Fred Dregischan (-ex Nasty Savage)
Greetings Fred! I have found your e-mail address totally accidental in the guestbook of the Nasty Savage website. Are you in connection with the guys? Who is your best friend from the band?
I feel as though I will always be connected with these guys. Some of us have know each other since before Highschool. When you are creating anything with anyone at such a young age, that connection is hard to sever.
Even if you tried, it would be difficult unless of course you never had that connection. Dave Austin was actually a neighbor of mine before I started playing bass, but Ben was my closest friend throughout the days in the band and before.
Because you were the first bassist and one of the foundermembers of Nasty Savage, I ask you to speak about the very beginnings. When and how was Nasty Savage established? When did you joined them? Did you play somewhere before Nasty Savage?
Ben was the main reason for me picking the bass. He needed a bass player as he was switching over to the guitar at that time. I read and played classical music as a kid (Baratone Horn – Bass Cleft). As many have probably read, Nasty Savage was formed after Nasty Ron looked into us.
Formerly, Ben and I along with Craig Huffman and one other started a band called Nightmare. It was originally a four piece band and soon thereafter we asked Dave to leave his band and join us and then we asked Curt Beeson to replace Craig. These were great days of learning and bonding.
Would you tell us something about the early rehearses? Do you have some funny story? Do you still remeber, which Nasty Savage songs were written at first?
We rehearsed in many different places. All of us worked fulltime jobs so after an greuling 8 hour day, we needed to practice. It was a habit!!! We had to find a place to practice almost ever couple months and could only practice at night.
I remember one of my best friend’s offered us his garage but there was a noise ordinance after 10:00pm, so as we were going Judas Priest’s, ’Breaking the Law’ after 10:00pm, the cops came and raided the place. During these same days, some of the old songs were ’Vicious Woman’, Siren’s Call, ’Satan’s Defeat’, ’Nasty Savage’ and also ’Way of the Warlock’.
In 1984 was recorded the legendary „Wage of mayhem” demo. Tell us please about that tape! I have the original version, a jewel in my collection. Ben Meyer burned me on CD. What kind of responses did you get from the fans?
I’ll tell you first about the studio. It was call Progressive Sound. It was located in a very nice area of South Tampa. Across the street there was a place called the Rainbow Mart and Ron and I walked across the and bought a Tampa delicacy called ’Cuban Sandwich’. I think Ron had two - -hahahaha!
The studio was small but had what we needed. There was the 8 track board and the only effects we had was a homemade reverb tube and an analog echo of course. I think the CD you have is a re-mix that Ron and I did about five or six yerars ago. Just like any release, you are going to get some criticism, many of our older fans wanted to hear all the songs, like ones I mentioned above, but overall, it’s what got us signed.
„XXX” has got on the „Metal Massacre vol. 6”. Which bands were on this record? Did this album make popular the name of the band?
Nasty Savage has always prided itself on being different and being that I was the primary writer during those days, I did not listen to a lot of bands within a genre because of the influencing effects it could have had. Our success was a direct result of this philosophy, but this way of thinking also kept us out of the mainstream making tons of money.
Still today, there isn’t a single band member who would trade those days in for money. I’m not sure this compilation did a lot for our successes but I was proud to be on a release with those bands.
How was at that time the metal scene in Florida? Which bands were in the underground scene? What kind of fanzines were at that time?
During the before 1986 and before the Internet, Florida was extremely slow in getting in anything new and underground. There were still punk bands around, but we and Avatar (later Savatage whom later commercialized) were the only two heavier bands I knew of back then.
There were a lot of younger musicians out trying to do the Nasty thing and I even trained some of the bass players during those days trying to promote the scene. Nasty Savage = Fanzines!
Do you remember, how did you get in touch with Metal Blade? When did you sign the contract?
