2008. december 25., csütörtök

nasty savage - ben meyer

Everybody has favourite bands. One of my all time favourite outfits are Brandon (Florida) based band Nasty Savage who did three phantastic albums and an EP during the '80s. When I got known them with "Indulgence" I was totally impressed and since that day I'm one of the biggest follower of them. One of my dreams came true when guitarist Ben Meyer acepted my request and answered all of my questions.

When people are talking about cult metal bands, the name Nasty Savage immediatelly appears, correct?
I guess it depends on who you are talking to and their age, and yes I think most people would come up with the name nasty Savage.
Long before Obituary, before Deicide and even before Death you caused a buzz in the scene, would you say, that Nasty Savage put Florida on the map of the metal scene and opened the doors for the aforementioned bands?
I think we opened up the door in florida and caused a buzz for metal and shortly after we started and saw alot of heavy bands coming from Florida. I remember helping Death get their first show and seeing Executioner play at the local high school. I remember passing out about 50 fliers and making a few calls to a party that we charged $1 for back around 1984 and it had over 400 people. There seemed to be a buzz for metal back then.
But, at the early days you begun your career as Nightmare, what was the line up of the band and how did you get back together?
Ben Meyer, Craig Huffman, Fred Dregischan, Jerry Lynn was the line up. We met in the Brandon area at local get togethers and soon started playing at parties.
Was it your really first act or did you perhaps try your wings in other ones as well?
My first band was called Lost Cause which was a lost cause.
Did Avatar (later Savatage) start its career at the same time as you?
Yes, I think they started about that time maybe a little bit before us.
Did you build up a friendship with them?
I didn't really know them at that time but enjoyed them at a few small bars and a outdoor show where i saw them.
Would you say, that the Florida scene was still in its infancy at this point and it stood before a great boom?
Yeah, you could say that because soon after that it seemed like all the local bands got signed that were following us.
Have you ever recorded demos with Nightmare?
Not really we just recorded our live shows with a cassette deck--Nothing was ever released.
How did the band sound like at all?
Our influences were Holocost-Saxon -Judas Priest-Ac/dc-Black sabbath---we had a hard rock/heavy metal sound with a girl singer the drummer craig sang the holocost songs we also played stuff of our own and cover songs.
What were the band’s influences as a whole?
same as above
At which point did „Nasty” Ronnie Galetti join the band?
The girl missed a gig for a unkown reason and we soon wanted to find another singer. We tried out a few people and craig said he new this crazy guy who was Ronnie. shortly after that he performed with us and mentioned the name Nasty Savage and we agreed.
Did he replace the singer/keyboardist chick?
What about the musical past of Ronnie? Was he into both music and sport, since he was a wrestler?
Nasty Savage was his first band and he enjoyed wrestling.
Did you change your name to Nasty Savage right after Ronnie joined the band?
The line up became complete with the addition of drummer Curtis Beeson and guitarist Dave Austin, can you tell us more how did you find them? What were their musical pasts?
when nasty Savage first started we were a 4 piece with Craig huffman on drums. When Craig got a Dui Ronnie pushed for Curtis and we soon agreed and when we made the transition we said we should add David Austin and we did. Dave was in a band called Gangster and Virgin Killer and i can't remember the bands name that Curtis was in.
How did Curtis’ father end up becoming the manager of the band?
he said he was a manager in the past and we agreed to have him as a manager
Was it easy to find the suitable members for the band? Did all of you have the same musical interests and roots at this point?
it is always difficult to find the right members but i think we did. All of our musical interest were a bit different which created a unique sound.
What about your rehearsals? Did you practice a lot back in the day? Did you take the band seriously right from the start?
When we first started we rehearsed 5 days a week and took it very serious and practiced alot
When the band started, did all of you have a regular job? And did you give up them, after the band started going further?
we all had jobs--it was difficult to make much money with Nasty savage everytime i worked my way up at a job i would have to leave on tour and when i got back i lost the job i had. it was hard for us to get to the point where Nasty savage would support us which never happened and could be one of the main reasons the band broke up in 1990.
Did you start writing originals right from the start or were you jamming mostly on covers?
we played both covers and originals. It was about 50/50. we played covers by Venom, holocost, Judas Priest, Saxon, and more.
