EVILDEAD: “If it ain't broken, don’t fix it”

 

 

 

Juan Garcia (guitars) and Rob Alaniz (drums) are very proud of the new EvilDead record. And they should be, nobody expects returns like this!

Congratulations on the amazing comeback! This is a very strong record. No weak points!

Juan Garcia: Thank you, I think it’s a solid collection of Thrash Metal songs, and we worked very hard on making the best EVILDEAD album possible.

Rob Alaniz: Thank you! We definitely made sure that this record was “all killer, no filler.” It was very important to have a group of very strong songs. We are very pleased with the end result. It’s like 1988 all over again!

One of the songs dates back to your first reunion, 2011. It was originally recorded with Steve Nelson on vocals. Did you re-record the whole song this time?

Juan Garcia: Yes of course, the original version on “Blasphemy Divine” was recorded with Steve Nelson on vocals; we also recorded a demo a few years ago with Phil on vocals with Bill Metoyer producing. Then we recorded a new studio version; which is the one on the new album also produced by Bill Metoyer.

Rob Alaniz: The lyrics to “Blasphemy Divine” were written by a co-writer friend of ours; Bob Rangel, who contribute lots of lyrics of this album.

 

 

Speaking of the first reunion. The line-up was much different from this of today. Why? And why was it so short-lived?

Rob Alaniz: The first reunion had Mel Sanchez on bass and my roommate at the time Steve Nelson on vocals. We were fortunate to play live shows and also do West coast dates, and a mini-tour of Europe in 2010. There was some tension in the band and it had become more of a chore and no fun so we went into hibernation.

Juan Garcia: When we first reformed it was more about playing live, and having fun, and we did record the “Blasphemy Divine” song and put it out on the internet for free; eventually the line-up at the time was short lived because we were not all on the same page about what we wanted to accomplish; however we did do some great shows together, but fell flat on moving forward. Once we became more focused on direction and what we wanted to accomplish as a band, and once Phil Flores was able to get relief from his family commitments we were able to regroup.

How do you recall Thrasho De Mayo, playing for such a young crowd?

Juan Garcia: I recall a sold-out show with a new generation of Thrash-Metal fans and of course the diehard fans as well. Los Angeles has always been supportive of our style of music and for that we are grateful.

Rob Alaniz: That was our first indication of the scope of “new” fans and it was shocking. All these “kids” were fully into our music and showed support. It was definitely a great way to kick off an official reunion. It’s a shame that it all soured within a few months later. The amazing thing to me was about 90% of these kids weren’t even born when the debut release came in 1988.

Who has been the driving force behind the recent reunion?

Rob Alaniz: The catalyst was a performance in 2016 for my 50th birthday. It showed us that we could continue without Mel and that there was still a reason for us to move on. Cut to current times where we could sellout smaller venues and do well on merchandise. We owe it all to the “new fans” and their rabid intensity. They have truly motivated us.

Juan Garcia: Rob made the effort to contact everyone and ask us if we wanted to do a set of EVILDEAD music for his 50thbirthday, and to me it seemed like a fun idea. The logical step was to record some demos and that led to more live-shows and worldwide interest, and here we are today with a brand new album about to be unleashed on the Metal community.

 

It can easily be heard, that your work with Body Count has an influence on the record. What new have you learnt from playing with Ice-T?

Juan Garcia: I think both bands are totally different in my opinion, but I can see some similarities like both bands have a heavy sound live and on record; however the production is totally different between both bands. The main thing I’ve learned from being in Body Count is to relax, have and just play guitar; just control what I can control.

Phil’s vocals… I’d say he’s influenced by Ice-T a lot, and it’s all for good! Was it a collective idea to use spoken word instead of screaming?

Juan Garcia: Phil has been singing in Punk and Thrash Metal bands since the mid 80’s. I think Phil has his own style, and Ice-T has his own unique style, both are different and great in my opinion. There’s plenty of screaming on this new EvilDead album.

How long was the creative process for “United States Of Anarchy”? Are there any more songs as old as “Blasphemy Divine”?

Rob Alaniz:  One song in particular “Greenhouse” EvilDead used to play it in late 1989; which was then our “new” song. A good portion of these songs have been kicking around since then, later in our other band Rise Inc. and later Rise which was a completely different approach as a more “Florida-styled” death metal band. I guess you could say that the USOA has been processing for 30 years!