There were a couple of great promoters in San Antonio, TX (I’d give anything to remember their names, Pete, maybe? shit I can’t remember) who booked us on a mini Texas tour and we did a Radio interview with KISS (the Radio Station) and Tracy Barnes (the DJ). Tracy, bless his evil soul, turned us on to Brian Slagel of Metal Blade. I think we signed in 1984.
In 1985 came out the debut album which was titled simply „Nasty Savage”. Do you remember about the recordings in the studio? Who helped you during the recordings? Were you inexperienced?
Great question! I remember this very well. We had 5 times the recording equipment compared to the Demo. Jim Morris was the engineer. The only experience I had was doing the demo. I was nervous as hell.
My hands were so cold and clammy, I needed a heater. They were real professionals and did a great job, and in return, we made Morrisound Studios known worldwide for producing our genre of production.
Did you take part in the songcomposing? Did you write songs too? How was born a Nasty Savage song, what was your worksystem?
As I mentioned earlier, I was the most prolific writer during those days. I wrote a lot of the really old stuff and I wrote all my basslines. I wrote the music to ’Way of the Warlock’ and ’Witches Sabbath’, the music and lyrics to ’Fear Beyond the Vision’, ’Psycopath’ and ’Instigator’, music to ’Dungeon of Pleasure’.
Ben and I wrote the music to ’Savage Desire’, and ’Metal Knights’ Ron wrote lyrics to any my songs that I didn’t write lyrics to. Ben introduced me to modes. I took that as the bible when writing. I tried not to deviate from those modes or meter. I understood what modes to use in order to accomplish a particular mood of sound – Dark, Evil, Just Thrash or Happier Crap! So my mood would dictate the music and the ideas of the lyrics were written as I was writing the music.
Please comment the songs of the album with your own words! Are you satisfied with the record? In my opinion, one of the most important release of the whole metal scene.
’Fear Beyond the Vision’ bar none came most natural to me. The progressions in that song were the beginnings to what I considered my original sounds – nobody was doing that then.
I wish I’d done more bass work on Asmodeus. I was scheduled to do more the next day, but was too fucked up from our celebration the night before to get back into the studio.
Could you say something about the lyrics too? Which songs do you like from the album? Do you listen to it often?
When I feel nostalgic, I do put it on. I’m not one to dwell. I prefer Ron’s lyrics to my own, although, I really like ’Fear Beyond the Vision’ and ’Asmodeus’.
In 1985 was the legendary World War III. festival with Possessed, Destruction, Voivod and Nasty Savage. Do you remember about that festival? Tell us please about that gig! I think, it was fantastic, the kings of the underground have played on that night, haven’t they?
I still have a T-Shirt and a Button! It was absolutely one of the most memorable gigs for me! It was definitely the biggest I’d played. I remember a bit of a competition amoungst some of the bands. I remember Celtic Frost and Destruction did not like each other.
Voivod was very cool to us as was Possessed (I believe a 3 piece band from California, my new home state), although I think my favorite person I met there was Schmier of Destruction, after the gig, we drank a lot of beer and talked like we knew each other for years. Honestly, I thought our music was the most original. Of course the hot blooded Quebecer women were great too!
How were the early Nasty Savage gigs? Did you play often live? I know, Ronnie was a beast on the stage and he has broken tv sets.
During the extremely early days, I had a lot to do with setting the sound and lights. We all helped out with things most bands wouldn’t normally have done. As the band grew more popular, of course we were able to concentrate on the show 100%. We used to play locally at least twice a month if we weren’t on tour.
Ronnie always broke TVs as a message to keep commercialism away from the underground. Our shows were always jammed packed during the time I was in the band. There were a few poorly booked shows due to a lack planning, but over-all, they were all succeses.
Why did you leave the band? Or were you fired? What would you say about those times, what you spent within the band?
The ’ONLY’ reason why I’m no longer a Savage is that I was injured on the road. The tendons and nerves in the palm of my left hand was severed completely. I almost bled to death. I was 3 minutes from dying. This happened in New Orleans, Louisiana on the ride back to Florida from our first major tourin 1985.
