I recently saw Gama Bomb open up for Overkill and after the show I had a little chat with lead singer Philly Byrne and here is what was said:
MC: How has the US your been going for you so far and how have the crowds been responding to you guys?
GB: It has been good and I am amazed that anybody really even knows who we are really. We knew from the last album that a certain amount of people had brought it, but we really didn’t expect any of that to materialize when you get here. That is a good way to approach things so you don’t get disappointed. We have been really amazed at the response we have been getting ever night as we are on tour with Overkill and Forbidden and we amazed that people every night know lyrics to the songs and we can’t be anything but grateful.
MC: Now I know you have 3 albums out and my friend Scott was saying you have an album out on Witches Brew Records. Is that still available?
GB: Oh yeah. We released that in 2006 and that was kinda our debut and we decided to record an album and released it on Witches Brew. Everything is available for free on-line anyway as a download.
MC: How did you end up on Earache? Did they hear you on Witches Brew and end up wanting to sign you?
GB: Municipal Waste was doing quite well for them and they an eye on all things going on in the UK and we recorded an album by ourselves and shopped it around and we did a tour of the UK and then you had the whole thrash revival so those were just 2 things and we had a long talk with Digby Pearson who runs Earache and we worked things out and we are here.
MC: How comfortable is it for you going into the studio?
GB: No it is very different everytime we go in. The 1st time we went in to do an album the songs we had forever to write and with the 2nd album the material came together in a creative flush after that period before we got signed and the 3rd album, it was really tough to write as we were tweaking and re-writing certain things and we haven’t gone near writing a new song since 2009. We have no immediate plans as it is like you get burnt and you take away hands away and it doesn’t get any easier with time. The songs we write and produce are better than ever.
MC: What has surprised you about America?
GB: Everything really. The size of the food is ridiculous. America is really a world under itself.
Lots of variety as well. You come here and there is every kind of landscape, every kind of person, culture, no wonder everybody wants to hang out here. The multi culture really surprises me and the environment really surprises me, this hot and cold weather, we have been to Minneapolis, MN and Orlando, FL. By the time we get home we will have really seen how it is over here.
MC: Did you ever get an chance to see any record store over here yet?
CB: No not really. We want to go see a store when we get out to San Francisco and we were supposed to go to one when we were in Pittsburgh, but we ended up going to a pup and never got there.
MC: What do you think of this whole thrash metal revival of sorts. I mean your 27, I 45
GB: You don’t look a day over 30.
MC: Well thanks for that. When I was 19 and 20 I grew up in the heart of the thrash metal scene with the whole Bay Area thing and Metallica, etc. To me your music is a mix of that and some hardcore stuff, which rules. What sort of stuff did you grow up listening to?
GB: We grew up listening to kids music like Bon Jovi, Ugly Kid Joe, and I got into Jimi Jendrix at a very young age and then I started listening to Metallica and Joe (bass player) and I then we got Megedeth and then Nuclear Assault which is when we came together with Luke (guitar player) and the love of that music. It just made us want to start a band. When it comes to thrash we listen to German thrash or Bay Area thrash. Some of the guys like UK thrash, but I am more into the German and Bay Area sounds myself. We are thrashers.
MC: Describe the crowds over in England. Do they slam dance and stage dive and stuff?
GB: We don’t get many young people at our shows because of the weird liquor laws and stuff and we get more people in their 30’s that just stand there sort of in the back cause they don’t want to get hit in the face and they are drinking and talking to girls, but the audiences here and there are pretty much the same it is just culture is different.
MC: Over here in the US you have the whole My Space thing and a lot of music gets downloaded to I Pods and stuff, is it that way over in England as well?
GB: It is all about demographics ya know. Your 45 of course your into vinyl and cassettes and your into owning shirts and posters and high quality physical music. I mean kids that are 17 they will only in a fantasy type of way, collect it for fun, they are not committed to like finding any bands first single like I did. I am kinda in the generation between the 2, I grew up with physical music and I still love to won it, but I discover new music by hearing it for free. We released our last album as a free download and we were the first band ever signed to a label to give away their latest release as a free download. Music is out there and will never go away, but it is the same in the UK as it is here.
