- Hey, Rich! Atrocity was formed in 1985, but when did your musical trip actually start? What where the bands that hooked you up? When did you start thinking of a band for the first time?
- Personally, I've wanted to play music since about the age of 11 or 12. Like most in my age group, KISS, was a big influence. That early stuff is great. I then got into the RAMONES and Sex Pistols among others. I started taking guitar lessons at age 12, but hated that method of learning!
- How did you meet the rest of the band? Who came up with that name? What was your first rehearsal place like?
- Actually, all of us in the band were from the same area and were all friends that were into the new(at the time) underground scene. Rob(vox), Bill(original guitar) and I all went to school together while Jeff(drums)lived in the next town, but we all hung out listening to the "heavy stuff" so it was easy to put a band together. Rob came up with the name after mulling over many other ideas. Our 1st rehearsal area was in Bill's parent's garage. That didn't last long, it was January and too damn cold!
- The first Demo, "Toxic Death" was released the same year, 1985. Where did you record it? Who was in charge of the cover?
- "Toxic Death" came out in '86. Sorry to correct you! We recorded that at RBY Studios. It was a nice place, but as you can tell by the production, the engineer knew nothing about recording metal and we knew nothing about producing metal! It was fun though. The song Gas Chamber was a little commercial sounding, but has now grown on me. Ha, that silly cover was drawn by yours truly! We printed shirts with that design and they sold! We were the only band in our part of the state playing heavier shit, so we kind of had a monopoly at the time. On this Demo we also added a guitarist, so we had Bill and Scott(another friend). "Toxic Death" wasn't technically our 1st tape though. Before that we recorded a really bad quality demo that was a mixture of covers and originals.
- Next Demo was released only 2 years later, "Ravaged by Disease". What did you take so long? With this tape, did you evolved anyhow your play-style?
- "Ravaged" came out in '87. We recorded this demo in the basement of Bill's parent's garage on a 4 track cassette recorder which was pretty high tech for the time! Man did we make a mess out of Bill's yard. His poor parents!! On this tape the style was basically the same, only the songs were better!
- The 3d and the last demo, "Mangled" was still released on your own. Did you get any offers from any labels? What was the local underground scene and how hard was the competition?
- "Mangled"(1988) was and sill is some of your best stuff. We went back into Nickel Studios to do that one. We worked with a better engineer and we kinda found our sound by then so the production was better. We did get some record company attention at the time. A young Earache Records showed interest as well as Peaceville. Nothing panned out though. They both had bigger productions going on. The local underground scene was still thin back then. We played with a couple bands from the southern part of the states that were playing underground at the time like Necromancy and Negative Existence. It was a pretty tight-knit scene in CT. We all became friends. It was cool.
- How did you get the deal with Hogbitch Records? What can you say about the recordings? It was 500 copies limited edition, do you still have a copy?
- Getting the deal with Hogbitch was the easiest deal ever! We self released it -it was our label!! I might have one or two hanging around. Not sure though. They sold fairly quickly and European record labels took 50 - 100 at a clip. Ironically, one of the labels that took many of them was a young label called Nuclear Blast!
- Finally, in 1990 you releases your first full-length, "Infected". First of all, how did you get the contract with Metalcore? How supportive was the label?
- That is a complicated and kind of stupid story on Atrocity's part. At 1st we had a deal with Deaf Records, which at the time was a new label under Peaceville Records. We were signed to do a split Lp/CD with Cadaver(Poland). Well being a start-up label things were going very slow and we were getting impatient. At the same time we had the interest of Black Box Records, which was a part of Plastichead. They wanted us to do a full length for their offshoot label called Metalcore. So, long story, short. We canceled our deal with Deaf, went with Metalcore and signed for three albums(the 3rd never happened). Metalcore wasn't very supportive here in the states.Yes, that Deaf Records is the same label that put out At The Gates, Impaler, Pitchshifter..ect.. I think we screwed up!
- Who was the artist of the cover? Did it reflect the main themes of your songs or was it rather because it looked cool?
- I don't know who did the artwork for "Infected" and "The Art of Death". No name, the guy just used a symbol! We loved the "Infected" album cover. It looked cool and did reflect some of our tunes to a point. You can find that album cover on some computer wallpaper sites and I saw that that album cover made the top 100 best album covers on one list on the web which is pretty cool.
