It may not be a scientific fact, but there are few who would dispute that playing in a band does wonders for your sex appeal—how else could a repulsive troll like Gene Simmons get so much tail? Be that as it may, Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier insists that this reality had nothing to do with his reasons for forming the heavy-metal quintet well over a decade ago.
“It was never like we wanted to have a band in order to be very cool or seduce girls,” says Duplantier, doing his best to navigate the English language with a thick French accent. “We were just into music for real. The structures and tones were blowing our minds—it’s still like that.”
Gojira isn’t the original moniker that the group decided on when it first joined forces in 1996, in France’s Basque country—prior to 2001, the act was known as Godzilla. But the band’s underlying aggressive spirit has always remained the same, and, remarkably, so has its lineup, despite touring incessantly for years on end. In most cases, after about the six thousandth cramped van ride or dank hotel room, someone decides to go AWOL, but Gojira is without casualties thus far.
That’s not to say Gojira’s gruelling schedule hasn’t taken its toll. Case in point: when the Straight reaches Duplantier he’s momentarily unsure which country he’s in (Denmark, for the record). Clearly, it’s not the first time the good-natured musician has been disoriented. “We tour constantly,” he says with a laugh. “We’re actually not human beings anymore, we’re just machines.”
No one can contend that the rigorous pace hasn’t paid off—especially now that Gojira is shredding its away across North America as a headlining act.
While the premier billing is sure to do wonders for their egos—not to mention bring a few more slutty groupies into the green room—Duplantier and his metal cohorts are more excited about being able to offer concertgoers a bigger selection of brutal cuts from their most recent album, 2008’s The Way of All Flesh.
A marvel of extreme audio decimation and technical precision, Gojira’s fourth studio release pummels listeners with a gnarly mix of death, progressive, and thrash metal. Wasting no time on introductions, the epic disc opens with the melodic “Oroborus”, in which Duplantier is quick to reveal the morbid theme of the record: “I’m counting the days but I’m dying/Grow with impatience, I’m falling down”. Gojira spares nothing on the 12 tracks that follow, proving it’s more than worthy of its new headliner status.
Gojira plays Richard’s on Richards on Sunday (May 17).