War Curse – Prepare for Eradication

Tuesday, 7th May 2019

Dead Rhetoric: What are common errors or mistakes that you see bands, promoters, venues make even at a local level that can hurt chances for success later on down the road?

Roth: Oh my god, I could write you a book. Jesus, that’s the best question – seriously I wish we had two hours to discuss this on a podcast. Pay to play is fucking killing music. We’ll just break it down – local bands, if your goal is to leave your hometown, then leave your fucking hometown. Don’t put all your emphasis on playing 37 times this month in your own city. Overexposure is a bad thing. You are only going to gain so many fans in your hometown- winning one city does not meaning winning the world. That’s a big mistake, just thinking too small.

From a promotional standpoint, you see these promoters – and I shouldn’t even call them promoters, they are talent buyers – these guys are low-level talent purchasers. They don’t promote shows, they buy packages and make Facebook event pages. And this isn’t everybody, of course, there are good promoters out there too – but unfortunately at our level, you don’t get the best help. You don’t deal with the top guys, the big established venues. You deal with guys that agree to book your show, offer you a door deal or bitch about your guarantee, throw up a Facebook event page, and then it’s ‘sorry that the show sucked man, wish I could have helped’. That obviously hurts everyone – the other bands on the show, your band from a financial and morale standpoint, the venue owners and employees, it hurts a ton of people. If you’re a shitty promoter do us all a favor and stop booking shows. You aren’t helping anyone.

The biggest problem I see, the biggest, is the shortsightedness of the music industry as a whole. You have a lot of people sitting behind desks right now at record labels that are taking the easy money and hopping on any reformed, legacy band that they can throw $20,000-$50,000 at to get them to put out an album. And they don’t give a single shit about the band that’s been grinding, working their asses off for 10-15 years, that has a reasonable following. They still don’t want to put any real money into developing these bands. You see bands like Havok that are fifteen years and five or six albums into their career and deserve the big push – and they don’t get half the push that a half-assed shit band like Sacred Reich gets. They put out one cheese-dick song and Metal Blade is thrilled to bankroll the project. As a musician this makes my blood boil. If I could grab some of these label executives by the collars of their neatly pressed shirts and smack the shit out of them, I would absolutely do it. At the rate we’re going, Wacken is going to be in somebody’s backyard in 15 years. I guess these record labels don’t realize that you can’t build a future by putting all of your effort into 50-year old men – because they aren’t going to be doing this shit forever. It’s a serious problem.

When you look at the current landscape, it doesn’t even have to be arenas- you can take things down to 1,500 to 2,000 cap venues. There is no one playing thrash metal under the age of 45 years old that can fill a Live Nation venue in your city. Havok, Warbringer, Power Trip- these guys are leading the way and because no one has given them the push that they deserve, and frankly that they need to make this thing sustainable, they’re still going to be playing small rooms unless they’re opening for someone else. They are just not creating anybody that can fill a big room- or a new major tour headliner. If you don’t create a headliner now, who is going to bring the next crop of bands up with them. It’s a shame.

Nobody will ever have a real production budget moving forward – once the Metallica’s and Slayer’s of the world hang it up, you will never see a metal show in an arena, you will never see that kind of production with a real stage, pyro, a crazy light show, or any kind of budget to give you a real show. It’s really sad to think. You almost have to enjoy it while it lasts, because after this the only time you will see lights and production is at some EDM show or a lame ass Ariana Grande concert or something. We are just not creating any future stars, which is a shame because other genres do. They all do – rap creates new mega star millionaires every year, pop creates new stars every year. Metal doesn’t give a shit. They are content putting out another boring Anthrax album, another reunion album of some band that nobody has cared about for twenty years, and that’s that. It’s the quick, easy money- and it’s going to kill the whole entire thing in a decade.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve also done a podcast The Final Hours in the past – will this continue in the future, and do you believe fans/listeners enjoy this medium as much as reading reviews and interviews online or watching video material to feed their metal information tastes?

Roth: I really need to get back on that. I’ve been thinking about it – with touring and a lot of the other stuff I had going on, I took a break from it. I would love to revamp that this year and do some more episodes. I don’t know how many episodes I did, maybe six- but the stuff we talked about, we discussed some important things related to the music industry, we touched on net neutrality when everyone was freaking out about that. I had some good conversations with some interesting people – and I think fans like the long-form conversations where you have time to get in more than a few pre-scripted sentences. You can have an open, honest discussion about a lot of things – you can’t get that in a one-page interview or a 160 character Twitter post. You get a true feel for a person’s thoughts and personality. I know my fans and War Curse fans like it. So yeah, I guess I need to get back around to doing that soon.

Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see the career of War Curse develop in the next two to three years?

Roth: We want to keep growing, that’s the number one thing. Getting to Europe is going to be a big part of that growth. Getting some support slots on some bigger tours, with some legacy bands or more established younger bands. Really whatever we can do to get ourselves in front of more people. In the next couple of years we’d like to get a couple more albums out- we are not going to take as long to write the next album. We’ve got a good group of guys and a good team behind us. The big thing is to continue to write music, grind and work harder than everybody else.

Dead Rhetoric: Can you think of a favorite failure that has happened either to you personally or in the career of War Curse – something that in retrospect set you up for a future possible victory or success?

Roth: Losing our old vocalist, quite honestly. I wouldn’t consider it a failure at all now. Losing Tarek was a big surprise and caught us off guard- but in retrospect, it’s by far the best thing that could have happened to this band. Outside of War Curse, Murphy and I have been in an absolute shit ton of bands together for the last 15 or so years, and the combined failures and mistakes in those bands would require their own book. But that’s what this is all about. You learn from your fuck ups and you try not to fuck the same stuff up the next time.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for War Curse over the next twelve months to support the new record? Have you already begun working on songs for the follow-up – so that it won’t be another four years between releases?

Roth: Absolutely. In the next twelve months you are going to see some tours, here and abroad. We’ve got some stuff we’re working on behind the scenes right now. We start a tour in mid-May, right around the time our album gets released, that’s a little headlining US tour. After that, it’s back into writing mode. We hope to start some pre-production for the next album sometime this summer. A year of just grinding, working, tours, pushing ourselves in the rehearsal room and busting our asses.

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