By Carl C. Sundberg
Known as one of the bands that ushered in the new thrash revival, Municipal Waste has been wreaking havoc from the US to the UK since 2000, after playing their first gig at a keg party in their hometown of Richmond, VA - home to other veteran metal bands Lamb of God and Gwar.
With head-snapping speed and riffs that tear mosh pits to shreds, Municipal Waste is also well known for their crazy shows and their wild party antics - on and off stage – having written in their own words, the “Reign in Blood of party albums” with their third release, “The Art of Partying.” Vocalist/frontman Tony Foresta admits this album really put Municipal Waste on the map for a lot of people just waking up to the thrash revival, but it is not their final stand.
Their next release and current album, “Massive Aggressive”, takes the fury and intensity in a more serious direction, proving that Municipal Waste is not just another beer-chugging, pizza-eating, denim-wearing neo-thrash party band. Municipal Waste is here to fuck you up for the long haul.
Q: What got you into thrash?
A: When I was younger, I was more coming out of the punk scene, and I liked more of the aggressive brutal punk, I listened to a lot of Power Violence, stuff like that. You can see back then, most of these really good thrash bands listened to punk bands. You can look at the back of an old thrash record and look at the t-shirts of the bands that they’re wearing, and they were into punk and hardcore. Look at the back of a Metallica record, you’ll see Cliff Burton wearing a Misfits shirt. Dudes in Nuclear Assault wearing NDC shirts, stuff like that. I mean it’s basically punks playing metal. It’s fast and it’s aggressive and it’s catchy. It’s a different style of music. It’s more than just metal.
Q: Thrash had it’s roots in the early 80s, you had bands like Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies, Kreator, Testament, and now there’s a reemergence of the thrash movement, people calling it neo thrash or whatever, with the denim jackets, it seems like a very cohesive intentional thing. Did you see that coming or did that shock you?
A: I thought it was kind of weird. I remember 8 years ago, we used to wear denim, but nobody in the band wears denim anymore. Wait, no Phil does actually. But I remember we used to roll up to hardcore shows and we’d be the only guys in denim jackets and long hair, and people would be like, “You guys are fucking crazy”. They thought we were like straight out of the 80s or something, and we were just dressing like what we dressed like. We weren’t really trying to start a throwback or anything. We were doing and dressing how we liked. It just felt right to us. Now, I don’t even wear a vest anymore, cuz it’s just crazy now, I don’t want it to be like a trendy thing. It’s weird now to see how many people are into this whole thrash revival, for lack of a better word. I never would of really expected it to explode the way it has.
Q: It is kind of crazy seeing 13 year old dudes who have the complete perfect thrash wardrobe or wearing something you would have seen at an Anthrax show in 83. It’s like, ‘You weren’t alive back then! Where did this come from?’
A: It is crazy, but it’s cool that people are going back and looking at that music because when we started playing it, it was something kind of forbidden and people were kind of embarrassed to talk about it. Which I thought was ridiculous. But yeah, just to see that comeback in full circle and have people embrace it is cool. It’s helped our band a lot because more people are listening to our band now than they would have ten years ago.
Q: And you guys beat a lot of bands to the punch. You’ve been doing this a lot longer than most of the new bands, you’re on the spearhead of the revival.
A: Yeah, we started out before it. We weren’t really trying to do that. It just kind of happened. I mean yeah, it’s a good thing, like I said, it’s helped our band a lot. We’re able to tour the world now and see all these amazing countries and I never thought I could do that just playing music. I’d be happy just to make it out to the west coast once every couple years. (laughs) But now we’re just a touring force because so many people support what we’re doing. It’s amazing.
Q: You guys are from Richmond, VA where Lamb of God and Gwar are from, what’s the scene like over there?
