Bound For Glory Japan Interview
Below is the English version of the interview Bound For Glory did while on tour in Japan
YS28: Please introduce the current line-up for BFG.
Ed: The members that were in the line-up that played here were Joel on vocals, Wayne aka The Crippler on drums (although he’s a guitarist), and Drew on bass, and myself (Ed) on guitar. Normally Drew is the second guitarist and Wayne plays bass. We had another drummer in Europe that was going to play for us, but he was unable to make it on this tour. We don’t have a full-time drummer yet, but we made Wayne go and play the drums. So we were lucky that he could play…[on this tour] we played as a four piece, but normally we are a five piece. The search will continue to find another drummer. It’s always been a tough position for us to fill…most drummers are unreliable. We have a joke: What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? Homeless!
YS28: We’ve heard that BFG was formed in 1989. Please tell us the circumstances and the reasons why you started the band. Also, please tell us about any other bands that you were in prior to BFG.
Ed: I did belong to another band…I played in a hardcore band called Mass Corruption and we recorded a couple of demos back in the day. After a while I really got into the RAC/Oi sound and we felt it was time to do a band in that direction – we all felt that way – and we formed Bound For Glory.
YS28: What are some of the major themes your band deals with in its songs?
Ed: We’re a band that covers so many different themes…it’s whatever we feel in the heart. It could be reading the paper one day and something makes you angry and you end up writing a lyric about it, a lot [of are lyrics are about] history, a lot is personal, it’s just whatever your heart feels. We try not to be trendy or think we have to sing about this or that – it’s normally about experiences, whatever makes us feel like we want to write…it’s not forced, it comes from the heart.
YS28: You have played in several other bands like Powerhaus, West Wall, Before God, Bombs Away, Bully Boys, etc. What are your intentions in playing in multiple bands?
Ed: I like so many different musical styles that I have a band for each style I like. Also I have many other friends that like to play music, and I try to make bands that keep them playing too. I’m very multi-faceted in my influences… from rock to punk, oi, metal, folk metal…I like it all, and I want to play it all. I have an ear for it. I can’t explain it, I just have so many different musical personalities…I can be Jekyll one moment, Hyde the next. Music is a form of expression and I think bands that play the same style over and over are boring. If you put yourself inside of a box, that’s the way you’re going to sound…I like to think outside the box, I like to do everything.
My dream as a young boy was to be a classical composer. When I was 4 or 5, I wanted to be a classical composer. I was raised on classical music – Beethoven, Bach, Wagner, Vivaldi – the masters of classical music, the greatest musicians ever. I am working on another project that will show another side of me that people haven’t heard yet. I’ve been working on it for about 7-8 years now – something new is coming!
YS28: BFG members have been involved in many different side projects as well with different styles of music. What kind of music do the members listen to usually?
Ed: Each guy has different taste. I can go from classical to punk, to rock, but if I were to say some of my favorite music to listen at this moment…I like a lot of the Finnish metal bands. Joel likes rock…80s-style rock, Led Zeppelin, Doors, bands like that. Wayne is more of a thrash metal guy, Drew is more of a black/death metal guy…so we have diverse influences. Mostly right now I’m really liking the Finnish sound – bands like Wintersun, Nightwish, I love the Finnish sound…there’s so much talent.
I also want to say that I’ve now got some new CDs from some bands that I’m really looking forward to listening to from Japan! I’ve seen a lot of bands that I like the past couple nights, and I can’t wait to listen to their CDs. I’m looking forward to listening to some more of The Hawks – I love the Hawks…the Crikey Crew was great, Strong Crowd was really good, I’m looking forward to listening to Ouka, Sledge Hammer…I want to listen to it all! The last 2 nights, I got to play with bands that I had no idea about before, and I was absolutely amazed how brilliant they were…it’s like I found a goldmine!
YS28: We think Skrewdriver must be a major influence on BFG. What are your thoughts on Skrewdriver? Also are there any other bands in particular that you have been influenced by?
Ed: Skrewdriver is a band that I grew up with as a young guy…it made its mark on us. Skrewdriver was a band they told you you couldn’t listen to then – “they’re horrible, they’re bad people,” and so on – and once I heard it, I felt his music in my soul. I felt his words – I understood what he was saying. And when someone tells you not to do something, you do it! Skrewdriver is its own thing – it’s a wonderful band, and their music reached out to all ends of the world.
Skrewdriver was an influence in that [they showed us] you could do what you want to do, you don’t have to follow any rules…you do what your heart tells you to do. But it’s hard for me to say which bands influenced me. I’d say probably one of my major influences as a musician and a songwriter is Iron Maiden. They were the first heavy metal band (I grew up listening to heavy metal too) that had lyrics about history, songs about culture…they weren’t like your average metal band that were singing about “I’m gonna drink beer, I’m gonna do drugs, and I’m gonna sleep with women and party all night long”…Iron Maiden had songs about Genghis Khan, the RAF, everything! Not only that, but they were musically brilliant. So they were probably my biggest influence.
From the punk/hardcore side, I love the Cro-Mags, Crumbsuckers, Carnivore, Negative Approach…I’ve been influenced by so many different sounds. And of course, classical music…
YS28: Are there any bands from the US you would recommend?
