Interview – John Jarvis/Scour


Known more as a bassist, the artist I’m going to interview today is one of the more active extreme artists out there. He’s a member of many bands I’m a fan of, one of my heroes, and I’m sure many of y’all know him more through his side project – the extreme metal supergroup with a monstrous sound, which is so heavy that it makes other bands seem frail in comparison, Scour. I’m talking about John Jarvis! He plays bass in Scour and backs up Philip Anselmo vocally. (This is very exciting) 

Hello John! First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to make this happen. I really appreciate it!

Cross – I’m going to start this interview with Fulgora. It’s been a while we haven’t heard about it and I remember how I found out about Fulgora. You guys toured with them Handsome Devils, (laughs), how Phil Anselmo used to call ’em back then, Superjoint, in It Takes Guts tour.

Fulgora had two releases of two songs per each release in 2013 before the full album, Stratagem, 2015. A perfect savagery. Are we going to hear something new from Fulgora anytime soon? You and Adam Jarvis mentioned in the Scour Livestream that there was material ready.

John – Yes thanks for having me! Fulgora does have a single recorded now, but we are waiting on the right time to release it. It’s hard with the live band so spread out, with Sparky (ex- Dying Fetus) and Adam in Baltimore and Brandon and I in St Louis. Brandon does have some demos that were being worked on for another record, and we had a few songs from that era that were never recorded that we could always work on, I hope we get working on that at some point!!!

Cross – I hope you guys get a chance soon. Great music is always welcomed.

You joined Pig Destroyer in 2013. And Head Cage is the first Pig Destroyer album with The Jarvi. (Laughs) Head Cage marks the band’s first album with a bassist. In Pig Destroyer, Scott Hull writes everything and you had to execute. I’m sure you had your freedom there to add your touches but how different is for you to play stuff you didn’t write? Also, how did The Jarvi start? 

John – There were a couple parts where Scott just said “play what you want here” during the writing/recording but most of it was specifically wrote with bass in mind, and rehearsed in advance for months before recording. It was very easy as he’d record video of each part for me to learn on my own time, so I’d just show up ready to go.

The Jarvi, we started jamming together very young, playing Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin covers in grade school. Adam’s dad had a rehearsal room so it was great!

Cross – Cool. You played with Agoraphobic Nosebleed in Housecore Horror Film Festival lll, 2015. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience? (You did the previous year with Fulgora too.) 

John – That year was very interesting as I got food poisoning eating some breakfast taco right when we got into town. It was bad news, but besides that it was a killer show, and a great time!!! King Diamond was great as was COC & Crowbar as usual. I’ve played every Horror Fest with different bands now that I think about it haha.

Cross – Talking about horror, are you a horror film fan, John? 

John – Sure, Sleepaway Camp and 80’s slashers are my favorite. 

Cross – Awesome! China Girl is another project of yours with Dennis Sanders of Spirit In The Room – a really talented guy. China Girl is an interesting, very different band you did vocals for which had one release. Any plans for new releases? Does the band name has anything to do with Bowie’s China Girl? 

John – Nothing to do with David Bowie, and no plans right now as we are both so busy, but never say never!  I’m open to it for sure, it was fun to do something different. 

Cross – Nest is your latest project and pretty much you wrote the entire record right before the Coronavirus started. How did you get with the other members? 

John – The bassist is my girlfriend and the drummer was Fulgora’s old drummer, so it’s been really easy!  We released a couple albums in 2020, and are finishing up a third now.  We hope to release it around our appearance at Full Terror Assault in September. That’s another Fest I’ve played multiple years with multiple different bands haha. Always a great time there.   

Cross – That’s great news. As I said at the beginning of this interview, you’re one of the most active musicians I know. You guys had a couple live shows on March 2021, in New Orleans too, which were like in the open. Followed by the one on May 1st at Red Flag. Were these your first live shows after the lock down?

John – We also did a Houston Texas show in late 2020 which you can hear on Spotify, but yes all of those have been just a blast after not being able to play for so long. The New Orleans show was a little crazy, about 200 people and the fire department shut it down because they set a car on fire, luckily after the music was over though haha.

