“We Like to Hang, Man!” An Interview with Fister
Fister are the kind of doom metal band who reflect the blackened fucked up magic of the genre. These Saint Louis maniacs understand the pain of existence and there is something almost existentially terrifying about what Fister do. When I saw them in New York City it felt like we were about to die, drowning under crushing waves of sound. I got a chance to sit down with them before the show, shoot the shit and dig into the existential and demented magic of the genre. Catch them now on their West Coast tour with Un!
How the hell are you guys?
Kenny Snazyrk (KS): Pretty good! We just did a week with Christworm from Baton Rouge, they were incredible before linking up with Chrch for the next 4 days. After that we will do some dates with Sea Of Bones. We are just under the halfway point now.
Kirk Gatterer (KG): Tomorrow is day eight of 17.I woke up today and I felt like ‘man it’s almost over’ but it really hasn’t begun yet!
When does tour fatigue hit you?
KS: Three weeks!
KG: Day 20.
KS: At that point everything is just hardened. No one is shitty but you just have shorter answers and are less bubbly. I think we’re pretty friendly and personable and happy to talk to people and extroverted but by day 20 we’ve become a little less. The voice is gone. Honestly really last tour we got to day 26 or 27 headed home and I felt like I could do a few more weeks! But when you get close to the end you’re happy it’s just coming to an end.
KG: day 20 of our last tour was at a straight edge practice space in Salt Lake City. There was this straightedge hardcore band we played with and they had a kid who was like 20 years old but he looked like he could beat us all up. We were way past our routine of getting drunk, we were just trying to get to the show, take it seriously and lay down somewhere.
KS: You are grateful to play any show!
KG: It wasn’t a bad situation but you just get tired. Everything usually works out and you don’t get bored!
KS: You hate to be ungrateful but sometimes you’re playing in a garage to no one with no air conditioning. There’s comforts that you lose sometimes, you get cranky about shit. You’re in a van for 12 hours to play a show to people who aren’t even interested. It’s like, why go? You could go swimming. That SLC show was cool, but you don’t know what to expect!
KG: Your pessimism rises and a little of your bleakness comes out.
What motivates you to keep going?
KG: If the shows are good regardless of what happens during the day it’s worth it. We like our music and playing shows, we are out here for a reason. It’s easy to snap out of it.
KS: I’ll forget too! I’m glad you started off that answer I would have said I just have to. I’ll get stressed out sometimes – like before this tour I got stressed but it was because I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have all my money lined up right yet. So my head wasn’t ready. I couldn’t wait to leave and get the fuck away from everything but I was like “Shit I still need to come home and pay rent!” Once you’re out here it’s great, even if it’s like “Oh fuck, there might be only 20 people here and we have to load up three flights of stairs!”
KG: You get into the headspace of it.
KS: You almost crave it in a weird way.
KG: I need that pain!
KS: Today we walked five blocks to get this kick drum pedal for tonight and then I realized I left it on the counter. Looking back ti was probably my subconscious going against everything going so smoothly.
I always have a hard time the first few days of tour because I’m not on that grind, how long does it take you to get into that rhythm?
KS: Like I said,we are outgoing guys. We get out there and are friendly anyways. We are easygoing dudes.
KG: We like to hang, man!
KS: As long as we are talking to someone who isn’t too bothered by it, we will sit and rip for a while. If we’re in a situation where the dude is kinda gruff and all that shit we can back off. I’ll lose my voice by the end of the tour not because of screaming or smoking but just talking. That’s why I love watching local bands, I don’t have to talk to anyone! On top of that nowadays 9 out of 10 times the locals are killer. We rarely get a stinker opener. Tonight the local opener could be the headliner and it would be great.
Do you suffer from post tour depression?
KG: Yes! Like when you get tour fatigue when you go back into your house we made a joke about going on to play Chicago! Can you imagine going East for another 22 days after a 24 day tour?
KS:When I get home I’m happy to see my kid and fiance but you get this rhythm on tour where you are just living so incredibly day to day and then you get home and its like “Oh I have this and that in a week” all the stuff you put off you have to deal with. The family stuff is great but the reality of being back to a normal routine kind of sucks. It’s post tour depression. You could probably get it on family vacations too but I don’t take those because I’m on tour! I work in a place that’s cool enough to let me be gone seven weeks out of the year and a lot of people can’t do that, which is why we hire session drummers half the time. Coming back into the real world and having real responsibilities is hard.
KG: Becoming a human again and not being a rock and roll wildman and drinking beer every day of the week and that return to normalcy makes us want to be in the band even more. It’s weird to drive somewhere, scream and get paid 39 bucks. It’s sweet because the atmosphere is there and people who are there dig it. No matter how small the show is you still find people who are into it. You go back home and are excited to go back out to see the people who dug out.
KS: We never play shows where people are dead eyed. There are usually a few people who are super into it and that makes us want to go back to that town. Like “We didn’t make shit there but that pizza place was cool” Or in Atlanta we played a dudes laundry room to thirty people There was a bay window into his kitchen.
What do you love so much about music?
KG: The excuse that I like to give people whenever they ask what touring and being in a band is like is that I get to bring a bunch of shit into a room and you have to pay attention, you don’t have to, but if you do you watch someone do something they are good at. Everyone is good at something – even people who feel like they are worthless. They all have something they are good at. I think being good at music enough that you can take it on the road and enjoy it enough that you never have to stop listening, that’s why I like. I like watching someone do something that is not an easy thing. I love watching people play live music more than I like listening to it. Anyone can get stoned and listen to a record and get lost in it – I’ve learned a lot about music that way, but seeing a live band and them being into it and the shit is working, that’s why I love music. It’s a ritual, it separates us from the beasts in a way that not a lot of things can do. It’s a cool thing to do something that was done and that’s what it was. Performing music is cool as fuck.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
KG: Catch ’em all!
KS: Dicks out for Harambe!