Interview: Keith Bergman of The PB Army

posted August 22, 2003

by Corinne

Keith Bergman of The PB ArmyHow are you?
Good, thanks. I'm hoping to catch eight straight hours of sleep some time before I die.

Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about The PB Army?
Me Keith Bergman. Me play drums and sing. Micah Shimborske plays the guit-box and sings, Mahlon Orrin plays the bass and sings. If I have my druthers, we'll all three do a little of everything in the studio next time. The PB Army is a rock and roll band that started in 2000-2001, we're all about heavy riffs and catchy songs and not getting stuck in any particular ruts. We've got a CD out, and we're touring. More info at www.pbarmy.com.

Now it seems quite a number of the reviews your band receive include the word "Kyuss" in them. (Admittedly, Plug In's review of "Inebriates, Equivocators, and Mockers of the Devil Himself" is guilty of name dropping them, as well.) Why do you think you guys get compared to them so much?
It's an easy comparison -- the main verse riff in "Costa Mesa" is a pretty blatant ripoff. And Kyuss is the benchmark for "stoner rock," which we sorta are, although not as much as a lot of bands. I don't think we sound too much like them, but again, it's an easy yardstick. Some review said we sounded like Peter Pan Speedrock, which, ya know, I'll have to take their word for it - a reviewer has to use known factors when comparing a new band to someone.

Do you even like Kyuss?
Oh, hell yeah. I don't worship them or live to emulate them, but Godspeed to those that do. They're a great band.

Where'd the title "Inebriates, Equivocators, and Mockers of the Devil Himself" come from?
A drunken burst of inspiration. It was written on the back of a cocktail napkin at one of our worst gigs ever, in the fall of 2001. The idea was basically that we're drunk, full of shit, and don't take anything or anyone seriously -- a bit simplistic, but I liked the way it sounded. I was astonished the other two agreed to it. It beats just calling the album "The PB Army" or naming it after the "single."

In the album's linear notes, all three band members are listed for vocals. Who does the lead vocals we hear through a majority of the release?
I do most of the vocals. Micah sings lead on "The Motherlode." Mahlon does a lot of the harmony vocals live, but it's mostly me on the CD, because he'd only been in the band for three weeks when we recorded. I sorta became the singer by default -- we never really felt like looking for anyone else, and I write way more lyrics than anyone. I'm just now kinda getting comfortable with the job, and I enjoy the hell out of singing our newest songs.

What has been the most memorable PB Army show so far?
Lots of them, for various reasons... we played with Clutch last year and had probably our biggest crowd, that was a fun time... the first time we headlined a show and people actually stuck around to see us, like we were an attraction and not just whoever happened to be playing that night, and made us play two encores... our first "road show" in Tuscaloosa last October... our first show with Mahlon, where he rolled in on three days' notice, learned the set, and instantly made our live show something worth watching. There's a lot -- we've had a really great time so far.

What is the band up to these days? Concentrating on touring?
We'll be touring in September, and then buckling down to finish our second album. The hope is to record it this winter and get it out in spring of 2004. There may be a little EP too, some covers and live tracks, just something to sell at shows and on the site. Ideally, next year will find us on a bigger label and out doing 200 shows, but there seem to be a few (million) other bands who want exactly the same thing. We'll see.

If you could have written any song, what song do you wish you had written?
"Happy Birthday." That fucker rakes in millions in royalties, to this day. Creatively speaking, the list would take pages and pages to print.

Ok, so what are your favorite albums?
Impossible to decide - I'm one of those hopeless nerds with a few thousand CDs and LPs. One week I'll be on a death metal kick, the next it's all Faith No More all the time, and a week later I'll be busting out my Catherine Wheel albums. Just this week I've been rocking Devo, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Pentagram, and Masters of Reality, all of which are some of my all-time favorite bands.

Name an underrated band you think deserves more attention.
Hmm - Chum, from West Virginia, put out an album in 1995 that is absolutely amazing. It's called "Dead To the World" and it rules. Coroner was the best technical thrash metal band of the 80's and they evolved in an amazing fashion. Mammoth Volume, from Sweden, play the most potent mix of wanky prog and straight-up rock and roll I've ever heard. Again, I could go on all day.

What have you been listening to recently?
Besides the above mentioned -- Dying Fetus, Nightrage, Evolotto, Burning Airlines, Skyclad, and some demos of our new songs. And everyone needs to check out Model Citizen, from Birmingham, they're the best band ever, this week at least.

Anything you'd like to add?
Just my thanks for your time, and for giving our album a listen. We've all done press, DJing, worked in record stores, etc. and we've seen the titanic flow of music coming out nonstop for years -- it's amazing and gratifying when someone stops and actually fishes our tunes out of the information overload and checks them out, and we appreciate it. If you're in the Midwest or South, check our site, we might be playing your town soon. There's songs to download at www.pbarmy.com plus all the info on us you could possibly want.