2009. május 13., szerda

Ken Wakefield - Overthrow

The Canadian thrash scene of the '80s was simply great. A lot of thrash bands popped up and tried to make a name for themselves, such as Voivod, Razor, Exciter, D. B. C., Witchkiller etc. In my opinion Toronto was the center of the Canadian thrash scene. A very big shame that the Canadian bands were mainly overlooked and they never got that acknowledge that they would have deserved. Ken Wakefield speaks about those times including his bands Dark Legion and Overthrow.

Ken, do you still remember how did you get involved in the metal scene and what made you to be a metal fan? How did you get in touch with that music style at all?For me it started in high school, and had alot to do with who I was hanging out with all the time. I liked wearing long hair, leather jackets, tight jeans - and the others that were also doing this were the people I spent the most time with (especially during after school 'events'). Also, my Dad bought me a Judas Priest cassette one day "Defenders of the Faith", and the sound on that album changed me forever!
What were your early faves that have had the biggest effect on you?AC DC! Black Sabbath! Iron Maiden! Judas Priest! Led Zeppelin! Those were my first faves. Then it progressed into heavier stuff such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Death Angel, etc. later on.
Were you into small, brutal, underground outfits or rather into bigger, established ones? As you can see in my answer above, it was the big established powerhouse bands that influenced me most. For me the smaller bands (like the ones I played in) were just working hard at trying to be like the big ones. To me there was a big difference between each 'class' of band. (not to take away from the smaller ones' talents of course!)
At which point did you start playing guitar and how did your choice fall on this instrument? Were you self taught or…?I was given a small acoustic guitar at a young age (about 12 years I think) and immediately I bought an electric pickup for it. I plugged it into my Dad's cassette deck on his stereo, pressed Play and Record and Pause, and started playing along with AC DC songs. The good and bad thing about that first guitar was that the action was way high and very difficult to press down on the strings - and I played that way for months before getting my first actual real electric guitar. This made playing the real electric much easier and fun.
What were your influences to become a musician?My parents had me take piano lessons as a child and my Grandfather was musically talented (he played all sorts of instruments, most often the harmonica). My mother played some piano and my father isn't musical but he's into drawing/painting. I guess those were my early influences. Then I started listening to good guitar based music that my Dad played during 2 hour car trips to the family cottage. I started loving the electric guitar sound at a young age.
Do you agree with, that just like Heavy Metal itself, Toronto has gone through many different phases, starting as far back as the early to mid 70’s? Yes, I think musicians in Toronto always kept a close eye (or should I say ear) on what was going on in the world of rock and metal over those years. We are known to be open and curious about what's going on around us in the world. As different phases happened all over the world, so they also happened in Toronto. I am confident to say that Toronto was never isolated from the whole heavy metal movement at any time.
Were the Beatles, Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin that were the reason for being a big influence on the thousands of Heavy Metal bands to come worldwide, Toronto and the rest of Canada felt something really big about to happen?Yes, like I mentioned earlier in the interview, these huge bands had an extraordinary influence on all of us Heavy Metal fans and musicians. They were larger than life itself to me. They expressed an energy and excitement that really touched the nerve of the whole scene, worldwide.
In the early 80’s the growth of Metal in Toronto exploded with Hard Rock bands gaining mass popularity, not just city wide but across the world, correct? Well, I think that Metal bands from Toronto were more likely to play in Canada and the US mostly although there were a few that received good attention and popularity over seas (Anvil for example). I don't know too many details about how many Toronto area Metal bands were doing well overseas.
Not long after that the NWOBHM ( New wave of british heavy metal) which had already taken the U.K. and other parts of Europe by storm, also followed that same path, but was more underground than that of the Hard Rock/ Metal, what do you recall of that period? Were you aware of the existence of the NWOBHM scene, that started at the late ’70s?I was aware of it yes, but at that time didn't know what it was called...I was born in 1969, so I can't say I was part of that whole era - although I was alive! The most exposure to NWOBHM that I had was thanks to Metallica's cover songs of Diamond Head, etc. That gave me a good lesson and was able to look back from there.
Did the NWOBHM gain most of its success through word of mouth in Toronto? Did you deeply get involved in the underground scene?
Unfortunately, I was not part of that scene. I was too young at the time, and came of age after the big NWOBHM period.
Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Saxon, Angel Witch, Motörhead, Raven and Diamond Head were slowly gaining worldwide success, correct? Would you name them the most influential metal bands?Yes, many of those bands were major personal influences. I think they did great work in opening up an excellent Metal scene for the 80's and 90's! My hat's off to them and others like them.
Do you think, that for Toronto, the 80's were the best of times for the Hard Rock scene as tons of clubs for local Hard Rock/ Metal acts opened all over the city, such as The Gasworks, Rock and Roll Heaven, Entex, Nags Head North, Nags Head West, that were just some of the clubs which hundreds of live bands would play every week?Indeed they were! It's cool how you know so much about the scene in Toronto! I am happy to say that I participated in many many shows at these clubs during the 80's, however for me these were not really true Metal acts, but more what I used to call 'Hair Metal' acts. Guys with big hair, dressed like slutty girls, makeup, the whole bit! My friends and I would go to some of these shows but would usually end up making fun of these guys! We'd call them 'Posers', which means they were just acting like someone else and really only looking for popularity and to get laid. For us, there was a big difference between the 'Posers' and the true Metal Heads.
Does it mean, that in Toronto started a big underground buzz and in the city was a healthy and big metal scene, that seemed to be supportive of metal?
Yes, the underground scene for me was much more interesting than the popular acts mentioned in the previous question. These were played in smaller, lesser known clubs like The Sibony, Larry's Hideaway, The Appocalypse Club, etc. These clubs were where the real, true metal bands played (including of course Dark Legion and Overthrow). There also were (and still are) great underground scenes in cities just outside of Toronto such as Whitby and Oshawa among others...that were and are still faithful to the true metal / hard rocks acts and shun the lame 'poser' acts that come out (pun intended) now and again. A good example of this is my brother's band Daedalus Project.
Local acts like Lee Aaron, Killer Dwarfs, Helix, Kick Axe, Max Webster, April Wine, Triumph, Forgotten Rebels are just some of the bands that would fill these clubs every weekend for fans to enjoy, were you into these outfits? How did they sound like at all?I did catch some of these acts at bars like Gasworks and Rock & Roll Heaven (Lee Aaron, Killer Dwarves, etc) however again, these were the 'Poser' type bands I mentioned above. I would much rather have seen Max Webster, April Wine and Triumph!!!! The last three enter into the Super Group category for me -the True Rockers - and I never once got to see any of them live.
What about your early musical footsteps and experiences as musician? Can you tell us more about it?
I had great times preparing, getting into bands, rehearsing and playing live. They were the best times of my life and I feel privileged to have been part of that scene.Of course, at my level of playing, I was in bands that had to practice in basements, move our own equipment for shows, etc. It was hard work, but it was always worth it!
How do you view, that the early/mid 80’s to early 90’s saw a change in the way Metal sounded, as the Hard Rock era slowly faded Thrash/Speed Metal entered to start what was to be another big break through in the scene as Heavy Metal evolved to Thrash/Speed Metal in Toronto?Yes, I recall the switch from the bands like Triumph, April Wine and Max Webster to the bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. It was amazing. So many new young bands started playing in the underground clubs that were influenced by these faster, heavier bands. My personal favourite is Sacrifice. They, to me, are the best band from that scene to come out of anywhere, let alone Toronto. Sacrifice rules. Any band that sounded anywhere near as good as them I liked. They set the bar for all comparisons I made at the time, and even still to this day.
As Thrash and Speed Metal takes over in Toronto, bands like Sacrifice, Slaughter, Anvil, Razor, Exciter, and Annihilator ruled the clubs until the early to mid 90's, would you say, that they opened the doors for ton of thrash acts that started popping up later on and put Toronto on the map of the metal scene?Indeed they did - although some of these bands weren't from Toronto (Annihilator is from Vancouver on the west coast of Canada). I would have liked to have seen Sacrifice get more recognition and success than they did, but perhaps they wouldn't be the heroes they are if that were to have happened...who knows!
What about bands, such as Kraken, Aceium, Reckless, Rapid Tears or Witchkiller who came from Ontario as well?I unfortunately haven't heard of these bands. As I mentioned, I really only looked and listened to the big bands of the time - not as much into the smaller struggling bands.
