How Texas Rawks (Interview with Venomous Maximus)

Venomous Maximus is not a typical Doom/Stoner band but I’ll be damned if songs like “Give up the Witch” won’t be worshiped by fans of Doom, Stoner, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock…you name it! Mixing all kinds of hard (and not so hard) influences, their debut “Beg Upon the Light” was one of the best surprises of the year. Whatever your background is a great record is a great record. In this is an interview with Gregg Higgins (Vocals, Guitars), talks about his vocals, the sacrifices the band members had to make, and Texas…what else!

Dr.Doom: Hello Gregg, before we start this interview do you mind giving some details about the background of the band’s members and how you guys got together?
Gregg: Montrose is a very small neighborhood where we live, At the time I was running a tattoo shop. They wasn’t a very big awareness of the music we play in the area so we would all end up in the same places and the band formed.

Dr.Doom: VENOMOUS MAXIMUS is not the typical Doom/Stoner band. How would you describe VENOMOUS MAXIMUS to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
Gregg: I wouldn’t describe us as a stoner or doom band. We consider the band to be a Hard Rock Heavy Metal band. The only thing that is doomy about us is the dark content & the subject matter. We always say we sound like Ozzy and Priest.

Dr.Doom: “Beg Upon the Light” signifies a slight shift to a more 80’s Heavy Metal direction. I mean, in this album the IRON MAIDEN and KING DIAMOND references are more apparent. Between the 70’s musical era and the 80’s which one you believe had the biggest impact on the band?
Gregg: Yea its exactly what I was just talking about on the last question. Our earlier material was more basic and rock driven, due to us only being a band for a short time. The new album is closer to the original idea of what we wanted to sound like. When it comes to the 70’s and the 80’s I love them both. There are certain things I don’t like about the 80’s and I love everything about the 70’s, but the point was to mix them.

Dr.Doom: Your singing style is one of the most characteristic aspects of VENOMOUS MAXIMUS. Back when you started the band did you ever considered going with a more orthodox vocal style or a more mainstream singer?
Gregg: I never wanted to be the singer. We couldn’t find anyone that fit. All I know is I wanted clean distinguishable lyrics chanting timeless tales of human experience. Things now days are so confusing with the genres, the underground, mainstream. I dont care about any of it. I am
not a computer person.

Dr.Doom: I also noticed that in “Beg Upon the Light” vocals are cleaner and louder, do you feel more confident about his vocal abilities?
Gregg: Yes way more confident. Singing for a band is the most embarrassing
thing I have ever done in my life. Whatever the show was good or bad
but it’s still terrifying.

Dr.Doom: VENOMOUS MAXIMUS has adopted an occult-type image. Do you ever have second thoughts about it since lately almost all underground bands have a similar theme?
Gregg: No not at all. Occult imagery has always been in rock n roll. It’s the basics of rock n roll. Bands have always just hidden it. It’s a product of our modern day society. Let it all hang out and 1/2 of those bands dont even know what the imagery they are using means.

Dr.Doom: Now that the word “underground” came up, a lot of artists express their discomfort concerning the sacrifices they have to make to keep doing this (that is being in a band). For example it was only until recently that ORANGE GOBLIN managed to quit their day jobs. What kind of sacrifices have you done to give birth to VENOMOUS MAXIMUS and take it to the next level with the release of “Beg Upon the Light”?
Gregg: I have given everything up a person can give up. 1st go the physical possessions, then relationships and friends. After that your physical health and your sanity. But isn’t that the point of this music is to give up everything you have and see what’s left when your bone dry.

Dr.Doom: You are from Houston, and in my mind Texas is the crossroad of many different musical styles: Rock’n’Roll, Blues, Country, Jazz etc. So, how much Texas is there in VENOMOUS MAXIMUS?
Gregg: There is a side of the band that is not in our artwork or stage presence that is 100% Texas! The music of course. We have all been raised on ZZ Top and Pantera. I think it’s important for art to reflect its environment.

Dr.Doom: THE SWORD, WO FAT and VENOMOUS MAXIMUS are three Texan bands that just poped into my head. All three are heavily inspired from the 70’s yet they are quite different. It seems like the local scene is quite flourishing. Are there any other bands, fans of VENOMOUS MAXIMUS should know?
Gregg: Maleveller, Eagle Claw, Ancient VVisdom, Texxxas. Pushmen, Beau
Beasley, War Master, Wet Lungs and thats just Texas!

Dr.Doom: You are known for supporting big names of the scene! Are there any moments you remember and you feel like sharing?
Gregg: Hanging with Bobby from Pentagram talking about guitars was cool. Talking to Matt Pike about Alien agendas, but the best was Phil, he’s a super intense person.

Dr.Doom: … It’s been an honor talking with you Gregg! Before we close I would like to the thank you for the interview and would you mind revealing any goals the band has set for the future?
Gregg: More of the same and see you on the road……

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