Interview with Rick Scythe (vocals, guitars)
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: May 26, 2012
Scythe, a 3-piece Chicago-based old school Metal act was born out of the ashes of Usurper. Scythe's main priority is to make today's kids realize and understand what REAL Metal is all about and bring back that fun and entertainment part into Metal, something that many have sadly forgotten, especially when seeing a band onstage in a live situation. REAL Metal certainly is neither about Pro Tools, slick and plastic production values, wanna-be-whatever-metal music without any feeling, heart and soul put into it - nor any happy'n crappy 'hey-we-are-metal-too' bands that some commercial and totally clueless TV channels advertise as true Metal bands for today's kids.
Lesson no. 1: Open your ears to hear what Rick Scythe has to say about Chicago's new mangling Metal machine named Scythe.
Lesson learned: Scythe is the REAL FUCKIN' DEAL.
Lesson no. 2: Try to remember Scythe have specialized in giving a spikey gauntlet in the face of all hipster pretenders, new Metal trenders, false wanna-be-Nu-Thrash, and all other forms of weak, derivative uninspired Metal. Posers BEWARE... BEWARE THE SCYTHE!
Lesson learned: If you go to a Scythe show, it's most likely that you'll NEVER forget it... EVER!!!
Now let's bring on Rick Scythe for some more educational lessons about THE TRUE Metal. Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, Rick speaks out...
Luxi: First off, my sincere congratulations for bringing us "Beware the Scythe"; a real 100% kick-ass Metal album that everyone should own. Would you mind sharing a few thoughts about it for the readers of The Metal Crypt, letting all of us to know what the album is all about both musically and lyrically?
Rick Scythe: Thanks for the positive words and support. "Beware the Scythe" musically is 9 songs of totally head banging, fist banging metal anthems. It has roots in 80's Black, Thrash and Speed Metal, which is the backbone of Scythe. But it also has elements of 70's Hard Rock, classic Heavy Metal and even trace amounts of Chicago Blues in a couple guitar solos. It is hard, heavy, fast and mean. A bit more primal than Usurper, but still fans of Usurper will enjoy "Beware The Scythe".
Lyrically, "Beware The Scythe" deals with various occult topics from a perspective many Metal bands don't always use. It is about the true occult practices of the global elite and the struggle between good and evil. It also deals with End Time prophecies, lost civilizations, visions of the future, conspiratorial concepts and other tales of madness. Song by song, here's a brief synopsis:
"The Iron Witch": This is based on the 1920's silent film called, "Haxan". It was the first movie to really deal with witchcraft and pagan practices through the ages. Musically it is ancient Speed Metal, combined with medieval Doom Metal and then back to face melting Speed Metal.
"Mastermind": is a glimpse into the not so distant future. The global elite and secret societies, who all have illuminati bloodlines have some diabolical plans for humanity. Their goal is to eliminate and enslave humans, while becoming immortal. They mock the laws of nature by creating intelligent robots, chimeras (man/animal hybrids), poison the skies with chemtrails, create vaccines with poison, control every aspect of your life. There are all kinds of death camps rising, every aspect of human existence is being governed and controlled. Musically it is very ominous and powerful... are you a slave? Or are you a master?
"Beware the Scythe": This song deals with the philosophy of the band as well as my personal struggles, and eventual triumph. It is a Metal anthem, about uprising, usurping and destroying all opposition. Musically it is 2/3 pure Scythian Speed Metal, 1/3 Heavy Death Rock n' Roll, and 666% KICK ASS! If you don't head bang and fist bang to this one, then you are most likely a filthy, worthless poser!
"Tyrannical Stranglehold": This one is about the rise of the New World Order and the tyrant's stranglehold upon mankind. About false flag operations and the liberal, PC Fascist Thugs that are out to disarm, brainwash and control the masses. Musically it is a slow burn of molten steel and stone culminating into a headbanging frenzy of pure ironfisted riffage! Not for the trendy, malleable masses of brain dead idiots.
Side B kicks off with...
