The Shocking Shreds of Dignity
CoC interviews Tom Klimchuck of Pro-Pain
by: Adrian Bromley
They're back, and better than ever.

Not only has New York's Pro-Pain got my full attention in 2002, they got my undying respect as a band that has evolved over the years but still kept the solid, aggressive edge intact -- and that can't be more obvious than with one listen of the band's heavyset groove agenda called _Shreds of Dignity_.

Having been a fan of the band for years now, I was a little disappointed with the past two records (1999's _Act of God_ and 2000's _Round 6_), as they didn't kick my ass like the new one has.

So what brought about this more aggressive approach? What set things off this time around? Guitarist Tom Klimchuck lets Chronicles of Chaos in on the making of _Shreds of Dignity_.

"I think we approached this record a bit different this time around and didn't want to limit ourselves with our writing process this time around. I think sometimes in the past when we came up with numbers with a lot of groove and heaviness we would try to balance out the rest of the record with some mid-paced numbers. That wasn't the case with the new album. We just wrote what came to mind and let the record write itself."

Seeing that I, the critic, found this record to be steps above the past few releases in the intensity realm, what was Klimchuck's reaction to it when he first played it back?

"Once we are done with a record, I usually put it away for a couple of weeks and try to forget about it and put it out of my mind", he explains. "We spend so much time in the studio working on songs for hours and you get so far into them that it takes a lot to actually sit back and listen to what you have done from an outsider's perspective. After a couple of weeks of cleansing the pallet and listening to other forms of music to take my mind off what we have done I'll go back to the new material and give it a spin. This time around, I had this real strange feeling. This time it really took on a different feeling than I had expected, it was a lot heavier and more aggressive and it really suited the time. It shocked me."

Shocked, eh?

"Yeah, it did hit me in a very unexpected way, but that was cool. I think this is a really unique Pro-Pain record and it is quite difficult to make consistent records as you go along. Each time you write you need to compare with old songs you have written and try not to be redundant or repeat yourself. After listening to this record, it would be kind of hard to lump this in with what we have done and try to find a spot for it. It is a good feeling to know we have done this, as well it is a good motivation for me knowing that I still have some good music left in me."

Like all of their hard work in the past, Klimchuck says that the band -- rounded out by singer/bassist Gary Meskil, guitarist Eric Klinger and drummer Eric Matthews -- have never really made any attempt to fit into a certain genre or trend with their music, rather just focus on making music for themselves, as well as for the fans of Pro-Pain.

"When we set out to make this record, we knew what was big out there and what was making money for bands (i.e. nu-metal) and we didn't want any of that hip-hop grooves or heavy crunchy guitars in what we were doing, so we made sure we differentiated our sound and made it more straight-up hardcore or thrash metal, just to make a point that we weren't going to ride whatever "wave" is out there and that we plan to do our own thing. And I think Pro-Pain fans are pleased about that, knowing that our music is not geared to what is hot out there right now."

And with the album cover colours and image -- a camouflage motif -- it seems to fitting as it goes along well with Pro-Pain being in the music business trenches trying to fight a war of sorts to get noticed and be successful. Am I right or what?

"Yes, you are", laughs the guitar player. "Being in this music business is like fighting a war. When it came time to think of the artwork for the album, and the music was already recorded and we knew it was heavier than what we had done in the past, we decided to go along with this camouflage idea. Our music has always sort of had this militant theme to it and it seemed appropriate to bring that theme back into the artwork for the band. It suits the music too, as the music is a little heavier and rawer than the past few records. As well, the battle still rages on for us."

Looking back at what Pro-Pain has done, what has Klimchuck gotten out of being in the band?

"Making music with this band has been very important for us", he accounts. "We are pleased when magic happens between the music and lyrics of the band and the songs just explode with intensity and creativity. I like to have really heavy music with some really cool, intellectual lyrics behind what is being sung -- if not, the music does nothing for me. Pro-Pain always had made sure that the end result is something that we can be proud of and say: this is Pro-Pain. This is our music."

(article submitted 3/7/2002)


CHATS
8/28/2003 A McKay Pro-Pain: As Big as the Rolling Stones?
12/13/1995 A Bromley Pro-Pain: Painful Pleas From the Pros
ALBUMS
2/24/2009 A McKay 8.5 Pro-Pain - No End in Sight
8/28/2003 J Smit 5 Pro-Pain - Run for Cover
5/13/2001 M Noll 7 Pro-Pain - Round 6
3/14/1999 M Noll 8 Pro-Pain - Act of God
3/10/1998 Z Tsarfin 5 Pro-Pain - Pro-Pain
10/11/1996 A Bromley 8 Pro-Pain - Contents Under Pressure
GIGS
11/18/1996 S Cannon Voivod / Crisis / Pro-Pain Vicious Violence Vented
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