A Talk With
GARY MESKIL (Vocals/Bass)
Questionnaire by Nathan McLeod
With a recent Metal To Infinity review of New York's hardcore-metal artist PROP-PAIN & their upcoming release of Voice Of Rebellion via Steamhammer Records, TBR in late June of 2015, I've received the opportunity to interview vocalist/bass-player, PRO-PAIN frontman: Gary Meskil!
Q: Gary, on behalf of Metal To Infinity, we'd first & foremost like to give a HUGE thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule with this interview. So tell me Gary, with PRO-PAIN's next installment of Voice Of Rebellion, how are things shaping up, working out with your highly anticipated release of Voice Of Rebellion & upcoming tour so far?
A: Thanks Nathan! Everything is going extremely well leading up to the release of "Voice Of Rebellion" later this month. Those who have heard the album seem to like it very much, so that's great news to us. We hope that it is as well received by the fans! As for touring, we have some select European club gigs and festivals coming up from July - September.
So far, we have the following confirmations to report:
*03.07. Roitzschjora - With Full Force Festival (Germany)
*04.07. Antwerpen – Antwerpen Metal Meeting (Belgium)
*08.07. Pfarrkirchen - Bogaloo (Germany)
*11.07. Longwy - Rock'n'Roll Train Festival (France)
*12.07. Leiden - Werfpop (Netherlands)
*15.07. Viveiro - Resurrection Fest Opening Party (Spain)
*09.08. Derbyshire - Bloodstock Festival (UK)
*19.08. Düsseldorf - Tube (Germany)
*20.08. Alsfeld - Ehrlich & Laut Rocknacht (Germany)
*21.08. Alkmaar - Victorie (Netherlands)
*24.08. Viersen - Rockschicht (Germany)
*04.09. Frauenreuth - Open Air (Germany)
We expect to tour sporadically throughout the remainder of the year in support of "Voice Of Rebellion", so stay tuned for more dates!
Q: In so far, to be perfectly honest with you Gary, aside from recently listening to & reviewing Voice Of Rebellion here at Metal To Infinity, I've personally only heard, have copies of the first three PRO-PAIN releases: Foul Taste Of Freedom, The Truth Hurts, & Contents Under Pressure. In a lot of ways I feel PRO-PAIN for a lack of better words, dropped of the radar in the hardcore-metal scene after Contents Under Pressure. Would you agree, disagree, agree to disagree with the following statement?
A: I would have to disagree. Perhaps we drop off of the personal radar of a certain percentage of people from time to time, but we freshly appear on the personal radar of others with the release of each new album. For example, I know many fans whom have only been following Pro-Pain since our most recent releases. Contents Under Pressure was a 1996 release, so lots of positive things have happened since then.
Having said that, I'm certainly not trying to diminish your personal experience or discount the importance of our first 3 albums. They served as the foundation of what was yet to come, so by all means check out the other albums in our catalogue! They are all important pieces of the puzzle.
Q: Obviously, with your thoughts & answers with the last question, PRO-PAIN has been quite busy since the release of Contents Under Pressure, with a dozen PRO-PAIN releases since then. Of which do you feel from PRO-PAIN's past discography were the strongest? Any of which you feel may have faultered?
A: That's a tough one to answer with any sort of accuracy because my feelings for our previous works are constantly changing. Over the years I've developed more of an appreciation for our older works (i.e. Foul Taste Of Freedom, The Truth Hurts, etc.). I always seem to favor our current music, but I think that's pretty normal for a writer / musician. In retrospect, I think we perhaps missed the mark with regard to certain production aspects, but those production flaws actually turned out to be signature qualities of those albums.
So, sometimes it's best to appreciate the work for what it is, and not search for things in hindsight which would have made it more perfect or "20/20" via today's eyes and ears. To quote the great Sir Paul McCartney: "Let it be".
Q: In terms of past-tense Gary & your days with the Crumbsuckers, has their ever been talks of a Crumbsuckers reunion over the years? A possible new Crumbsuckers release?
A: Actually, we just reunited a couple of weeks ago for the first time in almost 10 years as a featured act at Black N Blue Bowl (Webster Hall NYC). It was great fun, and a big thrill to be able to share the stage with the guys again after so many years.
As for the possibility of new songs and or a new release: There has been no discussion about it thus far, although the band has decided to take on a few more gigs in October so that the fans get a few more opportunities to see the band before we reach the final curtain call.
Q: Could you describe the New York hardcore-metal scene in your early years with the Crumbsuckers then & in comparison how it currently is today?
