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Ed Farshtey 

When I got an email from Ed Farshtey not to long ago I almost fell out of my seat. We back in the good ole days (the late 80’s ha ha) used to trade fanzines and bump into each other at shows and stuff and like a lot of people from back then we lost contact. Well now that Ed is bookingshows and stuff I decided it was time to jump in the classic cars ofour minds and take a cruise down memory lane with him to see what he has been up to and what he did back in the day. Sit back and enjoy this unholy interview with ED: 

MC: Ed what sort of kid were you growing up and did you come from a large family? 

classic car insurance quotesonlineED: I guess I was a fairly normal kid growing up. Kept to myself mostly since I didn't have any real long standing friends til after high school. Certainly wasn't a jock or a nerd, and I spent all my time watching movies, listening to the radio and playing with my Star Wars toys. I went to an all boys catholic high school that was full of jocks and guidos, so needless to say I didnt hang out with anyone in my school. That was when I met the few guys from other high schools with the same interest in metal as I had. Definitely not from a big family, one sister and a bunch of cousins growing up. 

MC: Were you into music at a young age and what were some of the first bands that you listened too? 

ED: Yeah I always loved music. I have vague memories of listening to the radio very young and it always relaxed me. Growing up in the 70's I would discover all the classic rock bands by listening to the radio for hours and taping songs I liked on an old tape recorder with a plastic microphone. My earliest favorite bands were Cheap Trick, 
Foreigner and Styx, all of which I still love and I've even seen them all live in the last 6 months. I also picked up a love for 50's rock and roll from my mom. 

MC: What got you into listening to metal? What was the first metal album you brought and the first metal concert you saw? 

ED: I think it was when I first went to junior high school that I really got exposed to heavy metal. It was 1981,or 1980, I'm not sure, I was starting a new school with new kids and a couple of them had band logos I hadn't heard of before and they caught my eye. Bands like AC/DC,,Judas Priest and Saxon sparked my interest so I wanted to hear them. I already had Sabbath's "Iron Man" 45, but I really didn't know what heavy metal was yet. I honestly can't remember my first record but I know some of the first were Back and Black, British Steel, Fly to the Rainbow, Iron Maiden, and Paranoid. My first concert ever was the Scorpions and Bon Jovi in 1984. My dad took me to my first 3 concerts. The second show was the infamous Priest night at MSG when all the seats got ripped up.

MC: What led to you starting to do a fanzine? For those who don't know let my readers know what a fanzine is and how did you come up with the name of it? 

ED: Back in the early days of the underground, fanzines were the best way to keep up with the latest bands and news regarding the growing underground scene. They were all done by fans of the music with the express reason of promoting bands you liked. After getting exposed to heavy metal a little late I rapidly became obsessed and acquired as many metal records as possible and began discovering all sorts of early genres. By 1983 it was ALL about thrash metal and the only way to read interviews with my favorite bands was to seek out alternative press, which back then were fanzines. By 1985 me and a friend both had the idea of doing our own zine so we put our ideas and material together and The Book of Armageddon was born. The name was stolen from Venom's 'At War with Satan' album. I used a xeroxed copy of the logo for the first 3 issues' front cover. It sounded like the perfect name for a fanzine. 

MC: How many issues did you put out and what led to you putting it to rest? Do you have any old issues lying around? 

ED: I only put out 4 issues, averaged one a year. I would put one issue out, sell and work that one for like 6 months and then start working on the following issue. It really was time consuming back then. Interviews were either done through the mail which was great but a lot were done in person or over the phone which meant transcribing them which was so grueling. I had done almost 20 interviews for my 5th issue including an 11 page Dark Angel. Did tons of reviews and the layout for everything and just kept trying to update the material as the content aged. By then I had started working at Roadrunner Records and didn't have the time, or even the drive to keep it going. It would have been a monster issue but some of the interviews were 6 months old. So instead of putting out a dated issue I decided to just put it to rest. I was now doing press releases at Roadrunner so I still had an outlet for writing. I still have at least 1 copy of each issue. I will always keep them with me. 

MC: I know you had a record label that you started at one point. How did this come about and how many releases did you put out and what was the name of it? 

ED: While I was at Roadrunner the underground scene started erupting with small indie labels. I had wanted to do my own releases and a friend, Joe Pupo had the same ideas so we decided to start Rage Records. We worked together for the first year and a half or so and when he left I continued for another 2 years. Did a lot of distro from other labels and bands. I put out eight 7" eps. Starting with Exmortis, Prime Evil, Burial, Revenant, Infernal Heirarchy, Epidemic which was done in conjunction with Metal Blade, Num Skull/Sea of Tranquility split and Nokturnal. 

