2010. december 3., péntek

Actual playlist

1. WINTER: Into Darkness
2. DRUID LORD: Hymns For The Wicked
3. AUTOPSY: Mental Funeral
4. PENTACLE: ...Rides The Moonstorm
5. BATHORY: Under The Sign Of The Black Mark
6. CONVULSE: World Without God
7. IMMORTAL: Pure Holocaust
8. SORROW: Forgotten Sunrise/Hatred And Disgust
9. WITCHFINDER GENERAL: Friends Of Hell/Death Penalty
10. IMPALED NAZARENE: Tol Corompt Norz Norz/Ugra Karma

2010. november 15., hétfő

Over Kill - Bobby Gustafson

So Bobby, in 1981, guitarists Rich Conte and you joined Over Kill, do you still remember how did that happen? How did you get in the picture exactly?
Well i don't think it was Rich Conte when i was in the band. There was a guy they called Frankenstein, i mean he looked like Mick Mars only without the makeup...lol. He was only present for about 2 weeks then he quit. I got a chance to try out for the band from my friend John who was looking to steal Rat for his band. He went on to sing in Law and Order.
What were the bands that you’ve played in before you being involved in Over Kill? What about your musical background as a whole?
I was about 15 when i did my first bar gig. We had original songs as well as a few Sex Pistols songs. We were what we thought was a punk rock, the band was The Dropouts. After a few years i got in a metal cover band but hated playing someone else's music. I listened to what everyone else did at the time. Sabbath, Preist, Maiden, AC/DC, Motorhead, Angel.
To which extent were you familiar with the band by the way?
Back then there was a local free newspaper The Aquarian. It listed all the clubs in the area and who was playing where. I only remember Overkill from an add they ran weekly showing Blitz with the cape. I think i stil have a clip out of that add. I never did get a chance to see them before i joined. I don’t think they came to Staten Island. But my friend John said they liked all the same bands i did.
At this point, the band started writing original songs, including „Grave Robbers” (later renamed „Raise The Dead”), „Overkill”, and „Unleash The Beast (Within)”, that were followed by more ones, such as „Death Rider”, „Rotten To The Core”, what do you recall of the songwriting? How did it go? Did you have a big hand in the songwriting?
Grave Robbers was changed to Death Rider. I hated that name. Don't remember if it was complete or not, but i remember writing a lot of it. Raise the Dead was done before i joined. But The Beast Within and Overkill were written after i joined. I took the idea for Overkill from Angel. I thought we needed a theme song ,and we continued it until the 4th album. I stole the riff from the Halloween movie. I did about 90% of the writing and we arranged them together if i didn’t have them already done. Rat had the least to do with any writing. We actually worked it out so all of us could have 25% each per song because we knew Rat could never write a song such as he claims he did.
Does it mean that the band stopped playing covers and were concentrating on writing own tunes?
We did practice covers but i hated it. I remember having a conversation down my basement where we practiced for 2 years about writing our own songs. I said we will never get signed playing other peoples music. No matter how great we are live. I know someone else claims he came up with the idea.
The band became a staple at New York and New Jersey clubs, such as L'Amours, correct? Did you play a lot of gigs in the early period of the band?
Well after we tried one guitar player out i remember saying that it. I will do it myself. I didn't want to waste any more time. So within a few months of writing we did our first gig in August 83. I just graduated from High School. Our time in the clubs was very short compared to other bands. It took only 2 years before we were signed. After we could convince clubs that an original band could play one set and have 2 bands open and still fill a club, we were on our way. There just wasn’t any bands that did that. The norm was 3 sets of cover tunes at the time.
Was it easy getting shows in that area? What were the clubs that started opening their doors for metal at this time in NY/NJ?
Not many. We kinda made our own gigs at a Theater in Port Jervis. That was our main start. And a club called The Showplace and Union Jack in New Jersey. And a club called The Rock Palace on Staten Island before we broke into Lamour's. We did some big places like a theater in Hackensack and a High School in Orange New Jersey so we could take pictures with our stage set to show Lamour's. It took some time to convince them because they were still in the disco era, but they gave us a chance and every show got bigger. Playing both a Friday and Saturday night and selling them out a few years later was a great day for us to shove it back in there face..lol
Were you aware of the existence of an L. A. based band their name was also Overkill and got signed by SST Records?
Never heard of them until we saw the album. I think they weren’t even a band anymore and the label put it out to ride our coat tails.
In 1983 Rich Conte left and you remained as the sole guitarist, what were the reasons of Rich’s departure? Didn’t you think about to add another guitarist instead of him?
I don't know why he split. Didn’t really know him at all. There was one guitar player like i said for about two weeks when i joined. He also quit so i tried a friend i knew from a local band i was doing cover tunes with. We did take pictures with him at one point. He kinda flaked out on us and i said ya know what. We don’t need two. Our favorite band was Sabbath and it was cool enough for them. They were still heavy with one so fuck it. Lets not waste anymore time. And that was it. All the other bands had two and we had one. Along with Blitz's voice, one guitar, we stood out.
Is it true, that D. D. Verni gave Ellsworth the nickname „Blitz” due to his over-the-top lifestyle, a lifestyle that once earned Ellsworth an ejection from the band for a few days in 1983?
Im not sure where that started or came up with it. He had it before i joined i believe. But i did hear he feel backwards into the drum kit once during a show and i think thtas where it started from. But we all drank before a show. I know i did. Sometimes too much....its all good.
Around this time, the classic green logo was adopted, which Rat Skates specifically designed to stand out on a poster loaded with red and black logos of the other bands on the bill, can you tell us more about it?
The first logo was white. It's only a variation of the Maiden logo so its not a big stretch. We all noticed that the Twisted Sister logo that was bright pink, would stand out and you could see it across a dark club. I think D.D. was the first to notice. But we thought about using green or orange for Halloween. I thought orange was better but got voted down. No big deal. I don’t remember Rat coming up with all the things he claims he has. It’s almost as if we weren’t even there. And a bit of trivia Biohazard asked me why we used green, told them the story and all of a sudden they had an orange logo, the color we didn’t use.
In 1983 you released the „Power In Black” demo, would you say, that a relatively long way led to the releasing of the demo? Didn’t you feel that the songs on the tape are old a bit?
At that time no. I joined November 82 and we had 5 songs by 83. How can you consider them old. After all we did with show and making our own merchandise and stage show, i think it was a quick process.
It was recorded March-Sept, 1983 at two shitholes, Staten Island NY and Sterling NJ, how do you remember the recording sessions?
Wow, i don’t even remember the place on Staten Island. But i still can picture the Sterling studio. Nothing real memorable about it. We paid for everything ourselves so it was quick. In and out. But it was our first time in a studio so it was exciting. Just hit it live and overdubed some solos and vocals.
It was „Dedicated to all the false faggot poser wimps of the clubs. Stick this tape up your ass”. „Cartridge must not be left exposed to direct sunlight, or else it will get fucked up. Leave in player when not in use”. How would you comment it?
Ahh that was just our punk attitude shinning through. We wanted energy from the crowd, like we were doing on stage. But it was the infantile stages of metal and only a few people knew what to do. The Old Bridge guys and a few metal heads from Staten Island knew what movement was about to happen. So to see people stand in the back in horror or not want to sweat or mess their hair up, it was our job to give them shit.
Is/Was this a strong demo that should show to everyone how thrash was meant to sound like?
It was the best we could do at the time. No money, little experience and guys in a recording studio that had no idea what they were recording. Live was where we excelled. Our shows were always better. I just think we really didn’t get it right until the 4th album. Just compare the demo days to The Years of Decay. Big difference.
Was it the recording that made as much impact in the underground tape trading circuit as demos by up-and-coming Bay area thrash bands like Exodus and Testament? Did it succeed in drawing a lot of fans attention to tha band?
Really at the time there was only No life Til Leather and Power in Black. I mean Metallica was before us, but i don’t remember Slayer or Anthrax making one. Don’t know if Exodus had a demo. But after us and Metallica it seemed like there were a million fanzines that reviewed demos and magazines that started to review them in the back section. Everyone had a demo after that, but the fans knew that they couldn’t sound great, none of us had big money. It was just a way to get a feel of the band.
„Power In Black” gained the band two compilation appearances, „Feel The Fire” was included on „New York Metal ’84” and „Death Rider” appeared on „Metal Massacre V.”, did these compilations help to expand the band’s popularity in the underground?
I’m sure it did. Here was this little band from N.Y. and N.J. and they are on two records. Our level as a band just kept growing. The ep.was our only pitfall. That should have done it, but i’m always grateful to Metal Blade and the guy who did N.Y. Metal for giving us the chance.
The band was also able to secure a small recording deal with Azra/Metal Storm Records, do you still remember how did you get in touch with the label? Were they the only one that started interesting in the band back in the day or were there other labels interests too?
I think that was the first in a long line of blunders that Rat came up with. (along with the dumbest album cover in metal Taking Over). Doesn't brag about that one huh. Spent a lot of money again in the studio and nothing ever came out of it. Jon at Megaforce wasn’t sold on us yet so Rat thought we should make an album to show him. Well it hung over us for a few years then finally got released around our first album. Tried to cash in i guess. We did look at a few other labels like Torrid and Metal Blade, but Jon had the biggest contract so we were impressed. We signed in Novemeber of 84, but we didn’t start to record until August of 85. Wish we started earlier because it seemed like we were part of the second movement, but we were really part of the first in my eyes.
How do you view, that the production here is certainly better than on the „Power in Black” demo and on the „Feel the Fire” demostration tape?
Well when we recorded Power In Black we really didn't have much money.So the sound will always suffer,but we did the best we could at the time.
Musically speaking, the band has matured a bit compared to the demo, right?
Sure, the more any band plays together for a long period of time they will naturally get better. As musicians and song writers.
Is it true, that the material originally was recorded as a demo tape in November 1984 and the band strapped for cash, sold the demo to Azra/Metal Storm Records, who pressed it as the legendary „Overkill” EP in 1984?
