SINDROME was formed 30 years ago. A truly legendary band, indeed. To me, it is a good reason to remind you guys about this fantastic crew which, despite the fact they didn’t stay alive for long, recorded a bunch of immortal materials: Into the Halls of Extermination demo 1987 and Vault of Inner Conscience demo 1991. Both materials have been re-released by Century Media this year. Both materials of SINDROME have, over the years, become absolute classics. I suspect, to our young generations SINDROME remains barely known an act, and old timers don’t appear to know too much about them either. I think this year`s re-release of this awesome stuff will certainly make you hear about this unique band again. It is really surprising that this group, despite all their potential, didn’t achieve the success they deserved. Weird, it really is, as SINDROME was as good as DEATH, SADUS or NOCTURNUS. Or maybe even better. Ok, no need to prolong, enjoy the interview:

1. Hails. I am really honored as well as I am very glad you agreed to this interview! Thanks a lot.

[Troy Dixler] Thanks for the compliments and the interview. Hopefully this will help people become familiar with Sindrome.

2. First and foremost, I want to congratulate you on vinyl`s rerelease. It looks awesome. Yes, we`ve had to wait for 30 long years to get it, but your music still crushes like fuck!

[Troy Dixler]We did it for fans like you who remember Sindrome and still love the material. That’s really the best part of re-releasing the songs.

3. SINDROME was formed thirty years ago…is therefore the release of the aforementioned vinyl just a pure coincidence? Any plans because of the 30th anniversary? Live shows? Band`s reactivation?

[Troy Dixler]Century Media knows our fan base well and they know that there is a pretty popular resurgence of vinyl collectors out there. From the beginning when we first started talking with them there was always plans to put out limited edition color vinyl as well as CD and digital version of the music. There’s no plans for any type of Sindrome reunion. The goal was to put the music out there for all the diehard fans that remember us. There have been so many bootleg releases made from the original cassette tapes. Now that we have remastered the music and done a proper release it sounds 10x better than it ever did. We hope everyone agrees.

4.Resurrection: The Complete Collection includes two old bonus demos (1987 and 1991) as well as some unreleased live tracks recorded in 1988. Does it mean all SINDROME`s materials have been thus completely released? Or you guys still have some treasures hidden in your archives?

[Troy Dixler] All the material that Sindrome ever wrote and recorded is part of Resurrection: The Complete Collection. It would be hard to call it Complete if we still had some hidden songs in the archives.

5. While listening to this stuff right now, I just can’t fathom why this amazing material wasn’t released officially on vinyl. I can still remember when you released your demo tapes. Man, those looked ultra-professional and not too many bands had their demos released in such an amazing way, let alone big labels! And the music itself, holy fuck. Total fucking destruction, all one needs, is to read some reviews from back then. It’s really surprising how this stuff still fucking kills – and it’s been so many years since it’s been released. I am trying to imagine how powerful it was back then, when it was released. Anyhow, something went wrong, why?

[Troy Dixler] First, thanks for the compliments. We really were focused on trying to make it with Sindrome at the time so it’s nice to have that recognition from you. To answer the question is really part of the untold story of Sindrome. The short story is that it all had to do with lineup changes. After we recorded “Into the Halls of Extermination” and did a few tours, Chris Mittelbrun decided to leave the band. At that time, Chris and I were the main song writing team. He would take input from Shaun and work closely with me on the song structure and how I was envisioning my vocal lines. After Chris left us, we continued to promote Halls but we weren’t playing shows for the obvious fact we didn’t have a guitar player. It was not easy to replace him and took a few years. This led to many people asking when/why we weren’t playing shows. We tried to keep a positive spin on it all the while trying to replace Chris. By 1991 we had a new set of guitar players when we recorded “Vault of Inner Conscience”. By that time, our style had changed considerably and Rob Welsh ended up taking the place of Chris as the song writer working closely with me on my vocal style and it took some time to get our styles to merge together. He would incorporate input from Mick and Shaun and together we wrote those songs. History repeated itself and before we even released Vault. We ended up parting ways with Rob. We attempted to replace him with Ken Savich who relocated to join us from San Francisco, but in the end Ken never ended up writing/recording or playing live with Sindrome during his time in the band. At that point the writing was on the wall that we ended up breaking up. It’s difficult enough to replace one of your key song writers once, but twice proved to be too difficult.

6. The state of Illinois that you`re from, had at the time, a pretty strong local scene. However, your scene wasn’t that big as the one in California where most of the strongest thrash crews resided:SLAYER, EXODUS, METALLICA, DARK ANGEL, RECIPENTS OF DEATH and many more. Surely, your scene was not bad - MASTER, DEATH STRIKE, PARADOXX, TROUBLE, MACABRE and amazing DEVASTATION, yet there wasn’t as many bands as in California or Florida where death metal just exploded in the late 80s. You see any connection between your location and your popularity back then?

