All Monsters Attack boasts a killer lineup featuring some of Austin’s old school elite musicians: Jason Craig on guitar and vocals, Snoopy Melvin on drums and vocals, and Matt Silaski on bass and vocals. Spawned from the bowels of ATX in the last couple of years, All Monsters Attack! combine tongue in cheek horror humor with straight up rock-n-roll. Reminiscent of Gwar or Dethklok sans all the crazy costumes and blood machines, AMA honors monsters and film creatures of old while pummeling your eardrums. Recently, I was able to meet up with these guys over lunch on the patio at Casino El Camino. Here’s what ensued…
WW: Who came up with the name and the concept for All Monsters Attack?
Snoopy: We came up with the name through executive decision. We had a long list of names that went through a process of elimination and it seemed to be the best fit for the band’s personality. And it’s the one that we kept gravitating back towards. It would end up on all of our lists as they got smaller and smaller. All of our songs are kind of monster oriented…more or less, so it seemed natural.
Jason: Well I’ve been a fan of horror movies my whole life. I saw Universal movies when I was a kid like Wolfman and Frankenstein. And I’m also a huge fan of comedy in horror, like Abbot & Costello Meets Frankenstein, and Dead Alive and stuff like that because, you know, you can’t spell slaughter without laughter!
Snoopy: I grew up watching Creature Double Feature every Saturday afternoon. I’d get a whole box of cereal and get sugared up on cartoons and then Creature Double feature would come on and then wrestling! So I had a great model from my upbringing.
Jason: We don’t have any wrestling songs yet but that’s in the works.
Matt: Destroy All Monsters is my favorite band name of all time and it was taken.
Jason: Basically All Monsters Attack was a film that they made out of a bunch of clips taken from Destroy All Monsters and it was never released in the US under its official name. Officially All Monsters Attack was only in Japanese, or a Japanese release so we can kind of steal that without getting in trouble with Godzilla.
Matt: It was the last of the original Godzilla flicks.
WW: Apparently I’m not up to date on all of my horror!
Matt: We’re nerds.
WW: You guys recently released your debut album, Escape From Brain Mountain. Are you excited? Who recorded / produced the album and how was working with them? Where did you guys record it?
Matt: No, we’re not excited.
WW: It’s on the jukebox here, did you know that?
Snoopy: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Jason: That’s when you know you’ve made it, when your music is on the Casino El Camino jukebox. That’s when you know you’ve arrived!
Matt: We’re on two jukeboxes now! Awesome!
Snoopy: We did lots of the tracking at Jason Richard’s studio, Clock Right Studio. Then we took it over to Matt’s house to do some of the vocals and extra stuff. Then we went back to Clock Right to mix it. And working with Jason was great. He’s fast, he knows what sounds good and it was real easy to work with him.
Jason: And, it’s a real comfortable room.
WW: How would you describe All Monsters Attack to the uninitiated…in 5 words or less. Haha.
Matt: We usually wear pants.
Jason: Pants-wearing onslaught of progressive punk-metal.
Snoopy: Rock metal punk monsters fun.
Jason: Yeah, there’s definitely a comic element.
Matt: Awesome ness ness ness ness.
Snoopy: Rock too. Just because we’re funny doesn’t mean we don’t rock it out!
Matt: I’m not funny.
Jason: We know you’re not funny.
Snoopy: You’re funny, just not like haha.
Jason: Funny, like smelling.
Matt: Yeah, sometimes. I’m covered in sawdust right now.
WW: I watched the new video for Brutal Underwater Battle and it was hilarious! And great! Who is Shane Shelton and how did you guys meet?
Jason: Shane Shelton is the keyboard player for my other band Pong. And he’s done multiple videos for that band. We kind of wanted to keep it in the family and he does great work. He has never done an all animated video so this was a learning experience for him and he produced a nice product for us. Shane Shelton is awesome.
WW: Was it a collaboration at all? Or did he come up with it himself?
Jason: We just gave him the song and let him roll with his own idea. The lyrics are kind of like a storyboard already. So basically, whatever the line from the verse was, he just animated what the lyric said and BAM!
