'A New Musical Awakening Is Upon Us'
Casket Salesmen is the band Phil Pirrone wanted to be involved in his entire life. Though getting there took a few years and a near-fatal auto accident, Pirrone, along with co-conspirator Nate Lindeman, finally assembled the project hed been planning in the back of his mind.
He's also taken control of his recording destiny, as the owner and operator of his own record label, Longhair Illuminati, and with a new CD just out, Sleeping Giants, for Pirrone and Lindeman, it's a fantastic place to be.
Being that it's been stated in your press that this was the band that you've wanted to be in all your life, please explain just what that means to your new legion of fans "I was raised by my mother to be kind, compassionate and open-minded. I've experienced the complete opposite of those charecteristics in the members of my old band. When starting that band I thought I was getting myself into something positive, but as the years went on I realized that I was involved with some people that werenít as positively charged as I was. So I had to leave. And now I feel like I'm in the band Iíve always wanted to be in. I'm standing on a platform and spreading positivity, thatís what I've always wanted. It's no longer being compromised."
And also knowing that even a near-fatal car crash couldn't stop you from achieving this, is there anything that could have stood in your way to halt your journey to accomplish this dream?! "Well, if the accident didnít happen that could of stopped me from doing this. The accident was my main inspiration for changing my life. Also, If ASL blew up with the Faso Latido record I might have stopped me from accomplishing this dream. I have to be aware of the possibility that I would have become a different person than I have become now. I might have become wrapped up in a situation or felt bound to what may have become a brand name in Hot Topic. I want to be more than that. I've been through the major label ringer and in and out of a hospital bed and that builds character. Making money at a young age does not. As much as I want to say I would have become the person I always wanted to become regardless of fame or success, thatís not neccesarily true. I am as human as anyone, and that means I make wrong decisions from time to time. And when youíre 18 and make hunderds of thousands of dollars, it can be expected that one would make a few wrong decisions, yes?"
"Iím really glad I didnít make all that money, because now, Iím in a place where money isn't everything to me, but at that age, if I was given a shitload of money I might have a different opinion about whether or not money equals happy. Now, I know that is no where near the case. And I am glad. I consider myself forunate to have had the journey that I have had. So far, its led to me to a very peaceful place. I feel right. I feel like a good person. Where before I always knew I wanted to be a good person, but wasnít quite being one. Now I live and breath it. I am taking care of my family and friends and spreading positivity. Plus, I am no longer contributing to one of the worst styles of music to
come out since Rap-Rock."
Knowing you have released this new CD on your own label, Longhair Illuminati, what benefits does that hold for you? And perhaps there is a downside also? "The benefits are that anything I can dream of (and can afford) I can do. I have no one telling me, ďwe canít do that (for whatever reason)Ē. The down side would be that I donít have much of a staff. I have a small group of people working with me at my distro company and some other companies Iíve hired to handle radio, video and marketing, but other than that, it's pretty much all me. Itís hard work and itís all about who you know. Iíve only been in the business six years, and though Iíve made a ton of contacts in that time and everyone loves me and I love them, I still only have six years under my belt. Most labels that do regular business these days have been around for AT LEAST ten years, if not, more like thirty years. So thatís the one big downside. I probably miss out on some things because we arenít on Virgin or Vagrant. But, we get a lot of favors because itís me and were a small fish and Iíve always been good to people, so they want to help me out now. Which is very nice!"
With all the hype surrounding the creation of A Static Lullaby, please explain why both you and Casket Salesmen co-conspirator Nate Lindeman left the band? "Many many many many many many many many reasons. The first, being creative. The second, being embarrassed on a nightly basis. The rest of the reasons are a series of small things that over a lifetime become unbearable. Another big reason, and this goes back to the creative part of it Ė We could not - and would not make screamo anymore. Or emo or anything without balls or integrity. To be completely honest, I wanted certain people in ASL to learn how to sing and I wanted a change in the lineup and I felt with those changes we could eventually evolve into something that sounded like Tomahawk or Dillinger, rather than what ASL sounds like ... but, my suggestions were met by different suggestions, so I quit."
"Shit, I still have that project in the back of my head and I will make heavy music again, but it will be nothing like ASL."
With regard your near-fateful car accident, one that left you in a really bad state, how did you manage to pull yourself back without hitting the huge wall of depression that one would have assumed could/should have engulfed you? Also, how are you today? Do you live with any form of constant daily pain? If so, what gets you feeling better?! "Wow, what a great question. I did become very depressed after the accident. When your body goes through such a trauma, so does your mind and soul. Nothing goes without being messed with."
"So, first, I was very emotional at my parents house right after the accident. I was crying daily for no reason. Beatles songs were making me cry. I think I was just happy to be alive. Thinking about it now and even just typing about it makes me wanna cry. Itís a very humbling experience Ė what I went through. It makes you feel small and lucky to be alive. One with the earth again after everyday life drags you away from Mother Earth. I feel one again. Whole. I feel forgiven for my sins. Like Karma has been delivered and now its my duty to be good all the time."
