Interviews: The Fill Ins

In this new occassion we have had the opportunity to interview the  Rock  band The Fills In , from USA. Check out this band and give them a like on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that? 

ALEX: It kinda just happened. The original line up of the band was formed in Roanoke VA out of a few friends of mine that had all played in the same bands together at different times. We were discussing forming a band between us and someone said "why not? We're just a bunch of fill ins anyway."... a day or so later I worked up a logo out of that, we all liked it and it wasn't discussed any further, it just worked. Even though that lineup is no longer the current band, it still fits and is relevant because we're still the outsiders to an extent; we're still just a bunch of fill ins.

2.Why did you want to play this genre? 

ALEX: I grew up around punk and rock n roll, and starting out I played in punk bands (even went on a tour of the east coast at the age of 17); but I wanted more out of playing live. I tried my hand at a stoner metal-ish band too; and from that point on, I knew I wanted to play just good ol' rock n roll. That's what's fun about this band though, we play it all; punk, rock, metal, rock-a-billy.. anything that can be filed as "rock", we'll play it. It keeps things fresh and new, and you’ll never know what you’re going to get from us.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed? 

MIKEY: The only person I knew before the band was formed was Alex. However, we had only hung out on a handful of occasions before I joined the band.

ALEX: No, the only person I knew for a while before the band was formed was Mikey. We knew each other in passing through mutual friends, but we had not really hung out before the band was reformed in Charlotte NC. I was at the bassist at the time's house going over the stuff I had written in Roanoke, and Mikey came over.. basically asked what we were doing and if he could join. We gave him a try and after the first practice, I knew he was a great fit. I met James after a show we played opening for Wednesday 13, and Adam through a mutual friend of mine in DEADLOCK in which Adam plays drums for.

JAMES: I met the band when they were a three piece at the mentioned Wednesday 13 show. I had just moved to Charlotte from Knoxville TN, and it was my first show that featured locals. I thought they kicked ass and wound up talking with Alex for quite a bit after the set. I played guitar in several bands in Knoxville, and was looking to do the same in Charlotte, so I would often contact Alex asking if he knew anybody looking for a guitar player. He was looking for a somebody to take over for him on bass, and I happened to have one, so that’s how I wound up joining the band.

ADAM: I met the guys from sharing the stage with them in another band I play in with my brother called Deadlock.  We were put into contact about me playing the drums for them through the singer of Deadlock and Alex.  The rest is history.

4. Each band member favourite band? 

ALEX: I may have temporary favorites that can top this band; but at the end of the day when everything's said and done, it's a tie between KISS (for rock) and Ramones (for punk). Both were so important for me when I was young in shaping my image of music and they will always have a special part in my heart. 

JAMES: Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, and The Stooges. I have several favorites, but those are the three that I always come back to, and would have to keep records of to survive on a desert island with.

MIKEY: Avenged Sevenfold, Van Halen, AC/DC, Children of Bodom to name a few.

ADAM: I can't name just one but if I had to pick the band that made the biggest impact on me as a human being and a musician I would have to say 311.  Another band that has had a huge impact on me since I was a kid was the Deftones. 

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

ALEX: It could be anything really. Just playing by myself acoustically, I could come up with a cool little riff.. or we could be at practice just messing around and something come out of that; a lot of songs have been written that way actually; Morning After, Spit In My Face, Saturday Night, even our new single; Hit The Gas all formed out of us just jamming to a riff.. Usually something Mikey is working on. Mikey and James bring a lot of riffs to the table, whereas i’ll bring more complete songs for them to add their flavor to.

JAMES: I’ll be on a kick while i’m playing my bass at home, and play little exercises that sometimes turn out to be catchy enough to turn into songs!

MIKEY: I have a few favorite guitarist that I draw inspiration from. Daita Ito is a Japanese guitarist formerly from the band Siam Shade. He’s got so much taste and feel in his playing without having to be too flashy and playing at a million miles per hour, something I like to feed off of during my own songwriting and practice session. I also must mention my guitar teacher Brian Baker for teaching me the importance of a metronome  and showing me mind blowing licks, along with Steve Coleman from No Power No Crown who is my greatest rival on and off stage. Playing with and surrounding yourself with musicians better than yourself is a great way to learn and grow.

