Interview with: Charles A Cudd II
founder, guitarist, drummer, backing vocals
Live Facebook Interview Conducted By:
Lady Kat Chaos & Lynda Cheree Folz
OCZ: Hails & Welcome! Charles, I would like to thank you for this live FB interview for others to get to know more about Of Beauty And Madness. Don't you just love shoveling all this snow and how does it inspire you to create new music?
Charles A Cudd II: LOL it brings out a LOT of negativity when I see snow! Perfect rise of emotions to do some writing! Come up with a great drum loop throw down a bass-line and let the groove take me away! LOL
OCZ: A good day to just stay home and write some more songs. As you know that us New Yorkers can careless about winter storms and we'll continue to attend a show, perform it and do what is needed. Do you remember one of the worst storms you had to travel in to perform?
Charles: man, lemme see...it prob a tie between that one place in SI we had Sickening Society play or one of the times we had at the underworld with Fatal Vision...there was like 5 ft of snow each time....somewhere in the 90s!
OCZ: I remember those days....Remember back in the days when we would travel to the city carrying some instruments on the 7 train heading to the "Underworld" for one of your shows because it was much easier then to drive then to find parking? Although, it wasn't done often. Do you like when a venue has their own back line or do you prefer playing with your own gear?
Charles: That's a toss up! Depending on the travel and distance if its a BIG place sometimes, best to bring
your own...you want to make a good impression etc and small places with more bands, you have LESS time to acclimate yourself.
your own...you want to make a good impression etc and small places with more bands, you have LESS time to acclimate yourself.
OCZ: Every venue has a different sound some better then others, how have you learned to adapt to get the best sound when you're performing?
Charles: Totally! You have to scope the venue ahead of time at least by fotoz....contact the club or promoter for stage and room spex, THEN you have to ADD or SUBTRACT bass / treble or mid from the guitars based on the SHAPE OF THE ROOM.
OCZ: Another good way, you can also ask other bands there thoughts but you won't really get the full vibe of the sound but at least it helps somewhat. How did your show go at the Tobacco Road?
Charles: Tobacco Road was AWESOME! Nick Jenkins is def my main knee grow! Him and that soundman ran that show like a motherfucker! Flawless sound, heard everything...we have video posted.
OCZ: What other venues do you like playing in New York and what venues would you like to play in NY this year that you haven't had the chance too?
Charles: DAMMMMN....there’s a LOT actually....you just have to look for them! "Emily booking" has a lot of great venues in times square....there’s places everywhere if you open up a newspaper or go online...
Lynda Cheree Folz: I love your band's name! What is its meaning and how did you come about it?
Charles: Our band name was a LONG time coming....it took about 2+ years to come up with it......we used to be "black light project" and some other names that I cant remember. This band and this music date back to the PREVIOUS band incarnation which was DEAD EMOTION. Of Beauty and Madness was supposed to be and end of a quote or an actual CONTINUATION of what was started....hence forth the DOTS in the beginning and END of our name... "...Of Beauty and Madness..."
Dead Emotion launched a LOT of trends that certain bands who shall remain nameless....stole from us....the "local band with a scripted MTV video"....our SnM / Glam image....playing Mother and Master Steelow shows....
Lynda; ahhh....ok....just how many bands have you been in?
Charles: How many bands have I been in? WOWWWWW...lemme get a list....hold on... Rival, Rubber Room Rats, Iconicide, Sickening society, fatal Vision, Imbolg (currently drums), Dead Emotion, Dump Body Ice Monkey, Randy Savage Band.
Jamie Wang (guest): What was that one name Mugsy changed us to, during that weird punk/thrash period?
OCZ: Every time I hear "Dead Emotion" it makes me think of Diamond Head. Do you sometimes still cover that song?
Charles: We don’t cover the Diamond Head stuff anymore cause we don’t do the speed metal thing anymore....BUT because we DO have 3 of us who WERE in speed metal bands....we DO fuck with "Angel of Death" at rehearsal....Am I Evil? ( Diamond Head cover ), by Charles Cudd from the album Charles Cudd ...To Be Continued...the Diamond Head song I just put on my last solo record was with Dan Kemmet on drums who was in Rival AND Dead Emotion and Jamie Wang on guitar.... Me on Bass, and Key Fitz on the vocals....
Be prepared to have us whip that out after one of our piano / vocal songs! LOLOL http://ofbeautyandmadness.bandcamp.com Epic Self indulgent Soundtrack music obam is melodic and entrancing..
