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Flotsam and Jetsam

January 30, 1999

It was a lazy midafternoon the Saturday before the Super Bowl. I was seriously JAMMING the new Flotsam & Jetsam album, "Unnatural Selection", which had been released in the United States just a few days before. Listening in anticipation of my scheduled interview with new Flotsam drummer Craig Nielson later that day, I found myself once again falling prey to the power of a serious F&J riff. As the climax of the mosh-riff driven "Fuckers" ripped from my speakers, I felt the sudden need to start throwing things around the room without discrimination. Then suddenly the phone rang, ripping me from my metal-induced trance. It was Craig, calling to ask if we could do the interview a bit early. Today was his birthday and some of his friends wanted to take him out to celebrate. "No problem," I replied. "I just need to get my notes and things. Give me two minutes and call me back." I turned to the stereo. I couldn't help myself. I un-paused the disc, CRANKED up the volume and finished the song. Before I knew it, my two minutes were up and the phone was once again ringing. I quickly gathered my things and ran across the room.

Metal Update: So how old are you?

Craig Nielsen: Today 's my birthday. I just turned 33.

MU:Introduce yourself to everyone. You know, where are you from? Where did you grow up? How did you hook up with the band? All that stuff.

CN: I grew up in West Hartford, CT. Came here ten years ago to LA. Those guys are in Phoenix, I'm the only guy in LA. We were put together by Nick Menza from Megadeth, he told them about me when he was in Phoenix. And then that's how I got the audition. Nick put us together and I owe him a great deal for that, I guess. And the rest is history! They were working with some guy from Houston at the time and I guess I just edged him out there in the end. So it was pretty fortunate that I got there, you know, at the 11th hour.

MU: What are your musical tastes? Most importantly, are you a metalhead, Craig?

CN: Metal is interpreted a special way with drummers, I think. Because metal generally has the best, most energetic drummers in any style of music, unless you're going to play like fusion, you know, or some of those complicated schooled grooves. In rock music, I think it is widely accepted that metal has some of the best drummers around. Not necessarily singers, or guitar players, or whatever. But I always grew up listening to metal because I like the advanced drumming of it all. I listen to some pretty obscure metal records, with great drummers like Deen Castronovo. Of course, I like Rush, Zeppelin, and Deep Purple too, but I when I turned like 21, 22, and 23, I wanted to see what else was out there. I started to listening to the extreme metal cats that really had the double-bass thing going on and whatnot. I guess you could say my favorite band today, of course because of the drumming, would be a band called Meshuggah. I like to listen to them. I don't know if it comes off in my playing. I don't think I'm playing like that. I like Mesghuggah. You know, sure, it sounds similar after 10 or 12 songs of it, but you know the drumming is just outstanding. I also like Gene Hoglan, and some of the other really great drummers. Sean Reinert's another one, in a band called Death. I like those complicated drumming styles so that's why I loved metal growing up. It wasn't so much for just the statement it made but it was because I found that's where the best drumming was. You know I really do listen to funky-latin and fusion and techno and even some of the new-style metal which is basically very rhythmic, aggro-style. I like something in most styles of music today. I'm not one of those guys that isn't happy with the way music is going. I just think that, in metal anyway, the focus is in . . . there is metal other than Korn-style and it seems to all be going toward this death approach, this, you know, low-vocal grind. After a while, when you listen to a whole day of metal programming on a metal show on the radio, it seems like 19 out of every 20 singers are singing that same way. And that 's what kind of gets me a little bit about metal today.

MU: You are well-schooled in the metal scene. I mean, to be able to recite and discuss the drumming of the Gene Hoglans of the world and everything, it 's obvious that you appreciate it.

CN: The guy 's like 400 pounds and walks with a cane! But he 's the best drummer out there!

MU: He has been around forever. Dark Angel was a great band.

CN: Yeah.

MU: So where do you see Flotsam and Jetsam fitting into the metal scene? Were you pretty familiar with the band going into this?