6. Where was your last gig? 

ALEX: We played our last show of the year at this really cool dive bar a few miles from my place called The Station (Charlotte NC) with some good friends of ours. We had just come from filming our first real music video (for the track Hit The Gas) a week before, so it was cool to be on the floor of a dive bar playing with people 2in from your face. A nice way to round off the year.

7. Where would you like to act? 

ALEX: I want to play a summer beach party. Set up the stage ON the beach facing the ocean, and play til they can't take it anymore. Just having the sun and fresh air against your face, playing rock n roll on the beach.. It wouldn’t get much better than that.

MIKEY: In a dream world, Full blown european tour, Starting with Wacken Open Air, or Rock am Ring in Germany. Realistically, anywhere with free beer and cool people.

JAMES: One of those rock cruises. I’ve never been on one, but it would be awesome to be out in the middle of the ocean with some of your favorite bands and to perform with them while enjoying the perks of a cruise.

ADAM:  I'm with James.  A rock cruise.  That or Red Rocks.

8. Whom would you like to feature with? 

ALEX: Airbourne would be a dream! So would Supersuckers or CJ Ramone; but I feel we can achieve those two before we're all done… but Airbourne would be the “big” one for me.

JAMES: My dream opening slots would be for Cheap Trick or Alice Cooper.
MIKEY: There’s a band up in Greensboro NC called Big Something, very groovy rock’n’roll with a lot of Pink Floyd inspiration. They’re a fairly new band but have gained a lot of momentum here lately. A show with them would be amazing. 

9. Whom not? 

ALEX: A pop star. Hahaha. Nothing against them, but I really can’t think of any pop star i’d like to share a bill with. I feel that we could get along with almost any other style of music though.

JAMES: Anybody that asks us for a ridiculous amount of money to buy on anything.

ADAM: I can't really think of one.  I think The Fill Ins could play with any band or demographic and gel well with them.

MIKEY: As a band there’s plenty of artists and genres we just simply wouldn’t mesh with in a live crowd setting. As a musician however, I’d play with anybody. I saw on youtube that Lil Wayne is in desperate need of a guitarist, don’t think he ever got my email though. 

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that? 

ALEX: I never really did. I was always the class clown; I liked doing things that made people laugh, even if they were laughing AT me, not WITH me. So I think at a young age I got toughened up to the fact that people will always be critical of what you do for one reason or another; so just do it for you. I believe having that mindset helps with stage fright.

I think the only times my heart was beating through my chest was when I was part of another group and we got flown out to Cincinnati OH to open for Slash on his solo tour; you wanna talk about a big crowd? That was huge. It was a smaller venue for someone like Slash, but it was packed to the gills so everyone was right there in front of you and for a 19/20 year old, it can floor you.

The other time was with The Fill Ins when we had the honor of opening for classic punk band GBH; As we were getting set up to play, Scott Preece (their drummer) was chatting with our drummer at the time (Matt McCoy) about drum set-ups and offered to let us perform using GBH’s kit so we didn’t have to set up in front of them. That was so surreal but I think I turned that nervousness into aggression and it’s still in my Top 5 favorite shows played to this date.

JAMES: I never really do, because I always have a routine before we perform where I warm up and tape my hands among other little things for preparation that keep my mind occupied. By the time we get through the set opener the adrenaline has already kicked in, and i’m enjoying myself without worrying about anything. 

ADAM: I never have.  I've been playing in bands and performing since I was 14 years old and even back then I just felt at home performing and playing music.  It's something I can't live without.  