OCZ: How did I know that one was coming? LOL You delve into various styles such as: metal, goth and blues and other elements and obviously an array of different influences, but many in the past has labeled you as a goth band, do you think its because they way that your band dressed or from some of your past releases? What does each member bring to the band stylistically? Or do you all share similar inspiration?
Charles A Cudd II we're STILL labelled as a goth band...but we dont care about that. our music is DARK but non violent...theres a lot of DEPTH to it...the Goth kids like it, the Alternative Rock crowd likes it, the Metal Crowd RESPECTS IT...because we are TRUE TO WHAT WE ARE...the only TRUE shift that weve made is to be a little more ACCESSIBLE COMMERCIALLY...everyone in this group has been here for over 2+ years...we have mutual understanding and we cooperate and discuss whatever is on our minds...the only way for us to truly THRIVE in this Music Business is to live w each other idiosyncrasies.... MUSICALLY what makes us WAY on the Dark Side is our Keyboard work....everyone and their grandma can play a Sabbath riff and go "HAILZ!!" \m/ 00 \m/ and "be dark"...to TRULY create an AURA of Darkness and Feeling you must PERFECT YOUR CRAFT.
OCZ: Speaking of all of your releases, "Arise from the dead 2001"," Of Beauty and Madness", "Love=Pain=Sacrifice", "The Mourning after", "Triple Goddess" and your latest "Listen Up". How do you feel you have grown as a band after all these years, even though you have gone through line up changes and what makes you continue to carry on?
Charles: What makes us carry on is that....we have fun doing this and it DOES have a potential to BE SOMETHING...our new album is almost done! ALSO if you look at our album covers, they go in an ORDER....everything that we do is concept based.
Lynda: Care to explain?
Charles: Lynda, I'm going to try to put an order for ya....hang on! LOL
Charles: The entire evolution of this group is insanely complex and thru a LOT of chance occurrences the members met at different point in time and wound up together....its a fascinating web to weave......its like 23 years of "one thing after another" and running into the right person at the right time.... Nora Stock was Dead Emotion's Roadie at one point... Nate Imbolg I met when we were putting together GothStock... Jenna D'Onofrio replaced Aleister Tennyson Hobbs shortly after he had died... Carlos Rubio was in Dump Body...an band I met at Emergenza, managed, did their first demo....he wasn’t the drummer at the time, he was after Jesse...Nora played Bass in Dump Body......when Nora left Dump Body, I played bass them... Dema Zema we actually met thru an ad online...Charles A Cudd II ill post the album cover evolution and see if you can interpret it YOUR WAY... ; )
Lynda: My impression is it shows people walking away from life, that there's nothing to care or feel about anymore....
Charles: Very close Lynda! It was the DEATH of Dead Emotion and moving on to REBIRTH and new LIFE and direction.
Lynda: Very cool! Making music should be about what moves you, what you feel....
Charles: "Nothing to Die For" in fact Lynda.
OCZ: Do you feel that today that some bands are not having fun at all and are doing it solely for the money?
Charles: Bands doing it for $$$ - YES....and those bands have NO PLACE here!! they are "accidentally popular" and they are poseurs.....I'm SO not gonna namedrop (bites finger HARD)
Lynda: It's not how many dollars can we make from this....it is the love of the sound and how you put it together...
OCZ: Speaking of money, all your albums and EP's that you create you offer it for free to everyone. Is that because people will find another way to download it from another site?
Charles: The reason why everything is FREE to DL is simple....we had to REBUILD a FANBASE...in the 90's we had droves of people who went out every nite....including US....ENTER THE INTERNET and FILE SHARING.....exit the $$$ and the END of the future of things that WOULD have been profitable...
OCZ: Don't make your fingers bleed. LOL There's nothing easy about the music business, every day you learn something new and keep pushing on. What was your journey like venturing out and becoming a professional musician, playing gigs, releasing CDs, etc.? Do you feel you've reached your goals?
Charles: The reason we HAVE NOT reached our goals are simply because we never had the RIGHT PEOPLE who care about what they do in a project! UNTIL NOW! It goes back to treating each other like FAMILY and DEALING with each other instead of keep replacing people....WE ARE JUST HONEST WITH EACH OTHER about EVERYTHING!! Talk don’t ARGUE....if we DO wind up making $$$$ off of this, that’s great....but most of us have careers so....we're not stupid....were prepared for "commercial failure"...that’s why we WORK! LMAO!
OCZ: I know that you have been filling in as the drummer for awhile but mainly you play bass...Have you found a new drummer as of yet?
Charles: YES! Carlos Rubio is our new man powering the OBAM machine now....my natural instrument is BASS, BUT, we couldn’t find a 2nd guitarist to fill out all the rest of the orchestrated parts and percussion stuff....I opted to do it and find a bassist...so I am the "instrumentalist" because I do EVERYTHING!!
