ANTHONY NICHOLS & JON HARDY (MEXICAN APE-LORD): “[We] Fire A Warning Shot At Authoritarianism. We Have Cannons!”

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Taking a Bite Out of the Competition

Former Meliah Rage guitarist/songwriter Anthony Nichols and ex-The Bags bassist/vocalist Jon Hardy formed Mexican Ape-Lord in 2012. If you’re not familiar with their previous bands, that you are probably not from the Boston area. Meliah Rage signed to Epic Records in 1988 and released two albums under them, while The Bags won 1989’s Rock & Roll Rumble, an event sponsored by the now defunct but forever remembered locally, WBCN radio station. Mexican Ape-Lord’s latest is the concept album Survival Cannibalism. I caught up with Anthony Nichols and Jon Hardy to find out all about it.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew nothing about Mexican Ape-Lord, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Jon Hardy: Raw and epic mountain Metal. Each song is an expedition. It’s big and beautiful up there, but dangerous as hell.

MER: That’s an unusual band name, there must be a backstory about how it came to be?

Jon Hardy: It’s half random mumbo jumbo and half a serious tribute to the Mayan howler monkey gods, who gave the world loud music.

MER: Your latest album Survival Cannibalism is a concept album based on true events. What is the basis for the story and what inspired you to incorporate that story into an album?

Jon Hardy: The basis for the story is a shipwreck that occurred on a barren rock off the coast of Maine in 1710. Things went from bad to worse until one day the survivors found themselves salivating over a corpse. I guess it could be a metaphor for a lot of our lives lately! The ending is pretty heroic, though. They cheat death and have a hell of a party.

MER: Without giving away too much, can you tell where the songs take us in the story….

“Black Cloud” – Shipwreck

“Situation” – The realization that we are truly fucked

“No Deliverance” – Fighting to stay alive

“So Much Wasted Rope” – Fighting with each other

“The Devil Does Divide Us” – Cannibalizing each other

“Stinkin Drunk on Blood” – Having crossed that line, we’re damn well going to enjoy it.

“Dereliction” – Hangover

“Mezzick & Drakelord” – In this one we tell the origin story of the band and argue for unity among metalheads. We also sum up the action of the Survival Cannibalism story

MER: It’s been six years since the last Mexican Ape-Lord album. Why so long?

Anthony Nichols: Right after our debut was finished I slipped on some ice in Boston and completely crushed my left wrist. It took three surgeries and a year and a half of therapy before I was ready to get back. At that point all the attention went to doing one last Meliah Rage record.

MER: Any chance you will be able to tour in support of Survival Cannibalism?

Anthony Nichols: That would a tough one to answer as the world has changed and we’re not kids anymore. Time will tell!

MER: As you mentioned, you are also the guitarist in Meliah Rage? Is that band still active, or is it just Mexican Ape-Lord from here on out?

Anthony Nichols: At this point I would say Mexican Ape-Lord is home now. Meliah Rage technically hasn’t called it quits yet, but I don’t see anything in the future either. In the past few years all the records have been either reissued, remixed or released on vinyl, so the work has been done on that end.

MER: Meliah Rage signed to Epic Records for their first three albums. What do you remember about recording your debut album Kill to Survive in 1988?

Anthony Nichols: It was pretty much a dream when we hit the studio. It was a 48 track studio which was a big deal back in those days and we had money from the label to buy any gear we needed. So we did!

MER: The band’s final album for Epic was 1990’s Solitary Solitude. This was about the time the industry started putting all their efforts into grunge bands. Is that what led to Meliah Rage’s initial hiatus or was there stuff behind the scenes?

Anthony Nichols: Yes! We could certainly see the hand writing on the wall and we knew we hadn’t built the name big enough to survive what was coming from Seattle.

MER: Sully Erna of Godsmack was briefly in Meliah Rage and recorded some demos with you in 1992. Those demos were eventually released in 2002 on the Unfinished Business album. Did having Sully in the band do anything for Meliah Rage once Godsmack broke?

Anthony Nichols: Not really, I mean when Godsmack broke Meliah Rage was a distant memory for Sully and their music is different.

MER: Do you guys still talk?

Anthony Nichols: I’ve only seen him once since we played together and it was just a quick hello.

MER: You’ve opened for some pretty notable bands over the years. Who were the coolest? Who were the biggest dicks?

Anthony Nichols: We opened for a lot of the 80s thrash bands like Slayer, Testament, Overkill, Manowar, Nuclear Assault, etc. We did two full length US tours with Metal Church and got along with those guys very well. I don’t recall not getting along with any of the bands.

MER: You’re a Boston native. Which was the better team, 2004 Red Sox or 2018 Red Sox?

Anthony Nichols: The 2004 Red Sox will never be replaced in this guy’s heart! It was a special time for us longtime Red Sox fans.

MER: Tom Brady… traitor or smart business man?

Anthony Nichols: As a fan I really don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but it seems like both sides just wanted to move on. He certainly got more money and gets to play in a warm climate so I guess he did alright.


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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