If a band name extremely well represents what real Metal is all about, then it’s without any single doubt the mighty NASTY SAVAGE! Their history has been very well documented in various interviews so far but considering that the band is back in the Metal battle – stronger than ever in fact, I thought it would be interesting to get guitarist David Austin and singer Ronnie Galletti doing the job this time, so it’s time for you people to take a ride in the NASTY SAVAGE bus now!
Well guys, the somewhat unexpected event finally happened during the Autumn 2002 with NASTY SAVAGE reforming for a recording session. So do you see all this as a real reformation or a one off reunion thing? And how did it really happen since last time you played together was in Germany in ’98 and it wasn’t envisioned back then?
David: "No, I did not see a reformation of the band coming because the whole thing started as a demo release (the first four songs ever recorded by NASTY SAVAGE), that was what was going to happen. Everybody agreed to that and then we started talking again, you know maybe we should get together and record a couple of new songs. We all thought it was a good idea and we did it. The German gig really had nothing to do with it, it was Crook’d Records faith in NASTY SAVAGE that started it all."
Ronnie: "Well in ’98 after we did get back together without Curtis (Beeson) and Richard, we played Bang Your Head in Germany and that was it. At the gig there were a few record companies interested in signing NASTY SAVAGE but they wanted us to record a new demo tape. We never did that so we all just went our own ways with nice memories of the BYH concert and that was that. Now in 2003 we are about to start recording a new full CD!!! And "Wage Of Mayhem" is out now as a teazer for the new stuff. I never really thought I would have this chance again and I take it very serious and I’m thankful to Dave @ Crook’d Records USA to sign us and give NASTY SAVAGE this rebirth in 2003!!!"
Was it hard getting Curtis involved in this reformation considering that he wasn’t involved in the latest NASTY SAVAGE batch of shows from mid ’98 (as he was replaced by Jim Cooker from BRUTALITY)?
David: "We all talked to Curtis, because we wanted him to go to Germany in the first place, but he was harbouring some bad feelings from the past and it didn’t work out. But fortunately he was into the project because his skills are needed in this band, period."
Ronnie: "Curtis also didn’t do our last tour in the States (1990),60 shows in 65 days with D.R.I. and SICK OF IT ALL across America. That was Rob Proctor he was in the Hardcore band ASSUCK and Jim Cooker played BYH with us in 98 both were great guys!! Anyway, it was great to get Curtis back in the band again because he is totally magnificent and it gives us that jarring monstrous Beeson drum sound that we all love to hear in NASTY SAVAGE."
Do you know if the fact that with LOWBROW being currently signed to Crook’d records, Patrick Harman (Crook’d boss) tried his best to push Ben (Meyer) and Richard (Bateman) into reforming the act?
David: "I don’t think so, because like I said, it started as a release of the demo songs only. We approached Crook’d about the additional songs and he was very happy about that."
Ronnie: "It all helped but if we (the band) couldn’t put things in the past and move forward it would have never happened. I think we all realize that with NASTY SAVAGE there is a chance and its in our hearts too."
Did you try to have Fred (Dreguishan) involved in that reformation considering that he did – to much of our surprise – play the Bang Your Head show in ’98 or was it out of the question as he lives in Germany I believe and owns a computer business?
David: "No, it was really not possible. First of all, nobody knew where he was located. Secondly, he has two fingers on his right hand that have no feeling. He pulled that show off because we did our most basic set list. Notice how we did nothing from "Penetration Point". Richard is an amazing bass player and deserved to be involved in this project and has done three times the shows with NASTY SAVAGE than Fred has."
Ronnie: "That was a trip man!! Fred just happened to be around at the time, otherwise who knows when I would have contact with him or the others for that matter. It was great to be with him again on stage at BYH and I only wish him well. Fred lives in Florida and I haven’t seen him in years but he did sign our guestbook @ nastysavage.com. YOU must too reading this interview."
David, have you relocated to Florida recently since you are based in Tennessee or do you come to Florida from time to time to rehearse / record with the other guys?
David: "I still live in Tennessee and drive 22 hours round trip to rehearse. But it’s all worth it. We are having fun right now."
So how did that recording session for those two new songs that appear on that new Crook’d release "Wage Of Mayhem" go? What type of atmosphere could be felt in the studio considering that last time you were all together in a studio was early ’89?
David: "To be honest, it went well, but it was rushed. We did two full songs in three days because it was last minute. There was really not much of an atmosphere to speak of because we were in and out."
Ronnie: "Things never change, the first time I went in was when I was ready to do my vocal parts to the two new songs everything else was recorded and it was vocal time. I never really saw the guys till I went in to the studio even then Curtis wasn’t around. The atmosphere for me is my own in what I create it to be in my mind, body and soul. Low or no lights just a candle light alone with no distractions and the producers. My words take me in movements my soul and heart play them out."
How were those new numbers written? Was it written by David and Ben mainly like in the past and the others helped for the arrangements or…?
David: "Yes, Ben and I laid the groundwork and then Ronnie, Richard, and Curtis did their thing. It had to be quick so we could get it out as soon as possible. Everybody worked hard for the time frame we had."
Ronnie: "Everyone tried to get some input Ben had one and Dave had one. Now this new stuff for the next CD 2003 “Psycho Psycho” will have even more input musically between the guys including Curtis so I think that will build on a strong foundation to become strong from within first and then expand on that matter."
Is there a particular path you wanted to follow with those brand new songs or was it more like "we’re gonna come with whatever we want" considering that the newer stuff is very much along the lines of the "Penetration Point" material?
David: "Personally, I thought it was along the lines of "Indulgence", but that’s just me. Not too tech, not too basic. We did not want to go overboard with being too tech because of the time frame and we thought we might have gone a little too far on "Penetration". So we tried to meet in the middle, if that makes sense."
Ronnie: "Who says the new stuff sounds like "Penetration Point"?? (I do! – Laurent) Please, open your mind from the inside and you will see this is a whole new NASTY SAVAGE trip man, don’t be so quick to try to place it or label it… get on the bus and it will take care of you, just sit back and enjoy the ride, listen over and over, over and over, find the message."
I have noticed that Florida’s INFERNAL has a song titled ‘Sardonic Mosaic’ and yours is titled ‘Sardonic Mosiac’ which is surprising considering that Nasty Ronnie had been involved a few years ago with that band?
David: "Ronnie liked the title, so he kept it, but changed the lyrics."
Ronnie: "Somehow it got misspelled on the "Wage Of Mayhem" CD. It should read ‘Sardonic Mosaic’. When I wrote it in the INFERNAL project the lyrics and title I thought were cool so I wanted to re-write some words and that title ‘Sardonic Mosiac’ it needed to be a NASTY SAVAGE title."
By the way Ronnie give us a few details about that INERNAL thing in which you were involved with in the mid ’90s…
Ronnie: "It was a chance for me to produce a more Death style Nasty Ronnie sound and it was fun and that’s all that it was but it was pretty heavy. The guitarist Josh was unbelievable but his head trip was a nightmare and it turned out that I wasn’t happy in the end. So that was that."
The lyrics of the song ‘Wage Of Mayhem’ portray the image of the band very well and add even more nostalgia so to speak to the whole thing…
David: "I loved it. It tells the story, in brief, of the band’s history up until "Penetration". Get ready for ‘Wage Of Mayhem Part 2’ on the next disc."
Ronnie: "It’s upfront, in your face, ‘Wage Of Mayhem’ kind of brings us all up to date so we know why we are here or so you know why we are here and where we came from. The cool thing is our demo from ’83 still holds up to standards today and we are proud to be able to release on this CD "Wage Of Mayhem". We didn’t have cell phones or computers back then. Now we can have contact with hundreds of people over the internet daily. So don’t be shy if you try to contact us at www.nastysavage.com we will answer all e-mails."
