Cycle of Pain

An interview with John DeServio of Black Label Society and Cycle of Pain
by Tina Hall
January 2014

Cycle of Pain is one of the most unique bands on the scene today. With members who have also been friends since their teenage years, it has a certain loyalty that has kept it intact through the years. Comprised of John “Jd” DeServio (also of Black Label Society) on bass and vocals, Gregg LoCascio with lead vocals, Joe Taylor on guitar, Bob Panetella on the drums, and Troy Cromwell on keys. The highly anticipated EP Pain Us! is slated for release in early 2014. With the excitement building, it was my pleasure to catch up with John to find a little more about the latest offering.

Maximum Ink: For those who might not be familiar with the band, can you tell us a little about how it came into being? 
John DeServio: We’ve been friends and in bands together since we were 14. I got offered a record deal in 2009 and got the band back together.

MI: Do you think the fact that some of you have known each other so long, now, has made it easier to keep the band progressing and working well?
JD: To some degree. On the other hand we’re brothers so there’s some hate in there, too, at times. (laughs)

MI: Do you think loyalty is a rare thing in the music industry today?
JD: Yeah, that’s a thing of the past. If you don’t sell, you get no loyalty.

MI: Do you remember what it was that first sparked your love of music?
JD: KISS is solely responsible.

MI: Why do you think music has had such appeal throughout the ages? What about it do you think draws people in the most?
JD: Because it gets them away from the hassles of life for a little bit.

MI: How does it feel to pass on the gift of music to your various students along the way? Do you hope to teach more in the future?
JD: I love teaching. It’s an awesome feeling to give back. I always hope to do so.

MI: Other than preparing the album what have you been up to since we spoke last?
JD: I just mixed the new Black Label Society record, and am trying to put out the Cycle of Pain EP, did a couple of local shows, and have a few more coming up.

MI:What is the most challenging thing you face as a musician? Do you think people underestimate how much work goes into the music?
JD: The most challenging thing is making a living at it. There is lots of sacrifice involved.

MI:What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about musicians of our time?
JD: That they’re good. (laughs)

MI: Did it feel good to get back to work with Cycle of Pain? As someone who works in two different bands, do you ever miss one when you are working with the other or do you just enjoy the work as it comes? What do you love most about being in each of them, respectively?
JD: It’s always good to jam with my brothers in both bands. CoP is my baby, so creatively it’s a necessity. BLS is home, so it’s always good to go home.

MI: What would you say is the most important thing you have learned from working with Zakk Wylde over the years? And from your time in Cycle of Pain?
JD: The same answer applies to both: how hard it is, how much you have to work at things, and how you just got to keep pushing.

MI: How does this EP differ most from the debut album?
JD: Different time. The first spanned a decade of writing. This one is all in the last couple of years.

MI: I know you have long wanted to dabble in jazz fusion; did you touch on that a little more in this album? Is that something you are still looking forward to creating down the line?
JD: There is some progressive stuff, not much. Down the road, I will definitely release a more jazz fusion of a bunch of styles that I dig. I love playing piano, so there will be a bunch of tunes I get to do.

MI: Are you looking forward to the upcoming shows in the Northeast? Will there be any additional dates?
JD: Right now we just have this handful. Hopefully there will be more.

MI: Do you think the reason you make music has changed since you first started your career or is that a constant? What do you love most about making music?
JD: To me music is still born out of the love of music. Creating is such a blessing!

MI: What can your fans look forward to in the year ahead?
JD: Hopefully a kick ass CoP EP, a great BLS album, and a world tour.

MI: Anything you’d like to say before you go?
JD: Thanks to everybody for supporting the bands! I’m very blessed. See y’all in 2014.

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Cycle of Pain
CD: Pain Us! Record Label: SlipTrick Records