CN: Oh, hell yeah! I mean I won't sit here and say that they were like the favorite metal band I ever had. Now Mark Simpson, the new guitar player, he can actually make that claim. This is a band that, you know he's under 25, this is a band that when he started playing guitar -- because he's from Phoenix -- were metal heroes in Phoenix and he grew up hoping, you know, to be in the band and he's actually in the band! So he can tell an emotional story about his rise to being in Flotsam and Jetsam. With me, it was like they were definitely one of the 10 most favorite metal bands I had growing up. I was familiar with all their records, of course, and I thought Kelly Smith in particular was a very musical drummer. You know, he was very creative. He knew how to phrase his parts in an interesting musical way -- he knew how to use the cymbals, his fills were interesting, they weren't just like patterns that went along where you would expect them. He plays a lot, he's very creative and so he always stuck out in my mind as one of the very best drummers in metal. So when I got the call to audition for the band I was a little, of course, intimidated. I've done a couple of professional things but by far the biggest challenge was learning Kelly Smith's parts. He plays a lot of drums.


MU: Where do you think Flotsam and Jetsam fits in with the current musical landscape. Another way to phrase that question -- who do you think Flotsam and Jetsam's peers are right now?

CN: Well, you know certainly not the Korns of the world. I think . . . in our style of music? Gee, it's becoming a thin market. I guess Hammerfall, kind of, which we sound nothing like. But the fact that they're melodic and try to write with a lot of vocalization in mind. I think that, I don't know, "peers", that's pretty tough. Of course, everyone always likes to compare us to Metallica because of the Newsted connection. I won't comment on whether I like them today or not. I still think they're Metallica, you know. But gee, "peers", I don't know, I guess you can say of course Megadeth and Metallica. Gee, we strive to be a bigger band, but I think that the one thing that Flotsam fans respect is that we certainly, no one could accuse us, even though this record may sound a little more 90s and aggro or whatever, we never outright jumped on any musical trend like 75% of the other metal bands out there. So I think that we would just like to personally improve ourselves rather than try to compete with X band out there. I think that, you know we do have a couple records left on the contract. Hopefully they'll pick up the option because you know we're ready to -- I'm ready to -- go in and do another record. When we recorded this record it was really just one month after we got off tour when we started writing for the record. Metal Blade had a target date in mind of release and so that required that we have the masters by such and such a date. Basically we were totally pressured to put out a quick product and it came out good and probably that's why, because you know spontaneous worked in this case. But the next time I sure would like to spend even more time and get even . . . but you don't want to think about your parts too much. That doesn't necessarily translate to a better total sound. But I think there's definitely a great record around the corner for us because we're really vibing well with one another right now.

MU: Let's talk about a couple of these other line up changes. You mentioned Mark Simpson and he's from Phoenix and a real big fan to begin with.

CN: It was his number one favorite band when he started playing guitar.

MU: What happened with Eric Braverman? What can you tell us about that situation?

CN: Well, when you're a band of this size, the dollars that you make become important. You become mindful to correct wrongs of the past, and I think that the band felt that perhaps the percentage that the manager got wasn't -- I mean no disrespect to Eric. He does write a good amount of the lyrics and whatnot and he certainly has been there since the beginning with the band. In fact his picture was on "Cuatro". Nothing taken away from that very long and fruitful relationship, but in the end in this case we're back on a label like Metal Blade -- who, by the way, gives up enough to put out a good product and we have nothing but good words to say about our relationship with Metal Blade right now -- but when you're dealing with less than major label budgets, you don't really, I mean, you look a little bit closer at what your manager does for that percentage. And we just felt in the end that there was nothing he was doing that was beyond and above what the band members could do. And so it really just became a matter of everyone's just past 30, you know, less than mid-30s but, shit, it's time to think about how we could feel better about continuing to endeavor as musicians. And you just need to, after a while, say well, it'd be nice if we could see finally, after 8 er 7 records, just a little bit of the spoils. And Eric was getting a lot of the spoils. It was his right as the manager, but finally [we thought that] we could take a little [time] without him right now. Beyond that there was questionable moves with this or that, maybe things that we wouldn't have necessarily agreed with had we known in the beginning -- how he was appropriating some of the money and that kind of shit -- you know, everyone's heard the story before. Basically, he took a fair percentage but we just felt in the end that we could do better ourselves.

