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Honey: Ex-Turning Point Guitarist Jay Laughlin on His New Crossover Thrash Band

Photo: David Laughlin

Last month, No Echo brought you a deep dive into the making of Turning Point's It's Always Darkest...Before the Dawn album from 1990. While interviewing guitarist Jay Laughlin for that piece, I learned that he was playing in a new band called Honey. 

While the group's name might not hint it, Honey's sound is rooted in the late '80s crossover thrash, and it's on full display on their recently released debut album, Nightmare Come to Life.

I chatted with Jay to get the story on all-things Honey (the band, not the sticky fluid).

Hey Jay, give me the backstory on the formation of the band. 

I have been playing in bands non-stop since I joined my first band while in the 8th grade in 1986. In 2017, I had a couple of back-to-back shitty situations that happened that put me into a seriously dark depresion like I had never experienced before. I decided it was time to maybe take a step back from playing in a band and to just book some studio time and make a record for myself and by myself.

The plan was to play everything myself, but as I was getting deeper into the recording process I decided to bring my friend and old bandmate, Chris Hunter, in to help put down some lead guitar stuff to complete the recording. He’s probably the best guitar play I’ve ever played with we both thought it’d be a good idea to find a drummer and bass player so we could play the songs live.

Miles Ziskind (drums) was brought up to me by my brother in law telling me, “I have a friend thats an amazing metal drummer, you should get him in your band," two years prior to me starting this project! So, when the time came, he was the first person I thought to ask and it turns out my brother in law was right and he rules.

The first time I was introduced to Greg Karlowitsch (bass), a mutual friend introduced me to him by saying, "this is Metal Greg, you two should start a band," so it was a no-brainer to ask him to join up when I was ready to make the recording project into a proper live band. It seemed like it was meant to be and they both came in blew me away the first time we jammed together.

The sound on the record, for me, brings to mind crossover thrash in the vein of Power Trip and Join the Army-era Suicidal Tendencies. Tell me a bit about the influences that helped inform what Honey is doing. 

I started out as a drummer when I was a kid. I was going to metal shows with my older brothers from a very young age and was always fascinated with the drummers the most. As I got a little older, that interest moved on to the guitar players.

When I started to teach myself how to play, I was pretty much obsessed with Slayer, Metallica, Suicidal, D.R.I.,  and the like. I would sit in front of a cassette deck with a guitar and Reign In Blood playing and try and learn every riff, rewinding over and over agin and playing for hours.

So when I booked time to start this project I wanted to go back to those roots, the music that got me into playing guitar in the first place. I was also listening to a lot of current metal like Power Trip and Iron Reagan, and that stuff became a big influence on me too while writing the songs.

What are some of the themes you’re taking on, from a lyrical standpoint, on Nightmare Come to Life.

I've lost a lot of close friends over the years and also have had some family abandonment shit, too. So, the theme that runs tough most of the lyrics are loss, dissapointment, death and dealing with it all.  

Once we get out of this current situation, do you plan on putting a lot of shows under your belts? What’s the longterm plan on that end?

We were one week away from playing our first show when the quarintine went into effect. We definitely plan on playing as much as possible as soon things clear up. But for now, we've been writing a lot and were planning on booking some studio time real soon start recoding the next album to keep us busy until the live shows start up again. I’m stoked to go in as a full band this time around and let everybody throw their ideas into the mix for the next record.

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Nightmare Come to Life is available now on Bandcamp.

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Tagged: honey, turning point

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