It is a bitterly cold minus forty Celsius, snowy day in Edmonton, Alberta, but Headbangerwoman is having a warm and friendly chat with Greg Bradley, Guitarist and founding member of Vancouver based rock outfit Art of Dying. Lead Vocalist Jonny Hetherington will be joining us at a later date to give a deeper insight into the band.
Bradley is quick to point out that it is also snowing in Vancouver. Headbangerwoman is quick to bring him back to reality by suggesting it is probably plus six Celsius in Vancouver.
He concedes with a laugh…
Singer, Jonny Hetherington was singing on the streets of Vancouver. Bradley, taking a stroll with friends, heard Hetherington’s (louder than a regular person) voice and followed the sound. What he found was the six foot something Hetherington, singing for his supper. The two, who incidentally both hail from Alberta, Canada, have been together since that first meeting and are also partners in their own Record label Thorny Bleeder Records. Thorny Bleeder is the label that the first Art of Dying record, Art of Dying was represented by, also based in Vancouver. Brian Thompson, a very well known (and highly commended) voice in the Canadian music industry is also a partner.
The current Art of Dying line up (since 2008) consists of Jonny Hetherington: Lead Vocals and shirtless Dude, Greg Bradley: Guitar and Non-fiery Redhead, Tavis Stanley: Guitar and sleeping in, Cale Gontier: Bass and all around good looking bloke and Jeff Brown: Drums and Shotgun!
Art of Dying are very well known in North America for touring with Disturbed, and are signed to the Reprise Intoxication (Warner) recording label of Dan Donegan and David Draiman (members of the aforementioned, but currently on hiatus, loud and bloody good at what they do, band).
The band name comes from the longer statement “The Art of Dying is my life to live.”
This basically explained means that we are all dying and we should make the most of life on that journey to death.
This band is doing just that!
Currently on a break from an almost full year of touring, when asked about the transition from touring on a mobile man cave to the static living of house dwelling, Bradley described the road and home as “completely different entities altogether. The road is a bizarre reality. You sleep in a bunk every night and you are in close quarters with ten or so other guys. At home you have space, you get to sleep in your own bed and focus on totally different demands. I wouldn’t say I prefer either. I love being out on the road and playing shows, but I love coming home and spending time with my family. At home you are not playing shows. There are pros and cons to everything you do.”
The reason for the almost full year of ‘Bus life’, was the release of the CD Vices and Virtues on March 22 2011.
Previous to 2011, the band members would use and drive themselves, in an RV whenever they were on the road. While they toured with (take a deep breath for this gob full) “The Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival”, a large shiny bus was provided!
Neither is Jack Daniels, \nd the question had to be asked about a recently viewed YouTube video, where Whiskey is being poured into the hands of the singer and then massaged into his hair!
Bradley laughed, as he explained “that was Cale (he is referring to the band’s Bassist, formerly with Canadian outfit Thornley) pouring Jack Daniels into the hands of Jonny. He does it every night, it’s his pre-show ritual”
Is this was possibly a waste of good alcohol?. “That and I don’t think I could stand up smelling JD in my hair every night. It works for him though,” he states with a chuckle. Again referring to Hetherington!
After spending a large period of time in Los Angeles and Chicago writing and recording at the tail end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, the Howard Benson produced record, Vices and Virtues was finally released to the Die Hards (as the Art of Dying fans have become affectionately known) and the work to promote began.
This is the second CD for the band, but the first on the Reprise Intoxication/Warner label.
Why have the songs Completely and I Will Be There been lyrically changed for production on Vices and Virtues? Both songs were also on the self- titled record.
“Some changes, though very minor, were needed on Vices and Virtues.” Bradley explained. “We were signed on the strength of these songs, the label really liked them, but at production if we thought changes were needed, we made those changes to improve songs for the record”
Vices and Virtues definately shows a grittier, heavier Art of Dying as a result of this.
In addition to the CD release, the song Get Thru This, penned by Hetherington in the Futon store in Vancouver where he worked, the day he found out his Father was sick with Cancer, was used by the WWE and also became part of the sound track on the Movie Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon.
