Updated: 03/13/99

We at Highwire Daze would like to make one prediction -- Cutters are going to be very, very big! They certainly have the potential and the great songs. It's only a matter of time.

Prior to the release of their CMC release SONIC WAVE LOVE, we had a chance to chat with all four members on an individual basis. And now, Highwire Daze proudly presents...


Part One -- Tommy Berry

Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Cutters?

Tommy: I'm Tommy, the singer and guitar player.

HD: Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there?

Tommy: We're based out of Bloomington, Indiana. Out of all the cities in Indiana, Bloomington has the most rock and roll bands. There's lots of musicians in that town and lots of good bands. I'd say the bars around there aren't super supportive of original music, but there seems to be a lot of bands around in that area. The Mysteries Of Life are from there, and there's a band called Old Pike that just got signed out of there. There's a band called Johnny Socko, a great ska band that tours all over the United States, and they're from Bloomington. It's actually kind of surprising for such a small town in the middle of the Midwest -- there's a lot of good music coming out from there.

HD: If you had to describe your music to someone, what would you say?

Tommy: You know, that's one of the most difficult things that we do, is try to describe it. That's a tough one. We've kind of got a pop side to us, but maybe a progressive pop style.

HD: With CMC being this metal label, how did you guys wind up getting signed to them?

Tommy: They're trying to broaden their horizons. They've been known as this heritage label. They've got something to prove. They want to start signing new bands and I think we're the first one that they've taken on. If they can be somewhat successful with us, then I'm sure that's the direction they'd want to go into. They want to ad new bands. We thought it would be a good opportunity for us to be a band that they try. They'll put even more effort into it than maybe another label who are always bringing in new bands.

HD: Is it any different now that you're a "signed band?" Has your life changed at all?

Tommy: Not really. I really shouldn't say that. I mean it's young, the record isn't even out yet -- we get these weekly updates on the radio reports -- and it's nice to know that we're up to about 100 stations and they are only into their third week of radio promotion. In that sense, it's exciting to imagine that there are people out there hearing our music that have never had the opportunity to hear it before. And also, now that we're on the road for the first time on a label, things are a little bit different because we now have a support staff helping us. When we go to a city, we have radio promotion going on. We've got publicists helping us out with print media, and that's really nice. It's something that we could never get organised enough to do on our own when we're out there touring around without any label support.

HD: Where do you get your ideas when you write the lyrics?

Tommy: That's one of the hardest things about writing songs. It seems like we always have an abundance of musical ideas. We sit down and we jam all the time. So those seem to pile up and get backlogged and we kind of just wait for the lyrics. Sometimes I won't be inspired and it'll take a while. I'll go through ruts where the songs pile up. I've been the primary song writer as far as lyrics go.

HD: What are some of the songs about that you write?

Tommy: Well, a song like "Freedom Runs" is about not taking your freedoms for granted. Living here in the States, we all have it pretty good. Even the lowest tier of Americans are much better off than in a lot of places in the world. It was just trying to grasp that and realize that there are so many opportunities here and we need to take advantage of that. And maybe being annoyed sometimes when you see people around who have so much going for them and then they just piss it away.

HD: What is the single "Satisfied" about?

Tommy: That's just a fun song about playing music in general. It's really about like, "Did you enjoy the songs? Hopefully you'll like our songs!" It's like the lyrics talking about getting people surrounded with our music -- we're not going away, so are you satisfied -- and if not then what can we do? But we're trying.

HD: You have a song called "Hero." I wanted to know what is that song about and who are some of your heroes?

Tommy: That song was actually written by Pete, our drummer. He may be better suited to answer the question. But if you really want to know some of my heroes... This is probably pretty cliche, but I think Michael Jordan is one of my biggest heroes. He's just such a successful person and he seems to carry it so well. It's just amazing to me.

Part Two -- Pete Wilhoit

HD: Do you feel any different now that Cutters is a signed band?

Pete: In the beginning I would have said no to that question, but there's a placebo effect that happens around you on how people perceive you. And now that we're a signed band, they really start to perceive you a lot differently. Because of that, I'm starting to look at the whole thing a little differently. Like maybe this is going to work -- but before, a lot of times you're having fun but you feel like you're banging your head against the wall because you're driving so long. Some people dig it, but most don't. You don't get paid and you get homesick. But now going out with The Flys and seeing people react because you're on a label, you get this perception of, "Well, now their music is good and I can give it a chance and listen to it." It seems like that sort of effect has happened. So I do see a difference.

