The Wicked Channel interview- The Agonist guitarist Danny Marino

1. What was the first cd you heard or song, that inspired you to be a guitarist?

Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush: Double Live

2. If music did not pan out for you, what was the backup plan?

Still working on that! When I’m not touring I work for a marketing firm in Montreal. Although, I would love to work in marketing or artist relations for a guitar company.

3. When you see magazines like Decibel and Revolver, and let’s be honest they focus more on the beauty of your lead singer Alissa than the actual band or music. Does this bother you, that instead of talking about “what a great new cd” instead they tell us, “Alissa is one of the hottest females in music”?

Yes it does bother me and not just for our band but for all the bands they do that for. It would not bother me at all if I was a hired guitarist for Nicky Minaj but I’m not. And Alissa has way more artistic talent than to be considered for her looks first. I don’t blame the industry or fans that think this because I know it sells magazines As I said I work in marketing so I get it. At the end of the day however Alissa and everyone in this band are artists first. No one got into this to be models and sell magazines.

4. What would be your dream tour?

Iron Maiden World Tour

5. Usually we do name association, but for musicians we call it cd association. I give you a band and a cd, and you just share your opinion

a. Metallica-The Black Album
b. The Agonist-Once Only Imagined
c. Arch Enemy-Doomsday Machine
d. Lacuna Coil-Shallow Life
e. In This Moment-Blood

a) The epitome of analog metal production. I prefer older songs but you can’t deny the amazing sound they captured.
b) A very nostalgic album that reminds me of my late teens and early twenties.
c) Best opening track ever. Make you want to bang your head every time.
d) Have’nt heard enough of it to comment
e) Have’nt heard all of it

6. For someone who has never heard your band’s music and wanted to know what you were like, how you describe The Agonist sound?

It sounds like cheese and crackers.

7. Do you think your band has made their career defining cd yet?

I don’t think so. Although for me so far it would be Prisoners. But I think we can take it even further than that.

8.You are at a record signing (Danny these things never go good, trust me) and a fan comes up to you all gung ho to meet you and he wants you to sign his cd and pulls out a burn, that he illegally stole. What would you do?

I laugh and probably make jokes with the guy about it. Let him know I understand how it is but don’t be fooled and think you’re doing the band a favor because the label takes all the money blah blah. Even if that is true, record sales numbers really help a band’s career move forward. They’re like votes in an election.

9. Now it is time to dish some dirt– to date what has been the best tour you been on, and what has been the worst tour? And for the worst one, why?

Best tour for me would probably be our European Tour with Maroon, After the Burial, and Eyes of a Traitor…The fact that it was my first time in Europe and we were all sharing a bus together was just awesome. I had a great time every single day.

Worst was probably our mini tour with Dance Club Massacre. They and us agreed the shows we played on that tour were unforgettable but not for good reasons. We really liked those guys– luckily that made it bearable. But overall the shows were so weird and all over the place that it has to take that prize.

10. Besides your own band, what was the last cd you had to go out and buy first day it came out?

Every single Mars Volta album.

11. You are a married man so I have to ask, do you enjoy going out on tours? Do you bring your wife with you?

I do enjoy touring still. Of course I get homesick and I don’t like going on tours unless I know they are worthwhile for the band. I do not bring her with me. I don’t want to and neither does she. I wouldn’t want to go out on tour if I wasn’t playing, unless it was some massive luxurious tour like U2.

12. Do you think females in the music industry get treated fairly? I mean, does Alissa seem to get frustrated that when people talk about the band it seems to all be about her looks, and that the band and sound seem to take a back seat?

No I don’t think they do. I hope it changes but sometimes it feels like it never will. There will always be a group of people that have an instant prejudice and that sucks. It seems to be getting better as the older generations weed themselves out.

13. When you are not on tour or in a studio setting, do you get recognized and how do you handle it?

Not a lot but it has happened. I handle it just fine. I’ll sign anything or take any photo with someone if they want. I’m not Brad Pitt so it isn’t overwhelming.

14. Let’s be honest, the music industry is hurting right now as is every other industry. Do you think it is fair for bands to charge the fans for a concert ticket, and then buy some merch, then pay money on top of that to do a meet and greet? Do you think this may be asking too much?

No, I don’t actually. Musicians make thousands and in some cases millions less than they did previously. Although I do disagree with other organizations that get involved with shows that force the ticket price to be as high as it is. When you see a band playing an arena and say “$100???”, don’t always blame Metallica or Iron Maiden or whoever– it’s not always their fault it is that high.

15. Do you think if file sharing, Napster, or downloading never happened, the music industry would still be in this shape in 2012?

No I think it would be very different. Better or worse, I don’t know. I do know (especially in metal) a lot of the well known young bands today might not be around.

16. You go to a bank and rob it, they will catch you and arrest you and label you a thief. I mean, we have a police force that makes sure those laws and apprehending those people are both fast and painless. Do you think we need an internet police force for downloading, that people are arrested almost immediately, no matter what their reasoning? Do you think they belong in the same category and place as a murderer, and rapist?

Not at all. That is ridiculous.

17. Do you view places like iTunes and WalMart as music stores?

Not really. But that is the world we live in so you gotta play along.

18. Prisoners, your latest release, I think has some of your best songs to date. Does it get any easier to go into the studio and work on music?

I love going in the studio. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of being in a band. It’s always a good time even when it gets frustrating. In a way I’d say it gets harder because standards always raise with each album.

19. This is your chance to plug away and promote. Thank you so much…

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