This Godless Endeavor (Century Media)
An interview with guitarist Jeff Loomis
By Eric Chon
Nevermore are set to rock the world of metal with their latest masterpiece, This Godless Endeavor. A tour-de-force of screaming guitars and powerful vocals, Godless… has already reached the Top 10 lists of many magazines and reviewers.
How did you guys go about writing this album?
We totally concentrated on writing this time. It took about four months, I’d say. We recorded in England – the first time we’ve recorded outside the U.S. – and Andy’s studio is smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, which allowed us to concentrate. After Enemies of Reality, we really had to redeem ourselves. We put our heads together, and everyone contributed to the songwriting. It made the album more diverse, and the whole band is really happy with it.
So Steve helped out on the writing as well?
Steve wrote three songs, Jim wrote one, and I wrote six. It harkens back to Politics of Ecstasy when the whole band wrote. It takes a lot more than one listen to capture the whole vibe of the album.
How did you guys hook up with Steve?
He was a huge Nevermore fan. We always saw him at the San Francisco shows. He was in another band, and they were trying to put something out, but that didn’t work out. Since he’s a long-time friend of ours, we asked him to join the band and he did. It worked out very well.
I’ve noticed that the cover for the new album is also a bit of a departure.
Yeah. We wanted something different, something completely off the wall. Warrell was on the Internet and found this guy, Hugh Syne, who’s also done stuff for Rush and Megadeth, and the piece he did for us related very well to the record. It doesn’t have a ton to do with the concept of the album, but the darkness and mysteriousness of it works well. It’s a very dark-looking cover and we’re very happy with it. And as a piece of trivia, that’s actually Hugh’s daughter on the cover.
One of the cornerstones of Nevermore’s sound is your guitar. How did you get started playing?
When I first started music, my dad got me into drums! I found them very limiting, personally, so I picked up a guitar to try it out. I’m blessed with a good ear, so I’m able to hear things and reproduce them. I’m a self-taught player, but my dad helped me get into the whole deal. I used to sit in my room for endless hours, working on my technique. Kinda boring, if you think about it. I practiced a lot and enjoyed music.
I heard you tried out for Megadeth when you were 16.
Yeah, it’s kind of ironic, really. They politely said I was too young to join an extreme band like them, but if I kept at it, I’d be a killer player. Sixteen years later, and I’m doing it! And I’ve toured with Megadeth, no less! (laughs)
How did the Gigantour come together?
Dave (Mustaine) knew Warrell and Jim from producing their first record with Sanctuary. Glen and Sean Drover are also big fans of Nevermore, and gave a big push to put us on the bill. This is a really great experience, because Nevermore normally plays smaller venues in the States.
Which of the bands were you really excited about seeing?
I’m a huge Fear Factory fan, and I just love hanging out with those guys. Just playing with Megadeth was awesome.
Is it true you guys are certified chefs?
Warrell and Jim are. They’re amazing! They had this Italian restaurant that had to close because of all the touring we did. They taught me how to cook, and I can’t say I’m too shabby at it (laughs). At least I can make some really great meals for my girl. (laughs)
Are we going to see a “Catered by Nevermore” sign on tour?
(laughs) I wouldn’t put it past them! But yeah, at some point, they’ll cook for everyone there.
What do you feel about this New Wave of American Heavy Metal everyone keeps talking about? Do you think that it’s even appropriate to call it that?
Either way, I think it’s awesome that metal is getting bigger. There are so many bands to keep track of, but I’m familiar with a few of them, like Shadows Fall and such. Being part of the whole process is an amazing thing. But, to tell you the truth, I’ve been really into the Swedish bands lately.
Any one in particular?
Meshuggah! Man, I love the off-time stuff and those polyrhythms. But otherwise, I listen to a smattering of everything: ’70s music, jazz, classical… You have stay well rounded.