Written & Produced by Meryl "LJ" DeWitt
Edited by Rachel Rosell | Photos by Bex Zilla, Jordan Hyde
Meryl “LJ” DeWitt: Please introduce yourselves. Give your name, role in the band, and to keep it interesting, throw me a random fact about yourself.
Ben: I play guitar and do heavy vocals in the band. I grew up in Mississippi and still managed to have all of my teeth when I turned 30.
Zach: I play drums, and I brew beer for a living.
Phil: I sing, play guitar, and move around too much on stage. I have somehow hit my head on the ground, while standing, from head banging during our set before.
Dan: I play bass. I always wanted to be a dancer but I could never get the shit off my shoes.
LJ: Although I'm a little biased on this, Denver is by far one of my favorite cities for metal. What's your personal opinion on it? Favorite local venue to play?
All: None of us are originally from here, so we can confirm that Denver definitely is one of the best cities for metal. It’s got such a vibrant scene of heavy bands playing a wide spectrum of metal. As far as venues, Hi-Dive has great sound, an intimate feel, and the best staff around.
LJ: Who's been your favorite band to play and/or party with?
Ben: We didn’t party with him, but we played with Abbath when he came through with the rest of the Decibel tour this year. That dude is 100% rock ‘n’ roll maniac, and he put on a helluva show. As for partying, Patrick from Serpents of Dawn and I definitely had our fair share of whiskey at this year’s Migration Fest.
Phil: I got to talk with and have a brief doob-party with Matt Pike from High on Fire at that same show, which pretty much takes care of my bucket list.
Dan: I was really excited about playing with High on Fire... we did not party, but they were cool.
Zach: Nate from Spirit Adrift. Dude is a maniac after he slams some melatonin.
LJ: Drink of choice? Drinking song of choice?
Zach: Any civilized ale paired with Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song” will do the trick.
Phil: I’m going to have to follow Zach on this. Depending on how fast I’m trying to get that beer down, though, I might pick “Black Rose” or any song off Tom Waits’ first four albums instead.
Dan: Oskar Blues’ Pinner and “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers,” of course
Ben: Tasty beer (I’m partial to TRVE Brewing’s Scorn, Atma, or any of their sours) or Jagermeister. I’m classy. Drinking song of choice, anything off of Kill ‘em All or Tres Hombres.
LJ: Who's the band trouble maker? Worse trouble he's ever gotten himself and/or the band into?
Ben: We are, perhaps unsurprisingly, a pretty tame band.
Zach: I’m certainly the least social.
Phil: Other than Psalm 9, I’m not a huge Trouble fan, personally.
LJ: Good or bad, what's the weirdest thing that's happened at a gig?
Ben: On a few occasions, I’ve seen grown folks cry during our set. That’s always pretty mind blowing and flattering considering we’ve always just tried to write music we want to hear.
Phil: Between too much Mexican food, PBR, heartburn, a hot venue, and a fever, I fainted into Zach’s drum set once.
Zach: I had a crash cymbal fly off of one of cymbal stands (and crack, of course) even though it had a wing nut on at the time…very odd (maybe Phil fainted on it…) Gotta hit hard, I guess.
Dan: This last tour; I swear there was a stretch of 4 or 5 nights where they played Thin Lizzy immediately after our set, not by request, just randomly. It was always perfect.
It's no secret to anyone that I have a soft spot in my heart for bands tearinng up my hometown, but trust me, Denver based band Khemmis deserve the hype I'm going to give them. To find a band with vocals and melodies this clean in the scene is like spotting a damn unicorn. Their sound flows like a river, installing a sense of repentance into those who listen to it. If battle anthems is your thing, give these warriors a chance! I had the pleasure of getting to chat with Khemmis recently.
LJ: For those in the band that have tats, tell me the story behind one of your pieces (whichever is the most interesting).
Dan: My tattoos intentionally have no story. I started getting tattooed 20 years ago, before TLC started featuring soccer moms getting tributes to their fallen purse-sized mutts. I like art, specifically the kind of art tattooers are fond of doing. That's it. When people ask me why I have skulls and spiders and dragons, I tell them because they are tattoos.
Zach: Out of many tattoos, I have a blown out TCB (with lightning bolt) on my ankle. My buddy got in a new tattoo machine, and a few whiskey drinks and joints later, there it was. Forever taking care of business.
LJ: Would you ever dare to get a tour tattoo? If so, what city and what would it be of?
Zach: I’d absolutely get a tour-wizard tattoo in any city where the folks tattooing aren’t 50% likely to be on meth.
Dan: Absolutely. City doesn't matter as long as it’s relatively civilized and there is at least one known good shop (I have enough shitty tattoos).
Phil: I guess Vegas is out, then...so anywhere else. If Zach and Dan are in, I'm in.
LJ: A lot of your band's art features a character that looks almost like Father Time. Is there a story behind him?
All: He's a wizard that drinks beer and fights evil with the power of vacuum tubes. He’s basically our collective spirit animal.
LJ: What do you want your funeral song to be?
Ben: YOB, “The Great Cessation.”
Phil: Tom Waits, “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen).”
Zach: Hank Williams, “I’ll Never Get out of This World Alive.”
Dan: ZZ Top, “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”
LJ: Finally, is there any last facts, statements, or words of wisdom you'd like to leave with your fans?
All: Go check out all of the excellent bands in Denver. Buy their records and merch. Don’t move here, though – the rent is already ridiculous. Move to Portland. They have legal pot too, after all. Mostly, though, we'd like to say thanks for all the support!