One of the greatest Thrash albums of the new year definitely has to be "Every Nerve Alive" by RITUAL CARNAGE! These guys managed to come up with the same feel, energy and intensity as the old masters DARK ANGEL, SLAYER or INFERNAL MAJESTY. Reason enough for us to hook up with the band’s mainman, bassplayer and vocalist Nasty Danny.
Tell us a little bit more about your first band PAGAN FAITH that you had way back in 1983. What kind of style did you play in those days?
"PAGAN FAITH was the first real band I ever played with. I think I was 15 at the time. The other guys in the band were in their 20’s. MTV entered my life around that time and bands like IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST stirred my interest in Metal. Especially Steve Harris, he made me want to play Bass guitar, you know, the dragon tattoo’s, it was a big turn on to me. Our style was very odd, I loved British Metal. The guitarist was a crazy YNGWIE MALMSTEEN fan (he graduated from university studying classical guitar), the drummer liked American Hardcore and the vocalist loved British Punk. Our sound was a mixture of all these elements. I think we were one of the first extreme bands playing the Tampa club circuit during these times."
Did you ever record anything with them?
"We recorded one 7" at Morrisound back in 1986. We made only 300 copies, so it is a very rare item. I don’t even have a copy anymore! The jacket was very cool, especially for those times. It was a photo of a rosary and bible in flames. We really shocked a lot of people!"
What happened to the other members of PAGAN FAITH when you left the band in 1986? Has anyone of them continued in other bands later on?
"I know the drummer was put in jail for drugs and some other fucked up shit. The guitarist still plays in a band called THE WANKERS. I heard that it’s a weird combination of Punk and Metal. The vocalist, we are best friends, he just rides his Harley Davidson choppers and collects weapons. I keep my motorcycles and weapons at his house!"
Considering the big Death Metal explosion that took place in Tampa in the early 90’s it’s kinda hard to believe that the Metal movement was almost non existing when you were trying to form a new band back in the 80’s. Tell us a little bit more about that period and the difficulties you had to go through.
"I think the biggest problem was fighting between the band members. There was never any unity! We all had our own influences and it ended up being a big problem! There was only one real Metal band when I left Tampa, and that was NASTY SAVAGE. I loved their style and sound, I always hoped to join or form a band like NASTY SAVAGE, but it was so hard to find dedicated members. There was also a lot of drugs in the Metal scene as well during those times, I fucking hated that hippie bullshit!"
What made you join the Army in the end? I mean, it’s not really what I would consider a good alternative for playing Metal music, so…
"I always wanted to go to the Orient. I studied Martial Arts for 10 years and I wanted to study from the masters. I was so fucking poor, the only way I could go was with the military. Yes, I learned a lot from the military, it was a great experience. I also realized that I hate everyone who is not Metal! There were so many stupid motherfuckers in the military. I was so shocked by the stupidity! The military was an easy job, but the people were complete fucking idiots!!!"
When you came to Japan for the first time, did you ever expect to end up in a band there? I mean, did you previously already have any knowledge about the Japanese music scene?
"Oh yeah! "Thunder In The East"!! Since I was in the military, I never expected to have time to play in a band, but I did. The vocalist of S.I.C. was also in the military (he was not an idiot). I never realized how big a Thrash and Hardcore scene was thriving in Tokyo. Bands like SHELLSHOCK and GAUZE, explosive stuff!"
How did you manage to play with this Hardcore band S.I.C. while still being in the Army? By the way, what did the bandname mean?
"S.I.C. means STUPID IDIOT CUNTS! I could relate to it considering all the idiots in the military. It was very easy, I worked Monday through Friday only. On the weekends we would play the club scene and do some touring."
For what reasons did you leave S.I.C. in 1988? And how long did you still stay in Japan until you went back to Tampa then?
"After the vocalist left S.I.C., I decided to leave as well. He was a completely crazy motherfucker. On stage he was a maniac. When he left, the drummer decided he would become the leader of the band. So he told me to write more music in the style of Punk. Fuck off! I loved the aggressive stuff we were playing, so I quit! I finished my military career in 1990. After, I went back to Florida. I was planning to start playing music again. The old vocalist of PAGAN FAITH turned me on to ridding Harley’s, so that’s what I became, a biker!"
Why did you completely give up playing music until 1993? You’ve been a biker and also learned tattooing in those years. Did you enjoy doing that in the same way as playing music?
