I'll never forget the first time I saw Pro-Pain's video for Pound for Pound on MTV's Headbangers Ball. I was already in bands and playing music in high school, but it was at that moment I said to myself, "I wanna start my own Pro-Pain." The hardcore and metal scenes at the time were heading down a different path and Pro-Pain just stood out to me. Gary's voice, the catchiness of the songs that you could sing along to, and the all around aggressiveness the band carried live. My old band got to open for them in 1993 in NYC and you can't imagine how hyped up I was.
When The Truth Hurts came out I couldn't believe how hard it was. Songs like Make War Not Love, Down in The Dumps, and Switchblade Knife were so fucking awesome, I must have listened to the record a million times.
I saw Pro-Pain at the Mason Jar in Phoenix when I moved here around 1994, and my brother in law and I must have bought one of every shirt they had. Through the years of playing music, no band had influenced my writing style than Pr-Pain.When asked in interviews, "How would you describe North Side Kings music," I can only truly answer, "A mediocre version of Pro-Pain!"
The real impressive thing is that these guys have been doing it for so many years and have released killer records consistently. Their catalog includes Foul Taste of Freedom (1992), The Truth Hurts (1994), Contents Under Pressure (1996), Pro-Pain (1998), Act of God (1999), Round 6 (2000), Shreds of Dignity (2002), Fistful of Hate (2004), Prophets of Doom (2005), Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade (2007), No End in Sight (2008), and Absolute Power (2010). Not to forget one of the heaviest live albums ever Road Rage (2001), and their tribute record Run for Cover (2003).
Right now, Pro-Pain is currently celebrating their 20th Anniversary with the release of their 20 Years Of Hardcore CD / DVD Collection. The CD includes four brand new tracks and also contains four re-recorded tracks (featuring PRO-PAIN alumni Rob Moschetti, JC Dwyer, Mike Hanzel and Eric Klinger), cover songs, and a fourteen-song live set filmed in the Czech Republic, in total bearing over 78 minutes of material! Also included is a DVD that contains over 90 minutes of additional material, including tons of live footage featuring several full concerts, as well as fan-filmed footage and tons of extras. It comes highly recommended!!!!
I had a chance to talk to Gary Meskil about what lurks in the dark, his take on today's monster movies, and a cool ghost story! Be sure to check out their new release and if Pro-Pain comes to your neighborhood, go see them. I promise you won't be disappointed!
ICSYB - How often would you say you watch sci-fi or horror flicks?
Gary - Very rarely. I'm more into non-fiction than fiction (sci-fi or otherwise). Although, I suppose there's a time and place for an occasional good horror film in which I prefer supernatural themes.
ICSYB - Which movie would you say scared the shit out of you as a kid?
Gary - There were definitely a few: The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, and especially Trilogy Of Terror. The Trilogy doll was responsible for many childhood nightmares.
ICSYB - If you woke up tomorrow to find that the dead had risen, where would you hold out and defend yourself from the zombie horde?
Gary - I would take over our local Wendy's. Plenty of food, storage, refrigeration, and restrooms which are currently rated AAA for cleanliness. Seems like they have already mastered the art of defending against a zombie horde....so I think it's a logical choice.
ICSYB - Nice, plus plenty of the Baconaters! What's worse, Iraqnophobia or Arachnophobia?
Gary - The new mutation which results in a fear of Iraqi spiders.
ICSYB - If you could pick any celebrity you would like to see get slaughtered beyond recognition in a horror flick who would you choose and why?
Gary - If that includes whoring oneself into a shadow of one's former self, then most are doing a wonderful job of it and need no further voodoo from moi.
ICSYB - Were any of the members of Pro-Pain past and present ever spooked by the dark?
Gary - None that I know of, but then again I've only slept with a bakers dozen or so. All kidding aside, Marshall Stephens is very afraid of spiders, although his Arachnophobia has not mutated yet.
ICSYB - Is it true that if you were to touch King Diamond he could lose his immortality?
Gary - I have shaken hands with the King, yet no loss of immortality can be reported at this time. I'll keep an eye on it though.
ICSYB - Maybe the handshake gave you the immortality? What are your thoughts on the remake epidemic?
Gary - I'm generally not a fan of Hollywood remakes. It seems that most production companies these days are just trying to turn a profit via the rental market, and in turn the budgets have gone down and the quality of writing has gone way down. Sort of like another industry which escapes my mind at the moment. Anyway, today's best movies don't hold a candle to the movies of yesteryear, and the remakes pale in comparison to their predecessors......in my opinion.
ICSYB – What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?
Gary - Frankenstein, and in later years "Frank & Stein".............(hot dog and beer).
ICSYB - Who’s your favorite of the Classic Horror Monsters?
Gary - I would have to say The Wolf Man. I used to have real life posters of the Big 4 (Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, and Frankenstein) and The Wolf Man character was an instant favorite of mine......although I've never sported a full beard, out of respect I suppose.
ICSYB - While touring though the years, have you had any ghost like experiences that you would like to share?
Gary - Yes, we do have such a story. In 2007 we played at Brtnice Castle in Czech Republic. To get from the night liner to the castle, you have to walk through the castle gates and along a very long and "pitch black" (after dark) spooky tree lined path. We walked the entire grounds in the daytime and through the catacombs underground, where we felt a cold breeze, but didn't know where it came from. At the top of a hill we saw a stone "alter of sacrifice" with a pentagram carved into the stone.
A local man (with a dog) who looked like an ancient sheep herder seemingly appeared out of nowhere to explain to us the history of the castle (in which he seemed to be very knowledgeable of). He took great pride in his presentation and told us that the castle marked the arrival of the Romans in Bohemia and that the alter was for sacrificing goats.
He later played some harmonica for us, and then oddly enough he handed Tom an apple and went on his way. Later that night (after the gig), I recommended to Tom that we should walk along the dark path and snap some pics. The first pic that was taken seemed to capture much fog (although the night was very clear) and some angry demonic faces. None of the other (many) shots captured anything but a clear night.
A year or so later....we played a festival in Czech Republic, and as we walked down the backstage ramp to get offstage, the same man (with his dog) greeted us. He looked exactly the same as we remembered him. He then handed an apple to Tom and went on his way. We have pondered if the man was indeed real or possibly a ghost caretaker of the castle that happened to enjoy our company, our interest in the castle, and perhaps our band.
Here is a brief published history: Former late Gothic residence of family Wallenstein was built on the promontory over the intersection of trade routes upon the Brtnice river. Later was gradually rebuilt in Renaissance and Baroque style. After the overthrow in White Mountain War the manor was in possession of the Austrian general Collalto. Unaccessible at present.
ICSYB - That's crazy. I'm spooked for real! Thanks Gary, and for our readers be sure to pick up their 20th Anniversary Release!