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John Slo Maggard (Unearth)

Interview with John ''Slo'' Maggard from Unearth
by Katrina Cannon at 22 June 2005, 1:37 PM

About to begin The Sounds Of The Underground Tour, John Slo Maggard (bass) takes some time while relaxing from a busy schedule to speak with me about Unearth's recent European tour and upcoming album. I was lucky enough to be able to preview the new album and I say get your asses out and pick this up the day it comes out. This is a must read interview, it contains one of the most humorous tour stories ever told and I'm still baffled by the whole thing!

How are things going?

Great, no complaints. We just got back from Europe a couple of days ago. Just taking a little break right now, but everything’s in a good place.

You’ve recently returned from a European tour, how did that go?

It was great. We went out there with Lamb of God and Every Time I Die, they’re already great friends of ours from the past Ozzfests and what not. We had a great time, it was one long party. It was a long flight home, I was still drunk from the night before \[Laughs], but what are you gonna do, that’s the way it is.

On June 25th you will be joining an array of Metal bands on The Sounds of the Underground Tour. How do you feel about playing this tour?

I feel the same way as I did about Ozzfest last year. I’m excited to do it and we already know all of the bands that are on it for the most part. It’s gonna be a good summer full of fun just like last year, just hanging out with your friend, playing some good shows, having a good time. So we’re looking forward to it.

You’re also going to be touring with Ozzfest and The Warped Tour. Is it difficult to have such a heavy tour schedule?

At times it’s difficult, you know. What makes it not difficult is that you are out there with all your friends so it makes it a lot easier to handle, but there’s points where you’re just tired and you want to sleep in your own bed but it’s not gonna happen and you just have to deal with it. So you take the good with the bad and it’s a great time overall, it’s not that bad.

Your new album, The Oncoming Storm, comes out on June 29th. How did the recording go?

Actually, it’s a re-release of what we put out last summer. We just put a couple of extra bonus tracks on it. Basically it’s just old songs from old albums that we re-recorded just as a bonus.

I could be wrong, but The Oncoming Storm seems to be anger fueled, especially lyrically. Is there a particular meaning in the content of the album?

The actual concept of the album in general is kind of just our own political outlook on the world right now. Basically how we’ve felt about everything since September 11th.  So it’s not necessarily anger fueled but it’s definitely political in nature. It’s basically sort of our own public awareness statement I think.

Is there a story behind the name Unearth?

\[Laughs] Uh, well, not necessarily \[Laughs]. Uh, we just wanted like a one word title first off and that was several years ago. Our old drummer Mike \[Rudberg] came up with the word Unearth and it meant a few different things to the guys in the band. Among those things is unearthing a noose bound by rejuvenating the older classic Metal styles so that’s basically where it’s at.

What are some of your musical influences?

Me personally, I’m into a lot of classic Rock and old progressive Rock like Rush and Dream Theater and stuff like that. But I’m also into a lot of old Jazz like Herbie Hancock. Right now in terms of Metal though, I listen to a wide spectrum of things, Crowbar, Iron Maiden, Pantera obviously, the list goes on and on and I’m still maintaining what I listen to in terms of classic Rock.

What are some of your most memorable tour moments?

Gees that’s hard to say, I think they’re all memorable, gees \[Laughs].  There’s no many hijinx that it’s hard to remember but you can’t forget. I think that one of the most memorable tour moments was when we started bringing the beer chonger on stage. That was kind of a memorable moment because I think that we’ve just been a bunch of drunken bastards since then and kind of hard to control \[Laughs]. It ended up getting us in all sorts of trouble. For example the first festival that we played in Europe a couple of weeks ago, everybody got so hammered that we were actually too drunk to remember that we had left Mike \[Justian, Drums] and Ken \[Susi, Guitar] behind when we left for the next show. So they had to take a train from that show to the next show.  Ken had gone to take a shower when he was drunk and so all he had on was his pajama bottoms and a shower bag on the train. Mike had alcohol poisoning and ended up puking all over himself. So he had a Suzuki mechanics jump suit that the venue had given him because he didn’t have anything to wear at all. It was kind of funny to see that those guys had to take a train to the show and when they showed up it was ridiculous looking. \[Laughs] It was like Dumb and Dumber \[Laughs].

\[Laughs] I don’t see how you guys could actually forget 2 of your band members.

\[Laughs] It’s kind of a long story. Our bus call was at 4 in the morning and everybody was drunk and the guys were just passed out in their bunks. Our tour manager had gone to sleep and he told our bus driver that we were leaving at a later time because Mike had been missing. He had alcohol poisoning so he had passed out in some random port-o-potty on the fair grounds so nobody could find him. We had looked for hours and we couldn’t find him anywhere, so bus call had been changed to 8 in the morning. But then our bus driver ended up waking up early and just leaving on his own and nobody was left awake to tell him otherwise, so the guys just got left behind. \[Laughs]

That’s got to be one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard \[Laughs].

\[laughs] It was ridiculous.

What are your plans for after this long string of tours?

Let’s see, we’re gonna do The Sounds of The Underground. Then we’re gonna do a secondary market headlining tour with Dillinger Escape Plan, Zao and A Life Once Lost. After that we’re planning on doing one more tour to complete the year. We’re not sure what that’s gonna be just yet, we’re still in the works for that so we’ll have a release on that sooner or later. And after that we’re just gonna come home and finish writing the next album and get back in the studio.

Where does the nickname Slo come from?

When I was in high school, I had a group of friends among them many of them were named John. So we ended up having these really stupid nicknames for each other and mine was Winslow and it later just got shortened to Slo for some reason and it just kind of stuck. So I’ve just had it for years. There were so many ridiculous nicknames in the group \[Laughs], but yeah, I’ve had that nickname since I was 16 years old \[Laughs].

This next question was a request from a goofy friend of mine…What is your favorite band, movie, and color?

My favorite band is Rush, uh, my favorite movie, that’s a tough one.  I would have to say, it’s not my favorite but it’s definitely up there, I’m gonna go with Reservoir Dogs and my favorite color is green. \[Laughs]

I was gonna say ’and don’t say black’.

\[Laughs] No, black’s not a color \[Laughs]

Any Last Words?

Thanks for the support, come out and have a good time, feel free to talk to us, we’re just regular dudes who like to drink a lot and thank you so much for the support because we’re having a great time.

Links: # Unearth Official Site, #Sounds of The Underground Tour Official Site


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