Guitarist Mark Kloeppel doesn't seem to rest. He plays with Philip Anselmo in the ex-Pantera frontman's black-metal project Scour, which released its last EP, the excellent Red, in 2017. The next year, Kloeppel dropped another EP, Empyrean Atrophy, this one with his death-metal group Cast the Stone. And in March, his best-known band, Misery Index, will offer up its sixth full-length, Rituals of Power. Yet, between recording and touring with these various outfits, the guitarist does in fact sleep, and when he does, he dreams. Below, he shares his childhood recurring nightmare and revealed his fear that it's coming true.
DESCRIBE THE MOST RECENT DREAM YOU HAD.
The most recent dream I had was that I was simultaneously living on two slightly different Earths on different sides of the galaxy. Weird!
WHAT GIVES YOU NIGHTMARES?
Dystopian-future predictions, far too ridiculous to ever become real, becoming reality.
WHAT'S THE MOST TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE YOU'VE EVER HAD?
The waking one we are living right now, and this crazy conformity-phobia dream I had recurring as a kid.
WHAT WAS YOUR RECURRING DREAM?
When I was a kid, I would have this dream where I would be in the basement of my house, and many people I knew from the neighborhood were standing in a line outside this machine that looked like a green photo booth with steam coming out of it. They all had this dismal, dead look on their faces — the 10,000 mile stare. A person would enter the booth, there would be a flash and puff of smoke, and out of the other side they would emerge transformed into this block-headed, expressionless, sort-of cartoonish robot. A few of them would try to force me into the line, and I'd run up stairs and pound on the door. My parents and many of their adult friends would answer the door manically, while there was some wild smoky cocktail party going on up there. The door would slam shut by itself, and behind me would be an army of blockheads ready to force me through the machine. Then I would wake up terrified.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR DREAMS OR NIGHTMARES COME TRUE?
Metaphorically, I'd say my childhood recurring nightmare is in a perpetual state of coming true. It's a constantly battle to stave off the blockheads and not become one … even though people you know might have fallen victim.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR DREAMS HAVE MEANING? DO THEY HAVE A PURPOSE?
The one I've outlined, I feel, left me to beware nonconsensual forces that attempt to obliterate your individuality while pressing a conformist agenda of mass control.
HAVE YOUR DREAMS EVER INSPIRED OR INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?
We are Misery Index, and it's quite literally all we talk about. So I would have to say yes.
WHO WOULD BE YOUR DREAM MUSICIAN TO COLLABORATE WITH, AND WHY?
If you would have asked me that question 15 years ago, I would have had a list for you, but since I play with Jason Netherton in Misery Index; Philip Anselmo in Scour; the guy that introduced me to metal itself, Andy Huskey, in Cast the Stone, along with my best friends Derek Engemann, John and Adam Jarvis, Jesse Schobel and Darin Morris … And the crazy guests we've had on albums over the years … I'm happy to report that I'm already collaborating with those musicians. As for "Why," I have to say serendipity is the culprit.
WHAT'S YOUR DREAM FOR 2019?
For you to pick up Misery Index's Rituals of Power, Cast the Stone's Empyrean Atrophy and Scour's upcoming release.