Monday 21 December 2015

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Spotlight: An Interview with Paul Bearer from FUNERAL HORSE

It's that time again to interview another band playing at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta in 2016. And today's guests are an amazing band in their own right. They've had a great year already as they released a stunning album with Divinity For The Wicked. 

These guys have a solid fan-base within the Doom/Stoner Metal Community and that shows with the amount of great reviews the album has received so far. I'm talking about FUNERAL HORSE.

I was given the chance to speak with Paul Bearer (Guitar/Vocals) from the band to discuss their new album and their forthcoming performance at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. This is what went down...

Hi Paul. How are things with you today? Thanks for doing this interview.

Thank you, Steve! Super stoked to be here.

How did Funeral Horse get together? And why did you choose the name?

Jason (bass player) posted an advert on Craigslist seeking people to jam with who were into heavier styles of music and that’s how we came together. After jamming for a few weeks, we played our first gig at a skate park and everything just took off from there.

The name of the band came about while I was casually watching the funeral service for Margaret Thatcher. At some point, the announcer mentioned that the “funeral horses were being prepared…” and I just stopped whatever I was doing and wrote down the words Funeral Horse. Thank you, Maggie!

How would you describe your music?

Heavy rock and metal.

You’re scheduled to play Borderland Fuzz Fiesta in February 2016. How did you get involved in that festival?

When we played in Tucson while on tour in 2014, we met an interesting collection of characters that we’ve kept in contact with over time. When I saw a note about the festival on Facebook, I contacted Wayne directly… and here we are!

What can people expect from your set at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta?

Raaaaawk! And a few bad jokes. But mostly raaaaaawk!!!

Which bands are you looking forward in seeing at the festival?

Dead Meadow, Elder, Fuzz Evil… pretty much all of them because it’s such a fantastic line up of bands. We’re especially looking forward to hanging out with our fellow Texans, Switchblade Jesus. I still owe Eric’s sister some weed too. Shit, I just remembered that!

Will you be performing any warm-up gigs before the festival?

Yeah… just your usual assortment of gigs here and there. We’re actually flying out to Tucson just for the fest and then flying back to Houston to play Bad Ass Weekend the next day. We’re saving up our vacation days so we can hit Europe for 10-15 days and then hit up the East Coast of the US in the Fall.

Have you played in festivals before or is Borderland Fuzz Fiesta your first one?

Funeral Horse has played quite a few fests over the years – most of them in Houston but we also love playing Creepy Fest in New Orleans (Hi Bill Heintz!!). We also played SXSW a few years ago and… yeah, we won’t get fooled again with that.

How hard is it being a band in today's world? What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band?

Being in a band is a lot like marriage: getting married is easy but staying married is the difficult part. Lately, the most difficult part of being in an active band is getting people to pull away from their phones and come out to gigs.

What inspired you to become a musician? Any particular album, band or life-changing event that told you – Yeah, that's what I want to do....

Paul Bearer (guitar/vocals): For me, it all started with KISS Destroyer. When I heard that album, I LOVED everything about it: it was weird, it rocked, it was mysterious… everything. Then I saw KISS in 1979 and knew that rock and roll was the life for me!

Chris Bassett (drums): Can't really point to one specific album that inspired me to be a drummer because it seems from my earliest memories THAT'S what I wanted to be. As far as an album that put me on the path of "Rock n Roll", it was most certainly KISS' “Love Gun”. I saw the cover first and was hypnotized by that alone… and when I actually played the disc on my Fisher Price record player, and I heard that opening salvo of "I Stole Your Love", that was IT.

Jason Argonaut (bass): Growing up in the late 70's and the 80's in California, there were so many awesome bands. I've always been drawn to music and - just like every other kid in the states - I had guitar that I messed around on. The turning point for me was Cliff Burton’s bass solo (Anesthesia)--Pulling Teeth. From that moment, I knew! I had a friend who wanted to trade his bass for my guitar, so I made the trade and really began to work on music more seriously. Just hearing the beginning of Anesthesia, even to this day, sends chills down my back.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band? Is it a group collective or down to one individual?

I come up with the basic frame work for a song and then demo it to the guys either via email or in person. Many times though, I’ll work on an idea and then let it simmer for a few weeks before presenting it to the band. However, once the idea is presented, we work collectively to fine tune the music into a Funeral Horse song.

You've just recently released your awesome new album – Divinity For The Wicked – which has gone a storm with the Doom Metal/Stoner Rock crowd. Did that surprise you the responses it's received?

Oy… thank you, Steve! Fuck yeah, we were very nervous on how people would react to the new album as not many metal albums have bagpipes, flutes and a zhong ruan included in the mix – but we wanted something that reflected our wide range of influences and interests. Plus, the cover artwork was not what we had originally envisioned as the original artist backed out last minute. So there was this scramble to finish the album AND figure out what to do about the cover artwork. Looking at the reviews, we are beyond grateful for the excellent press and coverage.

OK… if you had the chance to put on a festival, which bands would you put on. It can be any bands from any era of music.

I’d like to see something developed similar to Live at Pompeii… some vast, open, ancient area where bands play in the round while the audience hangs out wherever. It would be fun to have the 70s era Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac along with our label mates Jody Seabody & The Whirls, Terminal Cheesecake, Cursus and Funeral Horse (duh!). The Linus Pauling Quartet would also have to be involved because they’re so fucking amazing.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans?

Hell yeah… you guys are GREAT! We certainly appreciate your support and we're really glad you like what we do and how we do it. If you've enjoyed what we've released so far, we think you'll dig what we have in the future. Also, read plenty of Wordsworth!

Words by Steve Howe and Paul Bearer

I want to thank Wayne Ruddell and Walter for arranging this interview. And for Paul to taking the time out to talking to me.

Funeral Horse LInks

Borderland Fuzz Festival Links



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