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 =)

2010. október 8., péntek

Crowbar - Kirk Windstein

The interview was done in Summer before Crowbar's show. Credit and thanks to my friend Viktor Tauszik the singer of Hungarian band Nadir.

What is it like to celebrate the 4th of July on a European tour if you celebrate it at all?
Kirk Windstein: I don't. I put on Facebook “Happy 4th of July to my American friends” and when I'm home I'm going to have “Barbecue day” and “Baseball Day”.
You have been to Europe in April as well, and you celebrated your birthday with Sepultura in Germany.
Kirk: Yes. It was great because Andreas (Kisser) said: „Hey man, do you wanna play Orgasmatron by Motörhead?” And I said: “Yeah, of course.” The only thing that sucked with that was that Peter Steele died. On my birthday!..
When can we expect the new Crowbar album to come out?
Kirk: It's all written. It's a matter of getting the time to do it. When I get home I will have nine days total which I want to spend with my daughter and my finance as much as possible. Then I'm back to London with Down. It's going so busy... We finally signed a deal with E1 in America and Century Media for the rest of the world with Crowbar. That's a good big label. We'll also have a brand new live album with a couple of new studio tracks on Housecore Records which will re-release some old Crowbar shit. It's a very small label but it's good. It's run by Phil (Anselmo), he's in charge which makes it good because you know that anything that comes out is going be underground. It's an underground label. It's going to be underground, it's going to be good quality shit, something he likes.
When you started playing music, one of your first bands was Wrequiem. How did Crowbar developed from it?
Kirk: Wrequiem was basically Crowbar. First we changed the name to The Slugs, then to Crowbar but we played the same songs.
Why did you change the band name?
Kirk: We started calling ourselves The Slugs, the we got a small record deal with an underground label. They said: “Look, there is already a band out there called the The Slugs, so can you call your band another name?” And I said: “sure.” Actually, I was playing in a band called Crowbar. I played drums, Jimmy (Bower) played guitar, Sexy T played bass and we had this big, really dark skin black guy singing. It was his anti Skrewdriver band with a “fuck racism, I hate everybody” attitude.
What is happening with those other New Orleans based bands you started with at the same time or which came shortly after Crowbar, e.g. Graveyard Rodeo, Stressball, Tungsten?
Kirk: None of them exist anymore. We're still friends with some of the guys but none of those bands exist.
And what is new on the New Orleans scene?
Kirk: Honestly, I don't know. I'm 45 years old, I don't go out that much and I'm not part of the scene anymore. It's not that I'm a dick about this but I don't have time. I have my routine, I have my lady, I cut the grass, I clean the house, I go to the grocer... I'm a regular guy. But I don't go to shows that much anymore.
Do you know anything about Sexy T? What is he doing currently?
Kirk: We spoke a couple of times recently, for the first time in like ten years and he's doing well. He had a stomach surgery and lost weight which is good. He's kind of happy away from it. He couldn't smoke pot, he couldn't drink beer, he got bored with it. When things were actually on the up for Crowbar, it was fantastic but he really had no money for us, so he said he will get married and work a regular job. And I said: “Dude, I respect you for that”. So, he's doing well.
Back then, you had lots of different projects with former Crowbar members, Phil Anselmo and nearly all musicians from the New Orleans metal scene, e.g. Christ Inversion, Both Legs Broken...
Kirk: Yes but nowadays my day is full with other businesses... Just being a husband and a father, enjoying life at 45.
You are going to play Ozzfest in the US with Kingdom Of Sorrow. Any chance to do a European tour?
Kirk: Yeah, we'll do it at some point. Down is my main priority and Crowbar is right behind it now.
What was it like to work with Jamey? What kind of person is he?
Kirk: He's a great businessman and a fucking Nazi slave driver. He makes the best out of it, that's how you have to work with him. I'm all laid back and he's like “Hurry up, hurry up!..” It was great, though.
You have an official Crowbar web site. Do you still find it important to keep a web site while Myspace and Facebook are more popular than anything else?
Kirk: I'm on Facebook more. I just tell people what is going on, where I am, what was the show like, how I miss my girl and my daughter. But I don't really fuck with it much.
Of course, your fiancee and your daughter miss you a lot, too. Isn't it a problem for them that you are not as often home as you're supposed to be?
Kirk: They understand it. They don't like it but it's a fact of life. This is what I do. It sucks for me because the only time I really enjoy touring is when I'm on stage and that's only one hour. So, the rest of the day is missing my beautiful fiancee, my daughter, my friends... It's another hotel and a different place every day...
