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This Is Hardcore Fest Preview: Rock Bottom.

July 18, 2013

We caught up with Rock Bottom during a video shoot at Drowning Fish Studio in Port Richmond.Over the next few weeks, JUMP will preview This is Hardcore 2013, which runs from August 8th-11th at the Electric Factory. TIH is the biggest, most anticipated, annual hardcore fest in the country. Gracing the stage this year will be Gwar, Kid Dynamite, Judge and Paint it Black, to name a few.

This week, our Bree Wood caught up with John Lowe, lead guitarist for Rock Bottom. Signed to Harvcore Records, they put on a great show. Frontman Dion’s energy is contagious and the intense guitar riffs are not to be missed. You can catch them in the opening slot Friday, August 9th, at 5 PM. Don’t be late! Hail Satan! Photo by Kate Bodnar.

You guys are one of the local bands on the fest this year. What area of Philly do you live?

We’re a little spread out. My wife and I live by the Italian Market. Jordan lives in Port Richmond. The other losers are up in Doylestown.

To catch everyone up, who is Rock Bottom?

Rock Bottom is Dion on vocals, Chris Evans on the bass, Jordan Berk and I on the guitars and Jon “Icebox” Martello on the drums.

We know you played in 2011. How is this year’s TIH going to be different for you?

Well, the big difference is we have our original singer, Dion, on the mic this time. In 2011, we had a different dude, Matt Karll. He sang on our record Your Demise. He left the band a few months after TIH and Dion came back to the fold. I’m real stoked for him because the first time we played was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had playing music. Plus it’s at the Electric Factory. I’m pretty sure Coal Chamber played there a month ago, so that rules.

What prank are you going to play on drummer Jon Martello this year? What is the best one so far?

The best one was probably last time we played, when we put up Martello’s number on a big sign at the Harvcore table. He got a shitload of calls and texts, most of which we’re along the lines of “FUCK YOU LOSER!” and whatnot. Our friend and local merch mogul John Bowes also got him pretty good. He sent out a tweet from Cold Cuts Merch that said, “Text this number in the next hour and get a free shirt!” I’m pretty sure his bobo phone ran out of batteries from vibrating too much. This year I think we’re going to save the pranks and just beat the shit out of him.

How long have you guys been playing music together?

Dion, Chris, Jon and I started our first band together in 2003. Fuck. I’m not sure how we’re still friends.

It’s been said that you guys worship the devil. What is that about? Can you please explain?

You write a song with the lyrics, “Hail Satan,” and everyone thinks you worship the devil.

Seriously though, we always wanted our band to come across as a heavy hardcore band influenced by eighties metal ridiculousness. You hear a lot of bands talking about how hardcore is about being sincere and real and shit, then you read their lyrics and its the same regurgitation about betrayal, brotherhood, family, etc. That’s not us. We’re a bunch of nerds and losers who love metal and we’re not going to pretend otherwise for fake respect and friends. As far as actually worshiping the devil goes, I can only speak for my own beliefs. But I can assure you, I think the devil is just as silly and imaginary as God.

What are you looking forward at TIH this year?

Like every year, its a little overwhelming how many awesome bands are playing. If I had to pick a few I’d say Kid Dynamite, Ramallah, Striking Distance, Suicide File, Tragedy and All Out War.

What is your favorite TIH moment?

It’s really hard to choose. Gorilla Biscuits last year was pretty special for me because I missed them the last couple times. I guess the most memorable for me was Sheer Terror a few years ago. Paul Bearer could have just talked the whole set and I would have loved it. Actually, that’s pretty much what happened.

Will Rock Bottom have any special TIH merch?

We’ll have all our recent gear as well as a new shirt design specifically for the Fest.

We know you just got back from a Southern tour. Do you have any other shows planned?

We have some cool things in the works. We’re going to Canada finally for a few days in September. We’ll be doing something in the Midwest for the first time in October as well.

What is your best personal tour story?

This last tour, I beat up everyone in Benchpress single-handedly.

Do you have any other roles in the scene or side projects you are working on even if they aren’t music related?

I repair guitars for a living, so I end up doing work for a lot of bands from the area. Our bass player Chris has a really cool gig too. He runs a company called Off the Charts Video Games. They sell vintage games and systems.

Do you have a favorite spot to eat or hang? Give some TIH tourists some ideas while they are here for the weekend?

For beer and food, my spot is Royal Tavern on Passyunk Ave. They have one of the best burgers in the city and a rad beer selection. Their pretty veggie/vegan friendly as well.

After releasing your new album for free online, you are finally releasing the LP at TIH. Tell us about the LP

The LP is called Down With The Devil. Its definitely the best thing we’ve done together and we’ll be playing a bunch of songs off of it at the fest, so get on that shit. We put it out for free because we don’t get to tour much because of our jobs and we wanted to do something cool for the people. You can download it at rockbottom.stereokiller.com, or get it from Harvcore Records after TIH.

Where can we find you at the fest?

Wherever beer is sold.

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