When one opportunity ends, many times it’s for another opportunity right around the corner. This hold especially true for the music world and industry.
If the names about to follow look familiar, that’s because they are. Adam Gontier (vocals), Mike Mushok (guitar), Corey Lowery (bass), and Rich Beddoe (drums) make up the roster for Saint Asonia. The group’s first album came out under the self-titled Saint Asonia in July of 2015. We hope to hear new music from the guys in the near future.
In a bit of a lull, National Rock Review got a chance to catch up with Adam to talk about the band, upcoming plans, and fine Canadian beer.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Saint Asonia, so far in 2016?
Adam Gontier: No problem, at all. We appreciate you taking the time as well! Basically, weâ€™ve just started this year off, pretty relaxed, taking some much needed time at home with our families and friends. We head back out on the road in a few weeks with Disturbed in Canada. Really looking forward to that tour. Obviously, theyâ€™re a really great band, weâ€™re all good friends, and touring Canada is always a really good time. Especially in the middle of winter!
NRR: Your debut album was self-titled if my memory isn’t horribly shot, and came out in the summer of last year. With a trend in the music world being bands producing more of their own projects, was that the route the band took or was it a more traditional path for the first album?
Adam Gontier: The debut record was actually produced, and mixed by Johnny K, at Groovemaster Studios in Chicago. Itâ€™s always great to have a super talented outside ear to help out and contribute to the recording process. Johnnyâ€™s a solid producer with a lot of great records under his belt. He was a great fit from the beginning, and working with him just felt right.
NRR: I’ve seen your sound described as everything from post grunge to nu metal. For the vibe of the band, how would you describe it to new listeners in the band’s own opinion ?
Adam Gontier: Itâ€™s really hard to try and put your music or your sound into a specific genre. Sure, itâ€™s post-grungy, maybe a bit nu metal, but itâ€™s also got other elements as well. I prefer to let the fans and the listeners describe the bandâ€™s sound, as they hear it.
NRR: Fair enough, how did the group come together and were there any growing pains or has it been a fairly smooth transition into a new musical entity for everyone
Saint Asonia: Saint Asonia really came together very organically. We didnâ€™t have any thought out ideas of putting a band together or even making a record for that matter. Basically, Mike called me up one day, mid-2014, and asked if Iâ€™d be interested in writing some songs with him. Obviously, Mike is such an amazing talent, so for me it was an absolute honor. Iâ€™ve always been a big STAIND fan, and Iâ€™ve got so much respect for what theyâ€™ve accomplished, and the songs that Mike has written in the past. So, long story short, we got together with a couple guitars, shared some ideas, and within a short amount of time, we had about three or four songs pretty much done. The process was really seamless. We meshed well, we had the same sort of mindset, and it didnâ€™t take long to realize that we had something very special and unique.
NRR: Very cool. We’ve recently lost a few big names in music starting with Scott Weiland and Lemmy to Bowie and Fry passing as well. Is longevity the dividing line between being a rock legend and a guy that lived way too fast? Did any of those very talented artists have any influence in your own careers or shared the stage with you at some point?
Adam Gontier: Yeah, we lost too many great talents recently. We as Saint Asonia shared the stage with Scott Weiland a few times over the last year or so at various festivals etcâ€¦ Weâ€™ve shared some moments with Lemmy as well. Ya know, anytime the music industry loses any artist, legend or not, itâ€™s sad. Itâ€™s unfortunate that this business lends itself to a fairly unhealthy lifestyle. And itâ€™s shocking and extremely disheartening when that lifestyle gets the better of someone. I know, first hand, that when something powerful has such a strong hold of you, one of the hardest things in the world to do, is break away from it.
NRR: You have been labeled as a sort of super group even though I really despise the term. Has there been any experiences from other times in other bands that have made things easier to just worry about making great new music with Saint Asonia?
Adam Gontier: I mean, really, people can â€œlabelâ€ the band anything they want to. It really doesnâ€™t affect us. The fact is, we were all friends before we formed this band, and when Mike and I realized that we really wanted to take this project to the next level, having Rich and Corey join the band seemed obvious. The timing was perfect for everyone. Again, it was super organic, the way this band came together. And, yeah of course. You live and learn. I believe you take what youâ€™ve experienced in life, the good and the bad, and you use it. You see a lot, you succeed and you make mistakes. You take what you want, and leave the rest. Ultimately the goal is to evolve. As an artist, and a human being. I believe this band is a big piece of exactly that. Itâ€™s a milestone for me in my career, and Iâ€™m so proud to be a part of it.
