He Is Legend will return to Australia for the first time in over seven years this May, playing shows around the country with support from Gold Coast’s Hammers. Before the North Carolina hard rockers touch down, Music Feeds introduced He Is Legend vocalist Schuylar Croom and drummer Jesse Shelley to Hammers guitarist/vocalist Lucas Stone and drummer Ryan “Ruckus” Lucas.
The band members broke the ice ahead of the six-date national tour, which begins on Wednesday, 17th May, at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse on the Gold Coast. Discussing everything from native fauna and health food to the importance of humour in heavy music, the two bands established an easy rapport, which bodes well for audiences across the country.
He Is Legend – ‘HONEY FROM THE HIVE’
Schuylar Croom (HIL): So, let’s kick this off. What’s your favourite Australian animal?
Lucas Stone (H): Oh Ruckus, you go first.
Ryan “Ruckus” Lucas (H): Oh jeez, put on the spot. Echidnas would have to be my favourite, they’re pretty cute.
Lucas (H): We toured Tasmania once. We went for a big bush walk down near Shipstern Bluff, which is a big surf break in Tasmania. And there was this perfect little bite-sized baby echidna. Do you guys know echidnas? They’re that spiky, little, kind of weird creature?
Schuylar (HIL): Yeah, and there’s also that big giant bird with blue shit under its face. It’s like a cowa…caba… I can’t remember. I looked it up.
Lucas (H): Cassowary?
Schuylar (HIL): Yeah, we don’t have those.
Lucas (H): Those things are proper dinosaurs.
Schuylar (HIL): The first time we ever went to Australia, they obviously took us to a zoo. They’re like, “That’s a koala. That’s a kangaroo. All right, you’re done.” So, I was walking around this zoo and I saw this big ass lizard, like a two-foot-long lizard ran under my feet into a cage. And as I looked up, I just saw these two giant feet, and, like a cartoon, I looked up and saw this five-foot fucking bird staring at me. I lost my shit, it was insane.
Jesse Shelley (HIL): Does anyone know if we’re going to go somewhere where we can hold critters? This will be my third time touring over there, and I’ve never gotten to hold the critters.
Lucas (H): When you get in, depending how tired you are, there’s a place on the Gold Coast called Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary that’s pretty much got all the shit you wanna see.
Jesse (HIL): I will cancel the show to hold a critter. When we were in Brisbane for Soundwave, they brought some owls and snakes and stuff into the green room. But I’ve seen all that stuff before.
Schuylar (HIL): Yeah, I was with Brandon [Boyd] from Incubus when that happened. And I was like, “This is the singer from Incubus. Holding an owl.”
Hammers: Kicking Goals
Jesse (HIL): Have y’all toured over here before?
Lucas (H): Never. It’s on the list for sure.
Jesse (HIL): When you do, what in your mind is the first thing, like, “Oh, we gotta do this thing”? What’s your koala hold?
Ruckus (H): In-N-Out Burger for sure.
Jesse (HIL): I was thinking you’d say that. You have to hold a big burger like this [mimics holding a koala] and take the picture.
Schuylar (HIL): The 72-ounce steak in the great outdoors.
Lucas (H): Do you guys have bald eagles just fucking flying around? Because I love those things.
Schuylar (HIL): I just saw a bald eagle in my backyard. No bullshit, I saw a bald eagle in the interview I just did before this one. I fucking swear to god. I’ve never seen an eagle before. I mean, I’ve been told that they’re in my backyard, but I’d never seen one. That’s my first bald eagle. I’m 40 years old and that’s the first one. America!
Lucas (H): I’m pretty obsessed just with the American landscape in general. If we were coming over to tour at some point, I’d probably wanna turn it into some kind of holiday so I can actually see it all. You guys have almost got the whole world within your country as far as landscape goes.
I ride a bike too, so it’d be nice to get out on the open road and stop in at some little roadhouses, that sort of shit.
Schuylar (HIL): What do you ride?
Lucas (H): I build custom Harleys. My current one is a 1990 Softail that I’ve converted. It looks like a rigid Hardtail. It’s for the old back, you know what I mean?
Schuylar (HIL): Oh, that’s nice. For Jesse and I, the first thing we bonded over was bikes. He fell off his bike in my hometown, and now we’re here. I definitely would be doing that if I were coming to America. I feel like renting a Harley and doing the Appalachian Trail would be on the bucket list for sure.
