“Fame and money- Hell, those things are given to you. It’s easy and hollow. Now respect- that’s the only currency that truly means anything. It’s the hardest to earn, the hardest to hold on to, and impossible to demand. In the end, you don’t earn respect by being in the wrestling ring. When you’re down and out, you earn respect by having the guts to climb up, get back in that ring, and prove yourself One. More. Time.”
When it comes to fighting, most untrained people assume that the key to winning is to throw as many punches as possible until an opponent is down. Such triumph is then predicated upon assumptions about success, such as the immediate garnering of fame, fortune, and all the respect as a champion in the ring. In layman’s terms, take a few hits, but be the toughest person in the ring, and someone’s got it in the bag, right? False. This could not be more false. See, fighting, like any physical sport, is an art of cultivation via iteration and mastery, cementing it as an artform. Much like any other artform, there’s a quantifiable amount of mathematics behind it. Take, for example, the art of a ‘good,’ or ‘perfect’ punch- that is, a forceful punch. At a basic level, a decent forceful punch has one crucial advantage it keeps an opponent at JUST the right amount of distance for a fighter to have JUST the right amount of time to either attack, or defend. In a fighter’s attacks, one must carefully and quickly chose a combination of effective and concrete moves in order to establish dominance and/or finish a round. All of physical prowess is precariously dependent on the Impulse-Momentum Relationship: the change in momentum experienced by a body under the action of a force is equal to the impulse of the resultant force. These things are modified by developing hand-speed, effective mass, acceleration, strength, and other modicums of Force, Time, Mass, and Velocity- effectively resulting in a skilled fighter with a signature style. Fighting is not about pulling all the punches fighting is about pulling the right punches at the right time with the right amount of speed in a way that works with your effective mass and playing into your relative strength all while calculating heavy risk factors. And only in this mathematical and artful dominance can you truly earn the accolades that a good fighter deserves.
But who says that fighter’s can have all the adrenaline-fueled, mathematically backed cultivation and fun? This is where Connecticut Hard Rock/Metal quintet Crossing Rubicon enters the ring. With a penchant for 80s and 90s hair metal tinged with the production and delivery of today’s hard rock, the band has definitely cultivated a signature fighting style under their straightforward mein of “fuck ’em up.” This brazen approach has earned them plenty of praise and respect from listeners across the board, most especially in their 2016 release of No Less Than Everything– a title that aptly suggests that they do, indeed, give it all that they have got. When asked if this mannerism is sustainable in the longterm, Crossing Rubicon has answered yes, with an all-new methodology in their brand-new release of Seeing Red. Cutthroat and curt, the album sees the band making boldly selective choices in their songwriting both lyrically and instrumentally. Frequent listeners and fans ought not worry- Crossign Rubicon is far from hanigng up the hat(s) of caustic sting of badassery. However, their development and employment of new techniques breathes a different air into old embers, reigniting a flame both wholly recognizable and distinctively new.
I had the recent pleasure of catching up with Crossing Rubicon’s frontman Scotty Anarchy about the vision that colors this album so vividly, honesty in storytelling, and how the band repeatedly pulls the right punches to constantly earn respect on stage, in the studio, and within themselves. Enjoy!
Ouch That Hertz!:Scotty! It’s been AGES since we last spoke! In fact, I do believe it was, what, 3 years ago when I first interviewed you? How the heck are you- besides (and rather obviously) gearing up for the imminent release of Crossing Rubicon’s new album Seeing Red?
Scotty Anarchy: First things first, I remember the last time you interviewed me, you gave me a mental work out, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to this one. I have been doing really well, I had gotten married since the last time we spoke, to my bass player ( one way to keep her in the band), we thoroughly enjoyed touring the last album, and couldn’t wait to throw ourselves into this one.
OTH!: Last we spoke, Rubicon had just released No Less Than Everything– an album in which you gave the writing process precisely that. Now we’re faced with the next chapter of the band, which is Seeing Red– the color of hostility. Now, I have always known Rubicon as a fightin’ entity- a pull-all-the-punches and leave-no-prisoners task approach- but I didn’t expect aggression to be emblazoned as the album itself (as so prominently heard in the single release “Seeing Red”). Can you tell me a little bit about the paradigms of this album? What made that marked shift from the gung-ho “give it all you got” mentality to literally seeing red? Is this the progression you all foresaw, or have the gears shifted?
