Just a couple hours ago, I was standing on the side of the El Corazon stage in downtown Seattle watching the Tennesse titans themselves, Whitechapel, bringing the heavy to the sold out Tuesday night crowd. Alongside I Declare War, Chelsea Grin, Veil Of Maya and The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel is zig-zagging across the nation on the "Welcome To Hell Tour." A couple weeks back, we had the opportunity to speak with guitarist Zach Householder about tour snacks, "deathcore" and "hardcore dancing," among other things. We aired the interview during the February 12th episode, but you can listen to it here.
What you are reading from here on out is the unedited interview transcript thanks to our almighty intern, Chip.
Kevin: We are on the phone right now with Zach (Householder) from Whitechapel and he is on tour right now in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the second day of the “Welcome to Hell” tour. How is the tour going, man? It's a heavy one.
Zach: Yeah it's definitely a heavy one. It started off in Knoxville. That's our home town and it was outrageously amazing. We played the Valarium and it was sold out. It was a good home show for the first time in a long time and tonight is supposed to be sold out as well, so you know hopefully it will keep it's momentum going. We'll see what happens.
Ian: You guys have obviously done a lot of touring, making a lot of pit stops at the gas stations convenience stores. Tell us what are some of the crucial tour foods that you gotta have with you.
K: Some snacks!
Z: Oh man, you know when you first start touring you know your budget is always kind of low. You don't eat the best in the world, but man, as far as snacks go, I know me personally, Chex Mix is something I always gotta have. I'm a huge water fanatic. I love water. I just always gotta have bottled water. Those Clif bars, man those things saved my life cause you don't get to eat too god on the road sometimes and you gotta have....ya know those clif bars are a good pick me up. Thats definitely some of my snacks anyway, or the healthier snack, we'll put it that way.
K: Each band probably has some sort of ritual that they go through before their show, whether it’s going to the gym and working out or maybe even drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels. What is the Whitechapel pre-show tour ritual?
Z: Actually it's a probably little bit of both of that.
Z: We all tend to work out on the road and we do a lot of kettle bell exercises and stuff like that and we do that during the day after sound check. And then you know after we're done working out and we eat dinner, we hang out and then we'll probably have a few drinks before we play go on and play and you know that’s usually the ritual before we play. Now not everybody in the band drinks or anything like that, but the one that do have their drinks and the other ones just warm up and hang out. We just try to make it as stress free as possible and sometimes a few brews help with the stress relief.
I: Thats for sure. Now, Whitechapel, you guys have a reputation for playing with some of the heaviest, gnarliest bands out there. Tell us about one of the craziest pit experiences you've seen on tour while you've been playing.
Z. For us or another band?
K & I: Either or.
Z: Either or? On Warped Tour somewhere in NY. It was probably the biggest wall of death I've ever seen in my entire life. It was the biggest circle pit too. It had to have been a football field and a half of people.
Z: It was incredibly insane. As far as heavy acts, I was just astounded by the heaviness when we got to play with Meshuggah. That’s one of the heaviest bands I've seen in my entire life.
I: Like Kevin said earlier, people like to fight the invisible ninja.
Z: Oh yeah dude, oh God. I guess I'm a little too old for that, I don't know. I’m not super old but I never got really into the hardcore dancing thing. I was always, kind of a mosher and then the dancing thing started catching on. That’s cool and all but you know, I'd rather sit in the back nowadays and just not get hurt.
I: I don't have health insurance, man. I'm gettin old.
Z: Yeah me too, man. We pretty much have stage insurance. If we get hurt on stage we're covered but anything outside of that we're not covered.
K: And the dance floor doesn't count as on stage.
Z: Nope. (Laughs)
I: Now that there's been a whole new generation, or wave of bands that bands like Whitechapel have influenced, what do you think of the term “deathcore”?
Z: Oh man. It's funny like when I got in Whitechapel they were already a band in my local town. And I was already a fan of them, I was like, "Man these guys are heavy, I love it." And to me it was just death metal. I didn't care, hardcore or death metal, I don't know. And then the different term “deathcore” came later on. Even then we know that the deathcore” term is associated with the pig squeal and all that stuff. I just wasn't a fan of it, at the time, I wasn't big into the pig squeals. You know, granted, some bands did it right and made really gnarly death metal, which is cool. But like, the term “deathcore,” when it came about I just heard it used here and there and I never really paid much attention to it. I don't hate the term but I don't prefer it. Just put it that way.
K: Just let the music speak for itself for once.
Z: Exactly. Exactly.
K: One thing I was surprised with is when death metal bands will have guest vocalists on their record it will usually be someone more related to the death metal band. What inspired you guys to have Chino Moreno from the Deftones on your record?
Z: Well, I don't think there's anybody in our band that's not a Deftones fan, so what happened is our manager that we have currently, our manager Sean, he used to manage Team Sleep which was Chino's side project . He was good friends with Chino and you know, Chino's son likes Whitechapel and we just asked him if he would do it as a sudden whim, and he decided to do it. And it just worked out. It was kinda lucky for us you know we had the hook up with our manager, he was nice enough to do it and we love Chino and the Deftones, so why not do it? Right? I mean there's no rules for who you can have on your album or in metal or anything like that. You know the point of metal is to break rules.
I: If you can do it, why not?
Z:Yeah, exactly. Absolutely..
I: This is our last question. It's also one of our favorite questions. Pick a scar on your body and tell us how you got it.
Z: Oh gosh I got a lot of those. Uhhhhh……
I: Feel free to pick a couple if you want.
Z: I have one on my head. I had to get five staples in my head at one point. I was playing in a band at the time. This is before Whitechapel. It was a local band back home. My friend Clint was playing bass in the band and he got pretty sauced that night and the headstock of his bass came down and hit me in the back of the head. I wasn't lit, but I was kinda drunk too and and you know, I didn't feel it right away and I was like, “Man, that really hurt.” So I just kept on playin’ and every time I kind of nodded my head, I would see blood squirt everywhere and it was going all over my head and the neck of my guitar…
K: That's brutal.
Z: Yeah. I put my hand up on my head and looked at it as it was covered in blood. I was like, “Oh, God.” At the end of the night I had to go to the hospital, but that was a good one. That was a good fifteen-hundred dollar trip to the hospital. Just for five staples.
K: That's gnarly!
I: You didn't get all woozy and pass out on stage?
Z: Nah, man. That stuff don't bother me. I don't know man, I've had so many scrapes and scars. A lot of my scars are from BMX and skateboarding when I was younger and all that. My elbows are eaten up entirely, my shins are all kinds of messed up so there's lots of them.
I: Thank you so much to Zach from Whitechapel for talking to us. See them on March 8th at El Corazon. They're on tour with the Acacia Strain, I Declare War, Veil Of Maya and Chelsea Grin. It’s gonna be a great show.