Snoopy: Brutal Underwater Battle.
WW: Yeah, it kind of reminded me of Metalocalypse, or Dethklok.
Jason: Yes! I love Dethklok.
Snoopy: It was a little too bloody for me (haha).
WW: Who did the artwork for the logo and the album cover?
Snoopy: We all did. Matt did most of the artwork and layout, and we got together to criticize what he did and make it better.
Matt: And then I ignored them, like I always ignore them.
Snoopy: Yeah, Matt did the artwork and layout and we got together to have executive votes on all of the final details and it came together really quickly. The hardest part was making the monster on the album cover the right size…and getting his foot in the right place. We spent the most time on that, everything else pretty much fell into place.
Matt: You mean, I spent the most time on that…
WW: Correction, haha.
WW: With a debut album and video under your belts, is there any chance of a tour in the works?
Snoopy: We would LOVE to do a tour.
Jason: We do have a tour in the works. We’re probably going to get some help from our label-mate Bryan Nelson…and try to organize something for either April or May. At least do some regional stuff. Road work is definitely in the cards for the future.
Snoopy: Definitely. Yeah, Bryan runs Australian Cattle God Records.
Jason: And he graciously put out the record. We’re hoping to put out some vinyl in the near future, maybe a split with somebody.We’ll see what happens.
Snoopy: We already have like 5 or 6 songs for our next album so we’re trucking right along.
WW: Is the werewolf song on this album.
Snoopy: Nope, that’s going to be on the next album.
Jason: The werewolf song is based on Elysium, the goth bar on Red River…as you well know. They have a vampire night about once a month. People dress up as vampires and discuss all things bloodsucking and, it’s very cheesy. So people started showing up dressed as werewolves and picking fights with the vampires. At first they thought it was kind of funny but then it happened month after month and eventually John, the owner of Elysium, had to put up a sign that said No Werewolves Allowed. So that’s the inspiration for that tune, called Vampires Only.
Snoopy: I wish I had known about that. I totally would have dressed like a werewolf.
Matt: We would have all fit in the werewolf description.
WW: Yeah, all of you guys are too furry to be vampires.
Snoopy: Yeah, that’s true.
WW: So it’s been a while since any of you guys have been on tour…right?
Jason: Last time I was on tour was with Pong, and that was about 4 years ago.
Snoopy: Yeah, I haven’t been on tour in quite a while.
Matt: 20 years.
Jason: But Snoopy’s been to Japan with the Sexy Finger Champs. And I’ve toured with Pong a couple of times, Pocket FishRmen twice. So I’ve done a little road work.
WW: Japan seems to be happening right now.
Snoopy: All Monsters Attack would do well in Japan…if we don’t get sued!
Jason: We’re big in Japan but that’s mainly because we’re taller than everyone else.
Snoopy: And fatter! Haha.
WW: You guys have been around Austin long enough to see the scene change dramatically. What are some things you miss the most about live music in Austin?
Jason: I definitely miss the Red River scene, where there used to be 4 or 5 bands playing the same night right in that centralized district and you could just bounce back and forth from show to show and see 15 minutes of every band and wind up seeing 10 bands in one night. Get a nice little buzz on and see all of your friends and so that camaraderie, and having it all localized in a couple block area has changed a lot and there’s no such thing as the Cavity or old Emo’s. But Beerland is still kicking it pretty hard and Elysium still has vampire night so there’s some leftovers that still exist.
Snoopy: Yeah, although back when Red River was kicking it you could play out in a night and actually make some decent money. Now, not only have the places to play gotten driven farther apart, you just don’t seem to make as much money.
Matt: Well people don’t expect to to pay for music anymore. I’m dating myself as a dinosaur here. Back in the 90’s, when I played the Black Cat you could pull in 2k a night easy.
Snoopy: You really expected to get paid a couple hundred bucks for a shit show back then.
Snoopy: Last Saturday, my other band Obnosticon, that my wife and I are in, played this festival with the Flying Balalaika Brothers and they go to play overseas and are playing to sold out theaters and stuff…and they come back to Austin and are playing for like 6 people.It’s typical of Austin since they are spoiled by exposure to so much good music that they don’t have the appreciation than other places that don’t have as much quality might have.
