Southern California’s THE EULOGY recently released their second EP titled “Last Days” on September 22nd on Bridge 9 Records. The members who make up this band may be familiar to many of you reading this as a bunch of East Coast hardcore lifers somehow all found each other in sunny So-Cal to formulate this intense unit that pumps out anything but the more traditional style of punk and hardcore that this area on the map is known for. In Effect caught up with Boston native/The Eulogy bassist Kevin Norton earlier this month to get some more insight on how this band came to be and what we should expect going forward. Make sure to click on the “Last Days” cover artwork to stream/buy the new one as well. Graphics by: Bas Spierings.
IE: Hey Kevin, can you give us a run down as to who is in The Eulogy, instruments they play, and what bands they've been associated with in the past?
Kevin: The Eulogy is Matt Henderson- guitar, Madball, Agnostic Front and Blind Approach, Marc Jackson- drums, Throwdown, Bleeding Through, Kevin Norton- bass, Eye For An Eye,
Straight Faced, 454 Big Block, Pete Reily- guitar, Mouthpiece and Sergio Chavez- vocals.
IE: You have a new 5 song EP called “Last Days” out now on Bridge 9 Records. Can you talk about the new songs, what style of hardcore The Eulogy is bringing to the table and overall how you feel the new EP came out?
Kevin: Matt Henderson is one of the main songwriters for our band. He was a huge part of the Madball sound both with his songwriting and because of his distinct way of playing. I think that you will always get some of that sound when you listen to us. The band is tuned down to B so it is going to have a heavier feel like a lot of newer hardcore and death metal bands have. We also have some elements of bands like Discharge. We wanted our sound to stand out from the perfect recordings that you get from using protools and autotune. With “Last Days” we wanted it to have a really raw sound like our favorite records have. So, that NYHC influence from AF and the Cro Mags is going to come across heavily as well. That being said, we are not trying to copy anything anybody else already did and we are not on some bullshit nostalgia trip. We have our own distinct style at this point. We take the music very serious but we have a good time doing it. Matt always quotes Vinnie Stigma when he was describing the sound they got on “Victim In Pain”. Vinnie said “It has a kind of violence to the music.” If we have tried to do one thing with our band it is to have that kind of tension in our songwriting. Always trying to get heavier, harder, meaner and push ourselves to be better. Sergio’s lyrics on the EP are coming from a pretty dark place. He had some heavy personal things going on when he wrote this record and I think you can hear it in his words and lyrics. He has improved as a songwriter from the first recording we did and he just killed it when we recorded this one. So heavy, dark, mean and with a real tension is how I would describe the sound.
IE: The bass sound you got on this new one is incredible, especially those 2 short leads/solos you throw in on “Pete's Song”. Do you and the rest of the guys feel this recording captures exactly who The Eulogy is musically?
Kevin: Thanks, I am a huge fan of bands like Black Sabbath, Entombed and Obituary so the sound I was shooting for with my bass has more low end, distortion and rawness than you will hear on a lot of records. I think it sounds like a cinder block getting tossed through a windshield. So in other words….I have never been happier with my bass sound on a record. I think we are all very happy with the way it came out. We worked with Paul Miner for the first time as a band and he did a great job capturing what we sound like.
IE: Favorite song off the new one and why?
Kevin: My favorite song is “Last Days” because I like the way the bass/drum intro starts, then the guitar comes in slowly, once it gets going it’s like a freight train and the
lyrics Sergio wrote are hard as fuck.
IE: Your first EP came out almost 3 years ago. Was the wait for “Last Days” due to any particular reason or is that kind of time frame between recordings due more to the bands personal lives, schedules, work etc?
Kevin: We lost a lot of time because our old drummer had a lot of work conflicts so he couldn’t practice or play shows a lot. Eventually Marc Jackson joined the band and that solved that. But the truth is we all have jobs and families so it takes a long time to write songs and quite honestly we don’t want to do things half assed. Once we recorded the “Last Days” EP we wanted to see if Bridge 9 was interested in putting it out. Fortunately for us, they did, so once that got worked out we were at the mercy of the vinyl factory pressing the records. I’m sure we will turn the next one around a lot quicker.
IE: How often are you guys getting together to practice and how many shows would you guess are under your belts at this point with this band?
Kevin: Four of the five of us live in the LA/OC area so we practice once a week. Sergio lives in San Diego so he comes by a little less than that. We
have maybe 25 shows under our belt, a bunch of those have been this year. We hope to do some East Coast and European shows next year. When we started the band we just wanted to play music and then
after we started to get good enough, we started to open up shows for our friends’ bands when they would come through on tour. So, we hope we can keep doing that and while we have been playing we have
made a lot of new friends so it keeps building momentum.
