Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Audiotopsy interview with mastermind Greg Tribett

Audiotopsy is the result of bands that have been cut apart and pieced back together, almost Frankenstein-like with monstrous riffs that commands attention. Skrape lead singer Billy Keeton joined forces with Mudvayne and Hellyeah guitarist Greg Tribett, bass player Perry Stern and Mudvayne drummer Matthew McDonough. The Supergroup exploded on the scene in October with their Napalm Records debut album “Natural Causes,” and are on tour supporting Drowning Pool; they will be playing Feb. 12 at the Diesel Lounge in Chesterfield, MI.

Author Marisa Williams: Reviews of your debut release “Natural Causes” say that this is a different sound than some of your previous musical endeavors. What musical techniques did you stay away from on this album, and what are some musical techniques that you experimented with on this album?

Greg Tribett, guitar player for Audiotopsy: The musical techniques I stayed away from on this album was more of the technical aspects of song writing. I introduced my style of playing, which is a more easy flowing way to write good hard rock songs.

Marisa Williams: Your little brother, Derrik “Tripp” Tribett, plays bass for the band Dope. How did you both get started in music? Did you come from a musical family, and did you push each other musically growing up together and throughout both of your successful careers?

Greg Tribett: We both come from a musical family. My dad's side is kind of the more musical side, where Derrik got his start. He's a natural like me. I learned and taught myself. We both had really good ears for music. I believe I really got interested when I was 12 or 13, but I actually started playing when I was five-years-old, so it did start early for me.

Marisa Williams: Do you play any other instruments?

Greg Tribett: I can play bass, drums, piano, and I have experimented with cello. I played cello on a Mudvayne song back in the day. It's a very cool instrument, very hard to play.

Marisa Williams: What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?

Greg Tribett: First concert was AC/DC touring the “Back in Black” record. It stood out, as it was so fucking loud. The first concert I ever played actually was a cover band, at a public swimming pool. I think it was called swim and dip, rockin' dip, or something like that. It was funny.

Marisa Williams: What was the first album you purchased?

Greg Tribett: I'm going to have to say one of the first KISS records, “Destroyer” probably.

Marisa Williams: How do you go about writing music? What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else? Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?

Greg Tribett: Well, when I go to write music, the songs usually start with humming. I hum in my head, and I transpire that onto the guitar. I envision what the drums sound like playing, like seeing someone else writing music. I tell the drummer what I envision, figure out what the chorus means, and take it from there.

Marisa Williams: Can you walk us through a track on your latest album that stands out to you from the standpoint of the creative process?

Greg Tribett: I can do that with “The Calling.” The chorus, vocally and musically, we were having a really tough time coming up with a chorus. We sat there for an hour working on it, and we ran out of beer. We made a beer run, and the song was playing on a loop. I heard a melody in my head, sang it in my head, then sang it to Billy. Everyone was happy. “Yes! We got a chorus!” Sometimes, that's how it happens; you have to walk away for a minute.

Marisa Williams: What is your favorite musical technique?

Greg Tribett: I would really love to play the banjo. I like the techniques in blue grass, all the finger picking, plucking all that stuff, as well Spanish guitar. I would love to take the time to learn flamenco, but I would rather just listen to it and eat tacos.

Marisa Williams: What is something people might not expect with your latest project, and do you have any other side projects?

Greg Tribett: I'll start with the second part first: no other projects. The first answer is I don't think people were expecting Billy to be singing instead of playing guitar; he also plays really good guitar.

Marisa Williams: What is the scariest thing about being on the road?

Greg Tribett: Traveling in bad weather, whether it be snow or storms, it can be a nightmare. If it's 2 in the morning, laying in the bunk during a blizzard or tornado warnings, that gets pretty scary.

Marisa Williams: Best or worst tour moment?

Greg Tribett: On one of the first Mudvayne records, we toured with Ozzy and Rob Zombie. That was the big tour that we got. All of the Ozzfest shows, being on the main stage with Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, meeting Zakk Wylde, who is one of my idols besides Randy Rhodes.

Marisa Williams: I remember first meeting Zakk when I toured on Ozzfest in 2002, which was the year after you played the tour in 2001 and just before you toured with Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath on the main stage in 2005. He was a really a great guy though, as were all of the guys from Black Label Society.

Greg Tribett: Zakk is a great guy; he's like a little kid, really hyper.

Marisa Williams: What's your favorite way to travel and why?

Greg Tribett: Definitely by bus. I used to be really scared of flying. I'm over it now, as I've had to fly so much, but I definitely prefer a tour bus over getting on a plane.

Marisa Williams: What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?

Greg Tribett: Favorite places are Australia and Japan. The place I haven't been and really want to go to is Alaska.

