Pulling Teeth – Chris Kuhn (bass) & Mike Riley (vocals)
Just recently, SMN News has interviewed Chris Kuhn (bass), and Mike Riley (vocals) of Deathwish Inc.’s powerhouse, PULLING TEETH. As much fun as these guys are having creating their brand of music, they seriously pound out their roots of hardcore while also giving tastes of metal and punk – creating a damn respectable crossover, a crossover that the underground scene needs!! Come join us and see Chris and Mike’s thoughts on their 2009 Deathwish Inc. release, Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions and its process, their dream tours they’ve created, future ideas and plans of the band, as well as their explanations about why Black Flag is so awesome! Plus much more is included. Check them out immediately, drop by their myspace and swap a show with them, and get some in depth looks with us right here:
You guys have a group of shows coming up on the east coast. What are the band’s excitement levels towards getting out and killing those stages?
Chris: I would have to say on a scale of 1 to 10, our excitement is a 20. Not only will we kill those stages, we’re going to rip them apart with our weapons of mosh destruction.
Mike: I prefer the term “murdering” stages as my feelings toward them are certainly malicious. I love playing shows. I Iove hanging out with my friends. I love going to places and making new friends. I have a lot of fun playing live. I’d say we’re pretty excited to play any show.
When playing live, are there any songs in particular out of your discography that you like to play live?
Chris: With Avarice, Dead Is Dead, Clipped Wings, Stonethrowers, Shiteaters, Sick And Tired, Rains, Basically Dead, Martyr Immortal,(Mori Vincent Omnes), Black Skies, Ashes And Dust, Dismissed In Time, Weeds, Never Wrong ,Prepare For The Worst, Heretic, Vicious Skin, Rot Forgotten, Bleeding To Death, Our Downfall, The Kids Are Not Alright, Weapon of Mosh Destruction, Sand and Cells, Paranoid Delusions, Unsatisfied, anything mitch roemer didn’t write, Rituals, Bloodwolves, ambient noises, and everything from the unreleased LP.
Mike: I couldn’t care less if people mosh or not. I’d rather have headbangers right up in my face. Way better energy that way. “Stonethrowers” and “Dead Is Dead” are fun cuz you’ve got a bunch of people going off to these heavy songs about really compassionate topics, but songs like “Heretic” and “Clipped Wings” are always a blast cuz people tend to cram up front and sing along the most for those songs. The songs off the new album are cool to play live as well because they’re fresh and exciting. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reactions those songs get now that the album is out and people have had time to become familiar with it.
Can you please explain to us a PULLING TEETH show for one who may have not seen the band live yet?
Chris: Look up the definition of “destroying” and you’ll understand what a live set is like, I have pasted the definition below: 1: to ruin the structure, organic existence, or condition of <destroyed the files> ; also : to ruin as if by tearing to shreds <their reputation was destroyed>2 a: to put out of existence : kill <destroy an injured horse> b: neutralize <the moon destroys the light of the stars> c: annihilate, vanquish
Mike: We try to keep it high energy and fun, but we’ve got some song parts that are a bit more epic that give us a bit of a breather and give a sense of ebb and flow to the live set. Keeping things dynamic and interesting is key.
Your EP Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions packs quite the knockout punch!! From start to finish, the EP flows great – I didn’t want it to end. The recording process must’ve been quite a memorable moment, and a blast. During that, does PULLING TEETH have any other ideas for future material?
Chris: It was quite a grueling process, spanning 12 weeks!!!!!!! We do have ideas for future material. As the old PULLING TEETH material was heavily influenced by Canadian legends the swarm, left for dead, and thor. The new PULLING TEETH material is going to be influenced by another great yet under appreciated canadian band, ANVIL.
Mike: Recording the last record was a new experience for us as we had a lot more time to get everything done and do it the way we really wanted to. It was a much more relaxed environment and I think that comes through in the songs. Dom’s brain is constantly going on overdrive so we’ve already got some new song parts in the works that we’ll start putting together in the near future.
You guys have a video online covering Black Flag’s classic song, “Revenge”. It’s a very respectable cover guys, cheers! Have you guys had time to throw the song in your setlist when playing live? What has the crowd’s response been so far to that?
Chris: Thank you, thank you. Everyone hates it when we play that song, we don’t understand why. In Tulsa, OK, people threw eggs at Mike Riley while he was singing that song. No one respects hardcore legacies anymore, be it Mike Riley or Black Flag.
Mike: Well, that video is from a live show, so, yes, we have played it live before, many times actually. Black Flag are a huge influence on us as a band so it just made sense to do the cover. Unfortunately, I fucked up the lyrics that night the video was taken so it’s a bit embarrassing for me. Don’t hold it against me, please. The cover, like most of the ones we do, goes over really well sometimes, and like a lead balloon others. I don’t think hardcore/punk kids have as much of an appreciation for our forefathers as they used to. Black Flag should be required listening and appreciating for anyone that considers themselves a punk or hardcore kid.
