This article comes fom Arizona Central
Flotsam, Jetsam goes with flow
By Doug Carroll
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 25, 1998


Valley-based metal band Flotsam and Jetsam has figured out how to stop getting knocked off the ladder to success.

Stop climbing.

"Every time we put out an album, something would happen -- poor management or a label or personnel change," singer Eric A.K. says of the Flots' series of setbacks over the past decade. "This time, we expected something like that to happen and it didn't. So we're kind of confused."

Unnatural Selection, due in mid-October, thus represents an aptly titled new release for the band. The album is Flotsam's seventh and features its newest members, guitarist Mark Simpson and drummer Craig Neilson. The band's 1997 album, High, marked a return to the Metal Blade label after three albums for MCA.

More significantly, there has been an ambition adjustment in the Flotsam camp. Weary of years of putting their all into becoming metal's next big thing, the band members have rediscovered the joy of making music their own way for a small but intensely loyal fandom.

"Up until around our fifth album, this was a career," says Eric A.K., who grew up in Scottsdale and went to Coronado High School. "But the way things have gone lately, it's become more of a hobby. . . . We're out to have fun, and that's it.

"The weird part about our fans is that they're not huge record-buying people. Our base hasn't gotten any bigger or any smaller over the years. But so far, it's been enough for the label to say, 'OK, let's do another (album).' "

The new album won't disappoint Flotsam loyalists expecting a full load of crunching riffs, Eric A.K. says.

"We don't put too much into the direction of an album," he says. "We write riffs and turn them into whatever they turn into. This is maybe a little more modern, just trying to keep ourselves updated. But we're not going industrial or anything like that."

To many in the music business, Flotsam and Jetsam's biggest claim to fame will always be that it was bassist Jason Newsted's band before he joined Metallica. But that was more than 10 years ago, and the Flots are still plugging in their amps.

They must be doing something right.

"The new guys are doing good things for the geezers who've been in the band," Eric A.K. says. "We see this as a fun thing. We're having more fun and caring less."