E-Town Concrete epitomizes Jersey music - they've been perfecting their mix of hip-hop and metal since 1995, long before rap-rock hit mainstream. Over the years, the band has developed an extremely devoted fan base, evidenced by the chants of "E-Town" that grew louder as the headliners prepared to take the stage. When the music finally began, the pit erupted, shaking the Troc's floor. Luckily, Street sat down before the mayhem to catch up with guitarist David Mondragon and bassist Eric DeNault.
Street: You guys toured with Anthrax. Do you see yourselves as a band like that, lasting that long and still making music?
David: I hope that one day, 20 years from now -- I want to be Aerosmith, still touring, or The Rolling Stones -- I want to be all those bands. Realistically speaking, the odds are against us, but that doesn't mean that any of us are going to abandon the idea of being around 20 years from now. Anthrax obviously isn't as relevant as The Rolling Stones, but they have their nights.
Are the odds against you because of the way the music industry is structured or because of your sound?
D: Both. Maybe a little more the style of music we are than just the industry, because everybody has the same forces against them being in the music industry, it doesn't matter what kind of band you are. But with us especially, because there's such a backlash for the style of music we supposedly play. We do rap, we do rock, we do metal, we do whatever. It's not the cool thing now. The odds are definitely more stacked against us than say Killswitch Engage, where they're the thing that's relevant, or like Thursday, like emo and fuckin' extreme metal -- that's the shit that's coming back. The shit we get associated with that's supposedly on the way out. But cream rises. If you show somebody it can be done and done correctly, then that may give you even more status than being one of the trend followers.
Do you feel that it's harder to do since your music covers such a variety of styles and that you can't just be pinpointed as this is who you are?
D: It's like neapolitan ice cream. It's not chocolate enough for the chocolate lovers, so on and so on. It's the same thing with us - we're not vanilla, chocolate or strawberry enough for anybody. Well, not anybody, but people outside our core audience who hear us for the first time are confused, they're like "what the fuck is this" -- I don't know what the hell this is. Basically, when people can't categorize music, they tend not to like it.
Do you not care about that or does it drive you to succeed more?
Eric: When you're from this area, you can't help but -- I mean, all of us grew up in this area of New Jersey [Elizabeth] where it's just like a mesh of everything. You grow up listening to metal, but you also like this band, and you also like this rap group, and you also like that. And you got all this coming at you all of the time, because half your friends like this and half your friends like that.
When you played Ozzfest, did you find a lot of the other bands on the bill were friendly -- did everyone interact with each other?
D: Nobody on the main stage associated themselves with the second stage as much as Disturbed did. Those guys are cool. They had a golf cart, and they would drive to the second stage every day and hang out. They made nice with everybody and are really cool guys, nice real dudes. The dudes in Korn you never saw, Manson you never saw, Ozzy's Ozzy, so he gets a pass. Everybody on the second stage is like a family, because it's how the whole tour travels. Disturbed always made us feel cool, they were cool, they hung out, and they partied. Any of the other main stage bands, they can all kiss my ass.