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Pro-Pain - Hate Is In the Air!


By Sgt. Deth

I recently had a chance to ask Gary Meskil, lead singer of Pro-Pain a few questions about his band and their new release, "Fistful of Hate". I love the new CD and felt priveledged that he took time out to answer these questions. He really gave me more than I bargained for. As you will see, he was more than happy to share some of his thoughts and opinions with our readers.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Your music has always been very opinion driven, what are some of the strong opinions you used as a basis for "Fistful of Hate"?

GARY MESKIL: I never really thought of Pro-Pain as being much of an opinionated band, although we are certainly more opinionated as individuals. Our lyrics are topical and passionate with regard to the issues, but we don't try to force any sort of personal agenda down anyone's throat. However, there are certain political leanings that are involved with some of our lyrics from time to time (which brings me to our new album). The title is "Fistful Of Hate", and the cover is basically a fist which uses an American flag as a backdrop. Obviously we are living in turbulent times in which hate seems to be the emotion du jour. America and it's current administration seem to be the nucleus of worldwide hostility. Other nations blame us, as we (or most of us) blame the rest of the world. My point of view is pretty simple: I have traveled to many places throughout the world, and I can say with confidence that people are generally kind and compassionate the world over. The politicians and their policies speak for a high percentage of the hatred in this world. For me, the album and it's cover speak loudly against our current administration and its policies and I hope that there is a positive change sometime soon.

WC: Do you believe the elected officials here in the U.S. have made huge, terrible mistakes in the last several years concerning foreign policy and/or homeland security?

GM: In my eyes, they have made huge mistakes with regard to foreign policy. However, I'm sure some of our elected officials feel quite the opposite. I suppose it depends on what side of the political fence you're on. I think it's plain to see that our country has been in a rapid downward spiral since The new administration was put in place. Some blame 9/11, but I blame the administration. What bugs me the most is that the rest of the world sees it for what it is, but we generally don't. I think that our government feels that if they instill a constant fear in us (via the media), then it will be much easier to achieve their goals and take away our freedom. It has been demonstrated time and time again that public opinion can change virtually overnight with the right "press", and that's scary. As far as homeland security is concerned: It's a joke, but a serious one at that. I believe it was designed to hack away at our rights and personal freedoms. If anyone thinks that we are safer due to Tom Ridge's homeland security farce, they are grossly mistaken. In my opinion, Tom Ridge is a thug.

WC: If so, what would you do differently if you were elected president in 2004 (and believe me, I would be the first to vote for you)?


GM: Well, I would like to abolish campaign contributions and get rid of the 2 party system once and for all. This way, we'll stop robbing Peter (the people) to pay Paul (corporate America). Then, I think we can begin to put some of the power back into the hands of the people (where it belongs). However, I think we're looking at business as usual (more or less) as long as the above constraints are still in place. By utilizing our countries vast resources we can certainly become more self sufficient. We need a national health care system that is pro-people (not pro-drug co.).We need a far less ambitious and less aggressive foreign policy, because we should be leaders in peace and not war. Those are just some of the things that I would address. I think it's all fairly simple if your heart, mind, and conscience are in the right place.

WC: Do you remember the Thirsty Whale nightclub in the suburbs of Chicago, and what are your feelings about it being turned into an Amoco station? Do you think oil companies control the world?

GM: I remember the Thirsty Whale well, and we've had some great shows there. It sucks to think what once was a great place to go and see some great live music is now an Amoco station. Sometimes it seems as if the oil companies do rule the world. They are a force indeed. However, the less reliant we are on oil, the less powerful they will be.

WC: The world sure is a different place in 2004, what would you say is the difference between hardcore now and when you first got going in the 80's with the Crumbsuckers?

GM: Considering that much of the foundation of hardcore and punk music is based on political and social sentiment, I think it's a great time for a resurgence. I believe that there are more similarities than differences when comparing the present state of "hardcore" to the 1980's. The Reagan era gave us a lot to sing about in the 80's, and the current administration currently serves as an inspiration for voicing one's displeasure here in 2004. It's really ironic that Pro-Pain's most successful years (in terms of sales) took place during the Clinton administration, but then again those were better times for us all (generally speaking).

WC: What was the reason for doing such a melodic instrumental on "Fistful of Hate"?


GM: We wanted "Fistful Of Hate" to be an album of "excess". So, we maintained a "go for it" type of attitude throughout the project. A lot of it has to do with timing and where we are at this point in our career. I think that even the most die hard Pro-Pain fan is more apt to accept experimentation from the band these days vs. 5 or 6 years ago. Contrary to belief, Pro-Pain is anything but limited and so we felt that the time was right to show some of our musical capabilities in the form of an instrumental.

WC: Gary, what instruments do you know how to play, and what made you finally choose to be a frontman for a heavy metal band?

GM: What most people don't know is that I'm essentially a rhythm guitar player, and so I just play bass onstage with Pro-Pain. I recorded the rhythm guitar tracks to most of our first 4 albums. I play drums as well, although not as good as J.C. or Klinger. My first instrument was the French Horn (believe it or not), but I lost interest in it pretty quick. I never intended to be a frontman, as that is something that just "fell in my lap" as a result of our original singer (Billy Milano) being dismissed from the band during the recording of our debut. After all these years, I still can't say that I'm entirely comfortable with that role, but I do my best and give it everything I have.

WC: What do you do for fun during your free time?

GM: A lot of my free time is devoted to my family life. My son Gary Jr. is 9 years old, so we play a lot of sports (soccer, baseball, etc..) together. He plays drums, and so we share a common appreciation for music. I do get out to the clubs from time to time to check out the local talent. Unfortunately, there are not many venues that support extreme music here in town. Sarasota prides itself on being the "art capital" of Florida, but it seems the local counsel dictates what art is in terms of what "type of art" we should be exposed to.

WC: Does the band hang out a lot together?

GM: Unfortunately we don't. Two of our members (Eric Klinger, J.C. Dwyer) are currently living in Pittsburgh, and Tom and I live in Florida. So, we basically just get together before the recording and/or touring process begins.

WC: What's the secret to Pro-Pain's great longevity?

GM: I think the main reason that we are still together is because we thoroughly enjoy what we do. We love our music, the touring, traveling, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, etc... We do have a good business sense as well, and so we have been able to fortunately succeed (financially) in a business where most are set up to fail.

WC: What is your idea of the ultimate party?


GM: Good company, good food, and better drinks!! What can I say, I'm a man of simple pleasures.

WC: I'm sure you are familiar with the classic movie about the rock group, Spinal Tap, share one of your bands "Spinal Tap" moments with our readers. (This is a traditional question we ask during all of our interviews.)

GM: Well, we certainly share some similarities to Spinal Tap when it comes to drummers (and we've had a few). Here's a Pro-Pain Spinal Tap moment:
a) The place: Bosspop Festival in Holland 2002
b) The drummer: Eric Matthews
c) The incident: After a great gig, Eric proudly hurls his drum sticks into the crowd. Much to his surprise, his sticks bounce off of the lighting rig and hit him on the head. He shrugs it off and then repeats.
Needless to say, the exact same thing happens not only once but twice more (all captured on video tape). Very Spinal Tap"ish" indeed.

WC: Anything else you would like to add?

GM: We hope you will check out and enjoy our new album "Fistful Of Hate", and look for us on tour throughout the rest of the year!! For more info, log onto www.pro-pain.com Thank you for the interview!!