The Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Interviews – Scott Carstairs of Fallujah
Even though Fallujah remains a band in transition with a guest lead vocalist, this certainly has not hindered them from touring and unleashing some of the most intensive shows of their 10-year existence – and this would now include a thunderous performance on at this year’s edition of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest. Fallujah obliterated the Nuclear Blast side stage, thoroughly enrapturing their longtime fans and undoubtedly gaining quite a few converts in the process.
Right after their exhilarating set, we caught up with guitarist extraordinaire Scott Carstairs in the press area for an interview. Topics of interest included their rapturous afternoon performance at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, their recent ill-fated tour with Decapitated, losing longtime vocalist Alex Hofmann, new music on the horizon, and a whole lot more! Read on…
How has your set been today at Ozzfest, have you met Ozzy or any of the Osbournes?
Have not met them. No, I haven’t met any of them personally. I got to watch them play. I’ve played with them a bunch of times. We played Hellfest last year in France and it was awesome. I got to see Black Sabbath – one of the last shows. I’ve seen Ozzy at Ozzfest when I was younger. I’m stoked to see Zakk Wylde honestly. I love Ozzy’s voice but the guitar player – that guy is badass.
How did your set go?
I think it actually went pretty well. When you’re not on tour and you’re not playing club after club after club and then everything is memorized and you don’t have to think about anything. It’s a little bit harder when you been hanging out at home for a month and not playing shows and being in that world and all of a sudden the next day you’re here at Ozzfest and everything is going, you’re having fun. It’s like you’re right back on tour but your body’s not used to it or anything. But all that considered it’s actually a pretty good show.
Do you rehearse for something like this when it’s a one-off?
All the guys live up in the Bay area. I live down here in Los Angeles so they drove down last night, we booked a studio, played for a couple of hours and we were good. We got off the road about 4 weeks ago so we were a little rusty but not too rusty. So we were all ready. It was good.
How chaotic was it to be on a tour with Decapitated, and watch everything go down with the band?
It’s really just unfortunate. It was a bit weird to pull up to a venue and have someone from the Special Victim’s Unit interviewing people in my band, people on the tour and the day they ended up getting arrested they searched all the bands that left to make sure no one had any members of Decapitated. Then eventually they came and raided the venue and took them all away. So that’s as crazy as it got. It just sucks. They are one of my favorite bands. I get to watch them every night and then all of sudden they just get plucked away from this tour for something they shouldn’t be involved in. It just sucks, man. It’s terrible. I mean the tour was okay after that. It was fine. It just sucks not to be able to see them and get to know those guys. It was just the part of the tour where we were all just getting to know each other and have some fun and then all of that stuff happens. It’s unfortunate.
That was crazy.
It was crazy. We were driving and I thought, I saw the internet post and I woke up in the van. I’d stayed up all night and I was sleeping in the van. I woke up the next morning and checked my phone and said are you kidding me. This is how I found out. Shit happens. I hope the best for them definitely.
Who is singing in Fallujah now, and how is that working out?
Monte Barnard sang for us tonight. He’s been a close friend. He’s been in a lot of bands we’ve toured with. He’s helping us out. We had just finished our tour cycle for the last record and we’re going to start working on our new record now. We just needed to finish up these commitments. Our last singer, he wanted to leave before finishing it up so we had to get somebody to fill in. Honestly, we’re in the process of auditioning people. We’re checking things out and seeing what’s best for us. But Monte’s who helped us out today. He did an awesome job. He’s been doing great on the past shows we’ve been doing. He’s doing great so we are keeping it all in consideration for sure. But he’s been getting really good feedback so that’s helping. He’s great.
How difficult was it to lose Alex after 10 years, do you keep in touch?
We kind of keep in touch. Honestly, after he quit we went right on tour. We went to Europe. We went and did this full tour so you’re pretty busy. So before you know it two months go by. That’s kind of how it is being in a band like this – you realize that you haven’t talked to some of your friends for months maybe but you didn’t realize it because you’ve been gone for 4 or 5 months. I’ve talked to him since then, he’s hung out. It’s difficult because after 10 years everybody has all of their responsibilities and they have their section of the band they’re responsible for they need to take care of. And I’ve got mine. It’s something that’s grown into place over the years, so everybody knows exactly what to do. And then when a person leaves it’s a void that, basically, everyone has to pick up the slack – especially when you’re not bringing in a new member immediately. But besides that, the tour went awesome. Everything worked so nothing is stopping us, really. That’s what I would say about it.
Did you ever think about maybe not doing Fallujah anymore after losing Alex?
Honestly it didn’t come across. This band is not really a band that’s one guy particularly is the center of attention. Each of these members have been in the band since basically we really started playing shows. So every member is solid. So when something like this happened, I just – went to talk everybody and we wanted to continue doing this. This is what we’re about. For some reason, if we weren’t able to continue with Fallujah, we would just go start a whole other project and keep doing it. Nothing is going to stop us. As far as the members that are in the band now, this is what we want to do.
What kind of touring do you have planned in the new year?
We want to do a new territory, obviously. I want to go to some new countries and I want to tour with some new bands. That’s so far off for me, it’s not too far off but I’m just worried about the record so I’m not even thinking about that. But, I would love to tour with some awesome new acts that we haven’t toured with before that are killing it and making awesome music today.
Looking ahead to a new Fallujah album. Do you have any songs written?
Yeah, I had a bunch of stuff that you kind of work on on the road – but you’re on the road so much, it’s hard to really get things done. You’re just noodling and recording things here and there, but since I’ve been home, we got a lot done and it’s coming out pretty cool. I’m excited. Certain bands, they do something different and it’s too different and it freaks people out. I feel like it’s the total next step for the band. Really excited about it, honestly. The last album I was stressed because I knew it’s gotta be sick or whatever – it’s gotta be a new record, new label and all that stuff. This one I feel really confident about.
Fallujah to me has always been different from the beginning. If you do something different, I don’t think your fans will be surprised.
It’s all about the evolution and the path and all that stuff. I thought it was going to be difficult to find where it was going, but it just came along. It’s turning out pretty cool.
What do you think keeps you so excited and passionate about your band after ten years? That’s a long time to be in a band.
Yeah it is, but we’re always doing new things that’s always really inspiring. As far as touring, the last tour cycle we did, we got to tour with Devin Townsend, BTBAM, KSE in Australia. We got to tour with Black Dahlia Murder, all these bands that we’ve grown up listening to, and this just all happened all in the last 2 years. There’s still a bunch of bands we want to tour with still haven’t been to South America, Japan. There’s a bunch of cool places I want to check out. That’s one whole aspect that keeps me excited. I just love playing music, I love playing guitar. I love writing music, so just sitting home realizing this is what I do for a living and I’m just making music and hanging out. Every time I realize that I get excited. Hell yeah! This is sick. I don’t want to be anywhere else right now.
Any messages for Fallujah fans?
Stick with us, we’re going to make something really awesome for you guys on this next record. Check it out when it comes out.
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)
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