Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD/DARK ANGEL drummer Gene Hoglan. A couple of excerpts from the interview follow:
Metal-Rules.com: You wrote on the STRAPPING website that you and Devin [Townsend, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD mastermind] went through a lot of shit last year. What exactly happened?
Gene Hoglan: "Typical life shit, you know? Break-ups with girlfriends. Just all that sort of nonsense. Dev went through a lot of shit on his own — a lot of personal shit. If he wants to speak about it, cool, but I saw what happened to Dev last year and I have full respect for that man for coming through the way that he did. It was just a crappy year. Our buds, Byron [Stroud, bass] and Jed [Simon, guitar], were gone. There was a lot of work and shit was going on. For me, my roommate stiffed me on about three months of paying rent, so we lost our house. I paid the back rent for him and we still ended up losing the house that we were at. I lived on a couch in the middle of writing this record. I just didn't have time to look for another house. Nobody I knew was ready to have a roommate, everybody was pretty ensconced at where they were, so I was kinda bouncing around between different couches. I remember that I put this notice up for our fans on our website and suddenly it was on Blabbermouth: 'Gene's broke! No fucking way!' Boy, did that get fucking taken way out of context! It was a shitty year but it was a great inspiration. I'm fucking glad my roommate did all that fucking stupid shit because it inspired me to really fucking lay it down heavy on this one. This album was such a mission to write, a mission to just be fucking devastating. We want to write a good record, a killer record, but also show off our own noodling capacities, as well. Dev gets to do some wicked solos on this and he gets to do some shredding guitar work. Dev's one of the best shredders in the world but you'd never know it. A lot of people who don't listen to the Devin Townsend stuff or see Devin Townsend live don't know what a fucking shredding guitarist he is. He has some wicked leads where we go, 'Jesus, what the hell was that thing?' We watched him write it. He was tracking, said 'Gimme a second,' sat down for like 20 minutes and pulled out these wicked licks and all of us were just standing around with jaws hitting the floor. 'Yeah, right, Dev, cool, good!' We were just really inspired, it sounds chaotic, it sounds hateful, it sounds aggressive, and that's the way we were feeling!"
Metal-Rules.com: The inevitable question that you're probably tired of hearing: What is the status of DARK ANGEL?
Gene Hoglan: "(Laughs) Well, how perceptive you are. It's moribund. It's hard to get those guys to even be in the same room together anymore. One of our members has now moved out of L.A. so trying to throw jams together isn't gonna be the easiest thing in the world. Who knows what the future will hold with that, but I know that if I get some time available and I'm in Los Angeles, Jim Durkin — their original guitarist — and I wanna write something together. I doubt that it will be for DARK ANGEL but it will be in the vein of fast, aggressive, brutal shit. Jim is still one of the world's best riff writers and that was one thing that attracted me to DARK ANGEL when I joined them. 'Ah, you guys have got great riffs! People are gonna be stealing your riffs a lot.' And sure enough, it happened! Jim is still killer, so hopefully we get to do something in the future, at least work together because Jim is still one of my best pals. But as for reunions, I've fought against reunions. It's definitely my fault that DARK ANGEL never reformed because I know that when they were talking about reforming and were like, 'Let's see what we can do here,' I said, 'Look, if you guys get all the shit together and you do all the work and make everything work, I will fly in and play drums for anything that DARK ANGEL wants to do if I have the time. We'll make the time, make the schedules together. You guys have to do the work and put in the time, because I used to have to do everything for DARK ANGEL. This time, if you guys wanna make it happen, you have to do it.' I love DARK ANGEL, but that was twelve years ago, man! Fuck, thirteen years ago we broke up. For me to work, it can't be a whole lot of work for me to do it. I think that was kinda what doomed it from the start. 'You guys do some work!' And then all the fighting started again. Old things started coming up between certain members so it never really got off the ground. I was fine with that because reunions are fucking stupid. Kudos to KREATOR for never breaking up. They were going through a few lean years when thrash metal was dying and death metal was taking over. They did that 'Renewal' record and everybody hated that one. I thought it was a killer record. Also OVERKILL. Through all their line-up changes and everything, they're still doing it. Good thing for both bands that they never broke up."
Read Gene Hoglan's entire interview with Metal-Rules.com at this location.