Friday, July 10, 2009. It wasn’t your typical hot Sacramento day in July. Yes, it was very hot, but there was something exciting going on nearby at the Sleeptrain Amphitheater. Today was the first day of the Rockstar Mayhem Tour – a full day jam-packed with the most brutal metal to ever grace our ears. Kicking things off on the main stage for the day was Bullet For My Valentine, fresh out of Wales.
Moose, the band’s drummer, graciously gave me a few moments of his time to catch me up things. Not being overly familiar with this group, I was curious as to how things came to be.
“It started with me, Matt (guitar and vocals) in 1998” Moose said, with his charming Welsh accent, “And things would fall apart and we would keep going, and we started dabbling in songs, and eventually we got a record deal. That was in 2003, so we were going for a while before that.”
The band is rounded off by Padge on lead guitar and Jay on bass. Together they whip up a frenzy of melodic heaviness that any hungry, hot crowd on a day such as today would be craving.
When watching a band play to thousands of rabid fans, it can be hard to imagine that same band during their humble beginnings. Like every other band, they did have a rough start.
“Yeah, we played clubs to like two or four people,” Moose explained, “but then when we got signed things started to take off, and more people started to know who we were.”
Mayhem is not the first festival tour the band has been part of. BFMV was part of last year’s Taste of Chaos tour. And with each tour, the band’s popularity has grown.
“I love playing these shows,” Moose said. “There will be a lot of people here who haven’t heard us before, and hopefully they will dig us and enjoy us.”
Growing up in Europe, Moose had never actually been to a metal festival before.
“Back home, the festivals are huge,” he said. “I mean they are just massive. I always promised myself that I would never go to one unless I was playing at it. And I’ve kept my promise.”
The band performed at last years Reading and Leeds festivals in Europe. With a tour line-up such as Mayhem, there’s bound to be at least one other band on the bill that was influential in some fashion.
“Yes, Slayer definitely influenced me as a drummer,” Moose said. “I think he (Dave Lombardo) is one of the best drummers I’ve heard in my entire life!” And lucky for Moose, the BFMV dressing room was right next door to Slayer’s. “I will make sure to catch their show, and I want to watch Killswitch Engage, and All That Remains.”
Once the Mayhem tour is done, the band will head back into the studio to finish up work on their new release.
“Yeah, the drums are done, the guitars are done, we just have to finish up on the vocals and stuff and it should be out by February of next year. We don’t have a title for it yet. It’s actually sounding a bit more like our first album than the last one, ‘The Poison.’”
The crowd roared when they took the stage. Friendly faces screamed with joy as they bodies were being shoved into the front barrier, their mouths singling along to every word. And a little farther to the back, a whole lot of die-hard Slayer fans were slowly being converted. February is only a half a year away, right? Time will go by fast, kids. Trust me, you’ll have that new Bullet For My Valentine album in no time! And by then we’ll all be whining about the cold weather instead of the hot weather. Until then, pick up Bullet For My Valentine’s current release, “Scream Aim Fire,” and hear for yourself why they are creating such a buzz and are in such huge demand all around the world.
And if you missed them at Mayhem, you may begin kicking yourself now.