SAVAGE THRUST interview for SLAYER MAGAZINE Vol. 20 "Blood Fire Death"
1. First of all, I know this is a weird way to start a interview, but, whenever I do a search for information on SAVAGE THRUST on the Internet there are millions of hits on porn related links. I guess that also was your intennsion when named the band, right?
...yes, think about it...a 'savage thrust" could come from either a knife or a penis!
2. What was the happiest SAVAGE THRUST related memory you treasure the most now? (I'm speaking of the band now!)
aside from the girls and fans, it has to be live gigs......a toss up between playing with Manowar and the trip to Mexico..
3. Tell us how the band got together in the first place, I guess you all were in bands previously to SAVAGE THRUST?
...Pat Donofrio and I started the band with Mike Smith...we went through some different drumers and bass players before settling on Bobby Boch and Jimmy Gellentine for the first original line-up of the band (which we recorded the first demo with)... although we had all played in local "cover" type bands before ST, none are worth mentioning...
4. When you got together did you already have the musical style sorted out or did you work that out as the band grew???
...not really, it kinda grew out of each of our different influences..I was into Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer....Bobby was into Jazz/Rock....Pat worshiped Judas priest, Jimmy was an Aerosmith fanatic...and Mike liked just about everything.
5. I remember the band was heavily self promoted in the Metal underground back then, mainly with the "Demo Of Doom" release. But think especially in those days underground people were slightly more narrow minded. I was wondering if SAVAGE THRUST ever felt ignored because of your high pitched vocals? (Well, higher pitched than death growls anyway...)
...most definitely. Early on, we were turned down by a couple of european labels because they did not like the vocals....we stuck by our singer, and it turned out that it was probably worse for us in retrospect...by the time we finally did get a new vocalist, the scene had dried up. I look back on it now as not too big of a loss....the bands we opened for (and secretly wished we could be at the same level of) are all now broken up and long departed. A few survive, making a small income from infrequent gigs.
6. Was there a group of bands you felt SAVVAGE THRUST were close to? Like NASTY SAVAGE or BLESSED DEATH for instance?
...yes, Blessed Death, Whiplash, Overkill, Primal Scream, Nuclear Assault, and Faith or Fear come to mind immeditately. They were all very cool to hang out with as well as play with.
7. What bands in New York were you close to? And what bands did you play live with?
...in addition to the above mentioned NY-NJ bands, we cannot forget Anvil Bitch....we would go there to Philadelphia and play with 'em...they would come up here to play with us. We fed off each other's following. Another band I remember locally was Insaniac from New Jersey....very cool dudes whom we met hangin' around "Rock and Roll Heaven" (the Johnny Z./Megaforce record store in NJ) back in the mid-eighties....I wonder what ever happened to those dudes?
8. Were SAVAGE THRUST considered a good live band? Did you like to be on the stage? Any memorable shows? (Crazy stories would be nice)
...we loved it and played out more than any other original band from staten Island. We would play everywhere within driving distance that would have us, but the best gigs were at L'amour in Brooklyn. We were the "house thrash band" whom they called on when a heavy national band played and needed an opening act. Besides the afore-mentioned bands, some other bands we played with there: Manowar, Anthrax, Exodus, Voi Vod, White Zombie, Ramones, Armored Saint...and many others...
9. I know you did a "7 once too, I can't really remember when but it was previous to the LP I think? How come you decided to do that? And was this releases funded by yourself?
...no it was put out and funded by a guy in NJ whom was starting his own record label....the single is very rare and hard to find today...and yes, it was before the LP by a couple of years...
10. How did the appearance on SPEED METAL HELL 3 occur? You are featured there with a non LP track "Crown Of Thorns". Was that taken from a demo or spescially recorded for this comp. only?
...no, they just used the track from the "Demo of doom" tape (which we self-sold over 3500 copies of!) ...actually remember getting a small royalty check from "New Renaissance records" once! By the way, it was speed metal hell 2....the album also featured the first appearance of Jason Newsted!
11. Your debut LP was released in 1990 by a Mexican label called AVANZADA METALICA or something. Maybe a strange move? How come you ended up on that somehow obscure label?
