Chris LeMasters from Dead and Divine

Chris LeMasters plays guitar in Dead and Divine, a band who recently called it quits after almost 10 years. Chris and the dudes in D&D are not only some of the wildest dudes, but some of the coolest dudes we’ve met. They just announced their final tour ever, so here’s what you need to do: you need to go see them. If you’re crazy, follow them around. That’s not creepy. Go to every show. Ask for their clothes after they play. It’s not weird, it’s flattering. 

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1-Who are you and what do you do in Dead and Divine?

I’m Chris and I play guitar in Dead and Divine. I also grow beards,

shoot guns, and drink a lot of coffee.

2-Can you explain to me how the name ‘Dead and Divine’ came about?

We get asked this a lot, and I really wish my answer was more

interesting than “Matt just thought it sounded cool” but, well, Matt

just thought it sounded cool.

3-‘What Really Happened At Lovers Lane’ came out just as I was getting

into heavier music. How would you compare that record, to the most

recent D&D offering, ‘Antimacy’?

I think the two records are polar opposites. What Really Happened was

written/recorded when Matty was 16 years old. It’s a young record

written by kids and I think that’s pretty obvious. Antimacy is the

most honest thing we’ve ever done as a band. We wrote an album that

we’d want to listen to, and we drew influence from a lot of stuff that

we may not have on previous records because we were worried it would

be too much of a departure from what our fans expected from Dead and

Divine. I think we’ve become more and more comfortable as a band – in

that respect – each time we go into the studio to make a new record

and I think that really shows on Antimacy.

4-You guys got to tour with some crazy bands. What are some of the

wildest tour memories you have?

We’ve definitely toured with a lot of cool bands. As for wildest

memories, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t usually the ones

initiating things. We’ve covered a lot of (weird) ground. 20

countries, a lot of tequila and Jagermeister, dildos, periods,

flipping golf carts at house parties in Texas, knife fights, a lot of

guns, near-death experiences, gluing peoples entire living rooms to

the ceiling, more police than I can remember, and obviously a ton of

crazy shows. And a lot of naked dudes, most of which play in The

Chariot. But really, we’ve been lucky to experience a lot of cool

things. We played with Slayer last year. Do you realize how fucking

cool that is? I stood in line at catering with Kerry King. I passed

him the tongs. I’m literally a friend of a friend of Satan.

5-Likewise, did you do a tour that you weren’t stoked on?

We have. I won’t go into detail about who it was with because I don’t

want to draw any attention to their dogshit band.

6-Being in a van, driving across Canada is wild. Do you have any van stories?

It is definitely interesting. We’ve got used to it, but we’ve almost

flipped more times than I can count. One of the most recent terrible

memories happened when Kellans luggage fell out of our trailer in a

McDonalds parking lot in Thunder Bay. For those of you who know

Kellan, you know he is a true clothing enthusiast and spends a lot of

time hunting down rad old Levi’s and things of that nature. Anyways,

if you’ve ever made the drive between Thunder Bay and, well, anywhere

in Ontario, you know that once you leave that city you’re lookin’ at

10+ hours of no cell phone reception and no gas past 6pm (if you’re

lucky enough to even find a gas station). We played Thunder Bay and

left to do a big over night drive to Sudbury for the next day. Four

hours in, we stopped for gas and noticed that the side door of our

trailer had been open the entire time. It then made sense why our

asses had been hurting so badly – we’d been getting fucked for the

past four hours. Surely enough, Kellan’s luggage was gone. It was 3am,

so we decided to drive BACK to Thunder Bay and try to find his bag

full of absurdly expensive clothing. We unhitched our $7,000 trailer

in the middle of nowhere, and began to back track. An hour into the

drive, our wheel sensors went, so our ABS would turn on and shut our

van off every time we turned left or drove up a hill (100% of the

drive). We’d get to the top of a mountain, the van would shut off, and

we’d be stuck bombing a hill with no brakes and no power steering at

120km an hour on the edge of a cliff in the absolute middle of the

Canadian wilderness. It then starts pouring rain. Finally, half way

there, our tour manager gets cell phone reception on an Indian reserve

and we begin making a list of the places we stopped before we left

Thunder Bay. Surely enough, he calls McDonalds and they have Kellans

luggage, but we’ve now driven four hours out of Thunder Bay, then two

hours back. It’s now light out, and we’ve driven a total of 7 hours

with stops/nervous breakdowns. We have to load in at the venue in

Sudbury at 1pm, and we’re only two hours outside of Thunder Bay on a

13+ hour drive. It was a very stressful day.

