From iconic death metal gods Incantation, to Goreaphobia, Disciples of Mockery, Terror, Womb, and more; Jim Roe has drummed his way to legendary underground notariety. There isn’t much going in the midwestern/east coast metal scene that Jim Roe hasn’t had his hand in. With over two decades of experience under his belt, he has certainly built the impressive resume. And thankfully for the fans, this workaholic shows no signs of slowing down.
Jim Roe’s current focus has been on his solo project, The Primitive, which he aptly describes as “pounding death metal”. His EP “Founded in Hell” is an old school death metal fans’ wet dream with its blugeoning blasts and sickeningly heavy death metal riffs. I chatted with Jim Roe to talk about his inspiration for The Primitive, his involvement with Terror, and his plans for the future. This is what he had to say.
Underworld– You have quite a lengthy heavy metal resume. Tell the readers a little bit about your involvement in various bands. How has playing a variety of different styles of death and thrash metal influenced your writing?
Jim Roe– Yeah. I guess over the years I have played in some different death and thrash bands. I don’t think I approach it very differently. I just play. It seems to me whenever you create music with other people, you get a glimpse into how they view music and where they are coming from. I think everybody walks away with a different angle on music. At least people that are open to it.
Underworld– It’s definitely important for a musician to be adaptable. So, cliche question, but who are your biggest influences as a musician?
Jim– Celtic Frost, Bonded by Blood era Exodus, Slayer, Death, Autopsy, Dark Angel. Other than death metal my earlier influences would have to be Bill Ward – Black Sabbath, John Bonham- Led Zepplin, Ginger Baker – Cream, Blind Faith, Alice Cooper, Peter Criss- Kiss, Rock n Roll Over was a big influence when I was very young. Steve Gadds drumming on Steely Dan’s Aja really blew me away and still does.
Underworld– Nice! A lot of great stuff there. I’m a huge Kiss fan too. So, tell the readers about your involvement with Terror. Are you still with the band?
Jim– Yes, I’m still working with the band. Brian and J.J (RIP) have been friends of mine for many years. We have some shows coming up, June 9th in Detroit and June 10th in Chicago. I will be drumming for Terror. I played on the last 7” Hells Headbanger put out for Terror. We redid some classic Terror, Legions of Gore and Carving Techniques and we are talking about some recordings in the near future.
Underworld– That’s great to hear! So, what brought on your interest in pursuing a solo project?
Jim– I just really love making music, making metal. Bands seem to come and go, at this point in life I have a little more time for music so learning more about music and playing more instruments and thinking of words and concepts is really great, it keeps me sane. Playing in a band when things are good is great, but when things are bad…its really bad. The Primitive, I can always do. It wont fall apart because four or five grown men can’t get along.
Underworld– That makes a lot of sense. I think fans of yours through Incantation, WOMB, Disciples of Mockery, Goreaphobia all knew you as a drummer. When did you start learning to play other instruments and do vocals?
Jim– Not too long ago, I would say when Goreaphobia started to go from everything being really great to everything being really bad. This was the time I started thinking I need to make my own music.
I had done a lot of contributing to the music with Goreaphobia, not the concepts or lyrics, however, because Chris is a master at that. At that time I couldn’t play guitar at all. I had never tried but I would play the drums and when I did, a melody would kind of happen in my head from the pattern/rhythms I was playing. I would sing or hum these melodies to Alex, mostly, and he would work out the parts on the guitar. Together, we would turn it into music. The songs Apolcalyptic Necromancy, and a couple others were done entirely like this.
I had a big part in creating and writing music in all the bands that I have recorded with; WOMB, Incantation, DOM, Goreaphobia. So to do all this over and over again and then just have it all fall apart just gets exhausting. It seemed to me like the only thing to do was pick up the guitar and start trying to play those melody/rhythms myself. So to make a long story longer, I bought my first guitar in 2013.
Underworld– Wow! You really picked up fast then! You described Found in Hell by The Primitive as “Pounding Death Metal”. Tell the readers a little bit about what you mean by that.
Jim– I guess I am just aiming to play the type of metal I like; hard hitting, beating the crap out of the drum set death metal.
Underworld– Do you think The Primitive will ever have session musicians and play live?
Jim– Yes, I have two shows booked now for this June. The guys from Terror will be helping me get it done.
Underworld– Great! So, what are your thoughts on the current Midwestern metal scene? A lot of musicians have complained the scene is waning. Do you think things could be looking up in the coming years?
Jim– To me the scene has always kinda been the same. People talk about the early 90s like the scene was so great, “The Glory Years”. I don’t remember it being much different then now. There are a lot more bands now but the shows are about the same.
Underworld– Finally, what can fans expect to hear from you in the coming months? Any shows?
Jim– Lots of music to come and hopefully many live shows. Cheers and thanks for the interview. Metal!
You can purchase Founded in Hell and The Primitive at https://theprimitive.bandcamp.com/. For now stay true! Hails!