Photo | Courtesy of Rotting World
Band: Rotting World, D.R.E.A.D., Sun N Eye
Date: Saturday, June 12 at 8 p.m.
Venue: Alabama Music Box, 12 S. Conception St., alabamamusicbox.com
Tickets: $10 at the door
The new-school metal scene should prepare for a nuclear blast from the underground scene’s past and present. A special evening at the Alabama Music Box will begin with the father/son metal duo Sun N Eye featuring Arthur Alexander (Sucking Diction) and his son, Andre Alexander. Next, Azalea City metal behemoths D.R.E.A.D. will infiltrate the state with a dose of thrash goodness.
The lineup’s headliner, Rotting World, will herald the birth of a supergroup featuring members from two of the metal scene’s most memorable outfits. Rotting World pools the talents of ’90s metal notables Mutant Speed and Third World Citizen. The band’s lineup features Mutant Speed members/brothers vocalist Joe Gaston (also of Dark Con of Man) and drummer Sam Gaston, as well as guitarist Brad Huddleston. With time spent in both bands, bassist Drew Korbe completes this project. Lagniappe’s Steve Centanni infiltrated a Rotting World practice for a look into a metal project that many locals have been craving.
Steve Centanni: So, where did the band name come from?
Drew Korbe: It’s a combination of the two bands that we were in, which were Third World Citizen and Mutant Speed. Originally, we were going to be Mutant Citizen. Some of us didn’t like that. We beat some stuff back and forth. We took the “Rotting” from the rotting squirrel, which was one of the Mutant Speed logos. The “World” comes from Third World Citizen.
Centanni: Many of the songs you’ll be playing still resonate with locals. What do you think it is about this music that has given it permanence?
Joe Gaston: I think part of it is the memories attached with them. Back when Mutant Speed and Third World Citizen were playing heavily in the ’90s, people were coming to the shows to get out of the house, socialize with some friends and hear some good music. For some people, it brings back those memories. I also think that this is a style of music that people still enjoy. Personally, I’ve seen a resurgence of metal in the last decade or so. I think that’s kind of helped in creating the interest in this.
Centanni: I’ve always said that out of all the genres in the local underground, metal has always been present, especially these days. How would you compare the modern metal scenes to the one y’all came up in during the ’90s?
Sam Gaston: When we were playing there were plenty of all-ages venues. Teenagers could get out and come to shows. Now, you don’t have that demographic anymore. It has to be older people. So, it’s hard to refresh the fans, because there’s nowhere to come see us.
Brad Huddleston: There’s a lot more metal bands now too, with a lot of variety. You’ve got death, grind and groove metal. Mutant Speed was around for 13 years or so. Can any band of any genre say that as far as metal bands? Third World Citizen was around for five years.
J. Gaston: I would tip my hat to D.R.E.A.D. They’ve helped keep the scene alive.
Centanni: What’s it been like preparing for this show?
Korbe: There’s been a lot of dust to knock off.
Huddleston: I haven’t played this fast in 30 years, since I played Metallica covers in the early ’90s. I’ve been busting my ass every day since Drew called me that first day in January. Since then, I’ve been working towards this show to get my chops up. By the time the show gets around here, it’ll be alright.
Centanni: What’s the setlist going to be like?
J. Gaston: We weren’t going to call it Mutant Speed, because it’s not the original members of Mutant Speed. Since we’ve got three guys from Mutant Speed and two guys from Third World Citizen, we’re digging up songs from both bands. We’re going to be playing really early Mutant Speed stuff. We’re going to be playing songs that Brad and Drew wanted to do from Third World Citizen. We’re even going to go into the Soulcore album. For this show, we’re going to do at least one new song and one cover from Black Sabbath, but the rest of it will be the old-school Mutant Speed and Third World Citizen songs.
Centanni: Tell me about the new one.
Huddleston: I actually wrote the riff in Third World Citizen, but I’ve stuck with it for 30-plus years now. Any guys that I’ve jammed with or tried to get something going since Third World Citizen broke up, it was one of the first songs that I taught the guys. These guys liked it, so we worked it into a song.
Centanni: What’s been the best part of doing this project?
Korbe: It’s been playing with these guys who I haven’t played with in forever.
Huddleston: If we were doing jazz, then it would be cool, but I’m back to my roots. I’m back to metal. I’m loving it. I’ve always admired the Gaston brothers. I was so jealous of them back in the ’90s. They always pulled a bigger crowd than I did.
S. Gaston: I was a little hesitant at first. I knew that it was going to be a big challenge for me to play the songs. I was worried that between kids and work and other music endeavors that I wouldn’t have the energy or time. After the first practice, I was like, “Yeah, I really miss playing heavy sh*t, these guys are cool as hell and this is fun.”
Korbe: I haven’t seriously played bass since Third World Citizen broke up in 2001. I played a little bass in another band. I’ve dabbled here and there and done guitar and vocals in bands until Joe called me in December and started talking about this. This is the first time in 20 years that I’ve seriously played bass way faster than anything that I’ve done in a while.
Centanni: What’s the next step after this show?
J. Gaston: What I like about it is that we have a large repository of music to choose from. There’s a few towns that we know that we want to go play in. We might be willing to put enough distance between shows that we drop a few songs and choose a few different ones, depending on where we’re playing. It would be silly to put all this effort into it for just a few shows.
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