XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Kevin: Our new album, “From Fields of Fire,” is out September 8 on Cruz del Sur Records. We’re really proud of this one. We are touring Europe with High Spirits starting September 8 as well.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Kevin: Argus has been together since 2005, but Butch joined in 2006. We were quite different before he came on board.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Kevin: I guess I don’t know any better? Haha. Erik and Mike were looking to start another band and talked me into it. I’m glad I did, because Argus has developed into something great. I enjoy playing music and it’s therapeutic for me. I couldn’t imagine not being in a band at this point in my life. Growing up, music was very important to me, and I developed a group of friends around that. I still call them friends to this day – I was in my first ever real band with Erik Johnson, and all those years later we started Argus.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Kevin: I’ve been playing music since I was about 12 years old. I learned to play drums by watching and playing along at my family reunions. My father taught me how to play guitar as well. I joined my first band when I was 14, and played in a variety of them over the years.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Kevin: That’s a tough one. We are 5 guys who enjoy writing and performing music, so I hope that shows. Some of the lyrics Butch writes can strike a personal chord, so hopefully people can take away something from that as well. I just want people to see we are honest with the music we create.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Kevin: We have the European tour coming up, and hopefully some more local shows. I want to keep playing out and promoting “From Fields of Fire.” I’m sure we will start writing soon as well. I’d love to do some more extensive playing/touring in the United States – hopefully the west coast?
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Kevin: I just want to keep performing and writing with Argus as long as we can.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Kevin: That’s tough. I enjoy both and I don’t think I could do one without the other. I love creating songs, and watching them come to life. And hearing the layers come together in the studio is great. But then I need to take them out and play them for people.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Kevin: Butch writes about a wide-range of topics, ranging from personal events to literature. I have occasionally suggested themes or source material – I brought up writing a song about “The Outsider” years back – but generally that’s all him. He never fails to write great lyrics. He does like to leave some open for interpretation, even those based on real events in his own life. I enjoy hearing how some people have understood the meaning behind certain songs. He does a great job making them relatable I think.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Kevin: Our friend, Mark, accompanied us on tour last year. Through some misfortune of his own making, he lost his jackets at Hell Over Hammaburg. We went back to the venue, but the promoter could only provide a thin Adidas jacket with green stripes – you know the type. He looked like an Eastern European thug, so we dubbed him Yuri, and the name stuck throughout the tour. Not really outrageous, but it was pretty funny and helped get us through tour.
What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Kevin: I can’t recall anything that I would consider strange. We have some great fans, some of whom I now call friends. I feel pretty lucky.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Kevin: My parents have always been and continue to be supportive. My bands in high school practiced at their house, and, even though they didn’t necessarily understand metal, they got why it was important to me. My father was in a band when he was in high school, and his parents didn’t get his rock and roll, either. It was full circle for him I think. My mother enjoys and supports all my current activities.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Kevin: I love playing “Pieces of Your Smile.” It’s challenging and you feel you accomplished something when you get to the end. I’m looking forward to playing “Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors” from the new record. I enjoy the longer songs because they usually tell a story so to speak.
Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Kevin: My favorite drummer is John Bonham – I loved his groove and style, and appreciate it more with age. A lot of 80s metal was a huge inspiration for me. I remember watching Anthrax’s “Oidivnikufesin” and digging how much fun those guys were having on stage.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Kevin: High Spirits, Argus, and Stereo Nasty would be a fun one. I’d love to tour with Orodruin and While Heaven Wept as well. For me, a great tour would be any of the bands I enjoy watching and hanging out with.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Kevin: I think the fact that we’re still together after 11 years or so is pretty impressive.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Kevin: Well, we don’t make a living from music, so I am currently a supervisor for a local government agency. Butch works in grants and contracts for cancer research (I’m sure I butchered that), Dave works for the WWE doing sound, Jason is an IT genius for a health food store, and Justin does computer drafting.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Kevin: Locally, I use my Tama Starclassic Maple kit, GMS snare, and a mix of Sabian, Paiste, and Zildjian cymbals. Sometimes I’ll use a backline provided by another band if that makes things easier. I’m not too picky, as long as there aren’t a ton of drums – I’m a minimalist. On our European tour, I’ll use a Tama kit from the backline company. Jason and Dave both have Splawn guitar heads, but Jason has been using a Mesa/Boogie Mark V lately. Justin has a lot of different bass heads and I lose track. Haha.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Kevin: I’ll admit, I’m pretty bad about keeping up with new music. Butch usually suggests stuff for me. But there are a lot of great ones out there. A lot of our label mates – Apostle of Solitude, Lady Beast, Slough Feg (welcome back!) – are great. Brimstone Coven is killer. Stereo Nasty out of Ireland – really killer band, amazing live, and so fun on tour. Overall there a bunch of great bands out there. Despite the music industry being in shambles, bands are creating more than ever. Now people just need to go out and buy their records!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Kevin: I’m a pretty boring person. I enjoy brewing beer and am involved in animal rescue – my wife and I foster dogs when we can.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Kevin: A mix of traditional metal with hints of doom. We like to focus on vocals and guitar – and lots of guitar harmonies.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Kevin: Our new album, “From Fields of Fire” is out September 8 on Cruz del Sur Music, and we’re on tour in Europe September 8-16!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Kevin: Thanks for the interest and questions!