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The veteran New York crew of Sons Of Ghidorah came together under that Godzilla-inspired moniker in 2014. Vocalist Mark talks to Comrade Aleks, just as the band release their sophomore album.

Interview with Sons Of Ghidorah.
"King Ghidorah is an angry three-headed kaiju, though its story varies from movie to movie - he appeared in nine movies alongside all-time favourite kaiju Godzilla, and a bunch of other ugly bastards (plus, listen to Misty Morning's 'Doomzilla' for some more fun!). New York-based Sons Of Ghidorah aim to evoke the sound of their father stomping down cities to ruins. Although this rattling Stoner/Doom band was born in 2014, its line-up comprises old dinosaurs from the American heavy underground. They've just recorded the Sons' second full-length, '379 Miles to Go', and I'm finding out more information about them with vocalist Mark."

Sons Of Ghidorah: Troy Mezzio (guitars), Mike Plewinski (drums), Mark Giuliano (vocals), Chris Konys (bass, keyboards).

Hi Mark! How are you? What's going on in New York nowadays? Is everything blocked and closed because of the virus?

All of us are good. We are still alive, breathing and on this side of the dirt (or fire) for the moment so that is a good thing.

As of today, a lot of New York is shut down but it depends on where you are in the state. Unfortunately, we are close to two hot spots for the virus. Chris and I are right outside of New York City while Troy and Britt are out by Buffalo. New York State alone has almost 350,000 confirmed cases (by the time you read this we will have surpassed that number) which is more positive cases than any other country in the world. Suffice it say, almost everything shut down and it is a bit surreal.

Despite this situation, Sons Of Ghidorah's second album '379 Miles To Go' was released by Helmet Lady Records on March 15th. Did they get there in time with a CD or is it only a digital release?

Yeah, we are really excited about releasing the material on Helmet Lady Records, we are tight with the other bands on the label, it really feels like family. The initial release is digital but we will be releasing the material on both CD and Vinyl. It would be totally badass retro if we could find a way to do a cassette and 8 Track release too.

First of all, the new songs sound more tense and vivid than those you recorded for your self-titled debut back in 2014. How much time did you spend on '379 Miles To Go'? When did you decide that the new songs were ready to be unleashed?

Hard to say how much time we spent writing the new material. After Carl Pace left the band in 2017 we began to rework what we were doing. If you listen to the early material it drew off Carl's influences including Black Sabbath, Sleep, Deftones and a bit of Black Flag. While we certainly held onto a large part of our original sound it changed a bit with Troy Mezzio's guitar style which draws from influences that range from Primitive Man, Conan and the Melvins.

You may also hear a bit more of a punk influence in what we are doing. Troy plays guitar and I play bass in an old school punk band called Tension. I think some of that bleeds into Sons material. We recorded the material for 379 Miles to Go in early 2019 but we took our time in releasing it. Our focus was playing live, we were just enjoying what we were doing, we really get off on playing live.

Since that recording Mike, our drummer has taken a…sabbatical I guess you could say...from the band. Since then we have had Tony from Tension sit in, then Benny from Lucertola (a band Chris and I were in) our friend Mike from Wealth of Nations and a few others have all gigged with us. We have literally had more drummers than Spinal Tap. At this point Britt Wagner from Goblin Hovel/Circular Logic is now with us full time and we are really excited about her contributions to the music.

Would you say there's some Punk attitude in the band besides its musical influences? Doom and Punk seem to be opposites though Saint Vitus prove they aren't.

There is definitely an authentic punk edge and attitude to what we do. Remember both Troy and I play in Tension as well as SOG. I played in a punk band in the late 1990s and Troy played in Pittsburgh's own Half Life back in the day.

I, think that punk and doom complement each other really well, I was always a huge fan of Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, The Obsessed, the Melvins. All of those bands embrace a bit of a punk edge, beyond those bands, the whole desert scene from my perspective embraced as much Black Flag as Black Sabbath.

Sons Of Ghidorah - 'Sons Of Ghidorah' (Album, 2014):

I guess I should have started with this question, but why not… Why did you choose a good old kaiju for the band's title? They're big and bulky, so it's true that such a name is damn fitting for a Doom/Stoner band, but it sounds quite sentimental when a majority of bands prefer to show a connection with horror movie culture through their names.

That is an easy one, the Astro-Monster, Monster X, King Ghidorah is just badass and powerful! Ghidorah can take on ten monsters! We all grew up watching those movies so the name just felt right.

So there is no place for horror movie influences in your songs?

There is definitely a place for the influence of horror movies in what we do, this time around, the lyrics were a bit more personal than horror or Sci-Fi as they have been on other albums. Interesting that Chris took the time to wed those ideas with classic horror films in the videos he put together for each of the tracks. They are spot on!

