Melodious Sacrifice: A Look Inside the Life of
From Autumn to Ashes
From Autumn to Ashes exploded into the hardcore music scene with their debut album, Too Bad You’re Beautiful, released on Ferret Records in 2001. Their music has been described as a mix of hardcore, emo, and metal intertwined to create energetic and emotion-packed songs. From Autumn to Ashes have been touring non-stop since the release of their album, and can be spotted playing at several fests, including Hessfest and Warped Tour, this summer. They started off their most recent tour with a show in Montreal, Quebec. Although there were only about 150 people in attendance, the fans’ dedication and excitement was unmistakable. I sat down with boys before the show to chat about the past year, future plans, and as always, there was a little craziness thrown into the mix. Have a look and you’ll see just how hardcore From Autumn to Ashes really is….
Can we have a roll call please?
Scott: I’m Brian [pointing to Brian, guitar], but I’m Scott [guitar] really.
Ben: I’m Ben [vocals]. Really.
Fran: And I’m really Fran [drums].
Scott: Let’s begin!
What has the past year looked like for you?
Scott: Well, Margie… (to the rest of the band) You want me to field this one?
All: Go for it.
Scott: Scott enters stage right [laughs]. The past year has been… well, let’s see… Sacrifice. We’re going to name the year sacrifice. Sacrifice is the number one thing. We’ve seen our families maybe twice — Christmas and Thanksgiving — and we’ve toured for maybe eleven months.
Brian: I had to fly home for my mom’s wedding once.
Fran: His mom gets married a lot.
Brian: My mom’s going to get mad. I am saying for the record, my mom does NOT get married a lot.
Scott: We fly around sometimes on tour. We crashed the van and we flew home. But we have nice shoes (pointing to his and Brian’s matching shoes). The past year has brought us Kenneth Cole.
Fran: Alright, the lights dim. Fran sweeps in stage left wearing a cloak and a kerosene lantern lights my path [laughs]… On the topic of shoes, I had a really nice pair of shoes and they got thrown out the van window.
Scott: We’re getting way off-topic here. In all seriousness, sacrifice, constant and complete touring, neglect of family members, some nights spent crying, and yet we love it to death. It’s so much better than anything we could be doing at home. Now, question number two.
What are your plans for this coming summer?
Scott: We start this summer with kind of an unusual tour with Taking Back Sunday and Open Hands. It’s a little more out of the hardcore region. Then we start a tour with Shai Hulud. We break away from that to do Hessfest for a month. That’s a good tour, I think Motörhead is headlining it. Then after Hessfest we shall do a little more Shai Hulud. We’re also doing a couple of fests in between: Crazyfest, Hellfest, Furnacefest, Magicfest, Warped Tour, Plea For Peace Tour — please give us peace. Then we sleep for probably twenty-one days.
You guys are doing some shows with Coheed and Cambria, too, right?
Scott: Yes, that would be on the Shai Hulud tour and a couple of the dates with Taking Back Sunday. Mike [bassist] enters stage left, pissed drunk. Mike has been drinking Wild Turkey all morning, for the record.
Fran: Mike’s not wearing a cloak though.
You guys are reaching more and more kids, getting more fans. So with your increasing popularity, how would you plan to take over the world?
Scott: Have you ever heard of Chris Isaac?
Fran: I’ll take this one.
Mike: Fran knows how to take over the world. Be sure to talk about Prozac.
Fran: We’re under a lot of mood-altering medication that keeps us calm. We have these nightmares while we’re on tour because we don’t trust our girlfriends; we think they’re off doing bad things. You can put that on the record. Wait a minute, this is about taking over the world…
Scott: We’ll tour with Chris Isaac.
Fran: We’re going on tour with Godsmack, actually. We’re not lying about that either. We’re really going out with Godsmack.
Fran: We made bathrobes.
You really made bathrobes?
Fran: Hold on a minute… Fran enters stage left, he’s rifling though the merch boxes and taking out a From Autumn to Ashes bathrobe.
Scott: This is how you take over the world! Polyester and cotton mixed bathrobes people! Fran exits to dressing room. Fran now enters wearing the bathrobe!
Brian: He took his shoes off, too!
Very nice, so fashionable.
Scott: Show it off, Fran. Come down the “runway.” I wish people could see this [laughs]. That’s how we’d take over the world.
What is the biggest misconception about From Autumn to Ashes?
Scott: Oh Jesus, I’m going to be serious for a second. The biggest misconception about From Autumn to Ashes is the fact that we might have started playing hardcore shows and doing hardcore tours, but we take a lot of flak for the direction we’re headed in as far as major labels are concerned. We love, really love the hardcore scene and the kids involved in it are wonderfully supportive, still, we’re pretty much growing in size and we don’t see anything wrong with making a living.
Fran: We just want to wear our robes everywhere.
Scott: The other misconception would be that… that’s it. We can’t talk about the other one.
Brian: The rumors are all true.
If you could have a jam session with any musician, dead or alive, past or present, who would you pick and why? You can do it individually or as a group.
Ben: Elvis Presley.
Mike: Layne Staley.
Fran: Dirtbag! That’s what I was going to say. Instead, I’m going with Jim Morrison.
Scott: B.B. King!
Brian: Sly and the Family Stone!
Brian: Or Earth, Wind, and Fire, either one.
If From Autumn to Ashes was a TV family, which one would you be?
Scott: The Osbournes!
Aww, come on, that’s so obvious.
