Smile Politely

For Great Justice Rawks WEFT Tonight

If you love classic heavy metal served up with a dash of irony, tune into WEFT-90.1 FM tonight at 10 p.m. and check out local trio For Great Justice, who will be playing a live set on WEFT Sessions, hosted by Todd Hunter. According to the band, “Part of what makes good, old school metal, we believe, is to find the divide between the extreme and the ridiculous,” and they straddle that line effectively. As an example, you will find on their MySpace page a song titled “More Than Meets the Eye,” which is a line-by-line metal cover of the theme song to the old “Transformers” TV show. If hearing that song isn’t enough to get you to tune in, then I don’t know what else to tell you.

For Great Justice consists of Matt (bass, vocals), Jess (guitar, vocals) and Keith (drums), and they’ve been playing together for almost two years. They participated in an email interview as a group, and the thoroughly enjoyable results are after the jump.

Smile Politely: What’s the origin of the band’s name?

For Great Justice: Back in 1990, a Japanese video game called Zero Wing was ported over to the American market, and they used local panda bears sloshed on sake to handle the translation. The dialogue, while likely chillingly serious in its original medium, was transmogrified into jaw-dropping farce in the English version. Now that the story is told, I’m sure you’ll all recognize the scenario when I mention ‘all your base are belong to us’, which was initially presented in Zero Wing. Ultimately, what is learned from this preposterous exchange between the villainous ‘Cats’ and our heroic Captain is that if you move ‘Zigs’, you do it For Great Justice (also, now I know what a ‘Zig’ is. Thank you Zero Wing!) For Great Justice is just that. An entity that is both absurd and engaging.

SP: How did you end up in Champaign?

FGJ: Matt and Jess are from Champaign originally. Keith attended the U of I some centuries ago. I think he might’ve studied horse and buggy engineering. His thesis was on how to build a better horse. The buggies were already pretty good at that point.

SP: Do you have any other gigs lined up?

FGJ: Nope, but Brother Embassy does, I’m sure. Those sluts. Though we’ll be playing around in October, definitely.

SP: How many TV show themes do you have in your repertoire? Can we expect a metal version of the “GI Joe” theme on Monday also?

FGJ: Ha! Currently only the Transformers theme, “More Than Meets the Eye.” Funny you mention GI Joe, as about a month ago I revisited the intro. There’s more pew-pew Laz0rBEEMZ in that intro than actual music, so I dunno how well we could make a semi-faithful adaptation of it without the Power Rangers on hand…

SP: What’s the most recent concert you went to, and how was it?

FGJ: Keith – Rush. Gave it an 11/10. He brought an extra pair of pants. Used them, too.
Matt – Dweezil Zappa on the “Zappa Plays Zappa” tour. It was pretty sweet. Those guys (and gals) are top notch players, and the sound setup was amazing.
Jess – i:scintilla. Good show, yet marred by the notion that I think no sound system in CU can handle what they produce, sonically. Unfortunate!

SP: Have you played live for a radio show before? How do you anticipate it being different from a regular live gig?

FGJ: Nope! We’re virgins to the airwaves. Jess will likely be inclined to treat it like a rehearsal, which means that Matt and Keith are hoping no booze is allowed at WEFT. That aside, should go swimmingly!

SP: How would you describe your sound for someone who’s never heard your band before?

FGJ: Our stuff is pretty riff-heavy. But it’s not often crazy-fast. Vocal melody and harmony play an important role in our trio (no growlies/screamo stuff), and we try to balance that with appropriate instrumentation. We may be metal, but in a classic sense.

SP: What is the greatest album of all time? Why?

FGJ: Keith – Rush: Exit… Stage Left. Impeccable musicians at their peak in a live setting. Really, what these guys do live is well beyond what most musicians can even aspire to.
Matt – Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream. It’s a collection of good individual songs, and when you put them together as an album they’re even better. They also nailed the production side of things—there’s enough compression to keep things even without completely killing the dynamic range.
Jess – Return to Forever: Compilation, disc 2. I know, kinda out there. But the music is so far beyond imagination. For those not in the know, RTF was a jazz-fusion band back in the 70s. Those songs have the perfect blend of delicious beats, tasty chops, and succulent melodies. I drool for it.

SP: What was your favorite band when you were in junior high?

FGJ: Keith – Rush. Surprise!!
Matt – Smashing Pumpkins
Jess – Black Sabbath

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