You recorded in 1984 the „Raw Mayhem” demo, that included 12 songs, can you tell us more about it?
we did-?-i guess it is a bootleg that someone named Raw Mayhem we never had a release that we called Raw Mayhem i don't know what you are talking about.
Was it your really first demo or only a recording of a rehearsal?
maybe it was a early recording that we made on a cassette that someone bottlegged i don't know
Did you spread it around or was it only done for yourselves to check out how the tunes sond like?
i don't even know about this release news to me
Your second effort was „Wage of mayhem” (also in 1984) which became a classic material and with „Raw mayhem” it was rare in the worldwide tapetrading circles in their day, correct?
„Wage of mayhem” this was our first effort to be correct as far as a release by the band
How would you describe the material as a whole?
I think it was classic thrash metal and it was ahead of it's time with a unique sound with lots of power.
Was it already recorded in a studio? Was it your first studio experience?
This was recorded in a studio called Progressive and it was all of our first recording experience in a studio enviroment.
Did this material make a name for the band?
i think it helped us leave our mark on the Heavy metal map
Did you take a step forward compared to „Raw mayhem”? Was it a better material, than the previous?
I never heard Raw mayhem so I wouldn't be able to tell you but the material we picked for wage of mayhem was strong material that we were proud of.
Do you agree with, that this demo is one of the most popular demos of all times and the band got a fanatic following?
yes, i think this is what helped us get a diehard cult following.
„XXX” appeared on „Metal Massacre VI” compilation, do you still remember, how did you get the opportunity being featured on the record? Was it a good opportunity for you to draw more fans attention to the band?
metal blade approached us with the offer to appear on the Metal Massacre and we were excited.
Did this record help to make the band more known?
Yeah, I'm sure it didn't hurt
By the way, were both of the demos shopped around the attract label interests?
we only had one demo yes -it was sent to labels
The maniacs around fronter Nasty Ronnie had next to excellent music an extreme show to offer, which other band at that time smashed TV's and spewed blood, guts and sweat as part of their stage show, do you think, hat Nasty Savage mixed up its music with the onstage antics of The Plasmatics?
i think Ronnie was influenced by the Wendy O and the plasmatics--We got to meet her when we played with Slayer at lamours--RIP WENDY O!!!!--I see similar stuff he does to TV sets. We put on a great stage show and at times Ronnie would throw people around into the audience--he was great at doing crazy stuff Even GG Allin would write him in the early 80's and tell him that he was sick. GG shortly after took sick to the next level. My main concern was to focus on the music and put on a good show.
You became legendary because of your early shows which helped you getting a lot of fans, right?
i think it was a combination of our shows and the demo tape trading and alot of the underground magazines that helped gain our fan base. We also would send alot of promo stuff all over the world.
So, in 1985 the band signed with Metal Blade, do you still remember, for how much record did you sign them?
we got offered a 5 year deal and told them that we wanted a 1 year deal. I don’t feel Metal Blade paid us what we deserved as far as royalties, along with the horror stories I’ve heard from many other bands that were on the label. I do feel that we should have taken the 5-yr. deal that they offered us instead on the 1 yr. deal that we wanted. At that time, we had several labels interested in us, and we didn’t want to cut ourselves short, or commit without really knowing our value. Metal Blade would have put a lot more promotion into us if we had given them the 5-yr. deal that they wanted instead of the 1-yr deal which showed a lack of commitment on our part. So we could blame it on ourselves. As far as the promotion, Metal Blade did a pretty good job because our stuff was everywhere all over the world.
Did also other labels started showing an interest in the band?
there were some other labels interested so we thought it would be wise to not obligate ourselves to metal balde for a long time but i think in the long run it hurt us.
The recording sessions took place in the Morrisound Studios and „Nasty Savage" was the first album, that was recorded at the Morrisound, correct?
yes, it was morrisound where it all began
How did the recording sessions go by the way?
they went good and it was a learning experience we worked with jim Morris on every album--he did a good job with a quality sound-i think the studio was overpriced but it was nice
How do you view, that it is extremely hard to describe Nasty Savage's sound; for the most part your debut album is typical thrash metal, but what makes the band unique from other like bands is how you orchestrate your music?
I think we have a unique style of music which doesn't sound like anyone else. we try to make it catchy, powerful and try to never do the same thing with each guitar. we also try to add harmony to the guitars.
