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Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan)

Interview with Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan
by Katrina Cannon at 09 September 2005, 10:38 AM

The Dillinger Escape Plan is one of my all time favorite Hardcore Metal bands, so it was a definite honor to be able to finally meet and interview with them. I've seen Dillinger perform more than any other band. This tour was extraordinary because of the diverse lineup of superior Metal bands. Even though I unfortunately missed Dillinger play due to the unknown early start time of the show, it was still awesome to speak with Greg Puciato (singer) and get answers to some of the questions I've had for years and to learn about their plans for a new album.

How do you feel about being on this Gigantour with Megadeth, Dream Theater and Fear Factory?

Those bands are definitely legendary bands. Megadeth’s Rust In Peace was one of my favorite albums ever when I was younger. Like when I was in middle school I used to draw their name all over my notebooks. So it’s definitely weird that we’re even playing a show with those guys, it’s such a huge thing. But on the same hand, it’s also really an odd duck type of feeling because we know that we’re the band that a lot of the other bands are probably like what the fuck is this band doing on this tour? Then when people come to see Megadeth and Dream Theater they’re probably like what the fuck is this, this guy hardly even sings, they’re jumping around on stage, they don’t have long hair. They probably don’t know what to think of us, they probably think we’re gay (Laughs).

So I don’t know, it’s fun, we just want to be able to get in front of people we haven’t played in front of before whether it be old or young. We just went from The Warped Tour and playing in front of a bunch of 15 year olds five days ago to now playing in front of 50 year olds.

How did The Warped Tour go?

It was actually really good, it was the first time that we opened for somebody in the United States in the last 5 years. We’ve been constantly doing headlining or co-headlining tours and it was a good opportunity to get in front of a lot of young impressionable kids. We really don’t have a lot of opportunities to get in front of the 14 or 15 year old like Thrice kids or My Chemical Romance kids. Like a lot of those kids don’t know about us and it’s pretty much next to impossible for us to get in front of them because we don’t have videos in rotation on shows that those kids watch like TRL.

I feel like The Warped Tour is the new Ozzfest for young kids. It was huge, some of the shows were like 15-20 thousand people and they were all young as opposed to Ozzfest where like half the people are like 50 years old and they would probably hate what we were doing. At least with these kids they’re young enough to where they haven’t totally formed an opinion yet on what they think is cool or not cool.

Are there any really interesting moments from The Warped Tour?

We almost got kicked off of the tour every single day. On the first day I almost got arrested for hitting a kid with my microphone stand (Laughs). They tried to arrest me for assault and the kid was like No, I’m ok, I’m not hurt ,don’t arrest him, so we just gave him a bunch of t-shirts. Then pretty much everyday it was a variation of that. Like one day we breathed fire and people freaked out and was like you’re gonna get kicked off if you breath fire and another day this industrial fan was thrown into the crowd at some point. I don’t know if we’re ever gonna be asked back to play, I’d like to though.

Your music has changed dramatically since Calculating Infinity (1999). What drove you in the direction you went?

I feel like specifically Ben \[Weinman - guitarist] and Chris \[Pennie - drummer] are the two main writers. We toured for Calculating Infinity for a total of like 5 years and we were playing those songs over and over every night. So I think they got tired of hearing that all we were capable of doing was like playing really hard to play stuff really fast. That’s like all we were was a one trip pony, like we’re just gonna play stuff that nobody can understand, like it’s a bunch of noise and we play it real fast. They were like ok, let’s maybe write some actual songs or let’s use some things like melody or more dynamics that we haven’t done before just to challenge ourselves. Because they could write a million Calculating Infinity’s, it’s not really a big challenge for them, it’s actually more of a challenge to write traditional songs in a way, but it’s not to say that what we’re gonna do in the future.

Like we have 3 or 4 songs written for the next album and they’re way crazier than anything on Calculating Infinity. So, I mean, I think maybe now that we’ve done this we’re gonna try to go back and do what we did on Calculating Infinity and push it a little bit further, so maybe a bunch of the new kids who are like Dillinger are getting mellower maybe then they’ll be like oh shit, we never saw this coming either.

Yeah, your music kind of changed from then to when Mike Patton joined for Irony Of A Dead Scene and thenMiss Machine (2004)  came out and you can definitely hear a lot of different influences.

Right, we just want to keep people off guard. I feel like the second someone can predict what you’re gonna do is the second when you’re not in a very artistic position. Then you’re kind of obligated to do that, like if someone said this is what this band is supposed to do like with Slayer, they’re only allowed to be Slayer and The Beastie Boys are only allowed to be The Beastie Boys. Like if they tried to do something different at this point in their careers people would be like you’re not allowed to do this. I think early on you have to establish that you’re not gonna be anything that people think you are.

When can we expect a new album?

We are shooting for September of 2006. We wanted our last album to come out in 2003 but it came out in 2004, so you can’t really be sure. I know that right now we have way more of a head start on this next album than we did on Miss Machine. At this point in the game when we were touring for Calculating Infinity and we had a lot of loose parts for Miss Machine, we didn’t have any cohesive songs, it was just like every part was just lying around and then later on we figured out how they fit in with one another. Right now we have like 3 or 4 songs finished, so as soon as we have a nice block of time off which, we’re anticipating taking off a lot of spring like March, April, May, and June, hopefully we’ll finish it and record it and have it out by September of next year. We really don’t want to wait that long.