OCZ: You're a well diverse musician (bassist, guitarist, vocalist & drummer), when I first met you were a one of the best NY bassist around in the early 90's, why did you switch over to the guitar for awhile? And I'm glad you're back to playing bass. Who were your main early influences?
Charles A Cudd II DAWWWW thank you!! (blush) I've done a LOT of studio work and produced a LOT of peoples demos, albums etc.... Biting Saints was one of the last I did that for actually....I played Bass on 2 of their tracks... BITING SAINTS-3AM (Originally supposed to be 1st released video). The Biting Saints track video I produced, did the recording, and played bass on it before Jay was in the band.
I'm still on guitar....Nate is on the bass...Early influences..... BASS wise? Steve Harris, Cliff Burton, Dave Jr, Geezer Butler, Blackie Lawless, Gene Simmons, Harley Flannigan....JESUS that’s a LONG list..... you’ve got a few of my greater influences there for sure...
OCZ: As you know that I'm not a guitarist or bassist but some great guitarist such as: B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Copeland, Freddie King can opened the doors for many guitarist to practice along too and learn from. I've been learning about more about guitarist and bassist the past few days, I find when listening to Fredding King's album "Freddie King Goes Surfing" it covers a lot of different rhythms you can pick up. What guitar players or bassist have you studied and learn their licks from?
Charles: Its easier to have me name BANDS...Pink Floyd, Sabbath, Megadeth, early Metallica, Duke Ellington, B.B. King, Satriani, Jaco, Hendrix...unreal list for myself...I completely learned / plagiarized: http://ofbeautyandmadness.bandcamp.com/.../dead-sea-surfers – I learned SO fuckin much from Aliester I'm going to owe his wife copyright controls on everything NEW I whip out... LOLOL
OCZ: Indeed, the internet has its pros and cons...the other day I was talking to another friend and he said, "Grunge killed the metal scene and today its the net!" What do you think about his statement?
Charles: Grunge didn’t do ANYTHING....the music business just needed a scapegoat....in the 80s and 90s we were partying SO FKN HARD very nite that we lost SIGHT of music and put it up our NOSES and DRANK IT into OBLIVION....the music business was SO HIGH that they couldn’t think straight and USE the TOOLS that were provided...Lars didn’t help this either with his lawsuit happy bullshit....everything that was ILLEGAL then is LEGAL NOW and its where we ALL make almost 100% of ALL our $$$
OCZ: We had many great times back in the 80's and 90's and were lucky to get an hour worth of sleep back then. Today what tools that is provided do you use now that you haven't in the past besides the internet?
Charles: tools better home recording methods the recording studio I have going now is pretty ridiculous....it looks like guitar center in here! LOLOL
OCZ: Back in the days, in your Attic many bands rehearsed there besides you starting to build your own studio and help record other bands demos, damn I still have those demos too so where. How has your home studio grown since those days?
Charles: LOL oh YEAH! like I said, it looks like guitar center now....go to the audio room! 5pt surround sound, computer for the mastering, 24 track board stacks everywhere...LONG WAY from my Tascam porta 7 and that little stereo! HAHA
OCZ: Can't forget the days when recording a raw live demo from a radio....the good times. Are you still recording for other bands?
Charles: Currently recording Imbolg and that’s coming out incredible! G oldschool goth / punk with some blues stuff....with a misfits edge...
OCZ: I know that you were also recording another band not long ago that Mario is filling in the drums for. I can't remember their name off hand. You have a packed schedule but if other bands need a recording how can they reach you?
Charles: 'Everything Is Awesome' by Iconicide, released 06 January 2013. Recording wise, I'm tied down. I really don’t have the time....my life is STILL pretty much 24/7 mania. I work 7 days a week and try to get as much sleep as possible...
OCZ: It's always been that way with you. I know that you're a self-taught bassist, guitarist, drummer and vocalist? What did you do in your formative years as a player to reach the level you are at today?
Charles: I've PRACTICE 8 HOURS A FUCKIN DAY when I was younger! But if you don’t practice, you’ll suck moose balls. That’s the bottom line! Vocally, I trained with Melissa Cross who has trained MANY rock and metal artists like Randy Blythe and more... everything else was self taught out of necessity. I never could find anyone to record X amt of parts for me the way I wanted to, SO....I did it myself!
In Sickening Society we used to practice 2x a week for around 10 hours....lights ON and then lights OFF... http://ofbeautyandmadness.bandcamp.com/track/inhuman - necessity is the mother of learning how to play everything YOURSELF! Inhuman, by Charles Cudd from the album 38 years of hard luck stories...more to come...I play so many instruments now that I've lost track....seriously...