What is the thing that still keeps you inspired after all these years?
Kirk: For me, it's the same thing from the start: when I hear a fucking guitar riff, my dick gets up. Ever since I was a kid. The thing that inspires me and makes me carry on is the fact that I love writing music, playing music, performing music and I realize how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to. I don't have any friends that can say that they opened for AC/DC in Romania or fuckin' rode the same plane with Ronnie James Dio. I feel very blessed for that and I'm very thankful.


Insanity - Dave Gorsuch

This interview isn't a new one, because it have been done for several years ago, but I think, it didn't loose its actuality.

Dave, I would curious to know, how did you discover metal and what did you find so exciting in this music? At which point did you find interest in music and metal in particular?
When I first got into music I started listening to bands like Black Sabbath, Rush, Led Zeppelin etc. Joe DeZuniga exposed me to metal which I loved from the start because I always was into the heaviest and most technical riffs from the bands I was exposed to.
Were you always the fan of thrash what was going on in the Bay Area or were you rather into classic metal acts, such as IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON etc. or perhaps into melodic ones, such as KISS, VAN HALEN, DEF LEPPARD etc.?
Since we met in the early 80's bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc. was the heaviest shit we could find which were our favorite bands until we discovered Venom & Mercyful Fate among others. We were really into the scene and saw Metallica play with Dave Mustaine and Ron McGovney in 1982 and they became our favorite band until we saw Slayer the first time they came up from L.A.
When did you decide to play guitar and was this the first instrument that you you've decided to play? How did your choice fall on guitar at all?
I just really loved it from the start. I remember listening to AC/DC when I first got into music as a kid and I was thrashing all around the house playing air guitar with a broom, jumping off the furniture and totally rocking out. Besides the fast and intense parts, guitar solos were often my favorite parts of songs so naturally I wanted to be a lead guitarist.
What were your influences to become a metal musician?
First I guess it was Maiden, Preist, Motorhead, Venom and Mercyful Fate then Metallica and Slayer, I was always heavily into Randy Rhoads as well.
At that time was the great thrash buzz at the Bay Area, such bands popped out, like EXODUS, POSSESSED, DEATH ANGEL, HEATHEN, BLIND ILLUSION, TRAUMA etc. what can you tell us about those extraordinary early years, about the atmosphere that could be found in that area, the violence that could be found at the EXODUS shows etc…
Those were THE BEST TIMES. It was so cool in those early years before Metallica got big because the punk scene fused with the metal scene and everyone was thrashing all around like a big group of friends slamming into each other like you would with a small group of friends. Everyone was open minded as well. At our very first show we had a huge violent pit within 30 seconds of starting the first song and no one even heard of us before.
The Bay Area scene was becoming very big with the aforementioned acts and all of them tried to make their dent in the scene, how did you view that explosion?
It was great, we'd go see bands like Possessed, Exodus and Death Angel all the time and having the scene get bigger helped us out when we started playing live.
Were you familiar with those outfits?
Sure we'd see them all the time and partied with a few, especially our bros in Possessed.
In my opinion the most extreme and aggressive band at the Bay Area was POSSESSED, do you agree with me? Would you name POSSESSED thrash, death or black metal band?
I would agree, I think Possessed was the first death metal band. I believe even Chuck of Death said in the past „Seven Churches" was the first real death metal album.
Were there at that time borders between the styles of metal (thrash, speed, death etc.) or was there a common underground, extreme metal scene?
There weren't "borders" just because people had different styles. At that time there weren't that many bands around that were death so it was more of a common scene. Athough when we started playing in the Bay Area, Possessed was the only other local death metal band which is probably why we bonded and liked to hang out with them at shows.
The band was formed in 1985 by vocalist/guitarist Joe DeZuniga and you, did you know ach other earlier? Did you have previous experiences or was INSANITY your very first band?
Yeah we were friends a few years before Insanity started. Joe actually taught me some of my first riffs on guitar when we were best friends at 15 & 16.
At which point did bassist Keith Ellison and drummer Bud Mills get in the picture exactly? What about their musical past?
Keith was my good friend and bassist. After we had been jamming for a while and started to write a little bit, we joined with Joe after playing our high school in January of '85 we spent the summer playing with a different drummer Joe knew but that didn't work out and Bud answered an ad we had at the local record store where we'd go to buy the latest metal albums.
Were they your first choices or were there perhaps auditioned other musicians as well? Was it easy to find members that were sharing the same musical interest?