A: It’s weird cuz it’s a really small town, smaller than like Columbus, Ohio, but the music scene is monstrous. The reason why, I think, is because Richmond’s like a suburb of DC, it’s 2 hours south of DC and 2 hours west of Virginia Beach, and those are two huge cities that don’t have thriving music scenes. So I think a lot of the creative people get frustrated with that, the expensive rent or whatever and they move to Richmond because it’s just a more open-minded community and they move here and start killer bands. There’s also an art school here. So it’s packed with creative people and there’s a killer band for every genre of music, it’s not just thrash or metal. It’s like Seattle in the 90s only it’s more lo-key, people don’t realize it.
Q: You guys are known to be a party band. How much of that image is real, how much of it is more like, “Well we gotta go with it…”
A: Considering I’m standing outside in my sweat pants completely hammered still from last night…(laughs) I mean we party. We’re not crackheads or anything. We’re not drug addicts. But we drink a lot. We have a lot of good friends in different towns so it’s kind of hard to take a night off sometimes, but as much as we travel, it’s good to see our friends as often as you can. So when you see them, it’s crazy. That’s what happened last night. So yeah we party. We party our ass off. But we also take writing music and touring and traveling the world very seriously. It gets me down sometimes when people think that all we wanna do is get fucked up and trash shit. It happens. (Laughs) But it ain’t what we’re about. It’s not the only thing we’re about. If it was, I think we’d be a shitty band and we wouldn’t write good songs.
Q: What’s some of the craziest shows you’ve played recently?
A: On this tour we played Houston, and some guy climbed up in the rafters while the opening band was playing and kicked the sprinkler system, one of the nozzles, and it exploded. And all this black water that smelled like mercury shot all over the crowd. I mean it was seriously like a fire hose going off into the crowd and they cancelled the show. We had to run out and grab all of our equipment and clear it out of the building and it was a huge mess. What other shit happened on this tour…the next day we played Austin, TX and Billy Milano from SOD got up on stage and sang United Forces with us. So that was really cool. Every day something new and crazy happens. And that’s why we do this band. It brings people together and it’s always a crazy experience.
Q: Are there any places you guys have played that are ridiculous hot spots for thrash?
A: Oh man, yeah. LA is just over the top right now. It’s unbelievable. Our shows in LA are insane. London is awesome. Shit man, there’s some surprising ones in there…Philly is always good. Philly’s like our second home. Toronto is pretty wild too, Italy; when we go out to Italy the kids are so hungry for it and they just go crazy. I think it’s more ravenous with towns we’ve never been to, it’s just so crazy. People just freak out that we’re there. Like eastern Europe, the places they don’t get music as much, they’re hungry for it. They live for it. When a band comes through, they rip ‘em apart. (laughs) They kicked my ass dude. It was hard to keep our equipment intact because so many kids were jumping onstage and pushing me over and jumping in the crowd. It’s just wild. We get our ass kicked. That’s what happens when you’re an in-your-face band. It means the world to us to go to these countries and people react that way. I’d much rather have someone knock me over and screaming our lyrics than somebody just be standing there with their arms folded.
Q: Let’s talk about the new album. It’s your fourth release. What was something you wanted to do different with Massive Aggressive that Municipal Waste hasn’t done before?
A: Well, when we did out third album, The Art of Partying, we were trying to write the Reign in Blood of party albums. We thought it’d be funny to have a concept record about partying. But what happened was, the album was a success. We didn’t realize it, but it was actually a breakthrough album for us because it was the first album that people heard by Municipal Waste. It was like, ‘oh that’s this band.’ All they sing about is partying, that’s amazing, so all people knew about was our partying, we kind of had to branch away from that and let it be known that we’re not just a party band. We’re not just gonna write songs about that. We’re gonna write some ripping tunes. And I think we pulled it off. But it wasn’t easy.
Q: What were you trying to do lyrically with Massive Aggressive?
A: We wanted to write more focused songs, something more pissed off, for lack of a better word, something more aggressive .We wanted to have a record that punches you from start to finish. It’s not our fastest record, but I think it’s one of our strongest ones.
Originally published on 101d.com