By Xan Raymond
Although Perishment has been on hiatus since August 2011, the four band members do not appear as though they’ve grown apart at all as they pile into a booth at a diner in Palm Desert, laughing and joking like old friends.
That hiatus is almost over: Perishment is prepping for a massive comeback show, as part of CV Weekly’s Monday Metal Madness.
When asked if the hiatus was intentional or not, founder and guitarist Bobby Taffolla replied: “It wasn’t planned or anything. Life just kind of gets in the way sometimes.”
The band was founded in 2006, and the current lineup—with singer Ruben Gutierrez, drummer Devin Jay and bassist Aaron Ramson—has been in place since 2010.
Taffolla explained how the band came to be.
“The band I was in at the time was a much-more-extreme style of music,” he said. “I wanted to do something a little more groove-oriented, rock ’n’ roll influenced, or at least that’s where I felt my songwriting could really go much further.”
Ramson chimed in. “The scene here is so tightly knit that it becomes very incestuous after a while. Just about everyone here in the CV metal community has influenced each other in some way or another. It’s just a matter of time before bands get started.”
When asked if they were excited to play for their fans again, Jay said they were—although it’s clear that Perishment needed the break.
“Yeah, there aren’t very many metal bands here, so—and it doesn’t matter how good you are—it gets old.” Jay said. “People get bored and burnt out. You could be amazing, but if you play at the same exact venues every week, folks are gonna get tired of it. So that’s a big thing we have going for us—the excitement our fans have to see us again.”
Taffolla added: “We have always been a quality-over-quantity band. … We will spend that time making each show worth seeing again for everyone involved. We never play the same set list, and there’s always something new to be heard.”
Ramson then chimed in. “Not to mention we are armed to the teeth with more covers than any other band in the IE,” he said. “And that is by design. We could play a Slayer cover, sure. How boring would that be, though?”
Everyone then had a hearty laugh in light of the fact that In the Name of the Dead, Jay’s other band, has been known to cover Slayer’s “Raining Blood.”
“Ok, fine. … Malevolent Creation. We could cover them, or we could do something like ZZ Top! Or Smashing Pumpkins—something that challenges all of us as musicians! Not to mention plenty of drunk people who previously didn’t notice us might start to give a shit!”
The guys began to open up more once asked how it feels to play their own songs.
“Well, at the time of writing The Peripheral Veil (EP), I was going through a lot of stuff in my life and I poured it out into a few of the songs,” says Gutierrez. “Basically I wasn’t fully comfortable releasing the songs at first, but they needed to come out. And having them on an actual release and performing it to real people is the best kind of therapy. It’s the greatest feeling.”
Devin Jay adds, “Well I’m particularly proud of the fact that our band has never bothered trying to appeal to any person or group of people. We aren’t concerned with which genre of metal is currently in, as long as we like it and it sounds good to us, that’s what matters.”
Bobby’s face lights up as he adds his two cents, “Yeah that’s always been a philosophy of ours, we’ve never been a…” his expression becomes slightly less enthused all of a sudden, “subgenre, type of band.”
“Yeah, it’s not melodic death metal or heavy metal or black metal…it’s basically whatever-the-fuck-we-want-metal,” concludes Jay.
When asked why they play music, Jay said it’s so he doesn’t go insane. Ramson claimed it satisfies his narcissism.
Taffolla said that music is his outlet—nothing more, nothing less. Gutierrez said: “I like writing, and with this sound, it seems people can relate to it much more easily, so it’s a great way to get it out there.”
When asked why they specifically play metal, the answers got a little deeper.
“Honestly, it’s more of a physical thing for me,” said Jay. “I like being physically active, and metal requires more endurance and activity than any other genre. Playing metal is an unrivaled endorphin rush.”
Gutierrez said that he grew up on all kinds of music—metal, punk, funk, hip hop, jazz—so he was listening to it when he was little. “But when I got to high school, I was the only one with headphones blasting Slayer or Iron Maiden, when everyone else was listening to Dr. Dre. So I told myself: If I ever do music, it’ll be metal, because I’ve always felt that metal is the underdog of the music world, and I can kinda relate to that, or at least I always have.”
To people unsure whether they’ll be in attendance at CV Weekly’s Monday Metal Madness, Ramson promised that Perishment won’t be pulling any punches—especially considering the other bands that are playing.
“We’re playing with Sangre and Remnants of Man, two of the best metal bands in the valley, so we’ll bring our A game,” Ramson said.
“Expect the unexpected,” smiled Taffolla, with an ominously confident twinkle in his eye.
CV Weekly’s Monday Metal Madness, with Perishment, Remnants of Man and Sangre, begins at 8 p.m., Monday, July 23, at Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms.