Frankie Palmeri of Emmure Interviewed In Texas
Look At Yourself represents a coming of age for Emmure, a new chapter in an aggressive autobiography that stretches back to the band’s very first album, released when Frankie Palmeri was barely out of his teens. It’s infused with a brutal self-examination and observation, balancing hate, bile and perseverance, with the tempered experience of a life spent in pursuit of self-reliance and respect, from within and without. It’s expressed in a crushing cacophony of riffs that never fail to super-serve the forward-motion groove of Emmure. The pummeling new effort came out March 3rd on Sharptone Records. Brand spankin’ new Capital Chaos TV contributor Marcos Soto, had pleasure of chatting on the phone with Frankie who called from Texas, while on the “Carry The Flame” US Tour with After The Burial.
First off i just wanted to say congratulations on all you have had to accomplish within the last few years. From recovering from a bad vocal injury to completely starting the band from the ground up again. You showed massive perseverance and the outcome of it is a bitchin’ new album. I’ve been a long time Emmure fan and this to me is the best Emmure record, ever.
What was it like growing up in Queens, NY and how did that environment help shell your music taste?
Well to be quite honest with you I grew up in North Queens which is predominantly like a middle class neighborhood. Most my neighborhood was like Korean families or old Jewish families so it was a pretty relaxed place as for what it was like in the neighborhood. But where my music taste comes from is more like my house because i grew up in a house full of music. Like my brother listened to Faith No More, Guns n Roses, Metallica. And my sister listened to like Paula Abdul and New Kids On The Block. And my parents listened to doo wop and country and shit so i grew up in a house with all kinds of shit and I liked all of it in different ways but that’s where I essentially spent my time at home as a kid finding music as an outlet you know?
When did you start practicing your screaming, any bands you would practice your vocals too?
I must have started to do that around 11 or 12 years old and I just would like hang out in my basement and sing along to every record I had. So it would start out with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit, and then it would turn into Hatebreed and Chimaira , and then the next thing would be some other brutal shit like Cryptopsy. So i was always just mimicking stuff alone in my room or basement being a weirdo jumping around screaming and yelling as a kid.
As we all know you suffered a bad vocal injury that put the band on hold for quite sometime. For the fans can you speak on what you where feeling at the time and what exactly did you have to do to get your vocals back in shape because they sound amazing now.
Thank you! I just went into a tour kind of ill prepared. I don’t think I was taking care of myself correctly at the time and I think that I kind of just bit myself in the ass. It happens to the best of anybody. I had an injury that basically I didn’t know where to go for help. I eventually saw the right doctors that where able to find a solution to the problem and that’s really it, it sucked. As for what i was feeling at the time i don’t know. There was doubt, fear, all kinds of things you know? I had no clue what was going to happen I was just really happy and lucky to get the right help.
Was it difficult rehearsing songs your first time back after being out on a vocal injury for that long?
No not really. Its kind of a mental game when your doing something like this. You have to have that confidence game of like, yeah your gonna get back on the horse and your gonna kill it. So that just was just kinda my attitude. It was like okay that sucked, I’m okay now, lets keep going you know? That’s just really it so I don’t look backwards I just look forward and at this point. I really try and pamper myself and take care of my voice. Which is one of those things when you do what i do which is use your voice as this harsh instrument, its kinda like being a fucking pro wrestler. Your gonna hurt yourself no matter how careful you are your gonna fucking catch a snag so that’s just how it goes.
When did you start feeling friction between you and your previous band mate’s ?
Oh i don’t know… maybe like, 2003?
Can i just say one thing Frank and this is coming from a hardcore Emmure fan. It seems like every time an original member leaves the band, besides you of course. The outcome is the band gets better and better. Is it wrong for me to think that ?
No, its funny how that kind of lined up like that. And now there is kind of a this paper trail of proof of that, but its interesting. I mean the more I was able to vocalize my ideas the more walls I was able to break down I would describe it as. I think that’s when the vision started to become more clear and the records started to get better.
Would you say after your album “The Respect Issue”, where you able to get this breath of fresh air creativity wise for “Felony” (The bands 3rd album after first line up change). Because Felony to me is so different, youthful, fun, and pushed so many boundaries for the band at that time. Don’t get me wrong the previous albums are great, but I feel like the band really blossomed on that album.
Thank you! Thank you! That’s great, I mean I feel the same way and not to take away anything Jesse (original Jesse Ketive guitarist that stayed with the band until the most recent lineup change in 2015) or anyone who added to that album. But I had a MAJOR hand in that record so you know I was able to like sit down and go okay these are the riffs i wanna do, these are the parts I want to do, this is what I want it to sound like. And I wasn’t able to do that as hard on “Good Bye To The Gallows” or the “Respect Issue” even though there are a lot of my ideas on those records and some riffs that I had done.
Would you say your previous band mate’s put a cap on the creativity of what the band could be?
They just didn’t get it! They just didn’t fucking get it. And rather then me fight with them. I was just like okay, ill just sit here, I’m just the guy that screams.. what ever… you know? And then as time went on I was able to start showing colors onto what the albums are now and… I mean, I share your sentiment is kind of what I’m getting at hahaha.
