on to Ministry, Agent Steel and others. A bunch of other projects too, but I have been making metal non--stop since about 1977 or 78.
Q: You are also the brother of Timothy Gaines of Stryper & whom did some session work on Anger As Art's - Hubris Inc. CD, correct?
A: Yes, and in fact that was the first time he and I ever did any recording or performing together outside of church related musical stuff. We are actually a pretty sick musical family. Both parents and all siblings have released records or been performing. Its what we do, I guess.
Q: Moving on & over a decade in existence with Anger As Art, how exactly did Anger As Art form & where? (I'd actually read some years back I believe in 2004 in a hotel room somewhere in Ohio).
A: The short story is this - in 2004, I was in about 6 bands, and within a few weeks they all came to a stop. I had a bunch of songs I could not get any of those bands interested in, and I figured I was done with music. I just wanted to record those songs as a final farewell to music, so I played every instrument. Well, people responded favorably, and demand grew. And here we are 5 albums later, multiple tours, and quite simply the most magical time I have ever had making music.... but yes, the idea to record that collection of songs came while trapped on the 3rd floor of the Hilton Garden Inn in Cleveland.
Q: Since the incarnation of Anger As Art, like a lot of artists today, you've gone thru your fair share of line-up changes. Example being Angelo Espino of Hirax was on bass for Anger As Art for a bit.
A: Sometimes it takes a while to see if people are on the same page. The first lineup that appeared on Callous and Furor, for example... I think some of them came in with the idea that they could change the direction.
I was a bulldozer, and was having none of it. I had been in too many bands that changed direction, and followed every popular trend. Some left, some were let go, some are still honorary members, but had to move on for other reasons. Some actually told me they were leaving because we were not big enough, and they want to play with bigger name people. That's fine.
But Anger As Art is about making THIS music, THIS statement. It's not about popularity, or being famous. If I wanted that, I would shelve this and relive my golden 80's watching members of Aba-Lust watch TV. I don't know if they understood when they left, but they do now. This lineup has been stable since 2009 with Dan and Rob. I love those guys, and we operate on auto--pilot. The bass position was solidified when Eric came on board 2 years ago. With these 3 guys, I cannot imagine anyone else in this band.
Q: Steve, when I had contacted Patrick the Owner of OSM Records regarding reviewing the new Anger As Art CD, (which I will get to shortly), I wasn't bullshitting when I said that Anger As Art is one of my favourite bands!
A: Wow. Thanks. It's an honor to know the music connects with people. May I ask you - what is the connection? Let me flip it and interview you. LOL
Q: I mean Anger As Art have released four (4) solid as fuck CD's IMO! A bit hard to say what is my favourite, but would have to say 1) Callous & Furor - 2) Hubris Inc. - 3) Anger As Art - 4) Disfigure.
A: C&F is your number one? Hmm... those sessions were really tough. Like I was saying earlier, the lineup was pulling apart, because at least one of the members saw it as a moment for him to try to force his will on me. Some songs were a bit too experimental. But that album is full of classics that define what we stand for. Our producer has remixed that album, and pulled up some of the scratch tracks, changed the drum tone, FIXED the rhythm guitars... Maybe someday those songs will see the light of day. One song that SHOULD see the light of day is 'Bane of My Existence' with me singing it.... it's night and day, I tell you.
My favorite album - for selfish reasons - is the debut. Simply because of what it meant to me. That was me pouring out my soul, and breaking chains to the past. There were a lot of people who told me I could never make an album without THEM, that I didn't know what I was doing, an awful songwriter and player, etc. To have played every instrument on the debut, and silence those people was a moment I will never forget. Disfigure to me was the first PURE AAA album with a band, because everyone was on the same page, and has been ever since. But thanks for being a fan. This is exactly why we do this.
Q: And all have been released on OSM Records from Antioch, CA. How did Anger As Art & OSM Records come about?
A: I met Patrick at a Death Angel show in 2002. We got into a long drawn out conversation about how guitars should be in standard tuning. A friendship developed. He mentioned his label to me while I was still with Dreams Of Damnation. I sent him a demo (the debut album), which he liked, and he asked if he could do anything to help.
I asked him about the Thrash Against Cancer festival in 2005, and he got us a slot on the bill, where we had a great showing. That evening, we started talking about signing with OSM, and the rest is history. He reissued the debut, and shortly after we released Callous.
Q: In fact the last time I had seen Anger As Art live, was in Alameda, CA at Roosters Roadhouse. Believe it was in support of Callous & Furor. And Patrick of OSM Records had been in attendance.
A: I remember that show well. Potential Threat, and SCARECROW! Holy crap Scarecrow was good. Matt Harvey is one of those guys, no matter what band he is in, he will demoralize you. You could be the guy who invented aspirin, and he will invent the cure for cancer.
Q: So now Steve, you had mentioned to me via text that the new Anger As Art CD has a) already been written, b) possibly due TBR in November 2016, & c) will this be released on OSM Records as well?
A: Actually we are hoping for November 2015, but it may be January. It was just finished, and we are going thru the mastering process as we speak. We will be in talks with OSM to see about a release date... but it is a process. 11 songs, titled Ad Mortem Festinamus. You, being a fan of all 4 records willl recognize where we are immediately. We are really proud of this one. Thankful to OSM for allowing us to develop, and make better and better records.
Q: In regards to the new Anger As Art CD, can you give us here at Metal To Infinity & our viewers some inside info? CD title? CD art? Etc…
A: Simple - but you have to go back to Hubris Inc. to understand. That album was us slaying a ghost, if you will. I understand that there will always be people who know of us because of our previous bands... and inevitably, when we are considered for tours, etc., they always hope that Abattoir will magically appear, seeing that 3 members (at one time all 4 actually) were previously with that band. So we were very vocal about our plan, which was to publicly 'say goodbye' to any potential hopes of that. We brought in special guests to perform on songs... some songs that may have been presented to Abattoir or Bloodlust back in the day. Even one from Pagan War Machine. But we very publicly let everyone know that these bonus tracks were the end of that era... don't come 'round here no more'.
So, this album? It's called Ad Mortem Festinamus. We pushed the envelope - in the back of our minds, we wanted to not just 'do another record', we wanted to scale mountains. We wanted an album that our peers would not just say 'AAA are our friends, and they did a good record.' The goal was to raise the bar. So many bands we 'compete' with all went to the same producer last year, and all of their records sound the same. We wanted to put everyone on notice. We want a record that our fan base would not be able to stop listening to... and I think we achieved that. We just had a listening party with a lot of our fan base, and the reaction was 'holy fuck.' The songs are amazing, challenging, sound like us, yet completely different. Our producer Ron Sandoval pushed us hard, and got some amazing tones. I personally think this is the best record we have ever done. But me saying that to someone like yourself is a bit scary... because it puts expectations very high. Will we meet them? Time will tell.
Q: Anger As Art will be performing at the Black Castle for the Hallow's Eve Metal Fest in Los Angeles with Blind Illusion, Beowulf, & D.R.I. on Halloween to name a few. And take it we will get a chance to hear some new Anger As Art material? And am going to make a point of being at this gig!
A: We have already been performing these song, seeing which work live. Fortunately, they all seem to. Looking forward to having you there. Seems that a lot of our bay area friends will be here for this one. Bring a neck brace. LOL
Q: I must say Steve, like a lot of bands out there today in the metal industry, Anger As Art is highly underated.
A: You know what? It is what it is. I knew that going into this band back in 04. Its an uphill climb. It always will be. But the industry is different, and most importantly, people's listening habits have changed. New music is not the religious experience it was when we were young. So we earn fans, one at a time.
Just recently, we had a new fan who admitted that he shied away from listening because of something someone said or did that reminded him of us. Well, he missed 9 years of our existence. There is not much you can do - other than welcome those who arrive late with the same intensity as those who have been here from day one. And we do. Its all about knowing our fans as individuals, and treating them as something other than a human ATM. Does that make sense? We know people have choices. If you choose us, we want to keep you. Not many bands do that anymore.
Q: Outside the whole realm of Anger As Art, what do you yourself enjoy doing? Hobbies & interests? Other musical interests?
A: I don't remember. LOL. It has been that long since I had time to myself. I used to play basketball a lot, but my knees are shot. I have been into model railroading for most of my life, but have no time or space to do it anymore. I collect guitars, and then pretty much stay home with the wife and the dog.
Q: You had asked me via text message about the Metal Over Oostrozebeke Festival in Belgium. Had given you a little bit of info about it. Were you able to touch bases with Benny the Owner? You had mentioned Anger As Art's biggest European fanbase is in the Flanders region. (Not surprised) Do you think it's a possibility Anger As Art getting over to the Belgian area in 2016?
A: Not yet. We did not get to Europe on the Hubris cycle. We had dates fall through, flaky promoters, etc. So we concentrated on the US, and made a lot of headway here at home. But yes, for whatever reason, we have been blessed to have a fanbase really grow in the Flanders regiion as well as Eindhoven, Tilburg, and all the way up to Dokkum. We have friends in bands such as Powerstroke, Persistense... and we have been fortunate to play for a lot of MTI readers, and share some good times with them. So, I will be reaching out to Benny to see what develops.
Q: Steve, before I wrap this interview up, I'd like to say thank you to yourself & Anger As Art from Metal To Infinity. I can't wait to hear this new Anger As Art CD! And is there anything you'd like to say, announce, or shout out to anyone?
A: Not really. This is always awkward when asked this question. I could give you a million reasons why you should be a fan, but instead, I only request that you give us a listen. And continue to support Metal To Infinity.
TOUR DATES 2015:
*Los Angeles CA 10/31
*Clifton NJ 11/5
*Allentown PA 11/6
*New Castle DE (Philadelphia) 11/7
ANGER AS ART
I DO NOT GOOGLE +. DO NOT TRY!