Shawn Hamilton here again with The One Magazine, coming to you from BFE Rock Club.
SH – Tonight we have with us just off stage from putting on a killer set, the guys from Smokin Aces. Guys, welcome to The One Magazine and tell us who each of you are?
BL – Benjamin aka Benzilla Livingston, guitars.
KM – Kendall Mason, vocals.
MG – Matt Gonzales Drums.
RB – Rick Bell, Bass Guitar.
SH – So guys, I have known most of you for a while, but mostly in different bands. How did Smokin Aces come together and is it a project or more of a permanent thing?
KM – I believe it’s the last band I will ever be in. I love everything about this band. There was a void of this type of music in this scene so we said we can step in and do it.
KM – I think there’s been a shortage of really good groove rock for a while especially with the problem of so many “cookie monster” vocalist out now and it’s makes me happy to have people come up to me after a show and say it’s nice to hear someone actually singing.
SH – I do think there is a resurgence of solid rock bands with melodic singers.
KM – Yeah, I think our influences are there and we are embracing them.
SH – Knowing Ben for years and his style of playing, Ben tell us how you’re lending your influence into this style of band?
BL – I like to set you up, play with you, knock you down and move on. I think solos should be melodic like vocals and written as such. I’m a big Dio and Iron Maiden guy so when I play, those come out.
SH – I think your set was very good and love hearing straight forward rock music which if you look around town lately, seems to fall short of the “Metal” term.
BL – Here’s the deal with us, we have two individuals that are metal and rock. Then we have two that are Metal and More metal, I mean it’s a different mixing pot. We put all of our parts in, mix it around, throw it on the wall and see what comes out. Sometimes it works out pretty good. Tonight was just a small taste for everyone.
SH – Good deal, Rick, why don’t you tell me a little about you and how you got connected with this bunch?
RB – Well man, I’ve been playing out for about the last 15 years with Murder Plot and Dominus doing mostly thrash, closer to the edge of death metal along with Matt, so I describe our style as old school power metal without going cookie cutter. I like having vocals that are clear and understandable which in the past wasn’t quite that way. I still listen to the heavy stuff on my iPod, but it’s good to be in a band with a more mix of styles.
SH – My feeling as a band member also, is you have to someone play to appease the crown and by that I mean you should write what you feel but also know you don’t want the crowd to walk out the first song. Matt, your feelings on that?
MG – Yeah, in the past I’ve done shows where after the start, you would see people heading outside rather than stay inside for that reason. One thing I like about Smoking Aces, is when we start, you see people coming in from outside to the front. You want people to stay your whole set. I thank the guys for letting me be a part of this.
SH – I think clarity is a must for bands whether it’s vocals, guitars or the rhythm section. Kendall, you want to wrap this up by telling us what’s in store for the Aces and what’s coming up?
KM – We have a few benefits coming up and a free show at Acadia then we hit the studio. One goal for next year is playing more gigs out of town. We have had too many invites to continue to keep turning them down. I really feel that this is the last band I want to be in.
SH – On those notes, we’re signing off. Thanks guys and we’ll see you at a club near by.
Photos by Shawn Hamilton.