Greetings Phil! I’m a big thrash metal fan and I think, the Hungarian readers knowing not to much about Vio-lence. Please help us and tell us everything about the career of the band, all right?
“VIO-LENCE began in 1985 under the name DEATH PENALTY. Troy Fua on guitar, Perry Strickland on drums, Ed Billy on bass, Jerry Birr on vocals and me on guitar. We replaced Troy with Robb Flynn in 87, and signed a deal with Mechanic records in 88.”
Vio-lence was formed originally as Death Penalty. Tell us about the early period and rehearses of the group! Tell us about the 4-song rehearsal tape too!
“We recorded a practice one night and it came it decent for that time. We wanted to see how we sounded on tape.”
Why were fired Jerry Birr singer and Eddie Billy bassist? Was something problem to their approach?
“Jerry and Ed both quit. We were all just out of high school at that time and they both sought other career opportunities.”
Why and when did you change your name to Vio-lence? Why wasn’t your name Violence? There is something difference between Vio-lence and violence?
“Sean came up with the idea to make the logo different than all the other bands.”
How was the metal scene of the Bay Area at that time? Could you tell us about that scene detailed? Why did become Bay Area the centre of the American thrash scene?
“The Bay area scene was booming at that time. It was a very cool time to go to shows. It didn’t matter who was playing. There was a huge group of people who enjoyed hanging out and supporting the scene. There were so many good thrash bands from the area, it just was dubbed the “capitol”.”
Which European thrash bands did you know respectively, with which European thrash bands were you in connection? In your opinion, were differencies and simmilarities between the American thrash scene and the European one?
“We played with KREATOR and that’s about it. We didn’t get over to Europe at all.”
You have recorded you first demo in 1986. What can tell you about this tape? In what kind of reception was participated the demo by the fans and the magazines?
“The demo was a blast to record. We had a great time in the studio. When it came out, it was well received. Good reviews and lots of good responses.”
After the recording of the demo you have had a member change: instead of Troy Fua joined Robb Flynn the band. In which group or groups did play Robb earlier? Why did leave Troy the band?
“Robb had played in FORBIDDEN EVIL. It was time for a change in VIO-LENCE.”
With the joining of Robb has formed the classic line up of Violence. You have recorded the second demo, but on this tape were the same songs which ones were on the first demo too. Why? Didn’t you write newest songs?
“We didn’t want to release any more new material. We wanted the fans to wait for the album.”
Your second demo was voted by the readers of Metal Forces the best one and you became also the best band in 1988. Do you remember about it?
“I still have that mag. So cool.”
On the base of the second demo you have signed to Mechanic/MCA. Do you remember how did you get in touch with them?
“Steve Sinclair was at Combat Records and took out tape with him when he started Mechanic Records.”
Your first release was „Eternal nightmare” (1988). By whom were written the songs and the lyrics? Tell us please everything about the songs, lyrics, sound, cover etc. How would you charakterize the first album with your own words?
“I wrote the music on all songs but Calling in the Coroner. Sean wrote the lyrics. It was a full-on, no holds barred brutal thrash record. Ed Repka did the cover. John Cuniberti produced.”
Why didn’t you put on the album the song „Torture tactics”? Did you have other songs too, which didn’t get on the album? Did you have other unreleased songs or covers?
“We had other songs ,but they sucked. TT was taken off because of lyrical content.”
After the releasing of „Eternal nightmare” you were on tour with Testament and Forbidden, and a little bit later with Voivod too. Tell us about these tours, about your experiences! I can imagine, these tours were great, weren’t they?
“The TESTAMENT tour was great. They treated us really well. The VOIVOD tour was ok. Didn’t draw as well. But they were cool guys. Never toured with FORBIDDEN.”
Before the recordings of your second album „Oppressing the masses” (1990) you were dropped by Mechanic and you have got to Megaforce Records. Why did you leave the label? Didn’t fulfill hopes the record? Did you get contracts from other labels too or only from Atlantic?
“Mechanic was getting a little wacky with their ideas for us. We wanted off. Megaforce scooped us right up.”
Megaforce was a major label and Mechanic was an underground one. At that time belonged to Megaforce such bands, like Testament, Over Kill, Anthrax etc., this company was the thrash metal mecca. Did the label support the metal bands? Were you satisfied with their promotional work?
“They really didn’t do much for the band. We were left to ourselves to tour and make it on our own.”
In your opinion, did you compare to the first album? What are/were the similarities and differencies between „Eternal nightmare” and „Oppressing the masses”? I like both records.
“OTM is a little more mature. More polished.”
At that time I have read many opinions, they weren’t satisfied with Sean’s voice. What do you think about it? I think so, he has had a little bit hardcore influenced voice and he has sung very good. Do you agree with me?
“I think Seans voice suits VIO-LENCE perfectly. I enjoy listening to those albums.”
I have read in your biography, 20.000 copies from the album were totally destroyed. What does it mean?
“OTM pressed 20,000 albums then Atlantic destroyed them because they contained TT.”
Your first video was „World in a world”. Did you record other videos too? In your opinion, what kind of role do play videos in the life of a band? Are they important?
