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Warbringer Frontman Played Chess with Kreator Drummer

This summer, California thrashers Warbringer will be in Europe, playing several massive festival gigs with the likes of Hatebreed, Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir, Testament, Satyricon and more. And when they return to the states in late August, they’ll have just a few days off before heading out with Obituary, Goatwhore, Krisiun, and The Berzerker on September 3 for a U.S. tour. What does a band like Warbringer do to kill time on tour?

No, they don’t hunt down and kill hobos. Well, at least frontman John Kevill doesn’t. Instead, he likes to catch up on his reading and play chess. That’s right. Chess. And he likes to match wits with which ever bands he’s on tour with.

“On the Kreator and Exodus tour, I challenged everyone I could,” he recalls. “One night, I got to play with [Kreator drummer Jorgen] “Ventor” [Reil], which was pretty f—ing sweet. I just love to sit across the table from somebody and do that whole meeting of the minds battle thing. I love it.”

What he doesn’t love is listening to the same music, over and over again, which happens on the road, much to his chagrin. During the band’s trek with Kreator and Exodus, for instance, bassist Ben Bennett made sure Kevill would never listen to another Frank Zappa record, ever again.

“Ben is our main drive, and the driver picks the music,” he says. “Right at the start of that tour, for, like, two months, he was on a complete Frank Zappa binge. I like Frank Zappa and all, but Christ, not for two months straight. There are certainly worse things you can listen to for two months, but there are so many Frank Zappa records that there was always something on, always some new record for him to start playing. It got to a point where I memorized Frank’s entire catalogue.”

Ask any band, and they’ll tell you life on the road (and especially life on the road in a van) can be annoying. “Coexisting with anybody in such a tight setting for months on end can be testing,” he says. “At a certain point, I get to this stage where it feels natural being in a van. It doesn’t bother me at all. I can get good sleep in the back of the van, as we ride through the night. Usually, I’m a little f—ed up anyways. So, that helps. At times, I feel like a sailor lost at sea. But every person in the world has there specific brand of s— they deal out, and dealing with that over a long period of time can be annoying. Living with anybody can have its difficulties.”

Warbringer’s second LP, 2009′s ‘Waking Into Nightmares,’ is in stores now, and fans of brutal thrash will no doubt dig what the band can do. But does Kevill think thrash is at its strongest these days? He’s not so sure.

“I think its more real metal, and not false, bulls— metal, that people are supporting,” he says. “Since metal has been around, it’s a bit more known and accepted, and its less of a fringe thing as it was in, say, the late 1990s. Thrash is at the center of all forms of heavy metal … it’s somewhere in the middle, between the traditional stuff and the extreme metal stuff. If you love metal at all, you’ll probably like thrash metal as well, because its pure headbangin’ music.”

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