I can’t exactly remember how I was able to stumble upon the mighty GOLIATHON now that I sit here and think about it. But what I can remember is that, when I did, I discovered something that was badder than shite. And after exploring the band a bit further, it didn’t take me too long to realize that I had to get these boys on the horn.
GOLIATHON is a killer prog/rock alt-blues/metal band from Indianapolis, IN. The band is comprised of Chris Probasco (Vocals/Guitar/Saxophone/Harmonica), Colby Holmes (Bass/Organ/Backing Vocals), Christian Wren (Guitar), Derek Kendall (Guitar), and Matthew Allan Fields (Drums).
What do they sound like? Read on. You’ll figure it out. These guys are cool as hell. Hilariously funny, wickedly talented, and just a death’s breath of fresh Midwest air. You’ll definitely want to have these guys on your radar in 2012 and beyond.
ROCKTHOUGHT.COM INTERVIEW: GOLIATHON
RT: What’s behind the band name?
Matt: We really just wanted the name to sound like a big, colossal name. So when people hear our sound…they say “Oh, that’s why they’re GOLIATHON!” We really just wanted a name that represented the style of music that we play. And we thought GOLIATHON sort of does that.
Colby: Yeah, we opened for them at The Vogue when they were in town, once. It was killer. Somehow we got contacted by someone from the Vogue. We got the email, and we were like “hell yeah!” I’m not entirely sure, but whoever was doing the booking contacted our manager, Sherry, and asked if we wanted to open. Of course, it was a no brainer.
RT: What’s up with the Battle of the Birdy’s?
Colby: It’s pretty much a local Indiana-based “Battle of the Bands.” Anyone up here who’s anybody worth talking about, basically, gets invited to the Birdy’s.
Chris: It’s basically three rounds of competition. It’s about as respected as a ‘Battle’ could be. We did it last year, and the money was pretty good. So we decided to do it again – not really because we cared about “winning” a music battle, or “competing” with bands, but it’s always a good crowd. It’s always a lot of fun. It’s not really about the money, but it is kind of about the money. There’s some nice prize money to be made there if you come out on top. Local alternative news magazines end up doing a lot of good press on the bands and such, and it just ends up being a lot of fun for everyone involved. It’s not really a huge deal per se, but it is kind of a big deal – at least as far as local shows and bands are concerned.
RT: So, you’re into the final rounds I assume?
Chris: Final round is November 12th and we’ll be tearing it up with a handful of other cool local bands!
Colby: Yeah, last year we got 2nd place. There’s a great mix of bands, a great mix of fans, and judges. The votes are tabulated from a mix of folks, so it’s always nice to get recognized. It’s always a packed house and a great time. At the very least, it’s great exposure.
Colby: Well, Facebook has been a pretty helpful and easy way to interact with our fans so far. It seems to be working pretty well so far.
Chris: It’s not too bad. I mean the exposure we get from ReverbNation is pretty nice, and when you have Facebook linked in with that, it’s pretty cool.
Colby: Yeah, ReverbNation is cool, but it’s been sort of troubling a bit, too. Because we try to use it as a source to connect with other local bands, too. But it’s become a little bit frustrating because now they don’t let you contact people unless you’re fans of each others’ pages. And they have to “fan” you back before you can message and communicate which can sometimes get frustrating from a timing standpoint. Generally, I feel like Facebook is the best way to promote and engage with our fans, because everyone is already on there. But we also try to first direct people to our official website, because it’s unique and branded in our likeness, and we have all of our vids and media on there.
Derek: As far as social media goes, Facebook is pretty much where it’s at for us right now. I mean, especially today…you really don’t have to be any good to set up a ReverbNation account. And you don’t really have to be very serious. So it’s hard to have to spend the time to kind of weed out what you’re trying to find, and who you’re trying to connect with. At least in my experience…I could spend 12 hours on ReverbNation and maybe find 10-12 bands or people to connect with. So it kind of gets to be like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles. But there are also a lot of cool widgets and apps and maps that we can use on our website and stuff, too. So there are definitely some cool things about it, as well.
RT: Interesting. I always find it interesting to hear about different bands’ experiences. Some folks will say they enjoy it, and they’ve had some pretty good success with social media. Others will say it’s kind of a pain in the ass, or that it’s not really a part of their M.O.
Matt: People are spending so much time on Facebook anymore. That is really the best way for us to interact with fans. There aren’t a lot of fans that are familiar with ReverbNation (or bandcamp), but they know Facebook in and out. We’ll use Reverb more for interacting with bands and promoters, etc. And we try to use Facebook for our fans.
Chris: I think with Facebook, too – you see the most immediate feedback from fans. People will see you at a show, and they’ll immediately post comments on your Wall or add your page. Facebook’s pretty quick and easy. It’s pretty much the way to go for us.
RT: Alright, so let’s hear it from the horses’ mouths where y’all draw some of your musical influences and inspirations.
Colby: We all share some common threads here and there, but we’re all into a lot of different shit, too. I draw a lot of my inspirations from Geddy Lee. We’re all pretty big RUSH fans. I run with a lot of old prog rock bands like KING CRIMSON, some newer prog-metal bands like OPETH. Probably more old-school prog rock than anything else.
Derek: IRON MAIDEN. We don’t really sound like them too much. But, collectively, we all draw a lot of influence from IRON MAIDEN.
Matt: I’m also a really big KING CRIMSON fan. But I also absolutely love CLUTCH.
RT: I knew it! Somebody *had* to be listening to CLUTCH somewhere in there!