Scotty Anarchy: With No Less Than Everything we were a band stepping out of our comfort zone to do what we wanted to do. We were excited, we were optimistic. The world has changed a lot in the last 3 years; people have changed, becoming more angry and cynical, and I’ve seen with the current state of the music industry, so many bands play it safe now, and take the high road in fear of alienating fans. I’m a punk guy- if rock and metal play it safe what’s the fucking point anyway? Anger is a healthy emotion as long as you don’t hold it in, so “Get pissed & destroy.”
OTH!: Do you ever worry about being pigeon-holed in embracing and embellishing this aggression? Furthermore, have you ever considered the potential consequences of tapping into this method: principally, the risk of that modus shifting from operandi to vivendi, in which you are trapped in that particular place?
Scotty Anarchy: The only thing that would ever worry me would be not being honest with myself. I don’t really think about the next record, I think of each record as it would be my last because there is no guarantee about tomorrow. This album does have a lot of anger in it, but it’s telling honest stories, with honest opinions, people don’t really need to know what those stories are, or those opinions for that matter to be able to relate to these songs. If a songwriter is being honest, then people are going to get something out of listening to their songs.
OTH!: Speaking of embellishments, let’s talk about that music video for the title track that you released back in June. As stated in a previous press statement, this was filmed in collaboration with the documentary on ECW wrestling star Justin Credible- and the track will be featured IN the documentary! Congratulations- what a fantastic opportunity! I’m aware that you and Justin Credible were friends back in the day, but what circumstances led to the intersection of Crossing Rubicon’s creative process and the wrestling scene?
Scotty Anarchy: I was a former professional wrestler, which is how I met Credible the first time. “Seeing Red” was written about some of my own personal issues that I was going through at the time, and when Credible and I got reacquainted I realized he was going through a lot of the same issues. To appreciate music I always feel like you have to be able to relate to it, so I’m literally seeing that happen in front of my eyes with my friend. When it came time to do the music video… Music is a storyteller for life, and so is professional wrestling, so with the “Seeing Red” video the music was a way to tell the Justin Credible story, and the wrestling was a way to tell my story- we crossed the metaphor. So I think without knowing anything about what went into this story, people can listen to this song and or watch the music video and get something similar out of it.
OTH!: The music video opens with a short monologue, in which there are a few quotes that stood out to me, namely, the emphasis on respect: “Now respect, that’s the only true currency that means anything;” “In the end…. When you’re down and out, you earn respect by having the guts to climb up, get back in that ring, and prove yourself. One. More. Time.” Would you characterize Seeing Red as Crossing Rubicon’s modus operandi in earning and holding fast to a certain level of respect that you feel you have worked for all these years as a musician?
Scotty Anarchy: I would say that does play into the MO of Rubicon, but more of a respect for what we do musically, we want to create something that will last forever. Crossing Rubicon is a fighting entity, but in the end we just want to create something that people can relate to. I don’t expect respect, but I appreciate it when it happens.
OTH!: Furthermore, does this particular respect transcend the boundaries of your musicianship? Does it gleam on aspects of your personal strife, milestones in your recovery as a former addict, and landmarks of personal triumph? Is that why you’re Seeing Red?
Scotty Anarchy: I think it’s definitely a situation of art reflecting life. Hearing Justin Credible say it knowing where he is at in his life is something I found inspirational to where I’m at. I think respect is also something that people take for granted nowadays, or something that people put little value in, not to sound too preachy.
OTH!: I love the eloquence in your press release, in which you equated wrestling and musicianship as two sides of the same coin. So much so, apparently, that “Seeing Red” (the single) at first reflected your story, but later became [Justin Credible’s]. To me, this indicates a transference: 3 years ago Crossing Rubicon hinged upon itself as the storyteller of itself and its experiences. Now, it would appear that Crossing Rubicon’s narration has expanded to other subjects- at least that much is evident in this new single. I’m curious, is this something that listeners will find throughout the album? Is this the mark of a starting point for a new approach in lyrical subject matter within the songwriting?
Scotty Anarchy: on No Less Than Everything, the lyrics and the songs were very personal and introspective. On Seeing Red we are telling stories of current events, things that we are seeing happen in the world now that I feel that I can’t not say something about. Sometimes things happen in this world that make you just want to go outside and scream at the top of your lungs in frustration, and writing songs about those things is very therapeutic. I don’t know where I would be without music.
“I don’t expect respect, but I appreciate it when it happens.”
OTH!:I assume that the trademark ‘fuck ‘em up’/ “fuck up the naysayers and critics” mentality is here to stay throughout any new strikes you may take, yes?
