Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Here is an interview with the editor of the godly magazine Snakepit. Laurent Ramadier is a total 100% true metal head and dammit read the interview and you'll know why. Snakepit is hands down the best magazine on the planet. Pick up a copy of it after you read the interview
MC: How old are you and do you come from a big family? Have you always lived over in Germany?
LR: Okay I'm 40... comes from a medium sized family... 2 older daughters, one who was listening to a lot of music (although it wasn't Rock) so that certainly had an impact on me somehow when I was 8 or so... I'm from France, that shitty communist country... wish I could have been raised in that great country known as Germany instead....
MC: What sort of kid were you growing up and did you get into music at a young age? Where and when did you first discover metal music? What were your first thoughts when you heard this style of music? Do you remember the 1st piece of metal music that you brought and do you still own it?
LR: I was the kind of kid who liked to be active.... I wasn't raised in a city or inside a village. I recall I loved those Marvel mags such as Strange, Hulk and stuff...Titan also back then.. Wish I had kept all those comics.... But yeah I was doing all sort of experiences and stuff very young.... I did start listen to music at 7 or 8..... French singers at first because what my sister was listening to influenced me obviously. But when it comes to the REAL thing aka METAL....it happened way back in 1979/1980. I remember being in college and I was seeing school bags, you know green ones that reminded of military and there was names like TRUST, AC/DC, SCORPIONS, KISS, TELEPHONE (the only band that has nothing to do with the others, this one being French garbage rock) etc so I was like intrigued you know?!
Most people wouldn't care about this at all but I was somehow fascinated by those names so I decided to go in a shop and picked up two tapes, one from AC/DC, "Highway To Hell" I believe, and TRUST "Repression" to see what this was all about -I don't own those tapes anymore, wish I did for the nostalgia but I have 'em on vinyl now.. I remember listening to this like two times each and I couldn't see what was so special about this music as I was before into stuff like XTC, PRETENDERS, SPACE, BLONDIE, MADNESS and pop stuff like this from the late '70s/ early '80s that you were hearing on radio charts. but as I'm not the type of person to give up like this, I did continue to play that stuff a couple more times and suddenly I was hooked! No shit, I had been contaminated by the virus and as REAL Metalheads know there's no cure for it, right?! From that point my only interest was to learn more about this mysterious music that had very little access to medias (but still much more than what it got starting in '85 until now which is NOTHING). I went on and started picking up tapes (I had no record turntable at that point yet) from KISS, SCORPIONS, VAN HALEN, more AC/DC and each time I was getting into it more and more. I was putting my comics such as Strange, Titan and the likes (I loved those ones) aside and instead I was buying Rock magazines where I could find a few articles or reviews about Hard Rock bands (there was no specialized press yet).
That's how I discovered a bit more about this music and in the meantime I got in touch with another dude in school who had heard about my strong interest for Hard Rock, so thru him I met his older brother who was totally into Hard Rock for the time. I remember going to his bedroom the first time, there was tons of posters from all my new heroes all over the walls and most of all he had a bunch of records, some I already knew but a lot I had no idea how they sounded like...that's how I discovered the first M.S.G. album, M…T…RHEAD "Ace Of Spades" and most of all TYGERS OF PAN TANG "Wild Cat". Just by looking at the cover and the insert of this album I was hooked plus hearing how raw and fuckin' savage this record was just an unforgettable experience for me! From then my only goal was to hear as much Metal as I could and this is what I did until now -and still do. Like many other Metalheads, from that point I started to look after the most powerful acts one after one. It wasn't my main concern at first, it was just hearing Metal, Metal, Metal, from BAD COMPANY to IRON MAIDEN to Y & T so it was covering a large spectrum. But one day not long after still thru that guy I knew at school, I got to hear a radio program held every Friday from 11 am til noon, one hour of decibels, and what the guy was broadcasting was just unbelievable to my ears -remember it was 1980/1981. you could hear stuff from RAGE (U.K. of course!), M…T…RHEAD, URIAH HEEP, DEF LEPPARD, RIOT etc and most of all fuckin' ACCEPT with "Breaker"!!! It was another step for me but the real one was the day he had broadcasted "Fast As A Shark" (which had just came out!) without saying which band it was. I was like, 'What the fuck is that? How can they play THAT fast?!' you know? And the next day I made a call to a relative in Paris to ask for a copy of that album -cos I was pretty sure it was a new ACCEPT! Then I heard about TANK which were even more devastating and Enfer magazine started. April 1983. It was like a hammer! You would find articles full -and I mean FULL- of passion about unknown acts like MERCYFUL FATE, VENOM, EXCITER, JAGUAR and METALLICA. a brand new world you know?
So I immediately jumped on this and I got hooked to a no return point!!! It was so heavy, fast and devastating.. But it was nothing comparing to what would appear during December 1983/January 1984 when SLAYER's "Show No Mercy" got released. This re-started all for me. Those guys were delivering something that you would not believe it could have existed you know?! So heavy/fast/aggressive and deadly. I loved it right away and didn't care anymore about Hard Rock/Heavy Metal acts. I sold all my debut records and was just addicted to Thrash Metal from that day, just always looking for Thrash and Hardcore, nothing else -a mistake that I did regret years later when the scene became oversaturated and damn crappy by 1991. Plus another world got opened right in front of me when I got aware of the tape trading world by 1983. It was simply GOD! Yeah that's how I d iscovered Metal and how step by step I got into the heaviest/fastest forms of Metal.
MC: What was the 1st metal concert you saw and what are some of your favorite concerts that you have seen over the years?
LR: The very first show I saw was VENOM/METALLICA at the Espace Balard in Paris, February 9th 1984 I believe...first time the newer Metal 'gods' were playing in Europe.... I recall that the same day I had been victim of an aggression from a handful of French 'metalheads' (yeah that's how Metalheads in France were for some of 'em) as I was going out of a big store in Paris having just bought a copy of the OBSESSION "Marshall Law" EP and was on the way to go to my sister's home when those shitheads caught me and wanted me to give them the vinyl I had bought, "either give it or we'll break it'... fortunately somebody who was walking around helped me and the shitheads all ran away...but I tell you I was frightened to go to the show a few hours later cos I knew I could encounter those assholes again there..finally I did cos I did want to see those bands real bad so I went, prayed I would not see those sons of bitches...I did saw a couple though but fortunately there was quite a few people there so they didn't pay much attention.... the show was cool, METALLICA raged badly, VENOM were just noise bullshit though...my ears were nearly bleeding haha!
So that's how my first show happened. not the coolest way for a first one but.... some of my fave shows I've seen since 1984? Waouh.... certainly SLAYER Deinze and Zurich May 1987, both shows were an unforgettable experience before SLAYER started to act like working dudes... SACRIFICE Montreal July 1988 was simply INSANE.... RUSH Paris 1992/ Stuttgart 2004 were simply beyond words.... SLAYER Milwaukee/ Paris/ Brussels 1994 were BOTH GREAT KILLER shows with a GREAT stage show, a war rolling machine on stage (SLAYER) and Paul Bostaph behind the sit...the man was the show!!!!!!! Lombardo sounded like shit compared to Mr Bostaph! ATHEIST Tampa 1990 is an unforgettable show with Mr. Roger Patterson on bass, the man who gave me that "UP" pre production tape which I did lend to the band recently so they could use it (along with tons of other things courtesy of your truly) for their recent Relapse reissues - still wonder why those cool people didn't give me any credit?! Oh yeah and FORBIDDEN Eindhoven 1989... drove 18 hours to see 45 minutes of FORBIDDEN and then went home!!!!! CRAZY! But FORBIDDEN simply devastated everything..I remember watching a bit of SACRED REICH who went after FORBIDDEN and it was horse shit.... Yeah that's about all and possibly HEATHEN 2005 on their comeback tour.... seeing Mr Altus delivering those crazy rhythms and solos was also an experience... I could name ARTILLERY 1990, OBITUARY 1990, HERESY 1987 and a few others but they didn't mark my mind the same way.
MC: Have you done any writing for any publications before Snakepit?
LR: Yeah while you, Chris, were doing some writing for Scott Helig's Total Thrash back in the day, at the same time I was doing Decibel Of Death 'zine, the first French Thrash/Speed 'zine ever.... that's a long story but it was a great experience cos I got to know numerous bands such as NECROVORE, SACRIFICE, MORBID ANGEL and hundreds more.... I did like 8 issues (the first one was done by the original editor: Ludovic Gluozko (VIPER/ ZOMBIE guitarist). Hail to him forever for having been one of the first TRUE banger in France. When all this so called Metallers from France where hailing the likes of VAN HALEN, TWISTED SISTER, SCORPIONS and stuff, he was hailing the likes of MANTAS, SLAYER, GENOCIDE, POISON (Germany/ IL) etc etc.... it says all.
Then I ended up doing D.O.D. by 1988 with issue 9, not enough feedback, too many hassles and stuff.... then I was offered by a certain cool L.A. dude known as Richard C. to write for The Wild Rag mag...it was cool I submitted him a few interviews I had originally done for D.O.D. but I couldn't use since the mag was buried. There was SINDROME, ENTOMBED and maybe a couple others...when I look at the stuff now, I laugh and I'm not proud at all about it because the shit was cheesy as hell.... I hope I'm doing a little bit better with Snakepit, at least I'm trying....
And then I did join the Snakepit ranks around 1998 when I discovered how KILLER
this mag was under Frank Stover 's guidance, it was a dream come true... it
had been like a decade I had not seen something so great to read...since the
demise of M. Forces, Metal Mania (CA) and Kick Ass Monthly in fact!"
MC: How did you come up with the idea to start your own magazine and how did you assemble your staff so to speak?
LR: Originally Frank Stšver (who used to be DESTRUCTION manager, "Horror Infernal", "Rock Hard" writer etc.) started it back in '97 or so and as I was so impressed by the mag (it has been seven years I haven't seen such a great zine, in fact since the days of Metal Forces), so I offered Frank to help him out with interviews as I knew I could get some ones in the way he had them... so it worked out and by issue four, Frank was fed up by a lot of things (money invested, over-crowded Heavy Metal scene etc.) and decided to end up the mag. I couldn't live any longer with the idea to see it disappear, so with two other Snakepit writers I decided to go on with that awesome mag (remember, Frank, if you read this, you are GOD!!!!), to keep the same formula because it was the RIGHT formula for all of us... Now we have a colored cover, a better worldwide distribution so that's cool.... But after issue 10 the two guys who were co-doing this with me decided to stop, well the main one, Heinz Konzett (hail bro!) decided to give up on it due to personal reasons so I was alone and had two options, either put it to rest or trying to keep it going.. I choose the 2nd one and did it the way I was doing DECIBEL OF DEATH 12 years earlier, photocopying it.... Not the best job but better than nothing! Fortunately by issue 14, Yosuke from NWP came in the picture and offered to print it and distribute it... All power to him! So now I'm alone, sometimes I have extra guys like Brian Ash, F. Stover helping me but I'm doing 98% of the thing. A few writers asked to join the thing but I couldn't find in their writing what I'm looking for..."
MC: What were the early issues like and how were the responses to them? How many copies did you print and was it hard to get rid of them? Are any of these issues still for sale or do you plan on putting them up on the web?
LR: The first issues were professionally printed but black and white.... When I decided to go on with issue 5, the first thing we choose to add with Heinz was a colored cover... I think it was a cool move.... I think Frank did print 500 copies of those first issues, same for us... it wasn't until issue 9 that we printed 1000 copies...I'm pretty sure that if we didn't part ways after issue 10 the mag would sell 2000 or 2500 copies now.... It sells okay but I thought there would be more people hungry for this... but again it's so damn easy to sit in front of a computer and get stuff for free... people want everything for free now and no efforts to order stuff etc..... that's how cool society is nowadays! The only issues still available are issue 14 and issue 15 from NWP, check: http://www.nwnprod.com/catalog/ , and you can get them with paypal.... Much easier than before.
MC: Is it hard to track down these old bands? What was the hardest band so far to track down? Are some of the members real assholes as far as wanting to do interviews or are most cool about it?
LR: Well now with the internet it gets slightly easier as a lot of them either post comments on forums and stuff like this.... But there's still tons of people hard to locate! The hardest so far were maybe the Sardo brothers (SCEPTRE, SARDO, THRUSTOR).... No interview, no article were ever made on those bands so with almost no infos it's real hard....
No, most musicians are cool about it.... I recall Mike Sus didn't want to have
anything to do with POSSESSED when I located him but I wouldn't call him an
asshole.... I respect his choice.... Cyriss was certainly the biggest asshole...
a surprise? No! Also Mr Mike Varney from Shrapnel never dared to answer me regarding
an interview but it's a well known thing that he HATES what he did in the beginning....
A real metaller haha... maybe one day he will change his mind.
MC: What have been your favorite interview so far to date and your most disappointing?
LR: My favorite one.... I know a lot of people liked a lot my first HEATHEN interview from 1998 with Lee and Doug... so it might be my fave one.... If all goes well the one I'm working on with Allan Johnson should dethrone HEATHEN.... Cross your hands! Disappointing.... There's quite a few.... Obviously Algy Ward in issue 4.... Fuckin' Algy... if TANK weren't as good as they are I would certainly have thrown away all their stuff haha!!!! There's others but I can't recall them right now.... My 2nd ARTILLERY interview wasn't so cool comparing to the 1st... lazy fuckers those Danish ragers hehe! Oh yeah the new WITCHFINDER GENERAL one is killer.... I'm so happy it was included on the vinyl version of the live album! Yosuke you fuckin' RULE! Thank you forever you and Russ V. for having resurrected this great U.K. band!
MC: If you could start up your own label and sign 10 bands and put out 10 re-releases, what would they be and why?
LR: Well that's hard to say as many many re-releases have been done already... and some very good ones... but let's imagine some have not been made... I would definitively do DEAF DEALER "Keeper of the Flame" (and in the process I would fuckin' release FINALLY "Journey Into Fear" which is one of the most brilliant Heavy/ Power Metal album ever recorded!)... this Quebec act had everything to be as big as IRON MAIDEN, PRIEST, and stuff.... Their first album just took too much time to be released and when it finally happened ('87) there was no room for that sort of music as the majority of people were looking for harder/ faster things. Then I'll pick up ACID "Maniac" album which remains one of the most intense record that ever came from Europe... WITCHCROSS "Fit For Fight" would be one...so far only bootlegs versions has been done.... I'D love to do this properly... A bit more accessible than DEAF DEALER but bloody hot! Along with the ARTILLERY albums and MERCYFUL FATE albums, this bunch were the hottest band from Denmark.... That's three records...what's next?! ANGEL DUST "Into The Dark Past" would be one as hell.... While it never got the recognition it should have got back then (in an already oversaturated Thrash scene) this record was almost as hot as "Bonded By Blood" and I'm not the type of guy to say things for nothing, I really mean it! The riffing is absolutely unreal!!!!!! Rarely I've heard such a crunch besides the mighty HEATHEN and certain EXODUS numbers!!!!!!! Definitively one of the strongest album to have ever come from Germany along with DESTRUCTION "Infernal Overkill" and the first two KREATOR albums. I would do fuckin' "Heavy Metal Maniac" for sure BUT properly not like the cheap reissues that has been done so far.... I mean this MEGA ABSOLUTE ONE OF A KIND METALLIC MASTERPIECE never fuckin' got the treatment it should have gotten! Man we're talking about one of the most destructive/totally Metallic (this is where the word has all its sense!) record to have ever been released! I would fuckin' do "Victims of Deception" from HEATHEN and also the first one "Breaking The Silence", now it would be different from the cheap thing Century Media and more recently this crappy Polish label known as Metal Mind did! Another band who should have been huge is definitively HEATHEN... one of the best pair of axemen ever, one of the best rhythm player ever, killer songwriters... I would fuckin do "Ample Destruction" from JP of course! I still can't understand to this day how this totally godly album haven't been re-released properly...Dave Richards what are you doing? But I guess the PANZER guys doesn't care much considering that they have never played more than 3 songs at best from this killer record during their live sets since they've reformed, as headliners or as guests.... Stupid! REPULSION "Horrified" I would do it too but it would be hard to top what Relapse did!!!!! This one got the RIGHT treatment! Awesome Death Metal! The first TROUBLE would be the last.... Any fuckin' Metaller must have this masterpiece of super heavy crunchy METAL!"
MC: Is there any bands you're still searching to interview?
LR: Sure!!!!!! I was hoping to have Gary Holt to answer a huge EXODUS interview but unfortunately he saw my review of "Showel" just before starting the interview and he was pissed off being the professional dude he is.... So he said 'no interview'.... That sucked because it was finally an opportunity to learn MORE about the very beginning of EXODUS back in '79.... I did try to have Tom Hunting as well but he comes from the same school of sheer class so nothing happened....
I did try to have good old John Cyriss or whoever he is really but he didn't
want to say a single word on his past bands so needless to say that I didn't
go further.... In the past I had always dreamt of meeting SLAYER and interview
them but seeing what they've become, now I don't care... their answers would
certainly be very superficial and crappy... it's hard finding some old musicians
but years after years I'm finding some people like recently the famous Sardo
brothers (SCEPTRE).... This band has been a mystery for 25 years but finally
people are gonna learn everything about this godly act in issue 16.... Yeah
it takes time sometimes but I guarantee I always will bring nothing but cool
stuff for my readers. I have just located three EVIL members so issue 17 will
feature EVIL finally.... Been a while I wanted them to appear in Snakepit! There's
Shrapnel Records that I'd love to have in our label special but Metal is too
uncool for Mr Varney.... What a fuckin' attitude this guy has developed over
the years when you think of the great bands he has brought on the table back
in the day... a shame!"
MC: For those who don't know, describe what the magazine is all about. What sort of metal bands won't you feature in the magazine?
LR: Snakepit is about REAL Metal.... That may sound a bit cheesy to some but nowadays there's more false Metal than ever.... When I recall the '80s and some bands were labelled as false metal... well it was nothing comparing to what it is nowadays... Snakepit is about quality traditional Metal, no matter if it's Heavy, Power, Speed, Thrash Metal.... By the way Power Metal means JAG PANZER, early OVERKILL, OMEN, SAVAGE GRACE, SLAYER (Texas), LIEGE LORD (circa 3rd album) not MACHINE HEAD and bullshit like this...I wanted to clear things up here as it looks like a lot of people don't know what Power Metal meant in the first place.... So we cover this with Snakepit, past, present and future trad. Metal acts.... Sometime you get bands like REPULSION, INSANITY, NAPALM DEATH but it's because they are clearly rooted in old Thrash and has more in common with this than anything else. On the other hand you will NEVER find features on DEICIDE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, EXHUMED, CRADLE OF FILTH, IMMORTAL and the likes because those bands have strictly nothing in common with what Metal was supposed to be in the first place.
MC: How long do you think the mag will exist and about how many hours do you think you put in putting out each issue?
LR: I really don't know Chris...that's something I can't predict...I mean as long as Yosuke wants to get involved with it then it's gonna be around, that's all I can say...depends a lot on Yosuke at this point.... As far as the time spent.... Waouh a great deal of time between doing the interviews, finding the material for the features (sometimes its hard getting photos and stuff!) and then putting all that together... plus doing the fuckin' reviews which I hate doing.... Yeah you can talk in weeks...probably 8 weeks of work altogether.
MC: How many copies do you print of it and where do you get it printed at?
LR: At this point I understand Yosuke from Nuclear War Productions is printing 1000 copies so that's pretty cool considering the state of the scene when it comes to fanzines and stuff.... He gets them done in California which explains the delay in getting a new issue released...but without Yosuke I would have probably stopped because doing this as photocopies is not my thing... I did try to go on when my two other partners stopped being part of Snakepit but seeing what we had achieved and having to comeback to photocopies was not the right thing. So THANK YOU FOREVER YOSUKE!
MC: What are your thoughts on some of the old bands getting back together? Are you for something like this or do you think the bands should just let sleeping dogs lie so to speak?
LR: Well after having seen how it has developed during the last decade I would be more of the second opinion.... Most of those reformations were just silly...I mean when I see demo bands like OUTRAGE getting back together I really wonder what went wrong in this scene! Nothing against them but come on let's be serious for a second...how many band really delivered great stuff with their comeback? Can we call the two AGENT STEEL comeback records as great? SAVAGE? HOLOCAUST? ARTILLERY? MORTAL SIN? Etc etc.. as far as I'm concerned only NASTY SAVAGE, DEATH ANGEL, SACRIFICE, and a couple others did manage to offer great comebacks... So better let sleeping dogs lie but unfortunately its not the way it was meant to be!
MC: Have you had any bands threaten you due to a bad review or during the course of an interview?
LR: Well with the exception of ABATTOIR/ BLOODLUST, Steve Gaines (as you had been able to judge in his extensive feature from issue 15) it never happened... I don't know why Steve judged me the way he did but that's rather sad.... After all if ABBATTOIR had not written the nu metal inspired stuff they did during their reformation then I would have been glad to see them around... stick to your roots instead of being influenced by the utter crap around.... Or at least don't write material with traces of this inside your stuff...keep it for yourself OR simply change the band name and release what the fuck you want! Steve is certainly a good dude but he missed the point and certainly didn't understand how big of a REAL Metal fan I am! I'm a fan and nothing else and I'm fuckin' pissed off when I see bands that were either favorites of mine or that I liked a lot at one point then coming up with that type of garbage.
MC: Some people say you come off as a "know it all" in some of your interviews. What would you say to those people?
LR: Well people has to understand that when I like a band, then I LIKE THE BAND which means I will always keep in memory what they did and stuff you know? Plus being influenced by Metal Forces, Kick Ass Monthly and the likes means that I like reading interviews where you learn as much from the question than from the answer.... That's how I like interviews...that's how Borivoj Krgin was doing his interviews and they will remain untouchable.... Ever! So if I come with so many details in my questions, this is not to sound like a "know it all" dude (at 40 I think I have other things in life to take care than playing this game!) but to bring nothing to the readers but the best stuff I can so people can sit in and really enjoy the feature because hopefully they will learn tons of details that often answers don't bring. I hope I have cleared up things here on this point.
MC: How big is your music collection? How many CD'S do you think you own? Is
there any rare or un-released stuff that your looking for? What would be the
most money you would spend on a release?
LR: It's relatively big I guess.... It could be bigger but I'm no more into collecting for the sake of doing it...I let this to others. When Metal got oversaturated back in '91 I have thrown away most of my collection and decided to just keep what I liked to listen to it and it made a big difference.... Now I own something like 2000 tapes, 800 vinyls maybe and a bunch of cds... there's still a few rare items I'm looking after such as PENTAGRAM 7"s (I should have bought 'em a few years ago, now it's overpriced), SLAYER "Nitemare On Elm Street" LP bootleg and a few other things like MILITIA "The Sybling" 12" (poor asshole I am because back in the day you could get it for 10$!)... there's a couple of recordings that are still lacking such as the HEATHEN "Breaking The Silence" advance tape which features "Feed The Children" which is NOT on the final album...where are you Bori haha?! I did spend something like 800$ on the first SLAUTER XSTROYES LP.... That's the most I did spend ...then there's other rarities but it cost less...
MC: Name your greatest top 10 albums that any metalhead should own?
LR: Well, EXCITER "Heavy Metal Maniac" (this album will be THE SHIT forever!), SLAYER "Hell Awaits", TROUBLE "1st", MOTORHEAD "No Sleep Til Hammersmith", SCORPIONS "Taken By Force", RUSH -too many to names but let's go with "Permanent Waves", MERCYFUL FATE "Melissa", ATHEIST "Unquestionable Presence" reissue CD (for the demo featuring Roger Patterson), ANVIL "Forged In Fire", SATAN "Court In The Act"....please let me add ARTILLERY "By Inheritance" in particular and FORBIDDEN "Forbidden Evil"... there's of course some BLACK SABBATH/ PRIEST albums that should have been added.... Quite hard....
MC: What in your opinion is the most underrated band you have ever heard and why do you think they didn't achieve the success others did?
LR: There's a couple that have access to the throne.... ARTILLERY, SACRIFICE, REPULSION, INSANITY, ATHEIST, OBLIVEON, NASTY SAVAGE and now that they have just broke up, MALEDICTION, comes to mind right away. REPULSION were way ahead of their time with their insane Death Metal...buy late 1986 they were no more and people didn't care while I DID CARE about this! Strangely enough as usual it took a decade for people to see how killer this band was.... INSANITY should have been what MORBID ANGEL are... this old act had everything to become a huge Death Metal act.... So much talent but they were plagued early on by the death of a main member, then money problems and never recovered from this BUT guitarist Dave Gorsuch never gave up and they are still here today but of course people never cared about the fact that year after year they were struggling and still trying to deliver killer death Metal the way it was meant to be.
It's so much cooler praising CANNIBAL CORPSE and the likes... hail to NAPALM DEATH for what they did with the cover recently though but it won't change INSANITY's destiny. ATHEIST... haha when I see all those people going crazy for them nowadays it drives me mad... that's cool but it's too late... the band did deliver two outstanding Metal albums (the 3rd being okay but not killer) back in the day but people were throwing them shit like at CANNIBAL CORPSE shows when they were supporting them.... Nobody went to their shows when they were supporting CANDLEMASS in 1991 (poor Swedes too!)..nobody cared when Roger died... it took 13 years to people to celebrate them... the same happened to CYNIC.... When I see this, that drives me mad... people booing them back then now praising them, how cool is that?! OBLIVEON had an unreal amount of talent that was showcased on their first 3 releases.... That band had a way to write their stuff rarely seen in Metal but again nobody cared -and nowadays nobody still cares- probably because they were from Canada... plagued because they were from Canada.... In the end they jumped on the trendy league and became a Nu Metal crap act BUT if people had supported them maybe they would have kept their integrity intact... NASTY SAVAGE are another example... that band were one of the strongest demo bands EVER in the Metal scene.
You couldn't open a zine back then without seeing an article on them... but three albums later they had a dedicated but small following.... Of course the material was intricate... it wasn't your easy listening type of stuff that so many people are looking after but fuck what an amount of talent involved when you hear something like "eromantic vertigo" or "psychopath"! What's even worse is to have seen that comeback they did four years ago with a very cool album that was not Nu Metal, that was not Black Metal, that was not Gothic but true to the heart and completely ignored by the masses... on sale for 5 Euros these days.... Very supportive! MALEDICTION were plagued from the start by being French.... This is a band that were able to deliver Heavy/Power Metal the way the best U.K./U.S. bands could but just because they were from France and had no label support (THANK YOU Nuclear Blast, Century Media and all of you so called Metal labels) they were largely unnoticed. Last but not least is SACRIFICE, the mighty Canadian band who ARE the only band ever in Thrash to have never sold their soul to a trend (EXODUS were one as well but on the other hand they quickly became a washed act) and did nothing but released four immensely strong albums, but again it was cooler to call them 2nd rate SLAYER type act and give support to NUCLEAR ASSAULT and the likes.... Drives me insane when I think about the potential/ immense talent that didn't get noticed by blinded masses.
MC: What do you think of the internet and places such as MySpace?
LR: Well on one hand it definitively adds a new side to Metal that was not accessible back in the day.. You can find people way more easily, get in touch almost face to face with musicians, you can order or find stuff from all over the world so much easily than before so that's definitively a strong positive point. Now on the negative side, there's the fact that music has dematerialized a great deal and that sucks..I hate all those different formats like MP3s and all that shit... I hate the fact you can download all that stuff when back then bands had to send demos and stuff... I don't know but I have a strange feeling with this. At the same time its cool to hear a couple of songs on line from a band and THEN you know if its worthy to buy the album or not. But back then we had not this and still I was rarely buying albums that were disappointing to me just because I was relying on the reviewers... I mean you were reading something from Bob Muldowney or Borovoj Krgin and you knew if it was worthy or not so.... As for MySpace, I don't know if such sites really brings something more than just a website... when you see the comments, its often mostly adverts...pretty stupid... always the same advert or the same line 'thanks for adding me'... crap.
MC: Is there any magazines/webzines that you feel are keeping the old spirit still alive? How about new bands?
LR: Hard to say really.... There's a few mags in Germany whose names escapes me right now that are keeping the spirit high. One is from Hamburg... but there's not much... Den Of Iniquity from Belgium was one but now it's only a website.... No unfortunately there's not much.... As far as new bands goes, that's a different story... Before I discovered Snakepit back in '97/98 I never thought there was new bands that were carrying the torch but once I read the first issue and bought some records reviewed inside, I saw how wrong I was!
There's a good amount of GREAT new bands that have appeared in the last decade (man already 10 years for Snakepit!)... Some are DESTINY'S END, SEVEN WITCHES (old), SKULLVIEW, RAVENSTHORN, MALEDICTION (certainly the hottest!), VIRON, NEMESIS (Ireland), BRAINSTORM (that singer is a hell of a singer!), FARSCAPE, BATTLE RAM etc etc... so there's definitively new bands that are worth checking out but as you can see it's mostly trad. Metal... the Thrash/Death scene hasn't brought any new bands besides one or two that are able to offer what SACRIFICE, BATHORY, CELTIC FROST, EXODUS, early VOIVOD etc did bring back then.... Sorry but all the TOXIC HOLOCAUST, DEKAPITATOR, MERCILESS DEATH of this world do nothing but offer poor written material... but I see that it's the new trend praising that new wave of Thrash acts. You never know what the future will bring with trends!
MC: Do shows over in Germany still draw a strong metal crowd? Do you ever go to any of the big fests and what do you think of such shows as Wacken?
LR: Oh yeah I guess so... I mean it's a well known fact that Germany IS the Metal place.... During the mid '90s when underground Metal was literally buried and forgotten in most places you still had bands like EXCITER touring Germany... it says everything.... While most so called Metallers were either listening to techno by that time because it was the next cool thing to do, you had all those German Metallers still celebrating '80s Metal AND that's also why so many acts did reform, first the NWOBHM acts but then different other bands from all over the world... and where did they play first most of the time? Germany! I did go to the Bang Your Head fest back in '98 because there was the return of NASTY SAVAGE.. it was not the big fest it became shortly after... pretty cool! I went to Wacken the year after because the bill had MANY bands I liked... it was an insane experience!!! Waouh I will remember it all my life but never returned because the bills the following years weren't as strong as far as I'm concerned... won't travel for like 20 hours for just 2 or 3 bands to watch.... I'm not too much into those big fests though... it has nothing in common with club shows you know... fortunately Wacken has the advantage of having smaller stages so sometimes you can see bands you really like closer but all in all its way too big for my liking.
MC: What are you thoughts on bootlegging? Do you think it is OK to bootleg long out of print stuff as long as the quality is good and it is just done to have the material out there for people to buy and not make a ton of money off of it?
LR: Well that's definitively a touchy subject.... I see bands screaming after bootlegs but do they scream when they see their brand new cd sold for 16$ when in reality it cost like nothing to product? I wish they would rebel against that real injustice first and then being concerned by bootlegs...
MC: What do you think of sites such as EBAY, where you can pretty much buy anything for the right price?
LR: I think it's cool... well it was certainly cooler a few years ago though when Ebay wasn't yet the HUGE thing it has became nowadays... not everybody knew about it so you could still get rare stuff for okay prices...now it's just impossible (when it comes to rare stuff) BUT if you have the money you still can find stuff you wouldn't have found any other way...it gives access to worldwide stuff and that's a big difference between now and before....
MC: What do you think of bands like Exodus, Overkill, Slayer, and Metallica nowadays?
LR: Out of the four, NONE has my respect anymore! Still although I think EXODUS latest batch of albums are just quick cash materialwise and are in no way comparable to the greatness of their early works, at least this band still delivers -cheap- Metal unlike the three others! OVERKILL... well as far as I'm concerned this band has lost all their ability to write GREAT stuff after "Feel The Fire" back in 1985, plain and simple. Dead case. METALLICA.... well this band has been just a joke for the last 16 years after they did release "Metallica"... I still wonder how the people who has written great stuff like "Kill 'Em All" or "RTL" can be responsible for the utter garbage they've released for so long now! This is another dead case...
SLAYER...haha... Well, let me say this, I used to be a SLAYER fanatic...I mean a real one, I still own one of the biggest SLAYER collection ever as far as vinyl, cds, live tapes, interviews, rehearsals etc goes... this band simply changed my musical life the day I heard "SNM"...it was so damn fast and unheard of before!!!! PLUS the point that they were playing EVEN faster live, something NONE other bands around were doing back in the day.... no shit, that's the truth! When "HTC" came out it was hell on earth as it was even heavier and faster UNLIKE all the other bands from the same era who were all starting to play slower because it was not cool to always play fast (what a good joke!) (METALLICA, ANTHRAX... BUT after all those bands weren't Thrash acts while SLAYER were a pure THRASH act!)... then "Hell Awaits" came out etc etc... the band were never disappointing their fans but on the other hand they were giving them more insanity and brutality than any other! "RIB" came out and it got celebrated like the album of all time... I loved it back then, but as time went on, I realized it wasn't that good comparing to the earlier works or the next album "South Of Heaven" which showed SLAYER not at their best but close to! That album was so HEAVY, it was so METAL and was so fuckin' classic! I mean there's solos again, there's Lombardo's drumming which is way better than on fuckin "RIB" and there's no fuckin' hardcore overtones like "RIB" had.... sorry but "RIB" is good but it's definitively not the album that a lot of peoples define as THE THRASH ALBUM!
"Hell Awaits" or "SOH" should be celebrated this way instead -anyday! I know some people started to throw shit at them when "SOH" came out because some of the stuff was slower...for SLAYER's speed yes but comparing to the material that was released at the time, jeez it was just blowing everything else! There was so much POWER inside most of the songs! Demented! Then came "Seasons" which was good but definitively not great, still live the band was still killer although they were starting to play shows in a workinglike fashion... the drum seat change was no problem for me but instead a great thing when I heard Paul was joining them...I mean anybody familiar with the FORBIDDEN demos/ Lp knew the guy could pull it off anyday and blow Dave's ass away easily...which he did with "Divine" when SLAYER returned to reconquer the throne (that they had never lost in fact!)...
The album had some filler tracks
that's for sure but it was again inspired thrash for the greatest part and live
the '94/'95 tours kicked ass badly! A war machine! Then they did that cover
album featuring one new track- very impressive new tune- so unlike let's say
SEPULTURA and the likes who had all sold their soul to nu Metal or whatever
garbage sound, SLAYER were still SLAYER like they had been for the previous
14 years... I was hoping for more good old Thrash from the masters FOREVER at
this point as they had never betrayed their roots BUT suddenly came "diabolus..."
and it was hell on earth but not for the same reasons! Holy shit, imagine a
band who had stayed true to themselves for 14 years while all the others were
doing either uninspired crap, or rap shit or playing bongos in the jungle and
suddenly they fall in the same trap.... just because suddenly they got inspired
by PANTESHIT and garbage like this.... just because they certainly realized
there was more money to do by playing downtuned crap mixed with hardcore vocals...
yeah it was all over for me! And the next albums that were released after this
one certainly conformed my opinion... sell outs! That's all they are nowadays.
They can rot in hell, that's all I have to say after having seen them betraying
their REAL fans the way they did!
MC: What is the greatest metal song you have ever heard in your opinion?
LR: Hell now THIS IS THE HARD ONE! If you had told me to list 5 songs that would have been easier but one.... hell! Well "Journey Into fear" from DEAF DEALER could be it.... but "Metalstorm/Face The Slayer" could be THIS ONE as well.... I love this song.... It has that driving feel that any good Metal HAS to get... Fuckin' "Eaten Alive" from REPULSION could be it too! But STOP! How about fuckin' "Archangel" from DEATH.... This is fuckin' intense and GODLY! It's hard to be more brutal/intense than this!!!! But hey how about "Light Of The End" from an insane foursome based in Toronto?!
MC: Give me your thoughts on the following:
Black Metal: Well this genre started as a killer one ORIGINALLY with the likes of BATHORY, MERCYFUL FATE, DEATH SS, SLAYER (yeah people should remember that SLAYER were labeled as Death/ Black/ Thrash/ Speed Metal in the first place) or POSSESSED... this what the REAL shit...those bands could write shit that kicked your ass forever.... then came that wave during 1992/1993 and it was the end.... I don't recognize myself in that stupid wave that came at the time... the spirit wasn't just the same... and in the end all those bands were just noise, crappy noise, not even better than the SATAN'S BAKE SALE or INTENSE MUTILATION -that says everything.
Power Metal: Another good one... nowadays Power Metal is associated with utter bullshit/ false Metal like PANTERA, MACHINE HEAD or whatever.... but once again Power Metal was never this garbage... Power Metal IS nowadays stuff like CAGE (San Diego), NEW EDEN, SYRIS (RIP) etc... Power Metal was in the first place killer bands like LIEGE LORD, OMEN, SAVAGE GRACE, HAWAI, JAG PANZER, OVERKILL etc... not Speed Metal but not standard Heavy Metal ala PRIEST ("I guess "Painkiller" could be labeled as Power Metal though) either... just something more intense than standard Heavy Metal.... THAT WAS POWER METAL!!!!
Death Metal: Death Metal when its well written/ played can be the most destructive music genre... unfortunately just like with Black Metal the genre has derivated from something totally mind blowing (MANTAS/ DEATH, GENOCIDE/ REPULSION (no no not Grindcore as some would call them but PURE DEATH METAL!), INSANITY, ARCHENEMY (LA), DECAPITATION, POISON (Germany) etc.... those bands knew how to write REAL music unlike the billions of Death Metal acts that came out after 1990 and were/ are plain crap.... of course some might argue it's just a question of tastes... but NO, it has nothing to do with tastes, people have to open their ears and really listen to the garbage around...now tell me what's musical in hearing dogs barking all day? People like Tardy, Schuldiner, Vincent, Beccera or DeZuniga had all voices that were complimenting the barrage of riffs.... those people were working on their riffs and were not just happy because their shit was dowtuned and in fact there was not much downtuning back then... it really started with ENTOMBED but at first the guys did it in a GREAT way because the music was there again! So again I love the original wave, I saw it all and I'm proud to have seen it... young people should buy all the oldies instead of supporting the bullshit around. These days only MORBID ANGEL have proved that they stayed true to the style... they never wrote any bullshit like OBITUARY did circa "World Demise" or SEPULTURA after "Arise" and the list is endless.... ALL POWER TO THE MIGHTY MORBID ANGEL!
MC: When I saw the word, 'posers' what thoughts come to mind?
LR: What comes to mind? Hell it looks like 95% of the people involved in the 'metal' scene these days have no clue about that term.... it reminds me right away of the infamous Glam scene from back then...it reminds me of Paul Baloff, that Metal god who was saying on stage 'bring me a poser dead or alive" and stuff like this.... those were the days! Considering the big joke the scene has became these days, I definitively consider there's WAY more posers now than there was back then... it may sound a bit hard to understand but you Chris, maybe you share somehow that statement....
(Oh I know exactly where your coming from as back in the day all the old thrash
bands would say stuff like "kill all posers" and all the glam bands
were labeled as Posers-chris)
How about Hardcore/ Crossover?
LR: I was a big 'fan' of this stuff which I had discovered while reading interviews from people like Katon W DePena etc... but rather quickly I became tired of that stuff... so I did sell everything I had EXCEPT the AGNOSTIC FRONT, NYC MAYHEM and STRAIGHT AHEAD stuff because those ones sounded different and way more appealing to me.... I recently have bought again the early DISCHARGE album "See Nothing..." a classic which I would call Hardcore rather than Punk.... but overall I have completely gave up on Hardcore/ Crossover. But when it comes to stuff like BLACK FLAG, AGENT ORANGE, MISFITS, or whatever from the '79 or '80 scene I have never liked that stuff... didn't have that somewhat energy later acts had and that's what I was looking after.
MC: What are some new interviews we can expect to read from you in the coming months?
LR: Well first there's that brand new issue (16) which is ready since late May and who's awaiting to be printed... there's a bunch of stuff on it like AFTERMATH (Illinois),AGENT STEEL (a real in depth interview with drummer Chuck Proffus), AGGRESSION, ANGUS, APOCALYPSE (UK), ARCHENEMY (USA yeah the Death Metal legendary combo!) , CHEMIKILL (the real one from Cleveland!), CRUCIFIED MORTALS, CYNIC, DEATH FORCE, DEATH STRIKE, DEVASTATION (IL), EXHORDER, FIRELAND, FIRESTORM, GAUNTLET, HELL (UK), HIBRIA, INFERNAL MAJESTY, JJ'S POWERHOUSE, MASTER, RAZOR, SARDO SCEPTRE , SEPTER, SINDROME, THRUSTOR, TRANSGRESSOR, VERMIN, W. GENERAL... plus a Label special with Rave On Records.... hope readers will be pleased.
Issue 17 should be also very cool.... there should have ACID with a much more
extensive interview than in issue 5 this time, MERCYFUL FATE (original rhythm
section!), EVIL (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), H BOMB, SORTILEGE (hopefully with the Dumont
brothers!), LEVIATHAN (NY, legendary Thrash act whose singer became a barking
dog shortly after), ADX etc etc....
