Interview with Michael Gilbert & Jason Bittner
Flotsam & Jetsam in Glasgow
Interview by Gavin Lowrey
Members: Eric ‘AK’ Knutson – vocals, Steve Conley – guitar, Michael Gilbert – guitar, Jason Bittner – drums ,Michael Spencer – bass
Before their show at Stereo in Glasgow we sat down with Michael Gilbert and Jason Bittner from thrash legends Flotsam & Jetsam for a quick chat, here’s how it went.
Guys, welcome to Scotland!
JB & MG – Thanks Gavin, it’s great to be here…finally. Scotland is a beautiful country.
Yes, that’s what I wanted to get to, you’ve played Bloodstock last year, but before then, no UK show since, well, at least since the last time Eddie Murphy was funny in the 80’s, why is this?
MG – (laughs) To be honest, it’s all down to money, we need to sell the tickets for a tour and if a promoter doesn’t come forward and book us then there’s nothing we can do. It’s not like we haven’t wanted to come, circumstances has conspired against us!
What’s the major difference between touring in Europe as opposed to the States?
JB – The fans are way more intense in Europe, it’s a lifestyle and metal is far more prevalent over here, especially in mainland Europe
MG – Yes, in Europe the fans are more knowledgeable and are more into buying CDs as opposed to downloads, you can tell a European fan as if you ask them about the albums they will name the songs and tell you their favourites by name, whereas in the States it’s more, “yeah, track 3 is good”.
Jason, what’s it like being in Flotsam & Jetsam after Shadow’s Fall?
JB – It’s great, I’m really enjoying it, I’ve been a F&J fan for a a long time, following them when they came over to the east coast of the States and I have known members in the band, and with Shadow’s Fall on a hiatus, it’s a great opportunity.
Michael, you re recorded “No Place For Disgrace” last year, what was the thinking behind that?
MG – We wanted to breathe new life into the songs and with a remix not on the cards, it was an ideal opportunity. We had fans who were not wanting us to do it and then when they heard it they loved it!
Speaking about recording, what’s happening with the new album?
MG – Yes, we’ve got between 15-20 tracks and will be recording in Belgium when we’re over there doing a couple of festivals.
Are you playing Hellfest this year?
JB – No, but we’re playing a lot of others!
At this point, singer Eric AK comes over to say hello, and apologises for not joining us but he needs to grab a shave and get ready, what a nice chap!
When can we expect the new album?
MG – Back end of the year I think.
Throwing in a curve ball here, If an alien landed his spaceship in the street outside and said to you “what’s this metal music I’ve been hearing about?” and you could give them one album to explain it, which album would it be?
MG – Jeez that’s a good question,I guess it would have to be “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, it’s got everything that they’ll need to know.
JB – Yep, Paranoid for me as well.
Since you’re finally in Scotland, I’d like to see how much you know about our beautiful country, I’m going to name a few Scottish things and see if you know what they are.
MG – Cool, go for it!
Ok, easy first one- Shortbread?
MG & JB – Biscuits?
Yeah, that’s easy, what about Haggis?
JB – not sure, I’ve heard of that, is it an animal?
MG – OK, animal
It’s Sheep’s Lungs, Liver, Heart and cooked with Barley in a sheep’s stomach
JB – Oh…
MG – Not a clue!
It’s a kind of drink if that helps?
JB – Alcoholic, like whiskey?
No it’s a soft drink
JB – That’s good, I don’t drink!
MG – A Scottish soft drink? Does that exist?
I tell you what, I’ll go to the bar and get you one (so I disappear off to the bar and get them an Irn Bru each and return quickly).
MG & JB – Wow! That’s really nice
I’m glad to have introduced you to something new, what about Cranachan?
MG – Fish?
(laughs) No, it’s a traditional dessert, made from whipped cream, honey, whiskey, raspberries and toasted oats.
JB – Wow! Can I have some of that please, Gavin?
Sorry mate, they don’t sell that here. Finally, Cullen Skink?
MG- Where are you getting these from? Not a clue!
It’s a soup, made from Smoked haddock, potatoes, cream, onions & leeks.
That sounds nice as well.
Well boys, its been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and have a great show.
Thanks Gavin, it’s been fun!