We recently caught up with Superjoint guitarist Jimmy Bower via phone and had a great chat about Caught Up in the Gears of Application, the band's first new album in 13 years. Due out today, Friday, November 11th, and with a release show on Saturday night in Dallas, Texas, Bower, discussed the album's writing and recording, some of his favorite songs, and the band's touring plans.
Hey Jimmy, how are you doing today? Bower: Good. Just finished up with Superjoint practice.
Cool. I’m calling from Dallas, Texas and I’m looking forward to the CD Release show on Saturday night. Bower: Yeah, that should be fun, man. We’ve been practicing every day this week to get ready for it. So, you know, it should be a good one.
Congrats on the new album, I love what I’ve heard so far. Bower: Thanks, man.
I saw you guys last year on the Danzig "Blackest of the Black Tour" and I was wondering, since you’ve got two new band members, how important was that going in to the writing and recording of Caught up in the Gears of Application? Having a tour under your belt as band. Bower: It got us to be able experience stuff as a band, to play live together, and learn how to read each other as a band better. It totally helped the writing process. We went into the room and it happened really fast, man. A lot of the riffs came together pretty simply and we were also pretty excited about doing a new record. As opposed to a band whose doing their fifth or sixth record. For us it’s been 13 years, so we’re like "let’s get in there and do it."
When did you do the writing for the album? Did any of it occur on tour or after? Or in the studio? Bower: It was after the Danzig tour.
Was most of the album written before you went into the studio? Bower: We basically wrote the record and then recorded it at Phil’s (Anselmo) place. We would get the song down good as a band and then Blue (drummer José Manuel Gonzalez) put the drums down. So, we did that process. We rehearse where we record, so we took full advantage of that.
How long did the recording process take? Bower: I guess about a month. We did the drums first and then started piling on guitars. And then Steve came in and did his bass and he nailed it. He did like the whole record in two days. And then Phil did a bunch of vocals and him and our sound engineer, Steve, mixed it. About the whole process was a little over a month.
After 13 years, how was the writing and recording process different or similar to the old albums? Bower: We talked about what we wanted to do. And 13 years ago, we would be in the studio wasted, you know? So, it was cool doing it not all fucking zonked out. It really makes a big difference. For me…personally for me. We talked about doing it more like the first record. More hardcore and stuff. I think that happened, but I also think we wrote a new kind of sound for Superjoint. Which is a cool thing, man. It is a different band right now.
Yeah, new rhythm section. Bower: Yeah.
Other than just doing what Superjoint does best, did you guys get into any experimentation on this album? Bower: The first song is kind of an experimentation thing, kind of an album intro. But, for the most part we just buckled down…but, we also used some old riffs, going all the way back to like ’94. Phil found a bunch of old practice tapes and we listened to them and used a couple of riffs from there. But, it was cool because a lot of the riffs came out of improvising. Just all of us in the room together and somebody says "check this out" and we go into something. And it winds up working out. That was fresh feeling.
Was there anything you wanted to do on this album to set it apart from the other two? Bower: Just try to make it as broad as possible. And trying to, well we’re older, except for Blue, he’s a lot younger than everyone else in the band. We just tried to put a cross the style of hardcore we grew up on as opposed to delving into black metal or death metal influences. Try to keep it real Black Flag-y or like Voivod was someone we were into back then. I think Superjoint has those stupid simple parts that Phil winds up putting a killer melody on top of, it’s cool man. Just trying to be unique within ourselves.
What are some of your favorite songs on the new record? Bower: I like "Ruin You," that’s a killer one. There’s a song called "Asshole," that’s brutally heavy. I like them all, man. We’re playing five new ones live. To learn the new songs and jam them as a band is a cool thing for us right now.
I wanted to ask about the show Saturday night. You said five new songs and I’m guessing a mix off the first two albums? Bower: Yeah, yeah. It’s gonna be pretty awesome cause we’ve never played these songs live. It should be pretty interesting, man. I hope we don’t fuck it up!
Check out the album Caught Up in the Gears of Application
Am I right it’s your first and only show of 2016? Bower: For the record, yeah. But, in January we’re going on tour. We’re working on setting that up now. It will be fun to get out there with a new record. We’re looking forward to getting out there and shoving it down their faces!
I read in some press releases that Phil mentioned that the album title could be interpreted as a commentary on how technology and social media are taking over our lives. So, going on that theme I wanted to ask you about your band members and play a "Who’s in Superjoint is most caught up in the gears of application" game. Bower: Probably, Blue. I’m guilty of it too. I’ve got my phone in my fucking face most of the day. It’s just fucking weird because when I grew up there was no cell phones. And you know, these days no one talks to each other. For me it’s like a precursor to a virtual world.
Who is the least caught up in the gears of application? Bower: Phil. He doesn’t even have a cell phone. I do the Facebook thing and Instagram. I’ve been on Facebook since 2007, before it was even a big thing. But, I was dating this chick who was in college and she hooked me up with it. So I’ve watched it morph into what it is. It’s funny because so many people base their lives on Facebook and it’s a fucking app. In the long run, it ain’t nothing more than a goddamn app. It’s weird and it’s funny, you know you come across people who are all "I’m not on Facebook. I don’t want the CIA knowing my business." It’s just like, "no one cares about you, bro. Ain’t nobody worried about you and your boring bullshit life." Don’t make it out like some kind of conspiracy about yourself. That’s pretty pompous if you ask me. I think a lot of the songs on the record deal with that attitude.
Who in the band is most likely to take a selfie? Bower: Probably, Blue. The young one. I think he’s on SnapChat, so....
Who in the band is most likely to take a picture of their dinner and share it on Facebook? Bower: That would be me, man. I’m all about food, dude. My wife was cooking killer stuff, she really got into cooking. And for several weeks she was doing stuff and I was proud of her so I took pictures of it. I mean, I love food dude. I’m on a diet right now, it sucks.
Is it true that Phil has a secret Instagram account devoted to kitten photos? Bower: Fuck no. That sounds more like a Greg Ginn thing, man. Greg Ginn the guitar player for Black Flag lives in Tyler, Texas. But, he was on Facebook. I haven’t seen him in a while, but all he posted was pictures of cats, man. It was the craziest thing.
That’s not hardcore. Bower: Well, fucking Gregg Ginn can do whatever he wants.I thought it was funny. He’s your cat man.