Keith and Joe were my first choices, once we formed we played our high school with both the drummer we had and a drummer Joe played with but once we found Bud we knew he was the man.
I read on your biography, Keith Ellison played bass like the death metal version of Steve Harris, was Steve his pattern?
Yeah Steve Harris was his main influence I believe. He was an amazing musician and ripped it up like a lead guitarist on bass at times.
Joe DeZuniga roared out some of the most brutal death metal vocals of that time and he was also one of the main songwriters and the artist that created the logo with the decapitated heads, is that correct?
That is correct, he was an amazing artist. I used to draw myself but I gave it up and just starting playing guitar when I met him and realized I couldn't draw for shit compared to him.
Who came up with the name of the band? Was it an original choice as far as the name of the band?
That was Joe's name. Keith the bassist and I had another name and Joe actually joined us to play a show at our high school. He would draw the logo and the beast creature on shirts and Gary Holt of Exodus wore one live so we said o.k. Joe we'll call the band Insanity.
I mean, in the middle '80's were there bands in Germany, Norway and Singapore who called INSANITY, didn't the fans confuse the bands with each other?
That is news to me, we never heard of them. We had a ton of mail coming in from around the world and we were in a bunch of fanzines as well so I guess you would have to ask the fans that question.
Was it clear for you right from the start to found a death metal band? Was death metal a known notion (term) at that time?
I believe it was just starting to be called death metal after Possessed released the first album Seven Churches. We aimed to write songs that were heavier, faster, and more technical than anything we heard people playing.
Was your goal to become the most brutal Bay Area act?
You could say that. We wanted to try to take things to new extremes in speed, heaviness and technical intensity.
Would you say that the first really death metal group was INSANITY in the Bay Area? Were you the forerunners of death metal?
Well Bud did come up with the drumbeat that took the speed of our music past the barriers of the thrash beat so I guess you could say that as far as the evolution of what death metal has become.
At that time was in Florida an active death metal scene with likes such as MORBID ANGEL, MASSACRE, MANTAS, HELLWITCH etc., were you familiar with them? Have you heard of them at that time? Did these bands have had an impact on you?
Yes they were a lot of the early fanzines we were in so we did hear of them but we had already established our sound so none of them had an impact on Insanity music.
What about the rehearsals of INSANITY? How do you remember about them?
The early days were some of the best times of my life. We had so much fun playing and partying back then. We used to jam in my garage and then get really drunk sometimes there was a bunch of people around thrashing and going wild. My parents would be really pissed at the condition of the house when they got home although they were very supportive, especially when mail starting coming in from around the world.
Do you consider yourselves as talented musicians?
Not the rest of the band but I am! Haha! Actually there were some good musicians around but we tried to write songs that went just beyond our ability at first which in turn made us better.
Did you rehearse hard to become better musicians?
We would try to rehearse up to five days a week when we first got Bud but that's because we had fun and were inspired, I wouldn't call it hard especially they way we partied back then.
Did you try to improve your abilities as far as playing music?
We had to improve our abilities to be able to play the riffs we started writing. Often we would teach each other riffs, we would have to wait a week or so before we all had them down good enough to be able to play the songs with the whole band up to speed.
Did you start writing own material right from the start or did you jam some classics of METALLICA, SLAYER, EXODUS etc.?
For our first show at our high school we played the standard "Seek and Destroy" and "No Remorse" from Metallica as well as "Black Magic" and "Fight Till Death" from Slayer. Black Magic was the first song we played with Bud when he came to audition and he did it perfectly so we knew we had the right guy. From then on we concentrated on original music only.
Was it hard to aquire playing the covers? Did you consider difficult to play the covers?
Not really although the first Metallica solos I learned with the help of a guitar teacher since I just started playing guitar a little more than 2 years before Insanity formed.
The first show was played on October 19th 1985 with DEATH and SACRILEGE and the crowd maintained a frenzied pit which was admittedly short because the band only had five songs at the time, any memories of this gig? Were you very exciting before the show?
That was probably the best experience I've had being on stage (although Murderfest last year was pretty cool too!) It was unbelievable how people that never heard of us before would be thrashing that hard and stage diving. At one point there were about seven or eight people that did a stage dive at once at the almost took Joe off the stage with them.
What about the setlist? Which own songs respectively which covers did you play on that night?
I don't remember the specific order after starting with Attack of Archangels but the first three songs we had down were Fire Death Fate, Blood For Blood and Ultimate Death which were on the '85 demo. Death After Death and Attack (which had instrumental versions sometimes included on the '85 demo) were next after that.