When the previous members of Emmure left was there ever a moment of doubt about the future of the band?
Maybe a second where I had a moment where I was like whoa things are different now. And I had to sit there and choose, do I focus on whats broken or do I move forward? And I was like alright I’m going to keep moving forward. So once that attitude became my choice things started to add up and I eventually put the pieces together. And its always a mess you know? When you take something that’s very fragile and shatters it takes a while to glue it back together and get it right. But i don’t know, here we are today.. so.
Well congratulations man you fucking did it and this new line up with Josh Travis is awesome you guys bring out the absolute best in each other.
What was your biggest influence for writing the lyrics for take a look at yourself?
Every record I do is sort of a piece of my diary and gives you a run down on what the last 16 months of my life has been like so this record is no different. So your getting another tangible piece of my life when you buy an Emmure album. so it basically shows all the emotions I was going through and had bottled up until I finally got to make the album.
Any songs on the album that hit home on a personal level more then others?
No they all share a very similar space for me. The way I look at it is the album is suppose to be what calcifies all of it. So yeah i couldn’t pick one specific song.
Any news on when the next headlining tour will be?
As soon as i know you will know hahaha.
Differences working with SharpTone Records as apposed to being with Victory Records for all those years?
Some ways yes some ways no. In some ways there is the industry that never really changes. And then there is the part of it that does change which is the personality. So we are with a great team of people who work really fucking hard for us and all their bands. They really know what they are doing. We are in a great place and we can’t complain.
As we all know you are an avid fan of Limp Bizkit and I think a vast majority of Emmure fans are as well. What are the chances of doing some Bizkit covers and if so which ones would be the most fun for you guys to do?
That’s a good question I think the best song that I would be able to sell the best would be “Counterfeit”. I think that song would sound the most correct for me because there is a lot of stuff in Fred Durst’s voice that I can’t emulate because I just think he’s so unique. But yeah either counterfeit or another song off “Three Dollar Bill Y’all” like “Nobody Loves Me” or something like that.
Three favorite Emmure records
Look at Yourself, Eternal Enemies & Felony..Roughly in that order.
Do you ever go back and listen to “The Complete Guide to Needlework” (the bands very first EP) and just like remember a whole bunch of shit? Or is it shit that you even want to remember?
If I even say the name of the album I get this huge rush of different memories and emotions. Just a whole bunch of different kinds of shit, I mean its literally how long ago? It came out 11 years ago in 2006. its basically looking myself in the nose and just being like its okay you’ll be alright, you’ll get it haha.
Do you remember that old record label down in southern California called This City Is Burning and the live dvd they put out back in 06 or 07 of you guys playing with a bunch of other bands like Elysia (rip) at the historic metal/hardcore venue The Showcase Theater (rip) in Corona, California? I have that dvd of you and your guys live set, and you guys fucking KILLED IT!
THAT IS AWESOME! THAT IS AWESOME! Hahahaha that dvd is sick! Yeah I remember those shows. I remember that whole show. I remember the room, how it was our first time playing in California, the amazing response we had, how many people we met, how insane all the kids went. Yeah it was sick. RIP to The Showcase Theater.
Worst place you have ever taken a shit on tour?
Lets see where haven’t I shit is the question.
Have you shit in someones mouth?
Hahaha no no no I’m not that rude.….. I don’t know you take it where you can make it ya know what I’m saying? Okay, okay the most disgusting filthy bathroom I’ve ever taken a shit in was at a Chinese food restaurant at some stupid random place in New York.
Was it an all you can eat??
HAHAH no no I just remember we where playing this show at this fucking bar with Liferuiner down the street. we all ate and then i had to take a shit…. and then…. dude to be honest i couldn’t even tell you how horrific this bathroom was.
Okay so what did you do, did you put hella toilet paper or did you hover??
Haha I’m the kinda person that’s just like what ever happens happens. I just do it you know what I’m saying? Like what I’m i gonna do? I gotta take a shit I’m gonna get in and get out.
Do you remember that old Chappelle show skit where they have all the std puppets? And it gets to the crabs and they say they “Wait in bed sheets, toilet seats and bite your nuts”? I haven’t been able to shit in a public restroom since man.
(Mutual laughter) yeah I remember that one. Honestly this place was definitely a risk, but I don’t know dude. I think my chances where fucking slim at the time.
Drinker or a smoker?
I don’t drink but I do smoke. I’m 420 friendly to the max.
Any favorite strains?
Not really, if its 1 pm ill smoke sativa. If its 1 am ill smoke indica. And that’s just strictly how I roll. Also don’t do drugs that’s my PSA!
Biggest advice you would give yourself 10 years ago?
Relax, I think if i would have just taken it easy and just relaxed and not have been so fucking serious i would have had a much easier time in my 20’s but other then that dude I’m good.
Emmure – “Carry The Flame” US Tour w/After The Burial remaining dates.
March 12th – Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
March 14th – St. Louis, MO @ Ready Room
March 15th – Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
March 16th – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
March 17th – Freehold, NJ @ GameChanger World
March 18th – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
March 19th – New York, NY @ Webster Hall (Marlin Room)
March 20th – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
March 21st – Greensboro, NC @ Arizona Pete’s
March 22nd – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
March 23rd – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum