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James Gnarwell (Bison B.C.)

Interview with James Gnarwell from Bison B.C.
by Harry Papadopoulos at 12 May 2010, 3:05 PM

When I first listened to the first notes of BISON B.C. latest album “Dark Ages”, I felt like I was hit by a live bison! So, I was sure that an interview with the band would definitely be interesting. I sent an e mail to James Gnarwell (guitar, vocals) and below are his answers. I hope to see you on tour man, and drink a couple of beers. Oh, and Stokosaurus will surely destroy the Earth and then extinct… and B.C. may stand for “Beer Cans”. Who knows…

Hi there James. First of all, congratulations for you new album “Dark Ages”. The album really kicks ass! Where are you right now?
We are driving from boulder Colorado to TempeArizona. It’s late and we are drinking beers and listening to “Lonesome Crow” by SCORPIONS. It’s awesome, except for the 15 hour drive.

Since this is the first time that you are giving an interview to METAL TEMPLE, can you tell us the story of BISON B.C. so far?
Wow, that’s a long one… We started in late 2006 then got drunk and wrote “Earthbound”, then got a deal with Metal Blade and got drunker and wrote “Quiet Earth”, then got drunken-er and wrote “Dark Ages”. All the while touring and meeting awesome people between writing those albums. And in to the future we go…

How come you named the band from this huge mammal? Is it because you want to describe the power and heaviness of you music? And, by the way, I know that you put the B.C. just because there are other bands named BISON, but what does it stands for?
The B.C. doesn’t stand for shit! It’s just legal bullshit so that we don’t get sued. It’s actually silent, but you can make something up for it…. Like “beer crushers”, or “brutal crucial”, or “but cake”, whatever man. And yeah, bisons are huge and hairy, like us.

A few days ago your second album “Dark Ages” hit the stores. What is the feedback from the press and the people that have listened the album so far?
People seem to dig it, which is cool. Because I thought everyone would hate it, it’s a little different from our previous attempts. A little more commitment is needed, but people are taking the time and really getting it… that’s cool. I mean, you write this stuff for yourself, and when some other peeps like it, well, that’s just gravy. This band is therapy for me man, if some other folks dig it, well, great. Oh, and it’s our third album… just so you know.

If you were working at a music store and a guy is asking you who BISON B.C. are and what they sound like, what would you say to convince him to buy the album,?
They sound depressing. And will make you feel uncomfortable…hopefully.

Correct me if I’m wrong but in this album you sound like your influences are BLACK SABBATH, HIGH ON FIRE and blues. Am I wrong or did I missed anything?
Our influences are the three ‘b’s’… BLACK SABBATH, BLACK FLAG and blast. I like the blues… shit is a downer these days, we got the blues. HIGH ON FIRE are nice dudes…

Where do you spot the differences between your first album “Quiet Earth” and your latest one, “Dark Ages”
We spent more time on song arrangement as a band. Personally I spent more time on lyric writing, and vocal delivery. I wrote more from the heart more honestly. And this time around I didn’t think about whether people would like it. I stopped caring about that, its all from my heart and fuck everyone else… no offense.

Are there any other organs expect the typical ones? I’m asking you this because I can listen to something that doesn’t sound like a guitar at some parts.
There is piano, organ, French horn and trumpet on the album; could it be one of those? Oh and a cigar box sitar…

James, can you tell us some things about the recordings? Where did they take place, who is the producer… any funny moments?
Jesse Gander recorded it, at the hive in Vancouver and he is a fucking awesome dude, and a genius. He really helped me with vocal arrangement and delivery. Funny moments… well, driving home, wasted, after every session not believing what we were making…

Since your debut album was out in vinyl, are you going to do the same with “Dark Ages”?
Well, we have to figure that out; Metal Blade doesn’t want to do it, so maybe we’ll start our own label?

So you are already on tour with HIGH ON FIRE. How are the things going so far?
Its been awesome! We have been on retard-edly early every night, but people actually come out to watch, its very flattering… it’s been great. Everyone on the tour are friends, it’s been one huge party. Matt Pike showed me street fighting moves… how to break a dudes neck… wow-wuh.

Are there any plans for a tour in Europe? And if yes is it going to be with the same billing?
We are planning to be in Europe for the fall, maybe September. And I don’t know who we will be with, but they will be awesome.

Many great bands come from Canada. Can you tell our readers your favorite one and your favorite album?
Right now, drunk in my van, on the way to TempeArizona, the beginning of a 15 hour drive, I will say it has to be NOMEANSO ‘wrong’. But I have many favorite Canadian bands… I love APRIL WINE, SNFU, SACRIFICE, VOIVOD, THE DOUGHBOYS, PROPAGANDHI, I could go on and on… the TRAGICALLY HIP rule, and BLUE RODEO… wow… on and on. GORDON LIGHTFOOTNEIL YOUNG

Last question for you James. Do you still believe that actually a dinosaur called “Stokosaurus” exists?
Yes! it is us, and we are doomed to extinction. Thanks and see you in the future… peace on earth.


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Edited 27 October 2021

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