Lazarus A.D. – Jeff Paulick (Vocals, Bass)
It’s a Saturday afternoon in a sunny Santa Barbara, CA on State Street. While SB is not really known for being a Metal capital, it does have its exports throughout the years (SNOT, ULTRASPANK, DEVILDRIVER, and even UGLY KID JOE), this city has never been known to have insane mosh pits or sell out crowds for the metal fanbase partially due to the age restrictions normally imposed at the venues. And while fresh off a national tour as the opening act for TESTAMENT and UNEARTH, Wisconsin’s LAZARUS A.D. proves that they are a promising act in serving as direct support for UNEARTH this evening. While sporting a short 30-minute set, the quartet shows enough metal madness to stir the small crowd into a frenzy begging for more at the end if their precision tight set.
Earlier in the afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit down with lead vocalist / bassist JEFF PAULICK and one of the first things I ask him before the tape is even rolling is, “how often do you get told that you look like Dimebag?” His soft spoken reply is, “at least once a day.” During the course of our conversation I found Jeff to be truly focused on the band and ready to take them to the next level of success.
We don’t have our rider yet!
You guys weren’t even 21 when you were doing clubs?
Our first major tours were these two and we were already 21 but when we did other stuff we weren’t 21 and had to wear those stupid X’s on our hands. (laughs)
You just finished up the TESTAMENT run?
It was pretty crazy! We had the AMON AMARTH tour right before it and had to drop off that tour early and had 3 days to get from North Carolina to Seattle to start this TESTAMENT tour, 45 hours. And needless to say we we’re a little drained; we’re drained now. The TESTAMENT tour was phenomenal right from the get go from the first night all the bands bro’d down and it was like all the generation gaps as we’re in our early 20’s, UNEARTH in their early 30’s, and TESTAMENT in their 40’s. All these bands came together, on stage nobody had any worries about their show as we all knew we could bring it. Right from the get go every night, crazy drinking, crazy partying, hanging out, it was phenomenal. Kids turned out early and an experience I will never forget even if I don’t tour again. It’s going to be hard to top that tour!
And you’re a TESTAMENT fan?
Huge TESTAMENT fan!
What’s your favorite album?
I’m a NEW ORDER fan!
I’m big on production as we grew up in that age of production.
You put out an album (on Metal Blade) that you had already released and got a ‘re-release.’ What did you do different?
It was re-mixed, new artwork and other than that nothing different. James (Murphy) mastered it the first time but when it came time to remix, he just totally nailed it and what we wanted origianlly for it to sound like.
It’s weird to hear that you put it out yourself first then put it back out again which is kind of unheard of. What was your relationship like with Metal Blade?
Initially when we did the record the first time we sent it to all the labels and we didn’t get a response from anyone but Metal Blade. They said “we’re not interested, keep us posted.” All of a sudden 2 years later rolls around and “Last Breath” gets on the Thrashing Like A Maniac compilation and they hear that other labels are interested in us and they take a second look, apparently the right people didn’t hear us at that point because then I get a call from Mike Faley on my cell phone that says, “Who are you? I want to sign you!” When we were talking he was saying that this record is 2 years old to us, but 2 years new to everybody else. They loved the record and we did too! He said let’s give it a spit shine and the people who already did buy it will pick it up again and the people who haven’t heard it will be blown away.
When I heard it (THE ONSLAUGHT) I was blown away as it’s very early 90’s written, not sounding as it sounds more modern but written back then. Then I hear that you’re 21 years old, what the hell did you grit your teeth on to put this album out?
We don’t really listen to that much thrash as you think we would as people say you sound like this band, you sound like this band, and I’m like I’ve never heard of these bands before. A lot of TESTAMENT, definitely the #1 influence, METALLICA huge influence, PANTERA huge influence. Just the bands that stood out and rose above; especially with their songwriting. That’s what we really focus on, it’s not so much about how fast you can play and how much you can shred, at the end of the day it’s about writing good songs and that’s what those bands did. PANTERA can sit there and groove then go into the fastest heaviest thing ever but at the end of the day when you get to the chorus you’re like, I remember this for a good reason and that’s the angle we’re taking.
What’s your songwriting like now?
We have a couple songs written and I don’t know what’s going to make the record or not. It’s gonna be tough as we could go the other avenue and go more commercial try and reach out to a larger audience or we can take the PANTERA route and go a lot heavier and hope enough pick up on it. I’m not worried too much about it. We’re just going to write the songs we wanna write. It’s going to be heavy, it’s going to be fast and there’s going to be some different things on there especially vocally. When we started this band I was just put into the spot of vocalist.
It wasn’t what you wanted to do?
No, I did not want to be the singer of this band, Hell no I did not! (laughs) As we started to grow, I grew as a singer and as a frontman. If you look at our first show and compared to me now, you wouldn’t even know it’s the same person. I’m much more focused now on the vocal part and the next record is going to have singing. Not like “la la la” emo bitch singing, but like heavier METALLICA, TESTAMENT, PANTERAesque vocals. Instead of screaming, it’s going to be fast and going to be heavy but we’re definitely going to try different things cuz you need to evolve as a band.
You mention things will be a little bit different next time around, musically in which way?
We have a lot of classic rock influence and stuff like that as we like guitar solos and stuff like that as you can see on the record. Hopefully a little more melodic, definitely a lot of face crushing riffs because DAN (GAPEN, guitar) is all about in your face stuff. Here’s how you get the whole sound: I’m all about the melody; Dan is all about the riffs that kick you in the ass and don’t let you get back up; ALEX (LACKNER, guitar) is really about the groove; and RYAN (SHUTLER, drums) all he cares about it going 250 beats per minute. You mix all those together and you got four people that want four different things bringing four different things to the table and you push here, give there, and at the end of the day it puts out some pretty solid songs.
What do you want people to take out of LAZARUS A.D.?
We’re not here to be pushed into a corner. We’re here to rise above and be one of the next premiere metal bands. We’re here to carry the flag. In our eyes, there’s a huge lull in Metal right now after the whole Metalcore thing blew up and took everything by storm. It’s like What’s next? We want to be that next band that comes and says “we don’t give a fuck!” This is what we’re gonna do, take it or leave it. We are not here to be mediocre!
By Mark Thompson