"Tunguska Death Ray": This is about the Tunguska event of 1908, which modern day scientists claim was caused by a meteor, (even though there was no evidence of a meteor impact), but more likely was caused by Nikola Tesla's Death Ray device. Musically, this is pure explosive hardcore Speed Metal. Very much in the vein of how Celtic Frost and Venom played fast... no modern, lame lawn sprinkler blast beats here. Just head banging metal madness.
"Opus Dei of the Dead": Lyrically it is about the ceremony of Candlemass Eve, which was when the Pagans mocked the ceremonies of the Church. Pure evil, way more evil than Halloween. The words are sung in more or less mantra type repetition. The music is a bone-chilling ballad of sorts, but way more heavy than a typical fancy ballad. It might be the heaviest song on the album, and just kind of builds. It is fist pumping Death Rock, guaranteed to raise the dead!
"Talons of Steel": This song is about the true occult practices of the global elite. Anyone who is saying, "Rick Scythe is some sort of conspiracy nut... what is this guy on?" Believe me, I heard it all before... the only thing I am on is free information! It deals with the Bohemian Grove secret society and the Cremation of Care ceremony. This is where the politicians, CEO's of multinational corporations, media moguls and other billionaire tyrants meet to unwind, discuss plans for global domination and engage in mock sacrifices to a giant stone owl named Molach. We have a picture of this event on our gatefold LP and behind the clear tray on the CD. Musically it is a total Heavy Metal anthem. Part Manowar, part "Born Again" era Black Sabbath and part Hellhammer is the best way to describe this one.
"Eye of the Crow": This one is inspired by "The Hymn of Heloise" by this middle age monk named Peter Abelard. The letter is very long and very evil, pure unholy passion. The song by contrast is very short. It starts off slow and creepy, then turns into a headbanging maelstrom of molten Metal.
"Planet of the Humans: Inspired by the Book of Enoch written in 300 BC. It is about the decent of the fallen Angels to Earth. The Annunaki from Nibiru. This is not fiction, but a true, well documented story about Wormwood, Planet X, Nibiru, The Nephilim, The Annunaki and the Giants who once roamed the Earth. This one is Death Metal the way mother nature intended. Heavy and headbangable.
Luxi: As most of us already are aware of, you were involved with your previous band Usurper from 1993 to 2007 when Usurper called it quits. How difficult (or easy) was it to start a completely new band from scratch, and start building a firm foundation for it by promoting the name as much as possible? I guess your background experience in Usurper gave you perhaps a little bit of an advantage for getting the wheel rolling for Scythe, am I right...?
Rick Scythe: Yes, you are right. Right when Usurper broke up in 2007 I didn't want to do a different version of Usurper right away, it just seemed too weird. I had a lot of experimental music I wanted to work on. I needed a break from the rat race of the Metal scene, yet I still wanted to play music. I combined forces with a buddy, in a short-lived 2 man project where we did haunting Death Rock music. It incorporated a lot of strange instruments like banjo, Werlitzer organs, mandolins, accordion, combined with heavy guitars. When we were planning on making it a full live band is when Tim joined on drums, then later Dan Geist on bass. Since we had similar Metal influences, it became more and more Metal and less experimental.
In 2009 that band broke up. I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. I figured a solo project, where I would just get various musicians and friends and record an album. That band then turned into Scythe which is now a full time band and not a solo project.
Yes, in some ways it sucks starting over, but Usurper had a small, yet very strong fan base throughout the world, so I knew it was just a matter of getting the word out to the die hards that Rick Scythe is back... BEWARE THE SCYTHE motherfuckers!
Luxi: As mentioned earlier, Usurper broke up in 2007 due to some inner conflicts within the band that were overall related to Usurper's swansong album, "Cryptobeast". That album did not sell that well as expected and your label Earache had also a relatively major role in throwing some extra pressures on your necks at that time. Do you believe, even if all kinds of speculation is kind of unnecessary, that if the sales for "Cryptobeast" had been drastically better, Usurper might still be around, and do some new albums?
