By Georgi Bomb
Soil, a band who, in the last year or so, seem to have had a revolving door for members. Touring members going in and out, old members rejoining and leaving just as quickly. But the UK fans were honoured on their recent tour with Puddle of Mudd, Dear Superstar and Verses with the three original members: Tim King (bass), Adam Zadel (guitarist) and biggest shock of all, original vocalist Ryan McCombs, who decided to rejoin the band as a one-off after seven years. Standing in on drums was former Stained drummer, Jon Wysocki.
Not so much of a promotion tour but more of a “Soil celebration”, plus the fact it’s been ten years since their defining album Scars, Miss Bomb popped along while they were in Norwich for a chat about the music business, being together again and the possibility of a full reunion.
Miss Bomb: So how has the tour been going?
Adam: Awesome, we’ve got one more show left and they’ve been totally killer. I don’t know what else to say.
Ryan: It’s been good, I don’t want to reiterate what’s been said a moment ago but it’s the truth. This is what we wanted to do, if we were gonna do a tour back together again this is what we were gonna do it as. So it’s nice to be right for a change. It’s been fun.
MB: How’s it been with Puddle of Mudd, Dead Superstar and Verses?
Ryan: Everyone’s been getting along great. There’s a ton of different personalities on this tour and everybody’s getting along great. Couldn’t ask for a bunch of better guys.
MB: It was decided this tour was going to be more a celebration of Soil, can you explain more?
Adam: Really it’s just more our earlier material. It’s a homage to Scars and we fit in a couple of songs from Redefine as well so it’s more focussed on that body of work.
Tim: It just so happened that when we got out schedules together, it happened to be the tenth anniversary of the Scars record.The record had gone silver as well so we decided to tie in that little motif in the whole tour along with the Scars anniversary.It’s been really cool.
MB: So with the Scars album being ten years old, what do you feel you guys have learned over the that time?
Tim: [Lengthy pause] You’ll be here until next Tuesday if you really wanna know!!! [laughter] We learned a lot over the years, we’ve been saying this the whole time, we’ve grown a lot as people you know. We’re all older now and had more life experience so things like that. And I think mostly, we’re just learning that it’s not so much the little things and to put so much pressure on things like we used to. We’ve been doing that and having fun, having some drinks before we go on and having some drinks after we’ve been on, having a great time on stage. It’s just, awesome to be in a position in our careers where we can do something like that and not have to worry about anything.
Adam: Yeah, not to take things too seriously and to make light of what we do instead of being like a focus and a push and a schedule we have to meet. We are just letting what we do come out naturally and being ourselves and having fun doing it.
Ryan: I think one of the biggest problems early in my career was that I was so concerned with everything around me. And there’s so much of it you can’t control. I think over the years one of the things I’ve tried to make a conscious effort of is to not worry about the things you can’t control and just worry about yourself and worry about what you can control and get your hands on and can do something about because there’s a ton of stuff in this business that’s really out of your hands at the end of the day.
MB: How has the industry changed?
Ryan: It’s gotten shitty.
Adam: It’s brutal.
MB: In what way?
Tim: We were fortunate enough to ride that last wave of big record deals and the big tours and all that sort of stuff; everything kinda got handed to you. Now everybody’s down scaled, even the big bands have down scaled some production, the way they tour, who they bring with them. Major labels are going out of business left and right and you know, everything’s getting smaller but there’s still, you know, the prices which aren’t going down, it’s terrible.
Ryan: Your avenues of being able to make a living in this business is definitely being depleted. It is a business, a job, at the end of the day. Just like any job, you wouldn’t do it if you weren’t able to pay your bills and take care of your families or whatever. The avenues in which you’re able to do that in this business now are definitely few and far between. It used to be you made a little bit here and there off of various different things and as the internet and the downloading started happening, you started losing sales so therefore you – the bands- weren’t making any money at all off of sales and now, you make your money off of touring and merchandise but with the economy the way it’s been, definitely in the States over the past few years, you’re not seeing the money there either so the avenues of being able to survive in this business or even the ability to survive in this business has got a lot harder.
MB: In regards to downloading, do you think fans misunderstand the fact that you guys are, as you said, trying to make a living, support your families and pay your bills?
Ryan: I remember having a conversation with a kid a long while back, I think I was still in Soil at the time – in fact I know I was actually so that’s how far back it was – and this kid just didn’t understand how taking the music for free was such a bad thing because he grew up with it. Finally I was just like: “what does your dad do for a living?” And his dad was an autoworker so I asked him that if tomorrow everyone could go into his dad’s factory and drive a car out for free, how long is his dad going to have a job, because in this business the music, the songs we write, that’s our car. That’s what we’re producing and if it’s a free product, how long are you going to be able to maintain that business? You gotta keep the lights on at home somehow.
MB: Now I have to ask this question, with the ever-changing touring members, with Ryan returning for this tour – what’s happening with Soil?
Ryan: Well right now we’re just having fun.
Tim: Yeah man, we’re having fun again. There was a stint where me and Adam were the last two standing and it was painstaking and –
Adam: It hurt!
Tim: Haha, yeah! This tour has been the most fun I’ve had since basically Ryan left. It’s been awesome playing together again and getting that feeling back. I forgot what that feeling was like, that chemistry together. It’s been fucking awesome. We keep saying that we’re just having fun but that’s what we’re doing! That’s what music should be at the end of the day. I mean it is a business and if you’re lifers like us you have to make a living out of it somehow but it’s gotta be fun too. It’s why we all started doing it and I think we’re all feeling like kids again.
Ryan: Although we all have more aches and pains! (Laughter) The liver’s shot and the kidneys too!
Tim: Yeah okay, in some ways we are kids…
MB: What does the future hold then?
Tim: We will give you the standard issue answer –
MB: Go for it!
Tim: We’re just going to see what happens, gonna take it one step at a time, one day at a time. We got a couple days left on this tour so we will decompress when we get home, lay in our own beds and all that other good stuff and talk about what to do next.
Adam: I think we are all, in our own right, certainly interested and excited to do something, we just gotta work it all out like we said, got to get away from it and again, learning life lessons and figure out how to do it the right way. It’s gonna take as long as it takes or it might not, but I think it might.