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The Word Alive’s Tyler Smith Reflects on Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker, the Concert That Changed His Life

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2012 was a busy year for The Word Alive. Their album Life Cycles was a big hit, they tore across North America with Suicide Silence on the All Stars Tour, and spent the fall on a U.S. co-headlining trek alongside Born of Osiris and Norma Jean, followed by a European run with Parkway Drive in November.

The Word Alive are just coming off a well-deserved rest as they prepare to hit the road today with For Today, Memphis May Fire, and Upon a Burning Body, Noisecreep had the pleasure recently of talking with vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith.

Telle, you’ve finally go some free time after a seemingly endless amount of touring, huh?

This is the longest break we’ve ever had – just under two months off. For the first month or so it’s all about assimilating and getting back to normalcy. Little things like waking up when you want to wake up. Seeing your family. This is the first year I’ve gone home to Ohio from California for Christmas in four years – the family has been waiting for it for a long time and so they were thrilled.

How have you been filling the time?

As a band we just unplugged from music. Practicing a bit and keeping up with the online stuff. But the true break stopped the last two or three weeks as we started writing for a release that will happen sometime later this year. Sometime between March and June and I think we’ll be in the studio. As far as rehearsing for the tour, when we’re headlining it takes longer to get back into the groove. But with a shorter set it’s not too bad. We’re playing a new song of off Life Cycles we’ve never played – “Evolution.” It’s one of the heavier ones on the record – we posted some polls on line and that one seemed to be the overall winner.

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You and Mitch Lucker were good friends. Would you tell us what it was like when you heard he had died?

It was pretty surreal. Their drummer Alex texted me right when he found out. I had just woken up early in the morning and thought, ‘Am i still dreaming? Wake up, this is a not a good dream.’ I was so out of it – I wrote him back and said, “Tell me you’re lying.” He said no, man, Mitch is dead. It was so heavy and the weird thing was I talked to Mitch on the phone two days before. I had just moved back to California and we were gonna have a barbecue – our dogs used to play together. I love that band and I love Mitch. I went to the funeral and the memorial show and both were amazing. I think it’s hard to say the impact he had on the genre. This is something so powerful and while of course everyone would prefer him to be here, we’ll make sure in the metal community that his legacy lives on forever.

It sounds like you had quite a bond.

There are not many people where you’d say, ‘I would do anything for that person.’ But Mitch was one of those guys for me. When you tour with a band like Suicide Silence, it’s hard to express how tight you get. All of the guys in that band. There’s a real love and trust among all of us.

Telle, was there a show you saw growing up that inspired you to do what you do?

It was a Thursday show I saw. Their frontman, Geoff [Rickley], climbed out in the crowd, kids were ripping his shirt off and he didn’t care. He screamed right in my face and in that moment, I thought, I have to do this. I can do this. I’m gonna do this. And so here we are.

Adam Elmakias

For Today, Memphis May Fire, The Word Alive, and Upon a Burning Body tour dates:

1/25 Birmingham, AL @ Mountaintop Community Church
1/28 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts (TLA)
1/29 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
1/31 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
2/1 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
2/2 Syracuse, NY @ The Lost Horizon
2/4 Toledo, OH @ Rocket Bar
2/5 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
2/6 Joliet, IL @ Mojoes
2/8 Dallas, TX @ The Door
2/9 San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
2/10 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
2/13 Mesa, AZ @ The Nile Theatre
2/15 Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
2/16 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades

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