Scar the Martyr: A Meeting of Minds
Words: Brian Giffin
Latest release: Scar the Martyr (Roadrunner/Warner)
While Slipknot fans continue to wait in vain for a new album, some of the band's members continue to produce music outside the constraints of that band. Mercurial drummer Joey Jordison recently unveiled his latest band Scar the Martyr with a downloadable EP that has since been followed up with a US tour and a full-length album. With the self-titled debut on the eve of release, Loud caught up with Jordison on his day off to get the low-down.
First of all, can you give us a little bit of the background into how this all came about?
About a year and a half ago, maybe even a bit longer, I returned to the studio at home – the same studio we did All Hope is Gone, the Slipknot record – and I started demoing a bunch of material that I was accumulating and I felt really strongly about. And that resulted in a demo of about eight songs. Then I took a little break, and then since I got out of the studio I kept on that writing path and then in a very short time I went in and did another five songs. At the end of it, I realised I had over an album’s worth of material that had no home. I realised it was too good not to put out. So that’s when I started looking for band members to complete the line-up and looking for a producer to take this whole thing on. That’s how the whole thing started. My first mission was to find a vocalist and a mutual friend of Henry’s – before I even knew Henry – recommended me to Henry Derek, and that’s how I hooked up with him. I sent him five songs and he sent them back to me and it was exactly what I was looking for. It took shape from then on.
It wasn’t something that just fell easily into place right away though?
No, it didn’t happen right away because when I started working on material, I was just kind of demoing. There was people I was working with prior but nothing was working out. I went through about three other different vocalists and a couple of different writing partners, the music was a bit different... so it took me quite a while to figure out what kind of project I wanted to release. I didn’t want to release something that was just like a death metal project, or a black metal project or just an industrial project. I wanted something that was going to stand the test of time and take on all the areas of music that I would like to try and basically form a band that could basically play any type of music that I wanted. That was the real test, to get the type of musicians that could play that type of music.
And of course you managed to come up with some pretty awesome musicians. Jed Simon, for example, isn’t exactly a slouch.
No, not at all man. He’s a fucking legend and an absolute superior guitar player. I had Rhys Fulber in place producing the record and when it came time for leads, I still didn’t have any lead players that I wanted. Me and Rhys got talking about Jed. I toured with Jed when Slipknot was up with Fear Factory on the Jagermeister tour in 2004 and Jed was teching for Byron, the bass player for Strapping (Young Lad). Me and Jed hit it off a long time ago, way back then. So I knew he was going to be a fucking great addition to the band on his track record alone. So bringing him in was one of those things that really elevated the record from great songs to putting extra life and extra excitement into the songs. I wanted a dual guitar team, so a guy that I worked with prior to this record, James Murphy, who I worked with on Roadrunner United, recommended Kris Norris from Darkest Hour. So it was a big circle of friends that helped get this band together. It was the same thing with Chris Vrenna. I toured with Chris when he was in (Marilyn) Manson. So I knew Chris for a while and he was the perfect choice for keyboards. It was basically a meeting of the minds, people that I wanted to work with for a long time and I finally had the chance to.
Of course people are going to call this band a supergroup.
Yeah, and I don’t mind it at all. If you call it a supergroup, that can kinda be used in a weird way now, but when it was first used it meant that all the musicians were skilled at their craft, so if they want to call it that, I totally welcome (it). We’re guys that see eye to eye on music and have the same goals with what we want to do with Scar the Martyr, and if people want to call it a supergroup, that’s fine by me.
What about the expectation for people that because Joey Jordison of Slipknot is involved, there is going to be some level of Slipknot about it?
There’s always going to be that because Slipknot, not only being my main project, but also because it broke down doors... a big factor to heavy music from when we came out to our last record All Hope is Gone and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Those expectations are gonna be there. But, like I said, if I was gonna do another project outside of Slipknot, it had to be a project that I took very seriously. I took the song writing very seriously. I didn’t want it to be a one-off project, something to pass the time. I wanted it to be something that’s worthwhile, and would have a future.
Scar the Martyr is being referred to a lot as a side-project, but really, this is your chief priority right now.
Yeah. Yeah, I’m on tour right now and the record’s about to come out and we worked really hard on it, so I mean, this is my priority right now. I’m not just putting all this effort into making a full length LP and get all these members involved if it was a side project. This is something that we’re looking to do full term, alongside my duties with Slipknot as well. In fact everyone’s so excited right now, with home recording systems and computers that we, fuck man! We already have so many ideas for the next record already. It’s just an exciting time over here with Scar the Martyr. We’re having a blast. And you know what the best thing is? We’re getting our music out to the fans right now and seeing the reaction. That’s the main thing.
You’ve mentioned that you already have plans for another album, but this one was a collection of songs you wrote yourself. Have you seen that material evolve as you’ve played together with the rest of the band?
I worked with each member in the studio and got to establish a great relationship with everybody. I couldn’t have people in the band that I didn’t think I could get along with musically or have the same ideals as me. That was a real important factor. Getting along with somebody and being able to share some ideals with somebody about music in this day and age and kinda like where I really wanted to go. The difference between this kind of band and another kind of band is (that) we all just came into the studio together and made a record off excitement, and just kind of jamming together. This isn’t like a band that spent a lot of time together slumming it out in clubs, so that now that we’re all together that’s kind of what we’re doing. It’s actually fuelling creativity for the next record because we’re actually playing with each other day in, day out that the next record is almost going to be like the debut.
What’s the likelihood of seeing Scar the Martyr down in Australia?
I wish I had a specific date I could tell you, but since the year’s getting late... the beginning of (next) year, man, that’s what we’re looking at.
A lot of people will probably be looking at Soundwave then. It would be a little strange for there not to be someone from Slipknot playing there.
Yeah I know! (laughs) It’s like, every year, regardless of whether Slipknot’s active or not, there’s at least one of us down there! (laughs) So, we’ll see, man!
I spoke to Corey (Taylor) earlier this year and he was adamant that Slipknot will be back again at a future time. What are your own thoughts on the future of Slipknot?
I can only speak for myself on the Slipknot angle, I spoke a long time ago in numerous interviews about the material that I had. I still have a lot of material. The future is bright with Slipknot, we’re not going anywhere. You know, there’s nine eccentric guys in the band and some of us like to be more active than others. I have so much material I like to be busy all the time. It’s like the seize the day type aspect on music and life. I want to get out as much art as I can while I’m here and I seem to get better the more that I do it. Right now my work is Scar the Martyr, but Slipknot isn’t going anywhere. You can mark my words on that.
Brian is Loud's editor. He also does a radio show on Wednesday nights on 89.1fm and occasionally contributes to RockYourLife.gr.