Steve Gibb Interview 2006

March 21, 2006
Colchester, England
By: Kim Ashley Arnold


KAA:Before we start with the questions, let me say that you guys were fantastic last night. (Oxford) Of all the gigs we’ve come to I think that was the best. I mean, everything seemed to just meld together perfectly.

SG: I think we’re just tighter now.

KAA: You seem to know each other’s every move. You’re great showmen and over here in the UK things really seem to be taking off.

SG: Oh yeah, things are and they’re continuing to grow. Last year we were only opening up for Hatebreed. This year we’re playing most of the same rooms headlining, so if we keep going like that I think we’re going to be in good shape.

KAA: I have to be honest and say that I don’t know all that much about what Crowbar has done over here before you joined the band two years ago.

SG: They’ve been kind of on the same level for a while so it has definitely gotten more successful since I’ve been in the band although I wouldn’t say it’s because I’m in the band. (laughs)

KAA: I think it’s the combination of all of you guys, the current line up

SG: Yeah, I mean Kirk said himself that this is the best line up so far.

KAA: I saw the interview that Kirk did last week with 4Q and in it he said that you were in charge of this new Crowbar DVD. He said you were the one who was basically putting it all together.

SG: Yeah, with the help of my brother and his company, The Multimedia Depot. They’ve been instrumental in helping us do the last two videos one of which hasn’t been publically released.

KAA: I thought so as I believe the company was listed in the credits somewhere on the last video. I’d read somewhere that your brother (Travis) had his own company that did that sort of thing.

SG: Him and his friend, John are really into video production and I’m just starting to get into it. I got interested in doing it when we did the first Crowbar video for Dead Sun and after we did Slave No More I thought, you know what, we need to do a career retrospective.

KAA: The Slave No More video never came out right? We did make some inquiries to Candlelight and they had said ‘soon’ quite some time ago.

SG: Well, there was going to be another single release off the record. We hadn’t talked about it actually happening. We’d done the video, then when Katrina hit that screwed up everything because I couldn’t get in touch with Kirk. The label couldn’t get in touch with Kirk, which wasn’t Kirk’s fault.

KAA: Well no, of course not.

SG: It was just a lot of circumstances. Tommy’s family were rebuilding their houses. All kinds of things were going on that were out of our control. It was in God’s hands.

KAA: Yeah.

SG: I just said lets hold off on it and use that video to promote the DVD coming out.

KAA: That’s a good idea. So it’ll be on there.

SG: It’ll be on there and it’s a way of letting the kids know that there is a DVD out there.

KAA: Kirk was talking about writing a new Crowbar album on the 4Q interview after the tour with Valume Nob I believe. Can we expect any collaborative efforts from you and Kirk? I know that Kirk has usually written all the Crowbar music.

SG: Well, in the past he’s written all the stuff, by his own admission, simply because no one else in the band wrote and so it was kind of left to him. But in this line up it’s different. While I was in Florida the guys got a couple of new tunes that I wasn’t able to be a part of. But we’ve decided that when we can fit it into Kirk’s schedule, because as you know, he’s got Down…

KAA: Yeah he’s got all those different projects.

SG: Well, he’s not doing Valume Nob right now. Kevin Bond, of Super Joint Ritual is going to fill in for Kirk on the tour. But Kirk’s getting ready to do the Down thing. Depending on where that goes is going to dictate when we can find the time this year to write the record. The plan is to write it and hopefully record it by the end of the year with a release date hopefully the beginning of next year.

KAA: Writing an album seems to be a big undertaking, just starting out from scratch.

SG: We’ve both got a lot of ideas so I’m sure we’ll just drop them out there and see what sticks.

KAA: Tell me about the Kingdom of Sorrow project with Jamie Jasta.

SG: Well, what happened was, last year we were here with Hatebreed as you know and I’ve been friends with Sean Martin from Hatebreed for over ten years, not real close but good buddies and when we did the tour me, Kirk and Jamie Jasta really hit it off.

KAA: Yeah it looked like you guys were having a lot of fun from the pictures on Jasta’s website.

SG: Yeah maybe a little too much fun. (laughs) But Jamie and Kirk started talking about doing this side project together.

KAA: They were calling it Crowbreed right?

SG: It started out as Crowbreed and I wasn’t sure it was going to do anything at all. Then Kirk started making these trips up to Boston to do some writing with Jamie and then the second time he went up there he’s like ‘Hey, if you’re not doing anything come on up.’ So I came up, we hung out, and I listened to what they were doing so far. I contributed a couple of guitar parts here and there and might contribute a few more. And may possibly tour with them in the future.

