Updated: 07/07/03

One of the most exciting new bands to come out of the States in some time, The Black Dahlia Murder mix extreme metal influences with a hardcore sensibility and come up with a nightmare world of sound. Taking their name from an infamous murder case, the band will be making the rounds this summer at all the festivals as well as touring down that highway to hell like mad. We recently spoke with guitarist Brian Eschbach to learn more about the mysteries of the Black Dahlia…

First of all, what is the hardcore and metal scene like in Detroit?

Both are pretty weak to be perfectly honest with you. We played a show Monday night with a band called Bleeding Through from California and there were a good 350 kids that we had never seen before – so what I’m guessing is every couple of years around here, the hardcore scene seems to turn over to a younger crowd. I guess that’s what’s going on now, so if that is the case then awesome, because things were getting kind of dull around here. But the metal scene is a big clusterfuck in the sense that no one consistently goes to shows. There’s tons of people in the Detroit area that are really into metal, but only a third of them who will go to shows on a regular basis. It’s kind of a dead area around here.

What made you decide to name your band after the Elizabeth Short case?

The case in general matched some of the morbid, disturbing things that we try to express in our lyrics. It’s not necessarily shit we wanna go out and do – we don’t wanna go out sit out of someone’s window, wait till they go to sleep and then rip them up. We’re telling stories and we thought the nature of that particular story matched up with stuff that we try to do. We found it to be a fitting name.

How did you wind up on Metal Blade?

This past November, we started coming to a close on writing material for Unhallowed. And we started sending out some packages to labels so that we could get some money, get into the studio and record the thing. Metal Blade was one of the companies that got back to us, and they seemed to have some ideas for the band right along the lines that we had – so we started working with them.

I understand you guys are going to be playing the Milwaukee Metalfest this year. Have you ever been there before?

Oh no. That was actually a funny story. A couple of us always try to go out – for the past few years actually I can remember when we were ready to go and shit happened. Like we dropped a transmission about five miles into the trip last year. But we’re excited to have an excuse to actually have to get out there. I hear it’s a good time.

Have you ever been out here to California to play?

I have never been out to California period. We’re going to be headed out that way towards the end of August with a band from Pennsylvania called A Life Once Lost. We should be doing about five or so gigs in the State. And then we’ll be coming back through there again sometime in September on the Six Feet Under tour.

What do you think about touring with Six Feet Under?

We all think it’s pretty amazing. Chris Barnes, his style of vocals has had a huge effect on Trevor. Trevor’s been listening to Cannibal Corpse forever, since he was 14 years old. It will be a great experience and we’ll definitely get a lot of exposure that I would imagine.

What can we expect from a live Black Dahlia Murder show?

We try to be as on the ball as possible. We always try to get as into it as we can and try to give people more show for their money. Trevor has tons of stage presence. We don’t usually hear that we’re a boring live band.

To you, what is the best and the worst part about touring?

(Laughs) This is a great question! The best part about touring – I would have to say we don’t have tons of experience touring yet. We just bought a vehicle in the past couple of months and we just started touring. But from what I’ve gathered, the best part would have to be playing in front of people who you’ve never seen before and who have never seen you before and getting feedback from that. For us as musicians, that’s a huge thrill. We just love meeting people in general, so that’s the best part of touring. The worst part of touring – I don’t know – how many days have you gone without showering? On tour, I think I put in a five-day haul at one point. It was pretty intense. The bass player I think has us all beaten on that, but I’m not exactly sure as to the number of days. That’s definitely the worst part of touring. We haven’t hit the big time yet, but we’re working on it. Once we can work that shower into the guarantee, the world will be perfect.

While on tour, who in the band has the most annoying taste in music?

That would probably be me actually. I like a lot of shit that surpasses the world of metal and hardcore. I listen to a lot of Bob Seeger and old classic rock shit. If you were asking anyone else this question, I’m sure they would say me.

You know, classic rock sounds good drivin’ down the highway and everything…

Hell yeah! You know, when your under pressure and you gotta be somewhere in four hours, and your not getting the greatest gas mileage on the face of the earth, blast beats can get real old real fast!

Who in the band is most likely to own a Britney Spears CD?

That would be Corey. If he sees this interview, he’ll know. He listens to mostly death and a little bit of black metal. But he also has a sort of sweet spot for techno dance shit, which I don’t understand – but more power to him. That by far is the most interesting question I’ve heard today by the way. You’re the winner.

Hey thanks! Even more interesting, this issue will be at the Milwaukee Metalfest, so I’ll be able to give you a copy – and Corey a copy too!


On your EP, what made you decide to cover Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones?

It was kind of funny. While one day we were screwing around in practice, we started messing around with the main riffs of that song. We thought it would be funny to play it at a show. We played it a couple of times live. And then we were in the studio doing the EP, we thought we could do one of the really old songs or we can fuck around. And we chose to fuck around, so that’s how that came about.

Will you do Paint It Black live for us now?

Probably not anytime in the near future, because we’ve had some member changes since it was recorded and no really knows it anymore.

If there was something you’d like a listener to remember after hearing your music, what would it be?

I guess this isn’t very in depth or philosophical, but I would like people to pop it out of the CD player when they were done with it and say “Damn, that was good!” But we’ll see…

Do you have any messages for people who might be interested in checking out your music?

If you hear it and you like and you like to come and see us, we’re always taking donations of marijuana while on the road. I always try to slip that into interviews. It’s hard on the road…

I know, and you don’t know where to go, ya know?

Exactly! Who could you turn to?

And last question. If the world were to come to an end, what song would you like to hear before the final explosion?

Whoa!!! That’s an intense question. I guess there’s a couple of songs. Either Morbid Angel’s Rapture or – shooting out of the genre for a bit – Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy. That would be a good song to go up to your hot neighbor that you’ve never talked to before and say, “Hey, you wanna go out with a bang?” It would be a great one to hear right about that time. Oh, and Highway To Hell!

Unhallowed by The Black Dahlia Murder is now available from Metal Blade Records!


METAL BLADE RECORDS: The Record Label for The Black Dahlia Murder
THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER: Their Official Home Page!
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