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Skrew (Adam Grossman) - interview (2009)
2009-08-02 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz and Marco Gariboldi | e-mail interview
NINa: It took you over 10 years with constant support of your fans to make you sure Skrew matters a lot to the scene. What’s the main goal of the reunion? Why now?

Adam Grossman: Yeah, it didn't really occur to me that it has been that long since the last SKREW record until now but it has been quite a long time. I guess the old saying that time flies when you're having fun is true. I mean, after the last SKREW record and the subsequent touring, I was just exhausted and kind of burned out, I was going through some personal life shit that was not so much fun initially and so I spent some time just kind of doing different things both musically and in general. I did some records with other people and played in a couple of other peoples bands, just to see how it was to be a passenger on the train as opposed to always being the conductor, engineer, as well as bartender in the club car.
It was cool for a while, I got to collaborate with some good friends and do some really interesting projects. I did some acting in films as well, I also did a lot of writing and I traveled a lot. I spent a lot of time in Germany, Holland, Sweden, and Finland as well as traveling around in the rest of Europe some. I had been on the road or in the studio for 8 years straight and just needed a break from the action to kind of regroup.

I don't know if I would call this a reunion really as I am working with all new guys in the band. I guess it was always me with a revolving group of characters and no-goodniks so, it's really more like just doing the next SKREW record. Just happens to be a long time between the last one and this one.

Over the years there have always been people asking me when I was doing the next SKREW album and offering tours etc, but I was always too busy and to be honest I just wasn't that interested in doing it. Finally though I found myself being more interested in doing SKREW again and around the same time I had met a couple of cool people that I felt I could work with and that seemed able and willing to put some work into the project as opposed to just being window dressing. I don't mean do degrade any of the people that I had previously worked with when I say that either. I have had the opportunity to play music with some really great people and some really great players but....... There were some that turned out to be just a drag to deal with too. I think this is a much more solid line up than I ever had in the past and it sounds better than it ever did before actually.

NINa: Is present state of industrial rock/metal music so bad that you’d like to recall what it initially was about and why it was good?

Well, I'm not sure that the state of "industrial" is music is so bad right now. I mean there are some really interesting things happening in the scene. One the one side there are bands like Columbine, Psyclon Nine, Combichrist and then there are bands like Havoc Unit from Finland as well. That shit is fucking awesome! There's tons more too that are doing really great stuff. Pedigree from Estonia, is one that comes to mind. I have been listening to the newest Cult of Luna album which it really great. I don't know if you could all them industrial but I think it kind of fits the vibe.

I don't know if the old days were any better or worse than now. I know back when SKREW first started that people didn't know what to think of what we were doing. I remember the label we were on wasn't exactly sure about it at all until the first album sold more than any other debut on the label up to that time. They became a little bit more enthusiastic about it at that point. But the stuff we were doing was really different and there wasn't such a developed scene for it at the time. Now you have tons of people that are doing it (some better than others) and you can find it in the mall so, its easier to tour and all that goes along with it. So, I don't know if it's better or worse now than it used to be. It's different. I think it's just a matter of how you choose to perceive it. The bottom line has always been for me anyway that I do whatever I do musically or creatively because it's just what comes out............. I don't have much control over it really.

Marco: I have always wondered whether it was the sound of Skrew to influence the metal side of Ministry or the opposite? Or were your careers evolving in parallel?

Ya know, that's a good question. I think the band Ministry came from the completely different direction in terms that they started out as a much more kind of commercial sounding electronic thing and SKREW rose from the ashes of Angkor Wat which was a kind of crossover hardcore band that used samples. I don't think SKREW influenced Ministry at all. I can say for sure that a couple of the bands that influenced me the most were Black Flag, Killing Joke and then of course Discharge as well. I think you are right for sure that the two bands (Ministry and SKREW) definitely evolved in parallel but diametrically opposed ways. The cool thing is that after having spent time with Al through the years I've come to realize that our beginnings in terms of where we come from musically are really similar. We both were raised on heavier rock stuff as kids and then found ourselves in the punk rock scene. I think we both were influenced by similar things in terms or post punk and heavier electronic stuff from the wave of that stuff. I have the utmost respect for Al as a musician and producer, I think he's really brilliant.

NINa: What’s the idea behind the new release? How many new songs have you recorded so far with the new line up? Could you reveal any titles please?

