Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: CROBOT [Brandon Yeagley (vocals)]
“Thank God I have a dog. He is the best listener and agrees with everything I say” – Brandon Yeagley – Saturday 18 June, 2016
So you’re carrying two cigarettes and two bottles of wine… you’re not fucking around…
I’m just here to have a good time.
Are cigarettes and wine obligatory for a good time?
Not obligatory, but it doesn’t hurt!
You don’t think that after a certain point it does start to hurt?
I think it happens when you cross that threshold. I’m not a surfer but I’m a firm believer in riding the wave. A big part of these festivals is figuring out when the wave is about to crest. If you stay away from that, you’ll make it.
How did you learn to ride the wave?
Same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice!
How has the Hellfest experience been so far?
It’s been fucking great. Everyone has been super cool. We ran into the Fu Manchu and Hermano guys we love those guys. We got to see Phil Campbell again, we haven’t seen him since we were on tour with him. It was good catching up with him. Everyone here wants to rock out, have good drinks and have a good time.
What was it like touring with Motörhead before Lemmy died?
That motherfucker didn’t stop for a second. He was going out and playing every night. He was always cruising around backstage. Just to associate with an icon like that is so overwhelming, you can’t put it into words. We were just so very grateful that we got that opportunity to interact with those cats. We’d see them at catering every night and they would tell war stories. It makes you sit back and wonder how the hell you got here and thank God, well Lemmy, for that!
I took my dad to that tour and he said “It looks like they are putting Lemmy back in his coffin” when Lemmy walked offstage. To what extent was that true?
It was funny. We had heard all the same rumors about how he was sick. The only thing I remember though is one time in Vegas and there were rumors about “Can he make it?” They finished their set, he walked right off the stage, through the venue, into the casino and then started gambling. That was one of the most rock star things I had ever seen in my life. If anyone thought he was going to the coffin he wasn’t, he was just going to the slot machines! He watched our set a bunch of times and would talk to us. We were like starstruck kids. We would be like “Oh thanks!” and then run away and hide in our dressing room!
For the modern industry you have had a fairly meteoric rise, why do you think that is?
I don’t know man! I’m a firm believer in getting that right stroke of luck and I feel that all the strangely right cards fell into place. Even how we met our producer, we were playing a little show at SXSW and it was really early in the day. This guy shows up and we see him rocking out to the tunes, he introduces himself, he produces Clutch and stuff. He was one of our people we dreamed of working with. The only reason he was at our show was that he had come from the East Coast and he hadn’t changed his watch so he showed up an hour early and saw our set instead of the other band. So we hit it off and he turned around and introduced us to Clutch and that was one of our first big tours and that let us put a footprint in. That was all because we met this producer by chance and the Clutch guys liked us so much. They took us out on the road and it was wild. All those strange circumstances… it’s one in a million.
So has this band been like… chosen by God?
I wouldn’t go that far, but I would say we have been graced by falling into the right piles of shit.
Is this all just a terrifying pile of shit?
Not terrifying, and a little bit more pleasant smelling than you might think. It’s definitely a pile of shit though but if you land on it in the right way you will smile no matter what.
I love how the music industry is largely just realizing how much of a clusterfuck it is.
Big time. There’s a never ending amount of double edged swords. That’s kind of the same as pretty much any aspect of the world though, even if you have a 9 to 5. We just happen to be lucky enough to not have to accept the real world! Like, “Go out and play a show!” How can you complain about that. I don’t know what’s real anymore!
Do you ever worry about getting detached from reality?
Definitely! When I go home… Thank God I have a dog. He is the best listener and agrees with everything I say. Trying to explain that to folks is definitely an odd thing to attempt to capture. It’s hard to relate when literally every day you are seeing a different environment and culture. Then you go back home and it’s like “Oh everything is the same since you left”
Where is home for you?
Anywhere between Northern New Jersey and Central PA, I’m a professional couch surfer!
Do you feel that suburban Philadelphia thing impacts your music at all?
I think that we are beyond even the suburban thing. I think we are from a rural part of the state really. When you get to those far out spaces there is very little to do. Hopefully you have some people to jam with other you will start doing meth. We had nothing to do when we first joined the band so we would wake up, make a group breakfast, get super stoned and then go out in a shed in the back and jam for 12 hours and write as many songs as we could. Try to play them. Trash half of them. Write new ones. There was just nothing else to do. If you want to go to a bar to hang out you have to drive 45 minutes to an hour and at that point, fuck it, we’re too stoned for that!
What do you love so much about music?
I love all of it. I love the fact that I can make whatever faces I want and whatever noises I want and thrust my hips as much as I want and people can’t tell me it’s bad because if they do I can just say “Bro, it’s art” But in all honesty I like that you can express yourself in a way that you can’t put into words. It gets you on a better high than any drug could ever give you. That’s my addiction right there. That’s what I’m about!
Any words of wisdom?
Leave it in!
Interview: Matt Bacon