8 Foot Sativa Biography
One of our most fearsome live acts releases their debut album to an unsuspecting New Zealand public.
Springing up from the wild west end of Auckland in 1998, 8 Foot Sativa have become the most requested local act on rock radio in New Zealand, kind of surprising for a no-compromise metal band.
The seed was first planted at Massey High where guitarist Gary Smith and bassist Brent Fox first teamed up with a shared love for all things heavy. They found brutal drum killer Speed at Kelston High and started jamming. When the original bass player never turned up for practice Fox made the move from guitar to bass ('cos his bends sucked' reckons Smith) and later, when original vocalist Ari disappeared without a trace, the boys found a young Jack Hammer lurking in the mall.
"He used to sneak into the gigs and we'd sneak him beers," says Smith. "Ari just vanished, we never saw him again, Jack just said 'I'll do it' and that was when we really started taking it seriously."
The balls-out intensity and passion from the singer cemented the lineup there and then and the boys set to work, against all the odds (like metal bands do) to make a name for themselves. Four years of gigs at Rock FM's notorious night announcer Greenman's highly publicised Big Day After parties and the opening spot for Pantera soon got the buzz going about the band.
Ever resourceful in times of need, the band approached indoor plant supply store The Switched On Gardener to help finance some demos. "The Switched On Gardener was sponsoring some other stuff, jelly wrestling I think," says Fox. "Mike liked the sound of the band and of course the name and he put up some cash to help the band out. We recorded three tracks at Area 51 including Fuel Set which we sent to the Rock. Greenie started playing us on nights, we started getting featured on the Axe Attack and people just started asking for the song." And ask they did, from the length and breadth of the country. Fuel Set became the most requested song on the Axe Attack and scored big with Greenman's audience. A straight ahead metal tune that sounds like it could've been on Cowboys From Hell, its hooky guitar licks, powerhouse rhythm and infectious melody define it as an enduring metal anthem.
The band describe their influences as more European and British rather than American. Bands like The Haunted, big on melody and groove but still aggressive and intimidating. When I ask Smith and Fox about the state of the NZ pop scene it brings wry smiles. "A lot of it is pretty sad," say Smith, not .
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