Esquire Q&A with the Life of Agony bass player and author of horror comic and coloring books
Alan Robert is not just the bassist and co-founder of the Brooklyn metal legends Life of Agony. Besides writing most of the band's lyrics and being responsible for the artwork of the albums and t-shirts, Alan Robert is a graduate artist, author of a series of horror comics and coloring books, the latest one, "The Beauty of Horror: Ghosts of Christmas" was released a few months ago. A new one is waiting for us - "The Beauty of Horror: Tricks and Treats". He has a number of awards, the first editions of his books are sold out weeks after the release, and currently they are shooting movies, based on a couple of them. In his comic books there are nightmarish thrillers ("Crawl To Me"), others tell of rock'n'roll murderers-superheroes ("Killogy") and there are the charming grotesque coloring books from "The Beauty in Horror" series, filled with zombies, skeletons and monsters. We caught Alan in Munich at the end of their last tour, and he has quite openly told us about the band over the years, the difficulties in the life of the musician, the responsibility for the fans who have found his songs and Life of Agony as an integral part of their lives and the band as his family
Is the tour connected to the 25th anniversary of "River Runs Red”?
Not really. We’ve been very active since April. We got a new drummer – Veronica Bellino. The first shows we did with her were two sold out gigs at home in Brooklyn and we’ve been on the road pretty much since then. We had a couple of European festival during the summer up and back in the States.
Was it hard for a girl to fill in at the drums for a metal band having in mind she has a blues and jazz background?
Well, she listens to bands like Sepultura. She knew and likes Life Of Agony. She’s also been a friend with our guitar player Joey for many years and both of us knew her long ago. When the opportunity appeared to find new drummer, she was the first name that came to our minds. She flew in and came very prepared – for very short notice she knew six songs flawlessly. We jammed and it was obvious it was meant to be.
You are now working on new album called "The Sound of Scars” that will come out this fall and will continue the story of "River Runs Red”. Does that mean Bellino has brought fresh power to the band?
Yes, we are very inspired. We have recorded some demos already. Many ideas appear, songs are brewing and we start tracking in the spring.
Is there big difference of being on the road in the early 90’s and now in the second decade of 21st century?
We used to do a lot of things differently back then. Over time, experience and traveling the world with different types of bands, we figured out how we would like to live on the road and we make sure that everyone’s comfortable. That’s the key – ‘cause driving and can take its toll on everybody but if everyone’s comfortable and have a little time for themselves at the end of the night to have a fresh start of the day, it goes a lot smoother. Doing what you love and doing it the way you love it. That allows us to do more things – if you enjoy what you do, it’s not work.
Is it harder to be on the road now when you’re in your forties compared to when you were in your twenties?
The only thing that makes it harder is that we all have families and we have to deal with leaving the kids at home. Although through technology it makes it a little easier than back then. But there are still important events like birthdays that you happen to miss.
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