England had VENOM, Switzerland came up with HELLHAMMER, Germany gave birth to SODOM and Sweden supplied BATHORY to the extreme underground Metal scene back in the early to mid 80s. Italy’s answer to all these acts was an unholy trinity by the name of BULLDOZER! This band ended up becoming a cult phenomenom throughout the years and is probably more popular nowadays than back in those days when a lot of magazines still gave them really bad reviews… Lacy wanted to find out the whole story and sent Andy and AC a whole bunch of questions, only to learn that this not always results in lengthy answers… But as BULLDOZER interviews are kinda rare to read we figured we should publish it nevertheless…
So, Andy and AC, thanks for accepting my interview request, what are you up to nowadays?
Andy: "I’m ok. I’m workin’ fuckin’ hard. I’m playing every fuckin’day and I like it."
AC: "Yeah, I’m playing hard too. We’ll re-start playing together soon. A re-union is possible, if we’ll be better than BULLDOZER of the 80s. It won’t be easy but we’ll try."
Do you still remember, when you gave the last BULLDOZER interview?
Andy: "After the release of "Regenerated" we had several interviews."
AC: "Yeah I had many. Last one? One month ago for a German fanzine."
Did interviews bore you already?
AC: "Sometimes we have the same questions. It seems that someone read the interview contained in the "Regenerated" boxset and re-make basically the same question. Of course it’s boring answering many times the same things, but fortunately sometimes happens to receive new questions, and I like it."
Do you like talking about BULLDOZER?
Andy: "I like playing more, but it’s ok. No problems."
Ok, let’s go with the history, the band was formed by you and bassist Dario Carria, how did you meet exactly?
Andy: "27-28 years ago… hard to remember."
Did you know each other earlier already?
Andy: "I don’t think so. We met somewhere in Milano, but I don’t remember exactly."
How old were you at that time?
Andy: "Maybe 17."
Was BULLDOZER your very first band or did you play in other acts before already?
Andy: "I played for fun with a few bands, but nothing really serious. Instead I was playing seriously by myself."
What made you form a Metal band?
Andy: "Just have fun. But there were not many musicians liking what I liked at that time. Everybody was into MAIDEN and WHITESNAKE. Few people liked MOTÖRHEAD."
What were your influences to become a musician?
Would you say that VENOM and MOTÖRHEAD influenced you mostly?
Andy: "Yes and no. I liked also guitarists like Blackmore and Randy Rhoads. Of course I was 100% into early MOTÖRHEAD."
You were operating in raw Thrash territories, but you also imbued both your music and the image with strong blasphemous overtones, was it because of the influence of VENOM?
AC: "You have to consider that the blasphemous music was already played in Italy by DEATH SS in the late 70s. Of course VENOM is one of the main musical influences but concerning the lyrics I always talked about personal experiences or personal ideas."
Was your approach very new at that time?
AC: "We played and wrote what we like and what we feel. Something was influenced but something was our original stuff."
Did you take it seriously or was it a kind of joke?
AC: "Very seriously!!!"
Did you want to provoke the people?
AC: "Not provoke only for fun or for posing but for making them think."
Andy: "Some people will never understand, they don’t use their brain."
At which point did drummer Eminio Galli join the band?
Andy: "I think he was with us from the very beginning."
What about his musical past?
Andy: "He and Dario loved TANK."
Was it hard to find suitable members in Italy for a Metal band back than?
Andy: "Extremely difficult."
As far as I know, you came from Milano, how was the Metal scene in Milano and in Italy as a whole back then?
Andy: "VANADIUM was popular in Milano at that time but they were playing Hardrock. Something very different from BULLDOZER."
Was BULLDOZER the first Italian Metal band or were you the follower of DEATH SS?
AC: "We were also different from DEATH SS, but we really appreciated their work. Great respect for them!!! We are also friends of them."
Andy: "I also played with them in the early 90s."
What kind of Metal clubs were in Italy at that time?
AC and Andy: "We don’t remember very well. I remember the Punto Rosso, but it collapsed."
Was there a great underground buzz in Italy?
Andy: "There was something interesting but not many things."
How were your rehearsals respectively how often did you rehearse?
AC and Andy: "4-5 times a week for 1 1/2 hours each time from 1984."