Bradley explained “That is really good exposure for us. Facebook is kind of crazy for that too.” Art of Dying are currently close to 50,000 followers on the social network! “Our label and publishing company have pitched several more songs from the CD and there is current discussion over that, but I am not sure yet what shows and events they will be used on.”
Perhaps a move to the US was imminent? “We have talked about it” answered Bradley, “but we are all Canadian and we love Canada. Me, Jeff and Jonny all live in Vancouver and we spend so much time in the US on tour it is nice to come home to Canada”. He didn’t rule out a property purchase “somewhere in central US” in the future, but “retaining a home in Canada too.”
Bradley is the only member of the band that doesn’t sign his actual name when Autographing for Die Hards
He explained the reason for this. “When I started doing the autograph thing it just developed. Signing just my name didn’t represent the band, I wanted something more defined. I wanted to tie my name in with the band.”
To top his unique autographing style, he is the only red-haired member on the band. You have to wonder, does this make him more temperamental and fiery? “It’s the old cliche, ‘fiery redhead’, no, not really”, is the answer. “I’m actually the mellow one, the others are out of control.” he replied, with a hearty laugh, “I try to stay in control… I do have my moments!”
Bradley explained why the song Vices and Virtues didn’t make the cut onto the CD of the same name…
“Songs are being wood shedded for the next record, but it is unlikely that we will even start work on that before the end of this year. Vices and Virtues may or may not make it on to the next record, depending on the repertoire of material we have ready at that time. Most of 2012 will be spent supporting Vices and Virtues.”
Bradley also explained that discussions were not even happening at this point, when asked about further collaboration ideas for the next record. Adam Gontier, singer for Three Days Grace and incidental Cousin of Bass player Cale, was featured as a guest singer on the song Raining from the CD Vices and Virtues.
It is time for Headbangerwomans chitter chatter with Bradley to end, but before he goes off to pack his case for his next bus adventure with nine other fellas, we need to know what his Vices were. He laughed as he said “I’ve been trying to cut down my Vices all my life. Let’s just say my vices start with the bottle, I go too far in the moment and usually end up paying for it!”
Greg Bradley was courteous, friendly and well mannered during this interview, he didn’t go too far, no booze was harmed in the making of this article, but we still won’t be buying him a beer, just a precaution!
Die Trying was voted Tunelab Single of the year 2011
Die Trying was voted #16 for 2011 by Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue/ Sixx AM) on Sixx Sense
Art of Dying are currently on tour in the USA (April 10 2012)
by Karen Graham aka Headbangerwoman 17th Jan 2012
Jonny Hetherington, singer and songwriter with Canadian rock outfit Art Of Dying, was recently gracious enough to answer some questions from TiTT via Email. Hetherington is well known for taking the time to interact with his fans, both on the road and via social networking. He has always made it known that he is well aware that if the fans were not around to give support, that Art Of Dying would not be where they are today.
A gracious man, yet highly talented and very deserving. An unusual mix and for that we are all grateful.
We know the Die Hards have been waiting for this for a while and we are pleased to bring this quick update on all things Art Of Dying….
TiTT; You are writing now for another record. How many tunes have you got so far and when do you anticipate a new release?
JH; We are a writing band, so writing never seems to stop. We write on the road, at home and pretty much everywhere we go . Out of the 50 or so ideas we have kicking around, we’ve narrowed down the new record to about 15 or so songs that we love. We’ve been demoing those songs over the past couple of months and are pretty much ready to step into the studio.
TiTT; Will there be more from Adam Gontier in partnership with Art Of Dying now that he is going it alone?
JH; I wouldn’t count it out, although it’s not in our current plan. Adam has been so supportive in the past, so you never know. It usually winds up being a scheduling thing – if we happen to be in the same neck of the woods at a creative time it can happen quite naturally. As many of our listeners know he is Cale’s (Gontier, bassist) cousin, so we end up bumping into each other quite a bit, whether it’s on a tour or on a patio in the middle of nowhere.
