Vogel Speaks…

This interview was conducted between myself and Terror frontman Scott Vogel on a patio bar on Queen Street in Toronto on August 29th, 2008 and the next day in Montreal, backstage at Foufounes Electriques. A man in no great need of an introduction, prior to Terror Scott sang in such monumental Buffalo hardcore bands as Slugfest, Despair and Buried Alive. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Scott tours full time with Terror, who have recently released The Damned, The Shamed on Century Media Records. We caught up with Scott on the Toronto and Montreal stops of Terror’s full North American tour with Death Before Dishonor and Trapped Under Ice.  Photos that say Zac Wolf by Zac Wolf, photos that say Canice Leung by her, all others by John McKaig.

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Hoibak: Alright, Toronto, Ontario. I’m here with Scott Vogel.

Vogel: Wait, this is just for a blog right?

Hoibak: Yeah, I’m gonna type it all up. Alright, I’m here with Scott Vogel, front man of Terror. Former member of Slugfest, Buried Alive, Despair and Cinderblock.

Vogel: …and Fadeaway and Against All Hope.

Hoibak: Scott Vogel, state your full name, date of birth, including the year, and your favourite hockey team. Go.

Vogel: Scott Christian Vogel. 4/5/73. Buffalo Sabres.

Hoibak: Alright Scott, often over looked in the list of bands you’ve been part of is Cinderblock. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Cinderblock, who was in it, what the story was behind it, what you did in the band.

Vogel: I would like to say that I can see that there’s going to be a lot of weird old questions in this interview, so, first of all my memory is horrible so some of this might not be correct… but I believe the band was started by the drummer of Slugfest at the time. I wasn’t in the original band, it was members of No Joke, Slugfest and Discontent. It was two singers and it kind of sounded like a heavier version of Quicksand. The one singer Tom from Discontent, I don’t know if he quit or got kicked out or what happened, but then it was Tim and me singing. I think the band played a total of 6 shows. And yeah, we recorded a demo and that was that. We broke up.

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Hoibak: Alright let’s talk a little bit about Buried Alive. Buried Alive ended rather abruptly. You were basically in the middle of tour and it was like “hey, next show’s our last show.” What was the story with the breakup? A lot of people have no idea what was going on there. The band broke up and all of a sudden you were living in Arizona. Did you quit? What was the deal there?

Vogel: Truth be told, I’d say about 6 months before I quit I was considering quitting. The band was changing musically and the rest of band basically told me to not talk about hardcore on stage anymore. We had a vote of three votes against me to my one to kick Scott Sprigg out of the band. He was the only person that was still into hardcore, so then I knew that things were going to be bad. I had considered quitting before that tour but we had asked Death Threat to do that tour with us and they had cancelled a European tour to do the tour so I did not want to fuck them over. I knew on that tour that that was going to be the last tour for us. I also, two years or maybe a year before that had met my girlfriend. She was living in Chicago, I was living in Buffalo and we had decided that when the band broke up we were going to move to California. So at the end of the tour I told the band that the Buffalo show was going to be the last show and I quit the band and moved with my girlfriend. We actually stayed with my friend Mark in Arizona who has a house there and saved up some money and then moved to Los Angeles. Originally it was going to be San Diego, than this whole Terror thing came up.

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Hoibak: The Last Rites recording came out after you guys broke up. I remember hearing stories that it was actually a pre-recording for a record. Is that true?

Vogel: That was actually the combination of two different demo sessions that were never supposed to be released. There were actually 4 songs recorded at Watchmen studios that I actually thought were pretty good. That was when the band was still at a good point. The other 4 were at a really bad point where I didn’t care, I knew they would never come out, so I didn’t really put any effort into the lyrics or the vocals. Victory had the demos, because that was our label at the time. Obviously you can tell by the layout and everything about it that they just took the shit and put it out just to make some money off of it. And I’m sure that it sold so many copies that they just got rich off of it… that was sarcasm.

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Hoibak: For quite a few years you were vegan. You were pretty outspoken about it on stage. Despair and Buried Alive both had songs about it. Death of Your Perfect World was dedicated to vegans and vegetarians. Obviously now, you’re not vegan. Why’d you decide to stop?

