The More Things Change

DRAGSAW

Dragsaw is a 4 piece Sludge/Metal band based in Warren, Michigan. Best known for their stylistic variety and energetic live performances, they've earned a great reputation in their local scene as one of the more highly touted up and coming metal acts.

“DRAGSAW’S” 15 track debut album "The More Things Change..." was recorded, mixed and mastered in its entirety by the band members without the physical aid of any other technicians. It was all tracked and edited in their rehearsal studio room, affectionately known as "Fort Kickass", inside the Hive Colony Rehearsal Studios in Warren, Michigan. Guitarist Dan Lyjak was the main engineer on the project with ex drummer Brandon Carl as a close second in command. Recording officially began in May of 2016 and the boys had the drums, all rhythm guitar, most lead guitar and some of Schneider's bass tracked for 12 songs when it became apparent that the group would be parting ways with longtime vocalist Phil Winkler in August of 2016. Further recording was then put on standby while the group welcomed new frontman Andrew Mardis to the band. In order to get Mardis familiar with the material in time to perform at a string of upcoming shows, Lyjak and Mardis spent a few days in the studio room having Mardis record scratch vocals over the tracks part by part. Though this was meant only for the purpose of giving him study material to listen back to in preparation for the shows, Andy's first vocal takes for the songs "My Democracy" and "This I Hate" are still heard in the final version. After the band successfully made it through their show schedule they revisited the studio. Technical difficulties with the band's computer at one point caused several drum tracks to disappear from the sound files, which wound up to be a blessing in disguise of sorts for this meant setting up the room to record drums again. It was then that the boys decided to dust off an old song that wasn't originally intended to show up on the record, the final track "When I Disappear", as well as the instrumental banjo-laden interlude "Storm Clouds Over the Shiawassee River Delta" that precedes it. For the band's first real effort at independent self-recording they're pretty proud of the result and have learned enough to most likely do it again for album number two more confidently and efficiently. At one point during the mixing stage Lyjak locked himself in the room for 36 consecutive hours learning more about the software and recording extra guitar and keyboard parts (and occasionally breaking for a round of Mario Kart 64). After several rounds of mastering and remastering (remember - noobies), the final master of the album was completed on May 30th 2017 and was officially released on June 17th, 2017.

"It's all Norbert's fault." Did you know that were it not for Norbert Joseph Kuhr III choosing to leave “Reason To Hate” to focus more on his other project “In His Image”, the band that you know today as “DRAGSAW” may never have been born? In early 2009 bassist Mike Schneider and guitarist Dan Lyjak were fighting to save their struggling 4 year old garage band Shift when Schneidy was offered the vacant bassist position Norbert had left behind. A few months later Lyjak was commissioned to fill in on guitar for the thrash group “Bender” for a show at the I-Rock Nightclub, incidentally sharing the bill that night with “Reason To Hate”. After the show Lyjak was asked to stay with “Bender” as a rhythm guitarist after their lead player Gary Krupske was able to return to the lineup. 
Both “Bender and R2H” had great successes but also faced lineup changes and extended hiatuses over the following few years. In 2011 “Bender” brought in a replacement drummer, present day DRAGSAW” drummer Brandon Carl. 
In spring of 2012 Lyjak and B-dawg departed from “Bender”, and since “Reason To Hate” was on another indefinite hiatus at the time, Schneider was free to begin work on a new band with them. A band we all know the name of today...

"What's In A Name?" It pretty much goes without saying that a band usually can't even begin to establish their identity until they have chosen a name for themselves. Before settling on “DRAGSAW” there were a lot of other names in the hat for this particular project. When the group was just a three-piece (still sans vocalist) they briefly were going by the name “Outer Drive” on a couple of online accounts where they were posting listings seeking a frontman. Luckily they chose to drop that name when they did, for not long after they came out as “DRAGSAW” another local rock band popped up under the name of “Outer Drive”. Other name ideas being kicked around at the time included Boilermaker, Shiboleth, and a revival of Schneider and Lyjak's high school garage band name Shift. The name “DRAGSAW” however came about in a peculiar way. Lyjak was driving his company truck at work one day listening to the radio and a Home Depot commercial came on the air advertising their Christmas sale, in which a variety of tools were mentioned including a type of saw that Dan thought would've made a good band name. Later that night the guys were in B-Dawg's basement recording more demos to show to potential vocalists when the band name discussion came about for the umpteenth time. Lyjak couldn't then recall the name of the saw he had heard about on the radio earlier so he resorted to a list of saw varieties on Wikipedia in an effort to jog his memory. But he stopped his search short when he came across the drag saw, a large mechanical pre WWII era reciprocating saw. Drawing parallels between the vision for the band and the heavy, old-school piece of machinery, after a while it only made sense to the boys that it should be the band's namesake. To this day Dan still can't remember what the tool listed in the Home Depot commercial was.

