The Messiah Complex (Metalcore)

Written by Jonny Havoc

The Messiah Complex
Posted Dec 8, 2006

Rikk Wolf sings
Knate Harter is the drummer
Mitch Peters is the bassist
Ryan Hundley
Chris Frost play guitar

What is your website?

What is your MySpace?

What is your PureVolume?

What genre is your music?
Death-jazz. Kidding.

We're metal. We get called Metalcore, because that's the popular term right now, but we're a metal band. We throw up the devil horns, we bang our heads, and we melt the faces off of little children.

Who got you interested in playing this kind of music?
Originally Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica for me, but The Black Dahlia Murder and Killswitch Engage are recent inspirations. I know Chris was big on bands like Sevendust when he was starting into music. Mitch loves Jazz players like Dizzy Gillespie, but I think The Dillinger Escape Plan is a big driver for him now, Ryan's metal through and through, so take your pick of any melodic death metal band, and Knate's a big Neil Peart fan, so I think he draws most of his inspiration from Prog. drummers.

What is music to you?

How did you come up with your band name?
Ryan and I were browsing a site that featured the names and descriptions of mental disorders, ('cause what's more metal than mental disorders?) and we thought The Messiah Complex sounded rather nifty.

What does your band name mean?
Well to answer that question I must first tell you a little story. One day about a year and a half ago, about seven in the evening, when Mitch arrived at practice, he found a small basket made of straw and sprinkled with golden flakes outside the door to our rehearsal studio. A bright red ribbon was wound gaily around the handle. Believe it don't, there were actually tiny footprints, as from an elf, headed off into the snowy field surrounding our studio!

And what did he find in that basket? Oh, for the love of all that is Holy! Don't Ask! But it had absolutely nothing to do with what our band name means. For the story on that, see the above question – it's just a name. Take it how you want.

What other bands have you been in, why did they end or how are they going?

I'm not proud of it, but I started up what would become, much to my chagrin, a Tribal Nu-Metal band in 2002 called Terra Firma. I was never happy with the ultra-simplistic music my band mates were hell-bent on playing, but I was 19 and desperately wanted to play out. In the fall of 2004, Ryan was in Terra Firma with me by that point playing guitar, and the both of us decided we couldn't handle Nu-Metal anymore, and ended the project to pursue something heavier and melodic.

Ryan was in a few St. Joe bands like Veil of Hate before Terra Firma, Chris was actually in a band with Knate, I believe called Left Behind, and Mitch was in a band called Intent.

Did you have any previous band names?

Nope! Always been TMC.

What venue would you like to play the most that you haven't played at?

The Whiskey A-Go-Go! It's a complete crap-hole by now from what I hear, but I'd like to play it for the historical value.

What venue has been the best to play at?

The Rendezvous in St. Joe. Let me say that again in all caps! THE RENDEZVOUS in ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI. It's a hole in the wall for sure, but the owner is fair, nice, and the staff is approachable. It's located at 619 Felix. Go there. It's a great place.

Another amazing place is Back 2 Life off North Oak Trafficway in Kansas City/Gladstone. It's just totally unreal there. The owner had to pour at least half a million dollars into it.

What city or area has been the best place to play?

St. Joseph and Excelsior Springs have been very good to us.

What city or area has been the worst place to play?

Kansas City. I can count the good shows on one hand in the metro area. Venues are closing, bands get paid nothing, people aren't caring, and the majority of the scene kids are snobbier than ever. If your name isn't a prepositional phrase, no one wants to listen to you. There are a few amazing left people out there that are still about the music, though, not to be all rain clouds and thunderstorms.

When, Where and How was your first show?

We played a joint in Columbia called Club Shattered on Sunday, February 7th of 2004. However, we don't really consider it our first official gig. We were just crossing over from Terra Firma (they were actually billed to play the show originally), and were still playing a few Terra Firma tunes, and we were real loose because we had no time to prepare. We played for an almost non-existent crowd.

We switched out drummers, and got a tighter, and drove all the way to Dayton, Ohio to play's Dwell in Darkness II music fest w/ Into Eternity, Dog Fashion Disco, Bobaflex, Incantation, Circle of Dead Children, and countless others. It was an amazing time. We still sucked at that point, but it made us a great contact – Aidan Gray of Please check their site out!

Where was your best show?

Mosh on the Meadow '06 in Excelsior Springs. I decided I'd had enough with playing lame shows, so I set up a gig in these wonderful folk's backyard, and lo and behold, we had a massive turn out. Video from it can be seen on our My Space page. It was the best show I've ever played.

What makes a show the best?

