I can remember the first time I heard Tucson, Arizona based The Bled’s “Pass The Flask” I was driving to the Glasshouse to see Poison The Well. A buddy of mine popped that CD in and I instantly fell in love. I remember it being intense, gnarly and just… good. Songs like “Dale Earnhardt’s Seatbelt”, “We Are The Industry” and “Red Wedding” were instant classics. I immediately burnt a copy of that CD and listened to it non-stop for over a month. It got to the point my friends were plotting my death just they could hear something different when I was around. I liked that album so much, I actually PURCHASED it…
The first time I saw the Bled was just as memorable. The Glasshouse; No Motiv, A Static Lullaby and The Bled. Johnny Cash had just died, and James (Munoz – singer) dedicated their set to the “Man In Black”. He stated that Cash was more punk rock than most of us and went right into “Red Wedding”. They pretty much destroyed the Glasshouse, and every band that played after them that night, just seemed bummed that they had to follow the massacre that had taken place on stage. Needless to say, I was a diehard after that.
Shortly after, Fiddler Records had gone bankrupt. This led the band to jump to Vagrant, who later released “Found In The Flood”. I found myself at Best Buy on release day chompin’ at the bits. I immediately loved the progression the band was taking and felt they had begun to cement their name in the music scene. Shortly after, they released “Silent Treatment”, which I had felt was a good record, but nowhere near as good as the previous two.
After a brief break to recharge the batteries, the band went through a lineup and label change and had begun to write “Heat Fetish”. What came out was a brutal, intense new album that will be released on their new label, Rise Records, on March 9th. This could very well be the record to shape The Bled’s career, and Rise Records could be the missing piece to the puzzle.
I recently had the opportunity to interview James in hopes of talking about the new record, but honestly I had serious ADD and just started typing random and obscure questions… either way it’s funny.
What’s your worst drunken experience?
I got blind drunk once and was breaking martini glasses at this bar called the Surly Wench. My friend decided I needed to be put to bed before I got arrested, or worse, 86’d from the bar! So she dragged me to her apartment down the street and as soon as I got there, I jumped a ten foot wall, even though there was a perfectly good open gate that I should’ve used…anyways, I take two steps and fall into a huge open pit. Apparently, they were doing work on the courtyard, and as I
collected myself, I noticed my finger was throbbing and I held my hand to the moonlight, it was a FULL MOON by the way, and my middle finger was completely sideways at the joint. I snapped it back in without thinking about it and forgot about it five minutes later. The next
morning I was like “Why does my middle finger look like a polish sausage?” and then I remembered, “Oh. Oh, yeah.”
So after your journey with Vagrant records ended, you signed with Rise Records… did they approach you, or did you approach them? What was the “deal sealer” with them?
We were talking to a few different labels and Rise stood out because, 1. They were big fans of the band, 2. They seemed to want to do whatever it took to get us on their label, and 3. They were willing to pay us in coke and hot wings. Not really that last one. Actually, there was another label that was offering us more money, but they just didn’t seem as stoked about having us there as Rise did. Ultimately, it was about having a label that would support you and could keep you out on the road and most importantly, get your album out there, in stores, on iTunes, and in the hands of the people.
Which celebrity would you most wanna fuck?
Fran Drescher. She’s the hottest babe of all-time for me. I’m serious. I told that to a girl I was dating and she looked at me like I had my dick in a pig’s trough. I should’ve known right then and there it wouldn’t last.
What’s your favorite video game?
Dead Rising for the XBox360. That game kept me up all night for many many nights. It’s not even that difficult, as it has a great replay value. I’m obsessed with all the George Romero zombie movies, and that game reminds me a lot of the first Dawn Of The Dead. I love the fact
that it’s in a mall and I love the fact that there are so many ways to beat it. I’ve almost rescued all the 50 survivors and I can’t wait for the sequel. I also loved Earthbound for the SNES, even though it had a pretty whack ending. I’m also really good at Street Fighter 2 and most of those fighting games. Marble Madness is up there. StarFox64. I like games where you can obsessively play again and again until you absolutely master them. Mega Man 1-4. I could go on for way too long. Did I mention I’m single?
Is passion just a fashion, or is it the other way around?
Passion can be applied to anything. I could be passionate about standup bass playing and you could be passionate about standing 69ing. If either of those things happens to be fashionable at the time, then that is probably just a coincidence.
Who would win in a fight: Vanilla Ice or Snow?
Vanilla Ice has been dangled over a balcony terrace by Suge Knight and his henchmen. He’s got a lotta pain and anger. Remember when he came back in the late 90’s and was just straight up NU METAL? That was pretty gnarly. I think he would fuck up Snow. Snow probably never gotten taken seriously, but I bet they loved him overseas. Rob Van Winkle has been clowned on since day one, and I think he can use that hatred as an advantage.
Would you be willing to take this opportunity to start some beef? I think Dr. Dre would be a good place to start.