 MC: What led to you putting out the Prime Evil stuff on CD? Do you have any copies left or will a re-release see the light of day? Why don't you think they ever got signed to a label as I thought they were an amazing band? 

ED: I didn't put the cd out. I did their 7" ep but actually King Fowley from Deceased put it out on one of his labels. I wrote the introduction for the cd. After they had broken up. the idea arose about them putting out a comprehensive disc of all the material. Mary and Tad, the original drummer. did most of the layout and mixing and looked for someone to release it and King stepped up and put it out. I honestly don't know if he plans on repressing it. I keep meaning to ask him that myself. As for why they never got signed, cause the record industry is blind in a lot of ways. They were fucking great but as with a few of our local bands including Revenant, Ripping Corpse, and for that matter Deceased, the labels ignored them because they weren't a Morbid Angel, Cannibal or Deicide clone. 

MC: After the label folded, what have you been doing with yourself the past few years? Did you still follow the metal scene at all? 

ED: After the label folded I did drift out of the scene for awhile. I had gotten married and during the mid 90's I really didn't go to any shows or follow the scene. By the end of the decade I had started getting involved again and rekindled old friendships and habits.. In 2005 I split with my wife so by that time I was already back to all my old ways. Going to as many shows as possible and even roadtrips again like going to MDF every year with a group of people. I am fortunate to have 2 bars in my area that have become home to me in a lot of ways,Duffs in Brooklyn and Three of Cups in NYC. They are like the Cheers of the NYC old school metal scene. Haven't done anything as far as restart the label or even the fanzine, but I've certainly thought about it. 

MC: I know your now promoting shows? How did this come about and about how many shows would you like to put on a year? 

ED: Yeah I am now promoting shows in NY. Mainly Manhattan, Brooklyn and on Long Island too. I am now working with a new promotion company called Wendigo Productions. We are setting up all kinds of shows with various clubs in the city. Metal, punk, rock, we even had a comedy night. I have done two shows so far. The first was Deceased and in November I did Tyrant's first east coast show ever,with the reformed October 31, another King Fowley band. These were the first shows I had set up in 20 years so it's great to be doing this again. And on a personal note having Deceased play my first show was perfect since the last show I had done 20 years back was Deceased with Repulsion and Broken Hope in Chicago. King has always been a good friend. We are in the process of opening a store in the lower east city, Manhattan for Wendigo. We will be selling local band merchandise and releases in the front and have an office for Wendigo in the back so we can all concentrate more on doing shows. We are all working on different shows over the next few months and this will be a full time endevour for us. So if any band wants to come play in NYC they should get a hold of myself or anyone with Wendigo. I hope to be doing at least 1 show a month on varying levels. I am working on a big rock and 
roll show for late January at a big club, and gonna be setting up smaller underground metal shows in Brooklyn, I have also been talking to different bands about doing shows down the line that would be real special. 

MC: What are some great memories you have about the underground scene back in the late 80's and early 90's? 

ED: There were so many great times back then. From 88-92 I was so involved in the scene I would travel anywhere possible for a show. Since there were a lot of bands in our underground circle we would all travel anywhere around the northeast for a show. Might see Deceased in CT one night, Prime Evil in Rockland county the next and Ripping Corpse in south jersey 2 nights later, then Revenant in DC the following Sat. So many of my greatest memories involve these mini roadtrips and countless shows. Deceased, Revenant and Ripping down at the BBQ Iguana in DC was a weekend I'll never forget. The early Milwaukee Metal fests, Detroit death fests and Buffalo fests were all incredible events with friends, bands, and moments that will last forever. One special moment was while in LA at a Foundations Forum while I was at Roadrunner. I managed to get Dark Angel to agree to a private rehearsal the Sunday I was flying home, after a long night of drinking. It took a couple hours to wake them all up, but they did it for me and Mark "Psycho" Abramson right before we flew home. There were too many great memories involving D.F.A. over the years. Of course I also have many great moments courtesy of my time at Roadrunner. Talking to Malevolent Creation every day they were in the studio recording 'The 10 Commandments'. Watching Sadus, Obituary and Sepultura at L'amour from the side of the stage. And speaking of Sepultura before I was at Roadrunner, Monte Conner asked me and my friend Imran to "house and take care of" Sepultura for 2 weeks before their first North American tour with Faith of Fear. So we took them to interviews, bars, parks, Prime Evil rehearsals and of course the Roadrunner office. Never forget the first time meeting Snake and Away in 1987 while they were doing interviews in NYC. Me and Imran got so stoned with Snake, who was like God to us. The underground has given me a lifetime of great memories. And I am still making a lot of great new ones. 

