Metalheads are often stereotyped, and like most groups that are pigeonholed, the stereotypes sometimes are greatly exaggerated. Other times they hit the nail right on the head. I’d probably wager metalheads like to party, but Porkbelly is betting the farm!
On April 19th at Shamrocks at 103rd and Fort (Omaha NE), Porkbelly is having a “CD Burial Show” for their upcoming album, “Down to Pound,” which is what I am sure it feels like after trying to get this f*cker out for almost seven years!
After our interview, vocalist Zack Gilbert sent me some tracks from “Down to Pound.” While some of the tracks are purely drinking anthems, others contain more emotional content. But even when Gilbert is singing about love gone wrong, or a dead hooker washing up on the beach, I can’t help but think of the party vibe of their live performance.
Musically, Porkbelly sticks in the mid-tempo range throughout most of their songs. I get a little taste of Pantera here and there in the guitar riffs. The vocals switch back and forth from “yarl”-eqsue singing to gruff metal screaming, and the dynamic really keeps you listening and singing along. I’ve had “Beer 4 Pain” stuck in my skull for days now! Porkbelly’s motto is “BEER METAL BBQ” and that’s exactly how I imagine listening to the new album, in a backyard, beer in hand, and the smell of searing flesh in the air.
Here’s what Zack had to say about the upcoming shenanigans:
DW: Zack, it’s great to get to talk to you. I just saw Porkbelly kick ass at Stormfest, tell me a little bit about how the day went for you.
ZG: It’s always great when Porkbelly gets to open a show because we like to party with everyone. We got there around 3 loaded in and got ready to rock. Did our thang getting everyone primed and just sat back drinking and watching the best that Nebraska has to offer from the metal scene tear it down.
DW: F*ck yeah, it looks like it’s gotten rave reviews all around, was this the first Stormfest you guys have played?
ZG: Yep, this was our first venture but I have always supported it by at least attending.
DW: That’s what it’s all about! Well, man, we’re here to talk about the new Porkbelly album coming on April 19th. What’s it going to be called?
ZG: We are calling the album Down to Pound. Just because we are down to pound some beers so it seemed fitting.
DW: Right on, it seems like a lot of PB songs are about partying, was that a conscious decision when you started the band?
ZG: I came in about a year after the band was formed by Jamie and Mike, when I joined they gave me reign to write about whatever, so being in my mid-20s; 7 years ago, most of my inspiration was partying and drinking my ass off. But I’ve kind of kept that going just because I know metal isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea so maybe singing about partying might help people connect more.
DW: It really seems to work for you guys, a lot of bands come off like they take themselves very seriously, and that can get old. The costumes you wear really take it up a notch, when did you start doing that?
ZG: Being a diehard professional wrestling fan, I sometime last year started dressing up as my character Nebraska Williams Jr., from there I just kept dressing up as random s*it trying to be funny and to get people to laugh with us or at me. Hoping to get some kind of reaction.
DW: That’s great. So, Down to Pound, is this your first full length with Porkbelly?
ZG: Yes sir. We have been cursed with studio work, I believe this is our 3rd time trying to get this god forsaken album done. 2 studios closed before we completed the first two attempts.
DW: Holy s*it! How long has this process been going on?
ZG: I think our first attempt was in 2007? After one attempt failed we would be like “F*ck it” for a while and just kept writing or dickin around. This is a glorified hobby for us so we didn’t ever feel like we needed to rush it just whenever it got done it got done.
DW: That is persistence man! What studio did you end up finishing the album at?
ZG: Our buddy Doyle Tippler from Omaha has a Studio called DoyleMusic Recording studio. Where he does it out of his basement. Great man that was very patient with our drunken shenanigans.
DW: It’s always good to work with friends. Did you guys pick away at it over time or hammer it out over the course of a weekend?
ZG: S*it man. We picked away over this f*cker for like a year. Like I said we never felt like there was any rush. Doyle would have school and s*it to do so we would go a month or two without touching it. Next time we record I would like to do it all at once because it would become kind of a pain in the ass to remember what needed to be done or what was bad. This album isn’t perfect probably because we did it how we did it over such a long period. I think it took about a year.
DW: Yeah, it’s a f*ckton of work! I can’t wait to hear it. Tell me a little about the other bands that are playing the CD release show, how did you pick them?
ZG: Tendead’s poor ass has been stuck with us at least since 2007. We have played some awesome shows with them over the years. Naked Sunday is a kid from my hometown of Syracuse so I wanted to get him on the bill. Vulsafire is another band that we have been playing with for years. They are such an underrated band in my eyes. They tear up some covers and do some great original work. Burning Wish is sadly playing their last show the night of the CD release. We met these bastards at a jam session keg party. They started jamming some Alice in Chains covers and had to have them play shows with us.
I should say I love Tendead they are like family to us and I always call them our brother band. UMC brethren!
DW: F*ck yes! We’re big TenDead fans at BAC too! We’ll I’m looking forward to seeing you guys at Shamrocks on April 19th, any last thoughts for the readers, Zack?
ZG: Not to sound cliche, but if you want to gain 3-4 inches in girth and length to your member I think you should come to the Porkbelly CD release party.
Well, there she is. Get some great metal in your head and some more meat in your pants at the CD burial party April 19th at Shamrocks in Omaha! So obviously…
Get out and pay some cover charges!