Casket Salesmen
by Interviews

Earlier this year, Nate Lindeman and Phil Pirrone left the band that they formed in their teens, A Static Lullaby. The band had released a successful debut on Ferret before joining major label Columbia Records and were in the midst of work on their third album when they suddenly split up.

Since then, Nate and Phil formed a more rock-oriented act, Casket Salesmen and left the comfort of the major labels to self-release the record on their own label. Phil and spoke about a number of things including the reasons for the split, the state of music and hopefully answered the question: "Is there life after screamo?"

The biggest question: What happened with you, Nate and A Static Lullaby?

As close as we had all become, we quickly grew very much apart. Dan and Joe went in their own directions and Nate and I in our direction. By the time we left the band, It had become very apparent to me that we could no longer make music with Dan and have it be a focused piece of work. I feel that now, ASL can be what it's suppose to be and our music can be what it's suppose to be. To try and mix the two again would be an even bigger disaster than Faso….

You refer to Faso as a "disaster," in what ways did it not turn out the way you wanted?

I gotta make sure I don't ruffle any feathers here. I don't want to say something and have it be taken the wrong way; We weren't on the same page musically from the get go with making that record. The writing process was tedious and filled with arguments. One side wanted to please fans and one side wanted to grow up and please ourselves.

I think the biggest disaster(s) though, about Faso were actually Columbia Records dropping the ball, not knowing how to market the band. Also, the fans wanted …And Don't Forget To Breathe Part Two, they didn't want evolution. So, you could say all odds were against us. And I think things are much better the way they are now.

Like I said before, ASL will please their fans, who STILL want …And Don't Forget To Breathe Part Two, and Casket Salesmen can do what Nate and Phil want to do, and a whole new group of people can attach to it, because its sincere and from the heart, and hopefully ASL fans can dig it too, hopefully everyone can dig it. You can't please everyone, though, but we're being positive…..

When I was 17, I dug Breathe, but, I am no longer 17 and have grown out of that kind of sound and have no desire to duplicate it ever again. There are enough bands out there doing that as we speak.

What inspired the rather large change in sound in your mind? No one is going to compare Casket Salesmen to your previous band.

The consumer is not a mid-20's open minded, open hearted artist, the consumer is a 14 year old girl and she wants From First to Last not Medeski Martin & Wood. So, I guess all I can do is play my songs and eat out of the garbage can. If that's what I must do, I'll do it.

Everything that has happened up to this point has inspired the sounds and themes behind, Sleeping Giants. This is the record I've been dying to make. It represents Nate and I so well it's almost funny. We are huge fans of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket and stuff like that. Good tasteful rock music. It's not over the top, there's no gimmick.

I guess if all of that good stuff inspired us, all the shit that we are surrounded with inspired us in a different way. Every band now is wearing makeup and have this stage show - coffins and bullets and roses and bleeding and death and tragedy and "my heart is so cold" and "my lyrics are fucking horrible." I'm sick of that music right now and I guess above all else, that has inspired the shit out of me. I am sick and tired of screamo and I am sick and tired of so many bands that I wish I could name right now.

But, I feel like I would just come off as some asshole and I'm not some asshole. All I know is the world needs a change. The world needs to be influenced by something genuine and I'll die trying to make that happen. The consumer is not a mid-20's open minded, open hearted artist, the consumer is a 14 year old girl and she wants From First to Last not Medeski Martin & Wood. So, I guess all I can do is play my songs and eat out of the garbage can. If that's what I must do, I'll do it.

After the luxury of a major label, what got you thinking about going completely DIY again? It must be shock going from armies of publicists to making your own CDs, booking your own shows, etc.

I felt if I put out my own record I could do what needed to be done for our band. I felt like because of the ex-ASL moniker any other label, indie or major would have the wrong idea from the get-go. I wanted to market the band myself, place the band myself, tour and tour and tour and never give up and always record and always release music. It's just like shitting or eating, I have to be playing music or I will die. People like Mike Patton have inspired me very much to pursue the feeling that all I should be doing is playing music or making music, or producing music, or arranging music or planning a tour or playing a show.

What are your goals for the band?

To put out this record, tour in support of it, play every festival on the planet that we can, get to know a lot of new people that we've never met, try and change people's perspectives. If we could help someone become less materialistic or become warmer or help someone gain a more positive outlook on anything, that would be nice.

Also, I want to continue to play music until I'm old and can't do it anymore because of arthritis and back problems, so my main goal is to continue to play, write and record.

How much of an influence did you and Nate have on the sound of that band? With "Faso" it seemed like their were two forces pulling the band in different directions - a rock approach and a more "screamo" one.

Good ear. There was definitely two forces pulling - wait, scratch that - 5 forces pulling and And Don't Forget to Breathe was so focused. We all wanted the same thing. We were all young, we were all pissed. During the Faso sessions, Nate would bring a skeleton of a song or more to practice and by the time Dan got his hands on it, I could tell that the sound Nate was going for went out the window - and not to be mean or cruel to Dan, I don't mean this to offend him - But, in a way, the song would be ruined.

To be honest, I wouldn't be suprised or bummed if he felt the same way about Nate and I with his tunes….. I know that Dan's approach and Nate's approach are completely different and on Faso we all tried so hard to make the two worlds meet and it kinda worked out and kinda didn't.

Then there's adding Joe to the equation. I feel he didn't get to do what he wanted to do. Deep down he wanted to scream and get brutal and he just never did. All in all, Nate wrote a lot of Faso Latido Dan and I had more lyrical input than we did on ADFTB. I wrote more music on Faso than I did on ADFTB. Who knows, maybe a lineup change should of happened before Faso? By that time Nate and I wanted to do very different things than Dan and Joe wanted to do.

The art, lyrics and imagery of Casket Salesmen is clearly on the more abstract side of things; what kind of bands inspire your sound?

I feel that now, ASL can be what it's suppose to be and our music can be what it's suppose to be. To try and mix the two again would be an even bigger disaster than Faso….

Other than Pink Floyd, Beatles, Foo Fighters, My Morning Jacket, Smashing Pumpkins, & Queens of the Stone Age we consider King Crimson, Ween, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Tool, & Les Claypool to be on a Biblical scale as far as inspiration goes. With that said there are a slew of bands out now that inspire me aswell: Mars Volta, Rx Bandits, The Exit, Minus The Bear, The Bronx. I mean, yes, music suck but at least those 5 bands exist. We're working on it. We're working on it.

Growing up in the hardcore scene, how do you feel about where things are now?

My stomach hurts. My head hurts… my freakin' ears…

What else do you guys have in the works beside the album? You've been very clear that there are other "projects." Anything you can share about them?

Umbrella Tree is Nate and my other project… we worked on that a lot right after October of 2005 then we started working on Casket Salesmen, now we've been doing more Umbrella Tree jams again. A record should come out next year at the very earliest.

Weed Team is something else I can talk about. It's my super group, if you will. The list is growing now and I don't know who is down to publicly include themselves yet, but the band so far is very exciting… friends of mine from a bunch of different bands are gonna come together and make a very interesting record.