by Steve Weatherholt

Christdriver: Seattle's only slow grinding doom band. Creating a huge wall of black-laden chaos and despair, and having risen from the streets of hardcore, they've set out to unleash their crazy experimentation on all who venture near. I first saw them at the Lake Union Pub one Friday night and was floored. That weekend they played three shows in three days and I made it to all three. I watched three people play some of the heaviest music one could find. Think of the sound that a nuclear bomb blast makes being played through a speaker system the size of two football fields, that might get you there. I have never seen a bass player break a string before, but Joe Elliott managed to break two strings in two days.

I recently spoke with Eric Greenwalt, guitarist and vocalist for Christdriver. Visually striking with his stature, long black dreadlocks, black clothes, many piercings and tattoos, we talked about what Christdriver has been up to for the past while: drunk softball, the Clash and their driving chaos. Many thanks to Eric Greenwalt, Edward Pollick and Christdriver.

You were the singer in the band Subvert. When did they start out and was Christdriver going before Subvert broke up?

Eric: Christ, Subvert started out in 1986 and lasted 'til about 1991. No, Edward and I started what turned into Christdriver, right after Subvert broke up. Edward moved his drum set over to my house and I still had all of (Subvert guitarist) Shaun's equipment there. We started with that.

Christdriver formed then in '91-'92. Edward is not listed on the Subvert credits.

Eric: Christdriver formed in 1991. He did not play on the album, he only played on the split record with Antischism. Edward was in the band the last two years we were together.

Who did you listen to--who influenced Christdriver's music?

[ joe, edward, eric ]

Eric: It wasn't necessarily anything like that, Edward and I were just talking about some things we wanted to do. He and I have been doing hardcore stuff forever. We had some weird ideas and we just decided to go for it. It was pretty much an experiment and after we started getting things going, we had heard the first Pitch Shifter album and it was like, "Holy shit! this is what we are trying to do!"

Where did you get the name Christdriver? I tell people that it is a new type of screwdriver.

Eric: We were looking for something that had a vague, non-contextual impact to it. Something that people would think had a meaning to it. One night on the way to practice Edward came up with Christdriver, but he said he didn't think we could use the name. I said why not? Edward said that if he saw that name on a flyer, he would go see that band expecting to see the heaviest band in the world and I don't think we could pull that off. I said, "Fuck that, were using it."

Christdriver has different contexts and different meanings to different people. It's just a word we made up.

[ pitchshifter - industrial ]

Who is in Christdriver right now, and who was Ray Skilton?

Eric: Edward (Pollick, drums), Joe (Elliott, bass), Luke (Picard, guitar), Brian (Ward, keyboards) and myself (vocals and guitar). Ray was our first bass player. Edward, Ray and I started Christdriver. [ray skilton (r.i.p.) was hit and killed while riding his bicycle late one night in 1993. --ed.]

Is "Clean Eyes" Ray's version of the song or is it a dedication to him?

Eric: The album says "Ray's version." That song was originally put out on the Home Alive compilation. This was a shorter, edited version than the one on the album. We just wanted to differentiate between the two.

How did Christdriver get connected with the Home Alive compilation/benefit?

Eric: We were really good friends with Mia Zapata (singer for the The Gits) and her group of friends. It was insane times, Ray was killed about 10 days after Mia's death. When that benefit came about we were asked to participate in the benefit. [like mia (r.i.p.), the person(s) responsible for Ray's death have yet to be apprehended. --ed.]

[ ray skilton - r.i.p. ]

When I go to your shows I see a variety of people, including those who would frequent the Lake Union Pub or the Store Room. Are these the people you call "The Tribe?"

Eric: Yeah, pretty much, we have gotten across to a lot of different people and our friends have always supported us. This has been real fortunate for us when we decided to come out with this crazy material that was basically an experiment. We had a certain way we wanted to approach our music and perform live. Our friends stuck it out with us and were there for the whole adventure.

I first saw your name as reviewer for the fanzine Thorazine. What was your connection with them?

Eric: I was very limited with my involvement with Thorazine. I had a very incoherent writing style that worked out, but Mark, the Editor, wanted something more coherent that had to do with punk rock and things going on in it. I was writing whatever was coming through my head about punk rock. Mark wasn't looking for that. This was cool with me because I really liked that fanzine a lot. He also could not deal with my deadline phobia.

In Thorazine there was an article on the Drunk Softball League. This sounded like a fun league. What was it like and how long did it last?

[ luke picard ]

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