One of the best acts ever to emerge from Australia certainly is HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH! Even though the band used to release two demos and two full length albums ever since their origin way back in the 80s, they unfortunately never really managed to keep their career going in a quite steady way. Blame it on the lack of record label support, their country of origin or simply on the lack of motivation from the members themselves – who knows?! Fact is, mainman Peter Hobbs decided to give it another go in 2003, which was of course really great news to us! Needless to say that we had to come up with an in depth interview, and in the end even ended up getting two seperate ones… But instead of only using the best parts of both of ’em, we figured it might be even more interesting to feature them both in their entirety. The first part originally appeared in Slayer Magazine # 18, while part 2 is exclusive and brandnew. Enjoy!
Welcome back Hobbs, what have you been doing all these years after the second album? Have you been involved in any other bands? Or have you been out of music completely? Did you still follow the Metal scene or what?
"I’ve been doing what a musician disillusioned by the whole scene would do. I never stopped listening to Metal and all that is offered to my ears. I haven’t been involved in any other bands. I am one of a kind and did leave the opportunity open to arise again, until a time I felt was warranted – that time is now!"
Please tell us about the reasons for returning… I see you already played a few gigs with the likes of DESTRUCTION and MAYHEM. Tell us about that?
"I must say it had a lot to do with an admired part of my formula – Anticros, that’s the drummer who played with me live after the departure of McMaster Smith. We had a couple of rehearsals, then I had a reason to contact Modern Invasion Music. I found out that Daniel was bringing MAYHEM to Australia. I had been in the studio putting down a few new songs. I went to Daniel’s office and asked him to listen to the new songs. After once, twice, third and fourth he replied: "OK, you still have it. But can you do it live?" I’m Hobbs!!!!! And yes, I can. That lead to the first gig back! After seven years of being on stage and after all those years you can’t take away the true feel and what HOBBS’ is all about. HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH hit the stage with immense force and showed to old followers – and new, how to play such classics that even after all these years. Maniac (MAYHEM) stood alongside stage himself and also witnessed the brutal power and intensity that HOBBS’ produced back then and still today can forefill. Well, what can I say? This lead to the gig with DESTRUCTION."
Besides you, who’s in the re-united version of HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH?
"The people who did execute the MAYHEM gig and also the DESTRUCTION gig are: Dave Frew (bass), Mark Woolley (guitar), Bruno (drums – known today as Anticros) and myself. Mark Woolley was on the debut album back then with SPV and Harris Johns. He is the only one from the original line-up of the 80s besides me."
It must have been a special thing for you to play with DESTRUCTION as I think your music has a lot in common with German Thrash. Well, the HOBBS’ sound was more in the SODOM "Persecution Mania" vein, but I assume you know what I mean?!
"To play with DESTRUCTION was for me, a great honor and also to be on stage with such icons of the Metal world. Yes, Peter Hobbs was asked to perform a classic song with them and yes I did! It was a classic Punk song – ‘Fuck The USA’ as an encore originally done by THE EXPLOITED. Schmier made me welcome on stage alongside Mike and Mark. It went down fucking well. It is another part of Australian history and all that saw it will remember us."
So how about the chances of some new material? We have already heard rumors about a release in 2003? Can you tell us some details about that? How can you describe this material? Is it different from what it used to be on the first LP? This is definitely one album that will be very anticipated in the Metal world. Do you reckon you have great enough material written for this?
"New songs have been written with many more to come. My new release will be a new and progressive approach and I believe in a direction that will be accepted with open arms. For I intend to write another classic once again. The critics will have their say – ‘Thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ but at the end of the day it will be my ultimate aggression and passion. For I want and will regain my throne of being a legend and will also never be forgotten as Australia’s meanest, blackest motherfucker from hell!"
The first LP is a classic and still stands out well, even today. What are your thoughts on the album these days?
"We worked so hard to produce that album, and it will go down in history. I’m so lucky it was a killer and so proud of it. That album has never been forgotten, and its contents – ‘Jack The Ripper’, ‘House Of Death’, ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Crucifixion’ and so on never will!"