No i think we did the recordings again just for the EP. We werent strapped for cash but we thought it would be a great next step in our career to be on viynl.
The band presented the record company with artwork, but it was not used, how did that happen?
We were not sure why nothing was used. I dont think it was a real label at all. But when word got out we were signed to Megaforce, all of a sudden they had the money to release the EP. But it was obvious they just wanted to cash in on us,and never spent the money to print out all the photos and material we gave them.
How much did the label care of the band’s promotion? Did they help you making a name for yourselves?
Azra?? No not at all. They were a bullshit label with no credit or prior releases. You can thank Rat for that mess up.
The Ep was quickly sold out, instantly pushing the band to the forefront of the fledgling thrash metal movement, do you agree with that? Do you perhaps know how many copies were pressed and sold?
I don't think they manufactured many. Probably a small amount. We never knew how many were sold and never received a dime for it.
Though it is said that the band never saw any money from the release, the Overkill EP garnered the band massive underground interest, and the attention of Jon Zazula, the owner of Megaforce Records, one of the most prominent independent heavy metal record labels at the time, how did it happen? Were there other labels interests besides Megaforce in the band by the way?
We had already signed a deal with Megaforce. The EP didn't do anything for us except become a collectors item. We used our demo tape and our live show to prove to Jon Zazula that we were a band that needed to be signed.
Megaforce signed Overkill to a new multi-album record contract and released their full length debut album Feel The Fire in 1985, do you still remember, when did you start writing the stuff? Did Megaforce ask you to hear some advance material?
We started writing original songs after i joined in November 82. We stopped all the cover songs. Did a few for fun and thats it. They knew of al the songs we had from our demo and the live show. We put our early songs on Feel the Fire but never stopped writing. More than half the second album was done too. But we let the first songs we wrote go on FTF.
Is it true, that Johnny Zazula had been a fan of the band since the release of the Power In Black demo and sold 1.500 copies of it through his New Jersey based record store Rock’n’Roll Heaven alone?
We actually would visit him at a booth he had at a flea market. Kind of a big open air store that sells all different items, if you dont have one in your country. We would push the band prior to the tape. After it was made he was interested. After a few shows he signed us.
Over Kill were signed after Johnny was seeing you open for Anvil at the L’Amours Club, do you still recall of that show?
Oh yeah for sure. It was a great show for us. Anvil were good friends, but they also said we won the stage that night. Jon and Marsha signed us the next day.
Do you agree with, that the album cemented the band’s position as one of the driving forces of the east coast thrash movement?
Oh for sure. At at time when most bands were still doing cover songs in clubs there was us and Anthrax playing original music. But we went out and played from Boston to Baltimore way before any bands even thought of going out of state to play. That gave us alot of credit.
How do you view, that your guitarwork is downright insane and this is arguably Over Kill’s fastest album? Are the riffs blazing fast riddled with some of the catchiest rhythm’s the band has ever written?
I can only speak of the albums i wrote. I am not familiar with the albums after me. I always looked at each song as an individual. I tried to put something riff wise or solo wise that was differant from the song before it. Some riffs fast some slow some thrash some just heavy, starts, stops, clean guitar, 12 string everything i could squeeze in.
Over Kill is essentially one of the earliest thrash bands of all time and one of the first bands that created this sound and style, correct?
I would say yes. The band started before me but they weren't thrash or original until i joined. We were there with everyone else but we couldn't get into the studio until late in 85 so that put us back more than a year compared to other bands like Slayer and Metallica.
Was with the release of this album a new breed of thrash metal born?
I think all the bands of the time discovered what we did. We took what we grew up on and turned it up to 11. We should have been included with the Big Four as they say. It should have been 5.
What do you think about, that the material on Feel The Fire is intense, raw and catchy and never lets up for one minute? It’s probably the band’s least thrashy album, with an occasional heavy/speed metal vibe and attitude to the music, but is still straight up thrash for the most part…
Well is it the least thrashy or straight up thrash... you can't seem to make up your mind. But that is good. That just means we covered all the bases. A little bit for everyone.
Feel The Fire was Over Kill’s debut effort, which finally, after 6 years of existence and tearing up the clubs of New York, you get around to releasing an album and it’s kinda sad that financial problems and lack of record label interest condemned them to releasing this album late, since most of this material was written by about 1983 (if not 1981), and if it had been put out then, it would have definitely made waves, and Over Kill would’ve gotten far more credit, how do you explain this?
Well it's not really 6 years. We were only in the club scene with original songs for two years. The original line up for Feel The Fire was started in November 82 when i joined. We got signed to Megaforce in October of 84. We were just held up by Anthrax and T.T. Quick and S.O.D. before we got the chance to go into Pyramid studios. So there was no money problems at all, just schedule problems.
How did Carl Canedy end up becoming the producer of Feel The Fire? Was it one of his early jobs as producer, right?
He had some deal worked out with Megaforce. We got pushed around a lot in the early days. We were very green you could say. Trust me we didn’t pick him nor was i satisfied with the recording. I still think its the reason we were held back. It sounds like shit to me.
The band spent the better part of 1985 and 1986 touring in support of Feel The Fire, beginning as support act for Megadeth’s Peace Sells US tour and later in Europe with Anthrax and Agent Steel, what do you remember of that tours? How did they go as a whole? Did the tours help the band getting new fans?
I still think the Megadeth tour was the most fun. After two years in Europe with Helloween, being in America was great. By the end of that tour Rat quit for his girlfriend and Dave Mustaine asked me to join Megadeth. I was honoured but im glad i didn't. The metal Hammer road show was great too. Our first tour of Europe but it was hard. We didn't even have management yet. Shit man 20 years old and touring Germany playing our music. It was great.
As for the US Speed Metal Attack tour along with Agent Steel and Anthrax, how did it come into being? Was it the band’s first touring experience in Europe by the way? Did you get on well with those outfits?
The organizers in Europe got it together. Maybe with Megaforce. We got along for the most part but the Agent Steel singer thought he was from another planet. It got strange at times. But we had no money and no food but we didnt care.
The show that you played in Bochum was filmed and released on video, what’s your opinion about that effort? Were all of three bands agreed to release that material?
Yeah that was the highlight of the tour. I'm so glad someone thought of taping it. The sounds for us were poor. We didn't have any equipment of our own except our guitars. But with a full house of kids and everyone going crazy it didn't matter. It really cemented our fan base in Germany. I still have friends i talk to from those days.
Did you have also the possibility/chance to do some shows as headliner act in support of Feel The Fire?
We talked about it last year. But Blitz after liking the idea shot it down because they were about to release there new cd. But if we do Rat will never be included in it, so its not gonna happen with him. We would find a different drummer.
You opened for Anthrax during the first half of 1986 –it was the aforementioned US speed Metal Attack-, but you weren’t on the bill of the British show Anthrax performed at the Hammersmith Palais, having already returned to the States, what happened?
I just totally can’t remember but i believe they planned the show with Jon Z. who also was their manager. And i just don’t think they wanted two American thrash bands together. We really didn’t get much love from our so called New York brothers.
Later in the year you returned to Europe opening for Slayer, correct?
I think we did the U.S. first with Slayer. We were recording Taking Over. Slayer helped us out alot. We did two more tours with them and Motorhead.
1987 marked the release of Overkill’s second album „Taking Over”, the first to be released by Megaforce in cooperation with the major label Atlantic Records…
Yes that’s true.
Do you judge Taking Over an important early thrash metal album and one of the best ones from Overkill?
I do think it was important. It was a step in a better direction as far as sound. We spread the guitars apart to cover up some bad drumming. Keeping time and speeding up on parts. But the songs were heavy and the sound was too. But again, Rat came up with the cover and again it just sucked and was something that held us back. We were not going to let him do that again. Everything has to click.
The way Blitz delivers the lyrics on this album certainly makes the songs have a destructive anthem for thrash metal theme, the guitars are full of great thrash riffs, solos, and rolling guitar work, the songs will have this great main riff thats heavy and grabs the listener’s attention, what’s your opinion about it?
Yes absolutely. When i would write a song it always started from a main riff and everything else would form around it. Such as Wrecking Crew. I never in my life came up with a riff from a drum beat. I wrote several parts and would form them together. Tempo's and styles. Starts and stops. I also would try to atleast add one speacial lick in the solo's too. Blitz took some vocal lesson's to keep his voice on tour and you can hear the difference.
You keep playing your guitar with rolling riffs that keep the songs heavy and thrashy and the guitars have great rhythm throughout the songs as well…Is „Taking Over” like the debut straight up thrash metal, with insanely catchy and very memorable songwriting and a good awareness of melody?
Yes again. But remember half of that album was written along with the songs from Feel The Fire. Now you can see how a different recording sound will change the songs appearance. I think we had a bit of everything on that album too.
Did you on this album reach higher extremes and the very first song, the opener „Deny The Cross” is heavier and thrashier than anything on „Feel The Fire”?
Again i think if F.T.F. had a better sound you would hear it on that too. We just got better as players and i always wanted the songs to be different and harder. So trying to make them all not sound the same you have to get harder or faster. Deny was probably one of the songs that came in late. Not with the songs on F.T.F..It was a preview of things to come.
Do you think, that „Taking Over” indeed a worthy follow-up to the awesome debut?
Oh yeah, it was a fat production. Maybe too much and you can see how we changed it again for Under The Influence. I would have like Fire to have sounded a bit more like T.O. but as far as my solo sounds i didn’t like either album but we never had time to explore. Solo's and vocals were always last and rushed because we had no time or money to expand our stay in the studio.
