RODY Walker is the vocalist and front-man for Canada’s excellent prog-metal and math-core supremo’s Protest the Hero. He is one painfully honest fella. Given a previously scheduled interview was cancelled due to a bout of food poisoning, Walker had this to say:
“I had some bad chicken, I think, and it went right through me while I was doing two interviews and I just had to get up and run. I was stuck in the bathroom for a bit. You can feel free to mention in the article that I had diarrhoea”
Ba dum tss!!!
Continuing on with the theme of less than palatable activity due to bodily fluids, Walker was the victim of some rather unsettling behaviour the previous evening at a show in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to offering a response to my enquiry into the success of the tour (“it’s been good”) and if the headliner (August Burns Red) have been gracious hosts (“They are such good fucking dudes”) he shared this story:
“…the crowd reaction is not great from people who were expecting something different. A lot of them have never heard of us. But the fans have been very friendly overall… with the exception of last night when some guy spat at me, that is the only incident. It was crazy too because the security guard in front of me reached up and grabbed it out of the air before it hit me.”
“The thing is I didn’t even see him spit. I saw the spit come flying and then it had to be one of the kids in the front two rows. And I didn’t see where that motherfucker was or I would fight by throwing punches directly in his face. [laughs] I think that is just so disgusting. I don’t care who the fuck you are, I don’t care how big you are. You spit at me you’re a coward and I’m going to fucking punch you. [laughs]”
This scribe recalls similar fan vulgarity in Brisbane’s long gone The Arena venue during both Cannibal Corpse’s Death Walking and Deicide’s The Stench of Redemption tours in 2006. For reasons I still shake my head over, both George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and Glen Benton were spat on by ‘fans’… people who I assume had actually paid to attend the shows. I recall that Corpsegrinder was livid and threatened to “rip off the (perpetrators) head and mail it back to Florida”. Benton ‘skipped’ songs on the set list, thus reducing the amount of time the audience were given to watch and listen to the colossal playing and soloing of guitarist extraordinaire, Ralph Santolla.
“That was a bad example of how this tour has been. Because there are lot of people coming out just hearing us for the first time and even if they don’t like us they are not throwing their fingers in the air, they are not spitting, they are just politely waiting until we are over and then cheering for the band they came for. And I think that is remarkable. I think that is how things should be in the regular fucking human world where we are all just trying to live on planet earth.”
Challenges. You gotta love ‘em! What has been the bands biggest challenge? (continued below)
“I think the biggest challenge is carving out our niche. Because there are not too many bands that sound a lot like us and the ones that do we can’t tour with exclusively. So, finding our way in the world of heavy metal is difficult because we go out on a tour like this where we are the least heavy then we will go out for another tour with some other bands and it’s like, ’Oh fuck we are the heaviest band by a long shot on this tour’. We are always sticking out like a sore thumb.”
This scribe has always thought of the band as the thinking man’s metal band. A heavy metal version of The Mars Volta?
“I like The Mars Volta a lot. We have got some high singing, it’s kind of technical and whacky. There is a little bit of the gratuitous wankery that goes on in our shit. Yes, I think we have a little more of a metal influence.”
I suggest that the two bands find a way to tour together… and Walker agrees, so fingers crossed!
One tour that is definitely happening is Protest the Hero’s Australian jaunt in April and Walker is certainly looking forward to it. He has an affinity for our wide, open spaces.
“I Love (Australia). There is so much time off. When you go to Australia it’s like you play the shows, you walk around you see a little bit around the venue. But then you have got the day off. You get to venture around and be a tourist. It’s one of the only countries where I have experienced some of that. Sydney Harbour, it’s real fucking touristy but I went on a little boat tour and it was a good time. I tried oysters for the first time there… I just bit in to a raw oyster and went ‘well that tastes like sand and raw blood’. [laughs] But I like it now, I’m going to have to try it again in Sydney.”
Hobart is the destination he may just be looking forward to the most though.
“(Hobart) was cool as fuck. It was a little city but it was also awesome. The bartender made me laugh really hard a couple of times, I like that. [laughs]”
Tours to faraway lands, foreign culinary delights… and a spitting audience member in Atlanta, Georgia. Walker is ever grateful for the opportunities that membership of the band has afforded to him
“I’m really grateful to the fans of the band and to the band itself for providing me the opportunities that I’ve had in this life. To travel the fucking world, see the things that I have seen and all the while being able to afford to live.”
If you are yet to hear Protest the hero, I cannot recommend the band enough to fans of complex and proggy, modern metal. Check out Pacific Myth on your choice of streaming service or via the bands Bandcamp page
Catch Protest the Hero at the following venues during their Australian tour:
April 21: Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
April 22: Factory Theatre, Sydney (18+)
April 23: The Small Ballroom, Newcastle (18+)
April 25: The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
April 27: Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)