Christian: I’d have to say Frank Zappa. I don’t give a FUCK about anybody else. Frank Zappa is where it’s at. And NIRVANA. Gotta throw NIRVANA in there, too.
Chris: I’d say…first band is probably AC/DC. These guys are big into MAIDEN, but I was always more of a blues rock guy. AC/DC for sure. As far as vocalists go – I’ve always thought James Brown was the best vocalist on the planet. I dabble around with the prog stuff, too, of course.
Derek: I heard some scoffings with my choice, so I guess I’ll just have to clear that up for myself.
Derek: We have a MAIDEN cover that’s pretty rockin’ though, so we’ll get there. Eventually.
RT: Nice. I was going to ask if y’all did the cover thing.
Chris: We try to avoid covers, because I don’t think any of us really have the patience.
Colby: Yeah, we’ll throw a MAIDEN cover in there every now and again, but it’s not something we focus on too much.
Chris: We actually had to cover a Bon Jovi song once for a request. It was fucked up.
Colby: Yeah, if we do another cover, it’ll have to be something pretty heavy – something that’s pretty inspirational to us.
RT: Did y’all come from other bands? Or is this the first time this group has come together?
Derek: We’re kind of a clash of two bands. Sort of.
Colby: I was in a classic rock style band for about three years in college. The other guys were all in another band called The Species. And they were all playing completely different instruments. We all grew up together, though. We’ve known each other since middle school. It’s really helped with our chemistry.
Chris: All of us sort of have a great chemistry. There’s a lot of unspoken stuff that happens and a lot of shit that happens – with a band. And I think being friends, first, for as long as we have – definitely helps. We all have to spend a lot of time together, so it definitely helps.
RT: Do you guys have any thoughts or opinions about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement?
Chris: Well, there is an Occupy Indianapolis going on up here. But I mean…I can’t speak for anybody else…but, to have a bunch of people just walking around with signs and shopping slogans and…I mean I don’t know. It just seems like a very short-sighted endeavor. I mean…it’s one thing to say that you’re pissed off about something, and it’s another thing to actually offer some kind of a strategy or a solution to fix the problems.
Derek: Seems to me Indianapolis is pretty well occupied. I mean, we’ve got a couple million people here.
Chris: I just don’t understand this whole 99% vs. the 1% thing. And there’s a bunch of pissed off middle-class white people out there saying they’re the 99%. It’s like – No…what about the poor and impoverished – especially in third-world countries – who have to walk two miles for food every day. That’s the 99%. You’re still among the privileged class, asshole. That’s how I see it.
RT: One night at the bar with three deceased rock stars. Who would you want to hang with?
Chris: Bon Scott or James Brown for sure. I fucking love Bon Scott.
Christian: Yeah, whoever can drink the most!
Chris: Well Bon Scott could drink, man!
Matt: Bon Scott, John Bonham, and whoever else can drink the most.
RT: Any good plans for the Halloween weekend coming up?
Christian: Well, I’m going to see GWAR on the 30th. That’s gonna be my fucking Halloween party.
Matt: I’ve got this thing up at Purdue University. We’re playing a house show for some old friends up there on Friday night. Then on Saturday we’re playing a benefit show in town with kind of a Halloween theme. So that should be fun, too.
RT: Any good Halloween stories, movies, or factoids you want to share with us?
Matt: Nosferatu definitely.
Chris: Yes, we’re all deeply deeply inspired by Nosferatu.
Christian: Night of the Living Dead!
Matt: Faust was an amazing movie.
Derek: 24 Days Later!
Matt: Hocus Pocus!
Christian: Yeah, the last few Halloweens? We pretty much don’t even remember ‘em.
RT: So, we’re all pretty excited about The Rum Diary coming out this weekend. Any Hunter S. Thompson influences in the band?
Derek: Oh yeah.
Matt: Fuck, we have too much TV to watch.
Christian: Hell’s Angels is my favorite god damn book.
Derek: Chris isn’t a real big Hunter S. Thompson fan. He just spends a lot of time trying to be Hunter S. Thompson.
Christian: I am gonna see that movie, though. Looks bad as fuck.
RT: Alright, thanks for chattin’ up with us, guys. Any last words you want to share with us? I know you’re in the middle of writing a new record.
Colby: Well, we’ve got some local gigs and shows through the end of the year here. And we hope to be seeing you all down in Texas very soon. We’re hoping to apply to the SXSW Festival next year. I know it’s coming up in March, so I’m not sure how realistic that might be. But we’re hoping to get down there for some other shows, too.
Chris: Yeah, we definitely want to get down and do a Texas tour for sure.
Colby: We’ve got a few more songs to hash out before we’ve got a full album. We did a little mini-tour earlier this year up through the east coast. And next year we’ve got a couple pending tours in the works with some local bands and one from Chicago. So, really, next year will be busy getting the new record done – and hopefully more tours.
Chris: Yeah, we learned a lot on our first tour. We hope to tour smarter next year.
Colby: We’re just gonna be cranking along, doing our thing. Hopefully soon, somebody will find us and can help us out a bit financially. But all we can do is keep doing our thing and keep trying to reach our fans more consistently in different towns and cities.
RT: We’ll definitely be doing whatever we can to spread the good buzz, dudes. Keep on rockin’ balls. Be sure to keep in touch and holler at us when you’ve got some new shit to share.
Chris: Will do. We really appreciate all of your support and interest in the band. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. And many thanks to your readers for taking the time to learn about us!
RT: You bet. All the best. Keep it heavy, mates.