How do you see, that the album featured improved song writing and production and had a somewhat more epic style, showcased in such songs as the anthemic „In Union We Stand”?
That was something we did on purpose. We always loved just the simple straight foward metal song. But we didn’t write it to make a video. That came later and everyone involved just loved the song. So if they did we figured everyone else would too. So that became our first choice. We always wanted two but Megaforce wouldn’t put up the money. We would have done Deny, Powersurge, or Wrecking Crew as a follow up. More thrashy.
The song was chosen to be Overkill’s first music video, used to promote the band through the booming new medium of music television, how much did it help the band? Did it open more doors for the band?
It did what we thought. But we never expected it to be played 18 weeks straight. More than any video. It brought us into living rooms all over America.How cool is that.
This time you worked with Alex Perialas, how did he get in the picture exactly? Did he do a good job in your opinion?
He owned the studio. I think he understood what heavy was more than Carl. Carl butchered my sound just before the mix. It had more thump and he got rid of it. Said it was to late to get it back and i believed him. It was all bullshit. My real amps exploded just as we went to record so i didn’t even use my own amps. But now with Alex we got it closer to what we wanted invision. Once again we ran out of time, spending much of the first weeks always trying to get the drums right.
Another European tour followed, this time opening for Helloween, how did it go? What kind of experiences did you gain compared to your previous European shows?
That tour was great. Two full months, much better organized. We were kicking Helloween's ass every night. This was the premiere band from Germany and our amps and stage looked better than theirs. They actually took off 5 days to buy new amps and scrims with pumpkins on them to compare to us. We won over a lot of fans with that tour.
Late in 1987, the !!!Fuck You!!! EP was released, consisting of a studio recording of „Fuck You” as well as a handful of live tracks recorded earlier that year in Cleveland, what was the meaning of this release? Who came up with the idea to release an Ep? Can you tell us details regarding the Ep?
We recorded a live show on the Megadeth tour. We always wanted to release the E.P. It wasn’t directed toward anyone. Just a fun thing to do. No band has ever had an album named Fuck You so it was another milestone i think. Shits were band from schools, stores had to cover the album front with a black sleeve or paper that was awesome.
1987 also saw the departure of drummer Rat Skates, what kind of reasons did lead to Rat’s departure?
Rat quit for one reason and one reason only. He wanted to be with his girlfriend at the time. For non-metal thing to do. Why would you leave us for a girl you weren’t even faithful to. Just a big pussy. But getting Sid was the best thing that could happen. We were razor sharp and tighter as a band and the studio became a dream.
Rat was replaced by Mark Archibole for a few gigs, so was he kind of temporary solving? I mean, he wasn’t meant to be a full time member, but only a session musician?
We held auditions and looked at several drummers. We had a tour set up with Testament so we needed someone. If he worked out on the road as a test we would keep him. But it just didn’t work out.
What about Mark’s musical background at all? How did he „work” in live situation? Did he do a good achievement?
Yeah he played the songs fine, and he is a good drummer. It just didn’t feel right. I don’t know about his musical past before he joined us.
Have you ever recorded something (demos, rehearsals etc.) with him?
No we just did the tour. A few weeks out with Testament on the road and that was it.
Then on a permanent basis by European drummer Bob „Sid” Falck previously of Paul Di’ Anno’s Battlezone came in the band, how did you find him? Were there also other drummers in mind?
Our light man also did lights on tour with DiAnno. He mentioned the drummer was great and he would fit in with you guys real well. We had a few more drummers try but Sid for sure was the best. Some famous drummers tried out but it doesn’t make sense to mention them.
Do you still remember, how was the songcomposing, the method/the process of the songcomposing for your next effort Under the Influence? Did Sid have a great hand in the songwriting?
No not really. We were already very much done with the songs. We may have done some of the arrangements with him but he didn’t write. A lot of riffs i wrote on tour, something i don’t do much, but when i came up with something we saved it on tape.
You released the follow-up to Taking Over, the aptly titled Under the Influence, in 1988, once again produced by Alex Perialas, was it unambiguous for you to work again Alex with? He satisfied your demands considering the sound of the previous album, does he?
We made it clear that Taking Over was to open as far as sound. And now without Rat the drumming was much tighter and we didn’t have to cover up bad playing anymore. Alex knew he was only going to record and Michael Wagner was going to mix. So he made sure it was all razor sharp and some feeling was lost. But i still love that album and it was a perfect 3rd album and direction for us.
Is a third album a crucial point in every band’s career?
I think so. Alot is also put on the 2nd release. But you can always change the game with the third as long as the first two are strong. I think personally we got better on each release.
Was Under the Influence much more raw and thrashy, lacking most of the grand and epic atmosphere of its predecessor?
Like i said i always wanted to write songs that cover the entire spectrum of metal or thrash. I hate when bands just repete the same tones on each album where everything sounds the same. You shouldn’t be able to take a song from the third album and it sounds like the first or the fourth.
How do you view, that Under… seems often to be overshadowed by the two great albums that come before and the two after?
Well i think that’s probably a more personal feel the fans or whoever may have. Each album sold more than the previous album so i knew things were going in the right direction.
While Feel the Fire and Taking Over were both have some very distinct speed and NWOBHM influences, but Under the Influence develops the somewhat groovy sound more known as Overkill, slowing things down and spending some quality time on the sixth string, do you agree with it? Would you say, that D. D.’s bass lines always played an importan role and became the trademarks of Over Kill’s sound?
We grew into each recording and did the best we could with short time and money. All things could have been different if we always weren’t so rushed. I don’t look at them the same way maybe someone else see them because i wrote them. D.D. actually had a few riffs on this album. Although good they sounded a bit like Anthrax and i wasn’t to happy after. But he always came up with the little riffs under my lead. Or if i had a lead written we would do rhythm around it.
Did Overkill release this album just as their career really started to move upwards and onwards?
Well i'd say it was always moving up until i wasn’t there anymore. Every release and tour helped us grow.
What do you think about, that with the addition of new drummer Sid Falck, the band was able to increase the technical aspect of the music? What were the most important differences between both drummers, both personally and musically?
Personally Sid was a bit low and reserved. Rat was more over the top energy. But for the band to move on to playing better Sid was better with his feet and him timing was unreal. Technically we could do more with him as far as writing, speed or whatever his feet never gave out.
Overkill were early starters on the thrash scene, you more than made up for it by being one of the most prolific bands of the late '80s, weren’t you?
Yes we were right there with everyone else we just got a bit of a slower start than the rest. But from 1983 on we were non stop and always growing.
Under The Influence was your third album in two years when it was released in 1988, and the rapidity at which the albums had been released had no effect on the quality of the material whatsoever, correct? Is the result an album that is much more aggressive than the previous Overkill recordings? Did/Do we see on Under The Influence a more aggressive Overkill?
Sure. The writing just got better. Some of the album was also left over from Taking Over. We never stopped writing. So the anger was always there. I just think the studio really had the worst effect on us in the first two releases. The anger got lost from bad sounds. It was there it just didn’t come across on the recordings. That’s why live we were so much better.
The song Hello From The Gutter was released as a single, and the music video gained regular airplay on MTV’s Headbangers Ball, so did the song make more audience and popularity for the band?
Totally did. MTV in the early days was fantastic. Headbangers Ball was great at the beginning. It just got lost with bad host's and every cheesy bad seemed to have a video now. But the timing for us seemed to be perfect in a lot of ways, but we never had to big money behind us to go over the top.
How did Hello From The Gutter end up appearing in a Beavis and Butthead episode? It was also a good advertisement, promotion for the band, wasn’t it?
I don’t know. I was just watching it one night and there it was. I was like yeah awesome.. i hope they don’t destroy us to bad. But it wasn’t bad at all. I loved it and i heard D.D. wanted to get a lawyer and go after Mike Judge. We see things differently. Who cares they pay us now for it.
Hello… was released as a single (including Head First) too, correct?
I don't think it was a single in the typical sense. A and B side. Those were done for airplay which we knew we would never get. We may have released them on a seperate disc i don’t remember.
Being on Atlantic Records, the band managed to receive excellent distribution, does it mean, that it helped a lot the band selling a lot of albums? Was it a better seller, than the previous records or…?
Yeah we had some bigger label and a chance to have money push us but it never seemed to happen. It was still new to a lot of people and a lot of the older people at the labels just didn’t understand Thrash or metal at all. Metallica after the black album made it easy for some bands. People weren’t as afraid of metal after they heard some of there more radio friendly songs. That’s when it seemed to turn around but also fall apart too. But Atlantic’s name on my album was a great feeling. Zeppelin AC/DC..it was a trip.
Overkill kept up constant touring all over the world, furthering their reputation as one of the most active live metal bands, what were the shows in support of the record?
With this type of music you had to tour. People had to see you live to get what you were all about. And for us the live show was always great and we won a lot of fans over on tour regardless of how the album sounded. We always tried to get that feeling on the album. I think thats why Under seemed so thrashy.
If I’m correct, you went on a European tour with Slayer again, who released their South Of Heaven material at this point, what do you recall of that particular tour?
Slayer was always great for us. We would see how critical there fans would be and it made us better. They didn’t hang out much with people outside the band. So i don’t have any of those fun tour stories for ya.
A year later you released your breakthrough album The Years of Decay in, that was recorded with famed producer Terry Date (Pantera, White Zombie, Soundgarden) and featured the band's best production to date, how did he get in the picture exactly? Was he suggested by the label or…?
