» Paul "Buz" McGrath - Unearth
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And so it goes, that this glorious night, merely miles away from another Slaytanic slaughter, Wendy and I faced the oncoming winter storming hoar's frost and the tundra bite; and decided to drive to Colombus. Once there, we followed through with our plans to interview guitarist Paul "Buz" McGrath, to Unearth more matters of the human condition. This time was minded, well spent engaging dialogue and solicitious banter with Buz and his countenance of youthful exuberance. The sting of conscience indulged the heated conversation; that Wendy and I may learn more about the sanctity of brothers. Indeed, they struggled endlessly to be invited on this tour, overcoming failure and false idols. Even Buz was bled dry after being falsely arrested; but gracefully he rebounded, in the eyes of dire necessity, gaining his stronghold, adding fuel to the fire; so that the black hearts now reign!

MettleAngel: Hey Buz, it's great to hook-up with the Unearth brothers again! For the sake of this interview, why don't you state your full name?

  • Buz: Everyone knows me as Buz, but my name is Paul 'Buz' McGrath.

MettleAngel: And I understand that you are the founding member of the band?

  • Buz: Yes, that is correct...

MettleAngel: So now, you are the opening act on the Slayer tour, how cool is that?

  • Buz: That is like a dream come true to play with the ultimate metal band.

MettleAngel: How did this opportunity come about?

  • Buz: Our promotional tour manager, Paul Conroy, really had a hand in this. Slayer was looking for a second market run band, for this tour, so they chose us.

MettleAngel: Well, Unearth does have a slightly similar sound, which will appeal to Slayer fans.

  • Buz: Slayer have their own unique fan base. Slayer fans may only listen to the music of Slayer and nothing else; they may not even be metalheads. It's really quite bizarre.

MettleAngel: I'm sure Slayer fans will dig the Unearth sound and style, though.

  • Buz: Yeah, we've turned a few around.

MettleAngel: Does Unearth also have a core fan base? Do you find fans coming to see just your band play?

  • Buz: We have some true fans, but Slayer fans usually come to see Slayer.

MettleAngel: Hopefully these die-hard Slayer fans will open their black hearts to Unearth. Let's talk about your new video debuing today...

  • Buz: Yeah, it's for Sanctity Of Brothers and we will put it on our My Space page.

MettleAngel: I caught a teaser earlier this week, this definitely seems like a big budget production.

  • Buz: Yes this one has many special effects. In the past most of our videos were just live or performance style. This new one is more conceptual and involves acting.

MettleAngel: From what I noticed, it was still mostly performance based, with several visually enhanced effects, and some storytelling going on. Given your recent level of success, Sounds Of The Underground, Ozzfest, and now this Slayer Tour, Unearth should be used to the spotlight. After all, your other guitarist Ken Susi told jokes on Jay Leno this summer. Recently, Lamb Of God was on Conan O'Brian and Slayer sold out their appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel when they played live last week. Any chance of Unearth getting one of these late-night show opportunities?

  • Buz: I doubt it, as those bands are on major labels, and have a better chance for that.

MettleAngel: Well, this Slayer tour will elevate Unearth to the next level. What age/gender is the primary Unearth fan?

  • Buz: Mostly boys in their late teens to mid 20s, follow Unearth.

MettleAngel: What about the chicks, who love your sound, they are in the front row cheering you on. At least they are on that bonus DVD which comes with the III: In The Eyes Of Fire digipack?

  • Buz: Oh yeah, that was a special show, the first Sounds Of The Underground, so that explains it. Normally, we don't have girls following us around.

MettleAngel: I noticed on the new CD that Trevor only used heavy and harsh vocals. Would you then consider yourself more of a death metal oriented band?

  • Buz: No, not death metal! For me death metal is more extreme bands like Gorguts and Bolt Thrower. We embrace a more hardcore vibe.

MettleAngel: I know, I hate labels. You are from Boston, every band from there is dubbed as being Metalcore. When I think of Boston, Mass. Metal I think of Meliah Rage, Wargasm, Formacide, Strip Mind, etc

  • Buz: We actually played with Wargasm, they are all good guys. We sound more like Killswitch Engage, though.

MettleAngel: I'm not too familiar with them, though I should be, as I'll see them in a month. I thought they were like In Flames and Shadows Fall and employed the clean vocal style; whereas Unearth is all brutal; no clean singing, whatsoever.