Is the basic mold on this album thrash metal?
yes, i would say so but who knows- it could be heavy metal-thrash metal-hard rock-speed metal - whatever the hell you want it to be
There are two lead guitarists, and the lead parts are nicely done, there basic power chord riffs with occasional licks and what make these riffs stand out is how they blend and mix with the drumming, how do you explain that?
i have no idea how to explain that--it is just easier to do it. on some songs the riff behind the leads are more than power cord riff--some are very complex--we try to make the lead that we play match the rhthym that is going on and make it fit like a glove.
Songs like „Gladiator" and „Fear Beyond The Vision" take a normal thrash riff, and with the drum beat, manages to make a decent sound, correct?
As for Ronnie Galetti, on some songs, like „Fear Beyond the Vision", his higher parts often sound similar to King Diamond, while other times he goes real low and almost grunts his vocal parts, sometimes even he sings in a silly voice (like „Dungeon of Pleasure"), would you say, that Ronnie's vocals became Nasty Savage's key element or at least trademark?
i don't know--he had a unique style, i think it was a combination of everything and lots of TV smashing.
There are a lot of good songs on this album including „No Sympathy", „Gladiator", „Fear Beyond the Vision", „Metal Knights", „Dungeon of pleasure" and Asmodeus, so do you agree with that you did a classic record?
Yeah, this album was a classic!!!!!!From what i hear this is the album that the fans of Nasty Savage like the most. All of the songs are classic. Yeah-when we went to Europe many years later it seemed like the fans like this album the most.
At this time started the big death metal movement in Florida with bands, such as Morbid Angel, Xecutioner (later Obituary), Hellwitch, Mantas (later Death), R. A. V. A. G. E. (Atheist), Cynic etc., how much influence did you have on these bands?
i think we had a big influence on these bands, some more than others
Why did the death metal bands consider Nasty Savage as one of their most important influences?
it was probably because we were one of the first extreme bands in the area and we had a unique sound.
Without the existence of Nasty Savage would never have been a scene in Florida?
Possibly. I'm sure it would have started sooner or later.
I mean, you had a leading influence on the scene…
Yeah. it is always great to be one of the first people doing something and not someone who copies others. It is a honor to be a influence.
You had the opportunity performing live at the legendary World War III. Festival in Montreal at the Paladium November 30. 1985 along with Destruction, Voivod, Possessed and Celtic Frost, was it your first performance abroad, I mean out aside from the States? What do you recall of that legendary festival? Can you tell us more about it?
How can you go wrong with CELTIC FROST VOIVOD DESTRUCTION NASTY SAVAGE and POSSESSED. I have been asked this question many times, and I don’t think I can say anything I haven’t said before but I will try…I remember some fucked up tax in Canada that wouldn’t allow us to bring in our shirts without paying some outrageous tax so each band member and entire crew put on ten t-shirts each and we smuggled them into the event and sold every one of them…100 shirts…our biggest merchandise night ever… and didn’t pay Canada shit for the tax. I remember the band Possessed flew in late because they couldn’t get into the plane until they got out of the school. I think they had to leave real quick because they had to go back to school. The whole hotel that we stayed at had all the band that were at the event on the same floor. I met Tom Warrior for the first time and for some fucked up reason I thought he had come magical power that for some reason I cannot explain. I also remember that was the biggest turn out that we ever had at that time in our lives…,it 3,500. I had never been in another country in this first time and drank the beer at my normal fast pace , not realizing that the alcohol content in Canadian beer was much higher than what I am accustomed to. Long story short, I would sum it up to say I was happy and puking in front of the tour bus knowing I had the best time of my life. When we got there we had gone several days without doing our laundry, and I didn’t know most people in Montreal spoke French, so I ended up using hand signals, which involved me lifting my shirt up to my nose and making a repelled stench expression for the person on the street to understand I want to find the Laundromat. But overall, the Canadian WWIII show was one of the most memorable shows of my life.
Did you get on well with the other bands? Did you see their sets?
Yeah, we got along well with all of the bands and we all stayed together at the same hotel and i saw every bands set--It was a show of a lifetime.
What were still the shows in support of the first record?
We got to play with Slayer, Whiplash, Hallows Eve, Destruction, Voivod, Possessed, Celtic Frost and many others
At which point did Fred Dregischan leave the band? Was it a friendly farewell with him?