Cross – New Orleans knows how to make the experience memorable. (laughs)

Scour. First of all I wanna thank each one of you guys for the Scour Livestream. Great job, hands down. A total blast of energy from Nodferatu’s lair, keeping us inspired. It was fucking Epic to have that type of energy right in our homes. You guys explained a bit in the Livestream how Scour happened, Derek Engemann being the founder… but, you and him worked to make a full EP trilogy before anyone knew.

How did you and Derek meet? Anything special you remember about that part of the Scour experience, before you guys decided who else was going to be in the band?

John – Derek and I met when our bands Cast The Stone and All Will Fall played shows together back in the 90’s in St Louis. We’d be the local opening bands for a lot of the death metal shows coming through town.  

When we started Scour, we were both unhappy with the bands we were in at the time, and we agreed a band should be ran a certain way before we really had talks of members. It was a great time because we were on tour, and we made sure to do something fun in every city, whether it was a water park or amusement park or just local bars. We would wonder, “why not have a band where we do fun stuff like this all of the time!?!?” So Scour always has fun activities like renting boats and kayaking and surfing when we get together. 

Cross – How did it feel to play without fans under the same roof? 

John – Very strange but it’s what had to happen at the time. I’m glad we did it, but it would have been way cooler with a crowd!!!

Cross – I bet. How hard is it to play and work with them Scourboyz, being an elite collective of members? 

John – Easy as can be. Anytime there is a problem there is usually 1 of us that can handle the situation with the quickness. We are all well traveled and well rehearsed, so it’s very stress free even when disaster strikes. 

Cross – When was the first time you met Phil? You kinda touched on it in the Scour Livestream but not really. 

John – We talked on the phone first, and then we were both at Maryland Deathfest when Down played, and he was walking through the crowd and I noticed it was him (hard to miss haha). He was interested in signing Fulgora to Housecore at the time so we had planned on meeting up there.

Cross – Is there any special memory you have in Nodferatu’s lair other than the first time you and Adam got there with Fulgora and took that sweet pic with Phil, the one showed in the Scour Livestream?

John – Anytime Phil tells an old story is my favorite. I could listen all day to his Pantera stories. Once we were rehearsing “Slaughtered” and I played the intro to “25 Years” after jokingly, like on the album, and he told a quick story and next thing we were playing the bridge/outro riff and singing it together. And he’s looking at me like “sing it”. “We’re fucking you back” Just insane!!!

Cross – (laughs) I’m sure he has plenty of stories to tell. PanterA was a crazy band.

Now that The Beast is complete what can we fans expect from Scour? More EPs, EP trilogies, full album? I did love the idea of three EPs, each having six songs to complete The Beast, 666. You explained that in an interview. (People can find that interview in the Scour Official YouTube channel.)

John – We are working on our first Full Length next!!! I predict more blast beats!!!

Cross – Can’t wait! Is there any chance of Scour starting to play live shows or, any plans for another Livestream? I wouldn’t mind to watch you guys live from my laptop screen once again. 

John – We are always open to the right offer, I certainly hope for more Scour shows soon!!!

Cross – When did you show interest about heavy music? Who got you into heavy metal?

John – Watching MTV very young, Def Leppard & Ozzy Osbourne videos and then Motley Crue and Metallica.

Cross – What was your first band ever, John?

John – Primitive Sorcery with Adam when we were very young. Mostly just played “For Whom The Bell Tolls” over and over.

Cross – Primitive Sorcery, I like that. Can you describe your music-taste growth through the years with album titles? 

John –  Abbey Road
…And Justice For All
Strap It On

Cross – I’m sure all can figure the artist/band. How many guitars does John Jarvis own and which is your favorite one to play?

John 7, favorites being the ESP Horizons, both bass and guitar.

Cross – What does John Jarvis enjoy to do other than playing and working in so many different bands?

John – Watching baseball and enjoying being active with my girlfriend playing Baseball, Football, Tennis, Roller Skating, and walking and playing with my awesome dog Tasha.

Cross – Anything else you would like to add, John?

John – Thanks for having me and thanks everyone for reading!

Cross – Thank you for your time John, it’s been a great pleasure. Appreciate you!

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