Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Fieldy (KORN), Gene Simmons (KISS) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) are just a few of the better known rock bass players on the scene today. If I were starting a band and needed to fill that void, any one of those gentlemen would definitely be on my short recruiting list.
Another name that I would add to that talented group would be that of John Moyer. Perhaps best known as the current thumper for Disturbed, Moyer also handles the same duties for the ‘supergroup’ Art of Anarchy.
I have long respected Moyer’s ability with the axe and of course like a lot of our readers, I am a huge Disturbed fan. I am also a big fan of Art of Anarchy, who dropped their second album late last month.
AoA is the brainchild of Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns-N-Roses) and twin brothers John (rhythm guitar) and Vince (drums) Votta who began the project in 2011 along with Moyer while Disturbed was on hiatus. The quartet recruited the late Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) to man the lead vocal spot and they eventually produced a self-titled album that was released in June of 2015.
Weiland’s unexpected passing later that year left a vacancy that the other four offered to former Creed vocalist, Scott Stapp, and he accepted the invitation in May of last year. Stapp wasted little time joining his ne band mates and jumped into the project head first.
With Stapp stepping in, AoA began working on a new album which eventually was given the title of “The Madness”. The finished compilation hit shelves late last month. “The Madness” has been a huge success both from a fan aspect as well as critics. The title track has reached as high as #26 on the mainstream rock charts and I’m sure the entire album will find a place in the top 200 by year’s end.
Art of Anarchy visited Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield, Michigan on April 11th as part of a short tour to support their latest work. I made the two-and-a-half hour trek north myself to take in the performance and it was worth every second I spent on the road. AoA and the local supporting bands absolutely killed it.
Stapp, who I have never seen live, was every bit as good as I was hoping he would be. Meanwhile Moyer and Thal (lead guitar) were clicking on all cylinders with the brothers Votta adding a surprising element in the fact that they flat out melted faces with their weapon of choice.
Prior to taking the stage that night Moyer took a little time out of his busy schedule to graciously grant myself and The Rust Belt Chronicles an interview via the phone.
TRBC: First of all I’d like to say I really like “The Madness”. It’s been in my CD player since I purchased it. Has the album lived up to what the band expected?
JM: We put a lot of hard work into the album and I personally thought the fans were going to like it. As an artist we’re probably our own biggest critic. You’re never truly convinced that you have done everything you can to make a song the best it can be. You’re always tweaking this or that, thinking it’s missing something. In the end you want the fans to like what they’re hearing and so far we’ve heard nothing but kind words. But I think we’re more blown away by the way those who critique the work have accepted it. It’s nice to have all of our hard work pay off.
TRBC: I know you didn’t tour following the first album; how is the current tour going?
JM: It’s been a great first run and the fans have been awesome. As far as the band goes, we’re in this for the long haul so we’ve used it to work out the kinks. All five of us get together on the bus after each stop and talk about how we can make things better. “Bumble” and I work well with each other but it has to be a total team effort and we all have truly created a bond . I think we’re going about things the right way.
TRBC: Speaking of both Scotts; you’ve worked with some pretty iconic voices over the years including Stapp, Weiland, David Draiman (Disturbed) and Russell Allen (Adrenaline Mob). What do those gentlemen have that separates them from the rest?
JM: An absolutely incredible work ethic. They stay in great physical shape and just do the right things in order to stay on top of their game. Scott (Stapp) adheres to a strict diet. Everything he eats is healthy. David avoids going out when we’re on tour. Anything he does has the potential to put a strain on his voice so he doesn’t go anywhere that he may have to raise his voice. They are all disciplined to a fault but that’s the difference from being good and being great. They make a ton of sacrifices to be as amazing as they are.
TRBC: You’ve been in the business well over twenty-five years. What’s the biggest difference from when you got started to now?
JM: That’s easy…it’s a digital world now. Things can be downloaded and bands really don’t make the money they used to from CD sales. A band could get signed and make money off of sales back then. Now it’s tough to do. Record labels can’t really develop the talent like they once did. It’s kind of sad really. You can be a great singer/song writer and not be able to make a decent living off of your talents.
TRBC: You were just 17 when you got started. I just heard that Robert Trujillo’s son Tye signed with KORN to cover for Fieldy, who is unavailable, for a short South American tour. What are your thoughts and do you have any advice for the young man?
JM: Yea I saw that too. I say good for KORN. They are a great bunch of guys and have always gone against the norm. They’ve gone to the left when everyone thought they should go right and vice-versa. Tye is a great bass player and he has an excellent opportunity to become a better player. Just being able to work with a drummer like Ray Luzier is going to be a big help to him. I’ve had the privilege of playing with the great Mike Portnoy and it was amazing. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I hope he takes full advantage of it.
TRBC: Who were some of your influences when you got started?
JM: Oh boy, that’s a long list. Obviously, Guns-N-Roses and anything metal played a huge role. Billy Gould and Faith No More are a little older but I loved what they were doing. Of course when I got into high school Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath played a big part in what I wanted to do as well.
TRBC: I stated earlier on how much I enjoy “The Madness”, it hasn’t left my CD player since I bought it. What would I find playing in yours?
JM: I have a wide array of things. I really like the old school stuff like Metallica and Van Halen. I really like Van Hagar. But I’m also into new bands like Volbeat as well. My nine-year old son also turned me on to NateWantsToBattle on YouTube. I’m not sure if he does it for money or not but I like what he’s doing.
TRBC: You’re playing at Diesel’s tonight which is a nice smaller club. You’ve also been on some of the biggest stages in the world, do you have a preference?
JM: Give me an arena any day! Obviously it would be great to play in front of a huge crowd every night but we (Art of Anarchy) know we’re in the building stages and are more than happy to be playing in front of a couple hundred people. We’re going to give the fans the same show as if we were on the big stage. We know we have to take steps in building what we’re trying to do and that is just part of the process.
TRBC: In closing is there anything you want to say to the Art of Anarchy fans?
JM: I want to thank the fans personally for making my dreams come true. I do not take anything for granted and their support is greatly appreciated. As far as the band goes, we’re in this for the long haul and the reception we’ve gotten on the new album has been nothing short of amazing. We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
TRBC: Thanks for taking the time to give me a call and doing this interview. I look forward to the show.
JM: Thanks for having me. Make sure to introduce yourself after the show!
As you can see, I took the man up on his offer. I was and always have been totally impressed by Moyer on stage but I have an even greater appreciation for the man he is, after meeting and talking with him. He and his Art of Anarchy band mates truly are in this for the long haul and I for one will gladly go along for the ride.
Until then this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/
REMAINING TOUR DATES FOR ART OF ANARCHY:
APRIL 29TH ROCK INTO SPRING FEST HENDERSON, NEVADA
APRIL 30TH 98 ROCKFEST LADSON, SOUTH CAROLINA