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Interview Sat Jan 23 2010

Goatwhore Interview & Photos: 1/20/10

All photos by Brian Leli

On the road, Goatwhore vocalist Ben Falgoust acts as tour manager, merch guy and occasional van driver. When not enthralling the crowd, he can likely be found loading in equipment or selling t-shirts. It's only one example of the fortified work ethic and resolve that has kept the band moving for over a decade.

I met up with Falgoust and Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet after their HOB show on January 20. We sat in a small corner of their dressing room to talk about the New Orleans band's turbulent history: how it affected their music, the drive that kept them going, and how Chicago played a role in much of it.


Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun (2003) and "The Accident:"
In April 2002, Falgoust was involved in a serious van accident while on tour. He was driving through Chicago. "It was a little south of Chicago, not too far. I ended up in Christ Hospital, of all places," he recalls. Both of Falgoust's legs were crushed in the accident. He spent many months in a wheelchair while he and the band wrote Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun. He learned to walk again while recording the album.

Duet recalls, "I know he was bummed out because that happened, and I was going through some serious personal problems in my life, so I mean, I guess that's why that album came out so...almost doomy in a way. It was a bad time in both of our lives."

By 2003 Goatwhore was back on the road. In March of that year, I watched as they pulled their van into the parking lot of Rockhouse U.S.A. in Aurora. It was nearly a year after the accident. Falgoust walked into the Rockhouse with a limp and a cane. When he walked onto the stage there was no trace of either.

"Being in a wheelchair and not being able to do anything for like a year...tons of things are coming out, and so you're like, 'I gotta get back in this loop,'" Falgoust says. Adding, "That was part of the motivation, but I just wanted to play too. We enjoy playing...You don't want to be left back in the dust...Starting over is rough."

A Haunting Curse (2006) and Hurricane Katrina:
While writing their next album, A Haunting Curse, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Falgoust was on tour with his other band Soilent Green. Duet was at home in New Orleans. He left when the city was evacuated.

"Actually, I came out to Chicago for the evacuation, for like a month and a half. It was me, Ron Holzner from Trouble and Dave Chandler from Saint Vitus in one fucking house!" Duet exclaims.

After the storm passed, the band returned to New Orleans. Nobody was allowed inside the practice space where their equipment was — a space shared by many New Orleans bands, from Goatwhore to The Neville Brothers. As soon as they were allowed back in, they loaded up their equipment and left town to complete A Haunting Curse. The remainder of the album was written in Phoenix. It was recorded in St. Petersburg.

Duet recalls, "It was a different perspective than being in New Orleans, and that whole dreary town where you do dreary things." It brought a certain solitude that helped them focus on "writing an album where there were no disturbances," says Duet. "It was basically just the band...And that's all you had." adds Falgoust.

Carving Out the Eyes of God (2009) and Chicago Metal Bands:
Goatwhore's latest release, Carving Out the Eyes of God, came without any major setbacks. The band considers it to be their most mature and focused effort to date. Influenced by a wide variety of metal and hard rock, Falgoust begins to explain that the album isn't centered on elitism in any one genre. It's more about "how you can write a heavy riff, but without playing at 450 bpm," finishes Duet.

Duet calls Carving Out the Eyes of God the embodiment of Goatwhore. He asks, "What would happen if Angus Young heard Darkthrone, and got into it? There would be destruction dude! Writing those catchy, heavy riffs, but with the evil edge: that's the point."

Duet names Trouble, Master, Cianide, Usurper and Nachtmystium as a handful of Chicago bands that he feels also get the point. He adds, "There's a shitload of them around here that are great, that are awesome, that do it the right way."

Falgoust and Duet average about nine months out of the year on the road. They work day jobs when they're back home in New Orleans. At the moment, Goatwhore has tour plans scheduled through April 2010. They're currently touring North America as part of the Bound by the Road tour.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


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