Q&A by Marvin LeeThe first time I met Drew Evans was at Hastings back in 2011. He came up to me while I was at the magazine rack looking at some music mag. I was wearing a rock T-shirt with the sleeves cut off, which exposed my Black Flag tattoo. He came up and gave me a head nod and smile while showing me his Black Flag tattoo.
A small musical bond was formed on that day. Evans came to mind for my next interview when I came across his band, Diazepam, on Facebook. “Pipe Ghost” is the first song I heard by them. The sound of Diazepam is like Fu-Manchu or Queens of the Stoneage, but way darker and fuzzier. Plus, the way Evans sings/screams is much different than the way the aforementioned bands do their vocal stylings. Evans agreed to an interview, and here it is in all its glory. Enjoy!
Marvin Lee: What brought you to music? How did you catch the music bug?
Well, I got into skateboarding and I watched skate videos, which is where I heard some of the songs that I liked. I would go and look at the credits at the end of the video and see who the bands were that made the songs. I found punk rock. I found Black Flag and Minot Threat. They were my two favorite bands when I was a kid, and I wanted to be in bands after that.
Well, there is me, Drew Evans, on vocals. Freddie Means on guitar. Twins Matt and Mike Miller are in the band. Mike plays drums and Matt is on guitar.
Diazepam has a song called ‘Pipe Ghost.’ I have different feelings when I listen to it. I hear Black Sabbath in it. I hear stoner-rock. I hear abrasiveness. I hear fuzziness. How would you describe Diazepam’s sound?
You know, it is sludge or doom, which is heavily influenced by everything you just mentioned. We are also influenced by bands like EYEHATEGOD, Weedeater, Sleep, Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, Grief, etc., etc. It’s crust-punk meets Black Sabbath that we are trying to demonstrate.
Does Diazepam use the demonic chord? The chord Black Sabbath was infamous for using in their music?
Man, I don’t really know. Matt writes most of the riffs. Freddie has been writing some of the riffs since joining the band. I don’t know if they are intentionally seeking out the particular chord or not. You would have to ask them. I’m not positive. They are definitely playing in the vein of Black Sabbath. We are also influenced by a band called Autopsy, who use that sound a lot. I’m sure that’s where some of it comes from.
Back to ‘Pipe Ghost.’ What is the song about?
All our songs don’t have a super big attachment to the titles. None of the songs really mean anything. I just make them about darkness and evil. That’s what the particular song is about. It’s also about depression. I don’t publish my lyrics. I like to leave them up to interpretation.
Word on the street is Diazepam has recorded a record. When will the album drop?
No expected date yet. It is going to come out on Overkill Records. It’s Ron Guardipee’s label. He has put out a lot of cool stuff in the past few years like Integrity, Ringworm, and Confront, among others. The label has been defunct but he recently resurrected it and we will be one of the first bands he releases since coming back to the game. He also helped a band from the Tri-Cities called The Drip get on Relapse Records. We went and recorded at Audio Siege in Portland, Oregon, last December. Our release will be a six-song LP. We are hashing out artwork at this point. The title of the album might be Chemical Justice because it’s one of the song titles.
What are some of your favorite bands you have played with, whether local or regional or statewide?
We haven’t really had the opportunity to play that many shows, but my favorite band I have played with so for is called Curse. They are this weird synth-doom band from Baltimore, Maryland. Apparently they have some association with Brutal Truth, which features Dan Lilker, who used to play with Anthrax and Stormtroopers of Death. We did play with Ringworm recently and that was awesome. They have been one of my favorite bands since I was a kid.
Hand-claps or cowbell?
Cowbell because it just seems manlier.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a band?
I don’t play an instrument, so that is hard for me to explain. I just got influenced by bands when I was younger. I took into consideration what they were saying and went with that. I tried to base my ideas and thoughts to make lyrics. I would say to try and find people with similar interests to find your style.
This is music to listen to while in black clothes and sitting in a dark basement. I had a great interview with Drew Evans and hope to hear more from Diazepam in the very near future. Cheers!
Lee is a musician and aspiring poet who resides in Lewiston. He can be contacted at email@example.com.