Yeah we have probably got rough drafts of like 10 or 12 songs at the moment. I don't know how many of these will get used as we continue to write and create. We will know what songs will get released when we have a deal with a label. So far there have been a couple of labels that have shown interest but we haven't even decided on any songs to actually demo and submit to any labels at this point. We are talking with a couple of different people in terms of representation, management and or lawyers.

Some titles that we have so far are: Liar, The Lion the Lamb and the Jackyl, Portrait of Deconstruction, and Burn Burn Burn. Some of the songs only have working titles and titles are always subject to change with songs becoming more focused. The four that I mentioned are solid and will remain titled as they are written but I have a tendency to work stuff until I'm told that it's done. So, we'll see what happens.

NINa: There have been no new songs on Skrew official Myspace account since we announced the band come back a few months ago. Is that your method to keep people focused?

Well, I don't really want to put anything up until I am satisfied with it and I am rarely if ever satisfied, like I said previously, I don't ever think anything is finished until they physically pull me away from the mixing console. I don't think we will see anything new there until the album is done but you never know, there might be something new up very soon. The guys want to put up some stuff that we have done and if they can talk me into it, it might just happen. I guess you'll just have to check the page often.

NINa: You’re going on tour to play the new songs as well as a few old songs which Skrew became better known of. Are you going to Europe as well?

Yeah, we will be touring Europe and in fact that might just happen sooner than anyone thinks. I would say that the new year coming up will see SKREW doing Europe for sure. We want to tour more extensively there than we did in the past. We are working with some people to try to put together a tour that will be good for the communities and the people in the communities that we play in. It's something that we feel quite strongly about. I can't really give too many details yet as it's not set in stone but we really want to make it a situation that benefits organizations that benefit the people.

Marco: In the Skrew debut album Burning In Water, Drowing In Flames you have collaborated, among others, with Jim Marcus in the song "Prey Flesh" while in the album Shadow of a Doubt, you have worked with Jed Simon (SYL, Unit:187, FLA) in the song "Knotted Twigg." Can you tell us the behind the scenes of these collaborations? How were those collaborations born?

Well, the thing with Jim Marcus really was just luck I guess. Jim was hanging out at Trax in Chicago and I had read some stuff that Jim had written for a zine in Chicago and the guy is really really bright, super intelligent and a really talented lyricist and poet so, he offered and we accepted of course. Back then everyone was really into collaborating and it was sooooooo cool. I wish it was like that again today. Actually I wonder if Fluffy, the engineer we were working with might have suggested that to Jim or something like that. Anyway......

The thing with Jed came about because he was here in Austin, staying at my place and we were in the midst of writing a record and he was there and he threw in an idea or two on that song. It was right after I had been in this car wreck on the freeway, a drunk driver was going down the wrong side of the road and hit me head on, so I was really heavily medicated we'll say, so I don't have a lot of recollection of precisely how it went down but, Jed is an amazingly talented guitarist and one of the coolest people you will ever meet. Seriously, he's really a great guy.

Marco: In the previous interview with NINa in 2006, you had spoken of the wonderful remix of "Megahurtz", by you and Dwayne Dassing (Mentallo & The Fixer, Mainesthai, Benestrophe) appeared in the Rock Whore Vs Dance Floor Chemlab album. I think it could be yet another fantastic collaboration between you and Dwayne or both the Dassing bros. Have you ever considered this idea?

Wow, thanks for the compliment on that "remix." That was really actually unfinished when we had to turn it in but a lot of people really loved it.
Yeah, Dwayne is also a really talented guy and at the time that we did that remix we were actually working on a project together. Me and Dwayne and two other guys. It was really great stuff but we kind of lost interest I guess when we couldn't find a singer that we could all agree on. There is a Myspace page called The Devil and Damnation with some songs on it. Actually Dwayne may have dropped out of that to do his Reign of Roses project. That was unfortunate because I thought that he really brought the electronics to the table in a big way on that. He's a good guy, I like him and he was cool to work with.

NINa: There have been hundreds of remixes done for the last 4-5 years especially between industrial music orientated bands. What’s your view on remixes? Why hard rock or heavy metal bands don’t remix one another’s works so often?

Oh, I don't know about the idea of remixes, I mean I guess it can be interesting at times but I think over all that is done way too much, at least for my taste. I like the idea of collaborating a lot, I mean I think that's really interesting but anything that starts with the prefix "re" just strikes me as being a little uninteresting in that I want to move forward and not back. I think at times it's cool to give things a new twist but overall I'm not too interested in that kind of thing although I have done it from time to time for friends.