Unlike most of the reformed bands around who just feel great only when they downtune their guitars to the max, throw away good old lead parts and adopt a Nu Metal approach (SLAYER, DESTRUCTION…) , NASTY SAVAGE has stayed true to their sound and songwriting, so does that somewhat mean that you consider yourself as a fan and wouldn’t be betrayed by bands you like a lot?
David: "NASTY SAVAGE is NASTY SAVAGE. We are not going to change anything. We are not going to follow a new trend. This is not about cash. It’s about having a good time and being thankful that people still care. You can be heavy without tuning down to C!!!" (HELL YES! – Laurent)
Ronnie: "To me I do not care what other bands do. We never did and never will. We do what we do. It’s in our hearts and soul, it’s savage music played nasty. If we change it’s because we wanted to and that’s the only reason."
So this comeback release also features that legendary "Wage of Mayhem" demo from ’84, would you say that it’s really a good thing to have that so much acclaimed recording available to the public as it was asked to be done by a lot of NASTY SAVAGE die hard followers for a long time?
David: "Like I said originally, the demo was going to be the only release because there was a demand for it in Europe, and then we decided to record the new ones."
Ronnie: "We felt this was a great time to release the demo tracks because it is a part of the true 80’s Metal underground history and we were back with something new so let’s go back to the past, to the true real roots of our beginning then move forward now into the future. What’s next?"
How do you feel about that particular recording nearly 20 years later? Would you agree that it really passed the test of time, something very few recordings do?
David: "That is a tough question, I think for NASTY SAVAGE standards today the arrangements might be a little generic, in my overall opinion I think they have stood the test of time."
Ronnie: "Yes, correct it did and it’s something to be proud of !!!"
When this feature will be published, you’ll have finished recording a full length album planned to be released late 2003… it seems the songwriting was done real fast…
David: "We’ve been working hard because once we decided to do this project, Crook’d signed us to a one album deal. We started creating immediately. Everybody is into it and getting along well. The songs have been coming along since September 2002, so it’s not really as fast as you might think."
Ronnie: "All I know is the writing wasn’t rushed and I truly feel this will be a very, very heavy CD. I think we picked up where we left off."
Did you go for Crook’d right away or did you have other offers? How did the license deal with Massacre Records for Europe come through?
David: "I will be honest. Crook’d paid us well, very well. He showed us that NASTY SAVAGE still has a good fan base. He was very generous, and the deal was done very quickly. Crook’d can tell you how the deal with Massacre came out, I can’t."
Ronnie: "If it wasn’t for Crook’d we wouldn’t be here today. We would like to stay loyal to Massacre too."
On the live front, do you have shows lined up for the immediate or later future because I don’t think any gigs have been played since BYH 1998?
David: "As far as I know, Crook’d is looking at Europe for mid-April, not for sure though. Time will tell. We would like to do Wacken and other festivals, but it’s still up in the air."
Ronnie: "As for live shows we really don’t know? It would be nice but it has to be worth it."
So David you also had your own project going on in 2002 as DNA and you recorded a demo…
David: "I started that demo because I wanted to let people know I was still around and was coming up with new material and was not dead. But honestly, I got a terrible response, but that’s life. I will never quit playing. Right now, I’m going wherever NASTY SAVAGE takes me."
So what do you remember of that Bang Your Head show that you played in Germany in September ’98? I mean it was a hell of a show and as far as I’m concerned the best reunion gig NASTY SAVAGE played out of the three they have done so far at that time (’92, ’94 and ’95) due to a killer rendition of the classic NASTY SAVAGE numbers but also because for the first time since he had to leave the band in ’86 or so, Fred played in the band…
David: "The Bang Your Head festival was awesome. The response was good. I thought we played well, but I wish Curtis would have done it. That’s my only regret."
