FLAW Interview with Chris Volz
Posted by WayneBRR on November 06 2017 07:22:06

FLAW

Interview with Chris Volz

 

By: Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

Flaw is an American rock band from Louisville, Kentucky. The band was formed by guitarist Jason Daunt in 1996.  Vocalist, Chris Volz was kind enough to chat with me during their recent stop in Providence.  See what he has to say about not giving up after nearly 20 years in the music biz, his lyrical inspiration, and what FLAW has in store for 2018

 

FLAW is:

Chris Volz - Vocals
Jason Daunt - Guitar

Mike Mexas - Bass

Dan Johnson - Drums*

 

*(FLAW has recently announced a new drummer, Georges Octobus, who will be touring with the band as of November 2017.)

 

BRR:  I read today that the band name was initially F. Law. Is that true and if so, how did that change to FLAW?  Did that mean “Fuck Law?”

 

CV:  Well yeah, at first it kind of did.  I mean it was always FLAW from the beginning but the period was kind of something that we just threw in just to kind of have some kind of hidden meaning behind it.  We realized after a certain point that it made more sense to us having it as FLAW.

 

BRR:  The band formed in ‘96 after you answered an ad for a vocalist by Jason (Daunt).  What led to getting signed by Republic/Universal Records back in 2000?

 

CV:  Well, basically we got picked up by a management company and went out to L.A. and did a showcase.  We didn't get signed off of that so we basically went back home to the label and restructured went back through a bunch of the songs and kept on grinding at it.  We realized we didn't want to give up and ended up getting picked up by a new management company.  We went to New York and met with a bunch of major labels and and set up a showcase and we played a showcase at CBGB's back in 2000.  It was probably eight or nine different labels there and a couple of them made an offer and we ended up going with Republic/Universal.

 

BRR:  The band has seen many line-up changes and internal conflict over the last 20 years? What gave you the drive to never give up?

 

CV:  I mean honestly it's one of those things where like if you don't accept failure and you realize that you love something so much that you're never going to quit.  And it's one of those things where no matter what shit comes into play, no matter what stuff you know causes problems, there's always a way to push through it.  I mean like the very first showcase we ever did, we played in front of probably 12 of the biggest labels on the planet and we didn't get a record deal.  A lot of bands would just kind of throw in the towel at that point, where we realized that if it was what we wanted to do we needed to basically just dig back in.  And so yeah, I mean everybody goes through changes.  Everybody you know handles things differently.  Everybody grows up at a certain point and you know one of the biggest reasons for the many lineup changes we've had is because the focus of FLAW basically succeeding wasn't there with everyone.  You know things happen and you either stick through it and move on or you tuck your tail between your legs and go home, and that's never been a priority for us. So yeah, I mean no matter what, we're going to keep on trucking.

 

BRR:  And you had side projects on your own in the meantime just to keep going.

 

CV:  Yeah.  After we got dropped by Universal in 2006 it was it was rough because you get the whole world pulled out from under you. You’ve got no tour support, you've got no marketing support and once again that's a time when I've seen a lot of bands basically just kind of throw the towel in.  There's a ton of talented musicians that basically by all means deserve to play music but just didn't have the ability to stick it out.  I mean there's a lot of other things that come into play.  You know you have kids, you have families and people grow up and they realize they want something more stable.

 

BRR:  It's definitely not a money maker.

 

CV:  No, it's definitely not a money maker.  I mean we're not rich by any means but you know the thing that we do get to say is that we have a career and we're able to pay the bills.  We don't have five cars and two houses and all that stuff but we are able to go to sleep every night knowing that we have a career doing something that we love to do.  We don't wake up every day hating to go to work.  I don't mean to bash anybody, because everybody does what they have to do, but I've never been the kind of person that has been able to last years waking up every morning hating my job.  I know that there's a lot of people that have to go through that and I just really didn't want to be one of those people.  I'd rather have to struggle to pay the bills here and there and love what I do and wake up feeling great about what I have to do that day than make more money and be completely miserable every single day because I hate my job.

 

BRR:  I was listening to an interview that you did and you were saying that your dad instilled into you that you wanted to always do something that's really not a job.  If you love it enough it's not really work.

 

CV:  Yes.  I remember the first time he said that I think I was like 9 or 10 years old.  He basically said that if you find a career that you love, that if you find a job that excites you for your entire life, then you really never work a day in your life.  Even though this is work, like we had to drive a thousand miles to get here.  We don't have our own crews so we load all our own gear and all that stuff.  So it is work, but it's work with a reward that's greater than money.  You know especially like when you connect with the fans or have someone come up to you and talks about how a song you wrote profoundly affected their life.  That is better than any paycheck.