I have a friend called Sindaddy that does remixes that I think are quite cool though, you should check out his stuff.

Marco: Do you intend to republish your old catalog (released on Metal Blade Records)? maybe only in digital format on your next online store?

I know that a lot of people have been talking about this but to be honest, I haven't really given it too much thought. I am so focused on the new stuff at the moment. Something like that may happen or maybe someone might want to re-release the stuff but I don;t know. Maybe I will just give it away for free. I think I like that idea the best. What do you think about that?

NINa: Let’s see if you live into a digital era: do you feel weirdly nervous if you don’t check out your Myspace account daily?

Hahahahaaaaa! That's an awesome question. I think I must be a strange anomaly of some sort because I don't actually check it daily and in fact many times days will go by that I am not on the computer for anything other than reading the news or work. I still actually write letters and send packages through the mail. Probably makes me a bit uncool but whatever. I don't have an iphone either and only just got a cell phone like a year and a half ago. I use an abacus to balance my bank account. That's not very digital of me is it?

NINa: You are Twitter user. What makes it useful for you? Do you follow people’s small talks and thoughts shrinked to 140 digits?

No, I only post random thoughts on Twitter occasionally. I'm not very good at twittering I guess. I have a friend that posts if she has a good meal or watches a good movie, has a healthy shit. I just don't think it's worth my time to gather that kind of information and furthermore I don't think anyone is interested but........ I think we have seen recently an amazing use of Twitter in the Iranian protests. I know this is off the topic but I just want to say right here and now that the Iranian people are my new heroes. They have the heart and passion that i find admirable. The commitment and bravery that I have seen in those people restores my faith in humanity to some degree. I just really admire them for that commitment. I think Americans can learn a lot from them. I don't want to get too sidetracked here but really, this country that I live in at the moment is soo fucking shallow and so arrogantly self absorbed for the most part that it makes me sick.

NINa: There’s been the new website domain already booked and so there’s gonna be some official Skrew website running soon. What would be a content of it?

You seem to know quite a lot about what's going on behind the scenes in the SKREW camp NINa, do you have a spy in our midst? Yeah, there is a site that is being developed right now. I think it might be kind of cool actually. The artists that we are working with on this are really talented guys and I am happy to have them be involved in the whole thing. We want it to be a kind of very utilitarian type thing.

NINa: Could you live without your Mac, short messages, emails, the Internet at all? Did above improve people’s life or made it too easy so it’s not necessary to fight for interesting things anymore as they come to our hands right away? People have been getting lazy and narrow minded all over the world, have you noticed that?

Wow, you are really trying to get me started here aren't you! Yeah, i was just having a conversation with a friend about the idea that letter writing is becoming a lost art. Technology is such a double edged sword, I mean to say that its true it is really convenient and I am able to keep in touch with more people through the internet and email, etc. But there is something about the effort of actually writing something by hand and making the effort to send someone something even if it's just a postcard. I think we are quickly becoming too dependent on technology, but again there is the positive aspect that it is useful for revolutionary concerns.

A few years ago there was this kind of fad that was called Flash Mobs. People would send out a mass text on their phones and immediately a big group of people could assemble at a location and they would do something like take off their shirts or whatever and then disassemble. It seemed really stupid to some people but the idea that it was practice for the ability to assemble for mass protests is awesome and we have seen that used as I mentioned before in Iran recently. I guess technology is just a tool that can be used or misused.

Marco: The figure of Christ and God is often recurrent in your lyrics, I wonder if even many years later of their writing, do you recognize yourself in your lyrics when you hear your old songs? and which feelings do you feel listening to these songs?

Yeah, i have used religious iconography or symbolism in my work all my life. Not just in lyrics but in artwork as well. The funny thing is that I use "Christ" as a symbol that represents a lot of things because I think people can mostly recognize this symbol. I mean our audience is mainly western culture where we have this christian stuff shoved down our throats constantly, not just in terms of religion but culturally speaking.

I don't believe that there ever really was anyone called Jesus, I think the whole thing is a sham, a story that was completely and totally based on earlier Egyptian religious stories. Everything from the virgin birth to the rising from the dead. It was all completely ripped off from other cultures. That is fact. Religion is just a way for the masses to be controlled. I don't have a problem with anyone believing whatever they need to in order to get through the day but, we may as well believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because I think these are just about as probable. I honestly believe that we are entering a time where it is of the utmost importance to be open to new ideas. I think that our world is in a very precarious place and that people are beginning to wake up to the fact that we are being lied to by the governments as well as the churches.