MC: Are you married and do you work a regular job and where do you find all the time to do the mag?
LR: Yeah I'm married, I have two beautiful daughters and have a regular job for the past 22 years so it's not all bad!
MC: Do you make any money or do you lose money on the mag or do you break even?
LR: Well at this point I can't really say as I'm nothing in charge anymore when it comes to the costs of printing, distributing aspect.... this is the killer Yosuke from Nuclear War Now Productions who takes care of all that stuff.... I know he doesn't make money on it that's for sure...considering we have a 7" now coming with every issue and we have almost no adverts.... I just hope he breaks even with it.... the printing when you deal on such small basis is quite expensive but we have kept the colored cover....
MC: I know you have a website and a MYSpace page. What are the url's and what
can people see when they log on?
LR: Yeah I finally have a page there on MySpace.... don't know what it brings more to Snakepit, probably nothing but if people wants to check it out:
I should kick my ass and try to add stuff on this page like photos and stuff but I'm too busy with other things to spend time bettering that MySpace page.... As for the Snakepit website , it's
www.truemetal.org/snakepit there's not much to be find there except how to order the mag, the contents of all the issues... and a forum where I welcome all of you to take a place and give your opinions on METALLIC subjects haha!!!!! It could be much better but I don't know shit on how to deal with websites so I have this cool German reader, Peer Wandiger, who takes care of this -thanks my friend!
MC: What is it about the older bands that attracted you to them that today's
bands don't have?
LR: Maybe the fact that I grew up and saw the whole METAL scene developing since day one, absorbed all the new energy that was coming from those newer hungry acts.... I think the old bands SIMPLY knew how to write songs because they had the sheer capacity to do it without focusing on the sound like actual bands does.... now a lot of 'musicians" think you can get a Metal song just because you use a certain tone or whatever and unfortunately a lot of the audience follows that path without questioning themselves about what is the music in the first place. I mean I have never been from that school and never will -that's also why some people doesn't understand my picky tastes- but sorry it's not because a band use a 'metal sound' that I'm gonna stand up and say 'Hell what a great act!' I certainly need more than this and most of all I need SONGS, not just a bunch of riffs thrown together without any fuckin' driving edge. Why fuckin' HELLHAMMER during their EP days or MANTAS were able to write such magical stuff despite the fact that they were truly limited as musicians? Simply because they knew how a song should sound like! That's all! Those newer acts for the most part doesn't know that basic thing. Even fuckin' SLAYER back in '83 when they were saying they would be the heaviest/ fastest band (and they were at the time) and they would have no melody etc.... now looking back you can pick up every fuckin' song on "Hell Awaits" and see there's melody on every song.... no matter how much they hated melody but they were writing melodies a certain way.... even CYNIC "focus" albums had a driving feel stamped over every song... it takes several listens but you can hear clearly the melodies and that's why the songs are so excellent while their demo songs were just going nowhere before because they were writing stuff without trying to make something out of their highly technical shit songs..it wasn't their concern in the beginning but they've learnt that you have to get hooks and stuff no matter what, to write proper songs. What do you think Chris?
(I would agree with you Laurent. I feel bands back then knew how to write great songs and wrote with passion, emotion and feeling and were writing songs and playing music that they believed in and not trying to get a record deal or be the next big thing. That to me is what makes a ton of the older stuff a million times better than the stuff of today. Nowadays most, not all, want to write nu metal stuff or jump happy riffs played with little feeling or emotions with all those tough guy vocals shit. Bands now just want to get their stuff up on My Space and write all these silly mosh parts with little feeling-chris)
MC: What advice would you give to a young band starting out?
LR: Jeez at this point, considering how I look at the entire scene these days... to what it has became during the last 15 years or so, there's not much to say... but there's hope when I see bands like POWERVICE, MALEDICTION, RAVENSTHORN, SEPTER (feat. ex-TRANSGRESSOR guitarist), BRAINSTORM or stuff like that who has managed to write some very enjoyable/ GREAT tunes over the past decade.... but when it comes to Thrash or Death Metal I have no hope as haven't heard any new band coming up with mind ripping material the way it should be... when there's a great recording done by a Thrash/ Death act then it's either a band from the 1st hour (MORBID ANGEL) or a band featuring a member from the original scene (Uli Hildebrand (POISON/RU DEAD?)...
MC: Have you ever been to the US and would you ever want to come here one day? You can stay at my house ha ha?
LR: I've been to the States three times...I doubt I will return one day now I have my children and stuff but who knows... I went there back in the summer of '87 as I got invited by the MORBID ANGEL dudes to stay at their home in NC.... hell what a great trip... went to NY for a week first, visited Slipped Disc there (I guess many will recall this store) then headed to NC for like 1 month.... got to stay at their home and it was a wonderful experience for the youngster I was... who had never been away from Europe... those guys treated me super well... got to talk on the phone to Jon DePlachett and meet some great people even if NC wasn't the Metal state to say the least.... then headed back to NY for a couple of days, saw C.O.C. there in a shithole place with INTENSE MUTILATION doing a surprise appearance haha!!!! Those were the days...
Then I did return in the states during August 1990 for one month, this time in Tampa, FL which had became THE place for Death Metal which was at its peak... stayed at the home of the former editor of Ripping Headaches...strange dude he was... I got to meet and see practicing friends such as NOCTURNUS and a few other bands... went to Miami to check MORBID ANGEL live, met Pat from HELLWITCH (who was drunk as shit) etc.... and met the video man there known as Ken Karning... this guy was the guy who had the most Metal videos on earth at the time... remember there was TONS of shows in the Florida area and he had everything! Oh yeah and just on the eve of returning I got to see the MIGHTY ATHEIST live!!!!! Fuck yeah..... That's where I finally got to meet face to face the guys and most of all, this total down to earth unreal killer bassplayer and human being, Roger Patterson! Thanks for offering to stay at your house next time though Chris...who knows?!
(anytime you want my friend-chris)
MC: What do you think of the whole 'Bay Area" thrash scene and what did you think of the "Clash of the Titans" DVD that came out a few years back?
