If you are a fan of melodic hardcore, or a fan of underground music in general (by means of punk, hardcore, metal, etc.) there’s a good chance you know H20. These guys are the definition of “music with a message” to me, and aside from their classic back catalog, these guys continue to get stronger overtime. I got the chance to speak to H20 bassist Adam Blake, who really gave me a great look into H20’s past, present, and future. Grab your Nothing To Prove album, play it loud and proud, and dive into this exclusive KillerTours interview!
Alex Gilbert (KillerTours): Let’s start off with the upcoming Bad Brains / H20, tour, which has got to be one of the raddest tours of the year. Cheers, you guys must be pretty stoked, huh?
Adam Blake (H20 – Bassist): Yeah, we're super stoked to be able to play with Bad Brains. It's only 2 shows, which is almost like a tease as I really wish we could play more with them. They are a huge influence, not just on us, but on every band to ever play hardcore or punk, and countless other bands from other genres.
Any chance you’d be able to give the loyal H20 fans a peek at what the setlist might look like?
I'd love to, but we haven't figured it what it’s gonna be yet.
Not to forget, H20 also has a European tour confirmed with Madball, which takes off very soon. Any countries over there you’re especially excited to see, or just as stoked for the trip as a whole?
We actually just got back from that tour and it was everything we wanted it to be. The shows were amazing and it was great to get to hang with so many cool people. All the bands played their hearts out and I think everyone who came to the shows had a great time.
And do you guys have plans for more tours in 2012?
We're planning on staying pretty busy throughout 2012. The days of us hitting the road for 3 months straight are over, but we're definitely still a very active band.
H20’s latest release, Don’t Forget Your Roots, was a tribute to a handful of great bands that have influenced H20 both musically and personally while growing up. My 2 favorite covers were the Gorilla Biscuits - Cats And Dogs and Bad Brains - Attitude, which I loved the raw energy, the distinct touch of the original, yet giving it that H20 energy. What were some of your favorites on Don’t Forget Your Roots?
I really liked playing Satyagraha by 7 Seconds, it has such a good drive to it and Steve Youths bass line is killer to play. I had a good time with the Warzone and Cro Mags songs too, although I gotta say, across the board, that was a super fun record to make.
Adam, I’ve got you say you personally did a killer job on the Rancid - Journey to the End of the East Bay cover. The bass tone really keeps the integrity of how the mighty Matt Freeman layed it down in the first place. Must’ve been a fun one for you to record?
That was really fun! It’s such a great bass line and it’s always been one of my personal faves. Matt is the king of the catchy bass line and that’s definitely one of his all-time best. We played it for him backstage at a show in Italy before the record came out and he gave it his blessing which was huge for me.
You’re a very talented man on the bass. Some of your basslines back from the adrenaline pumping “Talk Too Much” (Thicker Than Water-era), “Guilty By Assossiation” (F.T.T.W-era), and of course one of my favorites, the riff behind “What Happened?” (Nothing To Prove-era) are just pure awesome, and that’s just to name a few! Out of H20’s discography, what are some of the funnest songs to play in your opinion?
I really like playing the Nothing To Prove stuff....partly because it still feels fresh and partly because I think its the best stuff we have done to date. I am pretty affected by the crowd’s reaction and across the board, worldwide, Nothing To Prove, What Happened and 1995 get such a positive response, it’s hard to not get a rush from playing them.
Care to give a quick rundown for the gear junkies your bass rig?
My rig is pretty simple, my main bass is a Fender Jazz which I got sent to me from Fender and I really think I lucked out, as it has a great feel and tone to it and I love the way it looks. As far as amps go, usually I use a Gallien Krueger head, I am lucky enough to have 3 of them (RB700, Fusion 550 and 2001RB) to choose from. For cabinets, I go with the classic 8 by 10. Over the years though, I have used G&L Basses, Ernie Ball Music Mans, Gibson Explorers as well.
If you could make Don’t Forget Your Roots a double disc and add more great covers, what would be some of the first to come to mind?
I think we would do some hip hop stuff for sure...probably Tribe Called Quest, which was actually on the short list for DFYR. I think it would be good for us to play some U2 or Coldplay, possibly Maiden and some 80's stuff like The Police or something...
Adam, I read an older interview with you via AbsolutePunk, and you mentioned when you were a kid you were a pretty big metalhead. That makes us one in the same :) Who are/were some of your favorites back then?
Iron Maiden was, by far, my favorite band. In some ways, they kind of still are. They are one of the only bands I never lost that "fan" feeling for, and even though we got to tour with them on Soundwave in Australia, I still kept that same feeling I had since I was a kid and I am really grateful for that. I also loved Dio, Motorhead, Anthrax, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Ozzy's solo stuff, Sabbat, Acid Reign, Testament.....Man, so many bands!!!
I fell in love instantly with Nothing To Prove. This album to me acts as the definition of “music with a message”. When you see the fans singing the H20 lyrics back at you at a show, it must be a great feeling to know you’ve been a part of many fan’s lives?
I am proud of the fact that people seem to pick up on a positive message from us. It’s definitely a good feeling to know that people are touched by what we do in a way that hopefully brings a little light into their lives.
Any insiders you can give us on new H20 material to come?
Well, we're still fresh off of Don’t Forget Your Roots but the ideas are starting to float around for a new record.... I'm pretty sure we'll start getting ideas together very soon. I can't predict when we'll actually go in and make something though.
Here’s a fun and tricky question. If you were to organize a dream tour, who’d be on it?
Sick Of It All, Madball, Terror, Agnostic Front, Murphys Law and us...
Or maybe....The Clash, Bad Brains, The Jam, Minor Threat, and us...
That's a tough one for sure...
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at KillerTours today. Hope to catch you at a show soon. Any last words?
Just that we hope everyone who reads this will take the time to come and see us live, either at one of our own shows or at a festival. We're pretty approachable guys so definitely come up and say hi!