Q. and A. with Johnny Death from So’ Cal’s Death Pilot

“Death Pilot” is a heavy metal band rocking the socks off of Southern California. They play a brand of music that is both heavy and artistic. With themes of War and Zombies, there is much more to this band than just music. I had a chance to catch up with Johnny Death himself.

Q: Describe what people should know about your band in five sentences or less.

Johnny Death: Well, we’re a metal band. We play heavy music, put on a kick ass live show and have a great time doing it. Were a visually based band, with a zombie WWII military theme.

Q: Talk about the names of your band members, where they came from, etc.

JD: Well our “Names” embody the idea of the band. We all strongly believe that it takes more than just good music to truly put on a show. I can’t count how many times that I have seen good bands and couldn’t tell the difference between the band members and the crowd. That is great if your into the straight ahead approach, but with the industry being where it is it takes more now to stand apart from the rest, especially in metal. It is not necessarily for our audience that we chose our names as much as it is for ourselves. When the lights go out and I hit that stage, I become Johnny Death and I’m there to make the dead rise!!! It’s different for all of us but you get the idea.

Q: Tell me an embarrassing story about your band-mates or other bands you know that you’d like to share.

JD: Oh man, ha ha well….. Here’s a story about a couple of bands. Earlier this year we did a five day run with Trivium, Taking Dawn and From Sword to Sunrise. One of the nights I was watching Taking Dawn, I think we were in Utah and Chris is on the microphone after a song and says “I don’t know how ya’ll deal with this cold weather. If my D*** was as hard as my nipples I would be able to please a manatee!!!” I was having a drink in front of our merch booth at the time and immediately started laughing my a** off with the rest of the crowd. I laughed so hard that I threw up all over my shoes in front of like ten people that were buying shirts from us.

Q: Your song “sea of faces” has some very melodic and also some very metal elements (and it kicks a^^). How did this song come about and would you say it’s a good example of your overall sound?

JD: Thanks bro. Sea of Faces is a good representation of our sound as a whole. The song was actually written by Adam “Midian” Ryan and our production team Dirty Icon (Logan Mader and Lucas Banker) as with all of the music, we are trying to balance aggressive playing styles with a defined message that everyone can connect with. This is just one piece of the puzzle connected to the big picture that makes our sound what it is. Imagine what it’s like to be away from home for prolonged periods of time, the effects that it takes on your family and the people that you care about, and yourself for that matter. It’s hard and has the ability to hurt the people you love. That’s what Sea of faces is to me.

Q: Your band has an official tattoo artist. How did that come about?

JD: Justin Lewis, I’m proud to have him as a friend and even more proud to wear his art work. He has known Ares for years and does amazing work. When he was asked to team up with us he was stoked and so were we. We are all into the same things and have a great time when were hanging out having BBQ watching movies etc… it just fit what we were all looking for really.

Q: What is your current status label-wise?

JD: Ha Ha Ha That’s classified info bro, lol.

Q: What do you think about the current Southern California music scene and what do you see as your place in it?

JD: In all honesty, I have never been more proud to be from So Cal. It was awesome to watch the east coast metal scene take over and dominate. Cali has a similar scene that spreads through AZ, NV and WA that is growing and growing. We’re right in the middle of it, there is music out here for everyone and it’s only a matter of time before it takes over.

Q: What would be your top- five favorite bands (or artists) of all time?

JD: Yikes!!! Way too many to pick out but, most influential would be:
1) Pantera
2) Slayer
3) Metalica
4) Machine Head
5) In Flames

Q: Your video for “until the end” is a bit of a ‘trip.’ It includes some animation, some war images and some performance footage (not to mention a wicked guitar solo). Talk about how the video came about, who put it together, the idea for it, etc.

JD: The idea of the video was to portray the concept of the band. Much like our live show, we wanted to instill that sense of a hellish WWII purgatory where the dead are living and you can’t escape. We shot the video with Konstantin from Dommin, he also did all of the editing for it which reminds me I owe that man a beer. Lucas, Konstantin and Adam came up with the plan for the video and worked out the details and made it happen. It was awesome because we killed two birds with one stone in the video. We were showcasing for our booking agent Tom Hoppa during the live shoot for the video, so the performances are as live as they can be.

Q: Have an album and/or shows you’d like to plug here?

JD: Make sure you make it to our show on August 22nd 2009 at Slims in the bay. Go to our myspace page ( http://www.myspace.com/deathpilotmusic ) for details. Also I live with a couple other dudes that are in a pretty awesome metal band called Jameson (www.myspace.com/jamesontheband) Check em’ out!!! Keep Rockin’ – Johnny Death


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