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I have been fortunate enough to have known Adam Joad for a while and we have become as brothers in this crazy world. I recently caught up with him and got him to answer a few questions for us. So kick off your boots, grab a cold one, turn up the music and chill with us for a bit.
So, tell us the story of where you come from.
I grew up in Southwestern PA close enough to the Mason Dixon line that I could probably shoot it with a rifle…. Maybe some of my friends and family could, I can’t, I’m not that good of a shot. It’s typical small town Appalachia. I live back this way when I’m not touring now too. It’s a much better fit for me than LA. The meth heads in SoCal were surprised when I pulled my Turkey gun on them when they came banging on my window at 3 AM. LA is a different place, around here when people say something they mean it. If someone tells you they are going to crack you in the head, you better duck, leave or swing first. In Hollywood a dude would threaten you and then go fix their eyeliner in the bathroom while some hipsters in skinny jeans talk about how ironic the situation was. I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just different and one is a better fit for me.
I grew up around music of all kinds from old school country to rock n’ roll. What about young Adam? What were some of your early music experiences that lit your musical fire?
I came from a musical family. My mom was into theater, my dad like surf rock, classic country and classic mo-town. You could go into different rooms in my house when I was growing up and hear different music. It was my brother though. I got a slick Mickey Mouse turntable when I was 3 or 4 and he let me pick any record from his collection and I picked Kiss Alive II. The images were awesome, the music was raw and there was this energy about the album. I had all the words to Dr. Love memorized in a few weeks. By the time I was 5 he taught me the words to “Gimme Three Steps” and I would walk around the house singing it while I played with my Gi-Joes.
What caused you to go from just listening to great music to making great music of your own? Not everybody makes the choice to start playing music.
I started probably later than a lot of people. I was a music fan first and foremost, I still am. I went to shows and watched videos constantly, I’d carry amps for people and all that. I went to college so I could play football. When that was done I had a friend encourage me to do some yelling and jamming with him. After that I ended up in a local punk band. I started singing for them, we went on some epic DIY tours playing places like CBGB and I eventually learned to play the guitar well enough to do rhythms and write music. Once I had the bug it was on. To play and do the stuff I wanted though I had to learn a lot more than I could in punk music so I headed to LA and followed around talented people taking notes and working on my craft. I haven’t had a real job in years.
Making the choice to start a band comes with some interesting stories of early band experiences. Care to share any?
I remember cutting my drummer with my gerber knife on a punk rock tour when were outside the Holland tunnels in New York. I was trying to sleep and I told him if he touched me again I would cut him. I always have a good sharpened USA made knife on me. I think every man should. Anyway, he touched me again and I drew first blood. He flipped shit but the other guys in the band agreed that it was justified since I made it clear what was going to happen if he touched me again. Those were good times. We’re actually close friends still. Sometimes when I get drunk and start waving my knife around in the SH mobile Redd will take it from me and stick it in the ground and make it all dull. It takes me a few days and some sobriety to the edge back on it. Texans know how to handle such situations.
How did your journeys on the twisty, turny musical highways get you to form Scattered Hamlet?
It’s funny I was just discussing this last night with my friends on the Otep Tour. I had quit music and was done with the whole thing and my buddy Ari from Destrophy and Otep told me to bring some ideas and riffs I had to Iowa and he’d show me what I should be doing. He taught me my zone and how to go with my redneckness rather than resist it to fit into some trendy mold. We recorded the three original demos for the band, Shelter, Warning and Shotgun Symphony. We’ve released a new version of Shotgun but the others will probably be on the next album. After that I went back to LA to see if I could find people like me who wanted to take the journey.
What can you tell us about the Hell Riders chapters that support Scattered Hamlet?
Hell Riders are not a motorcycle club. I want to make that clear. They are not 1% er’s and should respect any club’s area when they are out. We have a lot of Biker fans. We don’t represent anyone or anything but ourselves and our music. Hell Rider is a song off our “Hillbilly Harmony” EP which you should buy if you haven’t so I can get McDouble later. Anyway, our fans started calling themselves Hell Riders and started setting up Chapters around the world. They help us spread the message and do guerrilla promotion. It’s pretty flattering and awesome. I started making music to entertain people and to write/record songs that move them the way music has been the sound track to my life. If an SH song becomes the soundtrack of someone’s life, we’re doing something right. So when we see people representing the Hell Riders, getting tattoos with our logo and supporting us, it means a lot to us. Anyone in SH that didn’t think that was special is no longer with us.
I’ve had a few people that have seen Scattered Hamlet live and heard you call yourself the “Appalachian Apostle” and they want to know the story behind that.
