By Tracy Dietlin
This Saturday night, Remnants of Man will bring their in-your-face brand of metal to The Hood where they will headline on a bill that includes metal strongholds Galaxy Crusher and Eyes Set to Kill.
Remnants of Man are an American melodic death metal band with European and Swedish metal influences, but born and raised in the Coachella Valley. With the multitude of metal sounds synonymous of the genre, including fast, heavy and aggressive power chords and essential, expressive driving drum beats, and the growling vocals offered by Lynn, the band certainly lives up to the genre.
Together as a band since 2008, RoM consists of: Joe Lynn (vocals), Rudy Mendez (guitar), Ruben Torres (guitar), Daniel Wheat (bass), and Alex Milward (drums).
This tight-knit good humored band has been friends since childhood. Growing up in the local desert there wasn’t much to do as a teenager other than getting into trouble or playing music. Luckily for these guys they excelled in the latter.
The band has built a loyal fan base locally as well as being able to successfully pack the house at out of town venues. They have two albums under their belt with the first being the 10 track disc The Premonition and most recently they released their sophomore offering, Rise, at a sold-out CD release party at The Hood. For those that missed that show back on May 17, don’t make the same mistake again as they played to a packed house that was lined up down the street waiting to get in.
This all sounds like things are going well for RoM, right? Well, that’s just the beginning. RoM were recently nominated in several categories at the CV Music Awards and walked away with awards for: Best Metal Band, Best Bass player (Dan Wheat) and Best Guitar player (Rudy Mendez). Joe Lynn was also nominated for Best Frontman. The boys gave a stellar, metal feast performance at the awards show leaving no doubt why they walked away with three trophies. But wait….it gets even better. They recently signed a deal with VM Management/Maphia and have four labels interested in them with two of them offering up contract deals.
With all of this going on I thought it best to sit down with the guys and have them weigh in on a few things. Unfortunately, Dan Wheat could not join us that day at the rehearsal studio in Indio, as he was spending the day with his kids. Next time Dan.
CVW: How long did it take to make Rise?
Alex: It was actually kind of quick. Three of the songs were older songs that were chopped up and redone.
Ruben: It was about three months that it took to write the 5 songs. But it took almost a year to get it out there with working with producers and engineers and the artwork and production and packaging.
CVW: So Mikey Doling produced both of your CDs. What was it like working with him?
Rudy: It’s not sitting around waiting for someone to come up with the right idea. He pushes you to get it done.
Alex: Drums had to be done and no time was wasted. I really enjoyed the process of working with him because he wanted to hammer it out. The actual recording time only took 3 hours.
Ruben: I think he really enjoyed coming back to work with us again because we brought that to the table the first time and he saw our work ethic. When we get into the studio we already know our shit and we’re ready to go. He also loved the fact that we are a guitar driven band and he’s a guitar player.
CVW: How did you raise money for the studio time and to produce and press the CDs?
Rudy: We raise money from our shows, merch….
Alex: We all set some money aside from our jobs. We have a bank account that we put all our money in.
Rudy: Yard sales and we sold tamales. (everyone laughs) Seriously…a friend makes cake pops and she said if we got orders she would give us part of the profits and we made a couple hundred bucks from that.
Ruben: We should do a heavy metal cooking show on YouTube.
Joe: When we get paid we don’t take money individually. It all goes back into the band and merch and equipment. We really appreciate when people come to the shows and buy a shirt and a CD.
CVW: Who writes the lyrics?
Joe: I write most of the lyrics but Ruben has written a couple songs. The first CD was mostly personal stuff and came from my heart and soul and what I had been through, what we all had been through and on this one it’s more storytelling and me using my imagination more.
Alex: It was like waking up the next morning thinking it was a dream.
Rudy: I was in the back putting away my cords from us just performing when I heard Ruben say they were calling out Best Guitar and I came running out and they called my name.