You guys have such a raw and intense style that breaks into many dimensions. I believe Europe would just LOVE to see some PULLING TEETH, as would the rest of the world. Are there any places in particular you’d like to play? Also, any future tour plans you can let us in on?
Chris: We would like to play the following places, if you anyone reading this is from there, please contact the Pulling Teeth myspace; Dom will definitely trade you a show:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan
Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia & Herzegovina Botswana Brazil Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma (Myanmar) Burundi
Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of the Costa Rica Côte d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic
Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic
Ecuador East Timor Egypt El Salvador England Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia
Fiji Finland France
Gabon Gambia, The Georgia Germany Ghana Great Britain Greece Grenada Guatemala Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana
Haiti Honduras Hungary
Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Israel Italy
Jamaica Japan Jordan
Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan
Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Myanmar
Namibia Nauru Nepal The Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Norway Northern Ireland
Mike: We had a great time in Europe when we were there in the fall of 2009 and we hope to get back there soon. Hopefully sometime in the next year. We’d really love to get to go to Australia and southeast Asia sometime in the future. Hopefully we can make that happen. Japan was an amazing experience for us and we’d love to get to do that again as well.
“Bloodwolves” is such a killer song- it’s soooo good!! It’s brilliant: the time changes, speedy guitar solos, heavy hitting riffs, and the moving melodies. Creating such a beast like that and the rest of the songs on Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions, you guys must be proud, huh?
Chris: Thanks for the kind words! We are pleased with how the record came out, but honestly we still are not content. Music, Art, and hardcore are all about pushing boundaries, I don’t think I’ll ever be proud. Pride constricts creativity.
Mike: I think the record came out really well. We’re definitely proud of it. Now our goal is to take the progression of the band even further on the next record while still staying true to the roots of the band. Hopefully we can pull it off.
Here’s a fun and tricky question. If you were to organize a dream tour, who would be on it? Feel free to name a full scale festival if you wish.
Chris: good question.
Anton Rough, Falling Sickness, Bruce Lee Band, The Lawrence Arms, Thursday, Saves The Day, Alkaline Trio, Hatred Surge, Hatebeek.
Mike: Iron Maiden, Slayer, Avail, Descendents, Pulling Teeth, the Ergs, Deep
Sleep, Idle Hands, and Sleepwall.
Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions truly give that raw hardcore feel, while also exploring areas of metal. It almost feels like the roots of both are being brought back all in one. Doing all of this in a modern age, PULLING TEETH has really helped me and many others restore the spirit into both respective genres. Do you guys feel part of a movement of sorts, or more so creating the music you want to play while having tons of fun doing it?
Chris: We’re just having fun. We pledge no allegiances to any movement or organization. We are just doing the only thing we know how to do be ourselves.
Mike: We’re definitely a hardcore band at our roots, but there’s certainly more of a metal feel to our songs than traditional hardcore punk. We certainly have our influences, and they range from bands like Black Flag and Left For Dead to Slayer, Integrity, and Black Sabbath. That’s a pretty decent cross-section, I’d say. We just hope to create something unique that’s still enjoyable to all who dig metallic hardcore, because it’s what we dig as well.
The artwork on Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions is beautiful! Would you like to give us some promotion on it?
Chris: Thanks again, it’s by Jeff Beckman. He rules.
Mike: Jeff Beckman (Left For Dead, Chokehold, Haymaker) did the album art for us again and again we were blown away by what he created for us. Couldn’t be happier.
What music has been playing lately in your CD player for your listening pleasure?
Chris: Iron and Wine, Modest Mouse, Jenny Lewis, The Cranberries, Anvil
Mike: Nobunny – Love Visions LP, Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves LP, the Pains of Being Pure At Heart – s/t LP, Deep Sleep – Paranoid Futures 7″, Sick Sick Birds – Heavy Manners (upcoming) LP, Avail – Front Porch Stories LP, Carbonas – (newest) s/t LP, the Down and Outs – Friday Nights, Monday Mornings LP, Ceremony – Violence Violence LP, Hum – Downward Is Heavenward LP, Psyched to Die – Sterile Walls 7″, Idle
Hands – 7″ and new LP, Radio Faces – Party at the Bushwick Hotel LP, and Slayer – Reign In Blood.
Paranoid Delusions/Paradise Illusions so far has received such great feedback! From the Deathwish Inc. release, to where you are now, how does the future look for PULLING TEETH?
Chris: The future looks as it always does, mysterious and vague. We have a few things planned and a few things not planned. We are playing it by ear.
Mike: It looks pretty good as far as I can tell. We’ve got some cool shows coming up. This Is Hardcore fest is gonna be really awesome this year. We’re going to start working on some new stuff soon. We’ve got the split with Irons coming out in a few months. Hopefully we’ll make it back over to Europe in 2010 and maybe even Australia. No complaints here. Thanks for the interview.
Label: Deathwish Inc.
By Alex Gilbert