 

BRR:  Speaking of internal conflict, do I dare ask about the Motograter drama?

 

CV:  I’d rather let sleeping dogs lie.  It's one of those things where we got along OK but sometimes when you tour with a band you realize that they're not the people you thought they were.  At the end of the day what it comes down to is the fact that, especially in this industry, a lot of bands will use anything possible to try to get free publicity for themselves. And so when I realized that's what was happening from their side that's when I completely backed away.  I'm not going to let them ride on our success by trying to start shit.  I don't have anything negative to say.  I actually like most of the band. There's only one or two of them that have a serious psych problem. (laughs)

 

BRR:  There's one in every crowd I guess.  I know you had a rough childhood with your adopted mom committing suicide when you were 12 and you've mentioned in previous interviews that your dad put you right into counseling. Now how has that led to your personal style with your lyrics, which I know are a lot about getting through pain and inner turmoil.

 

CV:  Yeah. Well, I basically realized at a young age that life was completely fucking unfair and at times nothing makes sense, even things that you thought made the most sense could get flipped upside down on you. And through going to counseling after my mom's suicide I learned how to write my feelings down on paper and then that transferred into being able to write poetry which transferred into me being be able to write lyrics.  So I mean I definitely think you know I'm not trying to say that my story is better or worse than anybody else's.  Everybody's been through something. But I'm sure anybody that's been through something and worked their way through it has found some kind of positive outlet.  For me it was putting my feelings down on paper and then transferring it to lyrics.  Without my dad being adamant about me going to counseling, I don't know if I ever would have taken my step in that direction.  So I mean I definitely think it's something that anybody who's been through any kind of tragedy or any kind of trauma like that definitely has to deal with it, otherwise it just shows itself in ways that you know will kill you.

 

BRR:  I went through my personal stuff in the past and music is my escape.   It's what keeps me sane.

 

CV:  Mine too.

 

BRR:  So last August you released your 4th studio album, Divided We Fall and you just followed it up with a brand new EP United We Stand that was released Sept 1st through Pavement Entertainment. What has been the response so far?

 

 

CV:  Honestly it's been really good.  All of the press I've done about it has been great and all of the response from our fans has been great.  The EP is actually a lot lighter than our last full length release. We didn't want to put too many ballads on our last full length because we wanted to show that we were still true to our original form and our original writing style from our very first record, Through The Eyes, back in 2001.  I think we did that, but in doing that, that left four or five songs off of the latest LP that we didn't want to just sit around and do nothing.  We didn't want them to collect dust so I was actually talking with the VP of Pavement, Tim King, and we still owe them a record on our existing contract and he wanted us to be able to keep fans in tune with what we were doing before our next full length comes out.  In bouncing ideas off each other, we talked about putting out an LP of the B-sides.

 

BRR:  You had a ton of songs already written pretty much, didn't you?

 

CV:  For the new record? Yeah, well some some of the songs are songs that were basically reworked from way back in the day.  You know old school FLAW fans will recognize songs like “Fall Into This and “Such Is Life” from way back.  But we wanted to basically show people that we were staying active and that we're not just going to put out a record or go away especially since we took such a long hiatus.   We took like a 6 or 7 year hiatus and if you don't stay in people's faces and you don't stay current people just tend to think you went away.  And so we wanted to keep our grassroots fanbase happy. People have been asking us to put those songs on the disc for 15 years and for whatever reason they didn't get chosen by Universal or we didn't choose to give them to Universal.  I'm glad it worked out that way.  I did an interview with, I don't remember which which station it was, but the guy actually made a comment he said, “You know, I think you guys are really showing not only your longevity but you are showing your ability to jump in a different job, styles and genres. And he goes, “I think with this new EP you guys are actually going to lock down a 30 to 45 year old hot chick.”  I was like, wait!  He was making references to rock ballads.  But you know, it's important for us to know that our fans know that we're still the same FLAW that came out back in 2000.  Like we have songs that are balls out in your face scream heavy moshpit songs going on, songs that are intermediate moderate rock radio, and we have songs that are complete ballads that could be on pop stations.

 

BRR:  I think that's good because you're going to get a variety of fans.   That kind of led me to my next question.  United We Stand actually shows your more intimate side, but it's not lacking in aggression because after a few seconds it picks right up.  Can you tell me a little more about the EP and the inspiration behind some of the songs?

