Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wrench In The Works {ex-Groundzero} interview with drummer: Andy Nelson. January 27th, 2010

Vista: O.k...Usual first question stuff, what's the current line-up & who does what? And give us a brief history of the band.

Andy: Wrench In The Works is: 
Andy~ Drums.

Well, our history is very complicated. Let's just say this incarnation of the band has been around since 2004, although our two guitar players are new and joined this past year. But Darrel and myself have been doing Wrench In The Works on & off since about 1997.

Vista: From what I see, you guys have a new album coming out. Give us all the details. Where was it recorded, how many songs, etc.?

Andy: Yeah, we have a new record coming out through Facedown Records, called "Decrease/Increase" & it hits stores March 16th. The record was recorded by Greg Thomas at Silver Bullet Studios {Shai Hulud, Ambitions}, Greg recorded our last cd, "Lost Art of Heaping Coal" and did an awesome job, he really has an ear for heavy music. Plus, he is actually playing guitar in the band so it just made sense to record with him. We have 11 songs on the new record and it's definitely the most aggressive, heavy and pissed record the band has ever released. We are stoked!

Vista: I know a while back, you guys got a new bass player and Darrel went back to just doing vocals & then Mehl {guitarist} was relaced. Why the changes & what's the status on Mehl?

Andy: Yeah, naming your band Wrench In The Works tends to throw a lot of wrench's in our works. When we signed to Facedown, we came out as a power-trio, we thought it ruled but most kids looked at us dumb founded. I guess kids like to see the formulated things and tend to be confused when they have to step outside their comfort zone a bit. Plus, we found Darrell could really relate to the audience more if he just sang and didn't have to multitask playing  bass, screaming and being a front-man. So, we asked our good friend Derek to play bass & he was down. After a few tours, things in Mehl's personal life got complicated and musically we were not seeing eye to eye, so we collectively came to the conclusion it was best to part ways. This was around the same time Greg agreed to record the new record and once I told him the problems, he offered to join and write this next cd with us and we couldn't be happier with that decision. Mehl is doing amazing and we're still best friends, it was just time to part ways.

Vista: Tell us about your record label, Facedown. How did you guys get hooked up with them? Also, I see that you guys have performed at their annual festival. How was that?

Andy: It's actually a funny story. When I decided I wanted to take the band to the next level and felt getting signed to a label should be our next goal, I worked for about a year on our press kit. I sent out a lot of kits and Facedown was the only label that required you to send lyrics, this I found very annoying. The day I was putting all of the packages together, I remember being frustrated about that and thinking, man this label isn't even gonna sign us. So, about six months later, after a lot of teases from other labels, a lot and I mean a lot of prayer, and a lot of denials from labels. Jason, the owner sent me an email and wanted to talk. Funny thing on his side was at the time he hadn't looked at his demo submission box for six months & it was over flowing with packages. Well, a friend of his from Ohio was out visiting and saw the box and asked if he could go through and listen to all of the demos, so out of something crazy like 100 demos he picked out WITW and one other band. Once Jason heard he was stoked and flew out to see us in Nashville a few weeks later. We've played Facedown Fest twice and every year it's such an amazing blessing, the spirit of God is strong & amazing things happen at that Festival. A little unknown fact about Facedown is the Sunday after he takes the whole label roster out to eat at a fancy pizza shop on the Pacific Ocean. I don't know any other label where bands are that unified &and the label owner cares that much, it's awesome.

Vista: I know that you guys are always on the road. What are some of the best places/shows that you've done? Have you been through Canada & any horror stories dealing with the border?

Andy: We like to tour a lot and we actually feel the best when we are on the road, must be something about the fumes from the exhaust. Hahaha, or the adventure of traveling the country and melting faces with rock n' roll every night. Some highlight states have been: Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Oregon and most of the midwest, aka the bible belt. I mean, there are always good shows and with good show there are about 20 rough shows hahah, but we love touring and we will rock just as hard for 5,000 kids or 5 kids. We haven't been to Canada since we toured there about three years ago, but no horror border stories. 

Vista: I thought I saw on your site some time ago that you guys all had some formal schooling in music theory? If so, give us some information on that?

Andy: Darrell and myself both went to music school. We both went to audio engineering and I then continued for a few years into music education and performance. I figured, it's best to learn the rules and then break 'em. Plus, music is my life so why not take it seriously and if I am going to pursue it as a living, why not work the hardest I can and be as knowledgeable as I can.

Vista: You've been in the hardcore scene for a long time, dating back to the mid 90's. What has been the most annoying trend, in your opinion?

Andy: That's an interesting question. One thing I know is, music trends are always coming & going in full circle, one day youth crew hardcore is cool, next day metalcore is cool and that happens with all genres of music. I think the most dissapointing thing about the scene now is the lack of substance and integrity. In the 90's, hardcore had so much depth and meaning and now it's the complete opposite. You have your occasional band that has something good to say or has heart but those are few & far between. Although hardcore is a bigger genre now which is kinda cool, it's awesome that bands and labels can sort of make a living on it, but I think there are more negatives than positives with that. And as far as most annoying trends ever, hhmmmm, they're way too many to choose from. I am gonna go with pig squealing although it's sort of died out, but like what the *@@* was that all about, I mean I seriously hope that never returns.