7-Is there anything you regret not doing while on tour that you wish

you could go back and do?

I can’t say there is. We all make a point to walk around in every

city, especially when we’re in other countries. I’ve been lucky enough

to have had some really incredible experiences all around the world.

I’ve eaten haggis in Scotland, hung out in crazy viking castles in

Norway, eaten awesome BBQ in the south and experienced a ton of local

culture in almost every place I’ve ever been. I love music, but I also

love learning and traveling. This band has given us the means to see

the world and we’ve all taken advantage of that.

8-Because I’m a guitar player myself, I love talking gear. You guys

always have the coolest tones. How do you get them, what kind of gear

do you use live, and in studio?

We’ve always been Marshall guys. On The Fanciful I played Marshall

JMP’s and JCM800s. On The Machines We Are I played JMP’s and 800’s, as

well as a couple Morris amps. On Antimacy we changed gears and I ended

up using an old block letter 5150 and a JCM800. We’ve never been super

high gain dudes. We’ve always favored clean, responsive, midrangey

guitar tones both live and on our records. Our friends at Fender sent

us the EVH 5150 III’s when they came out a few years back and we’ve

been playing those ever since. They’re absolutely phenomenal amps for

what we do. Our main tone is actually the middle (blue) channel

because I find they give me the mids and clarity of Marshall but the

bite of the old 5150’s. I have to give some love to tube screamers,

too. They’re a HUGE part of our guitar tone. I haven’t played anything

without the help of them since 2007. The guys at Maxon recently sent

us their new OD9 Pro+’s and I’ve fallen in love. Our live rigs consist

of two custom shop Mesa/Boogie Stiletto 4×12’s and two custom shop

Mesa/Boogie Recto 2×12’s, all loaded with Vintage 30’s. We run our EVH

5150 III’s with the Maxon OD9 Pro+ tube screamers in front of them. We

endorse Rocktron effects so we’ve been using their Guitar Silencers

for a while now and we love them. We both run Line 6 G50 wireless

systems and I use the Line 6 M13 for all of my looping/effects. We go

overseas frequently so it’s nice to have a non-rackmounted wireless

system that we can fly out to Europe or the UK. Other than that, I

endorse FGN and First Act Guitars, and GHS Strings. FGN is in the

middle of building me a custom shop version of their Flame model and

I’m really stoked for that to be in my hands this summer. I decided to

give the Seymour Duncan P-Rails a shot in that guitar, so that’ll

prove to be an interesting/awesome switch since all of my other

guitars are typically loaded with Seymour Duncan JB/59’s. FGN is

making incredible, super high quality guitars for a lot of bands right

now and they’re definitely worth checking out. I’ve also recently

signed with Orange Amps, so I’ll be playing a ton of their stuff from

now on.

9-How did you guys get hooked up with companies like Mesa Boogie?

We hooked up with them back in 2007. We had started touring a lot and

some of our friends bands at the time were playing Boogie stuff. We

hit them up and they were nice enough to help us out! They’ve been

really great to us over the years.

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10-What would be your dream endorsement, gear or otherwise?

To be completely honest I only play gear that I personally love, so

all of my endorsements ARE my dream endorsements. Orange Amps, FGN

Guitars, Fender, EVH, Maxon, GHS/Rocktron. It’s all gear I’d be

playing whether I was endorsed or not. I guess Line 6 is the only

company I swear by who I don’t actually have an endorsement deal with,

so I guess that would be my answer! Line 6, hook a brotha up, you

replied to me on Twitter so let’s take this relationship to the next

level.

11-April 22/12 you guys posted that you would no longer be a band.

After almost 10 years, what made you guys call it quits?

It was a lot of things, really. We just felt like we had taken this

band as far as it could go. You hit a point where you think to

yourself “Can this band keep going up, or is it just going to go

down?”. We’ve done so many great things and had so many amazing

opportunities in Dead and Divine, but we just felt like we made the

biggest/best impression that we ever could have. We did what we wanted

to do, we had an amazing time doing it, and we just felt like it was

time to close this chapter. Additionally, the music business is a

fucking crooked, broken machine. It’s a really difficult to maintain

the balance between work and fun, so once the “work” side of things

starts going sour it gets hard to keep things enjoyable. When you’re

touring as much as we did, a lot of people have their hands in the pot

and we weren’t comfortable with that dynamic anymore. There was a lot

of pressure to do things we didn’t want to do, and we were over it.

This was OUR band and it always has been, but somewhere along the line

a handful of people started thinking otherwise. That’s when I stood

up, bowed gracefully, and left them with a very polite

“ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhfuck you”.

