Interview with Nige Rocket – ONSLAUGHT.
Hell-o! As I see you’re back to Poland! ONSLAUGHT recorded a dvd from show in our country, so what can you tell about experiences from Poland? Any positive, negative aspects of your visit, maybe some funny stories?
Hi My friend, how are you..? And thanks for the interview…
Yeah, we cannot wait to return, Poland is one of my favourite countries where I have visited many times, its always great to come back.. Every visit to your country has been a very positive experience for me and I am sure this next time will be the same…
We made the Polish Assault DVD in Warsaw at a show with ‘Vader’ under the guidance of Metal Mind Productions, I remember it being a very very cold night with deep snow, the show really kicked ass and the fans have been really happy with the DVD release, so all in all it was a great result for Onslaught..
I have one funny story from when I was in Krakow for a holiday.. I went into a bar just off the towns main square and the bar owner tried talking with us (he was one of Lech Walesa’s bodyguards), unfortunately he could not speak English and I could not speak Polish, but we somehow managed to communicate through the barmaid and had a great night.. The following evening we returned to the bar and he decided we should have a drinking contest, English style with Lager / Polish style with Wodka.. This went on for around 2 hours, we would race to drink 0.5l of beer and then 0.25l of Wodka, I won every time much to his disappointment haha.. He said one more time… we raced again, he drank the Wodka down and fell backwards and hit the floor totally unconscious…hahaha… We managed to wake him 4 hours later to say goodbye and he somehow managed to stagger out of the bar to wave us off on our journey at 6am… it was a night I will never forget, he was a great guy..!! I went to the bar on my last visit to Krakow but he was no longer there.
Why we had to wait so many years for successor of „Killing Peace” album? 4 years is a very long time, hope you aren’t going to record your albums as SLAYER or METALLICA done (I mean about recordings frequency of their albums)?
Yeah, its been a long time, but we have done a of touring in between, the KP album was a great success for us, so the demand for shows was high and I guess we put the writing on hold for too long.. When we actually started to write the SOV album things came together very quickly, it was a real enjoyable album to make. No, we will make the follow up much sooner, our label is asking for a release in no later than 2 years time, so we have to be sharp and focused and prepared for this…
Well, I haven’t listened to your „Sound Of Violence” cd, so I am not closely acquainted with it, so how can you describe /review this stuff, near it by your last album or older stuff?
Hey that’s not cool Hahahaha, you really need to hear it my friend ;)
Its ‘Old school thrash’ with a ‘modern vibe‘, its extremely aggressive, heavy and very dark sounding. We took a lot of influences from The Force and Killing Peace albums and added some new and interesting angles to push back the boundaries of Thrash Metal as far as we possibly could… SOV was produced by Jacob Hansen who did amazing work for us, the sound is so powerful, heavy and raw and the vocal performance of Sy Keeler is totally brutal.
You played cover of mighty MOTÖRHEAD and there appeared quests – Phil from this band and Tom from SODOM! Naturally Phil appeared as live-legend from MOTÖRHEAD (am I right?) and I suppose that choice of Tom wasn’t accidentally too (In my opinion SODOM is one of the preqursors of using riffs a’la MOTÖRHEAD in thrash and preparing in that style songs with great Lemmy’s spirit), so now – confess everything, how had you been realized this cooperation?
Yeah you got it so right my friend. Motorhead have always been huge influence on Onslaught and I guess for Sodom too.. So when we decided to record our version of ‘Bomber’ and I heard Sodom were in the studio making their new record, it would have been foolish not to ask our friend Tom to join in on the vocals, he loved the idea and I must say he did a great job on his parts…
With Phil Campbell, we have been friends for many years since ~ Onslaught toured with Motorhead on the Orgasmatron tour. It was so important to us that we really got this version of ‘Bomber’ sounding cool by getting the perfect blend of Motorhead and Onslaught on the recording, so we thought who better to ask than the man himself…!!! Again Phil loved the idea of jamming with Onslaught and came down to our studio to record the parts. We got Phil to play the classic main riff and some of the trademark Motorhead solos and added his parts to what we had already recorded.. It was awesome, once we added Phils guitars to the overall sound everything came perfectly into place…
So, what were a first reactions on „Sound Of Violence”?
The first reactions to the SOV album have honestly been stunning from both press and fans alike, it has been a huge success in the first 7 weeks of release… we have already bettered the sales of the KP album within 3 weeks of release, so that is a very positive sign and makes the future look very cool for Onslaught…
Well, in occasion I’d like to back some years ago. Many maniacs consider you to be a pioneers of British thrash. You are taken as a cult band, as a legend. Do you feel as a legend or cult band? And what do you think when you hear that people called you “a cult”?
Its not something we really think too much about, but we do hear these words being mentioned now and again and of course it’s a massive honor to hear fans speak in such a kind way about Onslaught… respect from fans is what truly counts for us and I guess there are no greater words to be said.
On your first album you played song „Death Metal”, in the same year POSSESSED on “Seven Churches” played songs also titled “Death Metal”, but I my opinion their “Death Metal” is more popular and they were started to call “death metal pioneers”, so who’s fuck firstly used this term hahaha?