MC: Back then, did you still think there would be an underground scene today? 

 ED: Not really. Back then I certainly couldn't conceive in being middle aged (let's face it Chris) and getting the same thrill from a Cannibal Corpse show as I did 22 years ago. I knew I would always be a metalhead but I never thought it will still be so huge 20+ years later. Which is so fucking great. And it's the newer fans that seek out the classics and have a true appreciation for the music that have kept the underground alive. I have friends born in like 1990 that truly love Artillery and Tank. Good music is timeless and, as Razor said " the underground will always survive" . 

MC: What are some of your thoughts on the metal scene today? 

ED: I think the metal scene is very strong right now. It's been growing this whole decade and in some ways similar to the way it was in the beginning. There are a lot of really good new bands coming out that play in an older style yet still sounding fresh and new. The scene is now mixed between the older generations and a lot of new fans into all sorts of heavy music. I saw Cannibal Corpse the other night and the place was packed and completely insane. Real pits, diving, thrashing front to back. That shows that our scene is very much alive and as strong as ever 

MC: List me 10 releases that every single metalhead into the underground needs to have in his/her collection? 

ED: Wow now that's a tough one. There are certainly more crucial releases everyone should have, but here are the first 10 absolute must haves that I thought of 
Venom - Black Metal 
Slayer - Hell Awaits 
Exodus - Bonded by Blood 
Dark Angel - Darkness Descends 
Possessed - 7 Churches 
Razor - Evil Invaders 
Death - Scream Bloody Gore 
Destruction - Infernal Overkill 
Kreator - Pleasure to Kill 
Voivod - War and Pain 

MC: What were some of the craziest shows you have ever seen? 

ED: When I think of pure insanity, I would have to say Slayer at L'amour back in 1985 touring for Hell Awaits. That place was so insanely crowded we were literaly packed in for hours before the show unable to move. Then the show was absolutley out of control. ( i was there and agree-insane-chris). The Dark Angel and Death tour after The Ultimate Revenge 2 had a lot of really sick nights. Rhode Island was especially crazy. Carcass when they 
toured with Death for the first time in the U.S. for the Symphonies album. Their set was uncompromising and they were one of the most amazing bands live. Pure Insanity ensued every night. Dark Angel and Possessed at CBGB's for the Eyes of Darkness tour was another insane night. Death with Prime Evil and Immolation in 1988 at Streets was another standout night of brutality. Streets was another amazing club back in the day that had so many classic and unbelievably brutal shows. This past summer I would have to include the Saturday night lineup at the Maryland Death Fest as another insane and classic night. On 2 stages, consecutively, I saw brutal and flawless sets from Possessed, Repulsion, Autopsy and Deceased. Each laying waste to all in attendance. 

MC: Did you get a chance like me to go to Lamour's alot back in the day and if you did what were some of the best shows you saw there? 

ED: I went to L'amour all the time. I tried to get in to see Accept back in 1984, but they laughed at our fake ids. First show I saw there was Overkill, Nuclear Assault,and Carnivore (still wearing fur)., Then Exodus in 85, the night Paul was "too sick" to sing. So they played without him and the whole crowd sung the songs. That was incredible. Of course the Slayer show I mentioned and so many through the years. Celtic Frost, Voivod, Megadeth,,Dark Angel,,Hallows Eve, King Diamond, Testament, Possessed. When Possessed headlined there in 1986 Slayer came out as a surprise guest and treated the crowd to some new songs before Reign in Blood was released. 

MC: Out of all the interviews that you did, what was your favorite one to do? 

ED: I would have to say Gene Hoglan. He would give the most detailed and longest answers that are really thought out and informative. We would talk for so long. He is such a great person and was always a pleasure to talk to. I always looked forward to interviewing him 

MC: Do you still have a lot of fanzines, band flyers, etc stocked away in some old box? 

ED: Well, it's a bit more than 1 box. I have a filing cabinet packed with all my old flyers and correspondence. I have hundreds and hundreds of old fanzines too. I never got rid of anything. Lately that has been coming in handy when old bands are looking for archives and of course in the thrash and death metal bible Glorious Times. 