Vogel: I guess, I just stopped caring to be perfectly blunt with you. I used to be involved in stuff and I just stopped caring. I guess that no one in Terror, well that’s not true I guess Carl was, but the majority were not vegan and we were touring more than ever before. It was getting harder and I just stopped caring and that was that.

Hoibak: Buried Alive also used to talk about religion quite a bit, same with Despair. Obviously the story is infamous of when you played with Shelter and made fun of Krishna on stage. When you used to play with Disciple you always made a point to express your negative feelings on Christianity. You seem to have toned it down a bit with Terror. Has your opinion on religion changed?

Vogel: Not really, I mean, I guess I probably wouldn’t get up there and badmouth religion. I guess if something is helping somebody out than good but it can also hinder people as well. Whatever helps people get by in this fucked up world I’m all for.

Hoibak: When Terror first formed, the big rumour going around was that you were going to leave Phoenix and move to California to start a band with John LaCroix and Todd Jones. It was going to be this super band made up for members of Carry On, Buried Alive and Ten Yard Fight. What exactly happened with that? Why did John not end up being part of the equation when it all came together?

Vogel: Well, I kind of knew him, I didn’t know Todd or Nick at all. Actually, Larry Ransom, you know him?

Hoibak: Larry Envy?

Vogel: Yes. He had given me a cassette with Carry On on one side and No Warning on the other and it had kinda got me psyched to maybe do a band. Than John called me up and was like “have you ever heard of this band Carry On? The drummer and guitarist want to start a band with me, do you want to sing?” I said I was interested, I’d check it out. I drove out there twice to check it out and he didn’t show up either time so that was kind of the end of him. He was definitely responsible for getting the band together, but he didn’t show up.

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Hoibak: You guys have done quite a lot of touring in places people don’t ordinarily visit. What are some of the most interesting places you’ve been and what are the most interesting or weirdest things you’ve seen on tour in places like South America, Southeast Asia, or Russia?

Vogel: Russia was cool. Korea was really cool. I think in Venezuela we were told we were the first hardcore band ever to go there. Going all over South America was kind of cool. In Mexico City there was a kid with a car full of Terror shirts outside, selling our shirts bootlegged which is kind of funny. Nick just went up and grabbed as many as he could and said “we’re taking these.” That was kind of funny.

Hoibak: Terror has definitely had quite the rotating line up over the years. You’ve had a particularly high number of bass players especially. Let’s play a little name association game. I say the name, you say why they’re not in Terror anymore and what they’re doing now.

Vogel: Alright, let me first say that in a band that plays as much as we do I don’t think that we’ve had that many members. I mean, look at any other band. It’s impossible for 5 people to stay focussed and live in a van together… I get that question all the time, so people see it like that. But look at any band that’s put out 4 records and has toured the world 5 times.

Hoibak: Alright… Matt Smith

Vogel: Didn’t work, he wanted to wear Smiths shirts on stage, we weren’t into that. What is he doing now? I have no idea… not talking to me.

Hoibak: Rich Thurston

Vogel: Him and Todd didn’t get along. That was more of a Todd thing. It was kind of like him and Todd… one of them had to go and it was more Todd’s band than his. What’s he doing now? I heard he was a cage fighter or some shit like that.

Hoibak: Todd Jones

Vogel: He quit. Couldn’t handle touring I guess. He’s quite a character. I don’t think being around a couple hundred people a night and living in a van and staying in people’s houses was his cup of tea. He’s my friend, I talk to him once in a while. He’s doing shows, bands.

Hoibak: Carl Schwartz

Vogel: Carl Schwartz? What a great guy! He’s doing First Blood. I can’t believe he lasted in Terror for as long as he did. He’s weird and crazy but I think in a different way than everybody else in Terror is weird and crazy and I just think he got sick of being around all of the partying and stupidity and he’s doing First Blood.

Hoibak: How weird would you say Carl is? 500 or 2000?

Vogel: He’s fucking up there. He’s chart topping.

