Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Solitude was a great thrash band back in the 80's that I was play down in
Wilmington, DE and at the Empire Rock Club in Phila, PA. I recently picked up
their debut CD released many moons ago on Red Light Records and I tracked down
Keith for an email interview and here is what he said:
MC: How have you been? What have you been up to the last few years? I know you are in a new band now. tell us a bit about them
KS: Ive been good man! its good to see you are still doing the zine after all these years! The new band is called 3.5 WHITE and its with Mike Hostler from Solitude on drums and a couple of other guys. It's still heavy shit but with more of a rock edge to it than the metal shit i used to do.
MC: Now let's go back in time. From what can you remember what led to the forming of Solitude? Did you go through many members to get to a good solid line-up? Were you in any bands before Solitude?
KS: I was in a few bands before Solitude. i met Mike Hostler and dDan Martinez at a party. My band was playing at the party and Mike got my number and wanted to get together to jam. i wasnt too into it at the time but finally we did get together and i saw how good those guys were, so i quit the band i was in and we formed Solitude.
MC: What were the 1st practices like for you guys? What sort of metal style were you playing and what cover songs did you guys do, if you did covers at all.
KS: They were LOUD and we SUCKED!! We were playing corny old school metal shit like Motley Crue and Wasp! Youve got to remember though, this was in 1983 or something! So it didnt seem corny at the time! We werent very good , but we were having fun and we really were into what was going on with metal music at the time so we were having a blast playing!
MC: How did you come up with the name? How long were you together before you did your 1st show? wWhat are some early memories of some shows back in the day?
KS: The name came from a Black Sabbath song on Master of Reality. I was (and still am) a huge Sabbath fan and the name just had a good ring to it. It didn't really describe what we were all about though. We practiced for about four or five months before we started getting gigs at friends parties and stuff. We were all a little to young to get the gigs at the bars. That didn't happen for a year or two. Our early shows usually consisted of drinking four or five hours ahead of time and then fucking up every song in the set! Everyone at those parties were so fucked up most of the time that we actually had people fooled into thinking we were good! As time went on we did get better though (in spite of ourselves!) some of the early bar shows got pretty rowdy with fights and shit breaking out all over the place. This was pre- mosh pit so we never saw any one slamming or anything...just a lot of drinking, drugging and being retarted!
MC: Did Delaware have a healthy metal scene? What was the name of that club you guys played at many times back then?
KS: Delaware's music scene was non existent in those days! There were a few clubs scattered around but there were not a lot of bands and certainly not a lot of metal bands. By the mid 80s to early 90s there was a club in Wilmington that opened called Union Atation. They began to book heavy bands and set up shows there and that really was what got the metal scene going around here.
MC: How long was the band together before you recorded your 1st demo? What do you remember about going in the studio? Do you feel the recording came out the way you wanted it? How much money did you spend and were did you record it?
KS: Man.......I honestly don't remember the exact year we recorded "Focus of Terror". Maybe 1984 or 85. So we were around about a year or two before we recorded for the first time. We used to record at a studio in Atlantic City New Jersey called ACE STUDIOS. The studio was a new experience for us at that time so we just kind of went with the flow. As a result the recording was kind of thin sounding. We didn't know anything about getting good guitar and drum sounds then. We just trusted whatever the engineer was saying was true! I don't remember how much it cost but I couldn't have been more than $500.
MC: When the demo came out, did you already know all about the underground trading and fanzine scene? What sort of response did the demo get? Did you send it to any record companies and about how many did you sell/give out?
KS: At that time i didn't know a fanzine from a hole in my ass! It wasn't until a friend of ours BRIAN HAMBLETON came into the picture that we even knew about the underground scene. He kind of took us under his wing so to speak and began to distribute our demos to different fanzines and shit and it just kind of grew from there. The first demo got ok reviews and we did manage to get a song on a New Renaissance compilation, but it wasn't until we released "Sickness" in 88 that things began to move quickly for us. That demo got great reviews and everyone was getting exited about the band. We probably released 200 or 300 copies of "Sickness" and I'm sure there were probably more bootleg copies made than we released, which was fine by us! We sent sickness out to every record company we could think of and got Metal Blade to include the song "Typhoid Mary" on Metal Massacre 10.
