BSM: First a little biographical info, where do you hail from and how did you come to be in Boston?
T. NEWMAN: Well, we all grew up outside the city...pretty typical suburban youth...Boston was just a convenient place to network with people who have similar interests, you know? I think it's a great city with a lot of potential, but right now it's kind of shitty...the scene is pretty factional and divisive...
Anyway, as far as bio stuff, we were just into electronic music, even though we came from different backgrounds. Jeremy and A.J. were more into metal, and I was more into punk/hardcore and techno. I showed them some stuff I was working on at the time, they were into it, and we decided that we could probably do a lot if we worked together. Jeremy was actually in the band with me and another singer, way before A.J. came into the picture. Since then it's been the three of us and everything seems to be working out ok. Well, personal differences aside...but we do work well together...
BSM: Were you involved in any projects before BATTERY CAGE?
T. NEWMAN: Mmm, old punk bands and stuff like that...I've got tons of tapes of old shit that I can sample from..... A.J. and Jeremy used to be in a metal band together, which is how we originally hooked up with A.J. Nothing too significant before BATTERY CAGE...we've got a lot of projects that we're working on now...
BSM: How did BATTERY CAGE get started?
T. NEWMAN: I was working on 'industrial' music or whatever, with just me and another singer. Just doing really hard dance music or whatever...we felt like maybe we could be more accessible by adding guitar to the mix, so we asked Jeremy to help us with some guitar stuff, cause he was a wicked guitarist back in he day, you know? Well, he ended up not wanting to do any guitar, he was more into the sampling and programming and he didn't think we should use any guitar. So that was fine we decided that he was probably right, that we shouldn't sell out at all. The guy we were working with ended up not working out, so we decided to do an instrumental thing for a while. We tried some different vocalists, but weren't happy about it...we went through some Reznor clones, I should show you that video sometime....anyway, we booked a show and needed a singer cause we were tired of not having a presence up front.... It was boring to watch Jeremy and me up onstage playing keys and drums for a half hour, so Jeremy recommended A.J. I figured, well, we can give it a try. It took some getting used to, but I'm really into the way A.J. sings now, I think he's perfect for our sound. I don't really sing anymore with BATTERY CAGE, because it's no longer necessary....we were into the idea of two singers, like FRONT 242, for a while...I don't think it's necessary anymore, I will be doing vocals only on my own projects from now on.
BSM: Will there be any new releases from BATTERY CAGE in the near future?
T. NEWMAN: Yeah, we've finished the first record, and we're shopping the damn thing, but so far we haven't really gotten any offers....a lot of the labels that we thought would be really into the album weren't, so I'm kind of at a loss... It's hard if you're an american band, the euro sound really seems to be appealing to the labels more than I thought it would. There are a lot of talented american bands out there, somebody just needs to realize that... I don't know.... We've also got a couple other things in the works, other projects, etc. Jeremy's working on a 3 cd, 3 hour box set of all his fucked up hip-hop tracks that he's done...he's got rappers and all kinds of crazy shit on that...we're starting work on the follow up to PRODUCT, which was the first record, very soon... We all just work so much it's hard to find time to get music accomplished... Not to mention various personal shit that's going on in our lives...it makes it hard to carry on sometimes. I've got a project that's almost finished, I've got to add vocals to it and then I think that record will be nearly completed.
BSM: Whats the strangest thing that's happened during one of your live shows?
T. NEWMAN: Well...one really insane thing that happened...ok, before Jeremy and A.J, were in the band, I used to do BATTERY CAGE shows with me and the original singer. We were pretty young and clueless, you know the drill.... Anyway, we'd run live midi onstage, no backup tapes, everything sequenced and wired together...basically we'd take the whole studio out...I had everything programmed via midi to do patch changes etc, etc. Now, aside from every show ending up with at least one major midi fuckup, like a stuck note or something, we did one outdoor show one time, that was like an all day party with a couple hundred people there. All punk and hardcore bands, which I thought would be kind of cool because it would be something different, and we were all into being ''hard'' and whatever... So we setup, and started in on our first song. Once people realized that they weren't hearing any guitars or real drum sounds, they started booing us...they weren't going to dance or even mosh to us or anything. Some friends of ours who did more performance art stuff were on stage covering themselves with mud and fake blood and whatever, so that freaked people out because ''what the fuck?'' you know, that was the reaction. I'm standing there, playing my drum pads, and all of a sudden a big mud ball smacks me in the chest. Before I know it, the audience is tearing up the ground and throwing dirt and glasses of beer at us. I stopped after the second song and got the promoters onstage. They told everyone to calm down, just relax and let us finish our set. So we start up again. Pretty soon we're getting pelted with dirt again. The singer walks off stage in total disgust...i'm trying to avoid getting hit with beer, trying to protect the gear, and finish the song. Fuck finishing the set at that point, I just wanted to get out of there safely. One of the performance art guys was out in the audience getting shoved around...it was a bad scene. Then, a big mohawked punk rock guy jumps onstage, grabs the mic, and starts singing SKINNY PUPPY lyrics over one of our tracks...people at least thought this was funny, so they stopped throwing stuff... Anyway, we packed up and went home, it was pretty miserable...not to mention we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes... It was just terrible, terrible shit that day...sunburnt, everything... That's why we use the fences on stage now, to at least protect us and the gear from getting trashed.
BSM: Where can your fans buy your music and merchandise?
T. NEWMAN: Well, right now the only stuff we've got available is our shirts which you can only get at our shows. We're going to be re-doing our website, and we will probably open that up to ordering stuff. We still haven't decided whether or not we're going to manufacture and package the CD ourselves. It would be nice, but it's a heavy investment, which i personally would rather have a record company deal with... But the possibility of that is open for discussion right now...
BSM: I heard a rumor that BATTERY CAGE was going to release a live chicken during their last show, what happened with that? :)
T. NEWMAN: That never happened, unfortunately.... By the time we got to the chicken store it was closed....but it does exist!!! It's on Kneeland Street on the way to South Station. It's very anonymous looking, but you can find all sorts of live animals to kill, cook, and eat!!!