An Interview with REMEMBERING NEVER’s Peter ‘Mean Pete’ Kowalsky

RNeyes

REMEMBERING NEVER have been one of the few bands that have managed to go completely under the radar for so many years, yet still mean so much to their fans. The band, lyrically, have become a mainstay in the hearts and minds of those looking for music with a message. Not a message of partying and wrecking shit but more politically focused, touching upon subjects such as animal rights, gun control, religion, and gay rights. Having been around since 2002, the band has had it’s fair share of up’s and down’s. The one constant has been Peter Kowalsky. He has remained firmly in the scene as a vocalist for not only Remembering Never but Until The End and xBISHOPx, a guitarist in Dirty Habits and Ether (he was RN’s original guitarist till he stepped up and took over the mic) and he is also the co-founder of Dead Truth Recordings. God Save Us was the last full length with all new material Remembering Never released, in 2006. This Hell Is Home marks the band’s return to form. Almost 7 years later, they still sound amazing and Pete is still as pissed off as ever. I recently was able to toss a few questions his way, some may be shocked and enlightened by his answers, most will see the genius. Read on:

Mean Pete

For those not familiar with REMEMBERING NEVER, can we get a brief history of the band?

Hmmm… we started right after high school, (Danny and I) started jamming the first half of Hatebreed’s Satisfaction … record, eventually started writing our own songs as a bunch of friends, put out an EP called Suffocates… with one of my best friends Justin on vocals. The lyrical content was personal experiences and such. We started writing for our Ferret debut, Justin drops out of the band a few weeks before entering the studio for She Looks… because we weren’t gaining momentum fast enough so I started singing, wrote lyrics based on our previous EP, the whole record was recorded too fast and it ultimately sucked. Then I had a period of some pseudo enlightenment and decided if I was going to have a microphone and the ability to reach people I wasn’t going to waste it on bullshit. Wrote some politically charged songs, recorded Women & Children… toured a bunch on it. Kids moshed. A lot. Got into a bit of trouble on the road. Furthering our position of unpopular ideals, wrote God Save Us, recorded and toured. After dealing with ourselves for 9-10 months a year for several years, unofficially and unspokenly decided to not do anything anymore. That was around 2006/7. Fast forward to a few years later, I hit up Danny and said “wanna jam some shit out?” and he said “fuck yea”, we recruited some friends and we started writing what eventually turned into This Hell Is Home. Now that we’re grown, we don’t tour nearly as much as we once did but we do what we can. Old people shit, man.

The new record, This Hell Is Home, has been a LONG time in the making, and it’s shaping up to be an epic record. What took so long in getting this done?

I wouldn’t say epic, but thank you. We took our time, threw a lot of shit out, we had some setbacks here and there, who doesn’t? We didn’t want to just write a record for the sake of putting something out. We’ve played the “filler” game before and decided to skip it this round.

In 2010, there was a demo for a song called ‘Time Eraser’. It was a very sick track, why the decision to axe it?

We tried writing in a different tuning and that was one of the first songs we wrote for the record. It didn’t really fit with the direction of the record and it was definitely too long. We were going to salvage some parts but we just scrapped it. It will be available on the CD version of This Hell Is Home only, as a hidden (or not so hidden anymore) track.

I love how no matter what, RN has stayed true to who and what they are and have been. Are the fans the driving force or is it need to vent ideas that keeps the band going?

We do what we do. I write what I write. As awesome as the people that support us are, and I’m goddamn thankful as many have stuck around this long, for me I just need an outlet to express ideas. This is my catalyst. There are so many shitty things that are viewed as “normal” in society, it makes me sick, but at the same time some people think my views and ideas are “radical” and I think they are very normal and rational. At the end of the day, I want to shake the foundation of peoples old world thought.

You guys, as a whole, took the recording and manufacturing of this new record into your own hands, which is quite an amazing feat these days, how has the response been? Better than expected I’d imagine!

Yea, the whole Ferret thing fell out and I was talking to Carl from Good Fight about possibly releasing the LP though GF but I thought it’d be better for us to get it out since we were doing the CD anyway. And fuck it, I LOVE debt, obviously.

You have always been a very outspoken individual. Some people get it, small minded fools don’t, and that is what keeps the fan base so true and pure. With this in mind, what is your view on the current state of the music scene? And what can, or should it do to help ‘repair’ itself?