"DRAGSAW SUCKS”! It is commonplace during a “DRAGSAW” performance for a large portion, if not the entirety of the audience to at one point or another strike up a "DRAGSAW SUCKS!” chant in between songs. This has led to the confusion of some newcomers, but more often to the sheer amusement of most. It's not because the crowd doesn't enjoy the band's set, but rather the opposite as they are familiar with the self deprecating sense of humor that the band projects. This has also been noted to be much inspired by 90's goth metal icons “Type O Negative”, as it was also common during their shows for their fans to chant "You Suck" to mimic the way their "Origin Of The Feces" so called 'live' album began (which was actually just recorded in a basement while crowd noises were dubbed in later). It all technically started when the band's first social media accounts were being created and the Facebook URL was set up as www.facebook.com/dragsaw.suxx in 2013. Crowd participation however began in early 2015 after the band released their new line of merch. When members of the band saw fans in the crowd sporting one of their shirts they would point to the shirt and say something along the lines of "you know that band sucks, right?" Before long many of “DRAGSAW’S” fans caught the drift and were in on the joke, as it showed at an event called “Brews And Bruise” Fest on April 4th, 2015. The band was in the middle of a roaring set, but when they took a brief moment to tune one member of the crowd (believed to be the magnificent Jimmy Frink) was privy to the inside joke and began the chant. Subsequently when the entire crowd joined in a new tradition was born. The band has since employed an illuminating sign with the words "DRAGSAW SUCKS” on it that they light up when the crowd begins the chant and they've written an 8 measure interlude that they play to the tempo set by the audience. This has occurred at nearly every show since inception and is always spontaneous.

Album Cover All of the album art featured on DRAGSAW’s debut disc "The More Things Change..." is a product of ex drummer Brandon "B-Dawg" Carl's crafty work, who is well educated in graphic design and may even continue to do the band's graphic work moving forward. The cover photo itself was captured near the Grand Trunk Western Railroad museum in Mt. Clemens, MI off of Cass Avenue. It features the railroad tracks with an empty Jack Daniel's whiskey bottle in a paper bag leaned up against the railing in the foreground, but the label on the bottle was altered in post production to showcase the band's "family crest" logo. Off in the background guitarist Dan Lyjak can be seen walking away from the camera, suggesting he had tossed the bottle aside and carried on. This being an actual real life habit of his, walking the tracks with a bottle of whiskey, it seemed a fitting touch to the gloomy imagery. The theme of the overall image is a nod to the instrumental track on the album titled "TRAINSONG”. Incidentally, “TRAINSONG” actually does have lyrics, but they're being saved for later versions of the song on future releases. They mention walking the railroad tracks with whiskey in hand, contemplating existence.

“Coat of Arms Logo Origin/ Vocatus Potum Quotidie" The instantly recognizable “DRAGSAW” logo is a proud creation of the guys in the band that was pieced together on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2015 at ex drummer Brandon Carl's house by B-Dawg, Lyjak and Schneider. “DRAGSAW’s” original logo, a more death metal styled sketch drawn up by ex vocalist Phil Winkler, had run its course and the band wanted to adorn their new merchandise with a more legible representation of their name. The original concept actually came from the mind of Lyjak's older brother Sean who once joked about making a family crest with a Latin translation on a scroll that would read "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning". The first thing most notice is the featured deer skull which pays homage to Lyjak and Schneider's previous band from their high school years Shift. They too used a deer skull as their logo, drawing inspiration from the European style mounts of whitetail deer hanging in Schneider's dad's garage where the band used to jam. The skull is often perceived to be sporting a beard and mustache, but that is incorrect. Behind the skull on the shield is actually an inverted “fleur de lis”, a symbol often associated with French nationalism. But in this case it's actually a nod to the many New Orleans, Louisiana based sludge metal bands such as “Down, Crowbar, Acid Bath and Eyehategod” who heavily influenced the band and often featured the symbol in their merch and album art because of the heavily Cajun French culture of their own home town. The symbol appears inverted however to represent the opposite of the symbol's actual meaning; instead of saintly and an established order, rather chaotic and impure. The four saw blades are self explanatory, just simply blades of a drag saw. The font featured is called "Immortal", but the A's are altered to appear as the Grecian Alpha. The logo originally featured the words "Vocatus Potum Quotidie" beneath it, which is a very loose Latin translation basically of "drink every day", which is what the guys settled on because the translation for "You can't say that you drank all day if you didn't start in the morning" was too long and would've been too small to read on a t-shirt. The phrase is now used often by the band members and their second full length album is expected to feature a Celtic styled drinking song with that as its title and chorus. The current remaining members now have the logo tattooed on their skin. Mardis on his shoulder, Lyjak on his calf and Schneider on his upper back. When the band decides on their replacement drummer they'll probably just brand it on his ass with a hot iron in a ritualistic fashion.

