That Time I Got Hammered And Interviewed Rob From The Skull About His Love For Music
Rob from The Skull is one of my favorite people in the whole world. Getting to sit down with him is a rare pleasure as he lives on the opposite side of the country from me. Despite slurring my way through a series of questions, I got the wonderful opportunity to talk to Rob at Psycho Las Vegas, where he shared his thoughts on helping young bands make it, writing music from the soul, and what it means to be successful! This interview was an absolute joy to conduct, so get in here.
How the hell are you?
I’m doing great, how are you?
Super drunk… How does it feel to be playing Psycho Las Vegas for a second year in a row with a different band?
I feel very blessed to be playing this wonderful festival which, to me is the most kind of community oriented festival amongst my friends in this genre. I’ve played Roadburn and Hellfest, but there’s something special about being in the States and seeing most of the people I know in the music world.
What attracts you to stoner rock?
I think it’s just kind of the blues based heaviness that I like. Bands like Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix and classic rock stuff. It’s the music of my people. It’s not something I thought about, I just came to love it with bands like Sleep and Fu Manchu. It’s very down to earth and to the heart.
You’ve become something of a stoner rock icon, how does it feel to be a defining figure in your genre?
It’s flattering to be considered one of these people. For me it’s just that I do what I do and I will do it until the day I die. I like being the person known for continuing to do this through the hard times. The metal and doom and stoner rock scene was ignored for years, so it’s refreshing to see people getting it now.
Why has this scene rejuvenated itself?
Mainly because people are getting sick of the music getting shoved down peoples’ throats by corporations. Radio has become crap. Whenever this happens it’s always rock and roll that pushes through the crap and says that we don’t have to listen to the Disney channel shit. The best music rises to the top even if it takes time.
So do you have a day job?
I was a chef for most of my life but I have an opportunity to actually help bands who are striving musicians and dedicated and talented people. I try to teach them and help them not make the same mistakes that me and many other people did in the times I’ve seen the industry change. I get paid to give them advice and flourish. It’s rewarding to see bands doing the same thing and being dedicated to finding a way in this industry.
Working with bands – has that taught you anything about your own band?
It’s taught me that I’m very fortunate to be with people that are dedicated to stick it out. A lot of these new bands are dealing with the trials and tribulations of having to work somewhere to get somewhere. There’s a misconception of how things work until you start actually doing it. I’m there to encourage them and tell them that dedication and perseverance is the only way to strive and get what you want in life.
How did you learn that?
Years of experience. Lots of mistakes. It’s trial and error. It’s about figuring out what works and asking other people that are my peers in older bands I’ve grown to love to the degree of success where they feel they are successful. It’s all about learning by questioning and watching and talking to people and making connections and learning from each other and growing in the community.
What defines success for you?
As long as you are having fun and feel good about your accomplishments it doesn’t matter if you make money, even if that’s nice. It’s about sticking true to what’s good for you. It’s measured by yourself, not any one person. No one can say ‘this is how you are if you are successful;’ it’s how you feel inside.
How does music make you feel inside?
Music saved my life. It’s the soundtrack of life. It’s something that’s in everything we do, grocery stores, elevators, every movie. The first thing you do when you’re a kid is sing songs. Music flows through the world in everything everyone does, even animals. It’s something that everyone should appreciate. Whether or not they are a musician they have it in their lives every day.
You talk about having music in your life every day, and yet you play an obscure branch of music. Why?
It’s what I fell into and what makes me feel good. Everybody has their own idea of what good music is. Musicians do especially. I don’t know. It’s just something I feel comfortable with.
At what age did you decide stoner rock was the way for you?
I kind of fell into it. When I first discovered Neurosis and Sleep that opened my eyes. But Soundgarden was big too. For me the stoner rock is more like Nebula and Fu Manchu. Some people don’t like the term stoner rock, like the Orange Goblin guys. I consider myself a rock and roller. The fans and musicians are dedicated!
Does doing things that are bad for you make you feel better?
Not really! I think you don’t have to do any of those things to enjoy music or play it. I think everyone has their own definition of what makes them feel better. What makes me feel better is being in touch with the world and being kind to your fellow person. That’s what I do with music, I try to give people something and share something with the world only expressed through music.