12-Was it hard to say ”we’re done” for good?

Of course. This has been our baby, you know? We’ve all been touring in

this band for our entire adult lives so it’s all we’ve ever known. But

again, there comes a time where you need to decide whether or not you

want to move on to bigger and better things. We had a lot of fun but

it was time for a change.

13-You guys have been a big influence to me, and to a lot of younger

bands coming up in the hardcore/heavy scene. Do you have some advice

for the up and comers?

Thanks for the kind words! That means a lot to us, really. My only

advice would be to do it for the right reasons. Work hard and don’t

expect anything tangible in return. Value every new step you get to

take as a band and enjoy the experience. Focus on being a strong LIVE

band. It’s become so easy to make records sounds mechanically perfect

these days. You could literally grab a kid off the street and have

them “record” an album. Actually challenge yourself and don’t let the

shortcuts define your band, because at the end of the day it’s obvious

to the people who do it the right way and it’ll never last if it’s not

real. If you can’t play it live, don’t record it until you can.

14-You just announced the big final tour. Is there any reason why you

guys picked the cities you picked?

They’re just the standard markets across Canada that we’ve spent years

playing. We’ve obviously connected with those people a lot since

they’re the go-to cities, so it just made sense to go back one last

time.

15-You’re going out with two awesome bands, MyChildren MyBride and

Liferuiner. How did you pick these dudes to go out with you?

We’ve known the Liferuiner guys for years now, so when we found out

they wanted to come out, it just made sense. As for MyChildren

MyBride, I’ve never had the opportunity to meet those guys but when

our agent brought up the idea of bringing them along I checked them

out and they seemed interesting. We wanted to put together a tour

package with at least one band that kids don’t usually get to see up

here in Canada.

And finally the last 5 questions I ask in every interview:

16- Every band has their favourite place for pre/post show eats. What

restaraunt do you guys stop at the most eats?

Canada: Taco Bell, Burrito Boys, and Sneaky Dees after every Toronto

show. Honorable mentions: Che in Hamilton, U-Need-A-Pita in St Kitts,

Kelseys on wing nights, Tubby Dog in Calgary, and Belle Province in

Montreal.

United States: In-N-Out, Taco Bell, Jacks BBQ in Nashville, Carls Jr.

UK: Wetherspoon, Morrisons for breakfast. Nandos.

Europe: This is where things get a little hairy. We usually stick to

catering/rider food. Bands eat a lot of sandwiches in Europe.

17- Being in a band, In know this feeling. If there was one person in

your band who you could take in a wrestling rig for 5 minutes to blow

off some steam, who would it be?

Oh, easy. All of them. And I think we all have at some point. Minus

Kelly, because we’re team McGillicuddy and the only fights we get in

are with the sore losers we beat in Kan-Jam.

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18- Bands often have a lot of free time pre show. You load in, then

have nothing to do for 3 or 4 hours until you play. How do you guys

occupy your time?

Matt and I usually have press/interview stuff between load in. We’ll

usually load into the venue at around 1, soundcheck until 3, do a few

interviews until dinner, eat, and get back to the venue without enough

time to change/hang out/warm up for an hour or two, and then play.

That is unless we’re on a support tour. Hatebreed soundchecks last

10-24 hours on average so we spent a lot of time learning magic and

running for mayor in each city on that tour. If they’re reading this

right now, I’m only kidding. They have Dad strength and the last thing

I want is Jamey yelling “YOU FUCKING BLEED NOW” and kickin’ my face.

19- Most bands have a family dynamic. In D&D, whos the dad, mom, etc.

Our tour manager is our dad/mom. We’re just old crotchety bitches who

watch Discovery channel in our hotel rooms. But really, we’ve been

doing this for a long time so we run a pretty tight show when we’re on

tour. Nobody really fucks around, we’re a well oiled machine. You

don’t want to mess with us.

20- If you described your band dynamic as a sitcom group (Friends, Big

Bang Theory, Seinfeld etc) who would it be?

Workaholics.

The extra question: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind in

Canadian hardcore?

That’s a tough one. I don’t know that we could even consider ourselves

a hardcore band, but when it comes to Canadian music we always tried

to be up front about everything we believed in. I’d like to think that

people will remember us as a band who sounded like our records live

and put on a great show, since that’s something we’ve always put a ton

of effort into. We always tried to maintain a connection with our

fans, whether it be at shows or on Facebook/Twitter pages. We’ve

always loved meeting the people who help us keep this band going and I

hope people remember that. We really value that connection and we

always have.

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These guys are no bullshit. Legends in my books.

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