...George Lazarov had a metal label and Magazine in Mexico city. They brought us down to do some gigs in 1988. We went over great... I remember the first day off the plane we were set to do an "in-store" autograph-signing. We pulled up to the record store and the line was around the block! we also did a radio interview, appeared on their live television news show (univision, I believe) did three live shows, and 2 other appearances. After that, they put out our album on their label. I don't think more than 5-7000 were ever pressed. It's also rare and sold on eBay for a whopping $27.00 recently!
12. Looking back on the musical aspect of your debut LP do you feel it turned out the way you wanted? Is there anything you are not happy with?
...I just wish we had more money for studio time...all things considered, I think it came out OK.
13. So how was it to work with that label then? was there a comminication problem due to them being in Mexico?
I am not sure they ever got a U.S. distribution deal for the label. We were just grateful somebody put it out! We were offered a shitty deal from Combat records, but decided against it. They wanted everything short of your soul and first born!
14. You remember what kind of feedback the LP got then?
...honestly, no...I don't remember many reviews...by the time it came out we had changed the line-up and eventually the singer.
15. Around the early '90ies a lot were happening on the musical map, did you feel that the climate were changing too and there was less interest for your kind of Metal?
...yes, the gigs were getting worse, the scene sort of dried up after the advent of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I think. I thnk it was also a case of too many bands doing the same style and cutting the pie into too many pieces. Every major/minor metal label already had their "baby metallica" band...each label signed 6 or more of these groups and of course, did poor sales.
16. I don't know what happened but even after your LP you recorded a new demo. Why did you do that? Was it to obtain a new deal or what? What happened with this release?
...it was to try to get a US deal with the new line-up (featuring Rob Antila on guitar/vocals) and songs. I thought it was some of our best material, but alas, it was too late by 1990-91 for the type of music we were creating.
17. For someone that never heard your band, how woyuld ou describe your sound?
...sort of like a power/thrash metal with brains and skills behind it.
18. What do you think was the strength of SAVAGE THRUST as a band?
...I think it was our ability to come up with heavy riffs and our ability to play them.
19. So how did SAVAGE THRUST die? What happened?
...I remember the last straw...we lugged all our gear to Manhattan for a gig with 3 other bands. We went out of our way to promote it and bring people to the club. They would give us 2 bucks a head for passes turned in at the door. At the end of the night I asked the owner "how many did we bring in?"...he told me 23 people. I said to myself, well at least we got gas money, 46 dollars is better than nothing, right. So when I asked for the money and the owner told me: "sorry, 25 minimum to get paid"...it was all downhill from there.
20. What did you do after the split? Did you join any other bands?
...no, I went back to my first love and created "industrialTELEVISION", an underground-film oriented cable TV program, as well as producing music videos and commercials for local bands.
21. I heard you did a one off re-union at L'AMOURS in 2000. How come? Was there ever in your mind to continue the band after that?
...the rest of the guys wanted to do it. I was unable to play, having no "chops" nor guitar callouses anymore. I told them: "I would have to practice 20-30 hours a week for at least 5 weeks just to be able to attend a rehearsal!"..no It was just a "one-off" gig.
22. Do you think the band had a lot more potential than you proved in your existence?
...most definitely. I feel we never got the chance to promote ourselves properly. If perhaps we had a bigger label behind us, who knows? But as I said before, where are any of those "successful" bands I mentioned today?
23. How do you view the years in SAVAGE THRUST now?
... with fondness, although the seven years do seem a bit of a blur to me now. Although the crowds were always wild and fun...I do recall that getting up on stage and hearing your guitar come blasting out of a huge PA system and hear it echoing off the back wall is a very cool feeling that's instantly addictive. I shall always cherish....and never forget those moments.
24. I guess the album was never released on CD? well, if it was I'm sure it is out of print.....So would you consider a re-release of this somewhat underground classic album on CD? Who owns the right to this recording now?
..no never released on CD. I do own the rights, but the only way I think someone would put it out would be for me to do it! I cannot see any label investing in a re-release.
25. Do you keep in touch with the other guys, and do you know what they are up to now?
...MIke Puch ( the last bassist) is now in a band called Rimjaw. Bobby Boch does not play out anymore, but teaches his son how to play. Neither do any of the other members play out , as far as I know.
26. Thank you for doing this! I appriciate that, and treasure the memories! ..my pleasure.