25 years punched as NOLAs resident blackened death metal purveyors of chaos, the cohort show no signs of fatigue on their long-awaited new studio entry Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven (available worldwide October 7 through Metal Blade records).
Ahead of the release, founding guitarist and certified lifelong metalhead Sammy Duet sat down with Metal Injection for a look back on 25 years of Goatwhore and the group's new album, lessons learned on tour, including the age old to-party-or-not-to-party question, his love of Judas Priest, reflections on Acid Bath's timeless When the Kite String Pops and much more!
On Return to the Road
"You don't really understand what you have until it's gone, you know what I'm saying? And I guess a lot of people, a lot of the fans come to shows, and really I wouldn't say they took it for granted, but, like I said, you don't really realize what you have until it's gone. I could definitely see that within the fans of the last tours that we've done, is that the fans came out in droves and they were going absolutely insane and it was great. And everybody had a good time, you know?
"And two years is a long time to go without seeing live music in general. I mean, when you go to a show, whatever type of music you're into there's a certain energy that's there when you watch somebody perform music in front of your face, and it's something that you can't describe. And I think a lot of people, myself included, really didn't realize how important that is to our lives until it was yanked away from us. Thanks COVID!"
On Lessons Learned on Tour
"Oh man, we could sit here for an hour talking about this. You always learn things, you know, every tour you do you learn something new. And especially like in the beginning when you first get out there and start doing tours, you learn exactly what you say, what you have to do and things that you shouldn't do.
"I'm not going to go into the details of all that, but that's all up to the individual also as well, because there are some guys out there, let's give a terrible example here, some guys out there that will drink before they play. And then there's certain people that can play when they drink and there's certain people that cannot play even if they have a beer.
"And it's the same thing with weed. I've seen guys that'll smoke weed all day and get on stage and completely slaughter the joint, but then people like myself, that if I take one hit of weed I go on stage and everything just goes down the toilet, you know? It's all about learning what you can handle and what you can't when you are on tour and things that you should and shouldn't do."
On Post-Show Partying
"I'll definitely say that it's not like it used to be, let's put it that way [laughs]. We're not the spring chickens that we were at one point in time. We had the reputation for a long time of just being maniacs on the road as far as like the after show libations and debauchery.
"We definitely pushed that to its limits at a certain point in time. But nowadays we're getting a little bit older and stuff to where it's not pushed to the extreme as it was like let's say ten years ago where it was like I don't care what's going to happen after the show, but I'm going to push the limits of my fucking mortality, you know?"
On 25 Years of Goatwhore
"It doesn't feel like that. It doesn't feel like 25 years. It feels more like ten years which, to me, is a good thing. When I start feeling the repercussions of time, that's when I'm going to start really getting worried. My attitude is that I'm going to continue to do this as long as I'm physically able to do this. To 25 years, if I sit back and think about it like Jesus Christ man, that's a long fucking time. But time has no relevance to me."
On New Album Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven
"I had a lot of time to write this record, because in the past we were always like, all right, we got to hurry up and put out this record so we could go on tour. Basically that was the attitude for a little while to where we definitely took care in the songs and all that stuff, but it was like, okay, that's good enough, let's go.
"With this record I was kind of, how can I say this, I was on a forced vacation. We had a lot of stuff already written. Like maybe around 2018, 2019 a lot of this record was already written, so we were going to take off 2020 anyway to kind of really focus in and get the rest of the songs done and try to improve on what we already had.
"I had a little bit more time than I expected to work on these songs because of this forced vacation we had. So I mean, I guess that was a good thing. It was like, well, nobody knows when this COVID thing's going to fucking lift where they're going to let the world be the world again, so I'm just going to sit here and focus on trying to make these songs the best that I can. It was a no pressure situation as far as getting the record done, you know what I mean?
"So I think that kind of had a lot to do with the way this record came out, because I had a lot of time to think about it, and to try to focus on what makes Goatwhore, Goatwhore, and trying some new things as well. Basically that's how it is. I just kind of really had a lot of time to think about this record, you know?"
On the Addition of Bassist Robert "Trans Am" Coleman
"He's been a very close friend of the band as well before he was in the band. He was in a band Hod before he was in Goatwhore and we would play with Hod every time we would go through Texas, so we've known Robert for a very, very long time prior to him actually being in the band. And that's kind of how he got in the band because [former bassist James Harvey] was like, 'Look, I'm going to have to take an extended leave of absence from the band', because he was having children and stuff. And I get where he's coming from.
"You know, no child deserves to not have a father. And he made the right decision to go out and say, 'look, I have a kid coming. I can't be on the road. You know, I'll still write and be a part of the band and record, whatever you guys need me to do. But I can't tour like I used to because I want to raise my child correctly'.
