SUPERJOINT “These Mutts Bite Hard” 

BY Dr. Abner Mality

The Ritual may be gone but the Joint remains! It’s tough to kill something as scruffy and hard bitten as Superjoint, the hardcore assembly featuring Jimmy Bower, Phil Anselmo, Kevin Bond and two new recruits, Steven Taylor and Joey “Blue” Gonzalez. Starting as Superjoint Ritual, they’ve been through a name change and several lineup upheavals that resulted in a prolonged period of inactivity. But with new album “Caught In the Gears of Application”, they’ve roared back into the scene with a rush of whiskey, diesel and snake venom and woe to those who get in their way.

I managed to grab hold of new drummer Joey Gonzalez, who also shreds skins for thrash band Warbeast as well as Mr. Anselmo’s other band The Illegals. He had the unique perspective of being a newbie and a veteran both and he brings a fresh take on the Superjoint experience. He was a lot of fun to talk to, as you’ll find out, and in true Superjoint fashion, he doesn’t mince words on anything.

So let’s cut the long winded B.S. and get right down to cases with Superjoint 2016!

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Superjoint had been on the shelf for a good while. What made now the right time for you to return?

JOEY GONZALES: Well, man, once we got together for the Housecore Horrorfest, it all just really clicked and it was a lot of fun to play all these songs, play all the hits. In our eyes there was really no reason to NOT move forward. We just sort of ran with it. You know, if it feels right, do it. That’s pretty much what we did. We took the ball and ran with it.

WC: That almost answers my next question. I was wondering if things clicked automatically for you or if it took some time to find your footing. It sounds like you hit it off right away.

JG: Oh yeah, yeah. Me and Steve have been Philip’s go-to rhythm section for a lot stuff since we’re in The Illegals. It was just a natural fit for me and him. I come from Warbeast, a thrash band, so it’s just been really awesome for me to come in and learn all these different styles. It was a challenge at first but with Jimmy Bower being such an amazing drummer, as a guitar player, if there was anything that I needed help on it was BOOM! Right there as far as groove and little tempo things. It was awesome. We learn something new every day. We’re honestly ready to start writing another one, really! We’ve been talking about it. While the fire’s hot, you know?

WC: I was wondering whether the new album was just a one time thing or if you’re ready for a full time career. It sounds like you’re ready to roll from here on out.

JG: Yeah! We have a tour coming up tentatively in January, that’ll be awesome. The new record comes out in just a few days…November 11. We’ll be pushing that record November 12 at The Gas Monkey live in Dallas, Texas with a bunch of other badass bands. We’re gonna test the waters, man. Just get out there and see how people react. I’m expecting the reaction that we want, which is people wanna see it. We’re gonna give it to them. We have no plans of stopping now.

WC: What’s it like working with some of these larger than life characters like Phil and Jimmy. They definitely have their own strong personalities. Are they like generals that give orders or do they just hang out like one of the dudes?

JG: They’re absolutely easy going. We definitely have a lot of fun with each other, there’s a lot of shit-talking, lot of teasing, but there’s a lot of love in it. I think these days now, these guys have been in bands long enough with people that if they’re somebody they don’t like, they don’t really have to jam with them. Those days are fuckin’ done. If you don’t  wanna jam with somebody and it doesn’t work, you shouldn’t! You shouldn’t have to. Easy-peasy. But with all of us, it just sort of clicked and it’s easy. Kevin is probably the most mysterious and the biggest handful, even over Philip. I’ll wait to see if he ever listens to this interview…

WC: He’s kind of an enigmatic character?

JG: Yeah! Yeah, he is! He’s awesome. But man, it’s cool. I was a fan of Superjoint for about ten years. I got into them when I was really young. I was too young to understand all of it. I grew up in the nu-metal age, which was totally kind of lame (laughs). It took forever for that to blow over and for me to really realize that the bands who are still touring are the bands I really like. They’re the bands I look up to. Everybody who’s still out there grinding it out and trying to fuckin’ do it.

WC: I talked with Phil a few years back and didn’t know what to expect. It wound up being the best talk I’ve had with anybody. We’re both horror fanatics and he’s deeply into it.

JG: Yeah, man, he’s a super passionate guy. This is all he’s ever done…horror movies, boxing and music. That’s pretty much right up most metalhead’s alleys, you know.

WC: I always see Superjoint being described as hardcore. How do you define hardcore? Is it a sound or is it more of a philosophy?