Rick Scythe: It was really just a combination of everything. Yes, the sales figures weren't as good as our previous albums, but we found out it was due to the new fad of downloading. The band was actually at its biggest point in our career. We headlined shows in the US, Canada, Mexico, and even headlined the main stage of day 1 of the "Inferno Fest" in Oslo, Norway. Everywhere we played on the "Cryptobeast" tour was headlining some fests and people knew the words to the songs, we were actually getting paid decent money, so that wasn't a problem.
The problem was multi-tiered. We had a label that didn't want to release our next album, yet didn't want to drop us. We had a new singer, Dan Tyrantor, who was a tremendous vocalist and possibly a better front man live than General Diabolical Slaughter, but he had some personal issues and always seemed to cause some friction with certain members of the band. We had various guys in the band getting frustrated with things. Then we had to part ways with Dan Tyrantor because of some of his antics.
After that it really felt weird with me and Jon Necromancer doing vocals. Don't get me wrong, both of us sounded great, but it was so different seeing Usurper without a frontman. Joe and the other guitar player were butting heads... it just got really ugly. Finally I just said, "Fuck it! It's over". Seriously, I hate when bands drag their name through the mud. I have a lot of pride and respect for Usurper. It was a great 13+ year run, but it was inevitable. All good things must come to end.
Luxi: Back to Scythe now though. Why did you end up naming your new band Scythe anyway? I suppose that you were also aware of the fact there are over 10 other Metal bands around these days that are named Scythe...
Rick Scythe: Your 10 other Metal bands can kiss my ass! Look, I've been writing and recording under the name Scythe since 1992! I've been registered with BMI as Scythe personally since the 1990's. Take a glance of the credits on every Usurper album and the songs are credited as "written by Scythe". I'm aware there are other bands named Scythe... who the fuck cares? None of them go as far back as me with the name Scythe, I can legally tell them to stop using the Scythe name, but why would I?
Obviously if one of those other band become big and well known, it wouldn't be smart to carry on with the Scythe name, but since I had the name first and never heard anything from anyone else named Scythe, I will continue with the name Scythe. I figure I own the name, people know the name Scytyhe associated with Usurper for the last 20 years, I'm using my own fucking name... CASE CLOSED!
There was a band named Iron Maiden with albums out before THE REAL Iron Maiden. There was a band named Emperor from the late 60's with an album out before THE REAL Emperor. There was a band named Slayer who started out around the same time as THE REAL Slayer. There was a well-established Punk band named Anthrax with albums out before THE REAL Anthrax. There were multiple bands named Mayhem who were out and established before THE TRUE Mayhem. There was THE REAL Slaughter from Canada and then the poser, glam Slaughter. There were 2 distinct bands named Gehenna in the mid 90's. There were 2 bands named War, one with the hit "Lowrider", one that was pure Satanic Black Metal. There was a band named Devastation from Chicago before THE Devastation who released albums on Combat records. There was a band named Behemoth that featured the guy from Faith No More before THE REAL Behemoth. There were 2 bands named Usurper before THE REAL Usurper... it's inevitable, there are only so many names.
Luxi: What are, from your point of view, the biggest differences between Scythe and your previous band Usurper?
Rick Scythe: I would say that Scythe is a bit more primal. It's a bit more stripped down and straightforward than Usurper. Obviously I wrote the music for both bands so there is definitely a correlation. I think anyone into Usurper can get into Scythe, but Scythe might also appeal to people who weren't familiar with Usurper. Scythe is closer to the first 2 Usurper albums than later Usurper, but we definitely have our own sound and approach... live, Scythe is a bit more over the top than Usurper!
Luxi: How did you find Dan Geist for bass and Tim Pearson for drums to fulfill your vision about how Scythe should sound like since you first got together and started churning out the first riffs, drum fills and bass sections for this band?