Wasn't it risky to play a show without having a demo tape?
I don't think so, Mike Torrao from Possessed put in a good word for us and Wes from Ruthies Inn was mellow so it was nice to be able to play with bands like Death and Sacrilege for our first show.
INSANITY then went on to play with many of the other great bands that played Ruthies Inn including the likes of POSSESSED, I think so it could have been a great gig, the two most brutal Bay Area bands on stage on the same night, how do you see it?
Yeah that was a great show and they were good friends of ours and Mike T. really helped us get going before we were even sure if we were ready to play live.
Meanwhile a live rehearsal tape that was recorded with a stereo microphone was being circulated and an underground following was growing in countries around the world, didn't you have the opportunity to record the material in a studio?
Not at that time, we didn't have any money and some of the reviewers were writing that it sounded better than most studios demos anyway. We were planning on recording in the studio in '86 but that's when Bud got thrown in jail and later that year was when Joe first got sick.
What about the recording sessions?
We'll after recording the band live the way we'd normally set up, I made some adjustments for the recording that became 85 demo. I had Bud set up his drums in the center of the garage. Then I'd set the recording level to his playing and then match the level with the amp volumes which were set up by the sides of the garage door like usual. We plugged Joe's mic into my practice amp and I leaned it back against Bud's front most cymbal stand aimed at the bottom of the mic.
The demo contains originally three tracks, featuring „Fire, death fate", „Ultimate death" and „Blood for blood", but on some versions are „Attack of archangels" and „Death after death", why didn't you put these tracks on the demo? Was the five track tape a bootleg version?
It was only our 3rd or 4th rehearsal I think and Joe didn't have the vocals down yet (and we didn't have the leads down either).
Were you satisfied with the end result, with the sound of the tape?
Yes I am.
Would you say, if you could have recorded the demo in a studio would it have sounded better?
Sure but only if we had the right engineer or producer that would make it sound as raw and powerful. The 85 demo captured the essence of Insanity pretty well and as a lot of early reviews said, it sounded better than a lot of studio demos at the time.
About 1986 the underground scene was really growing and a number of fanzines were coming out with INSANITY always getting one of the best reviews and many orders were coming in for the ..85 rehearsal demo as the first recording came to be known, do you still remember in which fanzines were you featured? Did you often give interviews for fanzines?
The first was Violent Noize by Borivoj Krgyn there were a bunch of others like Decibel of Death, Metal Core, Ripping Headaches, Douche Rag, Speed Corps from Canada and Satanic Death from Japan to name a few. We did a ton of interviews back then for almost every fanzine we were in.
Would you say that the demo draw the fans attention to the band and more and more fans started interesting in the band? Did it open some doors for the band?
Some people have probably heard of the band because of the demo and a lot of people think it's a significant recording in the history and evolution of death metal. Especially people like Jeff from Carcass who told us Insanity was one of their main influences.
How many copies were sold from the demo at that time? Was this tape shopped around to attract label interests?
Unfortunately I didn't really count. It seemed like I used to send out about 20-30 a week at times but probably more than half of those were free copies going to fanzines or college radio stations. We were just about getting to the stage where we thought we'd be able to do a studio demo before a bunch of bad stuff started happening to the band.
Unfortunately this did not last long, after having problems with equipment and finding a rehearsal studio, Bud had to serve about 10 month's of jail time, what did he commit? Didn't you think about to sack Bud from the band and to search a new drummer instead of him?
He burglarized a liquor store. We would have liked to keep playing but there was no one around that could play like Bud because his drumming was one of the vital elements that made Insanity what it was in the early days.
Did Bud's jail time break the band's impetus on the wheel?
Yeah it was the first thing that started to screw us up in a major way.
During this time the only productive thing the band could do was to write new material, which songs did you write during this time? How did you approach the songwriting of the new material?
Ritual, Possession, Night of The Dead, there were a few more that weren't completed or ended up being parts of other songs. We didn't have a standard approach to writing, sometimes songs start with a riff or a lyric or even just an idea for a title.
So while you were preparing to record in a studio upon Bud's release so you could finally get signed, Joe became ill with a heart disease, what happened with him?
He got a rare virus that attacks the heart. When he first got sick his heart enlarged by one and a half times and it was weakened to the point where the doctors first said he would need a heart transplant within three weeks or he would die.
Which labels did start interesting in the band? Would you say, that was a great buzz around the band at this point?
