Ken Gallant of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Eric "A.K." Knutson of veteran Arizona-based metallers FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Dead Rhetoric: Now you've had guitarist Michael Gilbert come back to the band, so how's that working out?
Erik: We have what I call a little triangle right now that's pretty indestructible of me, Kelly [David Smith, drums] and Mike. It's been a really smooth running between the three of us and we're trying to make a stab at it again. Everybody's doing their part and we're not worried about someone flaking off and because of that everyone is a little more relaxed and we all have the same goal in mind. Before, Mike and Kelly were the straight ones in the band and they were worried about the rest of the guys out drinking and smoking and ruining the band. There's none of that going on today and we all have the same goal and it's really a much smoother ride now than it has been before.
Dead Rhetoric: Well speaking about Kelly David Smith, he recently replaced Craig Neilsen on the drums. Was there extenuating circumstances behind the switching of drummers?
Erik: No, the many years I put in with Craig, the band was kind of a hobby more than anything else. We had regular day jobs to pay the bills and we all had families and regular responsibilities. It was more of a hobby and a chance for us to get out of the country for a couple of weeks out of the year and just forget about everything and go do some rock 'n' roll. We got to record some records and as long as somebody was willing to pay for it, we would go and do one. We weren't really worried about what we do own of these songs and we just had it in our minds that we would sell maybe a hundred thousand copies and it wouldn't result in any life-changing experiences. Well, I got to the point where I wanted to take it a bit more serious than that and some of the guys like Craig and Mark [Simpson, guitars] were getting a little bored with it anyway. Like if I'm going to do this seriously and try to make a living at it and make a comeback, so to speak, I'm gonna need my original players with me. I went to talk to Mike and Kelly and both jumped at the chance and didn't really hesitate, so it's been pretty nice.
Dead Rhetoric: In doing so you managed to get the "Cuatro" lineup back together, so how does that feel?
Erik: It feels good.
Dead Rhetoric: I wanted to ask you about an earlier period when you left FLOTSAM and formed a country band called A.K. CORRAL. Can you talk a little about that?
Erik: I was really sick of the lack of business end of the FLOTSAM camp, but I have no idea what I am doing for business, so if I don't have anyone looking out for me when it comes to business, I am done. Nobody else in the band wanted to deal with the business crap, they just all wanted to jam and that's where we're all at pretty much. I guess I started the country band as a response to that.
Dead Rhetoric: Now going back to "Ugly Noise", former bassist Jason Newsted helped out a bit. What did Jason contribute to the band?
Erik: Well, Jason comes around town once in a while and he will take us out to dinner and we'll go jam and just have a good time a couple of nights. So that's what he did the last time he came into town — he took us out and we just talked about old times and I think he misses us once in a while. He and Mike had recently gotten together and jammed in his living room and ended up writing a couple of songs and we wanted them for the record and he says we could have them.
Dead Rhetoric: So I take it you are all remain good friends with Jason?
Erik: Jason's life and our careers don't give us a lot of time to spend together, but once every five or six years, he comes into town and we'll get together and jam a few times and have a beer and whatever.
To read the entire interview, go to DeadRhetoric.com.