Endo: No Crimps in These Pimps!
J. Gordon
9/23/2003 9:12:48 PM

"This experience [Ozzfest 2003] is definitely out of hand"

I walked into Endo’s tour bus party, post-Ozzfest 2003 performance in St. Louis, open to anything. Initially I was all set to interview bass player Zelick, but finding him in the madness was a trick. Half-dressed girls packed against the walls, mobbing (in a good way) vocalist Gil Bitton and guitarist Eli Parker. More random partyers were sprawled across the floor, as Zelick wound his way unsteadily through the melee, shook my hand and stumbled. He slurred over the loud music, “Very nice to meet you. Can I get you a beer or something? Oh man, I’m a little too drunk. Why don’t you talk to Joe?”

Good enough. Joe Eshkenazi may just be one of the most competent percussion wasters in metal today, as well as a skillful conversationalist. Now the question was…where would we chat? The only unoccupied spot in the band…amazingly… was the waterbed in the back room. So there we went, with a friend or two in tow so nothing looked too kinky. Not that that would shock anyone at this party.

Joe says Endo’s success has been easy to monitor over the Ozzfest 2003 tour. They’ve sold a ton of records on the strength of their ass-kicking, bloodthirsty performances, and it hasn’t hurt that they’ve also picked up some of Korn’s off-dates on the main stage.

Endo's 2001 debut, Evolve [Sony], kicked a hole in the speakers of rock with critical raves and an instant fanbase. In 2003, the Miami foursome ignited another gritty wake-up call with their follow-up, Songs For The Restless, an album that, as their bio says justly, “ventures for no less than rock revolution.”

The St. Louis Ozzfest crowd responded to Endo probably with more enthusiasm than any other band on the side stage. These fans are the foaming-at-the-mouth, need-to-be-chained-up-kind-of-rabid that feels simultaneously dangerous and attractive. You don’t want to get too close because you know you won’t come back the same. Man, this stuff is contagious. So what does the band think of a passion this ferocious?

“I’ve never had a problem with a fan,” he admits. “Sometimes, you know, they can get a little uh, aggressive. In the small venues with oversold crowds, then I’ll get a little worried. Then it’s not safe to cruise around or whatever.”

“We’ve done some great tours—Static X, Sepultura, Megadeth…but at this scale, Ozzfest is most consistently large crowds. These kids are hearing music all day. For them to come pick us out against all this competition is awesome!”

Even more awesome may be that the kids crowded in for Endo, body against body, and moshing fiercely in the hundred-plus degree furnace of a St. Louis summer afternoon.

“I played twenty minutes and I thought I was gonna pass out. Imagine the kids standing out there since nine in the morning!” Joe groaned empathetically, stretching out across the bed in the welcome air-conditioning and sipping on a beer. His facial piercings look like they are forming little glistening beads of condensation. He’s wearing all black: black t-shirt, black jeans, and of course his black hair on this blistering hot day. He performed in a similar get-up, and after thrashing so hard on those drums, you wonder how the guy is still standing. Oh wait, he’s not.

“This experience [Ozzfest 2003] is definitely out of hand,” Joe said. “We’re just not used to it. There’s so many people. We’re not used to getting up before noon, let alone 7 a.m., but we have to rise that early every day because they start doing soundchecks at 7:30.”

So, does that put a crimp in your rock star life?
“Naw, it just flips it all around is all it does,” he says with a naughty smile.

Word on the street is that Endo is shooting the video for “Simple Lies” with Theodore Lederman, the same guy who did the video for "Suffer". So, to quote Zelick on the message board, “you know it will look pimp!”


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