"I guess I didn’t want the stress of playing with a band with conflicting personalities. It sucks! Riding bikes is the most relaxing expression of freedom. I love my tattooing job, I could never do another job… unless the bassist of JUDAS PRIEST or IRON MAIDEN retires, then I will have the best fucking job!"
What made you return to Japan in 1993? Was it mainly because of your interest in tattooing? I mean, I bet that there’s enough tattoo artists in Florida as well, so I didn’t really get it…
"I wanted to study tattooing from the best! The Japanese are probably the most respected worldwide, at least back in the early days. I also planned to fight professionally with kick boxing. But I broke my ankle very badly while sparing and I had to give up. My ankle is still fucked up today!"
And then you ended up in the band SCRAP TAMBOURINE… What can you tell us about your time with them and the band in general?
"These guys were the most feared band in Japan! This is no fucking bullshit! I knew the guitarist for a long time, he was a professional kick boxer as well. This band was so fucking deadly and aggressive. Imagine a band more aggressive than SADUS or SLAYER, it was SCRAP TAMBOURINE. The name was strange, but the guitarist’s grandfather was an American Indian. I really loved playing with this band, but everyone’s personal life started changing and I lost hope."
When the basic ideas for RITUAL CARNAGE came up, did you hook up with Japanese or American musicians for the first line-up? I’m just asking, because in your info there’s talk about a drummer named Alex Amedy and a bassplayer named Bill Jokela…
"For the longest time, I was searching for anyone who wanted to play RITUAL CARNAGE style music. It was impossible to find anyone. I met Alex and Bill at my tattoo shop, I tattooed them. They were surprised to hear DARK ANGEL playing in my shop! They were interested in jamming with me, but they were not as serious as I was."
In 1996 you had a new line-up together with Shinjiro Sawada (drums) and Ken (guitar) and RITUAL CARNAGE finally recorded a 5 song demo in Morrisound Studio. What made you choose this studio? Was it mainly because of its location or did you like all the other productions that came out of Morrisound?
"We choose Morrisound because I recorded there before with my first band, and of course, because it was a famous studio. Also the location was good. I could visit my home and family. Also, Shin and Ken loved fishing. So I took them shark fishing as well. They completely fucking freaked out!"
Were Shinjiro and Ken just session musicians on that recording? What can you tell us about their band BLOOD SHOWER?
"These guys were almost 10 years younger than me, so they were influenced more by Grind and Brutal Music. I think it was natural for them to concentrate on their own project, BLOOD SHOWER. The sound was quite orthodox American brutal Death."
Which songs appeared on that 5 song demo and how many copies of it were spread around to mags, labels, fans etc.?
"We made 300 copies only. I sent copies to mostly American labels. I sent it to Terrorizer, but they never reviewed it. I met Stuart from CRADLE OF FILTH and he had a copy. He said he received it from Moribund or Necropolis Records. It’s very rare. None of the songs appear on our records. But I did take some of the riffs from the demo and used them on the new album. The song titles were: "Begging For Christ", "Damnation", "Unholy Lies"‚ "Obsessed For Truth" and "Maggots Awaken."
Was the music already compareable to the RITUAL CARNAGE stuff that you released on LP / CD later on?
"Ken and I wrote the music. Ken’s riffs were brutal, but my stuff was more thrashy and aggressive. "The Wrath" has a few riffs that I used from the demo. The intro from the song "Awaiting The Kill" is the same intro we used on the demo. I think parts of the demo are comparable to the stuff on our 2 CD’s, especially the thrashy stuff."
After some more line-up changes you ended up recording your debut album in January of 1998, once again in Morrisound Studio. Why didn’t you try to find a label first instead of paying the recordings out of your own pockets?
"We were planning to record a 6 song demo only. Then we decided to go ahead and record the rest of the songs as well. We really didn’t want to fly 15 hours to Tampa again and record the other 4 songs. That is the only reason."
You then got several offers from quite established labels (Metal Blade, Displeased, Merciless and Osmose) but decided to go with Osmose Productions. Any reasons for this particular choice?
"Osmose is a label that doesn’t give a fuck about criticism or censorship! I also like IMPALED NAZARENE for a long time! They are such crazy motherfuckers and I love their attitude. When EXCITER got signed to Osmose, we knew that we wanted to be on Osmose. EXCITER is one of my favorite bands of all time. Long Live the Loud!"
At which point of time did you get your nickname "Nasty Danny"? Is there a story connected to its origin?