HD: I wanted to ask about the song "Hero." What is that song about and who are some of your heroes?

Pete: When I was thinking about the lyrics, it was kind of a time where there were a lot of who I considered atheletic heroes in my life -- you see how much they mean to kids and people growing up -- and you realize that their lifestyles get put on the front page for you to read. And sometimes your hero turns out to be somebody who has a real problem with drugs or has a problem with domestic violence. And it makes you start to think, "Why did I consider him a hero in the beginning? Because he could dribble a basketball or slam dunk it from half court?" It's kind of an inward question as to "Who is a hero?" Is it the guy out on the screen who's playing or is it the guy who gives a liver transplant or helps somebody across the street? It's an inward question about who you consider a hero.

HD: Who are some of your heroes?

Pete: I would say, as far as musically, Kenny Arnoff is one of my heroes just because he's one of my teachers and he's a real big inspiration to me. I think he does a lot of great things for music, and the music industry in general. And maybe my mom.

HD: How do you think the music of Cutters stands a part from other bands?

Pete: I was talking to people who were listening to the music and were hearing it for the first time -- and the first thing out of their mouth was, "You guys are real positive! " And it's funny, because we don't take a conscious effort to make that part of the music. But I think there is a positive message coming out. We're not angry, we're not taking jabs at anybody. We're kind of taking a collective attitude that we're here to have fun and rock!

HD: If there was one thing you'd like someone to remember after hearing your new CD, what would it be?

Pete: Maybe that these songs are the results of seven years, and after forty or fifty different songs. That we've worked as hard as anybody whose worked at any job for seven years to get where we're at -- and I hope it shows in the music. Hard work does pay off.

HD: What are some of the jobs you've had in the past?

Pete: I've had a lot of jobs that are mostly music related, working in a CD store and giving drumming lessions. I'd say the best job I've had that is non music related is being a substitute teacher in the community schools. That was a real eye opener just to see where kids are today in relationship to how I perceived school when I was that age. It's pretty amazing and it's pretty scary to see what some kids would do at the age of 7th and 8th Grade.


Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself and let me know what you do in Cutters.

Bill Maki: Hi, this is Bill and I'm the keyboard player.

HD: Hey Bill. What can we expect from a live Cutters show?

Bill: I think you can expect energy. I think you can expect integrity. That may be hard to define musically. What I mean by that is, you can expect for us to go up there and appreciate the crowd 110 percent and give them a musical performance that is indicative of how much it is that we care about writing and pleasing people with music. I think that integrity can be seen by that stand point from the crowd. I think that we try and develop a geniune sense of respect from the audience. I mean, these are the people who have come to hear you as an artist. It certainly isn't a job when you're onstage. It's personal -- it's trying to create a relationship with the audience and to take them someplace you've been before through the music.

HD: What are some of the jobs that you've had in the past?

Bill: We've had long time pizza delivery boy. I'm actually a Mathematics Instructor. My Bachelors Degree as an undergradate was in Math, and I still do some work for the IU Math Department -- primarily the pilot courses for the students who may have deficient or no math background. Right now, we're working on a course trying to make it possible for some of the courses in the area to be computer instructed, so people who have a more rigerous work schedule -- or maybe somebody who left high school after graduation and didn't go to college, and are now a returning student or continuing student after ten years, but they also have a full time job -- they are not able to make conventional class time -- this course would allow them to do that. This course would be primarily from their home with only one examination per week and a couple of tests. So, mostly my math degree and pizza delivery.

HD: It's always nice to have something to fall back on. So I wanted to ask, if there was one thing you'd like someone to get out of listening to your new CD, what would it be?

Bill: I think I'd like to leave somebody with having experienced something new -- for the first time. We've just gotten done performing with The Flys and I plan on picking up their record. I'm curious to see if I listen to their record if I'm experiencing them as individuals as well as just some songs. And I guess I'd like to leave people with the impression that they've sort of met somebody new -- they've experienced something new. That being us as individuals.

NEXT WEEK -- ROB CALDER and the conclusion of the CUTTERS interview.


THE OFFICIAL CUTTERS HOME PAGE: All the news on Cutters!
CMC INTERNATIONAL RECORDS: Cutters' record label!

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