"But, when I started the label, a lot of new stress came into my life and that led to depression, anxiety, and paranoia. But, I have some great friends that helped me without the need of much medication. I took Zoloft for two weeks and it really helped. I am not a depressed person, I was just going through post traumatic stress. And at the time, I thought I was depressed. I am no longer consumed by frustration or anxiety or depression."
"And my physical pain is a daily struggle, especially on tour. But, thatís life. And I will live. I broke my back and ribs and a year later I still feel pain, the doctors said when you break EVERY rib and EVERY part of your spinal column, up and down, it takes years for things to heal, things heal wrong and pain develops. Thatís life. Even doctors canít make you new again. I am not new. I am like one of those cars that wouldnít make it on Carfax! I was basically totalled in the accident, so I'm not in tip-top shape. But donít get me wrong, everything works like it should. Nothing's broken. Well, some bones are still broken, but you know what I mean ... haha."
"Today I am great. Thanks for asking. How are you? That goes for the interviewer and you, the reader. Has anyone asked you how you are doing today? Itís a nice question. Thank you for asking me. I hope you are well. I hope you are happy and feeling good. When I was in real serious pain after the accident, a little bit of pot would totally help with the pain. No joke. I took Norco (a pain medication) and it did nothing but make feel free crazy in the middle of the night when it wore off. Droggy after effects. But, just a little puff of weed helped my pain and helped put me to sleep!"
As for the present, just where does the bands name Casket Salesmen originate anyway?! "We as Americans are materialistic, paranoid, shallow, liars, and we are afraid of death. We named the band Casket Salesmen because we feel like we are a vessel of information to help change all of that. We want to spread the word that there is more to life than material items, your social status, politics, your looks, etc. We want to help people open their minds and eyes and hearts to live more freely and truly live, and to not fear death. Once you no longer fear death, maybe you can truly live."
"Our band and band name has nothing to do with death or killing. It has to do with life and living. If you are aware of the end, you will make the present more meaningful. I think people know they are going to die one day, but still consider themselves invisible, which leads to insecurites taking over. Which is something were trying to change. The youth is fucked right now. We need to step in and be a positive role model amungst these madeup ďrockstarsĒ who are promoting image and glam. Its like its 1989 all over again."
And with your new album wonderfully named 'Sleeping Giants,' I'm wondering if this title means something more personal to you? "Yes, it does. We are the Sleeping Giants and weíve been kept dormant. On Oct. 31, the giant will awake and the world will meet the giant. The Giant is CASKET SALESMEN."
For those out there that wish to buy your new CD but have not heard of your work before, how would you yourself describe your sound? "Iíll give you two ways to describe it: RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Foo Fighters; OR Its ambient and spacy, driving and punchy, no gimick Ė rock n roll. If I had to sum it all up with one word it would be TASTEFUL!"
Please tell us more about the CD artwork and the meaning behind the solitary eye? "It can mean whatever you want that eye to mean. To me its the eye of the giant opening for the first time ever. Looking straight at you. Reading your mind."
Tell me about your craziest touring experience to date thus far! "Ahh, I could be here all day and all night telling you stories like that! Lets see. I've been given the homeless manís tour of Kansas City, MO.
I've driven the van into the center divider while sleeping, woken up and driven out of the center divider before anyone realized. Or did they realize?? I think they did. Haha. Nate threw a Peavey 5150 amp off of a 20 story building, thatís fun! "Drinking and Driving with A Static LullabyĒ (a segment we never quite finished for the DVD) never went the way we planned. Our friend Jimmy pissing all over the RV one night on the AFI tour. Joe pissing all over the RV one night on a headlining tour. Dan wearing underwear on stage."
"Driving Joe to the hospital, then driving four hours to a show, only to show up hours late, to perform without Joe, but with Brett, our drummer, and Nate from Finch sharing screaming duties. Once saw a black girl kick a window of a car in, just to drag someone out of a car and to avenge some shit that was said about ASL. Now thatís a dedicated fan! In the UK we saw a homeless man shooting something into his penis!"
For fun, if you were asked to cover, in your own style, any (cheesy) '80s pop song which would it be ... and why?! "Anything by the Cars or Tom Petty. Only pop songs from the 80ís that donít make me wanna kill myself!"
Exclusive Magazine like Penguins, do you?! "Yes!!! We love them. We actually love them so much that they are the stars of our new music video for 'I'll Buy That For A Dollar!' I'm not joking at all. Youtube that shit!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Casket Salesmen' new CD, and you think you know all there is to know about the band and their new album, just answer this easy question: 'Sleeping Giants' was engineered and produced by Justin Gutierrez, with Pirrone and Lindeman, at the bands own studio and mixed by which renowned engineer (Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante, Alkaline Trio)?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: CASKET SALESMEN SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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