Ed: That is a hard question…I can recommend maybe a couple of bands out of the US that I really like. One of the bands from an extreme metal edge that I like is called The Absence. They’re almost like classical metal but a really quick death metal sound. Every once in a while a band comes by that really blows me away – the last band that I really started getting into was a band from Denmark called Volbeat. They’re like a mix of Metallica, Johnny Cash, the Stray Cats, and Social Distortion…they’ve got the best singer I’ve heard in a long time. They’re really big now…they opened for Metallica recently. Phenomenal band!
YS28: What does the word “skinhead” mean to you?
Ed: I was a skinhead when I was young. I don’t consider myself a skinhead anymore…not for a long time. For me, it’s a mentality – it’s not a fashion. Some people look at it as a fashion…wearing certain clothes, having a certain look and listening to a certain type of music. But for me, when we shaved our head it was for defiance – to stand up to the world and say, “I’m not scared of anyone, I’m not scared of the government, I’m not scared of anything. I am who I am” – that was skinhead to me. To put it in Japanese terms, it was like being a modern day samurai. Willing to fight for your honor, for your dignity, for your people.
YS28: What major social issues are there right now in the US and what are your thoughts?
Ed: If I were to go on about all of the social issues we face, we could be talking for ten hours…but I’d say the biggest problem is that we have a society that has lost its way. It is losing its belief in honor, in decency…we’ve become a society where everyone is materialistic and tries to be something that they’re not. When I come here to Japan and see how people take care of everything, how people are very respectful, it is a culture shock. What I see here are the ideals that I believe in, not what I have to deal with in America – the crime, the tension, the drugs…it’s a bad situation in America right now.
There is such ignorance in society now that I would say most kids couldn’t find Japan on a map in high school, because they don’t learn much about cultures…they’re learning more about what Kim Kardashian is wearing or what’s on MTV than what’s going on around the world. We’ve got young guys going to fight in wars we can’t win, sent over into the Middle East and losing their lives, while people at home in the US don’t care…it’s a materialistic society. People worship false idols – rappers and sports stars that are criminals are made out to be heroes.
YS28: How do you feel about the album and tour you’ve done together now with Aggro Knuckle?
Ed: Fantastic! I’m just a little sad we were not able to record new songs [for the album] since were so busy. But I’m glad that we were able to take songs off of “Feed the Machine” for the split and make this happen. I love the artwork by Mr. Chiba himself! [from Ouka]
YS28: People here in Japan felt like BFG doing this split album and coming to tour here was a kind of miraculous event – what made you decide to do this in spite of the naysayers? How did you feel actually doing the tour?
Ed: Well, it was a dream come true being asked to do this…it’s an absolute honor for us. If anyone had a problem with this, it’s their problem, not ours…because we came here to rock, we came here to have a good time, and we’ve done everything we wanted to accomplish. It was a mystery for us coming here because we didn’t know anybody, but I could just tell by the interaction – just a few emails that I had back and forth [with Aggro Knuckle] – that this was going to be wonderful. This was one of the best times in our lives.
YS28: How did you feel when you discovered that there were many longtime fans of BFG all the way here in Japan?
Ed: I was very surprised – I didn’t know many people in Japan listened to our music. Most of our fans are from Europe and we have a few from the States. But when I came here and saw that a lot of people knew a lot of our old stuff and had our CDs and were wearing our shirts, it put a big smile on our faces – we were very honored. We’re so proud to have our music make it all the way over here and we were so happy to see that people here like it.
YS28: What was your impression of Japan before you came into contact with Aggro Knuckle?
Ed: I always had the impression that the Japanese are a proud people with a very old culture and proud tradition. There are a few things that really impressed me. I was very sad when the Fukushima incident happened – my deepest condolences – but I noticed that I never heard of Japan looking for a handout from anybody. I’ve heard about people finding items lost in the tsunami and giving them back to their original owners, and the only thing I have to compare with that is when we had Hurricane Katrina in America.
After Hurricane Katrina, the animals came out in America – people were murdered, people were raped, things were stolen. People were looking for handouts and were trying to find someone to blame rather than pulling themselves up and trying to rebuild. Here in Japan, people went back to work, they licked their wounds, and they resolved to help each other out – that’s what a true culture does. They stand up for their own people and back each other up.
Growing up in America, there is a little bit of anti-Japanese sentiment because of World War II – the movies in Hollywood portray the Japanese as bad guys just like the Germans. Obviously, people are very mislead. A lot of Americans think they’re the best in the world and I think that Hurricane Katrina really showed them what’s going on.
YS28: Would you like to come back to Japan again as a band or to visit on your own?
YS28: Is BFG going to remain active as a band going forward?
Ed: We are going to be recording a new album this winter. You know, we take things as they come. When the time is right, we’ll get out and we’ll do something. It’s kind of difficult for us with families and work…it’s tough for us to get away and we’re always hammered with bills so it’s not easy these days. As long as people want us and want to hear our music, there’s no problem for us to make it. I could give you 100 albums in 360 days – I have so much in my head that it’s no problem for me…but I really want to make quality stuff. As long as people out there like us and keep liking our music, we’re your humble servants, so we’ll give you more!
YS28: In closing, please give a message to the Japanese fans.
Ed: I want to thank you guys for making us feel welcome – this is one of the most important trips of our lives, and we hope we represented ourselves well as ambassadors from our country. From the bottom of our heart, we thank you all – we love you guys very much. Domo arigato!