Chatting with Alex Johnson of So Called Saints
By Todd Houston
Exclusive to TRRT
If you click the About tab on The So Called Saints Facebook page it reads: “Hard hitting Midwest Heavy Nu-Metal at its finest.” Being sort of an old guy I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. I needed to investigate further so I followed a link to Reverb Nation and turned up the volume. Track number one kicked in and I just about soiled myself (in a good way!) The track is called “Salt” and I swear it put new cracks in the plaster of my 75-year-old house’s ceiling. Track two (Little Defects) gave me a Tool vibe with a moody intro followed by the inevitable kick in the head that these guys are becoming increasingly known for. Last week I had an opportunity to speak with SCS vocalist Alex Johnson and talk about music influences, the state of our great city and chicken wings.
Rockford Rocked Interview: Hows it going Alex?
Alex Johnson: It’s going great these days.
RRI: I must say the quality of the band’s latest recording is fantastic and the songs all stand up. No filler at all man. Who”s the chief songwriter and where was the newer stuff recorded?
AJ: Thanks, that means a lot. The writers are mostly Justin, Dustin and myself although we have recently acquired Chris Pigue in bass so it’s really all of us now. All new recordings were done at Imprint Studios which is our drummer’s studio.
RRI: Who are the rest of the cats in the band?
AJ: Justin K. – drums/guitars, Dustin A.-guitar/drums, Chris P.-bass, Alex J.-vocals.
RRI: Tell us about some of you influences and when you got involved in music in general.
AJ: My parents music was my huge influence of mine. We always had music playing in the house and now my place always has music playing. I started playing on accident really, but once music gets ya, you’re got.
RRI: You guys seem to play constantly and are booked months in advance. It seems like the band is in it for the long haul. Having said that, what are your thoughts on the state of the music industry compared to maybe 10 or 15 years ago?
AJ: We play a good amount and we have been involved in Rockford and its surrounding areas for over a decade in one form or another. I think our current industry is strong to say the least. The music industry itself is a huge flooded market these days. I think it’s strong in our area none the less.
RRI: I had a chance to catch a partial set at Cronies Bar a couple months ago. That place not only has great live music but their freaking chicken wings are awesome. They have something like 162 different flavors. Have you tried them?
AJ: You know it! I LOVE hot wings all day everyday and they got some great flavors out there. Whiskey’s Roadhouse makes some killer wings as well.
RRI: Where do you guys call home? In other words, what’s your favorite place to play here in the Rockford area?
AJ: We have called many local venues home in our day. Bar 3, Take 20 and Whiskey’s Roadhouse absolutely.
RRI: There’s always that one guy that likes to mosh by himself at the front of the stage. Does he ever show up to your gigs?
AJ: Normally when one starts someone else is bound to start too, although we do have those guys. There are simply too many to name!
RRI: Are there any bands locally that you admire or enjoy sharing a bill with?
AJ: Absolutely, we know almost everyone and almost everyone. The 815 and its surrounding areas are a very supportive and friendly bunch of metalheads and rock ‘n’ rollers.
RRI: Favorite band from the 1980s?
AJ: Aerosmith or Def Lepard.
RRI: Favorite album to put on to get pumped up for a gig?
AJ: Atlanta is Burning’s new album ASHES has been fueling me for weeks. You need to hear it.
RRI: Who would win inside the octagon in a full out UFC fight – As I Lay Dying frontman, Tim Lambesis, or Glenn Danzig?
AJ: I figure Tim L. would be juiced out and insane. Glen would still have his glass jaw so I’d say Tim for sure. (laughs)
RRI: What’s next for So Called Saints, and where can we find the latest info on the band?
AJ: Next for us is to get out everywhere to everyone as best we can and put on one of the best metal shows you’ve seen and to keep on keepin’ on because we love this. You can find us and our music and merch on Facebook, Reverb Nation, iTunes, Google Play, Youtube, Spotify, etc.