During '85 the Ontario Thrash / Hardcore scene started to develop a lot with tons of new outfits appearing such as Death Militia, Massacre, Infernal Majesty, Death Adder, Guerilla Warfare, Beyond, Lethal Presence, Holocaust etc. to the point that the scene was as strong as any U.S. scene, what kind of views did you have on that? Did you have also a good friendship with the other bands?Unfortunately I didn't play enough in the scene to make strong friendships with these other bands - however I did play shows with quite a few of them at least once when in Dark Legion and Overthrow. There were also crossings at various times of members going from one band to another - such as the bassist for Death Militia playing in my first metal band before moving to DM and our bassist from Dark Legion moving to Beyond for a stretch after I started playing in Overthrow.
Was it easy to find the suitable members for a thrash band at this point? Did the talented musicians pullulate in Toronto?There were alot of great musicians and artists in Toronto (and still are) however it's not all about talent when it comes to building a good band...there has to be chemistry between the members - they have to like the same things, get along, have fun together and have respect for each other. This chemistry is probably the hardest thing to find as there is no amount of practice you can do to prepare for having the right chemistry to get along in a band. It just happens, or it doesn't - pure cooincidence and luck. I was very lucky to be part of Dark Legion and Overthrow for the time I did and was glad the chemistry was good.
Did the Toronto musicians often cross their ways? It's very reminiscent of the L. A. scene of the '80s in my opinion...Well, in Toronto it all depended on the weather and what shows people went out to see. Sometimes I would meet artists from other bands when playing shows with them, and sometimes would meet them while attending shows.
Did the aforementioned band inspire a lot of musicians to form bands and drove you to be more better and better and talented musicians?Yes, Sacrifice was my personal number one inspiration - they rocked the crowd the best of any other band I ever saw. That was what I wanted to do...it's all about making the crowd rock.
Did the underground scene reach its peak at this point?It's hard for me to say, I really am not an expert of the underground scene in Toronto - I was a fan of the popular groups mostly, the ones that really made a difference and I was also a player in bands that I wanted to try and push to be one of the popular ones! So I wasn't looking at the whole scene much at all - just the ones that stood out.
What about the fanzine/tapetrading scene? Did the thrash/speed metal have a strong background in Toronto?Yes, there were tons of tapes going around at the time - I still have a box full of them, however I really didn't spend much time or energy collecting. Again, I was mostly interested in the bands that broke out of the underground and because popular -because I knew these were the bands that deserved it.
In the mid 80’s American bands like Anthrax, Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Exodus, Dark Angel and Metallica also enjoyed huge success as Heavy Metal evolved to where it stands today, how much effect did they have on you? Huge effect - those were really the only bands I loved listening to and trying to learn on the guitar. I was always into the big metal bands and the big sound they had. For me it was all about the power to move the crowds - and it still is.
Besides the Toronto bands, there were a lot of other Canadian ones, such as D.B.C. Voivod, Assault, Aggression, Eudoxis etc., did you keep an eye on what’s going on in other Canadian cities, such as Quebec, Vancouver etc.?Yes, to a certain point. The more successful bands in other Canadian cities would often tour and hit Toronto at some point. We also played a show or two in Montreal with Overthrow and got to check out the scene there. Vancouver was a bit far to travel to being on the other side of the country from Toronto.
When did you join Dark Legion and what was the line up of the band at this point?I joined in 1987 I think. The band was Mark Watts and Mike Rosenthal. Mark Ferria had just left the band so I suggested recruiting my old friend Colin Gerard for bass and he was an instant in. He's always been my main musical partner in crime - he is an excellent player as you may have heard on some of the Dark Legion songs that we played together.
As I as know, you joined them after the release of their demo titled „Psychosis”, did you like their stuff? Were you familiar with it at all?I really loved their stuff and was blown away that they recruited me into their band. We reworked a couple of the sogs from their demo to add in my personal style of metal playing (they were more of a punk band before I joined I think). We used some of the older riffs in brand new songs we wrote. Their riffs were killer and it was a pleasure to add some of my own to the mix. I still listen to our songs often and just love the groove and tightness of our playing together.
Did this demo help the band to make a name for themselves?I think so yes, the music and the Dark Legion logo created by Harry Tong. I have to say it was the best time of my life to be in that scene. We were rockers who were rocking out and loving every minute of it. For me that's what it's all about when in a band.