Current music… well, pop music, will always be dogshit, with a few exceptions. Pop music is part of radio programming and it does that. Keeps people feeling safe and compliant. These songs permeate your brain and create a place of resentment and hatred that is unmatched. At work I just started turning the radio off all together because we don’t have a “rock” station in FL and every station that comes through clear is garbage. As far as metal is concerned, I’m pretty excited. There are a ton of awesome bands killing the game right now such as Hivesmasher, Dillinger, Heiress, Cattle Decapitation, Broken Hope, The Acacia Strain… hardcore has some gems, the obvious, Terror, Coke Bust, Oathbreaker, WarXGames, Hulud, Vaccine (RIP), Rival Mob, Suicidal (still), Sick Fix, Foundation, Poison Planet, etc… Hip hop is having a good few years, fucking SOLE, Immortal Technique, Mellowhype, Sticman, Danny Brown, Mr MFN Exquire– all awesome, and assorted other stuff, new AFI is awesome, Gypsy and Daylight are cool, Queens of the Stone Age… I’m all over the place. Normally I just listen to the classics- Otis Redding, Faith No More, Pedro The Lion, Leadbelly, Zao, Dead Prez, Tom Waits… music today though, there’s always going to be shit and there’s always going to be shine. You cant have the shine without the shit, am I right? Its good to have both so there’s a reference point. Now if we can find a way to rid the earth of that ridiculous nerdy fucking 808 disco breakdown bullshit. White suburban dickheads with neck tattoos and gold chains, tank tops and auto tune choruses between some pseudo death metal shit. That shit should go to bed, ASAP.

What would RN like to see come from their music and message?

Any time someone can tell me they got into veganism because of our lyrics, or denounced their religion or improved their life in some way, that’s what makes me feel like I’m not wasting my time. To me, the message is the most important part. Musically we just want to fuck up ears and brains.

I have seen a resurgence of xBISHOPx shows lately, has that been resurrected and if so, is there any plans of some new material in the future?

Yea, that was weird. I dated this girl who was the opposite of Straight Edge (easily my biggest dating regret thus far!) so I would see the fucking dregs of society at bars she would frequent and realized this is how “normal” people live. If that’s normal living I’d rather not live. If you need to get fucked up in order to have fun… all that tells me is you’re a boring motherfucker. I digress… after seeing the way these assholes lived, I figured it would be a great time to bring back a band that was very important to me. We are writing currently for a record called “Everything In Vein”. Its coming out awesome so far. The lyrics will be much more assertive this time around. In my old age I’ve had time to do some research and be more pissed about more shit.

In the past, Pete, you were almost ‘militant’ about your Vegan Edge beliefs, are those still a huge part of your life? We have all seen bands and members that claimed one or the other ‘drop out’ and it is a little disheartening to see. Obviously everyone changes but, when you speak freely on such topics, only to turn around and deny it, it seems like a cop out to me. Opinions?

That’s most definitely a cop out, however it happens more often than not. Veganism is probably the most important thing to me, mostly because it effects more than just me. There are too many aspects of it that are beneficial to not consider. I just cant justify that something needs to die because I’m hungry. I couldn’t feel like an independent person knowing that something suffered in a torturous life just because I want to satisfy my taste buds. I would feel like a real piece of shit if I went to bed every night knowing that I’m perpetuating an unjust system. I hate the carnivore debate. News flash. There’s no such thing as a human carnivore or omnivore. Everyone is just vegetarians with an entitlement complex. As far as the Straight Edge thing, I’m still very much edge, I’m fucking 32. If I haven’t started getting blackout drunk or shooting black tar by now I doubt I ever will. The label is a silly thing to be proud of. I look at it as having common sense. I can’t be proud of something I don’t have to work at. If it was a struggle or required effort, hell yea I would be proud… but if it required effort I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. That’s like saying you’re proud of being white. Dude, you didn’t do anything, you’re mom just happened to shit you out of her and that was your skin color.

What are REMEMBERING NEVER’s plans for what’s left of 2013 and 2014?

For 2013, we’re playing a few shows, record is coming out in a couple weeks, very excited about it. Next year we’re hoping to travel a tiny bit but we’ll see what happens. Definitely some east coast tours and hopefully a short west coast run. And writing, so it doesn’t take us another 7 years to put out a record.

Who would you like to see go out with RN?

Anyone awesome with a message. I don’t think we’re cool enough for a relatively established band to go out with, so anyone that isn’t full of shit.

And on the imagination side, what would be a dream tour?

FUCKING PANTERA (with Zakk Wylde), Misfits (Danzig, Doyle, J Only and rando drummer), xfilesx, Tom Waits, David Bazan, Faith No More, Sole, Immortal Technique, Cattle Decap, Machine Head and Cat Power. A travelling fucking festival.

What are a few of the newer bands out there that you would like to see gain a little more respect?

There are a lot of cool things happening in FL these days, shout out to Homestretch, Fero Lux, Old Habits, Axis, Forty Winters, Everymen, Super Mutant, Amigo The Devil, Beastplague, Gouge Away, Shovelhead, Nebraska Bricks, Incited, … yea, FL is booming right now, its awesome.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing and seeing more of you soon!

THANKS!

THIH

This Hell Is Home will be released November 29, 2013 on cd/lp/digital. Do yourself (and the band) a favor and pick up this destined to great record! You can purchase it HERE.

You can also follow the band via their facebook.

-JH

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