A few weeks back, I had a chance to speak with the lead vocalist of Winds of Plague, Johnny Cooke/Plague, on one of the WEIRDEST tours that I've ever experienced - the first leg of Static X's U.S. Headliner w/ Winds of Plague, The Browning, and some weird guy that called himself "Davey Suicide". The people that came out for Static X were polar opposites to those of us who came out to see Winds of Plague tear it up for a short period of time. Because of the mixed demographics of fans, things got wildly out of hand within 30 seconds of Winds taking the stage - turns out people who listen to radio rock don't like being jumped on and punched...definitely a much different environment than the band's previous tour, The All-Stars Tour, headlined by Suicide Silence.
First off, how are you man?
Good, how're you?
Good. You're on tour with Static-X of all bands, a little bit unexpected...what led to the decision to jump on this tour?
Pretty much we were just asked to do it, and we were like "Sure...why not?".
A little bit of a different than the All-Stars crowd, haha....
Yeah, All-Stars crowd? Kids under the age of 18. Static-X crowd? All over the age of 40...so we kind of just missed that whole middle section there.
What's Wayne Static like in person? I hear he's a pretty interesting person.
Well, it's an interesting story - this is the 4th or 5th date of tour, and we have yet to meet him.
Yeah, maybe you'll meet him tonight. Have you seen their set though?
I've seen parts of it, yeah.
How was it?
It's...Static-X, I guess.
You've been a part of metal scene for awhile, and accomplished quite a bit over the past 5 or 6 years. What's has been the one thing you've noticed has changed in the scene in the last couple of years?
I dunno man, I think the scene's always changing and evolving, I'm sure it was that way before us, and I'm sure when we were coming up as that young band, all the older bands were like "aw, fuck these guys". Now our waves kind of dying out, and the new waves coming up. It's crazy man, I think the internet's played a huge part of that - bands getting huge before they even play a show, which is a weird concept these days. It's easier to become a large band, but it's also harder because there's so many more bands.
Yeah, a band like Obey The Brave, who were on the All-Stars tour. They're a new band, but they stemmed from Despised Icon...
...and Blind Witness. They're a new band, but they've paid their dues.
This set has absolutely no material from your second full-length, The Great Stone War. Why is that?
Those songs don't translate well live, straight up. They're such a low energy point in our set, so we just pulled them all.
If you were to play any song from that album again, which one would it be and why?
Chest and Horns, if any of them were to go well live, it'd be that one.
Of the songs you ARE playing, which song do you look forward to playing the most every night?
Decimate The Weak is always fun for me, it's easy.
You guys recently split with Art Cruz (Drums) on good terms, citing creative differences. What things were you all brewing that you guys didn't see eye to eye on?
What makes this band difficult is that we all grew up together, and even our new drummer Brandon was in a band with my younger brother, so in a way, he grew up with us. Art came from a different world, and I think he came into the band as a fan, so when he got into it, he was real excited and we were already touring forever, so we were like old men, jaded...we just liked to play shows. It's for the better, he's playing for Prong now. He's doing his thing, and we're doing ours, it's all good.
4th full length album has been recorded already, your new drummer Brandon is on it. Do you have an album title right now?
We don't have an album title yet.
What sort of lyrical themes are present on the album?
It's all over the place though. This time we actually recorded 15 songs, usually we do 8-10. We had 15 songs and assigned different topics to each one, and went from there, so it's all over the place as far as topics go.
I'm sure there's some guest vocalists on this album. Who's joining you guys this time?
Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain, Fronz from Attila, Koba from Loyal To The Grave [Japan] he's gonna do a spot, Jay from Reign Supreme
Damn, it's a whole collection of guys...
Yeah, It's like a rap album every time, there's dudes everywhere.
What's different about this album, compared to your prior three albums?
I'd say vocally, man. I tried to make things more understandable, and less noise pig squeal nonsense - there's still a little bit of that still of course. We went a little Hatebreed...if you're into that.
Yeah, that works.
Is this your last album on Century Media, or do they have the option for a 5th?
No, this is the last one, and after that I don't know what we're doing, if you're going to ask that next.
Are you going to continue the "Warrior" theme present on the past three albums?
No, not really. The theme is all over the place, we don't have artwork yet, we don't know what we're doing, we're a mess, haha. We're trying not to rush things too much.
You're still looking at an early 2013 release, right?
Yeah, that's what we're looking at right now, but who knows.
What can you tell us about your new drummer, Brandon Gallindo? He was previously in Dead In Existence, but other than that...
He's young, he's only 20; he's never been outside of California really, so this is all brand new to him. He's an extremely level headed kid, he fits in real well with us. We load in to the shows and then head to the gym to get away, and he's real into that as well, so he's fitting in real easily.
You're running a haunted house in a few weeks in California. What can you tell us about it?
I'm so excited, it's so stressful, I'm real excited for it to start and be on it's way. The thing that sets us apart the most is that we've made it interactive, mixing a video game in with a haunted house, where you go in with an air-soft gun and basically defend against the zombie apocalypse. It's in Bellflower, CA, and it's called Haunted Halloween Sports.
You're now sponsored by MusclePharm. What was your first experience with the brand, and what made you stick with them?
Actually, this is funny, when I was working the haunted house last year, I wanted something to hit on my 15 minute breaks, and they make these things called Muscle Gels, which is like an adult yogurt - it has like 20 grams of protein or something. I couldn't believe how good they tasted, because protein tastes like shit, and I kind of got hooked on them. Then I found out they were working with bands like As I Lay Dying, so I kept pestering them until they hooked me up, haha.
Keeping with the fitness theme, I know you're a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you had one day to spend with him, what would you do and why?
Fuck man, I'd not only have him show me correct form on everything, but I'd make him speak like The Terminator the entire time, that'd be sweet.
Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying is also sponsored by MusclePharm. Would you consider teaming up and working on new Austrian Death Machine material together?
Yeah, we've actually talked about it, he's the one who hooked me up with MusclePharm. But we've talked about doing some weird collaboration. I dunno, I'd love it, I'm always down with that kind of shit.
What's one book and one band you'd recommend to anyone that listens to Winds of Plague and why?
This is probably so stupid of me, but I'm a fan of the Tucker Max books. It's probably the most uneducational books ever, you might actually get dumber for reading it, but I love it. As for a band? Hatebreed, they're my favorite band.
Above anything and everything, what's the most important thing people know about your band?
We're not out to prove anything, we're just trying to have a good time. Come out and hang out with us, that's what we're out here for.
After this tour, you're doing the haunted house, album prep, are you guys planning on touring in early 2013?
We're doing Europe with Cannibal Corpse, Devil Driver, and The Black Dahlia Murder. We're doing Costa Rica with Sleeping Giant, and we're trying to get some more U.S. dates scheduled.