What do you mean you lost “everything?”
Like, everything. I have no car, I have no house: I have nothing. I have the songs that I’ve been working on—that’s it. I’m not the kind of guy who blew money. I didn’t buy nice cars; I didn’t buy anything. I just had a string of bad luck. A tree fell on my car and smashed it, and it wasn’t covered by insurance. In Underoath, we all bought houses about eight months before the market crashed. You buy a house for X amount of dollars, then eight months later, it’s worth half. At a certain point, when taxes and insurance went up in Florida, my mortgage doubled. I wasn’t prepared for the Underoath breakup, so I didn’t have a job to go to. Tim was working at Merchline everyday, Chris was working at a church, and I just kept working on my music. At one point, I was seriously laughing, sitting on my dining room table, with two gold records on my wall, emptying out my piggy bank to eat a 99-cent burger, for the first time in two days. I was just like, “This is ridiculous. This is insane.” All I had were those songs.
Some people would be like, “Why didn’t you get a job?” I haven’t worked anywhere but Underoath since I was 18. I didn’t even have a car to deliver a pizza in. The only thing I could do at this point in my life was put all of my chips in one basket. And that basket is myself. I believe in myself; I believe in music and what it can do for people. I’ve been around the world many times and people who don’t even know how to say certain lines of English have my words tattooed across their throat. I know what music can do. I also know in order to gain everything you have to be willing to lose it all—and I’m totally fine with that. Does it suck, and is it uncomfortable at times? Yeah, for sure. But I think it’s the only way this project will ever do what it’s supposed to do. I had to learn how to start for the bottom again. It was a long process.
So what’s the plan? Will there be touring?
We’re doing four super-intimate small shows. Almost as small as possible, without playing a complete shithole. I wanna go and hang out with people who have followed me and are willing to buy tickets to these shows. I wanna do this really small thing where I play these shows and meet every single person in the room. I want to play some really small rooms, shake everyone’s hand and buy everyone a beer. We’re doing shows in November. We’ll probably finish up some recordings in January and have the record out early-to-mid-next year.
Have you signed to a label yet?
It’s kind of on the DL. It’s a long process and it has not been a fun process for me.
So for right now, “Rock And Roll Is Dead...” is going to be free?
Yeah, it will be free for whoever the hell wants it, because it’s not necessarily the finished version. It’s not mastered; there might be a change here or there when you actually hear it on the record. But where it’s at right now, I’m really proud of. I might put out another one for free before the record comes out because I have like 30-something songs. I’m not worried about putting out one or two for free.
You sound like you’re stoked.
I am. I’ve never been more proud of myself and excited about my future than I have with this project. It’s taking way longer than I ever could’ve imagined. I love touring, playing, writing, and recording and I’m ready to be back out there. I have been since the last Underoath show. All of the business stuff takes forever. But I’m excited to be out there again. People ask me all the time, “What if it doesn’t work out for you?” There is no option for that. There was no option for Underoath, there’s no option for this. You just work your ass off and things will happen for you. Like I said, you have to be willing to lose it all. Just dedicate your life to something that you love and you’re good at and never stop. That’s kind of where I’m at. I’m never gonna stop. alt
"Rock And Roll Is Dead And So Am I" debuts on AltPress this Friday.