Rick Scythe: I met them in 2008. Tim started playing drums in that experimental band I did when Usurper broke up. When we were looking for a live bassist, Dan Geist joined the band. So when I wanted to release a Scythe album I knew Dan would be the bassist. The guy might be the best bassist I ever jammed with. That's saying a lot because Jon Necromancer was/is an awesome bass player. Dan's at least right up there with Jon. He's quite a bit younger, but he is true Metal to the bone! We both have similar musical influences, the same goals, similar headbanging styles, same attitude... no one else I would ever want to play bass in Scythe that's for sure.
Luxi: Supposedly without an old school attitude, determination and motivation to do your best for Scythe and understanding what old school is truly all about, one has no place in Scythe. Therefore you have got such great fellows to play along with you in this band - just like Dan and Tim have both have undoubtedly proven to be, truly supporting each of your vision for Scythe the best possible way you could ever think of? Am I right?
Rick Scythe: Yes, but unfortunately we had to part ways with Tim. No hard feelings, but the guy was spreading himself too thin. He's also a guitarist and a producer, so he didn't have as much time to play drums for Scythe that we felt was necessary. No hard feelings though, we wish him the best with all his other stuff. Basically, to be a member of Scythe you have to share our vision and passion for the old ways of Metal, and have to be 100% dedicated. No side projects, no other shit getting in the way.
We have a new drummer now named Joey Contreras who is a total powerhouse. He wanted to audition for the band so we gave him the CD. The first rehearsal we thought he would know 3 or 4 songs, but instead he nailed the entire album! He played the entire thing perfectly front to back. He was a friend of Dan's so he knows what it takes to be in Scythe. He said he knew Tim wouldn't work out so he purposely didn't join any bands for the past year because he really wanted to be in Scythe. He said this was the exact band he wanted to be part of... that's what we need.
Luxi: You had Joe Martinez on lead guitar and Ben Mulvey on drums in the Scythe line-up in the fall of 2009 but obviously the guys were lacking some important key factors to become full-time members of the Scythe line-up?
Rick Scythe: Joe Martinez and Ben Mulvey were both amazing musicians. Joe Martinez was around since the early 1990's. He was in a band with Jon Necromancer and Dan Tyrantor before those guys were in Usurper, so it was perfect to have someone like that as a second guitarist. He understood the vibe and we had a lot in common. Ben was also in the local Chicago scene since the 1990's. He was in another Death Metal band with Joe Martinez called Decaytion in 1990-1993, so he was the natural choice for the early version of Scythe. Both are great musicians and great guys.
Unfortunately Joe had too much going on with his business and kids and family, he just couldn't dedicate himself the way that is needed. Once we lost our rehearsal spot I had a hard time staying in contact with Ben and Joe. But zero hard feelings, because those guys are friends and part of the Scythe family!
Dan Geist was always the original Scythe bassist, but right when he learned the songs and joined the band is when we lost our spot and I eventually lost contact with Ben and Joe. That's when Dan suggested Tim to play drums. We were going to get a second guitarist, but it sounded so heavy that we decided not to.
We always liked jammin' with Tim, but we also knew there was a possibility it wouldn't work out with him. No matter who you are, if you can't dedicate yourself to the goals and attitude of this band, you won't last. I'm not a tyrant and neither is Dan, but we both have a clear vision of what we want to do and we can't be slowed down!
Luxi: What bands or single solo artists could you possibly name as the most influential or inspirational names for Scythe?
Rick Scythe: Venom, Celtic Frost, Bulldozer, Sodom, Motorhead, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Manowar, Usurper, Slayer, Slaughter, Unleashed, Dark Angel, Amebix, Asphyx, Winter, Saint Vitus, Samhain, Bathory, Possessed, Wichfinder General, Iron Maiden... anything that kicks ass and isn't modern.
Luxi: Scythe played a record release gig in your home town of Chicago on April 27th that was arranged by R.I.P. Records. How was the response on that gig? Did you have a great night together with the audience?
Rick Scythe: Oh yeah! Magical! It was our record release show so we had a lot of friends in the audience as well as old fans and other freaks. The place was packed and we delivered the goods! Another great R.I.P. Records band named Stone Magnum supported us, so it was real Metal all the way around.
