A-To-J Connections was lucky enough to catch Salems Lott before their show opening for Loudness at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go. The show was completely sold out and the band had the crowd more than a little hyped up after their thunderous set.
Are you ready for Lust, Blood, Violence and Raw Energy? Then Salems Lott is the band for you! Hailing from Hollywood, Salems Lott is bringing shock metal to you in a way you have never seen! From blistering shows that have seen them banned from the world-famous Viper Room, to opening to legends like Marty Friedman and Loudness, Salems Lott is a band you want to keep an eye on!
A-To-J: Hello! Thanks for your time with this interview. Can we start with your introductions?
Jett: We’re Salems Lott. I’m Jett I play Lead Guitar
Kay: I’m Kay. I play Lead Bass.
Monroe: I’m Monroe. Lead Vocals and Lead Guitar
Tony: I'm Tony F Corpse, double bass drum extraordinaire.
A-To-J: Can you describe Salems Lott’s sound to someone who has never heard it before?
Monroe: It’s an amalgamation of our influences. I guess it’s basically a mix of hard rock, heavy metal, and speed metal with some classical influences thrown in as well.
Jett: Aggressive metal with hard rock but still melodic at the same time. We still have that melodic approach. There isn’t any Cookie Monster style stuff. There’s actual singing and it’s fast paced. We’re just mixing everything we like and pushing it forward.
A-To-J: Who are some of your favorite artists that inspire you?
Monroe: Man, there’s a lot. I really hate talking about my influences because I always forget like one guy. It ranges from bands like…
Monroe & Jett: Ratt, Accept, Wasp, Alice Cooper, King Diamond, KISS.
Monroe: All those guys. I guess we’re taking what they did and are putting our own spin it, our own style. A lot of people view it as nostalgia, but that’s not our intent whatsoever. We’re adding our own spin and pushing the genre forward.
Jett: As well, we like some of the early Japanese aggressive bands that really were kind of similar to Motley Crue and Ratt, but gave it more aggression; we like some of those bands as well. We like Loudness of course and EZO. There’s tons of bands we like; we don’t discriminate. We go from heavy to melodic, even the super poppy ones. We don’t care.
Monroe: Heck, some of listen to the most extreme forms of metal all the way to country and pop to blues to classical and jazz. It’s just music, if it sounds good then it’s good. I don’t really care about genres.
A-To-J: So would you guys consider yourselves a genre-less band?
Monroe: You know what in all honestly a lot of bands talk about genres and stuff like that, but a lot of bands don’t won’t to be placed in one because it places you in a corner. Then right away it’s like: “Bam! You’re this genre, you can’t do anything else.” It’s the truth.
Jett: You get pigeonholed. People look at us and they expect a certain sound, but we don’t really sound how we look. I think a lot of people right now are trying to fit perfectly into these pre-existing genres. It’s like: “I have to be this genre so I have to look this way, sound this way, play this way.”
Monroe: If I’m a thrash metal band I have to grow a beard, get a gut, and look like a hobo. If I’m a glam band I have to play Posion-style poppy stuff and have lipstick.
Jett: Exactly. So why not look glam as fuck and play really fucking heavy. It’ll have people thrown off like: “Whoa! That’s not what I’m expecting.” That’s how you do something, I hate to say “new”, but in sense that’s how you do something new. “New” is subjective, but yeah. We can be called a rip off of like a bunch of bands, but if we’re a rip off of ten bands, then we’re a new band.
A-To-J: What can you tell us about your choice of name?
Jett: We’re really big history buffs. A lot of people think it’s based off the Stephen King book or movie, but it’s not. It’s just based off the Salem witch trials. So if you look at the Stephen King novel or movie there is an apostrophe before the “s” because it’s short for “Jerusalem’s Lot”. So it’s was a marketing thing to call it “Salem’s Lot” to shorten it because it sounded better to audiences. So for us we just wanted to call it “Salems Lott”. It’s not supposed to be “Jerusalem’s Lot”, it’s not supposed to be a tribute to Stephen King; we’re just big history buffs of the Salem Witch Trials. It’s a group of freaks that are not necessarily from Salem, but we have that same sort of psycho mentality of burning witches and crazy shit like that. It just sort of fit in that way. It sounded cool too.
A-To-J: Can you tell us something about Salems Lott’s songwriting process?
Monroe: As it stands Jet and I pretty much write all of the songs and then the other guys come in and contribute as well. We bring it into rehearsal and everyone puts their spin on it and throws in their own styles and influences. That’s basically what makes us unique because everyone in the band listens to music of all types. It gives a very weird mixture and a very unique sound that I feel hasn’t been done before.
Jett: Yeah, for example, Kay. He listens to everything from Morbid all the way to Vinnie Vincent, it’s completely different. People wouldn’t expect that, it’s either one or the other for a lot of them. So that’s kind of like how all of us are in this band. Every guy, Kay, Tony, me, Monroe, we all kind of bring in our own unique thing and the sound shifts. As we move forward every member puts in his own input into the songs. Basically we like to keep it heavy, aggressive, and fast, but also melodic. We really like to stress melody, because that’s the most important thing to me in a song, is melody. We’re not afraid to go poppy and we’re not afraid to go super heavy. We just don’t like to do what people expect or what was done before. It’s just how we feel.
A-To-J: Can you tell us how Salems Lott formed?