Well he really didn’t have the fame back then that he does now. It was after us and Pantera who used a lot of our sounds but definitely sounded like themselves. I believe it was D.D. who suggested him, and i had the soundgarden album and said sure sounds good. We talked about Tom Allom, Martin Burch, and a few others too.
How did the recording sessions go with Terry? How was to work with him compared to Alex Perialas? Was Terry Date more experienced in your opinion?
Terry was great. It was a new fresh situation on much better equipment. Alex was an old school producer on old boards. Terry went digital on us and it was much better to mix and record on.
Did the production become clear and heavy?
Oh yes. We still were using tapes back then. Now everything is on computer which doesn’t deminish sound quality after weeks of use. But at the time the digital boards were amazing and it was what we were lacking as far as sound. We really got the chance to see what they can do when we mixed in Los Angeles with Mike Wagner on U.T.I. I think we got what we wanted at the time. Studio's were getting better all the time. We just were to early for the computer age.
Did The Years Of Decay mix the raw approach of Under The Influence with more complex song structures and epic elements, resulting in a more serious atmosphere and longer songs, including the eight minute title track and the ten minute Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher?
Yeah you could say that. I just felt that i let Under the Influence be more of everyone having a bit more say. D.D. had a few riffs on it but i just felt that it sounded great but to happy. Im not a bouncy writer, im more of the dark side. So i took total control of everything. It’s the best album for sure but it may have pissed the other guys off that i had so much control. From the music to the artwork and video i had a total vision. Someone mentioned to me that Enter Sandman sounds like a sped up Skullkruher...lol Could be.
It’s certainly a departure from the punky, NWOBHM-tinged thrash that Overkill did before; it’s groovy, brimming with hostility, and it is surely a great deal more varied than the band’s previous works, right? Was the style you started to develop on Under The Influence here perfected?
I tried to cover all types of metal in the early days. I much like everyone, loved Maiden. I hear more of that in the early stuff. But dark grooves and riffs were always first with me. I still love the fact that no two songs sound the same and no songs are filler type songs.
A core of dark, heavy and violent thrash riffs keeps kicking the listener in the face, yet remain that melodic touch that’s almost always been well preserved in Overkill’s own brand of metal, how do you see this? Did it feature the band further expanding their songwriting repertoire?
Well when you have 3 albums done you need to look at different aspects of songs to not be typical. Do what is you but don't make it all sound the same. Ac/Dc, Motorhead type thing. The melody in the songs is to purposely involve the audience. Who want to sit in their set and just watch a band. Mosh, slam or sing. That's what we were about.
The Years of Decay is quite different from your past record, can it be names a sort of hybrid of your previous works?
If you mean by hybrid not to do the same shit over and over...lol. Years is just what i was feeling at the time. Every album that was previous had something we didnt like after it was done. So we made sure we didn’t repeat it. U.T.I. was to happy i wanted dark. Taking Over was mushy so we cleaned it up. F.T.F. wasn’t heavy enough so T.O. was a wall of sound.
Did Sid have a great varied drumming performance, which suits the music perfectly?
Yes his feet were awesome. Something that Rat didn’t have. His timing was great too. It improved our thrashyness and how tight we were.
By the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s (more or less from 1988 and 1992) several thrash metal bands changed their style of doing this genre; those bands, once more violent and raw, in those years conceived true technical thrash albums, such as Metallica’s…And Justice For All; Slayer’s „South Of Heaven” and many others and surely Overkill belong to this list, do you agree with it?
Well the Years of Decay did for sure. Some people call it the perfect thrash album. We never changed our style while i was in the band. We just got better with each album. One more album would have really showed what we could do. I had six months to write each album. D.D. had six years to put together Horrorscope. Thats the only reason that album did good. When he finally had to write the next album in six months he now could see how hard it was to do. I don’t think any album after that was good again.
Did the album combine your familiar up tempo thrash from your earlier albums with a lot of slower, melodic and lengthy moments but without losing power and still being thrash metal?
Sure we always kept to the core reason of what made Overkill work. We drifted on albums to be different but not so far as to where people were like, what the fuck are they thinking. We would never do something like a St. Anger.
Is The Years of Decay an extremely well thought-out album, and like all your early releases it combines relentless brutality with a melodic sense and insanely catchy and memorable songwriting?
It sure does. You totally have it all right. We tried to do it on every album but you can see how the sounds can change the anger level. It’s important to have everything in place. It just all fell together on Years of Decay. So much so that they tried to do it again with Terry Date after me. But i think it still fell short of my album.
This is Overkill’s more varied album, since there are the fast Elimination, Birth Of Tension or Time To Kill, a ballad like Who Tends The Fire, the epic, doomy Playing With Spiders/Skullkrusher, do you agree with it?
Varied but they all work together. I'd never call Who Tends the Fire a ballad. Beth by Kiss is a ballad. Dark cover, dark video, dark songs. Sometimes you just get it perfect.
Was Over Kill on the top at this point? Did you top off on your career?
No not peak at all. We just got the sounds and songs where we wanted them. Now we could move on from there. Well D.D. decided he wanted to be in charge and you know the rest. Sometimes it’s better to be a follower in something that is successful, than be a leader of something that is not.
Overkill have never achieved this again since, right?
I don’t think they ever have. I don’t know much of the songs after me, but i dont think they were stable enough to even keep the members in the band. Way to many changes, so what does that tell you.
The uptempo thrasher Elimination was released as a single and the music video again received regular airplay on MTV’s Headbangers Ball and the song became a fan favorite and would be played live at every show, even 20 years later, would you say, that the video deppened/sharpened the band’s popularity?
Back then MTV was great. It really did help a lot. As long as the song wasn’t a sell out, fuck it let them play it as much as they want. Our biggest song that almost didn’t make it to the album. It was the last song i finish just as we were in the studio.
Live support of The Years of Decay took place, in part, on a tour called Dawn Of The Decade together with label mates Testament, how did it go? Was it followed by more tours or gigs?
We did a few shows with them. It all went well, but we were ready to headline and be in control. No one offered us a big tour so we did what we always did. Hit the clubs.
Would you say, that touringwise Over Kill turned from a club act to be a bigger venue/hall one? I mean, you got a wider audience step by step.
Yes we just at the point where we could do theaters and bust out on a big tour. It just didn’t happen.
The album has sold 2 million copies worldwide, have you ever thought or counted on such a great success?
What album?? We never sold 2 million of anything. By itself or combined.
In 1990 you left the band, because Verni and you had long locked horns over the direction of the band, and in the end Blitz sided with Verni, asking you to leave Overkill, how did that happen? What kind of direction did they offer or wanted to do at all?
Well it wasn’t a long drawn out fight. We only had a disagreement about a show he wanted to do for money only. Something i opposed. He actually quit the band on me and Blitz. We were ready to look for a new bass player and he changed his mind and came back. But in those two weeks he went to the management behind my back and wanted to get me kicked out. So i said fuck him im not playing with him lets just get a new bass player. One thing went to another and i was gone. That’s the bottom line. He claimed i never listened to his music, but look at U.T.I. some riffs were his and it was to happy. I couldn’t do that twice.
Do you agree with, that with your departure the band lost one of its most important part? Did you remain in touch with them? What do you think about the Over Kill records, that were done without you?
Totally. I wrote 90 percent of the songs and all of Years of Decay. How could they stay the same. I only talk to Blitz. I haven’t listened to anything after me and i only listened to Horrorscope once to see if they stole any of my songs.
You were involving in some bands after you quit the band, such as Skrew, I4NI, Response Negative, while during the Over Kill era you took part in Cycle Sluts From Hell, can you give a sum about these bands? Have you recorded with ’em any materials?
I4NI was my band after. Everything was me. I liked it very much and it was different,but no labels were into it. Skrew was a favor to Debbie Abono. The Sluts were great fun but they got dropped from there label so i quit. R.N. was also great but we had no interest from labels so it was time to stop.
Do you still keep an eye on what’s going on in the Metal scene? What are your faves these days? Do you willingly listen to new acts or do you rather prefer the old school?
I don’t follow or listen much at all. But even in the days when i was writing i didn’t listen to much newer music.
Is the scene oversaturated these days?
Thats an understatement. I hear some new stuff and its like bro..i played that 20 years ago..its not new.
Do you consider yourself an influential, technical guitarist?
From the e-mails i get from fans of the band they say yes. I just did what i could do at the time.
What are/were the best and wors memories with Over Kill? How would you sum up your career as the guitarist of the band and the developement of the band from the demo days ’til The Years Of Decay?
Best would be a show at the end of our career where we helped a family pay the bills on the daughter who needed a liver transplant. That and our first show, hearing us on the radio and seeing our video for the first time. The worst is the day i quit or was fired and everyday since. But im over it. They lost and i have a great life and house in Florida. Something i would never have if i stayed with them.
Do the fans have the chance/possibility to see Over Kill on stage either with the Blitz/Gustafson/Verni/Skates or with the Blitz/Gustafson/Verni/Falck line up? Which is the classic one in your opinion?
I would play with Sid. Rat couldn’t handle what Sid played so id like to see that. But it will never happen because Overkill will never ask me back because it would prove to everyone that they failed without me.
Are you proud of being the guitarist of Over Kill and taking part in the glorious scene of the ’80s?
I do. Im really happy about what we did and to be a sucsess in the biggest city in the world.
Bobby, thanks a lot for the interview, I wish you all the best. Please, feel free finish the interview.
Thank you. And thanks to all the fans over these years that have not forgotten me and what we did back then. Its such a crime they will never get to see me play with the band that ment so much to them. The band for better or worse will follow me forever. Cheers to all!!! Bobby G.