We delivered the goods, played the whole "Beware The Scythe" album in order. Tons of head banging, fist banging, smoke, cool lights, leather, spikes... it was as Metal as you can get! Next shows will be even bigger. More smoke, more pyro, more headbanging (if that's possible). It seems like a lot of younger kids are discovering the real ways of Heavy Metal, and we're happy leading the pack.
Luxi: How important do you see gigging for Scythe as a part of promotion? I think I am not that wrong by saying that you absolutely love being on stage and just entertain your fans by offering them uncompromising, raw and straight Metal, played from the bottom of your heart and soul, correct?
Rick Scythe: Luxi, you must have read my mind! I couldn't put it any better myself, and that's saying a lot! Yes I love being on stage! I never understood "stage fright", that's for unconfident nerds! This music comes from my heart and soul. I've been performing on stage for nearly 25 years! I've played hundreds of shows in 17 different countries for throbbing Metal masses coast to coast and across the globe! I have only one goal in life: to kick maximum ass! I don't do anything half assed.
With Scythe, myself and Dan have some big plans. We want to deliver the goods in a way not seen since Venom in their prime. We are not there yet, but almost; we just have to make sure people want it! We are Metal fans, not rock stars. We are out to head bang together with the audience. We are out to have a blast and entertain people, not stand up there like a couple of wet sacks of flour.
With us, it is QUALITY, not quantity. We're not concerned with playing 50 shows a year, we just want to concentrate on a few quality shows. We have no desire to play 'bitch' opening up for a bunch of rock star bands who will treat us like a bunch of jerkoffs, we would rather play quality concerts. Hopefully we will get opportunities to play overseas and some more festivals in the near future.
Luxi: Is there or are there some ideal or specific band/bands you'd like to tour with sometime in the future? Or does this matter that much as long as Scythe can go to places and play for as many people as possible?
Rick Scythe: Not so much specifically, "who" we will play with, but rather, "is this the right show for Scythe?". Right now Scythe is a new band. We have to open up for someone until we are more established. We'll play with anyone who treats us with respect and gives us enough stage time, stage space and freedom to do our thing. If a band thinks were a bunch of punk ass bitches, or feels threatened by us, then we have no desire to do anything but wipe them off the face of the Metal map. If I have to pick one band specifically to tour with, I would have to say I would like to do a tour with Sabbat. Eventually I want to be able to headline our own shows. As long as it's quality, we'll do it.
Luxi: How did your deal with this Finnish label Primitive Reaction happen anyway? Was Primitive Reaction the only label that showed some serious interest towards Scythe or were there also some other labels fighting over Scythe? What made Primitive Reaction's offer the most ideal for you?
Rick Scythe: Yes, we had other labels interested. One was a pretty big independent label, but the deal was not right. Primitive Reaction re-issued the "Threshold of the Usurper" album a few years back on vinyl and CD and did an amazing job. This was the type of label I wanted to work with for the debut Scythe album. I much prefer owning my own songs and just having quality labels release things.
In the USA it is released on vinyl through R.I.P. Records... another quality underground label. No one else I would rather work with in the USA than R.I.P. Records. Stan Koson is the owner, as well as our manager and also one of my best friends for the past 20 years. Both Primitive Reaction and R.I.P. Records are the types of labels I want to be associated with.
I own the rights to release it on iTunes and other internet sites, so it's out there for anyone who wants it. At this point in my career, I just want to work with people who really like the band, not someone who sees Scythe as a fad.
Luxi: Finnish artist Juha Vuorma also did the album cover artwork for "Beware the Scythe", as he did some album covers for Usurper back in the day. As far as I know, Juha has always been a loyal fan and friend of Usurper, so obviously asking him to do the cover artwork for Scythe was kind of logical. About the album cover of "Beware the Scythe", did you give him some sort of idea how you wanted the album cover to look like, or did you give him the album title and basically told him to use solely his imagination and just do his very best with it?