KAA: Really? That’s cool.

SG: That’s the only thing that I know. It’s not official, just possibly.

KAA: Well you can always say ‘possibly’ about the tour because you never know what’s going to happen, and well, you know…

SG: Yeah, we’d like there to be. There’s a Kingdom of Sorrow track on the latest Headbanger’s Ball.

KAA:Yeah are you on that? That’s the next question. (laughs) Did you read these?

SG: (Laughs) No. But no, I’m not on that song. Kirk and Jamie wrote that song.

KAA: That’s Buried in Black.

SG: Yeah, Buried in Black

KAA: The next question is one that I didn’t ask you in the last interview we did back in 2003. It’s regarding your somewhat abrupt departure from The Black Label Society in the summer of 2001. I believe you’d played one UK date in Milton Keynes then you were into the US leg of the Ozzfest tour. Can you comment on that?

SG: I’ll be the first one to say that I had some chemical dependency issues at that time. I think maybe it had some people concerned about me, and I think rightfully so. All I can say is that I’m very grateful for the opportunity I had to play in that band for the time that I did. It was a really great situation while I was there. Some people get lost in various aspects of the lifestyle at certain times. I think I definitely fell prey to some elements of it and I definitely wasn’t the only one.

KAA: Certainly not. I agree that it’s a very common thing in certain types of careers, in particular music.

SG: The truth of the matter is that I’m alcohol and chemical free six months this week.

KAA: Fantastic. Congratulations!

SG: And you know I’ve been struggling with this problem for fifteen years and finally at the age of 32 I’m getting a grip on it.

KAA: Well that’s when most of us grow up. (laughs)

SG: (laughs) Exactly. You got it.

KAA: You’ve got a wife and two children now and you start realising, well okay I can’t do that anymore.

SG: Yeah. And I’m very grateful to Kirk for inviting me to be a part of Crowbar.

KAA: You’re quoted in an interview done about a year ago as saying that joining Crowbar saved your life.

SG: It’s really true.

KAA: Personally I have to say that I like you better in this band than any of the others. Not to be redundant but it just seems to fit.

SG: Well, there’s no place I’d rather be than playing with Kirk and Pat and Tommy. They’ve all got other things. Tommy’s got Solient Green, Kirk’s got Kingdom of Sorrow as well as Down and right now I’ve Crowbar and I’ve got me. I’m finally starting to get around to releasing a record of my own.

KAA: Fantastic!

SG: Hopefully within the next year so…

KAA: Well let us know when.

SG: Absolutely.

KAA: So how does the writing process unfold for you?

SG: Really for me sometimes I’ll get a whole song with the lyrics in one sitting. It’ll just come to me spontaneously and I have to get to a tape recorder or a pen and paper quick. Sometimes I just hear a melody then I gotta pick up a guitar and work it out. But the best songs… the ones I tend to like the most in hindsight are the ones that come all at once.

KAA: That’s interesting.

SG:I’m going to have to quote my dad here because I agree with him on this. I think that if you’re a creative individual you’re like an antenna and all these ideas are out there floating around in the universe. It’s just whether or not you’re able to pick them up. Then you pick them up, you interpet them and that’s what comes out. There are only so many notes, so many combinations of things you can do and not be derivative of things that have been done before, but we still continue to come up with unique music.

KAA: There are so many different facets.

SG: Exactly, there’s enough elements that allow for every person to have their own individual creation musically.

KAA: There are a lot of musicians listed on you’re My Space profile. Who are you listening to currently? Who’s in your CD player right now.

SG: Right now I’m listening to Porcupine Tree.

KAA: Cool name. I don’t guess anyone else has that one. (laughs)

SG: I just discovered them while I was here. Just really, really genius songwriting, great melodies. Let’s see, who else. Foo Fighters. I love the new Foo Fighters record. I’m listening to Derek Trucks and the Allman Brothers Band, Chris Whitley… Chris Whitley’s a great artist. The new Darkness. I’m listening to some old Grand Funk.

KAA: A lot of the old stuff is really good.

SG: Johnny Winter, King’s X, the new Killing Joke. The Ministry is good too. Tenacious D… I love Tenacious D.

KAA: Yeah I saw you had on the shirt last night.

SG: I listen to everything. Also I’ve got Rye Cooder on my system, you know… Indie music.

KAA: It’s like you said. There’s so much out there so many different things to influence you and give you ideas. You pick up ideas from others.

