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Hut One, Hut Two, Metal! Gnarly Charlie’s Exclusive Interview with Free Reign

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 @ 4:40 AM


"We listen to it before the games and after the games. Heavy metal. I was born to listen to heavy metal."

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Free Reign is a four-piece metal band from Dallas, Texas. Three of its members have day jobs as offensive linemen for the Dallas Cowboys. The lineup is made up of Marc Colombo on vocals (right tackle, #75), Leonard Davis on bass (right guard, #70), Cory Procter on drums (center and guard, #71), and guitarist Justin Chapman.

Tragedy is Free Reign’s hard-hitting debut release and sound proof that these guys are a force to reckon with. And from the way Marc, Leonard, and Cory pound the opposition into the turf on the football field, they won’t ever need to hire security at their shows.

I had the pleasure of talking to Marc Colombo and Cory Procter in the KNAC.COM studio. To keep my 180-pound frame intact, I found it best to stay on the topic of Free Reign and music in general, rather than mention a certain annually celebrated event having to do with the National Football League that took place in Miami this last February.

KNAC.COM: How long have you guys been doing Free Reign?

PROCTER: We’ve been doing Free Reign for about two years now. A little bit before that, Mark and I had a little garage band that practiced at his house and Leonard joined a little later. Justin came—Justin Chapman, our lead guitarist and (we) started shredding it up, man, and making cool music.

KNAC.COM: Where did you pick up Justin?

PROCTER: Justin’s actually a longtime friend of Leonard Davis, our bassist. They’re from Wortham, Texas, went to high school and grew up together. One day Leonard came up to us and said, “Hey man, we gotta use this guy in the band or try him out one time…”

COLOMBO: That is incorrect. Before Free Reign was even a band, Leonard gave me a CD of Justin’s old band and I liked it. I asked Justin personally if he’d like to join. It was the best move we ever made.

PROCTER: Congratulations. Can we strike that for the record?

KNAC.COM: Do you guys bust each other’s balls all the time?

COLOMBO: All the time. This guy thinks he’s the band.

PROCTER: I am the band.

COLOMBO: I am the voice of the band

KNAC.COM: Oh, Marc’s got the LSD (lead singer’s disease) thing going on.

PROCTER: See?

COLOMBO: I’m an asshole.

PROCTER: I suck. That was bad. I’m sorry. I’ll work on it.

KNAC.COM: When you’re working in the band, is it any conflict with the Dallas Cowboys organization? Do they frown on the fact that you’re in a band with all the stuff that goes along with it—the partying and the late nights?

PROCTER: They haven’t said anything to us because they know that we keep it in check. We’re not crazy, all night guys, that are doing a million shows a year, but we have fun.

COLOMBO: Most of the shows are on the weekends and we work out harder than any Dallas Cowboy. We’re usually the first ones in there on the off-season and we’re the last ones to leave everyday, so we take our football very, very seriously.

KNAC.COM: What does your band name signify?

COLOMBO: The one significant thing that Cory did was name the band. He’s done nothing since.

PROCTER: I’ve done nothing since, except laying backbone foundations for a killer band. That’s what I’ve done.

COLOMBO: You’ve hit the bass drum a few thousand times. That’s about it.

PROCTER: Shoot, man. We always have these stupid conversations of how we’re taking over the world. It’s going to happen, eventually, and you’ll all be under our power soon. That’s what we wanted to convey to the world—was having Free Reign over everyone. So, we’re slowly but surely taking over the world.

KNAC.COM: So, you have low self-esteem issues then (laughs).

PROCTER: What’s that?

KNAC.COM: You’re not too confident, are you?

PROCTER: Sometimes. That where “Tragedy” came in.

COLOMBO: It’s a Tragedy his confidence is the way it is.

PROCTER: Cocky Cory.

COLOMBO: Cocky Cory.

KNAC.COM: You gotta have that same swagger like you have out on the field. When you’re holding up the line, do you have hard music playing in your heads when you’re taking somebody down?

PROCTER: Are you kidding me?

COLOMBO: We listen to it before the games and after the games. Heavy metal. I was born to listen to heavy metal.

KNAC.COM: I know you probably have a mixed bag of tastes, but as far as heavy music goes, what are some of your favorites?

