Every so often a perfect storm of Rock will descend on the ears of the attentive, and those lucky souls are witness to a musical manifesto on par with the greats. The Company Band is one such storm, and on November 10th they arrive with their eponymous full-length debut, courtesy of Restricted Release.
Listen to Company Man:
Guitarist Dave Bone, Fireball Ministry’s James Rota, CKY drummer Jess Margera and Fu Manchu’s Brad Davis join Clutch frontman Neil Fallon to make The Company Band, who released an awesome sarcastic-ode-to-corporate-imperialism EP entitled Sign Here, Here, And Here last year. They’ve played a painfully small amount of shows to help the ever-growing boulder of enthusiasm gain speed down the mountain, due to the fact that the members are involved in a myriad of other projects.
We took the party to Jess Margera to get some answers about one of the best bands you’ve never heard of. Yet.
Antiquiet: Can you run through how the band got started in the first place?
Jess Margera: I think it all started between 2005 and 2006. CKY and Fireball Ministry did two or three tours together, and the whole time we were saying man, we should do something, even if it’s just a couple songs, just for fun. And Jim (Rota, guitarist) would tell me about this project he was working on with his buddy Dave. They were just writing songs and shit, and once the tour was over he sent me some songs they’d been working on, and immediately we pretty much got right to work on it. That wound up being the EP that came out. Just for shits and giggles I asked Neil (Fallon, singer) to sing on one of the songs, because I thought it would be cool to get a guest appearance from Neil, you know?
Antiquiet: Of course. What song was it?
Jess Margera: I think I sent him a bunch and said hey, whatever you’re feelin’ would be cool with me. He wound up liking it a lot and saying hey, is it cool if I just sing on all of it? So I was like, cool, yeah, fuck yeah. I’m a huge Clutch fan for at least a decade now, so it was a pleasant surprise that he was so into it.
Antiquiet: Coming from the routine you’ve got now – three bands, three kids – how do you find time for yet another project?
Jess Margera: Man, I don’t even know. I’m amazed that we actually did this full-length, because I thought it would never happen.
Antiquiet: Neither did I! I talked to Neil about two years ago, and he was having a bear of a time finding some free space to lay down some vocals over what you guys had written. It didn’t sound promising at the time…
Jess Margera: Yeah man, I thought my touring schedule was bad, and then I saw Clutch’s schedule and was like good Lord. those guys don’t even go home.
Antiquiet: Speaking of other bands, how’s (new CKY album) Carver City been doing?
Jess Margera: It’s been doing good – especially considering that we took four years off.
Antiquiet: You’re in a unique position with all these bands, and your vantage point is something people can pull a little perspective from, I think. What are your thoughts about the tidal shift in the industry, with the evolution of formats and such?
Jess Margera: I’m just as bummed as anybody to see the actual physical product go away. At the same time though, I think it’s kind of exciting because instead of busting your ass for two years in a studio to make a full-length, now you can churn out EP’s and singles. I think the full-length album… so many bands have one or two good songs and coast on the filler that makes the rest of the album. People get sick of shelling out fifteen bucks for two good songs. And it sucks because there’s bands out there that take it seriously and are putting their hearts into making a great full-length, but they’re outnumbered ten to one by the cheap-asses who’re gunning for the quick bucks.
Antiquiet: Well that’s one of the foundation arguments for illegal downloading, is the opportunity to try something out before you buy it, to see if it’s something worth your money.
Jess Margera: Right. My record store that I’ve been going to since I was nine is about to shut down. It’s hard to watch that, man.
Antiquiet: It is. And that old stereotype of the asshole behind the counter at the record store like in High Fidelity is so much more saturated because they’re losing their livelihood, so they’ve got a chip on their shoulder, and on top of it they’ve got to charge you up the ass for an album just to make ends meet.
Jess Margera: (laughs) You’re right, man. We licensed the actual CD’s and vinyl to a company called Restricted Release, but we’re putting it out on iTunes and such on our own. It’s a pretty cool deal.
Antiquiet: None of the songs on the EP made the album.
Jess Margera: Yeah the EP’s its own thing. Most of the demoing was done through email, and once we got a good batch of songs going, we all got together and played ’em live as a band to work out the kinks and see how everyone’s flowing.
Antiquiet: Was it a nervous experience, going into that first session with everyone?
Jess Margera: Well I’m totally nervous all the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so much fun, but I was a pretty nervous dude in there playing with a bunch of my heroes, you know? (laughs) Like Brad Davis from Fu Manchu is one of the best rock bass players I’ve ever seen.
Antiquiet: And Neil’s got such a specific presence and delivery… was it something you had to consciously remind yourself of, so you didn’t sound too much like Clutch?
Jess Margera: Well that’s the one thing, we really didn’t think about anything like that. We just wanted to play, you know? We didn’t care. Whatever it ended up sounded like was how it sounded. There wasn’t any trying to steer away from anything. I imagine that it’s probably gonna sound like all the bands smashed together.
Antiquiet: It does. There seems to be a lot more melody on the album than on the EP. First off, do you agree with that, and secondly, what was the cause?
Jess Margera: Yeah, I mean Dave Bone writes most of the riffs, so whatever he’s got brewing is kind of where it ends up or starts out with this band. I think there’s way more melody on the full length, but I think that’s just because we built up more of a desire to see where it goes. There were so many songs where we’re like nah, this isn’t really working out, and then we jammed ’em in the studio and they caught fire. There were also a couple that just happened in the moment, where it’s like yeah, let’s do something right now. Djinn and Pentatonic was one of those that we just kind of came up with. Dave had that riff going and we all just dove in. It came together really quick while we were jamming out in L.A.
Antiquiet: Damn, that’s one of the better tracks on the album, too.
Jess Margera: Yeah, it’s one of the best songs on the record and it came together in like an hour.
Antiquiet: Share your thoughts on another song, Who Else But Us.
Jess Margera: That was one of the early ones that we were working on. It went through a lot of changes, but we stuck it out. And that line: “Roky Erickson said to me/You can trust acid before the CIA” – man, that was fucking awesome.
Antiquiet: That and “Chairman of the waterboard” are up there among the best lines on the album, for sure.
Jess Margera: (laughs) For sure, for sure. Those are gems. It’s just a goddamn blessing to have these people on this record. This one’s close to my heart.