Otep - Battle Scars

Interview By Sgt. Deth

Photos by Kat Heitzman

There are very few bands that have the creativity and presence that Otep and crew have on stage. They are not only are a metal band, they are also artists and philosophers. Evil J (bassist) was a great person to interview. He seemed more than happy to do it and he displayed some of his creativity with his answers. I was especially impressed when I found out that three of the band members, including Evil J, are from the Chicago area. Let's get right to it:

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Where are you from?

EVIL J: Chicago area… Lombard , IL .

WC: Do you think this new line-up will be stable?

EJ: We are all very tight and we get along real well together.

WC: How exactly do you go about writing a song with Otep?

EJ: She is constantly writing stuff. She has no shortage of new material. I pretty much come up with some riffs and she matches them up with her lyrics.

WC: She has pretty strong opinions, do you always agree on things?

EJ: Yes, we do. She does a lot of research and she really knows what she is talking about.

WC: So, Otep reads a lot?

EJ: Ohh yeah…she reads like I watch TV.

WC: Why do they call you “evil” J?

EJ: Otep was looking at some pictures taken of our first performance and I had a real evil,intense look on my face. The name started then.On this tour they are calling me "mildly irritated J".(laughs)

WC: Were you ever in any other metal bands and if so, when and who?

EJ: I have been in 14 bands actually. Mostly small stuff, but it all made me who I am today.

WC: Where did the album title “Ascension” come from?

EJ: It comes from how we are growing as a band and how we are reaching new heights with our artwork and our music.

WC: How are things going with your new record company?

EJ: We don’t have a record company as of this moment, hence the delay for the new CD to be released. We just didn’t want to waste such a good album on a bad record company that will not help promote it properly. We want all the fans to have a chance to listen and enjoy it, and we don’t think our old record company would have made that possible. We have been contacted and have some current offers ,though.

WC: Are there any special rituals band members have before doing a show?

EJ: We just hang out. Otep will put some music on and we will just get together and talk.

WC: On your message boards Otep says you guys are practicing like mad…how many hours/days per week do you guys practice?

EJ: On average, about four hours a day and about 6 days per week. Aaron had to get comfortable enough to know his equipment and his gear and all that stuff as well as getting caught up with the actual performance aspect. Enough to play the songs. We don’t just stand there, you know.

WC: How many bands has Aaron been in before?

EJ: He has been in quite a few. It’s actually funny... our drummer and him were in a band together. They’re from the Chicago area, too. The ended up moving out to L.A. to go to Musicians Institute, Aaron went there for a little while, Brian graduated from there. We have three music geeks…I went to music school in Boston .

WC: Do you have any Spinal Tap moments you can share with us?

EJ: There was one night we blew a tire on our trailer and we were tired and delirous and sitting in the back of the trailer singing “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. We are just kinda normal guys. The most craziest thing that has happened so far on this tour was me cutting my leg open. I got 23 stitches. (Evil J shows his battle wound and it is huge) It’s still healing…I was stepping up on stage, slipped, and I was like “ohhh, that’s not good”.

WC: Did you still go on stage that evening?

EJ: I went to the emergency room and they told me I was going to miss the show, and I am like “NO”, so I left. Luckily it was wrapped up. I got to play, and then afterwards I went back to the hospital. I had to wait about 8 hours to get it stitched up.

WC: Any other comments for our readers?

EJ: Be yourself! Fight to keep your voice out there. That’s pretty much what I have been trying to do for a long time. Everything deserves hard work, nothing comes easy.

Otep's Official Website