Matt: The younger people don’t consume music in the same way. Their whole social life is completely different.
Snoopy: So we’re working to stay relevant. We’re breaking into the digital platform. We made a FB page…so that’s something.
Jason: I watched Tron yesterday so I’m trying to keep up with what’s current.
Matt: I try to smile when I walk past trendy coffee shops. That’s the best I can do.
Snoopy: Seriously though, we’re on Spotify, we’re on Apple Music, we’re on YouTube. We’re trying to get our presence out there and break through to people who otherwise might never hear of us. Trying to use the tools that we have to our advantage.
Matt: Yeah, and we would buy great monster suits if we got paid.
Snoopy: Man, I would love monster suits! I’m working on it. I’m working on an idea.
WW: If possible, give me an example of why the Austin scene is still thriving.
Jason: Well, there’s definitely not any lack of artistic integrity. There’s lots of great new bands that keep churning out music. The scene just refuses to give up even in the face of adversity, like it’s too expensive to live here as a musician. But there’s still people cranking out music.
Matt: I can name 5 great shows this week! Hell last night we played with Stinking Lizaveta!
Snoopy: So even though the scene has been diffused and spread out some and there aren’t as many live venues in one area as there used to be still, any night of the week, you can go out and see tons of talent.
WW: Like Fear this Saturday!
Snoopy: Exactly. Even though bands aren’t making as much money they’re still playing. You can go out any night of the week and find a good band playing somewhere so even you may have to go south or go east you can find something…
WW: Kickbutt Coffee.
Snoopy: Kickbutt Coffee is great! They really jumped up and stepped up and filled the void.
Matt: And on of the best sounding rooms in town.
Snoopy: Boy I love playing at Kickbutt Coffee. For one it’s close to home.
WW: My friend Dan is the manger there.
Matt: Yeah, Dan’s awesome.
Jason: Yeah, props to Dan.
Snoopy: Yeah, any night of the week, if you’re willing to drive a little bit you’re going to see a great band. And hopefully you’re going to pay to get in.
WW: Who are your biggest influences? Who are you listening to right now?
Snoopy: I’m listening to a lot of Eminem, and Hopsin I’m way heavy into rap right now. But as far as influences for the band, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Fear…
Jason: Scratch Acid, Butthole Surfers, ?
Snoopy: Even though we both played in the Pocket FishRmen I still look at them as an influence. They’re one of the first influential bands that I saw that made me move to Austin. That whole tongue in cheek but still rocking faces off aspect is really influential to me.
Jason: Hence the comedy element in the band for sure.
Matt: They’re the metal side and I’m the Minutemen and Victims Family side.
Jason: The Sweet.
Snoopy: Hall & Oats. I could go on and on about Hall & Oats, I’m serious.
Jason: Weird Al Yankovick.
Snoopy: And we’re all each-others influences as well playing in this scene for so long and all kinds of challenging music. It can be fun for us because we all have the chops to kick it out and make it good. So we have the freedom to make it fun and write happy songs about drug addiction and political monsters and the monsters within your brain. The monsters that eat your face. Werewolves.
Matt: The monsters that eat your face are scaly fleshy ones.
Snoopy: The comedy aspect isn’t the only thing to the song, the songs actually fucking rock too.
WW: You guys have, collectively, been in a veritable catalog of Austin bands. Can you name some of them? Any that are still active?
Jason: Pong and Pocket FishRmen are still going strong. I was also in a band called Sinis that had pyrotechnics and stuff. I was in a band with Brett Bradford for years called Insect Sex Act.
Matt: We’re in another band called OMGWTFBBQ. I had my first show with them last night.
Snoopy: I’m in a band called Obnosticon with my wife Carolyn and Mark Rogers and Stan our bass player. I’m also in AMA, the Sexy Finger Champs, and the Jazzus Lizard, which is a band that does all Jesus Lizard songs jazz style.
