Wretch Speak Out About Of Gates Of Slumber And The Brutality Of Heroin Addiction
Wretch are a truly special band. They formed from the shards of a once great band who rapidly spiralled out of control in a storm of drugs. As of now, Wretch seem to be on the verge of something amazing. They are a group who, after their 2016 debut have started to reach feelers into the world of touring and who played a masterful set at Roadburn. I’m sure that if they play their cards right they can go far beyond even Gates Of Slumber.
How the hell are you guys?
Chris (C): Tired.
Karl (K): Good.
C: Good and tired! (Laughter)
How has the Roadburn experience been thus far?
K: It’s been great. Everything has been cool. The people were nice and the show was great and the sound was great.
C: It’s my first time here so it was a lot to take in.
Bryce (B): It’s really cool – I think I was a little bit overwhelmed.
Have you, Bryce, been to Europe before?
B: It’s my first time here! It’s crazy and super exciting and I’m trying to take in as much as I can and do some exploring and whatnot.
Are you here all four days?
K: We leave in the middle of the day on Sunday. We will be flying to the UK. We are going to be recording a seven inch and then we will be starting our UK tour with Iron Void.
How does it feel to come from the ashes of one band into another?
K: Good overall. It was good to start making music. It’s not been easy but it’s been good.
C: The circumstances weren’t so great but the new band was going to happen anyway.
K: I’d been wanting to do something new for a long time. There was a lot of dope wrapped up in Gates Of Slumber and it was going nowhere. The final shows were ridiculous and it was clear it was going to be a long time before we could be productive again. There weren’t hard plans until the final straw… we were offered direct support for Church of Misery and it didn’t get together at all. We were going to do the shows and were getting paid well and a lot of our requests were being met and I booked out rehearsal time and Jason OD’d and that was it. It fell apart then. I used that studio time to start jamming with Chris.
C: For months it was just us two hammering out what were supposed to be Gates songs and new stuff we were writing.
How do you deal with the Midwestern scene and the tie in with heroin?
K: I don’t consider my part of any scene really. I’ve always considered myself something of a loner. I think that people know heroin wasn’t my thing but I was into other stuff and how I deal with it is honestly by going out and doing the best I can to show I’m not tied up in that anymore.
C: Everyone who knows us knows we won’t do that shit.
K: All you can do is be yourself and people will think and say what they want to think and say.
C: None of my Chicago buddies fuck with that stuff.
K: For what it’s worth Blake Judd resurfaced and sent me a friend request and I accepted it. He says he’s clean and I hope he’s clean. I’ve watched that shit rip people apart. I wish only the best for people.
C: As far as Chicago goes it’s like Trouble, The Skull and those bands – that’s who we are related too moreso than the other guys.
Why do you think that scene is so tied in with heroin?
K: I think when you’re looking at anybody doing dope, I don’t know if you’ve ever been on morphine, but it takes away pain in a very different way. It’s not like “Oh my arm doesn’t hurt anymore” your arm still hurts you just don’t give a shit. It’s like – if you are dissatisfied with your life then you don’t care about that anymore, you become neutral. I think that helps people get by when they feel a void in their life. You get started with pills and then you max out your Oxy’s and then you start dope and there you go.
What kept you away?
C: Watching friends drop dead! The ones that aren’t dead are like zombies.
B: Watching it happen around you and having that make you feel crushed… it makes you never want to have to deal with that kind of thing.
C: I don’t want to have to go to a methadone clinic every day.
K: I remember when we were doing Conqueror we were crushing up Oxy’s and mixing it with coke and snorting it and that was just what we did. It might surprise some people that it was that early on but we were fucking definitely abusing narcotics. Myself included. I woke up the next day and I was like “I could have died” and that isn’t me.
C: He wasn’t getting dope though.
K: I stopped though. It’s the same thing fundamentally.
C: The last few years of Jasons life were horrible to watch…
K: He stole $5,000 from me essentially.
B: And I never met the dude!
K: This might come as no surprise to some detractors but Gates Of Slumber was incorporated. It was a business. Jason and I were 50/50 partners. In my naivete I didn’t think about the possibility of things like my best friend, draining my bank account. I could literally see on my iPhone app the money coming out, $20, $20, $60, $40, $100 on and on! When we did the record with Scion we were going to fund a summer tour. We were going to buy the tickets because we had maxed out our favors and to get to the next level we had to pony up. So we did a deal with Scion and sold some t shirts and ended up with 10 grand. If we had split up then – these aren’t exact numbers – but it would have been five grand apiece. I watched him spend it all. Everything was gone. It was greasy watching it happen.
What do you love so much about music?
C: I’ve loved it for so long I don’t know how to answer that question!
B: It’s super therapeutic for me. If a rehearsal gets canceled it sucks, I’m in a funk for a few days because I can’t be loud as fuck in the basement and let loose. It’s in me.
C: I still listen to the same bands I did when I was 14. I love how it makes me feel. I always wanted to play stuff like that and finally I did it one day! It feels good, especially when you are in a good band who play good shows! That’s pretty fucking cool!