Rick Scythe: I consider Juha a good friend and a good artist. If it wasn't for Juha, I never would have been introduced to Primitive Reaction Records. Juha was there for some pretty rough times in my career and my life in general. He's one of my truest Metal brothers in the underground Metal scene...
For "Beware the Scythe" (as well as every Usurper album), I come up with the sketch, concept, color pallet and general ideas for the album art. I gave Juha a sketch for the Primitive Reaction release and I gave the same sketch to this amazing artist named Damien, from Canada (to paint the R.I.P. Records, vinyl version of "Beware the Scythe"). From that sketch they both painted their version based of the "Beware the Scythe" album cover. I am a decent artist, but only for sketches, I don't have time to dedicate to full illustrations or paintings right now... hopefully some day.
As you can see, both artists did an amazing job and both put their own unique style to their work. I like to work the same way with music in the band; even if I write a song, I like the other members to stay true to the idea, yet make it their own in the end.
Luxi: My next question is basically a bit out of the context but have you ever heard Juha's defunct Thrash Metal band called National Napalm Syndicate? Juha played bass in N.N.S. in 1987-89, and it was actually one of the first Thrash Metal bands to ever come out of Finland...
Rick Scythe: Juha mentioned this to me many years ago. Sadly I didn't hear much music from them, I heard some a while ago and it was great stuff. Juha is a pioneer and legend, that's for sure. Finland is such a kick ass country! Cold, dark, majestic... plus great looking women! Hail to Finland!
Luxi: As mentioned earlier, R.I.P. Records released "Beware the Scythe" in the States with an alternative cover. What was the main purpose to get the album out in the States with a different cover?
Rick Scythe: I want to do that for the fans. As a Metal fan I have different versions of my favorite albums, even if it's just a different label logo on the jacket. I have like 4 different versions of "Morbid Tales" alone! I just want each release to have a unique look, yet have a consistent theme. I want an artist from the territory of the release to paint the cover. The R.I.P. version was painted by this guy Damien from the great nation of Canada. Since Canada is from North America, he was the chosen one to paint the North American version of "Beware the Scythe".
Luxi: Haven't you ever thought of getting "Beware the Scythe" released as a cassette version too, sort of cherishing this old school tape-trading scene that Metalheads used to have some 20 years ago - plus kind of "educating" these younger kids about the times when it was very important for new bands that their demos and stuff tape-traded by people?
Rick Scythe: Luxi, I like the cut of your jib my man! Fear not my brother of Metal, it's already in the works! There is a label from Romania that will be releasing "Beware the Scythe" on cassette in December of 2012! You are right, kids need to be educated on the glory of cassettes!
Luxi: Internet has of course offered a totally new and useful tool for promoting bands around, so I'd like to hear about your experiences regarding this matter. When did you first discover how useful the internet is for letting people know about your band - and that way, building up a loyal fanbase around all your doings in the underground scene?
Rick Scythe: I was first online in 1999, but back then the internet was very basic. In some ways it was cooler back then because nothing was tracked, no internet police, there was no fancy video and people still bought CDs.
It wasn't until after we signed with Earache in 2001 that we realized there were a lot of people downloading albums online. Like I said earlier, when the Usurper album "Cryptobeast" came out in 2005 we experienced being more well-known than ever before, but also the least amount of actual CDss being sold. We got the old screw job because there was no wording in our contract about internet sales, so to this day Earache continues to make all the money from internet sales.
It was after that I made sure that whatever I did/will do in the future, I will own the rights to my own songs and be able to use the internet to promote, market and sell my music. I don't think if Scythe was on a big label we would be allowed to do this. I run the official www.scythe.us website, as well as the www.facebook.com/scythe.chicago, www.reverbnation.com/scythechicago, www.youtube.com/scythechicago, as well as the rights to sell "Beware the Scythe" on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3 and other places... without a big label it is all word of mouth though. Right now I wouldn't have it any other way.
Luxi: How's the local underground Metal scene in Chicago these days? How much has it changed over the years from your point of view, and are there currently some hot Metal names coming out from the Chicago underground scene that people should keep their curious ears out for?