Scott: Yeah, you’re right, but look, we got a drug addict [pointing to Brian]…
Ben: We’re the Simpsons.
Scott: The Simpsons? No! We have a Jerry Seinfeld [points to Fran] who is also our financial advisor. If you want a drink of soda on the road, you have to fill out a form stating as to why you deserve it. No money gets spent without reason.
Fran: I have no mercy.
Scott: We got a Mike, that says enough right there. We got a Ben too. We got a drunk. We got me and I’m on Prozac.
My dog’s on Prozac.
Scott: He is? Where is he? I can help him!
So can I, I’m a therapist.
Scott: Are you really? Why don’t you speak a little?
Okay, your music is a mix of many styles. You know a little of this a little of that, a bit of a potpourri of musical styles. So how would you describe your sound?
Scott: [Offers microphone to the other guys] Anybody? Because I’ve got lots to say!
I can tell [laughs].
Scott: Let me go into this a little bit. The thing with this band is that there are five kids in this band who like five different kinds of music. All of us are really happy with the intertwining of sounds. It’s a 20 percent split between all of us, everyone’s got their little parts.
In one, word describe your live show… one word Scott, ONE word.
Scott: Magnanimous! Tumultuous!
That’s three words!
Scott: Melodious! We’re going with melodious!
If From Autumn to Ashes was in a beauty pageant, who would win and why?
Scott: Who [would] win a beauty pageant? Oh, we have so many pretty boys in this band. Brian would win, he’s got the baby face.
Brian: It’s true, I’ve got a baby face.
Scott: We’re going to give the award to Brian.
What abut Miss Congeniality?
Scott: What the hell is that all about?
It means really nice. The girl that everyone hates because she’s so nice.
Scott: You can exclude Jerry [a.k.a. Fran] from that one!
Ben: I’m going to go with Mike.
Scott: Mike never said a curse. You can take this guy home to your parents!
Growing up in New York — or more specifically, Long Island — has it helped or hindered your musical career?
Scott: Oh shit!
Brian: I’m going to take this. I’m never going to be able to go back to Long Island. I hate when people are not nice about other people… I don’t know, Long Island used to be a lot better, I think. It’s making a comeback now but in a weird way. There used to be one giant hardcore scene in Long Island, but now there’s all these little “satellite scenes,” if you will. It’s kind of weird because there’s segregation and everyone hates each other.
Is it jealousy?
Brian: I don’t think it’s jealousy… It’s just different.
Scott: In one word, to answer that question, melodious!
At this point, the opening band began their soundcheck and the interview was moved outside. Scott decided it would be fun to give a little “soliloquy” to occupy his time during this short break.
Scott: Large group gets up and walks around… My name is Scott. I am twenty-two years old. I come from the land down under. I like Sprite. I like Rottweilers, there’s one running around here, it bit me in the thigh. The bathrooms here have no doors, just turnstiles. Okay, we’re good here.
Now that we’re settled again… What was the deciding factor or moment in your life that made you want to be a musician?
Scott: Pearl Jam’s record Ten
Fran: I think it was the first concert I ever went to. It was Poison, back in ’88.
Brian: No it was 1990. November 19th, 1990. I was there too.
Scott: You were only eight years old!
Brian: I used to go to concerts when I was five. I got busy at a young age.
Mike: I think it would have to be Alice In Chains, because I was obsessed.
Ben: It was my dad playing Black Sabbath records for me.
What’s your signature wrestling move, and can you perform it for me?
Scott: Figure four leg lock! Who’s getting on the ground? Brian, get down!
Ben: Scott is now getting on top of Mike. Mike’s on his back. Scott’s twirling his legs… he’s got him in the figure four leg lock! He’s got him!
The year is 1989. What’s in your tape deck?
Scott: Guns N’ Roses!
Ben: [Bon Jovi’s] Slippery When Wet.
Mike: Beastie Boys’ License To Ill.
Brian: Ice Cube!
Mike: Alice In Chains.
Scott: How old was I?
Ben: I was twelve so you must have been 10.
Scott: I might have been doing The Bangles back then, “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
Scott: [sings] “Is this burning an eternal flame…”
Great song! Now for the final question, as I always like to end my interviews, do a freestyle rap on the topic of public transportation.
Scott: You want me to rap?!
Go! Do it!
Scott: Fran get over here. One, two, three… “T. O. N. Y. invade/N. Y. kill or die multiply/ Me and you!”
Fran: I got you!
Scott: I got beef! That’s it, what do you think?
Yay! Good job, but where was the public transportation?
Mike: I’ve never taken public transportation in my life. I live in Long Island. We drive or take the train.
The train is public transportation.
Scott: [points to Fran] He threw up on the train once.
Fran: I take the limousine service wherever I go.
Fran: You want to hear a story? The coconut milk curry chicken at VP in Manhattan gave me food poisoning. I was violently ill for four days, I am filing a law suit. My lawyers are Kirk, Medina, Miello, Pontillo, Callilory, licensed practitioners. I recommend them highly. I got their phone number in my pocket if you want it. They’re good lawyers if you ever get in trouble… They give me a discount if I promote them.
Scott: You want public transportation, huh? One time in high school, my friend’s older brother shot the bus driver in the head with a B.B. gun on the way to school and he went to jail. After that, I couldn’t take the bus anymore.
Brian: I’ll talk about painting the public transportation.
Scott: All right no more stories, we’re going to get in trouble.