An interview with SOiL's Ryan McCombs
by Tommy Rage
October 2017



Classics are classics and metal is metal, these are the undeniable truths of music. The flawless fusion between both the classics and ass-kicking metal highlights the new single from SOiL and their new greatest hits release SCREAM: The Essentials. Formed in Chicago in 1997, the three founding members Adam Zadel (guitars), Tim King (bass) and Ryan McCombs (vocals) stay true to their heavy metal ways with their rendition of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’”.

Pulling from six previous albums and countless world tours, SOiL compiles 16 studio tracks along with 3 cover songs and a volatile live song to generate an essential greatest hits. SOiL will bring their new release along with their classics to the Backbar Janesville on December 2nd.

Having just come off their fall tour, I caught up with front man Ryan McCombs as he relaxed and reminisced about sleeping on garage floors, Dimebag Darrell and looking back on 20 years of SOiL…

Maximum Ink: “Gimme Some Lovin’”, a Spencer Davis Group cover song highlights your new greatest hits collection. Whose idea was it?
Ryan McCombs:
That was Tim’s, our bass player’s idea. The concept for SCREAM: The Essentials went down different paths, but we decided to do something fun. When Tim came to the table with “Gimme Some Lovin’” I thought he had dropped himself on his own head. It kinda caught me off guard. But after Adam (Zadel) recorded the guitar tracks, then I felt we were having fun with it. I’m a fan of the song and remember it from The Blues Brothers movie. SOiL was formed in Chicago, so it’s got a connection to where we come from.

MI: After 20 years, what is it like to still tour and record together? 
Back in the day, we were so consumed with every little aspect of the business: the writing process, touring, the recording process. We worried about everything. There are so many things you can’t control, but we were young and new to it. Next thing you know, you hate the way the other band member breathes on the tour bus, and it can eat you up inside, which is what happened to us back then. Now that we’re old salty-bastards, we know we can’t control everything. We don’t sweat the little things like we used to.

MI: You’ve included a song, “Broken Wings” from your first EP which came out in 1997. How did it feel to go back and dig up some of your earlier recordings?
It’s cool, because we know that some fans have these older songs. Every once in a great while we will be signing some stuff at a show and someone will have something from Throttle Junkies, and I’ll be like “Holy Crap!” I remember those times as being tough times. When we started, we were at the end of when the industry had money, and there were a lot of bands that were trying to make it. That’s when I made the move to Chicago and I was literally sleeping on a garage floor for three years. Chicago winters on a garage floor were not a fun thing, I remember waking up and scrapping the frozen drool off my face, and waking up in the summer in a pool of my own sweat. I remember going to our guitar players truck and gathering change off the floor to get a 99-cent burrito. It was our version of trying to make it. It was a challenge, but we were blessed enough to have our fans support us.

MI: This album pays tribute to some people that SOiL has worked with who have passed away. “Give It Up”, recorded with Wayne Static from Static-X. You also included your acoustic version of “Can You Feel Me” which you recorded with Dimebag Darrell [Pantera] in his home studio back in 2004. Any fond memories you have of those times?
I have so many great memories of Wayne, although that song was recorded when I was away from SOiL. I remember being on tour with the guys from Static-X. It was Thanksgiving and they went out and rented this big dining hall for all the bands that were out on tour with them. We had Thanksgiving together since were stuck on the road. I have tons of great memories of those guys, and Wayne; just the great person that he was. The Dime’ stories [laughter], there isn’t enough time to talk about him. That recording idea took place during the Damage Plan/SOiL/Drowning Pool tour over in the UK. With the Pantera guys, every night was a party. At one point, they said that we should just come to Texas and hang with them and record with them. When we got back to the States we had three days off between shows. We just parked our bus in front of Dimes’ house and spent three days at Dimes’, at the ‘rock-n-roll carnival’. We recorded “Can You Heal Me” in the back of his house where they had recorded Southern Trendkill. Shortly after that he was taken from us. It’s priceless when you think about how things turned out. I’m truly grateful for the time I got to spend with him.






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CD: SCREAM: The Essentials Record Label: Pavement Entertainment
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