IE: What do all the members of the band do for work?
Kevin: Marc Jackson is a tattoo artist, Sergio Chavez works on tradeshows, Matt Henderson is an I.T. guy, Pete Reily is an electrician, and I am an electrician by trade and help
run the electrician’s union in LA.
IE: I don't know about everyone in the band but a couple of you at least are fathers. Any funny/cute stories as to what the kids are saying about their father's band? Do they like it? Can't stand it? Too young to understand it yet?
Kevin: First off, we call ourselves “Dadball” so there’s that. Pete Reily said, “as far as a dad story, if you ask my youngest son who his favorite band is, he will always say The Eulogy first. He was out with my sister in law one day, and when she dropped him off, he was crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she put on some music in the car that all of the girls liked except him. And when she asked what he wanted to listen to, he said "my dad’s band, The Eulogy." When she told him she didn't have our stuff he just melted down and started crying.”
IE: When you put together the pieces to the Eulogy puzzle it really is amazing that you guys ever formed considering you have yourself who was from Mass, Pete from NJ, and Matt who was based in N.Y. all moving to the West Coast and then finding more pieces who would all end up on the same page as to what kind of band you wanted to do. Were the initial introductions to each other by chance or were you continuously running into the other guys and just decided to put something together?
Kevin: Yeah it is pretty crazy considering I met Matt in Boston in 89 or so. He went to Berkeley School of Music before he joined Agnostic Front and Madball and moved to NY. He and I have been friends ever since and after he married his wife Mindy they moved to Long Beach two streets over from me. So we would see each other a lot. Pete and I played in a band called “One Up” back in Boston as well. (with a couple guys from 10 Yard Fight) So when we talked about a second guitar I knew that Pete now lived in the LA area and hit him up. I have known Sergio since he was maybe 16 years old coming to see Straight Faced shows. When we heard him singing on an old demo we knew we had the guy. Finally, Sergio and Matt knew our drummer Marc Jackson who used to play in Throwdown. I think I’m a bigger fan of Throwdown than Marc is, so when we needed a drummer I bugged the shit out of those guys to talk to him.
IE: Who came up with the name The Eulogy and is there any special meaning behind it or did it just sound like a cool name to use?
Kevin: I came up with it and since Queensryche was taken I guess it would have to do. I’d like to say it has some deep meaning but it just sounded cool to me.
IE: It seems like every review or mention about The Eulogy comes with that "former members of" mention. To a man are you all just wanting to get past that and let The Eulogy be more of its own thing without the "former members of" tag or is it more of a thing where you don't mind having it brought up time and time again?
Kevin: I’d like people to check us out and if they do it because of the old bands I’m ok with it. It seems like every band that was ever in existence
has gotten back together so it can be hard to get people to check you out. So if “former members” gets them to listen that’s cool but I do think our music is strong enough to stand on its own and I
don’t think the ex-members label tells the whole story.
IE: Along with putting out a record on Bridge 9 comes more promotion than you'd probably get on other labels as well as just having more people see your name because of B9's wide reach. You've been around the music scene for a long time. Is there much of a difference getting your name out there when your associated with a B9 vs previous labels you have worked with not just with this band but within your whole involvement with hardcore?
Kevin: I think when you see a band is on Bridge 9, you know they should be a pretty solid hardcore band. The label has a lot of releases from some of the best hardcore bands ever so to be put side by side with Agnostic Front, H20, Bent Life, Backtrack, Sick of it All and Slapshot... well that’s pretty damn cool. It really is an honor to put our stuff out with bands like these and the dozens of other ones that I didn’t mention that are great too. I think being on a label that has a lot of good artists tells people that your band is probably good and because of that people are more likely to check you out. You still have to deliver the goods but it might get your foot in the door.
IE: There is already a local record release show scheduled for the end of this month but what can people expect from you guys going forward? Is touring in the cards? A video for one of the new tracks? Any other stuff going on? Thanks for your time.
Kevin: We are working on You Tube videos for some of the songs on the EP and will put those out soon. In December we have some shows with Agnostic Front, Hardknocks and Take Offense in So. Cal and hope to do some East Coast and European shows next year. The plan is for the Eulogy to record some new stuff early next year and keep putting out music and playing shows. We want to ramp it up as much as we can and still stay married, not lose our jobs and so our kids won’t end up like us.