Recently I decided to take a road trip to catch some shows in the South. I had never been in that region and thought it would be pretty interseting to see what it was like. It turned out to definitely be a wise choice. I saw three shows and met some fantastic kids. I have to say that Atlanta and the Carolinas were probably the most fun shows I had gone to in a long while. All the kids were incredibly friendly and lacking in both attitude and ego. It was a small hardcore paradise. Undying played one of those shows and they impressed me by having a lot to say from the stage but at the same time having a lot of un. I bumped into Tim at some point duirng the show and after talking with him for awhile I decided that he would make for a very interesting interview. I called him up a couple of weeks later and the following is the interview that resulted.
ISA: Pick a scar and tell the story behind it.
Tim: Excuse me?
Pick a scar on your body....
Oh my gosh, no, not that already. Okay. I have a scar on the top of my head that's about 3/4 of an inch long and whin I was in the 6th grade soembody hit me over the head with a baseball bat. So that kind of hurt. It didn't feel too good. They didn't hit me over teh head with it. They threw it and it landed on top of my head and the ricocheted, so I turned around and threw something at them and started to walk away. I thought I was sweatingbecause it was hot outside but I put my hand on my face and it was all bloody. One time I shot a shotgun, and the scope came back and hit me on the forehead and I have a scar between my eyes from that.
Ouch. There's a scope on a shotgun?
Yeah it was on a shotgun. It was weird.
That's not a very good design. Well, what's one thing you hope to express with Undying?
Umm...The one thing I would like to express is that we're angry and we feel this way about certain issues that are out there. What we hope to do is make some kids open their eyes to something that's bothering them, or if they go to a show and are feeling bad about someting that day, maybe they'll walk away feeling a little better. Our message is basically to open people's eyes, let them examine themselves, let them examine their lives. People question things and go around and feel a certain way about things and they sometimes....I know I've felt down about things and I felt kind of powerless. There's really a lot of issues there to question and you can experience things with people and the next day feel totally different about it. I just hope that maybe we'll open somebody's eyes.
What kind of topics do you address in your lyrics?
Umm...Civilization. Humankind's place in the world. One of the biggest influences on me has been a writer named Daniel Quinn. He's written a few books. He's written Ishmael and The Story Of B which have impacted me greatly. Basically, I try to examine the way we see the world, how humans see the world in general - pour society, our culture. Basically I feel that everybody living in the society that we live in, sees the world a certian way and that you hae to question that world view. Issues such as the earth, the evironment, why we control the environment so much, why we think that it's our place to do what we want with the world. Am I making any sense?
Yeah, yeah (enthusiastically).
I fell thre's so many issues that I'm bouncing back and forth everywhere. What else? I guess the big one is that in this culture, we think that somehow humans are destroying the world, but it's not so much that humans - I mean it's true that we're destroying the world, but it's not so much humanity's fault. To say humanity is screwed up, humanity's wrong is kind of audacious. My personal belief, from what I've read and how I see the world, its that at one point in time, humanity lived in the community of life. We did what we did and for millions of years we lived as tribal peoples and whatnot. But about 10,000 years ago, one culture was born that siad this is the way we should be living right here, and it kind of spread from there, beginning in the Near East. bascially it's kind of hard to get away from that now. Am I still rambling on?
No, you're making sense. You were talking about the Near East?
Basically we aer the product of a civilization that began about 10,000 years ago. The bottom line is that there used to be several ways we used to live on this planet and that those ways worked for thousands of years. The way we're living now, the way that 98% of the world is living now, is a corrupted way of living and is destroying the world, it's our version of humanity - this culture, this civilization. From that there's religion, salvationist religion, such as Christianity. It's amazing to me that there's 250 milllion people in this country' who believe that they have to be saved. What's wrong with the world? You can see there's been shootings and there are lots of problems. I just think that people...I just hope that through my lyrics maybe someone may get something out of it and maybe they'll question their existence and maybe feel a little bit better about themselves - not feel so down and depressed.
Okay, what was the last book you've read?
