By Andrew Catania
I spoke with Steve Conley from Flotsam and Jetsam about there new album and upcoming tour.
When will you guys head out on tour?
SC: March 10th we go out with Destruction and Overkill in Europe.
How many songs did you write on the new album?
SC: I wrote over half of them. 7 or 8 I do believe.
Are you the main songwriter?
SC: No, I wouldn’t put it that way. We all demo songs that are from our home studio, Michael Gilbert does the same thing. I will share a work mix of what I came up with. Mike does the same thing. And we compile a couple of songs and just go through and kind of see what works and what transpired to be the best stuff with his voice on it. We each demoed about 20 songs each.
What do you guys do with the songs not used on the album?
SC: I pulled, some songs from a folder of songs that were left over, a couple that I thought were pretty solid, just never got to. I’ve probably written almost another record since this one’s been finished. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, maybe I’ll put them out on something else. I write all of the time, some guys sit around and play arpeggios, I go through spurts where I will write every other day and come up with stuff and finish a demo. I kind of practice writing songs like I would practice playing lead guitar.
How was your last tour with Hammerfall?
SC: That was awesome!! Great band, killer players and it was a lot of fun. We played a lot of really nice venues and I think it was a great tour. I had a blast.
How different is it touring in Europe than here in the states?
SC: I got to be honest with you when you tour the clubs, in Europe, it’s totally different than playing a club in the United States. For one, the way you get treated. They feed you. If you are playing in America, they give you a $10 buyout and tell you to go to McDonald’s and fuck off. (Laughing)
There are showers in all the venues and there’s never a shower here unless you’re playing a theater because they’re bars. They weren’t designed for touring bands. In Europe, the metal scene is so much bigger than the places are more designed for touring bands and they understand that you’re traveling and they take of you care, you know. They want to make sure that you want to come back. They want to make it a good experience. I appreciate them for that.
The last time we spoke we talked about how you believe YouTube has hollowed the instrument and reduced people learning to play guitar the traditional way with in-person lessons. Do you think that’s truer today than it was just 2 years ago? Do you think it’s gotten worse?
SC: Absolutely. Yesterday, a friend of mine that toured with us, a young guitar player, total whiz, just filled in for one of the biggest metal bands in Europe, and he showed up and we had this discussion, he said when he was living was on the East Coast, teaching, he only had like 4 students and 3 Skype students. I was just like there’s just nobody doing it. And he’s a pretty fierce player.
Do you think it’s just a lack of interest from the younger generation?
SC: I think it’s about people’s attention spans have shortened, especially kids, from when we were kids. It’s so short now. They have everything, from iPads to your phones that can be used as a computer. Anyone can put music on YouTube. There’s a lot of information there. I do think being in a rock band is as glorious as it was when we were young. The new bands play in these crappy
clubs are probably aren’t selling very many records. I kind of think that the industry as a whole is kind of going down the drain a bit.
Did you guys do anything differently when recording this album, then you did with the last one?
SC: We had a different guy mix this album but everything was recorded the same I did all the
guitars at my house. Mike did his guitars at his house, And A.K sang out where we did the drums, which is Ken’s studio.
You guys put out strong albums every time, do you think the growth of the band, particularly here in
the United States, is because of the trends in music?
SC: I don’t know the answer to that. I could give an opinion but I don’t even know if that’s correct. We’ve pondered it a bunch of times, is it just the name of the band, that it’s a weird brand? When we were out with Hammerfall, there were people who were saying we heard of you guys from your first record. We didn’t even know that you were still around. I’m like “what?” And then after the show, they were like, wow! You guys are great and I’m going to listen again and check out some of your new stuff. How did you go from hearing the first and second records and then thinking that the band disappeared for 20 years?
What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
SC: We’re in Europe for three weeks to a month. Then we’re off for like 3-4 weeks and then we’re going to do the States and Canada – it’s like a 5-6 week tour. We go back to Europe for festivals. There are 2 festival runs to set up. We have a 10 or 12-day run and then we have some time off. Then back to Europe for another 10-12 days.
For more information on Flotsam and Jetsam including tour dates, please visit their Facebook page at