Ringworm: “Too dumb to quit”

Ringworm, a legendary act from destructive hardcore metal scene, had always been following sort-of a rollercoaster on-and-off path since their founding year 1991. After releasing The Promise on Incision Record 1993, the band had an almost 10-year hiatus due to the pursue of personal ventures: the singer concentrated his focus on tattooing and his artwork, while other members joined up with hardcore legends Integrity. 2001 they re-emerged with their critically acclaimed album Birth Is Pain. Extensive touring followed, but this was again interrupted by personal ventures. 2011 they re-emerged with the album Scars, developing their own style which the STALKER author describes as “a crossover band that plays their own fiery brand of Metalcore”. Ringworm have just signed to Relapse records to release their latest album, “Witches Hammer” this March. Vocalist Human Furnace speaks about the band´s influences, the new album and what has kept them going as a band for many years!

The new album is out on Relapse records – what inspired the writing this time out – what bands were inspiring you?
I guess you could say that our inspiration has always been the same from record to record. WRITE KILLER RIFFS. For us, we´ve never tried to “reinvent the wheel”, so to speak. We´ve always just inspired to write catchy thrash driven songs that make you wanna smash things and bang your head. It´s that simple really.

Any live dates planned?
YES. This is going to be a busy year for us. We have the U.S., Europe, and Australia firmly in our sights for this year. We are constantly adding dates to our schedule. Probably adding more as we speak.

Is the band interested in occult subjects? What occult writings have inspired the bands´s music?
I´ve been the guy that has always guided Ringworm´s “artistic” or “conceptual” image. I have a big interest in the occult. Musically, occult writings have little to do with our sound. The music is more primal, and visceral. It´s inspirited by what makes you move and feel. Lyrically, these days I find myself not so directly inspired by any particular writings. I´ve read quite a bit over my years and I can more or less apply that knowledge to the everyday experiences that personally effect my life. I often use religious imagery as metaphors.

What has kept the band going for many years?
I think a big reason is that we always managed to be able to do everything “our way” and by “our rules” There´s a lot of greats bands that have called it quits, because the “music industry” chewed them up and spit them out. Most people in bands will tell you that music is their life, or it´s been the thing they have always wanted to do, and the industry can be a very cruel mistress. It can make those who would give up everything for it, quit playing altogether. We´ve been fortunate to avoid some of these pitfalls. Another reason is that we still have fun. Granted, the older you get, the more difficult things become, when you start juggling real-life responsibilities. But, we´re all LIFERS. I think what it all boils down to is that we are too dumb to quit, and that´s fine with us.

What are the band members doing when not recording or practising?
Well for me, I always stay incredibly busy 24/7, I try to spend time with friends and family as much as I can, but I basically stay home and work around the clock. If I´m not recording and playing with Ringworm, I´m recording or playing with my other bands. I own 2 tattoo shops in Cleveland. I´ve been a tattoo artist for close to 24 years, so that´s been my real bread and butter for a long time. I do illustration, commission paintings, album covers, t-shirt and graphic design, own an apparel company with a couple of other guys (Evil Ohio), do storyboarding for films and commercials, write columns for assorted websites… I could go on forever. I never really turn down any opportunity to do new things or broaden my artistic horizons. Ringworm is just another “thing” that I do. It just so happens that I´ve been doing this “thing” for close to 25 years. Needless to say, I live alone. Ha.
Everybody else stays busy with their own regular day jobs and side projects as well.

What is the press reaction so far to “Hammer of the Witches”?
So far it has been excellent. We´ve never really cared much for what critics say about anything we do, but it is nice to have your music well received. We just try to write solid, honest records and let people say what they say. This new record could be fucking HUGE or people may hate it, who knows? We feel we have nothing to prove to anyone, except ourselves pretty much. Of course we hope the record does well and brings people enjoyment, like every record we do, but we like it, and that´s all that matters at the end of the day, isn´t it?

What lies in the band´s future? Any Ringworm side projects that you want us to know about?
Well, we plan on touring our ass off for this record and go from there. The future is never promised to anyone. Side projects? Yes. Myself and our bass player Ed do a band called GLUTTONS and have a album coming out this year, as well as a release from a “solo” project I do called HOLYGHOST. Ed´s in a zillion other bands that are constantly recording and playing out (to many to name really), Matt does a another band called SOULLESS and has release coming from another band he does called SHED THE SKIN. John, Matt and Ed also play with Tim Owen (ex Judas Priest) in a band called BEYOND FEAR. So, musically we all stay quite busy when Ringworm has down time.

Anyway, thanks for the interview and we hope everybody goes out and gets the new record and definitely gets out this year to catch us live somewhere. We melt faces.

Tourdates (March/April in the USA) here:

Author: John Wisniewski, transl. K.Weber, photos: Scott Schumacher

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski