Exit Strategy formed in 2006 and recently released their third album, "The Atrocity Machine". I had a chance to catch up with founding member and bass player Greg Musgrave.
Q: Greg, you have been in bands for over twenty years. What is the most enjoyable part about being in a band?
A: My favourite part of being in a band would have to be the live aspect of when you are in a room with a bunch of people that are loosing their shit being your music affects them on such a level that it become a vibe that both the band & the crowd share & is truly one of the most intimate things that I’ve experienced as an artist, which is a large part of why I’ve been doing this for over 20 years.
Q: What is the least enjoyable part? Or most difficult part?
A: Like most things, it’s the business side of things & actually managing & running the band like a business that can be the least enjoyable, while most certainly also being a necessary evil so to speak.
Q: The stereotype of metal fans is that they are loud and dangerous. I have been to lots of metal shows and the fans couldn't be nicer or more polite. Does it bug you that metal fans get a bad rap?
A: Yes & no. The metal community has always been a very underground scene, and those who inhabit that scene find refuge among like-minded people who are more than likely not the status quo individual in their workplace or certain social circles. At a metal show they get to tap into that primal feeling that metal brings out in those who really enjoy it & are embraced by those who share their passion. I’ve played hundreds of shows, and I've been to hundreds of shows beyond that, and I can honestly count on one hand the amount of times that a fight has broken out. Ironically, it’s when some drunken jock asshole has wandered into the wrong bar and starts something with some long-haired skinny kid who he thinks he can prey on; but news flash bucko: metalheads look out for their own, and if you fuck with someone who has nothing to provoke you, and they are in the company of a tight-knit community like the metal scene, then chances are you’re in for a rough night.
Q: Can you walk us through how you actually go about making a CD? Let's say someone has written a bunch of songs and can play them - how do they actually go about getting a CD?
A: Good question—and one where the logistics of achieving a recording has changed in a big way over the last ten years. If you are an underground band looking to cut a record, but don’t know anyone and are on a tight budget (which most bands are), there are numerous independent people that record bands for a fraction of the price of going to a professional studio. Quite often, if you look for people that are within the genre of music that you play, will often get you a result more like what you were looking for just because they understand the genre of music, and they know how to transfer that essence on tape so to speak. For instance, all the CDs that I’ve made over the last 9 years have all been recorded by the band, as we have people within the band with the appropriate gear (and more importantly the know how of how to use it and achieve exactly what we were going for when we wrote the songs). My drummer records bands all the time for a fraction of what you would pay in a studio, and his results are garnishing him more work all the time.
Q: What is the decision-making process like in your band? What happens when there are disagreements?
A: Being in a band is very much like having an extended family, especially when you’ve been playing together as long as I have been playing with the guys I’ve been fortunate enough to play with. Many times duties are delegated to those who are best suited, and more importantly the most reliable to ensure that those things are done. I’ve been in bands like Caveat & Phantom Limb where I was the key song writer, so I made most of the main decisions & handled pretty much all of the business side of things because (not to sound egotistical), but I am good at it—largely because I’ve been doing it for so long and I know who to contact for shows, merchandise, PR, etc.
Other times, like in Exit Strategy, many of the members take part in certain duties which make the stress of running a band much less when it’s not falling on one set of shoulders. As for disagreements; were all full grown men, and shit happens sometimes and things are argued about. At the end of the day we are like brothers and we sort things out no matter what, being we are all a part of something that is bigger than one person and you make compromises and figure things out. Luckily I have been working with these guys for so long that we all get along great after all these years as one of the hardest things to find is not only a band of like minded musicians that are musically all on the same page, but personalities that work well together. Personalities & ego are what breaks bands up 90% of the time.
Q: What does the year look like ahead for your band? Are there any projects, events or shows coming up that you are excited about?
A: Ya, we just released our 3rd album called The Atrocity Machine & have two tours planned—one out west in the BC area in April, and another planned tour in the summer going out to Eastern Canada to promote the album. We are also in the midst of making out first pro video with acclaimed video directer Doug Cook, which is coming along amazing and will be unlike any metal video ANYONE has ever seen, so we are stoked about that. Other than that the axe will continue to grind, as will we.