EMQ’s with TO THE PAIN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Franklin Square, New York based Metal band, To The Pain. Huge thanks to lead guitarist Steve Shaver for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hey there, my name is Steve Shaver, and I play guitar for To The Pain. To The Pain started in 2012, and we are from Franklin Square, NY. We have just released our new album, “X”. Originally To The Pain was going to be a recording project for myself, and vocalist Johnny “Squints” Intagliata. We started writing songs at my home studio. We were so happy with what we were turning out, we decided to turn it into a full band. The original band had Jeremy Lustig on bass (who actually played on ‘Control’ on our new album), Jimmy Klimatas on Drums, and Mark Trojanoski on rhythm guitar. The latest incarnation features myself on guitar, Johnny Intagliata on vocals, Johnny Fila on Bass, Eric Healy on drums, and Sean Smith shredding away on the other guitar.
How did you come up with your band name?
I wish I could tell you there was some awesome formula we used to come up with the name, but our old rhythm guitar player, Mark Trojanoski, suggested the name. It is a reference to the movie The Princess Bride.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Franklin Square, NY. Franklin Square is on Long Island. The Island Metal/Rock scene unfortunately is slave to the tribute bands. But if you are willing to pay to play, and we are, then you can play with bigger name bands. It really is the only way to break out of the smaller gigs at smaller venues unfortunately. If you hustle, and sell a lot of tickets, you can make some money though!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our latest single is called ‘There Will Be Blood’, it is off our just released new album called “X”. The single and album are available on all streaming platforms, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.
Who have been your greatest influences?
The bands influences are the Big 4 of Thrash, leaning towards Megadeth being the biggest influence. Also, Testament, Overkill, King Diamond, Iron Maiden and of course, the mighty Racer X!!!
What first got you into music?
I always loved music from when I was a little kid. I was always singing along to the radio at home and in the car with my parents. They decided I should take guitar lessons. I absolutely hated it at first. It was a chore. But once I started learning chords, and being able to play some songs, it became fun. The Eagles were a big early influence. Then I moved on to Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy, Van Halen, etc.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with Alex Skolnick from Testament, or Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. I am sure we could come up with some sick metal riffs!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
That is easy. If I could play any festival, it would be Wacken Open Air. There are many great European festivals, but Wacken for me is the biggest and best of them all.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Hmm, I don’t know that any fans have given us weird gifts. Usually they just buy us a beer after the show. Some ask for autographs, which is always fun.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
That we appreciate each and every one of you. We know everyone has other things to spend money on, and other things to do, so when you buy our merch, or our albums, or buy a ticket to one of our shows, we really appreciate it so much, and work our hardest to put on a great show, and put out great music! Thank you so very much to all our fans!!! You are the best!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I would bring back Ronnie James Dio. He continually put out great music until his death. He is one of the greatest singers of all time. Maybe if I could bring him back, he would have me onstage to jam a few Dio songs! He is sorely missed!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I enjoy the recording process the most. Playing gigs is fun, but I love creating in the studio. I engineer all our albums, and I can just sit there for hours and hours creating. It is a very rewarding process. As far as what I hate, well we aren’t at a level where we can announce a show and people know who we are, and show up. So, I guess I hate having to contact all my friends and get them to come down to shows. I wish there was a better way to promote, but there is nothing better than calling / texting / emailing to get people in the door of your shows. Promoting is NOT a post on social media.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
How about that the people who actually create the art actually get paid for it? It’s amazing to me that you just make zero money from streaming. I mean people stream a song 10,000 times, and you make what, $30? That is an absolute sin, and needs to be fixed. The other thing I would change is 360 deals that record labels have bands sign these days. If a label came to us with a 360 deal, we would say thanks, but no thanks. Don’t sign your life away if you are a band. And keep your publishing!!!! Always keep your publishing!!!
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Wow, this is so hard. I can narrow it down to 3. “Live After Death” by Iron Maiden, “Extreme Volume” by Racer X, and “Rust In Peace” by Megadeth. I could listen to those 3 albums forever and not be bored.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Best as far as quality? Definitely NOT downloads. I guess CD’s are the best. But who has CD’s anymore? I like the convenience of downloads. To me, the best sound was always old vinyl though. And no, TTP is not releasing our album on vinyl…unless someone wants to pay for it. LOL
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
The best TTP gig I played so far was our last gig with Ross The Boss (ex Manowar). It was our first gig with the newest line-up, and we just came out and destroyed. It wasn’t perfect, but the buzz at the club after we played was undeniable. TTP has played many great shows over the years though. Opening for Doro in 2016 was a great one too.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Probably I would be an engineer or producer. I love that side of music. I love working with other musicians and creating. So, I would say if I wasn’t playing guitar, I would definitely engineer or produce.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Paul Gilbert, and Richie Kotzen. I am sure I would learn a note or two from them.
What’s next for the band?
Well 2020 was supposed to be a big touring year for TTP, but Covid 19 put the end to that. We had gigs with Lynch Mob, Flotsam and Jetsam, and Joey Belladonna from Anthrax lined up, and they are all either postponed, or cancelled. If the touring doesn’t open up soon, we will probably jump back in the studio and do another album. We aren’t doing any drive-in concerts, or live streams. They just don’t seem to work well for METAL.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Looks like a cake to me. And looks delicious!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We would like to thank you folks for the interview. We appreciate all the music sites that do interviews and help us out and get our music out there. We also would like to thank our fans for always being there and supporting us. Grab our new album “X”, it is full of great METAL, and super shreddy guitars from me and Sean Smith. Thanks so much! This was a great time!
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