“The Show Must Go On" For a band that's been around since 2013 it's fairly impressive to have a perfect record of ZERO show cancellations to date (knock on wood). During the early months of the band's inception they seemed cursed with hardships that would lead most to calling it off on certain given dates, but not this band. Just a couple weeks prior to “DRAGSAW’s” very first scheduled gig guitarist Dan Lyjak was severely injured in an automobile accident, breaking his left leg in three places and causing a great deal of tendon damage in his left wrist. But against his doctor's advisement and even unsure of his own ability to perform he refused to let “DRAGSAW” drop from the lineup. Even still, the two headliners of said gig dropped off of the show within 24 hours of each other, both coincidentally due to their drummers falling ill, leaving the whole event in limbo until then “DRAGSAW” vocalist Phil Winkler got his other band KILL to agree to perform at the end of the night to fill out the bill. DRAGSAW again conquered the odds when they agreed months in advance to open for “Society Hostile” at the now defunct “Detroit Pub in Clinton Township, MI”, but found out later that Winkler wouldn't be able to perform due to other scheduling conflicts. Instead of canceling, they employed the talents of other respected local vocalists to lend a hand and sing 2-3 songs each to fill the set; 01. A Few Simple Words (wsg Ryan Lang of Asylence) 02. Toxic Playground (wsg Ryan Lang) 03. Deus Ex Machina (wsgs Ryan Lang & Stimpy of In His Image) 04. The Man Without A Shadow (wsg Stimpy) 05. My Democracy (wsg Billistik of M-102) 06. Take Your Best Shot (wsg Billistik) 07. Thumb In The Wind (M-102 cover w/ Billistik) 08. This I Hate (wsg Mike Johnson of Society Hostile) Another instance took place when the band was scheduled for the “Metalheads S/C Metal Fest 2014”. Two days prior to the show a torrential downpour occurred which led to drummer Brandon Carl's basement flooding, which in response he called to cancel. But upon further negotiations it was agreed to carry on with the band's commitment with drummer Frank "The Foot" Hannah (Motown Rage, A.S.S., Halloween, Society Hostile, Hate Unbound, As Darkness Falls... general drum whore etc.) as a temporary stand in, who spent 24 straight hours if not more studying the band's material right up to show time. On these occasions and plenty more (including Lyjak even tactfully finagling his way out of a weekend jail stay to play at the I-Rock in August of '15), come hell or high the boys always seemed to work it out. But it was looking very grim in the late summer/ early fall of 2016 when the band parted ways with longtime vocalist Phil Winkler with a few gigs yet left on the schedule. Enter the enigmatic “Andrew Mardis”, a longtime friend of Schneider and Lyjak's who had never previously been known to be much of a metal vocalist per se. But with about two weeks to learn the band's catalogue and prepare for their next gig he stepped up and knocked it out of the park, thus helping save the group's perfect record. But more scheduling conflicts STILL arose in the weeks that followed when then drummer Brandon Carl revealed that he wouldn't be able to perform at a late October gig that year. So again instead of canceling, the trio of Lyjak, Schneider and Mardis improvised by performing the band's first ever acoustic set, which was very well received and thus added a whole new dimension to the band as well. Fast forward one year to when bassist Mike Schneider broke his wrist in the “Superjoint” mosh pit after DRAGSAW” had just played as direct support to them. That October was set to be one of the busiest months of “DRAGSAW’s” history to date and despite being hindered by a cast on his fretting hand, Schneider powered through and didn't miss a single show.

“THE INTRODUCTION OF ANDREW MADIS” The past couple months for “DRAGSAW” have been full of uncertainties in the wake of parting with our longtime vocalist Phil Winkler, but in typical “DRAGSAW” fashion we've managed to pull through. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our friend Andrew Mardis for stepping up to the mic on extremely short notice for us and learning our full set so we could keep our perfect record of zero show cancelations alive. Well, in this time working with Andy “DRAGSAW” has become a more productive, much finer tuned machine than ever before. The chemistry is alive, the friendships between members have grown stronger, and we're simply just having more fun being a part of this band than ever before. So this is why despite having other candidates in line to try out, we've decided to "cut the crap" so to speak, quit dragging our feet ...

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