|Fans of the eighties underground Spped/Thrash Metal won't perhaps believe it, but the excellent American Thrash Metal combo AMULANCE is back !! Indeed, this band stroke the Metal scene with their magic "Feel The Pain" in 1989. Some of you have eventually noticed they'll play at Headbanger Open Air in 2008 in Germany and the other fucking awesome news is that they're working on their new album. The few tunes I listen to announce something of quality, they'll bring you to the glorious years of 80's Metal !!! The band was gently enough to accept the interview while they were in studio and amazingly nearly all the members of the band answered the interview : Thom (bass), Bob (guitar), Rik (vocals). (September 2007)|
|Hail, how are
you today ? What is the freshest news from AMULANCE ?
THOM: I’m doing great Eric – the freshest news from AMULANCE is, we have officially reformed. Since the release of “Rage Within & the Aftermath” (Stormspell Records, April, 2007) we have been writing material for a new AMULANCE record & preparing for a European tour both to coincide the summer of 2008. As a matter of fact, Bob (Luman) and Rik (Baez) are here with me at Phlex Audio right now finishing up some pre-production work on our new material, so I asked them to join me for this interview. Say “hi” guys..
BOB: Hi Eric; Hello, everyone !
RIK: Whats up Eric !
back to your debut, how were the first steps of the band ? Do you remember
how did you get into Metal and how was AMULANCE created ?
|What kind of memories do
you recall from the recording of your very first demo "The Rage Within"
? This demo got raving reviews, didn't it ? Was it something you expected
BOB: No, well we were hopeful that people would like our music. Great memories from the recording of those sessions.
THOM: We had only been together 6 months when we began recording ?…
BOB: …mmm, well, I think so, fuck dude, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning, ha-ha.
THOM: The demo was recorded in one day ?
BOB: Well, recorded in one day, a couple of over-dubs and the mix on the second day.
THOM: At the time we recorded that demo, we weren’t even sure what we were going to do with it…as far as the reviews go, you need to remember that it was before the days of internet, it was a complete underground thing, where you actually had to duplicate cassettes and send them out via mail– AMULANCE was really poor – (we still are, so send money, ha-ha) in those days. We would go to Radio Shack, buy a double cassette recorder for making copies, make a couple hundred copies at a time, then box the machine up and take it to Radio Shack and get our money back ! We would send out tapes to anyone that would take one. We weren’t expecting anything as far as reviews go, because we were just jammin’. They were a nice surprise, that’s for sure.
RIK: I remember literally sending out close to 100 demos out to zines and labels and week after week many of the packages would come back with a stamp or sticker reading “We do not accept unsolicited material”. It was very discouraging ! But once the reviews started coming out about us there was a turnaround – within months the same labels that had originally denied us began to contact us asking for our demo.
How did you get in contact with New Renaissance Record and how did you get a deal with them ? Was it a single album deal or so ? What were the other labels interested in AMULANCE ? By the way, were you happy with the job of the label ?
BOB: We’ll answer this in parts….
THOM: I’m sure the devil had something to do with it (chuckle), because in hindsight, it’s something that I wish would not have happened. They approached us, sent us a letter, saying they were interested and sent along a contract at the same time. Should have been a red flag, but oh well. As far a getting a deal with them, we just signed the paper, they didn’t have to give us anything up front – they promised the world once "Feel The Pain" was released but didn’t keep their word on anything.
BOB: It wasn’t a single album deal, per se, it was like 3 or 5; but it really didn’t matter. I really don’t want to talk any more about it – I don’t want to get sued by those fuckers…There WERE other labels interested; Roadrunner, Island – but you know, we signed that New Renaissance deal against the advice of EVERYONE; our manager, our attorney. Everybody told us that we were stupid for signing that deal with New Renaissance ! I think they could see that we were pretty naïve – but New Renaissance pressured us and promised us a lot of cool stuff, but did not deliver once we signed.
THOM: In response to whether we were happy with the label - ABSOFUCKINLUTELY NOT ! I can say that they released Feel the Pain 18-20 years ago, and re-released it 2 years ago and we have seen not one scrap of paper – no money, no statements, from that record company ! It has just been the absolute run-around and bullshit after bullshit - I feel they were responsible for AMULANCE ultimately breaking up back in the late ‘80’s. We never got the exposure that the album should have had; I think their lack of doing anything had a lot to do with that. Working with them just seemed to be one lie after another. It is something we would never, EVER do again.
RIK: One of the reasons that we decided to go with NRR was that the other labels were taking so fucking long in wanting to negotiate and plan. We just didn’t know enough about the business end of the music industry and were thinking that if we wait too long that we would just miss opportunities elsewhere. In the meantime, NRR was ready to sign us on – yes, we did have EVERYONE around us warning us – but do you really expect 5 young guys with strong opinions to listen to anybody ? At the time we felt that we knew what we were doing – unfortunately we were wrong and paid the price for being so headstrong.
