Wizard Rifle don’t play it safe, are not predictable, purposefully escape single tag genre classifications, and – in case the pic above didn’t give it away – don’t give a damn about inabilities to classify them. Which are just a few of the reasons they’ve become a hit for so many, us included. They flat out rock; all their cacophonic noise, stoner heshing, doom groove, punk, and psych metal outdoes itself on each outing and their upcoming third effort, Wizard Rifle, is no exception. It’s a 45 minute acid trip in a sweaty barroom with an eclectic mix of tunes playing over a huge cabinet of Orange Amps. Anyone familiar with Here In the Deadlights will rejoice at the forward push here but will not hear the same album, not even close. We recently posed our set of Profile questions to guitarist and vocalist Max Dameron to get a look behind the scenes of this audaciously crazy and genius band. Keep reading to see how it went down and hit those links to grab copies of the upcoming album (and older stuff) for yourself.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
Sam (Ford) and myself have both played various instruments since we were kids. We were introduced in Portland, Oregon where we were both in college. We both felt a lack of really high-energy heavy music around us, so we set out to make it.
We have lots of goals, but our only bar for success is to be able to keep doing the band and tour and put out records as much as we can. If we are more successful we would just have more resources to do more of those things, but I’d say we’re doing just fine.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
Nanotear has been very honorably booking for us since day one so luckily we haven’t had to grovel for shows. Thanks Nate Carson for saving our dignity.
On one tour we visited Electrical Audio in Chicago and met Steve Albini, someone we both admire. At this point Sam had contracted a nasty case of pink eye because he was using a stuffed animal we found in the garbage as a pillow. When we were introducing ourselves to Steve, Sam says something like “I wish I could shake your hand but I have pink eye”. Pretty sad haha.
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?
One thing that really warms my black, dead heart is when we see bands we played with ages ago still doing their thing and succeeding and just getting better with time. When we get to play shows with those bands it’s an extra plus.
Bad things are any sort of hate or bigotry that comes out, especially when it comes from bands you like. 99% of heavy bands are the sweetest sweeties but of course there’s bad seeds.
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?
We don’t tend to sing about it directly, but the political situation in America and the fascistic movements you see popping up around the whole world is horribly depressing. Also attacks on, and the list is endless here, reproductive rights, immigrant rights, impoverished people and on and on…Oh yeah, and the planet itself is near the breaking point. Yippie.
On another note I am saddened that the original 4-Loko has been banned and I’d like to see it come back and to be their brand ambassadors.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
Friends started showing me bands in high school and I was receptive. Sam listened to Korn in high school and that was his gateway band to metal.
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?
Interesting question. I guess just sticking to your guns and not compromising your taste.
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 wanna tour Europe. Really bad. We both want to make a horror movie also. Maybe it’ll star Wizard Rifle and be about a tour gone wrong haha.
Sam does absolutely bonkers art for bands. It’s really good, check it out (Sam Ford Creations).
I’m already in a cult.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
I’ve been blasting The Coneheads too much. Sam’s been listening to Wendy Carlos’ Sonic Seasonings a bunch, great freaky work music.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Oh yes! Our 3rd full length album (self-titled) drops August 30th via Svart Records. This record is years in the making and we are very proud of it. Billy Anderson recorded and mixed it so it is crushing. In September/October we hit the road supporting Acid King who will be performing their classic album Busse Woods for its 20th anniversary! Also joining us is Warish. The tour is US and some Canada including a set at Hesh Fest in Portland.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Max and Wizard Rifle for their time!