Have you ever recorded with them any materials? Have you ever performed with them live?We played live several times, my first show with them at the Silver Dollar in Toronto playing with Blind Illusion and Dyoxin. Actually it was also my first real show I ever played. I can still vividly remember it - thanks to the audio recording I have of it! I can remember I was so nervous that I kept dropping my pick! But eventually I settled in and we rocked the place. You can even hear my then girlfriend Sue Curd yelling "Ya Ken!" in the recording between songs. Heheh
How long did the band exist exactly? Why and when did the band break up?Well, I can't say exactly how long the band existed because it existed before I came in, and after I left. We broke up in 88 or 89 due to musical direction differences I think. I can't remember too much of that period, I guess because it wasn't all that great a time. I'm still sorry we didn't get to record an official album in studio together. I wish we could all get back together and go into the studio and record our songs! Maybe one day!
Did you consider them a talented band? Would they have had the opportunity to become a bigger outfit?Well, it's not always about the most talent in my opinion. Yes we had talent, however it was the timing, the riffs, the whole vibe that made us sound like we did. Some music producers may have said we lacked certain elements, but I wouldn't have cared. The band is the band as is. I wouldn't have changed anything.
Then your way led to Overthrow, but did you play in any bands inbetween? I mean, did you play in any bands before you joined Overthrow?No, I went directly to Overthrow. The guitarist Ian Mumble had heard me play by way of some mutual friends I used to hang out with in his hometown of Pickering and he found out I was no longer in Dark Legion, so he got me an audition with Overthrow.
As for Overthrow, the band was formed in January 1987 by Nick Sagias - bass/voclas, Wayne Powell – drums, Derek Rockall – guitar, Ian Mumble – Guitar, did you already know them at this point? Was Overthrow the very first band for all of them or did they already have some experiences as musicians?I don't know if Overthrow was their first band - I did not know any of them before joining Overthrow. I would guess to say Overthrow was their first well known band and maybe their best band to date. It's another example of a band that plays tight, with killer riffs, and a great vibe together. Talent is one thing, but a group of musicians playing well together is another for me. I prefer the latter, which is to say, I would rather play well as a part of a group than be a super talented one man show.
Ian Mumble played in Beyond before, correct?Yes, however I didn't know this until he told me about it last Christmas when I met with him while back in Toronto for Christmas holidays. I'm a huge Beyond fan. My friend and bass player Colin Gerard also played in Beyond after Dark Legion while I was playing with Ian in Overthrow.
They released their „Bodily Domination” demo April 1989 produced by Brian Taylor (Sacrifice, Slaughter) and although you didn’t play on it, can you tell us about this tape? It's an awesome demo (I just put it on now). I was unaware of it until I got asked to try out for the band. I listened to it alot so I could learn it and had the luxury also of Ian Mumble spending hours showing me how to play the very cool, and most complicated riffs I have ever learned. Again, for me it was always about great riffs, excellent timing and a good groove or vibe. The songs are played pretty much the same on the demo as on the album.
Was the material good enough to draw the fans attention to the band? Was this tape, through the band got in touch with Epidemic Records?Yes, this demo made a mark for the band for sure. It was well performed and a pretty good recording. For me Wayne's drumming is a key to the success of the material - I love listening to his work on the demo and the album. I got to meet up with him in Toronto las Christmas at his studio with Nick Sagias and my old Dark Legion bandmate Mark Watts, who are working together on a project called "AntiTrust Division". Wayne isn't playing anywhere near the Overthrow style in this band - it's a completely different groove.
Were there other labels interests in the band by the way?I can't comment on that - it would be Nick Sagias who would know.
Derek Rockall left the band in November 1989 and was replaced by you, why did he decide the leave the band? Were you the first choice being the new guitarist or did they perhaps audition other ones as well?Again, I don't know why Derek left although it was on amical terms because he was always around when we rehearsed and played live. He remained a part of the band even after leaving. I don't know who else was auditioned - but it would be interesting to know if it was the case, so I know who I beat out! Hahaha
Did Overthrow have some quick buzz in the Ontario thrash underground scene doing quite well at local area gigs?I think we did well at all the shows we played - thanks to the finished product it was. There was really no need to worry about trying to please the audience each time we played, because all we needed to do with play the songs as they were and it seemed to be successful. I remember having played a very small Pizza restaurant called Pizza Pinos on my birthday with Overthrow. The stage was a couple of inches high, and the place was packed right up to the stage. It was quite a cool experience playing a show like that.
When did you start writing the material for the debut record? Did you also have a big hand in the songwriting? I had no involvement in the writing of the material - it was all done before I joined. I may have assisted with some feedback during rehearsals prior to recording, but not in an organised or official way. The material was really already very good by the time I joined.