MU: What creative aspect did Eric Braverman bring to the table? How much do you think the band lost with his departure and these other line-up changes? How much of the voice that is Flotsam and Jetsam has changed?

CN: I would say absolutely zero. Because his lyrics -- really even in this record -- you know, its not that A.K. can't write lyrics, it's that Eric Braverman was the manager. A.K. might have been receptive to the idea of Eric writing lyrics with him, but it wasn't because he himself couldn't have wrote the lyrics or Jason couldn't or Ed couldn't. And on this record when we were deciding what to do with Eric Braverman, Ed stepped up and wrote a lot of the lyrics believe it or not. And I think Jason had some and Mark had some. So it was really, I guess you could say, out of laziness and out of the desire to let Eric share in the publishing. He was able to negotiate himself into the kind of situation where he strongly recommended that he be part of that writing process and he benefited from it. But it's not that we couldn't have done it without him. In all fairness to the band, it's just that all Eric really contributed was lyrical ideas, which are very obviously - lyrics are half of the song, but if Eric A.K. just sat there for two hours more a day he could have wrote 'em too. You see what I'm saying? Or Ed could've wrote 'em too. It's just that he kind of made it less work for Eric A.K., who thought that was worth cutting him in on the publishing.

MU: Well how viable is it to make a living in a heavy metal band like Flotsam and Jetsam in 1999 in the current commercial environment? Is this the type of thing that is financially a winning prospect? Or is it a struggle?

CN: Well, you're not going to make money 12 months a year, but you'll make your little chunk when you do your record, your advance, and you make your little bit when you're on tour. But I mean it's really how comfortable do you want to be? I mean, if we wanted to go out in a van yes, we could earn good money. We could theoretically stay on tour half the year, there's markets that would have us. We wouldn't, you know, "kill" in every market, but we could theoretically, if we wanted to, just make this our living and be uncomfortable. We could do it. But after 7 records and then touring so many times now they're not so hungry to just get out there on any old tour. They want to have a bus and, you know, it's not like feeling that you're above it all, but after all this time after having a bus there's no going back to a mobile home.

MU: You deserve a little bit of the spoils, as you said before.

CN: Right, you can't go on a van after you're on a bus. So, you know, buses are expensive so I mean sure now you gotta go to the label for money and you have to prove it and this and that. Touring isn't as profitable. But I mean, no, you're not certainly gonna make a lot of money as a heavy metal musician unless you get very lucky. But for someone up and coming who's fine with that few hundred a week when you're out there or whatever, hey, it's the greatest job in the world. But if you aspire for bigger things, no, I would say don't take - what is it? 1/10th of 1% actually excel and become rich from this business?

MU: As fans, we just want to keep the records coming, and you guys have to be financially satisfied, or at least stable, in order to make that happen. So that's where the interest comes from. Do the guys have other sources of income, or is this pretty much the deal?

CN: You know, no, everyone works, but everyone has a situation that they can take off, just like me. So yeah, everyone works but everyone has the flexibility to bail when they have to. Of course all the bosses of all these companies understand, and everyone wants to tour, believe me, if the label would say call us tomorrow and say "you have an open check! Let's go around the world!" we would. We just gotta get approval from the record company for this and we are just talking to a couple of different agents about a couple different tour packages. All require tour support. Metal Blade has been very fair about everything in the past, and I know they definitely want us to tour, so it's just a matter of time. We'll be out there but it probably won't be for 150 days or anything like that. We'll probably go out for maybe a month in America and a maybe a few weeks in Europe.

MU: Any possibilities you can tease us with?