Nuclear Blast was the first label I remember that contacted us. I think they were a few others but I don't remember the names. I would have loved to have signed with Nuclear Blast back then but the band was unable to do anything at that time in the wake of Joe's death.
You recorded one last rehearsal tape with Joe after a temporary release from the hospital but it was evident that some of his vocal power was gone due to the illness, what about this tape? I think so, Joe didn't feel in the right mood himself, right?
He was doing the best he could in his condition. I'm sure he was in the right mood he just lost some of his power after getting sick.
Several months later after a long up and down battle Joe DeZuniga died on May 16th 1987, which was a great shock for you, didn't you think about to give up everything and break up? You have lost a talented musician and a good friend, haven't you?
Yeah my life changed a lot after that. I was very angry, frustrated and depressed all at the same time. I drank and did drugs all the time to try and cope with what happened. At first I didn't play guitar at all for a while and but it was such a part of me eventually I started writing again and finished some of the songs Joe and I were working on.
A half year before Joe passed away unfortunately died Cliff Burton as well, who was also very young, like Joe…
Yeah that really sucked too. We were at the first 2 Metallica shows with Cliff Burton back to back Saturday nights at the Stone in S.F. Sometimes I think I can see myself at the front of the stage on the Cliff 'em All footage from that show.
After a long break the rest of you tried to keep the band going, but you couldn't find a singer with Joe's vocal strength and more problems we're yet to come including a number of line up changes for a number of different reason's that kept the band from doing anything significant for a while. Would you say, that it was hard to find the suitable replacement for Joe? Weren't any talented musicians around your surrounding?
Yeah there will never be a replacement for Joe and we could never match the chemistry of the original line up.
What kind of reasons did still hinder you work? What about the line up changes?
After Joe died line up changes and not being able to find the right people have hindered the band ever since.
At that time was POVERTY established which consisted of Bud Mills on the drums, Sean Riggen on vocals, Lou Gilberto on the bass and Scott Dodge on guitar, did the guys take the band seriously or was it meant a kind of project?
You would have to ask them. I'm sure they took it seriously in their own way.
Was POVERTY a reason, what hindered your work?
No. Although in hindsight it would have been better for Insanity trying to continue with Bud even though he lived far away and didn't even have a drum set when we first started playing with other drummers.
Did you like their demo „Poverty portrays truth"?
Of course, it has the legendary Bud Mills on it. I even recorded a demo for them called „Poverty Sucks" when their style was more metalcore.
Would you say, that you could continue the band, because the fans were devoted and you were driven by a never say die attitude?
I guess those would be the two main reasons. I just love playing the songs, we had a lot of fun just hanging out parting and laughing besides the time spent playing music.
You reformed in 1989, what was the line up at this point? Did your music change or did it remain the old school thrash/death metal?
When Keith and I first reformed the band in 89 we had Prakash Shama on drums, Matt Janko on guitar and Bob Martinez on vocals. The music didn't change but Bob had a drug problem that made his voice sound more like thrash than death metal sometimes and that is one of the reasons the band encouraged me to take over the lead vocals after I had been singing backup vocals for a while.
Would you say, that the Bay Area scene reached its peak at this point, but the newer acts, such as KAOS, EPIDEMIC, MILITIA weren't on that highly talented level, such as you, POSSESSED, EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, HEATHEN etc. were?
I never though of it like that but I guess you could you could say so.
At the late '80's/early '90's thrash metal went out of fashion and it was a great death metal boom, so the timing of your reformation was perfect, do you agree with it?
Maybe worldwide but the local scene in the Bay Area started to suck for bands that weren't national acts in the Bay Area. Some of it was due to the "pay to play" policy clubs used to rip off bands and not having clubs like Ruthies Inn around anymore.
Don't you think, that around 1989/1900 death metal was becoming bigger and bigger to the detriment of speed/thrash and you still hadn't entered the likes of EXODUS, TESTAMENT, METALLICA etc. and it was already too late for INSANITY and you had lost all of your chances at this point to become bigger?
I guess so, like I said the local scene sucked at this point as well so it was par for the course and made me grow disillusioned with the whole thing eventually.
Have you ever cared of the trends? In your opinion, why did thrash loose its popularity at that time?
No. I don't care what other bands are doing. I just know what I like and try to remain true to myself which I think fans can appreciate because they can sense we are really into and not just going through the motions.
After a few years of struggling with a couple of line-up changes, Insanity signed a one-record deal with a German independent record label Black Lung and released the debut „Death after death", but unfortunately the band was not complete when labels such as Nuclear Blast offered to sign the band, what was the problem, why weren't you complete?
