MATG Exclusive: God Dementia’s Zack Smolenski
Written by Matt Drummond
When I first walked into Live Wire Lounge in Chicago to meet the brain behind God Dementia, Zack Smolenski, my initial thought was “this is gonna be rad seeing God Dementia in such a small venue.” If you know anything about metal and have listened to any amount of God Dementia, then you know by this time next year small venues will be a distant memory.
With beers in hand, Zack and I dove right into a familiar metal camaraderie. Metalheads get each other and Zack has his metal stripes. When I’m interviewing musicians it’s obviously a unique experience. One main aspect I try to focus on, while listening to the answers is if the musician is passionate about what they’re doing. I intend to represent Zack the best I can through writing and you can judge his passion yourself.
To get started, I wanted to know how Smolenski viewed God Dementia in comparison with previous bands he’s played in.
“This is the most excited I’ve ever been about a band, I do all the writing this time. This is the first time I’ve ever shouldered 100% of the writing. Usually it’s a collaboration.”
The process Smolenski takes in writing song’s is anything but a simple task. In addition to the thousands of times he listens, and re-listens to songs, there lies a ton of second guessing. And while a lot of people don’t understand what Smolenski puts into these songs, it’s definitely his heart.
Just having a beer with Smolenski, and talking metal, I felt like I could see the metal machine turning his brain. At this point, I assumed Smolenski is a guy who constantly writes, so I asked if new material was in the works.
“Oh yeah, I have the whole next album written. We still need to add the vocals and bass, but the writing is finished for the next album.”
As much as I liked hearing that a new God Dementia album was just about done, I was more excited to watch them plug in and fuck shit up.
God Dementia opened with ‘Dominance’ and it was exactly that. ‘Dominance’ blazes out of the gates with pure vengeance and murderous intentions.
One thing to keep in mind about God Dementia is yes, Zack does the writing, but he’s surrounded with a pack of rabid dogs. Rick Hernandez, Cody Zupan, Johnny Dove, and Jimmy Genenz will rip you apart and still have time for tacos.
Seeing firsthand how metal has embedded itself in Smolenski, I asked a question I ask every musician. What does it mean to you to be in a metal band, and be a metal fan?
“It’s my escape from a normal life. It means meeting people who are just like me. It means being in a brotherhood.”
Getting to talk to the guys in God Dementia only makes me like what they’re doing more. These aren’t guys who play in a metal band, but have Third Eye Blind in their cars. These guys are saturated with death metal and they’re looking to fill some vacant graves.
Keep your ears open for the release of God Dementias new album, ‘Prophets of the Unseen’.
Special thanks to: Cody Zupan, Zack Smolenski, Johnny Dove, Rick Hernandez, Jimmy Doomed, Susie Fischer, and Jeff Ziolo