He played his last show with us on New years 1986 in Texas and on the way home he got in a fight in New orleans with a hotel guard about using the restroom. A plate glass window tore the tendons in his hand. He soon realized that he might not be able to ever play again and told us it would be best to find a replacement. It was a friendly farewell and he still keeps in touch. Here is a story i wrote about the Nasty Savage bass history. Yeah, we had a different bass player on the first four Nasty Savage albums. After Fred Dregischan got hurt in New Orleans and we realized he couldn’t play anymore, we tried out several bass players and Glen Benton was one of them. Just think, that could have changed history. At that time we didn’t think his playing was up to par, so we chose Deszo Istavan Bartha III. After Deszo recorded the Indulgence album with us, and did some touring, his dad said either to stick with him or the band because his dad inherited a million dollars and then Deszo quit. We then got Chris Moorehouse who played on the Abstract Reality release and did the European tour with us in 1988. Shortly after that, he died in a head-on collision in Pinellas County, FL. We now have Richard Bateman until this date.
Instead of him joined Dezső István Bartha the band and as for his name, he seems to be a Hungarian dude, correct?
Yeah, he is hungarian and loved the hungarian culture.
How did you admit him in the band? Was he the first choice or were there still other bassplayers in mind?
There were several bass players trying out including Glenn from Deicide. Dezso played the songs almost perfect and way better thank anyone else.
What about his musical background?
I don't know much about his back ground but remember him listening to stuff like D.R.I. and extreme metal bands. He did introduce us to our Indugence video and here is a story about it. Our bass player Deszo from the Indugence album lived in Winter Haven and knew somebody there that was developing a theme park called Boardwalk and Baseball. (used to be Circus World in Central Florida). The park had an exhibit that showed a clown running through all kinds of scenes including a heavy metal show…and we were the band that they filmed for the background that many tourist got to see when they came into the park. For our time of doing that, they made us a 5- minute video but…that was a fiasco. There was a cassette deck in the distance, which was a guide but we could barely fucking hear it… and Curtis had to play his drums to it but he still wanted people to know that he performs hard, but it was a big cluster fuck.
Your second effort was „Indulgence", what about the recording sessions?
I don't remember much, we were much thinner back then and ready to give a great effort in metal history.
Since Dezső wrote two songs, does it mean that the material was still unfinished when you entered the studio? What were the tracks that wrote Dezső?
i only remember Dezso writing one song which was INFERNO and it was finished when we were in the studio so i don't know what you are talking about as far as unfinished material.
Is „Indulgence" an album of crushing speed/thrash metal with a wonderfully heavy and rich production?
I thought it had a good production because we had a little bit bigger recording budget and we were getting more advanced as players and this was a strong point of Nasty Savage.
Although there are some mid-tempo tracks still left, the general feel of this album is very thrashy and heavy, what do you think about it?
yeah--i think our speed varied-some fast and mid tempo. I don't like everything to be fast--diversity is the name of the game
As for myself, this is my fave release of the band and tracks, such as „Stabbed in the back" (total thrash mayhem), „Divination" or „XXX" are one of the greatest metal classics…
Cool, so this is your favorite. Yeah, i thought in this stage of the band we were getting much more advanced and heavy and we developing our style--i think we found our direction in this point of our career.
Why did „XXX" end up making on the record?
Why is the sky blue? Why wouldn't it? It is a great powerful song and on the first demo the recording didn't have the quality of the new record.
Do you gree with, that a distinctive feature of the band's sound must be Nasty Ronnie's vocals, a mix of low growling and occasional melodic singing (with an extremely high-pitched voice)?
I think his voice is unique, but it is a combination of many things that make Nasty Savage distinct.
Do the songs have a great, dark feel to them, and the plentiful use of double-bass drumming really adds to the general heaviness of this album?
Is „Indulgence" probably the best demonstration of Nasty Savage's original style and a fine speed/thrash metal album indeed?
I can’t say that…each album is like one of my kids, it’s a hard decision to make. It’s a good album but I can’t say it’s “one of the best”.
After this album happened another line up change, instead of Dezső István Bartha joined Chris Moorhouse the band, how did he get in the picture exactly?
We put an ad in a magazine called “Players” (based in Tampa) and he tried out and did the best job of anyone.
At which point did you start writing the material for the „Abstract reality" EP? Did Chris have a big hand into the songwriting?
