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When I found out and got a copy of the Master Fury of the re-release of this band’s 2 releases, which were never on cd I had the label put me touch with singer Donald Rouze and kick back and enjoy the interview:
MC: 1ST we will deal a bit with the present and then go back to the past. Take me through the steps on getting your old stuff released on cd by Contaminated Tones Productions. Did you approach him or did he approach you?
DR: It's kind of a pretty cool deal the way it happened. I have always trying in one shape or form to keep the M/F name out there and alive, and one of doing that was via facebook. I've gotten a few likes here and there and messages on the page about what is going on with the band etc. etc. When one day I'm reading this e-mail from Jon and he was all about the 20 questions of what it would take to get me to approve a re-release of the songs in CD format.
I was like hell yes; I would be honored to have this done. I went overt he legal issues of it and he assured me that anything with out my permission wouldn't be done. once we got that cleared up...it was wide open on what to do and how to do it.
MC: Over the years has anybody ever contacted you about the band?
DR: Every once in awhile someone would ask me what the band is up to, but nothing serious, more just to keep up to date then anything else.
MC: Now that the cd is out, how do you feel about having your old stuff on cd and that possibly a new generation of people can find out about the band and the older fans, like me ha ha, can finally have your stuff on cd?
I have to tell you, having it on disc is a dream come true.
25 years to get it here.. but it is here finally.
When we first started out on the recording end of things Cassettes and LP's were still the thing to do, CD's were literally just coming on to the market and cost a shit ton of money to make back then.
As to how I feel about it reaching out into new hands and ears, all I can say is yea man, that's what it's always been about.
MC: Give me a history of the band. Did you go through many members before you got to the core line-up so to speak?
The history of M/F goes way back to Lou, Nick and I in high school.
I knew their sister and she told me that they were starting up a band and were looking for a guitar player.
I was like hell yeah, so I went over to their house one weekend and we just started jamming out, nothing really serious, just seeing if we even clicked.
As it turned out Lou wound up being the better guitarist then me and I took to the bass like no ones business.
We did a shit ton of parties and what not but never really had a name to speak of, we were just "that band that played all the heavy shit"
When I turned 18 tho is when the first hic-up of the band hit, I wound up joining the Army just to save my ass.
During that period of about six years or so Lou and Nick took things from where we left off and moved on to form what is now Master Fury.
They went through several different members at the time and were mostly focusing on playing cover tunes.
When I got out in 86, I hooked back up with them and that is when M/F became the band it is known as today.
And if you ask Lou .. it's when the band REALLY started LOL
We started right off the bat writing nothing but originals.
MC: Had you been in many or any bands prior to Master Fury?
Not really, I mean nothing that would be considered a "BAND"
I can truly say that Lou and Nick were the only band I was ever in up until the last days of us jamming together.
MC: How did you come up with the band name and were you happy with it then and were any other names considered?
Lou came up with it while I was in the service, and yes I love the name... it says it all.
MC: Now NJ had a great underground scene back in the 80’s with many clubs booking metal and lots of great bands. What do you remember about those days nowadays? Does anything stand out in your mind these days that you will never forget?
VERY true, there were a lot of killer bands back then, some made it others faded out but damn there was some bad ass music being made.
The one thing that stands out the most was the support from everyone, you went to a show to go to a show most times it didn't matter who was playing you went to show support.... something that is severely lacking these days.
MC: Now when the band formed, what were the early days like. Did you start off fooling around playing covers tunes at practice before you decided to start writing your own material or did you start with your own material from the get go?
When we first started back in high school it was all covers, mostly Sabbath and Johnny Winter.
I think we were the only band that was playing Sabbath back then, it freaked a lot of people out because we were the heavy hitters of the party scene.
After I left the first time and they became M/F they did pretty much all covers.
It wasn't until I got back and re-joined that we became the band that is is now.
As soon as I got back in, we started writing right then and there, no more covers period.
MC: How long had the band been around before you decided you wanted to record a demo? How did a song come together? Was writing pretty much a band effort or did one or more members do most of that?
