Here's an interview with Danny Lilker in the NUCLEAR ASSAULT context. I already had done this intie in the tour bus with him and Glenn Evans, but my fucking tape recorder didn't work at all!!!!! AAAAARGH! Nothing has been taken from my chat with these too cool guys. So Danny kindly accepted to do the interview again through e-mail. The original chat was more in depths, but hey, this version is better than nothing at all. Enjoy and bang that head that doesn't bang!
1-NUCLEAR ASSAULT formed in 1984, not so long after you have quit ANTHRAX. Is the fact that John Connelly played also in ANTHRAX before motivated you to keep on playing thrashing music with him? Are there any recordings of ANTHRAX rehearsals or gigs with John Connelly?
Yes, it is true that John was a member of the very first incarnation of Anthrax way back in '81. I am not aware of any kind of recording with him on it.
2-How was the New York metal scene looking like when you started with ANTHRAX and then with NUCLEAR ASSAULT? I guess bands like TROUBLE, RAVEN, VENOM, HELLHAMMER had a big influence on the metalheads of this time, but were you already aware of what happened in Germany at the same time? I mean, did you aleady know the TORMENTOR (pre KREATOR), SODOM and DESTRUCTION demos, and if yes, were they an influence on your playing?
Yes, I was aware of the German bands you mentioned at the time through zines and record stores. I did not have their demos then, only later, but I can say that the aggressive style of these bands did have an impact on early Nuke stuff. These bands had releases out before Game Over.
3-What happened to the first NUCLEAR ASSAULT members guitarist Mike Bogush and drummer Scott Duboys? Have you met them since that time? Were they involved in other bands?
Mike had a wife and kid even back then, and he had to have a regular job to support them, so it was hard for him to make practice. We decided we needed someone who could be around more. Scott had some personal problems which made it difficult to deal with him, but years later he admitted it and we are friends now. I don't know if they did anything else...
4-NUCLEAR ASSAULT is a band with socially engaged lyrics from the beginning. Why did you decided so? How strong was the impact of the punk and hardcore scenes on you and John in 1985? What did you think of new bands like NAPALM DEATH, ELECTRO HIPPIES, and all this crossover wave with bands like CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, SOD (of course)...? Why did you felt the need to include such lyrics into metal, as bands like POSSESSED, LEGACY/TESTAMENT, never did?
We started out with typical metal lyrics (Stranded In Hell, Cold Steel), but when John and I got into hardcore punk we decided to make meaningful lyrics. We didn't plan on changing the world, but we WERE in a unique position to make people think a little. I really enjoyed all those mad British bands, of course. I wasn't a big Cryptic Slaughter fan...no comment on S.O.D., hehe. We felt the need to do this simply because we did (and do) what we want, and that's what we wanted to do then.
5-Although your relations with Neil Turbin (first ANTHRAX's singer) weren't good, how was the ambient if NUCLEAR ASSAULT had to play a gig with ANTRAX on the same scene? Together with OVERKILL, CARNIVORE and ANTHRAX, NUCLEAR ASSAULT was one of the few challengers to the Bay Area thrash metal. What was the difference between the east and west coast sounds, according to you?
Nuclear played with Anthrax a few times, but we were not playing gigs yet when Neil was still with them. I am a civil person, so I would have said "Hi" and "Bye". East Coast bands were faster and less technical than Bay Area bands. There are, of course, exceptions on both sides like Possessed and Overkill (Overkill was never too "intense" in my opinion).
6-When did the things started to be serious for NUCLEAR ASSAULT? I mean, when did you begin to play gigs outside of New York? How was the response when you played the first time in California?
We played in places like Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, even as far as
Chicago in '86, and played in California in '87. The response in L.A. was
awesome, it was great to be "so far" from home and have killer
7-Although, bands like METALLICA, TESTAMENT, POSSESSED were already well known around 1986/87, I want to know if you were already aware of the existence of bands like SLAUGHTER, MANTAS/DEATH, SACRIFICE, PESTILENCE whose influence on the extreme metal was huge.
I also remember Sarcafago, Thanatos, Invocator, Master, Poison (don't ask which one!!!), Assassin, Necrodeath, etc.. Does that answer your question, hehe?
8-Were you the only one in NUCLEAR ASSAULT to be more "necro metal" oriented? I mean, your love for CELTIC FROST, AUTOPSY and the likes isn't a secret. What kind of musicians inspired you,and John, in the composition work for NUCLEAR ASSAULT?
John grew out of the real crazy stuff eventually...but, before that happened, we enjoyed Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate as well as D.R.I. and Agnostic Front, if you see my point.
9-It seems that Anthony Bramante never took a big
part in the composition of the songs. Am I wrong? How comes that Glenn
Evans composed songs like "Search and seizure" on your "Handle with care"
album? Was he a long time guitar player, beside his duties behind the drum
No, Anthony was never a songwriter in the band. Glenn learned how to play guitar over the years to the point where he could write songs, he's very talented.
10-Please tell us how you regard know the albums and minis you did with NUCLEAR ASSAULT? When you left to form BRUTAL TRUTH, how did you reacted to the NUCLEAR ASSAULT albums without you? Are the songs after the "Handle with care" album so bad that you don't play them anymore on stage since your reunion?
