Drummer Gil Sharone of Stolen Babies

The fall season will officially be known as “The Autumn of Stolen Babies.” In September, the California-based theatrical metal rockers will be a part of the “Epic Kings & Idols Tour” in preparation for the October 16th release of their highly anticipated new album “Naught.” The band has been on a long hiatus since the release of their acclaimed record “There Be Squabbles Ahead” in 2006, but they couldn’t be happier to be back on stage where they belong. Drummer Gil Sharone chatted with Inked about their legion of passionate fans, why the break needed to happen, and the one person he is loyal to when it comes to getting tattoos.

Inked: Stolen Babies is part of the “Epic Kings & Idols Tour” this fall. How excited are you guys?

Gil Sharone: We’re stoked just in general, not only to be on that tour but just to start our album cycle. The full run is going to be with Paradise Lost, Katatonia, and Devin Townsend. An awesome lineup, a super strong bill and, for me, I think just one of the best bills of the season and I’m not just saying that. But for somebody to spend hard earned money on concert tickets, this is just a solid bill from start to finish. It’s going to be an awesome night.

Inked: Do you find inspiration for new music while you are on the road?

GS: Yeah, inspiration comes from anything that we live and experience. Dominique [vocals] and my brother Rani [bass guitar] are the main songwriters for the band and, you know, they are influenced by everything. From a conversation we have in the van on the road, or watching a movie, or hearing a film score. We have so many different influences and inspirations that we draw from.

Inked: Did you think that the fans would stick around during the band’s hiatus?

GS: We weren’t sure if people would know that we were even still alive. And that’s what’s been so amazing through the past few years. We’ve done very cool side projects and collaborations that have definitely kept us in the mix as far as people asking about the band. It’s just so awesome to see that people care, and people are catching on. And now we’re totally out of this hiatus and the Stolen Babies machine has started back up again. Doors are opening like crazy. It’s very natural. We’re not trying to make things happen.

Inked: It’s almost like the hiatus, even though it was long, gave you a chance as a band to focus on what direction you wanted the music to go and now fans can see how beneficial the wait was and that it was indeed worth it.

GS: With us, our hiatus was very healthy and we needed it. We’ve been playing music with each other since high school. But then we do things in and out of hiatus. We went out and did Europe with Dillinger Escape Plan for two months and that was f*cking insane. I played with both bands and that was a huge tour for us because the response we got in Europe was just overwhelming. But then we fell back into the hiatus and then we started working on the record. We just kind of did that at our leisure. We weren’t in a rush. It was all very refreshing for us to come back and really focus. In order for us to be where our heads are at right now with Stolen Babies, this hiatus had to happen.
The fall season will officially be known as “The Autumn of Stolen Babies.” In September, the California-based theatrical metal rockers will be a part of the “Epic Kings & Idols Tour” in preparation for the October 16th release of their highly anticipated new album “Naught.” The band has been on a long hiatus since the release of their acclaimed record “There Be Squabbles Ahead” in 2006, but they couldn’t be happier to be back on stage where they belong. Drummer Gil Sharone chatted with Inked about their legion of passionate fans, why the break needed to happen, and the one person he is loyal to when it comes to getting tattoos.

Inked: Stolen Babies is part of the “Epic Kings & Idols Tour” this fall. How excited are you guys?

Gil Sharone: We’re stoked just in general, not only to be on that tour but just to start our album cycle. The full run is going to be with Paradise Lost, Katatonia, and Devin Townsend. An awesome lineup, a super strong bill and, for me, I think just one of the best bills of the season and I’m not just saying that. But for somebody to spend hard earned money on concert tickets, this is just a solid bill from start to finish. It’s going to be an awesome night.

Inked: Do you find inspiration for new music while you are on the road?

GS: Yeah, inspiration comes from anything that we live and experience. Dominique [vocals] and my brother Rani [bass guitar] are the main songwriters for the band and, you know, they are influenced by everything. From a conversation we have in the van on the road, or watching a movie, or hearing a film score. We have so many different influences and inspirations that we draw from.

Inked: Did you think that the fans would stick around during the band’s hiatus?

GS: We weren’t sure if people would know that we were even still alive. And that’s what’s been so amazing through the past few years. We’ve done very cool side projects and collaborations that have definitely kept us in the mix as far as people asking about the band. It’s just so awesome to see that people care, and people are catching on. And now we’re totally out of this hiatus and the Stolen Babies machine has started back up again. Doors are opening like crazy. It’s very natural. We’re not trying to make things happen.

Inked: It’s almost like the hiatus, even though it was long, gave you a chance as a band to focus on what direction you wanted the music to go and now fans can see how beneficial the wait was and that it was indeed worth it.

GS: With us, our hiatus was very healthy and we needed it. We’ve been playing music with each other since high school. But then we do things in and out of hiatus. We went out and did Europe with Dillinger Escape Plan for two months and that was f*cking insane. I played with both bands and that was a huge tour for us because the response we got in Europe was just overwhelming. But then we fell back into the hiatus and then we started working on the record. We just kind of did that at our leisure. We weren’t in a rush. It was all very refreshing for us to come back and really focus. In order for us to be where our heads are at right now with Stolen Babies, this hiatus had to happen.

