Nuclear Hatred's Robert Orr and Chris Butera take Michael Stronge for a spin down their own particular metal memory lanes...
What’s up guys! Thanks for being my interview guinea pigs! The idea of this series is to get people to talk about their experiences of heavy metal growing up – Can you tell our readers about your earliest metal memories?
Rob: “My first memories of metal are probably hearing like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple– the early hard rock/heavy metal bands- when I was a kid on the radio. I grew up listening to classic rock radio, usually in the car with one of my parents, so I had always known all of the proto-metal bands. When I started to form my own taste in music, probably around the age of twelve or thirteen, I purchased a Black Sabbath album and an Ozzy album for myself. My uncle was huge into metal as well, so whenever I was going somewhere with him he’d play the classic metal stuff like Judas Priest, Metallica, et cetera. For me, it’s always been a part of my musical taste, so it is hard to remember what I felt the first time I listened to metal, because I was literally raised on early heavy metal bands”.
Chris: “I remember being in the sixth grade and my friends showed me Korn, Linkin Park and Metallica. That and the Twisted Metal 4 and Tony Hawk soundtracks were where it started”.
A big difference in influences there! Rob, you’ve already touched on this but you can elaborate if you like, but what were the first albums you both bought with your own cash?
Rob: “I bought two actually- Past Lives, which is almost like a live “greatest hits” album by Black Sabbath from the Ozzy era, and The Essential Ozzy Osbourne which was a two-disc greatest hits album from Ozzy’s solo career”.
Chris: “I wish I was that cool. The first album I bought with my own money was St. Anger“.
You’ve got to start somewhere. Do you look back at any of your early loves now and wonder what on earth you were doing liking that? The sort of records you might pull out of your collection now if friends come round? I’ll start this off with the band Chariot.
Rob: “Well when I was in high school I was more into the 80s hair bands like Poison and Motley Crue. Looking back, I wish I had known more of the extreme eightiess metal bands”.
Chris: “Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. Damn you WWE!”
There’s an intrigueing dissonance in your respective influences here that obviously contributes to the Nuclear Hatred sound! Who were the first band you ventured out from the bedroom to see live?
Rob: “My first real concert was The Machine, which is a Pink Floyd tribute band that is probably the closest thing to Pink Floyd without actually having Roger Waters and David Gilmour. The show was at this outdoor amphitheatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I had just turned 18 and graduated high school, so the whole trip was like a birthday/graduation present”.
Chris: “Here’s where I redeem myself. Gigantour 2006. I can’t remember who opened as they were terrible but the first band I remember seeing live was either Arch Enemy or Overkill on that show. I can’t remember who went on first but I was blown away by Overkill”.
Overkill certainly are great live. Blitz is a madman! How did you find out about new bands growing up? Was there a lot of mainstream coverage where you were?
Rob: “When I started getting more into the less-mainstream genres of metal, there wasn’t any coverage at all in mainstream media. Most of the bands I was discovering was thanks to friends who showed me them, or just doing research on my own. Some bands I even started to get into because they influenced other bands that I liked. I “discovered” Angel Witch because I was watching an old Metallica interview from like 1983 and Dave Mustaine said he loved Angel Witch. Well I loved Metallica and Megadeth, so I figured Dave had to be on to something, and I bought their first album”.
Chris: “It wasn’t that hard because there were a decent number of metalheads in my high school, so they’d show me bands here and there. I was a pirate, so I’d go home and download several discographies daily and burn my favorites onto CDs. I still have the fanny pack with almost 100 burned CDs inside. Also I’d watch Uranium, Headbanger’s Ball, Metal Mania and a bunch of the music-only tv stations (remember those?) and there were way more metal oriented magazines around then”.
Bootlegs! Everybody moans today about illegal downloading but back in the day I remember a healthy bootleg trade going on amongst my friends. But I wasn’t involved, obviously. Having said that you especially Rob didn’t really use obvious sources to find out about new music, how do feel about the internet? Has it ruined the mystique around bands for young fans in 2016?