JG: When you put it like that, I think you just nailed it better than I ever could have. I think for most hardcore bands it probably is a philosophy first and foremost. My friends who are punk rockers are hardcore. It’s a different mentality. You just have a different mindset, man. For me, I think the biggest gap is probably a generational gap. The newer generation is into faster types of music like speed metal, thrash, stuff like that. Then you have your classic traditional punk rockers. It’s never changed for them.

So for me, if you try to label it as one thing or the other, it really depends on the person and the band. I think Superjoint crosses all these kind of realms. As far as hardcore, it might just be the philosophy. As far as genre of music, I don’t know. I wouldn’t really pigeonhole it like that. But you can be a hardcore motherfucker if that’s what you’re talking about. There’s lots of hardcore motherfuckers out there. Most of them are thankfully fans of ours, so that definitely helps.

WC: Right now, I’m talking to you on the day after a tumultuous election. Anger is seemingly tearing the country apart. Is now the perfect time for Superjoint?

JG: Maybe! Who knows? The music will speak for itself but people as individuals will draw whatever they want from it. And what’s what music is all about. If it’s going to offend you or incite you in any way, we’ve done our job. If you listen to it and think, goddamn, this is the best fuckin’ shit ever!, we did our job. If you listen to it at all, we did our job. It can be just like religion, it can be interpreted in a million different ways. But for us, we’re just out there tryin’ to have some fuckin’ fun and tryin to push some fuckin’ buttons. If that’s the way people want to take it, then take it that way. If you wanna come to a show and have a badass time with some real motherfuckers, you can do that, too!

WC: Another subject you talk about on the new album is technology and the toll it’s taken on us. The track “Clickbait” comes to mind right away. Is there more to it than that? Do you feel it’s a negative thing?

JG:  For me, I’m only 26 so I would be a liar if I said I didn’t like technology because I play Playstation, I play online with my friends and I definitely see the benefits in the way its changing everything. It’s good but there’s also a lot of bad that comes with it.  I mean, pirating sites, people recording your shows, bootleggers…you open up this whole new world of problems. But again, the real hardcore motherfuckers are gonna buy your albums and they’re gonna support you the way they need to be supported. As far as if it’s a dumbing down of America and other stuff like that, I’m just a dude in a fuckin’ band and it’s really not my place to say, you know. I’m not gonna talk shit…well, there might have been a few people in the industry that I have but I’m not famous. I’m not anybody special, I’m not important and I don’t expect special treatment. I’m responsible for me and that’s it. That’s what I expect out of everybody else in the metal community. You need to be responsible for yourself, you need to go to shows and be respectful and you need to understand that nobody’s taking anybody’s shit anymore. We’re all one big family, we’re all in it for the same thing, we’re out to have a good time and play fuckin’ music.

WC: That’s a very level headed way of looking at things.

JG: Yeah, man! Life’s too short to be angry at everybody all the time. You can’t take on the fuckin’ world and to be divisive in the metal community is extremely ridiculous. I understand people’s gripes with all kinds of genres and the way the industry is and downloads and shit like that. I get it! There’s a lot of be upset about but that’s why we make the fuckin’ music, right?! You got a message, you have an outlet to do it.

WC: I’ve heard some say that now our country is in the place that it’s at, it might be a new golden age for angry music and hardcore.

JG: Bring it fuckin’ on, man! Push the envelope! That’s doesn’t mean you’re being disrespectful. People want to read into stuff. Just as you brought up, now is a sensitive time and people want to read into shit. But the fact is is that musicians create mixed emotions. You’re either gonna love us or you’re gonna hate us, you know? You can’t really please everybody all the time. I have lots of friends  with different points of view and I love that about them. When you talk to them, you grow! You learn things about people. It’s a whole process. This world is really small and that’s one thing I’ve learned through touring You can fly anywhere on this fucking planet in less than 12 hours. And we’re worried about so many issues. That’s what’s crazy to me. The music has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people all over the world. It’s a small place, dude, and we’re all living on it.

WC: Would you say that there is ultimately a positive message behind Superjoint? A song title like “Circling the Drain” sounds pretty negative.

JG: Again, we’re trying to push those buttons that need to be pushed, but again, we’re not making somebody listen to our record as negative therapy. Oh, if I listen to this, it will toughen me up! That’s not what this is about. This is music! We’re expressing ourselves and Philip’s expressing himself and what he’s been seeing and what we’ve all been seeing recently and putting it out there. Which is basically what heavy metal and punk rock was about right from the beginning. Right? It’s talking about your experiences and what you see.

