By now, anyone who frequents local metal shows in Buffalo has heard of I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help. Having seen these guys live many times myself, I wanted to give the dedicated metal show goers of our town a behind-the-scenes look at this particular band, and why I think they’re worth a listen to anyone who isn’t familiar with them. Personally, I’d recommend these guys to any fan of any kind of metal, because I think they have something for everyone in the metal world. Their performances are energetic, their songs are incredibly catchy, and they stay just as brutally heavy as they do honest and melody driven, for the duration of their tunes.
Recently, I had an opportunity to catch up with Tom Bieler (vocals), Robby Warren (guitar) and Steve Keicher (drums), and ask them a few important questions about their project. Here’s what they had to say.
Mike Marlinski: Where does the name I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help come from and how would you describe your music to new listeners?
Robby Warren: The name comes from the famous words said by President Reagan during a speech as “the 9 most terrifying words in the English language”. He couldn’t have been more right and those words still hold value today.
Tom Bieler: I almost wanted to name the band, I’m a Firefighter and I’m Here to Help You, but the government quote was a lot better. I would describe our sound to new listeners as metal. Too many people focus on sub-genres nowadays and it isn’t helping local scene unity at all.
Steve Keicher: For new listeners, I would describe our sound as being heavy with some underlying melody, whether it be vocals or guitars, with influences ranging from hard rock, heavy metal and hardcore. Modern American Heavy!
MM: What kind of music were you raised on? Who are your musical influences?
RW: I was raised on a lot of classic rock, ‘80s hair metal and country from being raised by my mom. Once I found Megadeth at 10 or 11, it was all metal there on out. My guitar influences range from Dimebag Darrell to Ted Nugent to Marty Friedman.
TB: I was raised on mostly rock in the same vein as Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Tom Petty, Billy Joel and stuff like that. Once I hit high school, it was all Wu-tang and skate punk music like Millencolin and Bad Religion.
SK: I was raised on a wide variety of things. My parents listened to everything from The Doors and The Beatles to Alabama and Charlie Daniels. I grew up with some older cousins who were always jamming the heavy stuff so Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer and Metallica invaded my ears when I was in like 4th grade.
Everyone was always skating and blasting thrash! MTV was huge while I was growing up too. Pop music was everywhere, then I saw that first Nirvana video. Pantera wasn’t far behind either. I’m constantly trying to discover new bands and things to listen to. Lately it’s been old psyche rock bands from the ‘60s and ‘70s, bands like Blue Cheer, The Nice, Joshua and a ton more.
MM: Who do you typically listen to on the way to a performance?
RW: On my way to a show, I’m usually listening to something very heavy to get me psyched up. As I Lay Dying is a regular to get me pumped.
TB: Just whatever’s in the CD player. Lately it’s been Seplophile and Makhai, both Buffalo locals.
SK: Since a show night tends to be filled with a lot of loud and heavy music, I tend to listen to hip hop to get pumped or old classic rock to just chill out and focus.
MM: Do you have future touring plans? Where are you hoping to tour?
RW: I hope we are able to tour in the near future, but who knows how realistic that is. These days it’s tough to do it with bills and such at home, while making next to nothing being on the road. It is a dream of mine though and I hope to at least tour the east coast.
TB: If the demand for a tour comes and we’re able to do it then that would be really rad. The truth is we’re all hardworking American men and have jobs and we can’t just leave our responsibilities at a moment’s notice.
SK: I would love to travel with this band. I’d love to see the west coast, and from there, possibly some European cities. I’ve always loved to travel, so any place outside of the norm would be fine with me.
MM: Do the five of you have a common major musical influence? Who would you collectively love to open for one day?
RW: We all have our own style we bring to the band to create what you hear. I can’t say we all have a common musical influence, but that makes for something truly special having that many different influences coming together. We would love to open for any major band out there in the metal world. It is always very exciting to share the stage with a band you listen to. I personally would be able to die a happy man if we got to open for Megadeth.
TB: Collectively, we have a really wide range of influences, so I don’t know if we would agree on one band between us. I would love to open for a classic metal band like Iron Maiden or Megadeth.
SK: I can’t say if we all collectively have a common influence. The age range (23?-33?) in this band is funny, but I feel that’s what brings all sorts of different influences to the table. We all want to write heavy, memorable songs that connect with the listener on some level. Musical, lyrical, emotional, spiritual, whatever.
MM: Can you recall a specific news story or personal experience that first motivated you to take the band’s lyrics in a political direction?
RW: Tom, that’s all you. (laughs)
TB: I think it’s important to have meaningful song lyrics. We sing songs about things that matter to everyday Americans like you and me. We worry about drones, we worry about politics and religion and we worry about getting through the day and taking care of our business.
MM: Does the band have an overall message you all wish to convey to your audience with each performance and studio release? If so, what is that message?
RW: The overall message we try to give our audience, whether it’s live or in the studio, is that we must unite and stand for what we believe in, whether it’s against a shaky government or uniting with our brothers and sisters in the metal scene.
TB: Musically speaking, I think the one thing we try to convey in everything that we put out is the importance of riffs. We’re lucky to have some tremendous guitarists. At the end of the day metal is all about the riffs!
MM: What can we expect from the next EP?
SK: New songs. (smiles)
RW: The next EP is going to have lots of exciting guitar work, pummeling drums, sick bass ripping, and of course lots of hard truth.
TB: The next EP is going to be a step up. I think we set a pretty high standard with “Hard Truth/Forced Unity” and now we have to meet and exceed that standard. It’s a challenge but I think we have the right songs to do it.
Below is a full stream of their debut EP, “Hard Truth/Forced Unity”: