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A Dirty Dozen with MARK ANDERSON from DITCHWATER – August 2020

| 27 August 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Chicago’s hard rock band Ditchwater releases their seventh album, Never Say Never, via Pavement Entertainment. Ditchwater has recorded six independent albums over the years. With the release of Never Say Never, the band has focused on cultivating a sound all of their own with these ten tracks, while also providing a modern cover of Motörhead’s “Iron Fist.” Never Say Never is a guitar and vocal driven slab of pure energy and ambition.” We get guitarist Mark to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Mark: Our latest album is titled Never Say Never. It was released through Pavement Entertainment. It is our 7th overall release as we have 6 independent albums spanning from 1996 until now. Though the songs are all on the shorter side they are filled with interesting riffs that I think separate us from other bands who play heavier music with melodic vocals. At first glance we get the “Disturbed and Godsmack” comparisons but I think when you really take a listen one will quickly see we are vastly different musically to those bands. Just a gritty voice does not make a band a clone of something else. For long time fans we flexed our Thrash roots more on this album in songs such as “The End” and “How Many Times.”

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Mark: My family were all musicians, so I was raised around bands. I never had a question as to if I was going to play. It was more of a given really.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Mark: Definitely Judas Priest as my biggest influence. I pretty much idolized Glenn Tipton in the early 80’s. The live concert during the Screaming For Vengeance tour that aired on MTV, I must have watched that everyday for a few years after. Also, Slayer with Hell Awaits and Metallica with Ride the Lightning. Pantera was also a huge influence in the 90’s. I write what I write at this point and there are no direct influences mixed in. It is just that DW sound.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Mark: Priest, Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, and Pantera. The tight rhythm players, the interesting leads. A range of images and stage shows but above all great songs.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Mark: I’d love to have guest vocals by Floor Jansen on a song. She is one of my absolute favorites.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Mark: We had a review one time say our song started off like Hatebreed and ended like Nickelback. That was quite funny. I don’t think people really listen sometimes. They just compare it to whatever comes closest to what they know. But we are usually compared to bands who sell out shows and albums. That’s not so bad right?

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Mark: We aren’t a band who really hangs out much. We are all very different and outside of playing music together lead our own lives separately. Music is the main thing though that we all have in common and brings us together.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Mark: Can’t say I ever have been. I don’t look at musicians, actors, sports stars are something to be starstruck by. They have a talent and got the breaks to make something of it. Lots of respect but nothing that I’m in awe of. I think the first “star” I ever ran across was when was I 12 my brother took me to see Anthrax and Kiss and we were at the hotel early and Gene Simmons was walking by and people would ask for an autograph and after he would sign something he’d drop the persons pen right on the ground. That was enough to shape my opinion of people with too much self-importance.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Mark: Being able to create songs will always be the best for me. Also, when a crowd really connects with a song that you’re playing live, there’s nothing quite like it. My dream job otherwise would be to manage a call center for a logistics company, doing overnights so I could be overlooked and forgotten about.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Mark: Questions about the actual songs and doing a deep dive into each track. I’ll keep the answers secret until it happens. I really can’t tire of answering questions because if someone is taking the time asking them I’ll take it.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Mark: Oh geez I wouldn’t even know where to start. We’ve done so much dumb shit and start and stopped at the worst times. We’ve been our worst enemy in terms of our own growth. The last few years we’ve finally seemed to get it together, which is where Never Say Never comes from.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Mark: I’d go back to any of our previous albums and tell myself to really pay attention to all the little things I hear now that I didn’t notice then!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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