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Fail-Yerz – Their Insane Road to Success

Moz – vocals/guitar
Dirt – lead vocals
Werd – drums
Junkshun – bass

The basis of any music composition is emotion – from wailing that a dog died to screaming about love gone bad. Those topics are typically reserved for music found on a radio dial. Beyond that, you’ll discover a myriad of topics that delve from life and death, sneering sarcasm to brutal honesty, introspective to psychotic. Those descriptions fit FaiL-YeRZ to a t-shirt, ripped up, and soaked in sweat and the blood from one of their fans that took a dive on the dance floor.

In the last year, Colorado Springs has kicked open the studio door on Colorado’s music scene, giving birth to an amazing variety of talent – from Against Tomorrow Sky’s crunchy indie rock, to Idiolectic Conception’s cerebral hip-hop. And FaiL-YeRZ is smack dab in the midst of this creative pool, assaulting stages and fans with a diverse blend of nu-metal and hard ass groove.

Although these four guys take their music seriously, they don’t take themselves seriously at all. This made for a very colorful conversation with three of them, including Moz, the lead guitarist, Werd, their drummer, and bassist Junkshun. It all started with the cliché question of how the guys got together. Thankfully, the answer wasn’t cliché at all. It was more like…well, I’m not sure how it was like. Maybe Betty Crocker on crack.

“I woke up and I was covered in custard. Then the straps broke,” Moz says with a grin. He continues to recall how he discovered his band mates, pointing to each, with the exception of the lead singer and lyricist, Dirt, who was detained somewhere near their practice studio. Moz thinks back to when he discovered Dirt, “That guy’s got a great set of pipes…and no gag reflexes. He needs to be our singer. That’s how FaiL-YeRZ was born.”

This custard story is all a part of their penchant for inside jokes, including quoting lines from the Simpsons and the donning FaiL-YeRZ identities in the form of alter ego nick names. But it’s that quick wit and the continuous creative drive that infuses their chemistry, which is blatantly obvious, whether you see them on stage or conversing in a bar.

How they REALLY came together started iver a year ago when Moz was buzzing around the Internet, and stumbled across a message board posting by a guy name the HIPPIE EMPLOYED . This was Dirt’s previous alter ego, when he was in the realm of writing rap, funk, hip-hop music in a digital fashion. Dirt then began searching for musicians to transcend that to the stage. Moz recalls, “I saw that and thought, ‘A guy named the HIPPIE EMPLOYED? There’s no way I’m going to respond to this.’ Really, do I want to be sitting in a room full of long hairs playing? There would be too much incense, my eyes would tear up and I’d fall down.”

But he met up with him anyway. After jamming with Dirt a bit, Moz realized “that his sound had nothing to do with his name. He was a little bit more hardcore than what his name implied.”

Together they also realized they wanted something more than just creating back up music for Dirt’s aggressive hip-hop. But it wasn’t until all four members got together that their sound was discovered.

A friend of Moz told him about a drummer who had moved out to Colorado from Georgia, “because the snow is better here, considering there’s no snow in Georgia. He was playing really horrible drums. Could barely do what he professed he could do. Through MY hours and hours of tutelage…” This $12 word and obvious dig at Werd got the groans rolling at the table. Moz replies proudly, “Hey, I learned a lot from dropping out of college and playing hacky sack…with a .5 GPA. I had underwater fire fighting and advanced basket weaving – a double major.”

Moz gets serious again about Werd’s ability, “When it got down to it, there was a serious groove there.” And then there were three. The only thing missing was a bassist. Junkshun had known and played with Dirt for a number of years, but was a guitarist when they approached him about joining the band. That’s when they “forced him onto five strings instead of six. NOW we can actually do something. The first night when we sat down, it was transcendent. I had played with bands for years before, and after we sat down for like, a half hour, we all looked at each other and said, ‘This is going to turn into something, ” says Moz.

Turning it into something meant Dirt had to give up his post as the sole songwriter. If FaiL-YeRZ were to become their own band with their own sound, there needed to be an evolution that involved all four minds. Werd says, “Even though he was the main writer for the previous music, Dirt realized that we all had room for input. After that first minute of jamming he realized we had something special together. He began to let us give input. It all fell into place.” It was during this jam that they discovered their instant chemistry, which they continued to utilize throughout their songwriting process, “Junkshun would bring in a bass line, Moz with guitar and me with drums. Then it would meld into a song. So it’s all pretty spread out in how we write music. We try to let it go on its own and not force anything,” Werd adds.