I actually respect all Dre’s work with Snoop, with Eminem, The Chronic and the Chronic 2001. I have never been let down by that dude. I’m trying to not hate in 2010. Fuck having beef, I’m gonna shout out how dope that last Poison The Well album was and if you slept on it, you severely fucked the pooch.
How has everything been since the recent addition of Robbie, Brad and Skibar?
It’s been running quite smoothly. All these dudes are constantly chain-smoking, so I think that helps in some way. They play hard every night and they are always down to have a good time on the road. I couldn’t be happier. They’ve rejuvenated the band with nicotine, Four
Loko and facial hair.
The new album, “Heat Fetish,” is a gem. I found myself listening to it way too much. Your sound definitely got harder than Ron Jeremy’s dick… What caused this Viagra related rebirth to your older sound?
I think a lot of the downtime, and the fact that I was doing nothing related to music helped me. I wanted to record something that was gonna go down as my gnarliest vocal performance to date. It definitely felt like the most brutal thing I’ve ever sung at the time. When I listen to the album, I get these weird flashbacks that I’d imagine an athlete would get if he re-watched a highlight reel of him getting his bones cracked. I relive the whole recording process and remember how drained I was at the end of it. But pushing yourself to the limit IS the only way to feel any ounce of satisfaction.
True or false: fat chicks need lovin’, too.
As a fat chick, I’d say yes. But we also need a gym membership.
A crazed lunatic has a gun pointed at your girlfriend and your mother. His gun only has one bullet. He lets you choose. There’s no way you can stop him before he shoots. Which do you pick?
Considering my “girlfriend” is made out of “cyber flesh,” I’d let him pump her full of lead.
Did you name your band after a vibrator and the damage it can cause if not used properly?
BLED actually stands for this secret society, The Brotherhood of Latinos with Enormous Dongpieces that I’m a MEMBER (pun intended) of, matey.
Ever play cleavage basketball?
No, but most of the other dudes in the band have played and won. Robbie is the Kobe Bryant of Cleavage Basketball.
What band has been the most memorable to tour with? Which band was the worst?
Every Time I Die, Dillinger Escape Plan, Poison The Well, The Used, The Bronx…all those bands were tons of fun to share the stage with. We’ve occasionally toured with some young bands who I don’t think “get it,” yet. They miss the big picture of things. But I’m sure that’s just because they are young, and hopefully they’ll get their shit together. But then again, those are the bands that always blow up and then disappear two years later.
Would you lower yourself to eating road kill if you were broke and on the road?
I’d probably try to hunt something that was bigger than me. Like if I could run and take a bite out of live tiger, I’d do it.
Have you ever had to share a bed with a fellow band mate and found yourself poking them with your morning stiffy? If so, reactions please…
We always share beds. Josh and I are tour bed buds. And we’re always rock hard, so I’m sure it’s probably happened. I actually like to surprise people with the mangina. Or just answer questions with a cock in your hand. That’s how Josh and I communicate lately. If you don’t see that thing in my hand, then I’m not agreeing with you.
What superpower do you wish you had?
I wish I could make everyone who downloaded my album buy my album, or at least come to our shows.
Is Tupac still alive?
No. But you should see Nothing But Trouble, because his performance in that is pretty sweet.
What’s been your favorite record this year (or 2009, since we’re only 3 months deep in 2010)?
I just listened to that Dillinger album and wanted to quit singing. But that always happens when I listen to their albums.
OK, last question. Describe your band in four words or less.
“Loud, sweaty ear rape.”
James is one weird and funny dude.
One thing I’ve always liked about the band is they are a no frills; rock your ass off kind of band. They could have made more money with another label, but instead wanted to keep the integrity of the band and their fans intact. In order to survive in today’s music scene, you have to stick to your guns and never falter… this is why I shall always be a fan of the Bled… just normal dudes who want to rock, tour and be heard.
Heat Fetish is record that holds nothing back. From the opening track “Devolver” it immediately kicks you in the nuts and melts your face. This is by far Munoz’s greatest vocal performance to date, and the most aggressive album out of this band. “Shouting Fire In A Crowded Room” is by far my favorite track that starts heavy, but still has a tad bit of melody in the chorus. The technical aspect is there, but it’s not overbearing which lets the album flow quite nicely. It think it could be safe to say that “Heat Fetish” may have improved on every album they have ever done… even, dare I say it, “Pass The Flask”. 2010 will be the year of The Bled.
This record gets an 8 out of 10… thus making it a definite “go buy now!” type of album.
Be sure to pick up “Heat Fetish” on March 9th and play it loud. Play it so loud that Satan himself can no longer take it. Also, be sure to check out their tour dates and witness the brutality live. I promise you shall not regret a thing… and even if you do “Nothing We Say Leaves This Room”.
Be sure to check out their MySpace (www.myspace.com/TheBled) for tour dates and other random acts of amazingness. Also, check the twitter @TheBledForReals. Also follow the band members for good laughs: @ttowntweeter @jamesmunoz @jeremyraytalley @bertburbidge.
By Jeff Curtis (@Jeff_Leppard)