There are a few new bands to the tenth-anniversary lineup. None may leave more blackouts, empty whisky bottles, and tattoos in their wake.
Hastings, Michigan is home to one of the Mitten state’s finest metal bands willing to kick your head in at the show and then ask to sleep on your couch afterwards. 6 Prong Paw is made up of Nick Williams (vocals), Josh Moore (drums), Chad Rabideau (bass), Seth Earl (guitar), and Dustin Cook (guitar). They are currently out on the road all the way until Pontiac, Michigan as long as the road gods cooperate, on the DAMNEDocracy, DEVILS, and Dives Tour.
Nick being the ultimate road warrior, found a few minutes out on the road to answer some questions about the upcoming Dirt Fest 2016 show. We touched on new music, and a couple of other topics before the WiFi faded off into the night. If you want brutally honest, grab your ankles because you’re going to get it with these guys. Head over to our Facebook or Twitter feed and let us know what you thought of this piece. We could use the clicks on hot chicks of metal while you’re there.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for National Rock Review’s Dirt Fest 2016 coverage. What’s been going on with the band, 6 Prong Paw, so far in 2016?
Nick Williams: Well, right now we are in New Mexico on our way to Las Vegas to do a show at the OMD Theatre with First Class Trash. We put together a month tour called DAMNEDocracy, DEVILS, and Dives Tour. We basically sought out and targeted some great dive bars in America. We wanted to pay our dues and meet these great people and bands who keep these places alive. These places are the building blocks for American metal bands.
We have only been out for five days but by far my favorite has been Kirby’s Beer Store in Wichita, Kansas. I’m not even going to explain how cool this place is. I just encourage people and bands to go check it out and soak in the history for yourself.
NRR: Let me start off by asking about new music. You guys were recording at cozy Metro 37 Recording Studio back in March. What’s the status on that new material?
Nick Williams: Yeah man, I have been talking to Matt for a few year now about coming and recording with him. I really admired his past works and how Metro 37 runs things on a creative level and not at a dollar level. The five songs are done, mixed, and mastered right now. We are shopping them now to labels to try and get funding to go back in and record three more with Matt to make a full length for a release in 2017 followed by a tour for it.
NRR: Nice. I hear someone broke out the MacGyver mullet for a van seating issue. When you’re out on the road, how much does a band have to be self-reliant?
Nick Williams: (Laughing), yeah that was a brain storming thing Josh and I came up with cause the damn van manufacturer made the passenger seat stationary. Which meant we couldn’t kick back and sleep in it if we had to. And for those of you that follow the 6 Prong Paw Facebook feeds, you might know what Erich and I are talking about. But yes, the band is completely self reliant when it comes to touring.
Before we went out on our 2015 tour we played some really good local shows that payed us and we saved and saved to buy a trailer. Then this last year we updated the van from a small conversion van to a big club wagon that we gutted and made tour ready with carpeting, tires, etc.
Right now as I ride in the van, which mind you is a 1994, through New Mexico, there is a constant worry about breaking down. We don’t sleep in hotels. When we go out, we sleep in the van or at friends houses that we have met through touring. We don’t play for guarantees. We stock up on merch and sell that for gas money whatever we can make on the door at the club. We all have established good lines of credit and we work day jobs to fund our musical habits. We take full advantage of the Big Banks just as they have taken advantage of us… (laughing). You only live once man, might as well try and spend some borrowed money on what we love.
NRR: You guys have a few good sponsors. How much does that help a band, besides the great whiskey of course?
Nick Williams: They aren’t really sponsors. There is no exchange of money. Laura from Ink-Addict said it right, we are ambassador for their brand. And this goes for Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey as well. It’s cross promotion in a nut shell. We go on the road and put out their products with the free stuff they give us and wear their shirts on stage. In turn they do the same.
Like Coldcock sent out a huge press release for us for the DAMEDocracy DEVILS and Dives tour via Adernaline PR. Now I am in personal contact with Adrenaline to help with some additional PR for 6 Prong Paw. It’s basically everyone helping everyone out. That’s how we were able to book this tour, through local bands in those areas who were willing to help. Mind you not all locals want to help each other out. Which needs to change… (laughing).
NRR: How does it feel to play a well established festival in your backyard like Dirt Fest?
Nick Williams: We are Dirt Fest virgins and are looking forward to having our cherries popped. And Dirt Fest is a 6 Prong Paw virgin and I hope they are ready for a good swift popping as well… (laughing). And of course, this is the biggest festival in Michigan that supports metal. We are truly honored to play and feel very fortunate that we are in the positions now, in our musical career, to play it.
NRR: Do bands of all sizes need to be even more aware of keeping your gear safe while out on the road?
Nick Williams: Oh god yes, more then ever! People are out there scraping for money to live right now cause of low wages and a high cost of living. There are jobs but it seems that some don’t want to work and expect a hand out for some fuckin’ reason. That’s why we bring a gun, a machete, and a brain! All which are legal and hereditary but you have learn how to use all three.
NRR: I see you guys have merch for sale on your Facebook page. Do you think fans in general realize how important the sale of swag is to bands?
Nick Williams: I think there are indeed some who do realize it and some that don’t. I think it really relays back to the whole financial situation of the individual. The quality of the merchandise helps too. Not everyone is going to be into the product you are putting out. Like on the road, no one buys merch from you until after you play. They don’t know what you stand for. That’s why if you really think you got something, bring it to the people. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
NRR: If you were in the crowd after your set, and heard two people talking about 6 Prong Paw, how would you hope the conversation might go?
Nick Williams: I hope they could recognize the origins of what we do and not be so hip to compare or label it in a category, with a sub category, and a sub sub category. That drives me fucking crazy man. Its seems that labels have become trendy. I would hope they could see originality and the different political and social issues we address live. I would hope there to be some sort of irreplaceable experience for them that they can’t get from a CD, record, tape, or MP3.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your time together, or with any band in the past, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, a situation that makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Nick Williams: Earlier on when the band was first formed we were young and followed trends a bit to much I think. I never thought about how that could affect what we were ultimately trying to accomplish with the band. But I’ve seen the same thing happen with bands and people I’ve admired in the past. Also not getting to know the business side of it sooner I think. Sitting back playing guitar and thinking everything would just come to me.
NRR: So more life lessons then going to eleven, I can respect that. Are you guys still music fans outside of being on stage, and if so, is there anyone on the Dirt Fest bill you’re excited to catch since everyone plays on the same day this year?
Nick Williams: I can’t say I am into to many of those bands to be honest but I can’t speak for all the guys either. I’m just very picky. I am very much looking forward to Walls of Jericho, Hatebreed, and Pyschostick though.