CN: Well, we were talking to OverKill. We'd like to tour with OverKill, but the way the splits go they're making it that they're definitely the headliner and maybe they feel that's their right -- they certainly have a lot of records and a lot of fans.

MU: That would be a great bill, especially in the Northeast.

CN: And I think that it would come to that. I'd love to tour with OverKill. I'd also like to tour with Grip Inc. Cause I'd like to play with Dave Lombardo every night, you know?

MU: That's a tough act to follow!

CN: Yeah, I rise to that. I'm kind of the new guy on the scene and I'm here to make a mark.

MU: Well, Craig, let's talk about the new record. First of all, the name "Unnatural Selection". I culled from the bio that this is about perseverance. Is there any more to say about the title?

unnatural selection    flotsam and jetsam

CN: No, actually, it just happened to jive when Jason mentioned his metaphor about perseverance and whatnot, then that's exactly when Eric Braverman actually called the artist and they together came up with some visual plan with the ant and the dog and whatnot. That was just an unintended coincidence, it just seemed - after Jason had originally coined that phrase the artist came up with his rendering of it and it just worked, and so it just seemed to make sense. It was just kind of easy. Jason said "Unnatural Selection", talking about perseverance and how we're able to thrive and whatnot. Just like you read in the bio. And then the artist came up with this sci-fi thing, and we just thought, "Oh, yeah. I mean, It doesn't exactly translate to what Jason said, but yeah, I mean, that's killer".

MU: What are your favorite tracks on the record?

CN: "Chemical Noose" and, uh, "Fuckers". I like "Dreamscrape" and I like "Liquid Noose". And it was funny havin' two "Nooses" on the record. Gee, I guess I got a little spot for "Promise Keepers" or whatever. I'm kind of picky though. We went back into the studio. We wrote that record in 18 rehearsals, and when we started tracking, A.K. hadn't really finalized one single vocal. I mean, he knew the melodies, he's a master at melody, he hears the melody the first time he hears the song. But as far as how the lyrics would be phrased and the cadence of it all and whatnot, all that stuff was really worked out in the studio. And so we were writing these parts without really being totally sure what the lyrics were gonna be. It was kind of a weird way to write and in the end it came together because of A.K.'s experience in the studio. But it was basically, you know, Metal Blade saying, "we'd love to get this record out this year," because Flotsam always took 2 years in between releases, and they said, "we'd love to get this record out this year, which means you'd have to have the masters to us by this day." At this time, it was already, like, 12 weeks before then. So, I went right to Phoenix, we started writing, and one month later we're in the studio starting the drums. And so, when I go back and listen in retrospect, I know that a few of those songs in there -- you know, it's real funny because the ones that I really particularly think are filler songs, I've already heard from people in the press that those are the songs they like the most.

MU: Myself and the editor of Metal Update were talking today, listening to the record, and I had a little side bet that your favorite track was gonna be "Chemical Noose" cause we just love the fills on that. It's good stuff.

CN: Well, thanks. It's a drivin' sort of rhythm.

MU: What do you think of a song like "Welcome to the Bottom"? I would say it sort of has a different vibe than some of the rest of these tracks.

CN: Well, we intended on doing more with that song. That song, kind of, it didn't end up being all we had planned because it would have taken a lot more time. At this point, when we did it, it was the last track we actually recorded in the studio. And we had intended on putting a lot more through the middle there, with the guitar and sound effects and vocal loopings and this and that. But we, in the end, when we were listening to it, with the guitar parts that were on it, we felt it filled up just nicely. In the end, we were just kinda, under the gun, and we were -- this was the time we were lettin' go Eric Braverman. Our minds, you could say, were in the recording certainly, but also consumed by conflict with the manager, time limitations for the masters, and whatnot. So "Welcome to the Bottom" was intended on just being a real, kind of, Jane's Addiction-y weird-ass song at the end of the record. We wanted to do a lot more through the middle of that with production. But, of course, like I just pointed out, we didn't. But, I mean, it came out good. Everyone's real happy with the record because it sort of gives a, live, sort of spontaneous feel. We didn't do any editing, we didn't do any sampling on the drums. We didn't really sweeten tone, we didn't lay in any post-production notes anywhere, nothin' like that. Exactly how you hear it is exactly how it was recorded. Of course, there's a mix on it, we have reverb and all the effects and such. But there's no digital editing, we didn't go into pro tools or none of that shit. I think that most of the records you hear today are heavily digitally [enhanced] in the end. We didn't do any of that. It's very much a natural sounding record.

