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Alex Petrovich "The Yeti"

On June 23, 2005, Jamie Greer of The Windsor Scene got a chance to talk to Alex "The Yeti" Petrovich. This is not for the faint of heart or the audibly impaired...

Al Petrovich

In the world of heavy rock and heavier metal, there are Gods and there are Monsters. And in some cases, there is a hybrid mix of both. One of music’s loudest voices is a resident right here in Windsor, Ontario and his presence is being felt (and heard) far beyond the sludge of the Detroit River. That man is Alex Petrovich, also known as “Al Bones”, “Yeti” and probably a lot of other names unsuitable for print. He is the brains behind one of Windsor’s loudest products (including the automotive industry), the stoner rock icons Mister Bones, as well as various other musical projects. The Windsor Scene recently got a hold of the Yeti himself and talked candidly about his past, his present and his juggernaut of a future.


Windsor Scene: How did Mister Bones come to being?


Alex: Back a long time ago, I started this thing with the intent to destroy and devastate.  It never really got that far until now I’d say…seven years later, Mister Bones is now a full fledged wrecking machine.  I got involved with the idea after coming home from Montreal…I was there for like 2 months, writing songs and a book, and ideas just kept coming out about how I was going to start this new band when I got back home to Windsor.  So I did - I grabbed the few musicians that I knew at the time, and we went to work.  About 10 drummers later and an entirely different line-up, I’ve finally developed a band that can undoubtedly hang with the Heavy and can definitely compete with the Rock.  We fused a lot of influences and styles together to get what we have, which is…a Southern Doom, Groove, Drug Metal, Whiskey Rock and Roll, “Louder than Slayer”, Stoner Rock band. 


Windsor Scene: Who influenced you into wanting to lead the doom assault on our Planet Earth?


Alex: Black Sabbath, without any question, it was them.  My favourite albums were the first one (Black Sabbath), and Sabotage.  Alongside Master of Reality.  Those albums made me dream a lot when I was young.  But it was the Nola album in ’95 released by a supergroup called Down (featuring members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, and Eyehategod) that really made it easy to see my future and made my dreams come alive.  After that album, then I knew I this was what I was going to be doing.  Playing music.


Windsor Scene: Did you see any local bands prior to forming your own? Where they  inspirational in anyway?


Alex: Ummm….I watched a few local acts, before (Mister Bones) formed yes, and of course they were influential in some small way, cause they were out doing what it was that I wanted to be doing.  The thing that pissed me off, was I had to be in the crowd watching these guys, when I knew I’d out last them all…Naked Ape, Derek’s Room, Atheistic Martyr, King Kool Flipped, The Scarecrows and shit like that.  The Scarecrows were the shit.  They were pretty badass back in the day. 


Windsor Scene: How long have you been actively playing music for a living?


Alex: Mister Bones - 7 years. The Mighty Nimbus - 2 years. The Mighty Nimbus is a national act from Minnesota featuring members of Alabama Thunder Pussy, Sixty Watt Shaman and Mister Bones.  We did a tour with Entombed, Pro-Pain, and Crowbar back in February, and are heading out to Europe for 4-7 weeks in January.  I front that band as well. We’re signed to Candlelight Records U.S.A and Threeman Records in Sweden.


Windsor Scene: How would you describe Mister Bones music to someone?


Alex: Heavy, onslaught of force and power done in the realm of Sabbath meets Pantera.  I would say we sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Black Sabbath in a bar fight.


Windsor Scene: Do you remember the first Mister Bones show?


Alex: Sure, it was at the Coach. We had something to prove that night, and we did.

Mr. Yeti Bones himself...

Windsor Scene: What has been your most memorable incident with Mister Bones?


Alex: Some of the most memorable incidents I probably can’t mention just cause of the content, but one that I remember that was pretty cool, was Pepper Keenan from Corrosion of Conformity and Zakk Wylde (Ozzy’s guitarist and frontman of Black Label Society) thought Mister Bones was the best band out of Canada.  They thought we were the shit.  And that was cool.


Windsor Scene: How exactly did Pepper Keenan and Zakk Wylde find out about you guys?