Were you jamming on covers of bands by VENOM, MOTÖRHEAD etc. or did you start writing own tunes right from the start?
Andy: "Both things. Unfortunately I had no possibilities to record serious stuff before 1983."
You were forced to split in 1981 due to national service commintments, didn’t you have the opportunity to escape the service?
Andy: "No fuckin’ way."
How long did it take?
Andy: "One fucking damned year."
It means, you couldn’t rehearse and write originals during the service, right?
Andy: "No way, no way to escape."
AC: "Cause jail knocks at your door"
You reformed in 1983 with the same line-up: yourself, Dario Carria and Eminio Galli, is that correct?
Andy: "No. I’ve been invited to play guitar on a self produced 7" single. I came to the meeting with AC since I was writing new ideas with him. Me and AC joined the project together."
During your first gig in 1983 you played only MOTÖRHEAD covers, which songs did you play back then?
Andy: "That’s not correct. Before the meeting with Dario and Erminio, me AC and Rob K made a short show playing ‘Ace Of Spades’, ‘Live Like An Angel…’ and ‘Countess Bathory’ (VENOM). The future and final line up of BULLDOZER."
In 1983 MERCYFUL FATE did an Italian tour after the release of the mighty "Melissa" record, did you see them live?
Andy: "Of course!"
AC: "I had a long talk with King and Michael Denner. We really liked the show."
Have MERCYFUL FATE had an effect on you?
AC: "Great respect!"
Did you record demos, rehearsal tapes back than or was your first recording the "Fallen Angel" single?
Andy: "We went straight into the studio. I knew exactly what to do. I just recorded a demo tape for the other members of the band, just to learn the songs."
Were ‘Fallen Angel’ and ‘Another Beer (Is What I Need)’ the very first BULLDOZER tunes?
Andy: "Yes. I think so."
Was "Fallen Angel" your first studio experience?
Andy: "It was the first time we went to a professional recording studio."
Was it originally a demo or did you release it as a single?
Andy: "We wanted to release the 7” single. That was Dario’s original idea."
Why was it limited to 1500 copies?
Andy: "We had no record deal. It was a self-made product to give to shops and magazines."
Were all of the copies sold fast?
Andy: "I don’t remember how fast. But all of them were sold."
POSSESSED also had a song entitled ‘Fallen Angel’ at that time, did you know this POSSESSED song?
AC: "Not at all."
Did you write this song earlier than POSSESSED?
AC: "I wrote this song and registered it at SIAE in 83. I don’t know when POSSESSED did their song."
Did you shop the EP around at that time to get label interests?
Andy: "Yes of course."
Did bassist / vocalist Alberto Contini aka AC Wild join the band before or after the release of the single?
Andy: "I and AC were working together before. We played the show with Rob K earlier. We joined the project together."
What about the musical background of AC?
AC: "Too long. In a few words I studied classical piano for 4 years from 7 to 11. Fan of ELP in the 70s. AC/DC and MOTÖRHEAD fan around 1980."
Were other musicians auditioned as well or did your choice immediately fall on him?
Andy: "No auditions."
Did AC refer to his name of was he a big fan of AC Milan?
AC: "My name. In Italy AC Milan is called just Milan, while FC Internazionale Milan is just Inter."
Why did Dario Carrio leave the band?
Andy: "Dario and Erminio left together since their parents did not allow them to play again with BULLDOZER. They realized from the picture of the single’s sleeve that they had tattoos. They were just 16-17 and legally they could not do what they wanted (not yet 18)."
He established NEURODELIRI after he left the band, is that correct?
Andy: "They both created NEURODELIRI."
Before you entered the studio to record "The Day Of Wrath", you had a line-up change again, Don Andras took over the drumkit, what happened to Eminio?
Andy: "That’s not correct. Don joined when Dario and Erminio had to leave, just after the release of the single."
What about Don’s musical past?
Andy: "I don’t remember."
AC: "He liked Ian Paice, that’s all I remember."
As far as I know, he had a dark past, as far as his life is concerned, is that correct?
AC: "He went to jail. He was a robber from Naples."
Eminio joined NEURODELIRI, right?
Andy: "He formed that band with Dario."
Your very first gig was in 1984, where you played originals as well, any memories of that show?
Andy: "Not much."
