Tourniquet has been gracing the metal scene for ten years with thoughtful, heavier than hell music and have just released their tenth album! Ominously titled Microscopic View For A Telescopic World, Tourniquet combine compelling lyrics with a driving metallic force. We recently spoke with one of the founding members, discussing Tourniquet’s history, the local music scene, and their spiritual beliefs.

Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Tourniquet and how long the band has been around.

Ted Kirkpatrick: My name is Ted Kirkpatrick and I am the drummer and main songwriter in the band. I have a horrible singing voice so they don’t let me anywhere near a mic. And we’ve been around since 1990. This new album Microscopic View is actually our tenth album. We have six full-length albums out, two EP’s, one acoustic album and one, if there could be such a thing, Best Of Tourniquet.

HD: What is meant by the album title Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm?

Ted: The microscopic view would be kind of when we get so involved in our own lives and in our computer and in our job and paying the bills – we kind of forget the whole telescopic realm that’s out there of people who are hurting or maybe the parents we have a bitter relationship with. And of course with Tourniquet, we believe that there’s a god out there that actually cares about us, and that’s the telescopic realm that we can’t even see.

HD: Where did the ideas for the songs on the new album come from?

Ted: A lot of them come from things that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. Things that anyone can relate to. Like the second song “Drinking From The Poisoned Well” is a song about chronic anger – about harboring anger for someone for months and sometimes years. As humans, we think we’re getting back at that person, when really what it’s doing is poisoning us. Then there’s a song about child abuse. And the title track is about the creation and how beautiful certain things on this earth are – and how can someone look at that and say it’s a random amalgam of molecules thrown together? We look at it and say, “Wow, what a cool planet God created for us.”

HD: How do you think the new album compares to your earlier efforts?

Ted: I hope that all ten of our albums sound different. People tell us that they do. I think sonically, this one sounds the best as far as the drum sounds and some of the guitar tones. There are more extremes on this. People like to use extreme or brutal – I think the word extreme for Tourniquet means extremes of sound. We love really nasty sounds and we love beautiful sounds and everything in between. And that’s why you’ll hear cello in one part with harmonies on it – and then you’ll hear distorted guitar tuned to “B” with screaming over it.

HD: When you look back on your earlier work now, what do you think?

Ted: Actually I like it. I’m not one of those people who like only their current thing and cut down everything else. I’m happy with everything we’ve done. I can look back, even on the first album, and there are some pretty crazy parts on there!

HD: How influenced is your music by Christianity and the teaching of Christ?

Ted: I look at it the same way if somebody was a Satanist and into demonology – then a lot of their lyrics are going to come out that way like Morbid Angel. And then if you’re into partying and getting stoned and having a good time, then you’re going to have Motley Crue and Poison lyrics. For us, the lyrics are just an extension of what’s important to us. By far, the most important thing in our lives is our relationship with God – so of course that’s going to come out in the lyrics. And it’s not meant to try to shove it down people’s throats – it’s just a part of who we are and what we care about. So to answer your question, it’s obviously very important to us.

HD: What do you say to non-Christians who enjoy your music?

Ted: “Glad you enjoy what we do” is what I usually say. I think for a lot of fans of music, they just want to hear the music. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews, especially in Europe, and a lot of them haven’t heard of us before. They really could care less if we have Christian lyrics or not. They’re really into the music. You’re always going to have a small percentage of people who will say just because they’re Christian, the music must be junk. That’s about as intelligent as saying just because someone is singing about Satan, the music must be great. You can make an equal amount of nonsense either way.

HD: Are you guys from Los Angeles?

Ted: Uh-huh, yeah! Actually I grew up in Wisconsin. And Aaron (Guerra) the guitar player is from Stagecoast, Nevada – population 900. And Luke (Easter, vocals) grew up in the Bay Area here in California. But we’re based out of Los Angeles.

HD: What do you think about the music scene in Los Angeles these days?

Ted: Well, it’s obviously different than eight years ago when glam bands were passing out flyers on the Sunset Strip. It seems to have toned down a lot. I think now people go see bands because of the music and not because they got a free flyer. It doesn’t seem as cliquey. If people honestly like your music, they’ll go see you – and just because you’re passing out a flyer doesn’t mean that someone is going to come out and party at The Roxy or The Whisky. I guess it seems to be pretty healthy. You get a lot of heavy bands that come through and a great diversity.

HD: What do you think of the Black Metal movement?

Ted: Musically, there’s a lot of it that’s interesting to me. I just heard this band the other day called The Crown, and I thought the music was really cool and clever and had some intense riffs to it. As far as the lyrics, of course it’s something totally different when someone is singing about how great the dark side is and cultism and all that. Our beliefs are very different from that. But we understand where people are coming from when they sing about these things. I’ve been around it for twenty years so it’s pretty easy to figure out where it comes from. There are some bands who think they have this “brutal music” and so the only thing they could think of that goes with that is lyrics about decapitations and sex with corpses and stuff like that. But there’s a lot of other things you could write about and still have your music as heavy as you want it to be. The great majority of Black Metal lyrics are just something that they add to the music, and there’s a small percentage of bands that are serious about what they believe in, as far as those thing are concerned. But for most, it’s from watching Dario Argento horror movies or stuff like that.

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

Ted: Musically, it would be to encourage people to check out classical music – the music of Chopin and Beethoven, Mahler and all these composers that have been gone for 200 years. To me, (the music) is the most hectic and beautiful and complicated and simple – there will never be another period like that in history in my opinion. Lyrically, I would like them to take a step back and look at their life and consider that there is a God that cares about them – and to check out the Bible.

Many thanks to Ted Kirkpatrick for his thoughtful remarks. Check out Microscopic View Of A Telescopic World, out now from Metal Blade Records!


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