In June 1990 you entered the Morrisound Studios to cut your debut album, were you prepared to record the material?Haha, I didn't need to be! It was Ian who recorded all guitar tracks on the album. I did get to record two solos however on Infection and Within Suffering. I'm not too proud of my work but it was after all my first ever studio recording! I was nervous as hell with everyone standing around me watching me record.
How did the Morrisound come into question, as the location of the recordings? I mean, what made you to record the material in the Morrisound Studios since it seemed to be the home of the local death metal bands?I have no idea why Morrisound was chosen - perhaps because of the bands that were recorded there and the quality of their albums being the reason. It was surely a decision made between Nick Sagias and Ron Sumners of Epidemic Records.
Were you satisfied with the quality and with the sound of albums, such as „Slaughter in the vatican” (Exhorder), „Beneath the remains” (Sepultura), „Slowly we rot” (Obituary), „Altars of madness” (Morbid Angel), „Spiritual healing” (Death) etc., that were recorded at the Morrisound?Oh yeah! Some of those are classics to this day! It was a true honour to get to go work in that studio with Overthrow. We got to meet the guys from Cynic, who had us stay at their place in Miami overnight, and let us hang out at their rehearsal space while they played us some of their amazing music. We also played a show with Cynic in Miami before heading up to Tampa for the recording. It was just amazing.
What about the recording sessions of „Within suffering”?Well, we drove from Toronto to Miami with all our equipment in Wayne Powell's van - taking turns at the wheel since it's a 24 + hour drive! I can remember driving through the state of Georgia and hearing what sounded like gun shots in the morning rush hour traffic.
After a stop over in Miami to meet the guys in Cynic and playing the show with them, we drove back up to Tampa and Morrisound Studios. The studio was large, very modern and just full of a metal vibe that I can't explain. You walk the halls and see the albums you mentioned before from Death, Obituary, etc hanging on the walls. It was a Metal Head's dream. It was also very interesting to watch Scott Burns do his thing!
Before leaving Tampa, the guys from Obituary took us to Mons Venus, which was an avant garde strip club. This is where lap dancing was invented apparently. There were religious groups picketing outside the doors. We went in anyway haha, and had an amazing send off for our drive back home to Toronto.
Did you have a decent budget to record the material? Could you work with ease or were you in a hurry?I don't know what the budget was, but I'm sure it was decent as we got an entire week to record the album. I guess it would have been less stressful with more time, but I also think that the stress helps add intensity to the tracks. Again, I didn't do much work myself, I was just hanging out having a great time while the other guys worked their asses off!
Did you accomplish all of those gimmicks, that you planned for the record?
I don't know, but I sure hope so! I wasn't part of the album's planning at all so I would have to defer that question to Nick and the others.
Were you satisfied with the work of Tom Morris and Scott Burns? Did they help a lot proving the best from the material, getting out the best achievement from you? I mean, did they help you a lot to do the best you can/could at this point?I think they did a great job and I'm proud to be listed as part of the band on Within Suffering. It's an album I enjoy listening to to this day.
Were you satisfied with the work of Tom Morris and Scott Burns? Did they help a lot proving the best from the material, getting out the best achievement from you? I mean, did they help you a lot to do the best you can/could at this point?I think they did a great job and I'm proud to be listed as part of the band on Within Suffering. It's an album I enjoy listening to to this day.
Were Overthrow in the more frantic end of the thrash metal spectrum in your opinion?
Yes, I agree - it was frantic, but also very tight at the same time.
Do you agree with, that you showed so much promise on this album?Yes, I agree. I think that had the band stayed together, there may have been at least one other album, and perhaps a larger record deal for Overthrow.
What do you think about, that „Within Suffering” is reminiscent of D.B.C. with a similar style of rough and terse thrash?
I like DBC alot, however I think there is quite a difference between them and Overthrow sound wise. DBC seems a little more on the punk side and raw. DBC has a very distinctive sound, one which makes it easy to identify one of their songs after a few measures even if you've never heard that song before. That's a true mark of success music wise I think, and I hope it also applies to the Overthrow sound.
