May 15, 2008
The End Begins: Kevin Miller of Tantric
By The Atomic Chaser and The Rocker
Twenty-four hours before talking with the Rocker and I, drummer Kevin Miller was pulling a double shift playing for two bands at world famous Key Club on the Sunset strip. So, who is Kevin Miller? Kevin played drums for the rock band Fuel. Kevin played drums for Fuel from 1997-2004, taking over after Jody Abbot's departure from the band. Kevin left Fuel in 2004 and recently formed his own band, "Fosterchild". He is best known for his repetitive fills and his unconventional timing. He is also, currently the drummer for Tantric.
For those of you out there that may have forgotten about Tantric, here is a little 411 for you. Tantric was formed by three former members of Days of the New, Jesse Vest, Todd Whitener, and Matt Taul, with the addition of Merge singer, Hugo Ferreira. They were signed to Maverick Records in 1999, and recorded their self-titled debut with producer, Toby Wright in 2000. The record was released in February 2001, which debuted at #193 on the Billboard 200. The record eventually went platinum, largely on the strength of the single "Breakdown" and the band's extensive touring with the likes of Kid Rock and Creed. The song "Breakdown" would also eventually be selected for an opening scene to an episode of the gritty cop drama, "The Shield". Follow-up singles "Astounded" and a remixed version of "Mourning" also fared well.
Tantric's second album, ‘After We Go’, again produced by Toby Wright, was released in February 2004, preceded by the single "Hey Now". In 2005, bassist Jesse Vest left the group, wishing to spend more time with his family. He was replaced by Bruce LaFrance, through mutual friend and touring band member, Kevin McCreery. With Elliott Blakey in the producer's chair, Tantric worked on the follow-up to ‘After We Go’, tentatively titled ‘Tantric III’, and scheduled for a May 2006 release. The band finished over a dozen songs for the album such as, "People", "Worth Waiting For", "Stay With You", "Locked Out", and Whitener's lead singing performance, "July." Complications arose in March of 2006, when Tantric parted ways with Maverick Records, which itself was collapsing.
On May 8th, 2007, the release of three songs from ‘Tantric III’ on the band's Myspace was largely overshadowed by Todd Whitener's farewell announcement on the band's website. Ferreira later said in interviews that Whitener, as well as other members of the band, had grown agonizingly frustrated with the band's record label complications. He, along with Lafrance, went onto form Interchange in November of 2007, a light-rock band based out of Louisville, KY. Matt Taul, amidst personal struggles of his own, left the group, and was later imprisoned on drug-related charges.
Hugo Ferreira began searching for a new band, enlisting former Fuel drummer Kevin Miller, Joe Pessia (guitarist Dramagods) through mutual friend Nuno Bettencourt, Erik Leonhardt (bassist), and Marcus Ratzenboeck (electric violin) as new members of the band. Shortly thereafter, Tantric announced their deal with the Silent Majority Group record label, and their new management company, JHMP.
Because Ferreira remains the only original member of Tantric, ‘Tantric III’ has been shelved for the time being. Ferreira has said the reasoning for this, other than the logical label complications, was he did not want to produce an album under the Tantric name, that was partially written by Whitener and Taul. Therefore, Ferreira and his new mates marched into the studio, and recorded 10 new songs, in addition to a totally revamped version of "The One," featuring Kevin Martin of Candlebox.
After a seven year break, the band's latest release, 'The End The Begins', is out now and receiving nothing but praise. Not only from all Tantric fans, but music fans worldwide. The Rocker and I caught up with drummer Kevin Miller to talk to him about the new album and where he fits in with Tantric.Here is what he shared with us...
AAM: Talk to us about the new album, THE END BEGINS..how long did you guys spend in the studio recording? How many songs did you actually write for the album?
Kevin Miller: 30 days. It was crunch time to get the album finished. We really didn't have any time to mess around. From the moment we walked in the studio from the moment we went to bed. All we thought about was getting the album done.
AAM: Tantric is totally a whole new band with Hugo being the only remaining member. How long did it take before you guys found your chemistry?
KM: No long at all. Each of us has played together in the past and are also very familiar with each other’s music. As far as finding out chemistry, it didn't take long at all.
AAM: How much input did you have on the new album? What was it like working with Kevin Martin from Candlebox on the track, The One".
KM: Everything you hear on the new album is written by the band. Everyone writes their own parts. There is no one spoon feeding anybody. Working with Kevin Martin was great, such a powerful voice that guys has. His duet with Hugo is amazing. We had lots of fun doing that track.
AAM: Memorable moment's while making the new record?
KM: (Asking Joe Pessia…) laughs… yeah, "Puffs" the cat. He was our mascot for the band. Joe would be eating his cereal every morning, the cereal was called, "Puffs", every time Joe would eat his cereal in the morning this cat would hop on the table and eat Joe's cereal. That is how he got his name, 'Puffs' (laughs).
AAM: Are you happy with the response the album has received so far?
KM: I couldn't be more happier with the response we are getting. All the responses we are getting have been all positive.
AAM: What was it like working with Toby Wright from Alice In Chains fame?
KM: As a drummer, working with Toby Wright was an amazing experience and breathe of fresh air. Working with Toby was also the first time a producer asked me to play more (laughs). There were times when I would be playing some saucy stuff and he stopped me, I thought he would be yelling at me, but instead it was, 'play more of that, I want to hear more of that!'. So it was really an amazing experience.
AAM: Are you guys taping your live shows for a future DVD release?
KM: Yes, we actually taped our show last night at the Key Club. So look for a future DVD release from us sometime in the future.
AAM: Influences as far as drummers go for you?
KV: First and foremost, Alan White from Yes. A lot of Jazz drummers. There are so many unbelievable drummers out there.
AAM: Touring overseas? Looks like you guys are going in the summer.
KV: Right now we are going to be concentrating on doing shows on the East Coast and West Coast and plugging the fields in between. As far as overseas goes, I'd love to tour over there, it’s always fun.
AAM: What would you be doing right now, if you were not drumming for Tantric?
KM: I'd be a pilot. I love flying. Looking back, if I was twenty years younger, I would have definitely been an Air Force guy.
AAM: What goals have you guys set as a band?
KM: After the touring is all done, we are looking forward to getting back into the studio to record another Tantric record. Making this one was so much fun.
AAM: Parting comments for your fans…
KM: Thank you guys and ALL ACCESS MAGAZINE for your support. Come check out us. We have a really cool sonic vibe to our set because we play the entire Tantric catalog. So the old Tantric fans get the old songs and the new fans get to hear both of the old and new material. Also when you listen to our new album, you might be a little thrown of, but keep on listening to it and we promise it will grow on you.
The Rocker and I along with All Access Magazine would like to thank Kevin Miller for sharing his time to do this interview. Thanks again Kevin!
For more info on Tantric: www.myspace.com/tantric