I remember Australia being super Americanised when we were over there. The similarities were uncanny because it was the furthest away I’d ever been away from home, but it felt like home, you know what I mean?
Jesse (HIL): It’s weird, you feel further away being in the UK or Europe even though it’s half the distance of Australia. When you’re there, you can squint your eyes and be like, “Maybe I’m just in a really sunny part of America.”
Schuylar (HIL): We’re very excited to be coming over and hanging out. And we need all the veggie, plant-based restaurants. One time I was there, I fell in love with this place called Smith & Daughters. And it just seems like Australia’s leaps and bounds ahead of the curve when it comes to healthy eating habits.
Obviously McDonald’s and In-N-Out Burger is what we’ve got over there, they’re mainly our staples. But I was just very impressed with the food, everything was fresh and delicious. And I’m a huge Vegemite fan.
Ruckus (H): Really?
Schuylar (HIL): I’m one of the only people who can actually get down with it. So many people don’t like it, but I love it.
Ruckus (H): I’m one of those people – I can’t do it.
Schuylar (HIL): You don’t like it? It’s all about the ratio, man. I’m into it. Actually, when we were in Australia for Soundwave, we were all so poor, we had no money, and there was a week off in between shows. So, we were getting toast everywhere we would go and just eating Vegemite sandwiches. That part I got a little tired of.
Lucas (H): What about inspirational stuff, what are a couple of the main musical influences between yourselves as a band?
Schuylar (HIL): I think the commonality that we share is probably Foo Fighters and Nirvana, things we grew up on. We’ve covered like 12 Nirvana songs over our career. When I think about what I’m doing and why I’ve been doing it for so long, I think back to child me looking at Nirvana videos. Nirvana kicks ass. And Pantera, Metallica. We’re rockers, man.
But we also like it all. I listen to a lot of hip hop and I like pop music, I like some electronic. But we would probably consider ourselves a nu metal band before anything else. We grew up on Korn and all that shit. Adam [Tanbouz, guitar] and I went to a place in town when we were 18 to buy the first Slipknot album. So if that tells you anything, that’s kind of the road we came down.
Jesse (HIL): Definitely as time goes on though, I’ve been reverting. I grew up on a bunch of 80s stuff that my dad loved. It was just the cheesiest thing at the time and I’ve never hid it. But really in this last year, I’ve been so heavily diving back into cornball 80s stuff. It’s been just so fun to unashamedly listen to all those records again.
When we start writing music, there’s a lot of that stuff in mind that we will bond over, that total cheese rock stuff. But it’s like, if you can somehow use those formulas and licks and stuff and sell them as something a little more fresh and cool.
Schuylar (HIL): Yeah, if you can wear your David Lee Roth influences on your sleeve, nobody will laugh.
Lucas (H): I noticed that ‘Sink Hole’ had a mad 80s stomp to it.
Jesse (HIL): Oh, yeah! So that one… I love Metallica, let’s get that out of the way. And on that song, it was extremely hard not to sound like Lars [Ulrich]. But with some of it, I just had to lean into it. A lot of the decisions I made on Endless Hallway, it was just like, do what you’re supposed to do and not try to wiggle out of it.
He Is Legend – ‘Sink Hole’
Schuylar (HIL): We do wear our influences on our sleeve, as all artists do, but I think one thing that He Is Legend has always maintained is an amount of silliness and tongue-in-cheek, not taking ourselves too seriously. There has to be some amount of comedy in what you do in order for it to appeal to everyone.
Jesse (HIL): For me, it’s actually more cheesy to act tough, like, “We’re so serious.” That, to me, is more cheesy than actually just leaning into the cheese and embracing it. Like, this is over the top, ridiculous, almost funny. But that’s less cheesy than trying to act tough and cool.
Lucas (H): I fully agree. Our whole approach borders on parody, really. Hammers is definitely a serious band musically to a point, but you want to mix that intelligent songwriting with something that’s relatable.
Ruckus (H): I feel like that needs to be a merch item: “Leaning into the cheese.”
He Is Legend 2023 Australian Tour
- Wednesday, 17th May – Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Gold Coast QLD
- Thursday, 18th May – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
- Friday, 19th May – Crowbar, Sydney NSW
- Saturday, 20th May – Stay Gold, Melbourne VIC
- Sunday, 21st May – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
- Wednesday, 24th May – Badlands, Perth WA
Tickets on sale now