Hoibak: Mike Couls

Vogel: He was never actually in the band. He did one tour with the band on the basis that, you want to be in the band, we want you in the band, let’s see how it fits. Him and Doug were crazy and I straight up told him, dude, I’m trying to get my life together, not take it to the next level.

Hoibak: Jonathon Buske

Vogel: His head or heart wants to be in a band and tour, but the other doesn’t. I think when it comes down to it… the stress… his heart does, but his head tells him that it’s not the best thing for him. The second time he was in the band we were just butting heads and it just wasn’t working out. It’s not worth losing a friend over to be in a band with somebody.

Hoibak: Last, but definitely not least, Frankie Three-Guns

Vogel: He got an opportunity to be in Hatebreed and he took it.

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Hoibak: Roger that. Alright, from growing up in Buffalo, being part of the Buffalo hardcore scene, you’ve had a pretty intimate relationship with the Southern Ontario hardcore scene. Slugfest obviously played some of the classic shows at the House for Zac. Despair went on tour with Chokehold. Terror went on tour with No Warning. What’s your experience been over the years, how have you seen it evolve over the past two decades of going to shows here/playing shows here?

Vogel: I don’t fucking know. I like a lot of bands here, No Warning is the best hardcore band since Hatebreed. Nic and Fred are amazing. Yes, I used to drive to Hamilton probably twice a month. Great shows.

Hoibak: Top 5 Canadian Hardcore bands of all time. Go.

Vogel: No Warning, Comeback Kid, Final Word, A Death For Every Sin, Chokehold.

Hoibak: Occasionally, Terror shows have broken out in violence. Your set as Positive Numbers Fest a few years ago kind of speaks for itself as to what occasionally happens at Terror shows. What is your personal opinion on the escalation of violence in hardcore over the past decade and what stance has Terror taken on this?

Vogel: Well, myself I’m a very positive person. I think every Terror set is pretty positive. The band name maybe doesn’t come off so positive but lyrically and the things I say definitely are. I think that there was a rough patch in hardcore a few years ago. There was a lot of fights at shows. I think that Terror draws a wide range of people, from the most posi of posi to people that aren’t afraid to murder people… and when you put all those people in one room sometimes things happen. I definitely was bummed out at that show. We paid so much money to fly from Europe to get to that show because we wanted to play it and the last thing we wanted was to have people get beat the fuck up at that show. We wanted to have a great time. I have been happy on this tour, there’s been almost no fights. I think in the last two years there’s been very few fights at Terror shows and I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Terror getting into a fight at a show. What have we done? We had some talks with some people and said to some of our friends that they were ruining our band. We are trying to make a living off of this, we are trying to spread hardcore and we would appreciate it if you didn’t fight at our shows and that was that.

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Hoibak: A few years ago, I believe September 2003 at the Bo De Doyen Vegetarian Restaurant downtown Toronto. I had asked you who your favourite hardcore band was and your answer was Madball. When I asked why you chose Madball, you said because Madball has put out a number of excellent records and have consistently put out good records over the years. Most hardcore bands put out a couple of good records, one or two, and then usually either breakup, wash up, or attempt to sell out. How does it feel knowing that Terror has put out three very good full lengths, a very good 10” and two pretty good 7”s.

Vogel: Well thank you for the kind words Erik. And thank you for somehow twisting things and comparing us to Madball. Like I said with Buried Alive, when the shit got fake I quit. If Terror was getting fake I would quit. Our new record I think is our best record. And I know a lot of people really like the first record, and I’m like that with a lot of stuff. If someone said the new record wasn’t their favourite I would understand that. I think through the line up changes and all the shit we’ve been through… of course we grew a little bit, the new record has some different elements… if Nick would have written some of this shit for Lowest of the Low and showed it to me I would have said ‘are you fucking crazy?’ but now it just feels right, and if it didn’t feel right we wouldn’t have done it. I think our consistency is one of the things that keeps us going. Anything you do, whether it’s tour with 18 Visions, or go on Sounds of the Underground or sign to Trustkill, it’s going to have some positive and negative effects… but we’re not doing this band to be an elitist hardcore band, like ‘I’m Mr Hardcore and I’m better then everyone’. Every step we take, I think about when I first found this stuff. If I’d never found this stuff I don’t know who I’d be. I think there’s a lot of people out there using the word hardcore right now and they don’t even know what it means. If we can somehow get in their face and show them what it really is, that helps this little underground world that we live in.

