Today Is The Day, one of the pillars of the underground scene, have just finished their European Tour that kicked of in a maximum security prison in Iceland. We catch the oportunity to talk to Steve Austin, alma mater of the band, in Spain. We talked about playing to the prisoners, the Today Is The Day´s future album, Pain Is A Warning, the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden by the Navy Seals, USA and the middle east scenario, and of course, Steve Austin reveals to us interesting spots in the band history and recordings.
You have written very bad ass lyrics and violent music and your acting onstage it´s so intense that sometimes you have got problems with the crowd. What was the feeling in the air when performing in front of those people that have committed such an evil deeds?
Like we are reaching them and tapping into what drives them nuts. Everyone has their Struggles and life is real and pain is real. The delivery of the music in an honest way is the only way.
Where do you search the fuel to compose such an insane music?
My Life has been a painful ride for the most part. My family had a lot of internal problems. And I was caught in the middle of it, just being a little kid. We moved from place to place all the time and it didn’t allow for friendships to be made for very long. Being poor and having nothing makes you a stronger person in many ways and I have tried to overcome all of the bad things that have happened to me by writing about the way I feel in our songs.
Sometimes you reference in your lyrics among other subjects God, Satan and your lyrics and artwork sometimes seems to be kind of messianic which are your views in those subjects?
The Devil and God are inside of everyone. We all are evil and we all are good. That is the essence of human nature. No one man is perfect and no one man is totally bad. I think that the devil and god are metaphors that have been written down as characters throughout the ages to give a tangible example of behaviors that people have.
You are sensitive about spirits and energy. Do you have any interest in occultism?
Yes and No. I do believe that there are other forms of energy that are not present in the world.
Today is the day always had a very cool website in the past plenty of stuff at www.todayistheday.org why you stopped maintain the site and even lost the domain?
We chose to let take the website down as it was outdated and we are going to build a new site. In this day and age of bands and the internet, MySpace and Facebook are what fans go to more than personal websites. I enjoyed the old website, but it was time for a change.
I read you take the decision of leaving school and become a musician and own your band when returning from an U2 show, It´s weird that an icon from the mainstream could be the starting point for you to become you icon of the underground, don´t you think so?. I was shocked because I would never bet that could happen.
Well, Bono and U2 are not your usual mainstream bands. At the time back in the late 80’s. U2 was an Underground band, until they blew up. Bono is and was a spiritual dude with songs based on feelings and emotions that had to do with overcoming the personal struggle of life. Personal Freedom from Government. I guess it could have been any band, but it just happened to be them. U2 didn’t influence me musically as much spiritually to take action and do what I believe is right.
You always felt comfortable and happy to being in the underground or did you wish be more successful or have a wider audience?
Success is not about money. It is about laying down something real that will last and stand the test of time. I feel like our records all are unique and one of a kind in that they will be listened to long after I am gone and that is pure success to me. I have 2 sons that are very smart and caring boys that have grown up with a father who cares and has tried to show them the right way. They make me feel more successful than any amount of money could.
Can you tell me three things that allowed today is the day to be what is it?
#1 Never Giving Up.
#2 Playing the music and living the Music every day.
#3 All of the Bad things and People who have tried to stop us.
Which is the concept behind your new album "Pain is a warning"? I read that Curran Reynolds told that is the most accessible record Today is the day ever did so What can we expect from it? If it´s true why become more accessible?
It’s hard to say what is accessible and not accessible. I think Curran is trying to say that this record is more song oriented. Not as much way out there Experimental as in 15 Minute long songs of nothing but noise. I like it and it rocks me. It rocks Curran and we believe in what we do.
Releasing a double album always was a dangerous task, it´s hard to find a double album that has no lows and can maintain the same quality in the whole recoding. Why did you decided to make "Sadness will prevail" a double album? It´s seems to me the biggest effort of Today is the day in his history but I´m not sure the record could cope the expectations (Talking about the reception).
Well, the Wall by Pink Floyd was a hard listen for many and that was because it was ahead of it’s time. Sadness is a very experimental album. A Very Damaging album that makes the listener face a lot of black things that go on in one’s mind when theya re driven to the edge. IT was a very important album for us and those who have it swear by it as a very deep and meaningful thing. They know it was not made for the masses, but instead made for those who dare to look inside and see what they are made of.
