It is July 22nd, 1991 and Sacred Reich alongside Sepultura, Sick Of It All and Napalm Death, are playing at The Spectrum in Montreal, Canada under the New Titans On The Block Tour monicker. Earlier that day in the afternoon Sacred Reich singer and bassist Phil Rind sat down for an interview later to be broadcast on CRSG cable radio. The band was supporting the Metal Blade album The American Way and was rounded out by guitarists Wiley Arnett and Jason Rainey and drummer Dave McClain. – Ali “The Metallian”
METALLIAN: My first question is regarding 31 Flavors. What does the song talk about?
PHIL: It is about a lot of people, some people, in the scene have blinders on regarding music. If it’s not Slayer then forget it. It is OK to listen to other types of music. It took a long time for us to say ‘we can do what we want. We are musicians first. We don’t have to do everything that fits into this whole thraaash bla bla scene.’ It is just important that people are able to… it doesn’t make you any less heavy if you listen to Bob Marley, be a Slayer fan, be a Bob Marley fan, a Fishbone fan, whoever’s fan. The thing is that there is a lot of music out there. Don’t limit yourself to any one thing. It also carries over to the whole attitude: don’t limit yourself to one group of friends or one type of people. The world is full of different experiences. Go out and live the experiences.
METALLIAN: Tell me about your new drummer. What is the story behind that and is the band a tight unit now?
PHIL: Mmmmm… our drummer Greg (Hall) quit two weeks before the European tour with Sepultura so we were kinda freaked out. We got his guy named Dave McClain who used to be in a band called Murdercar from Los Angeles. He came out. He was the guy for the job. We went and did six weeks in Europe, now we are here doing six weeks, and he is really good. I don’t think anyone misses Greg as far as the fans are concerned. Everything’s cool!
METALLIAN: Are you sure? Greg was very good technically. Is the new drummer up to that standard?
PHIL: Obviously he is or we wouldn’t have gotten him to be the drummer in our band.
METALLIAN: I want you to describe your last LP and upcoming LP back to back for me.
PHIL: (thinks)… the last one The American Way was like our first opportunity to do a real record. We had done Ignorance in 12 days and Surf (Nicaragua EP) in six. We had six weeks to do The American Way. So, we actually got to take some time and I think it shows. We took time writing the songs and make sure everything was right. We finally did a record that sounds like Sacred Reich, you know, instead of showing influences readily like the other ones had. As far as the new one goes, I don’t know, I mean your guess is as good as mine because we only have two songs written for that record. We have a single that is coming out… I think it came out in the US, I don’t know when it will come out in Canada because we signed to a new record label called Hollywood Records so we released a single to coincide with the US tour. It is called A Question. There is also a cover song of Let’s Have A War by Fear. It also has Who’s To Blame because the people at Hollywood thought that the former record company didn’t do a good job and that it was a really good song. So, if people haven’t heard us and this is their first opportunity to hear us then they should hear that song on it as well.
METALLIAN: Are you the heaviest band on Hollywood Records? I think they have WWIII.
PHIL: World War III, yeah, I wouldn’t argue with you if you said we were the heaviest band on Hollywood (laughs). They don’t have too many types of bands. They don’t have too many bands. They are a fairly new record company.
METALLIAN: Is Hollywood Records set up by the ex-head or president of Enigma Records who left and set up Hollywood Records?
PHIL: One of the guys from Enigma Wes is like Vice-President at Hollywood Records. The head of Hollywood is Peter Paterno who is a lawyer so he knows what the band is about. We trust him.
METALLIAN: What sort of a deal do you have with them? Is it a long-term deal?
PHIL: Er, I think. I don’t know, man. We are just working it out with them. Everything is not firmly nailed down.
METALLIAN: Elsewhere, I got a tape – I would say by chance – featuring Who’s To Blame and then your voice-over talking about the Ozzy case and the Judas Priest case. What is the story behind that? Why did you put the effort into that because, as far as I know, the tape was a free thing.
PHIL: Our record company thought it would be a good thing seeing how our band is issues-oriented. There is a big thing with censorship so they thought it would be a good idea to put out something to let people know where we were coming from. It gave us a chance to speak our minds and was more than a musical form so it was kinda cool.