MU: I'm not familiar with James Lockyer [producer]. What can you tell us about him?

CN: Well, he's just got the reputation as probably the best live sound engineer in Phoenix. He was Sepultura's front-house guy for many a show. He's the front-house guy for this place in Phoenix called the Celebrity Theater which is this real killer place in Phoenix. And he's the main engineer there. He just has the best reputation in Phoenix for live engineering. This was his first major label -- you know, or not major label -- real record. And so we basically just had a lot of faith in his ability behind tweaking knobs. Essentially, he was hired as an engineer, not really as a producer. I mean, in the end, engineers become sort of like producers cause they pick the best takes and whatnot. And they give it a distinct sound so that's to the extent that you let them get a producer credit. But really, as far as who's musical ideas, they were 100% Flotsam and Jetsam.

MU: Let's break that down a bit. As far as the music's concerned, are you guys all contributing equally? Is someone the primary songwriter?

CN: No, on this record, as opposed to "High" -- "High" was mostly written by Jason and it was at a time that they were lettin' go of Kelly and Mike. And Jason, as a bass player, was writing all the guitar parts -- most -- 90% of the riffs on "High", guitar riffs, are Jason Ward, the bass player's, riffs. Whereas on this record, Mark Simpson wrote probably half the record, and then Ed wrote a few songs, and Jason wrote a few songs, and I think Mark wrote 4. And when I say write, of course he doesn't write the bass part, he just wrote his guitar parts. Everyone does contribute equally. At least on this record they did.

MU: You mentioned that Eric A.K. wrote a few of these lyrics. Could you point out which ones? Lyrically, on this record, how does it break down?

CN: You know, I wouldn't know. I'm sure that there's a very specific answer because of publishing concerns, of how it breaks down. I know that he changed every song in the end, just about every single song of the ten that are on the record was one thing when Eric Braverman or Ed gave it to him and it became another thing before it was done. So, you could say that he tweaked the lyrics on all the songs so that he felt comfortable singing them.

MU: As far as the general subject matter -- the overall tone -- who's reality are these lyrics reflecting? When you're seeing a song titled "Chemical Noose" at track number 2 and another song titled "Liquid Noose" at track number 4, whose voice is that? Where's that coming from?

CN: I think that's probably Eric A.K., you know, probably. I don't know how much of it was also contributed by Braverman. To tell you the truth, I honestly don't know. But, in the end, Eric A.K., I think, you know, he put some of his own little slang in there, in "Chemical Noose", and whatnot. I would say that's all Eric A.K.'s delivery.

MU: When you came into Flotsam & Jetsam, did you have an expectation of what a new record was going to sound like? How does this record stack up to that expectation?

CN: Well, you know, truthfully, I have to say, I mean, I'm partial to "Cuatro" and to "Drift", because they were done on MCA with a $25,000 - 30,000 engineer. Neil Kernon made a lot of money. We didn't pay our engineer 1/5th what Neil Kernon would get, you know what I mean? So, when I listen to "Cuatro", I look at "Cuatro" as one of the best sounding metal records I've ever heard. You know, so I don't know, it would have really been hard for me to ever have a record on less than that kind of budget live up to that kind of expectation. In the end, you know, the mix on the new record is very drum-heavy and the guitars are a little soft. In the end, I suppose I'd like to hear more guitar, even more vocal, I mean, as the drummer, you know, I'm supposed to want to be more present in the mix. But I think I'm even too present.