"And so that happened and we're thinking about bass players. Like who can we get to fill in for James while he's gone? And immediately we were like, 'Robert. He's cool. We're all familiar with how he is. It's not some strange personality coming into the fold. He's a great guy. We all get along great.'"
"That's a very important thing when you tour as much as us, you have to get along or really bad things are going to happen. We got along with him. He was a very close friend of ours before he was in the band. So that definitely helped getting him into the band. There were no weird personality conflicts or anything like that. You know, nobody needs that when you're touring as much as we do."
On His Gateway Metal Bands
"I would definitely say, of course I had the Black Sabbath and all that stuff and the AC/DC. That was kind of what started it. But I think the one that really drove the nail home as far as you're talking about would be Judas Priest's Point of Entry. You know, that was the first Judas Priest record I'd ever heard. And that's when they really started embracing the black leather and the spikes and studs.
"And you had K.K. Downing with the big red flying V and I was like this is where I need to be! So thank you, K.K. Downing. Yeah, [Judas Priest] are unstoppable. It's insane that Rob Halford can still do what he does at his age. I love that man. I hope that man continues. I hope that guy finds the fountain of youth so he never dies and just continues to be the metal god for generations to come."
On Consuming Metal Away From the Road
"Well, when I get home from the tour I definitely have to, unless it's something really special, I won't step out of my house for like a month at least to just kind of get away from that whole situation. When you're on tour it's like it's Saturday night every night and it's metal and loud music. And don't get me wrong, I love metal and I love loud music. But sometimes you gotta just step back and regain your composure, so to speak. But yes, I definitely still go to shows, especially bands that I love. Definitely, without a doubt.
"One of my favorite new bands recently played here in New Orleans, which I did not expect because they're like a really underground band. They played a really small club called The Goat in New Orleans. It's like a goth metal/punk kind of club. This band Spiter, and it's members of Shitfucker and Devil Master. Spiter is one of my favorite new bands and I'm actually wearing the shirt today. But anyway, Spiter recently played here … in like a tiny little bitty club, and it was fucking amazing."
On NOLA's Metal Scene
"Yeah, it's the vibe here, man. We recently did the last show on the Vile Ascension tour that we did with Incantation. The last show was actually in New Orleans, and we had some friends come down from Mexico to come check out the show, and they had never been here before. And they had seen us a couple of times on that tour in a couple of different cities.
"And when they got here, they were hanging out with us at soundcheck. And that's one thing they said that they were like, 'There's something here that's different than any other city in the United States or in the world for that fact', they're like, 'I can't pinpoint what's going on here, but there's a different vibration on the ground in this place.' It's just we're products of our environment. Like they said, there's definitely something here that you can't put your finger on when you get here. You have to experience it yourself and you can't describe it."
On Acid Bath’s When the Kite String Pops
"When we were writing that record, we weren't really thinking a whole lot about anything.We were just kind of enjoying jamming and just creating this music that we at the time didn't even really understand the impact it was going to have. You know, we were just doing what we did. But you have to think what made the band so special is that the five of us were completely different people from each other. I mean, there's a lot of bands that say that and try to pull off this thing that sometimes it just doesn't work. And for some reason, being the five of us were so different from each other in our influences and personalities, it worked.
"There's some bands that try to pull that kind of stuff off, but it's kind of, how could I say, jarring to where they'll go in from a death metal part to a funk part or whatever, you know what I'm saying? And it's such a drastic fucking change that it's kind of jarring and it doesn't really flow. And for some reason with Acid Bath it just worked. Not saying that we did funk parts of anything, but the influences were completely left field from each other, from the five of us."
1/19 Wiesbaden, GER Schlachthof
1/20 Bochum, GER Matrix
1/21 Nijmegen, NET Doornroosje
1/22 Hamburg, GER Logo
1/23 Gothenburg, SWE Valand
1/24 Oslo, NOR John Dee
1/25 Copenhagen, DEN Pumpehuset
1/27 Berlin, GER SO36
1/28 Chemnitz, GER AJZ
1/29 Nurnberg, GER Hirsch
1/30 Prague, CZE Futurum
1/31 Budapest, HUN Akvarium Klub
2/1 Vienna, AUT Viper Room
2/2 Munich, GER Backstage
2/3 Solothurn, SWI Kofmehl
2/4 Bologna, ITA Alchemica Music Club
2/5 Toulouse, FRA Le Rex
2/6 Barcelona, SPA Boveda
2/7 Madrid, SPA Copernico
2/8 Bilbao, SPA Stage Live
2/10 Paris, FRA Trabendo
2/11 Lille, FRA Wasquehal @ The Black Lab
2/12 London, UK Islington Assembly Hall
2/13 Manchester, UK Rebellion
2/14 Dublin, IRE Whelans
2/15 Birmingham, UK Mama Roux
2/16 Bristol, UK The Fleece
2/17 Antwerp, BEL Zappa
2/18 Hannover, GER Faust