WC: Stirring the drink…

JG: Yeah, stirring it up a little bit. So yeah, the fact that we’re back together and coming out to play for everybody is a positive message in itself. Not just us but bands on our roster, hard working bands like King Parrot and Child Bite and Philip’s other new band Scour who are doing some different shit and my own band Warbeast…we’re all in it for the same reason. But we’re all different people. We’re not going to agree 110% on everything all the fuckin’ time.

WC: Housecore has become a very interesting label, with a fairly diverse lineup of bands.

JG: Yeah, Honky! I mean, Honky is a super boogie style band, which is way out there compared to us.

WC: One of the most interesting is Author & Punisher…

JG: Absolutely, Author & Punisher is incredibly talented. Again, he’s another hard working individual who’s incredibly smart.

WC: He’s a driven man. I’ve talked to him in the past.

JG: Yeah, that’s what we need in music today. If somebody pops in our record and goes, fuck, we can make a better record than that and then they do it…awesome! We did our job again.

WC: That’s a very unique way of looking at it.

JG: Yeah, dude! It’s called turning a frown upside down. You know what I mean? If you want to take the time to be negative and give it attention, that’s your prerogative, but we’re here, we’re not fuckin’ going anywhere and we’re caught up in the gears of application just like everybody else. We’ll see who makes it out alive.

WC: One song that intrigued me on the new album is “Receiving No Answer to the Knock”. Can you enlighten me as to what that’s about?

JG: Oh man, Philip is pretty…I don’t know how to describe it. He can be like a storyteller and have something make so much sense that there could never be any other way to sing the song. It’s the law. Just like the drum lick is the law for the drummers. It’s something that should never be played differently. That’s what I’ve always liked about his vocal style. It makes that impact and with “Receiving No Answer…”, that’s kind of like our Superjoint epic. It’s a very long song and I think the message is pretty clear. People need to hear it. People can take what they want from it. I don’t want to give everybody a false sense of what to expect. I want people to get it and make their own conclusions, because it’s pretty out there.

WC: As you’ve mentioned, you’re involved in not just Superjoint, but a number of other bands. How do you separate Superjoint ideas from the other bands you’re involved with? How do you put yourself in that particular spot and say “this is going to be Superjoint and not an Illegals or Warbeast idea”?

JG: Sometimes Philip has ideas and depending on the speed and aggression of it, he can tell where he’s going to push it. When the Superjoint guys…Kevin and Jimmy, when all of us are in the room together, there’s a different mindset so that makes it easy because of the individuals involved with the project. If it’s just me and Philip and Steve jamming, we usually end up doing something weird and mellow and then going to some grindcore type shit and we just don’t fuckin’ stop. (laughs) It just becomes this weird mashup of everything we like. The cool thing about it, though, is that we record everything here at the Lair. We record all our rehearsals. So if Superjoint is in the room together and we start jamming on a riff and I throw in a blast beat and Philip likes it, it’s recorded. Even though Superjoint might have played it for a second, if the riff doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. That’s another benefit of recording 99% of everything we do. That allows us to go back and pick and choose. It’s all in the family so it doesn’t really do anything to disrupt us. But when DeLeon and Walter are in the room, our two grinders, it’s fuckin’ Illegals time and there’s no fuckin’ around. We’re absolutely grinding the fuck out.

WC: I was going to ask if Superjoint songs were written democratically or if certain individuals take the lead. It sounds as if it is very much a group effort.

JG: Oh yeah, yeah. It was definitely a group effort. Which made it easy because there were so many ideas floating around. Any time we got bogged down, we just woke up and said, hey, it’s Superjoint. Come on! Recording everything helps and that brings us back to the technology. We also have a full time engineer. Steven Berrigan does a great job, he does everything for Housecore. He’s recording us, he’s there recording us every day and that definitely helps. You could take a 30 second piece and turn it into something monstrous. Some of the best songs were done that way.

WC: Napalm Death used to do it all the time.

JG: Absolutely People are still doing it, man! If you think about it. Bands have large large catalogs of stuff that we may never hear. That’s just the way it is these days, man. You got to get it out there, but it’s really hard for us because we talk so much shit to each other. If somebody comes up from the rear and says “that sounds like this”, it’s like “fuck you, dude!” (laughter) We’re kinda counterproductive with each other sometimes, but it’s fun.

