Interview with Bill Gaal of Nothingface Band

The Underground Scene: interview of Bill Gaal

How did you guys get together and come up with the name Nothingface?

Bill Gaal (bass/vocals) – Tom and I met like eight, nine years ago now with our old drummer Chris, and we had a couple different singers back then too. We just got together and jammed and everything was cool, everything fealt good, and we just started off doing all original stuff, didn’t worry about covers or anything like that, and it just fealt good, we were down in the Baltimore/D.C. scene, Tom was coming from Baltimore, Chris, our old drummer, and I were coming from D.C. and then we wrote like four songs the first day we got together, and I said “ok, we need to name this thing,” and we all just put together a list of like 20 or so names that we all thought were cool and we just put them all together and Nothingface was the one that we were all just like “yeah that one is cool,” and stuff. I wish I could say there was some mystical meaning behind it, but we were like yeah that’s a pretty fucking cool name.

So your new album “Skeletons” actually comes out today, you must be pretty excited to have that out finally.

Bill – Yeah, we spent a lot of time working on this record, like a year and a half writing it, put a lot of emotion and pain into this record and even we were surprised when we finished it the way it came out, we were so happy, never been happier with a record we’ve done.

So how would you say it compares with your previous efforts?

Bill – I would say it’s, in our opinion, it’s the best record we’ve ever done. I would say it’s probably closer to “An Audio Guide To Everyday Autrocity” then it is to “Violence,” which is cool because “Audio Guide” was my favorite of all of our records up until this point, and now it’s “Skeletons,” you know it’s everything we do taken to more extremes. The melodic stuff is even more melodic. Matt’singing has gotten better and better over the years, and the heavy stuff is just heavy, heavy, yeah it’s just a more extreme version of what we’ve been so far.

The seems to be a little bit more political then past albums lyrically, what made you guys go in that direction this time around?

Bill – You know Matt has always been real political and involved in world affairs and stuff like that, but in the past he has hidden a lot of it in metafors in his lyrics instead of just coming out and flat out saying what he was fealing, and I think he was just a little more pissed off this time. The lyrics are all Matt, they’ve always been all Matt, and yeah, he was just a little more pissed off this time, he said “you know what, I am just going to say this shit straight out, no bullshit, and just get it out there because I am sick of seeing it on CNN every day,” and seeing things happen like the Catholic priest scandal and all this hype starts to build up and then all of a sudden it just disappears, and you know, that kind of stuff doesn’t just disappear, but in the news it kind of has, but in the news it seems to have, and he had something to say about it.

Interview with Bill Gaal of Nothingface Band

That kind of leads into a question I have for the question after this one, but with the state of mind that the American public seems to be in where a lot of “celebrities” and “artist” are chastized for their “anti-American” stance, how do you think a song like “Ether” is going to be received? Are you nervous at all?

Bill – You know it’s funny, I can understand with a song like “Ether” how someone could perceive it as anti-American, and I mean it couldn’t be further from the truth. This band is proud, everyone in this band is proud of America, proud to be Americans. We just see things happening in America that we don’t agree with, it doesn’t mean we’re not proud to be American, it just means we want to see change, and that’s all. You know the troops go over and fight a war in Iraq, we completely support our troops and we want everyone to come back, we want everyone to be safe. We’re going to go over and fight these mother fuckers, we just want to kill all of them and bring all of our guys back, but that doesn’t mean we have to be behind a President who we personally don’t feel should have even been elected in the first place, and wasn’t elected quite frankly, at least not legally (everyone laughs).

I didn’t vote for him either.

Bill – We’re about as American as you can be, it takes a lot, Matt said this last night, it takes a lot more patriotism and pride in your country to stand up when you believe, when you see things happening in your country and you want to see change.

Ok, switching back to what you were mentioning before, your first single on the album “Here Comes The Butchers” is deeply rooted in the ongoing scandal here in Boston in the church, why aren’t more people talking about this? It’s almost like you’re the first. (editors note: bandwise)

Bill – I don’t know, it was definitely becoming a big deal and then all of a sudden it got swept under the carpet, and I’m not really sure why people aren’t talking about it. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the political power of the Catholic churh or the power of the media, I honestly have no idea, but quite frankly, I am glad Matt did write those lyrics, and I maybe we can keep this in the public face until it is resolved.