Alex: Mister Bones did a show with New Orleans sludge band Suplecs and I hit it off with Danny, the singer/bassist. So naturally when me and my girlfriend went to see the band Down play in Toronto, I told Jimmy Bower (the drummer) I knew his boy from New Orleans and he brought us back stage to smoke some grass with him and a few others - including the man almighty himself, Mr. Philip H. Anselmo, the vocalist in Down and the voice of PANTERA.  We hung out with Phil that night for about 5 hours before the show, got fucked up with him, and walked up to side stage to watch the show when they went on. Well, since Pepper is in Down as well, he checked out our site, signed the guestbook, and praised us and it was a true honor!  He’s the man.  Zakk heard through the grapevine. We did a show in Syracuse New York with Brand New Sin. At the time they were touring with Black Label Society (Zakk’s band) and they loved us, told Zakk - and he knew about us through the guys in Sixty Watt.  It’s a small community in the underground metal scene when you know what you want and how to get it.  It becomes like the old saying about the world and how small it is.  Well it’s like that sorta, only even smaller. 


Windsor Scene: What recordings are available?


Alex: Mister Bones: The Extra Heavy, Live in Montreal, The Most Interesting Ride (The Demos). The Mighty Nimbus: The Mighty Nimbus. YETI: Eternal Rage of the Cosmos. And there will be a Black Sabbath tribute album that we are putting together for bands in Windsor.  As well as The Mighty Nimbus will be featured on a Crowbar tribute album available on Church of Doom Records.


Windsor Scene: How was it working with Mike Edwards (lead vocalist from LoDown) on "Dr. Anvil/Big Bad Axe" (from the first Mister Bones CD The Extra Heavy) and how did that collaboration come about?


Alex: Well, it was great - Mike is a great singer and he was a good friend of mine.  It came about through friendship and respect of each others bands - I really loved LoDown and wanted to start a collaboration with Mike.  Him and I would meet up once or twice a week for awhile to work on artwork for our first Mister Bones record The Extra Heavy - that was his design on the cover.  Then I asked him if he’d be interested in singing some lyrics I wrote specifically for this particular part in a song I was writing for him.  He jumped at the opportunity to do be creative outside of his own band and came on into the studio and threw down some vocals like a madman, and it worked!  As Steven Tyler would say “it was a beautiful thang!!!”


Windsor Scene: So how did The Mighty Nimbus come about?


Alex: The Mighty Nimbus came about when I got in touch with a member from one of my favourite bands of all-time, Sixty Watt Shaman. They are broken up now.  But they were on a major label called Spitfire Records, with bands like Zakk Wylde, Dio, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Crowbar, Pro-pain, etc. Minnesota Pete from Sixty Watt Shaman got in touch with me and we were friends over respect of each others bands - he really liked what we were doing and that meant a lot to me.  We kept in touch every day over the phone for about 2 years – we’d do silly things like get drunk over the phone and just talk about strange and unusual bands we loved that no one heard of.  A friendship spawned from there.  It became a working relationship when I was asked to fill in for Erik Larson from Alabama Thunder Pussy on guitar in The Mighty Nimbus which featured, at that time, Erik and Pete on guitars, Dinis on bass and Andy on drums, with Dan “The Beast” Soren (from Sixty Watt Shaman) on vocals (he is my favourite singer of all time as well). So I took the job, learned the songs as if I wrote them, and we went on tour and it was a fuckin’ blast! I met many folks and got to live the life in the States for awhile.  Then a year later, Dan had to leave and I was asked to fill in on vocals. I got the gig again and now I am the full-time frontman for The Mighty Nimbus.  We did a 5 week long tour of the U.S with Entombed (our record label bosses), Crowbar, and Pro-Pain.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  The Mighty Nimbus is going to be the next big thing.

Like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Black Sabbath in a bar fight.

Windsor Scene: What are your future plans, musically?