AC: "I remember we had some problems with the sound. Our show was beginning with the exorcism. The stage was full of graveyard candles."
How did you get in touch with Roadrunner?
AC: "I just send them the single and the Kerrang review."
Were there other label interests besides Roadrunner?
AC: "I don’t remember."
Were you one of the first groups / signings of this label?
AC: "Maybe yes, but I don’t remember very well. SLAYER was with Roadrunner in Europe too."
For how many records did you sign with them?
AC: "One album plus 4 separate options (in total 5, but with the possibility for Roadrunner to cut whenever they wanted)."
Did they offer you a good deal?
AC: "We had the possibility to be known worldwide, but we did not earn money."
You entered the Psycho Studio in Milano to record your debut record "The Day Of Wrath", what about the recording sessions?
Andy: "Yes, correct. The recording was strange. The owner of the studio called a priest to bless the studio after we finished our job."
Was it a perfect place to record the material?
AC: "Nothing is perfect, but that was a very good studio."
Who wrote the lyrics and the music?
AC: "I wrote all lyrics and Andy the music."
How were those songs created exactly?
Andy: "Generally I propose ideas, then we discuss and we decide how to make the final structure."
Would you change something on that record?
AC: "No, I still like it."
How do you view the record after 22 years?
Andy: "I think it’s still a good record."
Musically, the record is similar to VENOM or MOTÖRHEAD, but would you agree, that ‘Welcome Death’ also has a MERCYFUL FATE touch?
Andy: "There are many influences and many original ideas. King Diamond refused to produce it because it was “too punk” (Roadrunner offered him the production of that album)."
Why did you put ‘Fallen Angel’ on the record, prior to the single?
Andy: "Because only a few fans and mainly in Italy could get the 7" single."
Were there other songs as well, that didn’t end up on the record?
Andy: "I don’t remember."
The producer of the album was Algy Ward, bassist / vocalist of TANK, how did he get into the picture exactly?
Andy: "Roadrunner proposed us Algy, but I wanted King Diamond, so we asked Roadrunner to ask King, but he said we were too punk."
Were you close to the TANK guys?
Andy: "We never met him before."
Did you love their records?
Andy: "We liked the production of Fast Eddy Clark."
What were the shows or tours in support of "The Day Of Wrath"?
Andy: "I don’t remember."
The record got good responses in Italy, but in bigger magazines, such as Kerrang! or Metal Hammer they laughed about you, why didn’t they like the album?
Andy: "We had many fans in the UK and Germany anyway."
AC: "We were the first band in the world to get zero in Kerrang and Metal Hammer, and I’m very proud of it."
Was the material too simple for them or…?
AC: "That was their problem. "The Day Of Wrath" sold good anyway and for this reason we made a second album with Roadrunner. Opinion of fans is important while the opinion of magazines is not so important. Moreover, if we were the only band to get zero (but sold good anyway) it means that BULLDOZER was a "particular" band… not one of the many."
Does it mean, that you didn’t get any support from the magazines?
AC: "A very bad response in a magazine is much better than an average response."
The record was licensed in the USA, in Canada and in Japan, where you became cult, didn’t you have the opportunity to tour overseas?
AC: "Because of my refuse to join the army I was without a passport from 84 to 87."
Would you say, if BULLDOZER would have been an English or a German band, you would have been more known or popular?
Andy: "I’m proud to be the fuckin’ Italian BULLDOZER guitarist. We had many good responses from fans everywhere and we are satisfied 100%."
Would you have got better responses from Kerrang! or Metal Hammer?
Andy: "Who cares???"
Both in Italy and in England you had a fan club – the Italian was lead by Adriano Bosone – what about these fan clubs?
Andy: "Yes, we had a UK fan club, the land of Kerrang."
On the back cover of "The Day Of Wrath" Don Andras wore a BULLDOZER t-shirt, did you have any merchandise besides the t-shirt?
Andy: "I don’t remember, sorry."
AC: "I remember a t-shirt with the exorcism."
As far as I know, you had to work besides the band, what kind of jobs did you have?
Andy: "In an office."
AC: "In an office too, while Don worked in a car cemetery."
In 1986 you entered the Bips Studio to record your second album "The Final Seperation", were you prepared to record the new songs?
Andy: "Yes we were prepared but the sound came out cheap."
