I had a conversation with Bled frontman and champion bleeder, James Münoz. Their debut release, Pass the Flask quickly grew to become one of my favourite records this year.


What have you guys got coming up?

We just finished shooting a video for Dale Earnhart's Seatbelt. We have about two shows with Static Lullably. After that, we don't much going on as far as touring. We have three weeks off and then we go out on a big five week tour with Give Up the Ghost. That start's on the East Coast and hooks around the US a few times.

Some History... when you joined the band how everything's evolved.

Well, I guess the story goes that the Bled was recording demos for the full length "Pass the Flask", in late February. And they came back home with the demos and the plan was to sit on them for a month and then go back and record the full length and between that period and the time they were supposed to go in, the old singer quit. I was living with Jeremy (guitarist) at the time and once I heard about that. They were in this weird position of having to try out new people or doing the vocals themselves. I knew all the songs and I had always been into the music, so I told them I'd try out to save them some hassle.

Basically, everyone knew that it would be cool - that it wouldn't be a big question whether I clicked with the band personality-wise. IT was more a question if I could pull off the vocals. Everyone was pleased with what they heard so it worked out well. I had a few weeks to learn the songs, so I learned the lyrics and then in late March, we went baxk out to Los Angeles. We recorded Pass The Flask in about three and a half weeks.

What kind of impact did your addition have to the record, in your opinion? The full length seems to be much more melodic and dynamic than the EP.

That EP was recorded over two years ago, so it was more due to the evolution of the band. After those five songs were written, the style was always changing. It's still hardcore in a sense, but I think that the first songs were a lot more technical as far as guitar work goes; there was a lot more of the old Dillinger Escape Plan influence, if you will. It was definitely more metal. When I joined the band I figured I'd try to be as dynamic as all the other instruments so I wanted to give it a little more flair here and there; that is, not all screaming.

You guys have been getting a ton of press in Alternative Press and Revolver, and how does that feel?

It almost feels like a band that has had a full length debut out for a little more than a few months doesn't really deserve this. We shouldn't be in there yet. But I think most of it has to do with the fact that our label really works their asses off and gives so much just so we can develop good relationships.

Jay Fiddler walked into the AP headquarters and told them "Listen to this Record" He flew out to Cleveland and he just walked into the place with the record and played it for them and they liked it. The Editor in Chief, Jason Pettigrew, really dug it so it's really just stuff like that. The Fiddler people just way out of their way. It seems like bands on major labels usually get this kind of press, we're just really lucky to be on a label like Fiddler.

What's the scene like in Arizona?

It's so small here, for the last fifteen there has been a little scene that's been nurtured by this couple that have tried to keep the scene alive by keeping open an all-ages venue. They're pretty much biting the bullet financially and they're still trying to get government funding. For awhile the clubs kept opening and then closing because they were getting shut down. The venues were shitty and rent was insanely high. Putting on five dollar shows in Tucson makes it hard for the money to come together.

For the past five years it's been pretty good as far as kids going to shows and putting on shows. Band-wise? The hardcore scene is kind of dwindling. New bands will startup here and there and kids will put on hardcore fests; local bands kind of come and go here. There's one or two really good hardcore bands that have been doing it for awhile, like since 1990.

Now it's kind of strange because it's weird to think of The Bled to be in a situation where we're going on tour and putting out a record and back home - I don't want to sound like an asshole, but we've been lucky enough to accomplish more in the last couple months then a lot of Tucson bands.

Is the band a full-time gig yet?

It's definitely a full-time thing now. We've taken leave from college, quit our shitty jobs, and we're putting our asses on the line and trying to make money on tour and stuff. It's cool because our record label really understands that we have car payments; bills to pay, so they're pretty generous in terms of tour support.

It's like working with friends that really trust you and believe in this music.

Some people have been asking about the EP, seeing as it's out of print. Any chance of it being available anywhere?

We had five hundred copies left maybe, and that in was in late May. We started touring with A Static Lullaby and we toured till July. We sold them on that tour, so I don't know if there are any more left.

Regarding the AP piece and the ad; how'd you end up in the hospital?

We played this little showcase in the Roxy in LA and Fiddler invited their friends to come and right in the middle of the set; we still had three songs left - [Mike] Celi swung his bass around like a maniac and it smacked me right in the face. It was one of those moments where you could feel everyone in the room gasp. I thought it would hurt a lot more, but it just felt like a little thud. I kept singing and then I felt the blood come rushing down my face and everyone in the crowd was either loving it or vomitting. We still had three songs left and there was blood all over the stage.

My friend Joy was taking pictures and she took this ridiculous close up on this tiny digital camera and it ended up being the full page ad in Alternative Press.

I went out after the show and there was a big gash right between my foreheard and I had to go to the hospital and waited for 6 hours with Amy from Fiddler. I got thirteen stiches and a huge hospital bill.

And this was your what, fifth month in the band?

<laughs>

Accidents happen really quickly. It was cool because I met this mortician on the road in California, and she clipped out the stiches in the alley in the back of the club where we played. I had a big posse and people filmed it.

Is that in the video?

It should be, but it'll probably end up on an enhanced CD or something. Celi's a maniac, he also chipped his front tooth that night with his bass.

So any recording plans?

Not really, just to tour like crazy. We have some splits and compilation stuff, but we're pretty much going to tour. Maybe in a year we'll start writing new stuff. We haven't really been working on new songs; we're just trying to stay busy and get this music out since a lot of people still don't know who we are.

How was the reception at the bigger festivals?

Hellfest ruled. That was the best festival we played so far. It has the biggest expectations and the biggest crowd we ever played to. We played on the side stage during Brother's Keeper's set on the main stage. A lot of people went to see them, but it started out with a hundred or so people but at the end of the set we had five or six hundred people. There were so many people in that tent. It was incredible. It was a lot of fun to play.

It was a weird feeling playing in front of all those people. And we got to see all those awesome bands.

Any closing words?

The couple Bill and Kathy Wooldrige run a club called Scrappy's. They're responsible for bands like us and having an audience and having a place to perform and hang out. And I want to say thank you for all the years of support for this small Tucson scene.