The songs are short and rapid bursts that don’t waste too much time on details, how do you explain this?Well, in that respect I can see your view on being similar to DBC...yes it is pretty 'Slam-Bash'-like. It's an angry style of music, very rebelious and upset..and as you said, Frantic.... I would explain this as being the overall state of mind at the time of the members of Overthrow. Nick's singing, Wayne's playing and Ian's riffs all seemed to have gelled into that feel.
With its rough charm this album is one of those energy blasts that one might play in the background just for the feel of it, isn’t it?Indeed. Same reason I sometimes play DBC! ;o) I guess the reason I so enjoyed playing with Overthrow is that the kind of music they played allowed a release of negative energy for a sustained period so that at the end of it, you actually feel relieved and relaxed. It was therapeutic. :o)
You released a video for „Suppression”, was it the only video you did? What about the shot of the video?Yes, we recorded that video in two parts, with a company called Pigs Say Oink productions. The first part was filming in a warehouse in Toronto, playing along with the track and the second part was filmed during our last show at the Apocalypse Club in Toronto. Then it was mixed together to create the final clip.
Was the purpose of the video to support the record worldwide? Actually that's a good question - because shortly after the video was recorded, the band split up.
How much support did you get from the label back then? How supportive were they of Overthrow?Ron Sumners of Epidemic Records and Drew Masters, were very supportive, including Overthrow on the 1990 RAW MEAT 2 compilation, financing the recording at Morrisound, distribution of the CD, etc. I think that Overthrow was perhaps Epidemic's premier act at the time - but could be wrong.
How many copies did you manage to sell back then? Did it succeed in making a name for the band?I have no idea on the numbers, but I would guess it wasn't enough to keep Nick in the band unfortunately. Nick has re-released the album on NHR records (http://www.bravewords.com/news/74269), having added the Bodily Domination Demo as well as a show we played in Montreal (although Nick believes it was our last show at the Apocalypse). I think it would have been cool to make it a DVD and include the video footage taken at the last show (footage that was included in the Suppression Video).
Were there any shows in support of the material? What do you recall of the Overthrow shows?Yes, there were a few shows and it was a blast playing them. The music was alot of fun to play live, and it was a rush to play with such amazing musicians - the tightness factor was 10+. We played in and around Toronto, Montreal Quebec, and all the way down in Miami Florida before the recording at Morrisound. All great experiences!
Why and when did Overthrow story come to an end?From what I understand, Nick got an offer to try out for the band Pestilence and decided to go for it. That was the end of Overthrow as far as I know. There were probably many other reasons, but I can't recall if I was ever in the loop about them.
Nick Sagias played in both Soulstorm and Monster Voodoo Machine after Overthrow, but what about you, Wayne Powell and Ian Mumble? Did you also continue your musical career in other outfits or…? Yes, we all continued to play as well, but not in anything as well organised or successful as Overthrow was unfortunately. I lost touch with Wayne and Ian during that time, but I started up my own project called Bitter Greens with longtime friend and bassist Colin Gerard.
Is it correct, that Nick also briefly played bass in Pestilence (Hol) replacing Martin Van Drunen, but he only lasted about a month or 2 and never recorded with them?
Yes, that's what I understand.
Have the 90’s to present showed all kinds of Canadian Metal acts with different styles dominate the decade? I think yes, the 90's was a very good decade for Canadian, but also Metal in general around the world. Even today, musically, I still live for those days - my favourite music is all from that period.
What were the reasons, of that a lot of ’80s bands, such as Death Adder, Guerilla Warfare, Beyond, Lethal Presence, Holocaust, Death Militia disbanded and vanished from sight without releasing an album? Was the scene oversaturated in your opinion?In my opinion, I think that those playing in the underground scene, were sort of 'afraid' to get a big deal because if that were to happen, they would no longer be underground, and they would no longer stand for the same principles. The underground bands were mostly all about anti-commercialism, anti-pop, etc. So if a big label were to offer them a deal, what would happen? I think in general that is why there were no big deals for the genre - it was just anti-commercial. The bands were just as happy playing shows with the small underground scene, and to hang and party with like minded musicians/fans.
Were these bands easily perceptible from each other?Yes, I think that each of these bands of the time were absolutely original and new. That was what was so great about the period. You could go and see a band play almost any day of the week, and it would be something different from what you had seen the previous time. It was a special period of time when this was happening and the Toronto scene was happy with itself I think. There was excitement, a party atmosphere and all out adventure in the scene at that time.
