WITH VALIENT THORR
it true that Valient Thorr hails from Venus, and crash landed in
North Carolina? If so, why wouldn’t you fix your spaceship and get
the heck outta here?
Your technology on this planet is not nearly sophisticated enough
for us to get even out of this planet's gravitational pull. All
that bullshit about NASA landing on the moon? That was horseshit.
Just a ploy to keep your rivals at bay and stoke out patriotic
impulses from the mindless zombies of your primitive suburban landscape.
BUT- unfortunately, we're not even sure Venus still exists,
so we may not even have a place to go outside of this time stream.
it true that you are the harbingers of an intergalactic message
for all of us earthlings?
I guess you could look at it like that. If the people
want to listen, they'll listen. Sometimes I feel like it’s
too late. Sometimes I feel like it never mattered in the first
place. Then I figured out this word called "empathy"...
I realized that was what I felt a lot of times when I felt like
something needed to be done. Either I felt sad for some poor
dumb little kid, or I felt pissed off. What could we do about
it? How far could we go? That's why I think rock-n-roll
is the best outlet for our brand of knowledge. If you go too
far one way or the other off of this path, you could be considered
a nutjob preacher or some other type of asshole on the other side.
We never came screaming, "The sky is falling!",
but we definitely have a vision of a future we've seen that is very
scary, and one that I would like to never come true. I guess
if you think about the difference between fate and destiny being:
fate = going down a river with no paddles, letting the current take
you over a waterfall, and destiny = seeing the waterfall and using
the paddles to try and get the fuck to the bank of the river, well
then, I like to think of us as Earth's paddles.
do you think life on Earth has affected you guys musically, if at
all? What about your Venusian sensibilities? Have you had trouble
Life on Earth has of course affected us musically because we
weren't musicians before we got here. Music is just our catalyst
to help move along our peaceful, inspired "agenda". The
only trouble is getting the message out there to a bigger audience.
We aren't "commercially" marketable in the United
States according to what is allowed to be sold in the stores. Promotion
and distribution are the keys to "financial" success in
the US market. Even if you SUCK you can be huge and rich here
if you have those 2 key elements. Just turn on the radio and
you'll see. I'd like to challenge most bands on the radio
to some kind of battle, battle of the bands, battle of wits... But
really... who's on the radio? Who even listens to it seriously?
Yeah, I guess I get bent out of shape thinking about it. The
whole goddamn thing is just sickening. Bands bust their asses
for their whole careers and die hungry while PURE HUMAN DISCO SHIT
is piped across the airwaves to stupid stupid people who eat it
up or even worse, the DJs who don't just go- "no way, I WILL
NOT murder the world with this vomit." It’s tough out
or who first inspired you to play music? Or be in a band?
Speaking personally, I'd say Jim Morrison and Devo.
lyrics are often socio-political in nature. Would you consider yourselves
a political band?
Absolutely. I guess its fun to watch a light-hearted comedy
every once in a while... but we're making art here. Something
that someone can stick a fork into, take a bite, and chew and chew
and then swallow. You have to stay relevant or really, what
is the point? There are literally thousands of bands on this
planet. Do you wanna be lost in the crowd, or do you want
to stand up and deliver?
the beginning you guys have been super prolific, cranking out 6
albums in 7 years and touring incessantly. Are you on a rock-n-roll
mission or what?
Himself: Yes, we're on a mission, but the truth always gets
stretched. We made 5 albums in around 9 years.
read that you tour an average of 250 days out of the year. How do
you balance your rock-n-roll life with your domestic life? Or do
you have one?
I don't really have a domestic life. I gave that up around
2005. BUT- we do have more time off now. We were cranking
out over 200 gigs a year but we've started taking a bit of a break
between tours so we don't burn out. Take a look at bands that
have stood the test of time and that’s what they all had to do after
a while so that they didn't kill each other.
guys have been with Volcom Entertainment for quite a few years and
albums now. How did you guys first hook up with them? Do you think
it’s unusual in this day and age to stick with one label (or in
this case, entertainment empire)? And do you think that their diversity
(from clothing lines, to video games, to national tours) has increased
the levels of notoriety you have developed in recent years?
Volcom have been amazing for us. I think it would probably
be smart to have a couple things going at different labels if you
could, but if you have one you're happy with, why fuck with it?
The connection with them has opened up doors for us that we
wouldn't have otherwise if we'd been on a different indie or a major
label. We are very happy with them.
you guys are seasoned veterans of touring Europe at this point.
How would you say your reception there differs from here in the
Europe is way different than the states. We leave for
our 10th tour there next week. The thing with Europe is rock-n-roll
never went away there. They never had to deal with the rock
ballad phase that ran off all the dudes in the states and had them
cut their hair off and start listening to what was innovative at
the time: rap music. And if they did, it wasn't shoved down
their throats to the point of being sickened by it. Also pop
country and pop rap never got on as big there. That is primarily
what's sold in Wal-Mart and Target over here, which is where 90%
of Americans can go and buy an actual CD in their hands in this
day and age. So, metal and hard rock still rules Europe no
matter what type of person you are. It took us about half
the time to get twice as big as we are here over there. Plus
another thing that's easier is they feed you when you get there,
they feed you dinner, and sometimes breakfast AND put you up in
a hotel. Almost NO ONE does that in the states. And
that's EVERY country in Europe.
you could create your own tour itinerary, what would your top 5
I would of course make it places I haven't been yet... so: 1-
Mexico City, 2- Brazil, 3- Australia, 4- Tokyo, 5- Moscow
you became full-time rock stars, some of you guys had “regular”
jobs (Valient himself was a school teacher) and some of you have
master’s degrees. How did your educational backgrounds influence
your music, lyrically or otherwise?
