(Thanks Clawhamer Pr) 💿 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal DREW RIZZO of MIDNITE HELLION well known Heavy Metal band from Trenton, US! Let’s start talking about the early days of the band..When is this all begun? Which bands have influenced you? Drew Rizzo: Greetings, thank you very much for having us! The madness began on April 4th, 2011, when bassist/singer Jaron Gulino and I combined forces and decided to create a brand-new band of Heavy Metal. Together, we quickly composed new songs and had a brief stint with guitarist Alex Kubik before life pulled us all in different directions. You can now catch Alex on bass with Horrendous and Jaron with a numerous amount of bands, including On Top, who just put out a killer album called “Top Dollar,” and Mach22, who recently opened for Guns ‘N Roses and Bon Jovi. He’s currently touring the US with Tantric for the rest of 2017. Bringing it back to Midnite Hellion, after regrouping and bringing in a new lineup, we released a demo cassette titled, “The Fever,” released on November 17th 2011 on Hels Trash Industries, and performing regional dates in the NJ/NYC/PA regions, including supporting Obituary at our demo release show, Artillery’s second US performance ever, Whiplash, Blood Feast, Deceased, and Morbid Saint at both of their first east coast performances in Brooklyn and Philadelphia respectively. The rest of 2012 was concentrated on releasing our EP, Enter The Unknown, on Else’s Metalecke, and touring the Northeast US with the legendary NY Death Metallers Prime Evil. We spent majority of the following year on regional performances with legendary bands such as Diamond Head, Raven, Attacker, and one of my personal favorites, OZ, which was a show that I had co-promoted. The end of 2013 brought on a new release, our 7” single, “Hour of the Wolf,” which was our first offering with Witches Brew. Touring in support of our new single was so much busier than we had ever imagined, and we are extremely grateful for that! It brought us to Chicago for the first time as part of the Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse festival. This event had us sharing the stage with two of my personal favorite bands, Grim Reaper and RIOT. Grim Reaper’s set was extra special as it was the first time that Nick Bowcott had performed with the band since 1987, and to the best of my knowledge, the only performance in their history that had dueling-lead guitarists. In addition, we had performed at the Starland Ballroom for the first time, which is the largest club in Jersey, with another favorite band of mine, OverKill. Combined with supporting Toxik’s first US show since their reunion and the rare but incredible Neil Turbin-fronted Onslaught Jersey date, we’re definitely both humbled and proud to have been a part of quite a few historical US concerts! Recently, we have concentrated on writing and recording for our upcoming album and beyond, plus performing out live as much as possible. With regards to influences, Judas Priest is one of our absolute primary influences as well as favorite bands of all time. There is absolute perfection within each and every one of their albums, and to be able to have each of their songs sound unique yet have the quality of the Priest stamp is something very special, and something that we also strive for as well. For redundancy’s sake, all of the other bands mentioned in this interview are also influences, which is extremely cool that we were able to support many of our influences. In addition, early Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Helloween, early 80’s Slayer, Hallows Eve, and of course, 80’s Metallica, absolutely need to be mentioned as influences.
