Photo by Aaron Wood.
We recently caught up with the awesome guys from Last Question, a metal band from Lexington, Kentucky for a chat. Find out what happened below!
Could you introduce yourselves and tell me a bit about the band?
Ben: I’m Ben, I play the drums. Last Question is the latest incarnation of our band. Seven or eight years ago the four of us started playing metal together, mostly a death metal sound. The band has been a consistent entity ever since, though during most of that time we had a revolving door of bassists because we made some really bad decisions.
Now we are Last Question, which is becoming more of a progressive metal band, and we have our original lineup back, and are writing better music than ever. With the transition to Last Question also came a centralized theme and image as we began to use costumes and props, and most of our music is now about science. We have an album, The Furnace, and an EP, U-70, out under Last Question, and both are available for free online.
Josh: I’m Josh, and we’re a metal themed science band from Lexington.
Chelsea: I’m Chelsea and I’m the bassist.
Jerrod: I’m Jerrod Messick, I do guitar and vocals. Last Question is scientific metal. We try to shake things up in a dead spot, musically speaking.
Where did the band’s name come from?
Ben: From Isaac Asimov’s short story, “The Last Question.” We used to be called Entropy, a name that was also inspired by the same story. We certainly liked being Entropy, but the Canadian thrash band Entropy who formed in the ’80s didn’t. The other seventeen Entropies probably didn’t either, but they weren’t nearly as threatening.
Josh: A short story by Isaac Asimov. He’s written a lot that’s inspired me, and my father had a band called Nightfall after one of his stories, so I guess I thought we’d do the same with one of my favourite short stories.
Jerrod: The band’s name came from the Isaac Asimov short story “The Last Question” in which a computer that knows virtually everything is asked “Can entropy be reversed?” throughout time and follows humanity’s evolution until the universe’s end.
What have you got going on at the moment?
Ben: We are planning a short tour of the South for this summer, and desperately trying to fund it. We’re also writing a lot of new songs, involving X-rays, controversial animal testing, and atomic bombs.
What has been your best experience in the business so far?
Ben: Our tour of the Northeast last year was pretty incredible. Booking was a mess, we lost a substantial amount of money, but it was a great adventure and only left me wanting more.
Josh: The fans that we’ve made.
Chelsea: Probably last year’s Northeast tour. It was sort of my re-introduction to the band since back when we were in high school. They’d originally hired me as a temporary bassist since their other bassist couldn’t make it to tour. I learned all of the songs quickly and correctly (which was somehow a feat in comparison to some other notorious bassists, I’ve been informed) and we all had a bunch of fun together. It seemed their other bassist wouldn’t be able to return so I requested (and was also kind of offered) a permanent spot in the band. It’s been a pretty great time since then and I have no regrets. This is a highly supportive band of friends, for me.
Jerrod: Probably our recent show on March 29. The crowd was out of control and really into it and that just makes the show perfect.
What would you say the hardest thing about the music business is?
Ben: With how much everything costs and how little money you can make, capitalism is definitely the worst thing about the music business ☭.
Josh: Being in it without financial backing. Keeping at it when all that drives you is your love of music.
Chelsea: The social politics and importance of networking. I hate people. I mean I love our music scene, but, you know how things can be when you put a bunch of people in one place for one cause.
Jerrod: Getting people to get out and experience new music. People seem to want familiarity and don’t really seem to come out often. That is certainly turning around, though. There are great things on the horizon
What inspires you?
Ben: The universe inspires me, its unfathomable vastness and desolate grandeur, the beautiful intricacies of its laws and the structure that has arisen from pure chaos. Humanity also inspires me, with our ability to do the impossible, to fly, to land on the Moon, to send an object out of the solar system, we are incredible for all of our flaws.
Josh: Music, sci-fi, sci-fact, and this strange universe we’re a part of.
Chelsea: I think science is pretty damn neat and I like to think about a lot of these things pretty damn deeply a lot of the time. But if we’re going to be completely honest here, music-wise, getting drunk and having a good time is what really inspires me. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up always moving from place to place (military parents) and being in a band puts me on the road a lot. Really feels like it’s where I belong.
Jerrod: Bands like Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Ghoul, things of that nature. But I just feel right when I’m on the stage with a guitar in my hands and I can’t imagine not doing that.
How would you describe the band’s live show to those who haven’t seen you yet?
Ben: If you come to a Last Question show, you can expect very heavy music, with fast moments, slow moments, and time signatures you never imagined. You’ll also see lab coats, Erlenmeyer flasks (which are not beakers), and the remains of animals and machines strewn about. You can also expect to learn something.
Chelsea: Expect beer to be poured into Erlenmeyer flasks.
Jerrod: Lab coats, Erlenmeyer flasks, animal bones, and broken circuitry. And a lot of headbanging.
What would you say the best show you’ve played has been?
Ben: Probably when we opened for Nevermore in 2010.
Josh: Opening for Nevermore was cool.
Jerrod: March 29 at Al’s sidecar was awesome. Just an insane crowd. I loved it. Best day ever
Any interesting gig stories?
Ben: Once we played on a stage built over a creek in a valley at a motorcross course, and the backstage area was in the forest. It was one of the most powerful PAs we’ve ever played on.
Chelsea: On tour when we stopped in Boston, there were no parking lots and there was very little parking space on the street for our bulky-ass bus so we had to park across and a little ways down the street and carry our gear across the street in rush hour Boston traffic. At that point we’d gotten fed up and started copying accents and yelling, “AY FACK YOU, AHM WALKIN HERE!” whenever cars got angry at us. It became a habit for the rest of the tour and when we got to areas that weren’t so stereotypically rude, we accidentally scared some people (who, for some reason, thought we were serious). It’s still a bit of a running joke. I love it.
If you could collaborate with another band or musician, who would it be?
Ben: I’d love to collaborate with someone from prog or jazz who would bring in a lot of different instruments not commonly used in metal. That, or a symphony orchestra. If anybody in the world, though, Nobuo Uematsu.
Josh: J.G. Thirwell.
Or William Gibson, but he’s not a musician.
Chelsea: I wanna collaborate with TrollfesT, since they have finally seen the light and have seen that lab coats are metal as fuck.
Jerrod: I’m not really sure, I don’t think about this kind of thing very often.
If another band could cover one of your songs, who would you choose?
Ben: Van der Graaf Generator for sure, I think we need more saxophones.
Josh: The Melvins, but only if it didn’t end up sounding like our song at all.
Chelsea: My other band, Norfallen, should cover one of our songs. I already know the bass parts and everything!
Jerrod: I guess maybe Cannibal Corpse or something.
If there was going to be a movie made about Last Question, which actors would you want to play yourselves?
Ben: I don’t care who plays me as long as Bill Nye is in it.
Chelsea: Get Chris Hemsworth to play me, have everyone pretend he’s a girl and never ever ask why I’ve suddenly become a muscular Australian man.
Jerrod: I would want to be played by Jack Black, why not.
And finally – if Last Question could put their name to any product, what would it be?
Ben: I would choose something that flies in space, like space suits, or the ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, or the next outer solar system probe.
Josh: Astronaut ice cream.
Chelsea: What does any metal band put their name to? Beer.
Jerrod: A spacecraft. That would be pretty neat.