June 14--CHICKASHA -- You wouldn't know Anti-Mortem is about to embark on their first national tour.
The childhood friends sit around laughing, drinking beer and playing metal like it's business as usual with perfect composure.
But as of June 14, this group of shredders will change the collective destiny of their band forever.
"As far as being a band, we've gotten to do a lot, but we have never gotten to tour," guitarist Zain Smith said. "I can't gripe, though because we never had to be a band that had to go on tours and pay to book our own shows. You only get one shot as a band."
And that shot has been culminating for more than five years. Luckily this group of musicians started chasing this dream at a young age, searching for venues to play their music in Grady County.
"We would get so bored of having no where to play, so we would be like, 'Hey, Zain's house this weekend,' so we built a stage out in the barn," bassist Corey Henderson said.
From the humble beginnings of playing at Smith's house, passing out fliers at high schools around Grady County and occasionally filling other small venues in the area, Anti-Mortem has gained recognition outside of the county and even the state.
"We basically set realistic goals and steps," guitarist Nevada Romo said. "We'd be like, 'Okay, we conquered this area, now lets get this bigger area.' That was the plan. Lets get Chickasha to know who we are, then Oklahoma, and now it's the world."
With increased exposure comes increased expectations, and the band of friends say they're ready for the challenge.
"What' s crazy is being a label our management told us 'You're no longer versus anybody that you know. 'Your favorite band, that's who you have to be as good as now.' So now like Metallica and all these bands we've idolized and looked up to, we have to be like that good," Smith said.
Under the same management team as bands like Slipknot and Trivium, Anti-Mortem say they believe they are more than up to the challenge of taking their music to the next level.
"We have a killer management team," Smith said. "We've had a few big breaks in Oklahoma playing with bands like Five FInger Death Punch and Killswitch Enagage."
The tour, which stretches from June 19 to July 27, is just part of the dramatic changes this band has had the pleasure of enduring since the beginning of the year.
In March, they flew out to California to record an album that will be released shortly after the end of the tour.
"We all want to sit on our record a bit because we all feel it's strong and we want to release it to a fan base, so we really want to start growing from this point on," Nevada said.
"If we release it now, only Oklahoma would buy it, but we want to spread it," singer Larado Romo said.
Now their first tour is upon them, but for the most part, emotions have managed to be kept in check.
"Well they're calm about it, because they've been dealing with it for the past two years, but for me a month ago I was on the couch eating cheetoes, so I'm pretty blown away," drummer Levi Dickerson said.
More than half a decade ago, brothers Larado and Neveda had no idea that starting Anti-Mortem would grow into what it has.
"We were so young when we came up with the name," Larado said. "It was just metal sounding and we were kids."
Although Smith said the name has constantly been in question, the band as a whole finally managed to come to peace with their lively title.
"To me we made it our own, to me it's like against death," Smith said. "I told myself that even if we didn't get signed I love it so much that id still be pushing for it in five years. This band to me is never gonna die, so to me we made a name that is like never gonna give up, never gonna die."
Global domination may not be too far for the band. Smith said Trivium plans to tour after the release of their new record, and Anto-Mortem may have the privilege of opening.
"Hopefully by then the record will have been out for awhile and hopefully it's doing well by then," Nevada said.
Despite their gradual propulsion toward fame, the band said they will maintain their roots.
"We will always come back to Chickasha. It's home," said Smith.
(c)2013 The Express-Star (Chickasha, Okla.)
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