METALLIAN: In this context you get compared to Suicidal Tendencies a lot. Any comment and do you agree with Suicidal Tendencies’ singer Mike Muir’s comments?
PHIL: Er, just once. I just read once… I don’t know. I met him once. I met him really briefly once and we didn’t talk much. It is for other people to say. We are definitely two different people. That is the only thing I know!
METALLIAN: Back to metal, where do you see the whole metal movement going? Where do you see Sacred Reich fitting in?
PHIL: I don’t know. Seems like shit’s getting even more extreme like never before. People are pushing the boundaries of speed and heaviness, which is cool, you know? Once something comes out and it is different eventually it is not that different, you know? It becomes the norm. People have to push that a little more and that becomes extreme. I am not a fortune-teller, but I think we have our own little place. Our goal is not to become the heaviest band in the world or to become the most political band in the world. We just want to be a good band and write good songs and good music. That is our goal.
METALLIAN: You are very popular with the press. Whether Metal Forces or Metal Maniacs they really love you. How have your record sales reflected that?
PHIL: I think the last one The American Way sold around 80,000 records, which is cool. We are not threatening anybody’s Billboard charts, but it’s good. If you had told us five years ago, we would sell 80,000 records we would have said ‘no way, you are fucking high.’ That is 80,000 people in the US who like us enough to spend $10 or $12 to buy our cassette or CDs. That is cool, man.
METALLIAN: Speaking of five years ago, I remember how your demo Draining You Of Life was described as the most sought-after demo in the underground. At least that is what you said or that is what your bio said. Who wrote that?
PHIL: The guys at Metal Blade wrote it! I didn’t write that! We wouldn’t… I mean we did a demo and we didn’t do the tape-trading thing. We sent it out to record companies. We had a record deal, we did a record within one year. So, we weren’t around that long to be the most sought after band. Whoever wrote that it was their interpretation of… or didn’t have a clue what the whole underground thing was really about.
METALLIAN: Let’s imagine it is 1995 and I come up to you and say ‘I have a fanzine. It is a Xeroxed fanzine’ would you give me an interview? How do you look at the underground? What do you think of the underground right now and in 1995?
PHIL: I guess it just depends on what I am doing. It depends how busy I am and what is going on. If you have interviews and photo shoots and you have to show and you got to eat and go to the bathroom… there are so many hours in the day that you can do things. Who is to say one thing is more important than the other thing? Just because you have a Xeroxed fanzine and someone has a colour mag with hundreds of thousands of worldwide circulation worldwide… I mean, whatever. People who read fanzines are going to go buy records and people who read Rolling Stone are going to go buy records. They both have the same kind of money and both take the same kind of money to a record store! It is all the same thing.
METALLIAN: I wanted to interview you and the manager for Sepultura had to arrange this. How is that going? Is she managing you?
PHIL: She has been our manager for the past four or five years!
METALLIAN: I was not aware of that. Tell me about The Milwaukee Metal Fest. Did she arrange that appearance as well? It seems to be a very big event.
PHIL: It is just part of the tour. The agent booked the show there. It is going to be a fucking nightmare, man. Just so many bands playing. When you get so many bands in one place shit’s bound to go wrong. Everyone will say ‘no, I want my equipment. No, I want my equipment. I want this, I want that.’ It will be a big headache (sighs).
METALLIAN: At least it will give you a chance to meet Deicide and check their music for yourself! What do you think of the “Satanic band”?
PHIL: It’s not my cup of tea. There is a thing called freedom of speech, which let’s people decide for themselves. I mean the whole thing is the freedom of choice. If you like it go buy it and if you don’t like it then don’t. That’s fine too! That is what our country is about: the opportunity to say what you think and let people decide for themselves. We will stay vocal for important things that are true. No bullshit. Just the truth and saying what you think. That’s all you really have.
Finally, I hope everyone gets along a little better instead of trying to fighting each other because we are in this together. The sooner we realize that the sooner we will get over our petty differences.
This interview was later broadcast on CRSG cable radio in Montreal.
If you enjoyed this, read Benediction