DEATHRIDERS feature interview in RockinforM Magazine, Hungary March 2010 issue on Newsstands Now!
DEATHRIDERS – THE NEWEST THRASH ATTACK! Interview by BANFALVI AKOS Photography by JUSTICE HOWARD
– Neil, thank you for agreeing to do this interview! Can you give readers a little background on yourself? Has music always been so important for you?
One day when I was thirteen, ice hockey suddenly became less important and music took its place. I started playing in my first band The NEWRACE, performing at venues such as CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City and Great Gildersleeve’s at fifteen. Then after The NEWRACE broke-up, I joined a band called AMRA in 1982, which was a progressive metal/hard rock band. I had 5 years of writing songs and playing clubs in NYC before I eventually joined Anthrax in the Summer of 1982.
– Who do you think your biggest influences are musically?
Growing up in NYC, I was a big fan of Accept, Riot, Saxon, Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, KISS, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and of course great metal vocalists like Dio, Halford, DiAnno and Dickinson. They really inspired me in the early eighties. Nowadays I also listen to bands such as Hibria, Nocturnal Rites, Kreator, Destruction and too many other great bands to list.
– You were the first powerhouse vocalist of thrash metal and original lead singer of Anthrax. How did you get hooked up with Anthrax in 1982? Overall, how would you describe your time as a member of Anthrax? Do you look back on it all with a certain fondness?
Scott Rosenfeld called me in response to a month old ad I placed in a local music paper and I told him I was unavailable at that time. After leaving the band Amra, I called Scott back a month later, to see if they still had no singer. I met with Scott Rosenfeld and Danny Lilker first, then jammed with the entire band including members Greg Walls (Guitar) and Dave Weiss (Drums) and joined the band a couple of days later.
In my two years with Anthrax, I helped to pioneer Thrash Metal during the “Groundbreaking Era” of the band. I helped put Anthrax on the metal map with “Fistful Of Metal” and the first North American Tour. My songs were on the first three albums and many subsequent re-recordings and greatest hits releases.
I don’t look back, I only look forward!!!! I have no nostalgic feelings whatsoever about Anthrax. I have a lot of good memories of the rabid metal fans who got to experience Thrash Metal for the first time.
– You penned such songs as Metal Thrashing Mad, Armed and Dangerous, and Deathrider. How does it feel to know that these songs have defined a genre and are now regarded as classics?
When I created the ideas for these songs, I knew exactly what they were. I was compelled from within to write them and I’m glad that metal fans appreciate them the way that I do. I am aware of the fact that DEATHRIDERS songs will always be compared to these Metal Anthems, but I’m the same person who wrote them and will always continue to write METAL THRASHING!!!! songs in the same vein.
– Why were you fired from the band only after two years?
I hung in there for as long as humanly possible. After we went out on the road twice in 1984, the other members of the band and the management formed a coup against me, therefore making it impossible to continue to work together. They couldn’t deal with the fact that I was getting a lot more attention than they were comfortable with. Charlie Benante and Scott Rosenfeld insisted on pushing the songwriting in a totally different direction and I stood my ground when I was writing Armed And Dangerous and Gung Ho. That’s part of the reason we had to separate.
– Are you still in contact with some of your former Anthrax pals? What do you think about the vocalists changes they went through nowadays?
Actually yes, the original Anthrax lead guitarist Greg Walls recently contacted me on his trip out to Winter NAMM 2010. About their vocalist changes… it’s not what I think about it, it’s what the fans think about it.
– In 2003 you made a great solo album called “Threatcon Delta”. Could you tell us about this please?
I signed a record deal with Metal Mayhem in August 2001 to record my first solo album “Threatcon Delta”. The songs were a combined effort of myself and different collaborators. It gave me the opportunity to play with some great musician friends that I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for.
– Deathriders is named after one of your songs and was formed in 2003 to support your solo album “Threatcon Delta”. Is Deathriders only a solo project or a real band?
Of course DEATHRIDERS is a real band!!!! We did 25 shows last year in 2009 including Germany twice on our “Double Vengeance European Tour” and toured Japan and the US together in 2008 as well as Sweden Rock, Monterrey Metal Fest, Thrash Against Cancer and Rocklahoma. DEATHRIDERS has been touring together for over 5 years. We are currently recording our debut album “Back With A Vengeance”. The band and I are collaborating with one of the top guitarists in Sweden, Jonas Hornqvist of the band Treasure Land on songwriting and recording. We’ve also been playing the last three years with Michael Angelo Batio as a special guest on select dates. The name of the band is DEATHRIDERS for a reason. It represents an important part of my history and THRASH METAL!!!!
