Categories: Interviews

They’re Sw1tch-ing to glide

Wen Schigel isn’t exactly a people person, so why is he fronting Cleveland melodic-metal group Sw1tched?

Even he has a hard time figuring that one out.

“I’m just fucked up, I guess,” Schigel said recently. “I don’t think like most people do. I can’t go out to the bars and have a good time and hang out. What makes me happy and other people happy are totally different things. I don’t know if that comes out in the music, but it might. I just like to work on the music; I just like to write songs.

“If you want to sit down and talk about business, I’ll get along with you great. I could talk about that all day long, but to sit and talk about nothing, I’m not good at that.”

Still, he’s at ease discussing his group’s debut Immortal/Virgin album, “Subject to Change” (released Feb. 26), and their chances in a crowded hard-rock field.

“I tell people that if our record does good or bad, it doesn’t matter, because I have fun writing songs anyway,” Schigel said. “I joke around with our label all the time and our manager because they say ‘We don’t want you to blow up really big; we want you to have a career.’ I’m like, ‘Fuck that, I want to blow up really big, get a lot of money and quit.’ Why would I want a long career and no money to show for it? Let me make a bunch of money for a year, then I go back to the garage and write songs. I’d be happy with that.”

Schigel and his band mates – guitarist Brad Kochmit, Joe French, Jason Schigel and bassist Jim La Marca – may get their wish. “Inside,” the album’s first single, has been re-recorded and remixed by producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Cold, Reveille). It’s earmarked for alternative-rock radio beginning March 23.

Not bad for newcomers who cut their teeth on Northern Ohio hard-rock scene, opening for the likes of Nonpoint, Fear Factory, Spineshank and Factory 81.

“We got signed really quick, after like our third or fourth show,” Schigel said. “Immortal found out about us from the Internet; we had a lot of stuff floating around on the Web. People go, ‘Wow, you got signed to Virgin,’ and I’m like, ‘Uh, it wasn’t that hard.’ It doesn’t feel like we accomplished something big yet.”

How does Sw1tched stand out above the crowd?

“The only way we match up,” Schigel said, “is that pound for pound we’ll have more songs on a record than most bands will. You can fix a bad drummer or a bad guitar player, you can find new vocals, but you can’t hide a bad song.”

THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “Rush’s ‘Moving Pictures.’ I was really into them at the time.”

THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “Again, Rush’s ‘Moving Pictures.’ I think I was only like 6 or 7 and I saw them at Richfield Coliseum. For just three guys, they made a lot of noise.”

THE WORST JOB I’VE EVER HAD: “Uh … playing in a band. This band. It’s a pain in the ass, man. It’s one thing after another. But it’s hard to compare it to anything else because I’ve never had a real job; I’ve always been in bands.”

SW1TCHED ON THE WEB: www.sw1tched.net.

Gerry Galipault

Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.

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