Six Questions with Lycosa Guitarist “Tree“
by Mrs. Valley of Steel
So my next Person or Persons Unknown interview subject is someone I did not know very well before I decided to ask him for an interview, but I suppose that was the point of these: to shed some light on people not very many people knew much about. This one definitely qualifies. I first officially met Tree when his band Lycosa was having their Innervenus dual-release show with Grisly Amputation. Over the course of meeting all these new people, I would say that I am constantly surprised at how warm and friendly they are — which is a vast contrast to the mood and feel of the music that they play. No one surprised me quite as much as Tree — he’s sweet and kind and, just like my husband, you sometimes have a hard time hearing him because he really doesn’t talk all that loud (when he talks at all!). I have since gotten to know him slightly more speaking to him via Facebook messages and seeing him out at shows, and I am happy to now call him a friend. I hope you guys will find him as interesting as I do, and that you’ll check out Lycosa — maybe even venture out to Kent, Ohio, this weekend for a mini road trip to check them out. The band is great on CD, but even better live! Take it from me, it would be worth the drive from Pittsburgh.
So first of all: everyone calls you “Tree,” a name I assume came from the fact that you’re like eight feet tall, but nobody seems to know your real name. Would you mind sharing that information?
The nickname “Tree” does come from my height ([although] I’m only 6’7″, not quite eight feet). I got that name from a place I used to work at; I was around 20 years old, and the name kinda stuck. To answer your question, I’ll have to say, “as a man I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol, I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.”
Mrs. V: Yeah, I didn’t think I would actually get away with that one. So…
Can you describe who or what inspired you to play guitar, and do you have any particular musicians that you feel have inspired your personal musical style and direction? Do you play any instruments besides guitar, that people may be surprised to learn that you play?
I have always wanted to play guitar, but it would have to be my friend Matt — he owned an actual real guitar and knew how to play it, which was amazing to me at the age of 12. Seeing him and his band play was what made playing guitar seem within my grasp! I saved up all summer to buy my first guitar, which was a cheap Fender Strat knock off, but to me it was the greatest thing I every owned! Matt showed me a few things on it, but it wasn’t until I was almost 17 that I actually started to learn how to play it. I began taking lessons at the local guitar store with one of the best local guitar players and teachers, Rick Mals, who was another big influence on me. I only ever learned guitar; I do play around with keys and some bass, but thats more just for songwriting than anything.
Imagine that Lycosa no longer needed your services on guitar, and every band ever in existence is on your speed dial. If you could have your “dream” assignment playing for ANY band in ANY time period, what would be your perfect situation?
The first band that comes to mind is Megadeth! I would love to be added to the ever-growing list of Megadeth guitarists! But I always wanted a band like Lycosa; I get to play with highly talented individuals that I’ve looked up to for years, and have a lot of fun doing it! I guess you can say, I have reached my realistic “dream”!
What was one album or piece of music that was a pivotal turning point for you, either as a music fan or as a musician, and how do you think this has influenced you as a musician? Name one song that you makes you say to yourself “Damn, I want to write a song this good!”.
I would have to say that Metallica‘s …And Justice for All was one of the biggest influences on me, both as a music lover as well as a musician. Not only was it the doorway into heavier music, it also helped develop my picking hand! Before that album, I really only knew what was on the radio, so I really didn’t get that much into music — I was more into art and drawing — but the heaviness drew me in and increased my desire to play guitar.
I can’t recall one song ever really standing out to me, there’s so many good songs out there. I hope that one day someone will answer that question with one of Lycosa‘s!
What are the last 5 CDs you listened to? Anything that you find yourself listening to over and over lately, either an old favorite or a new discovery that you’d like to share?
I listen to an excessive amount of music, mainly at work, but we can’t pick up radio in the building and the damn I.T. guy keeps changing the internet password on us, so it’s normally limited to whatever I bring in and save on the computer. My week kinda goes like this: Mondays are “mellow” Mondays — The Animals, The Doors, Tom Petty, stuff like that. Tuesdays are 8 hours of all Megadeth! My boss now refers to Megadeth as “that devil’s penis band”; not sure why. Wednesday is Judas Priest and Anthrax; Thursday is Prong; Friday is “black Friday,” so Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, etc.; and Dean Martin Saturdays! At home I’ll go with heavier stuff, since there’s no one around to complain about it.
The last five albums other than my usual musical ritual: Arkona – Goi, Rode, Goi, Dying Fetus – Descend into Depravity, Blotted Science – The Machinations of Dementia, Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor, Acid Bath – When the Kite String Pops.
I know that Lycosa has played with a TON of amazing bands — just look at the CD release show [EDITOR’S NOTE: in addition to Grisly Amputation, the show in February also featured Storm King, Victims of Contagion, Torrential Bleeding, Lythem, and Meth Quarry.] — but what band(s) would you like to do a show with that you haven’t been able to yet?
There are a lot of bands I would love to share the stage with; any of the kings of thrash would be exceptionally awesome! Locally, since I started playing with Lycosa, I got to scratch a lot of names off my list of locals that I wanted to play with, but I also had to add a lot of names too! Solarburn, to name one — I would love to play a show with them and have a improv jam out with them sometime too! I think a Slaves BC and Lycosa show would be legendary! I’ve been wanting to reunite the punk and metal scenes for a while now, so Killer of Sheep is definitely on my list. Way too many to name them all!
Can you describe your musical style in six words or less?
“Slightly burnt buttered toast with gravy.”
Lycosa will be appearing at The Outpost in Kent OH this Saturday (27 April 2013), along with a handful of heavy Ohio bands: Showboy, The Ravenna Arsenal, and The Rats are Coming, the Werewolves are Here. Check out the full details right here.
And if you just can’t get enough of Lycosa, you can also see them next month (Friday, 17 May) at Trio’s Lounge in Washington PA with VEGA and Pale Ryder.
Lycosa: Facebook, Bandcamp, Innervenus (record label)