I am very proud of the stuff I
did with the band, but the "Out Of Order"
11-A thing which I read often in your interviews is your disgust for the so called "new metal" wave. Alright, I won't disagree with you, but hell, how can you explain that you played on the same bill as bands like 40 GRIT (who are good friends with Billy Milano), and that you sayed in an interview that you found SLIPKNOT "cool"??? Are there several levels in this style of "music" for you? Have you already seen some new metal fans blown away by the power of NUCLEAR ASSAULT on stage?
Well, I had no idea who 40 Grit was until I met them in Europe, and yes, they are friends of Billy, who got them on the tour. As for Slipknot, they are cool compared to Limp Bizkit. I can tell the difference. They are nice people, too. I have no idea if we've converted new metal fans yet.
12-What do you think of the last SLAYER, ANTHRAX, MEGADETH and OVERKILL albums? Do you appreciate the last stuff from bands like DESTRUCTION, KREATOR and SODOM?
Sorry, but honestly I haven't heard any of these records!
13-In this whole wave of reunited bands, do you think that there are some that just should have remained as dead and not killing all that made them cult? Which bands are you happy to see alive and kicking again? (Please say HEATHEN! hahaha!!)
I've heard that Dark Angel are having big problems re-uniting. Perhaps they should forget it. It is great to see the return of Death Angel. I was never the biggest Heathen fan.
14-In 1989 you released the "Live at the Hammersmith Odeon" album. And Now you shall soon release a new live album called "Alive again", from the reunion tour. Please tell us what the fan will find in this new offering from NUCLEAR ASSAULT? Is it sounding better than "Live at the Hammersmith Odeon"? And could you speak a bit of Screaming Ferret Wreckords which shall release the new live album?
I never liked our first live album
'cos it was a bit of a ripoff being
15-You also plan to release a new album. Is John still very active in the composition? Will you include modern sounds? Will it be recorded in numeric or in analogic? Aren't you afraid to release a second "Survive" or "Handle with care" album, or to have lost the essence of NUCLEAR ASSAULT classics?
John is, as always, very active in the writing process. Modern sounds? Not really... We do not know at this moment what technique will be used to record it. We are not at all afraid to release an album similar to the ones you mentioned, that was our style! And I can tell you we have definitely not lost our classic style.
16-In the "Fight to be free" vinyl version, one can see a poster of the band, where you are all posing on Harley Davidsons! Ha! Very funny looking picture! Was it in order to say that NUCLEAR ASSAULT was tougher than MANOWAR? Hahaha!!!!
Oh, boy. That shot was taken outside the clubhouse of the Rogue Animals, a biker club from Brooklyn. They did shows there, and before a show we had to do a photo session, and they wanted us to take pictures on their bikes. YOU say no to a bunch of bikers!
17-Wha do you think of a band with socially engaged lyrics like DYING FETUS?
That is fine, it's 2003 and you don't have to sing about corpses to be death metal. Their old bassist/vocalist Jason was an extremely intelligent guy.
18-You told me that you are more into the "necro" death metal,
and not that much into the death/core wave. But NUCLEAR ASSAULT is also a
mix between hardcore and metal, as well as SOD. Don't you thnk that the
actual death core scene is slowly dying because of its unability to renew
itself? According to you, where belongs the future of Death and Thrash
metal? (Ok, you're allowed to say THE RAVENOUS! hahahaha!!!)
Ugh, complicated question. Music is music. Crossover is dead 'cos
19-WHat kind of bands moved you recently in all the metal genres? Have you got an eye on Sweden and bands like REPUGNANT, KAAMOS, DELVE? Are you also following american bands like CIANIDE, SCEPTER, COFFIN TEXTS, SADISTIC INTENT? According to you, what are some of the most underrated metal bands (past and actual)?
I don't follow all the new bands so much. I will hail Goatwhore, though. A good example of an underrated band is Carpathian Forest.
20-As you have a long involment into the metal scene, could you foresee what will be the next trend? Had you already felt that Death and Black metal would know such a boom?
I couldn't begin to surmise what the next trend will be, and
21-Did you awaited such a positive reaction about the NUCLEAR ASSAULT reunion? How was it to play in Wacken last year?
It was fucking great to see that the metal community still cared enough about us to welcome us back upon our return! I want to thank everyone immensely for continuing to support N.A, and metal in general! Wacken was awesome! 42,000 metalheads united! It really made the point that we weren't wasting our time when we reformed...
22-How did you finally get in touch with Erik Burke to take the place of Anthony Bramante? I heard that he is also playing in a death metal band... Are you going to record a new full length with him, or is he just supporting for the tour?
Erik is from Rochester, NY where I live now. My wife has known him for years and suggested him when Anthony could no longer commit due to his job. He also plays and sings in SULACO, but I wouldn't call them death metal. I believe you can hear their music if you search online.
23-Please react spontaneously to these words:
24-OK, now comes my usual question. If Metal music was a beer, which one would it be according to you? Please give your definition of Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Death and Black Metal.
I am American! I have to drink shitty beer. OK, I'll try... Heavy Metal beer is obviously Budweiser for the white trash connection. Thrash Metal Beer is gonna be Warsteiner, the German one. Death Metal is Guiness 'cos it looks thick and soupy like diarrhea. Black Metal beer is whatever's coldest.
25-Would you like to ask me a question?
Have you considered buying a new tape
26-Ok, I stop to disturb you now, and let you in peace with a good joint in yourmouth!!!! This was really cool from you to answer this interview, and I wish a long life to the new NUCLEAR ASSAULT! You simply rule! These last lines are yours.
What makes you think I waited to
smoke until the end? Thank you,