Ruben: And funny story about when it was Dan’s category and he was in the back and we were getting ready to perform and we heard the crowd roaring and I told Dan ‘someone’s out there’s winning some shit’ and I said ‘dude let’s check it out’ and when we walked out he opened the door and I said ‘Daniel you won’.
Rudy: it was really cool even when you were announcing the nominees and our names were said and all the love that came from the crowd. It felt really good.
CVW: Ruben you gave an awesome acceptance speech where you mentioned and thanked all the other nominees in the metal category.
Ruben: It was really inspiring and I hadn’t prepared anything but the fact that metal was so at the fore front that night was awesome. And metal was a winner that night period.
CVW: What was it like performing there?
Alex: It was amazing being up on that stage with those lights and that sound. I’m used to drums being drowned out but not that night. Everything sounded so good even on a cell phone recording.
Ruben: And it was really cool having Brandon (Henderson) in the back running things as stage manager because he knows all of the bands and it made everything go so smoothly.
CVW: Joe you’re being awfully quiet. Tell us what it’s like to be nominated for Best Frontman and how you’ve changed in your own skin over the years?
Joe: I’m definitely more confident now. When we first started we were doing shows in the dirt and I did a lot of screaming and working the mosh pit having fun and protecting the guys and their guitars. I want to give Mikey Doling props for his vocal coaching during the recording of Premonition because he taught me I’m not just there for versus and choruses and to be down in the pit but there’s a lot of guitar work where I can add vocals and that I need to be up on the stage.
CVW: So can you tell us a little about signing with VM Management?
Alex: We are officially with VM and we’ve had four record labels interested in us. We’re looking over contracts and we give a lot of credit to Tarver (Marsh, President of VM Management) because he’s really helped us sort things out.
Rudy: He’s really honest with us. And we told him in the beginning if it’s not good tell us and actually the first time he came to hear us rehearse he said ‘that sounds like shit!’ (everyone laughs) But that’s what we needed. And now we sound better.
Ruben: There’s a lot of exciting things coming up but some of it we can’t talk about yet. But Tarver is definitely looking out for us.
Rudy: Everything seems so surreal and almost too good to be true but it’s legit.
CVW: What would you say is the highlight of your career so far?
Alex: The CD release party at The Hood and how successful it was and then everything that came after it.
Joe: And the place was packed. People were lined up down the street and family and friends were there and we sold every shirt we had.
Ruben: Funny story. I’ve been working on this zombie movie and this girl sees me and I’m wearing an old, old, old RoM shirt and she looks at it and says ‘Oh my God…did you see them last weekend? They played with As Blood Runs Black. They were awesome!! They kicked ass I can’t believe they are local. Is that where you got the shirt?’ And I said, ‘I was there…on stage…I’m the guitar player.’ And she was ‘Oh I didn’t recognize you. You were awesome.’ It was a good feeling that she was so excited about us as a band and a bit sad that she didn’t recognize me as the guitar player. (laughter ensues)
In closing Joe Lynn shared a funny story that brings it all full circle. “I went to Ozzfest in San Bernardino on my birthday when I was about 18/19 and I bought a book that had all the pictures of the bands that played that day and I had some of the bands sign my book and I’ve had it all this time. And it’s kind of ripped up a bit now but all the signatures are there. And the first day we went to Tarver’s house he had the same book and he pulled it out and said ‘ya …that’s when I was on Ozzfest playing in OTEP’ and I said ‘I have the same book’ and there was the picture of Tarver with his spikey hair and I remembered I actually had him sign my book that day and now like 11-12 years later he’s managing our band.”
Tarver’s comment to Joe: “Do the work and that can be you!”
Remnants of Man with Galaxy Crusher and Eyes Set to Kill this Saturday, June 14 at The Hood 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert, CA. Show starts at 8:30pm. 21 & over. $12.00.
Tarver Marsh/Office: 760-564-2444/Tarvermarsh@gmail.com