|Interview by Burt Wolf with Reed McCallister founder, vocals & guitarist for TWO TON ANVIL!
Interview done April 8th, 2014!
CAN YOU PROVIDE SOME OF THE HISTORY OF TWO
TON ANVIL AND HOW YOU GUYS GOT TOGETHER?
Just a couple guys from the Chicago scene getting together to
take things to the next professional level. Two of us founded
the band and continue to shape the Chicago Metal sound. Big
hooks, big vocals, and catchy riffs that are marketable and
radio friendly while not selling out so to speak. Our mission is
to bring the music to life live with a lot of energy and throw
down some great songs for listening enjoyment.
HAVE ANY OF THE BAND MEMBERS BEEN IN OTHER
Yes, Reed has been in DEMENTIA and SICK with former
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH bassist Matt Snell as well as
ARMY OF SOULS with current bassist Glenn Christon. Other
founding member Larry DeMumbrum (drummer for BROKEN
HOPE and MINDSET ZERO). TWO TON ANVIL has had
several "live" guitar players and drummers since. The band
revolves around Reed and Glenn.
WHY WAS THE NAME TWO TON ANVIL CHOSEN AS THE BANDS NAME?
TWO = 2 of us, TON = heavy, ANVIL cuz it's METAL! Put them together and no other band had that name.
Sounds pretty cool too...
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE THE STYLE AND SOUND OF TWO TON ANVIL?
While we are always shaping and defining our "unique" sound and brand our vision is to make great songs #1, be
original, be memorable, be catchy, have huge hooks that keep the listener engaged both live and via media. Like a
refined freight train of sound that gets inside your head and is difficult to forget. Dedicated to our craft and to our
fellow bands and fans.
I ONLY HAVE YOUR "SELF TITLED" DEBUT ALBUM, WHICH CAME OUT BACK IN 2010. HOW
WELL WAS IT RECEIVED IN THE UNDERGROUND SCENE?
All reviews have been favorable. For that I am grateful and appreciative. It actually makes us want to always
improve, always play and write better while really finding our own wall of sound...when you listen to our music
you have to know it is TWO TON ANVIL without actually being told it is us. Our 2012 release "COMING
HOME" is a tribute to all our troops, past - present - and future that fight for our rights and freedoms. Many of the
songs on that release pay tribute. We have to send it to you Burt!
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT IN YOUR SONGS?
Military, people and problems, current events, politics, and positive messages
about being the best you can be
WHO WRITES THE MAJORITY OF THE MUSIC OR DOES THE
WHOLE BAND HAVE SOME INPUT?
The band definitely has the final input and final touches to give us that
signature sound we're refining. Reed does nearly all the pre-production and
"COMING HOME" IS YOUR 2ND FULL LENGTH THAT CAME OUT
IN 2012. CAN YOU GIVE US SOME INFORMATION ON THIS
See above...we had planned a USO tour shortly after but one of the members
"burned out" and abruptly left..."COMING HOME" is a tribute to all our
troops, past - present - and future that fight for our rights and freedoms.
Many of the songs on that release pay tribute. We have to send it to you
Burt! There are also songs in there about being positive, troubled souls we
all know, and everyday events and challenges. Our second drummer left
right after the recording. It was not really his style of playing...more just a good guy helping us out. We haven't
found a drummer that is a really good fit for us and us to him/her. We need some creative grounded professional
people without a lot of drama/baggage that can contribute to our vision and enhance the signature sound of the
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE BAND HAS PROGRESSED BETWEEN THE TWO ALBUMS?
Well for sure our initial approach was a 2 lead singer / harmonized Metal band but that other guy burned out,
copped a very bad attitude, and stopped loving music altogether. He contributed very little to the release so I took
the helm, picked up the slack without looking back. I finished the CD and modified / adapted the live show with a
single vocal approach. We've received very good review as a 3 piece live but I would like to find that good
drummer and second guitarist for the live show. But they have to be a good fit all the way around. Reliable,
professional, talented, and very tight with the band.
DARK STAR PUT OUT BOTH OF YOUR RELEASES. HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED UP WITH THEM?
HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING WITH THEM?
They are a Chicago based SONY MUSIC affiliate. They approached us. They are a solid indie label with good
connections. They are really good to work with and the communication is really good!
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER MATERIAL OUT OR IN THE WORKS?
YES! We have a 5 song EP coming out...well...ASAP. Meaning it is delayed due to the drummer issue. We want
the new guy to be on there playing it his way within the TWO TON ANVIL signature style.
DOES TWO TON ANVIL PLAY OUT A LOT?
Yes all the time when we have a drummer!
WHERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES YOU'VE PLAYED?
We play numerous festivals throughout the Summertime in the Midwest
from OK to MO, OH, IN, MI, WI, and of course IL. We play House of
Blues, Reggies, Aragon, Metro, Double Door, House of Music &
Entertainment (HOME), Durty Nellies, Chicago City Limits, Mojoes, just
to name a few.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU'VE PLAYED WITH?
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, BURY YOUR DEAD, IN THIS
MOMENT, ANOTHER BLACK DAY, KITTIE, DIRGE WITHIN,
TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, NONPOINT, there are so many National
and regional bands that are good. We are grateful to share the stage with
all of them. Our promoters are directed to do just that as well. It's
somewhat of a science - play with great bands and be associated with
great bands. Let's just say we like to stay away from bands that are not
yet ready for a professional level. Some bands just don't care...that's cool
- we just don't want to be around them.