Vista: What are your influences musically? Also, outside of music itself, where are you drawing inspirations from?

Andy: I love music, from metal to jazz to hip-hop and everything in between. I guess as far as heavy bands go and particularly on this new record, we were influenced by: Mastodon, Living Sacrifice, His Hero Is Gone, Dillinger Escape Plan, Neurosis, Converge. Outside of music, well I might as well let the cat out of the bag, we're Christians & we love Jesus so naturally a lot of influence stems from that belief. Beyond that, everyday life is inspiring, hardships & trials, joys & adventures, sunsets, hating your job, not trusting your government, having a general passion & love for making music and art, so I guess all sorts of things inspire us.

Vista: While on a month and a half tour...What are the 5 most important items you would bring with you?

Andy: Bible.
           Baby Wipes.

Vista: You guys are from Connecticut, same state as Hatebreed. I know you did the Stillborn Festival not too long ago. How was that?

Andy: Yeah, Hatebreed is definitely from Ct. & a little bit of useless information, Darrell & myself were actually at their first show ever back in 1994 or '95. Jamey has always looked out for us and helped us in anyway he can, he's a great guy & a friend of the band for a long time. We did two of the dates this past year and first and foremost, we got to play with Crowbar and that rules. But as far as shows go, they were awesome. Connecticut showed us a lot of love & we are appreciative of that and we hope to play the festival next year.

Vista: If you were to give some advice to a young band just starting out, what would it be?

Andy: If you're looking to be "cool" or "make it" then you should reevaluate doing a band. Have fun, play as much as you can play, even if the shows are small, put your all into it & try to inspire people in a positive way. Also, set goals for your band. Start off with a demo and play some local shows, book an out of State show, book a weekend tour & build yourself up. Then become crazy road-warriors.

Vista: Name some bands out there that we should check out?

Andy: Robots and Empire. Casket Architects. The Lows. Levi The Poet. Take It Back. A Hope For Home. Mankind. Saving Grace. The Frozen Ocean. I Am Alpha And Omega. Ascend The Hill.

Vista: Did you ever think Wrench In The Works would still be a band after all these years? What has been the secret to your longevity?

Andy: Honestly, I really didn't think we would be a band but that would be limiting God, so it doesn't surprise me that we're still kicking it. Well prayer has always helped our band but not everyone is into God. Having integrity & faith is a huge help. I guess we always just believed we could do something and just loved being on the road & playing music. Who knows, maybe we're crazy. Maybe we're the next Anvil, I sure hope not but I guess we would at least have a good selling dvd. If that's the case, that would be sorta sick.

Vista: I'll ask cause I have no idea, have you guys been to Europe yet? If not, any plans?

Andy: No, and that's one of the goals we have yet to accomplish but I want to accomplish, it's next on the list. We have been talking to some people & lets hope it pans out, that would rule.

Vista: Outside of the band, what are some of your interests?

Andy: I enjoy giving drum lessons & practicing drums. Working out. Hiking. And reading.

Vista: What's the writing process for the band? Is there a set formula for you guys?

Andy: On "Decrease/Increase" we wrote all of the music first & placed the lyrics over the music. We have always usually use that system, it seems to work best for the metal genre.

Vista: On your last record, "Lost Art Of Heaping Coal", who did the artwork for you guys?

Andy: The mighty Dave Quiggle did the artwork and man did he do a great job. He also did the art for the new cd. He works for Facedown, as the in-house artist and lucky for us we reap the benefits of that. He's a very blessed & talented man and I couldn't be happier with the work he has done for us.

Vista: This is a question I love to ask during most interviews...What are your top 5 albums of all-time?

Andy: Man, that's a rough one, there are so many but I will just name a few....
Radiohead~OK Computer.
Neurosis~Enemy Of The Sun.
Fugazi~13 Songs.
Bad Brians~Rock For Light.
Mewithoutyou~Brother, Sister.

Vista: On that note...What's the best metal band to ever walk the earth?

Andy: Man, way too many choices...I am gonna go with Pantera!

Vista: In my mind, you guys are one of the hardest working bands out there. Do you feel underrated or overlooked?

Andy: First of all thank you, ya know I use to feel underrated and overlooked & I took a lot of pride in being a hard worker and at times I still do, but then again who are we to deserve anything. That's a very American way to look at things but not really a reality. There are so  many bands & musicians out there man. We're lucky to have gotten as far as we have. Sure, for evey hard working band there are a lot of bands that suck & are popular, but that's they way it is. I am just stoked to have had the blessing to do what we have done, played the shows we have played & seen the country as many times as we have.

Vista: Well. That's all the questions I have. Thanks so much for doing this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say? You guys are from the 90's time era...Give us some "shout outs"!

Andy: Hahaha, "shout outs"...Classic. Well, thank you John for the interview & I think it's awesome you're doing a zine again. We go way back & it's just great to hear from you and be in touch. Definitely wanna give a shout out to Mike Cronin, I miss that dude. Please check out our new cd out March 16th, 2010 via Facedown Records.


Paul Thorstenson said...
Hey, Paul from Dissolve here. John's a real class act, always loved this guy. Devilmaycare did a little tour with Candiria once and my favorite memories of that time were the jams at the end of their set between Kenny and John. Sick shit. Wish them the best with their current endeavors. great dudes. You, too, Vista!

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