October Rising are a fantastic rock band, and are building a solid fan base with their combination of catchy fun songs and wonderfully macabre but playful image. I was lucky enough to get to ask lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jack Davidson, and what follows is the full interview. Enjoy!
D.C:- Could you please tell the readers all about October Rising? When did you form?
J.D:- October Rising is a unique band because we have all been friends since childhood. I can't really think of another band like ours in that regard, except maybe Calabrese who are actually all brothers. Most band mates meet up when they are either grown up or in their teens, but we go way back, so I guess there is no official "When did you start the band" answer. We just sort of learned to play instruments and started playing. We started lousy together, and got good together!
What came first? Your love of horror or your love of music?
That's a toughie. I would guess music, since my whole family are musicians. When I was a kid, there were always jam sessions at my house going on at all hours, and also my mom would drag me and my siblings to her gigs and stuff, so it's just embedded in my DNA. I do know that my love of horror started at an early age as well, and had the same sort of impact on me. One of the cool things my parents liked to do was go to the drive-in movies, so I was fortunate enough to see some great films when I was a kid. I remember Monster Zero, Return of the Living Dead, Play Misty for me, War of the Gargantuas...classic stuff!
Who influenced you as a musical artist?
Well, everyone in the band has different influences, but there are some common ones we all share. Early KISS, Metallica, Queen, Cheap Trick, Misfits and especially The Ramones. They were our Beatles. We loved everything about 'em and still do!
What was the first horror movie you saw, and how did it effect you?
One of the first horror films I had ever seen was something called 'Mission Mars' with Darren McGavin in it. Dude, it scared me so bad I was fucked up for years! I saw a movie called 'Gargoyles' that really spooked me too! Believe it or not, a Gamera movie freaked me out as well. It was called 'War of the Monsters' and it came on The Late Late Show and it scared me so bad I couldn't sleep. I was probably about 9 or 10 years old I guess. I found out years later that my guitar player, Skel, saw that same movie on the same night and he sat up, scared out of his head too! We had a big laugh about that one!
How did the Halloween theme in October Rising come about?
Halloween is such a part of our lives, that it's hard to explain. It is our favorite time of the year for sure. It's like earth is caught somewhere between the cycles of life and death, much like we are. I guess we just relate to it.
Is fun a major ingredient in October Rising?
Of all the things in life that you could possibly possess, 'fun' is the most important. Money is cool...girls, cars, guitars...all of it means nothing if fun isn't involved. There are a lot of rich idiots out there who don't know the first thing about having fun, and I feel sorry for 'em. October Rising is a blast. When the lights go down, I can feel the anticipation from the crowd. I look to the right and see Wolf stalking around, and Skel is chomping at the bit to stomp onto the stage like Godzilla wanting a piece of Tokyo. There is nothing like it. I have been in bands that really turned boring. Talented? Yeah. Fun? No. October Rising is always fun. Plus we have a great show; flame throwers, fog, lights and other stuff. Every day is Halloween with us.
Could you tell us about both of your albums? How were they recorded?
The first two albums were recorded in our studio. We built it just for us. It is actually just a Roland VS-1880 PortaStudio, with a few pieces of outboard gear. We have some good monitors and a couple of decent mics, but that's about it. People would be amazed at how little we actually have. Somehow we are able to make this stuff sound really good. The only things we really splurged on are a good vocal mic and guitars. Skel plays Les Pauls and Strats, and I play a couple of old, rare Gibson Flying V's. For acoustic guitars, we play Martin 12 strings. Someday, we would like to record in a real studio with a good producer; someone who could push us and get the most out of us. Some of our dream producers would be Jack Douglas, Matt Hyde, Daniel Rey, Bob Ezrin, Johnny Lee Michaels and of course, Rick Rubin.
You have great song titles. How do you come up with them?
Most of our song titles come from horror films. Somehow, they translate into our world. 'Children shouldn't Play with Dead Things', 'Monster Zero' etc. These are some of our favorite films. Our new CD has an asskicking new song on it called 'Fangar', who was one of the bad guys from Johnny Sokko, one of our favorite TV shows from back in the day.
Do you have any plans to tour further afield in the future?
Absolutely. We would like to tour with someone who makes sense for us. If we could open for KISS, or Rob Zombie, or Alice Cooper....someone like that, they wouldn't even have to pay us! We could travel in a van and sell merch at the show. They would have a great opener for free, and we would make a lot of new fans! A win-win for everyone.
Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
My favorite artists are my peers, actually. I like bands that play music similar in style to us. Guitar oriented, catchy, loud rock. There are a lot of really good horror rock bands out there; Calabrese, The Rosedales, Nim Vind, Gorgeous Frankenstein, The Browns, my buddy Boris Randall, Kepie Ghoulie, Shadow Reichenstein, 69 Eyes, The Crimson Ghosts, The Other, and The fright all from Germany....so many cool bands.
What are some of your favorite horror films?
Man, s far as horror films, I love 'em all in different ways. We all love the biggies of course; The Exorcist, The Living Dead films, Alien, Texas Chainsaw etc, but it's so much fun to look underground for movies as well as music. If you are willing to search, the payoff is huge for music AND in film. I love oddball movies like 'Haxaan', 'Planet of the Vampires' and 'The Crawling Eye'....the list goes on!
Do you have any messages for your present and future fans out there?
Support the bands you like. It's harder and harder for bands to get music out, and the only way it can be done is to have fan support. The internet has made it easier for bands in some regards, and harder in others. You can check out our website at www.october-rising.com