IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!
Looks like Santa came right on time to drop off a Christmas present for me this early morning. And obviously I thought to share it with you all, right away.
This is going to be my last interview blog for this year and I will resume the interviews next year.
I would like to thank every artist who’s been part of this year’s “20 Questions With CROSS” blog interviews. I can’t thank you guys enough for adding magic to my every day working routine. Thank you all!
Also, a big thank you goes to all those people who felt like spending a couple minutes or more of their life to give each of the interviews a read. Thank y’all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What makes this interview very special for me is that the drummer we’re going to interview today is part of many bands I’m a DieHard fan of, and of course it’s a pleasure to have the chance to talk to such an unbelievable talent.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Jose Gonzalez, known as Blue, plays drums for several bands on Housecore Records; Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Superjoint.
Cross – First of all why do they call you Blue? In interviews and whatnot, you seem a very joyful person.
Blue – When I was younger I got nicknamed little drummer boy Blue so I guess it was a combination of a little drummer boy and a little boy blue it just kind of stuck.
Cross – When did you realize playing drums was what you wanted to do in your life?
Blue – When I was 12 years old I got behind a drum set at a church youth group night and after a few months of just going specifically to play drums I was pretty much hooked and then I got my first kit when I was 13 so yeah 12-13 years old.
Cross – Pure talent right there, didn’t take you long to be noticed. You’ve been playing with Demonseed before Warbeast but the latter is where I got to know you as a drummer. I know you guys started Warbeast in 2006 as Texas Metal Alliance to change it to Warbeast in 2008. You were 16, right? Bruce Corbitt, Scott Shelby and you were the founding members… Who did you meet first, Corbitt or Shelby?
Blue – I met them at the exact same time they both approached me at a Demonseed show and Bruce kind of started talking about giving me this demo and if I was interested maybe playing drums. Then not long after that, like almost immediately after that, Scott came up to me and he pretty much said you’re my drummer and I learned the songs.
Cross – That’s awesome! How is it to work with Bruce Corbitt, the Wizard of Gore, and Scott Shelby, The Beast of Gammacide?
Blue – It was absolutely awesome, they’re my brothers and they taught me a lot and Bruce he told me when I was 17 years old I’m gonna get you signed and within a year he did that. He got the band signed.
Cross – From the debute Destroy to Krush the Enemy and Enter the Arena, you guys kept being as heavy as it gets. But the Enter The Arena gave birth to one of the funniest, awesome music videos, ever. With the dark narration of Philip Anselmo to Scott Shelby reading Brock Lesnar’s Death Clutch book and featuring the Hitchhiker from the original, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Edwin Neal.
Blue, you started it all by stealing that bong from the corpse, didn’t you? (laughs)
Who’s idea was it and how does it feel to be on the same video with Edwin, how is it to work with him, him being a professional actor and all?
Blue – Oh it was pretty cool it was the first time we really did a music video, a music video of that kind of magnitude. It was a lot of fun, it was a big adventure. We went from a cemetery in Arlington and drove around some back roads and as grueling as you can imagine it being like running out of gas on tour, we kind of were running out of gas while we were filming so it’s pretty awesome, there’s real emotions there.
Cross – Warbeast been on Housecore Records since day one. You recorded everything at the Nodferatu’s lair. Is there any memory you cherish from all that, that you might like to share with us?
Blue – Well we’ve had lots and lots of awesome times at the Lair, but I think one of my favorite memories is one of the very first videos I ever took on my computer before you know like video messaging was cool, before these TikTock‘s and all this other stuff. I took this dumb little video in the studio and it’s just me, Bobby Tillotson, Scott Shelby and Andre Karst and we’re about to do Destroy and it’s just a 30 second video of us just saying the dumbest shit and then I put slow motion to it and it doesn’t even mean anything. It’s not promo or anything like that it’s just us in the studio being completely excited to be there to record and it’s like every time I see it I just he just takes me back to being, you know there, and how excited we were and just how much fun it was to be in the studio.
Cross – That’s not the only video you’ve been part of which has a horror icon starring in it. The Greasy Strangler, Michael St. Michaels calls y’all for Medication Time in Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Choosing Mental Illness, official music video. A masterpiece, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” themed, work of Mike Holderbeast and Kate Richardson Anselmo.
How was it to be Chief Bromden for a couple hours? How fun is it to hang out with Big Ronnie?
Blue – Oh big Ronnie is a total blast Michael Saint Michaels, he was just an absolute gentleman and he had some amazing stories you know from his time in Hollywood and been an actor. It was just really cool to have somebody that you know they wanted to be there and do something different and it is it was awesome. It was a blast, and then to be tall for a few minutes it’s kind of funny too.
Cross – (laughs) From Warbeast to Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, how different was it for you as a drummer?
Blue – Warbeast is a Texas thrash band so it is a lot more straightforward upbeat tempo and as far as The Illegals it’s drastically different. There’s some thrash influences there, but there’s just a whole spectrum of influence is going into that you know really diving deep into the extreme metal side. So I think if anything Warbeast kind of prepared me for what I was going to be in for with the Illegals.
Cross – There’s a video of you playing on drums, Walk Through Exits Only, which shows your sick drumming skills from up close. Do you use the same gear as back then? When the video came out it said, somewhere down where the links were listed, you were going to switch to ProMark Sticks and Czarcie Kopyto pedals.
