Greenbeard | Interview
Greenbeard are a three-piece desert/stoner band formed in Austin, Texas in 2014. Their powerful live shows and relentless touring have led them to play more than a handful of large scale festivals as well as opening for many heavy hitters in the doom/desert/stoner/psych scene including Pentagram, Conan, Acid King, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, and Dead Meadow… Just to name a few.
Between playing tons of local shows in Austin and extensively touring the US, Greenbeard have managed to record and release two full length albums and an EP. They are currently on tour still in support of their latest record – Lödarödböl (pronounced load-a-road-bowl). Just before they went back out on tour, I met up with Chance Parker (guitar & vocals) and Buddy Hachar (drums) to discuss the past 4 years of the band, their touring habits, and their progress on the upcoming album.
Let’s start off with the basics – tell us a bit about the origins of the band. How did Greenbeard come together?
[Chance] From the ashes of other projects…
[Buddy] Chance and I have been homies for a while. We used to work together and be roommates. We were in a previous band together called Viracochas with Levi Murray from the Electric Church and Marc Maddox that was in Greenbeard for a little bit. Jakob Bowden from Starma was in it for a while.
[Chance] That’s right! I forgot about Jakob. And then he played bass in or still plays with Night Beats.
[Buddy] Yeah, so, Deep Space was happening, Chance and I were living together, working together, and Deep Space left to Europe to go do this tour because we had a record deal with a label in Berlin called Sulatron. Everyone had abandoned ship at this point except for me and Greg Connor, the guitarist at the time, and we flew to Europe. Greg and I get there and we get deported for not having musician visas. So, we came back. Before that, the band was doing great and playing lots of shows and tours in the US.
[Chance] Well, they are off having all this fun. I mean, I was playing in a couple little things that were fun but they were off really having fun. I was bored by myself in my room like woodsheddin’ and was like “I need something heavy!” Then I found Kyuss and Sleep. I mean, I had listened to both of them before but that’s when it really clicked.
[Buddy] Yeah, so he had all this music written and we started jamming and then we auditioned a few bass players and recorded a demo. Shortly after, we got a chance to play an early bird opening slot at Day of the Shred in southern Cali. We were the first band early in the day, so we thought it was going to be really chill–
[Chance] It was awesome!
[Buddy] Yeah, they held doors until the headliners had done sound checks. It was Red Fang and Weedeater.
[Buddy] Yeah, we had a good 200 people at noon. Then after that we went on tour with Destroyer of Light. Little did we know that three years later when Jeff Klein (bass in Destroyer of Light) joined the band, it felt like home because we had played those shows together. That’s how the band started.
How long has Jeff been playing with you guys?
[Buddy] Less than a year [replacing Dan Alvarez] but Jeff has been a great addition to the band. From the day that he joined, shit started popping off. We had some out of town shows and festivals booked, and we were just about to start writing new music. Talk about cracker-jack timing….
[Chance] He’s a really great musician and lives and breathes rock and roll more than anyone else.
I’m sure we can talk about musical influences for ever so let’s just skip that. What are some non-musical influences?
[Buddy] We have a lot actually…
[Chance] That’s almost unfair.
[Buddy] That’s almost the same question. Artistic influences in general. We talk about all kinds of shit when we are on the road and we are brainstorming.
Let’s talk about touring. You guys have toured quite a bit. What’s your set up when you are out on the road?
[Buddy] It’s always changing and it’s getting better every tour.
[Chance] That’s really the million-dollar question for the whole goddamn time.
How to get from point A to point C?
[Buddy] We’ve done it all. We’ve rented vans, trailers, flown, shared vehicles, used rental cars, we’ve…
[Chance] Taken our own stuff. Definitely put everything in our own personal vehicles.
Fuck a van, I want a big dually truck! We are going to flip the whole thing on its head. My dream tour vehicle is like a big Tundra with bed cover, a disco ball, and camper, trailer, or whatever.
Maybe a big 18-wheeler and you can just play in the back of it?
[Chance] Fold out stage. That’s really Metalocalypse.
[Buddy] This last tour, Chance acquired a trailer but there were things wrong with it and we didn’t have time to address before tour. We kind of generally accessed what was wrong with it and said “Okay, it will get us to the next city.”
[Chance] We had to repair this trailer every single stop of the tour.
[Buddy] We basically drove a wounded ship out to sea and were patching it up on the spot.
[Chance] It was some real pirate shit. Straight up it was like “Okay, we need this material to be able to continue on and we either have to steal it, break it off something, or make it, or buy it. Yaarrgghhh….
[Buddy] But it’s not bad when you anticipate things and no one is like “aw, what the fuck?”
[Chance] He says it’s not bad but it still sucks.
Are there any crazy road stories you would like to share with us?
[Chance] Oh Jesus…
[Buddy] What’s the last crazy debacle we have encountered on this last tour? Hmmm . .
[Chance] We had a lady stealing t-shirts. We had to run a lady out of the club because she was trying to steal t-shirts.
[Buddy] What?! Where?
[Buddy] Oh yeah! I remember that one now.
[Buddy] OH! Juarez, Mexico!
[Chance] Juarez, was pretty crazy. We did Juarez probably two tours ago as a two piece.
[Buddy] This was our first show on this tour as a two-piece. Chance and I had played as a two-piece in the past so we knew how to deal without.
[Chance] We’ve scrumbled along as a two-piece.