SG: Well that’s why I’m really excited to get my own project going…

KAA: We’ve all been waiting for that, Steve. We’ve all been enthusiastic about you getting your own thing going.

SG: Well, I’ve been trying to figure out for a while which direction I wanted to go in really. After getting sober and everything I’ve just kind of wanted to rediscover myself. A lot of that is starting to come into focus now. What you’re going to hear from me as Steve Gibb individually is very different than anything you’ve heard me do.

KAA: Well that’s good.

SG: You’ll hear similarities but there’s going to be a lot more influences there and a bit more on the outside.

KAA: Yeah it’s one thing to be a part of a band but when you get one person out on their own you find out more specifically what they’re all about.

KAA: We have a little something for you. This is actually a testament to the ability of Anne Marie, who does a vast majority of the research for the site. There are probably dozens of projects over the years that you’ve had a hand in whether you played a big part or a small one. Do you recognise this at all? (I hand him a Sister Red CD, circa 1991. He played steel guitar on one track when he was 17)

SG: Oh shit. Oh that’s funny. I don’t think I have a copy of that anymore. (He’s obviously taken offguard and we’re both having a nice laugh over this surprise)

KAA: Well that one’s for you. We have three of them.

SG: You want to know the story behind this?

KAA: Yeah, go on.

SG: The girl that sings on this I’ve known since I was about five years old. We grew up together in Miami Beach. Her boyfriend, well her former boyfriend and ex-husband, Anthony, who was kind of the mastermind behind this project was one of my closest friends for a long time and I still talk to him. I actually just saw him about a week before I came on this tour. But they were doing this record and I was just hanging out a lot. I wasn’t really part of this one.

KAA: Well you play on one track, steel guitar on one track I think.

SG: Yeah, I played on one song and it was elementary steel guitar at that. Back then, I was probably seventeen when I did that.

KAA: Yeah it is old. (laughs) But I thought what the hell, lets blow his mind.

SG: Oh you did.

KAA: Okay, for the record. You’ve just become a dad for the second time. What did you name your son?

SG: Angus Miles Levas Gibb.

KAA: I love that. That is so cool. Angus has a Scottish flavour to it.

SG: Yeah, that’s on purpose. I actually thought my daughter’s name was going to be Angus. We’d already had the name picked out for a while and we hadn’t decided whether or not we were going to use it until recently. We thought my daughter would be a boy three or so years ago and she came out a girl.

KAA: I am going to take this a step further. Am I correct in assuming that you do not really want pictures of your children on websites?

SG: Not particularly. The principal for me is, even though I don’t have any kind of fame like my old man had, it’s still just…

KAA: Well your own personal celebrity plus the other by proxy. It’s just better to play it safe.

KAA: Is there any truth to the rumors that you and Gloria might relocate your family to Los Angeles?

SG: There is truth to the fact that we might relocate, but as far as where to I really don’t know. We were thinking of LA, but right now we’re just trying to get through this year. It’s been kind of a crazy year for us. It’s a tough call. I wouldn’t mind it but we’re not totally sure about it.

KAA: There’s not a whole hell of a lot more. Let’s see. This past year you had some involvement with some of the former Underbellys, now known as the Hep Cat Boo Daddies, right?

SG: Well a good friend of mine, Matt Kramer, formerly of Saigon Kick, he and I were going to produce a project together for what is left of the Underbellys which are now known as the Hep Cat Boo Daddies. We offered to help them. We tried to get them to focus their sound a little bit more and it was not as easy as we would have liked, to sort of get them to be a little bit more open minded. But you know, there’s no love lost. I still love the guys I just don’t think that things are right for us to be working together on any level. Me and Matt will probably continue to work on some things together in the next few months. Matt’s a good buddy of mine.

KAA: Well, that’s about all I have for this time. I guess I’ll be after you in another three years for another interview. (laughs)

SG: No, I think it will be before then. I have a lot more going on now.

KAA: Yeah last night you did sort of hint at that.

SG: One of the things I’m thinking about is doing a restaurant.

KAA: Oh cool. What kind?

SG: Gibb’s Ribs.

KAA: Oh really? Are you serious?

SG: (laughs) I’m serious. I wanna open up a restaurant.

KAA: That sounds good to me.

(At this point I present him with a few gifts and we talk off the record for a bit, concluding the interview.)

Thanks again, Steve, for taking the time. As always, a real pleasure and a privilege to sit down and chat with you. We wish you all the best.

©Kim Ashley Arnold 2006

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