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Hoibak: After Buried Alive broke up, you and your girlfriend moved down to Arizona where you spent about a year. After spending so much time touring and being involved in hardcore, what was it like for you psychologically to not be in a band.

Vogel: It was amazing. I didn’t plan on doing another band and it was great. I had never in my life worked a 9 to 5 job and I never have since. I was in Arizona I think for 9 months and I had a normal job. I was actually working for Sears telemarketing. I was making so much money and I ended up winning a cruise, a Caribbean cruise. It was awesome. But, one thing I noticed was, as soon as I was not in a band, and I couldn’t help people out, my phone stopped ringing. When people didn’t need anything from me, people didn’t really bother calling to see what was going on with me. So that was another wake up call, that you gotta see who your true friends are.

Hoibak: There’s quite a few good restaurants in Buffalo. There’s a big debate between people from out of town when they go to Buffalo. Having lived in Buffalo for so many years, how would you answer this question… What is the best restaurant? I’m going to give you three choices: Great Wall, Mighty Taco, and Pizza Plant.

Vogel: I’m going to go with Great Wall. I have never tasted tofu that tasted like that. I like all three of them though, and when I was vegan Pizza Plant was my favourite place to go in the world.

Hoibak: What is the sketchiest thing that has ever happened to you, you have ever seen, or you’ve ever done on tour?

Vogel: I don’t know man, I see shit every fucking day, it’s all stupid, I just want to move to the woods and throw my phone out, never see anybody ever again. Sketchy is not good, I’m 35 and I play in a hardcore band.

Hoibak: Trustkill Records re-released Lowest of the Low while Bridge 9 was still selling the thing. What was the story behind that?

Vogel: I don’t really know the logistics of it all. We were touring like crazy. I think that Bridge 9 is doing a great job now from what I can tell but at the time we were going everywhere and people were telling us that the record was out of press and stores weren’t getting it. We were out there doing everything we could to be a full time band and the label was just not providing us with the support we needed. When we signed to Trustkill we didn’t have a contract with Bridge 9 so we re-released it on a label that had proper distribution and would keep it in press. At the time it was the biggest selling record on Bridge 9 and they let it go out of press for a long time. Things like that can not happen, so we did what we had to do to make sure it was available.

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Hoibak: Best bands you’ve ever toured with.

Vogel: Madball, Hatebreed and Hot Water Music.

Hoibak: Scott Vogel I understand you have a story about the greatest baseball team that ever existed, the Montreal Expos.

Vogel: Expos… my sister… Kristen Vogel, now a lawyer in the city of Buffalo… 4 years older than me… in love with Gary Carter, catcher of the Expos… IN LOVE with him. So, she would always wear an Expos hat. I’m her younger brother, I am a pest. One day I steal her Expos hat off her head, run in the house, lock the door. And I put the sink on, I’m putting it under the water fakely. She PUNCHES through the window, opens the door, tackles me and starts choking me. I was like “I’m just joking!” That’s the story. Fuck your interview, leave me alone, that’s all I’m saying, that’s it, no more questions, just leave me alone.

Hoibak: Alright, last words.

Vogel: Madball, Warzone. Out of my face.

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3 Responses to “Vogel Speaks…”


  1. 1 spencer November 4, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    this one is for all the ladies…

  2. 2 Matt November 6, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Find yourself asking “I wonder what the rest of Buried Alive is up to?” Probably not, but if you want something to do in between memorizing Vogelisms, here’s your update!

    Myself and Joe from Buried Alive still play together (15 years and counting)in MOTHER RED and have started a record label that has two self-recorded FREE albums for download.

    You can download Mother Red’s and Siren Street Shutdown’s (another great Buffalo band) albums for free at:
    http://www.stampederecords.us

    Thanks – Matt Roberts

    http://www.myspace.com/motherred


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