It basically ended my career as a musician. I did not play my bass for many years after that trying to avoid the disappointment of not being able to play 100%. I now play daily and have written a number of awesome songs in the Dregischan way. The time I spent with the band were some of the best times of my life. They were my friends and I still consider everyone of them including Richard Bateman good friends. I’d do anything for them.
Did you know Dezső István Bartha, by whom you were replaced? Was he a cool guy?
Dezső was very cool and we knew each other long before he was my replacement. We got along very well and engaged in many deep and lengthy conversations. His, like my family, were recent American immigrants, so we had much to talk about.
What did you do after Nasty Savage? Did you play maybe in several bands? Tell us please in few words about your life!
The yearning to create is in my blood, although after my injuries, of course, I did other things to enhance my life. If I spent too much time within the underground scene at that time, I would get depressed with all the sympathetic questions and concerns about my injuries. I am now a Mechanical Engineer and Software Developer – doing well.
As I as know, in 1999 you have played in Germany on the Bang Your Head festival with Nasty Savage and this was the first show of the band after the splitting up in 1990. Nasty Savage have reunioned. How was to stand on the stage with the guys? Were you excited? Did you rehearse before the gig?
Actually, that was October of 1998 as I recall. Horst Odematt of ’Bang Your Head’ called and tried to set up a reunion gig with many bands. Being that is was a reunion gig, many wanted to hear the songs from the first Nasty Savage album. Because of this, the Nasties were kind enough to allow me to travel with them.
We only had two months to prepare. I had not played my bass in almost 13 years (since my injury). I had to relearn all the songs in a completely different way, plus I had to learn a song called ’You Snooze, You Lose’. That was tough, but brilliant. You see, I can only play with 2 fingers, my 3rd and 4th (Ring and Pinky fingers).
We were committed to doing this – I was committed to doing this and hopefully the band was okay with my performance. We were 30 miles from my family in Germany, so that was awesome too.
What’s your opinion about the music industry and bands of nowadays? What is difference and similarity between the scene of the eighties and of the present one? There are too many bands nowadays?
Quite frankly, I’ve never concerned myself with other bands, for the reasons I mentioned eariler. All I can say on this subject is that many bands today are trying to fit within a genre instead of creating genres. The Nasty genre will probably never be repeated – it’s a genre all in it’s own. I’m very proud to have been a part of that!
Didn’t you think about to join again the band? What’s your opinion about the return of Nasty Savage? Did you listen to their comeback album”Psycho Psycho”? I mean, it became excellent.
I would love to get together with some musicians out here in San Diego county and practice every week and put together some studio work. As I said earlier, being creative is in my blood and I would not pass the opportunity to continue on aside from my current career.
I believe that ’Psycho Psycho’ is 100% Nasty Savage. I also believe it combines earlier ideas in both pace and complexity along with a more mature music and lyric – It’s a Masterpiece. Trust me when I say that!
In this year have returned or will return great thrash metal acts, like Heathen, Death Angel, Nuclear Assault etc. What do you think about it? There is a thrash renessaince?
I have no comment. It’s nothing personal, but I just don’t.
I think, you know, you have listened to all Nasty Savage albums. What’s your opinion about them? Which is the best and why?
’The Lady of the Lake, fed me the Beetlenut’ Need I say more?
Are you proud of, that you were a Nasty Savage member?
I think you know the answer to that one!!! Of Course!
Fred, thanks for your answers, it was a honour for me to speak with you. I wish you all the best! What would you say at the end of the interview?
Firstly, I want to tell you, Thank you for allowing me to express myself. It’s been a long time since I was able to do an interview regarding the Band. Secondly, I would like say, congratulations to the ’Omen Smasher’ – Two down and lot’s more to go...
Thirdly, if there is a Heavy Classical type Guitarist that likes the Nasty genre and would like to get together with an ’Old Schooler’ like me in the San Diego area and lay down some tracks, let me know.
by David Laszlo