One of the more notable albums to come out in 2018 so far has been A Vulture Wake’s The Appropriate Level of Outrage, which was released on January 31, 2018 through Bird Attack Records. The band has a stacked line up that features Chad Price of ALL and Drag The River, Joe Raposo of RKL and Lagwagon, Sean Sellers of Good Riddance and Real McKenzies and Brandon D. Landelius of The Mag Seven. The band has been touring quite a bit and already has plans to release a new EP later this year. Editor Ricky Frankel caught up with lead singer and guitarist Chad Price to talk about how the band got started, the new album, his time with ALL and more. Read or listen to their conversation below or on iTunes.
A Vulture Wake put out their debut album The Appropriate Level Of Outrage through Bird Attack Records in January. The band has quite the lineup. It's kind of a supergroup. How did this all come together?
Well it pretty much started with Brandon [Dion Landelius]. We're all buddies. Our bands have played together for years. Brandon just had a batch of music. No words, no melodies -- just a bunch of killer guitar riffs and shit. He had Sean [Sellers] play with him. In the demo he sent out, it was pretty much him and Sean playing. I assume some of this stuff may have been around when both of those guys were in Authority Zero. I don't know that for sure, but I'm assuming. I mean he had a shit ton of music. Brandon asked me, "I have this [music]…" He said I was his first choice. He said, "Let me know if this is something that you are interested in." I listened to it. I loved the music immediately. I told him to give me a little time. For one, I'm not really that familiar with -- I don't know, whatever you call this -- melodic hardcore. And another thing is I've never really written lyrics. I mean it has happened like once or twice in ALL. It's not something I do often. I didn't know if I could just sit down and write fifteen songs. [I just] needed a little time -- a couple of weeks. It's tough to get rolling [at first]. Then I was totally into it. I figured out how get into the mindset. It was actually was a good time. You sit down with the guitar, you might strum along with some chord progressions or some riffs for a few days. It's a lot more work when you're writing everything. But you know, that's how I do it. When you're just given music you have to ask, "What does this music make me feel like?" Then you take it from there. Anyway, after a couple [were written out], I just sang whatever I had into a crappy mic over these demos and sent it back. Brandon and Sean were into it. Then they brought Joe [Raposo] who I had never met surprisingly. It was weird that I hadn't. So the first time I met Joe was the first day we practiced and recorded a demo down in Texas.
It was kind of strange at first being thrust into this band. But you know, it's a family -- with somebody you don't know. We're good buddies now. Everybody's into it. Everybody is stoked. I hate this term “super group.” People can call it what they want to call it. It's pretty sweet just looking around. I'm in ALL, too. And yes, all those dudes are killer players. To go from one band where everybody is that fucking good to another one where everybody is that fucking good is pretty wild.
Yeah, it has to be! So let's get to some songs. I think you guys have some really killer tracks on this album. The song "Dead Languages" starts out with the line, "This is the pinnacle of helplessness." What did you mean by that?
A lot of this may sound like I'm talking specifics, but a lot of this is just based on the sad state that this world, this country [is in]. It's kind of about that. And I didn't want to be specific about stuff. You know, pointing at people, telling them exactly how I feel about shit and how they're supposed to feel about shit.
Oh that's really interesting.
It's just kind of broad. "This the pinnacle of helpless" -- I mean it's everybody that feels that way. It's about us all really.
The song "JIB" has quite the musical intro and it definitely stands out. It's a much more thrashy song than compared to the other nine. Was there a different writing process for that one? And what does "JIB" stand for?
That's a good question. One that I can't answer. The music was written by Joe. Brandon wrote all the other music except for the one that I wrote, which was "Fraud." Joe brought that in and it was just like, "Dude! That one fucking [rips]!" [It’s called] “JIB" since it was Joe's song, I believe it's some kind of take on Sabbath.
Like Black Sabbath?
Yeah. When Joe brought it in and I heard it I was like, "This is fucking awesome! But does that fit with what we are doing?" which it does. But just in the moment -- because everything written up to a certain point was just all Brandon's music. I felt that if we started introducing music that I wrote or that he wrote it might take away from the theme. Once it was all said and done and the songs were tucked in together and it all worked. It's actually a good idea to have songs that don't sound like the rest. (laughs)
It's pretty novel. Sure. (laughs)
I found out you guys have an EP coming out in Spring 2018. How come those songs didn't make it onto this record?
Well, I can't speak for those songs in particular, but we did want to keep the record fast, tight and short. I think it's exactly 30 minutes, maybe 31 minutes. Obviously it just seems like you can't overload people with a band they've never heard. Shit's different these days. People don't sit down and listen to the records front start to finish. They buy a song here and there. We could put 50 minutes worth of music on [an album], but I'd rather somebody listen to it from start to finish and then be like, "Fuck! It's done!?" It's like when Slayer’s Raining Blood came out.That's still one of the best records ever made I think. I had the cassette and it was it was those songs on the front and then you flip it over and it was those songs on the back. You just listen to the record again.
