From Autumn to Ashes to Insanity: an interview with Brian Deneeve
By
Katelin Healy
1/28/2007 8:04:26 PM

"I think…except for the lack of bathing, I think everything’s pretty good. I mean I manage to get drunk constantly…"

In just the past couple years; From Autumn to Ashes has packed in more troubles and stress than many bands experience in an entire career. Their career, four albums and a lot of tours, has seen plenty of pinnacles and turned this band of kids into serious musicians. FATA has a signature style, and the loyal fan base to prove that it works. The vocals are always a partnership of clear melody and heavy screaming to create a metalcore sound. FATA showed no sign of slowing down until the distance and actions of lead singer Benjamin Perri steered them straight into a serious problem.

First, there was dangerous miscommunication concerning the writing responsibilities for their 2005 release, Abandon Your Friends. Perri promised he had written lyrics to the songs already written by the rest of the band, but to the horror of bandmates, Perri supplied nothing when it came time to record. Such a stressful and angry recording lead to a distancing but needed five-month hiatus to let everyone cool their jets before touring again.

When the summer of 2006 came into view, Vans Warped Tour seemed extremely intimidating to a band that was on the rocks, if not already drowning. However, Warped Tour was a complete success and, finally inspired, FATA slid back into their normal routine. Sadly, Perri failed to make practices and meetings and gradually pulled the band back down into conflict and confusion yet again. Ultimately, Perri left the band and Francis Mark, drums/vocals stepped up to fill Perri’s spot permanently.

For the fans of FATA, this abrupt change puts their love and loyalty on the line, and all hopes rest on the band’s promise of greatness in the new record, Holding A Wolf By The Ears due in early 2007. With a new leader and new-found resolve to win back respect, From Autumn to Ashes has the chance of a lifetime to make a real comeback.
Though the recent past of FATA has been bleak, it is impossible to find traces of such negativity in the hilarious wit, and winning personality of guitar player Brian Deneeve.

With the band doing so well on the Warped stage, Brian was all smiles for our questions. The conversation below contains no ominous foreshadowing but only a continuous stream of jokes which made him extremely hard to interview only because it was so hard to stop laughing in time to ask the next question and keep professional. Such an enjoyable conversation made the fierce reality of the band’s current status even more of a shock.

As if it were an early sign that this interview would be more than interesting, as he sat down he exclaimed, “I need a drink,” and inquired if there were any margaritas around.

It only gets better, read through his summer highlights, (guaranteed to surprise every reader) his take on band competition, what kind of priest he would be, and how MySpace is changing the way we buy, listen to and reward music today:

NT: This is Brian, guitar player of From Autumn To Ashes. How’s the tour going?”

“The tour is going…fabulous.”

NT: So you are probably feeling like a veteran at this point?

“Feelin like it, feeling like it’s about that time to start winding down.”

NT: What’s been a highlight?

“A highlight …I’d say, right now. This, this room, right now is the highlight.

NT: Talking to me?

“Talking to you is the highlight of my summer…that, and I saw a girl with enormous breasts crush beer cans with them …yeah.

NT: Really? That’s impressive!

“And then, without hands, use those enormous breasts to pour a beer into a friend of mine’s mouth.”

NT: Without hands?

“No hands.”

NT: How is that possible?

“I have it on video, I’ll show you. It’s fantastic…”

NT: I guess, what? She used her arms to…?

“I…these, these things are so bulbous, I think that’s the only word to, to…to use to describe”

NT: He’s stuttering!

“Yeah you know it’s just…wow. But that, and this right here, talking to you, are the highlights of my summer.”

NT: Well I can’t compete in the breast department but…

(Continuing to tease) “Don’t sell yourself short, come on…”

NT: What has been the worst aspect of the work?

“I don’t really know. I think…except for the lack of bathing, I think everything’s pretty good. I mean I manage to get drunk constantly…and Amanda (a manager nearby) she encourages my drinking. There really isn’t too much except for the lack of showering and stuff”

NT: And the heat…

“And the heat, yeah and sun, the outdoors. I’m really not a fan of any of those things.”

NT: Which is ...the whole Warped tour.

“Yeah, yeah so I’ve actually had a horrible summer …(laughing a bit more) no, its just a good time overall I think.”

NT: It doesn’t seem like bands are too competitive with each other.

“No, no, no not at all. I think a couple of the older bands might be a little cranky and might say some not so nice things about some of the younger bands because they really have nothing left to hold onto except some bad haircuts and some terrible clothes and really not so good music, but other than that I wouldn’t say it’s a competitive thing. I think its more of a…I think insanely jealous might be a term to use? Of a better looking, younger, you know, more fit.”

NT: Well they’ve been at it for a long time.

“I respect that they still do it, I just think if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it or if you say it, say it offstage.

NT: Has anyone targeted Autumn to Ashes that way?

“No, no people know better than that! They don’t wanna deal with me!”

NT: You’re quite the bad ass…

“Yeah, yeah, big bad ass. No, just in general I’ve kinda been picking up that vibe but who cares? Everyone’s here for the same reason and that’s to get liquored up and screw.”

