"Aside from both playing goopy, epic, melodic sludge, Harvey Milk and Torche also share the perseverance and drive explicit in Montoya’s statement. The former, named after a revolutionary, openly gay San Francisco politician who was ultimately assassinated, formed in 1992 in Athens, Georgia; despite the limited tour schedules, the band—led by Tanner and vocalist-guitarist Creston Spiers—released a bevy of the ’90s’ heaviest slabs of distorted, slow-mo metal, including their touchstone, Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men. The band split up in ’98, and Tanner moved to New York, where he now co-owns a Brooklyn southern-food eatery called Pies-n-Thighs (currently on hiatus). Harvey Milk re-formed in 2006 and now includes drummer Kyle Spence and bass legend Joe Preston (formerly of the Melvins, Earth, High on Fire, and every other band you worship). This year, they released the stellar Life… the Best Game in Town (Hydra Head), which Montoya says had a profound effect on him and the other members of Torche.

Montoya’s band also released their own critically acclaimed hummable sludge-fest this year, Meanderthal, also on Hydra Head. Continuing the forward-thinking foot-slogging dirges Montoya made with vocalist-guitarist Steve Brooks in early ’90s cult faves Floor, the album confirms that the vets in Torche owe as much as debt to Radiohead as they do Harvey Milk. Although Montoya and Tanner (below, far right) have met briefly on occasion since Harvey Milk re-formed, the Torche-bearer was excited to have an in-depth conversation with one of his heroes for Revolver. “I want to know about you, man,” Montoya says, “this perversion of nature called Steven Tanner.”

Read the exclusive interview (Juan Montoya questions Steve Tanner) on