Meddlefan recently had the chance to have a bit of a yarn with Ritchie Randall (guitars) and Mike Jilge (bass), two awesome dudes from Joplin, Missouri based Crust/Punk/Grind/Doom/Metal/What the bloody hell ever (They sure can be hard to pin down, and that’s a damn good thing) band Gravehuffer! A pair of nicer blokes you would be hard pressed to find! Read on people and find the answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know, and probably some stuff you had no idea you wanted to know, but now know anyway!
So guys, where are you from and where do you live now if I may so ask to begin with?
Ritchie – I’m from Joplin, Missouri and still live here.
Mike – I’m from Oklahoma City. Then Tulsa, now Joplin.
What are your thoughts on the digital music business? Do you think it’s a good thing for both music and musicians?
Ritchie – I think it’s a great thing actually. I like the convenience factor for sure. It’s nice being able to take music with me wherever I go. I think the payout for artists still needs some work, but it is a good way to advertise as well, so there’s that.
I’m a big fan of buying physical releases, both vinyl and CD. What do you like to buy when buying music?
Ritchie – Definitely vinyl and some CDs as well. I really enjoy deluxe releases and box sets as well. It really allows the art and the music to coexist the way it was meant to.
Mike – I only buy vinyl, my son made off with all of my CD’s a long time ago Ha-ha.
As we appear to be around the same age, what music genre had the biggest influence on the style of music you play today?
Ritchie – I would say that a lot of 70’s and 80’s rock, metal, and punk are the biggest styles that influence me. Bands like Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rush, Yes, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, the list goes on.
Mike – I think old punk/crust is my main influence. I love Mob47 and Napalm Death.
Very important question now, do you like PB&J sandwiches? If so what kind of Peanut butter?
Ritchie – Love PB&J man! I’ll eat creamy or chunky. I have four kids so I still throw down some PB&J!
It’s a no brainer you guys like to skateboard, who would you say is your favourite skater?
Ritchie – I never really had one particular favourite, but I’m from the 80’s, so Tony Hawk was big, and Christian Hosoi.
Mike – Craig Johnson, Neil Blender, Grosso, Mike Vallely, Mark Gonzales, Natas.
Do you remember what design and from which company was your first skateboard?
Ritchie – It was a Santa Cruz powder blue Hosoi Hammerhead deck.
Mike – I had a Vision Agent Orange deck with some cheap ass trucks and wheels.
Worst skating injury you’ve ever sustained?
Ritchie – I broke a couple of my fingers skating a giant quarter pipe.
Mike – I crashed hard in the deep end of a local public pool, thought my arm was broken, then I had to climb a ten foot chain link fence to get out. Funny for the guys watching, super sucky for me, lol.
Who would you say is your favourite Punk band?
Ritchie – That is a tough one too. I think I’ll have to go with Ramones though. Too many classic songs to not pick them.
Mike – Mob 47, I love that c-beat that Christer plays on his drums.
Do you enjoy hiking and the outdoors?
Ritchie – I love both actually. If I wasn’t working at a university print shop, I would definitely be working in conservation or something in that field.
Mike – Not much of a hiker, but I dig the outdoors. Here in Missouri there are a lot of trees and cool areas to get lost in.
Have either of you ever been skydiving?
Ritchie – No I haven’t. I thought I wanted to in my early 20’s but honestly haven’t thought about it since then.
Mike – No. I’m 6’5” and 300 pounds, no way am I going to trust a parachute to hold me.
What is your favourite type of vehicle?
Ritchie – I’m into vans and trucks honestly. I appreciate the looks of classic cars but to me, cars are more about practicality than being an expensive toy. Having a wife and four kids, being in a band, and playing lots of out of town shows tends to change your perspective on transportation.
Mike – I have had old muscle cars and a few Broncos, but right now I have a Ford Raptor…It is a beast.
Do you have any collections you would like to tell us about?
Ritchie – If I collect anything, it would be music related. I probably have over a thousand CD’s and hundreds of vinyl records too. Again, I love the box sets and deluxe editions of releases as they really come across as a true representation of the whole package of what the band went through to realize their vision for that particular record.
Mike – I collect Godzilla figures and movies, records and Evel Knievel toys.
Who would be if you could be any horror character?
Ritchie – Haha! Nice. I would probably be Pinhead from Hellraiser, because he looks crazy.
Mike – Michael Myers from Halloween.
What about Conan the Barbarian? Do you like Conan?
Ritchie – Funny that you ask that! Before we changed our name to Gravehuffer in late 2011, we used to be called Krom, who as you know, is Conan’s god. We’re all huge Conan fans so that’s was an obvious name initially. We had to change it though, because we were starting to get confused with other bands called Krom, Crom, Krome, however it was spelled. Ha-ha!
So onto the new 7 inch EP, what would you like to tell the readers about it?
Ritchie – It was a lot of fun to write, record, and come up with the art for it. We thought we would have an art piece for each song, since there’s only 2 songs on it. Also since it’s a vinyl release, it just made sense, since it has 2 sides to it anyway. The song “Demon Face” is about this guy from the late 1800’s named Edward Mordrake, who supposedly had a parasitic twin face in the back of his head. We had our buddy Karl Dahmer at Dahmer Art do the artwork for it. He’s done some merchandise artwork for us, as well as our 1st album cover.
The other song is “Stalingrad’s Cross“, and it is of course about the Battle Of Stalingrad from WWII. The art for that was done by Grasenstyle Blood Artworks from Germany. We thought it would be really cool to get a German or Russian artist to do that one. They had just finished doing a shirt design for us and we really liked their style. It fit extremely well with the war theme. As far as the vinyl itself, it will be released by NoSlip Records, who we just signed with a few months ago, and there will be 4 colour variants as well.
I see you have some live shows coming up. How many shows are you going to play?
Ritchie – Yes, we have 14 shows booked so far through the first of November, and 1 in January next year.
Here are the dates:
Aug 03 – Traumafest – Iola, KS
Aug 10 – Old Town – Fort Smith, AR
Aug 29 – Revival Event Center – Joplin, MO
Aug 30 – The Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS
Sep 19 – Jayhawk Theatre (Topeka MetalFest) – Topeka, KS
Sep 21 – Wineglass Ramps (BMX Competition) – New Albany, KS
Sep 28 – TJ Leland’s (Legacy Of Music Benefit) – Pittsburg, KS
Oct 04 – Bungalow Joe’s – Hanover Park, IL
Oct 05 – Hollyrocks – Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Oct 18 – The Bottleneck (Harvest Of Doom Festival) – Lawrence, KS
Oct 31 – Blackthorn Pizza & Pub – Joplin, MO
Nov 01 – Diamond Jim’s Saloon -Arlington, TX
Nov 02 – Acadia – Houston, TX
Jan 18 – Blackthorn Pizza & Pub – Joplin, MO
Do you guy’s get into Star Wars at all?
Ritchie – YES!!!! One of my favourites movie franchises ever!
Mike – Hell yeah, Chewbacca is my Fav.
So then, if you had to chose, Yoda or Darth Vader?
Ritchie – Now, definitely Yoda. I’m a pacifist hippy type these days. As a kid, Darth Vader. I was a confused and sometimes angry kid/young man. It took some time for me to learn how to deal with my emotions. I’m by no means great at it, but a lot better than I used to be.
Mike – Yoda, he probably has WAY better weed than Darth.
Well guy’s, thanks for being great sports and answering all of my questions. The people out there can check out the “Demon’s Face/Stalingrad’s Cross” 7 inch right below, and hopefully we can catch up again in the future for another great chat! Many thanks to you all!
Robert ‘Meddlefan’ Darling.