Job for a Cowboy: Second Coming
“I was in Europe at the time,” he says. “As soon as I got the news, I flew home from Germany in two days, caught the first plane to Phoenix, got a bed off Craigslist and started a new life.”
After just a few rehearsals with Glassman, Job for a Cowboy launched a tour with Hate Eternal and All Shall Perish. They had planned to write new songs on the road, but various obstacles made it impossible: they were traveling in a van, most of the venues where they were booked didn’t have dressing rooms and there was too much drinking to be done. When they returned to Arizona in mid December, they had just two songs completed and were scheduled to hit the studio in one month. After wrangling an additional month of prep time, Job for a Cowboy got to work. To conjure the moods they were after for each track, they bombarded their ears with music from other metal artists.
Glassman says, “We were like, ‘Okay, let’s take today and listen to nothing but Cannibal Corpse and write some fierce death metal.’ Or, ‘Let’s listen to nothing but Phobia and Disfear all day and then write some wild grindy shit.’ We tried to reset out brains for different styles of music so that none of the songs would sound the same.”
For the first half of January, the guitarists worked on their own because Rice had prior commitments to Austrian Death Machine. When Rice finally arrived, the band began piecing the riffs into full songs. With only six weeks left before entering the studio, they worked on each song until they felt they could go no further with it, and then moved on to another. If any of the members didn’t like a part, it was binned. “We didn’t have time to sit around and argue,” Glassman says. “It was stressful as fuck because it felt like the clock was ticking over our heads the whole time, but it kept us all stoked on the songs we had. The momentum was there the whole time.”
To alleviate the stress of writing all day, the band members met every night at a bar with just two edicts: drink as much as possible and never talk about the band or the songs. Glassman says, “The only thing that kept us from going completely nuts was the bar. We’d just get trashed and bullshit about whatever.”
Thompson agrees. “I think it helped us from feeling too overloaded,” he says. “No matter what shit went down during the day, we were still hanging out together. We didn’t hate each other.”
At the end of March, Job for a Cowboy flew to producer Jason Suecof’s Audio Hammer Studios in Sanford, Florida, to begin tracking. Suecof, whose production credits include Trivium, Chimaira and DevilDriver, was selected earlier in the year after Job for a Cowboy recorded two tracks with him and with a second producer. Not only were they impressed by Suecof’s knowledge of death metal, they were stoked by his improvisational abilities and his never-ending reservoir of ideas.
Thompson says, “If I could play like any other guitarist it would be him. He’s really creative and kept us thinking outside of the box the whole time. In the past, we’d always do the same kind of shit as far as harmonies went. He just said, ‘Why do you keep playing minor thirds? Let’s try a fourth. Let’s try a fifth. Let’s try an octave.’ It really opened up a lot of possibilities.”
While other artists have complained about Suecof’s inability to stick to a schedule, Job for a Cowboy vibed with his lackadaisical approach and the odd hours he keeps. Thompson says, “Going out there and recording with him was the most relaxing experiencing we could have had. If we wanted to take a break for two hours and go goof off, smoke weed and watch some TV, he’d be down. We started tracking at 5 p.m. every day and wrapped up at five in the morning, which a lot of producers aren’t open to, but we’re definitely not interested in waking up at 8 a.m. and starting to play guitar at nine.”
Having such a loose recording schedule gave the band most of the day to kick their hangovers and repair or hide damage from the night before. Sometimes that was easier said than done. Thompson says, “We’re not Mötley Crüe or anything, but occasionally we’ll get a little too hammered, and then one thing will happen that will set off a chain reaction.
“In Orlando, someone handed me a light bulb and I threw it and it broke. Next thing I knew, picture frames were torn off walls and telephones and remote controls were being cooked in the microwave.”
Glassman adds, “All the lights got torn off the wall, all the legs got ripped off the table, and Jonny smashed a chair. Everything that could be broken got broken. But at the end of the night your work’s done for the day; everybody just wants to party and have a good time. You throw the whole band in a hotel room, you’re drunk, something dumb’s gonna happen. We were expecting a $4,000 bill the next week, but for some reason we never got charged.”
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