of 'Death Division'
took place 1st September, 2013.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
influenced you musically and why from an early age and what turned you
on Heavy Metal originally?
Jerry: The first band to influence me was definitley KISS. I remember
being VERY young and my grandfather taking me to a Montgomery Wards
to get my first b.b. gun and ALL I wanted was KISS's 'Destroyer'. So
I got the gun left it in a closet and sat mesmerized staring at the
album cover while rocking out to 'Destroyer' on my Mickey Mouse record
player - Ha-Ha. Once I saw Gene Simmons spitting blood, breathing fire
with demon boots and bat wings I was hooked. KISS to me is ALL about
The Demon and the REAL and ONLY Spaceman Ace.
For many years to come I
was covered in blood..screaming ‘WHOAH YEAH!!’ and lighting
sh*t on fire. Led Zeppelin were also part of my first musical memories
as my dad would take me to school in his 76 'vette. As I grew older
I found all the staples.. Motley, Maiden, Sabbath, Ozzy, Van Halen,
W.A.S.P. etc. until one day I stole a cassette from a music store from
a band called Metallica. It was the Whiplash e.p. That BLEW my mind.
A few days later I went back and stole the whole album - ha ha.. Sorry
for stealing your albums guys!! Anyway.. Metallica led me on a collision
course straight to SLAYER, VENOM, CELTIC FROST, DESTRUCTION, EXODUS,
MOTORHEAD and KREATOR. Thrash Metal was huge and growing up an hour
from San Francisco - it was right in my back yard.
Why did you decide to make the bass your main instrument of choice?
Jerry: Funny thing is, I never wanted to be the bass player in the bands
-I started as a singer. Growing up playing in bands I took it seriously
even as a kid.. So when people would drop out to get jobs, girlfriends
etc. I would keep moving on and eventually just decided one day to do
it myself. So I saved up a few hundred dollars and put money on a bass
at a local store and paid it off weekly. Once I got it I spent a few
months figuring it out and started writing the songs and put together
a new band immediately. Cliff Burton was a huge help at that point in
my life because he was just GOD to me at 14 or 15. A few years later
I would figure out we ALL owe it to Geezer Butler and Sabbath.
What made you decide to form Death Division and what characteristics
were you looking for from each individual members and why?
Jerry: To be honest I wasn't looking to start anything when it happened.
I had met Sean a year prior and we sat up at my house 'til 5 am after
hours and wrote two songs with ease. He left, we talked about jamming
but nothing happened. I already had Rick in my solo rock 'n' roll band
I sing and play guitar in 'Down & Dirty' (along with Ace Frehley
drummer, Matt Starr). Sean was easy to work with and super cool so it
was a no brainer. I had been seeking a new writing partner for a while.
I had worked with a few people here and there over the years but nothing
A year later, we got together
and wrote ‘I’ve Had Enough’, ‘All Hope's Lost’
and ‘We Are The Fallen’ in two days. I immediately called
Rick and we started working the songs. A day later I posted on Facebook
that I was looking for a drummer. A fan on my facebook replied, "You
should get Tim Yeung, He is the baddest drummer in metal!" I kinda
laughed it off for a second because I have known Tim for many years
and knew he was busy doing Morbid Angel.
As I was kinda laughing to
myself thinking, ‘Yeah Right’ my FB I.M popped up and it
was Tim. He said he was interested and the next day he was at the house
and we were working the songs. ZERO effort. It just happened very natural
and organic. The songs have been flowing with ease ever since - In fact
it is hard for us to rehearse most of the time without writing something
new! That is very rare.
did you decide to call the band Death Division and what is the meaning
of it from your point of view?
Jerry: We had the band started.. Names in the business and were on fire
but no name. We all brainstormed on the name situation but nothing really
stuck or felt right. I remembered watching a documentary on Discovery
channel years back when we were starting 'HELLYEAH' about a place called
'The Dead Letter Division" The concept of this place that EXISTS
and OWNED by the U.S Government is simple.. Mail can ONLY be opened
by the person it is addressed to. It is ILLEGAL to keep, open or destroy
mail that isn't yours. Any mail etc. that is returned or unopened cannot
be destroyed by the government and is housed at 'The Dead Letter Division'.
This idea intrigued me.. Letters from the old days to Santa from children
asking for presents or Dear God letters from people hoping for a miracle
or for their prayers to be answered all sitting in a warehouse somewhere..
A place of lost hopes and dreams. DEATH DIVISION. Perfect.
is the personal and social relationship like in the band when you are
away from the stage?
Jerry: One of the coolest things about DD is the interaction, personal
relationships and bonds we have developed over the years. We are a very
close band and very family. It is a special trip.
do you consider makes the band work so well since you've been together
for 2 years so far?
