Originally from Fresno Ca. Retched has a classic hard metal sound with strong Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath roots. The band was formed in 1988 but soon after that around the end of the same year broke up due to very bad management.This new digital remastered version is now re-released to the world after years of many set backs.
How did you first get into music and who turned you on to rock and metal?
I got into music when I was a small boy I loved the guitar and always gravitated to the heavy guitar music. As I grew up my older sisters and brothers and friends turned me on to rock and metal.
How did you become a guitarist and a vocalist? Do you play any other instruments?
I became a guitarist and vocalist at an early age about ten years old is when I got my first real guitar my first guitar was just a stick that I would pretend to play when I was a kid. I also play bass and harmonica and some drums.
Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so were you an altar boy or participate in some other ways?
When I was a kid we weren’t really forced to go but in the same time it was what we did on Sundays till I got older. Yes I did kind of get not so much forced but pressured into singing with the quire.
What was the local scene like in the beginning? Was there a particular band you aspired to be like? Favorite local bands back then? Favorite local bands now?
I always favored Iron Maiden in the early days of my playing. The local scene then was awesome back then and is also awesome now, My favorite local band back in the day was a band called Betrayel from Fresno ca. and my favorite local band now is WARBINGER and EXMORTUS from Los Angeles Ca. U.S.A.
How did the band form and how did the band name come about? How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize the line up? How stable is the line up?
I formed this project 6 years ago it was difficult because I never had steady work to back up my musical plans I was doing it solo but last year I brought David Ezelle in to play the drums and sing. We met through my sister I was staying at my sisters a while and David Ezelle and his wife are the managers there so we met up and started playing and he decided to stick with it so far it is only us two guys and I’m taking care of all the other instruments and sharing vocals. After our new release is out we will be looking for a bass player so we can start playing live shows.
The Overlord Messiah came out in 2016, what has the reaction been like to it? Self produced and self released?
The Overlord Messiah was released towards the end of 2016 in November the reaction to our EP has been greatly surprising since it was first recorded in the year 1988 and it’s actually 30 years old but was never released till lately because we had a lot of problems with the management back then and finally disbanded. It was produced in a recording studio called Maximus Media Inc. in Fresno Ca. by Jeff Hall and when I released it, Studio Aspiotis in Athens Greece remastered it. The good thing was no matter how old it was it was still viable and originally I just put it on band camp just to see what would happen not even knowing there is a big revival in Thrash Metal and Old School metal so just by chance I feel into perfect timing, and that never happens in my world usually I’m either much too late or too early. So the even more amazing thing is we are currently growing our fan base a little each day and establishing a presence as we are working on our new Thrash Metal Full length album hoping to be released by November or December 2018 latter this year. No name yet but I can tell you it will be a pure in your face Thrash Metal album from the Old School.
So how was producing and putting this record together different than what you have done previously? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to get it out?
Well this was a whole new scenario on account of the digital age and me coming back to the scene after thirty years, it was like being frozen in time and coming back to life having to learn all over again, not that I Know a lot now but I learned a few things about how things work a little bit. The first obstacle was re mastering this EP. It was hell for our engineer George Aspiotis from Studio Aspiotis in Athens Greece he spent two whole months dissecting the 4th generation copy of the original cassette tape that was thirty years old. Wow He kicked ass on that man you can’t really tell. It sounds fresh he did a hell of a job I don’t know anyone who would do that but George Aspiotis did because he wanted to preserve our sound and because he is a fan of the Old School Metal. Mean while back at the ranch the label and I are trying to make my choice of artwork actually work with their artists you know this pictures too small and this picture is not the right file type and all this other crap that has to be of certain formats and pixel counts in order to be compatible with all the facets of the digital age. Then we had the same thing go on with our logo its simple but effective you can read it without having to stare at it for 30 minutes. These were all a crash course in how to produce your album. It was insane but I learned what to do now more or less.
What is the writing process like for you? How do you pick what you want to keep and release and what gets tossed aside?
The writing process is crazy for me I come up with new music all the time but it’s putting words to my music that stumps me a lot. Actually I’m getting better at writing lyrics these days but that has always been my weak point because I find it hard to put words into my rhythms it takes a lot of effort. I wish it was as easy for me as coming up with music I can randomly spit out riffs all day that are worth keeping but the lyrics they are the hard part for me. It is getting better though. So nothing really gets thrown away except the lyrics most of the time.
How soon can we expect new RETCHED music? Will it be a continuation of the last album? Will you be releasing it on cassette and vinyl? Do you own a cassette player, are cassettes silly? Will you be recording cover songs for the new album?
We are shooting for November or December of 2018 to release a pure in your face Thrash Metal album at least 10 tracks if it takes us longer that it just means it will be done when we are ready. This new upcoming release will not be anything like the first release or a continuation. I can tell you we will continue to be OLD SCHOOL THRASH METAL with all the modern bells and whistles for sure. We will continue to release our media on CD’s and Vinyl’s as we are already doing that now but, not cassettes although cassettes are ok I just think it better to stick with CD and Vinyl; although I do own a special Cassette deck to convert the cassettes I do have into digital or dub down copies. That’s what I used to get this last release out to the world literally. We will definitely not do any cover songs on this next record.
What other bands are you in?
