Interview: Sitting Down With the Massachusetts National Geographic Bee Champ of ’03 *NOT CLICKBAIT*

HAI PUNK NERDS. I am the noob of FtLP! I am ecstatic to be a part of such a wonderful community. I run my website, kenNERDdy.com. On there I post all sorts of junk my weird self enjoys: from interviewing those who inspire me, to reviewing albums and video games to advice columns and much more – I always intertwine my  morbid sarcasm with my core, positive soul. I’m happy to meet ya’ll and hope you’re happy to meet me! If you’re not, OH WELL YOU’RE STUCK WITH ME. Or you can just go to a different article on this website!

I sat down with Pat Erhard of Ash Williams after his set at Doll Hut just a few weeks ago! It was a blast. I truly mixed it up for myself by not only hanging with him during a live show but bringing him to a creepy white van that definitely isn’t meant for kidnapping!

Ash Williams is new on my radar in music and I am utterly obsessed. Their blend of death metal with punk rock makes them exceptionally unique in this day and age where really anyone can start a band. Not only is their music solid but their overall performance is something you will never forget. TAPPING ON A BASS, for one. Wtf? Who does that? Pat does! Also jumping down from the stage and playing bass on the floor in the middle of drunk, smelly people can be expected too. Honestly I really hope I can see them perform a lot more in the future – so get to know frontman, Pat, with me this week!

“Punk with a splash of black metal // we play heavy punk with dark themes and a smorgasbord of punk and black metal vocals // We’re good people, honest. We just sound spooky.”

HAI PUNK NERDS. I am the noob of FtLP! I am ecstatic to be a part of such a wonderful community. I run my website, kenNERDdy.com. On there I post all sorts of junk my weird self enjoys: from interviewing those who inspire me, to reviewing albums and video games to advice columns and much more – I always intertwine my  morbid sarcasm with my core, positive soul. I’m happy to meet ya’ll and hope you’re happy to meet me! If you’re not, OH WELL YOU’RE STUCK WITH ME. Or you can just go to a different article on this website!
I sat down with Pat Erhard of Ash Williams after his set at Doll Hut just a few weeks ago! It was a blast. I truly mixed it up for myself by not only hanging with him during a live show but bringing him to a creepy white van that definitely isn’t meant for kidnapping!
Ash Williams is new on my radar in music and I am utterly obsessed. Their blend of death metal with punk rock makes them exceptionally unique in this day and age where really anyone can start a band. Not only is their music solid but their overall performance is something you will never forget. TAPPING ON A BASS, for one. Wtf? Who does that? Pat does! Also jumping down from the stage and playing bass on the floor in the middle of drunk, smelly people can be expected too. Honestly I really hope I can see them perform a lot more in the future – so get to know frontman, Pat, with me this week!

(Pat Ernhard): Uhhh…I’m Pat Erhard…uhh… I play bass for Ash Williams and sing for Ash Williams. Annnnnnd I do a lot of stuff but basically I’m just Pat.

(KenNERDdy): Just Pat? I like that.

How long has Ash Williams been around? I feel like I should know this answer but I don’t!

When I first moved down here – I initially played in a skate punk band (they were good people) but it was a bunch of guys older than me and it just wasn’t what I wanted to play. So – I started to  do my own thing and began playing acoustic solely. That’s when the name was Ash Williams and the Horde. Eventually people started joining. In 2014 I dropped, “The Horde” and became just Ash Williams – a lot more serious. It was January of 2014. So, three years now.

Gotcha. So you’ve always been in Ash Williams but are you saying it was your band before 2014?

Well it was just acoustic before 2014 – just me. Then I got a full band together in 2014. The band became bigger so I made the name shorter. Also – just to make SEO even harder – Ash Williams is the name of the main character from The Evil Dead movies. So if you Google, “Ash Williams” – the band won’t come up unless you add “the band”.

I even tried finding you all on Spotify and had zero luck.

We were on Spotify but we took everything down recently because our newest album, we feel is really good and all of our old stuff is kinda “ehhh”. We actually use CD Baby and I don’t wanna plug anything….

This is an interview! Plug all you want.

