Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
When I was recently doing a web search looking for Savage Thrust's "Eat Em Raw" on cd I found the bands website. I interviewed this band way back in 1988 for Metal Core # 2 and it was a pleasure to email Edmund Varuolo an interview and he did his best to answer my questions and Ed those were the days seeing you up at Lamour's my friend. It is my pleasure to do this interview as this was on of the 1st band's I actually became pen pal buddies with and yes back in the day we wrote letters to each other at least once a week!
MC: How in the hell are ya and what have you been up to since Savage Thrust
EV: Ok, I have been producing videos and commercials, selling collectibles on
the eBay, as well as designing a few websites.
MC: What first got you into metal and did you play in any bands before Savage Thrust and did you play in any afterwards?
EV: Hard to say, it was probably Sabbath, ZEP, priest, AC/DC, and dozens of
other bands...I played in a metal cover band called Terrornauts & around some more, before founding the band. I have not played in a band since the break-up...(it's tough-no guitar calluses anymore!)
MC: Let's go back in time. What can you remember about the formation of the band? Did you go through many members? When you got a stable line up did you start to write original songs or did you play covers?
EV: We started out practicing covers and trying to write, originally with Me,
Pat D., and Mike Smith....the first bass player and drummer were awful,
they came from Mike's old band, Midnite Talisman...this version of the band never played out and lasted only a few months. With the addition of drummer Bob Boch, and a Bass player Named Kenny Mezzacappa, we decided to go all-original, and just practiced and wrote for months. I recall playing our first gig with Kenny, but I think that was it.... he was a good player, but loved to drink and get out of hand. We placed an ad in our local music newspaper, the Aquarian, which yielded bassist Jimmy Gellentien from Edison, NJ. I believe we played our 1st gig with him in the Fall of 1985
MC: How did you come up with the name and were any other names suggested?
EV: The name was suggested to me by my old drummer in the Terrornauts, Nick
Nasta. (another one was Johnny Blood & The Bastards From Hell!, which I still like to this day!)
MC: How easy was it to write songs? Did all the members do the song writing or just a couple? Did writing songs be an easy thing or a hard thing?
EV: Tough at first, but luckily, I was a talented SOB, and quickly adapted to writing. It's really all about the riffs...can you constantly come up with new/interesting riffs? It was mainly me and Pat writing all the music, and Mike writing most of the lyrics (with input from me)...and composing came easier the more one did it (like most things in life, eh?)
MC: Tell me what you can remember about the 1st show that you played? Was
the crowd into you guys at all?
EV: The 1st gig went well, but I remember a few glitches...like Kenny getting drunk & kicking some audience members whom got too close...the crowd was into us, yes, but we had supporters present.
MC: You guys put out a demo. How did you come up with the name of the demo
and also your cool logo? How many did you end of printing up and did you sell a lot of copies of it and do you ever see it pop up on ebay for sale?
EV:The infamous "Demo Of Doom. The name came to me right after recording it, I have always loved not just the speed of metal, but the slow, grinding, like sounds as well. The logo was designed by an artist friend of mine from the make-up/special effects
days, Ralph Cordero II, who now sculpts action figures for Matell! We never really stopped selling it, from 1986-92, I lost track after 5,000 sold, plus we sent out another 2,000 to media for reviews! We would do mail order, but most sales came from local record shops that we went around to and personally stocked. I have seen a copy on eBay for over 50
dollars. (not as scarce as the first single, which I've seen going for125 bucks!!)
I have also seen parts bootlegged on a cd release somewhere...
MC: Did you get any record offers after the demo came out? I know you played L'amours several times and I saw you there live a few times. How was it playing there and what were some of the bands that you played with and how did you manage to get so many shows there?