Sorry, I got off the topic but, to answer your question, I read lyrics that I have written in the past and I still honestly believe in the ideas that I have put forth. I always think whatever I do could have been done better and that is why I continue to do the work that i do, to improve and to get better at communicating ideas. If what I write causes one other person to think about things in a different way then I feel successful.

Marco: Talking about lyrics, Is there a particular theme that links the new tracks that you're writing? Where did you get the inspiration for these new songs?

What I write comes from wherever I am at at the time. Over the last few years I have become far more concerned with some things, I see the world going in a bad direction. I have become aware of the lack of true freedom and liberty and human rights as well as the abundance of lies and control that the citizens of the world are assaulted with by the shadowy figures that dictate our existence. These are problems that are overwhelming when you think about how many people in the world go to sleep hungry every night while people in industrialized nations are feeding their fat faces with unhealthy food and take part in wage slave labor for the corporate royalty.

I mean, look. We all play a part in the problem. People want to blame the politicians and the banks for the mortgage crash in the US and they do bear a responsibility, but the people who took loans on lifestyles that were beyond their abilities to pay for play a part too. There is nothing that comes for free in life, nothing! The problem is that the people have bought into this lie and have lost touch with what is truly important in life. It's an insidious game that the people in control are playing. Some of the brightest people I know have been completely sucked into this lie of what reality is and what is important. So, thats what I am writing about right now.

NINa: How about big Church making big Money on their sheeps these days? Is that about giving fake shelter to the believers or playing with their fears of being rejected on the way to heaven? Has Catholic religion really changed since Pharaoh was using his knowledge of the Sun eclipses bullying the citizens into obedience?

You are absolutely correct, the churches ( all of the churches) and the fears that they use to control as well as the rewards that they say await the believers (which you are supposed to trust are awaiting you) have absolutely nothing to do with the ideas that they supposedly support. I believe religion is evil and it's used to keep the focus off of reality. As long as people are concerned with with whether gay people are allowed to marry or whether a woman should be allowed to have an abortion, they are not looking at the reality of our pathetic existence. What about something as simple as a living wage for all? Why should people who earn millions of dollars a year be allowed to use loopholes to pay less taxes, these are the people who should be grateful for the opportunity to play a bigger role in the well being of their less fortunate fellow human beings but the fact is that they are selfish pigs and only concerned with having more and more and more. When is enough really enough? The rules benefit the wealthy and the corporations. The average citizen is a victim and doesn't even realize it because they are more concerned with whether two men or two women can proclaim their love for each other in a fucking stupid ceremony. Meanwhile there are those of us who see the truth but what are we willing to do about it?

I have a friend Katie who recently saw a family of ignorant and intolerant "christians" on a highway overpass holding up anti gay marriage signs and so she and a friend made a sign that said "I'm with Stupid" and had an arrow pointing at this pathetic bigoted christian nazi family. Katie and her friend went and stood next to these people all day. Now my friend Katie is not gay but like me she is concerned for the rights of all and is willing to spend some time and energy to do something, to take action. Why don't more people take action like this?

Marco: After SARS, Avian flu, we are faced with the "next pandemic" announced by the O.M.S., the swine flu "A/H1N1"(forgetting that the "classical flu" is one of the leading causes of death in the world after tuberculosis and AIDS). Masks (of dubious utility), misinformation, and a lot of numbers are given us as daily meal by the media; Meanwhile Big-Pharma and pharmaceutical giants like Roche (they have millions of broad-spectrum antiviral, expiring in 2009 ...) can‘t wait for the wave of new vaccines and medicines to be produced. What opinion you have about it?

To be honest I don't know what to believe other than that I am not being given all the information, I have a feeling that this whole thing is just another shiny object that is meant to take my attention away from what is really important. There are people out there that believe that this flu pandemic thing is just a way of "thinning the herd" but I don't know. I don't think it really matters, what does matter is that these pharmaceutical companies bottom line is not saving lives, it's making money. Everyone needs to know that is the nature of a corporation, it's not the quality of the "widgets" that they produce benefiting humanity, it's how much money can they make be marketing the widgets as something that must be had by all!

