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Single Bullet Theory - Four, the Hard Way

By: David E. Gehlke

One of those bands that refuses to die off in spite of numerous lineup changes, label turnover, and all-around industry apathy, Philadelphia metallers Single Bullet Theory have hooked up with the emerging Goomba Music label for the release of their fourth album, the aptly-titled IV. Founded and guided by singer/guitarist Matt Difabio, SBT's molten brand of classic and modern metal is an enticing concoction when they're firing on all cylinders, a happening Difabio sees a lot more of in the future as he hunkers down with a stable lineup for the first time in eons. This was just one of many topics for our discussion of the electronic mail variety, as the former Pissing Razors (remember them?) axe-slinger had lots of interesting things to say, so read on...

Blistering.com: You’re on a new label and have a new lineup. Break all that has gone down the last few years for Single Bullet Theory.

Matt Difabio:
Well, we sorta disbanded in 2008 and I had figured that I had enough with this god-forsaken business. However, after the reality set in that I ended SBT, I’d be remiss to say that I wasn't depressed. Writing and playing is in my blood and it’s all I know how to do. I sat out for about a year and then started getting the itch to get focused on something. I found Jeff Kalber (bass) first on an online ad and we began putting the pieces back together of a crumbled Single Bullet Theory. I reached out to an old friend (John Ruszin) about doing some sort of minimally committed project and he was really receptive about getting involved with me on some sort of level.

We began re-working a few unreleased SBT songs and they were coming out fantastic. At some point, we decided to create the new record IV. I think it was just a matter of time before I get the ship afloat again. I am happy to say that we are back 100% now. We were able to secure a great deal with Goomba Music and we feel that we are in a great position right now. To say that we are excited about the status of the band now would be a fucking huge understatement. To quote one of the worst songs of all time, "My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Blistering.com: The band has undergone several lineup changes over the years. Do you think you’ve found the right mix of musicians for IV?

Yes, in the respect of John Ruszin (lead guitar) and Jeff Kalber bass. No, in the respect of the drummer who recorded the drum parts. The guy turned out to be a fucking nut and I am glad we didn't continue on with him in the group after the recordings. I think he bit off a little more than he could chew with agreeing to play on "IV". I won’t mention his name out of respect but I think he was a very un professional business man and bit off his nose to spite his face. However, when all the smoke settled and the whole ball of wax was done, the drums came out great on the record.

Regarding the lead guitars that John Ruszin played, plain and simple, John is one of the cleanest and fastest guitarists I have ever met and deserves to be mentioned in the same conversations with Paul Gilbert, George Lynch and even Malmsteen. He is that good. As far as Jeff goes, I think I found a fantastic bassist with Jeff and he is more than competent and professional. Jeff has a great musical background and taste so he knows exactly what i want from him rather quickly. I have been blessed with SBT to have had two excellent bassists with Jeff and our former bassist, Bill Mez (who left to pursue another career outside of the music business and to create a family). Regardless, I know that I have made the best record of my career with IV. I can only say that without Jeff and John, that may not have happened.

Blistering.com: What led you to bring in Adam Sagan into the fold?

Well, unfortunately that really never came to fruition. However, I can tell you that Adam was in Into Eternity back in 2005 when SBT toured with them and Amorphis. We got along well on that tour and have stayed in touch ever since. Adam is a great guy and a phenomenal drummer. I’d love to work with him on some capacity on the future but right now, we needed to find a local musician to commit to being in the band for local and regional dates. It’s difficult when a member lives in Minnesota and the band is in Philadelphia.

We are proud to announce that Nick Bunczk is that guy. Nick is a drum teacher and a seriously sick metal drummer whose style matches ours perfectly. He will be the first "official" drummer we have had since John Sasso left the band at the end of 2003. I believe that Nick is most talented drummer we have worked with and it’s great that we can pick any song from our discography and he can play it. We have had several issues with our live drummers not being able to duplicate the parts that Darren Patrick (Eternity X) or Matt Thompson (King Diamond) played on our records.

Blistering.com: How were you able to snag Into Eternity’s Tim Roth to play a solo on “Auctioneer of Souls?”

Well, the same way we knew Adam, I met Tim on tour and we stayed in touch. Tim is a super cool dude and was more than happy to lend his amazing talents to the song. Tim’s playing is so far advanced that I knew we’d have to really raise the bar of players that we wanted on A.O.S. I’d like to mention that Tim is not the only guest musician on A.O.S. and If I can briefly mention thier names, id appreciate it. James Murphy (Testament, Death), Attila Voras (Nevermore, Leander), John Perez (Solitude Aeturnus), Mark Simpson (Beautiful Creatures, Flotsam and Jetsam), Curran Murphy (Annihilator, Shatter Messiah) Jack Frost (Seven Witches, Bronx Casket Company), Rob Doherty (Into Eternity,Digital Doomzday), Carlos Alverez (Shadowdance), Pete Blakk (King Diamond, Disaster Peace), Riggs (Scum of the Earth, Rob Zombie) and Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) all contributed extra solos to the song and were AWESOME!

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