Scotty Anarchy: Absolutely. This is a very cynical world and to combat that you have to keep bouncing back and pressing forward. Myself and my fellow band members have had some amazing experiences; met some great friends and great people along this journey, but we also have met some people who just come right out [and] hate us for doing what we do. Most of that hatred is out of jealousy, although some of it may be warranted- hahaha! This album is a message that we are not going anywhere. We make these songs, and these records because we live for this, and we do this for the people that love and appreciate what we do, and the new people we meet along the way, so fuck everyone else!!
OTH!: However, you did also previously say that Seeing Red is inspired by “classic records that give the listener something new with each track.” We’ve already talked about the facets of the lyrical writing for this album, but what about the instrumentals? What easter eggs lie in wait at the production and instrumentation of Seeing Red?
Scotty Anarchy: Each member of Rubicon writes songs for the record, and each member has multiple influences, so your gonna get a mix. Jeanne is metal/nuwave, Zach is straight up metal/thrash, Patrick comes from a folk metal/ symphonic metal, and I’m a NWOBHM/punk/ Queen fan with a theatre background. When it comes to writing we embrace each other’s different influences, which I think is our biggest strength.
OTH!: Crossing Rubicon has already made a name for itself in its predisposition for ‘80s and ‘90s metal transcribed via a ‘modernized’ rock sound. You mentioned that this time around, the band is featuring a particular amalgamation of different styles. What sort of crazy concoction have you all come up with now?
Scotty: Jeanne said it best, “this album is a mix tape from the same band”. We put this record together in a way that encourages people to listen to it from beginning to end. The album begins with a thrash song, then you get NWOBHM , symphonic metal, power metal, more thrash, prog, punk, and even a Nu Metal song, when you put this record on your going for a ride. Here I am listing all these different styles of music to you, and as a band our intent is to throw away genre barriers, and just make a heavy metal record, my hypocrisy only goes so far. I love classic Rock and heavy metal albums, Judas Priest’s Sad Wings Of Destiny, Queen’s Night At The Opera, The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, I can’t just listen to one song on these records I need to listen to the whole thing, hopefully that’s what people get when they listen to Seeing Red.
OTH!: Thus far, we’ve talked quite a bit on the evolution of Crossing Rubicon and the unfurling of Seeing Red. But, y’know, there’s something in one of your press releases surrounding the music video that I haven’t gotten out of my head. It’s in your appreciation and equating of wrestling to music, in which you state the following:
“Two friends against the world with everything to gain, and everything to lose, having to prove something to themselves and then fuck up the naysayers and critics.”
For as much as I’m sure you genuinely meant this metaphor in the relation between you and Justin Credible, I can’t help but feel a heavy tinge that colors the situation of Crossing Rubicon. A band of friends against the world with everything to gain and lose, bearing the burden of having to prove something to themselves. Is that why you constantly strive for new amalgamations to try and fit the equation that is the band? To prove to yourselves that you have it, can hone it, and unleash it with all the force of knowing that it is true to yourselves? … Or have I read too far into the situation?
Scotty Anarchy: You have not read too far into this situation at all. Although I said earlier that I treat every record like it is our last, at the same time, I embrace growing and changing as a band. It’s not necessarily about proving ourselves commercially, it’s about proving ourselves to people that get us. Too many bands nowadays start out as artists and turn into formulaic hit writers, they go from wanting to create something as a form of expression to just wanting to create something for commercial and financial success. The Beatles and The Who did “I Can’t Explain” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to build up a fan base and have some commercial success, then they followed that up with Sergeant Pepper, and Tommy, so they could push their creative boundaries and challenge their audience. I look at every new record as an opportunity to push the creative boundaries of myself and my fellow bandmates, to challenge and inspire our listening audience. Basically, I’m dooming us from the start, haha!
OTH!: And if you all carry the burden of proving it to yourselves time and time again, what happens next? What happens for Crossing Rubicon after Seeing Red is unveiled to the world?
Scotty Anarchy: We are going to release more singles, more music videos, and tour the record. Now the work begins!!
OTH!: I appreciate the deep cuts that we’ve taken together in this discussion, Scotty. It has truly been a pleasure to hear from you. Unfortunately, that’s all the time I have for you. Before I let you go, is there anything else that you would like to add?
Scotty Anarchy: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, and for your patience in me getting this interview back to you. Katt, I love your interviews because you always challenge me!! Thank you again.