Ronnie: "BYH was like a dream come true, to get to go back in time and grab a hold of the past!!! How often can you do that? It’s like euphoric, to stand on stage and command a crown of true Metal fans who supported NASTY SAVAGE and took the ride to the old school even if it was about a hour long, it was really fun!!! A highlight of my career. The only thing is some people thought my blood after the TV sets was fake!!! I swear to my gods that the blood was real and NASTY RONNIE HAS NEVER USED FAKE BLOOD!!! One reason we played a lot of the older stuff was for Fred so it was easier for him. That was cool."
For the NASTY SAVAGE die hard fans, can you tell us a bit more about some of the bands you played with in the early ’80s like GANGSTER and CHRONIC DOGS?
David: "GANGSTER was a cover band that I was in during ’81 and ’82. We covered MAIDEN, PRIEST, TYGERS, RIOT, SABBATH, etc. Actually, we had a great singer who never did anything else. That’s really all to say about that. But for the true die-hards, I was in a band called VIRGIN KILLER (’79) for which Ben tried out on bass and was turned down for reasons I can’t remember. The name obviously came from the SCORPIONS fourth album."
Ronnie: "CHRONIC DOGS was a band that I jammed with just a little bit in practice but really no gigs that I remember, some people said I wouldn’t face the crowd because I was afraid but look what happened when I broke out of my shell, and got NASTY SAVAGE (laugh). We did have some cool original songs we were working on but it didn’t last."
Do you remember how you joined NASTY SAVAGE in the first place?
David: "NASTY SAVAGE was originally NIGHTMARE (’82) with Ben Meyer, Craig Huffman (INDEPENDENTS, GARDY LOO), Fred Dregischan, and Jerry Lynn Workman. They got rid of the singer and got Ronnie and then became NASTY SAVAGE. Then Curtis replaced Craig (’83) and I was added in ’83. There you have it. I was kicked out of GANGSTER because I didn’t have a car. I saw NASTY SAVAGE at a local party and talked to the guys about adding a second guitar player. They had already seen me around with GANGSTER and VIRGIN KILLER. I jammed with them and played songs like ‘The Morgue’ and ‘Vigilante’ and they were into it."
Ronnie: "Well, one day I went to try out for a band called NIGHTMARE, it was Fred, Ben and Craig (Huffman) was the drummer. They just got rid of their singer who was a girl so I walk in and only knowing a few songs like IRON MAIDEN ‘Wrathchild’ I think we did that three or four times, talked a little and was gone. Hearing nothing from them for a few weeks I ran into them at a party and said ‘Well what’s the deal? Do you want me or not?’, they said ‘Yes come over on Monday and we will talk’. When I got there Monday I had a game plan. The name of the band is NASTY SAVAGE, I will be Nasty Ronnie, we must write original songs, save up our money to record a demo and the rest is history."
What about the reasons why you left them back in ’90 or so since they had first parted ways with Robert Proctor and re-enlisted Craig Huffman?
David: "I parted because I was tired of being screwed by Metal Blade and Rotten Records, no management, and bad deals. It was pitiful."
I understand that at one point during ’94 or so you were a roadie for OBITUARY…
David: "Actually, it was’96 on the "Back From The Dead" tour. I had a great time because they are all friends of mine. The sad part is, I made as much money being guitar tech for a month than I did with NASTY SAVAGE in eight years!! Not really, but close!"
To end up this updated feature, any special message for the NASTY SAVAGE ragers around?
David: "Europe fucking rules. That’s where the die-hards are. If it wasn’t for Europe, there would be no more NASTY SAVAGE. Thanks to Crook’d for believing and being a fan. Thanks to people like you who still care. Thanks Laurent."
Ronnie: "I just want to say, please sign our guestbook @ www.nastysavage.com and let us know who you are and what you think of the new songs and NASTY SAVAGE are back in 2003!! Be out at your bus stop early and on time because YOU need to take your trip to the old school to see what the future brings. Is everybody in??? The school of mayhemic destruction is now open and needs you to stay in you seat so you can learn your lesson into and beyond the WAGE OF MAYHEM!!! HELL YES!!!"