Current playlist

1. KREATOR: Terrible Certainty
2. DEATH STRIKE: Fucking Death
3. CELTIC FROST: To Mega Therion
4. OVER KILL: Under The Influence
5. RUNNING WILD: Under Jolly Roger
6. ENFORCER: Diamonds
7. DEATHFIST: Too Hot To Burn
8. BATHORY: Bathory
9. ANACRUSIS: Suffering Hour
10. RAGING STEEL: Guilty As Charged

2010. november 2., kedd

Current Playlist

1. AGENT STEEL: Unstoppable Force
2. EXCITER: Violence And Force
3. IRON MAIDEN: The Number Of The Beast
4. DOKKEN: Tooth And Nail
5. RAGING STEEL: Guilty As Charged
6. VICIOUS RUMORS: Welcome To The Ball
7. JAGUAR: Power Games
8. VIRUS: Force Recon
9. E-X-E: Stricken By Might
10. GRAVESTONE: Victim Of Chains/Back To The Attack

2010. október 23., szombat

My actual playlist

1. SAVAGE DEATH: Mass Genocide & Crucified In Hell Demos
2. VIKING: Do Or Die
3. FORBIDDEN: Omega Wave
4. VECTOM: Speed Revolution
5. HAIL OF BULLETS: On Divine Winds
6. GRAVE DIGGER: Heavy Metal Breakdown
7. VIO-LENCE: Eternal Nightmare
8. WARRANT: First Strike/The Enforcer
9. AUTOPSY: Awakened By Gore (compilation)
10. NASTY SAVAGE: Indulgence

2010. október 22., péntek

Metallica: The Club Dayz: 1982-84 written by William Hale

This year you released a very cool book about Metallica titled Metallica: The Club Dayz 1982-84, what was the background of this book? At which point did you decide releasing this book?
I was shopping my 1st effort called PowerSurge and nobody understood or got the point of a photography book that had pix of Slayer backed with Tom Petty or Neil Young and L.A. Guns!!! My manager got an email from a Litary agent asking if we placed PowerSurge and if not she knew of a publishing company that would be interested… Well as it turned out they did not see PowerSurge as a money maker either… But they did ask to see if I could produce an all Metallica photo book.. I did and here it is Metallica: The Club Dayz… available at Amazon dot com or other fine online retailers!
How often did Metallica play in the Bay Area before the release of „Kill ’em all”?
In my photo book, Metallica: The Club Dayz... I photographed all but one show, and that was a benefit for Metal Mania. Six gigs... 3 with Ron McGovney... and two with Cliff and Dave Mustaine... One with Kirk, but they had the album done but not released...
As I as know, the reason of their relocation to Bay Area was, that they wanted to have Cliff Burton (Trauma) in the band, since he was the most headbanging bassplayer back then and was a very talented bassplayer as well, can you tell us more about it?
Hum... Cliff was good! but the most talented... I think Lars had asked Joey Vera first but Joey would not leave Armored Saint... Lars also asked John Bush to be the lead singer, also, but Bush would not leave Armored Saint, either… Cliff was a great friend.. I saw Trauma open for Saxon... Cliff was good but he came into his own in Metallica!!!
Is it true, that Cliff Burton initially declined the offer, by the end of the year (1982) he accepted on the condition the band move to San Francisco?
Yeah, Cliff did not want to move down south to LA...
Metallica's first live performance with Cliff Burton was at the nightclub The Stone in March 1983, and the first recording to feature Burton was the 1983 Megaforce demo, what do you recall of that period?
Yeppa... This is well documented in my book Metallica: The Club Dayz... I believe there is a demo called " The KUSF" demo... Only two song "Whiplash" and "No Remorse"... This was Mark Whitaker's school project. Yeah... The Whole Bay Area Metal scene was out at this gig... I got pix of Cliff backstage tuning up before the show... Dave and Cliff hanging out... James and Dave drinking… and a few super cool group shots!!! Metallica, at this time, was the most dangerous band on the planet!!! Better than Sabbath, Purple or Zeppelin!!!
Metallica’s line up became complete, when the band members decided to kick Dave Mustaine out of the band due to drug and alcohol abuse and violent behavior and Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett flew in to replace Mustaine the same afternoon…
YEAH... NO!!! Dave was the most METAL of all of the Metallica guys... Dave wrote a ton of the riffs... Dave talked to the crowd, because James was too shy!!! Dave was the IN YOUR FACE guy!!!.. We all drank!!! To say Dave was more is a JOKE!!! With Cliff, the band was the best band on the planet... But when Cliff came on... Cliff and Dave were more musically equal then Lars... Lars saw the band becoming a democracy with 4 parts not just one...So Dave had to go... I was great friends with Kirk, but Kirk would be on Lars' side and not against him... Dave put the "METAL" in METALLICA!!!
All of the photos that are in the book were photographed by you during the years, aren’t they?
Yes, all the pix were taken by me during my years with MRV!
Could you tell us detailed about the book?
Yes, Metallica: The Club Dayz… is a collection of my photos of Metallica's 1st six official gigs in the Bay area. Three show with the original line up. James, Lars, Dave Mustaine and Ron Mcgovney. The two awesome gigs with Cliff Burton and Dave at the Stone!!! and Kirk's 1st show with Metallica in the Bay area… Plus I have include a ton of backstage and hanging out pix!!!
Does the book contain previously unreleased photos? From how many photos did you pick out those ones, that were published in the book?
Yes. many of the images are perviously unpublished and some have NEVR EVEN BEEN PRINTED!!! I have know ideal how many pix I shot but if I was to guess around two hundred or so…
Did it really represent Metallica’s early days? Were they a hungry, kick-ass band back in the day?
Yes, I think is does! The book really sets a tone and shows in photos how James came about being the lead singer we know and how the shift of power in the band with Mustaine and then with out him...
Do you still remember how and when did you meet them? Were they straight type of guys or…?
Yeppa, We were all young and hungry! Metallica weren't the "bad boys" just yet!!!
In your opinion, how much role did they have in changing the Bay Area scene and sound? Did they pump a fresh blood in the early ’80s Bay Area scene? Did they inspire a lot of Bay Area outfits to play faster and more brutal music?
Not really, You must remember that The Bay Area already had a great scene with many bands!!! Also keep in mind the Lars, Dave and James where there a short time before they got sign and before Dave left!!! What Metallica did do is to change the way the fans got in to the music… But Anthrax brought the MOSH PIT to the Bay Area, so there ya go..
Did their demos help a lot the band to increase their popularity in the scene?
Yes, the tape trading… Again remember Metallica was not the first to do this BUT Lars took full advantage of this! We (MRV) got demos all the time it just the Lars made a bigger noise than most...
What do you think about Metallica’s career? Did they follow their developement/career during the years? Are you still in touch with them by the way?
Like all bands that last this long, they have to progress even if the fans don't understand. You can only write songs that relate to you at the time or it's just fake trash, isn't! Metallica has done well for them selfs. They are one of the biggest bands ever aren't they! The band really have not strayed that far from… You can not be 21 for ever know can you! Have not talk to the band in a while, Kirk lives here in Honolulu, we have some of the same friends but I haven't seem him… But they all dig the book!!!

