Interview by: Marianne Jacobsen
MGM: I can hear someone laughing in the background.
TA: Yeah that’s Mark. He’s excited.
MGM: Well he should be excited! You have a new album!
MGM: I have to say I have been cyberstalking Death Angel’s Instagram page and Facebook watching the process of this album being made and I have to say its so much fun! Its like watching a baby born.
TA: Yeah we try our best to be on much social media – to stay on social media a lot – it’s the way of the world so we do our best. You know, we don’t want to clutter it too much but we like to give a little bit of light into the life of Death Angel.
MGM: Every time I have seen you perform live has been post 2004/BigFour era. You all seem to look like you are having an amazing time.
TA: The Opera House?!?
MGM: Yep the Opera House was one. Heavy T.O. and then Danforth Music Hall with Anthrax and Testament.
TA: I love the Opera House
MGM: I thought the best performance of the three was at Heavy T.O.
TA: Oh yeah the big festival right?
MGM: Yeah, except we have never had a metal festival like that before. So for Toronto it was a big deal.
TA: Oh yeah, because everything’s in Montreal.
MGM: Well as far as metal is concerned I would say Quebec as a Province in whole loves their metal.
OK so why don’t you give a little background into who you are and your experience with Death Angel?
TA: Ok! Well as most people know I have been a fan of the band since the 80s. I remember I was talking about this in the office today. The first time I saw Death Angel or at least the first time I remember it was when I saw they did their video for “Voracious Soul” off “The Ultra- Violence” I’m not sure if it was July 7th or July 14th of 1987. I just remember that date because I had just gotten out of 8th grade and they had the video release show. It was Death Angel, Violence and Betrayal and it was in San Francisco and I remember I was the FIRST ONE IN LINE! I left the house early so I could make sure I was the first one in line!
MGM: OLD SCHOOL!
TA: Yeah so I have been a fan of them ever since. I saw them on all the tours. Even when the band broke up I followed all their outside projects.
During that time – Mark was playing in a band called Swarm at one time and I was playing in a local area band called Fist. We would play shows around the Bay Area all the time and then came Clash of the Titans – the benefit show for Chuck Billy – who unfortunately at the time had been diagnosed with cancer – however fortunately is cancer free today!
So they were getting all the bands together. Trying to get everyone together. All these bands like Violence, Exodus, Heathen and they also got a couple of other bands from out of town like S.O.D. and Flotsam and Jetsam bands like that. Death Angel were the last to commit. They were never going to reform. They had got offers from all around the world from promoters and they always said, “No”.
Their whole idea was – Death Angel ended on a high note. Let’s just stop it there. Let’s not open up that can of worms.
MGM: I’m glad you did though,
TA: So get this, Chuck Billy calls and says “Dude can you do the show? It would really mean a lot to me.” And I mean, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO CHUCK?
So the four originals got back together and they actually got a hold of Gus Pepa who was in the Philipines and not doing anything in music at all and he just said “You know what? I can’t do it but I give you my blessing.”
And Rob Cavestany gets me on the phone and is like “Hey man, did you hear about the show that is being put on called Clash of the Titans?” And I had actually just heard that Death Angel had been confirmed for that show so I said “I’m looking forward to seeing that show! It’s gonna be a blast!”
That’s when Ron asks me, “Can you do it? Gus can’t.” …and 15 years later here we are!
TA: I can remember Clash of the Titans we had 48 hours to rehearse as a band.
MGM: What was that like?
TA: Nerve wracking! Like for the other guys it was second nature to them. For me though, I had to make sure I had all the riffs right and all the changes and what not. Like I said two rehearsals only – It was pretty scary! After it was all over though, I had a blast!
MGM: No doubt!
TA: I actually thought that night was a one off. They just said, “Let’s do this for Chuck and then call it a day”. And in the end after it was all over they said, “Yeah this is pretty cool.”. they didn’t know how much they missed it until they got up on stage and the crowd was into it and having the combination of a crowd that’s into it and a sold out show. So they said to me “We think we want to do this again. Are you into it?”
And I said SURE!
MGM: HAHAH WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GONNA SAY?
TA: Yeah that’s right I was into it and here I am 2016 promoting our new album.
MGM: Tell me about it.
TA: Right after we recorded the record and we were all listening back – it is just such a different record. Its – how would you say it? – I heard Mark say that it was like Relentless Retribution and The Dream Calls for Blood are like sister albums.
MGM: So is The Evil Divide the continuation of the sisterhood?
TA: No The Evil Divide is the Mother that gave birth to those sisters. This album is a lot more mature and experienced.
MGM: Is the music on the new album going to challenge you as you play it on the road?
TA: Everything that we do is a challenge. The challenge is doing the record cycle. Doing 100 shows playing the same songs over and over. That’s when you know its time to write some new stuff.
MGM: So now that you are achieving all your challenges – What’s the brass ring for you now? What would be the one thing that you strive for now?
TA: There’s a couple of things. You know it would be nice to see us get a gold record, however with the day and age of downloading and streaming, no one buys records so I kinda have to throw that one out the window.
MGM: Maybe in this day and age that translates to “I think we’d like to sell 1,000,000 shirts this tour”?
TA: In any case it would still be cool to have a gold record – that would be one brass ring. Another one would be to do at least a World Tour with Metallica.
MGM: That sounds fucking genius
TA: Yeah if that happened, I’d be a happy camper for the rest of my life.
MGM: Yes! Well we have to get Metallica to get a good album out there.
TA: Here’s my take on Metallica. I love them. I will always love them. I may not agree with some of the albums that they have put out – but that does not mean I’m going to stop supporting them. They are my “go-to” band for everything.
MGM: Yeah you guys were at the XXX shows right?
TA: We played one of them.
MGM: Yeah I was there! Hahahaha
(conversation digresses to Metallica chat)
MGM: Did you ever have a real job outside of rock stardom?
TA: Yeah I worked in Corporate America for many years!
TA: Well fortunately and unfortunately – there were lay offs and when the lay offs happened that’s when Death Angel started to get big. So I didn’t have to quit.
MGM: Perfect the golden parachute and then the Angel wings! When are you coming to Canada?
TA: Well right now the album comes out May 27, 2016 (pre-order here http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/shop/71004.death-angel.html ) so management and booking are looking into getting us out on the road with who and where are we going – that’s yet to be determined. But we want to get out there as soon as the album comes out. Canada is one of those places. We have great shows and amazing fans there.
We love Canada.
MGM: And Canada Loves You.