These days it is pretty hard to get a hold of the album and it doesn’t seem very likely to have this re-released… I heard Steamhammer is pretty hard to work with in those cases…
"The album can be downloaded on the Internet, but it will be re-released – it has every right to be. I don’t wish to discuss any business with SPV. I believe they gave me the opportunity to firstly have a classic album out there amongst DESTRUCTION, SODOM and all in that stable at that time. CD Hartdegen gave me that shot, I wish him well."
Are you aware that bootlegs exist of your first album on CD?
"I’ve heard there are bootlegs across the globe – so be it."
It must have been an awesome feeling for you to get the contract back then and go to Germany and record… Tell us about these experiences? Can you share any stories? Anything you remember after all those years?
"Yes, it was an experience for all of us. We do live a long way from Europe, I would need a decade to tell you the stories about it. I will leave it to your imagination. I met a Fräulein on Lufthansa Airlines before we even took off to Sydney. I thought to myself are they all going to hold such beauty as this hostess? And yes, they were there! Left, right, front and behind. Got to stop, I will run out of paper."
Since you were in Australia and the label was in Germany did that bring forth any problems as far as communication goes?
"Again, being such a long way from Europe, it was a little bit hard. Being new to the label, the expense that it would cost to fly us back for touring and so on was a disappointment. I believe that if the world saw us as we were back in the 80s it would have lead to further options and so on. Oh well, the world will see us today. It’s never too late, and HOBBS’ is to be reckoned with."
Did you ever consider moving to Europe on a permanent basis to persuade the career in extreme Metal?
"I myself would have moved over to Europe. Again it would have been hard at first, but once, as myself would have adapted to climates and the lifestyle to take my musical career to its max! I will repeat it again if I have to – I’m a die hard extremist!"
You left the Steamhammer label after one LP only, what happened? Any idea how much it sold?
"Yes, one album. I feel that all what happened back then has been swept under the carpet. I don’t know how many it sold, but if I produced one album 15 years ago and it is still not forgotten today and is written in magazines to be one of the best albums ever written for its time and style in the Metal world, it must have sold more than two don’t you think? (Yeah, I have two copies myself! Haha! – Metalion)
Then there was the second album "Inheritance" which I sadly enough never got to hear, but rumors say it was quite different than the debut, so tell us about that?
"The second album had some very good songs and still today will be a part of my onslaught in our set that is intended to being used in Europe along with new songs. Some songs on it were pieces of music that came from my head at the time. I don’t regret it, but I know some were not to my fullest musical ability."
So what are the details of the band breaking up after that?
"Politics and stupidity of other musicians’ etc. etc."
Do you regret breaking up the band back then?
"I believe that if HOBBS cannot provide to himself satisfaction in his music and have the quality musicians alongside him. Therefore at that stage, if I don’t believe it myself I don’t expect anyone else to. Today I’m back in full force, hungry and out to prove to the world I am more than worthy to be out there amongst all again. Every angle in the Metal world will witness the return of HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH!"
The first time I came across the name ANGEL OF DEATH was way back in 1987 when you released your self-titled debut demo, which featured the songs ‘Lucifer’s Domain’, ‘Satanic Overture’, Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Satans Crusade’. How long has the band been together already at the time and what have you all been up to previously? Any bands you played with before?
"Tyrus was the last band in 1986 that I played in. It was a four piece group that took over the Australian scene back then and had naturally good response overseas too. That is where my pioneering assault took place. Bands in Oz were good and kicked ass, but I had a new breed of sound and wanted to be noticed. I myself have english parents. I loved the Metal that was thrown at us. In your face, brutal forcefull, penetrating and unforgedable. I needed the perfect musicians to take on the next project hobbs’ angel of death. For this I recruited three members from Melbourne’s band nothing sacred. That was Sham on drums, Carl on bass and Wooley on guitar. It was obvious to me that my solo career has then begun."
Unfortunately there was no line-up mentioned on the demo cover, so was it already the same people that later appeared on your debut album (Darren McMasters-Smith on drums, Mark Woolley on lead guitar and Philip Gresik on bass)?
"No, Darren Mc Masters Smith and Venom Phil were not on the first demo. They took place in hobbs’ angel of death in later stage and from the second demo titled "Virgin Metal Invasion From Down Under". That demo featured supreme bass player Steve Scot from superb extreme group Renegade. Phil joined the line up for the actual Berlin recording."
Which bands had the biggest musical influence on you guys at the time?