WC: What would be some of the more unlikely influences on your sound?

JG: There’s probably some blues and almost some country. I grew up doing construction so I listened to a lot of classic rock stations. So for me, it’s really weird because it’s either your standard thrash metal bands like Slayer, Exodus, Testament and then more extreme stuff like Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation. I was a pretty standard guy. I was playing bars when I was 13! So I really stopped buying music when I was 13. I just started making it instead. I was focused strictly on playing and getting better. So that’s probably my biggest fault. My library is not that big. That’s it. I listened to a lot of classic rock, where there were these incredibly tasty drummers. Like I said, the lick is the law. A drum lick is supposed to be right there. Neil Peart is a big example. The lick is the fuckin’ law. You’re not gonna play it different because it wouldn’t be the song. That’s one thing that I’m striving for in my playing now, to make every hit count and make every beat memorable. That’s kind of difficult to do. I think I’ve been finding my voice a little bit more with Superjoint. The style of music is a little bit slower. But with Warbeast, I’ve definitely been trying my best to pull it back, with a little bit of “less is more” attitude. I’m trying to make every note count and every hit fuckin’ pop.

WC: With Neil Peart, you couldn’t have picked a better target to shoot for.

JG: No, it’s just incredible. Incredible tasty off time signatures! Jungle drums, ambient tones…yeah, he would be a huge influence. I don’t own a lot of his catalog. I’ve always been one of those people who would go to shows, I would watch the drummer and I would leave and try emulate that. I’d watch a video and try to emulate it. I never took lessons but is it really ripping off somebody 60 years old when you learn a technique? I don’t think so! That’s what I would do and the next time I’d play a local show, they’d be, dude, like what the fuck? How’d you learn that? Well, I watched you! That’s what I’ve always done. Never really had lessons, just watched. I’m like a sponge when it comes to playing. If somebody takes the time to show me something, I can learn it extremely fast. I’m really good with numbers and my memory game for all these songs is on point. Even though I’m an extreme pothead. (laughs)

WC: Well, you got plenty of company there. It’s not like that’s a rare affliction.(laughs). What was the last release you picked up just because you wanted to hear the band?

JG: The last release I picked up was Thor “Unchained”. We did the Housecore Horrorfest and he came into town. I’m pretty particular. I don’t really buy anything but we had the opportunity to learn some of his songs and play with him on stage. I had such an awesome time and it was cool getting the opportunity to listen to this classic music and to watch the movie behind him. His backstory, his biography, everything that he’s gone through. It was cool! It was really cool to see that connection and then have my own connection to that dude. He gave me his shirt and I bought his record. I wanted to have it on vinyl because it meant a lot. This dude is working really hard to try and come back and reclaim the glory. That was the last thing I bought. Before that, I bought some Sabbath on vinyl. It was one of those 180 gram ones. I can’t remember which one, but the one before that was “Sabotage”. That’s the last CD I actually bought. That is my favorite record of all time.

WC: Is there a particular Spinal Tap moment you’ve had that sticks in your head more than others?

JG: Oh! Dude, there’s a bunch! I had the opportunity to play a gym…I mean, a gymnasium! Recently Warbeast just played a festival in Austin, some biker rally. We showed up at this big campground and all these crazy bikers were everywhere. Old ladies with their titties hanging out and all this crazy shit. We get there and it’s like, dude, you guys ain’t even playing this stage! You’re playing some other car lot ten miles away. That was the most recent  one. We were all like, goddammit, we’re at the wrong fuckin’ place! We were playing with fuckin’ Anvil! That in itself is kind of Spinal Tappish. On the last Illegals tour, our bus driver got so wasted…I don’t know what he did, I guess he finished off the last little bit of liquor on the bus and he smoked with us. Our manager Kay called us and said, you need to come get this dude. There was a closed restaurant early on a Sunday and he was just throwing up all down the sidewalk. We had to go get a wheelchair! (laughs) It was awesome! That was fuckin’ bad ass. The first thing he said was, I’m trying not to shit myself! Me and Christian our head of security, we were just fuckin’ dying laughing! All day, every day, we’re having fun!

WC: Any last words for all the Superjoint fans?

JG: For all the Superjoint fans, November 11, “Caught Up In the Gears of Application” our new record, it’s gonna fuck you up. November 12th, we’re playing the Gas Monkey in Dallas, we’d love to see you there. For everybody else, please go to either or for anything related to Housecore. Hope to see you guys on tour in January!