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On April 7, 2001, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Johnny Santos (Lead Vocals) and Rob Garcia (Bass Player) of Spineshank before their show with Disturbed in St. Paul, MN.
Diane: Just want to ask you two a few questions -- I know we are all running late, and you guys have a sound check coming up.
Johnny Santos: We really don't do a sound check. We do a line check, but that's it; we like going out on the fly. We are using the same rigs, same monitor and same front of house gear, so things stay pretty much the same.
Diane: Do you like doing that?
Diane: How long did it take for you to write this album, The Height of Callousness?
Johnny: Too long -- about a year.
Diane: Did you mix in any of your first album?
Johnny: No, we went straight back to the drawing board.
Rob Garcia: It was like night and day -- so different.
Johnny: This album was going to be what we are; we did it our way and wouldn't let anyone water it down.
Diane: Did you accomplish and achieve what you wanted?
Johnny: Totally. Figure it this way -- whether
the record was to fail or to succeed, we did it on our terms and we are
happy with it. This is the record we wanted to make, and we are extremely
happy. At least we would fail on our terms; the record company doesn't
have to live with it, they can just write it off. But we have to
live with it. Our names are on this record
forever; that's why it was important that we were happy with it.
Diane: What will you do differently on the next album?
Johnny: Make it more extreme; make the every heavy parts more heavier; the melodic more melodic; push the boundaries. We will be starting here in the next few months writing. We have a studio in the back of the bus. We don't want to go home for a year and to start writing the record.
Diane: What have you leaned from all this?
Rob: After being taken off the road to write and not wanting to stay home for a year, being off the road. Not to question ourselves for the whole year. Now we are seeing the payoff; it is now.
Johnny: This was one of the hardest things all of us have ever done; this was going to make us or break us.
Diane: Within all this chaos, are you enjoying it?
Johnny: Oh yeah, we wouldn't want to do anything else.
Rob: We could be loading trucks now. We could go home complaining every night, but instead we get our alcohol for free, jump our ass off for a half hour, get more beer, and go to sleep and start all over the next day.
Diane: What are your favorite places to play?
Johnny: Anywhere in the Midwest and East Coast. We just had our best show in Chicago. We like Detroit, Pittsburgh and Denver. In fact, we played here in Minnesota on February 24 when we opened for Orgy. The place was nuts. Just as we started, the barricade in the front broke; I had to stop and tell the crowd to move back. The security was trying to keep what was left up. Some of the kids were getting crushed in the front. It freaked me out it when it snapped.
Johnny: Some shows we get pretty nuts. Rob once stage dove and cracked his head open and had to finish the show with his head bleeding. Just the other night we both dove at the same time and Rob almost killed me with his bass when we jumped. I had no idea he was so close to me.
Diane: Rob, do you always dive with your bass still strapped to you?
Rob: Yes, I always have. This tour I don't have that much room.
Diane: How was it working with GGGarth Richardson?
Johnny: He knows his work. He made us leave home and go to Canada; this way we wouldn't have interruptions or our friends hanging out at the studio. He pushed the shit out of us -- out of me -- but it was all good. Garth took an interest in us.
Diane: How did it feel when your song “Disease” made the soundtrack for 3000 Miles to Graceland?
Rob: Great. We saw the movie, and it was great hearing our song while things were being blown up in the movie.
Diane: What can we expect from Spineshank in the next year?
Johnny: Chaos and touring our asses off. Penicillin, Betty Ford Clinic, liver transplants. This tour has been the best thing for us; we were headlining clubs of 600, and now with Disturbed we have up to 4,000 pre-sales each night. And we are playing in arenas.
Johnny: Last night in Madison, we had a party, and I trashed the dressing room, so I had to apologize last night to Disturbed and their tour manager Dennis. Then today I got this bill for $1,800.00.
Diane: What did you do to the dressing room?
Johnny: I broke two folding chairs, kicked over the trash can
and broke a beer bottle and spilled beer; they wanted $1,500.00 for new
carpet. Then all I could do was to think that Disturbed might kick
us off the tour or there goes three nights of sales. Today, our tour
manager says I needed to apologize again to Dennis the tour manager and
David of Disturbed. They came
in all serious and said that they picked up the bill. Then they just wanted to let us guy know “Happy Belated April Fools.” I couldn't believe they got us. Everyone had knowledge of this joke, except us in Spineshank. Good one, Disturbed.
So as I was talking to them, they were having a great time and really
enjoying this tour, and they were looking forward to the summer.
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