– Please give us some details on the current lineup of Deathriders. How did you find these members and what have they added to the bands sound?
Sandy K. Vasquez (Bass) joined the band after we played Sweden Rock in 2006. Sandy brings a solid foundation and groove, and plays incredibly fast with his fingers that most others play with a pick. Mike Guerrero (Guitar) is known as “Tapping Ninja”, joined DEATHRIDERS in 2007 before our Japan tour along with Dave Watson (Guitar). Both Mike and Dave bring a twin guitar attack and do justice to the metal thrashing madness that is DEATHRIDERS. Dave Chedrick (Drums) joined us one year ago with his dynamic double bass and as a band we’ve played 25 concerts in 2009. Collectively the band has brought a lot of old school experience with them and the hunger to stay thrashing. For more detailed information on the band check out: www.DEATHRIDERS.net/presskit.html
You guys are working on your debut album, right? How would you describe your debut album “Back With A Vengeance” musically?
DEATHRIDERS is a force to be reckoned with and we’re ready to thrash!!!! “Back With A Vengeance” picks up where “Fistful Of Metal” left off.
What record label will it be on? And maybe any word on a release date?
A few labels have already contacted us. When the album is fully recorded, mixed and mastered that’s when the final decision will be made. From the standpoint of negotiation it would be much stronger to have a finished product that is ready to go. Before that point in time I’m not going to speculate. We’re as anxious as the fans are and we are making every possible effort to have our debut album come out as soon as possible. We are actively working on it. The goal is to put out a remarkable Kick Ass Metal Album and not just another album.
– Please give the readers a preview of the new songs and thoughts.
Check out www.reverbnation.com/deathriders and give me YOUR thoughts on the new DEATHRIDERS songs which are already online.
– What was the songwriting process like? Can you tell us what you were going through during the writing of the album?
Most of the songs I’ve collaborated with Jonas Hornqvist and DEATHRIDERS on, and a couple of songs I wrote the lyrics and music to all on my own, like “Riders Of The Apocalypse” and “Until We’re Dead or Motorhead”. Our focus is on an aggressive and intense thrashing album like “Fistful Of Metal” for the old school fans. The songtitles and lyrics deal with a number of very personal subjects: Screaming In My Head, Crimson Warrior, Give Em Hell, Bridges Will Burn.
– What’s your main goal with this CD?
Our main goal is to make a CD that will stay in your stereo or i-pod in constant rotation. We wanna put out an album that makes the fans happy and that will thrash like fistful of metal 2.
– Your voice sounds as tremendous as back in the day. It is flawless. How do you keep your voice in shape?
Once you get to a certain level as a vocalist and you’re really familiar with your instrument and how it works, you better understand the parameters and what it takes to warm up or have your voice in a more flexible state, so it is prepared to reach upper, middle and lower registers seamlessly. The most important thing for any vocalist is to have enough sleep and rest (8 hours) for the voice to repair itself. On the road this is very hard to do, which makes it challenging even for the best there is.
How would you compare today with the heydays and the craziness of the 80’s. Was it much different than it is today? Was it more exciting back then?
The eighties were a challenging and exciting time of breaking new ground and pioneering thrash metal. Today it is even better since in 2009, DEATHRIDERS have played more shows than ever before and we’re not looking in the rear view mirror. We just KEEP MARCHING ON!!!!
– Thanks for giving us some minutes for answering this exclusive interview. And finally, anything else you would like to add?
Keep the Metal Strong!!!! And Stay Thrashing!!!!
This entry was posted on March 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm and is filed under Uncategorized with tags ANTHRAX, back with a vengeance, back with a vengeance tour, Billy Idol, bravewords, Dave Navarro, DEATH RIDERS, death riders blog, deathrider, DEATHRIDERS, deathriders blog, deathriders.net, double vengeance, enforcer, ENSIFERUM, ENTOMBED, EXCITER, FIREWIND, fistful of metal, headbangers open air, Justice Howard, KORPIKLAANI, megadeth, metallica, NEIL TURBIN, PAUL DIANNO, rocktower festival, RONNY MUNROE, slayer, SOTHIS, STONE COLD BLACK, the rods. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.