Misery Index choosing quality over quantity

Misery Index, Baltimore’s death/grindcore heroes, have been bludgeoning eardrums with their own homegrown brutality since 2001. And while I don’t imagine they will be slowing down any time soon, they also have earned the right to pick and choose when, where and with whom they to play.

Next month, Misery Index heads out on tour with Cannibal Corpse (for the second time this year) and Hour of Penance (a band some have called the Italian Behemoth). On December 1, this tour comes to Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel.

From Aug. 19, 2012 Ottobar show.

Misery Index has had an exciting 2012 with successful tours abroad in places like Brazil and across Europe and even Tel Aviv! They also had to construct a DIY tour when this summer’s inaugural Shockwave Festival tour, which was supposed to go across North America, fell apart in a matter of days. I was able to catch up with bassist Jason Netherton and guitarist Mark  Kloeppel via email.

Here’s a quick Q & A.

This was an eventful and confusing summer for you guys? What happened with the Shockwave Festival? And how did the mini tour go?

The Shockwave experience was certainly interesting to say the least. Nothing like that has ever happened to us before, but it does happen. Gojira had to pull some dates together after Randy Blythe went to jail in Czech, for example. Luckily, we know those Fear Factory guys. So, we got a call from them saying it was canned before we travelled too far out. Our guitar player, Mark Kloeppel, on the other hand, was filling in on bass on the Canadian dates for Cattle Decapitation. Their bass player couldn’t do those dates for whatever reason, and Mark had been flown out to the west coast to jam with them. They ended up flying him back home. As of right now, we have a mountain of merch we have to sell online and on tour. It was a bad situation, but it could have been a whole lot worse. Special thanks goes out to our fans that made our last East Coast run a blast. Without you, we can’t do what we do. Keep grinding!

You mentioned a live album in your email. What date range of live shows will that include?

The live album is from one show in Munich from the European tour we did in February with Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth. A friend of ours, who happens to be an engineer, recorded the set from the board and with room mics. We thought it came out great. and so did the label. So, we are releasing it. We really love that something so spontaneous came out that well. Hearing it really made us feel good about our playing ability in adverse conditions. Because, let me tell you, monitors were completely non-existent on that tour. The hired crew for that tour were great, but just weren’t experienced enough with gear they were given to use.

Will that album be released on your own label or through Season of Mist?

Yes, Season of Mist will be releasing the live album and our next full-length.

What other plans do you have for the rest of the year? How about 2013?

Misery Index will be direct support for Cannibal Corpse this November with Hour of Penance on the bill. This includes a “boat-show” up in NYC, and a stop at Rock and Roll Hotel down in DC. Later next summer, we may be included in some festivals that are yet to be announced. In the meantime, we are preparing to record the next record.

Your drummer Adam Jarvis plays in a gazillion other bands. I have seen him in Pig Destroyer, Strong Intention, Asthma Castle and now read that he is also in a band called FulgoraHow do you manage that? 

Misery Index has reserved itself to only do worthwhile events. Let me explain that further so people don’t get feelings hurt. We’ve been heavily pounding the pavement since the inception of the band. We used to play 180 shows a year, which is taxing on your body and your home-life. We simply don’t want to do that anymore. We love what we do and the music, and we just don’t want to get burnt out. We want Misery Index to last.

Misery Index being more selective about its events freed up a lot of time to pursue other interests. Adam loves drumming, and people love Adam’s drumming. He is an amazing drummer, and he only takes on projects he is genuinely interested in. To answer the question, I’d say we all just prioritize and communicate about our engagements.

What other projects are the other members of Misery Index involved in?

Asthma Castle, Strong Intention, Quills, Cast the Stone, Clenched Fist (tribute to Sepultura), Pig Destroyer, various guest vocal spots, etc. One of us is writing a book, but details about that cannot be released at this time.

I love the limited edition Baltimore T-shirt design on your merch page.  (I ordered one!) How important has Baltimore been to your existence and/or success?

Baltimore is our home-base. It’s rough-around-the-edges character has an impact on all the music that comes out of that area. There’s a genre-wide singularity about it you can’t put you’re finger on. You don’t really notice regional auditory cross-pollination in your and your peers’ music until you begin to travel a lot. Bands like us, Dying Fetus, Next Step Up, Bet the Devil, Visceral Disgorge, etc. have a distinct Baltimore style of sound. It’s slightly different from bands of the the same ilk from different places.

Aside from that, the scene there has really supported us through the years; all the people with Maryland Deathfest, Ottobar, Sidebar, Orion (Sound Studios), Wrightway Studios, etc. have had a major impact on the way the band has evolved, and has been allowed to evolve. It’s a big city with a small town vibe, and they seem to like us there. We certainly like them.

Anything else you want people to know about Misery Index?

Jason Netherton started Misery Index in 2001 with Kevin Talley and Mike Harrison. In 2005, Mark Kloeppel got Misery Index a full endorsement by ESP Guitars before actually knowing if he was in the band. Darin Morris is also a skilled sound-engineer and has played a part in some major label releases.
And according to Blake Harrison of Pig Destroyer, Adam Jarvis is afraid of ghosts!

****Well, know we all know how to scare Adam on Halloween.

Here’s a track from the last Misery Index full-length recording:

This track is a little slower but one of my personal favorites:

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