I was thinking that "Sadness will prevail" is a demotivating title and sounds me strange because you try to have another attitude in life like motivation and self improvement. In some way it´s the opposite of "Willpower" Can you throw some light to this?
Well, the 2 records are totally different views. Sadness Will Prevail is about assessing the Dark Side of Human Existence and exploring what it leads to. Willpower was made after my Dad died and I had to fight emotionally to keep it all together as I simply just wanted to die when he died.
What about the concept of “Temple of the morning star” album? I think is one of the best Today is the day have ever made (and one of my favorite artworks of all time)
Temple of The Morning Star is one of my favorites too. That album is about personal relationships and how they go right and wrong. Personal relationships with your own self. I lived in a warehouse in Nashville, with NOTHING and had very little food to eat or anything at all. I was heartbroken over the loss of my Father and a terrible 8 year relationship with a girl that nearly destroyed my soul.
Looking at the past and excluding the present which are the best and the worst period for Today is the day.
I will always look at The In The Eyes of God period fondly. I met my wife at the end of the touring for Temple and we got married when In The Eyes of God was released. She toured with me on hundreds of shows and we were happier than we had ever been individually. Sadness Will Prevail Period was a very hard time. We hated our Record Label Relapse and wanted to be off of it. They helped very little with the band and I felt that a large amount of devoted work was being wasted by their useless efforts.
How do you feel returning now to Europe? I read you didn´t feel comfortable when toured Europe just after 9/11 in the sadness will prevail tour.
I was comfortable playing music. It was the general feeling that USA Sucks, Bush Sucks and being lumped into to all of that when we as Americans had very little to do with what people in Europe were feeling.
What do you think about Osama Bin Laden being killed by Navy Seals a few days ago?
Well, the guy hated America and Americans. I don’t really care about the 911 aspect of his involvement if there was any involvement at all. I am glad he is dead as he was an enemy to my country and culture. No One here in the USA cares what Middle Eastern Countries or religions do, but it seems like people like Osama really resented our Country and people for what we stand for. Religion is not a Big part of American Culture and I think that had a lot to do with what Jihadists hate about us. When it comes down to it, we are all pretty much the same. Oddly enough, the USA is tolerant of ALL religions and most people do Not care what you personally believe in. The only thing about Osama’s death that I don’t dig, is that the USA is not a world Police. So, when will it stop and who is next. We can’t keep hunting down every bad guy out there as there are many. Iran’s Leader, North Korea’s Leader, Gaddafi… When will it end? Osama was different as he did represent what a lot of Islamic extremist young men believe in. Which is the total destruction of the USA.
What does it mean Osama Bin Laden nowadays? It´s seems that is not just a man, it´s a symbol or an entity… maybe is not as easy to kill his persona.
It’s not, but it does send a message that you cannot hide from the things that you do. I think he represented doing bad things and getting away with it. The fact that he was caught and killed makes it more clear that you are responsible for your actions. The Middle East is FAR AWAY from the USA and it should not be concerned with the USA anymore than we should be concerned with the Middle East. I’d say stoning and killing Women and the many other problems that the Middle East has is something that people from The Middle East should be dealing with. Not worrying about Brittany Spears dragging them down Spiritually.
Finally I would like to ask you a curiosity. You share name with a famous wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. It annoyed you? Have lead that to some misunderstanding?
My Name is what it is. There are only sop Many names and most of them have been use with Millions and Millions of people that have been born. I don’t like the fact that there is a Wrestler and a Bionic Man with my Name, But a name is only a Moniker. It is not a Brand Name for me. I am who I am says Popeye the Sailor Man.
Thank you very much Steve for the interview we appreciate so much your time. We are waiting your next tour, especially south Spain fans that must make hundreds of kilometers to see your gigs in Madrid or Barcelona. Now if you like you can add a final message for Today Is the Day Spanish fans.
Thanks so much to each and everyone one of you. Your Thoughts, Hearts and Ideas are your and you should live your life the way you want to every single day.
Thanks! Steve Austin