Blessed by a Burden - 09.07.11

Interviewed by
Blessed by a Burden - 09.07.11The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:

Blessed by a Burden


With vocalist Harrison Lea, guitarist Josh Osborne, and guitarist Mikey Mutzhaus.

1. How did you get your band name?
Josh: It was a mutual idea between our original drummer and I. We wanted something meaningful, although we never realized how well it would suit the band in the long run. Definitely better than some random movie title or book, since that's been way overdone.
Harrison: We had to look it up though because most of the ideas our old drummer said, he had either heard, or someone already had it.

2. How did this band get started?
Josh: After I had started writing what is now "The Red Moon," I met Harrison through a mutual friend, and eventually started managing his first band.
Harrison: Yea, Steven and I were in a band called Jillian Danae. Josh was our manager and one day he was talking about starting a new band. My drummer at the time had left the band to join this new one, so I ended up talking more about it and decided to join as well.
Mikey: I had been in a different band and we played a show with Jillian Danae, which is where Josh and I met. From there we talked and met up a few times and I really liked the whole idea of what would eventually become this band.

3. What bands are you influenced by?
Harrison: I've always liked bands like Evergreen Terrace and The Devil Wears Prada. I can't think of many songs that they have that I haven't liked. To make that many songs/albums and not have any songs I'd skip, is pretty amazing.
Mikey: I'd have to say Van Halen, Escape The Fate, and My Chemical Romance. Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) inspired to me to pick up a guitar, My Chemical Romance is the first band I really got insanely into, and Escape The Fate is a double-whammy for me because not only are they from Las Vegas, but they also really got me into the more post-hardcore style of music.
Josh: I've liked so many different artists, but I'd have to say Tool. There aren't any boundaries in their music. It's not about the fame, they live such private lives, and their messages are incredibly powerful. Also like them, Linkin Park, has been a big influence for some of the same reasons. They didn't join a genre. They made one. And I have to say Lady Gaga. She's just awesome in too many ways haha.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Mikey: Van Halen. Despite the distinct possibility of being booed off stage, it would be incredible to play with Eddie Van Halen.
Harrison: I'd rather just see how the bands are we tour with in the future, then decide who I want to tour with...this band or that band. I've already learned enough throughout our first two tours, such as the bands I didn't listen to before are usually the ones that I end up talking to more.
Josh: With the current genre we're playing right now, probably The Devil Wears Prada. I think they're about to be calling it quits after this album and they played a big role in creating this style of music. Definitely would wanna meet those guys.

5. Best food to eat on tour?
Harrison: McDonald's dollar menu and Noodles!
Josh: Yea, on tour budget, probably Cup O'Noodles because it's cheap and you have so many different flavors...it's almost a different meal every time! Haha, although I think Subway is amazing. Spicy Italian, mm mm.
Mikey: I'll let you know when we can afford real food on tour, but for now McDonald's dollar menu and 100oz Mountain Dew.

6. Why should people listen to your band?
Josh: We're honest with our lyrics. Real stories and a real message. We put everything into this band, and being 5 broke dudes really makes it a struggle. But all in all, people should listen to us because we give that respect and listen back. Our fans seem shocked that we write back to almost every single one and talk with them at shows. Isn't that expected? It shouldn't be some big miracle. They are our fans. We actually care.

7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Harrison: I'm not big into sports but if I HAD to pick it would be someone in baseball.
Josh: Wow, uhm, probably Daniel Negreanu. Millionaire poker player, (yes, poker is a sport!). He makes millions playing cards and havin' a few drinks. That's the life.
Mikey: I couldn't even think of an athlete for a second...is that sad? Maybe Michael Jordan because he's in 'Space Jam,' that's pretty cool.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Mikey: The obvious people: My friends, my family, the rest of the band, just everyone who's made it possible to get to that point.
Harrison: My mother and father for putting a roof over my head while I wasn't making money, all the fans that listened right when we started out and supported us without having the music jammed down their throats from friends.
I couldn't see myself attending at all. Basically, the best way to explain why, is Maynard Keenan's reason for not attending the Grammy's when he was awarded one. He said "I think the Grammy's are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don't honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It's the music business celebrating itself. That's basically what it's all about." And he has a very good point on it. Especially as this is supposed to be some life goal of many musicians now a days.

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Mikey: I'd stop illegal downloading, as common of an answer as that must be. Music costs money to make, and it's sad that plenty of new artists can't even make that money back, so much as live off of their art.
Harrison: It would be nice to see labels go out and scout more often and look for bands with their own time. Not every band has the ability to leave their respective towns and try and get noticed enough to be found by someone. I've seen plenty of bands in Vegas with potential to be good and make it, but just don't have the ability to leave Vegas and try to get noticed.
Josh: To try and make our industry a little bit more respectable in the mainstream genres. I don't think it should be normal to pay every illiterate rapper $20 million to rap about hoes and smokin' blunts. It's a bit excessive but there's honestly too many ways that our Industry is already fucked, to just concentrate on one isn't going to help at all. Our band is just doing what we can to make it as far as possible.

10. Memorable tour experience?
Josh: Well... I can only give so many details about this story, but heading into Idaho one night, we stopped to get a hotel room and crash at about 3:00am. Harrison and I were the only ones awake still. Anyway we walk into this hotel lobby, and are greeted by a very fine receptionist, working all alone and taking down our information for the room. We walked outside and debated whether to be nice and wake the others since we were at our stop for the night, or to let them stay asleep and take this girl to our room. Obviously being Harrison and I, she was already in love. And then...well....you know...
Harrison: I have two. I think they are really memorable because I'm Straight Edge and they both have to do with band members getting drunk and throwing up, haha. The first one was Josh on our first tour through Oregon. He drank way too much and ended up throwing up on his feet...in flip flops...after the show. The other time was when our original drummer got drunk and managed to stumble around in a circle, throwing up in a full circle on the street. Those two made my night both times and was a great laugh for me. Hahaha.
Mikey: One memory that really sticks close for me happened right when we got to San Diego for our first show with We Came as Romans on the Rock Yourself to Sleep Tour. Eric Choi, (the drummer of WCAR) came over, greeted us, and told us he picked us, saying he liked our sound, our look, and basically that we came off like a legitimate band. Whether he really meant it or not, you never forget something like that.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?
All: We all agree that it's a good place for fans and bands both, to become better connected. And that's the most important thing for any band at our level right now, starting out and learning the game.

12. What is your favorite song to play?
Mikey: "Testament," definitely the most fun song to play.
Josh: Yea, I agree, it has a great crowd response, and isn't as old as the other songs.
Harrison: My favorite song to play is "The Red Moon." It was the first song we wrote and I finished the lyrics just before going to watch 'The Last Airbender' in theaters on opening night. (The song is based on the first book of the animated series).

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Josh: Definitely Europe. So many awesome countries to see and cultures to learn. It's not as messed up over there as out here.
Mikey: Japan. They have a giant Gundam, even if it is in pieces, and 99% of the things I'm interested in come out of there.
Harrison: I'd love to go to Australia, pretty sure it would be my vacation spot of choice.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Harrison: My childhood was filled with music. my dad worked at a classic rock station from the time I was born 'til I was about 17 or 18, so listening to rock was always happening with my mom turning on the radio station to listen to my dad.
Mikey: The Power Rangers theme song, Van Halen (seems to be my go to answer), and the background music for Super Mario 64.
Josh: Everything from the "Boy Meets World" theme song to The Beatles greatest hits CD, since my dad was such a big fan. Always had that CD on road trips.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Hmm this one is tough. It would have to be either immortality or flight. Immortality because I'd love to see what happens to everything in the future (even if I get stuck alone in it) and flight, because it is a freedom that no one has. To fly anywhere at anytime, just walk out of your house and take off into the sky. Also, it would save me a ton on my share of gas money for tours. Hahaha.
Mikey: My calculus teacher always said if I were asked this question and didn't reply with "Superman," I'd be a moron. Though I hate Superman, he is right. The power to keep making up powers is pretty nifty.
Josh: Probably to control my dreams. It'd be like playing God. You design everything that happens and can live any life you want, for however long you want, before waking. I think that would be pretty awesome.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Josh: Usually a few drinks and a few shots of vodka to loosen up. Pretty generic, but it works. Haha.
Harrison: Not really, I try to just relax. Sometimes I get nervous even when playing for people I have already met or known for years, like when playing at home. But once the lights come on, it's time to do my job. Having fun and playing makes all the worries go away.
Mikey: Usually check my gear, then pretty much isolate myself from everyone and relax for 5 minutes before going on stage.

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Harrison: I have a "nervous habit" of rolling my eyes when I talk, and I guess on stage too. I can't tell when I do it. It sucks because it got me into trouble in school, even though I wasnt being disrespectful. I just do it sometimes or often if I just met you haha. So no, I'm not having a seizure, dont freak out! Also most fans dont know I'm Straight Edge and have never thought about living my life any differently. I like to make sure everyone around me is okay and having a clear head is the best way for me to do that.
Mikey: I'm a huge nerd, mainly for politics and Anime, and don't get me started on political anime. Haha.
Josh: Hmm, I play guitar on stage, but haven't ever owned one myself. I was a violinist as a kid, and write nearly all of our music on a piano. Then right before going into the studio, I'll jam it out on Mikey's guitar so I'm ready to record the tracks. Instruments have always come pretty natural to me, but I suck at sports. Not a fan of chasing a ball for an hour in a circle.

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Harrison: I think any band can flourish on the radio, but bands that have all screaming in them dont seem to make it as big on the radio as other bands do. That is kind of disappointing, because some bands deserve to be on the radio a lot more then some of the bands I'm hearing now. I don't think I've listened to a rock radio station in a while due to that. Plus Nicki Minaj and kesha dont play on rock radio stations!
Josh: Na, you have to be a monotone rapper or lip-syncing popstar to be on the radio, with few exceptions of great artists. Although, most people are too close minded on music and want the same, regurgitated, mainstream pop/rap.
Mikey: No, definitely not. So many bands like us that actually have singing aren't even on the radio.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Josh: Write music, watch movies, drink insane amounts of alcohol and eat Del Taco. Haha. Also enjoy a good bowl of hookah.
Mikey: Play video games. Not really a party person. The Colbert Report!
Harrison: Play video games (duh), and go to shows. I'm not one of those people that's too cool for shows because they are in a signed band. The people you surround yourself with at shows will only have more respect for you if you act like you are part of the crowd, and lets be honest...you are one of them so why pretend you are better?

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Mikey: Well, I doubt anyone that follows our band knows about my Super Smash Bros prowess.
Although I don't really play any video games, I can beat anyone at MarioKart64, no matter who you are.
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