METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Thomas. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp And Paper again. We appreciate it. How are you doing?
THOMAS SMITH: Life is great! Working hard!
MPAP: Now give us a little run down about Strength Betrayed and what we need to know, and especially tell us if you have any new music coming out soon.
THOMAS: Yeh absolutely. We are Strength Betrayed, a faith-based Metal/Hard Rock Band from a small town called Dunn, North Carolina. I am the vocalist and also play rhythm guitar, Jacob Hair is our lead guitarist, Taylor is my brother and our drummer and Seth is our bassist. We just dropped a few singles and videos to go with them, most prominently being our title track "War-Torn" and "Sour." We drop our first album Sept 28th titled War-Torn which is now available for preorder.
MPAP: Very nice. So, we’re going to change up this interview and do something different. I’m going to pull some recent headlines from the Metal Injection website and get your reactions and comments on them.
THOMAS: Okay, Awesome!
MPAP: Here we go: 1. Celtic Frost Frontman Wishes Metallica Had Left 'Their Millionaire Fingers' Off His Song
MPAP: So, at a recent Metallica show in Switzerland, Kirk and Rob played one of Celtic Frost’s song "The Usurper" during a break in the show. According to Tom Warrior, vocalist for Celtic Frost, the two of them butchered it. He said, 'Maybe I should go onstage and do a really miserable version of [Metallica’s] "Hit the Lights" with, like, 200 mistakes to set the balance.'What do you think about this? If someone was going to cover one of your songs, do you think it should be done in good taste and without any mistakes, or it’s Metallica, and they can do whatever they want, it's no big deal?
THOMAS: I am a very laid-back person when it comes to this stuff. I feel like someone covering your song is a huge honor, even if they butcher it, lol. Unless its actual money on the table, like royalties and getting paid that's one thing, but personally, unless Metallica was trying to pull something low and/or shady, just sit back and enjoy the ride man, Metallica just covered your freaking song!
2. A Fan Died In The Slipknot Mosh Pit This Weekend MPAP: Very sad. So, apparently, a 62-year-old Slipknot fan died while in the mosh pit at a Chicago show here in the United States. Corey Taylor had recently stopped a previous show because he saw the mosh pit was getting too violent. Accidents do happen, but do you think mosh pits at metal shows are becoming more dangerous?
THOMAS: I've actually heard about this one. It completely sucks for sure. Let me start off by saying when it comes to the pits, I’m all for them. Other genres have adopted this idea of a mosh pit like dubstep and trap/hip-hop, but I do understand that metal pits are another beast entirely. I don’t believe pits are getting 'more' dangerous or there is a change or anything, but one thing that needs to be better elaborated on are the 'rules' of the mosh pit. Like, don’t punch girls in the face. Don't keep running over someone if they have fallen. The pit is not just about you. Everybody has to let out whatever energy or pent up aggression while at the same time being a part of a community. That's what these pits are about, community. When a mosh pit becomes about you just punching people and you act like other people aren't affected by your actions, that's when things can go bad fast. I’m glad Cory Taylor is calling these violent situations out.
3.Slayer Pulled As Primary Sponsor Of NASCAR Due To Complaints From Other Sponsors MPAP: Really? C’mon., it’s just a band name. It’s not like Satan himself will be driving the car, right?
THOMAS: That's stupid. I could go on a tangent about this topic, but for the sake of time, I’ll keep it short. All I would say is read the lyrics to these artists that play for the Superbowl, Music Awards, Billboard Top 100 and all that. I guarantee those lyrics will be more violent and explicit than some of the stuff Slayer puts out. Just old folks scared of loud guitars.
4. Maynard Got Death Threats Over How Long The Tool Album Took MPAP: Talk about some diehard fans. I think that is going a bit too far, even if you’ve been waiting 13 years, right?
THOMAS: Are they even fans anymore? If you kill the guy, there goes your chance of a new album! I would love to read these letters/emails! That's just the internet culture for sure. The human race is a funny animal. lol.
5. Controversial Video Shows Rob Zombie Grabbing A Female Fan By The Hair After Being Groped MPAP: His shirt was pulled, but, nevertheless. I guess during a show Rob went out into the crowd, and an enthusastic fan reached out and pulled on his shirt. After this headline was posted, quite a few bands like Shinedown, All That Remains, and Bad Wolves defended Rob’s actions. What are your thoughts, do fans need to keep their hands to themselves?
THOMAS: Ya I got to defend Rob on this one. I don't want to pull this card, but if the singer was a female and the fan was a male, and she slapped the living Jesus out of him for groping her, the video wouldn't be as 'controversial'. So far, I haven't had anything like that happen to me, or to the other guys that I know of, but you do what you got to do without getting overly violent. We’ve had drunk girls try and get 'close' after a set if you understand me, but we usually stick together so we usually try to avoid crazy situations like that. But you can't prevent them all, especially in a live performance.
6.Behemoth Frontman Confronted At YMCA For Wearing Darkthrone Shirt & Kicked Out Not Believing In Jesus MPAP: It was just a shirt, and he was going there to workout. It wasn’t like he was going to sacrifice some virgins and spill blood everywhere. What do you think?
