Summer is the season for Houston bands to hit the road for tours, and Houston's metal demons Venomous Maximus are heading out onto the highway themselves. Tonight at Rudyard's the group throws a tour fundraiser/kickoff with friends the American Heist and A Dream Asleep.
On July 13, the band sets out for about a dozen dates taking them to Dallas, parts of the Midwest, and out onto the East Coast before winding back through New Orleans and home to the Bayou City. You can peep the small itinerary here.
New material from the band is in the offing this fall, from what I have gathered from band members, and new merch seems to come forth every few weeks. VM hats are ubiquitous around Houston. You can't really beat an old-school mesh metal head covering. Beard not included.
I recently talked with lead singer and guitarist Gregg Higgins, and we had one of our trademark cosmic conversations, touching on the end of the world, God, metal, and touring. The professional tattoo artist is pretty excited for December, and not because of Santy Claus.
Rocks Off: You guys are going on your first major tour. What's the most exciting part of that, besides escaping the Texas heat?
Gregg Higgins: Oh, experiencing new parts of the country, different people. The actual experience we will have is less about the shows and more about the adventure. We'll be playing to crowds that have never seen us before.
After playing a lot in Texas these last couple of months, I feel the word is getting out and people will know what to except when they see us. On tour we will get to hit everyone fresh since we haven't played these cities before.
RO: The new material, when should we be getting that in our hands?
GH: Truly I have no idea, but it will be this fall. The artwork is being finished and we just got the record mastered last week with Mr. Mark Kidney. We have already started working on new material for the next record after that one.
We like to keep a constant flow of music. We can't get new stuff out fast enough. There is tons of new material and not enough time to get out all the new stuff we are working on.
RO: How does a typical VM song come to life? What's the songwriting process like?
GH: It starts with the idea I see in life or something I have experienced and I feel is worthy of being recorded, explored and documented. Once I have the idea then I get the phrase for the song. Then I imagine an old man sitting down and telling a young person the story.
That gives me the structure of how I write the lyrics. All stories having a beginning, middle, an end, and hopefully a point. All of our music could be seen as individual scenes from a movie. I don't understand when bands say they are doing a concept record. It should always be a concept record. Every metal band needs their "Paranoid" or their "For Whom the Bell Tolls." This shit isn't rocket science. We all stand on the shoulders of giants.
RO: You guys have the coolest merch in town, at least in my eyes.
GH: Imagine our shirts as a big picture, and each image goes with a song. So if you prefer one song over the others that's the shirt you should wear. The actual designs are all done by Dann Miller. When I first moved to Houston, Dann was one of my steady clients, so we had a lot of time to discuss bands and the importance of shirts and how it's all been lost. Iron Maiden did it right, the Misfits did it right. So we had plenty of time to discuss before the band even started.
People always ask me why I don't design our artwork for the band, and I have to explain that you need to have someone else to bring ideas and input you would never thought of. That and I don't use computers.
RO: After the tour is over, what's next for the band?
GH: The new album is going a step further as the music process progresses and changes so will everything else. You haven't seen shit yet. We have a psych project in the works with Beau Beasley on organ.
We are coming up on the end of the year and I am very excited about the world ending. I choose to see things my own way. I have been watching the world die for ten years, and tons of things are being reborn but hardly anything traditional has lasted.
I tell everyone in the band that this year is our year, and it's not only the band, it's also the generation that watched computers take over the world. Civilizations on this planet have been talking about this year before language was even written down. It's the biggest show on the Earth and no one evens seems to give a shit.
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If your life has not dramatically changed this year, it's your own fault. On December 21 it's everyone's choice to see to see the end of the world and start creating a new world for themselves. This is the philosophy behind Venomous Maximus. Stop looking for God and quit asking for help. Become your own god and help yourself.
10 p.m. tonight at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, www.rudyardspub.com.