You've played in many bands. What makes this one special?
Alekhine's Gun is my favorite band I've ever been in. We started in 2009, and it's very personal -- this is the first time I got to create my own thing in a band. I came up with the name because I'm a dork and I love chess, and I also felt that this music could convey a special message to an audience, and the best way to connect with an audience sometimes is to get down there and look in their eyes. I'm a practicing Buddhist, and so the subject matter of the songs is holy along those lines. I think hard about every word that I'm going to say, and I do visualizations before I write, and I do a special meditation called the Seven Wisdoms where I ask that my words be the catalyst of someone's enlightenment. I'm not writing, "Let's party!"
The video game has very few followers on social media, and when you search the name, we were the No. 1 thing that would come up, even before Alexander Alekhine. So Maximum approached us and asked if we wanted our music in the video game, but they did not offer us any money, only cross-promotion.
Ah, the old "you should do this for free because this will help you with exposure" bit
We looked at it and said, "Who's exposing who?" So we didn't do it. I didn't appreciate that offer, and I don't hear good reviews of the game. They said, "We can go to video-game conventions and give a free giveaway card for your music." I can give away my songs myself… I don't need you to do that for me.
How did you learn to do the "Cookie Monster" metal vocal style?
I have no idea. It was a natural progression as to what needed to be done. It was at a rehearsal with some band, there was a Cookie Monster part in a song, and someone didn't show up and I tried it. If you commit to it, you can do it, but you can't half-ass it or you'll hurt yourself. Some people inhale, which I can't do [inhales and intones a guttural HUURRRRRRRRR sound]. It's opposite to what your vocal cords are designed to do, and there's no power to it, as opposed to exhaling [exhales a much more earth-quaking OOOOHHH-WHAAAAA].
For a regimen before a show, I'll start with a saltwater gargle, some steam inhalation, then honey, then singing, then normal scales, then scales screaming higher, then scales screaming lower. You can't drink before a show, other than maybe one sambuca. When I'm fronting this band, I don't remember what happens when I'm on stage.