This was the first time in a long time that the What So & So Sez feature was done by an interviewer other than Doug Van Pelt. It is also the first one by HM freelancer Eric Shirey.
Eric spent some time with band members Jared Hendrickson and Dylan Thomas Moore of Chemlab during their tour with Gwar, and out of the resulting conversation came some insight, and an opportunity for Eric to share his faith in Jesus Christ.
So, you're on the road with Gwar... How's the tour been?
J: "It's been good. It's a tough crowd."
Lot of kids not really into industrial?
J: "Yeah. You know, I mean, they're tolerating. And like Gwar said, it was like, the best response an opening band has gotten so far. Some would just come off stage covered in spit."
How many people you think are coming out to your shows?
J: "Uh, it's averaging around, about 1,500."
How many do you think are there for you guys?
J: "For us? Oh, half a dozen. I don't know. It's a big Gwar crowd, and they wanna see Gwar, they wanna see Gwar, they wanna see Gwar, Gwar, Gwar. They wanna see Gwar, they wanna see Gwar. `When's Gwar coming on? Where's Gwar?' Gwar is a gas, and they are certainly, by far and we've had a lot of luck on the road, touring with cool bands they're easily the coolest bunch of people we've toured with yet, by far."
Did you tour with Ministry ever?
...Because a lot of those guys, like, I saw one of their videos a long time ago, and they had your shirt on, like, a long, long, time ago.
J: "Yeah, that was Ogre. He and I are old friends from way back in `84, on the Bites tour, or the Remission tour, whichever the first one was that they did."
So you've been doing this for a while.
J: "Oh yeah, and when he was out on the road with Ministry on the Mind tour, he wanted one of my shirts."
What's up with your history, and Chemlab? How'd you guys get together?
J: "Let's see. I was doin' time in a low rent zone. We were in a weird, twisted (bleep) bar one night, a bunch of leather and (bleep) and stuff, and he comes up to me and says, `Are you Jared?' `Yeah...' `Uh, well, I'm doing this music, and I don't really like to sing or write lyrics. Here's a tape. See if you're interested.' And we hooked up pretty tight right after that."
You guys toured with White Zombie?
I bet that was a large crowd, too. I'm sure they took to you better than the Gwar crowd.
J: "Yeah, I think the Gwar crowd's the hardest one we've had yet."
Who all have you toured with, like, just right off hand?
J: "Nails, Skrew, KMFDM, Sister Machine Gun, White Zombie, Thought Industry, a couple of smaller bands, 16 Volt, Acumen, Gwar..."
So, what are you guys about? Like, what do you talk about in your lyrics, and what do you mean? What do you want to tell people?
J: "I don't know that I necessarily want to tell anybody anything. I don't think that I'm in a position to tell anybody anything. I'm not exactly a figure to be followed. I think you could call me a cautionary tale. In this one song that we do, `Jesus Christ Porno Star,' I sing, `I'm everything you think is wrong with the world.' That sorta summarizes it. A lot of lyrics are me just trying to work out some of the (bleep) things going on in my head, or talking about this bizarro futurist world that I live in."
So, you do an internet, like, program... or web site or something?
J: "Yeah, we're actually about to rev that site up a bunch when we get back to New York."
D: "It's the mock sites that other people make that are better than ours, that we're like, `Well, the (bleep) with that! We gotta make one that's slammin.' But we just haven't had the time or the inclination."
Well, how were you guys raised, as far as, like . . . were you raised religiously?
J: "My dad is an organic chemist and my mother's an agnostic."
D: "My parents are pretty much agnostics. They gave me the choice of whatever . . . you know, they didn't force me, so I'm still trying to figure that one out."
Well, that's cool, though. One thing that I haven't explained to you yet, is I write for a Christian hard music magazine, and every issue we do an interview with a mainstream band, and you guys got chosen.
J & D: "Ha, ha..."
I'm not the editor, I'm not the guy who runs it, but he asked me, because he knows I'm a fan of you guys, and he knows I probably have a little more in common with you guys, and knowing what's up...
J: "I was raised Catholic. I mean, I came from a Sicilian background, which is strictly Catholic, and the ritual aspect of that is really cool, of most organized religions. It's really cool, but..."
I'm not into that either, dude, the whole ritualistic thing.
J: "I'm probably more interested in the Eastern philosophies of religion than anything Western, just because they have a much more earthy approach, as opposed to the big `pie in the sky' deal."