Rob: “I don’t think so really. If anything, I think the internet has made it a lot easier for fans to keep in touch with their favourite musicians. It almost bridges a gap between the fans and the artists that I think wasn’t really done before the advent of the internet. However, the “TMZ-esque” nature of many metal journalism outlets is starting to get a bit ridiculous”.
Chris: “I think it has. While it makes it easier to find new music, the internet has taken away the whole vibe of supporting it. People don’t go to shows as often as they used to and in even rarer cases even pay for music in general because now if they want to see what a band is like live or hear their music, they can find it online for free – so where’s the incentive to go to a show or buy their album? It’s also made it much harder for bands to get signed or be different. The landscape has changed so much where social media now basically charges bands to promote themselves by intentionally not showing band posts to many people unless they pay to “sponsor” the post, but if no one is going to come to your show or buy the album, why should we – the starving artist give in? Again it’s a great tool for finding new music, but something has to change in how the rest of the music world works if we want it to help everybody.
I think you’re right, Chris. What about Festivals, which have now become such a big part of Metal Summers all around the world? Were you both big festival goers as junior headbangers?
Rob: “Not really. I didn”t attend my first festival until I was around 21, well after my formative years in metal”.
Chris: “With the exception of Gigantour, I didn”t really start going to shows until I was around 18 so I couldn”t really go to anything in my “junior headbanging years” because my parents thought I was going to come home a drug addict. My dad took me to Gigantour with the dude that played bass in my first band. I was 16 and pretty ‘ok fine, you can take me to the show, but as long as nobody finds out I’m here with my dad.’ It’s funny now, but it wasn’t then”.
I can imagine! So when unwanted parents weren’t taking you to shows how easy – or maybe difficult – was it for you to get to shows? And were you so dedicated you’d be willing to hitch to get out of town somewhere to see a gig? I seemed to spend most of my teen years with my thumb out trying to get to gigs.
Rob: “B y the time I was attending shows regularly, I was already able to drive, so going to shows was never much of a problem for me. There were a couple that I had to drive quite a far distance to, however, such as Megadeth’s Rust in Peace 20th anniversary tour, which me and a few friends drove about 2 hours to get to. I think the proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia has kind of made it easy for me personally to see almost any show”.
Chris:”I’m in Brooklyn, NY, so there’s always a train or a bus. It’s really easy to get to a show here unless it’s in Williamsburg or Greenpoint. Their train lines are the worst”.
What five albums have stayed with you since your formative metal years?
Rob: “Black Sabbath’s first four albums, Blizzard of Ozz– Ozzy Osbourne, Rust in Peace by Megadeth and Metallica’s Master of Puppets. Also Burn by Havok“.
Chris: Metallica’s Master of Puppets, AC/DC‘s Live at Donington, Fabulous Disaster by Exodus, Iron Maiden– Powerslave and Deicide‘s Once Upon the Cross. I would have said Slayer– Reign in Blood or Seasons in the Abyss but after meeting Kerry King in 2010, I stopped listening to them altogether. He’s pretty lame to his fans. Another runner up would be Megadeth’s Killing is my Business“.
Asked for ten, got sixteen! Thanks. Also, Chris, the salutatory lesson here is, as always, never meets your idols. Just ask Sentinel Daily Editor Scott Adams about the first time he met Anthrax! Did you have a metal crush? I feel I should just keep going with the quesions here before I get the boss into strife.
Rob:”Courtney Cox from the all-female Maiden tribute, The Iron Maidens, is definitely my metal crush. She is a beast on guitar and also gorgeous”.
Chris: “I always had a thing for Lita Ford and The Great Kat. I’m glad they’re still babes. Also the chick from Stolen Babies, Dominique Lenore Persi is cute too and Witch Mountain”s Kayla Dixon stole my heart when I saw them with Danzig last year. What can I say? I love women”.
Got any other nuggets of youthful reminiscence for us?
Rob: “I was so big into Ozzy in High School I once went to school dressed up as him for Halloween. The “normal” kids sure got a kick out of it”.
Chris: “I’ve been King Diamond for Halloween twice. Once as the current King, another as Mercyful Fate King”.
You saved the best ’til last! Thanks fellas!