Friday, February 27, 2009


Originally published in: Chord Magazine
Album: Justice Replaced by Revenge (Victory Records)

Random thoughts: I dunno, I just really like the fact that this guy was named The Human Furnace.


By Jason Schreurs

It hasn’t been said enough, so let’s say it again: A hardcore band is nothing without a pissed-off vocalist. And not that faux-angst of pimply metalcore dweebs; we’re talking about a singer who can live up to a name like The Human Furnace.
Singer James Bulloch of Cleveland-based hardcore band Ringworm is The Human Furnace. With a mouth that spits fire and lyrics ablaze, his longtime moniker makes perfect sense. But as for the full story behind the origin of Bulloch’s alter-ego, well, he ain’t gonna spill it for us.
“I never really talk about that,” taunts the man known as The Human Furnace. “There’s a story behind it, but I imagine at this point, with everybody asking, it could never live up to anybody’s expectations about how exciting or interesting the story behind the name could be. So that’s why I just never answer that question at this point. Just to keep an allure about it.”
And it’s not just Bulloch’s name that’s left open to interpretation. Ringworm’s latest and first in four years, Justice Replaced by Revenge (on longtime label Victory), is a batch of venom and bile with messages listeners can glean themselves. Although more overtly political than anything he’s written before, Bulloch is reluctant to define the songs from his own standpoint.
“I like people to be able to find their own message in whatever I write,” he explains. “There’s a little more poetic justice to it when you don’t spell everything out for everybody. It’s almost boring to listen to that way. I don’t like to write words that are that simplistic. I like to add a little poetry to it.”
Bulloch is also known for his career in the tattooing industry, and he opened a tattoo shop in the Cleveland, OH area when Ringworm went on an extended hiatus in the mid-‘90s (some of the members then defected to fellow Cleveland hardcore/metallers Integrity). Bulloch’s tattooing empire has since swollen to three well-established shops (check out for a peek at his amazing ink-work).
While Ringworm is Bulloch’s first love (“My anger management,” he jokes), tattooing is his ongoing career. “I have a great love for tattooing. For me, that’s where it’s at. I can’t see myself singing in a hardcore band when I’m 50 years old. When I’m doing music it’s a completely different animal. It’s totally a different type of release.”

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