Meet Tooth and Claw, a.k.a. your new favorite band comprised of your favorite members of your other favorite bands.
And while we're at it, allow me a moment to make a big deal out of the announcement for this band, as hardcore/underground music rarely yields monetary reward, but starting a new band like this, which features some of my all-time hardcore music heroes, for me, is one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in making music.
Back in March, I got an unexpected email from Scott Crouse of seminal 90s vegan metallic hardcore band, Earth Crisis, in which he said he had been working on some new songs, and he wanted to know if I would be interested in singing and writing lyrics for them to start a new project. I hadn't heard the songs yet, but I quickly wrote back "YES, I AM DOWN." The songs could have sounded like Earth Crisis's infamous nu-metal album Slither for all I cared, but I wanted to do this, no matter what, simply because Earth Crisis has been such a culturally important band for me, just as they continue to be for a couple of generations of hardcore fans and animal rights activists alike.
If you could have told 15-year-old me, who had just picked up Earth Crisis's influential Destroy the Machines and Gomorrah's Season Ends albums, that "One day, young man, you and the main riff-writer of these records will start writing your own songs together." ...Well, of course I wouldn't have believed you. Those records made a massive impact on my life–they got me into hardcore, straight edge, and animal rights (just as they did for so many others), all of which have led me down many avenues of fulfillment.
Not only that, but my introduction to Earth Crisis was on that famous Ozzfest VHS compilation from the 1996 OzzFest tour, on which a live set of theirs is featured alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Neurosis, Fear Factory, Sepultura, etc. Earth Crisis was a vegan straight edge band at the forefront of a highly influential golden era of metal and hardcore in the 1990s–to me, from day one, I perceived them as vegan straight edge rock stars (in the most flattering sense of the word), so being able to contribute to this new band with the guy who has been their riff-writing backbone for three decades is a humbling surprise and honor.
And it's not just Scott's involvement in this project that makes it special to me–Tooth and Claw is joined in the rhythm section by one of hardcore's most agile stage-jumping stringster, James Chang, who has also had a hand in many of my favorite bands for decades now (Undying and Catharsis in particular, but his resume of influential hardcore bands spans much further than that). James (Jimmy) and I have been able to spend many a weekend in vans together the times Die Young and Catharsis, or Die Young and Sect toured together in recent years, so I am excited that we get to continue the good times music has brought us together. And then, representing the youth, Cameron Joplin is going to kill it on drums with us. Cameron and I first met when he was drumming for the metalcore band Down In It about 4 years ago, and he has since gone on to play in some of the scene's biggest straight edge bands, like Magnitude and Ecostrike. Long story short, Tooth and Claw is ready and eager to shred the stage once shows start happening again! In the meantime, we're wrapping up recording and mixing for a handful of songs we've been working on since the Spring, and we are set to premier one on a major outlet very soon.
As for what this band sounds like... When Scott sent me the first two tracks a couple days after his initial email to me, his trademark riffing was noticeable immediately. Fans of classic Earth Crisis won't be disappointed here, and neither will fans of any of the other bands each of us have been involved in so far, but Tooth and Claw is not about rehashing old tricks or being Earth Crisis/Die Young v2.0–for anything familiar that we bring to the table here, we're going to take you to some new places as well, as this is a new band with its own vision and energy.