DIE HARD TIL DEATH BASSIST – KURT ARFT

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Kurt is the bass player for the in your face band DIE HARD TIL DEATH, he took some time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

Where did young Kurt come from?

 Kurt:  I was born in Columbia, MO in 1969 and have pretty much been a Midwest boy my whole life IN, MO, IL, WI. I did live Maryland for a year. We moved around alot cause of my dads job.

When did music become part of your life and what type of music was it?

 Kurt: My first recollections of my exposure to music was around 5 or 6 yrs old. My dad had an acoustic guitar that he would pull out once in a while and play, also his Mom played piano and guitar and can remember sitting on the bench with her while she played. My Moms Dad also was big into music and played organ. My Mom was a big influence as well, she always had music playing in the house and in the car. Around 7 years old I found her record collection and she actually put albums on for me to listen to. Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Doors, stuff I still listen to today.

What was the catalyst that made you realize that becoming a musician was your calling?

    Kurt:  At age 10 Santa Claus left me an acoustic guitar under the tree. I just thought that was the coolest and I couldn’t wait to play it. My parents enrolled me in lessons at the local music store. The instructor I had, was such a dick though, he had no patience and if I didn’t play it exactly right, he’d chew me out and tell me I wasn’t practicing enough, even though I was playing the thing day and night. Pretty much ruined it for me. I ended up putting it down after a lil bit and started playing saxophone in the school band starting around 5th grade and played all the way till the end of my Sr yr in High School. Once I graduated High School, I was like what am I gonna do now? I played music for all these years, learned how to read music and all that, but I knew I wasn’t gonna continue playing saxophone, that’s not cool. I had met a couple of guys at the community college that played guitar and hung out with them and got bitten by the guitar bug again. So, bought a Fender Strat, a lil combo amp, and started messing around again. Took some lessons from a friend of mine, grew my hair out, noticed the chicks were diggin it and as they say the rest is rock n roll history. Also, when I saw Kiss for the first time, I was mesmerized. Kind of the same story as Gene Simmons told when the first time he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, that was when I realized “I’m in”

We all know the bass is the most important instrument in a band,. when did you decide to take on the most important position of playing the bass?

   Kurt: Well thank you for saying that, I happen to think Bass is pretty important part of the band as well haha
A buddy and I wanted to start a band, he was a guitar player too, he was lead, I was rhythm. We’re talkin early 90’s here, so finding a bass player back then was almost impossible. My thinking was everybody and their mother plays guitar around here, and being that at that time I knew I wanted to do this for a living, bass would guarantee me a job cause there are just not that many of us around. So I switched from guitar to bass. And I have to say, it was the best decision I ever made. Bass fits me  and my personality and attitude so much better than guitar

Give us a little band history Kurt, how many bands have you been in?

 Kurt: Lets see………..professionally I’ve been in 5 bands. Last Laugh, Kamikaze Butterfly, Die Hard Till Death,
Skinwalker, and ScreamKing. But total with garage or basement bands, 7.

Two of my personal favorites are Die Hard Til Death and ScreamKing, can you tell a little about them?

Kurt: To date, I would have to say DHTD is my biggest accomplisment and what I’m most proud of. Between the
success of the record, the touring, being selected for Rockband, and all the people who I’ve gotten to work with
and become friends with, it’s been pretty cool. It’s opened alot of other doors for me professionally that I don’t think
would’ve been before. DHTD is a straight up ass kicking METAL band and I’m very proud of it. ScreamKing is
classic heavy metal band in the vein of King Diamond, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. I worked with Joe, the singer, on a
couple tracks in the studio and have known him for a couple of years, we’ve stayed in contact and just really get along and see things the same way.

We all heard of the history of bands on tour, any amusing stories from the road?

 Kurt: Hmmmmm well besides the typical cliche drunken hotel debauchery, I used to smash my bass on the stage at the end of every show, not to the point where I would destroy it, but I’d give the body a couple good whacks into the stage. This one night, we were playing in Chicago at the Double Door, had a killer show, sounded great, the crowd was really into it, good energy, so I for what ever reason smashed the bass a few times and then rammed the
headstock into the stage, it ended up going through the flooring of the stage and sticking. All the lights went down
on stage except for one, and it was shining on my bass with the headstock stuck into the stage, like a sword. An
Excaliber moment is what we called it.

If you could be a performer in any musical period what would it be?

Kurt: the 70’s

Why the 70’s? That happens to be one of my favorite periods as well.

 Kurt:  For one, the musicianship in the 70’s was incredible, everybody was a master at their chosen instrument. The singers could all sing, no screaming, guitar players smoked with great riffs, leads, solos, there were moving, walking bass lines, and the drummers beat the crap out of their drums and did shit on them that I don’t think many can do today, and with a single kick drum. Second, the songwriting was amazing back then, listen to a classic rock radio station today and I’m blown away by the amount of quality songs that were written by many bands. Classics as we call them. Third, not only did they play and write great songs, they put on a show, they entertained. They looked  like rockstars, the total package. I don’t think you can say that about any other era in music.

I found you iPod under the seat of my car, what kind of surprises am I gonna find on it?

Kurt: There’s a few. Christina Aguilara-Amazing voice, that song “Dirty” the video, WOW! Who didn’t wanna fuck her then? I have some classical music on there, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky. Poison, big into the hair band thing.

What words of advice would you have for the youngster trying to start a band and enter the music world?

Kurt: Write, Write, Write, Practice, Practice, Practice. Focus on the music, the process, the writing. Get around as many other players or “veterans” of the scene and learn as much as you can from them, do’s and don’ts. Shoot for the good clubs or venues and play with those bands. Build some experience and a fanbase. Also, utilize your social media! Facebook, Twitter, Reverbnation, etc….. I didn’t have any of that stuff back when I started, it was pounding the pavement and flyers. Respect what you do, who you do it with. Leave your ego and entitlement attitude at home. No one owes you anything, you have to go out and earn it! Be confident, not cocky, there’s a BIG difference. And last not but least, DON’T BE A DICK TO PEOPLE! I got that tidbit of advice from Rob Blasko, and it’s probably one of the best bits of advice, you’ll go alot farther in the biz if people like you as a person and know you’re not a “rockstar”

With all of the changes and the advent of digital music and social media what are your viewpoints on the music world today?

Kurt: There are so many good bands out there and they are not getting the recognition or credit they deserve. I’m very impressed by how the indie scene rally’s around its own and is making a scene where there is no scene anymore. Thanks to internet radio and social media, those bands are gettin an opportunity now, I just wish it was on a bigger, broader scale. The corporate music world has circled the wagons so to speak, if you’re in the circle, you’re very lucky and bands wanna stay there, there is no risk taking anymore by record companies due to the economy and state of the music biz. Record companies are closing down, getting rid of positions. streamlining their operations. The bands, promoters, booking agents, venues, everybody needs to work together and get rid of
this me me me mentality. I think bands now are putting out some of the best music in a long time. Every album that comes out now is a homerun in my opinion, putting the fans first and giving them what they want and pay their hard-earned money to see and listen to.The indie scene is going to be the catalyst for the next great movement in the music business. Everyone keeps fighting and fighting hard and remember who we do this for and why we do it. \m/\m/ 

Check out Die Hard Til Death “The Will”

Thanks Kurt! Appreciate the time from your busy schedule. Be sure and check Kurt out at the following sites:

http://www.facebook.com/DieHardTillDeath

http://www.diehardtilldeath.com/

http://www.facebook.com/screamkingmetal

the Hellion

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