Rick Scythe: I'm quite possibly the worst person to ask about "hot new music". I am pretty much a recluse and don't go to many shows anymore. I will say this, the scene has gotten HUGE here in Chicago. Back when Usurper was starting out we were possibly the ONLY band from Chicago playing music in the spirit of old school underground Metal like Venom, Celtic Frost, Sodom, etc. Usurper was wearing leather and spikes when no one in Chicago was doing that, beyond the first wave of 80's Chicago underground Metal...
The very first wave of Chicago underground bands all seemed to have broken up by the early-mid 1990's, so by the mid-late 90's the scene here consisted of mainly run-of-the-mill, eat-the-corpse-style, generic Death Metal. Usurper stuck out like a sore thumb amongst this music and it took a long time to build a fan base in our hometown. It was around 2005 that you would see more bands into the "retro Metal" style popping up, and that was largely due to Usurper, (although Usurper never gets the credit).
Nowadays you see tons of kids with Frost shirts, backpatches, old school stuff. But back when Usurper was starting it was mainly the Usurper guys, Stan from R.I.P. Records, Lordes Werre guys, Skullview guys that you would see wearing this kind of stuff and staying true to the real old school Metal... now it's everywhere.
It is cool though that the younger kids are appreciating REAL underground Metal, but I'm sure for many it is a passing fad until the next new thing comes along. As for current bands I would say Stone Magnum, Malas, Kommandant, Superchrist, Necrodemon and a few others I am forgetting...
Luxi: If I came to Chicago as a tourist to experience some of Chicago's real Metal culture and spirit, which places would you warmly recommend me to check out in your home town?
Rick Scythe: Luxi, I would be happy to be your tour guide... first I would welcome you with a 24 ounce can of Chicago's premium beer, OLD STYLE. This swill is what all the old fuckers drink, you will see Old Style signs above every corner bar. It is the beer of choice for every blue collar Chicagoan and tastes like rusty water, plus you have to drink a lot of it to catch a buzz.
If you want to see the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, you can check out the Sears Tower, which was renamed the Willis Tower by some globalist scum fucks, but you would have to be willing to ride shot gun in my turbo charged PT Cruiser as I drive like a lunatic through lower Wacker Drive, which runs underground below the city.
Big fuckin' deal, a tall building... right? I agree. Time to take you to a real landmark... time to take you to Smiler Coogans for a reunion of one of the shittiest bar/Metal clubs from the 1990's Chicago Metal scene! There will for sure be a Smiler Coogan's reunion just for you to experience, Luxi. The sign will say, "Welcome losers from 1994" complete with bad Death Metal bands $1 pitchers of Old Style and more skanky Metal broads than you can handle.
Next, if you're hungry there is some kick ass Mexican food on every corner, as well as Italian Beef sandwiches that fuckin' rule supreme, as well a Jim's Maxwell Street Grill... only 4 things on the menu there: Polish sausage sandwich, pork chop sandwich (with the bone in it), cheeseburger and hot dog. All 4 only come with mustard, grilled onions and hot peppers... you can only get mustard on hot dogs in Chicago, ketchup is for complete posers, please don't embarrass yourself (or me) by ordering it on anything! One thing though, Jim's Maxwell Street Grill is outdoors, the cooks are behind bulletproof glass and don't speak English too well. You have to eat outside on the hood of my car and be prepared to get harassed by people selling bags of socks and other crap you don't want. Plus plenty of rats... delicious, delicious rats!
You can also get Chicago style pizza, which isn't "deep dish" like most trendy posers will have you believe. If you live on the South Side of Chicago, it is ultra-thin 'n crispy crust, cut into squares with Italian Sausage... if you want a non-alcoholic beverage, please order a "POP", not a "soda"... they will think you are a bit "light in the loafers" if you order a "soda..." they might think we're a couple or something. If you want a true local Chicago Pop, try Chicago's very own Canfield's Red Pop, it is a South Side classic, but it might turn your teeth red.