Matt: OMGWTFBBQ, AMA, Microscopic Telescope…that’s going to be a thing again maybe.
Snoopy: Of course Jason and I played in our first three bands together.
Jason: Yeah, I met Snoopy in 1990. He was fresh out of the Army. He played in my high school band called Absurd Theater so I’ve been rocking with Snoopy on and off since 1990. Lately more on than off.
Snoopy: Yeah, we played in Pocket FishRmen together, Myra Mains, Smell of Blood…
Jason: With Bufx Parrot of the Dicks.
WW: Although you guys are pushing 50, what gives you the gumption to get up every day and keep rocking?
Snoopy: I turn 50 in a couple of weeks!
Jason: Well music, for me, is pretty much the only thing that I have control over in my life. As long as I keep picking up a guitar I’m going to keep cranking out ideas. You gotta have some way to release that energy and what better way than with my best friends, playing extremely loud in a $150 a month practice space.
Snoopy: I live a pretty high stress life at times and playing drums is always been the one thing that let me express myself physically without hurting anybody intentionally. Sometimes it hurts to play. I’m an old man now. But every time I finish practicing or playing a show, it’s like i had a mental orgasm. I feel a lot …relieved.
Jason: He goes right to sleep afterwards. He does.
Snoopy: I go home and eat pancakes and go right to sleep. No sex at all!
Matt: I build stuff, and I play music and I listen to music. That’s what I do and that’s what I’ve always done. And now my kids are both off being adults and I can’t think of anything else I want to do with my spare time. I fish, I play music. I build stuff. It’s pretty simple.
WW: So how do you guys find time to do this.
Matt: We don’t.
Snoopy: Being in a band is like being in a family. You’re expecting this group of people to form this intimate bond. It’s sounds corny but when you get in a band together you are forming a relationship and, like any relationship, you have obligations. We hold band practice to be sacred. Jason is a slave driver about practice. He’s always ready to go. But the payoff is, we’re pretty fucking tight when we play live. And we’re constantly producing new music and new ideas. So you have to prioritize like you would any other relationship and take it seriously and not think about any thing but writing music and writing songs. It’s a form of self-care and it’s also about respecting the people that you’re in band with. I recognize the value you have. I prioritize you. You’re important to me. Let’s all get together and do this. Sometimes one of us has to cancel band practice and I always feel really guilty. It’s like AHHH! I hate canceling band practice because everyone prioritizes that time and we’re paying for it too. So there’s a lot of obligation but there’s a lot of reward.
Matt: Now it’s all scheduled. Like we have this two hours to show up and be to the point.
Snoopy: You can’t pay the rent being a dishwasher anymore.
Matt: This is what we’re here for.
WW: What can we expect from AMA in 2019?
Snoopy: A new album, 2 new videos, a tour, and plenty of melted faces.
Jason: Yes, melted faces. Locally and worldwide we plan to be incredibly successful. I don’t plan to have a day job.
Matt: Are we going to hire somebody to clean up the melted faces cause I don’t want to do it anymore.
Jason: We’re going to have a crew of people in hazmat suits to come after every show and hose away the blood, scoop up the bone and brain shards. Safety is key.
Snoopy: We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. When you’re in a band with musicians of this caliber and with the same sense of humor and drive it’s really easy to produce and make songs and have fun. So we’re just going to keep having fun.
Matt: I don’t have a sense of humor.
Snoopy: That’s true. The straight guy…and I don’t mean straight.
Jason: Yeah, we call him Frowny.
WW: Final words of wisdom to your legions of fans?
Matt: Watch out for the scaly face eaters.
Snoopy: All Monsters Attack is both an action sentence and a verbal sentence.
Jason: Cause they will attack if you’re not careful.
Matt: You could also be commanding Monsters to Attack, if you have monsters of your own.
Snoopy: I guess those words of wisdom would be draw your own conclusions.
Jason: Be true to yourself, and the rest will follow.
Matt: Brush your teeth every day.
Snoopy: Have fun.
Jason: And don’t do drugs kids.
Snoopy: Do the right drugs!
Jason: Do the right drugs kids.