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06/10/2006 – Interview with SQUEALER A.D.

The interview with Gus Chambers, the new vocalist of German Thrashers SQUEALER - now called SQUEALER A.D. to indicate a new era after the passing away of former frontman/guitarist Andy 'Henner' Allendörfer - took place on the 6th of October. Gus called me up and there was no stress at all. Everything was very easy-going and Gus is a very sympathetic person, who also is not afraid to show his love for Metal and told me he still has lots of energy for the future. The band released its new album, "Confrontation Street", only recently. You can read my comments on it at this location.

Squealer A.D. logo

Hello Gus, how are ya? "Confrontation Street" will be out soon. What do you think of the result? In addition, did you have an influence on the songwriting or was most of it already done when you joined the band?

Well, let me start by saying I'm very happy. We got a really good response. We took a chance to change the direction of the music. I wanted it to be more modern, more angrier, but keep the traditional feel. As far songwriting, in GRIP INC. this was hard. I can only give my side of the story, but the others were always busy with other things, which made the songs not mature enough. With this band - SQUEALER A.D. - I wanted to work with the guys in the rehearsal room to have a more spontaneous feel for live performances. They sent me a lot of riffs. I'd work on it with an 8-track. Then I sent it back and told them how to play it. I spent many years in GRIP INC. being frustrated about having mature songs. So for SQUEALER A.D. I wanted to be involved in everything.

Squealer A.D. bandYou take an important place in the band, replacing Andy 'Henner' Allendörfer, who sadly died last year.Have you ever met and talked to him?

Yeah, I did a show with him in Dortmund. I liked him a lot. He was like me. He loved his band, the music, the fans. We're not too different. Some people would say "it's a hard experience". It's not. Andy would have wanted it this way, "carry on, do what you're doing". All SQUEALER fans loved it when we presented the new album (some weeks before this interview).

SQUEALER A.D. is a new highlight in your career, now that GRIP INC. has been put to rest. Since one can't know everything, why did you decide to discontinue to keep the band alive? Why was there a split?

I can only give you my side of the story, but it's been coming a long time. The band was finished around '98-'99. X has his producing thing, which means he wasn't always focussing on the band. Dave is always busy and him bbeing back in SLAYER is good for him. He likes to make money. That's important for him. We had the chance, we had the record label 100% behind us. But because the others were always busy with ohter things, the label said "Fuck that, we'll use the money for other bands." I am not about money, I'm passionate about music. I can only learn from the mistakes in the past. Playing live is very important and one of the reasons why I joined SQUEALER A.D. They're not new, people know what to expect. I hate bands that release records but don't tour. For me, that's a rip-off. I also felt like this when GRIP INC. was still active. AFM doesn't sign too many bands to let the others grow.

Yeah, for a lot of bands it's sell sell sell, else look for a new label.

Indeed. Of the newer bands I like TRIVIUM. They're good for what they do but the hype is too much. I like the old sound. You have to believe in what you do. I think the younger generation is looking for unique bands, not clones. But it's a hard thing to do, because it's all been done before.

Let's go back to the new album. "Confrontation Street" is already available via file-sharing, just like many other albums that get leaked months before the release. What's your opinion on the matter?

Well... I haven't really got an opinion on it. I don't really mind it. If the people are into the band, I think they're going to buy the album. I know the label is bitching about that. Bring the cost of a CD down, so you can generate more sales. In a way it's the labels' own fault, also pushing the stuff into the market, flooding it. Plus being greedy. I remember when cassettes came out. People would play the LP and record it on tape. So in a way it's the same.

Confrontation Street coverWhat exactly is "Confrontation Street" about?

I'm known for being a extremist. Things I see, people have awareness about it. It's kind of a statement.

Which also explains you reading a text in the last part of "Blood Red Halo"...

"Blood Red Halo" is actually a lovesong, about losing something you love, with a different approach.

Who did the cover artwork?

I told the guys to throw out their ideas and then work on it. They didn't know how to start, so I suggested certain stuff which was related to the album. It's like KORN...

...Are you a KORN fan?

In the beginning I was, yes, since it was new and it influenced a lot of bands. Another band I like a lot is TOOL. They're very progressive. I particularly like their early stuff.

You'll be touring soon. Have you already learned the older songs?

Yes. This year we did a couple of gigs and the setlist contained songs from the new album and some favourite songs from the band. It will be the same context and feel, like new songs and a couple of GRIP INC. songs. Lots of fans deserve it and it's a good time to do it. We'll play a cross-section. But there's nothing planned yet. I'll have a better idea at the end of the month when the album will be out, if the reviews and sales will be good. I wanna play as soon a spossible. In the past it was very frustrating when we were not playing. The tour will start in January and it will be big. I don't know if we're going as support band or co-headliner.

Do you have any preferences? Which bands would like to tour with?

Preferences? I heard the SPICE GIRLS are back together, hahaha. :-) Maybe MACHINE HEAD - Rob and I had some quarrels, but we're fine now -, maybe KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.

Then you need to be headliner, definitely. ;-) How about DESTRUCTION?

Yeah, maybe DESTRUCTION too, since they're also on AFM. Or even PERZONAL WAR.

Something completely different now: what do you like about being a singer? Also, if things would have turned out differently, what would you be doing now or like to do?

Something in creative arts, maybe sound engineer for the BBC when they're out making nature-documentaries. Certainly not something in a factory. My first time being a singer was in 1976 and the first song I recorded came out on single and entered the British charts. The career I have is more downs than ups. I'm not that rich, but I'm satisfied with the situation. In order to write good songs, you need to live on the edge, so people can relate to it. If you're not living on the edge, you've got too much space. So I'd rather live on the edge than owing the rest of my life to the bank. I'm quite happy with it. With the GRIP guys I wished more passion would come from them. A lot of bands play well, look well, produce well, but it all sounds like shit.

Squealer A.D. bandWere there songs left out and will they be used later or were they simply not good enough?

Yeah, a couple didn't make it, like a tribute to Henner and a ballad. I immediately said "no! no!", as the timing was not right. Maybe we'll use them later, but it's too soon.

I like the more Thrashy songs, unlike that "Left Bleeding (By Love)", where the chorus is absolutely not done for me. ;-)

Hahaha, yeah. I know it's not so heavy, but it was deliberately done this way.

Have you already started working on the next album and what will it be like?

The new album will be more Thrashy...

aha, good to hear that. Then I'm certainly gonna buy it, even without having heard samples or anything. ;-)

...As a matter of fact, I'm working on it. It's going to be angry. Everybody in the band is capable of playing that. There's not anything we can't really do. We can reproduce it live and don't need to hide behind cheating shit, like backing tapes. With the bigger bands, there's a bigger production and stuff, but it sucks.

Gus, I'm gonna leave you now, since we're doing overtime and I guess the person after me is going to wonder if the interview is still on. ;-)

hahaha, ok. Hopefully it's not a German. ;-)

(note by Tim: it seems the other guys in the band warned Gus about interviews, that he had to call the interviewers in time - especially the German ones - otherwise they would not be happy about it)

Thanks a lot for the talk, I found it very entertaining. Good luck with "Confrontation Street" and the gigs and when you come to Belgium, I wanna have a personal chat with you.

Yeah, ok, we'll do that with a Duvel (= Belgian beer) and sit and talk about stuff.

Deal. See ya later.


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