NT: A man who speaks honestly!

“I’m on drugs right now. I’ll say that out loud! I’ll turn the press room into a circus! I haven’t screwed at all. I haven’t screwed any women, I’ve got twelve dudes with me…but I’m not afraid to try something new a few times you know….”

NT: This is of my more humorous interviews for sure!

“Good because I’m not telling the truth about anything so, it’s okay.”

NT: So, if you were not a rockstar what would you be doing right now?

“Uhh I’d probably be in the priesthood…but I’d be like one of those dirty priests. Not necessarily touching kids, but you know, at least having bad thoughts. But I wouldn’t do anything wrong! I’d be one of the guys that they find his porn collection and then get in trouble for that, I wouldn’t take it too far. As we’ve seen I haven’t had luck touching girls on this tour let alone you know…and I’m not even a priest!

NT: So you would be the Pee Wee Herman of religion?

“Correct. Yes, the Pee Wee Herman of the Cloth, if you will.”

NT: Give me a little known fact about From Autumn To Ashes…

“A little known fact…oh yes, the singer and I, we are part-time lovers…me and Benjamin Perri, not only do we live together. We also, cross the hall a few times you know. He’s a gentle lover, he’s kinda like a bear, a gentle lover. I’m a little man you know?”

NT: We’ll post this all over MySpace and purevolume…

“Get it up there!”

NT: Speaking of MySpace and purevolume what do you think they have done for your career?

“I think my career had already pinnacled and was on its way down by the time MySpace and purevolume really hit big, but I think there might be a slight revival because of MySpace. You go out there and do your thing and you say hey, check us out on MySpace and all the kids are lovin MySpace these days. I like to get girls the old fashioned way by taking them out to a bar and getting them wasted. Oh we were talking about the band right? Not my personal uh…methods of acquiring females. I think it’s definitely the downfall of music as we know it, because there is really no point in making music anymore and doing it the hard way. There are bands, probably some on this tour actually, that probably have never even played a show before they had a gold record because of that stuff. That kinda bums me out, it makes me feel old to say it but I remember our first tour we had to steal food from grocery stores to eat because we were literally starving. And now these kids are…”

NT: And what year was that?

“That’d be six years ago, back in the old days…. closer to the 90s (a little laugh) but I guess it’s good? I guess.”

NT: But there was something to be said for popping into someone’s old van and hoping it made it to the next city kind of touring.

“Right, right exactly!”

NT: And now so much of it is online that no one necessarily has to leave their basement!

“Exactly! That’s what I mean, you could sell 100,000 records before you even play your first show now and that really blows my mind.”

NT: But do they really sell? I mean so much of it is just free traded too.

“Yeah but I think there is such a large volume of music, it’s so easy to hear music now, like kids don’t have to go out and look for it. It’s there, it’s thrown at you and every idiot kid with a band, whoever decides to pick up a guitar, not necessarily learn how to play that instrument, can get himself a good haircut and put his picture up on MySpace and the next thing you know you’re on the guy from Fall Out Boy’s label and you’re making tons of money and you’re seventeen years old and you don’t know shit about shit.”

NT: And bands are getting younger and younger…

“Yeah! Exactly and that bums me out too because they don’t know how to party! They don’t know to drink, they don’t know how to get fucked up… you know, rock and roll! You know I go to the dressing rooms at shows now and it’s everyone sitting around on their MySpace! I’d like to think of you know… half-dead hookers, drugs all over, love the heroin, love it. People don’t even smoke cigarettes anymore! What the hell’s wrong with that? I’m making up for it!! I’m gonna smoke twice as much!”

NT: Can I ask how old you are?

“I’m 25.”

NT: You’re hardly an old man!

“I’ve been doing this since… I’ve been doing this a long time though you know?

Amanda: (still standing nearby) “Trust me, since he was seventeen he’s known how to party.”

“But when I was seventeen I lived in a crack house! No joke lived in a crack house when I was 17, so …partying? Yeah I got it...I know how to do that.”

NT: Wow, so what do you want the Nighttimes.com readership to know about your band? I think we know everything about you at this point.


“Right, yeah, good point. I think our band, well we are doing a record and it will be the best music yet written in the history of the western world.”

NT: Wow! That’s a big claim!

“Yeah well it’s….it’s true, its gonna be fantastic.”

NT: So the Beatles White album?…..The Beach Boys’ Petsounds?

“Close…close but no cigar.”

NT: Chuck Berry?

“Yeah, I mean, all on the right track, all really kinda getting there but…close but no cigar boys, back to the drawing board right? There’s a new sheriff in town.”

NT: Well that’s an excellent way to close this interview!

“Fair enough! Thank you!”

If Autumn to Ashes have a guy like Brian on board, fans have little to worry about. Behind all that wit and opinion is a whole lot of passion. Maybe it’s not passion for Bible verses and the sober life, but pick any track off an FATA album and you’ll see where all that passion goes. After all, isn’t the bad boys we find most intriguing? Brian is just another guy sold completely on the high of rock and roll, insane sometimes and yet, it makes sense all the sense in the world.

 

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