Because that was right after Joe died and we wouldn't have been able to come close to recreating the sound Insanity had been known for at that time.
What about Black Lung/M. B. R.? Were they a small label?
They were a small label but as Matt Harvey mentioned to me, there wasn't that much difference between them and Nuclear Blast back then and I couldn't tell the future and know which label would fold and which one would become huge...
Why couldn't you accept the deal of Nuclear Blast? Did they offer you a good contract? Would you say, that a deal with Nuclear Blast would have been better for the band?
Nuclear Blast would have definitely been better but as they say hindsight is 20/20. After Joe died it just seemed impossible that we could record an album so that's why I didn't right back at the time. Of course I wish I would have contacted them after the band started playing again but I can't change the past, I can only go forward.
The album contains only your demos, why didn't you put newer tracks on it? Were the tracks simply re-recorded, mixed and remastered?
It was going to be our first official release since the 85 demo so we thought we should make a real album of those tracks before releasing newer material. All the songs were recorded from scratch, that is the purpose of going into a recording studio.
Do you consider „Death after death" as an an onslaught of old-school death metal with extreme thrash influences, by an ambient noise and a slowly picked acoustic guitar?
That sounds like a good description although the slowly picked acoustic guitar is only for the intro of "Attack of Archangels"…
Can you give us details on the record?
Well, we recorded the basics (rhythm tracks) in two days at a studio called Audio Voyage in Livermore, CA. After the label heard the first mixes, they gave us a little more money to go in and redo some vocals and mix it in a bigger studio so we went to Hyde Street in San Francisco which is where Joe Satriani worked on a bunch of albums.
Were you satisfied with the sound? Did the tracks sound like in the old days, I mean, didn't they loose from their pure aggression?
Not completely, I had a difficult time getting the engineer to understand terms like "Brutal" as far as what we wanted and being in the experience of having to produce the album and only having experience recording the live rehearsal demos made me want to learn about audio engineering.
If the record could have came out earlier –for example during '86/87-, would have been INSANITY a more known band who have a huge reputation, respect in the underground? Would have been the record a classic, influential death metal one?
I'd like to think so. A lot of the early reviews we got from the 85 demo said we had the potential to RULE!
Would have significantly changed the band's career if things happened differently?
Of course it would have because then (as Matt Harvey wrote on the From The Grave liner notes) Insanity would be mentioned along with the likes of Possessed, Death and Morbid Angel not too mention we'd have a more albums out and we would have done a lot of touring as well.
INSANITY played live numerous times in 1993-94 with the most notable show being at the Omni with the reformed POSSESSED (Mike Torrao has been a good friend of Insanity since 1985) & MACHINE HEAD on March 12, 1993, any memories of this show?
Hell yes! That was a great show. It was also my first show singing. There was a video made of it with two camera's and it is on the DVD were working on
As far as POSSESSED, how did they sound like? What was the line up of the band? In my opinion, without Jeff Becerra, it wasn't worth to reform the band.
Well being a friend of Mike Torrao, I have a different opinion and appreciated being able to hear the songs again. They had a very good drummer and Mike had a cool voice but obviously Jeff's is one of the most classic death metal voices of all time. Jeff has become a friend of mine as well and I might try to get him to do some guest vox for Insanity in the future.
After drummer Prakash Sharma's back problems became serious the band took a break in late '94, wasn't he able to bear the physical burdens or did he have other problems?
He still has problems to this day. He is in extreme pain most of the time and walks with a cane. It is a huge shame because he is one of the most talented drummers I've ever played with and is one of the best friends I've ever had.
The whole metal thing was onto an extinction phase during the early/mid '90s, with many bands either breaking up or changing their sound for something that had nothing to do with their original approach (METALLICA), how do you see it?
Yeah it seemed like Testament for one tried using the "Metallica" formula that brought them major success. There was some fads happening like "funk metal" that bands like Kaos followed plus the whole grunge thing happened and real metal suffered because of it.
Do you also think, that metal in general seemed to be a kind of died on a large scale being killed by grunge and pop/punk?
Yeah I would agree with that.
In 1997, the band reformed and you began working on new material, but what did you during those three years?
I had a job and a girlfriend and almost got married. I guess I drifted away from playing music for a while because I got tired of all the bullshit and bad breaks.
A 3 song CD called „Sacrefixion" has been released, was it similar to the old way of the band or would you say, that you turned into a modern direction?
