Happy 4th of July, readers! “Shotgun Interview!” is back and our next victim on the chopping block is our pal Joe from Nuclear Winter. Joe started the band a few years back and currently, they’re a true thrash authority in our area; smashing the competition by performing the genre with the expertise of those in the game for decades. But, (spoiler alert) these guys are in their late teens – early 20s and they’re ripping and shredding right alongside the best of them. This type of thing has become more and more common thanks largely to the internet (in my opinion). Younger and younger musicians now have unlimited access to all kinds of music, play through videos, Skype lessons, downloadable instructional PDFs etc, all at the tap of a screen. It’s a really cool time to be alive, despite the negative effect the internet has had on album sales worldwide. But enough of that depressing talk about broke bands. Let’s get into the interview and see how a killer band on the younger end of the spectrum is just flat out killing it.
*COMMENCE SHOTGUN INTERVIEW*
Mike Marlinski: What are you doing?
Joe Lamoureux: Chilling out maxin, relaxing all cool, shooting some B Ball outside of the school..
In all seriousness I’m just playing one of my fiddles
Mike: OH SHIT. THAT’S GOING RIGHT INTO THIS….SHOTGUN INTERVIEW.
Joe: Hell yeah. I’m ready
Mike: Picture this: Arnold Schwarzenegger kicks down your door while you’re playing the fiddle. He cocks his shotgun, puts the twin barrels right in line with your eyes and says, “I WANT YOU ASK YOU A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS, AND I WANT TO HAVE THEM ANSWERED IMMEDIATELY!”
Joe: So saying the lines to the Fresh Prince of Belair theme song would be acceptable?
Mike: So, here’s my thing with you guys. I’m going to be 34 next month. That being said, I barely have the right to call myself an “old school” metal guy, but you guys are bringing classic thrash metal and heavy metal to WNY stages with ferocity. When you started this band, did you know this was the sound you were going to push for?
Joe: Absolutely, I have been surrounded by classic thrash my entire life. It’s what I know and I’m most comfortable with.
I saw my drummer’s ad on Craigslist looking for someone to start a classic thrash inspired metal band around 2 years ago. It was really then I found there were others my age with the interest of thrash. Me and Alex are driven by that sound and that’s what we love to write.
Mike: What or who was it that instilled your loyalty to classic thrash and heavy metal? Talk about your influences, your family or friends that got you into it, the first albums you fell in love with and why, etc.
Joe: Holy shit this is going to be long.
Alright so the first people that got me into heavy metal were my folks. My dad and my mom both love thrash and heavy metal and they’ve been bringing me up on it ever since I was a toddler. If you ask my mom she’ll tell you stories about how I was in a booster seat, really young and my soft-spoken voice was singing the chorus to “Walk” by Pantera. So the reason I’m into heavy metal and I have the musical taste that I do today, I owe pretty much all of it to them. Thanks Mom and Dad.
When it comes to my influences in metal I like to think of it in two different ways. Vocally and when it comes to guitar. I’m more of a guitar player than I am a vocalist, as I’ve been playing guitar way longer than I’ve been singing. So my biggest influences include Dimebag Darrell, Zakk Wylde, Michael Angelo Batio, Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, John Petrucci, Chuck Schuldiner. When I play, I can hear all their tunes and all their techniques and tricks in my playing.
Vocally: I’m very upfront about this. I didn’t start singing until the Nuclear Winter project. I’m a guitar player more than I am a vocalist.
That’s what I enjoyed about playing for The Crypt, that I got to just play. But some of my biggest influences vocally are kind of tied in with some of my biggest influences for guitar. Again, Zakk Wylde, Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner, James Hetfield; you know pretty much all those guys that yell into a microphone and just sound like they’re barking at people. (Laughs) That’s what I tell people sometimes: I’m just a glorified yeller. I wish I could sing for a power metal band, like my buddy Justice Blaze who sings for Das Brute. Kid’s got some amazing talent and pipes. I wish I could hit those high notes like Geoff Tate or Bruce Dickinson.
Some of the first albums I ever fell in love with were Rust in Peace by Megadeth, Master of Puppets and …And Justice for All by Metallica, Among the Living by Anthrax and pretty much every Slayer album. By the time I was 10 years old I was thrashing with my glasses and semi long hair.