 

CV:  “I'll Carry You” lyrically I wrote that after a bunch of my friends had cycled back from the Middle East that were in the service and it was really about watching them struggle to re-acclimate to society and basically in more words or less my way of saying, “Thank you so much for your sacrifice and what you've done. You've been through hell and you know I'm here and we're here if you need it.  You know we'll carry you and we're walking right beside you and stuff.” “Fall Into This” is one of those old songs that we've been hashing around with for probably 15 years if not more.  That's really just about loss and understanding that everybody grieves and that you never have to grieve alone.  “Such Is Life lyrically, that's almost 20 years old.  But it's been kind of revisited and reworked.  I think that overall feeling that I wanted to get across lyrically was basically just to let people know that it's OK to hurt.  That everybody goes through tough times but that there's a solid support group for you if you reach out.  I mean you know the FLAW Family by itself is awesome. I mean we have a social media Facebook page called FLAW Family where there's people that just go on there and talk about the death of a close family member and they get nothing but support.  There's a lot that's on there that's not even music related.  It's just people supporting people.  And I mean, like we touched on before, for me music is therapy and for the majority of our fans music is therapy.  I think the personal connection that we've been able to establish and that we're holding on to is a testament to why we're still doing this after 17 plus years. It's hard enough to make it in this business for one record in four to five years, let alone to be on your fourth studio national global release on a record label after 17 plus years.  It's a testament to our hard work but it's a testament to the fans that have actually seen what we're doing and grabbed onto what we're doing.

 

BRR:  I see a lot of people post that they've been a fan since the first run of the first album and they're diehard fans.

 

CV:  I can't tell you how many times we have people come up to us after shows and say, “I got your first CD when I was in Junior High and now they're in their mid to late 30s with kids and they still listen to that CD on a daily basis.

 

BRR:  And hopefully they pass that onto the next generation too.

 

CV:  Absolutely.  A lot of them are  introducing it to their kids and bringing the kids to all ages shows and stuff. It's not as much of us going out there and trying to be rock stars as it is just connecting with people that are like minded individuals, people who have been through the trenches and come out OK.

 

BRR:  That's exactly why they relate to your lyrics.  You have a new record now that's in the works for 2018?

 

CV:  Yes.  We're still in the writing process, but it should be out probably the first or second quarter next year. We do have a tour that is being scheduled for January.  So with that being set up right now we'll probably be going in the studio.

 

BRR:  Will you be playing some of the new songs on tour before it comes out?

 

CV:  It depends.  In November we have a run with Soil that is coming up, and then we're pretty much going to take most of December to focus on writing and finish writing the next record.  Then there's a run in January so we can take a break from writing and then we'll probably go in the studio in February sometime.  With the way the process works, I would probably expect the new full length to be out in April or May of 2018.

 

BRR:  Just in time from the next tour.

 

CV:  Then it'll be right in its prime when the summer hits.

 

BRR:  Great.  And if you were to start your career over in music what would you do different?   I mean things are completely different now than when you started out.  

 

CV:  I mean everything is night and day different than when we started.  A lot of people don't realize we actually got signed and our first record came out before the whole internet explosion with Napster and the lawsuits and all that stuff and that shut down the major record industry for months. You know all the CFOs had their assets sealed and they pulled tour support.  Our very first demo, we actually made copies on cassette tapes because that was the way to do it back then.  I mean that's how long ago we go back.  You know there's a lot that I would do differently. I mean hindsight is always 20/20.  I wouldn't change the way anything went because then it might alter where we still are today.  But you know everything kind of happened really fast for us when it did take off and it's easy when that happens for you not to appreciate it the way you should and I'm sure that I didn't appreciate things the way I should have.  So I mean if I would change anything, I would probably appreciate it, the way I do now, I wish I would have appreciated it like that back then.

 

BRR:  And besides your upcoming record what else is next for FLAW?

 

CV:  You know we're touring machines.  We are pretty much on schedule right now for 2017 to do roughly around 275 shows for this year.  So I mean we're definitely going to stay active like that and in our genre of  music, if you're not touring then you're not staying relevant.  You're not staying in  people's faces and we don't sell enough records to really do this for a living unless we tour, so it's an absolute necessity.  We tour roughly nine months out of the year, give or take.  So we're going to continue to tour like that as long as we possibly can.  We're definitely putting out another LP full length the first or second quarter next year. And yeah. I mean as long as people want to hear FLAW, then FLAW will be around. So we're just going to keep staying busy and we've got a really good team behind us.

 

BRR:  Very important!  That's pretty much all the questions I have. Do you have any further comments?

 

CV:  I'd just like to say thank you to all of our fans who stuck with us through the past almost 20 years.  It's been an amazing couple of decades.  And just we appreciate all the love and support.  For those that don't know we have dot.com, FLAWband.com.  We have our Facebook page. We also have the FLAW Family page for anybody that feels about the music like we do.  ease look up the FLAW Family Facebook and other than that, we're just really happy to still be doing this. We feel blessed and we'll see you in a town near you.

 

BRR:  So, go to the shows and buy some merch!