INTERVIEW & PHOTOS BY: BRANDON MARSHALL
lack Label Society is a hard working, hard playing and hard drinking band with an uncompromising and unapologetic sound. Zakk Wylde and his ďdoom crewĒ have been traveling around the world bringing a sonic assault to audiences and leaving carnage in there wake for over 12 years. Captivating fans with electric live shows, Black Label Society are a band of skilled musicians that brings showmanship and the element of danger back into rock that have been absent for so long. In August of 2010, Black Label Society released their 8th studio album entitled Order Of the Black that brought a welcome sound that reflects the earlier works of Sonic Brew and Stronger then Death. Order of the Black also marks Black Label Societyís 5th consecutive top 50 chart release and have been praised by critics and fans alike.
While Nick the ďEvil TwinĒ Catanese may be overshadowed by Zakk Wylde, Catanese can hold his own and is a rhythm and melodic force to be reckon with. Having came across Wyldeís email address in a magazine, Catanese enquired to and asked Wylde if he was in need of a second guitar player, and the rest is history. While on tour in support of Order Of the Black , we had a chance to speak with Nick.
"Everyone is happy and healthy; the album is doing well"
SONIC EXCESS: How have the new songs from Order of the Black been going over live?
NICK CATANESE: Great! People are singing them. ďOverlordĒ goes over really well.
SE: What are some of your favorite rhythms on Order Of the Black and was the recording process any different than the seven previous Black Label Society albums?
NICK: My favorite songs to play live are ďParade of the DeadĒ and ĒSouthern DissolutionĒ, because it has such a grinding riff, but there is something cool with all of them.
SE: Order of the Black brought in a new drummer. What did Will Hunt bring that
NICK: No, I mean Craig was an intricate part, and he was with us for eight years. He (Craig) has a son and wanted to be at home with his family. So, we got Will (Hunt). He plays drums with Tommy Lee. Will actually sat in with Motley Crue for four shows. He has played with Evanescence, Stuck Mojo, and Static-X. He is such a high-energy drummer, and he puts on a show killing the drums. He definitely brought some energy. We are all just having a blast, laughing and joking, and people can see that.
SE: Why was there a four-year gap between Shot to Hell and Order of the Black?
NICK: We wanted to take some time. We were touring non-stop for a long time. Things came down with Zakkís health, but everything is OK now, and I think it (Order of the Black) came out at the right time. Everyone is happy and healthy; the album is doing well, so why ask why?
SE: Why was Order of the Black released from Roadrunner Europe, but not Roadrunner US? Does Black Label Society have a better relationship with Roadrunner Europe?
NICK: I know nothing of that side of the business, my friend.
SE: With that end of it, the less you know, the better.
NICK: (Laughs) I play guitar. As far as that side, itís all the big guy (Zakk Wylde) and management.
"Bands that ride on their own separate busses, with each member, itís like, dude youíre supposed to be a band.
SE: Any filming or recording on this tour for a potential CD or DVD?
NICK: There hasnít been yet, and I donít really know of any talk about it. Iím sure there will be though. We need to get something with Will and J.D.(John DeServio-bass) Boozed, Bruised & Broken- Boned had Robert (Trujillo-bass), Doom Troopiní had James(LoMenzo-bass), so we need to get J.D. and Will in there.
SE: With Zakk not drinking anymore, is their less insanity on the road, or has this brought in a whole new era of shenanigans?
NICK: (Laughs) Obviously, there is a difference, but Zakk is Zakk. None of that was an act. He is funny as hell, and I have been with him for fourteen years. So, we have seen the best and worst of each other, and I wouldnít change anything. There is always funny stuff happening, on and offstage, cracking each other up and while doing the meet and greets. We dig hanging out with each other. Bands that ride on their own separate busses, with each member, itís like, dude youíre supposed to be a band. I love hanging out with J.D., Will, and Zakk. At the end of the night, J.D. will come over and I will give him a hug, and itís hockey time. When everyone is asleep on the bus, me and J.D. are playing Xbox hockey. We play NHL 11 for hours, and thatís our serenity.
SE: Iím guessing that you are a Steelersí fan and that Zakk and J.D. are Giantís fans. Any rivalry between you guys? NICK: Well actually, I love hockey. SE: So you must be a Penguin (US Hockey team) NICK: Yeah. Well of course, Iím from
SE: I throw on my skates a few times every winter, and twenty minutes is enough for me. NICK: Ohh, without a doubt. Just even standing on skates, you are exerting energy, but I love hockey, NHRA and NASAR.