So, back to '379 Miles To Go'. There are six years between it and 'Sons Of Ghidorah' - what distracted you from focusing on writing new songs?

We took time to let the music develop with our change in personnel. We wanted to make sure that we came together as a cohesive unit by playing out often. It was important that we developed a distinct sound from the earlier material. We actually have about 2 albums worth of new material to record. We are excited about the direction of the music. Once things loosen up around here we will be hammering out the new songs.

Do you mean you have enough complete songs for two albums, or is it just ideas?

There is definitely enough material for two albums. Some of the unrecorded material, we have been playing live for a bit. Working them into our set really helps us develop the songs to their fullest potential. Honestly, with the whole virus thing, we have all been working on other material independently. There is probably 4 or 5 albums. Many of those tracks risk hitting the cutting room floor but some will make it through.

(Photo: P & M Schaff).

Mark, what kind of meaning did you put in the album's title?

When we are playing locally, 379 miles is the distance between the two parts of our band. We alternate between regularly playing shows in Western NY and the NYC area. Two of us (either me and Chris or Troy and Britt) always have 379 Miles to Go before a gig.

You recorded the album with Justin Rose, how smooth was this session? Did you have enough time to fulfill all your ideas at the studio?

We recorded the material at GCR Recording in Buffalo with Justin because the place feels like home. We all recorded there many years ago (we are talking about the late 1980s) at different times, with other bands when the place was called Trackmaster Studios. Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls was the engineer there at the time. He is one of the best people out there, he would do anything to help other bands out. Robby took over Trackmaster and opened it as GCR in 2009. In an age where you can record just about anything from home, to have a welcoming, reasonable studio that has recorded material with Yes, Rick James, Ian Gillan, The Flaming Lips, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Shonen Knife and obviously the Goos is really a gift.

Late '80s? Do you mean you were playing heavy music back then already? With what kind of bands did you play?

Yeah…we are old. Chris will tell you that I convinced him to buy his first bass guitar when we were in middle school. He will also tell you that he didn't realize that was a lifetime commitment. Mike, Chris and I played in a Buffalo band called Russian Steal. Russian Steal had sort of a Nuclear Assault with a touch of Mercyful Fate sound. Different incarnations of that band were active from 1985 (not a typo) to 1989. When we were putting together shows Greg Reynard from Terminal Grace (Greg is also known as Toucan Son of Sam when singing with Green Jello) and I would always say, "we should get the kids to play on the bill." The kids we were referring to were Beyond Death and Tirant Sin. Beyond Death and Tirant Sin ultimately merged to become Cannibal Corpse. So yes heavy music way back then. Also, remember, I told you Troy moved to Pittsburgh from Buffalo to play with Half Life.

Sons Of Ghidorah - '379 Miles To Go' (Album, 2020):

The album's artwork is very simple, why did you stop at this crude cover?

Yeah…the cover art…we stopped at a crude cover because we were waiting on artwork and we didn't want to wait any longer. The vinyl and cds will have a bit of a different cover.

I got the impression what Sons Of Ghidorah tend to play live often. How often did you tour before the story with the virus started? Do you prefer to play single shows or tours?

Before the virus we played live a few times a month. We have had the privilege of being able to share the stage with some really great bands from The Obsessed and EyeHateGod to King Buffalo, Gozu, Eternal Black, Mangog, Thunderbird Diving, Eyes of the Sun and countless others. We often play single shows but prefer short tours. Sadly we all have day jobs to pay the bills.

Is it expensive to tour for a band like Sons Of Ghidorah? Do you cancel gigs if you should travel far? What's the furthest point you've ridden with the band?

Cancelling gigs…that was a bit of a problem in our early days because of work commitments from members who are no longer with us. We take the attitude that if you want to be treated like a professional, act like a professional. It is a rarity to see Sons of Ghidorah cancel a gig. We have really stuck to the northeastern region of the United States though we have played in Maryland, Ohio and Wisconsin. Invite us, we'll play anywhere.

How is it easy to find a venue to play live in NY for a band like Sons Of Ghidorah?

Well it was...we had some staple spots that we would play often, Lucky 13 in Brooklyn, Olive's in Nyack, the Mohawk in Buffalo, Gussy's in Queens were all really great places to play and every year we would hit the Music is Art Festival in Buffalo. The people at MIA, the Mohawk and Lucky 13 in particular have been really good to us. As it stands at today with everything that is happening, Gussy's is already gone and we have had to cancel a bunch of shows that we were really looking forward to playing. It will be interesting to see which venues survive this crisis and what live music performances will look like moving forward.

What does the band give you? It's not for money of course, but how rewarding is this experience in itself?

It is definitely not the money, with all sincerity, we do this because we love to play music…really loud music.

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Visit the Sons Of Ghidorah bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-05-19 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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