Marisa Williams: What's your biggest musical fantasy?

Greg Tribett: I would definitely say one is to jam with Led Zeppelin.

Marisa Williams: I have three personality questions that I ask everyone. They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-) First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color but white, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?

Greg Tribett: I would be black with a red unicorn horn, and my special powers would be to fly.

Marisa Williams: Rather ironic, given that you said you didn't like to fly on a plane. This next question does not have to be traditional flavor, but if you were yogurt, what flavor would you be, and how would you be served?

Greg Tribett: I'd be peanut butter, almond chocolate with strawberries, served on top of a big flap jack.

Marisa Williams: That reminds me of going to the Netherlands, where they heap everything on top of a waffle, but that sounds so good. This next question, describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.

Greg Tribett: I would describe myself as a dog, a very muscular pit bull kind of a dog, a little gruffy, pure black.

Marisa Williams: Do you collect anything?

Greg Tribett: Not specifically, though I do like guitars. I have a lot of them, so I guess I would say guitars.

Marisa Williams: What's your biggest guilty pleasure?

Greg Tribett: Hot wings. That's my guilty pleasure. I'm trying to get off of them, but I happen to be hot wing connoisseur. I look for them in every city I've been in, hot wings with Coors Lite.

Marisa Williams: Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?

Greg Tribett: I'm a bass fisherman. Pretty damn good at it, maybe after my music career, I could become a professional bass angler.

Marisa Williams: I used to be the sports writer down in Key West, and I got to cover a lot of nautical sports. I must say, there is a lot more that goes into fishing than what meets the eye, especially if you're talking ocean fishing.

Greg Tribett: I'm down in Orlando right now, actually Clermont.

Marisa Williams: I was just there last week! I was covering the Lakeridge Winery, which does free daily tours and tastings if you're into wine, and we also covered the Revolution Off Road, which has the vehicles that go on the land and in the water. I do travel writing, too. Anyways, getting back to it, for you, what's the most important thing to remember?

Greg Tribett: Most important thing is stop taking life for granted, live it day by day to it's fullest. You just never know.

Marisa Williams: What has been your most influential moment?

Greg Tribett: Honestly, starting this new band has been very influential to me. I had the chance to write an entire record, so there's only one cook in the kitchen, not three. For me, it's my song writing, my music period.

Marisa Williams: If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?

Greg Tribett: I'd have to be doing some kind of art, something creative. I'm not a guy to sit around on the couch and watch TV. I gotta be creative. There's too many juices flowing, have to be creative.

Marisa Williams: What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?

Greg Tribett: One is my phone, two is toiletry bag, three would have to be my music. I listen to a ton of different stuff, so honestly, I'm not a real metal fan, as I listen to everything from Jazz to Radiohead kind of music, orchestra, and blue grass, like I said.

Marisa Williams: Someone once told me that if you really want to make it in the music industry, you really need to be able to appreciate all types of music.

Greg Tribett: I think that makes you a real musician, when you can appreciate what you're doing, because you're definitely not the best. There's so many different styles of music, down to people playing buckets for drums on the side of the street, and I just look at that in awe. I appreciate music and everyone who does that kind of thing. Music makes the world go round, period. Without it, I don't know what life would be like. It's in the air, the birds, the trees, it's all there.

Marisa Williams: Very true. Do you have any advice for musicians starting out?

Greg Tribett: I would say be as good as you can at your craft and be original. Get in a garage with a band, play your music, experience it. Don't sit in your bedroom on your computer and just throw it up on the internet. There's no interaction with people. Do whatever for a few years before you think about doing anything on a professional level.

Marisa Williams: Anything we did not mention that you want to make sure to include? Closing thoughts? Additional comments?

Greg Tribett: I would like to include the current tour with Drowning Pool, give everyone a heads up on that. Are you going to be coming out to the show?

Marisa Williams: I would certainly like to, as I'm super excited to see you guys playing with Drowning Pool. As I mentioned, when I toured on Ozzfest in 2002, that unfortunately was the year that Dave Williams of Drowning Pool was found dead. My last name is Williams, and I was at the hotel when they found his body, so that really hit home hard for me. It also gave me a new perspective on things, being a journalist. I'll tell you what, when those helicopters were landing within 20 minutes of his body being discovered, it really sickened me, and I vowed I would try to not be that type of journalist. I definitely would like to make it out to the show on Friday though. Any other things to add in before I let you go?

Greg Tribett: Our record's out, came out Oct. 2nd, literally only out for four months now. Hopefully, you'll hear another single soon, don't know which song yet, still working on it. People should keep up with our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates, as those are the three main accounts that we use.

The author of more than 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University and is the publisher of Thorisaz Views. For more on Marisa, visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz and www.twitter.com/booksnbling

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