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…
Art of Dying formed in 2004.
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