No, we didn’t give him much except let him add the bass parts, but he didn’t write the material. He could change the pitch, etc. on the bass and that was fine but it was me and Dave basically who did the writing. He didn’t have a big imact in that part of it.
Is „Abstract Reality" the pinnacle of Nasty Savage's brand of surreal thrash?
I think Penetration Point was the pinnacle of Mt. Everest.
At this point Nasty Savage's riffs sounded like they were inverted, written normally and then played backwards in a bizarre mirror image, what do you think about it?
Maybe, but it might depend on the acid that the listener is using.
Would you say, that these types of riffs started to appear on „Indulgence" and here they're all over the place?
I think the weird riffs started when we began jamming together, but as the band went on it progressed…not on Psycho Psycho, though because of the separation of me & Dave. He lived in Tennessee so we made it not as complex. Since the person you are writing with lives 600 miles away it made it harder to rehearse and communicate - know what I mean? .
How do you view, that the recording is perfect, everything audible with plenty of impact, and not too clean, very natural and live sounding?
I always thought Morrisound had a good quality sound on all the Nasty Savage albums. I think that the best recording for Nasty Savage was Penetration Point because we had a higher budget. But I still liked Abstract Reality’s production. Boy you ask a lot of questions, or is this even a question?
The warped weirdness that happens after the solo section of the title song is a perfect example of how unusual this band's writing was at the time, correct?
Abstract Reality? Yep that’s correct.
With plenty of time changes throughout each of the three new songs, this is an almost disorienting ride, where the listener never really knows what's around the corner, how do you view it?
That is a good example. It’s like a ride at Busch Gardens Sheikra, or the Montu…it depended on the mood we were in.
Is „Eromantic Vertigo" the pinnacle of the whole deal, with its warped, melted opening riffs?
It’s not the pinnacle, it is the whorazertical oracle.
Do you agree with, that together with Nasty Ronnie's King Diamond-esque falsetto, it's easy to see why Nasty Savage were often compared with Mercyful Fate back in the day?
Yeah, I can see that. If it was up to me, I would have preferred the lower notes, it seemed redundant sometimes to keep hearing all the high notes. But I know a lot of fans like it.
Final track „You Snooze, You Lose" is musically like a psychedelic Slayer, and probably the heaviest track of the bunch, the circus-like twin-guitar psychedelia near the end is perfectly odd--yet another highlight of this release, right?
I never heard it referred to quite like that before. But I think of all the Nasty Savage songs we performed, it is my favorite of all time. When we were offered to do the 4 song EP we already had Unchained Angel. So Dave and I were going to write one song together, and then one song each. Since I had one song left to write I wanted to make it the best, most complex song and give the fans their money’s worth. I wanted to leave my mark because we had to give it our best and make it the most bad-ass songs we could do. I put 17 parts in it, which seems kind of crazy, but I don’t think it ruined anything, making so many parts. I think it made it interesting. I gave that song all I had.
An old classic „Unchained angel" appeared on the material again, why?
Because as a band, that is what we decided to do.
The sessions for „Abstract Reality" produced the only recorded works by bassist Chris Moorehouse, how did it happen?
It happened just like all the other albums.
After the release of the EP you toured in Europe together with Exumer and Atomkraft, what kind of experiences did you gain during that tour? Can you tell us more about it?
Boy that’s a long story. We got to go to Europe and were promised a lot for doing it and it wasn’t exactly as promised. There was a promoter called Eric Cook who worked out of England with Venom, and their drummer was the tour manager. It was in the middle of the winter in 1988 and we toured all over Europe. The turn outs of the shows were incredible, and the fans were incredible. But it just seemed like as far as getting treated right, there were times we didn’t get fed for 24 hours and I just wanted to kill someone. I had to even ask fans to help me out with food. Metal Blade had even given us money to help with our food but the promoter gave us as little as possible so he could pocket it himself. As far as our experience of eating and regular comforts, and being paid, there were none. The promises were not lived up to. It was a learning experience for us. It was a great experience in the aspect of the fans, the turnout, and the future of Nasty Savage, but that was the only good part. It was also in the heart of winter, and being from Florida, we were not used to sub-zero weather. We shared the bus with Exumer and Atomkraft, and were told that this was the same bus that Iron Maiden used when they came across the Iron Curtain, which I thought was pretty cool
Was it the first time for to tour in Europe?
