“They were local neighborhood hoodlums who cruised around looking for trouble.
“They picked anyone who was an easy target who looked different from them. We called them the gravy boys.
“They were people with very low IQs that had nothing better to do with their time, except on picking and bullying on other people.
“They used to terrify us all the time! And then we go to the other side of town, and there were the Mexican gangs we had to constantly worry about as well.
“We would know the walk. If one those cholos is packing, they walk a certain way, and we just try and not to go anywhere near those guys.”
Discussing how guitar came into that whole environment, Kirk added:
“I started playing guitar, because you know, *with a silly low-pitched voice* ‘I have emotional problems.’ [Laughs]
“It was one of the only things I found that could calm me down when I was a kid, and give me some sort of – I was able to use it to ground myself and be more in the moment.
“It was also because I have OCD, it kinda fit into that perfectly, too. It’s like, ‘I’m obsessed with it, I’m playing all the time!’ Hasn’t changed a bit…
“For me, music basically is just – it saved my life.
“If I didn’t have music I would have just… who knows? I was on a pretty bad path when I discovered music, and music kept me going from further down that path.
Asked on what he might be doing these days if he wasn’t a rock god, Kirk replied:
“I don’t know. Maybe cooking some food with [Trivium frontman and cooking aficionado] Matt Heafy at some restaurant in South Beach. ‘Hey man, you play guitar too? Let’s get together sometime!'”