OCZ: You also attended 5 Towns Collage, what was your major and minor?
Charles: At 5 clowns I was originally going to be a Luthier...but I was afraid of the band saw, so I said "fuck this" I went in for music business promotion and copyright and law. If you look at my solo albums as well, you can see a personal story line going as well.
OCZ: Do you wish back then you went into the recording field?
Charles: That's a toss up...I WAS in it, I was always IN the studio, so I learned a lot from being there....also from Colette J Stadler Post who taught me a lot about MIX and Proper EQ. the business end has helped me WAY more in "real life" than recording has....I'll def say that tho.
OCZ: Speaking of copyrights, does the poor-man copyright still work? How much is it these days to have a song copy-written? How important is it for bands to have their material copied written, as you mention earlier your shit got stolen?
Charles: "poor mans copyright" has NEVER worked. its just what it says it is....however, once you open it up in court, its null and void. It could have been opened previously, who would know? Not the judge, not the lawyer. The lawyer could have done it. You need physical evidence and / or legal documentation of your work. If it isn’t registered...its fair game. End of story!
What I had stolen from me wasn’t music. It was Enhanced CD Business cards I invented these things at my old computer company. Now when you buy a CD it has links to the Net, CD extras, Enhanced graphics, videos, secret downloads. We had brought it to a trade show and it was frowned on etc....now its music industry standard....see Disk Makers.
OCZ: I remember when you and CJ would sit there hours mixing in the attic (SDM, Sickening Society etc). When you're in your own personal recording studio, did you ever have moments that you've felt it was hard to capture your full energy and what release do you feel most comfortable with?
Charles: Yes....there were things back then where as I just couldn’t perform "what I had in my head" vs my physical limitations...if you’re not comfortable doing something, it’ll show thru on the recording. People think "oh, I'll fix it in the mix" NOPE, it don’t work like that. If you can't do it, you shouldn’t be doing it! This is why bullshit like protools became so popular! You cannot fix a bad performance, unless you FAKE it with digital editing! This is why OBAM does NO computer recordings, its all done JAM STYLE on a RECORDING BOARD and you have to PHYSICALLY MIX IT. REAL ENGINEER AND MIXING FOLKS! LEARN IT! Releases I feel most comfortable with are all posted on the OBAM site! If it SUCKS....its not posted! LOL When you HEAR the new obam...you’ll understand, trust me! LOL
OCZ: Although, you don't use any computer recordings have you ever tried it out? Do you feel it lost the emotions to one of your song and the real vibe of it? How would you explain the difference between a studio recording to computer and protool recordings?
Charles: Thats EZ actually! You can feel the recording BREATHE with a board...like we are standing in front of you playing...with a computer its all compressed audio. Drums are the instrument that gets hit the hardest (literally!!) when it comes to computer recording...they sound like tin cans or very tight and there’s no RESONANCE to the playing....that’s not to knock ALL computer recording....but it has to be done RIGHT....for a BIG Protools production, you need a LOT OF $$$. Want an example? A Perfect Circle. . . pure perfection of recording and performance...not cheap!! Josh freese drum tone is ridiculous! Notice they sound very much like Zep / Sabbath / 70s Floyd...do you know how hard they worked on that? Pro Tools made amateur recordings flood the market just as bad as Laptop Djs. Another example of how I do things and I know its right? TOOL use only ANALOG recording...2 inch TAPE!!! and then digital editing... http://mixonline.com/.../projects/audio_making_tools_days/ Recording Tools "10,000 Days Album-Mixing Tool's 10,000 Days record mixonline.com. Tool is a dynamic band: intricate and intense, brutal and subtle.
OCZ: I just had to get paper towels to wipe my laptop down from spitting out my mouth full of soda as I read that. What do you think about these online radio stations compared to the old days for radio stations?
Charles: TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE! Anything that music has a viable way of passage to a listener is THE WAY! You discover new music that way and become A FAN!! ; )
OCZ: Where's the strangest place you've heard your own music?
Charles: mmmmmmmm....rough one...not sure. I know were bootlegged in 3rd world countries on torrents etc....I googled that!
OCZ: Of Beauty And Madness has been accepted to 2 movies, Jack O'Slasher and Bullet Ballet can you elaborate on this further.
Charles: oh damn....actually, that fell apart....we can't cop to that anymore. I wish. Still friends with those guys but it didn’t work out.
