Perhaps one of the most overlooked and underappreciated metal bands these days would have to be New Jersey’s Solace, who formed in 1996 with members of the defunct Godspeed.  Their music is high octane and loaded with heavy riffs and killer chops, and their 2010 album “A.D.” was hailed as one of the best metal releases of that year.  Yet still the band remains a mystery to most metal fans, and those who are familiar with Solace can tell you that the band has been plagued with some bad luck over the years that result in line-up changes and disbanding.


Roughly one year ago, the band announced via its Facebook page that they were calling it a day, but miraculously, the band has announced a reformation of sorts, beginning with their appearance at this year’s Days of the Doomed Festival alongside acts like The Skull and Earthride.  ZT recently caught up with guitarist Tommy Southard to discuss their goings-on and to shoot the bull.


ZT- What led to Solace disbanding last year? And what led to getting back together, was it the festival appearance, or just the need to keep Solace going?


Tommy- Anyone who knows the Solace history will know we have always had a rough go of it. We’ve had members quit and return and quit and return and quit and return again. My brother and bass player Rob Hultz also moved to Chicago and that has made it hard to keep Solace a working band. But after drummer Keith Ackerman left we were drummer-less and after years of trying hard to keep the band together I needed some time off. The frustration had reached a point where I had really had enough.


ZT- Your album A.D. was voted by iTunes as the best metal album of 2010. Thats awesome for one, but do you feel at times that Solace doesn’t get the recognition it deserves?


Tommy- Well I’ll leave that up for other people to decide. Of course it would be great if more people were into Solace and we sold hundreds of thousands of records but it is what it is. We do what we do for us first and if anything else follows then that is icing on the cake. We’ve also shot ourselves in the foot multiple times with all the strife in the band. We’ve had to cancel many shows and tours. We’re not exactly known as a touring machine and if you’re not out there in front of people playing with all the bands that exist today it’s pretty easy to fall between the cracks. Maybe after were all dead some kids will pick up our albums and say “Hey, this band was pretty bad ass…”


ZT- You had mentioned your frustration with things bringing you to a breaking point with Solace. Aside from calling it a day, do you feel that the frustration and negative energy would fuel you to go out and kick more ass with Solace?


Tommy- Maybe, but it’s really the music is what drives us, at least me personally. Playing is the one time really where all that stress from daily living is put aside anyway. It’s always been that way. Playing has always been cathartic for us so regardless of what is going on, as soon as we crank up the amps and hit that first note, all the bullshit washes away, so it doesn’t matter what has been going on its always the same rush. But maybe there might be a little extra pent up frustration and energy to give it all we got. Who knows what will happen after this so we’ll go for it now, hard and furious.


ZT- What causes Solace to not really be prominent in the touring cycle? Just various lives, jobs and families I assume?


Tommy- Yes, we all have day jobs and families and really no tour backing that would help defer touring costs. We’ve never made any money doing this and we’ve played for free or even for a loss so many times that we can’t just leave paying jobs to lose money touring. It sucks because we all love playing live but it just doesn’t work out for us. We’re not a bunch of young guys who are carefree, we all have responsibilities…. hopefully with this gig we can sell some merch and break even.


ZT- With the reformation of Solace, will there be more albums and some touring/shows? Or is it too soon to tell just yet?


Tommy- We were pretty much dead in the water when Mike from Days of the Doomed reached out to me and asked if we would consider playing. I reached out the other guys and oddly enough we had a little band meeting at a funeral of all places. We decided we would give it a go and see what happens. It wasn’t and hasn’t been easy trying to get it all together and I just hope that after not playing for damn near 2 years we can bring the solace thunder to the people of Days of the Doomed! As for any other shows or albums, let’s just see how things go at this fest first! If it plays out correctly I have hope that the band will be a band again. I know I have plenty of Solace riffs at the ready and I’d love to get out and play more if people want to see it.

Thanks for dropping in!

If you’re here maybe you should think of adding Zero Tolerance Magazine to your arsenal of regular reading? We offer a 3-issue trial subscription to whet your appetite. http://store.ztmag.com