Alex: Well we are signed to Obskure Sombre Records and they are putting out our Live In Montreal CD this August, and we are in the process of inking a deal for our 13 track full length called Monster Burn & the Power Seekers. We’ve got an E.P as well that is being released this year too, called Remains of the Lost Highway.  We’re currently working on new material that is guaranteed to be the heaviest, most original thing people have heard in a long time. We leave for tour, in August, and we are auditioning new drummers right now.  I have often said to be “the busiest Canadian musician right now.” Just look at the facts.  Have a metal band doing well here in Canada, I have an American band doing amazing in the States, and I have about 5 other random projects in the works from here to Montreal.  Including a Jazz/Funk/Southern style jam band and the most evil of Doom Metal called YETI.  That is why I was nicknamed the YETI BONES.  I also started a promotional company for Canadian Stoner Rock bands called Stoner Rock Revolution. Right now, it is a little hard to get things moving with the promotional company but we are using it as a tool to help other bands who want to tour, and to help promote the shows.  There was a huge commitment from the other bands involved with this at first and still now, but everyone is realizing now, that is a part time job because our respective bands need our help and attention more right now.


Windsor Scene: With all that’s been seen and done in your musical journeys so far, what is your most "rock and roll" road story?


Alex: There are a ton, man.  One that I love telling, that is just the shit, is that I am buddies now with Barry Gibb’s son Steve Gibb who plays in Crowbar.  I mention his father ‘cause he was the lead singer in a little band called The BeeGees. We hung out a lot on tour.  But the one that took the cake was in Hollywood, (The Mighty Nimbus) played the House of Blues, Oscar Weekend, and Bam Margera was on the guest-list and came to the show with friends.  We all hung out in the V.I.P room and partied hard.  We drank with him and gave him the CD and he said he’d play it on the show next season for sure, he dug us so much.  Thought we were badass.  It was weird cause I was standing there just like “Oh my god, that’s Bam!” and he was just standing there like “Oh my god that’s the Nimbus guys!”  It was crazy for sure.  All the other stories involve either really hard drugs, or pissing, shitting, vomiting or any other type of disgusting fluid included in the story, so as you can imagine it gets pretty messy.  But a blast none the less.


Windsor Scene: How do you feel about Windsor’s local music scene?


Alex: Well it’s hard to say.  I think it moves in cycles.  A few years ago, the kiddie punk scene was huge.  All ages shows and shit, right? All the pure Underground Metal bands were being shafted.  Now, it’s Hardcore. Hardcore has become the new popular music, despite what the hardcore dudes think, and they are getting some major notice.  We recently started playing more with Hardcore bands, just cause nothing in the city was heavy enough to compare to us on a bill - except fiftywatthead.  But we can only play with them a few times. It’s always a great time, but they don’t like to spread themselves too thin, the way we do, by playing all the time.  The thing is with that, they have a loyal fan base of years, so they have nothing to prove.  I will always feel like I have something to prove.  That will probably kill me one day. But the scene is coming back, the lack of support still sucks, the people just don’t seem to care about live music anymore.  But I have to be fair, there are still some diehards out there, so I guess I have them to thank that we are still in business here in Windsor.


Windsor Scene: David Gold (main man in Woods of Ypres, former drummer in Mister Bones) once said to me to that he respected you as a musician and considered you a true friend, but that he could never be in the same band as you because you're both such strict visionaries in the way you want a band to work. Do you consider yourself a tough man to work for or is that you just want your shit to be right?


Alex: I would say I am tough to work with/for/whatever.  I have a strict vision of where the music needs to be and the hardest thing is when there is someone in the band trying to pull it another way.  It’s even hard sometimes now, ‘cause as a leader it’s up to you to share your vision with the others and try and get them to see that same goal, so they don’t become cocky or pretentious, thinking someone else is taking them to higher places and they just get to coast.  Not saying that about Dave, he is the hardest working mother fucker – which is precisely why I would say the same thing about him. We just butt heads way too much, to the point where it became unhealthy.  So we let sleeping dogs lie and hadn’t talked in years - so you could imagine how surprised he was when I called him out of the blue to ask him to form a side project and create the heaviest thing in Canada and then stick it up our country’s ass when it’s done!!!  Ha-ha!  We are friends and we can’t work together if we were to live in the same city, or if we were on the road we’d probably kill each other, but this kind of honesty between two people works well for me and Dave when we do decide to work with each other, cause we are very clear now on what we think of each other.  And I love the guy, he knows that.  We are working on a project right now that will blow people’s heads right off!  But it will take some time - he’s busy doing Woods of Ypres and other projects and I’m busy doing Nimbus and Bones.  So when we have time, we work on it. It’s mainly being done through mail, tape trading riffs and ideas.  It works. Our schedules conflict big time, so we don’t have to see each other. Besides, it helps that he is in Toronto and I’m in Windsor too.  Great guy, amazing musician, and a true friend he is.  Our musical relationship really works out well for both of us, cause shit gets done at a leisurely pace, but it gets done, because the both of us wouldn’t see it any other way.  We have that mentality, we need music in our lives, and we put everything we’ve got into it.  We take the shit seriously - too seriously sometimes.


Windsor Scene: How would you describe the other dudes in Mister Bones?


Alex: I won’t bother with the drummer, because the effort was just not there…..But, William H. Skulls is the bassist.  The man is small in stature but large at heart.  Has more motivation then a lot of seriously wicked musicians.  The guy smokes on the bass and gives it his all.  Even when there might be nothing left to give, he’s still dishing it out. And that helps the bands spirit most of all.  Steve Beard is our other guitarist, asides from me.  He’s steadily becoming the most original guitarist there is in the city for heavy bands.  His work with a wah pedal is better than anyone’s.  And he is probably one of the funniest guys I know.  Cool shit.  This is the first time I feel really close again to my bandmates.  It use to feel like a family back in the day, and it got so fucked up, but now its back to being not so much a family as it is a gang.  But it’s family regardless.  We’re all pretty close.  Now we’re just looking for the right drummer, and we’re pretty close to finding him.  If anyone is interested in trying out, email me.


Windsor Scene: Between Mister Bones and Mighty Nimbus, you’ve obvious played with a lot of killer bands. What bands do you wish you could play on a bill with?


Alex: 1.) Black Sabbath, 2.) Pantera (R.I.P Dimebag), 3.) Judas Priest, 4.) Clutch.


Windsor Scene: What advice would you tell young aspiring musicians about starting a band in the Windsor scene?


Alex: To quit.  Cause it’s a waste of time if you don’t have the energy to keep it going and make something out of it.  The world would be a better place if people didn’t try starting bands up for the hell of it, with no intentions to bring it farther then just a “in the basement/garage” attitude.  If you are planning on starting a band, be sure to make it real and serious.  Treat it like gold and put your heart and soul into it - if not, like I said, don’t bother.  People can spot the fakes.  You’re just fucking with people’s intelligence on your own satisfaction of getting off by playing live.  But if you are not trying to get anywhere with it, what is the point?  Why waste valuable space for bands that are trying to make it???  I mean garage bands are cool and fun, yes...but don’t play live for the hell of it, if you are not trying to get somewhere.  To me, that makes no sense.


Windsor Scene: How has the audience reaction been to the Mister Bones monster live?


Alex: Amazing, lately better then ever, things are getting heated up for the summer, and we are trying our asses off each night to perform the best of our abilities and kick some heads in.  And it seems to be working - the people are totally great and have been for a little while now. The key, I think, is to lock into the scene and promote your shows, and have merch to sell, and then you put on a show for them. And most important of all, to make sure you just go out there and get the job done.  Go out and rock, have a good time, do what it is you do to get in the mood, but be sure at the end of the night, everyone walks away satisfied.  Get the Job Done!!!


And with that, Al took his rock and headed to Minnesota to record. After all, their was a whole world out there waiting to devastate and it wasn't going to rock itself.


Jamie Greer, June 23, 2005

Listen to Mister Bones here!

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This interview is (c) 2005 The Windsor Scene. It cannot be reproduced, in whole or in part, without permission from The Windsor Scene or WITHOUT proper credit. That means, if you want to use part of it, at least have the courtesy to give credit to The Windsor Scene. Thank you.
All photos are (c) 2005 Mister Bones, originally appearing on their website.

The Windsor Scene (c) 2000 - 2006, Jamie Greer