Monroe: Yeah, I can. Basically I found Tony online. I put an ad out for a crazy drummer somebody who was a little off the deep end. Someone would have to be crazy to be doing what we’re doing now and have a unique vision and style while not being scared to push limits and not play within a certain mind frame, or a certain box. After I found Tony I was jamming with him for a few months and Jet came over. I knew Jett for a very long time. We had jammed before in previous bands and we had both done studio work for other bands and other albums. He’s a great guitar player and a great addition to the band. He’s also a great songwriter. Then I found Kay through a connection at the Musician’s Institute. I don’t know if people in Japan know what the Musician’s Institute is, or if there is one in Japan, but it’s a school where Paul Gilbert and a lot of great guitar players came from. I brought him over because he was a guy who could play his instrument and didn’t give a shit. He was into the band and we hit it off right away like in our first rehearsal. He came to our shithole house, the “ant farm” as we called it, with ants crawling on the walls and stuff. We jammed and we all kind of had the same vision.
Jett: Plus you don’t run into guys who know who Seduce is or who Icon is and other bands like that. So when Kay came in we both started talking about these obscure bands that no one knows. It was like: “Oh shit! You know them!?” “Yeah! Holy crap, you know them too!?” because you don’t see that anymore because no one really knows those bands to be honest. It just clicked because we all wanted to do the cool, crazy image, but fast and heavy and change up how the image is supposed to be portrayed.
Kay: Yeah, I was glad to make him talk. We were talking about Seduce and I was like “Oh shit!” it’s the same style that I like. So that’s why I’m here.
A-To-J: Can you tell us something about the theme of your self-titled debut EP?
Jett: I don’t think there’s really an underlying theme. It’s more of a philosophy instead of themes.
Monroe: Yeah, we write about our philosophies. Thing we’ve experienced and how we feel about them. It’s a philosophy about being truthful and letting out your anger and honesty and that’s pretty much it. I mean there’s not really a typical theme it’s just pure honesty wrapped out in a pissed off package.
Jett: Yeah. It’s just being out there, not giving a shit, doing whatever you want to do not being afraid of pretensions, genres, whatever people may think of you, or preconceived notions, it’s just completely out there. There’s no other way to say it. It’s not trying to be pretentious or super deep, but at the same time it’s not just fluff and stupid. It’s a ballsy record. It’s what we wanted to do and that’s how it came out. Organic and natural.
A-To-J: Do you have a favorite song from the album?
Monroe: They’re all unique in their own way and I can’t choose one personally
Jett: Yeah, I don’t really have a favorite. It shifts for me from time to time. Kay, what do you think?
Kay: I recommend that you listen to “S.S” (Sonic Shock)
A-To-J: You guys have amassed a huge following locally and have opened for some big groups and have filled some nice venues. Do you think your sound is one that can be marketable worldwide?
Monroe: I think anything is marketable you just have to throw it out there with enough advertising and promotion behind it. Nowadays there are so many bands and so many artists. Personally, in my view, some of them have no business being in the music industry, they can’t even play their instruments. Some of these guys with beards, playing three chords, think they’re all deep and thoughtful, but no they’re not. They suck.
Jett: Sorry, letting out some anger.
Monroe: No, I’m sorry, but I’m saying the blunt truth. People who spent hours and years practicing their instruments and crafting songs, that’s the most important thing: crafting songs, can be crazy on their instruments and get the shaft. In all honesty I think anything can be marketable, it’s all in how you advertise it. You can advertise a pile of crap as the next cool thing and people will get into it.
Jett: Yeah for God’s sake look at a lot of the rap artists today. I don’t want to be the stereotypical person who rags on rap artists, but there are a lot of them nowadays who really just are just bad. We’re just doing our own thing. There are some bands that can’t play their stuff live even. Everyone is just concerned with fitting into their sub-genres and everything is very tame. We just want to be the complete opposite. I think that’s what rock and roll needs: people rebelling and doing the complete opposite of what everyone is used to. That’s just rock and roll and heavy metal is to me, rebelling against the current trends. It’s trendy to be safe and tame and everyone is afraid to be made fun of. If you’re not made fun of how in the hell will you ever respected?
A-To-J: What are you plans for the next year?
Monroe: Play as many gigs as possible. Get the band’s name out there as much as possible. We’d like to go on tour, but that’s something that needs to be funded. We also want to attack the online market. The music industry is just so different than what it was ten years ago let alone thirty years ago. Yeah, we have a lot of plans.
A-To-J: Where can people go to find out more about you?
Monroe: Pretty much our Facebook page and our website. (salemslott.com) We also have a twitter and all that stuff.
Jet: Yeah we’re on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Go to Youtube there is going to be a lot of interesting stuff on there soon.
A-To-J: Do you have any closing words for your fans?
Monroe: Thank you!
Jett: Thank you!
Tony: Sorry I wasn’t too vocal in the interview!
Jett: Rock on and keep supporting Salems Lott!
Monroe: Keep buying CDs!
Kay: I would be happy if I got into Burrn! Magazine! (In Japanese)
Salems Lott Is:
Monroe Black: Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Jett Black: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Kay: Lead Bass, Vocals
Tony F. Corpse: Drums, Vocals
For more information on Salems Lott:
S. S. (Sonic Shock)
No Choice To Love
◆ Tom Kiryu