What type of crowd did you have compared to the States? Were you aware of that you had a great fanbase in Europe?
I think that the turnouts were much bigger than in the States. There was a bigger turnout in Europe than I had expected.
What about the festival in Poland, in Katowice at the Spodek Hall?
Katowice was the best of all. Before the show even started, there were 9,000 people there. And I heard that later the count was 13,000 people. The backdrop of Nasty Savage was bigger than my whole house and yard - it was fucking gigantic! When I saw the economy and people over there it made me really grateful for what I had…not many bands were able to go to Poland because the ticket prices were about a dollar so the people could afford to get in, which didn‘t make it worth it for the bands as far as making any money. Bands went over there for the love of music not for money! It was wake-up call for me. Over there, even having an automobile was a luxury.
Unfortunately he (Chris Moorhouse) passed away shortly after the tour, what happened with him exactly?
He and his girlfriend were in a head-on collision. A part of his steering fell off and it made his car drift into another and they both died.
Then Richard Bateman became the bassist, what were his previous acts, before he was being involved of the band?
He was with Agent Steel, Nocturnus, Semitar, and a few other bands that I can not remember.
While the band's line up was or least seemed to be complete (you, Dave, Curtis and Ronnie) you always had a deuce with the bassplayers, why? Was a curse on you or…?
Yeah…that’s what we’ve been told. Nobody was ever fired from the bass player job. They all left us one way or another.
At this point you were dropped by Metal Blade as well, how and why did it happen? How much support did you get from them at all during the years?
We weren’t dropped from Metal Blade. They made us an offer, which had less of a budget than our previous recordings and we felt that it was degrading. As long as we had devoted our lives to it we felt it should improve over the years, not get lower! So the band searched for other labels and Rotten Records made us a much better offer than Metal Blade.
You got signed by Rotten Records, was it a backspace labelwise compared to Metal Blade?
Rotten Records gave us the budget that we needed to make a great recording of Penetration Point which I think is our most complex recording of all times. They also set us up on the best US tour we ever had with DRI - which we did 60 shows with. However, I don‘t think the label properly distributed the album or the release and promoted it as good as it should have been. Basically, it had its good and bad sides. I guess that is really a tough question.
I think, you were the first signing of the band, since they were established at this point, weren't you?
They were rather new, but I am not certain of that.
Didn't you bethought, that Rotten can't give as many support for you as Metal Blade could?
We bethought Metal Blade’s recording budget sucked. That’s all that needs to be said.
With Richard in your ranks you started writing your last album „Penetration point", what do you recall of the recording sessions?
Richard was my favorite bass player that we ever had. He brought it to a new dimension. He had so much energy and power. I was excited about recording with him because he’s a phenomenal bass player. At this stage of the band I think our music was at it’s highest level of difficulty and maybe at times, this complex style went over peoples’ heads. At that time, our goal was to make the most fucked up, weird, unique music we could possibly do to make people go -“HUH?” - but musically I thought it was our best release. The recording sessions went well. That’s about it!
According to the official Nasty Savage page, only 2500 were pressed, does it mean, that you wanted check out, whether all of the pressings will be sold and after a successful sale you can press more items or…?
I assume you are talking about the Penetration Point album. This album was originally pressed on Rotten Records in 1989 or 90...and there were more than 10,000 units pressed with Rotten Records as well as many cassettes and records. I think it was in 2002 we worked out a deal with Rotten Records and they pressed 2500 cds - so that is where that number came from.
Anyhow, the music is fast, more thrash oriented than anything the band have done in the past, do you agree with it?
Noticably missing is the high, shrill falsetto vocals of Nasty Ronnie, who goes more for aggressive, rough thrash sound, correct?
Yeah. I like it that way. I prefer the deep voice rather than the high falsettos, but that is my particular preference.
Are the songs actually somewhat more complex and technical than before, but the music on the whole fails to have the same kind of dark appeal as the tracks on „Indulgence"?
I think our music was the most advanced that it ever was, and I was proud of it. We practiced 100 times, even before we got together with the drums. We didn’t care what anybody thought or what our previous recordings were. I have heard from die-hard fans of Nasty Savage and they have told me that that album went over their heads. Maybe it’s not a dark feel but I am proud of it, I think it is a masterpiece.
Did Nasty Savage really come together on this album? Were you on your best at this album?