EV: we did get a couple of offers, one from Combat records, but they wanted
us to sign everything away...another offer came from a Euro label (I
can't recall the name) and they wanted to sign us, but did not like the
vocals....we passed on both offers. We were sort of the house thrash band at Lamour, after our first gig there brought in a record number of passes & (I think
we got 2 bucks a pass for each one turned in at the door) I remember
opening for Overkill that first Lamour gig, (Dec. 1985, I believe, although it might be '86, those days are a blur!!!) it was great, and no stopping us now! We ended up playing with many acts there, (about once a month!) Anthrax, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Voi Vod, Hades, MOD, Bloodfeast, Whiplash &many, many others. It turns out whenever they had a heavy national act playing, they did not want to put a commercial/glam metal band on the
same bill, so they called us!
MC: Did you get to play out of town much? What towns did you manage to play
and what was the reception to the band like at these shows?
EV: We'd play everywhere from CT to PA in the Northeast. Wherever we could
drive to within a few hours, we played. We ended up making deals with some local bands, where we would open for them in their hometown, and if/when they make it to NY, we'd let them open for us! It was a good arrangement! We never failed to impress when playing outside of NY (after all, we were a genuine "NYC-thrash band!!!) I remember the
South Jersey gigs at Bonnies and Philly gigs (with Anvil Bitch & Faith or Fear) well, we went over big, and acquired many new fans at these shows. (I was at both and both shows killed-cf)
MC: Was the band pretty much getting along good at the time? What were some
of your favorite bands back then?
EV: We got along reasonably well, there were only minor squabbles, I seem to remember...I've always said being in a band is like being married to five people, it's very tough to get 2 people to agree on things, let alone 5!!! Some of the bands we were listening to at the time: Metallica, Anthrax, Priest, Maiden, Exodus, Megadeth, Motorhead, AC/DC & many others.
MC: How did you end up signing with this record label from Mexico? What was the name of the album and what songs were on it and did it ever come out on cd or tape and what sort of distribution did you have here in the US for it?
EV: George and his partner Carlos had a heavy metal magazine as well as a record label in Mexico. The magazine was called Heavy Metal Subterraneo and they did some articles on us. Then they invited us down to play some shows in Mexico City in 1988. Prior to the tour, we had already appeared on a compilation album, "Speed Metal II". After that short tour, they released the album on their label. The label was called "Avanzada Metalica". The name of the album was "Eat 'Em Raw". The songs on the album were Acid Bath, Speed or Bleed, Madman Marz, Eat 'Em Raw, The Vice, Infected and Seed of Demon. Distribution in the US was spotty at best. It never came out on CD. It was only released on vinyl and cassette. To my knowledge there was less than 10,000 copies pressed.
MC: Did you get to go down to Mexico and play and shows and what was the morale of the band like at this time?
EV: They invited us to play in 1988 for a mini world wind tour of Mexico City. We played 3 live shows, plus a television appearance on the Mexican "Today Show". We also did in-store appearances and radio interviews all in the course of 8 days. The morale was high. Discovering that we had fans down there inflated our egos to the point of bursting!
MC: What do you think of fanzines and do you think if back then we had the technology that we have today that bands such as yourselves could have gotten bigger?
EV: We always loved the fanzines because they would review us when major magazines wouldn't. We got reviewed in and sold thousands of copies of our demos in through these zines. Could we have gotten bigger if there was an internet then? Perhaps, but it seems that there are a lot more bands trying to make it these days. I think on "My Space"
that there are close to half a million musician pages. How many of these will get signed or make a living from their music? Me thinks one's chances of hitting the Lotto are better!
MC: What do you think killed thrash metal and why?
EV: One could say it was because the metal labels back then signed everybody they could. But we all know it was grunge from Seattle somewhere around 1991 (bands like Nirvana,Pearl Jam, etc.). I believe this style of music succeeded because it was more accessible than thrash. Although, today, if you listen to the "metal" Music Choice station, it is almost all thrash.
MC: What led to the break up of the band? Do you still talk to any of the old band members and were you offered to join any other bands after the breakup of S.T.?