Fanzine History - Metal Mania and Metal Rendezvous

Legendary photogapher William Hale talked about both fanzines.

So Bill, when and how did you get in touch with Metal music? What made this kind of sound so attractive for you?
Hum, great start Leslie.. I have always been into music, since birth… My Dad always had music on all the time. When I got older and could change the radio station, it was ROCK & ROLL!!! At age six I heard Jimi, Janis, The Doors, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Deep Purple's Hush was a biggie… As a teenager in the mid 70's it was Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, UFO, Status Quo, Aerosmith, BTO, Slade, Sweet, of course, T.Rex, Kiss, Nazareth, a new band called AC/DC… A little bit later some punk slipped in.. The Pistols, The Clash, Nine nine nine,you know that sort… 78-79 brought Lovedrive by Scorpions and Overkill by Motorhead!!! Now these two albums changed EVERYTHING!!! Loverdrive gave all the European bands like Accept, Halloween, Gamma Ray something to shoot for as did Overkill and then Bomber gave the English bands… So naturally all the N.W.O.B.H.M. was to follow and boy did we all jump on that!!!
For how long have you been involved in metal?
That all depends what You call "Metal"… For me "Metal" was some Jimi, some Stepping Wolf, some Cream, some BOC, Purple, Budgie… There was a group in 1975 lead by ex Yardbirds singer Keith Ralph. The band was Armageddon and they where HEAVY!!! But in covering the scene… for the start of the "New Breed" that would be 1980 when MGS played the Oakland Civic center… All that were going to be a major player in the Bay Area scene was at that gig!!! That's the night I met Gary Holt, Paul Baloff, Mike Borden, Dave Starr, Mike Coons and so many others including Cliff Burton!!!
What were the first songs, records, shows etc. that had the biggest effect on you and you decided dedicating your life for the metal scene?
I really think that I was born into this! Just about everything I did leading up to me documenting the Bay Area Scene… As for prime moments… It starts with Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix version. I must have been six and heard it on an Am station called "KMBY" in Monterey's Cannery Row… Fast forward to 1979 and Judas Priest - Unleashed in theEast. Gillan - Mr. Universe, Riot - Narita, Electric Sun - Earthquake… 1980 and Budgie - Power Supply, Saxon - Wheels of Steel, the 1st Iron Maiden album!!! Motorhead - Bomber...and all that Neat Records stuff!!!
You were born and growing up in the Bay Area, do you still remember, how did the whole Bay Area metal scene start and develope step by step? How about the early footsteps of the Bay Area scene, with bands such as Metal Church, Anvil Chorus, Blind Illusion, Sinister Savage, Exodus etc.?
You really have to understand that the Bay Area has ALWAYS been a hot bed of bands… The 60's and the 70's bands paved the way for the 80's bands!!! All the clubs were already in place… The promoters like Bill Graham and Bobby Corona (the Stone) were already in place.. And the Bay Area fans were already there as were the older Rock writers, who gave the newer bands press…So it was a matter of time… All the "Metal" bands had a place to gig and fans.. so is was not like "BANG" one day all this stuff just appeared out of thin air...
When it comes to Bay Area metal, Ron Quintana and Ian Kallen are one of the founding fathers, how do you view it? Does it also mean, that they were big catalysators of what later was becoming the famous Bay Area scene?
Ron flew the "flag" but was not the leader… The scene has many "players" and all have there place… The club bookers had a ton of stuff to do with all this… If they don't book your band then… and the independent record store owners who took a chance on stocking the import vinyl which fueled the fire had a ton of stuff to do with the scene… Jeff Weller, the managers of Laaz Rockit, had a big impact… Jeff brought Metal Bands from LA to San Francisco… Mike Varney (Shrapnel Records) had a ton of influence… Metal Mania did not cover a lot of the Bay Area shows… Ron was partial to Motorhead, The Scorpions, Yngwie and Anvil Chorus..
Ron is the man, the myth, the legend, have supported the Bay area metal scene since 1981 when he founded a renegade radio show called Rampage Radio, he was the first Bay Area metal DJ to promote underground bands through his radio show on KUSF and as the editor of the Metal Mania fanzine, how did the whole Metal Mania and KUSF start exactly?
A couple of key points about KUSF… KUSF is the University of San Francisco radio station, it started in 1961… When Ron started there You could only get the signal if you were in a 5 to 10 block radius… It looks cool on paper… but a lot of "young college" people started to play "Metal"... Stred co hosted a radio program in Monterey and there was few others…
Was the whole metal scene in its infancy at this point?
Yeah, this could be said…
Do you agree with, that it wasn’t anything until Metallica’s relocation to the East Bay Area? I mean, did the scene start and get bigger after Metallica relocate to the Bay Area?
Ha, there will be a ton of bands after You for that Statement!!! The scene was why Metallica moved from LA… The Bay area was in full metal swing when Lars and James moved in!!! There were so many metal bands!! not just Thrash… please remember Metallica were "Speed Metal" until Xavier Russell coined the phrase "Thrash Metal"… Vicious Rumors, Steele, Griffin, Hexx, Winterhawk, Brocas Helm, Trauma, Overdrive, Laaz Rockit, Tyrant even Death Angel had started…
So, they seemed to be very influential for the whole scene, right?
Metallica only played five official gigs before they left for New York and three of those show where when they were still based in LA… In all truth.. Lemmy had a bigger impact on all of Us, even Metallica!!! But most of the bigger bands were already formed and gigging...
You became the photographer of Metal Mania, how and when did you join them? Did you also do interview, write reviews and stuff?
I was trying to get my mag off the ground and Ron would ask for pics… since MRV was not out yet I gave him some photos in hopes by doing that I would get interest for my mag...
Did the staff consist of Ron, Ian and you or were there other members too?
Yes Metal Mania was Ron and a gang of correspondents and pen pals… Lots of young writers had articles in MM… Bob Naldandian wrote the 1st Metallica piece, Bernard Doe, K.J. Doughton, Harald O, Brain Lew (Whiplash) and Tim Kort just to name a few…
Do you still remember, how did you get acquainted with each other? Did you have a common musical interest and taste?
Yeah Ron was just like John Strednansky (Chief Editor Metal Rendez-vous Int.) and I… We all were "Up" on the rock scene world wide!!! We hung out at all of the same clubs and dug all of the same bands, and yes we are the same age... I think that Ron and I are a month apart!!!
One of Ron’s more notable moment in metal history is when he asked a not-so-famous friend of his, Lars Ulrich, to help him pick a name for his new fanzine, Lars looked the list over, spied the name Metallica and told Ron to call the fanzine Metal Mania, is that correct?
Yeppa that's about how that story went… Funny, I do not know if Lars and Quintana knew about the book "Encyclopedia Metallica" which predates this event by a year or so…
Were you aware of, that by the mid-1960s, several fans active in science fiction and comics fandom recognized a shared interest in rock music, and the rock fanzines were born and Paul Williams and Greg Shaw were two such SF-fans turned rock zine editors?
Hum… no I did not???
Are Williams’ „Crawdaddy!” (1966) and Shaw’s two California-based zines, „Mojo Navigator” (full title, „Mojo-Navigator Rock and Roll News”) (1966) and „Who Put the Bomp?” (1970) among the most important early rock fanzines? Did you know these fanzines at all?
I never read these but was somewhat aware of them… We or at least I was really into Joel Selvin the music editor of the San Francisco Chronicle… He covered the Bay Area scene forever!!! But mainly we were into the British press.. Mick Wall, Malcolm Dome, Paul Suter and the MIGHTY Geoff Barton!!!
Did you know, that „Crawdaddy!” quickly moved from its fanzine roots to become one of the first rock music „prozines” with paid advertisers and newsstand distribution, while „Bomp” remained a fanzine, featuring many writers who would later become prominent music journalists, including Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Ken Barnes, Ed Ward, Dave Marsh, Mike Saunders and R. Meltzer?
No I did not… But this goes to show that You have to start somewhere!!!
Bomp was not alone; an August 1970 issue of Rolling Stone included an article about the explosion of rock fanzines: other rock fanzines of this period include „Flash” 1972, edited by Mark Shipper, „Eurock Magazine” (1973-1993) edited by Archie Patterson and Bam Balam, written and published by Brian Hogg in East Lothian, Scotland, beginning in 1974, and in the mid-1970s, Back Door Man and denim delinquent, so would you name it the start and the turning point of the underground scene?
For Stred and I, we started MRV because no US mainstream mag was keeping up with what the English press was doing!!! When we got MRV off the ground it was to cover all the bands that we were into and not what "Corporate America" was paying for… (Side note to history… Metal Rendez-vous was up to 100,000 issues… Metal Hammer, today is only 50,000 and Metal Mania never did those numbers…)
Metallica went on to become a household name and Metal Mania became a staple in the underground, introducing metal fans to unsigned bands across the country, as well as exposing them to a large dose of punk, hardcore, and New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, does it mean, that Metal Mania became the very first heavy metal fanzine in the States?
Well, Leslie, Brian Slagel had the 1st fanzine. It was called the New Heavy Metal Review and I think this was 1980… BUT it was really Sounds and Kerrang that made a bigger impact!!!
The early Bay Area bands (including Metallica too) were highly influenced by the NWOBHM, that started at the late ’70s/early ’80s, were you aware of the existence of that scene? From where did you get informations, news etc. about what’s going on in Europe?