Lou will tell you different then I will as to the time frame of the band.
I like to think that M/F goes all the way back to high school, he on the other hand will tell you that M/F was born when I got back from the service because that's when we went all original.
We went into it with the goal of a record right away.
We weren't out doing this to sell our selves short, we wanted to dominate the world, so a recording was in the plans right from the start.
As to writing, we would just kind of start jamming out and see where it went, if it caught it stayed.. we would then polish it and mold it into a tune.
The music was a full band effort, the lyrics were written by both Lou and me.
He would give me something he had in mind of his and I would take it pull it apart and give it the life of the song it would need, I did the same with my lyrics also.
There is one song tho that was me and Nick only, Lou put the guitar to it and that is "CRASH" off of "Hell Party" ... we did that on a dare \mm/
MC: I read that your debut album ( hell party) was the 1st thing that you put out? Why no demos? How as it going into the studio for the 1st time?
Yeah "Hell Party" ... for some reason people keep referring to it as a demo .. it's not .. it's a full fledged full length LP.
We never had the intention of putting out anything less.
An actual demo never crossed our minds and I'm glad to see you stating it as an album, thanks for that .. \mm/
We looked at demo's as a sell out, kissing the ass of the record industry just to make it.
We were never about kissing any ones ass .. so no demo's .. it was all or nothing.
Going into the studio was a trip because we really had an idea of WHAT we wanted, but not the gear to do it .. and we also knew that in order for anything to even sound good you had to go pro.
And getting to work with who we got to work with made it that much more kick ass.
MC: What label did it come out on or did you self-release it. With this, did this increase your following by a lot and help you get shows?
Every thing we did was ours, the music, the label, the whole concept was ours from top to bottom. we never trusted the industry at any point and saw what happened to a lot of the bands and just from talking to those in the know.. we knew we were going to do this our way.
It was a double edged sword at the time also, because you needed the big guys to get your shit out there world wide, but we also were kind of the early pioneers of the "DO IT YOUR SELFERS" that you see today.
It got us known in that people respected us for doing it our way, we got our fan base from playing shows at some killers clubs with some killer bands.. and the radio helped too.
I mean we knew that we were taking a HUGE risk in doing it that way... but we also didn't have anything to lose.
Was it a curse who knows... maybe... but I like to think we stuck our finger in the eye of a few record execs..
MC: Speaking of shows, back in the day what were some of the clubs that you played and do you have a favorite and did you ever play City Garden’s in Trenton cause if you did I probably saw you, but my mind is a haze these days.
Yours and mine as well HA , but yeaaa ...we played all over, anywhere we could get a gig.
I honestly can say we played more places then I can remember.
City Gardens was right before I got back so I never got to play there.. which is sad because it's like the old Spectrum in Philly .. you never played the east coast unless you've played there.
MC: How was the morale of the band at this time cause the underground was really on a upswing IN 1988 with bands like Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica all being on major labels and some great independent labels were releasing great stuff those days?
We were on that "HIGH" our selves, looking for that big break ... the whole atmosphere back then was all about the music, all about the heaviness of it and just wanting to write even heavier shit.
MC: Now did you do any tape trading and/or write many letters back in the day and did you sent your stuff to a lot of fanzines at the time?
Yeah we did all that, the tapes, the letters, the zines .. coolest one I think we were in was The East Coast Rocker .. they did a really cool write up on us at the time.
MC: Now you were a 3 piece like Whiplash. Was there ever any talk about adding a 4th member or you like being a trio?
Yeah we tried it, but it seamed to have taken away from that formula that we had as a three piece.
So we shit canned that idea.
MC: Now in 1989 came album # 2 called “Circles of Hate”. Did you go to the same studio as you did the 1st time and what label did this come out on or was it self-released? How was the reaction to this release?
No we went to a different studio for this one, We lost contact with Bill Berends and weren't sure where we were going to go.
As fate would have it Nick happened to work with a guy who was starting up his own place and had some pretty sweet gear (for back then).