OCZ: That sucks! One of my favorite songs that came to mind is, "Broken and Beaten (Down)"Can you describe the songwriting process? Is there a main songwriter and composer, or does the whole band contribute and bring new ideas to the table?
Charles: wow. ok...broken and beaten there was NO process to that....I was at one of the lowest points in my life and I was sitting at my kitchen table with my tape player and my old Carlo Robelli acoustic. I had nothing. A minimum wage job at stop and shop for 6.75 hr, was getting divorced, barely any food, phenomenal amount of debt with CCs and student loans. It was almost the end of the road for me. That was almost a suicide note. I was done. I didn’t know where to go and then those words came to me. The song became about recovery and survival instead. I'm still here right? I almost wasn’t. LESSON LEARNED THO...NEVER let someone become the AIR you BREATHE!
As for OBAM's process, we all contribute music in one way or another. Some of us demo stuff and bring it in, others, show and tell. We have no real "process" whoever has the best riffs, we work on them. It doesn’t matter WHO the fuck wrote WHAT...its not something we care about. A bulk of the material were playing is mine "right now" but that tide is quickly turning...new album has 5 songs that have NOTHING to do with me on it except playing on them and producing them! Broken And Beaten (I Have Won The War), by Charles Cudd from the album 38 years of hard luck stories...
OCZ: Its like a hidden message. I feel horrible as a friend that we lost touch for a few years. Naturally, music is heavily dominated by female vocals. Do you consider incorporating a different vocal approach in the future with involving male vocalists?
Charles: Dema Zema DOES sing actually! He has a great voice! He just puts his singing where its needed...common sense. We're not an "ego driven" band. You’ll hear him live doing "over my eyes" actually!! ; )
OCZ: You have a very distinctive tone. What are the main components of your sound? What specific experiences have helped shape your current sound?
Charles: ok now, WHICH tone? guitar, bass or drum tone? or ALL of them?
OCZ: All it entirely.
Charles: OK! We have a very "old school" type sound...thick tones a lot of bottom end and a wall of sound that is multilayered and complex...it doesn’t SOUND like it on 1st listen, but when you put ion them headfones....you’re in for it now! MUAHAHAHAHA!! There's a LOT of nuances and hidden things in these songs... you will find them if YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY! My guitar def WAS a thought because that medium is BACK especially outside the USA...its a smart move! guitar tone for myself: either my les pauls w dimarzio pickups thru my line 6 head micd w a hartmon audio omni directional mics....or my Luna hollow bodies....bass, either the Luna bass or gibson Thunderbird thru my hartke head and carvin 18 miced up OR sonic stomp DI box....drums....all TOP micing w the CAD clip ons and inside bass drum w sennhieser e602.....reverbs by FXR elite...
OCZ: Maybe you should release on vinyl so I can play it backwards LOL Many bands today are releasing the old school way of cassettes and vinyls have you thought about doing that as well? One band did an 8-track as well. What format of releases do you like best and lets not forget CDs?
Charles: I like ALL forms of media....as long as you can HEAR IT WELL....its GOOD!
OCZ: Some musicians like to name their equipment after a woman, have you named any of yours?
Charles: Actually, No! Although Dema Zema has a guitar called "the beast" I think that was for his ex wife : p ROFL!
OCZ: LOL, Do you use any synth pedals for effects, or are they mixed in separately?
Charles: Pretty much its played as is....maybe on a separate track for clarity, but we cut it all LIVE or NOTHING! You'll hear the crackle of the amp, us squeaking across the strings, chord shifts....you name it. ITS REAL!
OCZ: Humbuckers and single-coils, delay pedal, wah pedal, tuner do you use? String gauge? Any other current models being offered by other manufacturers you like? Fingers or picks? Who would you like to be endorsed by?
Charles: I love dean basses. I just bought another one! LOL I'm a guitar collector, so if nothing else, I just have fun gear lying around to fuck with...I have a ridiculous amount of gear...whoever has the most toys wins right? haha....humbuckers....wah wah like hendrix used...10 gauge....I have an Ibanez hollow body I love...beautiful guitar! Red and gold....see it in the BnB ...fingers OR picks for both...depends on the SONG and STYLE of the song!!!see it n the BnB video...
OCZ: I would like to thank you Charles for this interview...I had a blast.....any last words before I have to head to another live interview....We'll leave this interview open for others to ask more questions
Charles: I had an AMAZING time...this made me really revisit and rethink some of my roots....good times and bad times...but all in all, my FUTURE times....support live music....and "kill your roots". You'll find out what that means soon! LMAO! Thank you so much.
OCZ: Thank you Charles, we could have gone on for another four hours with all of your history for about 20 years.