I'd say it's a bit of both. It still has the Insanity sound but we have become better musicians and started writing longer songs with guitars harmonizing or playing different parts more often. We also starting incorporating a second deeper voice occasionally to add more variety to the vocals.
What about those songs respectively about the circumstances of the recordings?
Sacrefixion is one of my favorite Insanity songs and starts of with blazing speed for a long time before changing into stomping double kick parts. Dread The Dawn is a song that expanded the realm of what we thought we could do and is one of the songs I'm most proud of writing. Mortification is a very heavy moshing song with great vocal patterns and the verses have some cool dual guitar parts that overlap and transition into eachother. These songs were recorded at the studio I used to engineer at and I learned a lot during the process.
There were unfortunately big differences in levels of dedication, money spent and effort put in strained relations between band members and this line up broke up in late 2001, what happened? What kind of reasons did lead to the breaking up?
Well the question pretty much stated the problem. Everyone was in it for different reasons at the time, and drinking seemed to be the only thing everyone was serious about. I was making a lot of sacrifices including not taking good paying jobs so we could record the album so there was a lot of tension and we had a blow up but everything got patched up and we played Murderfest last year together.
After INSANITY was reformed in 2005 the band played the first show in many years in San Francisco June 8th, how were you participated by the fans? Did you enjoy the show?
It wasn't the best show because we were just getting started again and wanted to keep it low key. We had bigger and better things planned we wanted to get ready for.
What do you think about reformations which happened in the last 5-6 years, such as HEATHEN, DEATH ANGEL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, CELTIC FROST, METAL CHURCH, AGENT STEEL, HIRAX etc.? Would you say, that these bands have never been as big as they are nowadays?
Yep the Old School is BACK!
Do you like their present albums? Can be compared the present records of these bands to their classic, immortal ones or are there two different worlds, which isn't worth to compare to each other?
I haven't heard all of these bands latest material although I will be getting the latest Death Angel that just came out as soon as I can. Even then some things are classic because they become a familiar part of our past so for a lot of people nothing will ever live up to the earlier stuff.
While you were booked for other shows to prepare for a West Coast tour with EXHUMED from August 25th-28th, drummer Colin Osness broke his hand, a bad luck again... It meant, that you had cancel the shows, right?
No, we were about to and even contacted Bud about filling in but he got better just in time although we weren't sure if he'd be able to make it though a whole show much less multiple shows night after night.
Luckily after Colin's cast was removed and was cleared to play on the 19th, the band was able to rehearse a few times before the first show at The Pound in San Francisco and continuing on to Southern California, how did the whole tour go?
It was awesome! We gained a lot of new fans and made some good connections as well. All the band members from the different bands were really cool to hang out with and we had a blast. Although we did have some drama with a friend we were supposed to stay at in Hollywood and someone tried to steal the bass guitar the next night and I didn't get any sleep and was running on fumes by the last show at the Jumping Turtle although the guys in Cattle Decapitation that were there seemed to be impressed and we were supposed to play with them down there before Bud got sick.
INSANITY gained many new fans on the road helping to re-spark interest in the band to a new generation of metal fans, would you say that INSANITY's name is still big and it is still in people's mind?
I would say that Insanity's name is big in the minds of those who know the bands material or have seen us live but we are still no where near as big as we would have been if a few things happened differently.
In 2004 Matt Harvey from EXHUMED contacted you with the idea of releasing a compilation of early Insanity material on his new label Parasitic Twin Productions, which is a 70 minute compilation called „From The Grave", was it an honour for you? Weren't interested any labels releasing this material?
It was an honor, and it really helped get our material circulated and with worldwide distribution. Since it was Matt's idea and he would have Relapse Records distribute it (at least in the U.S.), I didn't see any reason to be trying to shop it around to other labels.
From the grave is a 70 minute compilation of vintage INSANITY material from 1985-1994, this CD chronicles the band from the '85 Live/Rehearsal Demo, the „Death After Death" release and remixed & completed versions of 1993-94 8 track demo songs including Carnivore, Ritual, Night Of The Dead, Extinction and a recording of an old classic Ultimate Death with rhythm tracks recorded in 1998, whose idea was to release this album? Can you tell us more about it?
It was Matt Harvey's idea. A few years earlier he had the idea of covering an Insanity song but he said since Napalm Death beat him to it, he wanted to release a compilation of Insanity material as he was starting a label called Parasitic Twin. Unfortunately, although he did get us distribution with Relapse he never follows through with anything from promoting it to finishing getting the contracts signed or paying us the royalties due and has avoided just about every attempt we've made to contact him and finalize things which has been a major source of frustration since he also helped us out so much and we don't want to burn that bridge either.
