When is a side project not a side project? Dave Bone can answer that. As the guitar player of The Company Band, he’s the only member not in another band. Formed in 2006, TCB features Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon, CKY drummer Jess Margera, Fireball Ministry’s James Rota and Fu Manchu bassist Brad Davis alongside Bone’s riffs. Metal Insider spoke to the guitarist about how the band got together, if he feels like he’s playing in the shadows of his bandmates, and the band’s new EP, Pros and Cons. The band is playing tonight (27) in Brooklyn at St. Vitus.
I’m sure you’re asked this constantly, but how did The Company Band form?
It is a bit of an odd beginning, I guess. Jim and Jess were on tour together on a Fireball, CKY tour and they hit it off. They were kind of like the last dudes at the end of the night still jamming to the boombox, and at the end of it Jess asked Jim if he wanted to do an instrumental project for fun, maybe like instrumentals to go underneath a Jackass soundtrack. When Jim came back from touring he basically said, “I became friends with Jess, we want to do this thing, do you want to be involved in bringing some of these riffs you have to the party?”
So, we compiled four songs and demoed them out on the computer, and I think they’re the same four songs that are on the first EP. And one night Jim and I were drinking and we were playing that game who where you ask who would you have in your band if you could have anybody. When it got to the vocalist spot I was like, “Neil Fallon, that dudes boss,” and just then Jim was like, “ya know, Jess is friends with Neil, we should ask him if he wants to sing on the instrumentals.” So we emailed him. A couple of weeks later, Clutch started recording Beale Street in the Valley, out here in California, and I was like, ‘shit if he’s town I wanna go say whatsup.’ So I showed up, and we got to talking, and eventually Neil was like, “you know, I wouldn’t mind singing on all of these songs,” and of course I was like ‘holy shit, yes.’ I went back to the other dudes and said Neil wants to sing on everything, so it just kind of went from there.
I liked the concept of the first EP because it had that whole business-y theme. Did you think you guys think it out like that, or was it just Neil being Neil?
It’s always Neil being Neil, in a way (laughs). I came up with the band name, and soon after that Neil wrote the “Company Man” lyrics, and everything just leaned in that direction, basically, because it’s always fun to have a shtick, no matter how cheesy it is. It’s kind of better than nothing, and we all really got kind of goofy on the corporate thing and had a lot of fun with it, and obviously we still do. So it’s something we’re all into continuing, but were able to achieve with making the words happen. So the themes and stuff are all due to him.
Have you been in any other existing bands, or is this really your first kind of large-scale semi-project?
This is. Here in L.A., I’ve tried to get together just for fun and stuff, and it all just falls on its face, dude. It was just really an awful time for rock music—
Which is kind of weird when you think about it. In the 80s, L.A. was where people came to make it big, and maybe that’s just because it was just one type of genre, but the fact that it’s really not a rock town anymore is kind of weird.
Yeah. I think that I attribute it to whatever the current thing is, that’s what town it is. So with Linkin Park, for example, if that seems to be the flavor of the year then we’re like, “maybe we should make it Linkin Park-y!” But, basically, I just had a bunch of projects that have failed, and as a result had a whole drawer full of riffs that had gone unused, and when the Company Band came along I was kind of just like, “here you guys go! Tell me which ones you dig!”
Excellent. How does the new EP differ from the album and EPs that came out before?
To me it’s a big difference, but I think to anyone else I think it’s just a splitting hair difference. I wanted to go from the really super riff-centric stuff to concentrating on more of a whole identity of a song as a song, rather than as a song as a lead riff and then some other shit happens. So I think there’s more melody as much as a bunch of burly dudes can put into a song. I think that it is more cohesive overall. After a while we’re starting to sound like a band when we play together and it definitely shows. We tracked most of the EP live, Brad, Jess and myself at Grandmaster, just facing each other and I think it sounds good because of it.
How often do you guys get to play together, actually? I know you’re doing a short tour, is this going to be the first real touring you’ve done?
I guess so. I mean, it’s three shows. We had done two shows before we put out the full length album. We got together at Jess’ house to kind of hash things out, and while we were there we did two shows. And it was one of those things that was weird to do because we just had the EP out, but we’re playing like, an hour of music. So, the whole show it was like, ‘here’s a new song!’ So, everyone was a little suspicious. But, that worked out well despite all of that. So this will be a total of five shows, now, including the ones we’ve got coming up, and we’ve been together for like, five years (laughs). So, we really don’t get together that often because of everyone’s crazy schedules. But when we do, it’s usually knock-down drag-out good time.
Would you be open to the idea of touring more?
Oh yeah, absolutely.
What do you do when you’re not in the Company Band, which I guess is most of your life?
Basically, doing a lot of writing, television and books, and producing, as well. Entertainment industry BS.
Do you ever feel like you’re being overshadowed by the more established musicians in The Company Band, or are you sort of like ‘hey, I’m part of something awesome?’
Absolutely part of something awesome. I benefit from that shadow, so to get mad at it is counter-productive. That shadow—that’s my coattails, man!
Conversely, if this led another band that was maybe looking for a guitar player to write, and asked you to join, would you consider doing that? Or is The Company Band as far as what you want to do right now?
Because The Company Band doesn’t get to do as much stuff as a normal band, I still have the fun of riffs and what not, playing around. It’s always nice to have a home for that. I’ve got a project coming up with Brad Davis, we’re gonna do instrumental kind of like classic-metal type of stuff. New-wave with British heavy metal influence thing, so that’s a project coming up. I’m always down to do stuff, as long as it’s for fun, though, because it’s hard to stay motivated for any other reason.
Right. But if an established band asked you to do something full time, would you consider do it, even if it wasn’t as casual as what you’ve been doing with The Company Band?
I guess it’s just a case by case basis. You know, if Black Sabbath were looking for a guitar player (laughs)…
Hopefully not yet (laughs).