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Johnny Crowder: Dark Sermon


Published by Dan SW
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Well, it’s Friday again, so time to bring you another interview, this time with the illustrious lead singer of Florida metal band Dark Sermon. We caught up with Johnny Crowder earlier this week to talk metal, straight edge, videos, and tour life.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Ok Johnny, please tell everyone who you are and what you’re all about

Johnny Crowder

My name is Johnny. I am 20 years old and I sing for a metal band called Dark Sermon from Tampa, FL.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

How long have you been singing for Dark Sermon?

Johnny Crowder

Since March of 2009. I was 16 when I joined.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

And you guys are pretty metal; how’d you hook up with the straight edge scene?

Johnny Crowder

I actually claimed edge before I joined the band. When I first started going to shows, I was 14. And for about a year, all I knew was hardcore. I never even knew metal existed. A friend of mine, Geoff, introduced me to the concept of straight edge, and I immediately backed the whole lifestyle.

It was incredible to me that there was a counterculture within the counterculture that shared some of my same beliefs.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

And are the scenes pretty separate in Tampa? What let you cross over into metal?

Johnny Crowder

Sadly, they are. Most hardcore kids stick with hardcore shows, and the metal kids stick with metal shows. There isn’t much crossover. But that’s where we come in.

We seem to be the band that bridges the gap.

Hardcore kids can get into it because it’s not that cheesy cookie-cutter breakdown-two-step-breakdown stuff, and metal kids can get into it because it’s fast and heavy.

A majority of us listen to a lot of hardcore, and kids in FL know that. We’re open-minded about music, and that allows kids to be open-minded about us.

Dark Sermon band photo

Dark Sermon are very definitely a metal band

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Was that something you guys planned from the start?

Johnny Crowder

No, we didn’t plan that, haha. We just have a lot of friends in every scene, and there is just a mutual respect between all of our friends and us.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

There are quite a few other bands that are working to close the gap – Alex Erian was telling me that when he toured with Morbid Angel, they called Despised Icon a hardcore band…

And [The World We Knew] TWWK seems to be working to fill the same void

Johnny Crowder

Haha, they definitely have hardcore influence. Same with TWWK. But we don’t try to appeal to the hardcore crowd – we just do. We’re lucky I guess. We seem to be a universal kind of metal that everybody and their grandma can get into for one reason or another.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

You guys just got back from touring with TWWK, did you not?

Johnny Crowder

Yeah, we laid waste to the east coast with them last month. Awesome dudes.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

And you guys just released a video?

Johnny Crowder

We did, about three weeks ago.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

For what song?

Johnny Crowder

The title track from our upcoming full length, entitled “In Tongues”.

Johnny Crowder of Dark Sermon, from the In Tongues video

In Tongues music video

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

When’s the album out?

Johnny Crowder

We can’t say for sure, but we are aiming for early next year.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Is it finished?

Johnny Crowder

Just about. We’re hammering out the minor details on the last couple songs. I’m very proud of it thus far.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

So you have a video out before you’ve finished recording the songs?

What are you, Blind Melon?

Johnny Crowder

I wish I was culturally in-the-loop enough to understand that reference, haha.

And yes, we needed to put something out. We owed new music to our fans, and we thought a video for an unreleased song would be something that would really catch a lot of attention.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Ok, and I hear you’ve already finished shopping your album and picked up a 5-album deal with Universal; how’d that happen?

Any pointers?

Johnny Crowder

It honestly took us all by surprise – we’re very excited to be working with such a major label.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Asshole

Johnny Crowder

Haha, if only.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Ok, so the big question

Johnny Crowder

Yes, I will marry you!

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Did it matter that you were edge? Would you guys be doing as well if you weren’t?

Johnny Crowder

Haha, not many people know I’m edge. Only those fans who know me on a personal level know my beliefs. I mean, I’m not quiet about it, but I don’t often associate it with the band seeing as I am the only edge member.

I would say my being edge and the band’s success are completely unrelated.

Which is why I think it’s so cool that you guys decided to interview me. It’s cool to see the two sides of my life converge.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

And yet, I’ve heard that you’ve been on the receiving end of some backlash recently?

Johnny Crowder

Yeah, the straight edge isn’t as accepted (nor respected) in the metal scene as it is in the hardcore scene.

I definitely stick out like a sore thumb on tour and at shows, haha.

Johnny Crowder of Dark Sermon, live on stage

Crowder was recently on the receiving end of backlash from the metal community over being straight edge

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

No, your success is actually solely the result of our coverage, obviously.

Johnny Crowder

Haha, we owe it all to you, Dan.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Ok, so how does tour go down being straight edge? Does it suck royally?

Johnny Crowder

I don’t think tour could ever suck royally. My home is the road. I love it more than life itself and no amount of pot smoke or spilled beer can take that from me.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

What do you think of all these edge kids that can’t help but start fights in that situation?

Johnny Crowder

It is sometimes odd, and some people meet my views with aversion, or are, to say the least, put off by them.

Fighting is never the answer. It doesn’t solve much.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

But it is rather fun

Johnny Crowder

Being disrespected is a sad but true part of life. Learning how to deal with and handle that is part of growing up.

Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, I’ll punch a dude here and there. Just to keep my street cred on point.

Haha.

Yeah right.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Do you think in the long run being edge is going to hold you back? Are you concerned that your fanbase might not be able to connect to you on a deeper level?

Johnny Crowder

It does confuse kids; that’s for sure. And kids always ask to smoke me out after shows, and I respectfully decline, but I can’t help but think at least one of those kids hasn’t thought “jeez what a dick, I was offering him free weed and he just stiff-armed me.”

I’ve been told that it’s a bad decision from a business standpoint; who is going to want to listen to a metal band fronted by a man who doesn’t party?

Johnny Crowder

But my life is not a business, you know?

It’s a life.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

That’s real

Tell them to offer you food?

Johnny Crowder

Oh yeah, I would kill for some kid to bring me some chocolate milk or a sandwich from Subway, but things like that aren’t… the norm, haha.

Kids would never bring me food or drink, but they would line up to smoke me out or buy me a beer. I don’t get it.

I posted a status the other day about that; how there should be a straight edge option.

Like “I’ll pass on the weed, but could I score some pop-tarts?”

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Well, you seem like you’ve learned a lot for being such a young band – you got any guidance for the kids that want to get to where you are?

Johnny Crowder

The best advice I can give is to never stop making music. Ever.

If your band breaks up, start another one.

If your van breaks down, buy another one.

If your riff sucks, write another one.

Never give up. Create. For the rest of your life, create.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

And before we take up too much of your time, what should we be on the lookout for from Dark Sermon?

Anything big in the works?

Johnny Crowder

We are working on a bunch of very exciting stuff, none of which I am at liberty to discuss, haha. Just keep an eye on us. We’ll be in your city before too long. Buy me a chocolate milk.

Johnny Crowder of Dark Sermon, live on stage

Catch Johnny on tour in a town near you

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Thanks so much Johnny. Very much appreciate your time tonight

Johnny Crowder

Absolutely man. I appreciate the support we’ve been receiving through Straight Edge Worldwide.

STRAIGHTEDGEWORLDWIDE

Not a problem


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