This is the first time in a long time that I've interviewed a musician as cool as this guy is. Noah Carpenter of Skinless and Armor Column took the time to answer my questions and I can't thank him enough. More interviews and album reviews are in the process, so stay tuned metalheads.
1) When did you first find an interest in playing guitar and was guitar the first instrument you ever played?
When I was in grade school I played trumpet in the school band. I was always into heavy metal and pretended to play guitar but when I was 14 I got my first real guitar, amp and lessons.
2) Who are you influences, both musically and personally?
I am influenced by all types of heavy metal and war movies. I'm into metal and military things so they go hand in hand in my music. My early musical influences were Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath etc. Later on I got into thrash like Overkill, Slayer, Testament etc and then into death metal like Obituary, Suffocation, Broken Hope, Bolt Thrower. It was during this death metal phase that SKINLESS was formed.
3) Besides Skinless and Armor Column, what other bands have you been in?
No 'u' in ARMOR, we use the American spelling, haha. In high school I was in a band called HATEGUTS. It was a weird mix of Metallica, Slayer, Queensryche. We only played one show and had no demos or anything. 3 of the Hateguts members went on to form Skinless.
4) Do you feel as though the death metal today is stronger than it's birth?
Most definitely not. There's just something great about early 90's death metal. Not that there aren't any god bands now, but everybody seems to be worried more about how many beats-per-minute they can play or how many notes they can play. A lot of bands have lost sight of songwriting and riffs I think.
5) Who are you listening to currently, musically?
I'm always going through tons of music. Lately, some of the bands are Death, Rush, Obsession, Testament, Epidemic, Joe Bonamassa, Rainbow, Candlemass, Cage.
6) Where has been your favorite country or state to play at?
Montreal, Canada is one place that is always solid. But that's a hard question because things change over the years. Some places that used to be strong are fading, such as our home area of Albany, NY. It used to be an amazing and energetic scene but the core has grown older I suppose. Certain towns in Germany kick ass, San Francisco has always been good to Skinless. Sometimes it's the places that don't get very many shows.....where there are 50 people going nuts rather than 700 people looking bored. I remember shows in Oklahoma City and Tasmania that had small, but insane crowds.
7) Have you ever had any embarrassing moments while on tour or onstage?
I broke my foot in 2008 while falling off a bar stool in Prague. No, I wasn't drunk at the time but my boot lace got caught on the foot rest of the stool and I fell right over. Had to take the stage for the rest of the tour on crutches. My foot was purple and the size of a football. Wasn't really a fun time.
Why did Skinless break up?
I'm going to post my statement at the time of the breakup, because the answer remains the same:
"We know that many of our fans are restless and wondering what is happening with Skinless, and for the last few years we haven't even known either. I'm not going to go into a deep, detailed description of what has transpired since the 'Trample' album, but we were plagued with lineup issues once again. The frustration of 1 step forward and 2 steps back forced me to just put the band on hiatus and try to recharge the batteries for a while.
"In June 2010 we reunited the old lineup (from the first 2 CDs) for a show in New York, and I had anticipated that we'd end up writing a new album in that formation. When the time came for serious discussions about moving forward with the album a couple of the guys told me they didn't have the 'fire' and/or time to dedicate to the project. For several months afterwards I continued to work on new material and jammed with potential new band members. But, much like the other guys, I concluded that I didn't have the 'fire' either, and my inspiration was more directed towards my other band Armor Column.
"This certainly isn't an easy thing for me to do, as I have dedicated my entire adult life thus far to Skinless. We all have shifting priorities throughout life, and we feel that Skinless has run its course. To continue at this point would be forced and uninspired. Skinless has always been about energy and intensity, and doing anything half-heartedly wouldn't be true to what the band stands for."
9) Who would you say is your favorite guitarist?
Another tough question, I'll need to name a few. Tony Iommi, Robin Trower, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Ritchie Blackmore.
What type of gear do you use?
I use various models of Ibanez guitars. RG's, Jems, Xiphos. EMG81 and 85 pickups. I have a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier head and an oversized 4x12 cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. Boss tuner and noisegate. InTune custom picks. D'Addario strings.
10) Any last words for Underground Noise?
Thanks for the interview. Anyone interested can a 'like' Skinless and Armor Column on Facebook. Armor Column is currently writing new songs so please keep an eye out.