‘Dying’ guitarist talks about metal and politics

By Web Master

By Amanda Meade

Scene/Mix Editor

Metal rockers As I Lay Dying made their first appearance on the Warped Tour this summer. Guitarist Phil Sgrosso made some time for The Oakland Post prior to their performance.

The Oakland Post: How do you feel about touring with the Warped Tour after being on heavier tours like Ozzfest and Sounds of the Underground?

Phil Sgrosso: I think it’s awesome for us and the tour in general that there’s a lot of diverse bands. For us being probably the heaviest band with Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, Dilinger [Escape Plan] was on the tour for a little bit, we kind of stand out from the rest of the pack. I think it’s awesome. The fact that we did Sounds of the Underground, Taste of Chaos and Ozzfest it’s cool that we can crossover and still have integrity with what tours we choose to do.

The Post: What is it like being one of the longer running bands surrounded by a lot of younger bands?

Sgrosso: We’re still a young band, we’ve been together ten years. But we wear all black and when we’re on stage people are like ‘these metal guys, what do they know?’ They think we think we’re better than them.

The Post: Who inspires you?

Sgrosso: It’s really weird, I mean, we’re all fans of heavy music. When the band first started I think we all kind of would agree on stuff like Metallica, Slayer, some faster bands. Nowadays, I really like Opeth a lot. I don’t listen to metal, I listen to other stuff more than I listen to metal. I like Pink Floyd, Muse, Coldplay, a little bit more in depth, more layering and all that.

The Post: How do you feel about illegal downloading?

Sgrosso: It is what it is. Your music is getting out there so it’s a lot easier for kids, it’s more acceptable I guess. At the same time it’s hard for bands to make money. They have to find other outlets to make money, they can’t rely on their CD sales. If you get a dollar per CD, it adds up. I think that constant touring is really what most bands need to have. They always need to stay active and be doing something.

The Post: Is the price of gas affecting your ability to tour?

Sgrosso: Fortunately, we’re at the position that it’s not hurting us, but at the same time it still does suck. It sucks for younger bands. There’s a band I’m a huge fan of but they can’t tour, I can’t go see them live because they can’t make enough money. So I think that kind of sucks but at the same time it kind of weeds out all the bad bands out there.

The Post: What are your thoughts on the election?

Sgrosso: I could care less about it. I don’t think anyone’s going to do anything. My fiancé loves Obama and I don’t get it. My main concern is what’s going to happen with the war and stuff, what’s going to happen with oil, gas, all that stuff.

The Post: Any tours we can look forward to?

Sgrosso: January and February we’re going to be doing a headlining tour, we’ll be doing the States, B-market type stuff.

Check out www.myspace.com/asilaydying for more information on the band.