Classic Interview No 2. – Brock Lindow (@36CF)

First a bit of background on this one. I’d been to see 36CF’s open for Killswitch Engage in October 2002 in Dublin. It was the first gig I ever went to and almost a decade later I was delighted to see these guys here opening for Devildriver in Newcastle.

Brock was good friends with Devildriver and did the whole tour as basically a favor to a friend, standing outside in the cold with a flatcap and looking like a cross between a ticket tout and a chain smoking Andy Capp, he chatted away about everything and anything. Most of all I admired his honesty – not the most honest interview I’d ever had, but it came very close – as he spoke about recently loosing one of his best friends and band mates and what it meant for him to be a truly blessed person.

It’s below freezing and we’re standing outside the artist entrance to the Newcastle 02 Academy. A girl next to me is telling me how much she loves 36 Crazyfists, and when I ask her age, we work out she was only 8 the first time I saw this band!

It’s true that Brock Lindow, who co-founded the group in Alaska in 1994, is a true veteran of the road and that 36CF’s have always been just below that radar, not the band who headline, but on the same token not a band likely to ever disappear. They’ve paid their dues, and now it’s time to seek reward, a co-headlining jaunt with Devildriver is just the start.

Hey Brock, how are you this evening?

Good. Just gearing up, first night of the tour, and we’re ready to have a party!

So what’s it like to be back on the road, with Roadrunner, and out here in the UK doing this kind of co-headline tour with a band you’re obviously very familiar with?

Yeah, it’s good, real happy to be in Europe in general because the States suck for touring. For us anyway. But as a whole it’s just always been a little bit better for us over here. So I’ve always looked forward to coming over here. And, you know, doing a full run as opposed to just a festival thing or something – like we did in the Summer, which was always excellent – is just brilliant for us. And not to mention Devildriver, my favourite band ever, as well as being some of my best friends. Good times.

The last time I seen you guys was around 2001, with Killswitch Engage on a RR sponsored European tour, and things have changed since then. So you’ve been back and forward, changed labels, returned to your original label and looking back what does it all feel like for you?

17 years. But yeah, it’s all good, to still be doing it….I’m thankful for that. A lot of bands have come and gone and we’re still getting work. I’m looking forward and that legacy you mentioned is a wonderful thing, I never thought I’d ever get to do it, I don’t take it for granted and eventually this dream may end so I treasure every moment. And that’s fine, we’ve had a great run, and I’m still here and grateful for it.

So tell us about the first live DVD release you made in 17 years. This was ‘Under A Northern Stage’ and you had just lost one of your founding members at this point. Were you happy with the release looking back?

That was tough, to loose Mickey, because as you say we’ve been together for so long. And together. And when he had to leave, it was hard on him, and hard on me too – one of my best friends – and we totally understood his decision. We’re not getting any younger and we realise people have lives outside of this and sometimes family comes first. So Buzzard, who was our guitar tech for 10 years, he’s now our bass player – and he was already a member of the family – so we were excitied to see him join up. So the transition of getting Buzz wasn’t that bad and we enjoyed getting him in there but, still to this day, when we play back home and Mick comes to the show and we see him in the crowd that’s kind of weird. But no ill feeling.

The DVD, you know, I always hate anything I see of myself live. That’s a personal thing. And it was the same with that. But critics who say you can’t pull it off live, that show was recorded in Alaska, and the feeling that night and the energy was incredible and couldn’t be translated to that DVD. Not possible to do that. We have a really loyal fanbase back home and we’re so happy about that, it’s killer. I’m thankful we got to put out a DVD, it’s a little bittersweet that it got rushed, because we had all this old footage to put in – and I mean this stupid stuff from back in 95 and 96 – and we could only put a fraction of what we had on there.

If we make the 20th year we might put out another anniversary DVD.

Your latest album is a lot heavier than your previous efforts, tracks like Bloodwork, which you seem to be drifting away from – you’re almost drifting away from Metalcore in general. Would you agree?

Yeah, I mean, yeah – it’s the heaviest. I’m proud of that. I wanted to make a really heavy album. And the thing about Snowcapped, and the thing about that time, that was a great time and everything but it’s hard to recapture things that just happened naturally. If you do I think you end up just repeating or destroying a memory. I actually wished Snowcapped had been our first album, I loved it so much, and felt it really did things for us.

So for us, every record is different, we made a somewhat consious effort to do that. No rules, lets just do something that sounds fresher, and we chose this route and we’re not as metal as Devildriver but we have these aspects. The only goal is to not try and repeat ourselves. People who love Snowcapped, yeah maybe they don’t like the new stuff as much, maybe it’s not as unique – there’s not a lot – I can tell that it’s us back then. It’s kind of our signature record. It’s my favourite record we’ve ever done.

The new album is good, it’s not the best thing since sliced bread, and I wouldn’t stand here and say it is – but I think that it’s another step and another progression for this band. Songs by the band 17 years into their career.

And so tell us a little about the future, where does it lie for 36CF’s, where do you see yourself heading?

Well it seems like the band’s at a point where we’ve never been this big buzz band, we’re just steady, and I’m totally OK with that. And that’s how we’re always going to be. I don’t have illusions about this next album making me a millionaire. And I don’t care, I get to make music with friends, I pay my bills and I get to tour the world. I’m from a place in Alaska where nobody gets to bring a band to the UK, so compared to what could have happened, I think I’ve done really well. And I’m happy with that.

I’ve succeeded. So for me I’m so – not satisfied – but happy. I remember taking Bullet for my Valentine out for their first tour, they were in a band with no windows, and now they’re just massive, you know? Sometimes crazy shit happens, and that’s awesome, and I love those guys and respect them for that but my favourite bands are always the ones who drudge it out and just survive. And I think that’s us.

Excellent Brock, thanks for speaking to us