Inked: So tell us about your tattoos.

GS: I have a bunch! I pretty much have two half-sleeves on both of my arms and a back piece and two big pieces on both of my shins. So I have a decent amount of ink. I would have a lot more if I weren’t so busy!

Inked: Is there any particularly meaning behind them?

GS: Yeah a lot of them all have a meaning. The ones on my shins are kind of spiritual. I’ve always been very attracted to a lot of different kinds of spiritual imagery. On my right shin I have a Ganesh tattoo in full color and on my left I have a Vishnu tattoo in color and everything else on my upper body is black and gray. I love old school black and gray and all my tattoos were done at Tattooland, Jack Rudy’s shop, by Chris Brand, who’s one of my best friends from high school. Everyone at that shop is the s*it and their work is amazing! They have a killer vibe. I have a really cool vintage drum piece on one of my arms. I have a skeleton playing in a suit with the classy 1940s drum set. And then I have a 1950 Merc on me. I also have a vintage microphone. I even have a kind of a tribute to the Jamaican sound systems from the 60s; It’s a trip downbeat on my right shoulder for the original Jamaican downbeats sound system and it has a speaker box on it and a vinyl. So that’s pretty much it. They’re all tied in with smoke and some webbing.

Inked: It’s always cool to see musicians who have other tattoos that aren’t all music related. So for you to have spiritual tattoos, it gives a deeper insight into your personality as not only a musician but also as someone who appreciates the meanings that any tattoo can have.

GS: I agree. Those tattoos mean a lot to me. Every time I see them, I like them. I don’t think, “Oh no what a mistake I made. That was just a phase.” On my back, I have a real big back piece. I’ve been studying Chinese internal martial art for almost 15 years and it’s a huge, huge part of my life. On my back I pretty much have the symbol of our school and then the trigrams around it, which are based from Chinese culture. So that gets real deep as well. That’s something very near and dear to my way of life. That was my first tattoo.

Inked: Does your twin brother Rani have tattoos as well??

GS: He has a couple. He’s funny. When the PR people ask who’s tatted in the band, my brother goes, “Well I have a couple but I’m not an exhibitionist!” He’s got one on his shoulder and one on his lower leg. I remember he was going to get a huge back piece drawn out but I don’t know if he has committed to that yet. It hasn’t really been a huge focus for him. We just have so many other things in our lives to distract us. A lot of people think you just walk in and look at stuff on the wall and you walk out and two hours later it’s done. No. When somebody wants to invest in a tattoo, not only is it the time and commitment with you and that artist, it’s a big undertaking to get something done like that. It takes time and commitment.

Inked: Have you seen any fans with any Stolen Babies tattoos?

GS: Actually yeah! I think on our MySpace, we had a photo album called “Fan Art.” And we got so much fan art either drawn or tattooed or an inspired tattoo or off our first album, “There Be Squabbles Ahead,” with a bunch of little kids running away from a big fire pit. One fan lifted up her back and had all these little kids running away from the fire on her back! We’ve even had our name tattooed on people and it’s very cool to see.

Inked: I bet in high school you didn’t think your band’s name or album cover would be tattooed on someone!

GS: Exactly! And it’s still a trip. We’re very flattered by that. That we mean that much to somebody that they would permanently mark their body with our imagery. That’s great and what we want to tell our fans is stay tuned. There’s a lot more coming from us. It’s just the love that we feel and they inspire us even more to keep doing it because the response is so overwhelming.

Inked: Are there any Stolen Babies songs that you think would make a good tattoo?

?GS: Yeah! Dominique writes great lyrics and people really understand the deeper meanings and the metaphors to them and then sometimes they’re really big and only she really knows what she’s talking about. I think a lot of our lines could make killer tattoos. I‘m also very attracted to lettering, to nice lettering on tattoos.

Inked: Would you ever have Crab Scrambly, the spectacular artist who works on your album artwork, design a tattoo for you?

GS: For sure. I’ve been thinking about getting some of Crab’s work and he’s kind of like a member of not only the family but also we treat Crab like a member of Stolen Babies. We have such a special bond with him. I just love his style and a lot of his little characters

Inked: You’re constantly building on your reputation. With post-show meet and greets, social networking, and touring, fans are able to pick up on Stolen Babies quickly and build on this new album momentum with you. What does that kind of devotion feel like?

GS: For a band like us it’s important because we’re different. We’re a different kind of band. We’re not just on one scene. We don’t have this certain sound that caters to the mainstream world. Even though I feel like a lot of our music is very accessible, it’s still very unique and very original. We have these elements that are just totally Stolen Babies. It’s just our vibe. But we love that and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We want to be able to keep touring and be comfortable and give these killer shows. We want to make it nice and consistent. We’re kind of veterans as far as our comfort level and what we like to experience and put out on the road. We know we’re going to make it happen.

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