MU: I noticed that a little bit as well, but it's a pretty good mix, I think, overall. You can hear everything.

CN: Yeah, you can÷ Well, it's different, you know÷ I like to hear a lot of guitar, personally, so÷ I think that "Cuatro" and "Drift" had just great mixes from the technical aspect -- the distinctness of all the instruments and the perfection of the parts. We did stuff to a click and all that but I mean basically, they were writing "Cuatro" for nine months before they went in to do it. Its kinda hard to compare. When you write a record for nine months, and then you get $150,000 to do it -- compare that, you know to "Unnatural Selection". But, yeah, in the end, its got a live, poppin' sorta feel. I hope on the next record though we go in there maybe with an accomplished producer and maybe even make it sound just a little more polished. I know the trend today is against polished, but I can't really help wanting to hear "Cuatro" sounds again!

MU: Let's talk more about "Cuatro." Obviously there was an extra special kinda success associated with that record. Would you agree that was Flotsam and Jetsam's commercial pinnacle?

CN: Yeah, absolutely. We had MTV support -- at least for six weeks -- and radio support, too. KNAC was still on the air, and it was Jason Ward's first record with a pro band and he brought to the table some riffs and ideas that were like his babies. "Cuatro" was his baby. The first three songs on the record are Jason's songs. In fact, I think over half that record is Jason's. So, that was his opportunity to show -- he was filling Jason Newsted's shoes and that was his chance. Jason Ward is the most naturally gifted bass player I've ever known. This guy can not play his instrument at all for eight weeks and then pick it up and he just fucking shreds! You know what I mean? He's just really a great bass player and that was his chance to make his presence on the scene and I think that that's why the songs come off as good as they do.

MU: You mentioned Jason Newsted. Do you guys have any contact with Jason at all these days? Is there any relationship there?

CN: Yeah. In fact he just saw us play like two months ago in Phoenix. He came to Kelly Smith's wedding. Kelly Smith got married and Jason Newsted was there and him, Kelly and Mike -- in fact Kelly and Mike have come to about four of the shows -- but Jason Newsted came, around the time Kelly Smith got married, and saw us in Phoenix and was actually moshing in the pit almost the whole show. At the end of the show, he told A.K., Žto tell you the truth, if anyone asked me before this day I would have told Žem that you guys were toast. But man, you're not toast, you guys fucking kick ass!' So I know we made strong impression on Newsted. I'm not saying we're the greatest band he's ever seen, but . . .

MU: You're going to be opening the next Metallica tour, right?

CN: Yeah, no shit. If Metal Blade would only think about that one.

MU: So "Cuatro" is a huge commercial success. Coming out of "Cuatro" into "Drift", can you speak to the attitude of the band, or is that a time you're not as familiar with?

CN: It was a depressing time. Jason Ward's brother had just committed suicide. He had just died. Jason Ward's brother was in Nine Inch Nails. He did the first Lollapalooza tour. He was in the Revolting Cocks and Lard. He's a pretty well known drummer and he had a profound impact on Jason. When he died, I mean God - I mean, to say that the mood was very grim is an understatement. I think "Drift" might reflect some deeper, sort of, reflection going on. I love that record. There's people who think that's the greatest Flotsam record, some people think it is shit.

MU: The circles I run in, "Drift" is held up as an all-time classic. But we've all read different opinions on that record, and some are not so high. What does the band think?

CN: I know it is A.K.'s favorite record. I think its probably, you know -- Ed, he won't ever commit to which one he likes the most -- and Mark and I are the new guys so we really shouldn't even say, but I think Jason would say -- I think everyone would say "Drift".


MU: There wasn't a lot of promotion for that record and it didn't do commercially what everybody thought it should. It was probably just a product of the times, but what was the band's feeling about that?