I can only dedicate to one band and that’s RETCHED because I only have time for one and I still don’t have enough time at least how I would like it If I had my way I would spend 10 – 12 hours a day on my material if I could but I still have to work a job for a living or else nothing will work out because it takes money and nothing in this business is cheap.
Has there come a time when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
Never if anything they were a deterrent for us. To become successful in anything you do you need to have a clear focus.
What can we expect from a live RETCHED show?
Energy excitement and interaction from the band.
Is there any overall story or concept behind “The Overlord Messiah”?
Basically we were not intending to be conceptual but if you could put a label on it you might liken it to Dungeons and Dragons kind of a feel.
How would you best describe your sound?
The best way to describe “The Overlord Messiah” is it has older Iron Maiden / Black Sabbath and Judas Priest type sounds but it’s really up to the listener I’ve heard some interesting feedback from other record reviews which I never expected to hear although there hasn’t been any negative feedback yet that I have seen but like the reviewers have mentioned other sounds that I don’t really hear. I always say it’s up to the listeners because they actually pick up on many different things in a matter of opinion.
What are the pros and cons of pre ticket sales and pay to play?
I haven’t experienced that yet but I think as long as they keep the records straight and give the people what they pay for it will work out the problem comes like I’ve seen when someone go online and they get the VIP package then they get there and don’t end up with half the stuff they were promised.
Do you still buy CD’s or mostly use streaming sites? Which do you use?
I use both CD’s and iTunes and Band Camp downloads. You can’t beat a nicely recorded CD they are loud and clear the way they were meant to be heard, but equally I love the down loads too because I can keep my whole record collection in my phone and conveniently access it while I’m out and about.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
I buy a lot of Thrash Metal and Blues too I love the Blues too.
Who have been some of your favorite bands you’ve hung out with and shared the stage with?
My favorite band I’ve hung out with is Warbringer they are one of my newest influences as well.
What kind of references or influences do take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, or other artist that you are inspired by?
My influences are Iron Maiden / Judas Priest / Testament / Violence / Municipal Waste / Warbringer / Iron Reagon / Death Angel / Goat Whore / and many more.
How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without? Which do you like and why?
I hated spending hours to connect and promote and I still hate it but it’s much easier now because we are known around the world in small circles now also I learned a few tricks on how to use it but I still only know a little. As far as promotions go: Social Media sucks!!!! Oh did I say that out loud?!! Any way yeah you’re better off using other real promotional campaigns like Radios because without radios who’s going to hear your stuff? After a while you get air play just let it keep playing and that’s how you will get more fans and also at your gigs too not to mention you will get royalties for being on the air. I guess the one that I won’t do without is the radios that’s your only real hope and it’s worth the money you pay to get hooked up also compared to how many thousands of useless promotions on social media I’d rather spend my hard earned dollars on real effective ways to be heard.
Could you please explain the title “BLACK LEATHER AND ME”?
Yes the Song is about the old metal days when it was all about spikes and studded gauntlets and the song is about a band any metal band in the world and the feeling we all get when we are almost ready to hit the stage you feel the power surging in the atmosphere all around you the excitement from the crowd and the raw power of the amplifiers pounding your chest. Raw energy!!!!!!!
Are there any political or social issues hidden in RETCHED songs?
No we are not a political band we’ll leave all that to the politicians. Social Issues there could be but not on our last release.
Who does the song writing for the band? Where is the inspiration found?
I write all the music and lyrics too along with drummer David Ezelle who will be helping me with lyrics. The inspiration is found all around us.
What is the writing process like and the putting of songs in order?
The process is a never ending juggling match of words and phrases and making them break down into the timing of the song and how say them sometimes I have a perfect word or sentence then I have to change it to make it work like in other words use a different word that has the same meaning. It’s always hard for me. I wish it was as easy for me to write lyrics as it is to write music then I’d be much further ahead. As far as the order of tracks I usually wait till the last track is done then I feel them out I may want to start out with hard hitting song or gradually work up to it but I do like putting my favorite tracks up last as a closing tune.
What keeps you passionate about RETCHED and Heavy Metal after all these years?
Well we aren’t going away anytime soon I’m going to thrash like it’s 1986 for all my days till my body won’t let me play anymore but I plan to be thrashing even at 90 years old. What keeps me going is the fact that I will keep producing music no matter what and releasing it what is happening now is the beginning you see there’s a lot left to do but we are almost there to the point where. It don’t matter if we get to actually live off our music, although that’s the goal the truth of the matter is the fact that we may never get to do that it depends on many factors one is the public one is the degree in which we choose to promote among about a thousand other factors, In short I’ll choose: Just to keep it real.
What are your top 5 albums of 2017?
Warbringer: “Woe To The Vanquished” / Dust Bolt / Municipal Waste / Exodus / Testament: “Brotherhood Of The Snake”
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
At this time we don’t have the luxury of any endorsements but I’d like to have Peavey Amplifiers / Zilgian / Sure / Dean Markley guitar strings / Mackey / Jackson Guitars / ESP guitars / Celestion Speakers/ Tama Drums
Bands you would love to tour with?
I would like to tour with Warbringer I’ve met most of them and they are all a good bunch of folks.
What does Metal mean to you?
Metal is something I can’t describe but its good medicine to me.