COLOMBO: Metallica is my number one. 80’s Metallica. Slayer. I love Slayer. Megadeth. I’m a huge Dave Mustaine fan. Anthrax. Those guys are awesome. I like the thrash metal scene, but in the 80’s. That was my favorite time. Pantera came in the late 80’s and the early 90’s. They were awesome.

PROCTER: Ditto. All of the above, man. Marc was more born into the scene than I was. I’ve had to learn a lot more in the last couple of years, but they’re all badass. We can name bands all day long.

KNAC.COM: I think you’re the envy of most teenage kids. You’re in the NFL and in a metal band. It doesn’t get any better than that. When you were kids, what did you aspire to be? Marc, did you always want to be a professional football player?

COLOMBO: I wanted to be an F.B.I. agent. I went to college to study that. I got a full scholarship in football. Getting a scholarship in football isn’t a guarantee you’ll get in the N.F.L. I always wanted to be a rock star. I’m working on that. Everybody wants to be a rock star.

KNAC.COM: What about you, Cory?

PROCTER: I got into college and started with elementary education. That was my major, so I was going to go teach. I really didn’t think of the next level for football. Going to school was cool. I got a scholarship and really didn’t think about the N.F.L. too much, until it really became a reality. Just kept working and doing some cool stuff along the way. But, yeah, everybody wants to be a rock star, man. We have a huge, humongous respect for anyone who can play an instrument, alone, but who can commit their lives to doing it.

(Marc snores)

KNAC.COM: Marc’s tired. Do you have anything better than that?

COLOMBO: I forgot what the question was because he went on so long. Cory rambles.

KNAC.COM: Have you guys ever had a meltdown and just gone off on each other?

COLOMBO: Oh yeah. We fight like the Anvil guys.

KNAC.COM: Fists?

PROCTER: We’ve never thrown fists.

KNAC.COM: Where’s Leonard, your bass player?

PROCTER: He’s at home. He couldn’t make it out to this. He has some family stuff going on.

COLOMBO: The aircraft carrier needed to bring him in was busy.

PROCTER: Space shuttle.

KNAC.COM: Your album, Tragedy, was just released a couple weeks ago. I really like “All in Vain;” good vocals and drumming and a great bass intro. Did you write the lyrics, Marc?

COLOMBO: That was Justin’s song. He had that song for three of four years. His old band—they couldn’t make it happen. They were more of a hard rock band. They didn’t do much screaming or whatever, and as soon as he came here it was perfect for us. He wrote all the lyrics to that song. It’s a great song.

KNAC.COM: What is the meaning of the song?

COLOMBO: Complete self-destruction, asking, “Are we all in vain?"

PROCTER: What are we doing here?

KNAC.COM: Do we become worm shit when we die or do we go on to the afterlife?

PROCTER: We’d need to have Justin here for that one, because he’s the twisted mind that came up with that one.

KNAC.COM: Cory, what or who inspired you to become a drummer?

PROCTER: Back in the day, in elementary school, if you ever wanted to play an instrument they stuck you in a room just chock full of instruments and there was this guy there that said “What do you want to play?” I wanted to play saxophone at first but I couldn’t make any noise out of it, so he stuck me back in the percussion section. So I started there and obviously saw my first drum kit and thought that was pretty awesome, so I got into that. Influences, I tell you what, ever since I started it was anybody who could play a cool beat. Over the last few years I’ve studied it a lot more. Vinnie Paul, Chris Adler—those guys are sick.

COLOMBO: Joey Jordison.

PROCTER: Joey Jordison is ridiculous.

KNAC.COM: Marc, what started it for you?

COLOMBO: James Hetfield. I play rhythm and sing. If I could do it like him, that would be amazing. Dave Mustaine, same deal. Dave Mustaine is awesome.

KNAC.COM: What’s it like during the off-season for you?

PROCTER: Football. That’s our number one. We have workouts and we have to schedule around that. We knew that going into this. So on our off-time--weekends and right now--when we haven’t officially started our off-season training, we try to do this and get out there as much as we can and play and have a good time. We’re still having a blast at this, man.

COLOMBO: We’re kind of finding our niche now. Last year was a little hectic, trying to fit in everything. This year I think we got a good grip on what we want to do and the plan for this band and we’re just going to try to execute it.


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