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Jeff Loomis (Nevermore)

Interview with Jeff Loomis from Nevermore
by Yiannis Mitsakos at 28 June 2001, 2:00 AM

During the sound check before an amazing live gig, we had the chance to have a long chat with Jeff Loomis, Nevermore guitarist and an amazing down-to-earth guy. Read about what he had to say on their brilliant latest album Dead Heart In A Dead World, UFOs, Nevermore lyrics and much, much more!

First of all I would like to welcome you to Greece.

Thank you very much.

Since we are from an internet ezine I would like you to tell me your opinion about the Internet.

(laughs) I just think that, you know, I recently got in and it’s very addictive some times!

Addictive? In what ways?

Well you know I think at first it’s very addictive but then the effect wears off after a while and it gets a bit boring. So now I just get in to look at our website a few times and send e-mails to my friends.

And your opinion about MP3s?

Meaning the whole Napster thing?


My opinion on that is like… I really don’t think it’s right for them to put the whole albums on it. I think it’s ok if they put two or three songs. I mean for example when we hadn’t got done recording our latest album Dead Heart In A Dead World like…one day after we were done doing it, the whole album was on! It kinda pisses me off and it’s not very right! I do use Napster myself sometimes just to check out a few songs but I’m always going to buy the album.

So you are ok if they use it for purposes of evaluating an album?

I think so, yeah. That’s what I usually do.

 Let’s talk about your new album. How are the sells going?

It’s the best selling album till today. I can’t believe it. It’s getting always number ones everywhere and stuff, it’s like… I don’t know… It’s not like we tried to write music only to sell. We were very lucky, we were working very long time you know to try to make things happen and I think it’s all finally coming together for us. I am also noticing that the crowd has become bigger from the last time. It’s incredible how much bigger it got!

 Do you think it has a less darker feeling than your previous release?

I don’t know, there are a lot of changes that we made in the album. Number one, we changed producers. We always used to have a guy called Neil Kernon but we decided to go for a guy by the name of Andy Sneap, who has done work with Testament and Stuck Mojo. And we also decided to go for a lower tuning on the guitars. Which makes it much darker for us, as well. So yeah, I think it’s probably the heaviest sounding album till now.

Is it true that the previous producer said that he wasn’t pleased with Dreaming Neon Black?

I am not sure exactly what his opinion was. I’ve never heard what it was, but I’m sure that Neil would like it. He got a little bit disappointed that he didn’t work with us again. But I think it’s very important for bands to progress in different ways as you’re going on with the stepping stones of the music bussiness. I think it is important that we always had a different sound in each album. We decided not to use Neil Kernon again. We didn’t want the songs to resemble the previous ones.

 Since Dreaming Neon Black some changes took place in the band…

Tim Calvert left…

Yeah, he helped a lot in music writting. Do you think this had an effect to the band and its music?

Not really. Of course some of his style isn’t there anymore, but I mean it’s all like you have to make changes with the band and you have to keep on doing what you do, you know. Right now what we decided to do is to stay as a four piece. What we do is hiring a musician for the tours that we do. His name is Curran Murphy, he is at a local band in Seattle and at his free time he can tour with us, so it works for us very well.

Any plans for a regular member?

I don’t think so, because we just had so much bad luck in the past. You know, holding on to a fifth member. So we decided to stick to the original four piece. Like we were in the first album. It makes things a lot easier that way.

 So you feel it’s better for you to keep the numbers low…

I don’t know, we always seemed to have a problem with holding on to a fifth member…

 The reasons he left?

He just got fed up with this music bussiness and money is also involved in, I think. He just got tired of it. He was doing it for a long time, he recently got married and he just wanted to settle down, you know.

 Any plans for a the future? A new album?

A new album? God, I don’t know. We are gonna be touring so much, man. We have an american tour with Opeth, and then after that we’re supposed to go to South America and Japan. So we’re not gonna be back in the studio till sometime next fall.

 A live album perhaps?

Not right now, we don’t have any plans for doing one, but probably in the future.

What do you think about Dave Mustaine?

Dave Mustaine? Haven’t seen him for a long time. I was 16 and we were back in L.A. to audition for Megadeth. I also know that he worked with Sanctuary. My opinion when I met him was that he is a very cool guy. I don’t know, I think it would be very cool to work sometime with him in the future. I did a little hang up with him at the audition that I did. Maybe we will have a chance to work with him for just another album or something.

How’s the tour with Annihilator and Soilwork? How are you doing with the members of these bands?

