Junior Bruce was born in 2007 from the ashes of Florida’s hard hitting metalcore band Bloodlet. But where Bloodlet left off is not where Junior Bruce picks up. Instead they use their past as a distant archetype to create a sludgy, nasty brand of whiskey soaked rock that has as much in common with southern sludge metal as it does Remission era Mastodon. Shortly after their full length debut The Headless King was released in 2012 the band went through a horrible tragedy in losing drummer Brett Tanner. So, its a bit of a miracle they were able to pick up the pieces and move forward. And move forward they did, in spades, on second full length Endless Descent. It’s as scathing as it is moving and stands as a testament to the band’s dedication and perseverance to the almighty riff. We recently got a chance to ask Scott Angelacos (vocalist) our Profile questions so read on to see what he had to say.
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
I grew up around musicians. My grandfather played In bands when he was young, my uncle still tours and plays and my mother plays piano. I got into heavy music through skateboarding. When I finally joined a band the goals I set for myself were to play CBGBs and release a 7″. We did both in the first year or two. After that I just wanted to be able to play and tour. I’ve been able to do that many times over, so im very thankful. I will always want more, but that’s just the way I’m wired.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
I don’t think we have ever had to do anything debasing as a band. We are ok with saying no if an opportunity comes up that sounds shady or demeaning. We don’t sell tickets to play, we are not going to turn down because the sound guy wants us to, and we are not going to bang your mom to be in your zine…. Well, Hayden (Chris, guitarist) probably will, but not because you asked, because he wants to!
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
There is so much music out there now and so many places to find it. People don’t listen to music the way they used to. You used to go to the record store to find new music and you would go home and listen to that record from start to finish. Now it’s everywhere, mainstream, it’s free, and most of it is crap. The really good stuff is way underground again like before. You have to dig deep to find the good shit like you did at the record store. Thanks to social media and apps like Spotify and Pandora you can find a new awesome band you’ve never heard of from a place you can’t even pronounce and then find 5 more bands that are related to them in just a couple clicks of a mouse. It’s awesome.
Worst things in metal now are the passing of great icons such as Dimebag, Ronnie James Dio, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer, and Lemmy and Phil from Motörhead.
I’m also not a fan of these giant metal fests. Standing outside in the Florida sun for 10 hrs having your ears blown out by 7 bands you could care less about to see 3 you like sucks.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
I try not to use the band as too much of a soap box. I also don’t like to get too literal with my lyrics. I try to paint a picture with them. I like them to reflect what’s going on with the music and to tell a story. Sometimes those stories are a metaphor for something going on in the world or my life, but I like to keep some things open to interpretation. Most of the lyrical concepts on the new record are about loss and self destruction. A journey to the bottom that can be endless for one who is bent on finding it.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I had older cousins who would let me hang out with them when I was like 10 or 11. They would play Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, and the like. I remember I would make them play the spoken word introduction to Number of the Beast over and over until I had it memorized. I found more underground metal, punk, and hardcore not long after that.
My mom always thought my cousins were a bad influence, and me walking around the house in my pj’s reciting “woe to you, oh earth and sea….” didn’t help.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
That’s a pretty damn personal question bro.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Dig deep, there is amazing musicians out there making amazing music. Don’t let people tell you what’s cool. Go find out for yourself. If you find a band you like go support them when they come around. Most bands don’t make any money off their actual music. They make it when they come to your town and you show up.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
We will keep doing what we do. Our goal is to have fun and play as much as possible until we die. A cult sounds exhausting, but we have a small recording studio that we are pretty much constantly in, either writing or recording our band or one of our friend’s.
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
I’ve been rocking the new Iggy Pop record a lot. I listen to a lot of old stuff, I have had Herb Alpert in heavy rotation. His shit makes me happy. I recently fell in love with a record by Marc Moulin that Thomas (Crowther, bass) showed me called Placebo Years. It’s super cool chillax shit from the seventies. I also love to listen to old gangsta rap. As far as new metal stuff, I love the new Hammers of Misfortune record. If you haven’t heard that you should check it out. I have also been digging on a band called Beastwars from NZ and a band called Skraeckoedlan from Sweden.
Thanks to Scott for his time!