You guys were supposed to be on the Ministry tour and then you dropped off, what happened there?

Bill – You know, it was just financial reasons, the ammount of money we were spending to be on the tour compared to what we were making, it just wasn’t evening out. Bands have a certain budget, bands at our level have a certain ammount of money to spend each touring cycle, and we knew that we wanted to do a headlining tour at some point and we knew that we had Ozzfest coming up which is super expensive, and we love Ministry, we’ve toured with them before, they treat us great, they’re great guys, and the shows were cool, but it just wasn’t making sense for us, so we just went ahead pulled off and did this headliner, which financially makes a lot more sense for us because we make a lot more money doing these shows, and we can stay out here a little longer.

Of course you just got on Ozzfest, you must be looking forward to that.

Bill – Yeah man, I can’t wait.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to about the tour?

Bill – You know I am really looking forward to seeing Marilyn Manson honestly, it’s funny, because I know it’s going to be a show, I’ve seen a lot of the bands that are playing before, and I know they are going to throw down, I know everything is going to be great, but actually I am looking forward to some of the more theatrical stuff like Marilyn Manson or Cradle Of Filth even, who I’ve never seen, I don’t really know anything about them, but I know they’ve got that whole vampirey thing going, so more for entertainment purposes then musical reasons, but then the whole second stage is just so brutal this year, it’s like it might as well be a Boston hardcore show or something, you know what I mean?

Oh yeah, you’ve got the home town boys Killswitch and Shadows Fall!

Bill – Yeah! It’s brutal.

Alright, we like to switch it up a little bit, if you could pick any super hero power to have, what would you pick?

Bill – Mind control, absolutely! (everyone laughs)

I was inspired driving here, and I know I saw your bus driving in circles, what is the most annoying city to drive in?

Bill – I’ll tell you, New York City is pretty damn annoying to drive in, and not so much because of the traffic, but the conditions of the road, where everything is kind of just thrown around, especially on a bus where we are on these really bouncy shocks and stuff like that, you try to sleep on this thing and you just get thrown around, you’re hitting the ceiling, it’s just back and forth.

Who would win in a fight between Dan Rather and Barbara Walters?

Bill – Shit, I don’t know, Barbara Walters is no one to be fucked with, I think maybe if she just punched him quick right in the throat it would be all over, but I don’t know if she could take a shot to the temple from Dan Rather, he’s a pretty big guy.

Interview with Bill Gaal of Nothingface Band

Who would you say some of your influences are as a band?

Bill – We have pretty diverse influences, I think the only ones that we probably share is probably the Beatles, maybe old Metallica. Tom comes form a much heavier background then me, he’s more into like Slayer and Merciful Fate, real fast, heavy stuff, whereas I come from more of a, like a Jawbox, Quicksand, Bad Brains, more melodic kind of background. Matt actually has listened to all of that growing up, but the Beatles are definitely a big influence to us as a band as far where we try to set the bar as far as the quality of music we write, and what we go for.

What would your dream tour be?

Bill – Oh man, I think my dream tour would probably be with bands that have already broken up, which kind of sucks. Refused was one of my favorite bands, still is one of my favorite bands ever, I’d like to do a tour with Refused, Bad Brains and Nothingface, that would just be sick.

What keeps you motivated on the days you’re sick and just don’t feel like playing?

Bill – Just knowing that we go into these towns and all our friends, I consider all of our fans our friends, that all our friends are going to be there. I’m going to see 300 to 500 of my friends pulling in every day, so no matter how shitty I feel I know they are going to be there and I know it’s going to be cool.

How would you sell your new album “Skeletons” to someone who has never heard of Nothingface before?

Bill – I’d probably say if you want to hear something that is really diverse, where each song is going to bring you in a different direction and kind of give you a different vibe, you’ll dig the record, it’s got a little but if everything on it, well, except for rap (everyone laughs).

Any last comments?

Bill – We’re going to be out on tour for the next two, three years just nonstop, after we do Ozzfest we’re going to jump on another big tour, and we’re going to be in everyone’s face so just keep an eye out for us.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Bill for taking the time out to do the interview, and thank Tom over at TVT for setting it up. Nothingace will be hitting the road for Ozzfest this summer, and their new album “Skeletons” is in stores now.

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