Underoath’s Not So Metal Influences
In the hard rock hierarchy, Metallica are widely regarded as being in that iconic group that includes AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin. But to Underoath, Metallica are resting on those laurels. “I think a lot of bands get away with a lot of crap because of who they are, like Metallica, ‘St. Anger,’” Underoath’s Tim McTague tells Noisecreep. “The only reason people bought that is because it said Metallica. If that was like this is our new band name, three dudes and a bottle of water, it would get massacred. Still kind of did.”
To Underoath lead singer Spencer Chamberlain the problems with ‘St. Anger’ could be heard before the record came out. “When bands start to think about how to stay relevant and you heard Metallica say, ‘We gotta go back to our old stuff.’ And you saw that DVD where they’re like, ‘Kids don’t like guitar solos anymore.’ It’s like they started worrying about it too much,” Chamberlain says. “You can tell when a band seems like they’re giving the middle finger to everyone, but just cause they’re doing what they’re passionate about at the moment, what they feel. Those are the good bands.”
So who are those bands to Underoath? “Radiohead does it better than anyone,” Chamberlain says. “To hear them and know every album is going to be better than the one before and blow my mind, but I can go back and listen to any album and be like, ‘Yes, that’s it,’ you can’t top that.”
“Joy Division had a very short career, but their entire career was based off of basically giving the middle finger to everything that was popular and being, ‘Now, we’re popular,’” McTague says. “Anyone that can make a trend and not follow it is respectable in my opinion, even if you don’t celebrate their entire catalogue. I think Joy Division did that, Nirvana did that, in a lot of ways even Smashing Pumpkins did that. I think the biggest downfall of Smashing Pumpkins is they were around long enough to write bad music,” he adds laughing.
Talk to the guys in Underoath and its very clear what they respect is bands that follow their own path, from Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails to Thrice and Mars Volta. It’s a principle Underoath swears by for their own music. “The second you have a conversation about what does anyone else besides the five or six people in the practice space want to hear you kind of already screwed the pooch on that one,” McTague says.