Jeff Loomis – A Future Certain
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: I know you’re in the studio now working on some stuff that is supposed to be more death metal-sounding. Can you elaborate?
Loomis: Yeah, we’re going back to old-school thrash, but still melodic. I have a lot of people telling me that every time I write something it sounds like Nevermore [laughs]. It’s hard to get away from that since I was one of the main songwriters in the band. There’s a lot of faster stuff going on, but still melodic at the same time. And Joe [Nurre, guitars] is completely going-off with his death metal vocals. I think it’s going to add a huge edge to everything. Obviously, there’s going to be people out there who will disapprove since they’re used to hearing me with a clean singer. But hey man, that doesn’t bother me. I want to do something that makes me happy first and if the majority people enjoy it, that makes me happy too.
Blistering.com: Not counting Ihshan, you’ve never used any type of growled vocals. If you take some of the Nevermore stuff like This Godless Endeavor, you could easily stick a death metal singer on it.
Loomis: Easily. Like a song such as “Born,” that could easily be a death metal song. It’s going to be cool. I think there’s some diversity in these songs and Joe wrote one. We hope to release these in a few weeks so I hope we can get it out fast.
Blistering.com: It’s awesome you could put something out so quickly these days as opposed to before, when it took two or three years.
Loomis: Some people are freaking out about that [laughs]. I had this idea when we were on the last tour and since things were going so well, I figured “why not?” I’m bringing that up because Zero Order Phase only sold 600 copies in the first week and the new one sold 3,000 and we wanted to make people know we’re still into touring and wanted to people to hear this stuff as soon as possible.
Blistering.com: You mentioned when we opened our chat that you’re thinking of putting together a new band with a new name. That’s a risky endeavor, wouldn’t you say? What do you think would be in store?
Loomis: Oh boy [laughs]. It would almost be smart to keep the band I have now because we’re developing, and if I started a new one, I would be starting all over again. There’s going to be discussions when we’re out on the road, if the musicians who I have now would be interested in moving onto that next phase. Joe is really a death metal singer at heart and I don’t know if I’d want to stick with that 100%. I’d really like to have a singer like Devin Townsend. He’s so amazing with the way he can change up his voice…he could do everything. I’m looking for a singer like that. We’ll see what happens. It will need some time before we decide and I don’t want to make the wrong move. Might as well take my time in doing it.
Blistering.com: With the whole Nevermore thing, you’ve stayed relatively quiet, while Warrel [Dane, vocals] has made some statements regarding that he might get some new people, or he doesn’t know if they’ll continue. Are you going to remain with this stance and let the chips fall where they may?
Loomis: If they want to reform Nevermore with new members…I just don’t think that’s a great idea. A lot of the heart and soul is, and was, from the whole band. If you change up a band that drastically with the original drummer and guitar player, with somebody else, it’s not that band anymore. It’s not. It’s impossible. Sure, there’s guitar players out there who could learn and play this stuff, but as far as writing new material, it’s going to be a different band. It’s their call. I wouldn’t be hurt by it, but I know for a fact that it wouldn’t be right. It would be cheating the fans. I don’t keep in communication with those guys as much. I’m not ruling out that there would never be a reunion thing or a festival of some sorts in the future. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But working with those guys again, it’s just not my cup of tea at all.
Blistering.com: You mentioned getting another guitar player [to fill your spot]. You guys struggled for years filling the second guitar spot between Pat O’Brien, Curran Murphy, Attila [Vörös]…
Loomis: And Tim Calvert. He just texted me right before we got on the phone. A lot of these guitar players I still keep in contact with. I’m probably the closest with Tim since he comes to the shows a lot.
Blistering.com: He’s a great player.
Loomis: He is. He has a very unique style. So Nevermore was always lucky to have great guitar players in the band, but unfortunately, it never worked out in the long run. I think a lot of the reason for that was because Warrel and I definitely had a writing chemistry going on. And when tended to horde it and that was the whole thing that pissed off some of the players we had that wanted to do their thing.
Blistering.com: It’s funny that you mentioned the death metal project and I was on Blabbermouth today or yesterday, and someone commented about a recent article of yours saying, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Pat O’Brien was involved?”
Loomis: It was so much fun working with Pat. He was really the first guitar player we had in the band in ’93 or ’94. I ended up going to Kentucky to his house to audition and spend some time with him to see if he was right. But I could tell there was always something in the back of his head that he was a death metal guy at heart. He was the guy who would wake up with a cup of coffee, then crank Cannibal Corpse. He lived and breathed that stuff, but was still playing Nevermore at the same time.
Blistering.com: Do you keep in touch with Van [Williams, ex-Nevermore drummer]?
Loomis: I do. He moved back to New York, where he’s from. He’s got a side-band, Pure Sweet Hell. That’s about it. He’s taking some time off…he’s got a family and kid. I talk to him about once a week. I’m in contact with him the most out of the whole band.
Blistering.com: As are you adjusting to being the now ex-Nevermore guitar player? Do you worry that will always be your tag?
Loomis: I don’t mind it, but it’s getting boring reading it on Blabbermouth. I wish they would say “Jeff Loomis.” It doesn’t bother me, but they could state that differently. I think people write it that way is because people still care about Nevermore a lot. People still listen to the tunes, which makes me happy.
Jeff Loomis official website