Well I don’t want it to look like this is sponsored by CD Baby but they are great because you pay seventy five bucks and it stays everywhere forever. When I first was getting started with this I didn’t know anything. But, yeah, when our album launches it will be available on Spotify too.

For anyone that hasn’t listened yet – how would you describe your band as far as sound/inspiration?

Basically we are a black metal punk band. We are more of a punk band than we are black metal but I do a lot of screaming and a lot of super heavy guitar stuff. I do a lot of solos too. The bass solos are more along the lines of Black Sabbath-ish. Brandon does a lot of tremolo picking which is very black metal.

Brandon’s new to the band, right?

Yeah!

What has been like with the addition? Have you guys always been a three piece band and decided to add Brandon or did you lose a fourth member and needed a replacement?

Originally — there were a lot of people going in and out when it was Ash Williams and The Horde. Solidified it was Ash Williams: It was me on guitar, my friend Hunter on bass and Uriel on drums. Then after a year, Hunter (no drama or anything — he’s a good dude, I love him) had to leave the band so Michael came in just before Hunter left as a second guitar player. I put down guitar and picked up bass. I’ve been playing bass since about sixth grade?

Oh, so you’re a noob obviously.

Yeah, haha. Well I just turned 26 yesterday. So that’s fourteen years I think…maybe?

I’ll trust your math.

I decided to play bass in AW because that’s my best instrument anyway. I am a very mediocre guitar player.

When you first picked up an instrument, then, did you feel a calling for bass?

Oh yeah. Basically my dad was a thrash metal drummer in the eighties and my mom was a Motown singer / oldies singer. She’s not old though – she just likes that kinda stuff.

Do they both still dabble around musically?

My mom has always just sung for fun. Her voice is amazing but she’s a nurse.

She could totally use that in her profession! Cheer people up through the power of music.

I’ve even told her that. My dad plays drums in a rock band out in Boston still.

Oh — are you from the East Coast?

No. He lives there. I did live there for two years during middle school. My stepmom is from there. Then we moved back to California. My dad’s from San Francisco and my mom’s from San Jose. My mom still lives not too far from the Bay area but my dad’s still out in Boston. When I was living in Massachusetts my dad brought me into a music store and he was like, “You need to learn to play an instrument.” I was like,  “..Okay.” It wasn’t mean at all though. It was this little, shitty store in Massachusetts so I was looking around and I was like…”I wanna be Steve Harris or Les Claypool or Geezer Butler”. So I just picked up the bass because I wanted to be Geezer Butler.

So yeah — Michael took over all of the guitar duties and it worked out weird because….sorry I’m talking a lot.

Uh, hello? This is an interview! You’re making my job easy.

Cool. It worked out weird because Michael was like, “I wanna add another guitar player” and never is the guitar player going to say, “Oh, I need another one of me in the band.” So we just said, “I don’t think we need it but if you want…..” and then Michael started writing — Ash Williams is a collaborative effort. I write a lot of the structure of the songs but Uriel and Michael are the meat and the muscle while I’m the skeleton. — so we weren’t going to add another guitar player until after the album but Michael was writing all of these guitar parts so we asked, “Do you wanna do that live?” and he was like, “Noooo. We need another GUITAR player!”

So what made you land on Brandon then? Did they want to join the band or did you just ask them? How did that come to be?

Brandon and I were in a folk punk band called Bogsy for six years. Brandon played guitar and banjo and I played kinda everything. Whatever Brandon gave me I would play. Brandon is also my roommate so we have been best friends for a long time. I was listening to the demos one day in my living room and Brandon was listening and said, “That’s cool”. These were just the rough tracks for the album. Brandon asked, “Can you send those to me?” and I said, “Sure.” Brandon ran back into the bedroom — listened to the first rough tracks — ran back to me and was like, “I wanna be in Ash Williams now.” Haha. So I was like… I don’t wanna ask anyone else and Brandon is one of my best friends so I said, “Sure. Yeah Brandon, of course.” Then Michael was like, “Brandon? Really? Wants to be with us?? Brandon might be too good to play with us.”

Yeah you all just gel so well together so it is not a shocker that you’re so close too. It definitely is a plus that you have such a good connection – it makes for wonderful music. I would never know that Brandon is the newest member – it seems like you’ve all been doing Ash Williams for your whole life.

