Trevor Strnad sounds remarkably humble and casual when he mentions that this year — 2012 — is the Black Dahlia Murder’s tenth anniversary. Doing anything for a decade definitely deserves a celebratory round of chilled beverages, especially when you consider the revolving door of membership that has left Strnad and guitarist Brian Eschbach as the lone original members to navigate the ever-morphing fluidity of the music industry.
Despite the accomplishments and longevity, however, you can almost hear the vocalist’s shoulders shrug as he speaks over the phone.
“Yeah, it’s the ten-year point of the band. We got signed in our infancy when we didn’t have any clout or reputation. We started at the bottom, so it’s been all about touring our asses off and selling merch to survive,” he says. “But touring and being ever-present has also been the best kind of advertisement for us.
“I think we have a heightened awareness of the ins and outs of the business,” he says, when asked about the most noticeable changes of the past ten years. “We came in very green, as most bands probably do. The way we approach things is just different; like we’re in the world of Pro Tools demos and it’s pretty far away from jamming into a boom box like we used to.”
Things are different now: the band writes individually, and practices just before tour. “I admit I kind of miss going to practice, meeting up with everyone, hanging out and shooting the shit,” Strnad says.
This isn’t Strnad saying he doesn’t love his work. He’s simply embraced the change that’s followed as the band he formed in the Waterford suburb of Detroit has become one of the most popular underground metal bands of the 21st century.
What hasn’t changed is Strnad’s love of entering the live environment in various states of undress (“I barely wear anything on stage as it is. I’d go up there with a strategically placed leaf or grapes if it was acceptable”) and throwing down in a mess of flying sweat and sputum, airborne streams of beer and energy drinks and the sort of friendly, violent communal fun that gives concerned parents groups twitchy nightmares.
“I think people see the personality of our band,” he says about their live presence. “We try to carry ourselves as regular guys and communicate that to the fans and have a show where people can stage dive, crowd surf, sing into the mic and then we’ll meet and hang out with the fans after. Not every band is into that. We were on tour with a band and their singer pulled me aside one day and was like, ‘Listen man, you gotta stop hanging out with the fans. You need some mystique, man!’”
The Black Dahlia Murder with Exhumed and F—k the Facts • Tues, May 15 at 6:30 pm • A Club • 416 W. Sprague Ave. • $16 • All-ages • aclubspokane.com • 624-3629