SPIRALARMS's Craig Locicero - “As Far As The Whole Stoner Rock Thing, We’re More Like Stoners That Rock!”
November 10, 2013, 5 years ago
So long FORBIDDEN, hello SPIRALARMS.
Second-wave Bay Area thrashers Forbidden is officially over, with 2010’s reunion album Omega Wave being the band’s swan song. After a six-year hiatus (the band’s second), two-thirds of the original Forbidden — consisting of guitarist Craig Locicero, vocalist Russ Anderson and bassist Matt Camacho, joined by newcomer drummer Mark Hernandez and guitarist Steve Smyth — came back strong with Omega Wave. However, the rigors of the road on the subsequent tour led to the band’s split and almost certainly, its last.“Unfortunately, I think Russ is finished,” Locicero said. “And by the time he would want to step up and do it again, it would be too late. It became painfully obvious to me that Russ really wasn’t cut out for the road anymore and that’s why Forbidden broke up the first time. I ended up doing too much work and I needed everyone to step up and help me out, and the same thing started happening again; when the original members aren’t really motivated, it’s just not fun anymore. So I don’t think I ever want to go backwards again. At the same time, I feel like Russ did me a big favor by letting it go and not pushing me to do it anymore. Because now it clears my plate for everything I want to do with SpiralArms.”
Locicero’s “new” band, SpiralArms, actually formed in 2004 when he and high school buddy Tim Narducci (SYSTEMATIC) rekindled their friendship through music while both were in transition between their other bands.“Tim and I had known each other since hanging out in the parking lot at Ruthies Inn (a famous Bay Area metal club). Him, myself and Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, ex-Forbidden, ex-TEASTAMENT) especially hit it off. We kept in contact ever since. But years later after Forbidden had taken off, he got caught up in real life; got married, got divorced and a lot of other stuff happened to him. Years later, Systematic were signed by Lars Ulrich’s label, which were one of only two signed by Lars at the time. I was doing the MANMADE GOD project and Tim really loved the album and said that he wanted to play rock like that. We disbanded both bands and put our heads together and did something new. It was experimental at first and wasn’t really what it is now.”
The classic/stoner rock essence of SpiralArms is on total opposite ends of what Locicero played while in Forbidden, but more in line stylistically with his previous band, Manmade God.“I would say it has some of the elements that Manmade God had,” Locicero said. “But SpiralArms has more hair on it. It’s fuzzier, more alive, has more energy and kicks more ass. I don’t think anyone can classify us as just a retro stoner rock band. It’s cool to put us in that category. I’m not going to spend any time trying to correct anyone’s interpretation of what they think we are. As far as the whole stoner rock thing, with a band like us, I like to say that we’re more like stoners that rock because we can do so much more than what a typical stoner rock band can do.”
Locicero, 44, who grew up in the ’70s, is typically known as a thrasher, but a big part of being a metalhead, especially at his age, is all about embracing one’s roots. Back in the day, rock and metal had no labels or sub-genres yet, and Locicero soaked it all in.“That’s exactly how I grew up. I also came from a family that wasn’t musically-orientated and I was like the black sheep. Whatever nobody else was into, I was into it. I was the first one on my block to hear all these thrash metal bands until I met up with Robb Flynn (MACHINE HEAD, ex-VIO-LENCE), who lived on another block. Then we ended up forming FORBIDDEN EVIL. My past is more varied than a lot of these other guys in the thrash scene because I had the balls to step out of that circle and do what I wanted to do to find my way through life without having to be what everybody else expected me to be. I needed to go back to Rock School to be at the point where I’m at now.”
SpiralArms’ sophomore release, Freedom, lives and breathes ’70s fuzz rock, which is something Locicero feels won’t be lost on the typical teenaged metalhead.“Universal is the word I would use to describe what we’re doing,” Locicero said. “What I’ve been finding is that the younger metalhead really does like it, and it’s a shock to us. It’s crossing over to all these different kinds of people. That’s what I’m seeming to get out of this when I read these reviews and I see how people react to it. I’m getting all these e-mails from people in the business that I haven’t heard from in years that are completely side-swiped by it. It’s encouraging, but that can all go away quickly. It’s real easy to be forgotten, too. And I know this from experience. I don’t really expect anything, I’m just very pleasantly surprised by the reaction thus far.”