Moz feels very strongly about power in numbers with his particular band mates, “The combination of four distinct personalities, our eclectic and creative impulses is going to be better than one person’s idea, no matter how perfect that one person’s opinion may be. That’s what he saw in all of us. He saw us throwing down and thought, ‘I’m going to feed off their energy, and the final version of this is going to be so much better.”

Dirt also had to change the type of music he played, going from hip-hop to nu metal in a matter of chords, drums, and overall musical style. Werd interjects his admiration for Dirt’s sacrifice of ego, “What really surprised and impressed me is that he was willing to give up on a lot of the previous material he had created as the HIPPIE EMPLOYED. He wanted to start over with us. You don’t find many artists that are able to say, ‘Okay. Everything I’ve done so far, I’m going to put aside.’ That inspired us.”

As much as FaiL-YeRZ discovered their unity in making music and mutual admiration for their individual abilities, they also faced the same challenges most bands do when four minds each have their own strong opinions. “It’s like being in four relationships at one time,” Werd comments, “Just like any other relationship with your girlfriend, you’ve got to learn not to be perfect and how to deal with each other in that aspect.”

Junkshun pops in with a smile, “That’s why everybody loves ME so much.”

Moz rolls his eyes, responding with a smart-ass comment, “That’s why we HATE Junk.” He continues in a more serious tone, “It’s all a personality conflict. Your personality is going to come out in your music, and you’re going to be just as passionate about things you believe and things that you play. It takes a lot of trust to realize that the guys you’re playing with know what the hell they’re talking about…Werd knows his kit and how to play the right drum beat, Junk is gonna play the right riff, and Dirt is gonna write the right lyrics. And we’re gonna argue about it. But you have to go through those growing pains.”

After working on new material from their practice studio in Palmer Lake, they headed into the recording studio and released their E.P., DeMonSTRaTioN, in October of this year. From the onset, the five songs pack a punch from beginning to end, overflowing with dark and twisted guitar licks, pummeling drum rhythms, writhing basslines and Dirt, screaming, singing, and growling in un-human like ways.

Werd feels their growing pains converged into something extremely positive, “After all the fighting and butting heads, we all four really love our end product. I don’t think any band out there is perfect when they’re writing the beginning of the song to the end of the song. It’s all those different styles and our diversity that makes us tick.”

Moz elaborates that the band, at times, borders on, “utterly schizophrenic.”

Werd laughs, adding, “We had another band call us psychotic the other night.”

Junk was surprised by this, “God. Really? Who said that?”

Werd answers, “ZeroFactor. He said something like, ‘We’re all about being hard and tough on stage. You guys are all about being psychotic and mental. The thinking man’s hard band.’ And I agree, because each one of our songs has a story or meaning. We have a religious song, a sexual song…”

“Premonition”, which starts with a hallow voice from a talking doll saying, “I’m your guardian angle. I’m your special friend,” falls into a cavern filled with Dirt’s howls and old school metal guitar licks. One repetitive line in the song bellows, “Lord, you’re a fucking fraud,” over and over. Moz is brutally aware that, “it may not go very well with right-wing, conservative Catholic, Colorado Springs, but when are you going to find a band that’s worth a shit that’s going to taper what they say based on the people that happen to be around?”

At the same time, they definitely steer away from the status quo for lyrical themes, “We all came down with the idea that we didn’t want to hear one more band cry about what one woman did to them. Women have fucked men over and men have fucked women over since the dawn of time. It’s an old subject. So let’s not constantly harp on it. You’ll never hear the word “you” in any of our fucking songs,” Moz says emphatically.

Although many of their fans may tend to focus on their lyrics, Moz and the guys want their music to be absorbed as a whole, “People look at the words and wonder ‘what are they trying to say?’ But if you look at the passion behind the music itself and the energy behind it, AND the lyrics, and combine that all together, you get a much deeper meaning…why not let people go on that emotional ride that you rode when you wrote the music?”

“Minuteman”, is a contradiction of rhythms and lyrical topic, tied up with sultry bass grooves and ass spanking temper, “but when you get right down to it, it’s about a guy coming too early. Unsatisfied women. There’s a shocker, ’cause there’s none of them around,” Moz says with an utterly straight face.