Juan Garcia: Thankfully there was material from the past; we re-tooled it in the EvilDead style and tuning; The creative process as a band for this band started with “Blasphemy Divine” with Steve Nelson on vocals. Like Rob mentioned they had demo recordings of completed songs from the past, and pieces of other ideas; but everything was re-worked in the EvilDead style, and of course EvilDead wrote newer songs as well. This record has influences and overtones from all previous EvilDead records and when everyone got together and threw their ideas in the ring we were able to make some great things happen 

According to your lyrics, you’re really angry at today’s world. What drives you crazy the most?

Rob Alaniz: Bob’s lyrics are timeless as they are totally relevant today despite being written over 29 years ago. I guess you could call him a pessimist in the true sense of the word. We liked to jokingly refer to him as NostroBobus for he easily predicted all of the chaos that has ensued after all these years. It’s certainly topical and totally relevant now. Phil’s lyrics have continued the path of truthfully insightful concepts and ideas. Evildead has never shied away from controversial subject matter and figured we’d continue with that ethos. “If it ain't broken, don’t fix it”…

 

Ed Repka’s cover art is one o his best recently. How did you make him not copy/paste his old works into it?

Juan Garcia: We had this concept for album cover art for over 25 years; the idea and concept was influenced by the movie “Soylent Green” that came out in the mid 70’s. starring Charlton Heston. We also were a bit influenced by the Los Angeles riots of 1992. It’s a bit strange how it’s very topical to current conditions in the United States.

Whose idea was the lounge intro? Do you know Richard Cheese, by chance?

Rob Alaniz: That was Me, and Albert. The intro has been around since 1990 as well. So, at least Ten years before Richard Cheese! Albert and I are big fans of Jazz and we decided to pay homage to that influence by recording a jazz-like intro featuring his best “Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass” influenced.  I think it’s fun, and shows a bit of diversity and maturity. We wanted to make the intro sound like an old 1940’s radio broadcast but, we left it alone as-is. It offers a bit of respite before becoming an ice pick to the forehead!

Your merch store is empty. When are you planning some new items?

Juan Garcia: Yes, it should be updated shortly; we sold out of a lot of merchandise, and were so busy with recording this album, and then the pandemic hit, so we left our merch store alone. We are working on new designs and everything should be updated soon.

What does the future hold in store for Evildead? With touring impossible due to covid, is making plans doable at all?

Rob Alaniz: We hope that we can get out there in support of this new chapter soon. Planning is tough now as there really is no way to see if, or when this pandemic ends. In the meantime, we will try to do as other bands have with live- streams, and special direct-to-fan events. Despite all, barring any personal health constraints, we’re all ready to go! Here’s to hoping its sooner than later!

Juan Garcia: We are working on a few things to promote this album. We would like to do live shows when possible; including possible Europe festivals, and selective shows.

 

 

When Evildead initially disbanded, you continued as Terror. What can you say about that band?

Juan Garcia: Terror was a continuation of EvilDead for me with lyrics in Spanish. It was a project and we signed with a record company in Mexico and released one album. If I was to go back in time; I would made a better effort to keep EvilDead together. We had lost focus at the time, and then the grunge movement hit, and it was a difficult time for Thrash bands on the West coast.

What’s the current status of Masters Of Metal?

Juan Garcia: Bernie Versailles sustained a brain injury. We have decided to put everything on the shelf and not continue as a band. We did release a full album and a collection a few EPs. I don’t see us continuing as a band without Bernie Versailles.

One last question: why is the bonus track available on vinyl only, not on the digipak CD?

Juan Garcia: The bonus track is a song called “Planet Claire” we re-recorded in our style and it’s a bonus track for the vinyl version and also included on the digital version. It’s a song that we’ve been wanting to cover for sometime.

Thanks for the interview!!!

Juan Garcia: Thank you and we hope you enjoy the new EvilDead album “United States of Anarchy” and hope to see you on tour in 2021.

Vlad Nowajczyk

Photos: SPV

 

Poprawiony (wtorek, 06 października 2020 08:16)