How do you view, that for example, acts like Slik Toxik, Sven Gali, Jack Damage and Slash Puppet reigned supreme through the early 90’s with a Hard Rock/Metal Sound as Thrash Metal masters Anvil, Annihilator, Razor and S.F.H. ruled the 80’s? How much did the scene change at this point?Those bands were just a bunch of commercial posers and hair-spray glam acts of the time. The only reason I would go to one of their shows was to get drunk and try and pick up women. The bands actually helped by getting the girls horny for us, so I guess I should tip my hat partially to them for what they did. But in no way was I ever interested in what they were doing musically. To me it was all just smoke and mirrors.
Was the rising of the grunge and pop/punk scene act upon the Toronto one? Do you agree with that the traditional metal was killed by this new form of music and the pure metal bands have given up the battle against this trend?Yes, I must agree that the grunge of the late 90's early 00's pretty much overthrew (excuse the pun) the metal/thrash scene for a while. But it didn't last long did it? It was a passing phase, albeit a successful one...however for me the true metal was always still there, but just not in the spotlight. Again, for me there is a difference between true music, and commercial music. Sometimes commercial music will be easier to see in the media because of the money invested in it, but that has nothing to do with what is good and bad music.
Did it envenom the real metal movement?
I don't think that the real metal movement was affected by this temporary fad. There will always be people who see the real-life situation with anything - including music. Those that wish to remain asleep and follow whatever is commercially being sold (on the radio for example) will continue to do so. There is nothing we can really do for those people. But don't feel bad, there are alot of them to take care of each other, hahaha.
From the mid 90’s to present more Black/Death Metal bands dominate the scene such as Blood of Christ, Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, Solus, Necronomicon while other bands to look forward to see more from in the future are Soulforge, Endorphins, Soul Of Darkness, Nitemare, Quo Vadis and Martyr all with a style of their own, how much are/were you familiar with these atcs? Are these the bands that help keep the scene going in Toronto as well as across Canada?I'm afraid I have no idea who these bands are, and I think that even if I listened to each one, I would still not care to know who they are. It is very rare to hear a band these days play in the true, clear way metal was done back in the 80s, 90s...although I do hear some very good stuff (to me) now and then. For example I really like Lamb of God, Opeth, Mastodon, and bands like them. They bring an energy to their music that I associate with the 80s and 90s scene.
For two years ago NHR Records re-released „Within suffering”, that contained the long-out-of-print album and the 1989 demo „Bodily Domination” with live songs, from where did come the idea to re-release the material and who came up the idea with? What was the goal of this release at all?It was Nick's idea and I guess the goal was to make some money. I saw Nick last Christmas and he gave me a free copy of the CD - I think it was well done although it would have been cool to have added some video clips. I'm not sure how well it's selling, or if Nick is sharing the revenue with the others who were in the band or not - I'll have to ask him one of these days. :o)
Were all of you deeply involved into the making of the album?
Everyone but me! :o) I just signed on before the recording. I think my contract said something about a fraction of a cent per album sold or something like that...something rediculously small as to not even bother asking about it.
Does this record perhaps help Overthrow getting new fans?
Yes, I think the only way to get new fans is to get them to listen to your material. And the best way to get people to listen to your material is to produce and release a good looking and sounding product. It is something special that people like to obtain and reference in their collection. I don't know if our live shows really did much to attract new fans, as we really just played our songs (although playing them much faster than on the album) and not much else to entertain (no balloons or fireworks, etc) hahah
Was it easy to re-release those materials? Who owned the rights?You'll have to ask Nick. I would imagine he has the rights because I know guitarist Ian Mumble wasn't aware of the re-release until it was released (nor was I). I don't think Ian was too happy about that as he did do alot of the writing of that album.
It was re-mastered by James Block of Rebarbative Productions (who has worked on releases by The Ravenous, Sigh, Abcess, Inquisition, Geimhre and Xasthur), were all of you satisfied with the result?
I haven't really had a chance to sit down and listen to the new remix and compare to the original...but overall it sounds good although not very different from the original. I haven't heard any of the previous material done by James Block.
Is this record for fans of Sepultura, Obituary, Death, Sacrifice, Slaughter?I think it's for fans of the speed/thrash/metal scene of the 80s and 90s, so yeah, if they like the bands you mention, I hope they like the Overthrow album! I personally am a big fan of Sepultura and Sacrifice, although not as into the other bands.
Didn’t you think about to reform the band and write a brandnew material?
