Before Nevermore got up on stage
to play on Klubben in Stockholm on the 9th of October 2005, Niklas and
Michael took the chance to ask the band's bass player, Jim Sheppard,
a few questions.
Interview conducted by Michael Finnermark
and Niklas Lundqvist
Metal Covenant: You had a concert in Gothenburg
last night? Are you pleased with it?
Jim: Really good, actually. The attendance
was a little smaller than what we have been used to on this tour,
but the fans were really enthusiastic. I believe we had a lot of competition
from the Swedish soccer game (against Croatia), as well as Nile playing
just down the street.
Covenant: A venue like Klubben must be pretty really small compared
to the ones you play in the States, though?
Jim: Well, for a long time we played smaller
venues over there, with attendances around 300-600 usually. But then
we played at Headbanger's Ball which was a huge break for us. After
that we normally play for more than a thousand people each concert.
But it also has a lot to do with heave metal making such a big comeback
Metal Covenant: What do you prefer, small
or big venues?
Jim: I appreciate them both, really. Our last
tour in America was the Gigantour (a summer festival formed by Dave
Mustaine, of Megadeth), and it was great to play in front of all these
people. But I think that I prefer the intimate setting, and I definitely
prefer to play in Europe rather in America. Over here, all the fans
are more true to it and have been into metal all the time. But in
the US people basically started embracing it when MTV said that metal
was cool again. You can never be sure how long it's going to last
in the States.
Metal Covenant: The most popular metal bands
in the US today are either playing metal core, like Killswitch Engage,
or nu-metal like for example Disturbed. Do you think that Nevermore will
be able to compete against these guys?
Jim: Disturbed is definitely more of a band
playing theatres and arenas in the US, while Killswitch Engage normally
plays big clubs. I would say that Nevermore is a step down from those
acts when it comes to attendance, but we do manage to draw big crowds
when we're touring with a good package, like on the Dimmu Borgir-tour.
We haven't really attempted a headliner-tour in America yet, but we
hope that with our new album we'll be able to do it when the time
Covenant: Speaking of which, can you tell us a bit about your new
album, The Godless Endeavour?
Jim: We're extremely pleased with it. It's
our first album on our new deal with out record label. On our last
record, Enemies Of Reality, the production values suffered a bit since
we didn't want to resign. That's why they weren't as generous with
the budget as with the earlier releases. It was strictly by the contract.
But on The Godless Endeavour we've had a much bigger budget, and we've
been able to work in a great studio and a producer that we really
admire, Andy Sneap. We actually worked so hard that in the end, we
had 85 minutes of music! We had to chop it down, of course. But we're
really proud of the album.
Metal Covenant: : Do you prefer to alter
your set lists during the tours?
Jim: It depends on the amount of stage time,
basically. On the Gigantour we only played for half an hour each time,
so we used to rotate songs every day. But now we actually play 90
minutes for the first time, so we basically go with all the songs
that we've rehearsed. We might change one or two songs some nights,
but we don't rotate.
Metal Covenant: You've toured with many
bands over the years. Do you have a particular favourite band that you
get along with extra well?
Jim: Any band from Scandinavia, really. We've
toured with so many of them, like Soilwork and Dimmu Borgir. We just
get along very well, and we appreciate each others music. It actually
happens when we're walking down the streets in our hometown Seattle,
and Nevermore-fans who recognizes us says: "Hey, what are you
doing here?!" And we say: "But we live here." And they
go; "No, you're from Sweden!" (laughs) So you might say
that we're the first Scandinavian metal band from America.
Metal Covenant: It's difficult to put a
label on your style of metal. Someone described it to me like death/thrash-metal
with power metal vocals. How would you describe it?
Jim: We are kind of different, yeah. Since
we've been touring with so many bands, which are all inspiration sources
to us in a way. It's hard to describe it, but it's definitely a mix
of everything we enjoy in metal.
Covenant: Do you have a favourite Nevermore-song?
- Jim: I really like "Sentient 6" off
our new album. It's one of the songs we play tonight, actually. It pretty
much sums up what Nevermore is all about.
Metal Covenant: What kind of music do you
listen to, personally?
- Jim: As much as
I enjoy metal, I try to stay off it when I'm at home. I feel that I
get enough of that when on the road. It's good to listen to many different
styles of music, since it broadens your perspective. Personally, I like
contemporary rock and jazz.
Metal Covenant: Would you say that Nevermore
is a political band?
- Jim: If we're
political, it's unintentional. We don't like to preach and want people
to think for themselves. That said, we do have a song on the new album
called "Medicated Nation" where we talk about how the Medical
Society in the US get people addicted to drugs even though they don't
need it. That is something that really upsets us.
Metal Covenant: : On this European tour
you share the stage with Dew-Scented and Mercenary. Had you heard about
these bands before?
Jim: No, I hadn't.
Some years ago I was actually involved in the whole tour-department,
but not anymore. As much as I like these guys, I would probably have
picked more well-known acts for this European tour. A stronger package
would have made this tour more attractive to the fans.
Covenant: Describe a typical Nevermore-concert!
- Jim: As we're
spanning our careers, the shows just keeps getting better and better.
The fans are always very active, with big sing-alongs and mosh-pits.
And as we've been cutting back on our drinking, it's safe to say that
we perform better. We actually have a saying that we have to stop drinking,
or it won't be anything left for the bands we share the stage with!
Metal Covenant: What does the future hold
Jim: We will complete
this tour, then we will tour some in South America. We aim to come
back to Scandinavia next year to do more shows, and we'd love to do
festivals as well. The fans can definitely expect to see more of Nevermore
in the future.
Metal Covenant: : Finally, which is the
one question that you have never been asked during an interview, but you
wished you had?
- Jim: Hmm
(long, silent pause) I'm afraid that the best one I can come up with
is: "Which one on this tour gets the most pussy?"
Metal Covenant: :
And the answer
to that question?
And with these well-chosen words,
we thank Mr. Sheppard for his time. But before he lets us go, he wants
to tell us an anecdote about when he was at a karaoke bar where a certain
Abbath (from the split-up black metal-band Immortal) showed his singing
skills. Jim asks us if we've heard about the rumours that Immortal would
re-unite next year (we hadn't) and then says that he is crossing his fingers.
Finally, he spits out his "snus" (a form of tobacco that you
put under your lip - very popular in Scandinavia) in the trashcan in front
of two clearly chocked interviewers. Apparently, it's a bad habit he picked
up on the road while touring with In Flames. After this unexpected exposure,
Jim and his band mates put on another great show, and hopefully they will
come back soon.
also: the review
and the photos
from the gig the same night.