Jerry: I think the band works well because we all spend so much time
together personally we get each other. Any given night out in Hollywood
you will find Sean, Rick and I out and about. We really all work well
with each other.
the two years with Death Division sparked any feeling of musical and
lyrical maturity and if so in what way?
Jerry: The band has matured and become stronger as we progress. Lyrically
it is always different as Sean and I both write the lyrics together.
Sean can start in a direction with a verse and I will generally give
it an entirely other twist in verse two which gives it a cool dynamic.
You can read and vibe all the DD stuff from entirely different angles.
personally attracts you to the style of metal you play as opposed to
any others that you could play just as well and for what reasons?
Jerry: I have never looked at what others do or write for direction.
Style is something that comes from within. You can’t fake vibe
and groove. I was lucky enough to be raised by the kings.. Guys like
Dimebag Darrell, Zakk Wylde, Kerry King and Jimmy Page lit my musical
path. Artists that never cared about the next Limp Biscuits or Cobras
and the Lionheads or whatever may be the next musical fad. I think we
just do. We knew we never wanted DD to be limited to any specific style
and I feel we are accomplishing that now. We get in a room the old fashioned
way and write riffs we dig.. If we don't vibe it or can’t find
that part, it goes in the trash! In the great words of Mr. Zakk Wylde,
"If you're thinkin you're stinkin".
would you describe the style of metal that you play as opposed to simply
saying brutal, loud and aggressive like your typical music journalist
Jerry: I guess I would say Extreme Rock?
would you personally describe your style of bass playing?
Jerry: For the most part I am a very tight solid player. If the song
calls for more melody and dynamic I get more technical as needed. For
me I feel if you are really doing your job as a bass player you are
felt all the time and heard and shine at the right moments. I have never
been an over player. HOWEVER I absolutely love bass players who can
kill it and pull it off.. Ryan from Mudvayne... PHENOMENAL and Les from
Primus kill it.
is your favourite bass that you own and why?
Jerry: Ernie Ball Musicman basses. 5 String Stingrays are my weapon
out of the Devil Division songs are your most preferred to play and
Jerry: I love to play them all. Highlights to me are always ‘Can
You Hear Me Now’ and ‘The Truth’. They are great crowd
interaction songs.. Groovy.. vibey and heavy.
do you get most of your lyrical ideas for your songs from and which
ones mean the most to you and why?
Jerry: Lyrically it varies as Sean and I write the lyrics together..
For instance ‘I've Had Enough’ was written about hating
god or religion originally from Sean's POV and I changed it to read
more like a failed doomed relationship. It is up to the listener to
read between the lines and find their own meaning,
you live with any regret in your musical career and if so what and what
have you personally learnt from that and why?
Jerry: Regret? No. Mistakes are just stepping stones to a new path and
a lesson learned. We all fall down.. What matters in the end is how
you handle it and what you do after. I am very appreciative of all the
opportunities I have had over the years.
is your current relationship with Glenn Danzig and are you in touch
with the various members at all especially since the 25th Anniversary
of the band is coming up?
Jerry: Glenn is great! I saw him recently at Kirk Hammett's Party in
Hollywood.. We got caught up and had a great time. I am still very close
with Tommy Victor, Doyle and of course my bestest Johnny Kelly! Johnny
actually got me the gig originally!! I am proud to have been part of
Glenn's Legacy. The guy is a true icon.
have a nice set of tattoos there - which ones mean the most to you and
for what reasons?
Jerry: Never really thought of that. I just dig fire and skulls. I'm
a bass player.
did you come to be on the GIGANTOUR 13 bill and what have been the highlights
Jerry: Justis Mustaine had got a hold of our songs and turned Dave on
to them.. It all happened very quick. We ended up at Vic's Garage (Megadeth
Headquarters) and turned out Dave really liked the band. We worked very
closely with Dave over the past few months and he invited us to be a
part of Gigantour 13. Dave has been very good to us and a believer in
DD going as far as mentioning DD on "That Metal Show" and
TONS of press. Can't say enough good things about them. Highlights of
the tour were by far hanging with my old bandmates.. HELLYEAH.. Playing
with SLASH in DALLAS TX .. seeing David and Will kill it nightly and
being on tour with BLS.
countries have stood out to you regarding their venues and fans and
why with regard to any band you have been a member of?
Jerry: That is a hard question to answer because I've been all over
the world so many times. Places that stand out are Greece, Norway, Australia,
Chile, Slovenia & Dallas fking TEXAS!!! :)
to tell any cool road stories that have happened over the years that
you can legally speak about?
Jerry: So many crazy and cool things over the years.. I remember buying
Dime a chrome skull and writing on it for his birthday on Ozzfest 2000.