[Troy Dixler]Chicago had a lot of bands that came out in those days. We had a very tight community and everyone knew each other quite well. You have to figure that we didn’t have the Internet and going to shows was everyone’s passion. When I was in Devastation, we played with Master at their first Chicago show in 1986. We also played with Terminal Death. In Sindrome, we were trying to move away from being a local band and only played when we were on the two tours. Being that we ended up going through the lineup change with Chris, it stopped us from playing live for obvious reasons.

7. Same happened to Troy`s DEVASTATION. Hard to believe such good bands didn’t manage to attract any labels’ attention.

[Troy Dixler]The reality is we were all pretty young when we were in Devastation. After doing a handful of shows and releasing the original „A Creation of Ripping Death” demo, we had some internal issues among members. I decided to part ways and form Sindrome. Devastation tried to continue with the band photographer Duane trying to replace me as the singer but in the end they broke up shortly after.

8. The second half of the 80s was characterized by abundance of metal sub-genres: classic metal, speed, thrash, crossover and, slowly but definitely, death metal. Your music is a perfect blend of thrash and death metal. I am pretty sure it was like that because of all the music you were listening to back then. You mentioned punk bands, besides metal bands, as your main inspirations, too. Seems like punk upped the level of music brutality and I am not talking only about the creation of NWOBHM, what do you think? Can you please tell us about your bands that inspired you guys back then?

[Troy Dixler] Back in those days we all listened to a wide variety of music from classic metal to hardcore. Going to metal and hardcore shows was our social life as the Internet didn’t exist. To be honest we really wrote all of the Sindrome material organically. We weren’t trying to sound like any specific band. I mean you can’t listen to Sindrome and hear any hardcore influences but we all loved it.

9. The Century Media`s vinyl version features a bonus cd with live 1988 material. What can you tell us about gigs from back then? Did you play live a lot? Any funny stories to re-tell?

[Troy Dixler] Actually we didn’t play live as much as we wanted to. Because of our constant lineup changes it really impacted our ability to tour and play live. We had a lot of down time in between releases trying to rebuild our sound. There were a lot of great memories when we did the two tours after we released Halls. I’ll never forget every night on tour with Whiplash Tony Portaro would have this rap he would do between songs. It got to the point where the five of us would purposely go into the audience when he got to that point and try and say it along with him word for word.

10. The second part of the 80s was devoid of the Internet. Music was promoted through tape trading, underground press and live shows. There were also some local radio stations which, from time to time, used to air some metal music. What can you tell us about those times?

[Troy Dixler] We worked our asses off back in those days. As you said we had to literally become virtual postmasters sending out physical tapes, doing interviews and working hard to build a fan base. The great news was those bands that took the time to write to everyone saw a lot of press and popularity to help build a strong base for the bands.

11. Before Troy joined SINDROME, there was a Polish guy (I think) who did the vocals (John Piotrowski), I reckon it was back in 1985, right? How did the band actually form? What made you start your band and play your own music?

[Troy Dixler] John Piotrowski was the singer for Terminal Death which was the band Shaun Glass was in before we formed Sindrome. We are still good friends to this day. Sindrome formed between Shaun, Chris Mittlebrun (formerly of Death Strike / Master) and I all were not happy with our former bands (Terminal Death, Master, Devastation) and wanted to put something together that we thought would take our musical careers to the next level. Shaun was friends with Tony Ochoa (our drummer) from the local scene and the four of us got together and wrote the songs you hear on “Into the Halls of Extermination” in late 1986-1987.

12. SINDROME`s first track was Aortic Expulsion from 1986, if my memory serves me well. Pretty crazy times, hey?

[Troy Dixler] You have a great memory. I think you are right that the first track we wrote was Aortic Expulsion. It definitely captured the brutality of our former death metal roots with the Chicago metal sound from the 80s.

13.Your first live shows took place somewhere in Midwest. You did a tour WHIPLASH and second tour with DEATH. I am pretty sure it was really exciting to play in front of many people. What was the audience`s reaction to your shows? Were you stressed, or totally cool before your gigs?

[Troy Dixler]We had a great time touring with Whiplash. Tony Portaro is such a professional. Joe Cangelosi is a monster drummer and it’s no shock he continues to play with many well-known bands over the years. I personally lost touch with them for a long time and after reconnecting I learned about Tony Bono’s passing. I have nothing but the fondest memories of Tony Bono. He always was hanging and cracking jokes with us. There were some real memorable times on that tour.