It’s a tough call as it appears both songs were written in 1984 and released in 1985, so no-one can really say which song came first… I’m sure both bands will claim to have written theirs first but who knows…. Onslaught came first hahahaha…!!!!
„Power From Hell” and „The Force” were lard by his majesty Satan (titles, lyrics, covers), did you treat whole this image seriously or only like a envelope for loud and dirty music that you had played these times? Any influences of VENOM (in music and image)?
Yeah, I was very interested in all the satanic stuff back then, one of our crew got me into all the occult side of things, so this was where the foundation for all the lyrics and imagery was built.. I guess as he was a huge Venom fan, some of the Venom influences came to us indirectly through him, there were never any direct comparisons between the 2 bands but we shared a common interest in the dark side…
And then 1989 year the thirs album „In Search Of Sanity”, new vocalist, new sounds, goodbye „satan”, changing style on technical, composed and quiet thrash. Many bands at these time done very similar step (WHIPLASH, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, ATROPHY, SABBAT (UK), in my opinion it was one of the main reason of fall of the thrash in beginning of 90ties, and what do you think about it? What was the reason of your end in 1991? Some disagreements, domination of death metal and lack of ideas, or something other?
I totally agree with what you say, we signed to a major label in Polygram records and they totally changed the face of the band, they fired Sy Keeler / brought in Steve Grimmett, got us a slick American producer and took all the anger out of the band, It really was the beginning of the end for Onslaught.. Although ‘In Search of Sanity’ was a huge selling album, the hardcore fans really didn’t take to the changes and things started to fall apart internally, the label dropped us because we didn’t sell 2 million albums, Steve Grimmett quit to go solo and it was like starting all over again… and then along came the ‘grunge scene which really put a knife into the back of Thrash Metal… we were all really disillusioned with what had happened and the only real path was for the band to split which we did in 1991…
And you were back after 15 years with very good album „Killing Peace”! Aggressive, fast, good sounds, full of hate and power! Don’t you afraid that it could be the first and the last one thing you would have done after resurrection? I ask about it because some legends as for example ASSASSIN or S.O.D. also back and there weren’t successful undertakings?
Yeah, 15 years was a long sleep believe me… and there was a lot of anger building up in that time, so we had lots of ammunition to make a cool album with on our return… We never thought about what could and what could not happen for Onslaught, we just take things as they come day by day… We knew it was a cool record and that there was a great response to the band returning, so we just focused on making some great live shows and rebuilding the bands reputation over a long period of time. All the hard work is now finally paying off…
When in the middle of first decade of our age many bands reunion and back (I mean only few: GRAVE, earlier DESTRUCTION, DEATH ANGEL, then BULLDOZER) people started to say that many of these bands back only for earn some money, they also spoke that many bands weren’t honest in what they done, so have meet an opinion that you were back for money too?
Fuck no..!!! we got back together in 2005 and thrash was not really happening again at the time, we got back together because there was a lot of unfinished business for Onslaught, we had some angry albums to make and lots of unfulfilled ambitions to take care of… I know people have said this about some bands, ‘they are only back for the money‘, but never about Onslaught… you can hear when a band is faking it and not putting in the effort, that could never be said about ‘Killing Peace or Sounds of Violence albums’ you can hear that these are records by a band who truly believe in what they do.
When I firstly heard „Twisted Jesus” I thought „fuck, that riff is completely rip-off from SLAYER’s „Seasons…” haha! How many people ask you about it (I hear also some SLAYER in „Planting Seeds Of Hate”)?
Its never been mentioned to me at all to be honest, I do hear it now you mention, but I never wrote that riff, it was written by Al Jordan the other Onslaught guitarist at the KP time and he was never ever a Slayer fan so I guess its just purely coincidental, it does happen sometimes. I definitely hear ‘no’ Slayer in Seeds of Hate.
Great Britan has never had a strong thrash scene (but has had some quite good bands), how you see your scene (official and underground), can you recommend us some new talented acts from your country?
The Thrash scene in the UK was always huge in the 80’s but never produced many great bands, everyone seemed to be more happy as a fan rather than a band member, which I always found a little strange.. Every American wanted to play an instrument but it was a totally different mentality over here there were very few musicians… Nothing has seemed to change here in recent years either, except the fan base is much smaller for Thrash Metal right now , there is still a distinct lack of Thrash bands in the UK and the ones that do exist appear to be happy copying the sound of the original 80’s bands.. There are a couple of exceptions though in a band called ‘Fallen Fate’ and another band called ‘Seregon’ they are both young bands trying to play their own style of Thrash which Is very refreshing, there is also a very cool band from Poland called ’Horrorscope’ who I like a lot..
That’s all, I start to play „Power From Hell” once again and drink a glass of beer for your success, so what are you going to do now hehe?
Hahaha that’s cool.. I hope to see you In Poland sometime soon.. I am off to pack my cases as we are leaving for the tour very very soon…