  • Buz: This was a deliberate choice on the new record to stay away from any clean vocals. Most bands these days using metalcore heavy/clean singing, sound badly. We don't want to be another "cool hair-cut" band.

MettleAngel: Unearth is so heavy and almost thrashing with some melodic elements, but not as many leads as say Children Of Bodom. So what kind of sound are you trying to achieve, as their is no doubt you are true metal.

  • Buz: We like to incite our crowd when we play. These fighting dudes get into the music and go wild. It's an array of "pendulous testicles" and "push pitting" when we are on stage.

MettleAngel: Yeah you guys have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. I love to watch you jump around and spin around your guitar getting dizzy. It reminds me of watching Gary Holt of Exodus, back in the day. I like your terminologies: "pendulous testicles" and "push pitting". Today it's just glorified Kung Fu pits and Mortal Kombat try-outs. I was baptized in the circle pits of the mid 80's. Hell, I saw Overkill open for Slayer in 1986, that was an insane show!

  • Buz: We like to watch the fans go crazy. It's a good way to get out aggression, while avoiding causing fights and other problems.

MettleAngel: That was always the point of a circle pit - good, clean, friendly, violent fun. After the show, you are so tired from moshing, that you just want to go home and crash.

  • Buz: Yeah, we write our music precisely to incite this positive aspect of craziness.

MettleAngel: So this amorphous throng of thrashers are having fun in the 'organized chaos'! Tell me about this drum giveaway with Unearth and Slayer as advertised on your website.

  • Buz: I'm not to sure about that, you would have to ask Mike Justain. I think the drum manufacturer is doing that.

MettleAngel: So it's like a promo pack sponsored by Tama to give away a Slayer and Unearth drum kit. That is like the Lamb Of God and Children Of Bodom ESP guitar giveaway from Unholy Alliance. I get it. Are there any concert shirts for this tour, or other promotional items with both Slayer and Unearth on them?

  • Buz: I have not seen any shirts, if I do, I'd like to get one. I'm not sure about posters either, more like, just flyers.

MettleAngel: What seems to be the biggest and most popular item fans bring to you to sign?

  • Buz: We love to meet with our fans at the merch booth and sign stuff, after we play. The most popular item, would be the stuff we give them for free like flyers and what not.

MettleAngel: What about the limited edition digipack for III: Eyes Of Fire CD, do you see many of those being presented by fans?

  • Buz: Not really, I'm not sure how well that sold, or even if fans still buy it.

MettleAngel: The day the CD came out in August, Best Buy had a killer deal on the digipack with the DVD. I picked up one and encouraged many of my friends to do so, as well.

MettleMaiden: What's the strangest item fans have asked you to sign, lately?

  • Buz: Well I had a guy with a herniated testicle ask me to sign it.

MettleAngel: You signed a dude's inflamed nutsack?

  • Buz: Yeah strange, huh? It was so huge, he just whipped it out, and asked me to sign it, I was shocked.

MettleAngel: What, was it the size of a plum, tomatoe, or apple?

  • Buz: Yeah, something like that, totally freaky!

MettleMaiden: Well, that is something. Do you have any other cool tour stories which you want to tell fans? There has to be something wicked that occured on the Slayer tour.

  • Buz: Well, the pisstanks on the bus are still frozen.

MettleAngel: Frozen? Does not the warm urine melt the ice? What about this horrible weather, any problems, like the bus breaking down? God Forbid, Mnemic, and several other bands have had issues with this.

  • Buz: Not so far, knock on wood (as Buz knocks on wood). Everything has been just fine. We cancelled one show in Albuquerque, New Mexico but that's it.

MettleMaiden: Any entertaining tour tales to tell? You know that juicy Blabbermouth exclusive B$?

  • Buz: Oh yeah, I got arrested for supposedly stealing from Wal-Mart!

MettleAngel: What, wait, you got arrested? Where? Why? Did you post on Blabberbouth, or tell any other journalists in interviews, yet?

  • Buz: Actually, no you are the first, I told some friends, but not Blabbermouth.

MettleMaiden: What happened?

  • Buz: We were in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I was walking through Wal-mart with an orange juice in my hand, looking for a mirror; while checking out this coat. This cop approached me, convinced I had the mirror because I was planning to steal the coat and juice, go figure!

MettleAngel: Were you wearing a controversial shirt? Was he really a cop or just a security guard?

