Dave Peters, screamer from Orange County hardcore heavyweights Throwdown, is resting up at his home base in California after a six-week US tour. At the time of this interview, prior to the release of Vendetta, the quartet is about to hit the bricks again, this time to Japan and Australia as they hone material from their ferocious forthcoming album Vendetta. He tells Truepunk about Mexican food, Ozzfest and gambling with Slipknot.

Interview by Steve Tauschke | | with THROWDOWN'S Dave Peters.

Can constant touring get quite grueling - physically - for the band?
It can be. Sometimes it will take its toll on us. One person got real sick on this last tour and once one person gets sick, there's no stopping it when you're all in this one little van. It's a little rough and you can get exhausted and we've taken a couple of stops over at the emergency clinics to re-hydrate a few people on this tour. Haha.

Tell us about your gig at Ozzfest last year?
Oh yeah, that was amazing, the best tour we'd probably ever done as a band on so many levels. We were on the second stage with so many of our friends' bands, like Every Time I Die and Hatebreed and it was really cool to be able to spend the whole summer with those guys - it was like metal summer camp!

I heard you got to watch Black Sabbath from the wings?
At the end of the second stage I got to go over and watch Slayer and Black Sabbath and Judas Priest so there were no complaints. One night security was pretty slack and me a couple of friends stood right on the side of the main stage and Sharon (Osbourne) was right there so I had the best seat in the house. Wherever Ozzie's wife is sitting is far and away the best place to watch Black Sabbath. It was awesome and a cool experience for a lot of younger bands. There was all that tension between Bill Ward and Ozzie and they recognized that on stage and played off of that a little bit.

How does the band's message of self-motivation keep you moving forward?
I think it kind of feeds off itself in a way. A lot of our experiences now are directly through the band because that's what I know and what I lived day in day out. Whether it's an experience I had on the road or detachment from home and from the people that I love back in California, it's definitely fueled the lyrical content so it pushes me in that way and the band facilitates that. There are a lot of things to overcome and we have to have a lot of self-discipline in order to do the job that we have. It's not all glitz and glamour like everyone might think.

So what does being straight-edge mean to you?
For me personally I've been straight edge for about 12 years and it's kind of ingrained in who I am. I hesitate to use the word movement because for me it's a personal choice and I'm never trying to convince someone that straight edge is the thing for them. By definition, it's an individual choice and it's not my place to try to influence someone. I think in certain ways we obviously set examples for other people and for our younger fans to look up to but as far as the music industry goes, well ... Being straight edge is not something I'm even conscious of. I haven't touched alcohol or cigarettes or drugs for a really long time, I don't even think about it. I respect my friends bands who drink and have a really good time and I appreciate the humour that's involved with it.

What influenced your lifestyle more, your family values or bands you grew up with?
Both played a big role in it. I have a great family who've always been really supportive of everything I've done even to this day. They help me in every way they can. I did lose a couple of friends to alcohol more or less and that was a big deal for me when I was younger. I discovered at a young age that drugs and alcohol wasn't my scene. To me it was really cool to see a whole other world where those values went hand in hand. I was able to go out there and watch bands like Unbroken who got me into the backbone of hardcore bands like Minor Threat and Sick Of It All. So I think there were a number of things that got me into hardcore and straight edge early on.

Do you have a vice? Chocolate? Anything?
Mexican food, I dunno. That's probably as bad as it gets for me. Hahaha! I'm an over-eater I guess. If you put enough good food in front of me I'll eat it. Everybody in our band appreciates a really good meal and a really good desert to follow.

I heard you went gambling with the guys from Slipknot?
We did quite a bit of gambling on Ozzfest with those guys. Their singer Corey was an avid gambler and so was Sully the guy who was tour managing Hatebreed at the time. Between our bass player and myself, I think we probably lost a couple of thousands of dollars to the guys from Slipknot and Hatebreed on that tour. We gained some of that back but all I can remember are my losses. Haha!

But we didn't lose what Jordan from Every Time I Die lost which was a little bit of his pride. He lost a bet and asked Sully how he could earn his money back and so Sully gave him a list of tattoos to get and Jordan ended up getting five out of the six tattoos. He got all his money back but then lost it again and ended up with his leg covered in all these horrible tattoos, including Sully's name done in the Slayer font.

What's happening with the forthcoming album Vendetta?
It's all done and recorded and we're very happy with it at this point.

I know you worked with Zeus (Agnostic Front, Shadows Fall) in the studio? How did you guys get on?
He's great. We met him through some long time friends of ours, Hatebreed, a while back and then a few years later when we wanted to work with someone new and he's great as both an engineer and producer. We just dived into it and it ended up working out better than we could have imagined. We were really on the same page as far as the vision of this band. He recognizes the differences between bands and takes the time to get to know the people in the band and the music and our goals for individual songs and adapted to that and gave his opinions.

As musicians, we have a couple of dudes in the band who know a whole lot about engineering and mixing and miking and what not so we were looking over his shoulder to see what he was doing. There was a specific technique that blew our minds but he always went out of his way to capture the real sound rather than going through and re-amping everything and making it really digital and processed. He was very into capturing what we wanted on the first try. He managed to capture a really pissed-off and aggressive sound which I think is missing in a lot of other recordings out there. We found it a great relationship and it was good to butt heads.

What are your thoughts on the merging of metal and hardcore these days?
Years ago there was a blurred line between a lot of hardcore and punk and it was difficult to classify. Minor Threat were a hardcore band and a punk band at the same time. Certain guitar riffs or things we do vocally are very metal and for me I grew up listening to a lot of that; Metallica and Pantera and Sepultura. It was later that I got into hardcore bands like Undertow and Madball. For us it's a real natural thing and I can usually pick it when a band is trying to blend the two, it usually sounds forced and I can't stand it.

It's not like we ever say 'ok, well stick a Slayer part here and a Sick Of It All part here'. Hardcore seems to have been bastardized a lot these days. For me though nowadays what separates a hardcore band from a metal or screamo band or whatever you want to call it is the DIY thing and adhering to the values that got them into doing a band in the first place and caring about what hardcore means. Not just as a musical style but a set of values including unity and loyalty to your friends.

So how does recording for Trustkill contrast your early days on Indecision?
Nothing's changed due to us changing record labels but I think the music world has changed in general for metal or hardcore or punk. There's a whole new generation of kids who are appreciating metal ad heavy music again like they were a decade or two ago. When we on Indecision we were different people too, we were a lot younger and we would play shows a couple of times a month in California and maybe go out once a year and do Hellfest.

Everything was on a friend-to-friend to basis and we were doing it for a good time. We were definitely doing business with a lot of good people and for a good time and we keep it touch with the people at Indecision and stay true to our roots. But nowadays when you're touring ten months out of the year it's hard to keep it all strictly about friendships because there's so much business and so much order gone into it these days. I guess we're a little more stressed now but other than that we're still having a good time and loving what we do and as long as that's the case we'll still keep doing this. The second we don't enjoy it anymore, we'll find something else to do.

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