An Interview with Michael Gilbert of Flotsam and Jetsam

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Flotsam and Jetsam are one of the underrated, and perhaps unheralded heroes of the Thrash and Speed Metal genres. For nearly forty years the group has consistently released outstanding music within their genre.

Michael Gilbert is one of the guitarists for the band, today I’ve got him aboard for a chat. Among other things, we touch on the band’s new record Blood In The Water, Michael’s early influences, what led him to pick up the guitar, his opinion on the current music and Metal scenes, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Flotsam and Jetsam you can head over to the group’s website and dig in. Once you’ve done that, give this interview with Michael Gilbert a try. Cheers.

Andrew:
Michael, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so?

Michael:
You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time for the interview. It’s been a rough year for everyone but I’m glad we are coming to the tail end of it.

Andrew:
Before we dive into your professional career, let’s go back a bit. What first got you hooked on music? What led to you picking up the guitar?

Michael:
Ace [Frehley] from KISS. That’s the dude that got me hooked on guitar.

Andrew:
Who were some of your early influences?

Michael:
I listened to a lot of AC/DC and Ozzy. I say Angus and Randy Rhoads were two of the biggest influences on me.

Andrew:
Tell us about the formation of Flotsam and Jetsam. How did the band get its start?

Michael:
It existed before I joined. It started out in the garage of Kelly David-Smith’s house. [Jason] Newsted and [Kelly] Smith were starting to form Flotsam in ’83.

 

 

Andrew:
Let’s talk about recent events. Tell us about the band’s new record Blood In The Water. What was the recording process like?

Michael:
Yes, we are very excited about BITW. I feel it’s our best release to date. We recorded individually at our own studios at home. We passed WAV files back and forth until we had the general structure for a tune.

Andrew:
Thrash and Heavy Metal in general is a very expansive and diverse genre. I’ve always felt that Flotsam and Jetsam is a very important, if not underrated band within the genre. Looking back, what are your thoughts on the band’s impact and legacy within the canon of Heavy Metal and Thrash?

Michael:
Doomsday For The Deceiver definitely had an impact on our genre of music. It had rave reviews. It was very cool being part of the beginning of Speed and Thrash Metal and I feel very honored to have been a part of it. We are experiencing a new beginning with the resurgence of Metal again. What’s happening now is much like what was happening in the beginning.

Andrew:
Being around as long as you guys have, I am sure you gain new fans all the time. That said, for new fans out there, aside from your new record Blood In The Water, which of the group’s albums would you recommend as a starter for new fans, and why?

Michael:
I would recommend the self-titled, The End of Chaos, and then Blood In The Water in that order. I believe that the self-titled was a new beginning for Flotz and we are seeing new fans and younger fans since that release.

 

 

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? CDs? Or are you all digital now? What are a few of your favorite albums and why?

Michael:
I like vinyl. I love the sound of the classics: Van Halen, AC/DC (Powerage), and KISS (Destroyer).

Andrew:
What other passions do you have?

Michael:
I love riding my Harley Davidson. Although Arizona gets too hot to ride sometimes, we are not far away from cooler temperatures in the mountains, and that one of my favorite places to ride.

Andrew:
In your opinion, what is the state of the music business these days? Should artists be hopeful? Scared? Both?

Michael:
It’s definitely not good for the artist. Yes, we need to stay hopeful but be scared for sure. Artists just aren’t getting what they deserve for what they create. And at all levels. Streaming and the digital age have really taken their toll on the residuals of the artist.

Andrew:
Last one. We seem to be nearing a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. That said, what’s next on your docket? What are you most looking forward to?

Michael:
We have a very busy 2022 with lots of festivals in Europe and an extensive US tour. Hopefully, we will get to Japan, Mexico, and South America. Things are definitely looking more promising in the very near future.

 

 

Interested in learning more about Flotsam and Jetsam’s new record Blood In The Water? Check out the link below:

 

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.
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