I think it was People Of The Deer by Farley Mowat, whish is basically....I don't know if it's a biography. It's more of a jounral. He studied these people living in the Arctic, closely related to some Eskimo Tribe, and he just went into detail about how they lived and how they thrived off of the caribou and stuff like that. He's basically trying to show us that the way we're living right now is not the only way to live. That these people have lived for thousands of years the way that they live. IT was a really cool book. It's a good book because it opens our eyes to injustice and historical knowledge. It has that typical them 'ran into our civilization and were decimated by us.' The kind of trugh evident in the story of the North and South American Indians and the problems they faced when the Europeans brought their way of life to these continents. It's really kind of depressing but it ives you a little insight into things we're taught an dthe way we live...that there are alternative ways of living.
What gets you interested in this kind of stuff? It seems you do a lot of reading on anthropology or culture.
Definitely antrhopology. It didn't used to be a big thing with me. I used to really like...when I got our of high school and was in high school in fact, I used to study economics, politics, religion....I guess I've always been interested in everyhting. But, I mean, that - I actually got into that after I met Jimmy. We used to always talk in the dorms about the state of the world and what's going on. Somehow through him, he got me to read teh book Ishmael and I read it and it expressed so much to me. It totally changes the way you see everything. The effect it can have on you in a few days can be like, "God, I never saw stuff for what it was." It's so hard to describe now because it's so complicated. Everything you see on TV, everything you read in the paper, everything you've acquired since you were a baby, that you've assimilated and learned and took from your environment - you start to say, "Yeah, that's true. I can't believe I didn't see it before." But, inititally my reason for getting into that is that I knew Jimmy and through him he gave me the book. Ever since then I've been reading all sorts of stuff about anthropology. It just happens to be one of those moments in my life where I've gotten into something and since then I've been changed.
Okay, when's the last time you cried? You had to know that one was coming!
Yeah, I thought about that one. Crying. There's different levels of crying for me. There's absolute bawling, and then there's tearing up, maybe one tear drop. But the last time I got teary like that was when I was reading Bury My Heart At Wound Knee. I was in my room listening to My Dying Bride. I was looking at this potrait gallery inside the book and there was this picture of this guy, an Indian, who had been illed at the Battle Of Wound Knee and he was frozen in the snow. I was just sitting there and looking at the picture and the expression on his face and I was like, "Oh my God!" This was an actual picture of a guy, and he died like this, frozen in the snow. The whole situation made me sad, so I teared up. I cried a little bit at work because I was so depressed, maybe like a week ago. I work at a state mental institution, just the whole routine of it, the patients, the bureaucracy. It's kind of a tough job because you deal with so much craziness and you see things happen to people that you care about and you can't really control it. There's abuse and stuff like that, but beyond that there was just a whole bunch of circumstances that came together and I was like "God I want to uit. I just want to walk away and get out...just start walking." Reality's grip came forward. I remember I have to pay my bills and whatnot, bu yeah, I kind of got sad then.
Okay. What's one thing you would change about yourself if you could?
Umm... I would try to be less judgemental about myself. I tend to see myself through other people's eyes and I judge myself before I do something and it really changes the way that I truly felt like doing it. If that makes any sense?
And then something that's always kind of gotten to me is afterwards. I'll be like, "Why didn't I do this?" I don't know why but I always judge myself. I don't know if it's good or bad. I guess it's just something keeping me in check. But sometimes it's not very healthy I think because it keeps back my true feelings.
In your life, what's one ting you hope to accomplish?
My biggest goal in life is to be happy, like day to day, try to be happy in whatever situation I'm in, whatever expreience I'm in. That's something I've just acquired recently. Life is really compicated because there's os many issues and so much going on and I think people tend to complicate their lives with material possesions. Worried about money, worried about jobs. I worry about those things too, but I've been tryin to make my life a little more simple. I guess, I ultimately want to make my life a little more simple and stay happy as much as I can and just enjoy what can get out of it. Every experience is worth it. To actually engage with people, or engage in whatever situation you are in, take it for what it is, take it for the moment. I just wnat to go through life doing that.
If you knew you were going to die in six months, would it change the way you live your life? And if it would, how would you live your life differently in the time that you had remaining?