CN: Well that's when Seagram's bought MCA and they knew that was comin'. So, you know, it didn't just come out of nowhere. I mean, its speculation that they knew their days were numbered and why even get behind it because they knew it was probably going to get dropped, and they did drop it. They dropped half the roster at the same time. That was right when they got bought, and that probably had something to do with why the label didn't fully support it.

MU: And so what was the attitude like going into "High"? How did it feel to be returning to Metal Blade?

CN: Well that's why Kelly and Mike didn't want to go back. They thought it was going backwards. They made a big mistake because, actually, MCA hadn't brought the band to Europe in over eight years. They'd rather give you $100,000 to do a video rather than give you $20,000 to tour the continent on which you're the biggest name. So it was a little weird how they spent their money. Anyway, for some reason Kelly and Mike thought that was a move backwards. But it ended up being a great move. I mean "High" wasn't worked as great as it could be. But the new record, they're showing a lot of initiative, Metal Blade. Now the album is out on cassette, not just disk like "High" was, and they're taking out individual ads rather than grouping it in with other ads. And they're making sure that more press people are getting it. They seem to be more excited about this record. Yeah, when you are on a major, and there's kinda this free flow of cash. And then you get with a label like Metal Blade, and there isn't so much flexibility there. It tends to make you miss the glory days of the open checkbook a bit, but really Metal Blade has been a great label for this band so far, especially for this record. They definitely seem to be picking up the ball.

MU: And what do you think about the graphics on the back of High with the different bands' logos and the statement inside about "Its OK to be metal."?

CN: Those were all fine ideas. You know, I don't know

MU: Whose ideas were they?

CN: Braverman's. Braverman was pretty much given free reign on everything about that cover. I hate the cover. What is it? It's an ashtray, and some things you really can't quite make out. It doesn't really have any definition. Eric Braverman pretty much had control over that, "its metal so fuck off." And the logos. I mean actually, the logos obviously were somewhat of a hit with everyone out there, people always ask about that. But I didn't particularly think -- it's not what I would do. But it was cool. I guess it was an idea whose time had come, to make a statement like that -- about payin' homage to all those bands. But now I'm movin' forward.

MU: What kind of reasonable expectations does the band have for this record. What is the band's attitude now that the album is out in the world?

CN: When you are a band like Flotsam and Jetsam, what you should be really thinking about, rather than all of the sudden breaking out onto commercial radio and attracting hordes of young fans, you should be very interested in maintaining whatever integrity and respect you have from the fan base that you have accumulated over the years. Certainly, we'd like to see the fan base grow, but, in the absence of that possibly happening because of the lack of radio support, we'd like to at least let our fans know that the integrity of this band is far from over, and in fact, if anyone listens to this record hopefully they will see that Flotsam is not going anywhere. Because we're not. You can't kill this animal. We're definitely really stronger than ever. And it's not a clich». It's just that the vibe between the members is very strong. And they know how to spend time apart from each other so that when they are working together its really a productive and inspirational time. We definitely have a lot of music to come, so hang in there!

MU: Awesome. So you talked about a U.S. tour, and . . .

CN: . . . and definitely Europe too. And we'd like to go to South America too. We get email all the time from Brazil and Argentina. In fact, I just talked to Brazil the other day. We're on the cover of a magazine right now that goes out to, like, 500,000 kids. We definitely need to explore that market. We haven't gone there. We might go down there and 10,000 people might show up. I mean, ten people might show up, but it could be a great show if we went down there. So we'd definitely like to go to South America. And of course Japan. Flotsam has never been to Japan in their whole career. So we'd like the yen to improve so we can go to Japan. We'd like to go to Greece too, somewhere we didn't go. We'd like to go to Scandinavia, we'd like to go there. We could theoretically go to all of these places, so long as the label would support it.

MU: And when do see these tours happening?

CN: Spring and summer.

MU: And any last words for the Metal Update readers?

CN: Hey, if disco came back, you know metal 's gonna too!

-- LINKS --





Interview: Eric German
Editor: Brant Wintersteen
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