"Speaking for myself and have grown up with likes of zeppelin, sabbath, deep purple, kiss and alike. But the 80’s was something very different. Their new wave of super groups like slayer and especially the German invasion lead by mighty destruction, sodom and kreator was simply incredible brain stimulation arriving with unheard off speed and technical brilliance which ultimately stimulated my brain to musical climax and increased my heartbeat by thousands beats immediately then."
When and where did you record that demo, how long have you been in the studio for it and did you have any other, additional songs finished at the time, that didn’t make it on the demo for one reason or another?
"The both demos were recorded at Doug Saunders studio, Melbourne Australia, in aproximately 20 hours each both recording and mixing. And they were killers indeed. The approval and interest of record companies followed up fast and strong."
How many copies did you spread around of that demo and what kind of reactions did you get from fans, media and record labels? Was it all positive or did you also get any quite mixed reactions as well?
"Honest answer" interest of fans around the globe and Australia was more than positive. Each demo sold in very short period of time well over thousand mark as I clearly recall. I still can see it rotating around on ebay and I am very proud of that."
Even though SPV / Steamhammer signed the band rather quickly, there’s been another, second demo in 1988, called "Virgin Metal Invasion From Down Under", which not only came out in the same year as the album, it furthermore also only featured five songs, that all made it on the album. So, what was the purpose of this demo?
"I went back to studio to record these five songs which I wrote while being in England. This demo was titled "Virgin Metal Invasion From Down Under". The prime negotiation then lead to Germany, Steamhammer / SPV. I knew they liked the first demo and the next demo was the absolute clincher to close the deal. Indeed it was clear to me then that this was it and that CD Hartdegen would make hobbs’ angel of death part of Steamhammer’s catalogue."
From that point of time you also added HOBBS to the band’s name – what was the reason for that?
"Myself being creator of the whole concept both musically and lyrically, it became the reality hobbs’ angel of death as there would not be possible have angel of death without of myself – Hobbs."
Who actually invented the slogan "Virgin Metal" and what did it represent to you?
"The slogan was created by a well respected individual and also my friend, Daniel Janecka (then my manager) of Modern Invasion Music, Australia. As Daniel always said this new brilliant music force is simply virginal and not fucked by anyone yet. Simply the virgin Metal. And there it was."
Was SPV / Steamhammer the only label that had shown interest in the band at the time or were they simply the most interesting to you?
"SPV were not the only company interested in me. There were several others and also from America. I felt very comfortable with the German direction and attractive corners of SPV, like Jutta Kestner. This was a respected company around the globe and was coming with very fresh direction and talent like destruction, sodom. I felt it was the right road to take and so we did."
I remember that at one point you also appeared on the Metal Forces compilation albums "Scream Your Brains Out"… What can you tell us about that? As far as I can recall it was two of your demo songs that got used for it, wasn’t it?
"The compilation "Scream Your Brains Out" was the opportunity no one could have turned down then. I was asked directly by Malcolm Dome. This helped me further my career and of course I said yes. There were some killer reviews and it spread the message that Hobbs was a force to be reckoned with."
When it comes to your self titled debut album, you got the opportunity to record that in Berlin, Germany with producer Harris Johns. Was that a personal wish of yours, as he had already been a very respected person in the Thrash Metal genre at the time, or did SPV come up with the idea for it?
"Yes, the opportunity arose that we would be going to record in Germany. Harris Johns was our very first and final choice. He has produced, recorded some impressive classics and he had the knowledge to nurse Hobb’s music to its best level. With absolutely no mistakes we all worked together well (hail eternally to mighty Harris). Practically everything was done on first or second take!!!"
The album features most of your demo songs, except for ‘Satanic Overture’, Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Liar’ – why didn’t you (re-)record those as well? And what was the reason that one or two tracks of the regular tracklist only appear on the CD version?
"If I had time to record all those songs I would have liked to have them on the album. I believe that the choice of compositions was the right ones for the amount of space on the LP. The songs were musically powerful self explanotary and showed rapidly rising of my Hobbs musical style which was emerging fast then. Two compositions were added on the CD version as bonus tracks."