Pain" is a fucking great Heavy/Thrash album, the vocals of Rik Baez
really stand against conventional bands, and remind me a bit Agent Steel,
while the guitar lines were really crushing. Do you agree with me and what
is your view on this album now ?
RIK: Thanks brother !
BOB: As far as how "Feel The Pain" sounded when it was released, it was a let-down for me, because I’m so big on production..
THOM: I liked the "Feel The Pain" record as far as the songs, and the way the band felt at the time and all that stuff; we’re really happy that, after all this time, people seem to really still dig the record. Production–wise, well, everyone has their own opinion of that. But I really don’t remember the master reels sounding like that when they left the studio compared to how they came out on the album. We sent the original studio reels to New Renaissance and they did their “mastering magic”. I don’t really know what happened in the interim – but in my opinion there was a fuck somewhere. In my opinion the album that was released was not the album we mixed. Of course New Renaissance no longer has the master reels, so I guess we’ll never know.
BOB: Regardless we are happy that, after all of this time people seem to dig that record.
to me the production completely fucked up on this full-length, what happened
in the studio exactly ? Did you lack of money while recording this album
me "Violent Victory" is definitely the strongest title of "Feel
The Pain", the speed and aggressive Thrash Metal hymns rule supreme
here. The vocal is perfectly melted with the music, this track is simply
awesome…could you tell us a bit more about this tune, how did you
compose it and when was it written ?
a re-edition of "Feel The Pain" on CD with a card board enveloping
the jewel case from New Renaissance. Who is responsible of this re-edition
and what do you think of the result ? According to me it's a shame there's
no booklet with lyrics. The other bad point is that the label didn't improve
the sound of this album, I mean there's an over-gain all along the album
and guitars have a kind of blur sound…
THOM: Well, Bob just told me this tonight as we were looking over the interview – The one with the slip case you’re talking about is a bootleg, from Greece, or something like that.
BOB: Yeah, the picture disc and slipcase….
THOM: The one you’re referencing here is one that we didn’t even know was in existence, until someone sent Rik & Bob copies to autograph and send back !
BOB: …and he allowed us to keep one as a gift ! Which was more than we ever got from NRR, ha-ha.
THOM: Yeah….then about a year later, New Renaissance did their “re-release” of "Feel The Pain", which is a travesty.
BOB: NRR’s re-issue looked AMAZINGLY like the bootleg !! (snicker)
THOM: …yeah, AMAZINGLY like the bootleg. Ha-ha. Coincidence ???
BOB: …Picture disc and all !!....
THOM: I KNOW that Ann bought a bootleg off EBay, I watched her do it…
RIK: I still say that we should offer the entire "Feel The Pain" album as MP3s and give them away as free downloads – we didn’t make one fucking penny off of that so why should anyone else ?!
BOB: She no longer had the masters, there was nothing to duplicate from –
THOM:… As a matter of fact Ann sent us an email asking if she could “borrow” an original cd from us for comparison against her re-release.
BOB:.. That is so fucking hysterical.
THOM: So it is our belief (our belief, here) that the New Renaissance re-release (which again, we had NOTHING to do with) was the bootleg of a bootleg. That’s New Renaissance for ya. But again, that’s our opinion. She claims to be a lawyer now, and I don’t want to make any statements that may be deemed libellous.
BOB: Yea, this is just our opinion.
THOM: Hey Bob this is totally unrelated to what we are talking about but, is calling someone a “cunt” too strong ?
BOB: ha-ha.. probably..
I saw few video tracks of AMULANCE
on the net, I feel like that in the 80's your look was pretty simple in
opposition to some Thrash Metal combos with leather and spikes as Slayer
for instance had. So, was there an AMULANCE "live look" ?
|How was life on
the road in AMULANCE's camp ? What are the best memories from touring and
the worst ?
THOM: We always did everything in this band as a complete band, the same way we lived then. We rehearsed 4-5 days a week back then, we were brothers, so if we were on the road it wasn’t much different – if we were at a hotel, we would all end up partying in the same room anyway. Life really wasn’t that much different….the band is all we lived for. We just saw new faces, made new friends at each show…that’s it.
RIK: It was a great ride and an awesome time in my life!
BOB: Best memories ??? Well, there was one show where Rik went running across the stage the same time I did, and we smacked into each other – I went down, and we knocked a half-stack over…And we came across some pretty interesting chicks on the road. Ha-ha..