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

ALEX: It’s hard to pinpoint who has inspired me the most because I take different things i’ve learned from my musical elders both locally and nationally, and apply them to my daily dealings with the band both musically and professionally. I’d say I most admire KISS; a band that no one thought would make it, magazines against them, the works.. And through hard work and a small group of people that believed in them, they became the biggest band in the world for that era. I know that we would never be able to do that, but you can take those sort of lessons and apply them on a DIY / Indie scale. As for guitarists; Joe Young (ANTiSEEN) and Johnny Ramone (Ramones) taught me that you don’t have to be a master guitar player to have your own style and sound. Using them as a foundation then throwing elements of other great rock and punk guitarists on top has created my sound and it’s only grown from there.
JAMES: The Stooges, Guns N’ Roses, and Black Sabbath all have stories that have made lasting impressions on me, but any artist of any genre that comes across with a genuine attitude and delivery is always inspiring, whether it’s Johnny Thunders, Waylon Jennings, or Ghostface Killah. As far as my abilities as a bass player, Dee Dee Ramone and Lemmy were and still instrumental in shaping me as a developing bassist as far as how the delivery should be with the kind of music we normally create. Since then, i’ve learned how play everything from loopy Matt Freeman lines to Motown, and that’s creeped its way into a lot of the material since.

ADAM: The band's who have inspired me the most throughout my life as far as going way back would have to be 311, Deftones, Antiseen, Nirvana, Willie Nelson, Elvis, John Denver and Johnny Cash.  As far as modern bands go I would have to say Periphery. Just because the drummer Matt is so amazing.
MIKEY: Avenged Sevenfold for certain. You can’t hear it in our music but growing up that was the band that got me hooked on hard rock and heavy metal. I have all the albums, collected a good bit of merch over the years and have certainly seen them perform. They had the talent, the looks (early 2000s were a weird time), and the attitude: Write amazing music, put on an amazing performance and have a damn good time doing it. 

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for? 

ALEX: Shortly after the band’s first album, we got an email from someone in Romania asking us to send him a signed photo and stuff. I told him if he paid for shipping then we would hook him up, but he declined. That was pretty weird for me since we didn’t really have any good promotion for the first record so for the fact he found us some way was pretty weird, but cool at the same time.

JAMES: I had a guy ask if I wanted to buy some meth off of him after a show. That’s about it. I said no, just for the record. 

ADAM: I can't answer that question…. haha

MIKEY: “I ain’t ever been no alligator all my life, but if I was…”

ALEX: Haha! I forgot about that one! After a show in 2014, someone wearing a hawaiian shirt and mismatched shoes came up to us and asked me “Are you Willy?” I responded letting him know who we were and he proceeded to say “Did you see that woman in there? Man… I ain't been no alligator all my life, but if I was, I would have eaten her up!” Haha. Definitely one of the more bizarre things to happen to us.

13. What do you think of your fans? 

ALEX: I know every band says this; but we have the best fans in the world. I can’t say that we have any fickle fans either; people either love us or hate us, you’re not going to find many people that stand in the middle of that road. Our fans keep us going.. Sure, even if we never sold a record and people never came out to shows, we’d still be playing because we have to; but having people scream along to your songs just makes it so much easier to do the things we want. I think people forget that sometimes; just like you want to support Metallica with their great new album so they can keep playing and doing their thing, people need to remember that indie bands have those same dreams and that Metallica was once an indie band themselves, and because of their fans, they are one of the Big 4 Metal bands of the world! If people showed their local bands and indie bands that much attention and love, we just might be able to save rock n roll from dying off completely. We are so blessed to have people that come out to every show, buy merch, share our stuff online, recommend us to friends, the works. We adore our fans.

JAMES: It’s become a family dynamic for me at this point. The support that have gotten is tremendous, and beyond anything I could have ever expected. 

ADAM: Since joining the band I have been received very politely and enthusiastic by The Fill Ins fans.  

14. What do you think of our site?

ALEX: I love it! You all are very focused on new and upcoming bands, giving them a rare chance at a good spotlight among their peers and I think more people need to support bands like you all do! So thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of this!

JAMES: Yes! This is awesome! I’m honored to be a part of it!

ADAM:  I love it!  Thank you so much for making us a part of it!

MIKEY: Videos, news and reviews; looks pretty solid to me. Glad to be a part of it.

15. Something to add?

The Fill Ins recently debuted their new single HIT THE GAS; Available exclusively on iTunes and Amazon.

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