'The World According to Chaos'
When System Of A Down guitarist Daron Malakian met AMEN's frontman Casey
Chaos at Australia¹s Big Day Out festival in 2002, the two instantly
connected through their mutual love of punk rock, black metal and Iggy Pop.
But it was when Malakian heard Chaos¹s latest demos that he knew he had to
be involved, to the point where he staked his reputation on AMEN and made
them the first signing to his eatURmusic label.
The UK has already embraced AMEN's (Casey Chaos - Vocal, Matt Montgomery - Guitar, Rich Jones - Guitar, Scott S. Sorry - Bass, Luke Johnson - Drums) abrasive punk/metal genius and in 2002 AMEN became the first unsigned band to play the main stages at England¹s prestigious Reading and Leeds festivals. Metal bible Kerrang! magazine also drooled, "... this is the sound of the 21st Century."
AMEN formed in 1994, releasing their eponymous debut album in 1999.
But it was the acclaimed follow-up, 2000's We Have Come For Your Parents, which really turned heads. Then a string of misfortunes and missed opportunities plunged Chaos into a period of frustration and betrayal - a dark chapter which he documented within the songs that became AMEN's latest assault, Death Before Musick (which was executive produced by Malakian).
Death Before Musick is AMEN's definitive musical statement, a furious, frenetic outpouring of pummeling punk irreverence and caffeinated hard-core angst, laced with serrated metal edges and a Rotten-esque sneer. And now with Death Before Musick truly capturing Chaos's singalong-suffering, you good folks can at long last get AMEN's unique, restless rush straight from your very own stereo!
Knowing that this band originally formed in 1994, but only just became signed to a major [Columbia] in 2003, what industry lessons have already been learnt?! Casey Chaos "Actually, we were signed to Roadrunner in '98 and Virgin in '99, but what I have learnt is to use the machine the same way they use you. I send my message unedited or sanitized by any corporation and they have always supported my vision. So I am a different case 'cause I'm not made to fit the model. Therefore, I am grateful to have their power of the machinery behind me ... for those who want it!"
Daron Malakian stated that he thought your were "... a visionary" - so what does that mean to you in the corporate musical jungle that you now inhabit? "I guess that means that I am always true to my heart. I have no motives other than to leave a legacy of death and destruction and hope ... the American way! To deform and find your own. Money is shit! Fame is Useless! Spirit and truth are infinite."
You have been labeled as: 'a former mohawked, misfit adolescent and competitive skateboarder' - so what descriptive label do you fall under these days?! "An older, but not wiser volatile old punk that will never be one of 'them'!"
OK, generic question time: Where does the album title originate and what other working titles did it have? "There are hundreds of titles I was working with. Each was a chapter and a period of my life/death. This album is documentation of my life/death style I was living through over the last two years. Death Before Musick was the obvious 'cause death was the precedent and everything else was just a representation. If all goes as planned in time you will see a lot of work surfacing during that period of time. Thru art, music and various other mediums."
Tell me what was going through your head when you were writing these four songs:
'California's Bleeding' - "Living in a plastic city, talking to people with gold teeth and no souls. Caligula."
'Westwood Fallout' - "9-11 and the fallout surfacing in Westwood. Ala false patriotism. And the signs of a helpless society."
'Please Kill Me' - "My life, living like a dog in a pack of lies. And in a gang, suffering for the sake of Amen."
'Neutron Liars' - "About destroying your family future and livin' your own. It's really a song about finding yourself, ha ha ha!"
Knowing that you get repeatedly injured during your more intense live sets, I was wondering what was the worst injury you caused yourself thus far?! "Probably a broken ankle in Amsterdam, a severed tendon in my hand in London, or a broken nose and teeth! Too many to mention!"
What is your biggest phobia and what happens when you accidentally encounter it? "Women who don't shave! I usually point them to a razor or split!"
Describe yourself in just three words "Honest, passionate, and stubborn to a point of stupidness!"
What makes Amen stand out from the musical crowd? "Our sound is a reflection of our lifestyle. We are the Dogtown of the music world we live in. We don't fit into any scene. We are anti-scene. Movements in music are usually made by followers and Amen don't follow. For better or worse."
Finally, if you were locked into a studio and asked to create a song with a three other musicians (and none of them could be your current band mates!), who would they be, which instruments would they play and what would the name of the song be?! "Well, I have already done this in real life jamming with Twiggy [Perfect Circle, Marilyn Manson] Nick and Josh from Qotsa, with Daren [Soad] and Joey [Slipknot], to writing for Iggy Pop! And even having Henry Rollins ask me to sing a song for the West Memphis 3: Black Flag Benefit album. To jamming with Nikki Sixx and Traci Guns. These are all survivors and I am forever grateful for the life they have given me. True to the game and it shows in their art and lives."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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