THOM:… You said we “came across”… ha-ha
RIK: Yea!!! Haha!!!…
BOB: Grow up you guys.
THOM&RIK : NEVER!!!!
had always astonished me with the 80's Metal bands was that no matter
the aggressiveness of the combo nearly all of them recorded a fucking
cheesy ballade, do you remember of that and do you know the reason ? What
is the cheesiest ballade for you ? And strangely enough AMULANCE never
did any ballad, as "Witch's Sin" can't be considered as a ballad
even though there's a smooth part in …
to you, what are the five classic albums of Thrash and 5 classic of Heavy
Metal from the 80's ?
BOB: You’re puttin’ me on the spot - but off the top of my head, here they are, in no particular order:
Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast; Judas Priest - Unleashed in the East; Black Sabbath - , Heaven & Hell; Scorpions - Love Drive; King Diamond - Abigail.
THOM: Savatage - The Dungeons Are Calling ; Metal Church – Metal Church ; Mercyful Fate – Don’t Break The Oath ; Queensryche – 1982 Demo ; Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell
RIK : WOW – there are way more than five and I know after this interview goes out that I’ll think of one that I should have included – but this is what I can think of for now: Saxon – (toss-up between Wheels of Steel & Strong Arm of the Law); Scorpions – Animal Magnetism; Metallica – Ride the Lightning; Iron Maiden – (toss-up between Iron Maiden & Number of the Beast); and Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Gates of Babylon fucking kills!)
As you are from USA I'm wondering how
you were looking at the European scene in the 80's ? I feel like excepted
from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Motorhead American Metal
heads didn't give a fuck about European bands. What were the differences
between European combos and American one according to you ?
Are you still
following the worldwide Metal scene ? Are there new bands that impress
you and new releases you enjoy these last months ?
I think that
know you're nearly 40, I'd like to know you view on the 80's Heavy Metal
look of musicians back then ? Hair and way of dressing on stage were miles
away from what we can see now, how is your regard on this today ? Do you
sometime smile seeing yourself from the 80's ?
|I know that you
opened for Trouble few times back in your early days, this band reformed
and recorded a new album, have you listened to it yet ? I think that it
might being you emotions seeing that many bands from the 80's are still
THOM: I’m friends with Eric Wagner, I listened to it with him at his house about 9 months before it was released. I liked it, it sounds like a Trouble record. I’m glad for them that they’re giving it another crack.
BOB: I would say that the emotion that I feel is that just when the music was getting good, public tastes changed, so the fact that some people still want to listen to this music is a great emotion !
THOM: It also proves that just because things go out of fashion, doesn’t make it irrelevant.
RIK: As long as they are still making great music – I don’t see any reason for them not to be around.
to you, what lack to AMULANCE to hit a top popularity in the Metal scene
? Do you think that "Feel The Pain" was recorded a bit too late
? In the end of the eighties, a new Metal style was rising, Death Metal,
thence fans and labels were looking for something new and different….
Snakepit interview Rick stated there won't be any reunion or come back,
but it seems things have evolved positively, so what helped the band to
THOM: I guess the true catalyst would be Iordan, from Stormspell; the band basically reunited when it did because we were approached to release "Rage Within" and "The Aftermath". Speaking of Stormspell Records, if any band would come up to me and ask me my thoughts on if they should sign with Stormspell, I would give them a big thumbs up. It’s how a record company should be – and is one of the only companies I’m aware of that actually cares about the music, and the bands that they put out.
BOB:.. Rik did that Snakepit interview during a pretty low time for everyone. I guess it just goes to show that there is no way of telling the future. I don’t think Rik has ever been so happy to have been wrong..
RIK: Bob is right – I’m fucking stoked to have been wrong when I said that AMULANCE would never reunite ! At the time I just never saw it ever being a possibility. With Vince living so far away for starters; he said that there was no way he could ever do it. I think he changed his mind when he saw the release of "The Rage Within" & the "Aftermath". I think seeing our CD packaged the way we had originally imagined our CD being packaged and sounding superior than the NRR release of Feel the Pain as well as finding out that we still had a fanbase made a huge impact on him… big enough of an impact that he was willing to travel out here to make this happen. I personally didn’t think that I could find the time to make it happen… one of my concerns was that after a few weeks of getting together that “outside influences” would begin pressuring us into not making rehearsals and the whole thought of reuniting would die down – but that hasn’t been the case at all – its been the exact opposite! Vince has actually made plans to increase his rehearsals with us when we start working on our show.
Some sources state you'll reform to
write the second album, thence will the new songs be only new composition
or will you take old and forgotten tunes from the 80's ? What line up
will AMULANCE get ?
Thanks a lot for your time Thom : feel
free to close this interview as you wish