A: The early years of NYHC were magical times. As a teenager (back then), my sense of wonderment and lust for adventure were fulfilled on Sunday's via taking the LIRR into NYC Penn Station and then heading down to The Village record shops and eventually ending up on Bowery @ CBGB's for the weekly Matinee. Other clubs were also important (i.e. A7, Great Gildersleeves, Danceteria, Ritz, etc.), but the Gold Standard will always be "CB's". Sadly, the magic is long gone by way of technology.
These days, that sense of wonderment is no longer being fulfilled "live and in person" (generally speaking). Instead, a false sense of fulfillment takes place via the Internet. It's empty now, but thankfully a new scene is emerging in which it's participants have great respect for the forefathers of the scene. In post 80's hardcore, brains had been replaced by brawn. Now, the youth are finally pulling a reversal and bringing cerebral hardcore back into the light. Suddenly, there is hope!
Q: Moving back forward Gary with the incarnation of PRO-PAIN, since then, outside of PRO-PAIN, what have you been doing with yourself regarding other interests, hobbies, projects?
A: Well, I stay pretty busy with my 4 bands (Pro-Pain, Darkhaus, Crumbsuckers, Salvation) and with my family life. Any extra time is spent managing properties, seeing friends, playing sports, reading, traveling, and enjoying life as much as possible!
Q: Well in over two decades now with PRO-PAIN, there'd been a long list of members / line-up changes with PRO-PAIN. Do you care to embellish upon anything particular over PRO-PAIN's career of past members?
A: The band began in 1991, so we're rapidly approaching the 25 year mark. That being considered, I don't think the number of line-up changes we've had are very remarkable one way or the other. Upon reflection, the vast majority of Pro-Pain line-up changes had occurred for personal reasons, whether it be to start a family, join another group, or due to unfortunate circumstances (i.e. illness), etc.
It's very difficult to keep the same personnel on board for the lifespan of a band who's been active for 20+ years. If we were wildly successful financially (ala Metallica) it certainly would have helped to deter certain band members from heading for their gate of departure, but it's not the cure all.
Q: Now with the current PRO-PAIN line-up Gary, you feel amongst yourselves that this line-up has moved on to progression to perfection?
A: Yes, this line-up is very special in many ways. Musical talent aside, each member takes on a lot of personal responsibility within the band to make sure that we remain four strong pillars without a broken leg.
We seem to see eye-to-eye on most things, and we respect each others opinions enough to be able to avoid arguments and conflict. In turn, enough free mindspace is created so that we can have fun and enjoy the ride, and that's exactly what we've been doing since Straight To The Dome. I think it shows on stage how content and comfortable we are as a unit. We love what we do!
Q: 2015 tour dates in Europe have already been scheduled, taking place over the next several months. Have there been any recent developments to launch a North American tour? Japan? Elsewhere?
A: Yes, We are currently in talks with our North American booking agent regarding the potential for touring opportunities for North America in support of "Voice Of Rebellion". To tour any previously uncharted territories like Japan, Australia, etc. would be really great! We are just waiting for the right opportunities.
Q: And in direct response to your upcoming European tour dates & release of Voice Of Rebellion, so far, how have the masses, media been treating PRO-PAIN?
A: The media and the masses have always been more than generous and very kind to us, and we appreciate that! They are also part of the sinking ship which is the USS Record Industry, so if we are kind to each other then perhaps we can collectively stay afloat a little bit longer.
Q: Once PRO-PAIN embarks on supporting the release of Voice Of Rebellion in 2015 & beyond, their any plans on releasing a "Live/DVD" during the Voice Of Rebellion tour?
A: It's a great idea, but it can be difficult to get a budget for such a project considering that the DVD market for music has been decimated via Youtube and other free online music video sources. Having said that, I do think it's important to have such products in our catalog. First things first, I suppose.
Q: In closing Gary, there anything further you'd like to add? Comment on? Subjects or topics not covered in this interview?
A: Our new album "Voice Of Rebellion" drops later this month via SPV / Steamhammer records and is available for pre-order NOW via all major record retailers! So feel free to order your copy today! For more info go to pro-pain.com or visit us on Facebook at PRO PAIN Official.
Gary, much thanks & appreciation once again for taking the time doing this interview with Metal To Infinity. We at Metal To Infinity wish you & PRO-PAIN best of luck, success, & prosperity. Sure hope to catch a North American PRO-PAIN show, quite possibly follow up this interview with a live review of PRO-PAIN…
Thanks for this interview and for the well wishes! We greatly appreciate it! Hope to see you on tour! \m/.Gary Meskil \m/