{mosimage}Motorjunkie is well known on the Fayetteville music scene. The band, comprised of Chris Cox (vocals, rhythm guitar); Billy Varga (guitarist, back-up vocals); Marty Zellers (drummer); and Josh Hancock (manager) will be on stage at the Special Forces Association Festival on Saturday, May 31.

The band has been together in one incarnation or another since 2000. The current lineup has been together the last two years. In April 2007, Motorjunkie released The Plan, which has garnered some national attention, with two songs on the album holding spots in the Top 40 at Garageband.com for the last six months.

Up & Coming Weekly took this opportunity to talk to the band. If their answers don’t convince you to come out to the SF Association Concert, we’re sure their music will.

UCW: How long has the band been together and how did you come together?

Cox: We were just all friends and we all knew each other played. None of us were in bands at the time a gig was offered to us to play just for fun. We got a show together, it went off well and the rest is history. 

UCW: Give me some background on each member of the band.

Cox: I’ve been a working musician for 16 years and have played in numerous bands in North Carolina and Virginia, including the Southern Outlaw Band, More Than Nothing, 4 Foot Bus, 421 Underground, Bad Monkey, The Chris Cox Band and Motorjunkie. I’ve geared my life towards becoming a professional musician or just a rock star. My favorite music is “blues with balls.”

Varga: I am a master sergeant in Special Forces with 19 years of active duty. I have been playing guitar for 22 years. I love skydiving, motorcycles, and a good time. 

Zellers: I am from Pennsylvania and moved here about three years ago and am currently going to school at Fayetteville Tech for carpentry. I’ve been in and around music since I was in fourth grade. My first instrument was the slide trombone and I have experimented with a variety of instruments until I figured out I like beating the drums best. 

UCW: Motorjunkie is a pretty interesting name č what does it mean? (There were a couple of different takes on this question.)

Cox: “Motor,” suggesting movement č “Junkie” the obvious addiction to music causing movement. I am a race fan. At the time the band first formed, three of the members rode motorcycles. All-around appreciation for going all out, and giving everything you’ve got. 

Varga: Motorjunkie is a pretty interesting name č what does it mean? Our name was given to us by our close friend Gator who used to manage Smoking Guns Tattoo and was also a fellow member of the Wingmen MC. At the time, 3/4 of the band rode Harleys. One late night drinking session, he was joking around and said,”you guys are like a bunch of Motorjunkies.” The name stuck. 

UCW: How would you describe your music? What are your influences?

Cox: Groove metal č Tool, SRV, Gov’t Mule, Screeming Cheetah Wheelies, Pantera, Black Label Society, Clutch.

Varga: Everyone in the band has a little different musical background. That is what makes it work so well. With hard rock/metal music, you see the same formula and sound from 90 percent of the bands out there. I think we distinguish ourselves from the norm. My influences include Metallica, Pantera, Van Halen, AIC, and Zakk Wylde. 

Zellers: I have a very complex and diverse musical influence. My influences range from black metal/death metal to metal, there is a title for every genre of music these days but a few bands that I am influenced by are, Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Korn, Dimmu Borgir, and Devil Driver. I’m starting to get into some extreme metal bands like Divine Heresy (former guitarist of Fear Factory, Dino Cesarez and drummer Tim Yeung) and Meshugga. Some of the things that are done with that type of music are very technical and almost inhuman. I will also play to rap, rock and anything else I can inject a lot of double bass drum stuff into. I would describe us as metal ... period ... end of story. Not nu-metal or hardcore metal or any other diluted version of metal, just straight up metal. 

UCW: How has the band developed over the past few years?

Cox: Battle of the Bands winner č went from playing local clubs, to playing out of town, then to out of state. Changed drummers and changed a whole bunch of bass players. Currently getting to play for venues such as the CQC fights at the Crown Arena, the Cape Fear Harley Davidson open house and opening for national recording artists. Getting support and having good people around us.

Varga: We have seen the departure of a few members which is always difficult to deal with. The members we have now are getting tighter both musically and with regard to friendship and trust. 

Zellers: Around 2000, the type  of music in this area was very blues heavy. We were one of the first bands that brought to the scene a much harder-edged type of sound that the rest of the world would call “rock.” However, as in all things, change was eminent. A couple of years went by and some changes were made to the lineup and that brings us to today. We are faster, tighter and much heavier than when we first started this project. We are experimenting with different tunings and the guitars and drums are matching in the way of syncopated rhythms. In this business there is constant change and you have to change with it all the while keeping true to yourself and your craft. The future looks very bright.

UCW: How often do you play and how do you mix the music with other jobs?

Cox: Music, work and life are a juggle at this point for everyone, we just pull off the best we can and still make the ends meet. I personally work as a carpenter Monday through Thursday, play music Thursday through Sunday. Varga: Due to recent re-structuring of the bassist, we have only been able to play a few shows a month but they have been big, important shows. We anticipate being able to pick up the pace very soon. In the past, my deployments would halt our performances and progress for extended periods. Fortunately, I have a little more relaxed job which allows me to focus more on the band. 

Zellers: We practice about two nights a week and play shows on Friday and Saturday nights. When Huske Hardware was open we would go down there and play on Wednesday evenings. As far as working this around our day jobs, we are fortunate enough to only have to work during daylight hours and never on the weekends unless we absolutely have to. So that leaves a lot of room for practice and shows in the evenings. Personally, I practice just about every day, I do that because mediocrity can get you passed over by someone who can help you further your career, and that is what we are here to do. 

UCW: What’s your take on the Fayetteville Music Scene?

I’ve watched it grow over the years, and I am very pleased about the direction in which it’s heading. The fans are great; they are what make it happen. 

Varga: This is a very hard town to be a musician in. It seems that the number of bands out there has just exploded in recent years. Regrettably, many don’t make it very long. I feel fortunate that we are still around and making new fans along the way. 

Zellers: Ever changing, that could go either way. It seems there are too many bands around here that only want to copy their musical heroes and play exactly what they are playing and don’t want to branch off and make something different. Anything you can possibly imagine has been done by someone, so by saying “different” I mean taking all styles and aspects of music and combining them so that it doesn’t go over everyone’s heads. Or don’t write something so complicated that you can’t put on a show when you go out to play. Who wants to see someone just standing there playing guitar or sitting on their ass just playing drums? Music is an energy exchange, the more we give away, the more gets returned back to us. This town is ever changing also. The 200 fans that you had last weekend that came to your show may not be here the next weekend because of deployments. So it’s kind of difficult to get a real good fan base because of that. First and foremost, this is a business, just like anything else. 

UCW: Where do you see the band five years from now? 

Cox: Hopefully on the road with a big bus, lots of killer gigs, lots of roadies, and a whole lot of fans. 

Varga: Hopefully, on the road touring. We have big dreams and will do what it takes to make it happen. 

Zellers: Under contract with a label, or at least having serious talks with one. 

UCW: Why did you choose to participate in the SF Festival?

Cox: Members of our band have served, lost, and suffered; we understand the depths at which these times hit ours families, and want to show our support any way possible. 

Varga: I work in the Special Forces community and am good friends with so many great guys out there. The proceeds will benefit SF Warriors and their families. This is a special show for me and I am looking forward to help make an impact in support of this event. 

Zellers: It’s for a good cause; it helps the people who are giving us the freedom to be able to come out here and play music on our own terms. 

The Special Forces Association Festival begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 10:30 p.m. Tickets, which gain you entrance to the day-long concert (seven bands are performing before the main event) are $20 at the gate or $17 online at www.ticketalternative.com.

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