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A Dirty Dozen with ALBERT HALTERMAN from DEFIANT – July 2021

| 27 July 2021 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “Defiant released their second EP The Rent In Hell Is Free via Curtain Call Records. The EP features guest appearances by Ace Von Johnson (L.A. Guns/Faster Pussycat), Richard Reilly (The Bo Deadlys/The Victims) and Jim Taylor (Lenne). Formed in 2018, Defiant has built a reputation with their high octane live shows playing on bills throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia with the likes of From Ashes to New, The Texas Hippie Coalition, Kix, L.A. Guns, Buckcherry, Puddle of Mudd, Tantric and Otep among others. The band is comprised of Albert Halterman (vocals and guitar), Joe Defiant (guitar) Paul Barlowski (bass) and Paul Cochran (drums).”  We get Albert to discuss new music, influences, and 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 the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The Rent in Hell is Free definitely is much more intricate than the Anarch-EP musically.  We put a lot more effort into layered guitar and making the bass tone the focus.  Frequent listeners know my lyrics are very history driven and we’ll be interested to see who decodes the stories in the album.

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

I remember being a kid, maybe 4 or 5, sitting in the kitchen listening to my dad plunk along to some John Prine tunes on guitar and singing.  I was sitting on a little stool tapping along and he noticed I happened to be on time, and his eyes kind of just lit up.  As far as being a musician, I was maybe 7 and my mom and I were driving home from a circus, and John Lennon’s “Imagine” came on and she just started crying. So I asked her like, “why are you crying?” and she just said “This song is so beautiful and has such a good message” and I just remember thinking that’s what I want to do with my life. I want to make people feel emotions.

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

I think it’s kind of wild how you listen to Defiant, and you hear me sing and you’d never think I was just some dead head hippie haha. But really I grew up with big hitters from the ’70s; the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Eric Clapton and the like.  When I got older my older brother got me into heavier music like Metallica and Iron Maiden, and from there I deep dove into punk.  Bad Brains, The Misfits, The Descendents, The Cramps and stuff.  I would say now, I definitely gravitate more towards punk and heavier music, but rock from the ’50s-70’s always will have a special place in my life.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I guess we’ll give an influence from everyone in the band, for Paul B. I know he’s huge on Black Sabbath and The Ramones, and you can definitely hear that in his bass grooves.  PMFC(Paul on drums) is a die hard Metallica dude.  Joe bleeds The Misfits.  And I guess for me I take influence vocally from guys like Phil Anselmo in his Pantera days, a little bit of The Casualties and Anti-Flag, stuff like that.

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

Anyone that would deal with us! Really we’ve already been blessed with getting Ace Von Johnson, Richard Reilly and Jim Taylor to all put down stuff on the new album.  I guess if I had to pick one person it’d be like Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. Just imagining us being in the same room as one of the most iconic punk guitarists would blow my freakin’ mind.

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?

Defiant’s music is total sonic anarchy.  We’re punk, we’re metal, we’re rock n’ roll.  It’s understandable to get mixed reactions when you listen to a group that doesn’t like to stay in a lane, and we definitely fit that bill.  I remember one time my older brother said he showed our tunes to someone who said “the vocalist sounds like if Randy Blythe from Lamb of God couldn’t sing” and that just made my day.  Honestly we don’t take any criticism or comparisons negatively.  If we aren’t laughing and agreeing with them we’re using them to improve ourselves and humble ourselves.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

When you get a group of people surrounding each other and just jam out, play tunes, make mistakes and have fun that’s what keeps me going.  When you take all of that camaraderie and take it to the stage where a crowd has fun and laughs with you, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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

I think we all take care of ourselves honestly.  Whoever wants to make food or bring drinks kind of does it, but usually Joe is caterer #1.  The dude is so accommodating it’s insane.  He does everything for everyone and it’s an incredible blessing.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Finding out Ace Von Johnson was gonna drop a guitar track on our album was absolutely crazy.  To think like this world touring guitarist, played with Faster Pussycat, LA Guns and so many underground punk acts just said “yeah screw it I’ll drop a solo on these guys’ song” is completely bonkers and such an honor.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Radio or podcasting most likely.  I just like the thought of being behind a microphone in some capacity, and I like to think I’ve got a good head on my shoulders for a radio station or podcast network of some kind.  I feel like if I couldn’t do music for whatever reason, I’d still have my voice.

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?

I mean there’s been a bunch of shows I’ve regretted after the fact, not like we shouldn’t have done them, but I could’ve done better.  But I don’t think I’d redo anything.  Having those bad show experiences is good for learning and helps build a foundation for better shows in the future. I’d rather learn how not to play a gig in front of ten family members and fans rather than ten thousand fans.

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?

I’d love to sit in on the first Sabbath album.  Like if I had the knowledge of music that I do now but could just sit as a silent observer before we had all these extreme sub-genres of metal, just to see those guys’ reactions to writing Wasp and just being like “This is the heaviest sh*t ever”. I think that would just be so inspiring.

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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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