THOMAS: I’d def like to read more up on this story. As a believer in Christ, I think situations like this do the polar opposite of whatever they were intending to do. Let the dude workout, his beliefs have nothing to do with his workout. I don’t want my beliefs to be discriminated against, so his shouldn't be either. So just chill out... and work out!
7. Former Weedeater Drummer Arrested For Allegedly Spiking Wife’s Drink With Meth MPAP: Umm, this doesn’t look like they have a very good marriage going on for this to have happened. Do you think they need some marriage counseling or what?
THOMAS: I actually laughed out loud reading this headliner! I wish I could have seen the aftermath of that! "THIS IS THE BEST SPRITE I'VE EVER HAD IN MY FREAKING LIFE!!" If it was a prank, I think it's hilarious! If it was an "As I Lay Dying" move, then you need to go see your local counselor... or preacher.
8. Walmart Shoppers Call The Cops On Metal Band for… Sitting In A Van Parking Lot MPAP: This happened right after the tragic Dayton, Ohio shooting where ten people were killed, including the shooter, and 27 others were injured. The gunman just happened to be a metalhead because he was wearing a The Acacia Strain hoodie. It’s good that people report things, but this could turn out that every traveling metal band that’s parked in a Walmart parking lot are going to get reported now. What do you think?
THOMAS: First off, I freaking love The Acacia Strain! So, when I heard they were being blamed for the shooting, it literally broke my heart. I feel like I’m back in the '90s with the whole Marilyn Manson debacle. I thought as a culture we have grown up and past the whole 'metal is the devil's music' by now. Right now, it's too early to tell if this will be a recurring issue but for now, everybody needs to stay safe. Touring bands, you guys keep hanging in there.
9. People Are Going Wild For This Rant Tommy Lee Shared Against Donald Trump MPAP: The rant/tweet is quite a bit long, so I'm not going to torture you to read it, but I will say this: should musicians talk or write about politics? In a way, it’s like their forcing their beliefs down our throats. What are your thoughts?
THOMAS: Musicians should be able to say what they want just like they are able to write what they want, usually. I personally could give a rip about a musician's or celebrity's political views, but that musician or celebrity should be able to express their views freely, even if I disagree with them. I think America could rediscover something special about itself if we all took that approach. To defend the speech of another even if you vehemently disagree. Just don't put it too heavily in the live shows. That’s a major turn off for me and I’ll eventually be rolling my eyes like 'come on dude'.
10. James Hetfield Calls Woman Who Used Metallica’s Music To Fend Off Cougar MPAP: A young lady, was out walking her dog when off in the distance a cougar began to stalk her. She eventually played a Metallica song on her phone to scare it away, and it worked. She definitely had luck and the power of music on her side, right? What song of yours do you think would scare off a hungry cougar?
THOMAS: That is amazing! And great for James to give them a call! If it was one of our songs, that poor girl’s dead, lol! If I had to choose one of our songs though it would be either "Worshiping A Monster" or "Vanity," both of which will be on our new upcoming album War-Torn.
11.While She Sleeps Release Free T-Shirt Design To Clue Fans Into How Much Streaming Doesn’t Pay MPAP: This is what the design said: One T-shirt is the equivalent to 5000 streams on Spotify. 76% of all music is streamed and not bought physically or digitally. Band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting a band. Sadly, buying music isn’t the same anymore. Back in the day, it used to be fun to buy an actual album or CD, don’t you think?
THOMAS: Ya I came up when you would go into a music store to sift through and see what you could find. It was amazing discovering a band just because the album art caught your eye. When Itunes came out I remember that being the big deal that was going to kill the music industry, and now it's streaming. Streams don’t pay much at all. There is an aspect of 'continuous' revenue that can be capitalized on, and there is something to be said about how streams killed pirating music by making it irrelevant, but streams pay so bad that artists are having to change their business model. Like most change, I believe things will work themselves out, like the most recent 'Music Modernization Act'. Change comes slowly, and so does adjustments to that change. In heavy music, fans still want the physical product, signed merch and hard albums, so it's about knowing your audience. 12. David Hasselhoff Teams Up With Ministry Frontman For "Sweet Caroline" Cover MPAP: All I can say is, this should be interesting. Hopefully, it’s not a train wreck for the Hoff. It's worth a listen to when it comes out though. What do you think of this collaboration?
THOMAS: I think you said it best, this should be interesting! I mean we have lil Wayne and Blink-182, so I mean we’ve seen some interesting collabs. Ozzy and Post Malone just did a collab on a song, so I mean, let's see what happens! I love crossing the 'lines' so to speak and making something truly creative, if its good of course.
MPAP: What tv/movie actor would you like to cover a song with someday?
THOMAS: I can only speak for myself, but I am all about crossing genres. So, my top two people to collab with would be either Post Malone or Juice Wrld. They write great music in their respective genres and to put that creative perspective on a heavy track or vice versa would be amazing! And I’m a big Posty fan so… hate me, lol!
MPAP: On behalf of Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, Thomas, for taking the time to answer these headline questions. We look forward to what Strength Betrayed does to finish out 2019 and beyond.
MPAP: Any last words for all your fans out there?
THOMAS: Go stream our Singles, Pre-Order/Pre-Save our album War-Torn. Please support your local bands. Like you, they have dreams and goals and you have no idea how happy it makes them to have passionate fans show up to their shows. Even if only 5 people show up, if those 5 people go HAM it makes the night!