Taking on the Rock n' Roll jungle!
"As a band, our music has definitely evolved over the years. Ourselves, we've evolved over the years as musicians, as people, as band members, so, yeah, our music has evolved with us. Definitely a natural progression from our first album to where we are now."
By Kreig Marks, January 2021
The Chimpz are a kick-ass hard rock progressive metal band from Los Angeles. They’ve been around for about 15 years and have been very successful as a fully independent band, not attached to a label. Since 2015, they’ve released four albums and are currently working on their 5th. They recently released the first single from that album, “Not Enough,” which is straight up Hard Rock and sure to get a lot of play on Satellite radio. Today, I had the opportunity to speak with the band's vocalists, Artimus Prime and Chuck Preston.
TRR: Hey guys. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. We’re big fans of you guys and were excited to learn about the new single, “Not Enough.”
AP: Thanks for the opportunity, Kreig.
CP: Hey man, thanks a lot. I’m glad you’re digging the new song.
TRR: Yeah, we are. The song and the video. Great songs. Let’s talk about the band for a minute. The band formed in 2005 by you [Artimus], Mario, Thomas and Sean Topham. A little while later Chuck joined. Since then, Mario and Thomas left. But basically, the band has maintained its original lineup. How have you guys been able to do that over the past 15 years? That’s a pretty big deal these days.
AP: Yeah, we’ve been pretty fortunate in that. It’s not an easy thing to do these days. So many bands have players coming and going all the time so being able to keep our core together has been a blessing.
TRR: Yeah, you're right. So many bands these days have a revolving door when it comes to members. It's not like it was in the 60's or 70's with bands like The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. You always knew who the players were.
AP: Exactly. There are always so many bands constantly changing players. So, yeah, it's been cool that our core hasn't changed.
TRR: The debut album, “On Parole,” released through the band’s own label, was pretty successful. It has a very hard Punk Rock feel, and a Rage Against the Machine type of edge. Very hard sound but not over produced. Now, moving ahead to 2020, the band released “Not Enough.” I can definitely hear the progression in the band’s sound from 2005 to the latest release, where it’s less Punk and more Hard Rock, and maybe a bit more Metal. Was this intentional or do you feel just a natural progression based on the way music has progressed over the past several years?
AP: Oh, definitely intentional. We've evolved over the years as musicians, as people, as band members, and our music has evolved with us. Definitely a natural progression from our first album to where we are now.
TRR: What have you guys been doing during the pandemic away from music?
AP: Binge watching a lot of shows on Netflix. Like Cobra Kai. You can totally binge watch it like Breaking Bad.
CP: Cobra Kai! I've got the Cobra Kai jacket! But this pandemic has been so bad and so many people are in a lot of trouble because of it, losing their asses. If these guys in DC would just get off their asses and stop the BS debating and put the money out there for the people who really need it.
TRR: True. As a kid, what were you listening to? Was music a big interest of yours?
AP: Pat Benatar!
TRR: Pat Benatar? Seriously?
AP: LOL. Nah, I'm joking. Not that there's anything wrong with her, just not really my thing. I really got into music when I was in 6th grade. I listened to Grunge, Rage Against the Machine, POD, all those Rap Metal type of bands. After a while, Alice in Chains, Metallica. Too many to name.
CP: Let's see. I grew up listening to Public Enemy, KISS, Poison, Beastie Boys, basically a lot of different things. Had fun listening to a lot of different music.
TRR: When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?
AP: Hmm. I guess I've known since I was a little kid, probably since the age of 11. I've always listened to music, loved music. I knew all along it was what I wanted to do in my life. My first band I was at age 16 or 17. I knew from then on that it was what I wanted to do, and then we formed The Chimpz.
CP: Probably around the 9th grade. Around that time I remember doing a song and I got booed for forgetting my lyrics. LOL.
TRR: Was guitar your first choice?
AP: Actually, I first played violin.
TRR: Violin? Seriously?
AP: Yeah man, violin. I played in the orchestra in high school. I played violin, cello, bass, stand up bass, a little bit of piano, chorus. Did this all the way through 11th grade. I didn't start playing guitar until a few years later. And, somehow had time to play football.
TRR: Sounds like you're pretty well-trained and well-versed. Major discipline!
AP: Yeah, I just love music.
TRR: Like most young bands, were you doing the “covers” gigs or did you feel doing originals was the way to go?
AP: Actually, we did our originals from the start. That was our thing. It wasn't until a few years ago when we threw some covers into our set because we started going broke....LOL. A lot of these clubs won't pay you if you don't do covers.
CP: LOL. Yeah man. We had to if we wanted to get more gigs and get paid! People want to hear some songs they know already so we mix a few in here and there.
TRR: First song you wrote.
AP: I think that was 'Won't You' from the On Parole album. I think that was the first song we all collaborated on.
TRR: First time you’re on stage with the band, what was going through your mind?
AP: We played at a place called Paladinos in Reseda. It went pretty well. I was just thinking, "Do your thing and don't fuck up!" LOL.
TRR: Most memorable show you’ve done.
AP: Man, there have been a lot. Most memorable? I'll toss this one to Chuck.
