All Access magazine recently conducte an interview with former ANTHRAX and current DEATHRIDERS vocalist Neil Turbin. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
All Access: As a thrash vocalist, you know that songs typically use fast, percussive and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. How is DEATHRIDERS keeping true to the thrash genre and how are they enhancing or changing it?
Turbin: "That is a misperception about thrash. Thrash is a style of heavy metal music that does stay true to certain fundamentals like guitar chugging and rhythmic percussive double bass drumming. It has also been perceived as an all-out play-as-fast-as-you-can style of metal. I believe it is more thrash to have a singer who can belt it out with the best of them and combine that with driving, intense powerful music. I feel people have heard too many thrash bands where the vocals were very limited at best. I mean, the other great thrash bands that had come on the scene when I was out there with ANTHRAX: METALLICA, SLAYER, and MEGADETH. All were and still are great thrash bands but I haven't heard a Halford, Dio, Dickinson, Udo or Ozzy in any of em. They all kick ass as we all know, but none of them have ripping, tearing vocals. I feel great vocals is what's missing in thrash metal! I'd rather hear a Mark Boals or a Ralf Scheepers on top of the thrashing rhythms than a mumbling, gargling cookie monster! Or just flat, go-nowhere vocals. If that's what fans have come to except from thrash, then so be it. There is no rule that says thrash vocals have to be one-dimensional. I, for one, have my own metal thrashing mad style!!!!
All Access: You were (in the early '80s) a part of the four core bands that created the genre in the first place. How does it feel to know you helped start an entire style of music?
Turbin: I did what I was compelled to do. It was an aggressive time back in New York City and in history. The early 1980s saw the next wave of heavy metal which was more powerful, aggressive, raw and dangerous than ever before. I was happy to make it that way. The interesting thing is back then I wrote all those lyrics completely on my own while locked in my room. The rest of the band did not contribute any lyrics or song titles whatsoever to the songs you mentioned since we didn't socialize at all, other than rehearsals. It was usually loud volume at rehearsals, not conducive to songwriting, just jamming (usually the band would play iron maiden covers) or rehearse over and over the eight or so songs we had from our live set then. I was very self-reliant and in my own time I took the initiative to take those riffs to the next level and complemented them with great lyrics and vocal melodies. I believe these songs still stand the test of time!!!!
All Access: Thrash usually deals with social issues. With today's world landscape, you must have a plethora to write about! Do you believe thrash needs to remain true to that assumption?
Turbin: Again, another misperception. It just sounds heavier to have songs that protest something or are angry at something. I think that's jumping on the angst bandwagon. "Metal Thrashing Mad" is a song that related to a street machine of steel as a metaphor to describe a feeling of total power. I would get that feeling driving with the stereo blaring! With the windows down on my then 1971 Buick playing RIOT and SAXON in the streets of New York City. The only words to describe it is "metal thrashing mad"!!!! "Deathrider" is a song that relates mythology as a methaphor again to describe a feeling of total power. This time an unrestrained power of the mythological gods Zeus, Thor and, of course, Pegasus! And others. These myths were the framework that the song "Deathrider" was founded upon!!!! So no, I don't buy into the assumption that makes it necessary to write about social issues in order for it to be thrash. Musical artists have been writing about social issues in their lyrics before BOB DYLAN, THE ROLLING STONES, THE BEATLES and punk rock. So I believe it's very easy to jump on the bandwagon and do that, so you can sound angry, aggro and pissed off. I choose to write about what's relevant to me. I have always remained true to that.
Read the entire interview from All Access magazine.
DEATHRIDERS recently posted a rough-mix version of a second new song, "Riders Of The Apocalypse", on the group's MySpace page. The track comes off DEATHRIDERS' forthcoming album, "Back With A Vengeance", which is currently being recorded and mixed by Ken Orth at Alpine Sound in Mesa, Arizona.
DEATHRIDERS has already performed "Riders Of The Apocalypse" live at festivals and concerts in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The track features the kick-ass guitars of Sweden's Jonas Hornqvist of the band TREASURE LAND in collaboration with DEATHRIDERS guitarists Dave Watson and Mike Guerrero.
Neil Turbin - Vocals
Sandy K. Vasquez - Bass
Chris Moore - Drums
Dave Watson - Guitar
Mike Guerrero - Guitar
Footage of DEATHRIDERS performing the ANTHRAX classic "Deathrider" during the band's February 2008 Japanese tour can be viewed below.