“That was the only video we did. Videos are pretty important to bands. They get exposure.”
In 1990 you were on tour with Defiance and you have played with Over Kill, with Alien Sex Fiend too. How do you remember about these gigs and tours? Were you on tour in Europe too?
“Never in Europe. The OVER KILL was great. Very short but cool. The DEFIANCE tour was our 1st headlining tour. It was ok. We should have been supporting another act though.”
In 1991 was released „Torture tactics” EP by Caroline. Were you dropped again by the label?
“The EP included TT because OTM didn’t. We had to go through an independent label to do it.”
Which songs were on the EP? Is this stuff obtainable nowadays?
“TT, Gutter Slut, Officer Nice live, and Dicks of Death. Check ebay.”
Why did Robb Flynn leave the band in 1992?
“Robb got tired of waiting for us to get signed.”
Although you have started recording your third album „Nothing to gain” in 1990, the album was released in 1993. Why did slip so much the releasing of the album?
“We had the album ready to go and Megaforce decided not to put it out. Robb quit and 2 years later we found a label to put it out.”
This record was released by Bleeding Heart Records. Third album third label. I think so, you haven’t luck with labels, have you? Did you have suck much with the record companies?
“We were kids. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing. Labels suck anyway ”
What would you say about „Nothing to gain”? Do you like this record? Although I have never listened to this album, many people told, this record wasn’t the best Vio-lence one? What do you think about it?
“It’s my least favorite album. We basically sold-out to stay signed and it didn’t work.”
Why didn’t follow any tour the releasing of „Nothing to gain”? Did you have enough of the music business?
“No one would put us out.”
In 1993 you have recorded a 3-song demo, but you haven’t release a new album. What happened with that songs? Which ones were these?
“The songs were Breed, Again and Shooter. Sean sang on them then he quit.”
The drumparts of this demo („Technocracy”) was played by Mark Hernandez. Why did leave Perry Strickland the band?
“Perry had enough of doing nothing. Our crowds dwindled and VIO-LENCE was done.”
Your last show was together with Forbidden. Do you remember about it? How was your last gig? Were you sad because of the splitting up of Vio-lence?
“I remember the PA getting shut down on us for playing too long by FORBIDDENs manager. I was sad. But it was time.”
When and why was Vio-lence splitted up? I think so, you were a very talented band, but you have never got that appreciation/acknowledgement, what you have would deserved. Do you agree with me?
“It wasn’t VIO-LENCE without Sean.”
The last line up of Vio-lence –with the exception of singer Sean Killian- has formed Tourque. What did Sean do after the splitting up of the band?
“He got married and moved away.”
How would you charakterize the music of Tournique? Were there differencies/similarities between Tourque and Vio-lence?
“TORQUE was a MH wannabe band. More groove oriented than VIO-LENCE.”
How many albums did you release? Did you play unreleased Vio-lence songs respectively Vio-lence covers? Tell us please everything about the Tourque records!
“One album. No tour. Dynamo fest in 96. No VIO-LENCE songs at all.”
In 1996 you have played on the Dynamo festival. How do you remember about this gig?
“It was amazing. All of us had a great time. My 1st time in Europe. Very cool.”
In the middle of the ’90-s was ruled the American metal scene by such shit bands, like Offspring, Pennywise, Green Day etc. In your opinion, was the metal scene dead? How is the metal scene nowadays in the States?
“It’s so much different over here. Way too narrowminded. You euros have got it right.”
Why and when did Tourque split up? Tell us please about the period after Tourque!
“It was time for me to take a break. I need to step away for awhile.”
In 2001 after 8 years you have played on the Thrash of the titans festival. I think so, it was an excellent gig full of classic Bay Area thrash bands! Tell us please detailed about this festival!
“It was a very cool event for a very cool guy. All the bands kicked ass!. We were honored to play that day.”
In the same year was released a DVD too. Where was recorded this show? Why didn’t play Robb on the DVD and on the Thrash of the titans?
“No dvd out yet. Probably this year. Robb was filming a vid for MH.”
Nowadays you are the member of Machine Head. How do you feel yourself in the band? Would you think serious a Vio-lence reunion? What do the former Vio-lence members nowadays do?
“I love being in this band. No more VIO-LENCE while I’m in MH. All are married w/kids except Deen.”
When will be released a next Vio-lence album? I hope, you’ll continue you career.
“We are re-releasing EN coupled with a live album this year. The DVD will follow. No new material though.”
What do you think about the reunion of Heathen, Exodus, Mordred and Death Angel? How is the present scene in the Bay Area? Will be a thrash metal reborn in this year?
“I love the reunions! Good luck to all of them. There IS a rebirth of thrash and it’s killer!”
How would you charakterize thrash metal? What does it mean for you? How is the thrash scene in 2004?
“The thrash scene is rising again. It’s an energy outlet for me. I love it.”
Phil, thank you for your patience and time, I hope, you didn’t get bored because of my questions. I wish you all the best and much luck. Please, close the interview. Vio-lence rules!
“Thanks for all the support. Sorry for the delay. Things have been crazy!!!!!”
by David Laci