Norma Jean - Cory

Interview Date: October 13, 2006

Associated band: Norma Jean


The Radio Rebellion tour has been underway for a few days now. How has the turnout been, and what are your plans for after it?

Out of the first four shows, almost all of them sold out. We did another sold out show after that, and that brings us to here. This is like the sixth night of the tour. The tour has been way beyond our expectations. We haven't done a solid, marketed headlining tour like this in like two years. We've been blown away by the response, even with the new songs. We couldn't be happier with how it's been. As far as this tour goes, it continues all the way into December. During the winter, we're going to take a little time off. Next year, we'll start back up again with overseas: The UK, Europe, and maybe Australia. After that, it's wide open.

Are you finding that you are tapping into a new market with the new album, or do you feel that you are touching into the market you've already been tapped into?

I'm not exactly sure if we are being received well from the old fans. The crazy thing is that we can have a thousand magazines do good reviews or interviews, but what our fans think is the most important thing to us. They've been loving it so much that we are just blown away, for real. The first week it was out, we were so stoked about what kids thought about it. I definitely think whether you're an old fan or new fan, there's something on the new record for sure.

Does your pride for this album surpass anything else you've done musically?

Definitely. Redeemer definitely takes the cake in that area for sure. When we went into writing for this record, we didn't have any expectations at all. We didn't have a plan and had no idea musically what were going to do. We just started writing together, and that's what came out. The spontaneity of it all really captured well in the record. The live energy really comes through, and it's an exciting record.

Do you do any writing while on the road?

We try to, but it never really happens. We have these portable little amps.... I wish I had one back here because they are really funny. They are like a regular stack with a head and everything, but they're like extremely small. They look really stupid, but we wrote most of O God The Aftermath on those.

How did you approach Redeemer lyrically?

Some of these songs were written day of vocal tracks. Before I would go do the tracks, we would finish up the lyrics and edit them. Again, it was very spontaneous during all of this. There is no theme, but the songs are definitely a lot more personal than they have ever been. Very much so about personal issues and stuff in our past. The record is very personal to us.

When I shot photos for you at Ozzfest, I noticed that you guys had an extremely weathered look about you. Where did that dirty, old clothes look to Norma Jean come from?

We just had to fix our bus that day near there and got dirty. I'm just going to leave it at that. *laugh* Just kidding. We did a photo shoot where we got really dirty in the photos, and it looked really cool. We will probably stop doing it like after this tour or something. It wasn't meant to be a forever thing. It's something kind-of fun. We figured that beyond us being musicians and artists, when you play live, it's more than that. It's entertainment as well. If people are going to pay a bunch of money that we wish they didn't have to pay --ticket prices are really soaring these days and we can't do anything about it-- and play songs that we wrote in our garage, we're going to do something special. We're going to go all out on every tour. It's just fun.

Are you bringing out anything particularly new on this tour that hasn't been in the performances before?

We actually did this on Ozzfest too, but we have a second drummer on this tour. For Ozzfest, we didn't have a lot of time to work with him. We have this other guy, Steve, so now we have percussion on this tour. We had a lot of time to rework everything and practically rewrite some drum parts so it would make that whole audible sound of the show way more exciting. That's pretty much the biggest addition we've had for sure.

What brought you to Norma Jean?

We were all really good friends before. I was in other bands, and we played together and stuff. I've known them for years, and I was definitely a fan of the band and its music. It kind-of fell into place that way.

With this tour, The Fully Down has been opening. What bands like that have you really began to notice as up and coming bands that have shared the opening slots on these tours?

I actually didn't know who The Fully Down was before this tour. The tour is the Radio Rebellion Tour, sponsored by Smartpunk and all these other people. To be a part of that and merge our tour with that name and label, we let them pick some bands. They picked The Fully Down, who I think are actually really awesome. As far as up and coming bands, there's this band called the Handshake Murders that is so amazing. They just signed to Goodfellow Records I believe. Their tracking on their record should be getting finished right about now, and that record is going to be so good. They're going to be the next big thing for sure.

In the years to come, what would you like Norma Jean to be remembered as?

That's kind-of the thing with us. We don't have a lot of expectations. We don't know what's going to happen with us or what we are going to do next. I don't really know how people are going to remember us as. Hopefully they'll remember Norma Jean as awesome.

How has it been to share a tour with Fear Before The March Of Flames and Between The Buried And Me together?

We did six weeks of Ozzfest with Between The Buried And Me already. We've had two other tours with Fear Before. We hand-picked those bands to be on this tour because we think those bands are amazing. We are old friends with Fear Before at this point as well. I think they are amazing. What they are doing musically is exactly the type of stuff we want people to hear.


There is a lot of recycled microwave music out there, especially in this scene. A lot of bands sound alike. Not a lot of people really point that out though. You get a band like one of these guys, and they do anything similar to another artist, it's going to be picked up immediately. The reason that happens is because they are something so different, and if anything sounds similar to anything else, it's going to stick out like a sore thumb. We really wanted those bands to be on this tour though to get some really original music out there. If you listen to them, nobody sounds like those bands; that's amazing. It's really great how original they are and how well they pull it off live.

Was it planned that this tour with coincide with both Norma Jean and Fear Before's album releases?

It kind-of was. We didn't know the records were coming out at the same time, but it makes sense to go on tour when you have a new record just coming out. There are other bands that were on the list of bands to come on this tour, but none of them had new records or even had any in years. It doesn't make much sense to bring along a band that doesn't have a record because it doesn't do much for the band or the tour. They are just another band with nothing to promote or push. The most important thing is the music.

Would you look at music today as a business or art?

I think that there is a balance between those two things. They don't really mix at all. You have one on the right hand, one on the left hand, and that is all there is to it. When you get to the point where this is our living and job, it is essentially a business, and we have to maintain that or things fall apart like tours and records. On the other hand, you can't allow the business side to interfere with what you are doing musically. The integrity of your music is the most important thing. Everything revolves around that. You must balance it all. There is probably some old saying I should be quoting right now *laugh* but you can't have one thing without the other. Sometimes the other thing isn't as cool or fun to deal with, but that's what you get for being part of the business that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a lot of different people. We have management and record labels and all that too; it's not just a business for five guys.

What can we expect from Norma Jean in the future?

We already did two music videos from the CD for Blueprints For Future Homes and another song. We wanted to get two out immediately just so we wouldn't have to worry about it later. Blueprints For Future Homes will be coming out at some point on this tour. We're flying out to do Headbangers Ball in a couple weeks to probably release that. After that tour, we're going overseas. We're not sure what we're doing after that. No b-sides or anything.... We're just going to tour on what we have for as long as we can and go from there.