💿 On September 15th will be out your new full-length CONDEMNED TO HELL. We were really goin’mad listening to this work and reviewing it..Can you tell us somethin’about this platter and its composition process? DR: Thank you very much, glad that you all are digging our newest offering!! We returned to Landmine Studios in Ewing, NJ to record the album and our friend, Len Carmichael, has provided his services for co-production, engineering, mixing, and mastering. He knows how to get the best out of us and we are very proud of the final results. The composition for the album itself began about two years ago, when I had a major spark in creativity and was able to pen a great amount of material in record time. I brought my ideas to our bassist/singer Rich Kubik and now former lead guitarist, Jeremy Moles, both of whom also brought in their ideas of course, and collectively, we finalized everything together and made a record that we feel is heavy beyond heavy. We were fortunate to have quite a bit of material that was not used on this recording, and have thus already began the writing process for our next album! We also felt that some of the older material needing some updating with regard to their recorded versions. Due to them being fan-favorites and featured in a lot of our live performances, we decided to re-record them for this offering as the other titles are now out of print. Always keeping our supporters at the forefront of our process! 💿 The album will be out via WITCHES BREW. Can you tell us somethin’about the relationships with this label? DR: Witches Brew and I go back to about seven years now, when we established a working relationship during my time with my previous band, Horrifier, as we were signed to the label. I had hit it off immediately Cheryl, the Brew mistress, and we remained friends throughout the years. When she decided to restart the label after a brief hiatus, she approached me about seeing if we’d like to work together again, and it was a no-brainer instant affirmative response! She does a lot for her bands and is always coming up with new and creative ways to package and promote her releases, and she always uses top-quality materials for everything. Together, we have some killer surprises in the works for “Condemned To Hell,” so keep it locked to http://www. http://witchesbrewthrashes.de for more information and updates! 💿 The real “news” in music industry is the return of vinyl; What’s your feeling about this classic format and the current music business? DR: Personally, I love vinyl. I am a major collector regarding all things in Heavy Metal memorabilia, and vinyl is one of my top pieces! While I am a bit of a nut regarding original pressings, I also do enjoy hunting down some of the new reissues, especially when they have bonus features. I still listen to records and cassettes regularly, but not as much as I would like to due to lack of time, but I pick up a few stacks every year for that one moment in time that I will finally be able to sit down and enjoy my collection. With regards to the industry standpoint of vinyl, it is absolutely great that a physical medium is gaining such rapid popularity again. However, when the initial downfall of records occurred, majority of the plants had shut their doors which has made it very much in their favor in terms of cost of production nowadays. Granted while more facilities have opened in recent years, it is still an astronomical price and makes it difficult for bands to sell records at more reasonable price-points while still generating a profit. Gone are the days of $9.99 records; now it’s $24.99 for a single LP in standard black without a gatefold or anything unique with the packaging. Even the used market has gone insane. What I used to be able to purchase used in excellent condition for $1.99 now retails for $35 in worse shape and marked as “rare,” even though plentiful numbers were produced and it’s a title that is easy to locate. However, saying all of that, we are pleased to be offering “Condemned To Hell” on vinyl format as well as CD and cassette, and they will be featured at “The Nice Price!” The current music business gets stranger by the day. There is literally no business model left to go by anymore. A lot of it is trial and error, unfortunately, which can end up costing the artist a lot more time and money than needed through experimentation. The old cycle of record album and tour in support of it while receiving tour support from labels, as well as artist development, is sadly non-existent now. I know that I echo a lot of the older artists recently by saying that there will never be another KISS, another Metallica, another Motley Crue, etc., but they are absolutely 100% correct. However, there is always a small glimmer of hope for change, and that change comes from within us. While in the past, the record labels had been known for forcing bad contracts upon artists uneducated in the industry, at least that method allowed a wider distribution of product in which the artist could gain profit with merchandise sales as the labels were to recoup their losses on record sales directly. Sure, it might have not been the most honest business method, but the difference is very visible, especially in the US. Bands that used to pack clubs and concert halls are now playing to maybe 100 people at most at bars on weekends, in which 25% of the audience consists of the opening local bands. This also is a direct result of social media, technology, and the digital age as a whole. People don’t want to buy albums because they can download them for free. Now with live streaming, they don’t even need to bother to leave their house to see a concert because they can watch it on their computers. Artists like Danzig have it right – live in the moment and enjoy the show. Before people jump on the gun to badmouth Danzig and my views, let it be known that he explained his stance in great detail at a concert that I had attended of his a few years ago. He said straight-up that