The Dirt on Chicago's SOiL
by Randy J. Klodz
The standard dictionary definition for "Redefine" should spout something about adding a new spin to
uh, something. And Chicago's own rockers SOiL--which includes vocalist Ryan McCombs, guitarists Shaun Glass and Adam Zadel, bassist Tim King and drummer Tom Schofield--is adding fuel to the slowing-churning Chicago hard-rock ring. SOiL guitarist, Shaun Glass took time out from a Virginia Beach tour stop to chat with Soak about everything from rocking out at 10:30 a.m. to the importance of clever band name spelling to what it's like to have crazy teenaged girls tattooing the faces of your bandmates onto their body.
SOAK: Even before your second and most recent album "Redefine," hit stores on March 23, your CD release party at Metro sold out weeks in advance and "Redefine" was often the number one song on 94.7 the Zone's Top 20.
SG: The Zone has been really good to us. It's really cool seeing that there's a real rock station in Chicago again. I don't want to listen to Dashboard Confessional. I wouldn't put that kind of music in the same category of rock. It's actually cool to turn on the radio in Chicago and hear your own song, where I used to hear it on the radio in every other city.
SOAK: How does it feel to be one of the top songs of the day for people in Chicago?
SG: It's cool because it shows that people wanted to hear SOiL, but it also shows we're turning a lot more people on to SOiL. We never really had that outlet in Chicago for radio and I think the song "Redefine" is the right song for everyone to hear from the new album here. I'm glad that the single is showing that Chicago really has a strong SOiL fan base. Like our last album, the first single was "Halo," but that really started in Florida, which is kind of weak for us. But now on this album, it's kind of being done right in our own backyard, which is really cool.
SOAK: You had a chance to rock-out on part of 2002's OZZfest tour, what was that like?
SG: It was killer except for when Dave [Williams, the late vocalist for Drowning Pool] passed away, but that's when we left the tour. A lot of our friends on the tour thought that the tour went downhill with the vibe after that. It's such a shame; he was such a great person. There's a song on our new album, "Remember," that we kind of dedicate to him. We'll never forget him.
SOAK: But on the OZZfest tour, didn't you have to get up in the wee hours and play a short set?
SG: Yep, we were in rotation on the second stage and actually we recorded a live version for the OZZfest 2002 Live CD with Zakk Wylde--he played "Halo" with us--and the actual day that we taped was our day to play the second slot in Boston at 10:30 in the morning. So Zakk is like, 'All right you fuckers, I'll do it for you guys,' and all of a sudden we're the second band on that day and his [guitar] tech brought over a rig and had it set up. And all the guys on our bus were just jamming at 9:30 in the morning--he's still hung over reeking of fuckin' beer and we're just like, 'Oh, let's do this.' And there were so many people waiting because we put up on our Web site [www.soilmusic.com], 'Zakk's playing a solo tomorrow with us,' and there were people there, fuckin' going nuts at 10:30 in the morning rocking out.
SOAK: Where did the unique SOiL spelling develop?
SG: We used to do that during our independent days when we had a couple of albums out on a small label called MIA, and it just kind of stuck. We would get to shows and they would start doing it when they put our name on the marquee. So people automatically started liking it and our fans automatically started writing SOiL, so it's kind of like no matter what, we have a logo no matter how you write our name somewhere. It's just a staple; it's our identity. We're not a gimmick band. We don't have blood and pentagrams and masks and make-up everywhere. So the little things that we can do to make sure that we stick out as SOiL are important to us.
SOAK: Your current record label, J Records, also features artists such as Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes and Rod Stewart
and then there's SOiL.
SG: We were the first heavy rock band on the label. Since then theyve got a new band coming out called SilverTide--they are having really good success. We're definitely the harder-edged of the roster, which is good; I'm glad we are. I think it sheds some light and identity for the label. It also shows us that Clive Davis believes in us. And I think it shows that obviously we must be doing something right if Clive Davis puts SOiL on his roster.
SOAK: When you guys actually aren't touring the world, where do you guys hang out when youre in town?
SG: It depends. I like going to check out some bands at the Double Door, that's a good venue. I think there are some cool places in the city, you know, hit some bars. I like just your average little bars, even in the suburbs there's a bar called Lamp Lighter Inn, in Palatine. That's a really cool bar for me: it's small, close to practice and my friends hang out there. And they have a good jukebox. It has everything on it from Rob Zombie to Deftones to Hatebreed to Chimaira to Slayer to Pantera--whatever, everything I want to listen to. And they even have a SOiL disc in there because they know I go in there.
SOAK: So I would imagine SOiL has some crazy fans.
SG: If people know that I'm in a band, they can come up and say, 'Hey man I heard you on the radio,' 'Hey I saw your video,' 'Hey, I have your CD,' that's cool--let's hang out and have a beer, but I don't need some guy asking me how much money I make or how many girls I date. The other night we stopped at a truck stop in Iowa and we get out to go and grab some late-night snacks, and the kid behind the counter has the "Scars," CD, our last album. I'm like, Dude, what's up and the kid's like, "Holy shit, you guys are SOiL." He has the CD behind the counter while he's working and I gave him a single of "Redefined" and he starts cranking it in the gas station. That kind of thing is cool. I love our fans; we have some crazy ones, especially in Europe. But 19-year-old girls with our entire faces tattooed on their leg kind of freaks you out.