Yeah. I mean Brandon and I have been playing together for so long. Michael, Uriel and I — it was funny because originally, when Hunter was in the band, they were opposed to adding anyone. I was like, “This guy Michael wants to try out — he’s pretty good” But everyone was like, “No, we are a three piece!” Then we had a show at Soda Bar and Michael had come to watch us because he was a fan before joining. Him and Uriel got really drunk and the next day Uriel was like, “Man, who was that guy? He should be in the band!” And I was like, “THAT WAS MICHAEL! I told you that he should be in the band!” They were then like, “Okay, add him.” The rest is…history.

Present? …History?

History’s being made every second. That earlier statement is already history.

Ugh this is confusing. But you guys are awesome. I had never seen you live before tonight. That makes me sound like a terrible interviewer but I’m no liar so…yeah… I had never seen you all live before! I typically go off of the vibes I feel during a live performance before determining if I truly love a band or not. I could love a CD but if on stage that spark isn’t there – I just won’t be that big of a fan anymore. YOU ALL — have such a passion that emits when you’re up there. It makes me excited being in the audience. You just have a way of pumping up a crowd that is really hard to do. Plus your blend of music is so interesting too — punk rock with a lil death metal. You don’t see that TOO often right now.

It was actually Brandon. We were hanging out the other night and they were like, “Ya know with Caskitt and with Ash Williams – the reason people are starting to like both of those bands now is because Caskitt is like…Steffen’s tech death influence mixed with pop punk. That makes a Propaghandi-ish sound but with metal shredding and stuff like that. Ash Williams takes that pop punk too but it has death metal as well. So it’s like we both found different parts of metal and…people like it? I guess.

Yeah it’s just a nice surprise being a listener. If I didn’t know who you were and I was just at the show tonight, it’s so cool to see such an odd pairing of music styles mashed together. It’s fun to watch — how you go on the floor and do all your neat tricks while playing.

It’s about the music and all that stuff but…WE WANT TO PUT ON A SHOW. People came to party. A lot of punk bands don’t go as hardcore. 80’s people would lose their mind. The guy at this show gave me the mic and there was blood on it. He’s like, “This is Rick Agnew’s blood!” and I was just like, “Fuuuck!”. He’s like, “I cleaned it…but it won’t come off.” As a whole it’s hard to get people out to shows so if you put on a big production — word is gonna start spreading.

*** 🙂 🙂 🙂 WE INTERRUPT THIS INTERVIEW THANKS TO MATT CASKITT — I was using his van to interview Pat and he thought someone had broken in 🙂 🙂 🙂 ***

Matt Caskitt
SOMEHOW — we got back on track.

I think it’s astonishing to watch how you tap on bass. I’m not a music connoisseur but is that a normal technique? I just thought it was cool as hell.

No. It’s kinda why I like doing that because it’s really hard to get good at it. I got good at it because my parents would ground me almost everyday so I’d be locked in my room (Being a teenager doing dumb things with super strict parents will get you grounded.) All I did was listen to music on a computer I built myself. We didn’t even have internet so I made a computer from scratch and would rip my friend’s CDs to the computer. I’d listen to the CD’s and learn it by ear and then just teach myself. I don’t do that anymore, thank God, .

So that’s what you have to do to master an instrument. Got it.

Or…maybe practice a half hour everyday. I put in all my time when I was younger so I don’t need to practice anymore.

Practice is for DWEEBS.

Seeing you play the way you do is so technical and awesome to watch…to reiterate. I love music but I’m not a genius with it. I still pick up on how hard that must be so KEEP IT UP!

I do tapping, sweeping and things like that.

I never see that done on bass so it just blew me away.

Moving past Ash Williams — what are some of your interests? What is the #nerdiest thing about you that isn’t super obvious?

I try to diversify what I know. So I know a lot about a lot of things. All I do is sit around and play video games, read stuff online….

Let’s talk about video games. What’s your favorite that you could play a zillion times over and over again?

That’d be Ocarina of Time and Bioshock and Banjo Kozooie. It was a game for N64. Me and my little brother played the crap out of that game.

