Interview: Jeremy Von Epp (BlackGates)

We’ve reported about BlackGates before. The band that includes Dan Nelson (Inside Hollow, Farewell To Washington, ex-Anthrax), Paul Bostaph (Testament, ex-Slayer, ex-Exodus), Uriah Duffy (ex-Whitesnake) and Jeremy Von Epp.

Sadly, we didn’t know that much about Von Epp, so it was a good idea to interview Jeremy to get to know him a bit better and introduce him to all of you.

Make the jump to read my interview with Jeremy Von Epp, guitarist of BlackGates and a swell dude.

Dose of Metal: Hello Jeremy, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. How are you doing?

Jeremy Von Epp: I’m doing well. Thanks for asking and the interview is my pleasure.

DoM: For people who don’t know you yet, please introduce yourself.

JVE: My name is Jeremy Von Epp. I’m 33 years old and have been a metalhead all of my life. I live in Alameda Ca, and work as a guitar teacher at Showcase Music Institute in the Bay Area.

DoM: Before we get into the BlackGates questions, tell us a bit about what you’ve been involved with before this very band.

JVE: I started performing live in the Bay Area metal music scene in the late 90’s. I have only been in two other bands since then. Most notable, “The Venting Machine”. TVM began in 2002 and is still active and kicking ass today. I’ve been a guitar teacher since 2003, and I’ve done various session work for that last 10 years.

Jeremy with his The Venting Machine bandmates

DoM: How did you get the gig in BlackGates, that has a pretty elite lineup of former members of Slayer, Anthrax and Whitesnake?

JVE: In 2008 Paul Bostaph was looking to start a new metal band, and was looking for a guitar player. I had been playing live all over the Bay Area for 10 plus years and had built a solid reputation as a guitarist which led to Paul’s interest in me. A good friend of Paul’s suggested me, and thats how we hooked up. I was super excited to jam with him (as anyone would be) and we hit it off personally and musically, far better than we thought. Dan and Uriah came in next. It’s an honor to play with these caliber musicians.

DoM: At the time of me writing this, BlackGates have released two songs on Reverbnation. How much were you involved in the songwriting of these two songs?

JVE: I wrote all the riffs. Paul and I arranged the songs.

DoM: Are these songs a good introduction to the sound of the band and about what’s ahead?

JVE: These were the first songs we had before Dan and Uriah came in. With that being said, judging by the way they turned out and how we did things, the forthcoming songs are only going to be better. Dan is a great songwriter and Uriah can play anything imaginable. We have some newer demo’s right now that are going to blow this thing right out of the water. I can’t wait for everyone to hear them.

DoM: For those who haven’t listened to those songs yet, try to explain BlackGates’ sound in less than 10 words.

JVE: Heavy, groovy, old-school, edgy, catchy, melodic, and fun!

DoM: Break and Seeds of War are demos, yet they sound fine to me. I can only assume what the finished product will sound like. Are you already making plans to enter the studio to record an album?

JVE: We did the “Break” and “Seeds” demos with an “album quality” mind set. There may be a few differences when you hear the album, but probably not too much. We are going to continue writing and playing one off shows for now, and hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll be in the studio for the full album.

DoM: How many songs have you written yet and how would you describe them if you were your own PR agent?

JVE: We have 5 songs including Break and Seeds, and another four songs that need to be arranged and put down for real. Past that, I have plenty of killer riffs in the vault ready to become songs. Dan has a few songs as well. Any one of these songs could be the lead track. None of this stuff is filler shit, we don’t do that.

DoM: What else are you working on, besides BlackGates?

JVE: I’m working on The Venting Machine, and I’m doing video guitar lessons for a new prototype video game thats coming out next year. I’m also constantly recording music for radio commercials, and making guest appearances on other peoples albums.

DoM: Who influences your guitar playing the most and who’s your favorite guitarist of all time?

JVE: Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Dave Mustaine, Dimebag, Jake E. Lee, James Hetfield, Paul Gilbert, etc…. My favorite guitar player would have to be Van Halen, with Rhoads a close second.

DoM: Which are your Top 3 albums of all time?

JVE: Ozzy’s Diary Of A Madman, Van Halen 1984, Megadeth Rust In Piece

DoM: If you were stranded on a lonely island and you could only take one the following things with you, which one would you take: your guitar, a comic book, a Hustler magazine or a bong?

JVE: hahaha……lets see. A bong would make me hungry, a Hustler magazine would make me tired, I’m not much of a comic book guy, so I’d have to say my guitar.

DoM: On a scale of 1 to 5,000,000, how do you rate doseofmetal.com?

JVE: 4,999,999

DoM: On a scale of 1 to 2, how do you rate this interview?

JVE: I’d give it a good solid 2.

DoM: Anything else you want to say to your readers at doseofmetal.com?

JVE: Thanks for checking out BlackGates. We’re still in the early stages of this band, but we’re hoping to have a full record out and to be touring by next year. Peace

DoM: Thank you for your time!

And now it’s time to check out BlackGates on Facebook and Reverbnation.

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