Well, I think getting my master's degree proves that I'm serious
about education. I continue to try to learn something every
day. You should never stop learning. The student learns
from the teacher, but the teacher can also learn a lot from the
student. I think maybe that's where the desire to inform comes
from or you can even think of the show as a classroom. I like
to think I'm still teaching.
guys have songs on numerous video games: “Guitar Hero II”, EA’s
racing video game “Need for Speed: Carbon”, and EA’s skate video
game. Are you guys big “gamers” yourselves?
I'm more of a classic NES or arcade man myself. I have
a DS, but I don't even have an apartment right now. I'd love
to have a Wii or a PS3, but they'll probably have the PS5 out before
I've slowed down.
WW: How do you like
to spend your free time when you’re not on the road?
I paint and write, and watch old movies and review them. And
I like to read.
have yet to see the tour documentary DVD, “Heat”. What were the
high and low points of being followed around by a camera for 5 years
on the road?
Himself: Well, it’s a short glimpse into what we did for those
five years. I think it’s a good representation of how things
went though. And it wasn't like the cameras were on all the
time like a reality show or something. I think it’s important
to document what you do, so that you can look back and learn from
it. So you can in turn do it better next time, learn from
guys are known for your energetic live shows. How do you manage
to pull off the same level of intensity playing night after night?
Well, it’s like working out I guess. You get better and
faster and stronger with every show. If you don't, then you're
doing something wrong.
WW: You have toured with metal Gods, Motorhead, more than
once now. Do you have a funny Lemmy story for us?
hmmm... I guess just a quick little thing that I thought was
great... We were hanging out on the last tour, and I stepped into
Lem's dressing room, and he'd just gotten an Ipad. He had
loaded up Angry Birds on it and was deep into a game, and didn't
hear me enter the room. I stood there and watched him play
this level over and over several times unsuccessfully killing all
the little things on there or whatever you're supposed to do. He
kept getting almost all of them, but one little dude remained every
time. Finally, without moving a muscle, he glanced at me over
the top of his glasses after noticing that I'd entered his sanctum,
and says, "Resilient little bastards, aren't they?
WW: Though embracing
many elements of 70’s rock influences like Maiden and Black Sabbath,
you seem to have jump started a rock-n-roll resurrection that was
desperately needed. What do you think makes Valient Thorr unique
among rock bands these days?
Haha, well, I don't know. That's not really for me to
say. I know what we try to do; I don't know how well we actually
do it. Ask someone else what makes us unique. I don't
wanna blow smoke up my own ass.
read that you recorded “Immortalizer” with Jack Endino (Nirvana,
High on Fire, Soundgarden, Mudhoney). How was working with him,
and what do you think he brought to the table (besides a buttload
of experience)? He recorded your most recent album, “Stranger” as
Yep. He's the man. Jack has become a good friend
and really knows how to get what bands want. He knows just
what you're trying to convey to him when you're explaining how you
want something to sound. His wealth of knowledge about rock-n-roll
bands is incredible as well.
WW: I read in your
Valient Himself, states: “It doesn’t matter where you’re from,
it’s where you’re at and what you’re gonna do.”’ Where are you guys
at? And what do you plan to do?
I'm here on Earth, and I plan to keep rocking and rolling and
painting and writing and breathing and hiking and singing and fucking
and bullshitting here for as long as there's breath left in my lungs
or air clean enough to breathe.
is another alien band. Have you ever gone to battle against them?
If so, who won? And where can we find it on YouTube?
Nah, we never fought each other, we met in Bielefeld Germany
last year and became fast friends. Also partied recently in
Austin Texas with them. There are enough Earthlings here for
us to rescue and them to slaughter so we never really come to blows.
Mostly they only kill shitty despicable people anyway. In
Texas they killed Sarah Palin. We were fine with that.
your house was on fire and you could only rescue 5 of your albums,
what would they be?
Frank Black- Teenager of the Year, Frank Zappa- Apostrophe,
Chuck Berry- Greatest Hits, Funkadelic- Take it to the Stage, and
Alice Cooper- Love it to Death
your definition of success in rock-n-roll?
Being happy. Truth!
Parting words of wisdom to your ever-growing legions of fans,
dubbed “Thorriors”? www.thorriors.com.
I'll have parting words, but not for a very very very long time.
Thorr is: Valient Thorr – Vocals (2001-Present), Eidan Thorr – Guitars
(2005-Present), Dr. Professor Nitewolf Strangees – Bass (2001-Present),
Sadat Thorr – Guitars, Lucian Thorr – Drums (2004-Present)