What is that game? Shockingly I never heard of it.

So you’e a bear. Kazooie is this red bird that’s in your backpack and you go through these levels trying to save your little sister from this witch. You can use the bird to do some flying stuff or do super jumps and the bear is the strong guy. They use teamwork.

I’ve never even heard of that game but it sounds pretty rad.

It’s a really fun game. I recommend it. If you don’t have N64 – – get a mod.

Are you excited for the Nintendo Switch?

Yeah. I just got a PS4. PC is my  main thing but….

What do you play on PC?

For PC….right now I’m playing through Knights of the Old Republic. It’s my girlfriend’s favorite game and I had never played it so she was like, “YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT. PLAY IT NOW” so I’ve been playing that. Of course it’s a Star Wars game.

I play a lot of indie games on PC too. Bastion is one of my favorite games ever. Fez is fun.

Oh! I’m playing through Pokemon Sun.

I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN THAT.

It’s really good. I took a two week break from it because sometimes I just get disinterested and that’s not saying it’s a bad game but I just get busy. It’s really good – I’ll probably beat it in the next week or two.

***FOR EIGHT MINUTES WE DISCUSSED A SLEW OF GAMES……………I WILL SPARE YOU THE ULTRA NERDOM. WE ALSO DISCOVERED WE BOTH HAVE A TEMPER WITH GAMING AND WE CURSE A LOT AND YELL WHEN BEING SICK GAMERZ. ***

So what is a nerdy thing about you that ISN’T OBVIOUS! To get back on track from our gaming tangent.

I love comic books! I really like comic books. A lot of the occult, darker ones. Hellblazer is one of my favorite series. Preacher is my favorite. Sandman. Stuff along those lines.

I didn’t know you read comic books until right now.

I joke and call everyone a nerd. Like if one of the bandmates does something I’ll say, “Shut up nerd!” but it’s a joke because…..everything I do is nerdy. I love Disney. I am obsessed with Disney.

Oh yeah you have your pass!

Yeah.

I’ve won the National Geographic Bee.

WAAAAAT? When?

When I was in middle school.

I was really hoping you’d say you won just yesterday. What is that though?

It’s kinda like a spelling bee. I won for my state – Massachusetts.

Is that on your resume? It REALLY should be.

Nah haha. I have a little medal. I like geography a lot — which is weird because most people hate it.

I don’t hate it but I have a horrendous memory and am not the smartest person.

I know a lot of geography. So I won that. I got a couple of years worth of National Geographic magazines. I felt bad because I beat all these kids down….

Literally.

Yeah…with the copies of National Geographic. Haha…in the final, championship round I was inseventh grade and in Massachusetts middle school starts in fifth grade. So I went against this tiny fifth grade kid and I wiped the floor with him so he was crying and stuff. But I was like, “Whatever kid I’m the champion now.”

I really hope you still whip that out during present times.

Yeah, like people will try and give me directions and I’ll be like, “Hold on. I have a MEDAL showing that I know where EVERYTHING is.”

That was probably the BEST answer so far for that question. Was NOT expecting you to be a National Geographic wiz.

Thanks for sitting with Pat & I while I picked his kewl, nerd brain. This was one of the FUNNEST interviews to transcribe because I interviewed Pat during his show that night so the entire time there is awesome music in the background 🙂

Ash Williams’ newest album will be out on March 23rd so keep a look out for that gem. I will see ya’ll next week so until then #STAYNERDY

 

onTheWeb: Ash Williams Facebook | Ash Williams Bandcamp | KenNERDdy Official

Follow: @AshWilliamsBand @_kenNERDdy

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About Jules kenNERDdy

Jules kenNERDdy

CONTRIBUTOR
EMAIL: [email protected]
LOCATION: Las Vegas, NV
OTHER SITE: kenNERDdy.com

BIO: Hey geeks! My name is Julia Mae, or as you MAE have heard, I also go by kenNERDdy. I’m basically a positive vibes chick with a colorful spectrum of a brain that wants to share my weird mind with the universe. I’m all about exploring and learning new things at all times of the day & night. I aspire to both help & entertain as many peeps as possible with my short life. Of course, as always, remember to #staynerdy

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