FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES with the VEIL, RUSSIAN CIRCLES and DAMIERA at Funhaus (526 Queen West), Saturday (March 24), 6 pm. $14. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
At the spring-chickenish age of 23, Adam Fisher, the principal songwriter and guitarist of Denver, Colorado, metal spazz-core six-piece Fear Before the March of Flames, is already a seasoned vet.
He formed his band in high school and has been touring for almost five years.
While some dudes his age are just full of piss and vinegar, Fisher, talking a mile a minute about travelling from city to city, chooses his words carefully to outline the pros and cons of life on the road and why for his and so many other young bands still mostly undiscovered, member turnover rates tend to resemble those of fast food chains.
"I guess when you're doing something like this - and we don't really make a lot of money - it's not an easy lifestyle. People have girlfriends and family they may only see three months out of the year, and that's not easy. You're practically married to four other dudes on the road. That takes a toll on you, and some people after a couple of years just don't want to do it any more.
"It's never been our main concern, this playing in front of a zillion people or making tons of money. We just like playing music, and it's better than anything we could be doing at home job-wise. It's kind of like we make enough to get by, and that's all we really want."
Things have never been dire for the band (singer David Marion, bassist Mike Madruga, guitarist Zach Hutchings, keyboardist Billy Johnson and drummer Clayton Holyoak), which has amassed a loyal and steadily growing fan base due to their complex dynamic of post-hardcore and frenetic intensity.
It's an aesthetic that really began taking shape on their 2004 LP, Art Damage, and was reaffirmed on their most recent disc, Always Open Mouth, which continues the tradition of musical hyper-insanity. Fisher, again, is slightly reticent about the details involved in the writing process, or perhaps they're tightly guarded secrets.
"There was a lot more of me sitting down on my own and coming up with ideas, sitting around with keyboards and electronic stuff, and I'd show it to the guys and we'd sit down and pick at it, and then we'd jam out together. But on some we didn't even play as a band until we went to the studio. I just wanted to play with new toys and try new stuff. It's fun to mess around with other things."
Although Fisher admits that he never thought he'd get away with this for so long, it's almost as if he'd be happy to walk away from it all tomorrow. Though his bandmates are also his best friends, a band like Fear Before the March of Flames probably isn't a forever-type deal. In the meantime, it sounds as though he and his mates are picking up other hobbies, like craft brewing.
But you never know - between beer and metal there may just be some crossover potential.
"Right now Mike has a golden ale brewing in his basement. He just made a kiwi-wheat beer that had 4 pounds of kiwi fruit in it, and he made an apricot beer that won third place at a competition the other day.
"I think Mike wants to start a brewery in the long term, and we've talked about wanting to bottle a beer, but you can't really sell it at the merch table. You could get in some big trouble for that."