Guitarist. Beer Enthusiast. New vocalist of Metallica!?!? This edition of Fistful of Questions goes out to Andre Almaraz of Pale Horseman.
What is your full name?
Andre Miguel Almaraz
Do you have any aliases?
In high school, I was known as “AWOL.” People I talk to from back then might still call me that from time to time. About 10 years ago, I used to do album reviews for a couple different webzines. During this time, my pen name was “A. Flesh.” Nowadays, some people will call me “Dre” for short from time to time, but not many.
What bands are you actively involved with?
I am actively involved with only one band; Pale Horseman.
What was the first instrument that you played?
Guitar. Probably my father’s sunburst Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, specifically.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
The first drummer I ever jammed with was a kid named R.J. who lived across the street from my grandparents’ house. I was probably right around 13 years old. We jammed together as a two piece in his parents’ basement for a while. The first song I ever wrote was with him. That was probably 1984.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
The first band I was in was called Chernobyl Victims. The band existed when I was a freshman/sophomore in High School and it was during the time when the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster of 1986 happened, in the area that is now known as Ukraine. We were a three piece metal band playing covers by Metallica, C.O.C., Venom, Slayer, etc.
Tell me about the genesis of Pale Horseman.
Eric Ondo (guitars/vocals), Rich Cygan (bass), and myself (Andre Almaraz - guitars/vocals), have all been good friends since the mid 1990's and we have been in several bands together since then. By the time Pale Horseman officially formed in 2011, there was no period of getting to know each other on a personal or musical level at all. Jason Schryver (drums) came to us several years later in 2016 but we have so much in common with him and we all get along so well that it's as if he's been with us from the start.
What inspired the name Pale Horseman?
The name was inspired by the biblical prophecy of the four horsemen of the apocalypse from the book of Revelation. Revelation is the last book of the bible and basically describes how the world will end. “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”
How long did it take you to write and record your tracks for the split you did with Buzzherd?
We tracked the drums and rhythm guitars in 2 full days. Then we came back for another full day to finish guitars and bass. Then we did a few half days to finish up vocals and guitar harmonies, guitar solos, edits, etc. Probably about a month or two overall. I think one or two of us had covid exposure during that time so things were delayed a bit. We weren’t in any rush, regardless.
If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?
I would join Metallica as lead vocalist for several reasons; I would be a millionaire. I would be a member of the biggest metal band in history. I can sing all their songs. Over the years, James’ voice and vocal style has become a caricature of what it used to be. I would keep James on as rhythm guitarist/songwriter. He just wouldn’t be allowed near a microphone, not even for backing vocals.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so… What was the song and artist?
Yes, several. If I have to pick one, I will go with “Body Dome Light” by GODFLESH. I love everything about that song.
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Robert Conti is an amazing jazz guitarist and a favorite of mine.
What’s a non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
I’ve often thought about doing “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles.
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
Reggies in Chicago. Great venue, great people, great food, great craft beer, great liquor selection, and the talent buyer there is a true gentleman. The owner is a great guy too.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Nothing specific. I just try to show up on time, load in, set up the merch, and start drinking.
What is your favorite thing about touring?
I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places. I also enjoy exploring restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries in different areas.
What is your least favorite thing about touring?
Dealing with bands who have what I would consider to be “bad live show etiquette.”
Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?
I don’t have extensive touring experience but I’ll say Chicago wins, regardless.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?
I once saw a guy in the pit with an entire pizza.
The year is 1998. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
I was living in my first apartment in Lemont, Illinois (U.S.A) and listening to “Songs Of Love And Hate” by GODFLESH.
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
If you’re doing this as a business endeavor to earn a living, you have a long, hard road ahead of you.
What is an absolute band killer?
Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?
Yes, that’s called compromise.
If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?
I would call it Chicago Sludge Fest. The three bands would be GODFLESH, Hooded Menace, and With The Dead.
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
About 30 years ago I lived in a mobile home and the furnace went out during the coldest part of winter. I probably went about 4 - 5 days without bathing a few times during that period, between showering at the homes of friends for the few weeks the furnace was out.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
My middle name is Miguel.
Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Unicorns don’t sleep.
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
“Culling The Herd” by Buzzherd.
You are writing a book about your life thus far. What is the title of that book?
“Just getting started”
What is your favorite song by Taylor Swift?
I couldn’t name a song by Taylor Swift if my life depended on it.
High on Fire or Clutch (if you had to choose)?
High On Fire by a mile.
Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?
Boobies by a mile.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
I’m a pancake man.
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
Star Wars by a mile.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
My newest Mare shirt; it’s black on black and very rare since the band only existed for a short time and has not done many shows. For those who may not know, Mare was an amazing sludge band from Canada who only had one EP release in 2004.
I haven’t read many books but I’ll have to go with “Sound Of The Beast: The complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Metal” by Ian Christe.
“Physical Graffiti” by Led Zeppelin.
Favorite video game?
Favorite Professional Wrestler?
“Iceman” King Parsons.
Massive thanks to Andre for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. If you are looking for a sweet slice of vinyl and some crushing sounds (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you should absolutely get your hands on the split that Pale Horseman did with Buzzherd. Click on over courtesy of the link below and grab yourself a copy or two. You’ll immediately be the envy of all your friends.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)