Yeah. I’ve got to tell you, 30 to 31 minutes in ten tracks is pretty good. So I would agree. I'm definitely looking forward to that EP later this year.
Yeah. It's not like those songs are B-sides or that we didn't feel like that they were not as good. I think one of our best songs is going to be on this EP. And also I guess it's a good idea that -- your record comes out and people finally get to hear something, then you give them a couple of months maybe because they'll get tired of it. And then it's like, "Well here you go. You get three more songs. How's that?"
That's more than fair. There's lot of experience and material between all four members of the band and I know you guys are doing some shows in March. Do you guys plan on covering any of your other bands' tunes while you're on tour? Was that talked about?
I mean it kind of got talked about jokingly, but [not seriously]. I don't think we will do that. But I don't know. If we started hearing shit that we should do that we aren't doing or haven't thought of then we'll listen.The only reason that it was jokingly brought up was because at the moment all we have are these 13 songs. So if we're headlining a show it's not going to be any longer than 45 minutes. I don't know if anybody thought would be a good idea, but it is an idea!
Okay. So we'll have to go to the shows to see whether it happens or not.
We won't do it at these shows. I can guarantee you that.
So I would be remiss if I didn't at least ask a couple of ALL questions because that band is clearly iconic. I was going through some of your music videos. Who came up with the "TV psychic" concept for the video for "Million Bucks?"
(laughs) It wasn't any of us. I can tell you that. Yes. That was a strange experience. That record was the Interscope record, you know.
…which I have questions about, too.
So you know — major label — there's money there. They’re trying to make a band big. They hired some big-name director [ to a make a video in the same vein as] Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit." You know, all this shit. Whatever. And then you have four dudes who don't want to be and who don't really belong in front of a camera. This director and his crew -- they have the job to make something cool happen in this video with us. Once we saw the treatment of like what's going to happen, we were just like, "What the hell?" But, whatever. Obviously shit hadn't worked the we been doing it, so let's see if it's going to work this way. At some point you just say, "Fuck it. Let's try it." And that's what we did.
Looking back, 1995 was a very different era for the music industry. Did Interscope try to pressure you guys into writing Pummel and the other albums in a way they wanted it or were they more "hands off?" What was the band's relationship with the major label like back then?
The label was pretty much "hands off." You [hear] those horror stories about signing to a major and bands being told how they should sound. That was not the case. I think during that period of time these bands like Green Day or whoever was big, they were just doing their thing and they were huge. So I think Interscope was like, "Well okay. Let's let them do their thing." I kind of remember the one thing while recording Pummel, they had some producer in mind that we kind of felt like we had to use. So there was a producer who did a lot of work on the record and then we fired him at some point. We didn't have to start over, but whatever he was building was scrapped. The songs were still there and recorded and shit. So there was that. They had a guy there who may or may not have said, "Make it sound like this." You know, that kind of thing. As far as the song writing -- no, they didn't say anything.
The film was great, but I'm curious, was there anything in the movie Filmage that left anything out when depicting your time with ALL? And if so, what? Or do you think they didn't touch on something when during your time in ALL enough? Anything like that?
I guess I never really thought about this. By the time it got to where I was involved it was almost like,"Well, who cares now? We had gone through so many different members and here's another one." I don't care that I didn't have as much screen time as somebody else. That doesn't bother me at all. I can't really say that there was shit going on in life that should have been introduced in the movie. I was just there. We were touring a lot. Nothing crazy happened except for getting signed by major label and then getting dumped by a major label. Then we kind of stopped touring. We never broke up. We still play shows, but we just don't tour. I understood what the filmmakers were going for. They just needed to continue along with the story. Although the movie was about the Descendents, it obviously revolved around Bill [Stevenson], which it should have. He started [the band]. He's been there the entire time. He almost died. There's plenty around Bill to make a movie. I thought they did a killer job with the whole thing.
Oh, it was fantastic!
Yeah. Everybody was in there. They didn't leave me out. It was partially, probably me too, because they interviewed me and especially back then, I wasn't interested in talking to anybody about that shit. I hated doing interviews. I would do interviews with Bill or Karl [Alvarez] and they would do all the talking. They interviewed me, but who knows what I said -- probably very little as far me taking in the movie. They probably didn't have a lot to use. (laughs)
That's totally fair. Well Chad thank you so much for at least letting me interview you.
It's like somebody asks you questions and you're basically answering for someone else. But this (A Vulture Wake) is my band from the very beginning. So I am absolutely interested in doing interviews now because I'm excited about this band.
Well cool. That's great. Again, thank you for doing this. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I don't think so. We'll be touring quite a bit coming up. I imagine if anybody wants to see us it'll be sometime in 2018. So keep an eye out.