An enthusiastic, cooperative, and mosh-friendly crowd of about 300 people.

Who do you one day want to play a show with or open for?

Rodney James Dio. Him, or maybe Devo.

Why do you play music?

Fade to Black. A song by Metallica before they took the big "we suck now" plunge with St. Anger. When I was a mere pup of fourteen I had become engrossingly obsessed with this musically ingenious tune, as at the time I was massively depressed. This song moved me in ways I never had been before, and I could feel the pain inside me lifting because listening to the song celebrated it, related to it, and made me feel like I wasn't the only person in the world who felt the way I did.

I want to give some other poor clod that same feeling back. If I help just one person this way, I'm a complete and total success as far as I'm concerned.

What inspires most of your lyrics?

Ah, that's a topic I'm a bit sensitive about reveling. It's a long and detailed story, but most of the lyrics I've written thus far in TMC are about a certain incident in my life, but recently I've moved away from it and have headed more in a tradition direction – singing about mighty trolls and rainbows in the dark.

In all seriousness I can't say, but I write the lyrics I do in hopes someone else who's been through similar injustices will hear them and feel comforted, and maybe one day themselves be given the opportunity to scream about them onstage.

Why would anyone want to hear your music?

People have to listen to something while they pluck their nose hairs.

What are you saying thru your music?

I'm personally trying to say that the world is a dark, corrupt place. People will lie to you, use you, and throw you away. The mass media that pours into your head through television sets, radio waves, and the Internet is designed to tell you what to think, who to f, how to dress, and how to act. Rise above it and use the pain and regret you earn through learning this to grow stronger.

That's what I'm trying to say lyrically. But I know Chris is just trying to say, "Det Grunk!"

How many people in the band right now are the original band members?

Knate is the only cat in the band that wasn't here when we started this under-oiled and questionable kiddie park ride. Our original drummer was Shaun Hoover, now of Out of the Suffering. His amazing drumtasticness can be heard by going to

What brought your band together?

A general hatred for Pauly Shore movies. No, to create something melodic that we'd listen to ourselves.

When was your band formed?

Winter 2004.

For what reasons was your band formed?

A distaste for Nu-Metal I'd say. That, and we'd all been in bands in the KC scene and knew, or knew of each other for years. We'd all been around long enough to know who was good to play with, and who sucked.

Where do you wish for your band to be in 5 years?

In any random city, finishing up a 600 plus impromptu autograph session just to show fan appreciation is still number one for TMC. Note: The fans would be giving us THEIR autographs.

What do you think its going to take to get there?

Lower gas prices.

What is the best thing about being your band?

Pulling up to a McDonalds and having a complete stranger tell you they love our music. Just happened to me on the way home!

Where have you been playing lately and how has your response been?

Up north around St. Joseph, Excelsior Springs, and we're planning a huge show for Lawson. The kids up there aren't about just going to shows to socialize and f'ing over the bands they don't have friends in. They're there for the music. We love you guys!

Do you have any advice to starting bands?

Quit. We don't need any more competition!

What is the best thing about music?

Those moments where your soul can just soar from something so simple as an arrangement of tones. Little else in life can give you that rush.

What is the worst thing about music?

Staying up until 5:00 am writing out a song. Music is worst than black tar heroin.

What do you want to see happen thru music in the future?

All genres excepted and equally popular.

What other instruments can each of you play?

Rikk: Guitar, Berimbau, Didgeridoo, Keyboard

Mitch: Guitar.

Chris: Drums, Bass.

Ryan: Drums.

Knate: Guitar

What religion are you?

Everyone in TMC is Christian.

Does your religion effect your music?

Not in the least. Which is often a question we get, with a name like The Messiah Complex. The only thing I can say is that we don't venture into the realm of Satanism lyrically because of our religion, and that stuff's cheesy. We sure like making fun of it though.

Any funny or interesting stories?

When we played in Dayton, Ohio, at's Dwell in Darkness II, we were staying at the nearby hotel both nights, and a certain suspected cocaine enthusiast by the name of "Trip" (relevant name, eh?) was content on harassing the lot of us, as well as's staff, as we were all hanging out on the balcony of the second floor.

The gangly fellow, who looked to be a rejected runner up for the part of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo films on account of looking "too stoned", first proceeded to irritate me by asking if I was in a band. I reluctantly told him yes, and I immediately regretted my decision.

He then introduced himself as "Trip", and shook my hand. He gave me what we like to call "The Dead Fish". I shook the kid's hand, and it felt as if I was holding a freshly dead smallmouth bass in my hands. It was as limp as a man watching his grandmother naked on a trampoline.

