LOS ANGELES, January 17, 2014 — Seattle may be best known musically for Jimi Hendrix and a music scene dubbed by the press as, “Grunge.” What some people may not recognize is that there is also a vibrant punk scene in Seattle that is thriving. The Insurgence is a hardcore thrash punk band from Seattle. Last March, Wells On Music spoke with Josh Snider, drummer for The Insurgence, regarding the band’s formation, the Elimi-Nation record and starting a record label with Donnie Paycheck from ZEKE.
Kevin Wells: What bands inspired you to want to start your own band?
Josh Sinder: Black flag, Iron Maiden, Bad Brains, Blizzard of Oz, Diary of a Madman, Septic Death, The Accused, GBH, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, and Blind Willie McTell
KW: How did The Insurgence form?
JS: The band spent most of 2004 and 2005 trying to find a sound and/or members who could agree on what direction to take the band. It was in 2006 when The Insurgence agreed after some member changes to take the band in a hardcore punk/crossover thrash direction. Jibo (singer) loves Black Flag and Bad Brains, Bad Religion and most of the same stuff I like and Justin too. I pretty much bring a lot of the crossover thrash stuff and Maiden type stuff to the table. I love Randy Rhoads and Cliff Burton and stuff like that mostly and Kill Em All. Jibo brought in his best friend Justin McCawley from AZ to hold down the bass and Justin is a super good and dependable person and we have Mike Wrigglesworth, Chris Napolitano and John Reed on guitars
KW: I used to live in Portland, and being from L.A. I couldn’t stand the amount of rain. Has living in the dreariness of Seattle influenced your sound at all?
JS: It pretty much does and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad as far as making good songs. I do know that we go for weeks without sunlight, and when it does break through its like there’s all this traffic, ‘cause people come out of the woodwork to get a glimpse of the sun god.
KW: You co-own Digital Warfare with Donny Paycheck from Zeke. How did that record label form?
JS: We were negotiating with a few different labels to put out our first full length, and with the music industry at the time in a huge tailspin we ended up deciding to put it out ourselves. Donny was actually semi-managing us for bit during that time, and in one of our phone conversations he said, “Hey, I have this Zeke record (Live and Uncensored) I need to put out and you need to put your self-titled full length out. Let’s start a label.” So we did it and now we have Antiseen, Slow Children, Zeke, The Insurgence, Joe Buck, Hookers, Vile Display of Humanity, Ancient Warlocks, Prince Henry Stout, Hellbound For Glory, and more.
KW: As a band, do you find it somewhat liberating owning your own label?
JS: I think it’s just another outlet to stay connected and give back to bands that work hard, kick ass and are still at that level where they need someone championing them. The Insurgence have a few other labels we work with, like our new release is through Innerstrength Records out of New York and our first EP is through Basement Records out of SoCal. Our 2010 full length is on Digital Warfare and there is something to be said for having total control of the release. But it might be that it’s less liberating for the fact that you have to work ten times as hard to get it out there on your own starter label.
KW: What has the response been for your latest album, Elimi-Nation?
JS: I notice people saying that we really hit the nail on the head with respect to our take at morphing hardcore punk and thrash. The Dropkick Murphys liked it enough to ask us out on a tour in April and our smaller headline shows are getting more and more crowded. We love this new record as a band and playing these new songs live is more fun than ever, so we are pretty dang happy to say the least!
KW: Are there any plans to do more touring for the rest of the U.S. or elsewhere in the world after your tour with Dropkick Murphys?
JS: We have been asked to play Indonesia, and our buddy Mike Sneek is trying to help us get over to the east coast for a run over there. Also there is opportunity for a tour of Mexico. We are gonna do what our budget will allow and maybe more.
KW: What are your favorite cities to play on tour?
JS: We like Seattle, Tacoma, Hollywood, Corona, San Fran, Fresno, Tucson, Corpus Christi and hoping to like Vegas and Salt Lake City this time around. We hear they are Bad Ass.
KW: What is the craziest thing you have witnessed or experienced while on the road?
JS: I don’t know about crazy, but something funny that happened to us on our first tour, our van motor blew up on the freeway heading to a show in Dallas, Texas. You can picture four band guys pushing a big yellow dodge van down the side of the road to a gas station. Then the nightmare of getting to the show begins. Getting a cab to drive us to the nearest rental agency that’s open at that hour. Anyway, we ended up with a box van with no rear seats rented 1 way from the Dallas airport, missed the show. I guess you call that “Paying your dues”…or at least beginning to pay ‘em. [laughs]
KW: Is there anything else you would like your fans to know?
JS: Yes. Our new album Elimi-Nation will available this summer 2013 on colored vinyl, and this is the first time we have had a full length pressed on vinyl so we are flipped out. Hope you go out and buy a copy. Thanks a ton for all your support!!
Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball