Fleshing It Out: Local Metal

Photo by Patty Wallace.

By Nikki Hedrick


Gone With the Flesh formed in 2006, but the band recently began a new chapter.


Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jonathan Schlager has been playing music since the mid-1990s. “I got stationed out here on active duty here at Hurlburt Field back in 2003, and in 2006 I reached out to some people on base.”


Schlager found drummer Joe Sumrall through an online ad. They are the two founding members still active in Gone With the Flesh.


Schlager says the band’s name originates from a slight mishap. “I’ve always listened to heavy metal since the earliest I can remember. I was trying to come up with a name, something that kinda symbolized metal. I was shaving one day and I ended up cutting my face, and I was like, Hey, that’s kinda cool—Gone With the Flesh. You know, it was just one of the things, I threw it out there for Joe and some of the other members at the time and they said, ‘Hey, that sounds good. Let’s roll with it.’


“We’ve gone through several lineup changes because we’ve had a lot of active duty (military) members,” says Schlager.


Bassist Bob Wallace found his way to the band through an ad for a short-lived local project. “I came back from Germany and retired from the Army, and we moved back here to our house. Originally, I saw this ad for a bass player for this Metallica tribute band and so I tried out for it. I got it, and then we went through three drummers. Then Joe (Sumrall) showed up and we started playing, and a little bit later, Joe goes, ‘Hey man, would you mind trying out for our band?’”


When it comes to Gone with the Flesh’s sound, Schlager says, “We tend to refer back to the old standard when it comes to breakdowns with long riffs, along with some punchy riffs, and some stop-start. We try to go back and stick to the roots, because everything just seems to come full circle after so many years.


“We were recording most of last year,” Schlager says of the band’s recent flurry of activity. “It took us about two years to record. We did it ourselves because we just got tired of spending money on a studio, getting a product that we weren’t completely happy with, and feeling rushed. We’re trying to push ourselves out there and look at it more like, let’s ride this wave out and get out there because people are actually enjoying our music.”


One song, “Night of the Dead,” has garnered particular attention. “That song is representative…with us all being combat veterans, the things that we’ve seen, I’ve seen, or that we’ve had friends see. That’s just kinda one of those things that people don’t talk about,” says Schlager.


“You always hear about veterans committing suicide as a result of PTSD, and it’s something that’s very serious… We decided to put it out there in the music to where people could listen to that and hear the lyrics and kinda relate to it. You know, especially with it being so aggressive with a lot of the metal themes in it where they could just kind of let that out…”


With a growing list of gigs in the region, a new self-titled album on all online platforms, and fresh material in the works, Gone With the Flesh do not plan to fade away anytime soon.


“We support local music.” Schlager calls the recent Next2Rock battle of the bands “a great experience. We didn’t win it, but it was great because we got to meet other local musicians. We’re always down to meet and play with other musicians, book shows, and get shows. I mean, it’s all about music. It’s not just about us. We’re trying to get this thing going again and make it as big as we can—not just for us but for the other bands too.”


If you’ve never been to a metal show, Schlager’s advice is to just give it a go. “It doesn’t matter what race, religion or sexual orientation…when you go to a metal show, everyone there is there for the exact same reason—to listen to the band. I would just encourage everybody to step outside their comfort zone.


“The atmosphere—you’re not going to experience anything like a metal show. There’s just a conglomeration of different types of people coming together for one goal, to let out some aggression and hear some aggressive music. I mean, it doesn’t get more beautiful than that.”


Discover more at gonewiththeflesh.com.

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