NRR: For a new fan listening to the debut record for the first time, is there one or two things that you’re really proud of how it/they turned out and hope they hear it that way as well?
Adam Gontier: Iâ€™m really proud of the entire record as a whole. I strongly believe this is, without a doubt, is the best record Iâ€™ve ever made. It is by far, the most honest, raw, and real album, Iâ€™ve been a part of. Especially in terms of the lyrics. There were no filters. No bullshit. Every word on this record is straight from the heart.
NRR: Being an international band, are you more aware of your surroundings when you play certain places or countries, in part or completely because of the Paris theatre attack?
Adam Gontier: Touring overseas, whether Australia, Europe, Russia, etc, is a completely different thing than touring North America. Itâ€™s a lot of fun spending time in other countries, especially when youâ€™re fortunate enough to be playing shows every night. I feel like youâ€™re always slightly more aware of your surroundings when youâ€™re outside of your comfort zone. North America is home for us, so weâ€™re certainly used to it. But we never take it for granted. Weâ€™re lucky to be able to do what we do for a living, and weâ€™re really grateful for that.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career, either with prior stops or with the band now, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, 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?
Adam Gontier: (Laughing), thatâ€™s a tough one. To be completely honest, nothing really comes to mind. I definitely donâ€™t have any regrets. And Iâ€™ve done some pretty stupid shit in the past! That being said, there are ALWAYS moments where youâ€™re like: â€œWtf? Why are we doing this record signing, in this super small town, in this completely empty, super small record store, that clearly, no one is coming to?â€ Thereâ€™s always something to look back and laugh at. Canâ€™t take yourself too seriously. Itâ€™s a waste of time!
NRR: Do the big festivals like the Carolina Rebellion and say Rock on the Range have a different feel to then that just makes them a bit more special for a band like you guys? Especially since you’re scheduled to play them again this year and had your first show as a unit at ROTR last year?
Adam Gontier: The festivals like ROTR and Rebellion are always really cool. The lineups are always awesome, the amount of people and fans that come out is incredible. And usually, itâ€™s almost like a massive family reunion, where you get to hang out with other bands, and friends that you havenâ€™t seen, sometimes, in years. The festivals are always great. I canâ€™t wait for them this year!
NRR: How does the group go through the writing process because you touched on it a bit ago, is it all one person doing the lion’s share with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Adam Gontier: The debut SAINT ASONIA record was written by myself and Mike, before Rich and Corey joined the band. Mike and I did all the writing collaboratively. Music and lyrics. Mike is such a great writer. He had so many really cool songs, and I had a lot of stuff as well. That made the writing process a lot of fun. But listen, SAINT ASONIA is a band. Thereâ€™s four of us, and from here on out, weâ€™ll all be a part of the process in some capacity. The amount of talent in this band is absolutely unbelievable, and Iâ€™m sure it will shine through on the records we make in the future.
NRR: You guys are one of the groups that will offer VIP tickets to shows. Is that solely to help make up for the new economy in the music industry, or does it go quite a bit further then just the bottom line?
Adam Gontier: Absolutely we offer VIP packages, tickets, meet and greets etc. Sure, thereâ€™s a bottom line. I wonâ€™t lie or sugarcoat it for you. Itâ€™s not easy making money or to profit at all, being a touring rock band. One of the only ways to make money in this business, is to go out, play as many shows as you can, build a fan base from the ground up, and try your best to sell tickets and merchandise while youâ€™re doing it.
But in reality, the only reason we even get the opportunity to do that, comes down to the support of our fans. We are so appreciative of every single one of our fans. We donâ€™t offer VIP tickets and packages strictly to make money. Absolutely not. We offer them because we genuinely enjoy meeting the people who support us, and give us the chance to do what we love to do for a living. Just as much as those fans want to meet us and shake our hands, we want to meet them and say â€œthank youâ€.
NRR: Is there any stereotypes you have to deal with being a Canadian based band? Asking if you need curling on in the greenroom or getting Molson Ice bottles sent to you mid set, (laughing)?
Adam Gontier: Two of the band members are from the U.S., and two of us are originally from Canada, resulting in an inside joke about half of the band being called â€œTeam U.S.Aâ€, and the other half â€œTeam Canadaâ€. Yeah, weâ€™ve heard all the jokes, about hockey, beer, and the term â€œehâ€. Even after 13 years of being in the business! (Laughing)