Blue – In the recent years I was fortunate enough to get Tama drums which you know is my hardware as well. I did end up getting Czarcie Kopyto pedals which are absolutely fucking amazing and I had peridore sticks and went back to Promark just for a little bit, more consistency. I’m glad I did they are absolutely awesome do not regret it, the D’Addario family treats me very well and Paiste cymbals absolutely come in 100% and they’ve just been super supportive. I couldn’t be anymore happy and feel like I’m taken care of by my companies. I can honestly say that I have what I want and pretty much all the equipment I’ve ever been dreaming of, I have it and it definitely makes me excited to play drums and makes me excited to use my gear because everything is top-notch and top-of-the-line.
Cross – I know I asked Stephen Taylor in my last interview but it been a while so, when can we expect another album from The Illegals?
Blue – Hopefully next year, hopefully 2022 is a better year and and we can get out of this Covid funk and get back to doing some stuff with everyone. In the meantime we’re going to be writing, we have a lot of riffs compiled so we’re just gonna start going through it and start pre-production here soon and hopefully crank out a fucking ripper.
Cross – Can’t wait! By being the drummer for The Illegals you and the band had the chance to help Philip perform for the first time a PanterA tribute. If I remember right I think it was a Friday night, November 16, at the Viper Room, Los Angeles.
You guys been doing that for a while now since then, including A Vulgar Display of PanterA, Livestream April 9, which was a blast. What can you tell us about all that experience?
Blue – It’s extremely humbling and surreal to be a part of something like that. I mean as far as taking the PanterA tribute to the masses and as a full set and a full show, we are death metal band so it was a lot of work to do to get all that material solid, but I mean it’s awesome we’re all big fans of Philip and PanterA so it’s absolutely a blast for us to do. I’m just honored to be a part of it and if the people want it you know The Illegals are happy to do it, but I think we’re interested in writing our own material now and adding some new music that hopefully people will enjoy and just to keep the ball rolling.
Cross – You’ve played in a couple of Hank Williams lll shows. Are Superjoint done? Also have you been to Europe first with Hank lll or Warbeast?
Blue – As far as Superjoint being done I wouldn’t say Superjoint is ever done, you can’t kill bad grass! Also, I believe Hank 3 was actually the first one to take me to Europe. He took me to Europe when I was 22. That was a really really fucking awesome time and then the second time I went I was with Warbeast, when we we did that tour with DOWN.
Cross – Love what you said about Superjoint there.
How did it feel to fill in for Jimmy Bower in the En Minor Livestream at the Orpheum Theatre? (I think that’s one of the most beautifully made shows, ever!)
Blue – It started off as me filling in for Jimmy, I think now I’m pretty well established as a live drummer for En Minor. We’ve done the livestream and a couple shows and every live performance has been, been myself behind the drums. So I think I am the actual drummer now.
Cross – Hell yeah! We love Jimmy but now we’re kinda used to see you behind the kit in En Minor shows. Are you working on any other project we don’t know of?
Blue – I do session work for friends and for people. I am a drummer for hire. I like to be creative and you know, to help people you know, see a vision come to life. It’s pretty awesome for me so I don’t mind working with all kinds of genres, but yeah I do have a project that I sing and play drums in, it’s called III Witches. I’ve put it out there a little bit but I don’t really push it too much. I kind of like the mystique behind it and I’m mostly super self-conscious of me singing because I’m a drummer not a singer so it’s me just pretending.
Cross – That’s awesome. I should do more homework, I missed that one, somehow.
Can you name five albums or songs that inspired you to become the drumming machine you’re now?
Blue – Yes super aspirational album – Sabotage Drumming album – Reign In Blood, Reinventing the Steel, Far Beyond Driven.
A specific song – Painkiller by Judas Priest.
And tons and tons of shit Gene Hoglan’s been on.
Cross – I know you’re a horror film fan… Can you name your top 5 horror films of all time?
Blue – Absolutely not, but I can tell you that The Thing and Dawn of the Dead are my all-time favorites, but The Thing is my all-time favorite.
Cross – You can’t go wrong with those two. Not sure how much of a gamer you are but knowing that you’re part of that generation… Do you have any favorite ones?
Blue – Oh I’m on Call of Duty fanatic. I like online games and I like yelling at my friends and random people.
Cross – (laughs) What has Blue been listening to lately?
Blue – Whatever my lady Rose has on her playlist. I don’t really choose and if not her playlist I just listen to the PanterA set list of the songs that we play to go over and practice. I just listen to those religiously. That and lately the Dover Brothers album Floyd’s Fables, incredible incredible record by some really awesome humble and talented dudes.
Cross – I’m glad you mentioned them and their Floyd’s Fables, really great album.
You recently moved to New Orleans… I know you visited in many occasions, touring with the band and all, how do you like it living there? NOLA is one of my favorite places on the face of the world, I’d love to move there someday…
Blue – Oh it’s, it’s pretty killer. We have a nice place and we get to hang out with some of our best friends and if we complained who would listen.
Cross – Anything else you might like to add for your fans Blue?
Blue – For anything and everything related to Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals go to housecorerecords.com Thank you guys for all the support, we love you. We can’t wait to get back out there and play some shows, in the meantime check out the website and keep yourself informed, updated and love you!
Cross – Thank you for your time Blue, I really appreciate it! It’s been a great pleasure!
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