One of my friends actually coined that on the “uncountry tour” we did with Jason Charles Miller back in February. We all have nicknames. Like Redd is “The Texan,” Rich is the “Kentucky Assassin” and Jake is the “Irish Thunder.” I’m the apostle of what I know, where my family has been and of our style of hard rock/metal or whatever you call it. If you pay pal me 19.95 I will deliver you some salvation as well and for an additional 19.95 I can solve 99% of non health related problems you may have in your life.
We all know how hard it is to enter the musical world. What advice would you give to young musicians trying to break in the business?
I’m going to cite Erik Kluiber of Gypsyhawk (Metalblade), he also plays with us a lot and we regard him as our extra member and family, anyway, DON’T BE A CIVILIAN. If you are going to make it in music or even do it, you can’t sit in your parents basement and become a shred wizard hoping someone will find you. You can’t play 3 shows in your hometown, sell some tickets to open for a national and then wait around for some guy in a cigar to give you a private jet and a multimillion dollar contract. Good things come to those who work hard. You get what you put in. If you are a weekend warrior, there’s nothing wrong with that but understand you will only get what you put in. If someone else puts in 7 days of week and sets up there life to make it work, they will get further than the folks who play in their home town on Friday and Saturday once a month. We have this fucked up instant gratification society where people think they learn a few chords, start a band, buy some decent gear, make a facebook page and then they get signed and become Metallica. It’s not just about talent or just about the music, it’s about EVERYTHING and most importantly hard work. This lifestyle is uncomfortable. We gave up stability to make it work, if you are keeping stable and just testing the waters, you’re not all in so don’t expect the spoils of what happens when you go all in.
Given all of the hooplah about the death of the music industry What’s your opinion?
I have no opinions on it. It is what it is. It’s not the same as it used to be. People can cry about the good old days or whine that musicians can’t make money and that it’s hard and all that crap. That’s fine, I wish the non believers would get out of the way of the believers. It’s like the Dylan line, “Get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand” – instead of worrying about what’s it’s not, work with what it is. If you don’t want to, find another industry to be a part of and stop bringing other people down. If I listened to everyone who told me I couldn’t do something I’d be nowhere. Far more people are there to put you down than to help. Find good people, work with good people and help good people and good things will happen. There are malignant people in your life, cut them out and get away from them. Surround yourself with positivity.
A lot of people give me shit for some of my musical choices but I stand by what I listen to. What would we find if we looked in your iPod?
There’s a lot of stuff on there that would throw people. Good music comes in all forms. I have the complete Wham and George Michael discography on my iPod, I have Neil Diamond’s box set. I was rocking Cher’s Gypsy Tramps and Thieves on vinyl the other day. I only listen to vinyl at home. I’ve been playing a lot of Kenny Rogers. My favorite “newer” band though is Ghost. It’s Blue Oyster Cult meets Merciful Fate with all the theatrics. I’ll love it. Top notch song writing and performance. Those guys know evil music doesn’t have to be sung like cookie monster. I always tell the metal kids that, evil music is slow and clear. Check out Black Sabbath if you don’t believe me. Oh yeah, screaming a verse and then emoing a whiny melodic chorus while wearing neon shirts and pants that fit like a flood is coming is never metal, that’s a scientifically proven fact. I’m sure Stephen Hawking has an algorithm for it.
I know being on the road has some interesting tales, tell us a story about the road Appalachian Apostle.
I’ll be honest, some aren’t fit for publishing. I will say that many venues that used to give SH and open tab at the bar have stopped doing that when we come through. This may not be the “coolest” road story but the road is a way of life. We meet many amazing people and bands. We’ve been fortunate to have very loyal people watch our shows and we’ve been fortunate to have people in bigger bands really help us out and treat us well. Guys like Texas Hippie Coalition have treated us like family. 12 Stones were great to us this last run – Tenfaly Viper and Mushroomhead have been amazing to us. Tracii Guns was really nice to us. The real folks that are confident in what they do know that we are a small tribe. What you do people will hear about and we all know each other. There have been some bigger bands who have been dicks to us, that’s fine, fuck them. We treat all with respect that treat us with respect. We are what we are and we know what we are. We claim to be nothing else. If people don’t get it, that’s fine. There’s plenty of stuff I don’t get either. What we will always do is put on the same show for 2 people that we do for 2000 or more. Everyone pays the same to get in the door and they deserve the same treatment regardless of how many of them showed up.
There you have it, an insight into the mind of the “Appalachian Apostle” Adam Joad. I love him like a brother and plan to for a long long time. Scattered Hamlet is definitely a band to get to know and enjoy. They treat their fans with respect and take the time to talk with them. Their music is completely enjoyable. Check out a couple of their tracks here:
Thanks Adam we appreciate the time you spent with us in this interview.