D: "Yeah, the big honky with the beard and a stick. Gimme a break."
I'm a Christian, and I'll tell ya right now, that I don't believe that either. I don't believe in a honky guy, and I mean, I believe that Christ exists, and that He is the Son of God, but I also believe that at the same time, He ain't a white man.
D: "That's for sure."
J: "It should be, at least for me, more of a way of thinking, as opposed to there being a supreme being. It's just a way for people to cope with the fact that they're gonna die one day, and they don't like that thought. So they have religion to kinda..."
So, you don't believe . . . Do you believe that there was a Jesus?
J: "I believe there was a man, you know, but I don't know if He rolled any rock away from a cave. That would have to be a lot of adrenaline especially after three days."
D: "I might not believe in the whole story of it, but certainly Jesus was a real person, and had a lot of influence on a lot of people."
J: "I think just the universal package is more where I'm coming from."
D: `Yeah, it's a lot closer to where we're at . . . much more of a unified (thing), where everyone is included; and it's a philosophy of people trying to work in concert, in unison, towards not only a better understanding of themselves, and how they fit into society, but how culture has gotta change to save the planet."
J: "But it's not a New Agey thing at all."
So you guys aren't New Agers?
J: "No. We're no tree biscuits."
So, do you guys follow any beliefs at all. I mean, what do you personally believe in?
J: "Well, that was pretty much it. I think as I get older, you find yourself and what you believe in more and more. But I'm still pretty young to sit and ponder too often. I go day by day."
You guys don't believe in, like, being, Straight-edge; like, "We're a preachin' band."
J: "No. I am not in a position to preach about anything, because if you look at my life, I am such a (bleep). If you listen to me preach, you're just going across into the darkness, across the river styx. I am definitely a cautionary tale."
So, when you write songs like "Jesus Christ Porno Star," and stuff like that, is it just for you, like, another thing...?
J: "Yeah, and part of it is about the bastardization of religion, and how it's used as a tool, as a set of blinders, as a way to brainwash people, and a lot of, like, with the Catholic ritualism."
Yeah, I know what you're saying.
J: "It doesn't have to be that way, and it isn't all that way."
No really, honestly, I am not into that whole thing either. For me, it's like, I believe the Bible. I believe it, and read it, and I believe what I read, and there isn't anything in there like that.
J: "And with us, our view, too... I mean, you believe what you believe, and somebody else believes what they believe. But when the Church takes over, like they do..."
And I understand where that's scary, definitely. And Catholicism, to me, is wrong, as far as I'm concerned, because of the way...
J: "My generation of people got raped by them."
...because if you look at the real way of things, like, biblically, and from what the Catholics did, they were not following those beliefs. They were, like, going exactly a different way. I'm totally with ya on that.
J: "I just want to be fully conscious and aware when I die, and then everything will be answered after that."
So you don't believe in, like, Heaven or Hell?
Where do you think you go after that?
J: "Into the ground. Well, actually, I just became a Mormon, and we're gonna go to the third kingdom planet, and... (laughter)."
It is cool that you guys know, like, what's going on with that, like, you're not just like, "I don't know what that is." You know, "Mormonism? Yeah, okay, sure."
D: "Yeah, we're reasonably aware of a bunch of (bleep)."
J: "Religion is a very interesting subject."
So, how do you feel about missing, like... Do you have a problem with other people, like, preaching?
J: "We live in New York. There's preachers on every block."
Like, you're familiar with Circle of Dust?
J: "I know they were a Christian band."
Does that bother you? Or is that just, like, "their thing?"
J: "That's just what they do, and if I don't want to listen to it, I turn it off."
D: "Some people forget when they preach about how evil the television is, it's like, 'No, you're evil, because you forgot to teach your kids what the on/off switch was for.'"
D: "You know, 'You're the problem. Stop passing the buck.'"
J: "Some parents have a problem with Gwar, because their ten year old comes home covered in blood. It's not Gwar's problem. It's the parents who should know exactly where their kids are going, and having the ability to say no or yes."
Well, that's cool, man. I just wanted to find out what was up, and I was wondering what you guys thought about stuff. You definitely don't believe that Christ is the Son of God, huh?
J: "No, I don't, because I don't believe in God, so He couldn't be the Son of something that doesn't exist for me. That's me and my (bleep) world."
Any last words?
J: "Keep your mind open kids! Buy my