14.You played together with death many times? Is Live at the Iron Rail a recording of your tour with DEATH? You played with NASTY SAVAGE in 1988 too, right? Gigs are nice, but I am pretty sure after parties were crazy too. You know, plenty of friends, bands etc. Any funny stories to share?

[Troy Dixler]With the Death tour, we used to write letters back and forth with Chuck when they had their demos out. When they released Scream Bloody Gore, death metal was just starting to make its way out of the underground and they were pioneers with that release. When Chuck asked us to go on that tour it was an honor. The bands got along well and being it was our second time out on the road for “Into the Halls of Extermination” many of the fans were familiar with the songs. We were supposed to do a tour with Nasty Savage but it was cancelled at the last minute due to some problems with the booking agency. We ended up keeping the Chicago date and headlined it ourselves.

15. When I look back, I reckon people used to respond to music in a totally different way than nowadays. People were simply hungry for music and seemed more involved, I think. It isn’t like this no more, aye? Don’t you miss the past and the atmosphere from back then?

[Troy Dixler] It was a different era. Back in those days our social lives were built around going to shows and hanging out. We didn’t have the Internet, social media and all the instant ways we can connect with one another in real time. So looking back it created a sense of community that was really tight. We all can look back at the good times of those days but really there’s something to be said about how the Internet and social media has changed all of our lives in terms of our ability to instantly connect and comment as if we are right next to one another. I have great memories of the past but to be honest I’m busy making great memories today too.

16. Vault of Inner Conscience was recorded in Morrisound Studio in Florida. Did it affect your music in the sense your music is similar to NOCTURNUS`s? And I am not only talking about the keyboard parts.

[Troy Dixler]Sindrome was a band before Nocturnus was formed. The keyboard atomsphere was created when we were at Morrisound as we were trying to tie the concept we were after with „Vault of Inner Conscience” together.We worked with a keyboard player that had a room at Morrisound so it’s possible they worked with the same guy. I’m not sure I hear much similarity with the actual songs themselves.

17.The abovementioned material was produced by Tom Morris, not Scott Burns. What can you tell us about him? The final result of The Vault of Inner Consciencerecording session still rules, and undoubtedly is one of more interesting materials recorded back then.

[Troy Dixler]Tom Morris was a true professional. Not only did he own the studio, he really was an outstanding engineer. Back in the early 90s Morrisound was getting a lot of metal bands recording there and we thought it would be great to work with a team that had direct experience with our style of music. The measure of music is its ability to survive the test of time and the fact that there are still guys like you that remember it so well is what makes it wall worth it.

18. You, as a band, released your both tapes yourselves. I remember when I managed to get your Vault on Inner Conscience. Man, these tapes look fucking awesome. It was the time back in Poland when there appeared more and more officially released tapes, but they were nothing when compared to the quality of your stuff! How many copies did you guys sell?

[Troy Dixler] Thanks for the compliment! Our goal was to try and make it look as professional as possible. We sold close to 10,000 copies through a combination of directly selling to people purchasing from us as well as shipping to specialty stores all over the world in larger quantities.

19. We live in awesome times, I think. What we`re witnessing right now is the renaissance of old-school metal. Plenty of old stuff gets re-released. Old bands get back to life and release new albums. You guys plan to record and release a new studio album of yours?

[Troy Dixler] There’s no plan for a Sindrome reunion. As much as people continue to ask us about it, the truth is most of us have jobs and responsibilities that would prevent us from trying bring the band back together. As you and everyone knows the music industry is even more difficult than ever to try and make it with record companies losing their main source of income due to the ability for people to steal/trade music in near perfect form instantly over the Internet. Our goal was to re-release the music for everyone to check out. Hopefully with your help and this interview we can reach some people who may not have been familiar with Sindrome back in the 80s and 90s.

20. Ok, time to wrap up I think. Thanks a lot again! Anything you want to say to Oldschool Metal Maniac Magazine readers?

[Troy] Thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to help spread the news. Please visit our Sindrome Facebook page and invite your friends, share our announcement about the Century Media release of Resurrection – the Complete Collection on your walls, groups, web forums with your friends because that is the only way we are going to get it known.  Facebook

Century Media Records released a teaser track of the remastered version of "Cathedral of Ice"  European Sindrome T-shirts are available here:  Century Media European Webstore has the CD and LP  Century Media US Webstore has the CD, LP and new T-Shirts if you choose North America as your location  There is a limited edition silver vinyl pressing through Century Media US  There is a limited edition clear vinyl pressing through High Roller Records in Germany

Leszek Wojnicz-Sianożęcki


Poprawiony (niedziela, 01 maja 2016 22:12)