MC: I know you played the Empire Rock Room with Anvil Bitch and maybe Black Task a few times. What do you remember about these shows and how did the Phila, PA thrash fans take to you guys?
KS: Man, they were great times. We had never played in front of that many people before then, so we were loving it. In our eyes that was the big time! The Empire used to get so packed you couldn't move! The crowds were always great to play for and they took to us right away! We made a lot of good friends in that place with the bands we used to open for. FAITH OR FEAR, ANVIL BITCH, DAMNABILITY were a few of them.
MC: I know you also opened for Kreator and Forbidden for what I can remember cause I was at the shows. What do you remember about those shows and did you open for any other national bands and did you get a chance to play out of town much?
KS: Those shows were so much fun, I still think about them today. It really is a unique feeling to play in front of a sold out club full of crazy assed metal fans! We eventually got to play with SACRED REICH, SEPULTURA, CELTIC FROST, DEATH, DARKANGEL,DEATH ANGEL, ATROPHY, D.B.C, and WRATHCHILD AMERICA . By the early 90s we were playing more in the Baltimore/DC area than we were in the philly area. We used to play out of town almost every weekend. We would go to Pittsburgh, Richmond, New York. Pretty much anywhere we could get booked within driving range.
MC: Did you send the 1st demo out to any record companies? Did you get any sort of feedback from any of them?
KS: The first demo really didn't get us too much attention. We sent it out to a handful of labels. Most didn't like it!!
MC: Now let's talk a bit about the 2nd demo? Did you do anything differently in the studio this time around? Where was it recorded and how much do you remember that it cost you? Did you think with this 2nd demo you would get signed to a record deal?
KS: The second demo was "Sickness" and by this time we had more experience than the first time. The recording was better. It was also recorded at ACE STUDIOS but we had more input over what the instruments sounded like. We didn't know if we would be signed with this demo or not, but we thought it was good and we were going to try.again. I dont really remember how much was spent on it, maybe $800.
MC: Was their any line up changes between the 1st demo and the 2nd demo? About how much time per week were you spending on the band? Did you guys have a pretty big following in Delaware at this time?
KS: We had actually been through 2 bass players by this time. i was going to play the bass on "Sickness" originally but we got ROD COPE in the band on bass just a few weeks before we went in. We were spending a lot of time on the band at this point. We practiced 5 or 6 nights a week and when we weren't playing we were hanging out together. Our following was beginning to grow and we were starting to see some good stuff come from all the work.
MC: Looking back what are your thoughts on the demo now? Do you ever still listen to any of your old stuff?
KS: don't listen to them very much. To be honest it sounds really dated to me!! Kind of corny sounding, but that was the way things were back then. It didn't seem corny at the time. I do not think we really found "our sound" until we recorded "Fall of Creation in 92. I can still listen to that one.
MC: What was the response like to this 2nd demo? Again, did you send it out to many fanzines and record companies?
KS: The response was amazing! All of a sudden fanzines from all over the world were writing and asking for interviews. It still amazes me how fast that demo made the rounds! We sent "Sickness" out to a lot of labels but only got looks from most of them. A few came out to see us but we were not offered a deal.
MC: Did you get to play many shows in support of this 2nd demo?
KS: We did a whole lot of shows!
MC: I know you started off as more of a doomier type of band and they got a big more thrashier. Was this just a natural progression or was it due to member changes? Who wrote the music and lyrics and how did a song come about?
KS: We kind of changed as our musical tastes changed and as our playing abilities got better. The thrash stuff was more challanging to play and we kind of liked to push ourselves to see what we could do. The music was always written by the 4 of us and i wrote all of the vocals and lyrics.
MC: I never knew you guys even released a CD. How did you get signed to Red Light Records and when did the CD come out? I have a copy and you became a full all out thrash band. What led to the change in styles. Was this line up on the CD the same as on the demos?