Valium induced harmonies lie beneath a pulsing rage on “Shmuk”, which then builds to a frantic frenzy, making it one of their more popular songs when they throw it down on stage. Moz reflects a bit on the song’s lyrical theme, then says, “It’s one of those things where the wise man knows that he’s stupid and the ignorant man doesn’t. I can’t even tie my shoes. All my shoes have buckles. I would pay someone in lollipops to tie my shoes.”

Aside from some inability for manual dexterity, FaiL-YeRZ takes pride in bringing anyone and everyone into their fold, from the people who work at and run the local bar near their practice studio, to friend of friends of friends. Their first show took place in September at Wildcats in the Springs. On a Tuesday night, they had the place packed and sold hundreds of dollars in merchandise, from pre-release copies of the E.P. to newly printed FaiL-YeRZ shirts. Since then, they’ve continued to get gigs that bring in fans hungry for a fix of their fluid yet volatile energy. Watching a show at safe distance from the flailing bodies, you almost envision a sadistic puppet master leering behind the FaiL-YeRz banner, choreographing the sometimes-masochistic dance that ripples below the stage.

Werd brings up a time when Power FaiL-Yer Jeff, one of many fans with a band moniker, came up to him to say, “You guys have created exactly what we’ve been waiting for from a local band.’ It’s one thing to be able to throw in a CD and get your rocks off. But when you got your boys down the street doing exactly what you want to hear…it’s like our fans have been waiting for us to get this together.”

Although all four band members of FaiL-YeRZ are very psyched about their ability to get gigs, the positive vibes at their show, and the enthusiasm for the release of their E.P., they are not satisfied until they have “global domination,” Moz says with his genuine look of utter sincerity, “and selling out as much as humanly possible.”

Werd laughs, then looks over at me and says, “Scratch that.”

Moz shoots him a look, “Fuck that man. Any band that says that they’re not in it for the money, they’re kidding themselves…to a certain extent. Don’t get me wrong, but who wouldn’t want to play music and make a living from it for the rest of their lives? So if someone wants to throw me 80 million dollars to play my guitar, I’ll take it. Not 79, but 80.”

Werd puts his feet on the ground a bit and adds, “I think it’s all about manipulating everything to work for you. What it all boils down to is, you want to do what it takes to get your message out there. If you have to compromise a little, that’s okay. No band wants to sell out. But every band, if they’ve reach a certain point, has probably done it…compromised their ‘artistic integrity’ in order to get their message out to the masses.” That’s where bands have to pick their battles, when they’re willing to suck up and when their walk away from something that’s not in their best interest, in the short or long term.

Moz continues, “I will completely toss my morals and ethics for a good gig. I have no problem with that. I did it for a ton of years. I played in a fucking cover band for God’s sake. But seriously, we DON’T have to sacrifice our artistic integrity to make it big.”

So what constitutes making it big, a gig in Pueblo or the Pepsi Center, or something in between? Moz answers, “Getting signed to any label, a mom and pop in a garage somewhere, would mean the fulfillment of a life long dream. To know that all these years spent doing this have not been worthless, or a hobby as everyone calls it.”

Junkshun mocks what many people have said to him, “Oh you’re in a band. That’s cute.”

This has been an age-old challenge for most musicians – that their music and efforts at making a career of it are to be taken seriously. For FaiL-YeRZ, any amount of success will give them the ability to look back at all the people, “that said you’d never do anything with it and say, ‘I did do something with it.’ I didn’t make a million dollars and get a house in the hills, but we all proved to ourselves that respect what we do,” Moz comments.

Junkshun also had his time of reflection, “I honestly think we don’t have to worry about this. I have faith in all the members of this band that what we put out is absolutely and utterly insane. That alone is the most important and most stable thing about us. The way we do it works.”

Moz nods in agreement, “I love every one of the people in this band. I know that no matter what these guys do, they’re doing what’s right for this band. Every day when we pick up our instruments, it’s to do something that we love. That’s the only thing we got into this business for.”

FaiL-YeRZ plays Halloween night at Indy Nation in Colorado Springs. At you can download free MP3’s, join their street team, and check out photos from their live shows along with their gig schedule, which includes:

11.12 – LiVe aND LoCaL with FooT – Tequilas (CoSp)
11.16 – NM – Monster Bash 2002 CEG Records
11.12 – Indy Nation (CoSp)
11.20 – Hermans Hideaway (Denver)
11.24 – No Excuses (Denver)

You can pick up a copy of DeMoNSTRaTioN at Independent Records.


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