So we said "hell why not"
He never recorded a Metal band before so it was new for him.
All said and done it came out great.
We released this one on our own label as well.
I think the reaction back then to the second album was what we were looking for, it was straight up bad ass and people that heard it loved it.
MC: Looking back are you happy with the way your 2 albums came out or it is what it is and that is it?
Wow, I'm kind of mixed on this one... I think we could have done Hell Party better .. but hearing it now and reading the reviews lately... people love it for what it is.
As to Circus Of Hate .. It is what it is.. RAW ain't no sweet shit here..... music...
MC: For those who have never heard of the band up until reading this interview, how would you describe the band as far as music goes?
Pure power, unadulterated raw energy ... we didn't pull any punches.
MC: Did you ever get a chance to play in NY, more especially Lamour’s in Brooklyn, NY and what were some of the bands you shared the stage with over the years
I personally never got the chance to play up there; I wish I could have because that was another legendary place.
As to some of the other bands back then .. I do remember us opening for Whiplash one time up in north Jersey place called The Studio or The Stage or something like that.
We also shared the stage with a little known band at the time (they were still pretty punk) called Offspring at a club in Asbury Park called Faces II.
Before I came back tho the guys got to open for Overkill and Motorhead.
Again.. Shit I missed out on but with good reason.
MC: In what year did the band break up and why did you break up? Was it a mutual decision by the 3 of you or was it just a combination of things?
I want to say it was sometime in 91?
We just kind of all of a sudden went from this full blown rocket engine to where are we at..?
We were indeed a victim of the times, there was so much bullshit and douche bag music that hit the scene right when we were hitting our stride it was just too much..
I think I was the first to leave and Lou and Nick tried to keep it going afterwards.. But not much longer.
It was mostly me that split .. and for reasons I can go into maybe later on.. but I'll just put it this way... my life was once again heading into a disaster.
MC: How far into the making of “Dreams of War” were you and were any songs written or recorded at all?
DR: Oh man.. you have no idea how much I wish we had finished that album. To this day I feel that if we had finished it, we would have made it and broke out like we wanted. It was waaaaay ahead of its time for back then, and I'm not just saying that because it was us.. I mean it was way heavier then anything out there. It was like Slayer meets Lamb Of God heavy ...I mean we pulled out all the stops on it, it was that bad ass brutal, total border line Death Metal. The sad part is we were half way through it when the bottom fell out .. and I mean of everything. The scene, the music, me, the band ... I don't remember us recording anything that was a finished product by any means.. all sample shit so we could work out the kinks in the songs...I just wish we would have finished it.
MC: Did you talk to any of the band members after the break up and di you join any other bands or did you at that point just get away from music completely?
DR: When I split back then I split.. from everything. It took a while for me to get my head together enough and cleared to even think about a band. I just felt we got so fucked over by the entire industry that I wanted nothing to do with it. I look back now and wish I would have talked with Nick before making the choice I did, he was always the cool head in the band.. I just got driven away from it all at the time. I haven't spoke to Nick since.. it is something that kind of haunts me to this day.. he was my brother from a different mother. I got in touch with Lou over the years, mostly via e-mail .. talked to him on the phone a couple of times but nothing recent.Last time I talked to him he retired from playing pro and is now doing his own thing.
He went Blue Grass after he left Jersey and got up there pretty big time from what I understand. Talk about going back to your roots. As to me today, I've had three pretty successful bands over the years and am now back playing bass with a band I've done sound for over the last 8 years or so.
MC: Did you still follow the underground scene still or you just branched away from it?
DR: Oh no... I'm still heavily involved with the underground scene and even the pro's. Funny... I'm more involved with music now then I ever was back then. Fate is a crazy Mistress ...
MC: Now after the band broke, did you still have copies of your 2 releases still for sale and did they just come out on album on cassette at the time? I imagine they are very rare nowadays and have you ever seen copies of the up on EBAY at all and if so how much do they go for and I assume you have copies of them and are any extra around?