Mike: Tell me how you came up with the band name, whether or not you’re aware of how many Nuclear Winters there are and if you plan to change the name down the line. If so, what are some band name ideas you’ve had? Maybe we could do a poll and let the readers vote on a band name. But knowing our people, no one would take it seriously and people would want you to change your name to “DAD ROCK CITY”.
Joe: That would be awesome to change our name to Dad Rock City. I’ve had so many people tell me that we play dad metal. Which I’m totally fine with (laughs). I think it’s funny.
There are two main places I’ve heard the name Nuclear Winter; from the line in “Rust in Peace…Polaris”, Dave Mustaine says, “nuclear winter spreading disease…”. I’ve been jamming that album for as long as I can remember and it’s one of my favorite tunes on the album. The second place I got inspiration for it was my guitar teacher Mike Willard. For many of you that know WEAPONEX, they released the Nuclear Winter EP a couple years back. And yeah, my 12 year old self thought that be a great as hell idea for a band name. Though I’d be stealing it from the man who could totally shred my face off and make me cry for 3 weeks straight. I haven’t really thought about changing it too much. Me and Alex are starting the legal process of getting the trademark for the name and the logo because we looked into and it doesn’t appear that any of the other bands that have used the name have gotten the legal rights to it. So we are starting to take action on it so we can have the name for ourselves.
I’d honestly love to see what our fans would think about us changing our name. One of my buddies named Dave told me it would be really awesome if there was a band called Decapitated June bug. He was on his way to work and a June bug flew into his car and it’s head was separated from its body. I think that would be a badass name if I ever had to change the band name.
Mike: (Laughs) If you went with Decapitated June bug you’d have to go death metal.
I do like that NW is a Mustaine reference. Very appropriate.
Joe: That would be a little extreme for the local thrash band (laughs).
Mike: Let’s talk about the album you’re working on. How’s the writing coming?
Joe: The writing is coming really really well. As of right now we have about seven songs complete, and three or four in the rough stages. Pretty much a bunch of licks in an order but we haven’t finished them yet. But you bet your ass they are going to be thrashier than ever before. I’m really excited to get the album out.
Mike: If you guys had been playing this stuff in San Francisco in 1981 and James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich had never met, you’d be where Metallica is right now. That’s a fact, Jack.
Joe: I love telling people that.
Random person: What kind music do you play?
Me: We play thrash metal.
RP: What’s that?
Me: It’s music from 1986, where I’m trapped inside my torn up jean jacket and Levi blue jeans.
Mike: You guys haven’t been a band that long. How long has it been exactly and talk about your favorite shows so far.
Sidenote: I’ve been turning you down for entry into local shows for years now because of your age. It pisses me off and saddens me every time. I’m glad you’re in a functional band now, because that alone is getting you into all the damn venues.
Joe: Okay, so I started the project many many years ago. It was just a couple of buddies. We got together and we did a couple shows and we did it under the name Nuclear Winter, but that wasn’t anything like it is today.
The band reformed in the Summer of 2016 as a 3-piece. My buddy Nate Scrivani on bass and Colt McAndrew on drums, who are really good buddies of mine from my school and are great musicians.
But the line up y’all can see live today came together around November of 2017.
Which I couldn’t ask for a better line up. I love it so much. We have played a bunch of shows since the first one with this line up since December. My personal favorite was opening for Granny 4 Barrel in February with Aggressive Betty and Dredneks.
2 of my favorite local bands that have done so much for me in my musical career. And they are just badass bands. We have become good friends with Granny since that show.
Opening for Texas Hippie Coalition was an awesome show that we hopped on last minute.
But honestly I love every show we play.
I’m so happy I can get into shows because of being in the band. That’s the hardest thing ’cause I am so young. I’ve been denied entry to alot of badass shows. The last show with Abyance though was an amazing show. The best crowd we ever played for and a great lineup too.
Mike: It’s nice when the opening band has a huge, energetic crowd. Rare.
Name one thing you’d like to see improve in the local scene.
Joe: I’d really like to see new young people in the scene. It’s kind of odd for us when we play a show and we are the only ones with X’s on our hands. I’d love to see some young blood in bands. That would be really cool to do some shows with some kids our age.
Also some shows where kids are allowed in. Being 17, I’d love to have my friends from school come to shows and come see what I do outside of school.