YES!!! WE ALL LOVED THE N.W.O.B.H.M.!!! Sounds, and to a leaser extent, NME and Melody Maker brought it all to Us!!!Then of course Kerrang Topped them all!!!
You mentioned above, that a gang of correspondents and pen pals including Bernard Doe wrote for MM, is he the guy, who established Metal Forces later on?
Yeah, one and the same... lots of pen pals became major writers in their own right...
Was it easy for you guys to get the new Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Motörhead etc. records or tapes? Were all of you fans of that legendary NWOBHM movement?
Yes, Leslie, The NWOBHM was HUGE for Us... We all scoured all the record stores for all the latest imports... Ron even worked at The Record Vault at one point...
At this point in Germany started a big metal boom as well, with acts, such as Accept, Scorpions, Grave Digger, Stormwitch, Steeler etc., were you familiar with the bands too?
Yes. The Scorpions were the first... Stred was in to them way back in the mid 70's... But we were into the other 70's German bands like Lucifer's Friend, Night Sun, Epitaph, Guru Guru, Birth Control and Jane... Then came Accept. Warlock, Holy Moses and the others...
How do you view, that along with Tampa, Florida, New York and Los Angeles the Bay Area scene was widely attributed as a starting point of American thrash metal?
San Francisco had the club scene already and it was a very large one... That's why the Bay Area ruled... The Clubs were there and great clubs they were!!!
Do you agree with, that as different thrash metal scenes began to develop starting around the early/mid-80's each had their own distinct sound that differentiated the bands from other bands on the scene?
Yeah, it's a geo-political, sociological aspect of life... Bands need some thing to sing about... Guitar tones come from the street... If you live in a house with a basement... Bands seemed to be more complex... If a band lives in the inter city, they tend to be more raw and "punkish"... Anthrax, Overkill and Hades all have that NYC punk edge, as the early Metallica and Megadeth were more complex...
The scene’s earliest bands like Exodus, Metallica, perhaps best examplified the early straight up NWOBHM meets punk style of the scene and albums that very much highlighted this era of Bay Area thrash included Metallica’s „Kill Em All” and Exodus’s „Bonded By Blood”, right?
Well, they were not the 1st bands, per se… Bands like Steel, Laas Rockit and Vicious Rumors had it going on way before... Please remember that Metallica had all, but two, songs written in LA before they moved and Exodus' 1st album came out late in 85... The Bay area was pumping way before then...
Would you say, that Slayer’s „Show no mercy” had also a very important effect on the developing of the American thrash scene?
I would say Riot's "Fire Down Under"... First because it came out in 1981 and the controversy around the album... secondly everyone got it and played it to death... It may not be "THRASH" by definition, but very very influential.. Just play the title track!!! Slayer was big, but there were others...
In your opinion, were there any borders between the styles (black, thrash, death etc.) back in the day or was it a common underground scene? Would you say, that the rise of the extreme metal began with acts, such as Mantas/Death, Massacre, Possessed, Slaughter, Death Strike/Master etc.?
The whole thing was great, until it got to be a parody of it self...
Were you familiar with fanzines such as Decibel Of Death, Kick Ass Monthly, Violent Noize, Blackthorn etc.? Were there any fanzines there were a kind of examples for you how has a fanzine to do? I mean, which fanzines have had the biggest influence, effect on you? Which papers did you know or like back then?
I knew of a few,BUT it was Sounds, NME and the Melody Maker that did it for us... I think that the "Major Rock mags here did more for us in what they would not print... This made all of us work harder to cover "Our Music"... My mag Metal Rendezvous came out just after Ron's 1st issue..
Did you have enough material for each issues? Were there any materials that left out?
Yes, there were a ton of bands... and No, I do not recall the bands that we did not cover.. way too many years have gone by..
What were the criterias for choosing the bands to feature in Metal Mania?
Any band that rocked!!!
Were you concentrating on supporting the underground scene?
Yes... But you had to balance the coverage...
Did you often get demos and rehearsals from underground groups?
ALL THE TIME!!! and from all around the world...
Were you aware of the newer bands via flyers or…?
Yeah, bands would give ya flyers all of the time… and demo tapes and free tickets to their gigs...
How did you do the issues of the fanzines and how much did take to do each issues?
We'd get together and just start hashing out the layouts... I would size all my pix and Stred started to type away...
Did you do the issues with typewriter? What about the production of the fanzines as a whole?
We learned as we went along and made it up when we could...
What were the early issues like and how were the responses to them? How many copies did you print and was it hard to get rid of them?
The 1st issue was xeroxed at a print shop... I photocopied the next few at my Moms office and finally we were professionally off set printed!
Did you also try to get in touch with labels as well? Do you still remember what were the labels that you got in touch with?
Yeppa, out of all of the "fanzines" We got to be the Major Labels' favorite!!! We really did our best to be professional...
Did they start sending you promos? On what kind of format did you get the advance or promotional stuffs?
Yeppa, our mail box was stuffed full of promos...
How many copies of all these single issues were sold at all? How many copies are/were printed from each issue?
I think issue #1 was a run of 50... Our last few issues ran 100,000 copies world wide!!!
What do the issues cost back then? Did you also change, trade with other fanzine editors?
$1.50 for the 1st ones and $2.00 or $3.00 at the end... here is a link to a Facebook Gallery I have set up for some of the covers.
How did you distribute, spread the fanzines? Were you in connection with penbangers from all over the world?
Yeah, Pen pals and record shops...
What about the promotion of Metal Mania back then? How and how much promotion did you make for Metal Mania? I mean, did you sell it alone or was it available at shows, record stores etc.?
Not much promo going on… I think Ron really did not get into that "Sales Man" vibe. But at MRV we did a lot of cross promotions with Bands and record labels… Stred was king of all that!
Did you send from the paper to those bands, which were interviewed in the fanzine?
We tried to send all of the bands copies but fell short… So, sorry guys!
As for the ’80s, both the tape trading scene and running fanzines were very popular, they were at their peak those times, would say, that running fanzines was a chain reaction back then? I mean, the editors draw inspiration from each other or…?
Not really… Stred and I just wanted to put out the best metal mag ever!!! We had our own style but I saw a lot of copy cats out there… but none of them lasted long...
Was a competition between the fanzines editors or was a unity among them? With which fanzine editors were you in touch back then? Which fanzine was the best back in the day in your opinion?
Not really… At MRV we were way too bizzy and I could say the same of Ron… We were like the 1st…
Do you think that fanzines played, play and will play an important role in the Metal scene? How can mags/’zines support the career of bands?
Yeah back then before the internet… Print was king!!! Now I really have not seen the internet "Break" a band yet… But, it helps some bands along the way.
As fanzines were produced in ever greater volumes and developed into new areas of subject matter, a form of culture also developed around them, a "fanzine scene" is referred to by zine producers, do you agree with it?
I really don't know how to answer that one… I was way too busy to step back and look at what we did… I went to a gig, shot the band backstage, shot some live pix and then hang out after… then drive back to Monterey get some sleep and processes the film and make some test prints and head down to the office and layout meetings… Then get back to my darkroom and make master prints to send off to the printers… We never really looked at this as anything else but getting the Metal news out...
What do you think about, that a major problem that fanzines have is their seclusion and isolation away from the general public?
No, the major problem with most 'zines were that they were run by people that did not know what they were doing and did not know METAL… MRV lasted of ten years or so and was up to 100,000 issues!!!
Back to a little bit to Bay Area, the scene started changing in the mid ’80s, more and more thrash bands appeared, but Possessed would bring a turning point to the genre with 1985’s „Seven Churches” regarded as the first album to cross over from thrash metal to death metal for the largely "growling vocals" and subject matter dealing with horror and the occult, how do you explain this?
Don't know about that… You should ask Tom from Slayer that…. Slayer was 1st and all the rest were incomparable!
As I mentioned above, around the mid-80's the sound of the scene changed considerably; virtuosic musicianship (particularly lead guitars) had become a defining characteristic of the scene, correct?
Don't know about that either… Yngwie has always been Yngwie as well as Mustiane being Mustaine so I would say Metal always was about great playing...
The second wave of bands coming out of the scene, led by Testament, Death Angel, Forbidden, and Heathen, played a style of thrash considerably different from their predecessors; this new brand of thrash featured longer and more harmonically and rhythmically complex songs, with often neo-classical styled dual lead guitar playing highlighting the album…
Heathen had Doug from Anvil Chours, that band was all about dual guitars… The Bay area was really all about great playing… Vicious Rumors and Laaz Rockit were main stays…They set the "pace" as much as Exodus and Metallica…
Would you say, that the songs also borrowed more from NWOBHM vocals and melodies?
Any Diamond Head tunes… But Motorhead was and still is the band that set the bar for all to aim for… Cheers Lemmy!!!