DO ANY OF YOUR SHOWS STAND OUT FOR ANY REASON? MAYBE SOMETHING A BAND
MEMBER OR FAN DID?
You know what's cool? Every show I remember stands out for one reason or another...I enjoy engaging the
crowd and commanding the stage...with that it is very important to be "in command" and absolutely BADASS and
professional on stage. I get everything from fans coming up on stage to sing our songs to TWO TON ANVIL
tattoos to people running around in the pit engaging the rest to follow the songs and the beat. It is so energizing
and rewarding! We've mostly played the entire Midwest with shows in other major markets which we hope to
capitalize on this year and beyond. The fans are amazing...that ONLY happens when the bands are amazing.
Meaning there are a lot of good bands out there and unfortunately some that are less than serious / professional
that ruin it for the rest. You know you've made it when the fans are out of control in a GOOD way....there is no
other better feeling in the world except sex comes close!
YOU GUYS ARE FROM THE CHICAGO AREA, WHO ARE SOME OF THE BETTER BANDS AND
LABELS FROM THIS AREA?
Well...PAVEMENT comes close BUT they are about shit that will sell immediately like very average female
fronted bands (WAY over-saturated) but I guess any female boobs look better than mine!
ARE THERE ANY ROAD OR BAND STORIES THAT COME TO MIND THAT YOU CAN SHARES?
Nothing that really sticks out - we party but not into drugs...wait - I was driving the tour bus and everyone was
having a good time on New Year's Eve....then BAM! part of the drive shaft goes shooting through the hood! It
was cold - we were in WI. I ended up hitch hiking to a rental place, bringing a truck back and we moved all the
equipment into then arranging a tow and fix for the bus...we made it to the gig (late) but killed the show and had a
blast. When we got the bus back we kept the hole in the hood and painted it blood red. We've since sold the bus
but that was certainly an experience.
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC BESIDES WHAT YOU PLAY?
Absolutely - all music that is well played and music - meaning not just rhymes and beats, real music. I also write /
score music and voice overs for TV / film / video / commercials etc...I've done work for Red Bull, FOX Sports,
and Disney to name a few...
WHO ARE SOME OF THE
BANDS YOU HAVE BEEN
LISTENING TO LATELY?
The really good original bands
around here as well as AVENGED,
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH,
GODSMACK, anything with Dave
Grohl, and I try to listen to all the
bands we are playing with coming
WHAT WAS THE FIRST
ALBUM YOU REMEMBER
Man..I was 4 and I'll never forget
my older brother cranking up
JUDAS PRIEST "UNLEASHED IN THE EAST: LIVE IN JAPAN". I picked up the guitar a month later and never
looked back. That used give me chills, it's amazing when music can do that. I want to be on the giving end of that!
WHAT WAS THE FIRST CONCERT YOU EVER WENT TO?
Think I was 8 when my cousin took me to a KISS concert here in Chicago in the mid 80s...amazing show!
THIS IS ALSO A HORROR WEBZINE, SO I ALWAYS ASK, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE
FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET - the pioneers of horror! INSIDIOUS and SAW
movies are pretty brutal too. PARANORMAL, DEVILS DUE, Rob Zombie's movies...there are more but those
come to mind first!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU'D THINK PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
I don't think anything really! See below...
WHAT ELSE DO THE BAND MEMBERS DO WHEN NOT DOING ANY WORK FOR THE BAND?
(JOBS, HOBBIES, ETC)
The bassist Glenn has a tile installation company and I renovate / fix and flip homes - I'm very into real estate
investing of all types and developing. My company also allows me the freedom to take off on tour whenever
needed as my team and partners can run things when we're on the road and I can respond to concerns and
problems via smart phone - it's pretty cool stuff..."The Reed McCallister Project" Ha Ha as a spin off from the
Vanilla Ice Project! Plus I love any type of physical activities.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS BEST AND WORST
THINGS ABOUT BEING IN A BAND?
Best is hands down creating awesome music and
making it come to life playing live...playing big shows
and festivals - I just LOVE eveything about music. It's
in my blood and I've been addicted since I can
remember...WORST is the flood of sub par to average
bands that don't give a shit which gives the general
public a bad taste of supporting local and regional
bands...the promoters don't promote (they just book),
the clubs / venues don't market or promote, and they
really try to give you little to no pay. The cover bands
don't have much to cover over the last 15 years...they're
all covering oldies or music from decades ago. Sure-
we'll do some remakes, but NOT covers. Hoping your
readers will continue to support their favorite local and
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE NEXT FROM TWO TON ANVIL?
We continue to strive for improvement and fresh flavor all while honing in on our signature sound. We want to
grow and improve, keep the TWO TON ANVIL tradition while throwing in some new flavors...reach new
heights, get more exposure, play more shows and festivals
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW?
Ha - helping my neighbor tile his backsplash...he's very cool and watches the dogs for me when I'm away! Then
into the studio (no surprise there)
WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT IT'S OVER?
I'm reviewing potential properties to purchase and trying out new drummers while tweaking the new material.
THANX A LOT FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER THIS INTERVIEW. FEEL FREE TO ADD
ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO CLOSE OUT.
Thank YOU for the interview Burt. Continued success with your endeavors and we appreciate your support of
Metal and Horror! To your followers I'd like to add continue your support of original music - go see a band every
chance you get. Thank you so much for your support of TWO TON ANVIL and we are committed to bringing
you music and songs of the highest quality caliber to keep you hungry for more! Horns up! Keep it METAL!