Do you think that the album cover’s artwork (which only features a drawing of yourself, done by famous artist Sebastian Krüger) really was a good decision in retrospect? I remember that many Thrash fans from my area at the time didn’t really take it serious as it looked not as serious / brutal as most other Thrash Metal album covers at the time…
"The front cover with the image of myself I believe was a right choice. It stands as one hell of Sebastian Krüger’s and what a job he did. Truly evil and suitable for the music expression then. Its simplicity then stood up from the other covers on the record shelves and that is what I wanted. Like you and other Thrash fans I liked all the other covers as well. Sometimes I get them all out, lay them across the floor and try to pick the best of its time. All of my collections kill todays covers."
Did the band play any live shows up to that point? If so, when, where and with whom did you share the stage?
"After the album was recorded we returned back to Australia and set up a tour of Sydney and hometown Melbourne. We blew everyones brains up with ease. Our supreme line-up consisted of: Mc Master Smith on drums, Phil Gresik on bass on leads, Mark Wooley and myself on guitar and vocals."
What was the reason that nothing really happened with the band anymore after the album was out? Did you split up or what happened exactly?
"It all happened so fast. Line up problems with Darren and then Phil. It took a bit of time finding new members, politics and so on. You have heard it all before. Until they were replaced."
In 1995 HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH finally returned to the scene with a new album, entitled "Inheritance". How long has the band already been together prior to the records of it and how did you get together with the new members? Have you never considered working with the original line-up again?
"In 1995 after a long fishing trip I found some sort of inspiration to write more songs. I was so disillusioned by the whole scene I put a band together just for a jam. The veins were pumped again with Metal. I do not think it will ever go. "Inheritance" happened fast from the jam session, however the quality I expected just was not there."
Tell us a bit more about the musical background of Bruno Canziani (drums), Nick Maltezos (lead guitar) and Dave Frew (bass).
"Bruno Canziani on drums who played with a hard performing Melbourne band rampage alongside Dave Frew on bass from the eightees."
What can you tell us about the label Def Records, which released "Inheritance"? Was the contract with SPV only for one album or did the split up with you after the debut?
"Def Records is a local small company with a few compilations and I do not think they exist anymore for quite sometime. There is not really much more to say about that time."
Where do you see the main musical differences between those two albums and what do you think is the reason that many fans still prefer the debut over "Inheritance"?
"The production was its downfall, perhaps a few interestings songs which could have realised better with a higher level of recording and production in a different time."
Everyone expected HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH to continue on after that second album, but unfortunately you disappeared from the face of earth once more. What were the reasons this time?
"The positive forward thought, it just was not there at the time and therefore there was no point to start our musical war then."
When did you taste blood again to reform the band for the third time and what has been happening ever since?
"In 2002 Bruno asked me to give it another go and caught me in time of new creative outburst. I decided to give it a go. A new line up: Dave on bass, Mark Wooley on guitars, Bruno on drums and me on vocals and guitar. I was certain the band was firing again. I brought a tape to Daniel of Modern Invasion Music. He was quite surprised and impressed. As he was bringing mayhem on tour to Downunder he agreed to give us a go. The reaction of fans (both new and old) was simply incredible. Blokes from mayhem loved us too. Shortly after we hooked up on an Australian tour with the mighty destruction our old label mates. Schmier asked me to do an encore with destruction and it was my great honour to stand on the same stage. I suppose we all are legends. Once again the reaction of fans and the destruction boyz was so positive we really are now full on and unstopable fire force again."
Is there a new album in the making already? Who’s in the band nowadays? Are you still in touch with any of the old members?
"I am writting new killer material again and there will be a new album this year. I look forward recording and performing on stage to my established fans as well as conquering the new ones who do not know us yet. We positively hope to bring hobbs’ angel of death to Europe in the near future. This time the world will see us in full firey force and slightly more mature and wiser. We are now releasing our two first demos "Angel Of Death" and "Virgin Metal Invasion From Down Under" under the title "Hobbs’ Satans Crusade" featuring both remastered masterpieces in its full glory and with a supreme cover art painted by Kris Rev. Hades, artist from sadistik exekution which will be out at the end of April 2003 !"
Anything else you’d like to add here?
"Frank, thanks for showing your interest to HOBBS’ ANGEL OF DEATH. Stay heavy and brutal and hope to see you in person in the near future. Best regards, Peter Hobbs."
Interview: Metalion / Frank Stöver