KS: This lineup was the same as was on "Sickness". We got signed kind of late in the game, and the philly scene had sort of imploded by then! That's probably why you didnt know about it. We had kind of stopped playing around here entirely by then and were more of a member of the baltimore/dc scene than the philly/south jersey scene. We morphed into a thrash band mainly because thats what we all liked to listen too. We got signed to Red Light off of our 3rd demo "Fall of Creation". We also recorded that one in atlantic city.
MC: Were there any other offers beside Red Light Records. What did the deal call for? How soon after your release did the label go under? Did the release ever see the light in Europe?
KS: We got a couple of small offers but they never really involved decent distribution which was really important to us. Red Light had Relativity distribution at the time (sony overseas) and seemed as if they could get the album into the stores. We recorded the album in October of 93 and the label lost its distribution about a year later. They kept telling us that they didnt want our record to compete with Slayer's new record or Megadeth's new record, but the real reason was that they had lost their distribution! It did come out in Europe for a few months. Finally Red Light came clean and told us what had happened and that they were going to fold up.
MC: Did you guys get to do any touring or play many shows to promote the release. I imagine the morale of the band was pretty low after the label went under. Where were you when you got the bad news?
KS: We toured a little bit and did our normal weekend out of towners. I think I was home in my apartment when Red Light called to tell me they were through. I was kind of expecting it in a way by then because our release date had been pushed back so many times. I knew something wasnt right.
MC: What led to the band breaking up? Was it a slow type of break up with one band member leaving after another or did you pretty much all decide to throw in the towel? Did you guys play a final show or did you guys just throw in the towel?
KS: Like you said moral was real low after the label went under, and we were involved with this shit head manager by then that was trying to turn us into something we were not as far as musical style goes. Finally there was a personal problem that arose between myself and Rod and I decided that I'd had enough. The band went on with a new bass player under the name vent for a year or two after that but by then the magic was gone!
MC: Did you get any kind of feedback at all on the Red Light release? Was their any thoughts of trying to go to another label?
KS: The European reviews were really positive! It never came out in the states though so we never had it reviewed. We did try to get picked up by another label but by this time Nirvana had come along and pretty much destroyed any chances of a new thrash band getting a deal! If you werent a grunge band from Seattle no one would even listen!!
MC: Did you end up joining any other bands besides the one your in now? Where did the other members go? Do you still talk to or are in contact with any of the old band members?
KS: I am still in a band with Mike Hostler and i am friends with Dan Martinez. We dont speak as regularly as we probably should but we are still cool. I have been in a few bands since the Solitude breakup but my goals have kind of shifted from getting signed to just having fun playing.
MC: What do you think of the interent and the power it has these days? Do you miss having to write letters the ole fashioned way ha ha?
KS: Well.......I save a fortune in postage!!
MC: Have you seen any Solitude websites or the band mentioned much on the internet?
KS: We are mentioned on a few sites. If you do a search on solitude "From Within" (the name of the album) some shit will come up. You can still buy the Red Light album online at www.amazon.com
MC: Any chance of your Red Light release being re-released since the label is no more so anybody could re-release it? How about the demos or a live show perhaps? Any chance of a re-union show?
KS: I guess it is a possibilit, but i dont know that there is much of a market these days for over the hill metal bands!!! Then again look at Judas Priest!!! I would love to re release some of the demo stuf, but i dont think there is enough interest in it. I am not very nostalgic so i dont think a reunion show is in the cards.
MC: Any old merchandise or demos lying around you might want to sell?
KS: I wish there was. Only new 3.5 WHITE stuff. You can pick that album up at www.cdbaby.com/35white or www.35white.com . Also like i said.....the Solitude album "From Within" is still available on www.amazon.com. They show up on ebay as well. Do a search for "Solitude From Within."
MC: Tell us some of good times you remember and the bad times and what you would like to see the band remembered by.
KS: The good times are too numerous to mention them all!! Just the times we had being on the road together, the empire and trocadero shows, partying and hanging out together. bad times.......the death of BRIAN HAMBLETON ,the loss of the record deal and the eventual problems i had with Rod. I would love it if people remembered us from our live shows. hell..if people just remembered us at all!!!
MC: Any last words.
KS: Yeah,thanks for the interview Chris!
An awesome band and you should pick up their release on Red Light, killer thrash metal.