DR: You know.. I had like 9 copies of the album and like 10 cassettes for the longest time until some asshole ripped them off from my house in Florida .. sucks.. but at least they got some good tunes .. As to anything for sale... good luck.. other then now it's out on CD .. hint hint .. if you happen to come across something let me know.. I'd be more then happy to sign it for someone.. it is indeed a very rare gem today for either one.
MC: Now in the 90’s the internet exploded and the days or writing letters and tape trading were put in a grave. Did you ever over the years google in the name of the band and did anything ever pop up?
DR: Prior to the current CD being out, I did happen to google the name one day and much to my surprise some dude took the time to record Circus to his PC and up loaded the entire album on youtube , that.. was pretty damn cool, as was the killer review he did on it.
MC: Now I see the band in 2010 got back together and your now based out of Saukville, WI. Is that all 3 of your or 1 or 2 of you and how did you or any of the other band members end up out there?
DR: No, it's just me now. How I ended up out here was by way of one of my other bands. My old drummer's Ex is from here and I came out to visit fell in love with it and moved here in 2000. Been a seriously crazy ride ever since.
MC: Now when the band got back together, did you play any live shows or were their plans to record a new album and have any of the 2 happened yet? If not will it ever?
DR: I put the band back together with the intention of going at it full bore again and yes even writing and recording stuff... I've been trying to remember some of the Dreams Of War tunes but it's been so long it's all gone for the most part... little tiny bits and pieces .. but nothing major. We did indeed play quite a few shows and I think there is some youtube footage out there and I know there are pictures.
BUT then the proverbial band change up started again... so currently things are on hold for now.
MC: Do you have any live videos floating around on You Tube and places like that?
DR: You can look.. but it's probably nothing I'm proud of.. otherwise it would be on the band site.
MC: You have a very cool logo, who designed it?
The original logo was Lou's idea. We took the Marines Anchor and Globe emblem and replaced the Anchor with the MF -world domination. I still use it today ...
MC: How do you rate yourself as a singer and if you had to, can you sing the old songs with no problems?
DR: HAAA.. um .. yeah... I never considered myself a singer .. more a screamer/yeller that was able to keep shit in key for the most part. BUT if I did have to rate myself (which I don't) .. I would say pretty fuckin good and yes.. I can still hit those notes... little rusty now.. but I still have it. Wouldn't take me long to knock off the cob webs and slam it.
MC: What are some of your best memories of the band and what are some of the worst?
DR: Hmmmmm .. that is a tough one.. there are so many good ones... one of the best was playing at some fair in front of about 3,000 plus people. Another would be walking into our rehearsal space in Trenton and running into the guys from Overkill outside.. got to talk Bobby G. for quite awhile. And yet another one would be while recording Hell Party we got to hang out with the guys from Nuclear Assault .. Glenn Evans was a trip ..the worst ... me leaving.
MC: Please plug any websites you have and can we ever expect any new music and is there any old music or live stuff that might make the light of day one day?
and there is a myspace one.. https://myspace.com/masterfuryband but I don't use it because it sucks anymore. If these don't work please let me know.
I can't say with a promise that there will be new tunes on the way, because I am still trying to put this monster back together .. but you never know.
MC: Do you have a bunch of old flyers and fanzines reviews tucked away somewhere he he?
DR: I don't ... but they are out there.. post it on my F/B page if anyone has or comes across one.
MC; Any last words and thanks for the trip back in time and it is great to see your stuff on cd?
DR: I just want to say to any of the young bands out there .. what ever you do .. don't quit, don't give in to the temptations, the distractions, the you can't do it bullshit...
I know it's a cliche' .. but it's very true.
Don't stop chasing your dream, because all it takes is for the right person to hear you.
I've been down that road and walked away from it because I let the machine bring me down.
Keep your head straight and your music tight... and it just might be the answer.
Thanks for letting me write about a band that to this day is one of my most cherished dreams.
And for letting me talk about it with you.
Stay Metal !