I don’t know it is hard to decide what’s your best, but as far as playing complex musically, there were some really complex parts on that album.
You dropped some of your technical riffing on this album, and replaced it with more raw power, this is nevertheless a powerful album, how do you explain this?
We didn’t drop the technical riffing, I disagree. I think it is the most technical we had done, of all ever! Maybe at times it didn’t have the groove of other albums, but as far as technical parts, it was the most we had ever done.
Did you do any shows in support of the record?
Yeah, we did 60 shows with D.R.I. all over the US and a short tour to California and back also, before the long tour. We had the plane tickets to go overseas with D.R.I. but the tour was cancelled. It was shortly after that the band broke up. It kind of put down our spirits, telling everyone we were on our way to Europe, and then having to mail back the tickets. It wasn’t the reason the band split up, but it didn’t help the situation.
At which point did drummer Rob Proctor the band? Was he the perfect replacement of Curtis?
Shortly after we recorded Penetration Point there were a lot of disputes among ourselves, and it got to a point where we had a lot of problems. It got to where Curtis wasn’t returning calls and went a different direction. We had Rob take his shoes, and though it was hard shoes to fill, he did a pretty good job. But he ain’t no Curtis. It wasn’t the same; when you mess with the chemistry of the band - take away some of the ingredients - it isn’t always a good thing. Rob is a good drummer, though.
Why and when did the band split up? What kind of reasons did lead to the band's demise? Did you part ways with each other on a friendly term at the end?
It was like a marriage that didn’t work out. Rob was replaced with Craig Huffman (he was back in the band) and we were set up to open a show for Overkill. Unfortunately, the gig was cancelled. At that point, Dave decided he had enough of the hard work with little pay off even to make a living with the music and quit the band. He was an important part of the team and also with Ronnie not attending any of the practices with Craig on drums, it really effected the life of the band. Ronnie wanted to keep it going, but wasn’t around much at that time. The people who were left at my house practicing, ended up being the founding members of Gardy-loo, because we figured out we would just jam and do something different.
According to Ronnie's old interview, Curtis' father didn't do the band's promotion so well, does he?
He did what he could and really did a lot for us. I don’t want to get into all that. I mean, he bought us a bus and let us use it to tour in, rescued us in Alabama when we broke down so we could continue on the tour by renting us vans. And much more. As far as promotion, he didn’t do a lot but he did what he could to keep us going.
How did you view the thrash scene of the late '80s/early '90s? Did it become oversaturated in your opinion?
There were a lot of copy cats. It definitely got oversaturated but only the strong survived, it seems like.
The '90s weren't good for metal, a lot of band turned their back on metal, either they broke up or changed their music, what were your views on it?
You are right! There weren’t a lot of bands I liked in the 90’s. The real true thrash bands existed in the late 80’s. There are some exceptions but in general the best bands were from the late 80’s.
After Nasty Savage's break you formed Gardy Loo (with Richard Bateman), then Lowbrow, Curtis was involved in Havoc Mass, Ronnie established Infernal, but what about Dave Austin? Can you give us informations about your musical involvements following Nasty Savage?
Dave Austin didn’t really do anything after that. He got married and pursued his family. Gardy-loo got pretty busy going on low budget tours throughout the US. We did almost 600 shows throughout our existence. Lowbrow did a couple of albums but not much touring. Unfortunately it was short-lived.
How did happen your show in 1998 at the Bang Your Head festival? Was it the first step to your reunion or…?
We did a few reunions here and there through the 90s, not just that one. But it was the first European reunion since we had been on hiatus. We got the call to be a part of the Bang Your Head festival, and it was a great experience. There were 2,000 plus people in attendance, and I really felt that the spirit of Nasty Savage was alive there. People were happy to see us and asking about the future of the band. It was really awesome.
How did you view, that a lot of '80s acts regrouped, such as Agent Steel, Metal Church, Destruction etc. and started recording new albums? Was it a good idea?
It is a good thing to be part of what you did in the past, as long as you put everything into it. I was glad to see a resurgence of the older metal. As far as my experience with Nasty Savage, I have seen three generations of fans, old and new, enjoying our music. I think about the people who were into us before, and now their kids are digging us and even their kids! Metal is something that will live forever, I guess.
Crook'd Record re-released in 2003 both „Penetration point" and the cult demo „Wage of mayhem", can you tell us more about it?