"Right after we released "The Highest Law", we played a show in Tokyo and we only played covers. Everyone was shocked! We played songs by JUDAS PRIEST, EXCITER, CELTIC FROST, KREATOR, METALLICA, DARK ANGEL, SLAYER and NASTY SAVAGE. After the show, a few of the fans started calling me Nasty Danny after Nasty Ronnie. Since I am about the same size as Nasty Ronnie. The name stuck! I also got sick of everyone spelling my fucking name wrong, so Nasty Danny is easy to remember."
Up till now it seems that RITUAL CARNAGE consists of yourself with always changing members. Do you think that there will be a steady line-up someday?
"I know! It’s really fucking pathetic! At least we have not changed members as much as CRADLE OF FILTH! I really hate member changes. When you lose a member, it’s such a pain in the fucking ass to find a new one. Then when you find a new one, you have to teach him all the songs and that usually takes about 3 months! Yes it sucks!!"
Where do you draw your main musical influences from? Would you agree that the debut album still had a bigger Death Metal feel, while "Every Nerve Alive" is a lot more influenced by the intensity of bands like DARK ANGEL, SLAYER, INFERNÄL MÄJESTY or BOLT THROWER?
"When Eddie and I wrote the songs from the first record, we just went into the rehearsal room and turned up our guitar amps and jammed. I wrote about 90% of the material for the new record and I wrote it with a classical guitar. I practiced a lot of new scales and put more theory into the music, along with a ton of aggression. DARK ANGEL’s "Time Does Not Heal" is the best Metal record of all time! I hope we can make the same musical achievements as they did with that album."
If you compare the Metal scene of the 80’s with the Metal scene of the 90’s – which one do you like more and why?
"A little of both. In the 80’s there were great bands like SLAYER, DARK ANGEL, ONSLAUGHT, SEPULTURA, but there were also complete shit bands too. As far as the 90’s are concerned , its the same. Good bands and total shit bands. I think a lot of bands today need to rehearse more, I think the 80’s bands were definitely more talented! I am amazed when a band says "We are influenced by CELTIC FROST" and they sound like complete shit! Tom G. Warrior must be laughing at these idiots!"
With "Death Metal" by ONSLAUGHT and "Hit The Lights" by METALLICA you already recorded two classic tracks from the 80’s. Is there any more stuff planned? Did you ever get approached to participate in any of those numerous tribute albums that get released again and again?
"We recorded VENOM’s "Welcome to Hell" and KREATOR’s "Impossible To Cure". We really kicked ass on these songs! They are definitely a tribute. We will also record "I Wanna Rock" by TWISTED SISTER. We recorded those songs for Dwell records. But after I heard the SLAYER tribute by Dwell, I was fucking shocked because the bands destroyed those songs. At least the Swedes did a good job on the Black Sun tributes! We are finished with Dwell. If we ever record another cover, it will be for ourselves and our fans only!"
There’s four bonus tracks on the new album that were supposed to be on the vinyl version exclusively, but they now ended up on the CD anyway. Did you change your minds in the end or what went wrong there?
"No, the manufacturer for Osmose fucked up and misprinted the first 1000 CD’s. I am really angry about that shit too! It’s a bonus for the fucking vinyl only. But what the fuck can I do? It was really unprofessional!"
Tell us a little bit about the touring activities of RITUAL CARNAGE. Any interesting memories on specific tours / shows?
"Touring is great. You get drunk every night and you get to see the world for free! Every day is a great memory. You make a lot of new friends and meet the fans. I really love getting on stage and going completely fucking crazy. I don’t need drugs, I get high on stage from the fans and the loud music."
Who is Vivian Hsu???
"She is a goddess!!!! I love women, especially women with black hair! Check out this free website called at www.asianthumbs.org/main.htm or http://www.persiankitty.com Killer babe sites and FREE!!!"
One of your hobbies is shark fishing – could you tell us a bit more about that?
"Shark fishing is great! You go out on a boat with a bunch of crazy fuckers and a lot of beer! There is one hot spot in Tampa Bay which is full of sharks! The sharks put up a great fight and they are such a challenge to catch. Most people have a great fear of sharks, but the best way to overcome that is by fishing for them."
Ok, that’s all – you finally reached the end… Anything else you’d like to add here? Closing comments?
"I hope everyone will give our new record a chance, I think we have made a lot of improvements and we are getting better day by day. This record is great, but the best is yet to come! Stay true, stay Metal!"