SUICIDE SILENCE’s Chris Garza - “If It Wasn’t Eddie, There Would Be No More Suicide Silence"
August 3, 2014, a year ago
For every AC/DC - who has been able to carry on successfully with another singer in the wake of tragedy - there are numerous other bands that never manage to truly pick up the pieces and carry on. But as evidenced by the chart performance of the first Suicide Silence album since the death of singer Mitch Lucker in 2012, You Can't Stop Me (which recently debuted on the US Billboard charts at #16 and the Canadian Soundscan chart at #30), the fans are behind their new frontman, Hernan "Eddie" Hermida. The Suicide Silence's rhythm guitarist, Chris Garza, recently spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about the band's fourth album overall, future plans, and the filming of a video whose set looks part Powerslave and Temple of Doom.
BraveWords: Let's start by discussing the new album, You Can't Stop Me.
Chris Garza: "It sounds like old Suicide Silence. And the process to writing it was exactly like we'd written every record - just sitting in a garage, hammering out these songs. Especially after Mitch passed, it was very important to keep that sound intact. And with this record, we did it. I'm very proud of it."
BraveWords: I thought it was cool that lyrics that Mitch wrote were included on the album. Besides the title track, are there any other lyrics he penned?
Chris Garza: "No, 'You Can't Stop Me' was the only one."
BraveWords: Did you have any idea that it was going to do so well on the US Billboard charts?
Chris Garza: "I actually had no idea it was going to do what it did. I remember telling myself that maybe if it sells half that [the album scanned approximately 15,000 copies its first week], I'll be extremely happy. I woke up that Wednesday, and I heard about that chart number and I was like, 'What the hell?' It was crazy."
BraveWords: Are things different now due to the album's success?
Chris Garza: "The way things are going now are as if it basically picked up exactly where it left off. Which is crazy - it's like after Mitch passed, we obviously had to take a lot of time off. It was as if that never happened - things are exactly the same. I definitely wasn't expecting that."
BraveWords: It's strange how some bands that wind up losing a singer to tragedy; sometimes fans don't accept the new singer. But it seems like in Suicide Silence's case, the fans have accepted Eddie.
Chris Garza: "Yeah. I've said it quite a few times, but if it wasn't Eddie, there would be no more Suicide Silence. He was the perfect man for the job, and it seems that fans accepted him, and we are very grateful."
BraveWords: How did Cannibal Corpse's George Fisher and Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato get involved [on the tracks "Control" and "Monster Within," respectively]?
Chris Garza: "With Greg, we did Soundwave with Dillinger, and it's as simple as hanging out with him and just asked him if he would be into doing a track, and he said yes. And then with George, George and Dan Kenny, our bass player, are like best friends. It's really funny to see them hang out and drink and stuff. So Dan asked George about it, and thankfully, George was down, and it came out fuckin' awesome."
BraveWords: Did they come down to the studio and record, or was it done by trading files?
Chris Garza: "Greg actually lives pretty close to where we tracked the record. So when we got home from Soundwave, this was like a whole other separate time, so he went to the same studio with Steve Evetts [the album's producer] and tracked his part. As far as George goes, he did it where he was from."
BraveWords: What are some of your favorite tracks?
Chris Garza: "My two favorite tracks are "Inherit the Crown" and "Sacred Words." I like "Inherit the Crown" because it just sounds like Suicide Silence to a T. After making all the records and after how many songs we'd written, I think we worked out it to that point to write this song - I like everything about it. And it's kind of challenging to play. If you're a guitar player, you know that Suicide Silence isn't exactly the most technical. But with this song, it's hard to play - I think even a shredder would have a hard time playing it. I'm proud of that. And it's the first time I tracked a solo, so that was challenging and fun. So Mark [Heylmun] and I would do like a Slayer-ish trade-off solo during a blastbeat. It's awesome. And "Sacred Words," big fan because it has you would say a chorus vibe to it. I'm just a big fan of how different that is from the rest of the record, and the lyrics."
BraveWords: What are some memories of shooting the video for the title track?
Chris Garza: "I think my favorite might have been smashing my guitar…which actually didn't even make the video. But luckily, my guitar endorser hooked me up with one of my models, and I was able to smash it on the set - but yeah, that ended up not making the video. And seeing Eddie around snakes was pretty funny as well, because he's terrified, and I like seeing my band scared!"
BraveWords: I thought the video has a very Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom type vibe, and as evidenced by its ending, the band doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
Chris Garza: "Yeah, I mean, metal bands, everything seems to be too serious sometimes. And I think that ending with Jason Mewes [of Jay and Silent Bob fame] made the vibe perfect."
BraveWords: I noticed there is a Hatebreed cover as a bonus track ['Last Breath'].
Chris Garza: "With every record, we tend to do a cover, and they always kind of choose themselves. We'll be in a room jamming it, and with Hatebreed, we're all obviously big fans of the band. So we've been jamming 'Last Breath' at soundcheck for years, so that was an obvious choice - 'Hey, we always play it. Let's track it and see how it turns out.' And it came out awesome."
BraveWords: Touring plans?
Chris Garza: "Right now, we're on the Mayhem Tour, for less than two weeks. It flew by. And we're going to go home for almost two months, have a little bit of time off away from the chaos, and then after that, we're pretty much going to be out for the rest of the year. So October, we have something lined up that I can't mention yet, and then November/December, we'll be going out to Europe until Christmas time."
BraveWords: And how has the Mayhem Festival been going?
Chris Garza: "It's crazy. I think we've been on it for five weeks already, and it feels like five minutes. It's gone by so fast, and the shows are just insane. It's cool to see all the kids come out and just go crazy."
BraveWords: Future plans beyond this upcoming tour?
Chris Garza: "I would like to not be home as much as possible. Hopefully by 2015, I would like most of the months to be on the road, really pushing the record, and playing places that we've never played before. I think that's the main goal right now - and just be out in general. I think the plan for 2015 is just to go out and stay out, and keep doing what we're doing…and fuckin' go nuts."
(Photos by James Kilian)