Crook’d was always straight up with us and after Penetration Point we felt comfortable dealing with them again to re-release Wage of Mayhem. It had never been released professionally before, so it was a good opportunity. Ronnie suggested adding a couple more songs to demonstrate that we were still putting new music out. I have to say Crook’d did the best they could for us. Dave Harmon of Crook’d believed in the band and gave his heart and soul to it.
Is it correct, that you recorded two new tunes „Sardonic mosaic" and „Wage of mayhem"?
Yes, those are the ones I was just talking about.
Then you allied with Sadus and Finntroll for European mainland dates in December 2003, how did this tour go? Did you get on well with those bands?
That was booked and we were ready to go, but Sadus had a critical family emergency and without them and the strong drawing they would bring, the tour was cancelled. It was nothing to do with us, because we were all in agreement and ready to do it.
In 2003 Marquee Records released a live album called „Cleveland '87", how deeply were you involved into the making of this material? Did they ask you to release it or…?
Yeah, it was an official release of 1,000 copies that we all agreed upon. Marquee Records produced everything, even the artwork. It all met our approval, so it was released.
How and when did you approach the songwriting for your comeback album „Psycho psycho"? Were you under pressure considering the songwriting? How did the recording sessions go?
Crook’d gave us a great budget and a whole year to do the album. Dave was out of state so we worked with him by sending tablature back and forth with cds through snail-mail. There was no pressure and we took our time trying to make a high-quality album. The recording sessions went well, I thought. We did the major parts of it in the first week because Dave flew out to record. In eight days we did drums, rhythms, leads and bass and then Dave went home. Ronnie followed up with vocals, and we would mail Dave the release of what Ronnie did and how the mixes sounded, to get his input.
I think so, you can be proud of the record, because it is an excellent follow up to your previous releases, correct?
I thought it was. We had difficulty writing with the long-distance collaboration with Dave, so kept it straight and simple, but we all wanted to make a really great album. We aren’t getting any younger you know, and felt we could show we could still put out great music.
Can you give us details regarding on the record?
It’s a great album. I don’t think there is more to say!
Is it definitely Thrash but there a few traditional Power edges to them?
We gave it the Nasty Savage style along the lines of the first album, I thought. Back to the basics.
You have a unique aggressive coarse sound, your riffs alternate between fast and mid tempo but some slow moments are there too, right?
We mixed all different tempos, never being predictable - making it unique.
Do you think, that it succeeded in drawing more fans attention to the band?
I think mainly it appealed to the people who liked us before, I think. I really don’t know the answer to that.
Unfortunately you vanished from sight again, what's the current status of the band?
Even I don’t know and I’m in the band.
Will you still continue Nasty Savage or is it already a closed chapter in all of your life and career?
It’s never a closed chapter. I am sure if the right opportunity came along, we’d all agree to go for it. We still keep in touch and are friends.
By the way, are you still in touch with each other? What do the members do these days?
We are still up to no good. Ha ha
How would you sum up the band's career? Would you something change on it?
I think we had the potential to be a household name. We made mistakes along the way, but there is no point in looking at what could have been. I just move on and look at what’s ahead.
Were all of you good friends with each other? Did you often hang with each other?
We hang out occasionally. We’ve managed to keep friendships with each other. We all have had our moments along the way, but we’re grown adults and accept one another for who we are.
How can you charakterize personally the band's members including yourself?
Each one is his own individual, all unique. It is these 5 different people who created the chemistry of Nasty Savage. We all have our individual interests but Nasty Savage is where we all are common.
The best and the worst memories with Nasty Savage?
I could write a book on that! Ha ha The best memory is a tie between doing the Bang Your Head festivals - the awesome turnout and playing with some of my heros and influences such as Motorhead, Dio, Twisted Sister, Udo, Destruction, Exciter, Saxon, Krokus. The low point is seeing it not happen every day of my life.
Ben, thanks a lot for your patience and time, anything to add, that I forgot to cover or to mention?
I think you covered it all! But if I am to add one more thing, it was an honor to recently play in the Keep It True Festival with Nasty Savage this November in Germany with Girlschool, Artillery, Flotsam and Jetsam, and many other great old-school bands. It was a great turn out of 1,500 people. Thanks for taking time to do an in-depth interview with me!

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