As far as the record, what we get here is a good old package of insane old school death metal that just leaves the listener obliterated by its intense speed and aggression, how do you see this?
I would agree with that, I like that description although I am a perfectionist and still think it could have been better.
Do you think, that INSANITY are one of those bands who were part of the growing extreme metal scene from the mid 80's to early 90's and who didn't receive as much credit as they should of along with several other great bands who only made it through demos during the 80's such as NECROVORE, PENTAGRAM(Chile), SINDROME, TERMINAL DEATH, INCUBUS ( Florida) etc.?
In some ways. Because of the bad luck of the band, we didn't get the exposure I think we deserved but that's because things got derailed so quickly. The fanzines we were in actually gave us a lot of credit and we would usually receive the most positive reviews.
In this compilation of INSANITY's music the listener can notice that you kept that same fast, aggressive, non-boring sound throughout all the releases in here and your sound can be described as if one had POSSESSED and DEVASTATION (Chicago) put together, but with more technicality, do you agree with it?
Yes, again I think you've described it well! –fast, aggressive, non-boring old school death metal with more technicality!
The vocals are great and it can't be really compared them to anyone else's; the guitars are insanely technical and very powerful, the riffs are catchy, the drumming is very fast, typical thrash beat but 10 times faster, how do you see it?
Wow, I didn't think my vocals were all that, I just try to make it sound raspy and as powerful and I can (although I feel I've been smoking too much pot until recently) but thank you. I've always tried to write technical and powerful riffs but keeping them catchy has been key! Playing faster than thrash has been a trademark of Insanity as well as Bud was an old school pioneer creating faster tempos in extreme drumming.
This will help to give the band a new level of exposure and will help spread INSANITY like a worldwide plague, is that correct?
Definitely! We've been hearing from a lot of new fans from all over the world as well as old school fans that still have the original 85 demo. It has really helped to fuel the resurgence
I read about another compilation called „Ultimate death", what about this release? Is it a bootleg stuff or an official one?
It's not really an "official" release. That was made for some fans that wanted to get the full 85 demo on CD. I did some mastering and added some songs that also appeared on From The Grave from a 94 demo.
How happened, that „Demo '85" Came free with issue 15 of Snakepit Magazine?
Laurent Ramadier who has been one of our biggest fans and strongest supporters from the early days asked if he could include a 6" vinyl of the demo with his Magazine. He also gave us a bunch to sell at shows and from our website.
How do you feel, when you see that there's still people who really understood how great INSANITY was and who still enjoy your music after all those years?
That is one of the main reasons why we still try to keep the band going despite how much bad luck and setbacks we have sufferred through. The fans mean everything and it does make me feel validated for not quiting when I hear from them.
Last year unfortunately died Bud Mills…
Yeah it's been a real fucked up time. He was a one of a kind friend and drummer. After we played Murderfest it felt like the band was finally back on track in a major way. Besides planning on more west coast shows, we started preparing to re-record the Visions of Apocalypse release because we made a bunch of small improvements and a couple songs changed a lot. Unfortunately we will have to release the recordings Bud tracked in 2001 instead. I'm just starting to get back on track after being depressed for quite a while and I plan on completing the final mixes in the next few months.
My last question: how would you charakterize the career of INSANITY from the formation 'til the last show respectively your bandmates, including Joe DeZuniga and Bud?
We started off with all the potential in the world and with Joe's death everything fell apart before we could make a major impact. We used to joke about being "cursed" because of the timing of certain events like amps not working the day of a show and a bunch of crap like that. We definitely had some of the worst luck of any band I know of. It seemed like we had the world in the palm of our hands and it slipped through our fingers but the most tragic thing of all is to lose good friends. Joe and Bud were the some of the best friends I've ever had, and you can't replace friendships like that. On the other hand, some great things have happened in the last three years with the From The Grave release, being covered by Napalm Death, the Exhumed tour and the Murderfest show we've played. Before Bud's death, it seemed like Insanity was making up for a lot of lost time.
Dave, thanks a lot for your patience and answers, I hope you enjoyed the feature, anything to add what I forgot to cover?
Your welcome, thanks for the support. Look for the Visions of Apocalypse release soon and well as our upcoming DVD featuring Buds last show at Murderfest in Hollywood, CA. Music videos and other footage of Insanity shows over the years. T-Shirts of the original logo are also available from the bands website at http://www.blacklungproductions.com/insanity
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