I’m lucky to be in a band like Hatebreed. We’re probably one of the only bands on the planet that can headline Inferno in Norway and then go and do the Warped tour with a bunch of pop-punk and emo bands. Because we’ve always said from the start that alternative music shouldn’t try to emulate mainstream society and culture. What you see there, especially in America, is a lot of division. Whether that’s because of religion or political stances or because of race, there’s not a lot of acceptance that you see or hear about in the media. Just a lot of sensationalist headlines.
When that crosses into the music world, which is supposed to be an escape from all the bullshit that you are forcefed by the mainstream media, I have no time for that. If I go to a show, I don’t care if you’re wearing make-up or have short hair or are wearing tight clothes: that’s not my concern. My concern is that I get some sort of enjoyment from the show or learn something about myself. Ultimately, you hope the experience will be a positive one.
So, as far as the divisiveness of fans of certain genres goes, it’s important to have a healthy perspective on these things. Firstly, the stuff that goes on online is only there on the internet. It’s not real. Secondly, we as a band have made a conscious effort to not even acknowledge this stuff, because if you make a big deal of it then you’re admitting it’s there. And in rock music there is a lot of unity. We’ve gone out on tour with Motörhead, Slayer, The Dropkick Murphys, played as main support to Whitesnake and Kiss. There are people that enjoy Hatebreed and enjoy Kiss, and what’s wrong with that?
I saw Type O Negative, The Exploited and Biohazard tour together and there were so many different people from so many different scenes there. Punks, skinheads, the hardcore guys, the metalheads and the goths. And it just made the show that much bigger. All the bands that I grew up loving and wanting to play with, from Anthrax to Life Of Agony, achieved some sort of crossover in their career.
Of course, I am aware that there are people that are stuck in one certain sub-genre, asking, ‘Which one is better?’ or ‘Which one is more real?’ That says more about them than it does about the stuff they’re arguing over. You do tend to gravitate to the thing that makes you feel good, but people change. That’s just life. You have to worry about someone who is so blinkered, unaccepting and unwilling to change. I’m not going to knock anyone for their taste in music because to put someone down is never going to lift me up. There are so many better things to care about and better ways to use your energy.
People always want to keep in their own little clique, but it’s when you do these different tours and you do a great festival like Bloodstock that you get to open up people’s minds. We heard about the online talk when we were announced for Bloodstock last time but when the day came there were over 10,000 people there, many of whom had never seen us. That’s an incredible opportunity to prove yourself. I had so many tweets when I walked offstage from people that had never been exposed to Hatebreed before, telling me how much they had enjoyed our set.
So we need to stick together. The days of MTV videos and big movie soundtracks are gone. This music can only exist if it’s blossoming at grass-roots level. We chose this type of music and this lifestyle because we didn’t want to be part of that mainstream agenda of alienation. When you live a life that is positive and honourable you don’t need to drag other people down. It’s never going to work in your favour. You’re better off taking the high road.
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