Interview part 2: Bison’s James Farwell talks not wanting to be Lemmy, getting signed then dumped by Metal Blade, and weeding out the idiots

VW: And then you guys are doing a little Hindenburg show. Ah, good! A nice, crazy, sweaty, sweatbox that’s just gonna be… a good little wild one.

JF: That’s good to hear, y’know, because I’m sure that, back in that time, like after Earthbound, when we decided like, “Okay, let’s try to do it,” because before that, when I was with this band called S.T.R.E.E.T.S. and we were just, we were…

Dude sitting nearby: Skateboarding Totally Rules, Everything Else Totally Sucks.

[Laughs]

JF: That’s the one.

VW: There you go.

JF: Y’know, we wanna make it, and we were like, drunk idiots who just wanted to party and have fun. So with Bison, I was like, “Okay, well, let’s try to do both.” Let’s try and go somewhere, I think. And I think that, at the time, there was a real… the climate in the music scene, or new music bands, was a kind of like, real riffy, and like, party, and, “They’re road dogs, they live in their van, always on the road,” blah blah blah. That was a huge reason why Metal Blade signed us, because we’d always tour. Always tour. And that’s why they signed us, ’cause they really thought they were getting another party metal band that would still have some serious stuff, but… at the time, I didn’t really know that world. I didn’t know current metal bands. I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t listen to that kinda shit. I was still, like, punk and thrash, or rock ‘n’ roll. That’s what I was mainly into. Current metal, and still to this day, I just don’t… like it. But, it’s funny how that, at the time, was kind of enough to be like, “Okay, we’ll sign.” Not fully understanding why we were doing it, and not fully understanding why we were getting the attention that we were getting. And then, in retrospect, I’m like, “Oooh!” Y’know, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s a little bit off-putting. I don’t regret it; I wouldn’t change it. But it’s a little bit off-putting.

VW: Still, you got signed, rolled with the punch…

JF: Yeah! And it’s good to hear some people say they were with us through all of that, ’cause god knows that signing with Metal Blade probably got us a lot of… people heard our music that wouldn’t have heard it. ‘Cause even if you look at our 1,000 Needles EP, which I think is our best shit, y’know, 300 copies exist of that record – it’s getting re-pressed, and it’s up on our Bandcamp for a download for a buck, or whatever it is, two bucks – but nobody reviewed it. As soon as we’re not on Metal Blade, nobody reviewed it. Like, MetalSucks reviewed it, just ’cause we know the guy there,… Very little press, very little anything. Like, people don’t even know that exists, really. But, so, okay. So, weed out the idiots, weed out the people that don’t care, weed out the people who aren’t there for the… right reasons, the real reasons. ‘Cause I do care about that stuff.

VW: I mean, I do like it all. My highlights from your past albums are like, “Melody”. I finally looked… I pay attention to lyrics, but it’s as if I just hear them, and I don’t listen, and for years, I was just, “Who’s Melody?!”

JF: [Laughs]

VW: Then I read it. I’m like… oh, well, I’m a fuckin’ idiot.

[Laughs]

VW: “He must really hate her!”

JF: Actually, if you put a gun to my head and said, “Okay, you have to make a Best Of…,” “Melody” would be on there. It’s actually one of my favourite songs that I’ve written. I do like that song a lot.

VW: It’s a wild one. I mean, you guys have had slow burners, of shorter lengths, but stuff like “Blood Music” and “1,000 Needles”, that seems to… especially Matt, it seems to give Matt a chance to go…

JF: I like giving Matt the space he needs…

VW: … go full, y’know… ’cause he gets a glint in his eye and kind of goes off. I’ve seen the cymbal-throw at the end of a show, where it’s all in good fun, but there’s a manic…

JF: [Laughs]

VW: … there’s a little insanity there.

JF: Oh, absolutely.

VW: It’s like, “My god, this is the show. This is fuckin’… this is Bison.” I’ve turned to people, some buddies I brought, I’m like, “See? See? Do you see?!

JF: That’s great. [Laughs]

VW: Yeah, just havin’ a wild, fun, goofy time, but really… really heavy.

JF: And that’s… to me, that’s how a band works. It’s like, you look at the people that, A) you fucking respect, you love like brothers, and that you know… So, I love and respect and know these guys, I know what they’re good at, I know how they can fucking blow people’s minds at certain parts. Y’know… when Matt joined the band, my writing changed. ‘Cause we were like, I don’t wanna be this busy, technical, crazy band. I… kind of always wanted to move away from that, right? There’s a bit of like… it’s fun to play like that. It’s fun, to pull off some crazy technical guitar parts, but that’s a selfish kind of fun. So when you write these big, breathing riffs that everyone can really fucking cling onto, and like, really hold up together… that’s what a band is for. I’m not some fuckin’ asshole guitar player who wants to like – I put leads in because I like doing leads, I will always have guitar solos, just ’cause that’s a little bit of selfish fun you get to have – but it’s the whole song that everyone can hold up and throw around.