Was Bips a better studio than Psycho?
AC: "No, I don’t think so. It was cheaper so we had more time but the mixer was not good."
How did the recording sessions go?
Andy: "The recording session was ok."
AC: "The mixing work was very bad."
Would you say, that both musically and lyricwise you developed compared to the first album?
Andy: "Maybe yes, but we lost our wild impact."
AC: "The sound was weak, so the final result was not good, even though we had good ideas."
‘The Death Of Gods’ became the longest song on the record, a kind of epic Metal track, what kind of inspiration was behind the song?
Andy: "I don’t remember. The song concept was very interesting but the final production ruined our idea. We did not make a good job."
Was it perhaps written against religion, against the Church?
AC: "I wrote many songs against religions, and those songs are the result of my personal experiences. My lyrics are different from the lyrics of other bands. Nothing to do with things taken from books or movies."
Is that true that ‘Sex Symbols’s Bullshit’ deals with the Glam / Hair bands of those times?
AC: "Yes: correct!"
What about the track ‘Don Andras’?
AC: "It’s funny and serious at the same time. It talks about Don Andras’ youth in the getto of Naples where are so many crimes every day."
Was it a kind of joke?
AC: "Yes and no."
"The Final Seperation" came out in 1986 and I would say, 1986 was the best year in the Metal history. A lot of great records were released, like "Reign In Blood’ (SLAYER), "Master Of Puppets" (METALLICA), "Darkness Descends" (DARK ANGEL), "Eternal Devastation" (DESTRUCTION), "Pleasure To Kill" (KREATOR) or "Beyond The Gates" (POSSESSED), do you agree with me?
Andy: "Reign In Blood" is my favorite album ever."
AC: "I agree with Andy."
What kind of records do come into your mind from 1986?
Andy: "I think that the gap between SLAYER and all the other bands above mentioned is so big, especially live."
Would you say, that in the middle of the 80s Thrash Metal was on its peak?
AC: "SLAYER yes!! I like also the other bands mentioned but I like more early VENOM and early MOTÖRHEAD… the first 80s."
What were the reasons for it?
Andy: "Who knows? Except the fact that Rick Rubin is a genius (producer of "Reign In Blood")."
NECRODEATH, SCHIZO came into being at that time. Besides BULLDOZER, NECRODEATH was the most known Italian band, were you close to them, although they came from Genova?
AC: "Yes I’m friends with Peso."
Did you like their material?
Andy: "We respect each other and we have a good relationship."
The record was produced by yourselves, does it mean, that you weren’t satisfied with Algy Ward’s work?
AC: "We tried to do better but… many things didn’t work good."
Didn’t you think about working with a known producer, such as Randy Burns or…?
Andy: "It didn’t happen…"
As far as the cover of the record, it was similar to the cover of the first record, would you say that it was the continuation of that cover?
AC: "The cover was chosen by Roadrunner. It’s not the one we prepared. I hate that cover."
"The Final Separation" was the last album for Roadrunner, what went wrong with them? As far as I know, they didn’t pay you any money, is that correct?
AC: "The album was not good and did not sell good. The US and Japanese licensees of "The Day Of Wrath" did not take our second album. Roadrunner was not satisfied and terminated the deal. The paid us what agreed but we didn’t get rich al all."
At which point did Don Andras leave the band?
Andy: "Right after the release of "Final Separation"."
Why did he decide to leave BULLDOZER?
Andy: "He was getting married."
His replacement became Rob "Klister" Cabrini, what about his musical background?
Andy: "He played with us before the BULLDOZER single."
Was he the perfect person to take over the drumkit?
Andy: "The best we could get. We made a good choice."
Your next step would have been the release of a four track EP and then splitting up, does it mean that you have had enough of the music industry?
Andy: "Yes, something like that. The feedback on "Final Separation" was not good."
Lack of motivation, enthusiasm or…?
After you left Roadrunner you signed with Discomagic, is it correct that they suggested to continue on with the band?
Andy: "Yes, that’s true."
Did you get any other offers besides Discomagic?
Andy: "I don’t remember."
At that time AC had national service commitments and there was a little chaos around the band, what about this period?
AC: "I had no passport from the end of 84 till the end of 87."
"IX: Circle Of Hell" was your third record in 1987 and the band’s lyrical standpoint became increasingly devoid of any satanic references and instead of it you turned into a porn direction, was it because Rob Cabrini was a porno fan?
AC: "This is not correct. I never wrote satanic stuff but precise concept about religions evil spirits, demons. All things were coming from personal experiences. I never wrote something exalting Satan or Satanism. The real evil power is strictly bounded to some religious people. The antichrist will be religious and will act in this world with religious attitude. Satanism belongs also to the world of evil but its power is much weaker. The cover of "IX" regards the deepest circle of hell, where the most powerful demons stay; their aim is to destroy the earth. The drawing of my face represent men who aim the destruction of earth. There are three symbols in the explosion: a skyscraper like WTC, the Liberty statue, symbol of freedom, and the Vatican. Now you can take away my face and put Bin Laden. One of the 3 symbols had been already destroyed… Moreover he is a very religious man… he’s not the antichrist. His movement is getting stronger and stronger, their addict have no fear at all and it won’t be easy to stop them. "IX"’s cover and song is a very important prophecy."
At that time the porn industry was on its peak in Italy, right?
Andy: "Yes, and the queen was Ilona."
‘Ilona The Very Best’ was written about an Hungarian rooted porn star Ilona Staller, whose idea was to write a song about her?
AC: "I decided to write a song about a woman who was to become very famous… Another prophecy. She’s 100% Hungarian and she’s still famous. Maybe the most famous porn star ever. Few months after she had been elected in the Italian parlament."
‘Rob Klister’ was the continuation of ‘Don Andras’?
Andy: "Rob is Rob. He’s different from Don."
Why did AC start using keyboards on this record?
Andy: "We both decided to introduce new elements."
It was unusual listening to keyboard parts on a Thrash record at that time, wasn’t it?
Andy: "We had been the first band to do that."
How large was the role of the keyboardparts on the record?
Andy: "Not so big but important."
Whose idea was using keyboards at all?
Andy: "We both did."
Would you say that you wanted to color your music and not to creating a boring, simple Thrash record?
Andy: "No. We wanted to do something new and good at the same time."
A year later, in 1988, founder member Dario Carria committed suicide, what happened to him?
Andy: "Before dying he wrote a song titled ‘It’s Not Possible To Go On Like This’.”
Were you shocked because of his suicide?
AC: "We were sad. But we respected his choice."
In your opinion, how could you have saved his life?
AC: "I wrote in ‘Willfull Death’: "There was nothing to do", and great respect."
"Neurodeliri" was dedicated to him, is that correct?
Andy: "To him and his band."
AC: "I do like that band more than many famous bands. Many famous bands played seeking celebrity and glory, and compose music to get success. NEURODELIRI played "what they liked, not looking for success". They were loving music first, more than anything else."
This became the shortest BULLDOZER album, as far as the length of the songs… Lyricwise there are several topics, ‘We Are Italian’, ‘Ilona Has Been Elected’ or ‘Willful Death / ‘You’ll Be Recalled’, how do you view it?
AC: "Real experiences, personal opinions, as always. Of course there are also new experiences and new events featured."
Would you say, that musically you were on your peak, I mean, you developed step by step compared to the first record, you became better musicians compared to the old days. While on the covers of the first three records AC was visible, the cover of "Neurodeliri" became different… what made you use a painted cover?
AC: "IX" was a painted cover too. This time the founder of BULLDOZER was on cover: he deserved it. He is screaming and coming out and breaks a mixture of buildings representing the styles and trends in art and technology. His real and pure feeling is much more important than many celebrated styles in art, including music."
Did it fit to the material?
Andy: "I think so."
The producer of the record was J. K. Birdsells who was a fictive person, he was only in AC’s mind, but you got very good response, is that correct?
AC: "100% correct. I wanted to prove that the Metal scene was full of prejudices, like a religious movement. "IX" had been censored and "Neurodeliri" was accepted because the producer was not Italian."
Your last record was "Alive… In Poland", which was recorded in the Sport Hall in Zabrze in front of over 5,000 people on November 17, 1989, how do you remember that show?
Andy: "A great experience, the journey, the customs controls, before the end of the communist government in eastern Europe."
As far as the setlist, why didn’t you put songs from the first two records on the live album?