Everybody got along great! I am very big fan of Soilwork, so you can imagine how much of a pleasure it’s to be everyday with these guys. And I am very lucky to watch their show every night. I am a big fan of these guys.

 Are there any bands you would like to tour with? Besides the ones you have already been with?

Let me think about that… I am a fan of Meshuggah from Sweden. I would like to meet these guys.

 Tell me about your influences in music. Any classic bands besides metal?

Yeah! I was brought up with tones and tones of different styles of music. My dad brought me up with bands like Queen and the Doobie Brothers. I don’t just listen to metal actually. I try to keep my eyes open, you know… Otherwise everything starts sounding the same. I am also a big fan of classical music and Jazz and stuff like that. It keeps your mind more open.

 So you like classic music. Would you like to do a project, perhaps with an orchestra? Seems to be a great fashion lately…

I don’t know yet, maybe doing soundtracks for movies or something.

 If you did a soundtrack which movie would you like to orchestrate?

That’s a good question. I mean, I don’t really know. I have to see the movie first, ’cause you actually watch it before you write the music for it.

 Any specific kind of movies you prefer? I mean horror movies or something…

Yeah, horror movies…

 Science fiction?

Something like that, science fiction, anything like that!

 So, your favorite movie would be a science fiction I guess?

Yeah, I am a big fan. One of my all times favorite is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I love that movie! Anything with UFOs you know…

 Do you believe in UFOs?

Do I? Yes, I believe! I don’t know anyone who had a personal experience with UFOs but I have really read a lot about it.

 So, are you searching on the Internet for things like that?

No, not lately, I am too busy for that.

 (laughs) Oh, not lately. So, how about the show tonight?

It’s a sold out show, and I think tommorow might be sold out as well.

 \[note: there were as much people waiting for a ticket in vain, as the ones already inside. Both days!]

Probably we will give the best shows of the whole tour. I know that we have a lot of fans here in Greece and we are looking forward to play for them tonight. I am very excited!

 What do you think about the American public? Do you think they appreciate Nevermore’s music as much as the European one? What about the crowd’s reactions in live gigs?

It’s much different here. Things are getting a lot better in Europe. People love classic heavy metal. Kind of things like these, you know. In the States it’s more like what people actually see on MTV, so it’s like being forced to these kids, but I think in Europe kids have their roots that they don’t forget. Iron Maiden and stuff like this.I respect that man ’cause it seems they are never going to lose their taste for music.

What’s your opinion about all this Nu-Metal? The MTV Metal?

Some of it is ok. I’m just not that much of a fan of it. I prefer to listen to the other primitive metal (laughs)

 You think they do this kind of music because they love it or because it’s on MTV and it brings loads of money?

Yeah, I think it’s because it is on MTV and it’s being forced down on peoples’ throats! Of course if you are seeing these every day, how are you gonna stop from actually starting to like it?American kids are actually watching too much Music Television. It would be cool if they had more other metal channels to watch as well. We do have one channel actually, it’s called MTVX. And they play a lot of different kind of music that’s not only Korn and things like that. They play Iron Maiden, Coroner…

 Would you ever consider doing a mainstream metal album? The kind that you wouldn’t like so much but you would be certain it would sell more?

I would never do anything like that. Because we have always tried to be true to our fans with the music that we do and I think fans really start getting more and they are the ones that keep us together. So we have to be honest with them and write music that comes from our hearts!

 In what ways do you think that Nevermore lyrics affect your fans?

I think it affects a lot of people really differently. I mean most of the lyrics that Warrel is writting is from his own personal diary. A lot of personal emotions and feelings. I am kinda the guy that writes the music. You know what I am saying? They are very personal to him and I think that people that read his lyrics would probably lay to some matter to what he is thinking. A lot of people have asked tones of questions about that to figure out what he is saying. It is a very personal thing…

Do you think that they would bring someone to a state of being so melancholic to the point of taking his own life?

No, no way.

 I just use the example of what happened in some place in USA when Metallica released Fade to Black and were accused of making people commiting suicide. And it was just one song… Do you think to some minds it would get so much into, that they would actually consider that?

No, I don’t think so. You know after he writes a lot of depressing stuff, there is always some factor at the end of the song that brings the person up again. It is like falling and then coming back to life again. A lot of songs are like that.

 Something for all your fans around the world.

Yeah, I just wanna thank everybody for spending time to listen to our new album. We will probably see everybody in the world very soon, because we are going to do a lot of touring. And I just wanted to say thanks to all our fans!

 Thanks a lot Jeff, take care!

You too man.

(many thanks to Maria)


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