Josh Hard of Guitar World
magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Rob Arnold of Cleveland, Ohio metallers CHIMAIRA. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar World: So you guys have had some big changes in the band since [the release of] "The Infection" [album] in 2009. You guys lost three members…
Rob Arnold: Yeah, towards the end of last year our longtime bassist Jim LaMarca decided it was time to throw in the towel, retire and do the family thing at home. He is also a barber — he always cut our hair on the road for years. His family has a barbershop business and all that, and he decided that was what he wanted to do. And then also our drummer Andy [Herrick] and our keyboard player Chris [Spicuzza] earlier in the year made the decision they didn't want to move forward with making the record. And that was that. You know that sort of thing happens. We've been together for a long time and changes come up in peoples' lives. Guys come in and they have to decide if they really want to continue for the long haul or make other changes in their life, and changes in their lives are what those guys decided to do.
Guitar World: Do you think the fans will be able to tell that these changes influenced the band and the new album ["The Age Of Hell"] in any way?
Rob Arnold: Well, I think that at first the fan reaction was definitely like, "Whoa, we can't believe this is happening." But we assured the fans that things wouldn't change too much. I think with a lot of bands new members bring fresh energy and reinvigorate a band, and that's what we were counting on. So we got Emil Werstler from DAATH, Sean Zatorsky from DAATH, and Austin D'Amond from BLEED THE SKY — who is also in my side project THE ELITE. I've known Austin for a while and knew he was a great drummer. So we brought these guys in and it was exactly that, they were totally excited, glad to being doing it, pumped on the music. We did a little tour around Ohio and that went great. The fans seem to react real well to that. We're super-tight and moving on.
Guitar World: Did those guys get to contribute much to the songwriting process for the new album or was that already in place?
Rob Arnold: No. Actually we had already finished the album before that tour even happened. Basically, Mark [Hunter, vocals] and I made the album, along with Ben Schigel — our longtime producer — who played drums for the record. He had been playing drums with us for a couple years, just having fun, and Mark was in a band with him before CHIMAIRA and we just knew he would do well for us. We wanted to make the record and then incorporate new members. Rather than just taking a shot with new members, we wanted to keep the core songwriting between Mark and I there for the record and then see what happened after that.
Guitar World: Is there any message you would like to send to fans about what they should expect from this album?
Rob Arnold: A lot of excitement. More dynamics than you've ever heard on any CHIMAIRA album. A fresh energy. I think for Mark, especially, there is a new freedom in his vocals that you've never heard before. A breath of fresh air or a sigh of relief in that department. A lot of cool rifts, great guitar tones, awesome drumming — really in-the-pocket drumming with a lot of creative fills. I think, overall, a lot of people are going to be really happy and surprised. It's different than any album that we've ever done in the past, which is something that we are very proud of, that every record is different from the last. But you can totally tell it's CHIMAIRA.
Read the entire interview from Guitar World