Baroness are set to return to Australia this week for the second time this year, this time around opening for Metallica on their massive "Death Magnetic" tour. The band’s guitarist and and vocalist John Baizley answered a few questions for us before the upcoming tour.
Let’s start off with your name, what you do in the band and your favourite tour past time, apart from playing of course.
My name is John Baizley. I sing and play guitar in Baroness. While we are on tour, I try to walk around as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s the only way to find something rewarding to do.
Diving straight into it, apart from the line up change between Blue and Red, how do you think each record differ from each other?
Simply put, with each successive record, we are trying to write better music. By better I mean music that more accurately describes us. Music with more of our personality. Music that has a greater impact on us as musicians. Music is communicative, and we are making more comprehensive attempts to communicate something which is both personal and dynamic.
Does the First and Second EP’s have a part to play in that?
Our early EPs were, of course, critical in helping us shape and define the sound that would end up blossoming on our full lengths. We had to start things off more bluntly, and more aggressively in order to become capable of making a subtler type of music.
How did you end up deciding on John Congleton to produce the Blue Record?
We initially decided on John for a number of reasons. He had produced some incredible sounding records, of which I always seemed to take note. Some of the bands he produced I wasn’t really into stylistically. His production was of such an intimate and unique quality that I found myself listening to these records by bands I would never have otherwise given much attention to. Also, John had very little background in producing heavy music, and would bring a fresher sensibility to our songs. We did not want a record that had too much of a dated sound. John brought a very different approach to our records than we had been used to dealing with, which helped us (as a band) break through some windfalls.
How was he as a producer, and how did the studio time differ from recording Red Record?
John was incredible as a producer. His motivation was to help us make a record that we believed in, and that we were surprised and happy with. To that end, it was a raging success. He wasn’t the type of producer who has a heavy-handed compositional opinions, he was very trusting of the material.
Red was insanely well received by critics, fans alike, was there pressure in writing Blue?
We have never been the type of band to succumb to or cater to a perceived outside pressure. We measure our success on a different scale than that proposed by critics and fans. We exert an enormous amount of internal pressure on one another, to keep each other sharp. We are hard on each other to become better musicians and composers. We really don’t need any outside opinion to tell us how our music should or should not sound.
Now that Blue Record has been out for almost a good year, looking back; did you expect it have such an amazing response?
I had no real expectations for our record. I just wanted to be proud of it, and I was when we came out of the studio. That’s all that matters to me. However, the critical response has been good enough to keep us out on some amazing tours, and touring is why we play music.
When it came to get the Golgotha video clip out, how did the band work with Josh Green in taping it, or were you guys set more on the backseat?
We were on a fairly intensive tour schedule around the filming of the “Horse” video, so we left much of the vision up to Josh, who has always had a very intimate connection with Baroness. He has been a friend, visionary, tour mate and roommate of ours at different times. We afford Josh a special type of trust.
On Blue Record you’ve covered one of my all time favourite bands, The Descendents – how did it come about translating a punk rock song to what you guys came up with?
We grew up in the punk scene. The Descendents are one of the best punk bands of all time. And they are one band that all of Baroness can agree on. It was an obvious choice for us to cover the only band we still listen to consistently on tour.
Coming up in December you’re going to be supporting Metallica with Lamb of God, how do you feel playing up against this almost all star line up, and supporting Metallica?
It’s a great honour to be on this tour. ‘nuff said.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, are there any final words, insights or advice you’d like to share with our readers?
Put down your video games, pick up a guitar and make some noise….