No one has to be a rocket surgeon to grasp the immense of amount of money and coordination it takes for a European band to hit North America, and vice-versa. Contracts have to be signed, merchandise needs to be arranged, and the necessary paperwork to get though a stingy post-9/11 customs department is just the beginning of things. So when frontwoman Simone ďSomĒ Pluijmers of Scottish death metallers Cerebral Bore failed to show at the airport prior to the bandís departure for the States, you can only imagine the shades of red upon her bandmateís faces. Lobster-red, probably.
Miraculously, the band was able to secure Texas-based vocalist Shawn Whitaker for their run with Dying Fetus and Cattle Decapitation, a tour that should run out the string for promotion of their Maniacal Miscreation debut. As youíll read below, though, guitarist/founding member Paul McGuire was suitably upset over Somís absence, but is taking the wait-and-see approach. As such, we caught up McGuire via telephone in Los Angeles, well before the more than likely internet mud-slinging between the two parties will commenceÖ
Blistering.com: You were a dealt an unusual set of circumstances prior to coming to North America. Care to shed light on Som and her departure?
Paul McGuire: I donít knowÖI havenít spoken to her. She didnít phone the band or anything, didnít turn up at the airport, hasnít been in touch anybody since, so thatís where we are. Weíll wait until we get home.
Blistering.com: How bad of a situation did that put you in before coming over?
McGuire: Itís a terrible situation. I had to borrow a few thousand pounds to pay for our flights, including Somís and she let me book the flight, and didnít take it. Iím a thousand bucks out of pocket, and thatís the start of things. Thatís the main issue Ė we were really struggling to get money for our flights and I managed to get the money and that happened, not to mention all the merchandise we had printed and all the shows that we had lined up. If we had pulled out, they would have had to re-contract the whole tour. So you can understand why we were upset for someone to pull out at the last minute. That would have put us in a hole, but I said no matter what, weíre going to do the tour; we need to honor our commitments.
I just wish she had done the same. Itís cool if she wants to leave the band, but not talking to anyoneÖI thought it was a really unprofessional way to go about doing [things]. I can live with it; people not wanting to be in the band, but to not talk about itÖI gave her plenty of opportunities to talk things over. I did that, but all she did was ignore me, then all this unfolded. It was literally 24 hours before we left.
Blistering.com: Did you see any of this coming?
McGuire: Pretty much, yeah. We could tell because she was acting weird, then she disappeared. At the end of the day, we need to keep pushing forward. Weíve been a band a lot longer before we gave Som the opportunity that we gave her. And we will continue to be a band after. A lot of people canít get over a member leaving the band, but that will pass. The thing is, we were friends and I still think we are. Nothing has happened between us as far as I can see to make all that crap happen, so maybe we can get back in touch and not read whatever has been written so horribly.
Online, Iíve totally ignored the situation for an entire week, but it would have been so costly just to go home. Itís tough trying to keep my head down and keep going. People think they know the whole stories, but thereís two sides. All we said was Som didnít want to do the tour. Thatís all we said. We havenít said anything about the story and whatís going on, but [people] keep judging us offhand because they think they know the situation. We are the ones that here and are the ones in the States, doing it.
Blistering.com: How quickly were you able to get Shawn Whitaker to help out with vocals?
McGuire: The Shawn part happened pretty quickly. I was on the phone with Shawn the night before, for something completely different, then the Som stuff happened. I gave him a call back and asked if he wanted to do the tour, and he was like, ďYeah.Ē That was it. He got working on the songs, then 24 hours later, he met us in Virginia.
Blistering.com: He must be a fast study.
McGuire: Yeah, Iíve known Shawn for years and I have a lot of faith in him. If anybody was going to be able to do this, it would be him. I brought Shawn over to Europe a bunch of times; weíve toured Europe, weíve toured the U.K, weíve toured the U.S and weíve done a few festivals together. At least with Shawn, we didnít need to worry about what he was going to be like. He already knows the deal, so it was just a case of getting to business as soon as he got here.
Blistering.com: Does he appear to be phased by this?
McGuire: Heís fine with it; Shawnís from Texas. Heís absolutely fine with it and he was itching to get back on tour, so I think this came at a good time for him.
Blistering.com: The album is a few years old, so have you started to think about the next one?
McGuire: Yeah, yeah. The new album is already written. Iím happy with itÖitís brutal stuff [laughs]. If you like the old stuff, youíll like the new stuff; itís not much of a diversion from our last album. Itís finished, but we have work on the vocals.
Blistering.com: I know you said youíll tackle the Som situation when get back home, so have you thought about how youíll handle the vocals for the next album?
McGuire: Nah, havenít thought about it. I donít want to think about anything regarding the vocalist position until Iíve spoken to Som. Personally, I think she made a stupid decision and itís more about her position in the band Ė she has responsibilities. She just walked away and Iíd rather just speak to Som to hear what she has before anything else. Iíll give her the chance to smooth things over, because the way this has been handled has been really bad.
Blistering.com: Are you learning from any of the veteran bands on this tour?
McGuire: Absolutely. Thereís a couple of people in the bands that weíre touring with, so we know well. They treat us well; they always have pointers. John [Gallagher] from Dying Fetus is always throwing information my way. These guys have done it for years, so just little scenarios I have to deal with, theyíve already thought of.
Blistering.com: John from Dying Fetus is no stranger to lineup changes, so Iím sure heís been of help.
McGuire: Ever since the first day of the tour, Gallagher took me aside and said, ďDonít let all this get on top of you. Donít go packing in the band because of the Som stuff. Trust me, Iíve been through this, youíve got to keep going down the same path.Ē We ended up drunk several times on the tour and having the same conversation. Heís been really supportive in that wayÖhe knows what heís talking about.