This almost didn't happen. By 'this,' we mean the interview portion of our announcing the return-of-sorts of St. Louis' Cross Examination to the world of playing crossover thrash while balancing tens of beers on their livers. The quintet, after about six years of silence, has a new 7" out and available as of last month and recently just completed a run out west. You can stream Dawn of the Dude's raging, snot-nosed, party thrash below. Enjoy, because you know they did and they'd probably feel pretty bummed if you didn't crack open a good time at their behest.The reason this came down to the wire was because vocalist/interviewee, Cross Exam Dan [a.k.a. Devil Dan] works at a major newspaper called the Riverfront Times in the Ferguson, MO area and considering what's going on in town (nightly protests/riots, curfews, military presence, etc.) and that everyone else everywhere else is talking about it, you can imagine that working at a ground zero news source in a city previously best-known for being the childhood home of the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald is keeping employees just a little busy. We didn't find out about the local newspaper-Cross Examination connection until after we emailed these questions to the band, so sorry we didn't get a chance to ask more socially relevant questions, if that indeed is what you came to the Deciblog looking for. Then again, we're sure these guys, more than ever, welcome the opportunity to ramble on about metal and beer.
Where the hell have you guys been and what have you been up to since Menace II Sobriety? We have actually still been getting together every week for practice all throughout our radio silence, though that has many times just involved drinking a lot of beer and not remembering to touch our instruments. We're life-long friends and Friday or Saturday night has been when we get together and kick it for over a decade now.
Was there a particular spark to the return of the band? Well, we never really left; we just worked very, very slowly. On top of being lazy fuck-ups, we also believe in a slow-simmer approach to song writing in order to achieve maximum flavor. Don't call it a comeback; we've been here for years.
Having been on the sidelines for a few years, what have been the most noticeable changes in the metal/thrash scene that you’ve paid exterior witness to? Seems like "party thrash" as a whole has died down, no longer an overarching trend. Which is neat because that means we can crawl out of our hole again with a bunch of songs about stupid funny shit without it being, like, a "thing."
When did you start working on Dawn of the Dude and how long did it take to write and record? We started working on it a few months after Menace II Sobriety came out, so it took six years of relaxed, no-pressure writing. Then, we recorded the music in three days and then, a year later after I finally finished the lyrics, I recorded the vocals in two. We actually recorded an entire other EP's worth of material in these same sessions that will see the light of day within a year, entitled Shred the Living.
How would you say Cross Examination is different today from Cross Examination of yesterday? Ray, bassist extraordinaire and primary taskmaster in times of over-arching lethargy, had himself a couple of babies, got married and got a job, so now we have Jimmy playing bass and trying to get us to do stuff. But Ray was better at the latter part. He would call us assholes and tell us about how he was going to fuck our moms whenever we were slow to get to work. Ray stepping back is probably the biggest reason it took us so long to get this out there. Still hang out with him all the time; much love.
Do you still have the van with the drink cooler built into the floor? Are you planning on using it extensively once the EP is out and makes the rounds? No, we had to smash that van to pieces on the side of the highway after it broke down on the way to Chicago. Couldn't be avoided. Then we got a different van, dubbed it the Jambulance, and have since allowed it to fall into disrepair. The last time I started it the alternator caught fire, and the squirrels that I am pretty sure live inside it now are steadfast in not relinquishing control. We had a buddy drive us in his van on our west coast tour earlier this year, but that one was towed across the finish line after the transmission gave out an hour and a half from home. We are bad at vans.
Is there going to be a new full-length coming in the near future? We like EPs. They take less time and we all have ADD. Shred the Living coming soon; the world is our oyster after that. Who knows?
Buy Dawn of the Dude and Cross Examination merch here.