If you listen very closely to Opiate for the Masses’ latest LP, Manifesto, which dropped this week, you may hear some slight snoring.
That’s because the album, which is the band’s first in three years, was tracked in guitarist Jim Kaufman’s home studio. Kaufman is a dog lover, and his two bulldogs were a constant presence in the studio during the recording sessions.
“You can probably hear them on several of the tracks on the record, because they sleep all the time and snore, and the microphones picked that up all the time,” explained Opiate’s newest member, Anna Kjellberg, who has played bass for Drain STH, Hanzel und Gretyl and, for one tour back in ’06, Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen’s Revolting Cocks. “They’re a pretty big part of the album, actually.”
But the canines would never have made the record if Kjellberg had not replaced Ryan Head last year. Opiate for the Masses — who are on the road with the reunited Filter through August 8, and will join Sevendust, Drowning Pool, and Nonpoint for the GrindCo Tour on August 10 — had actually been sitting on the effort for several months before it was decided they’d update the opus, with Kjellberg rerecording all the bass parts.
“It was kind of a weird procedure to get this album together,” she said of the set, which features a cover of Portishead’s “Wandering Star” (“We thought it was a really cool song,” she said, “and I think we did make it our own, even though it’s still true to the original in many ways”). “When I joined the band, they basically had a finished album, and they all, including me, felt that we needed to update it a bit and add some songs and take others away. We basically ripped up the mixes and started over with a second producer. So we wrote three songs together that we added onto the album, and I retracked the bass on all of the songs, so, really, there were two editions of the album.
“I think the record is more solid and more uniform than the previous album,” the bassist continued. “It is a lot more straightforward and more cohesive. All of the songs fit together really well. The melodies are still there. Opiate always had very melodic songs. It’s still heavy, and there’s still lots of guitars, but you still have the choruses and all that.”
Kjellberg said she’s looking forward to working on the follow-up to Manifesto so she can be there from start to finish. “I am very much a songwriter, and I love to be involved in the whole songwriting process,” she said. “I’m glad I got a chance to be as involved as I turned out [being] on this record, because I came into the band at such a late stage. We actually have a studio in the back lounge of our bus. We’re not jumping on it yet, but when the time comes, and the inspiration comes, we can start tracking those ideas.”
For Kjellberg, the Opiate experience has been drastically different from those she’d had with her previous bands, because this time around, she’s playing side-by-side with her husband of five years, drummer Seven Antonopolous.
“When Opiate decided to change bass players, it was [frontman Ron Underwood] and [Kaufman] who suggested they should bring me in,” she said. “Seven and I discussed it thoroughly: Was it a good idea or not, to be married and be in the same band and be on tour together? But it’s actually working out really well. He’s my best friend, and we’re lucky to be able to do this together. It’s easier than I think we both thought it would be. We talked so much about it, because we didn’t want to risk our marriage, and we didn’t want to be that annoying married couple in the band. It would be a nightmare for the other guys, to have a married couple bickering at each other all the time. But we don’t. It works really well.”
But the couple’s wedding rings do little to dissuade third parties from making their moves. “We know where we are in this relationship, and we’re both very aware, of course, that there will be guys hitting on me and there will be girls who will hit on Seven,” she said. “That’s part of the job. As long as we don’t do anything, there’s no reason to get jealous that other people find my husband attractive. I can’t blame them.”
While Kjellberg gets her fair share of male groupies, she said they’re not nearly as upfront as their female counterparts. “These girls come to a show with a purpose,” she said. “They know which bandmember they want, and they go for it. They dress not-so-much and go for it, and they get it. Girls come more prepared for that. Guys are much more polite. They’ll bring you gifts, flowers … it’s a different approach. They don’t come up and suggest that you go to the back lounge with them — girls will. Guys send love letters, and they’re more creepy about it, actually. I think that’s because, for a guy, it’s more intimidating to approach a girl who can play an instrument, goes out on tour, and does the things they wish they could do.”
The rest of the week’s metal news:
Sad news to report this week, as Paul Stitt, the former lead singer for 1990s metallers Angellic Rage, was shot to death during a liquor-store holdup in Las Vegas on July 8. Stitt was working as a clerk in the store when two men, wearing baseball caps, entered the business, guns drawn. Police believe the gun may have fired accidentally, striking Stitt in the head. Police are now reviewing surveillance footage of the murder and hope the tape will help lead them to the two gunmen. … Opeth will be touring this fall, with High on Fire, Baroness and Nachtmystium along for the ride. That tour is set to commence September 16 in Buffalo, New York, and runs through October 26 in Baltimore. …
Calling all Maggots! On July 18, MTV will be filming a new episode of “FNMTV,” during which Slipknot’s video for “Psychosocial” will make its world premiere. Interested in being part of the taping? Well, if you live in or around the L.A. area, head on over to 1Iota.com and sign up for free tickets. Make sure to enter “Slipknot” in the comments box when making your ticket request. …
Did Lemmy Kilmister break a German law by wearing a Nazi cap? Seems there’s an investigation into a picture of the Motörhead frontman that appeared in a German newspaper before the band’s July 5 performance at “Wacken Rocks Seaside.” In Germany, “anti-constitutional propaganda” is illegal. … A September 30 release date has been set for Trivium’s forthcoming album, Shogun. Look for the effort to feature 11 tracks, including “Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis,” “Into the Mouth of Hell We March” and “Like Callisto to a Star in Heaven.” Whatever. …
Clutch will be teaming up with the Sword for a spate of gigs this fall. The first has been booked for September 19 in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and the trek is expected to wrap October 9 in Sacramento, California.