SE: Iím guessing that you are a Steelersí fan and that Zakk and J.D. are Giantís fans. Any rivalry between you guys?
NICK: Well actually, I love hockey.
SE: So you must be a Penguin (US Hockey team)
NICK: Yeah. Well of course, Iím from
SE: I throw on my skates a few times every winter, and twenty minutes is enough for me.
NICK: Ohh, without a doubt. Just even standing on skates, you are exerting energy, but I love hockey, NHRA and NASAR.
SE: Black Label Society has some dates in the
NICK: Yeah, we are done in the
SE: Our European friends will just have to keep checking to www.blacklabelsociety.com then.
NICK: Exactly. And for the record, people keep asking me, ďDude, when are you coming to
"This is about music.
SE: What is so appealing about the motorcycle club culture, and why has Black Label Society adopted the imagery?
SE: I have seen Hells Angels working security at the shows, but, on the other hand, there has been trouble in
NICK: We actually had to cancel a gig in
SE: Has there been an understanding or an alliance withÖ
NICK: No no, just that one incident. I mean itís a vest. We are a band, and, over in
SE: Especially when itís just a misunderstanding like that.
NICK: Yeah. I mean we never would do anything out of disrespect or anything like that. Some people are like ďOhh theyíre just wanna be bikersĒ and stuff like that. Itís like, no, weíre not. I donít even own a bike, and Iím not saying I want to own a bike. I play guitar. Itís like saying Gene Simmons wants to be a bat (laughs), and that he actually wants to fly around, and Ace Frehley freely wants to be a spaceman well.. maybe Ace Frehley did want to be a spaceman, but itís an image. Anytime you read likewww.blabbermouth.net, or whatever, you see that wanna be biker bullshit. Itís like nobody in this band wants to be a biker. Itís an image that came up, and you canít say that itís not working. Any concert that you go to, you see Black Label merch. It looks cool, and, for people that wear it, itís an instant conversation starter. I have seen people that donít know each other from Adam have a Black Label shirt on, they are friends in 10 minutes. Thatís the power of music, but people take it so seriously. Itís music, itís not rocket science, and thatís it. There is no reason for people to get into fights about it. There is no reason for people to say they want to be this or that. Itís a band, and if you donít dig the music, thatís one thing, but come on. Like everyone in KISS wanted to be what they were on stage, and Paul Stanley walked around like that all the time. Itís art, itís music, and itís a show. Itís what people want to see. Just come and have fun, and donít make drama of it.
SE: Thatís the whole point of going to a show, leave all the bullshit aside and have a good time.
NICK: Yeah. And the big thing too is, say you and I went to go and see KISS. I would say ďHey man, letís go see KISSĒ, and see is the underlined word. Not ďHey man, letís go hear KISSĒ. If you want to hear KISS, put on your IPOD. When you see a show, you donít want to see guys that look like they got off a shift at the Sunoco, with no visuals. People want to be visually stimulated. You want people to walk away saying ďMan, Iíve never seen anything like thatĒ. Now we have this video screen that plays videos behind us. For example, KISS could go onstage without the boots and all that stuff, but when that curtain drops and Gene comes out in his destroyer outfit, I get goose bumps. If I walk down the street into a local bar and the band had a kick ass image or whatever, and I walk out thinking that took some thought, then you know they are in it for more than just being in a band and getting girlsÖblah, blah, blah.
SE: Itís a certain respect for the audience to.
NICK: Without a doubt. People are starved for entertainment. Look at some of the shows that are on TV. I mean traffic jams will be backed up for miles, because some guy is changing his tire. People will stare, because some guy is changing his lug nuts. Itís like, you have never seen this before? People want entertainment. People want to see something different. When you give them that, visually and sonically, thatís where you win.
SE: You were with Washburn guitars for years, and now you are endorsed with PRS guitars; do you have a signature model out yet?
NICK: Yeah, about a year now. Itís out now and it plays great! The model you buy is the one that I have. Itís an SE model. I wanted my signature guitar to be something that I play, and also something affordable. The economy sucks, and I wanted something that people can buy that I use live. I have some amazing PRSís, and that thing smokes Ďem. It has the EMGs at 185 and jumbo frets. It has that Les Paul feel. Itís heavy and has great harmonics.
SE: Any last words?
NICK: I want to thank everyone who has been with us this long, and thank you for the support for BLS. Every band says that they have the best fans in the world. I have never seen so many people come in with BLS tattoos and be so devoted to this band. I got a place in
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