Stonehelm are about to unleash on the world a monumental album of thick, fuzzy Doom grooves of a standard equal to anything that has ever been released before and that includes Electric Wizard's "Dopethrone". They are truly the Weed Metal's band of the moment and here I have a interview with guitarist/vocalist John from the band. Here we talk about Doom, artwork, personal demons, recording and of course marijuana. Sit back, light one up and enjoy the interview.

Thanks for wanting to take part in this interview! How has life been for you guys since you completed recording for the album? Was it a relief to finally get it finished?
No problem, Life? well it hasn't been good?, ha,ha blunt answer? Shits been tough since before it was done HA! Financially, Emotionally, Psychically, its been tough and still is. We all are battling with personal demons in one form or another. As for getting the album done it was a relief when we had it all set in stone, but as of today we are no longer on Black Eye Media, We left in good standing and there is no bad blood, just different ideals I suppose. So the album has been pushed back to APRIL 2ND and will be released at our show in LA with GREEN and WOOD and RED OCTOPUS. Should be a killer evening. After that we will probably feel a little less tense.

What was the recording sessions like? Was there any pressure or did it come together easily?
Ridiculous is the best answer I could give, ha,ha. A lot of alcohol and narcotics, Wes was only in the band for 2 weeks and had to pull it together fast which he did very well. Took us about a month all in all to get it recorded and then several months of utter insanity with mix's, the loss of our sound engineer, just stumbling stone after stumbling stone but we finally got it done.

The artwork is spectacular but you couldn't expect anything less from The Goatess. Was the concept of the cover something you put together or did it just come from the mind of The Goatess herself?
Thank you, she has done art work for us before a few times and I asked if she would just go ahead and do the album cover and the book and art, she said she was into it, I have always gotten artwork from her that has surpassed my wants so I figured I would let her take this one and run with it, so long answer short, she did it on her own, and it couldn't be fucking better!

What about the history of the band, how did you all come together to make your brand of Weed Metal as I call it?
Its a very long story, but we all enjoy our marijuana, and in fact are medically prescribed it. We all liked stoner metal and doom metal, and found that we all clicked when we jammed, so we started jamming and did So High We Hail -fast forward-After a lot of shows and what not, we stopped to work on Stonehelm songs for the full length, we finished them and then about 2 weeks before we went into the studio Wes joined the band. We recorded what is now our self titled and we have smoked Marijuana every day through the whole possess.

What is it about smoking Weed you find so inspirational?
You get high ha,ha,ha,ha and it feels awesome! Relives pains and stress of the world and lets you be free and think about the now, its an excellent escape. Without marijuana, cocaine, pills, heroin, alcohol, tobacco and speed Music wouldn't be where it is today. Plus weed just.... gives you the power of the riff man ha,ha.

The influences are kind of obvious when you listen to the band but is there any bands that inspire you that don't come from the Doom, Sludge Metal genre?
Yes, we are all big old school death metal fans, we each have our own personal preference to listening outside of metal, although its hard to say exactly what they would be ha,ha.

What has the reaction been like from live performances?
Well some just a bunch of zombified stoners droning along which is just as good as kids banging there heads and all that stuff. Some shows people have had no clue what was going on and been like this loud slow band is making the bar really hard to sit in ha,ha. But for the most part our shows usually go well have a good turn out and everyone jam gets high and has a good time.

Playing with Sourvein must have been a killer experience, tell us a little about that?
It was for sure the first time, and we meet and smoked with em they where cool guys, well a few months later they where back in LA so we went to go see em, Troy walked right up and was like hey guys how have you been hows the band, we where surprised ha,ha and so we talked and he asked if we would set up a show in Ventura with them in a week I said sure, so a week later they came down and we jammed a heavy show, they came back and crashed at our drummers pad, we just smoked bowls, drank PBR and listened to Sabbath and Pentagram, Really cool down to earth dudes, also awesome live SUPER HEAVY!

There is more Doom, Sludge bands now than ever before. Do you see this as something that was bound to happen and do you think people are jumping on the Doom bandwagon? I must admit I haven't met too may fakes in the world of Doom!
I agree there is definitely a resurgence in underground doom for some reason or another, but its a good thing cause this lame ass thrash/deathxcore shit is killing me ha,ha.  I wouldn't say its a band wagon, its more of a Stoner caravan that simply grows lager by the day but just like every next big thing in music there are bands that make it and those that don't, that deserved to but didn't and didn't deserve it but did. So we will just have to see what develops over the following years.

Back to the album, was there any songs you left of the album and if so why?
Yes One Track Lady in Green, just not happy with it at time of recording so we left it off, look for it on a EP later on in the year.

One for the guitar, amp freaks out there now. Can you tell the readers about your set-up that produces that thick, warm sound?
We used Wes'  1986 JCM800 Threw a boss HM-1 heavy metal pedal, I used a 62 epiphone sg replica, and Wes used a Gibson explorer. Cody used a fender bass and did it directly I believe.

What do you see in the future for Stonehelm, big tour maybe?
I have no clue, big tour would be cool, but just to be a musician for a living would be cool, but who knows? maybe America will wise up start hating the police and smoking pot religiously,  ha,ha it could happen.

Have you got any wide-spread promotion lined up for the album?
Not really we are promoting on our own, and threw the internet, threw reviews and e-zines and what not, maybe get lucky and do a magazine interview or get a review, playing shows with bigger bands, we plan on making a video soon, so hopefully that will help make something happen.

I have to ask this one, what kind of bud are you smoking right now and what is your favorite beer?
For myself personally(John) As for weed man if its green and it smells like bud lets burn it ha,ha,ha But if I had to pick a strain I would say this one club has this great strain called Silverback , its heavy, as for beer I think the English have it down! Newcastle all the way!

Outside of the band, what do you all do to past the time?
Cody works a lot ha, ha hangs with his friends, Zac like myself and Wes is unemployed and we spend most of our time sitting around hating things ha,ha and we hang out with our friends to, we smoke a lot of weed.

This year already has been a killer for Doom releases, what album has stood out in your opinion?
I think it came out this year but that 7" from Acid Witch is insanely heavy witches house, High on Fires new album is supposed to be pretty heavy although I haven't heard it yet.

Once again, thanks for the interview. Tell the readers why they should listen to Stonehelm!
You should Hate the police, do drugs, get high, get drunk, fuck sluts and do it all while listening to Stonehelm. It works for all those situations ha,ha,ha Thanks a lot Ed!

Interviewed by Ed

March 2010