EV: Many bands stayed together despite personal differences. Simply because they are making money, they tolerate each other. When there is no money coming in, there is no real reason to tolerate each other, is there? I am still in touch with Pat and his replacement, Rob. I was offered but was burnt out after eight years of writing,
performing, promoting, etc., etc..
MC: Can you still listen to your music and what do you think of it today?
EV: Yes, I can still listen to it. I believe it holds up very well.
MC: Do you plan on or having somebody put all of your stuff out on CD and have you seen any bootleg stuff floating around on the band?
EV: Yes, we hope to one day release all of our recorded material on a CD (album, demos, single, live performances) with perhaps a bonus video! I have seen bootleg material out there. Any vinyl as well as demos we produced are now very rare and sells on Ebay for lots of dough.
MC: Has their been any internet sites dedicated for the band?
ED: Just ours, but we have been referred to as "underground New York
thrash metal legends Savage Thrust" elsewhere on the web.
MC: I know you have your own site for the band now, what is the url and what will people find when they go there and they better or they are a bunch of posers ha ha?
EV: www.savagethrust.com is our official web site. People can find rare pictures, bios and other pertinent information on the band. We also hope to sell merchandise on the site in the near future.
MC: Any shot of any shirts being printed or have any extras for sale he he?
EV: Our shirts are another one of those rare collectibles that go for a lot of money if you can find them. But we do hope to offer new shirts in the future.
MC: Do you still go to shows and stuff?
EV: I rarely go to shows these days unless I am shooting them on video.
MC: What would you like the band to be remembered as and can you beleive after all these years the band is till being talked about?
EV: "underground NY trash legends, savage thrust!"...It has a certain
ring to it, wouldn't you say? Yes, it's hard to believe that people out there are STILL into our music! I've run into some dudes over the years that tell me ST was the 1st show they ever attended, and it inspired them to pick up an instrument/and form bands of their own!
MC: How much unreleased stuff do you have that you might decide to put out?
EV: I think we had 4-5 demos (with 3-4 songs each) plus the LP, plus an early single...and some live performances of varying quality. We also have about 4-5 hours of video from the old days.
MC: Do you think at the time you were an original band and what was your favorite show, least favorite show and craziest moment you can remember?
EV: Yes, I think we were a little too original, that's why we remain in relative obscurity!
Our favorite show was easy to remember- it was when we played with MANOWAR at Lamours. Lemme tell 'ya, those guys were super-cool with us, gave us use of their equipment/PA, and were WAY more down-to-earth than many thrash/speed bands (with way more "street-credibility coolness") we'd played with. I remember other bands being VERY restrictive as to the amount of lights and volume we would be "allowed"...MANOWAR just came up to us, asked what we need and said: "Guys, go fuckin' nuts" they were grrrrreat.Hard to pinpoint one crazy moment over the years, but I DO remember a show we played in Philly, and a severed Duck Head got thrown up on the stage!
MC: Do you still keep in contact with any old fans or people from back in the day?
EV: Rarely. I do not see any of those people anymore, most moved away. Just the occasional local musician that's still plugging it out in the trenches.
MC: If you could do some things differently, what would you do different
and what advice would you give to a young band starting out?
EV: I don't know if we'd do anything differently, looking back in retrospect. Face it, most of the bands we opened for, and aspired to be at their level, ....are nowhere today. Most have dis-banded, the few that still play (or re-formed) do not make a decent living off their music.I would tell them to rehearse as much as possible. We used to do it about 3 nights a week, and it sure came in handy when determining cues while performing with really shitty live PA sound.
MC: Did you ever get any shit over your name?
EV: No. the only thing I have been told is that "savage thrust" is the ultimate sex/violence metaphor...it could conceivably come from either a knife or a cock!
MC: Any last words i reeally enjoyed goig back in time with ya and best of luck with everyting.
EV: want to thank you, chris for this opportunity!, now get going on
that Anvil Bitch update! Whatever happend to those guys? (Faith or
Fear, Insaniac, too!)
MC: Working on Anvil Bitch and Faith or Fear interviews as we speak my friend!