By: Veronica Navarro
When I was asked to interview Danny Tomb, (vocals and guitar), of 4ARM, well, you could say I was a bit out of my element and landed me into a world of thrash metal I always knew existed, but somehow missed or ignored in the last decade, hell, the last few decades. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and like most people, I was dosed heavily with screaming metal, copious amounts of hairspray and gel and of course we can’t forget the big hair. But why after so many years of solid body slamming, head banging and party crashing did I just decide to turn it off? Did it just stop being cool? Was it harder to listen to once you nixed the hairspray and acid washed jeans? Or was it worse, was it the music?
Had metal music ever evolved, as I felt I had, or did it even need to? You can’t argue that the thrash formula does not work. It’s been a genre giant for many, many moons now. If you don’t believe me, go to any heavy metal event in any part of town and watch how quickly the crowd turns out. The fans always so loyal and eager to bruise and bleed for the music they love. The good old days never left, we just grew up and somehow forgot how to thrash without worrying about who’s watching and whether or not our favorite dance moves are up to par. (Praying hard that twerking doesn’t become a dance for all genres, considering I’d have to throw my back out just to end up in the correct position.)
Listening to Submission For Liberty was a throwback to my childhood, and yet somehow I appreciated so much more as an adult. 4ARM’s most recent album Submission For Liberty delivers a super intelligent, unapologetic, politically charged multitude of thrash metal songs with strong brain-awakening messages of personal empowerment combined with human persuasions of right and wrong. I guess you could say it’s thrash for grown ups. Special thanks to Danny for taking the time on tour to speak with me about life on the road and thrash metal twenty years and counting.
Did you ever imagine you’d be opening for larger than life Slayer and touring the world with so many notable thrash bands?
I’ve been playing music for 20 years and 4ARM has been together for nearly ten years and you kind of have the dream of doing these kinds of tours and coming out with bands like this, but you don’t actually think that you’ll really achieve it. Being from Australia or being from a small town next to Melbourne in Australia, it’s almost like a pipe dream. It’s sort of unheard of. All of a sudden to have the guys that booked these big bands send you an email and ask if you want to come on tour is pretty surreal, you know. It’s pretty crazy.
I imagine in the twenty years you’ve been playing that you’ve come across a lot of great local music waiting to be untapped in Australia. Is there a supportive community for local bands in Australia or every band for themselves?
Melbourne really is kind of a mecca of bands and stuff like that in Australia. The population is a lot smaller than what it is in the United States, but there’s probably more bands in Melbourne than there are in America. It’s more of a competition type and very jealousy fueled underground scene. It’s kind of sad, to be honest.
Does the style of the music you play translate into the style of music you listen to or is there anyone you listen to, like, Elton John or someone we’d be shocked to know about?
I don’t think so. I’m really genre specific when it comes to what I do. The list is very much what you’d expect: Metallica, Slayer, Machine Head, Rob Zombie. It doesn’t really branch out from there. I’m a massive Pantera fan, as well. The softest I will ever do, and it’s pretty limited, is Johnny Cash. I do like to listen to Johnny Cash.
You definitely cannot go wrong with Johnny Cash. He kind of seemed to have had a sort of heavy metal attitude, don’t you think?
Haha. I kind of think he does. Maybe that’s why it can kind of be appealing.
How would you say your music has evolved in the last twenty years and would you ever consider switching genres?
I’ve always been into thrash. Every band I’ve been in has sort of been thrash metal. I’ve never really deviated from that, to be quite honest. For me it’s always sort of been a one-way street and I’ve never really tried to branch of into anything else. Thrash has always been my number one love when it comes to heavy metal and it’s sort of where I’ve stayed and probably will stay.