MC: Are any of your releases on vinyl and if they are not would you like them to be released on vinyl?
GB: All 3 are on vinyl. They vary in degree of quality. Tales are last album wasn’t pressed up in very good quality and the other 2 releases the quality isn’t bad. You can probably find our vinyl on Ebay or search around the internet for them.
MC: How did you come up with the name Gama Bomb?
GB: After the Incredible Hulk. The main character gets hit by rays from a “Gamma Bomb” and it turns him into The Incredible Hulk and we took out the other “m” out and we can’t agree on why we took the letter out. (laughs). Some of the guys say they wrote it down on the table with the other “m” out and it just stuck, the one thing is nobody is called Gama Bomb that’s for sure.
MC: When do you think we can expect to hear some new music?
GB: If at all maybe the end of the year as there is no rush at all right now. We have talked about making a move instead of a new album, albums kinda aren’t gonna keep you in the game anymore, but we have some contractual things we need to address, but we are gonna make at least 2 or 3 more albums or in the next couple years. We are coming up with new ideas and still making each other laugh.
MC: Have you ever seen any Gama Bomb bootlegs?
GB: I have seen patches. Whenever you screw around with a bands merch, you really are shafting them. Merch is the only thing a band has and I live on the ground floor or an RV because of merch. 3 on the floor of an RV that how bad things would get if it wasn’t for merch. I was on Ebay and I saw some guy was making patches of us and I emailed him and told to take that shit off immediately or I was gonna tell people on-line not to shop with ya and it wasn’t even our proper logo and looked like rubbish. I didn’t want people buying that thinking it would look good, when it looked like crap and I told the guy your not supporting us your shafting us. With merch we are pretty hardcore and we have considered bootlegging ourselves in the past (laughs).
MC: I just say you live for the 1st time and you are a very crowd orientated front man so to speak. Did you come up with a lot of that on your own?
GB: Thank you very much for the compliment and a lot of the interaction I do on my own and I talk rubbish part of the time (laughs). A lot of the moves and stuff if you stick around I stole from Bobby Blitz (Overkill’s lead singer) and I am not gonna say what, but Blitz actually stole something from me, so since I stole so many things from him it is fine with me, it is a mutual thing. We are not afraid to engage people and embarrass ourselves and a lot of bands are sacred of that cause they don’t want to alienate their audience and what do they think this is some kind of art exposition. It is a gig and it all should be in good fun.
MC: What are your thoughts on American food?
GB: Brilliant…awesome. I had Twinkies when I was a kid and thought they were awesome and I came back and had one on this tour and it was rotten. Granola is a hard thing to get at home, but here, everybody eats granola and just stuff is better. I am not a big fan of American alcohol, but there is some really good beer and there is an awesome bouboron one called “Beckers” by Johnny Walker.
MC: If you could pick one cover tune what would it be?
GB: We have considered a couple tunes, and one is “Stand Up And Shout” by Dio we are considering. We like to turn fun songs into a thrashy kind of thing. We used to do Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and stuff and a song by Dio would have the right kind of energy for us.
MC: Do you think this recent thrash resurgence is gonna continue or do you think it is gonna kinda die out like it did in the early 90’s?
GB: It is already gone to be honest. I see traditional death metal coming back. I don’t see many more thrash metal bands getting signed and I don’t hear many new good ones. I think it is already on the way out, but the way I look at it is we were around in 2002 and we had to explain to people at our gigs what thrash metal was cause it was completely dead, we have unpopular, we have been uncool, and it doesn’t really matter to use whether it has come or gone because when people come to see us it is not about being old school or what not, they hear a quality show, with quality songs and have fun and then go home and tell people “did you hear what those guys did” and that is what matters and we are definitely thrash metal. It will be gone this time next year, but that doesn’t mean we still won’t be on the road and doesn’t mean we won’t make another album and doesn’t mean that Bonded By Blood won’t be around.
MC: Plug any Gama Bomb websites.
GB: There is www.myspace.com/gamabomb
and if you go to Facebook you can type in Gama Bomb and we also have a Twitter page, but your best bet to find new info on us is Facebook or the My Space page.
MC: Any last words my friend?
GB: Just thanks for listening and if you haven’t been listening why aren’t ya.