It would definitely, if I knew for sure, change my life. I don't think there's anybody who would say they wouldn't. What was the second part again?
If you would live your live differently, how would you change your life? What would you do differently each day?
Man that's a tough one. I would basically do what I said before. I'm pretty much happy with the way I live life now, but there are certain things I wish I could change. I would definitely quite my job and spend a lot of time with my mom, dad, brother, girlfriend, family and friends. I would just enjoy their company and enjoy their experiences. Do what I want to do. Not necessarily being at work or whatnot. I'd definitely quite work. That's a good one.
(Chuckling) I'm with your there. It sounds like a good idea. How would you describe the North Carolina/South Carolina scene and how would you compare it to what you've seen on your latest tour on the East Coast?
In the Carolinas, the scene is more spread out. There are not a whole lot of shows. In the Northeast, there are tons of shows. The population is denser up there and there are bigger cities and more of them. Definitely a lot more going on. If you live on the East Coast... al the shows seem to be like Richmond and up. there are a few shows down here, but it's slower. Bascially the kids are the same everywhere.
How would you characterize your own scene?
My own scene?
Yeah, what would make the South Carolina / North Carolina scene unique?
I don't kno to tell you the truth. I don't really see too much of a difference in it. Seems like the kids dance different. (Chuckling). Seriously, there are some place you go where kids dance a lot diferent. People will actually say that. They talk about North Carolina and say, "what's this deal with the kids kicking and dancing out there and sombeody jumps and another backs off." I've seen that happen up North but I didn't think that was anything unique to our area. It's really hard to see a difference in our scene. The people that go to shows seem pretty much the same everywhere. But geographically, there's less of a scene down here.
And geographic-specific dance styles.
That's prety funny. One day I'll do a study on that. Videotape it in every city.
Yeah. That could be done, I guess. You could do a research paper or something. Yeah, in North Carolina you have basically Charlotte and Winston-Salem to go to shows. There's no where else really. In South Carolina, Charleston is a good spot. We've playd there a couple times and had fun. I can't remember many other places in South Carolina because we don't play there often. But venues and shows up North, you could play a show and the next day play a show 30 miles away. It's amazing.
How did you get the name of teh band? How di you come up with that?
Jimmy, our guitarist. He came up with the name sevearl years ago, before the band was put together. He said that it was really hardcore sounding, undying, just a passion about whatever and not quitting. A lot of people start getting into the metal aspect the name may carry. I guess that comes about because the music is very heavy. There's this thing about....I better not say anything more about that...
You'd have to write it in heavy metal font so you couldn't read the name of the band.
(Laughing) It's definitely not intended to be anything metal like that or pointless.
What's most important in your life right now?
My family, my friends, and my cats. That's basically it. And of course the music.
What are the plans for the band in the future?
Right nwo we're writing music. Our album came out in mid-January and it's about to go to second press again for another thousand. I guess we'll keep selling that. It's just now starting to hit the big distros. We're already starting to write for the new album, which will be a full length. I tihnk we'll have seven or eight songs on it and a few keyboard tracks. We're gonna work on that as soon as we can. We're practicing that right nwo, getting those songs all together. Jimmy, his intentions are to record pretty soon, so we're hoping to do that. I think we're goign to do a two week tour in August, but I'm not sure with which bands. Possibly Prayer For Cleansing for maybe a wekk or the full two weeks and a few shows with Blood Has Been Shed. I"m not sure exactly who that's goign to be with but it should probably be a two week tour. I think we're going to head South this time on tour. Mayb ego down to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, then up through the mid-west. We're going to play some new England and East Coast dates as well.
Any other stuff you want to add?
I'd like to thank the Carolina bands; Catharsis, Prayer For Cleansing, From Here On, Code Seven, Azazel, Stretch Armstrong, and any of the ones I forgot. I'd liek to thank them for support and I'd like to thank Blood Has Been Shed, who are wonderful guys and an absolutely terrific band....and then them for letting us stay at their house during our last tour. Thanks to everyone who helped with out last tour, and thank you Adele and ISA.