Bible of the Devil Interview
Bible of the Devil is a four-piece high-intensity Rock n’ Roll Metal band from Chicago, Illinois. With numerous albums and 7″ singles to their credit, the band has carved themselves quite a niche in the heavy rock underground over the past 13 years as carriers of the flame of classic, loud, hook-filled guitar rock, yet with their own modern interpretation. The band has toured the United States and mainland Europe extensively during this period, and continue to do so in 2012, whether or not Mayan predictions of an apocalypse prove to be true. Their latest, For the Love of Thugs and Fools, was released in May 2012 via Rome, Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music.
Grim Magazine: First of all, tell us a little bit about the origin of the band name and the significance of it.
Mark: We thought of it in 1999 when we first started the band. First, it was probably for shock value, but later we came to realize it was more of a euphemism for rock & roll itself. We took quotes from conservative politicians condemning Elvis and The Beatles, calling it the devil’s music.
Grim Magazine: So nothing at all to do with “The Wicked Bible” that was floating around in the 17th Century?
Mark: (laughs) Nah; I’m sure that was very cool, but Nah.
Grim Magazine: Have you heard about the backstory on that?
Mark: The Necronomicon?
Grim Magazine: No, no; it was an actual printing of the Bible in England and on the Ten Commandments, they left out one word and it almost landed the publishers in jail because it now read “Thou shalt commit adultery.” (laughter)
Greg: Sweet! (more laughter)
Grim Magazine: Okay, now tell us a little bit about your recent signing with Cruz Del Sur Music.
Mark: Well, we became aware of the label through our friends in Hammers of Misfortune and Slough Feg. Meeting those guys was very pivotal for us and made us realize that there is a classic metal scene in America and that what we’re isn’t crazy; in fact, it’s made us more inspired to do kind of a classic metal thing where there isn’t a lot of bands doing that. So once we found out about those bands and learned about Cruz Del Sur and started talking about that, it was just kind of a natural progression.
Greg: We did a tour with Slough Feg last Summer for eight days, plus we have a new split seven-inch out with them. But just hanging out and knowing someone like Mike Scalzi is pretty awesome, you know; been around fifteen years doing metal in San Francisco. It’s so great; it’s all catchy songs with the greatest guitar harmonies, that’s what we’re all into. We like sing-songy kind of vocals with great guitar harmonies, not the “AAARRGGGHHH-ARRR!!!” kind of crap, so through them, we just started talking to them a lot on tour and just kind of worked it in there. Plus our last record came out on an Italian label, Scarey Records, “Brutality, Majesty, Eternity,” so through that, we already had a lot of Italian things going, so it just made sense. Plus Cruz has got a little bit of money, so we actually have a budget to work with for the album, if we go to Europe again, we have plane fair, so it’s pretty cool.
Grim Magazine: Looking forward to the show in San Francisco tomorrow with Slough Feg and Broca’s Helm?
Greg: Just trying to get Broca’s Helm on the bill was… they almost never play, so it is going to be a special moment for all of us, I think.
Grim Magazine: There’ll definitely be a better turnout there than there was here tonight. (laughs)
Greg: You know, we played here last year and it was totally even worse; we played with like two just terrible garage rock bands, so I mean, at least there’s forty, fifty people here. You can’t expect miracles in these days of touring rock ‘n roll.
Mark: It’s weird; you get out west and a lot of the rooms get really big, but the attendance doesn’t. In the Midwest, in a lot of the venues fifty people is a lot, but the west coast in a big venue, fifty people don’t look like anything.
Greg: That’s the whole thing if you get the four or five people that are always into it that buy shit. I mean, we’ve done pretty well on merch on this tour. There really hasn’t been any bad shows, except Salt Lake City, which was fucking terrible. (laughter) It’s not exactly a rock Mecca for what we’re doing, you know.
Grim Magazine: Alright, now tell us a bit about your recent appearance on NPR.
Mark: That was pretty random. They were contacting Chicago bands that were going to play SXSW and I think the guy, Tony Sarabia, that interviewed me was just intrigued by the name and wondered how the hell a band like that got to be playing SXSW. He emailed me and I got right back to him and we were one of just a handful of bands that he interviewed at the studio. It was cool exposure, I mean, to think that house frau’s in the northern suburbs of Chicago were listening to Bible of the Devil for ten minutes that day was pretty awesome.
