Steve Austin is an infamous character in the heavy music world; a man who lends huge doses of brutal honesty and a terrifying, angst-ridden aura to the music he disseminates through Today is the Day (who are often referred to as ‘the most influential metal band of the last 15 years’). Since Today is the Day are playing a couple shows in Iceland this month, we thought we’d use the opportunity to e-mail him some questions. What follows is an edited copy of our exchange.
Many long time fans yearn for a return to the landmark albums ‘Temple of the Morning Star’ and ‘In the Eyes of God’, but you refuse to stagnate and continue taking the listener in new directions. That in mind, what should we expect from the upcoming ‘Pain Is A Warning’?
‘Pain Is A Warning’ is a hard rockin’ anthem for the workin’ people around the world. The music is direct and intense fused with our noisy metal style. We made an effort to keep our minds wide open and create something we had never done before. A lot of times these days, bands are caught up in technical and complexity so much that the heart of the rock is never touched upon. So we made sure to let the music be what we really felt and the end result is the truest and most rockin’ record I think we have ever made.
Today is the Day has long had a loyal cult following, but a wider fan base continues to elude the band. To what would you ascribe this?
We have never had everything right label-wise since we started. When we got signed AMREP [Amphetamine Reptile] was awesome to be on, but the label was at its end when we got on it and Tom Hazelmyer (AMREP owner and dear friend), had started the process of discontinuing releasing new records. Relapse was great throughout ‘Temple Of The Morning Star’, but when Bill Yurkeiwics (Relapse owner and Guy Who Signed Us) left, the label could have cared less about our band. I invested everything I had into SuperNova (over 250.000 dollars), and that still wasn’t really enough to be able to compete with other major labels that promote bands here in the USA. Now, with everything at the right time and right place, I really feel that the band has the business side dialled in perfectly. I also feel that our music has always been way ahead of the current times and like Black Flag or The Dead Kennedys, things that are usually groundbreaking or ahead of the times, don’t always necessarily catch the ear of the mainstream. We aren’t the Bee Gees or Justin Bieber.
10 drummers down, some of them among the best in metal, and a slew of departed bassist and keyboard players, it begs the question; do you think you’ll ever arrive at a stable line-up? What is the cause of the high member churn?
The 1990s and the 2000s are not the 1960s, when bands like the Rolling Stones or the Beatles started and stayed together. It takes a HUGE commitment these days for a group of people in any format: A band, a business, or even being married to stay together forever. We have always had great guys in the band and their contributions were always the best. But, I seem to have been the only one from the beginning that has been able to handle the pressures of touring for over 1.500 shows, label changes, and all of the hard things you have to go through being in a band. I really love being in the band with Curran and Ryan right now. I think the edge they have in making it to the end with this band is that they are the MOST TOGETHER individuals that we have ever had on bass or drums. They have their own lives and both are highly educated and have been successful at what they do. They have something for themselves besides just the band. That wellrounded lifestyle equals that they are extremely stable and devoted to what we do as a group.
Finally, which of your eight studio albums (prior to the forthcoming one) would you choose to be remembered for?
‘Willpower’. Thanks and I can’t wait to play for the people of Iceland. Iceland looks to be a lot like Maine.