CP: I'd say......hmm. That is a tough one. Most memorable show. San Antonio, Sacramento Jaegermeister Tour. Loudwire Music Festival. All the festivals have been great. Hmm. Most memorable. I'm gonna say the Rocklahoma Festivals we've done. We've done 3 of them. Those were great shows. The crowds there, in the Mid-West, are awesome. The people there are really cool. We get a lot of love there. All those shows have been the bomb. That's where I got introduced to a lot of bands I'd never seen or heard of, like Thousand Foot Krutch. Those dudes are dope!
TRR: That time when the band got to do a show, and several bands you really looked up to were also on the ticket, who are some of those bands?
CP: Twisted Sister. I'd never seen them live. I was trippin' on seeing them do their thing. Mr Snider [Dee Snider] had this mic stand with like a hundred picks on it. He'd do a couple seconds and throw a pick into the crowd. The crowd loved it. Watching Kid Rock come in on a helicopter. Guns 'n Roses. The Jimi Hendrix Experience with Zaak Wylde. That was really dope cause Zaak was playing guitar and one of his strings broke, and a guitar tech came from the back and he never missed a note while the tech fixed his string.
TRR: Very cool. One song you’ve recorded, you listen to it today and think, “Damn, that’s really kick ass.”
CP: I'd say "Corrupt" from our Who Can I Trust EP. It's an energy giver. Everyone in the band loves playing it. It's one of my favorite songs we've done. The guitar solo is awesome. Bruce Bouillet of Racer X did the solo on that song. He just killed it! He came into the studio and played like 10 solos in a row. He called us to come upstairs to listen to those and said, "Pick one!"
TRR: How did you get Bruce to play on there?
CP: We grew up in the same area with him, and a lot of other guys in the industry. So, we've known Bruce forever and have been friends for a long time. But, go listen to that solo on "Corrupt." It's super nasty. Really kick-ass.
TRR: Will do! Do you have a song you recorded, and were never 100% satisfied with, and think the band should record it again?
AP: Hmm. I'd say it would have to be one of our early songs, maybe from the On Parole album. You know we did all that really raw. We didn't have a producer.
CP: Hmm. Man. That's tough. If I have to choose, I'd probably say "Rollin Up." For me, that's what I'd say. That was the first song I did with the band and I thought I could have done it better. But, it jams, especially when we do it live.
TRR: Have you ever thought about quitting the band and doing something else?
AP: LOL. Man....I think we've all had, all the time! LOL. It's like any relationship you're in. If you're in a marriage, job, whatever, there's going to be those times when you just want to get the fuck out of there. But at the end of the day, these guys are my brothers and we're all in this together.
CP: We've all been through that, but we've grown. We're not kids. Yeah, we've all threatened to leave but, it all blows over.
TRR: Staying on that subject, if you had to do something other than music, what would that be?
AP: I'd probably be selling insurance. I used to be an insurance agent. Property, Life and Casualty, Car. All of it. Or, maybe a firefighter or porno producer. LOL.
CP: Actually, on the side, away from the band, I'm a coffee roaster and I produce cold brew out here in LA. If not that, I'd have my English degree and maybe be a professor.
TRR: Let me ask you this now, during the pandemic, how have you used the time away from touring to get to do quality-time stuff?
CP: We weren't able to get together and collaborate or practice together. But, as an indie band, we've been so accustomed to doing different things during the day, so that wasn't really an issue. But, during the pandemic, I was able to spend more time with my kids. I'm not around all that often, because I'm either in the studio or on the road. So, this was a blessing.
TRR: After all these years in the music industry, what do you still find to be the most challenging for you?
AP: The marketing. It's a full time job in itself. For the most part, we've all done our own marketing. Sometimes, we have a PR company come on and help out. But, over the years, it's something we've all taken part in doing.
TRR: Who gave you the best bit of advice when you were just starting out?
AP: Not really one person, but most of the other bands we knew would tell us to just keep doing it, expand your knowledge by practicing. Listen to all the other bands out there to learn. Don't let anything hold you back.
TRR: Tell me about 5 new bands that you really like.
AP: Oh man. There's a lot more than 5. Foo Fighters definitely. A new band I've been digging, The Black Angels or something like that. ACDC, Metallica, Soundgarden. I love Chris Cornell. Lincoln Park. I got to meet Chester a couple times and hung out with him at Livewire in Colorado. He was very mellow, sober, a great guy, very professional. I love Chevelle. And...Pat Benatar!
Chuck: System of a Down, Iron Maiden, Public Enemy, The Revivalists, and for my last one, NWA.
TRR: Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
CP: All my bandmates for not leaving while we go through this pandemic. Stay fresh my brothers. Sonic. Artimus. You know,
Artimus and I didn't like each other until the 2nd album, because he thought I was invading his space. LOL. But, we love each other now. Our publicist Yvonne Laughlin of Yvonne's World PR, Phil Taylor Rock Solid Talent Entertainment, JBL, Schechter Guitars, Sabian Cymbals, Hustle Bank, Sullen Clothing. And, all our fans and everyone who's given us support.
TRR: Any other music to be released soon? You have "Not Enough" out now, which is kick-ass.
TRR: Guys, lets wrap this up and it's been cool speaking with both of you. Keep us updated with the new stuff when it comes out. We really dig your kick-ass sound.
AP: Kreig, this has been real cool. We really appreciate this and a big shout out to Tru Rock Revival!
CP: Thanks Kreig. Keep up what you're doing with Tru Rock!
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher of TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and to promote musicians. In his spare time he is a top neuro-fitness trainer, kinesiologist.