  • Buz: No, I was plainly dressed. This Wal-Mart was so surreal, they actually had a police station set up in the store. He handcuffed me and threatened to break my fingers if I did not cooperate.

MettleAngel: Say what! Police brutality - Guilty Of Innocence! (I sing the words to the Death Angel song, "Guilty of innocence, soooooo sorry, nooooo, please,,,,laughing as they cut my hair!"). Hello, lawsuit!

  • Buz: Yeah, they arrested me, questioned me, and in the end they decided to "let" me pay for the orange juice, which was like .94 cents.

This is not even a misdemeanor, and you had no intention of stealing anything in the first place, where was Iano (Unearth's tour manager) all this time?

  • Iano: (Sitting next to me) I'll tell you where I was, in bed undressed, watching Playboy TV. The whole thing caught us by surprise. We were all looking for Buz. This cop was just being retarded. He even dragged our merch guy into it. Now Unearth has been banned from Wal-Mart!

MettleAngel: Man that whole situation just blows! Trust me Wal-Mart sucks, so you are better off. Next time try Target. But, since I represent Metal Covenant, our site gets to be the one to tell your fans. Now we can all boycott Wal-Mart! Tell me about this Motley Crue cover band, which everyone is talking about.

  • Buz: Oh, you mean Late Night Crue, that was Ken, Derrick from Seamless, Brian Fair of Shadows Fall, and I all just having a bit of fun.

MettleAngel: There is nothing wrong with loving Mötley Crüe, look at Alexi "Wildchild" from Children Of Bodom.

  • Buz: Yeah, actually we have a ritual on the bus we perform called - "The Power Hour", where about an hour before the show, we drink beer and blast bands like Def Leppard and Skid Row.

MettleAngel: That's so cool, that expains how you can easily do the beer bong shots during your live set, as you are already a bit "buzzing" - ha, ha!

  • Buz: We love all kinds of metal, you know?

MettleAngel: Yeah last time we interviewed John 'Slo' Maggard and he was totally into Dream Theater. I wanted to tell him about the new Dominici - O3 CD, as we both love When Dream And Day Unite.

  • Buz: Oh yeah, Slo loves the cerebral metal.

MettleMaiden: He calls all the good music "heavy shit"!

MettleAngel: What about you man, what's your metal journey like?

  • Buz: I first got into punk rock and hardcore through my skateboarding routine.

MettleAngel: But, you are just a kid, what kind of punk did you skate to?

  • Buz: Actually, I'm 30 and I listened to Sick Of It All, Slapdash, Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat, etc.

MettleAngel: 30, wow, you're like Jesper of In Flames; you look just like you're a kid. If I did not have this receding hairline, I'd never appear my age either. Only a decade ago, I was being carded for rated 'R' movies.

  • Buz: Yeah, it's the hair, I look like I'm 21.

MettleAngel: I love Minor Threat, how did you get into all the metal?

  • Buz: Around 1989-90 my brother Shawn - a true metalhead - introduced me to bands like Testament, Death, all the good stuff coming out around then!

MettleAngel: You mean the Bay Area, Florida Death scene, etc.?

  • Buz: All that, and also what was happening in Sweden and Europe too.

MettleAngel: Of course, you got to appreciate the European underground in late 80's!

  • Buz: My brother, Shawn, was my gateway to metal. He changed his program after Metallica's Black album. He felt so betrayed by them. He was just devastated, and sort of stopped listening to metal after that.

MettleAngel: I can totally relate, not neccessarily the Black album, but definitely Load and Celtic Frost's Cold Lake!

  • Buz: My brother supports Unearth though. Shawn and his friend came to check us out the other night. He thinks it is so cool that we are opening for Slayer. Five years ago, when I saw Slayer, I was just blown away. This was with Hatebreed and Arch Enemy - one of the best shows I've ever been to!

MettleAngel: And now five years later, everything has come full circle. Unearth is opening for Slayer, appealing to their fans and Slayer fans alike. Buz, Man, thank you so much for indulging us in your private affairs.

MettleMaiden: Yes, the Wal-Mart arrest, and big ball looney, makes for another remarkable and memorable interview.

  • Buz: Hey thanks guys, you two are cool - I hope you enjoy the show tonight!

MettleAngel: Oh, we will!

MettleMaiden: Slayer rules! We look forward to watching you again tonight. Then we look forward to catching you again with Dimmi Borgir in Cleveland in April.

See also: review of the album III: In The Eyes Of Fire

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