A progressive rock influence became apparent for the first time in the genre and the punk influence that was once crucial to the genre was now almost completely absent and this sound, highlighted by albums like Testament’s „The Legacy” and Death Angel’s „The Ultra-Violence”, both released in 1987, was the style that many would associate with the classic Bay Area sound, what are your views on it?
If Cliff was still here he would have something to say about that… The 2nd Metallica album was all that, but the bay area had bands like Griffin and Dammaj that were playing that way long before those bands… Funny, how some bands stay and others fade…
This is often attributed to the fact that guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani lived in the Bay Area and often instructed a number of guitarists who would go on to play in some of these bands (some of these guitarists would include Exodus’s Rick Hunolt, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett), do you agree with that statement? Did Such really a help a lot those guitarists becoming better and more professional?
WOW… Don't say that to Mike Varney… His U.S. Metal lp's did way more than Joe did!
So Bill, how long did you work for Metal Mania? How would you sum up the years that you sent by Metal Mania?
Not long… But, I always there for Ron when he needed some pix
What made you to join Metal Rendezvous? Did you part ways on a friendly term at the end? Did you remain in touch with Ron and Ian after you left Metal Mania?
MRV was started by John Strednansky and myself… Ron got MM out 1st but Stred and I took a little longer to find our design… I still talk to Ron, email mostly, due to the fact that I now live in Hawaii… We did a podcast last year and Ron wrote a cool bit for my Metallica photo book…
After twenty years on the air and through myriad fanzines, Ron continues to promote the local metal scene and introduce new music to his legions of fans. It means, he is still enthusiastic, metal is his passion and metal runs in his veins, right?
Ron has more of a wide taste now a days… But he still is Ron… God bless him for that!!!
To which extent were you familiar with Metal Rendezvous? Did they already exist at this point or was it a really new mag/’zine?
No, we started out as a fanzine and grew up… Stred and I saw a place for a great US Metal mag.. We were big with all the record labels so we needed to be more professional, but we still ROCKED!!!
They were based in California, correct?
Monterey, the same place that Jimi and The Who made there US debuts...
As for the musical taste of this paper, did they specialize in thrash metal or simply in metal in general?
What about the staff of MR? Did you become photographer like by Metal Mania?
Well, I was one of the founders. Stred wrote and I snapped away… Come to think about it John and I were the only writer & photog team out there...
How many issues were released from MR during the years? How would you describe each issues? How often was MR released?
We lasted 10 years and at 1st our output was not that great but after 87 we were like every 2 months...
Did it succeed for the mag in doing a name for themselves or influencing other ’zine writers? I mean, do you consider an influential and successful mag?
We wanted to write about the bands we liked! If other writers like it that was cool, but we really were there to push the music.. The funny thing was, that a lot of big mags did stories on MRV… From Rolling Stone, Kerrang and even High Times all wrote stories on MRV… So to answer that question yes, but I really did not care. We were there for the MUSIC!!!
When and why did stop MR its activities? Did you relocate to Honolulu Hawaii, after MR was off?
Stred and I put MRV to "sleep" in December 1989… I was living in LA and was just tired… Really, for the last ten years I photographed bands up and down California. If not the rest of the US… I WAS WIPED OUT… I was the one who had to go out and deal with bands… Hell, most of the writers just picked up the phone… I had to be there in the clubs…I slept for two years before I started to hang out again… I moved here, to Hawaii, almost ten years ago and I still work with bands… The main one is Henry Kapono. Henry put out a cd called "The Wild Hawaiian" just think if Jimi Hendrix grew up hawaiian and that's what you got!!!
Since you are in the scene since 1979, how much did change the music industry compared to the late ’70s/early ’80s? What do you think about the present metal scene as a whole? What are the bands that you prefer or often listen to these days?
The whole monster has changed!!! That's a good thing, record labels got greedy! Fat and Greedy… They charged far to much for cds when they cost less to make… I could go on but why… Now bands, if they smart and know how to take advantage of the "Steve Jobs" revolution can do it all them selves.. Really, bands should know the BIZ, all the ins and outs. Recording, legal, marketing and promotion… their are so many outlets to get your music out to the fans… Bands who do the leg work will be the next stars.. BUT remember it is a business and needs to be treated as such!!!
Are you for or against the file-sharing and mp3 things?
Let me put it this way… I always put a © on all my pix that I put up on the net… So if people want to use them you will see my copyright. I do not mind if someone reposts my work as I know others will see my name on them.. If someone takes the extra time to photoshop my name off.. they have way too much time on their hands...
What are your future plans?
To get out my next photo book.. Megadeth: Another Time - A Different Place... I'm in talks right now…
Please name your first ten all time classics! Please add your comments to them!
WOW!!! that's so hard to do but here it goes…
Scorpoins - Loverdrive
This album ushered in a big change in metal… recorded and released in 1979 great guitars, great production just listen to this over headphones and let the brothers Schenker make you a believer!!!

Motorhead - Ace of Spades
Lemmy and company where on a roll with Overkill and Bomber, this would be the crowning maters piece that would bring America to it's "Motor-Headbangers" to their feet and rise their "Iron Fist"!!!

UFO - Strangers in the night
I'm going with the live album because it contains all UFO's cool track up to than… Schenker or Paul Chapman.. who knows and who cares this just cooks up some great guitar licks!!!

Gillan - Mr. Universe
Yeah over Deep Purple!!! Ya'll need to go find this record!!! Ian really pulled this out from his heavy roots… The right place and the right time…
Mr. Universe just rules!!!

Deep Purple - Made in Japan
Purple is my favorite band!!! It's hard to pick out just one album for a group that has had some many line up changes… But Made in Japan is a great sound live effort that show cases Ritchie's Guitars and Ian's voices!!!
Highway star anyone????

Riot - Fire Down Under
This is America's first true Metal album!!! Mark Reale and the band went through hell to get this released as Capitol records said that this was too heavy… Capital's loss and Our gain!!!

Holocaust - The Nightcomers
Yeah over Maiden, Angel Witch and Saxon… This record really captures the feel of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal!! Yeah go out and find it and you will see what and talking about!!!

Metallica - Masters of Puppets
Cliff finest hour… RIP Buddy!!!

Megadeth - Killing is my business
One word "Rattlehead" =)

Y&T - Earthshaker
The Band Area's big brothers of hard Rock!!! When Dave and crew signed a new deal with A&M records their 1st record was Earthshaker and the Rock world was never the same… Almost every California based band opened for Y&T… Van Halen, Motely and yes even Metallica...

Bill, thanks a lot for the interview, any closing words for my readers?
And thank you for the time and cheers for help keeping the Metal flame burning!!! If You dig this type of music, go out and support it, Buy the cds, go to the gigs, find new bands the rule and help push them… Metal is a true fan driven music!!! It's up to all of us to help keep metal in the forefront.
Cheers and Aloha =)