If you’re a part of Metal Twitter®, you probably already follow this guy. Self-professed Professor of Grindology and Esoteric Life Coach, Chris Redar (Your Last Rites, contributing writer for Steel for Brains) is definitely one of the most unabashedly opinionated writers around today. He’s willing to take jabs at himself and the metal genre as a whole, reminding us that there’s really nothing to take seriously in super-serious trvebruhtuhlkvltastic METALLL music. (Or our own minuscule lives, for that matter.) He hates promoted tweets and can be relied on to tell those unfortunate parties to “EAT SHIT.” Master of snark, self-deprecation, and scathing, witty reviews, here’s his profile.
How did you first get into writing and reporting and have you achieved all your wildest dreams?
I’m not really into writing so much as I am complaining about things, which led me to reach out to Jordan Campbell based on his Reverend’s Bazaar column over at Last Rites. Everything that comes after that initial contact is trying to steal other writer’s styles without being noticed too much, and then also failing at that. Since my wildest dream has always been to fail at writing about a genre of music that no one cares about, the answer to part two of this question is a resounding YES.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get a promo, guest list or interview that you really cared about?
This isn’t too outlandish, but I pestered the shit out of Kim Kelly in regards to scoring a press pass to last year’s Housecore festival. That woman has the patience of some animal that is really fucking patient when it comes to nervous wreck pseudo-writers asking if it’s ok to book a flight when they’ve already been told that it is.
You tend to pick on drum production quite a bit in your reviews; we share in your hatred of triggers. Why do you think drum sounds are so important in metal?
Triggers in and of themselves aren’t necessarily awful, but so many bands go too far with just HOW triggered their kit is in the studio that they end up with that strange, plastic sound to their kicks and snare. It’s especially obnoxious when the cymbals stop on their own after a timed delay because everything has to be triggered the way the actual drums are or the mix won’t be even(ly shitty).I think drums are important in metal because I play them occasionally, and I like to think I’m important. They’re also the driving force behind so many metal ‘converts’ who are blown away the first time they hear someone playing a seemingly supernatural blast beat that they start digging based on that. It’d be a tough thing to lose that sensation to the inferior sound of poorly planned triggers.How’s THAT for a tie-together??
What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your writing?
I actually try to avoid reviewing bands I have personal issues with. I’m not the kind of person that separates art from artist, which cuts some SICK RIFFS, BRO from my listening repertoire, but oh fucking well. I’ve definitely called some racism/misogyny to the forefront in my and Jordan’s short lived R&R column, and those who follow me on twitter know I’m always shit-talking some asshole, generally in a very high-and-mighty tone, for saying or doing dumb stuff.As far as humor goes, I developed a bit of a reputation for reviewing awful albums and taking pot-shots at very easy targets, and there’s only one word for a writer that goes for the low-hanging fruit like that: genius. I really think more writers should skip the copy/edit hyperbole metaphor class they make us take after we get our first promo email and make a damn joke every now and again. This is a genre that could largely feature nine-year-olds behind the mic and no one would notice, after all.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? Was your family supportive?
I started at what is largely considered the worst time to start being a big metal fan: the mid-to-late nineties. I’d heard a fair deal of Metallica in my single-digit days, and it certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but until bands like Slipknot and Soulfly let seventeen-year-old Chris tap into his directionless anger, nothing really ‘clicked’ (and I had heard a metric fuck-ton of classics before this, such as Obscura and Gallery of Suicide). As mentioned earlier, the drums on that first Slipknot album really stuck with me, and I started searching out faster and heavier stuff from that point on, which led me back to a lot of the death metal that was either too confusing or not simple enough at the time. As far as family support, next question.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
I work at a refinery, so in the summertime I’m always coated in a thin glaze of humidity and fume particles. Combine that with chemical mastic sealants and caulking items that I use on a daily basis, and you’ve got yourself a human glue stick.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics out there?
Criticize. If you want in on this to gain favor with artists/labels/fans etc., quit immediately. There are already enough ‘tastemakers’ out there trying to keep up with a scene that moves very quickly. A critic needn’t be concerned with such trivial ventures. Don’t be too concerned about an artist saying they fucked your wife because you didn’t like their album—it’s going to happen. I’d rather have a thousand bands tell me to go fist myself than sell out how I feel because I’m worried some band on a boutique label is going to get me taken off of a mailing list.
You’ve been pretty vocal of your hatred for the Cubs recently. Tell us more about your tirade against them – and their craptacular fans. Why the hate? [Note: This interview was done before the World Series and all that. – D.]
The short answer would be that I’m a White Sox fan.The long answer would be that their entire fan base genuinely thinks the baseball universe revolves around them and their shitbag, we-wish-every-game-was-at-noon dump of a stadium. When they clinched their playoff berth, a guy at work actually told me that ‘this is what baseball NEEDS’, like the league was going to fold this year if the Cubs didn’t win. I used to go to a fair deal of shows at the Metro, which is very, very close to Wrigley Field, and if we were ever leaving at the same time a Cubs game was ending (in a loss, usually), it was expected that we’d be called every homophobic epithet you can think of and/or have empties lobbed at our head. And that fucking ‘GO CUBS GO’ song can suck a turn in hell forever.
Finally, what are some of your favorite not-metal listening favorites?
Here’s a list, presented without order or explanation:
- Shudder to Think
- Dr. Octagon
- Elliot Smith
- Earl Sweatshirt
- Aesop Rock
- Alice In Chains
- Guns N’ Roses
- Die Antwoord
Plus a whole bunch more, but even I stopped giving a shit about two artists into this list.
Thanks to Mr. Redar for his time! Follow him on Twitter (@chris_redar) for more madness