This is Aaron Tom, founder of Toxic Highway Recordings here. I'm sitting down with P.J. Hearn, the pseudonym-ed frontman for hardcore punk band Leadsucker, who are releasing their debut album, "Burn", on my label on August 28th. Enough build-up, let's see what he had to say to my difficult, pre-typed questions.
I had a job with a local government agency a few years back. Won't say where or what because I'm a little paranoid about this whole thing. But let's just say my job didn't go too well. I found out some co-workers were doing some things they shouldn't have been doing, essentially involving company resources. I know the ad campaigns make it sound like I stumbled on a murder conspiracy, or something, but it was nothing like that [laughs]. It wasn't anything that was going to put people in jail for any significant amount of time, if at all, but it was definitely something that should have lost several people their jobs.
So I brought it up to my supervisors even though I had all these people, even family members who had nothing to do with it, telling me I shouldn't. It was a good job, and I was the newest guy on the totem pole so to speak; everyone else had been there at least a year or two. At first they seemed real receptive, but nothing changed. So I kept going back in there, and they didn't like that. They didn't like having a whistleblower, so to speak, in their department, someone who they knew would question things that maybe they had been doing and getting away with for years. And I think that really bugged them.
So they did little things, like make sure I couldn't get any promotions. So when I tried transferring, they made sure those got denied, so that I was stuck there. Just little things like that. They'd humiliate me in meetings, nitpicking every little thing that they could. It was like a game to them. I put up with that for far too long, because I felt like if I quit, they were winning. I knew getting me out of there was their endgame, and I thought if I waited long enough one of the supervisors would quit, or get fired, or someone would come in there that would take my side. But it became evident they wouldn't let that happen.
So finally, I just quit. I couldn't take it anymore. And I'll be perfectly honest, I consider myself a rational person, but right after I got so mad that I seriously contemplated getting physical revenge, whether it be kidnapping them and beating them, or just shooting them right in the face. Who hasn't thought of things like that? But ultimately I knew that was stupid and that I'd eventually calm down. And it did, at least the murder aspect. But I still get that fire inside every time I think about it.
So I had been a guitar player for several years just as a hobby, and one day it just hit me to take this entire thing to a new level; to take my pent-up anger, and rage, and hostility, and put it toward something creative and productive. So I had a couple musician friends that were in some local bands, and they helped me flesh out the album. We wrote 37 tracks in a short amount of time, and I know it sounds corny, but it was liberating. It felt good to get all this stuff off my chest.
So I took my hatred, and decided I would go beyond this little local agency. I started thinking they were the peons for once. They were beneath me. I wanted blood. I wanted to target something much bigger than these idiots that were fucking around with me for so long. After all, they were part of something much bigger, and that's what I wanted to target. So I decided to go for the government, and target their failures and missteps because, let's be honest, there are so many and no one really ever is held accountable for them. And that's exactly what happened.
No. We currently have no plans to play live.
I don't ever try to incorporate any influence in my music, but I'm sure some come out subconsciously. I really enjoy anything Mike Patton does, and I'm a big fan of Retox (Justin Pearson's hardcore punk band), so I'm sure some of those made appearances. But to me, personally, I think once you start intentionally emulating a person or band, you should just stop making music. If anything, copycats just oversaturate the market even more with uninspired ideas, and they are totally unnecessary.
I use Schecter guitars, Austin plays Schecter basses, and Sam plays a Yamaha electronic kit.
Hi, it's Aaron again. There you have it everyone! Be sure to pick up Leadsucker's debut album, "Burn", when it drops on August 28th. You can also pre-order it now in iTunes! I'd like to thank P.J. for his time, and Soundclick for the questions. Thanks for reading!