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Mad Margritt - Behind the beast (Eddie Smith) - Online Sep 2008


Catchy hooks, rabid guitar riffs, and a focus on having nothin’ but a good time—American band MAD MARGRITT definitely injects a healthy dose of the 1980s in both their music and their lifestyle. Currently, the band is riding high from the critical success of their latest album, the raw ‘n’ heavy “Animal”, and lead singer/guitarist Eddie Smith was more than willing to answer a few questions (and share a few stories!) with The Metal Observer. Read on for the scoop on who gets credit for what on “Animal”, what’s next for the band, and…lesbian bars?

 

MAD MARGRITT certainly seems to live up to the Hair Metal stereotype; when asked where they’d most likely be found when not on tour, the band gave responses such as “the liquor store,” “the tittie bar,” and “any casino.” Guitarist/keyboardist Scott Banks’ favourite movies fall under the category of “homemade porn.” So you guys are livin’ the Hair Metal life, eh?

Is there any other way to live? We definitely enjoy the perks that come with being in a band. You only live once so you might as well enjoy the ride!

 

MAD MARGRITT has toured with such legendary rock acts as KISS, WHITESNAKE, QUIET RIOT, POISON, and more. Obviously, MAD MARGRITT draws its influence from bands such as these, so what was it like being able to tour with them?

We’ve gotten to play with a lot of cool bands. Sometimes it’s only for a show or two and sometimes we get to do multiple nights. I grew up listening to most of the bands that we’ve opened for so for me it’s an awesome feeling to be on the same bill. I wouldn’t be playing music if it wasn’t for a lot of these guys; I have nothing but respect for them.

 

Any bizarre stories from the road?

I have a lot of funny stories I could tell you, but if you want to hear the most bizarre story, there is one that definitely comes to mind.  We got booked to play at a lesbian bar in Hollywood, Florida.  We were totally psyched! The whole ride down there all we could talk about was all the hot lesbian girls that we were going to be performing in front of. We were thinking it was going to be a room full of penthouse pets fondling each other all night and we going to be the only guys in the club. Boy, were we wrong! We actually were the only guys in the place, but you couldn’t tell by looking around the room. 80% of the girls looked like guys and they looked like they wanted to kick our asses! They all had short hair, Harley-Davidson shirts and wallet chains. They looked pissed and we were scared for our lives! It was definitely a bizarre scene but in the end it turned out pretty well. They warmed up to us after a few songs and by the end of the night they were totally into it. We ended up at the bar laughing and drinking beer with a bunch of them. Not exactly what we had in mind but it turned out to be a fun night.

 

How was MAD MARGRITT formed? Surely there must be a story behind it.

When I first got into music I started out as a guitar player and I could never find the right vocalist to work with. Whenever I did find someone good, they usually ended up having a huge ego and were impossible to work with. One day I was recording a song I had written and I decided to sing the vocal part. After I let my manager hear the demo, he totally freaked out. He was really impressed with my vocals. Up until that point I really didn’t think I could sing but I realized that with a little work I might be able to pull it off and end my nightmare of trying to find the right singer. I immediately quit the band I was in and started MAD MARGRITT. It took a few years to find the right line-up, but once I found the right guys things just started to snowball.

 

What’s the Atlanta music scene like? Was it difficult breaking into the industry?

The Atlanta scene is a little confused at the moment. There are so many different kinds of bands around here; there’s not really one genre of music that is dominating. It’s hard to really get a strong scene together when it’s like that. We are very fortunate because we have a strong following, but overall I really wouldn’t really say there is a big Metal scene here.

 

In 2002, you were featured on the Perris Records tribute album “Bon Appetite”, which was a tribute to the Bon Scott era of AC/DC. Which song did you choose to cover, and why did you decide on this song?

We chose “TNT” off the “High Voltage” album. We had been doing the song live for several years so it was an obvious choice for us.

 

One of Scott Banks’ favourite bands is the Canadian Alt-Rock band NICKELBACK. Do you guys give him crap for this, or do you respect his taste in bands? I don’t know what the situation is down in the States, but up here in Canada, listening to NICKELBACK is seen as an experience akin to poking out both your eyeballs with a fountain pen, then setting yourself on fire.

WOW!! That sounds painful! Actually, Scott is more into the heavier side of NICKELBACK; he’s not really into all their ballads and radio songs. One of the things I like about Scott is that he has taken the band in a much heavier direction. He’s totally into heavy sounding guitar riffs and I think it really showed on our new CD. Some of the stuff he came up with is incredible; it really helped take us to a new level.

 

Among the band, the heavier songs, such as “Loaded Gun” and “Animal,” seem to reign as personal favourites. What, no love for the softer, POISON-esque songs, like “I Don’t Think I Love You” and “Ruling Me”?

I’m totally into those songs. “Ruling Me” is one of my favourite tracks on the CD. We really pride ourselves on being able to write a heavy song like “Animal” and then turn around and write something melodic like “I Don’t Think I Love You” and “Don’t Say A Word”. Some bands can’t get away with that, but for some reason it seems to work with us; all the songs flow together nicely.

 

Why is “Animal” your favourite MAD MARGRITT song, anyway?

It really gets my adrenaline pumping. I’ve always been a big fan of the “Slave To The Grind” CD by SKID ROW and “Animal” has a similar feel to it. It’s super heavy but it’s still got melodic vocals and a hook.

 

Your vocal work on the album is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. When did you decide you were going to be a rock singer? Was it a childhood dream, or something that came about later?

I always dreamed of being a singer but when I was younger I didn’t really think my voice was good enough. Like I mentioned earlier, after I did that first demo I realized that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was. After a few years of singing my voice started getting stronger and my range got a lot better. You can really hear the difference in my voice on the new cd compared to our older stuff.  Now I’m totally comfortable with my role as the singer, I really enjoy what I do.

 

Who handled the production duties on the album? Everything comes through nice and crisp, and the layered background vocals on songs like “Ruling Me” make the choruses sound positively stellar.

I have to give most of the credit to Scott, he did an amazing job mixing and engineering the cd. We worked together on the production and vocal arrangements but as far as the technical stuff, he made it all happen.

 

You guys will be shooting a video for “Loaded Gun” in early February. That must be exciting.  What can we expect from the video? Girls, fire, etc…?

I don’t want to give to much away, but it’s gonna be a really cool looking video. “Loaded Gun” is a really dark, angry sounding song so we want the video to have the same look and feel to it.

 

Will you be touring in support of “Animal,” and with whom?

Hopefully we will get picked up by one of the bigger bands as a support act but if not, we will still be out there rocking the USA one town at a time. Right now we have a bunch of dates booked in the southeast as well as New York and New Jersey. We are also talking with a few venues out in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We hope to hit most of the country by the end of the year.

 

What’s next for MAD MARGRITT, studio-wise?

We will probably start working on some new songs in the fall and begin recording shortly after. We will definitely have something new out in 2009 but for now we are just focusing on promoting the “Animal” CD and doing as many shows as possible.

 

Thanks for your time, Eddie.  Best of luck to you and the rest of MAD MARGRITT in the future!

Discography:

 

1997: Cold Sweat (CD, Rock Hard Records)

1999: In The Name Of Rock (CD, Delinquent Records)

2002: New Sensation (CD, Perris Records)

2005: Straight Through The Heart (Greatest Hits, Rock Hard Records)

2007: Animal (CD, Perris Records) 

Mitchel Betsch



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