Andy: "We did but only on the CD version: Roadrunner claimed a royalty for 3 songs from "The Final Separation"."
As far as the "Alive… In Poland" record there is also a bootleg CD version called "Greetings From Poland", which adds some extra studio tracks from the "IX” album, did you know about it?
AC: "I don’t know that CD."
You played your last show on the December 1, 1990, how was that gig?
Andy: "A good gig. There’s a video of that show."
The band split up after that gig, was the demise of the band unavoidable?
Andy: "Not really but we decided to stop when we were doing good stuff. We didn’t want to decay."
What did you do the after BULLDOZER’s split?
Andy: "I worked with DEATH SS."
Can you sum up the activities of the members after the split?
Andy: "I continued my job."
AC: "I became a music publisher, working mainly in Japan."
Did the band come to an end on friendly terms?
Did you keep in touch with each other?
A posthumous, somewhat oddball EP, "Dance Got Sick", with the participation of vocalist Dr. D. O. P.E., emerged in 1992 – released by Bulld Records… What about this record?
Andy: "This is an experiment. A very interesting experiment, which influenced the techno scene in Japan."
Was it official BULLDOZER material or a bootleg?
Andy: "An official BULLDOZER experiment."
Did you follow what’s going on in the Metal scene after BULLDOZER’s split?
Andy: "A little bit yes, but not much."
What do you think about the present Italian Thrash scene?
Andy: "There are good bands with some good musicians. I like when a band plays with passion."
Do you know bands, such as VEXED or HATEWORK? Have you listened to Dave Lombardo’s classical Vivaldi album "The Meeting” which AC Wild was involved in?
Andy: "Of course. That’s another experiment. Dave really liked that. I know that also METALLICA mentioned it in one interview."
BULLDOZER remained alive with a tribute split EP in 2000, a union between Japanese SABBAT and French act IMPERIAL. Another Japanese band HELLCHILD included a cover version of ‘Insurrection Of The Living Damned’ on their split album with CONVERGE "Deeper The Wound" plus British Black Metal act THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL covered ‘Neurodeliri’ on their "The Excommunication Of Christ", how do you view these tracks?
Andy: "And many other. For example ABIGAIL from Japan made BULLDOZER covers. I really like this. It means we did something important for some other musicians."
In my opinion, you have had an important effect on the present scene, do you agree with me?
Andy: "Maybe we are more popular now than 20 years ago. It’s strange but some young fan is understanding now what was not understood in the 80s by the most of the fans."
Would you have thought that BULLDOZER’s spirit remains alive nowadays as well?
Andy: "In the early 90s a situation like the present was not imaginable at all."
In your opinion is BULLDOZER’s name still big in people’s minds?
Andy: "The important fact is that several people still like BULLDOZER. I don’t mind being big, but I like being appreciated."
A boxset entitled "The Years Of Wrath 1983/1990" emerged in 1999, another boxed set "Regenerated In The Grave" was released in 2006, are there any differences or similarities between these boxsets?
Andy: "Regenerated" is very professional and the sound quality is the one we did. Mastering of "The Years Of Wrath" was not so cool."
Do they contain unreleased material as well?
Andy: "Regenerated" is a complete work."
AC Wild guested on the SCHIZO album "Cicaritz Black" in 2007, does it mean that he remained in touch with the Metal scene during the years?
AC: "Yes with some old friends."
In 1999 NECRODEATH reformed and this year they once again released a new record, how do you view their career as a whole?
Andy: "We always respect them."
As far as their line-up only Peso is the only one original founder member… Did you never think about reforming BULLDOZER?
Andy: "Yes. Last year I would have said impossible. Now I say we try to make it."
Do you consider it a good idea to reform a band after 10-12 years of silence, as it was the case with bands like HEATHEN, DEATH ANGEL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, NECRODEATH etc.?
Andy: "If they have something new to say… why not?"
How do view the development of the (Thrash / Black / Death) Metal scene, since you were involved with it since 1980?
Andy: "There are many bands, many ideas, many musicians and some of them good. Everything develops or dies."
How much did it change compared to the glorious 80s?
Andy: "My favorite band is still SLAYER. Their shows are the best."
Please name your first ten all time Metal records!
Andy: "You know my best album. I like to mention only that."
Interview: László Dávid