Marco: on May 31, 2009 George Tiller (a Medical Director who performed abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy, know as "late-term abortion") was killed by an assassin’s bullet during the Sunday morning service at his church in Wichita, Kansas. What is your point of view on abortion? How about euthanasia? Are you for or against?

I will just say that i am for the rights of the individual to make their own decisions! That's really the bottom line. In fact, I think it's insipid to even debate the specific issues because they aren't the real issue. The real issue is that individuals should have the right to make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies. It's not my right, or anybody elses, to make some sort of blanket decision about an issue for someone else.

Marco: The purchase and partnership by Fiat of GM and Chrysler was defined in the last days; As Italian I’m surprised to see one of the biggest manufacturer of my country embarking on such business (considering the deep crisis that has gone through only a few years ago, the legal issues, not to mention the newly approved project to close two plants in Italy and other European locations as Poland and Germany). The plan of re-launch in the U.S.A. includes the closure of 14 plants and cuts for 21000 workers. I’m disgusted to see these companies led by figurehead dummies unable to manage a family budget, which handle billions of public money.... What do you think about it?

This is a perfect example of what we have allowed to happen. The people who are responsible are not stupid, far from it, no, they are very intent on raping the rest of us to fill their pockets full of gold. they hide their lies and deceit in a disguise of ineptitude. The well being of the workers is far from anyone of those peoples concern, they suck us dry and throw us away when they are done. All that we hear in the media is just exactly only the information that they want us to know, the information that may redirect your attention from the real underlying issues. As I said before, we are partly to blame for not only allowing the these things to occur but to actually support the building of a structure that supports these occurrences. It didn't just suddenly appear but has slowly been happening for more than 50 years. I don't know, maybe it's just the nature of this planet but I think it's time to wake up and do something about it.

NINa: You have a chance to live in Texas, a State filled up with Republicans. How much has it changed since Obama, the Democrat was chosen the President of the United States? Are they very angry considering the last idea to detach Texas from the States?

See this is another "shiny object" that they want us to get involved in. This supposed conflict between right and left. Republican and Democrat. The reality is that politicians are in it for one thing, and that is self. I think there might have been a time when serving in government was about civic responsibility but those days are long gone. People don't go into public service to be of service to the public, it's now a career choice. So, when we get all wrapped up in this false conflict between republican and democrat, we are not paying attention to the real problem which is that the entirety of our existence is controlled by less than 1% of the population. It's really pretty brilliant if you think about it.
We are all slaves and completely expendable, living these pathetic existences for the benefit of less than 1% of the population. But because we can get cable TV and the latest tech gadgets and fill our faces with genetically modified foods, we fail to see the truth.

NINa: How much does self confidence decide about whom you are in life?

That's a good question. Unfortunately, it's not one that I have the answer for. I mean, I guess one's level of comfort in their own skin makes for a more pleasant existence, which is certainly reflected in who we are in life but, I don't know. I think who we are in life is a result of many, many variables. I think to a great degree we are the sum of our experiences, especially the experiences we have during the first several stages of development. Were you taught you were a cool person? Were you taught how to be a loser? Were you breastfed? I think that has a huge amount to do with who we are in life. I was breast fed but not by my mother, I was breast fed by a mother wolf who found me in the woods when i was lost on a camping trip. You probably didn't know that I was raised by wolves until I was found at the age of 14 by a band of punk rock gypsies. ;)

NINa: Why shouldn’t we care to what people say about what we do in life but follow our dreams and ideas persistently instead?

Yeah, well I think that has certainly been a big conflict for many of us. I decided a long time ago that i was not willing to live my life by any preconceived notions that my family or society had about who I am supposed to be. I mean, it is a struggle but one well worth the effort. I believe that success is not measured in terms of dollars but instead in terms of life experience and the results of fulfilling our passions a well as being of service to the world around us.

NINa: Thank you very much for your time and we’ll looking forward to the newest album as well as the incoming shows :)

Thank you NINa and Marco for an interesting and thought provoking interview. I really appreciate your efforts. Keep it up.

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Pictures come from: (top to bottom): Max Crace, Adam Grossman, Amy Ables, Adam Grossman, Getty Images, Amy Ables, AFP/Olivier Laban Mattei, Amy Ables, Anne. All copyrights reserved by © their authors. Questions proofreading: Scott M. Owens. Must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below.
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