If you want to be creeped out we can take a trip to Bachelors Grove Cemetery or Hull House. You can check out the mighty Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, right on Lake Michigan. Then we can drive South past US Cellular Field to the home of Scythe: Svelterfrost Studios. After we blast your ear drums out, we can take a trip up North past where John Wayne Gayce's house used to stand... and if you listen closely, you can still hear moans coming from the crawl space... yes, Chicago is my kind of town!
Luxi: What about this retro-Thrash movement that has strongly been raising its ugly head in today's Metal music markets, with many new bands getting signed to labels due to this retro-Thrash thing becoming so popular and "in-thing" among today's kids? Are you partly into it - or heavily against it, just for knowing things were done way better during the 80's?
Rick Scythe: I choose to ignore this silly trend all together. Bunch of clueless little kids who weren't even born in the 80's who act like they know what that scene was all about. I remember when Usurper started, people in the media called us "Retro Thrash Metal". There were bands like Usurper, Gehenna (the HARDROCKER one), Nifelheim, Bewitched, Lordes Werre, even Absu that got tagged with this label. But back then, it was a way for the media to insult Usurper. Yes, we were bringing back the old ways of Metal, but doing it in a unique way. That is how I view Scythe as well. We are not trying to mimic this scene, or do a cute parody of 80's Thrash Metal, like the majority of these hacks - we are just lunatics who are really into this style and those influences are part of our sound. However, we feel we are doing something new and different - establishing our unique identity.
Luxi: If you had all the power you needed in your hands, what would be those 2 rotten things in today's music industry you'd change immediately, to make it somehow better from an artist's point of view?
Rick Scythe: Labels would have to make CDs, vinyl and cassettes, and make them look KICK ASS! It boggles my mind how in this day and age when kids can easily download stuff, that labels put out products with inferior packaging. You need a minimum of 12-page color CD booklet, gatefold, or poster in the vinyl, perhaps cassette versions as well... you need quality, color illustrations for the cover art or at least a quality black and white cover BECAUSE you want it that way, not because you are too cheap to pay for full color.
Also, I would say include stuff like "free itunes/digital download version with CD or vinyl purchase" Nowadays you have to give kids a reason to buy your stuff.
Luxi: I also gotta assume you have constantly been working on with some new Scythe songs since "Beware the Scythe" was released, so is there some hot news available already regarding this new Scythe material?
Rick Scythe: Very, very early stages. So far I have a few songs, lyrics and concepts. Some track titles are: "Nightmare City", "The Grunting Dead", "Where Dead Posers Lie" and "Operation Northwoods"... many more tracks to come. Both myself and Dan Geist are going to create a monster!
Luxi: Okay, before we are done, I'd like to inquire one more thing from you: If you were privileged to form some sort of "dream team" to play "The Star-Spangled Banner" - the national anthem of the United States of America, at the final of a Super Bowl game, who still living musicians would you choose for 1) guitar(-s) 2) bass and 3) drums? You would obviously sing the song...
Rick Scythe: First of all it would have to be the greatest American Football team of all time playing in the Super Bowl, The Chicago Bears! Secondly, I would definitely not be worthy enough to sing this great song. We would need a voice like Eric Adams to sing; then both myself and Ted Nugent on twin guitar attack; on bass, none other than the great Danny Lilker - and finally on drums, my brother from Usurper and fellow Chicago Bears fan, Joe Warlord!
Luxi: I think that was it Rick, so I sincerely want to thank you for your time going through this question marathon and wish you all the best with any future endeavors with Scythe. If you like to share some last words with the readers of The Metal Crypt, then here's your ultimate chance to do so...
Rick Scythe: You guys kick ass! Thank you Luxi for this very interesting interview! Pick up our CD, vinyl, cassette or digital download of "Beware the Scythe" on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon MP3... Be sure to also visit SCYTHE on the web:
|Other information about Scythe on this site|
|Review: Beware the Scythe|
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|Review: Subterranean Steel|
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