Then later he used it as a prop in the famous Dime/Zakk camo Guitar
World shoot... Almost dying in a plane on our way to Monterey, Mexico
when I was in Danzig alongside W.A.S.P. and MOTORHEAD.. The guys from
Type O Negative rigging an 18 inch pink dildo through the lighting truss
and spotlighting it over my head every time I sang without me knowing
lol .. Almost dying in Indianapolis and being brought back to life..
Falling off the stage in 06 with on the Nothingface tour.. Random semi
PG related stories. Ha - I have def been blessed with the greatest life
in the world.
does it mean to you be recently being placed on I-Tunes and what are
your thoughts of real CD's versus downloads and why?
Jerry: I think it is sad that kids won’t have the excitement of
going to a record store and FINDING new music.. Searching it out.. Buying
it.. Going home and looking at the record covers etc.. Kinda like how
we go to book stores and browse books. Music has become disposable and
it is tragic in my eyes. A record collection was something I took pride
in as a kid and new every word.. All the print. Nowadays it’s
an Mp3 and people just skip through songs and hardly ever even listen
to an entire song. I am appreciative of what digital media has done.
It has come at a grave cost in my eyes.
you tell us much about the forthcoming album in 2014?
Jerry: The upcoming 'Death Division' record is going to be VERY diverse,
It's going to be moody, violent at times yet still driven. Half of the
record is done currently.
do you imagine will be up and coming for you good self and Death Division
in the near and also distant future?
Jerry: Death Division will spend 2014 and 2015 on the road with our
fans old and new.
Glenn: What have been the proudest moments in
your career so far and why?
Jerry: That is hard to say. Probably landing my first major label record
deal with 'The Deadlights'... Hearing ‘Walking On Bodies’
from Nothinface on the radio... Hellyeah debuting Billboard #7... Playing
bass for Dime and Vinnie Paul's side band Gasoline alongside Jerry Cantrell...Recording
my first DANZIG record and DEATH DIVISION. I am so proud of my new band
and guys.. We have come so far on such trying times with so much against
us as a baby band.
do you like to do outside the band and what got you into these hobbies
Jerry: Outside of the band I do my OTHER band ‘Jerry Montano's
Down & Dirty’ - My Southern Rock 'N' Roll band that I sing
and play the guitar in. I also love to cook, go to the gym, hike and
every Tuesday night in Hollywood I do a club night with a buddy of mine
from a local band called The Dark! Toxic Tuesday's at a spot called
The Velvet Margarita in Hollywood. Just a dirty, goth type Hollywood
Rock ‘n’ Roll bar where we showcase up and coming local
talent as well as national stuff! But really my life is just music.
Always has and always will be.
do you like and also dislike about living in and around Hollywood, California
and for what reasons?
Jerry: I moved to Hollywood in 1994 with a bag of clothes, a bass guitar
with NO where to live and NO money. Looking back it wasn't the wisest
decision in the world - ha. HOWEVER it changed my life forever. I consider
Hollywood my real home. I lived on the streets for a while and on the
rooftop of a music/poster store. It's there I met Dino Casarez, El Duce
and Rozz Williams.. I worked at the shop in the daytime and at night
when it would close I would go to a bar called Bar Deluxe at night til
after 3 am 'til close then walk back down Hollywood Blvd. to the shop
to crash on the roof. I would lay on the rooftop and watch the helicopter
spotlights .. hear the sirens and screams through the night til morning.
It was intense but very, very electric.
I ended up being invited
to a party off of Melrose to a guy who managed an apartment complex
named Dez. Through Dez I ended up meeting Meegs and lived in the Coal
Chamber house in Hollywood ‘til I joined my first LA band SUFFER
alongside Blasko Rob Nicholson. That was pretty much ground zero for
what would be called nu metal.. All of us bands would hang out at keg
parties and talk about how we would all be big someday.. Pretty funny.
On a Saturday night early a.m it would be guys from.. Coal Chamber,
Fear Factory, Snot, System of a Down, Static, Downset, Brujeria, HED
pe etc.. It was also very common to see all of the same bands on the
same bill for $3 on a Wednesday night.. That was pretty much the beginning
of the story for me. The rest is history I guess. Hollywood is where
it all started. I love my home and the crazy people in it. I love to
travel all over the world and experience all the culture but in the
end nothing beats coming back home. I love LA.
Glenn: What would you like to say to the fans out there who have read
Jerry: I would just like to thank all the people who allow us to do
what we do. Without our fans we are all nothing. We are just a bunch
of guys from LA trying to build a name and get by like everyone else.
So to all our fans old and new, THANK YOU for ALL your generosity and
support. And PLEASE continue to support local music!! Support all arts!!
And please check us out on FB :)
big thank You to Jerry for an extremely in-depth and concise Interview