Gates of Slumber Frontman Loves to Hit the One-Armed Bandit
True metallers Gates of Slumber are in a precarious position. They're an American band -- from Indiana, to be specific -- who will release their fourth album, 'Hymns of Blood and Thunder,' on Sept. 29. But the majority of their fan base lives in Europe. Guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon says that isn't so surprising. After all, heavy metal may be bigger than its been in years, but it'll always be bigger in Europe than the States.
"That's where Wacken [Open Air] is ... where 100,000 people show up, and, granted, that's the whole world, but the majority of people are driving there, not flying in," Simon says. "It's just a way bigger phenomenon in Europe, so doom metal will just do better there than it would in the U.S. I would just have to say that heavy metal is a much bigger deal in England and Germany and whatnot than it is here domestically."
It is for this reason that the band will be playing a ton of shows this fall over in Europe. But in 2010, Gates of Slumber have big things happening ... things they cannot discuss at this moment, "but we have some pretty big plans, and we're really going to be getting out there." Ultimately, Simon says he'd like to see as many people show up to the band's shows in America as they do in, say, England. But he says they're just thankful for all the fans they have. They'd just also like new ones.
"The goal for us is just to write as many good records as we can, and play in front of as many people as possible ... it would be awesome if we started drawing the same number of people here that we do in Europe," Simon says. "It's great going to towns and seeing the few people I have been seeing for years. If we go to a show and it's this 30-person turnout on a Wednesday night, that's not a bummer. It's just the way it goes. And I'll see the same faces the next time I'm through, so it's almost like seeing old friends ... you get to know people, they bring their wives out, they email you. That's really cool. But it's steadily growing. We had some really awesome turnout on our last tour. Boston was massive. It's not a numbers game so much for me as it is playing the music and keeping it rolling as long as we can."
While the band keeps rolling, Simon's becoming more and more of a high roller. See, in Europe, you can gamble just about everywhere, and Simon's got the bug.
"That's the one thing I do in almost every town I can, I will gamble," he says. "I got hooked on the first tour we ever did. We were taking a ferry from Sweden to Germany, and the Swedes still use the crown, and I had 100 crown in coins. I had to get rid of them, and lo and behold, there's the one-armed bandit. People told me I was wasting my money, but I played myself out. Then Steve -- the bassist from Serpentcult -- he came up and with his first crown, hits the 400 crown jackpot. That got me ... after that, I was done. Any time I am around a one-armed bandit, I try to hit it."