Greg: It was way more of an effective use of trying to get people into what you’re doing, as opposed to radio stations which we don’t have a prayer of trying to get on, but it’s actually informational, like people tune in because they want to hear something that might be pretty cool.
Grim Magazine: Plus, if you’re on one of the big radio stations, it’s like “Oh! This doesn’t sound like Disturbed. I don’t want to listen to this!”
Mark: We’ve done a couple of FM, big rock station interviews where they maybe have one hour a week where they cater to local bands. They just didn’t get it at all, man.
Grim Magazine: That’s more than we get out here. (small amount of laughter)
Greg: Well, we played a fuckin’ Rainbow cover on a station in mid-afternoon traffic where you have ten million people listening.
Mark: You play one of your originals and then play some cover and nobody at that station had ever even heard of Rainbow. (laughter) It was kind of a waste of time.
Grim Magazine: Ronnie James who? (laughter)
Grim Magazine: Alright, now tell us a bit about what you expect for the upcoming Alehorn of Power festival?
Mark: I think that’s going to be a precedent-setting, massive event. I mean, we’re trying to inject Chicago with more of a classic metal sort of a feel and bring some of these bands back. Like we played with Winterhawk who is a great fucking classic, epic band from the seventies and eighties and they hadn’t played shows in ages. We contacted ’em and they started playing again; they’re playing that show. Sounds like Wishbone Ash and early Rush, great band and they have a couple of really good albums. We’re just trying to raise awareness. Chicago’s got a strong scene for Nu-metal.
Greg: Emo and indie rock.
Mark: We’re trying to carve a niche for the kind of shit we’re doing there and make people aware of these bands. Great bands from around the U.S. and hopefully if we do this thing again next year, we’ll bring in a couple of bands from Europe.
Greg: The response has been great. We tried to get a bunch of bands in, and I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to Iron Sword, they’re pretty awesome, but as soon as we posted that, we got a huge response from a lot of bands that wanted to come in and do shit. Hopefully, we can do a couple of days next year, but there’s really not a lot of things like that. Plus with Manilla Road… we’re actually playing with them in Wichita next Saturday.
Mark: That’s going to be amazing. Those guys are so legendary… to get to know those guys is really cool.
Greg: There isn’t really a touring scene for that kind of stuff; you’ve almost got to make it happen. We’ve slaved away for six years trying to get to this point. A lot of metal bands, unless there’s a budget behind it or some fluke where they make it big, it’s really tough to get that kind of music exposed. Like Slough Feg was in hiding for years; they tried to tour in the mid-nineties, but there was no scene for any of that, you know; it was either all grunge or kind of like indie rock kind of stuff, but hopefully it will kind of enlighten people to be into that kind of stuff again. I don’t know; we’ll see how it goes – it’s kind of a big undertaking, but if you don’t try it out, what are you going to do?
Grim Magazine: Alright, just one last question; tell us a bit about the upcoming album.
Greg: Well, it’s a concept album.
Mark: It’s going to be a surprising concept album. Pretty weird… I think people are going to be surprised at how strange it’s going to be, but musically it’s the most throttling thing we’ve ever done. Lyrically, we’re getting away from lyrics about shady women and late-night drug abuse; this album’s more about historical content. I don’t want to give away too much until it comes out, but it’s going to be pretty cool.
Grim Magazine: Okay, thank you very much!
Greg: No problem, man!
Bible of the Devil’s Discography:
(2000) Bible of the Devil – None More Raw (no label)
(2001) Bible of the Devil – Guts (demo)
(2002) Bible of the Devil – Firewater at My Command
(2004) Bible of the Devil – Tight Empire
(2005) Bible of the Devil – Brutality • Majesty • Eternity
(2006) Bible of the Devil – The Diabolic Procession
(2008) Bible of the Devil – Freedom Metal
(2012) Bible of the Devil – For the Love of Thugs and Fools
Band: Bible of the Devil
With: Mark Hoffman & Greg Spalding
Interview Date: April 21, 2006
Years Active: 1999-present
Genre: Heavy Metal, Stoner
Website: Band Website
Label: Cruz del Sur Music
Origin: United States
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
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