he doesn’t mind people snapping a few pictures during the show or even recording their favorite songs. What he’s against is people standing there the entire performance holding up their cell phones or worse yet, tablets, and recording the entire show. Who wants to have their view of a concert blocked by some knucklehead’s cell phone? Not me, that’s for sure. And guess what? People at the show LISTENED and respected what he had to say. A few photos were taken, as well as a few videos, but most importantly, people lived in the moment, had a great time, and Danzig’s attitude reflected it as well. His performance was spot-on, he was slapping hands with the audience members in the front and while they crowd-surfed while he sang, and it was like a show from years gone by. I miss the days that cells phones were not allowed in venues if they had a camera. Last month, my fiancé and I caught Slayer at the Felt Forum in NYC. Now, Slayer fans that see that statement should know what that meant in 1988. For those that don’t, it was documented as one of the most violent Slayer shows in history. NYC Slayer crowds were among the most violent, even dating back to the L’amour concerts on their earlier tours. In 1988, they had to end the concert early because of the fans destroying the seats and being a vicious crowd. I was told by an attendee that after the show someone was outside holding their eye socket asking if anyone had seen their eyeball. Yes, he had lost his eye in a Slayer pit in NYC! This event caused Slayer to be banned from MSG, much like Judas Priest was four years prior. Now, knowing all of that, one would think that this concert would be wild, crazy, and your feet wouldn’t touch the floor the entire night due to the sheer force of the crowd, right? WRONG. People sat in their seats instead of throwing them, which was a plus of course not having to dodge seat cushions all night. However, the mosh pit was small, headbanging was minimal, and the majority of the crowd were standing there filming with their cell phones in the air instead of getting into the show. This to me is ruining the live concert experience for absolutely everyone, bands and fans included. Not only is the energy down significantly, it also enables people to sit at home and do nothing. Before people complain about the increasing costs of ticket prices, which is true, just remember, it’s largely due to less and less people attending. Slayer’s always been a band that has been riding between arenas and clubs, which some will argue, so let’s bring it to one of the largest bands in the world instead – IRON MAIDEN. We went to see Maiden twice this year, in Newark and Brooklyn respectively. Both events were severely undersold, and both featured large amounts of tickets being given away, which I am not complaining about of course as I attend as many concerts per year as I can, so it was nice to save some cash to pick up their merchandise with instead. The price point is high because seats cannot be filled, but seats cannot be filled because price points are high. The price points increased due to lack of attendance when they were lower, so what’s a band to do that wants to bring a top-notch show to their audience each and every time? Do note, that Maiden’s show costs are astronomical due to the production and amount of manpower involved to make it all happen. One could get a stripped down show for significantly cheaper, but then people will complain about that of course as well since Maiden has been consistent with brining in over the top productions. All of this is also killing it for both the smaller and larger bands alike. People need to remember and realize that all of their bands were once local bands. Support the bands you love and help them to shine, otherwise this all is going to go away very quickly and we’ll be left with commercial music only.
💿 Can you tell us somethin’ about your next live projects to promote the new album? DR: We have already begun the cycle prior to the album release! However, our upcoming record release show, is slated to be one of the biggest and best yet! We will be returning again to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on Sunday, September 17th and will be supporting Exodus and Obituary, in addition to Power Trip and Dust Bolt. This concert is not to be missed, as we have a lot of surprises in store for everyone! More information about the event can be found at our website, http://www.midnitehellion.com. While we still have a main concentration in the regional area, we were very pleased to finally visit both VA and DE earlier this year and are looking forward to returning soon! We have made it a point to feature a lot of new material in our recent live performances, but of course not everything as we do wish to have some surprises for our supporters! After supporting some incredible concerts including Flotsam & Jetsam and Helstar, and returning to the Starland Ballroom earlier this year supporting UDO Dirkschneider and Yngwie J. Malmsteen, we are very ready to go full-speed ahead into the next phase of promoting “Condemned To Hell,” which will include a larger touring cycle. We are working on arranging touring more consistently next year and if the stars align correctly, we would be honored to be taken out on the road in support of a more established and larger band! 💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on HARDROCKHEAVYMETAL ! DR: Cheers, thank you very much for taking the time to interview us and feature us in your publication!
Be sure to keep up to date on all things Midnite Hellion at:
http://www.midnitehellion.com, http://www.facebook.com/midnitehellion and http://www.facebook.com/midnitehellion1, http://www.instagram.com/midnitehellion, http://www.twitter.com/midnitehellion, http://www.youtube.com/midnitehellion, and virtually every other site you can imagine. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing support, and we will see you all soon! Keep the flame of Heavy Metal burning strong!