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Interviewed by Michael Heitzman
Interview with Evil J of Otep From 2007
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at

Where are you from?
Chicago area…Lombard, Illinois.
MSJ: Do you think this new line-up will be stable?
We are all very tight and we get along real well together.
MSJ: How exactly do you go about writing a song with Otep?
She is constantly writing stuff. She has no shortage of new material. I pretty much come up with some riffs and she matches them up with her lyrics.
MSJ: She has pretty strong opinions, do you always agree on things?
Yes we do. She does a lot of research and she really knows what she is talking about.
MSJ: So, Otep reads a lot?
Oh yeah, she reads like I watch TV.
MSJ: Why do they call you “evil” J?
Otep was looking at some pictures taken of our first performance and I had a real evil-intense look on my face. The name started then.On this tour they are calling me "mildly irritated J."
MSJ: Were you ever in another metal band and if so when and who?
I have been in 14 bands actually. Mostly small stuff, but it all made me who I am today.
MSJ: Where did the title Ascension come from?
It comes from how we are growing as a band and how we are reaching new heights with our artwork and our music.
MSJ: How are things going with the newly merged record company?
We don’t have a record company as of this moment, hence the delay for the new CD to be released. We just didn’t want to waste such a good album on a bad record company that will not help promote it properly. We want all the fans to have a chance to listen and enjoy it, and we don’t think our old record company would have made that possible. We have been contacted and have some current offers though.
MSJ: Are there any special rituals band members have before doing a show?
We just hang out. Otep will put some music on and we will just get together and talk.
MSJ: On your message boards Otep says you guys are practicing like mad. How many hours/days per week do you guys practice?
On average about four hours a day and about 6 days per week. Aaron had to get comfortable enough to know his equipment and his gear and all that stuff as well as getting caught up with the actual performance aspect - enough to play the songs. We don’t just stand there, you know.
MSJ: How many bands has Aaron been in before?
He has been in quite a few. It’s actually funny, our drummer and him were in a band together. They’re from the Chicago area too. They ended up moving out to L.A. to go to Musicians Institute, Aaron went there for a little while, Brian graduated from there. We have three music geeks…I went to music school in Boston.
MSJ: Do you have any Spinal Tap moments you can share with us?
There was one night we blew a tire on our trailer and we were tired and delirious and sitting in the back of the trailer singing “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. We are just kinda normal guys. The most craziest thing that has happened so far on this tour was me cutting my leg open. I got 23 stitches. It’s still healing…I was stepping up on stage, slipped, and I was like “ohhh, that’s not good."
MSJ: Did you still go on stage that evening?
I went to the emergency room and they told me I was going to miss the show, and I am like “No," so I left. Luckily it was wrapped up. I got to play, and then afterwards I went back to the hospital. I had to wait about 8 hours to get it stitched up.
MSJ: Any other comments for our readers?
Be yourself! Fight to keep your voice out there. That’s pretty much what I have been trying to do for a long time. Everything deserves hard work, nothing comes easy.
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