LR: I guess you're aware about my love for Bay Area Metal BUT don't take me wrong, it's not because a band comes from there that it will immediately be labelled as KILLER/ MIND RIPPING/ RAGING/AWESOME by your truly..I let this to some other people with no tastes (and I'm not harsh saying this). No, this scene like other ones had its bunch of mighty acts and had his (good part) of average/garbage acts. Like any other scene, the first ones were often the best ones.... I mean nobody can't say that fuckin' early (I'm talking about the 1979-1984 era) scene wasn't killer with the likes of LEVIATHAN, ANVIL CHORUS, WARNING, THUNDERHEAD, early L. ROCKIT, EXODUS, BLIND ILLUSION, POSSESSED, METAL CHURCH (YES!) and a few others that I certainly forgot... those bands were hungry and ready to deliver new forms of Metallic devastation! But it was only the beginning because by '85 they were joined by a bunch of RIPPING acts much Thrashier and full of talent such as FORBIDDEN EVIL, INSANITY, VIOLENCE, LEGACY (yeah before they turned out into that wimpy/ speedy heavy metal act known as TESTAMENT), ULYSSES SIREN (funny how people 25 years later praise this act when nobody cared when I was writing about them back in '86!), HEATHEN and a few others. But for one KILLER band you had five average/ crappy acts such as DAMNAKLEEZ, VOMIT, ALCHEMICON etc etc.... but the worst came with the 3rd wave from 1988 with all the COMTEMPT, DEFIANCE, LAUGHING DEAD, EPIDEMIC etc etc I mean good players but those new guys couldn't write a GOOD song...it was just a bunch of riffs/ leads thrown together with no saviour at all... washed Metal I would say. That's how I have always seen the Bay Area scene. But when I see people puking on that scene because apparently it's cool to do it, I say fuck you, you can't fuckin' deny the likes of F. EVIL, early VIOLENCE or ANVIL CHORUS didn't write gems.... stuff that would blow most collections made of those rare records that are praised to no end because there's rare garbage such as SATAN'S HOST and UTTER GARBAGE like this! That makes me sick to see this. The same individuals who will praise utter crap like this Colorado band are gonna say 'Oh HEATHEN, FORBIDDEN and this and that were crap 'simply because they came from that area! How cool is this?! As for that DVD, I've never seen it...it was supposed to be released but never came out right?!
(I am not sure, but I think it did-chris)
MC: Are there many stores over in Germany that cater to the metal fan?
LR: Well obviously Hellion Records comes to mind right away.... they've been around for like 20 years now and while I don't share some of the politics run by the boss of that store, it's clear that the guy have brought a lot of Metal on the table for hungry Metalheads all over Europe but also worldwide. N. Blast have now some stores but I have been there and besides the big productions I couldn't find much.... not really for the underground fan.... besides this there's not much. It's mostly distros such as Soul Stripper, Else Metal, HHO Records, Steele Fortress that bring a lot of great stuff.
MC: Is it hard to get labels to buy ads or send promos or you really don't care about that sort of thing?
LR: No I don't care much about it...I mean it's always GREAT when somebody buy an ad or send promos but it's so damn rare nowadays when a label buy an ad to a mag of our size, let alone when it's as critical as I can be.... they hate this. As for promos, usually I get 95% of bullshit/crap stuff that shouldn't even be reviewed.... some is not reviewed because that's Black/Death/Nu shit so Snakepit is not about this. I mean IF it was KILLER real Death Metal stuff I would do it but it's behind us now.... only MORBID ANGEL still deliver the goods when it comes to Death Metal.... but Trey knows what he's doing...he knows a song is not about simply getting a bunch of riffs together and have a dog barking on top of this so.... so yeah I'm not after this. I buy albums by myself and review 'em in Snakepit...so it doesn't matter to me. We have complete freedom and I don't own anything to labels. This said, a huge thanks to Jaap from N. Blast and Leif from C. Media for being so supportive of the mag.
MC: Do you have any rare items that you own or that you are looking for?
LR: Yeah I'm still looking for a few rare items, notably a SLAYER bootleg "Nitemare on Elm Street" (Not "Nightmare..") that I can't find anywhere... fuckin' vinyl bootleg. A few other things like early PENTAGRAM 7"s, a VICIOUS RUMORS CD called "The Voice"...nothing really extremely rare besides that SLAYER item. I used to collect everything on SLAYER..I own an unreal bunch of SLAYER recordings on vinyls, cds, tapes whatever.... the LIPS album I have, I have some rare items such as the S. XSTROYES "winterkill" LP, stuff from SLAYER such as some extremely scarce to find bootlegs, some rare M. ANGEL, DEATH, OBITUARY (EXECUTIONER) stuff etc etc... when I like a band usually I try to find everything on them -at least concerning the period I like. Like for SLAYER I never collected anything past "Undisputed" considering what this once magical bunch has became following the "U.A." album... watch this "Born to be Wild" video... I'm close to burn all stuff related to SLAYER when I see this or hear any of their latest stuff.
MC: What advice would you give to somebody if they were thinking up starting a webzine and what were some early mags that you read?
LR: The advice I would give... don't write on something you have no clear idea of what you are talking about... you have to be into the thing for a good number of years and be REALLY passionate about it to really understand the foundations of the thing. That may sound like I am a big mouth or whatever bullshit but that's how I see things. I have encountered too much people during the past 27 years that didn't know shit on the Metal subject but still they thought they had an incredible knowledge. Metal knowledge is not about knowing 2 billions of underground acts... The mags I read when I started was stuff like Enfer mag (France first Metal mag ever and a KILLER one during the first 15 issues or so -hail to Jean FranŤois Jimenez forever, this guy was truly influential with the way he was doing his reviews -you knew instinctively how the albums would sound and make no mistakes when purchasing a record!), Metal Attack (France with a killer writer known as Gil Tadic), early Metal Forces, Whiplash (hail to Brian Lew!), and a few others...Metallic Beast, Death And Destruction, oh yeah the mighty Brain Damage as well!!!!! Vadim Rubin ruled supreme. Total Thrash too!
MC: Did any people influence your writing style?
LR: Oh yeah... I always admit it very openly BECAUSE the people who did influence me never got the recognition they should have got. When I see some people nowadays writing some books on a movement they weren't part of, it makes me sick and wondering about a lot of things.... this is abysmal bullshit! I have only one thing to say, let people who REALLY know their shit doing that writing work, may it be books, liner notes, reviews etc... so HAIL forever to Borivoj Krgrin, one of the most talented writer EVER, a person who has really understood the essence of Metal in it's deepest meaning, hail forever to the Journalist Poser Holocaust known as Bob Muldowney whose work with Kick Ass Monthly will never die, hail to Bernard Doe whose work with Metal Forces is just insane, those are my influences.
MC: Thanks for the interview. Any last words. The floor is yours.
LR: Holy shit I imagine a bit better now how band members do feel when they know they're gonna be interviewed for Snakepit when I see the amount of questions you've come up with!!!!!!! Thanks a lot Chris for that opportunity...I know from where you come from so we speak the same language. It's great to see people like you who have never give up on the thing. I have seen so many leaving the scene for no good reasons... a bunch were into it because it was cool to be into it...but Metal is not something to be cool to be into for the sake of it.... either Metal flows into your veins forever or it doesn't but it's no half bullshit. I know some people are gonna be pissed off by some of my comments here but I don't belong to the politically correct league... this is for others. I know my shit and I know how fuckin' wrong some things in Metal are these days when I look at some forums. Anyway thanks TONS for supporting my work with Snakepit. I dedicate all my work to the die hard readers who understand my passion for REAL Metal, to band members who are REAL cool -not just superficially like many-, to bands who have released albums that still get my blood pumping like crazy each time I hear them. Thank you forever from the heart.