Municipal Waste was in town and I caught up with guitarist Ryan Waste to talk about the tour and their fifth studio album titled The Fatal Feast.
Birgit: First things first; how has the tour been going so far?
Ryan: It has been great, party every night. We are in a RV so we leave every night and it depends what time bus-call is on how wild the party gets. (he turns to tour manager Cartel) It's a late bus-call tonight, right? (Cartel in return signals 3am) Well this is pretty standard so we will get the job done tonight.
B: You guys actually kept a pretty steady line-up with just two new members over the years. What qualifications does one need to have to play in the Waste?
Ryan: It used to be you had to be a wild party animal, but now you have to be a professional. Phil (ed. "Landphil" Hall - bass) and Dave (ed. Witte - drums) definitely fill that void and they kind of made me and Tony (ed. Foresta - vocals) tighten up a little bit also. We still have fun but we get the job done first.
B: Little off topic but you recently played at the late Gwar guitarist Cory Smooth memorial concert …
Ryan: Yeah, it was really cool to see everybody come out, as sad as it was, but I think he would have wanted everyone there to support the music and playing. That's what he was all about and we honored that, it was the least we could do. All the money went to his wife and his newborn baby girl.
B: That is nice, now back on track about the new album. "Meet & Eat" in Los Angeles; whose idea was it and how did you like that type of promo for a new album?
Ryan: We are all friends with the food truck guy Ryan since the early years of the Waste. We have known Ryan for maybe 10 or 12 years and he used to be in a band who toured with us a long time ago; Killed In Action, a relatively underground band I guess. So anyway, he has been a supporter of the Waste for a long time and had a "Waste 'em All" burger on his menu from day one. He also has the "Wittie" burger, the one Dave created, on it now. That is really good burger and that's what I ate at the contest. But I guess the label (ed. Nuclear Blast) came up with the idea and it worked out pretty well. It gave something for all the fans in LA to come out and interact with the band. They all kicked our asses in eating the burgers, but everybody who came got some cool prizes and we all had a really good time.
B: Sounds like a lot of fun. And speaking of fans, I definitely hear the east coast thrash influence ala Nuclear Assault in your tunes …
Ryan: For sure, that was definitely the initial influence but our band is very individualistic as far as our musical taste. I for one am into a lot of old school heavy metal; the thrash is just ingrained in my brain and I don't have to even listen to it anymore. The stuff we are writing right now sounds just like Municipal Waste. I think after 10 years you can say we got a formula that works.
B: So do you believe with your style of music you reach the older generation as well as gaining younger fans?
Ryan: It is a little bit of both, across the board I guess. It is good to see the younger generation because those are the ones that will stick with you if you make an impression on them while they are young. But there are also shit tons of old guys that come out of the wood works for us. There are people our age that have been there from the get-go. It's not like a phase or genre that we just got into and our music stood the test of time with people. All of those little sub genres that get popular … kids come and go but metal heads and thrashers are here to stay I think.
B: Very true. Now your latest piece The Fatal Feast is a very fun album to listen too; how did the recording go?
Ryan: Cool, thanks. The recording was great because for the first time ever we took the year off to write and record it; which we have never done before. It always was: tour, tour, tour, here is the studio for a little bit, back on tour. So this time it was very relaxed. We recorded the drums in New Jersey where Dave was comfortable at, and the guitars and vocals in Richmond (ed. Virginia) where we were comfortable and then just put it all together; first time we have ever done that.
B: Did you guys rehearse the new album before going into the studio then?
Ryan: Yes, all year; it's not that we took the entire year off. We took the time to write and rehearse and practice every day. We are normally on the road and do rehearse, but not as much as for this one.
B: Will you stick with this recording concept then for the next album?
Ryan: Hell yes, I would do it again. I loved taking the year off.
B: And on that note; how do you end up with Municipal Waste song? Walk us thru from start to finish.
Ryan: Never the lyrics first. We usually start with some riffs and then lay down the drums. And now we have been recording with Phil since he is getting into the engineering side of the business. We make a demo and give it to Tony and work on vocals from there.
B: Tony writes most of the lyrics, are some based on real life experiences?
Ryan: If some of our stuff we write about happens in real life I would be seriously worried. Some lyrics are based on it but there is a lot of fantasy and we created our own mythology of the Waste and just some things we like to touch up on.
B: The Fatal Feast is also pretty long; I think the longest in your catalog …
Ryan: Well, there is also a hidden track at the end, secret minutes of dead air, which might make it seem long. But yes, we wrote way more songs then we needed and we did already shave it down; so it could have been even longer.
On almost every release we have taken a song from a split we have done with Crucial Unit and just redo it. But we didn't do it on the new album; people don't even realize it, like "Born to Party" and "Abusement Park" are both old songs. We just had so much time to write, so many tunes that we just picked and choose and we had more than enough material for the new album.
B: Your 12" split with Toxic Holocaust just came out as well. Whose idea was it to do a split with Toxic?
Ryan: Yes, we have it for sale with us. Toxic are some of my best friends, they are the best. We have toured with them 3 or 4 times already and they never disappoint. But to do the split; this has been in the works for probably 6 years. We talked about it before since Joel (ed. Grind) and us started at around the same time and we have known each other for a long time. And the label Tankcrime Records, Scotty and I have known each other for a long time as well. It just made sense and all came together.
B: Nice! Let's talk about your album cover. I personally dig The Art of Partying cover; so who did the latest artwork?
Ryan: His name is Justin Osbourn. We have used Andrei Bouzikov, who did The Art of Partying and 3 other releases and he also did the artwork for Toxic Waste. We used him so much over the years and our other bands (ed. Cannabis Corpse and Volture) have used him for their artwork as well. And we just thought we might need a new, fresh person for the new album. And for me, The Fatal Feast is my favorite artwork we ever had. But the concept for the album is like 10 years old. "Waste in Space" is something we have been sitting on forever and we thought the imagery of "The Fatal Feast" would be cool, so we brought in a new guy and he nailed it. I am really happy with it.
B: This is also your first release on Nuclear Blast Records. How did you land the deal?
Ryan: Well, they have been schmoozing us for a while . But yes, we couldn't be happier with them and they let us breathe and create ideas. I feel we are on the same side and working together for the greater good. They are a very personal label.
B: You have a worldwide deal with them?
Ryan: Yes, over here and Germany. The record is really getting pushed over there and I think the distribution is way better for us.
The Fatal Feast
B: Very nice. Now since this is your first tour since the album has been released …
Ryan: This isn't the first tour; we did the Gwar one.
B: I know, but since the album wasn't officially out at the beginning of that tour I didn't count that one.
Ryan: I see. Well the album got released at the end of the Gwar tour but we were selling it the whole time. This is another cool thing about Nuclear Blast; they let us sell the record before the street date, which is pretty awesome. So this is technically the second tour in the US we have done.
B: I stand corrected , so how many new songs do you play on your first headlining tour?
Ryan: We have been throwing about 3 to 4 tops into the set and the rest spanning across all the other albums.
B: Does it depend on the audience how your set list will be or is it predetermined?
Ryan: We have been known to just throw something out there, feeling it out, but the rest is pretty much set. We have been rotating a different new song every night so you are not going to hear the same set twice. There will be at least one different song.
B: You also just got announced to partake on the Barge To Hell cruise; how excited are you about that one?
Ryan: That's right. I can't wait for it, the whole thing sounds incredible and there are a lot of cool bands I want to see; Artillery, Sodom, Possessed … (Tony spews out: "Moonspell") well and apparently Tony is very excited to watch Moonspell
B: OK then … so other than the Barge To Hell, what's next for Municipal Waste after this tour?
Ryan: We go to Europe, mainly play at festivals, but we will do a couple club dates to fill in the gaps. We will even take a little 5 day vacation while over there since it is like 2 month or something. Probably gonna hang out somewhere exotic or cool at least. Yeah, we got a big year ahead of us. There are all kinds of stuff coming that can't be announced yet, so we are going to be very busy.
B: Nice! And now the usual last words to your fans.