MC: What do you think of sites like My Space and Facebook. I know you have a Facebook page, have you managed to re-connect with many old friends on there? 

ED: To be honest, when it comes to shit like that I am a complete dinosaur. I have never had a Facebook or My Space page. I really don't even use the computer for anything but emails and occasionally checking out a site. I know I'm gonna have to eventually give in, but hell I've only had a cell phone for 9 months now.  I have connected with many old friends, like you Chris, because of the internet and email. So all that is excellent and I am always thrilled to hear from old friends. I will be doing a Facebook page soon though because since I am now promoting shows I need to be able to reach those people that exclusively use that for all information and  contacts. 

MC: Did you have a favorite fanzine back in the day and did you think you were a good writer? 

ED: My earliest favorites were Slayer and Metal Warriors. Some of the favorites among my peers would be Sick Thrash, Death Vomit, Peardrop, Screams from the Gutter, Ripping Headaches,,Metal Meltdown, Out of the underground, Invincible Force, No Glam Fags, Infernal Bleeding, Metal Curse and of course the mighty, and still going strong Metal Core. As for me being a good writer. I have my moments. I am certainly not a literary expert but I always felt I could convey my opinions in a somewhat thought out way. I always enjoyed writing reviews and anything music related. After the fanzine I wrote a lot of Roadrunner press releases and bios and even did newsletters with Rage Records just so I could update the label and review albums and demos. Recently I have been doing some more writing on occasion which feels good. 

MC: In your eyes, what makes a good band? 

ED: It's gotta start with the right people. A band is a family so you gotta be able to live and work together on a continuous basis without driving each other too crazy. The music has to come from the heart to be convincing. Everyone has influences and they will always come across in your material, but the key is to pay homage to your influences while adding your own personality and style thus creating something fresh, don't just copy another sound or try to capitalize on trends, cause they never last.  
MC: Do you miss the days of getting letters and demo tapes from bands and then writing them back and stuffing orders with other bands, zines, etc flyers he he? 

ED: HELL YEAH!!!!!!!! Looking back I can't believe all the time and effort that went into regular correspondence for the zine and then doing the label and distro. Hours and hours of work writing letters and stuffing envelopes. But everyday was a surprise when your mail would arrive. You never knew what would come and the anticipation made it all worthwhile. Each little flyer would be checked out and we all sent stacks of all our contacts.

MC: Did you do much tape trading back in the day? 

ED: Oh yeah. I started buying demos back in 1983, my first were Overkill, Nasty Savage and Hirax. Then buying live tapes in NYC or through a few mail contacts I made, I began building a collection. Once I had a decent amount I started tape trading. By 1985 I was already trading with a bunch of people around the world. I kept that up til like 1988. By 1985 I had also started trading video tapes as well. I still have all my old tapes stored and there are a lot of gems in there. 

MC: Ed what are your future plans? Any new bands that have caught your ear that you like? 

ED: Well for now I am gonna see how things go with the new production company I am now working with Wendigo Prod. I have set up a few good shows so far and I have a lot more in the works. I am hoping to do this on a regular basis for a long time. We are also opening a store in the lower east side where we will be selling all kinds of local and underground band merchandise and releases. Not just metal, but rock, punk, jazz, you name it. But nothing synthesized or strictly programmed only real music. So working there and promoting shows should keep me busy for awhile. 3 of the best new bands I am famillar with are from around my area and good friends of mine as well. Mutant Supremacy from NYC are a total old school death/thrash band with a brutal sound. Horrifier from NJ are a brilliant mix of early NWOBHM and thrash. Vermefug also from NYC are a thrash band mixing speed and technicality with a touch of hardcore and even humor. King Fowley put their debut record out. And wait til Sacrificial Blood get back together. 

MC: I am out of questions. Horns up for the interview. Any last words and where can people contact you to get in touch with you about your shows, etc?

ED: What can I say? That was the most incredible interview to do. Thank you Chris so much for this opportunity to ramble on and on like this. Really the only way to contact me now is my email which is [email protected] I will be doing a facebook page in the next couple months for my work with Wendigo setting up shows. I know a lot of my friends can't wait for that to finally happen. Thanks again Chris for the interview, and horns up to you for keeping Metal Core alive all these years and continuing to keep the underground fans informed.

Ed's Facebook page is up and I am sure if you just type is name in on Facebook you'll come across his page-chris.