by Scott Fisher
Prog Metal is another one of those sub-genres that you either love or hate. While some random few sit outside the bell curve as just casual fans, others with a more socially acceptable IQ attend shows like the one I’m at tonight. Some bands in the local Houston music scene claim to be prog metal, but rarely deliver. One band that displays a strong capability to live up to that classification is Six Minute Century. With their complex compositions and virtuoso playing, anyone that professes boredom either from their music or their live shows, simply cannot be trusted.
Tonight, I had the pleasure of catching one of their live shows and was able to sit down with four very busy guys and talk about all things SMC.
Lone Star Metal: Okay, first off… Tell me the origins of the band. Who started it?
Chuck: Me and Don. And, actually Sampy, the original bass player. We had started with a guy, Steve Newcomer, we started out in 2004, September 2004. And the way we came up with the name, with me and Don and Sampy sitting around and, I think Sampy said, “Chuck, you can write a song about the century in six minutes.” Don said, “That’s it. Six Minute Century.” So, that’s how the name came about.
LSM: Y’all have had a fair amount of lineup changes since inception…
Chuck: A couple. We lost the drummer and…
LSM: Yeah, y’all have a had a few drummers, I know.
Don: Well, we had Steve Newcomer. Then Darren came in.
Chuck: Yeah, Sampy left and Mike came in.
Don: And then Mikey.
LSM: Okay, that’s not too bad. Has the band changed from its inception until now?
Chuck: Oh yeah, drastically. Musically, we’re heavier. I think there’s more of a broader horizon for us. Not that there’s anything against the last guys, but the old Six Minute was more Prog Power. This, to me, is more Prog. The first Six Minute album was more “power” to me rather than a true Prog.
LSM: Considering the Houston music scene, you guys have been around for a few years… What have you seen change since you started?
Chuck: It seems like there’s more bands coming here, like in the old days of L.A. Remember, they’d come here and say, ‘Oh, we’ll make it!’ I hear a lot of that. I hear a lot of people come here to Houston to get recognition and to get more exposure. And that’s strange to all of us guys who have been in Houston forever, it’s like, ‘Where’ve you been? What are you talkin’ about?’ I’m serious, I’m not lying! I’ve had a lot of people say…
Don (to Michael Millsap): You moved here to make it in the music scene, didn’t you?
Michael: No, I just moved to be able to play more. I moved here to not have to drive so far for gigs.
LSM: Y’all have developed a pretty decent following over the years. How much consideration do you give your fans when you’re writing new material and booking shows?
Chuck: All the consideration from me. When I write, the one thing I did try to do from the last time to this album is to keep the same schemes. Not to lose the listener or the fans, but to keep the same lyrical schemes, the same kinda way I approach the album so you don’t… you know, there’s a time in where you can almost run your fans off if you change too much. And, by doing that, you know… if I would’ve done that, I think, we would’ve lost a lot of fan base because we’re not changing completely but just a little bit. And that little bit we change is for the better, in my opinion.
LSM: So who writes the bulk of your material?
Michael: Don. It always needs to be that way cuz if it ever changed, it wouldn’t sound like Six Minute. Don’s songs are the Six Minute sound. I like writing for the band, but it always needs to be the bulk of his material. And, he writes really good stuff.
LSM: Now, earlier tonight when you guys were on stage, I noticed you officially announced a release date for your new CD. That is when?
Chuck: October 15th.
LSM: Any plans to tour in support of that?
Chuck: Oh, if something comes along… you know how you just have to wait and see…
Michael: Harris County tour?
Chuck: Actually, we’re going to do our CD release party on October 19th, so after that, we just kinda see how things roll. We just don’t know until this album comes out.
LSM: With that aside, what are the future plans of Six Minute Century?
Chuck: Time for album three before we get too damn old.
Michael: I’m not waiting 5 years for album three.
Chuck: I’m not waiting a year, man!
Michael: Don’s already been writing stuff. He’s got shit for days. Lotta cool riffs.
LSM: Alright, last question. And, I always ask this. Concerning your live shows, what is your main goal for your fans when walking away from a Six Minute Century show?
Chuck: From the start, it’s always been for them to walk out singing that melody. That one hook, ya know, ‘what the hell is that song?’ and you go home, and you gotta buy the album cuz it’s stuck in your head. That was always my goal with Six Minute, to find a way to bridge that gap between the audience and us and make them feel like they’re a part of the melodies. Perfect Picture is a great example. How they’ve embraced it and made it their own and sing it with me just as loud as I’m singing on stage.
Don: I would just say to have everybody entertained…
Michael: And ready to come back for more!
Don: We don’t have to play everything, I guess, perfectly as long as everyone enjoys the show.
Lori (Michael’s wife): Wait, did you get that on tape? That he said they don’t have to play everything perfectly as long as everybody enjoys the show?
Michael: Yeah, make sure that’s in there!
Don: Well, some of us play it perfectly more than others!
Chuck: Thanks you, Don! I appreciate that!
Michael: Yeah, don’t be so hard on yourself!
Don: Yeah, sorry! It’s me that’s fucked ‘em up all the time!
<All still laughing>
LSM: Okay, anything to add to that, Mikey?
Mikey: Just with me, right now, I’m still focusing on trying to get my parts right and be comfortable with the click track and all that stuff.
Chuck: You’re doing a fabulous job, a wonderful job.
Michael: And I’m trying to remember my parts, as well.