Hi Charlie and welcome to Grande Rock webzine! Glad to see you back after 4 years with such a strong release like “Transition Animals”.
C: Thank you!! A lot has happened with the band and obviously the world, so it’s nice to have new music and a new direction for the band now
Do tell us how and when did you form Kings And Liars and how did you come up with the specific band name?
C: I actually started the band in 2010, but it was a “project band” in that I was the only member and I had a rotating lineup and I would just play when we could. With “Machines” and “It’s Your Fault” (our earlier EPs) we became more real, but in 2019 when we reset the group and became the power trio we are today. As far as the name, it just popped in my head one day more or less.
Is it accurate to say that Kings And Liars is your personal music project where you play the music you fancy the most, apart from the other bands that you play for?
C: That’s incredibly accurate yes! I’d also say everything I write on Jasta, Dee, Kingdom of Sorrow and Corpsegrinder are all “me” if you just focus on the music. Some melodies and lyrics on the Dee albums are mine as well, which you could probably pick out, but this is the one project where it’s just myself, my brother and one of my oldest friends together making noise without rules.
What are the differences and the similarities between the previous releases and the new album?
C: Well obviously we are short a member now compared to those records, and with that we just tried to write the best version of what we think Kings and Liars is and instead of the falsetto and higher R&B style vocals we went for more that Hetfield or John Bush growl, even Halford has that awesome rock growl when he sings lower and Chris and I are more in that range vocally, so it was rad to cultivate that.
I do know that you’re a busy musician that play and record for various musicians, among others the famed Dee Snider. I guess it ain’t easy to find some time to write and record your own stuff, right?
C: Haha yea sometimes it’s tough, but I literally write every single day so in reality it’s not that hard. Hell… nobody’s asked for it but I have like 14 ideas for another Dee album just sitting on my hard drive that I’ve recently written (haha)!
Did you have any issues during the songwriting process and the album recordings, due to the covid-19 restrictions?
C: Funny enough we wrote and recorded this fall of 2019 musically, then when we parted ways with our singer we had a few shows coming up so we focused on those shows, which were Dec 2019 and Jan 2020. Jan 2020 I had a baby, and then while planning to finish vocally we hit covid. I want to say we tracked most of the vocals in May 2020, and then we came back over the year to finish. It was weird but I live in NYC, while everyone else is in Connecticu,t so it wasn’t the worst thing that nobody was on the road and I could get to the studio in 70 minutes instead of 2 and a half (lol)!
Which are these things that inspire you to write music and lyrics in general?
C: Anything can inspire me, normally it’s life but a movie could a comic book a street sign… I just need one line and I can go from there.
What does the album title “Transition Animals” declare?
C: I argued with a person I knew, who told me that evolution didn’t exist and they said “if it exists show me the transition animals” and I said “that’s Us”! That’s the whole point! They said they never thought of it like that, and we moved on… but I wrote that title down. Then the band lost our singer, I divorced my wife, I had a baby with my now partner and we were all in covid times and figured that “Transition Animals” had a really nice ring to it.
Give us a hint about the each track:
C: “Hang on for Dear Life”: Fighting to not make another mistake.
“The Desperate One”: Regretting past events.
“We Are Alive”: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
“Start the Ceremony”: Hmm… .this one I’ll give homework and the hint is Norrin Radd (not who this is, but what they’ve gone through)…
“Conquering the Fear”: In all honesty, about a rape that happened to me.
“Say”: Knowing that you’re not at fault for everything
“Never Take Your Crown”: Where ever you are, we hope you’re ok….
How did you decide to cover REM’s hit “The One I Love”?
C: REM is a band I enjoy, and their songs aren’t “heavy” and I wanted to shock people with a cover. REM, Police, Talking Heads are all bands I personally think are really hard to cover because their sound is so specific you almost have to do a note for note remake or it sounds weird. So, I wanted to find a way to make one of these ours.
When and where did the recordings take place? Who did the mixing, the production and the mastering of the album?
C: Everything was recorded by my brother Nick Bellmore, who runs Dexters Lab, it was 2019-2020 and nick is the same guy who recorded all the Jasta albums, behind the blackest tears by Kingdom of Sorrow, both Dee albums we played on, the Corpsegrinder and he almost did Toxic Holocaust’s “Conjure and Command” and “Chemistry of Consciousness” (drums) there and played drums on all those… as he happens to be the best drummer on earth!
How did the cooperation with Salt of the Earth Records occur?
C: They’ve always dug our stuff and happened to hear we are alive and were just blown away and off we went!
What are your expectations from “Transition Animals” and what do you wish to achieve with Kings And Liars over the next years?
C: I want everyone to know “Transition Animals”, and for the band in general I want to do a European festival run and get a US tour supporting a bigger artist, so we can show people what Kings is made of.
How would you describe Kings And Liars music style in general?
C: East coast hardcore influenced metal with big pop choruses you don’t want to like, but we force you to (haha)!
What do you think about this corona-virus thing? How much has it affected the music business and people’s lives so far?
C: Short answer? It fuckin’ sucks and it fuckin’ sucked for music. Long answer? Repeat the short answer for 2 years!
It’s time for our “strange questions”!!! What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
C: Probably people making songs for tik tok videos? But also that’s likely because I’m 40 and beyond tik tok comprehension not that it’s bad (haha).
Do you think that the streaming services have helped the band and music business in general?
C: Yes, they’ve absolutely helped, bands can get found so many ways now. It’s very exciting
Are “social media” a “compulsory part” of the music business these days or bands, artists & labels can do without them as well?
C: Yes, they’re incredibly important; I’m only on social media for my music and my instrument endorsements nowadays. I don’t need to hear some wildly stupid takes about how to fix the world from people I went to high school with, who failed at everything they tried at (haha). I have it for fans of all my music!
Which is the first album that you ever bought and do you still own it to date?
C: I honestly can’t remember!
Fill in the phrase… “Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
C: Tony Iommi!
Which are the best 3 Rock/Metal albums of all time according to you?
C: Metallica – “Metallica”, Alice in Chains – “Dirt” and probably Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. They all had to happen for me to exist.
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
C: James Hetfield without a doubt. I wouldn’t be playing rhythm guitar, I wouldn’t’ be trying to write songs, I wouldn’t be obsessed with “riffs” and I wouldn’t be singing and playing guitar, if it wasn’t for him… though I would like to talk to him about his “metal stance” when he played guitar back in the day because my chiropractor is very upset he was my inspiration (haha)!
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
C: I don’t really separate by genders vocally, so I’d probably just say Rob Halford.
Which is the most underrated musician of all time?
C: Me (hahaha)…
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
C: Anthrax, I’d like to be their lead player through the 90s on. I would absolutely KILL to write solos on those albums
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
C: There’s honestly too many to mention and it would get sad if I did!
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
C: Cliff Burton.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
C: Beatles – “Meet the Beatles”. How can you not smile listening to what’s just flawless pop.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
C: I’d go into the future, just for confirmation that ala Star Trek the next generation when not working you wear weird, blousy holographic colored clothes and play classical music.
That’s all for now Charlie! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Say anything you feel like saying before we close… take care!
C: Thank you!!! Kings and Liars’ “Transition Animals” and Corpsegrinder is out now. Coming soon, Jasta – and jasta for all!!!