TiTT; What live work will AOD be doing this year?
JH; When the new album is done we will be touring to support it wherever we are able. The road is our home and we can’t wait to get back out. We’ve been getting so much love online from outside of North America as well, so we’re going to do our best to play in more parts of the world than ever. I can’t stress this enough: Let your local radio station know how you feel about Art of Dying. Call, text, tweet and post on their Facebook pages. Your radio station will listen to you, and they are a huge part of bringing us back to town.
TiTT; You seem to have a very balanced life. Does it still rain inside?
JH; Balanced? Me? Ha! I’m anything but balanced… in fact, I live via extremes much more than in the middle. Moderation is pretty foreign to me. It definitely rains inside for me as I’m sure it does in everyone’s world that is reading this and I wouldn’t want it any other way, as that’s where the inspiration for music and art originate.
TiTT; You have always loved Soundgarden. What is your opinion of King Animal and did you catch a live show yet?
JH; I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been too wrapped up in my own music to give it my full attention. Rain check?
TiTT; Do you think the Seattle bands will have a very strong influence on todays youth as they did when you were growing up?
JH; I think the music and energy of the grunge years will last just as the strong music of every generation has. The youth of today will find the music that makes them feel, question and stand up.
TiTT; Your fans have a huge love of tattooing band references on themselves and yet you have no (visible) ink. Will you ever consider getting a tattoo?
JH; I can’t seem to commit to anything long enough to have it tattooed. My songs are my tattoos, so if I ever get ink it will most likely be Art of Dying lyrics.
TiTT; As you get older does the influence for writing change, or do you always use similar experiences and subjects of reference ?
JH; I write about how I’m feeling in the moment and that has never changed.
TiTT; Dan Donegan and David Draiman of Disturbed believed in you and groomed you. What are the most important things you learned from them, both on the road and in the studio?
JH; Pace. They both taught us how to pace ourselves in the studio and while touring. It’s really important to be the best you can be on stage and on recordings, and they’ve had great advice on how to meet the challenges.
TiTT; What is a great recipe to start the BBQ season off? We all know you are a master of the grill!
JH; You’ve inspired me to post a blog. Head over to http://jonnyhetherington.com/2013/04/jonnys-bacon-irish-whiskey-cheddar-meat-ball-sliders/ as I’ve just posted my Bacon Irish Whiskey Cheddar Meat Ball Sliders!
A HUGE thank you to Jonny Hetherington for taking the time to email us the answers to our questions.
By Karen Graham April 3 2013
Suddenly without warning, Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier has quit the band, due to health issues.
He will be replaced by Matt Walst, front man of My Darkest Days and younger brother of the bands bassist Brad Walst. This is the second announcement relating to My Darkest Days in two weeks. Guitarist Sal Coz Coasta announced his departure one day after he married, in the first week of January 2013.
Although Walst Jnr has a great live vocal, he is not nearly as emotional and nor does he have the depth of Gontier, who could make his audience shake a building with his showmanship and incredible voice. This could in all reality, be a very bad move for Three Days Grace, whose audience are used to much grittier and way heavier in the way of a voice.
Although rumours abound, no official statement has been given to the actual health reasoning behind Gontiers decision, but one thing is for sure, 2013 has not been great for Canadian Rock so far!
Playing a great show to a live audience, seemingly is easy for Three Days Grace. Making buildings shake and enticing the entire audience to do what you are willing them them comes naturally to Vocalist Adam Gontier.
Now the band have yet another cd full of songs that will bring a crowd to it’s feet, produce voices that are hoarse in the morning and buzzing in the ears for days.
Not a single song on Transit Of Venus will not produce the same effects as previous Three Days Grace music. There is a full set of loud, inspiring, rock n roll. A preview requires no second listen. This cd will have you hooked from the first song and will keep your attention firmly focused until the very last beat.
No one song can be picked out, all of equal quality, all sucking you in and holding your attention.
A must purchase for this Fall.