I hung out with Ian Mumble during my visit to Toronto at Christmas in 2008/2009 and he told me a secret - that he had already written material for a whole second Overthrow album! Unfortunately he refused to accompany me to visit Nick and Wayne at their rehearsal studios so I guess if it were ever to happen, it would have to be a reunion of Ian and Nick before anything would happen.
What do you think about, that Sacrifice regrouped and will release a new album this year? Oh man! I can't wait for that album! I was lucky enough to have heard some of the new material when Joe Rico sent me some early solo recordings to me asking for my opinion. I can tell you, if the rest of the material is this good, Sacrifice fans WILL NOT BE DISAPOINTED!
Evil Legend Records released a Death Militia compilation titled „You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Anthology 1985-1988”, did you listen to it?No, not yet. I'm afraid I was not a big Death Militia fan, although I did play in a band with Cory Stoll and Steve Mills before they joined DM. We jammed in my basement as well as Cory's parents basement and I remember booting around in Cory's tiny Honda Civic with all his drums filling the back of the car, and cranking the tunes! He was alot of fun to hang out with. Cory also joined me to play in the band Bachanal with writer/singer/guitarist Mike Jervis from Toronto. Mike is now working on a project called Prison of Skin. It sounds really good.
Being a long time metal fan you are, how do you view the present status of thrash metal? Do you know or like bands, such as Toxic Holocaust, Avenger Of Blood, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire, Mantic Ritual, who didn’t do anything new, but have the goal to pay attention to the ’80s thrash bands and keep the spirit of the old school alive? I'm afraid I have never listened to these bands. :o (I think that at the time I was playing in the scene, for me it was a very personal thing. I only cared about the music I was playing, and my direct influences (Black Sabbath, Sacrifice, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, etc). The other metal bands doing their best to climb the ladder or just to be good enough to stay playing in the scene - well they were interesting to check out now and again, but I never expected anything 'Out of this World' great, because if it were the case, I would have heard the buzz from friends!
I still believe to this day - if a band wants to be special, they need to come up with something special in their music, some sort of a formula for success. Something that will make fans fall in love with their sound, and recognise them after a couple of bars playing on a stereo. I'm talking about what my fave bands have been able to do (see list above). Once a band has that 'hook', they can write any number of songs/albums and each will be enjoyable for their fans, becuase the formula 'works'.
You are living these days in France (in Europe), at which point did you move there and what made you to move in Paris?I moved here in 2001 because of a job opportunity at IBM France. I decided at the time that I was going to focus on my job (IT industry) and earn good money to be able to build a comfortable home for a future family.
Are you still involved in the metal scene? Do you often go to shows?I still go to shows when good bands pass by Paris - such as Opeth, Dream Theatre, Slayer, Mastodon, Cynic, Iron Maiden, etc. However I do not participate in the underground metal scene in Paris as it is changed since the days when I was involved. It is also different in Europe than it is in North America - I have to say I prefer the NA scene although there are some cool things coming out of the northern european countries (Sweden, etc.).
What are the stuffs that you mostly listen to? I mean, do you prefer the old materials or the newer ones? Do you have some faves considering the present scene?
I prefer the old school metal from the 80s and 90s. It was fresh and powerful. To me, the current scene has too many musicians competitng against each other, and it seems to take the life out of it. The scene is diluted with so many bad bands that it makes me want to ignore it and just focus on the bands I have come to learn to love. Once in a while there is a new band that breaks out of the dilution with a fresh new idea that rocks, but it's rare.
Are you still in touch with former Dark Legion, Overthrow and/or Toronto underground musicians? What about the Dark Legion/Overthrow members these days?I'm still in touch with Mark Watts (guitar/vocals) and Colin Gerard (bass) but not with Mike Rosenthal (Drums) of Dark Legion. Mark now plays in a couple of bands in Toronto, including AntiTrust Division (along with ex Overthrow members Nick Sagias and Wayne Powell). I got to go hang out with the guys from ATD during my last visit to Toronto at Christmas 2008. It was great hanging with the guys again, we enjoyed our time together sharing beers and old stories. I am happy they are still playing together.
Any closing words for the readers?
Just thanks for reading and if you knew me back in the day and want to chat, look me up on Facebook/MySpace/MSN!
Thanks Leslie for the interesting questions - it was great to think back on a time that I will always treasure - the 80's/90's Toronto Metal Scene! Horns up!


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