The horrifying bum then pulled me in so awkwardly close I felt as if he was trying to slide his tongue in my ear, and whispered, "Watch your gas money", in most eerie voice I believe I've ever heard.

The crowd around this fool grew and grew, until the owner of, Mr. Aidan Gray himself, was at the mercy of this crack head's nonsensical ravings about how he single handedly started the hardcore scene and how 100's of websites were about him. The end result? Aidan spouting off something in Hebrew gibberish, spitting a glorious fountain of beer above Trip's filthy head, and running into the night screaming riotous gibberish Adam Sandler would be proud of.

Watch for the incident on our DVD.

What do you think about UFOs?

I keep waiting for a giant dog to catch one and return it to it's master, smashing our tiny world that exists only in the grass of an enormous dog park.

What do you guys do for work right now, other than playing music?

I work happily at a great little sign shop in downtown Kansas City called Sign

Ryan is currently a phone jockey at a call center.

Chris deals video games like a Vegas card shark at EB Games.

Mitch has a very technical job he went to many years of college for, yet seems to get to sit around a lot. The higher a degree you get, the less you have to work and the more money they give you, you see.

Knate moves furniture.

Does being involved in playing music make you miss out on anything?

Relationships are pretty damn tough, and a life without it would probably be a lot less stressful, but every dream comes with a price.

What advantage do you have above other people because you play music?

We're cooler.

What were some of your favorite bands growing up?

Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Slayer, Danzig, The Misfits, and Megadeth.

What would you say to a kid who has no faith in himself?

Give me all your money!

What would you saw if you saw yourself as a 10 year old kid playing at the park?

Stay away from moody blondes, don't take Language Arts II, stop taking s
from people, and then I'd hand him a CD along with notation to all the hit songs currently out, so that he'll write them instead, and when I return to the present, I'm rich!

How old were each of you when starting to play instruments?

Since I'm the only one doing this interview, all I know is that all of us started fairly young, and Chris started on Saxophone, not guitar, and I started on guitar, not vocals.

Do any of the members of the band play in any other bands?

Knate plays with a band called Isolated Fields.

Have you lost any fans for doing something drastic?

What fans? Kidding.

Not that we know of!

Every bands music changes over the years, but do you like playing and the style of the old stuff?

I like our newer stuff much better. It's more diverse and technical.

Anything you would like to say to your fans reading this interview?

You guys are the most loyal, amazing, and more tolerate of CD release delays than anyone could hope for. You guys drive long distances, bring tons of your friends to see us, and go crazy every time we take the stage. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Have you ever been on tour, how many and how did they go?

Not a big one yet, no.

How does it feel to tour with the band members?

It's a lot of fun, but it can sometimes get claustrophobic.

What do you guys do on the road to keep busy?

Watch DVDs.

Do you have any advice to bands about to go on their first tour?

Ask The Messiah Complex to tag along.

Do you ever get/find groupies?

We're really not into that s*. We'll sign chick's arms and stuff, and take pics with 'em, but we're not about getting itchy crotches from girls with no self-respect, and most of us have awesome ladies at home.

What's your latest CD?

Black September.

How did you come up with the title?

Our bassist Mitch pitched it to us. The Black September Organization was a Palestinian militant group, founded in 1970, though some historical sources imply that its members were trained by a long line of terrorists and assassins dating all the way back to the time of the Crusades.

They were trying to start a revolution of some sort, against whom I can't recall. The group popped up in a few flicks like 1977's "Black Sunday", and more recently "Munich".

The meaning Mitch meant to have was of course, not at all associated with whatever that group of murderers was up to, but to mean Black September as a revolution of sorts against what have you.

But like any lyrical title, take it for what it means to you. It has its own personal meaning to me, I always have absolutely wretched Septembers (this year my dog died), and the meaning I take from the title I explore on the album's title track. To me, it means an abrupt and violent end of something treasured, which in turn reveals it wasn't at all what you thought it was.

How long did you wait from start to finish making the CD and how did it feel? (did it take to long, or go by fast)

Man it's probably been the better part of a year. It felt like pulling teeth sometimes, other times it felt like a breeze.

What do you guys think about it?

I think we all dig it, but you're your own worse critic, so we all have things we don't like about our own performances here and there, but we have no complaints about anything any of the people who helped produce it did.

Where can we get it? (starting September 30th) and any of our shows!

What do you want people to get out of listening to "Black September"?

Whatever they want.

What did your fans say about it?

"When is it coming out?"

Rikk (vocals) answered these questions, so most of them reflect his opinion, not necessarily the entire band's.

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