Last time it didn’t necessarily take so long because we were fucking around and not working that hard because we had that Mike Patton thing happen and it got so much more attention than we thought it was going to. We knew people were gonna be like cool, you got to work with Mike Patton but for us it created so many opportunities and in other parts of the world especially, like where Mike Patton and Faith No More are still huge. Like in Australia, France, and Europe, it almost like quadrupled ever since in all these weird places. We just kept having to tour there over and over again, which was good for us but bad for people who were waiting for a new album because it just took up all of our time. But now we’re stopping touring no later than like February of next year to work on the album.

I’ve always wanted to know, what is the story being the name The Dillinger Escape Plan? I mean I know, obviously, it’s related to John Dillinger but how did you come up with that?

There’s no real fascination with John Dillinger. Like with these guys, I know they had a show booked before they had a band name and the promoter was like we need a name I wanna make flyers for the show. Our old bass player was watching a show on John Dillinger and they mentioned the name John Dillinger’s escape plan and he was just like let’s call it The Dillinger Escape Plan. It was kind of silly, I don’t even think that it was supposed to be the real name, they just used it at the time almost like a joke and it ended up sounding original. I don’t think that it’s a name to where if you heard it once you’d necessarily remember but if you heard it twice you’d know that you’ve heard it before. Its pretty uncommon sounding, it’s pretty ambiguous, it’s nothing Metal sounding or Hardcore or anything like that.

Your album Miss Machine was named Album Of The Year by PLUG. How do you feel about that?

It’s definitely an honor for anyone to think that it is. It’s hard for us to listen to that album and think very highly of it because we just hear all the things that we should have done differently. I think from the second we finished it, everybody was thinking of things that they wish they would have changed or they wished they had done differently. I think that’s kind of the way it always is with anything that you do.

It’s neat that it did receive so much critical acclaim, we never really expected it. We thought that a lot of people were gonna hate it just because they already maybe thought that Calculating Infinity was all that we were ever going to do, but it’s cool that people like it.

What about the fact that your Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants video is being in the Top 10 for two consecutive months on MTV?

That is really weird, I don’t know what to say to that. It’s kind of more scary to me than anything because almost in a weird way I don’t really want our videos to do that well because I’m afraid that tons of people are gonna come see us knowing us for only that one song and when they buy the album they’re gonna realize that there’s a lot of other shit on there that’s crazy. But we’re hoping that maybe that one song is enough of like a gateway that people can ease into it like they can hear that song then buy the album then hear the rest of it and maybe over time get into it.

I really just don’t want to be caught in a situation like for example, you had mentioned Faith No More, there were a lot of people out there that thought Faith No More was a Rap Metal band just because of Epic and it turned out they had so much more to offer. I’m sure they got really sick of having to play that song and having people expect them to Rap and jump around like Anthony Keidis \[Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist] all the time.

I had mentioned Mike Patton because with your vocals on Miss Machine, they go from yourself to something similar to Patton to even Trent Reznor, I just hear so many different styles and influences.

That’s awesome, thank you, that means a lot because we really try hard not to let ourselves be one thing all the time, so that’s definitely nice to hear.

I know there’s one on Miss Machine but are there any plans for an actual live DVD?

Yep, we actually have one that’s close to being done. We have 2 in our contract just in case anybody wondered, so we will definitely have 2 in the future just because when we signed with Relapse Records we agreed that we would give them 2. The first one is pretty much almost finished, we have so much video between all of us and we’re constantly having people coming up to us with videos of shows and we try to accumulate as much as we can. So we have so much stuff now that we really don’t know what to do with it, it’s just a matter of sitting down and sifting through it, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be out by the end of the year.

What bands do you listen to the most?

While we’re on tour, I usually accumulate new music because I meet so many people in the other bands and I’m just like can I look through your I-Pod and steal some albums (Laughs), so I’ll get like 100 new albums that I’ve never heard before. But, we usually listen to stuff that puts us in a good mood like Def Leppard or stuff that we used to listen to when we were kids. When we go out and play, it’s so aggressive and violent, there’s so much screaming and jumping around and just so much negativity that I don’t feel the real need to listen to that type of music when I’m not playing, it just drains me,  kind of. I can’t even tell you the last thing I really listened to, I’ve been trying to read a lot of just get prepared to write new lyrics.

Besides working on the upcoming album, what are Dillinger’s plans for after this tour?

We’re going out with Unearth and A Life Once Lost for a couple of weeks after this tour. Then I think we have a lot of the rest of the year off like most of November and December and then we’re gonna go out in January and February. We’re just excited to write again. We wrote a lot of these Miss Machine songs a long time ago or for us it seems like a long time ago. Some of those songs that were written first were written in like 2003 and late 2002 which was 3 years ago, so we’re excited to move past that and work on the new album.

Any last words?

For the people that waited so long for us to get Miss Machine out, it won’t be such a long wait next time and thanks for the support us and staying interested.


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