[Buddy] So, we are playing Juarez at a rowdy bar called El Pata de Perro. Super low ceiling, no stage, and you just play on some PA speakers. Chance’s head is basically an inch away from the ceiling. It’s the kind of show where there are people all around you. I can feel people breathing down my back. Chance breaks a guitar string and Holly, our merch seller, runs out to the van to get a backup guitar and the place is packed with 150 eighteen-year-old kids there. Everybody is getting loaded on 40 oz. Carta Blancas, Chance is fixing his guitar string, and I don’t want to stop so I started doing a drum solo and someone breaks a beer bottle against the ceiling and everyone follows suit. Now it’s drum solo in a shower of broken beer glass and everyone is going crazy. Chance gets his guitar fixed and we finish the rest of a wild set. Pretty awesome.
Any favorite musicians or bands you’ve played with? Or even just favorite shows?
[Buddy] That story came up when I was in Maryland for Doom Fest. How Chance is kind of responsible for almost killing Dixie Dave.
[Chance] Is that how it is? Is that how it’s remembered that I…
[Buddy] Well, you and Wyatt talked him into jumping off the balcony.
[Chance] I didn’t talk him into jumping off the balcony. I’m the one who told him not to jump off the balcony. I found a way down to the pool that was pretty safe and managed to be all the way down to the pool when I see Dixie Dave take a header off the balcony.
[Buddy] So, we were playing Omaha at the Stoned Meadow of Doom and they put us all up at the same hotel. Which is a bad idea. AND they gave us a whole heck of a lotta beer. I think they even bought more beer to give us for the hotel room and they put it in our room! These are all mistakes but I guess that’s what you want if you want to have a good time. Someone’s recollection had Chance running down the hallway in his underwear which I didn’t know happened.
[Chance] That happened. That existed.
[Buddy] So, everyone wanted to go to the pool but it was locked. It was an indoor courtyard in Days Inn. Another mistake is to have the band with all the beer have the only balcony overlooking the pool. The pool was probably 15 feet away but we were only one story up.
[Chance] Yeah, and it’s a good 18 foot drop. I figured out pretty easily just kick your legs out over the rail and shimmy down to the next balcony and then step across the empty space and you go down three balconies and there is a staircase right there. So, I am on someone else’s balcony three balconies up and across–I can see their silhouette while they are in bed watching tv. “Don’t see me!!!” And I feel like Jackie Chan sneaking around on the edge of this person’s balcony and I look up just in time to see that dude and I saw his whole thought process thinking “I can just drop down and grab the ledge and dangle and drop again.” And I was just like “Nooo…” and he dropped and grab the edge of a siding board and that siding board broke and it gave him just enough time to swing his legs up and he went at the ground straight flat.
[Buddy] Back flop.
[Chance] Yeah, back flop! And a good 16 feet to the ground onto concrete. He definitely had a concussion. He just laid there and I thought “Oh shit. That mother fucker is dead.” And I’m yelling “Hey, call an ambulance” still on someone else’s balcony. Then he goes “ehhhhhh, ehhhhh, ehhhh” and he jumps up and goes “I fooled you!” Then he throws a chair in the pool and jumps in himself. That was a crazy ass tour.
Your latest album, Lödarödböl, came out this last year through Sailor Records out of Denver. I recently read you now have European distribution for the album. Tell us about that.
[Buddy] Yeah. Kozmik Artifactz picked it up after we released it. We were pretty stoked about a Euro release and wanted it to be different than the first release. So, this one is also the 180 gram vinyl but it also has a gatefold with more artwork from the artist we have been working with – Antoine Defarges of Headbang Design. He has done all our album covers, he did the logo, and he has kind of been with the band since we started. He is cool and he has kind of grown with us over the years. Chance and I had this long conversation about a crazy poster we would make that had a giant battle scene and there would be scenes within the poster that would be album covers of the next 5 years of releases. So, 2018 would be the human war chief fighting the fucking troll chief and the next one would be a battlefield. So, we kind of dictated all these ideas in an email to Antoine and forgot about it–probably not sober when this happened. 5 months later, he sends us this sketch and said “Sorry, this took me so long. I was making sure all the details were right.” He followed through and it looked incredible! Kozmik Artifactz hit us up and said they wanted to put it out and asked if we had any other artwork. We said we had this poster in the works but it wasn’t supposed to be ready until 2023 but we can probably scrap the 5 year plan and use it as a gatefold. So, we did and it took Antoine a whole year to draw that shit.
[Chance] And it doesn’t disappoint either.
[Buddy] Those are only available at our shows or through the Kozmik Artifactz store.
Any plans to tour Europe? I mean, I know that’s super expensive, of course…
[Chance] That’s definitely on the docket.
[Buddy] Yeah, Europe or other places…. Japan. Chance has a dream to make it ‘Big in Japan’. Australia would be cool but there is not a lot of touring that can be done there because the cities are so far apart. But we could do it. Spend a week in each city and do a few shows. Maybe record while we are down there.
So, you have a new album coming up…
[Chance] We have a new album that is fairly written. It will probably be out early next year – 2019.
Is that with Sailor Records as well?
[Chance] Unknown. But probably. I love them as a records label. They are fantastic. We have gotten a lot of help from them. They are like family but as far as what is in the works I don’t know.
And you are about to start a tour this week, right?
[Buddy] Yeah, we will be doing some shows around Texas, go to Denver for our record label – Sailor Records’ 7th Anniversary on July 7. So, we are going up for the triple 7s. Then we are playing three shows with Duel in north and west Texas. Hot Summer Nights in Austin, and then some Louisiana dates.
Alright. Sounds good! Any final words for readers of Psychedelic Baby?
[Buddy] Just keep an eye out. We have been quiet lately but we have been working and we are going to have some new music soon. Some new songs in our set now that Jeff is all warmed up. And we are going to put out some singles and some music videos as well.
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