Since its inception in 2003, Emmure has been one of the most polarizing metalcore acts. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri hasn't shied away from Internet trolls, meeting trash talk with a no-fucks-given attitude. He's had beef with bands like the Acacia Strain, rattles off offensive lyrics like "Ask your girl what my dick tastes like," and uses misogynistic imagery on merch, like a recently released shirt that depicts a battered woman's bruised face.
Through all the controversy, Palmeri and Emmure have put out seven releases. The latest offering, coming March 3, is the first to include a whole new lineup in the wake of former bandmates having quit in 2015. Westword spoke with Palmeri in advance of his February 28 concert.
Westword: It hasn’t been too long since the current incarnation of Emmure got together. How is everything going?
Palmeri: I really can't say enough good things about the people that have come into my life. It's a pleasure and a blessing to have these great musicians and great people involved in this project. We have all been enjoying life and the road together, as well as the music. You couldn't ask for a better situation.
In regard to the upcoming album, Look At Yourself, what can fans, new and old, expect?
I like to think that this album has everything Emmure fans want and expect from us, as well as opening up a door of creativity and expression that elevates the band to a new level.
I saw in a recent interview how you explained that Emmure has always been a creative outlet for you. Can you elaborate on that a little more? What is your message with Emmure?
There is no overall message, from my perspective. What people are getting when they buy an Emmure album is essentially a tangible piece of my life. The lyrics and music all stem from what I am feeling and going through at the time, or within the past sixteen months of an album hitting stores. Without music, I have no outlet. Graffiti, drugs, women...nothing fills that void for me like music does.
You haven’t shied away from controversy or trash talk during your career. If anything, you’ve embraced it. What do you have to say about being such a lightning rod?
It hurts at first, because I think at everyone's core we all want to be liked, accepted and understood. Eventually I grew to learn and accept that not everyone will like, accept or understand me. I've become a glutton for punishment at this point. It’s great. I have heard and seen it all at this point, as far as criticism and trolling goes. I consider it part of the deal at this point. I'm built for it.
It has been over ten years now since Emmure was created, and it’s still kicking. Did you imagine such a career when you first started out?
What I had when I was very young was vision. Most other things, when I looked into the future, were very blurry. But I saw myself on stage, in front of a lot of people and expressing myself. That's about as far as it went for me. Touring, living in a van, sleeping in kitchens, the fans and the all of the other 600 nightmares and dreams my parents never wished into my life, I never imagined that stuff.
Finally, what does the future hold for yourself and the band? Is Emmure immortal?
I like to think that in essence Emmure has been immortalized thanks to the internet and documented evidence of my existence through the lenses of other people.
Emmure will play the Summit Music Hall Tuesday, February 28, at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $18-$20. After the Burial, Fir For King, Fit For An Autopsy, Invent and Animate will provide support. For more information, go to the Summit Music Hall website.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.