Singer Sets Princess Jolene Aflame
Friday, October 27th 2006
I have a new crush. Sigh. Is it unprofessional to have crushes on interview
subjects? Like…crushes that make you blush? Thank god it was over
the phone and he couldn’t see me throwing my head back, batting my eyelashes
and gazing longingly into the distance. Who is this new crush, you ask?
It’s Phil Labonte, singer of metal band All That Remains.
It was a timely interview because the movie Saw
3 was released today. And All That Remains claim the first song
on the soundtrack. The soundtrack is pure metal mayhem and features bands
such as Slayer, Disturbed, Helmet, Lamb of God and Avenged Sevenfold.
I’m not afraid to admit I’m more thrilled about the soundtrack than I am
about the movie.
The fact that the All That Remains song, “This Calling” kicks off the album
is definitely a plus. Labonte’s lyrics start on an intense note: I
secretly crave, crave that scent again
Still feel it pressing on me now
Now with the onset, my flesh is weakening
I steel my nerves for temptations at hand again
Those are some pretty stiff lyrics that set the bar high for the rest of
the album. Labonte has been writing lyrics since he was a teen. As for
a process to coming up with the words, he usually just sits down with the
music, listens to it, and puts words to it.
makes the whole thing sound so simple but after explaining his process
he said, “I’m not a hippie. I’m a conservative dude. I’m a metal guy,”
Labonte said. “I hate to say things that sound new-agey.”
Come on, now, I don’t think anyone would listen to his music and think
“new-agey.” That’s probably one of the last fucking things that would pop
into my mind.
People often ask Labonte about the lyrics he writes. He doesn’t like to
get too in depth about any of his personal meaning because people can form
a variety of opinions on the meaning of a song. “Music is all about
interpretation.” He’d rather people find their own personal meanings in
the music. That’s what makes songs so special, right?
I saw All That Remains when they opened for GWAR a couple of years ago.
I ended up buying their CD, “This Darkened Heart.” The tracks never fail
to bring a smile to my face. Their newest CD, “The Fall of Ideals” came
out in July and is a bit different than “Heart.” “This record is the best
we’ve ever done,” said Labonte. It is more polished than anything they’ve
With the addition of their new drummer, Shannon Lucas, they’ve kicked up
the double bass and completely stepped it up in the metal department. Not
only is it more aggressive in metal, there is more singing. “This time
we made the vocals stand out,” Labonte said. “I’m really fuckin’ proud
Also new to the lineup is bassist Jeanne Sagan.
Always curious about metal singers’ vocal chords, I asked Labonte what
he has to do to keep them healthy. The two main things he mentioned: he
tries to be quiet and tries not to get drunk…because he gets loud when
he gets drunk. Of course, a good break always helps rest the throat. Recently,
he and the band had been looking forward to taking a 5-week break, but
were just added to the Killswitch Engage tour. Unfortunately, this leaves
little time for the vocal chords to rest (and, honestly, Phil, if you need
me to make you a hot cup of tea for that throat, I’d be happy to any time).
So how long will Labonte keep rocking it out as a metal star? “As long
as I can. As long as I don’t look like an asshole – a parody of myself,”
Labonte said. According to him, when people start to look like cartoons
of themselves, it’s all over (picture any old washed up metal band and
you’ll know what he’s talking about). Basically, when you start to become
cartoony and lose that true metal edge, you become a joke.
It made my heart flutter when Labonte shared with me that he was definitely
a big horror fan. After telling me that George Romero and old zombie films
were his favorite, we had a brief discussion about Halloween
3, my new obsession. He even knew the Silver Shamrock melody from
the movie. Sigh….oh, Phil.
My suggestion: go out and buy the soundtrack to Saw 3 and keep All That
Remains on tour. Maybe then, Phil will think about stopping by for a cup
of tea in Hollywood.