- This album contains several songs from your previous demos and EP, but did you re-record them? Do they sound any different from the original ones?
- The songs that were on previous demos were rerecorded. The rest was the original recordings from the "Hatred Birth" E.P.
- 1992 marked for you the released of your second album, "The Art of Death". Why did Scott Reynolds have to leave? And how did Jesse Piechowski join you? He, by the way, did the artwork for your EP, didn't he?
- Scott left the band at the time due to musical differences. We all stayed friends. We knew Jesse through mutual friends and he was a local fan of the band that played guitar! Worked out well. Yes, he drew the front cover of "Hatred Birth" and designed that logo that we used from that point on. I did the back cover. Jesse and I still jam together in our band Tear Gas Union.
- This album sounds a bit different from your previous one, was it due to the new member in the band? Or was it your natural growth as musicians?
- A little of both. Obviously when you add a new person to the writing process the style will change a little, but it didn't all that much. Most of the sound difference was due to better recording and production because the record company paid for that one!
- Have you already heard at that time about another Atrocity, from Germany? Did you have any contact with them? What did you think about their music?
- I think that we heard about the Ger Atrocity around the time of our 1st demo. The funny part is that we started the same year, released our E.P's the same year and our 1st albums came out the same year! I did go back and forth with Alex, via mail,(that was our email!)back then. We used to correspond with a lot of bands back then via mail. As far as Ger Atrocity's music goes, I liked the "Blue Blood"E.P. And then they kinda lost me. Their music was much different. Later albums got really weird to me, but it seemed to work for them!
- How often did you play live? Did you have any tours? Did you manage to play outside of USA? Is there any concert that you still keep the memories of?
- We didn't play out often at all. It was hard back then. There wasn't many metal friendly clubs. Sometimes we had to rent out halls. We never toured or played outside the states. Metalcore Records did map out a European, seven country tour for us, but it never happened. That said, all of our gigs were pretty memorable!
- What was the band's status till 2009, when you released your last full-length? What did you do during that period of time?
- In 1993 the band broke up. That was the reason why we never did that 3rd album for Metalcore. After a while we lost touch with one another. I didn't even know were Rob (vox) was. I didn't play in a band for a long time. In the early 2000's Jeff (Atrocity drummer), me and another buddy formed a traditional metal band, wrote some music and found a singer. The band started out as Lepus and then later renamed to Upwards of Endtime. Jeff and I did two albums with this band. Ironically, we got Scott(early Atrocity)playing guitar on the 2nd U.O.E. album.
- What can you say about "Let War Rage"? How did it happen that after so many years you decided to record new album?
- Scott, Jeff and I started jamming together after we parted ways from U.O.E. Just fooling around, ya know? Wouldn't ya know it that I got tipped off by a friend, from way back, as how to get in touch with Rob. I got in touch with him and asked if he was into jamming at all. He agreed and we started writing tunes. At the same I was contacted by Open Grave Records to do an EP and possibly a new album. We weren't at all ready for this, so to get the name back out there we remixed and remastered side one of "Infected". That was released as an EP called "Contaminated". Then Open Grave moved or something and then they went under. Shortly after that we got an offer from Mad Lion Records (Poland) to do "Let War Rage".
- So, what is the current status of Atrocity? And do you have any plans regarding its future?
- The current status of Atrocity (our version anyhow) is defunct. We all agreed that it was time to let it go before it got burned out. There are no future plans for the band unless some record company is interested in reissuing our early stuff. It was a fun ride. I don't think any of us have any regrets.
- At the moment, together with Jesse you play in Tear Gas Union. Tell us a bit about this band. What are you up for now?
- Thanks for asking about Tear Gas Union! This is a fun 80's style, straight forward, in your face Heavy Metal Band! I encourage anyone reading this that is into old school metal to check TGU out at www.teargasunion.com or find us on Face Book. We are pretty busy with this band. We put out one album (CD, Lp,and DL) called "Scream in Vain". This is a raw self recorded and self released album of great tunes. W are currently in the editing pase of a music video for the song "UnHoly" and at the same time we are finishing up songs for a new album. We will be looking for a record company to release the next one. Attention labels! We also play out quite a bit. We are looking to get into Canada and Europe. Check us out, you won't be disappointed!
- Thank you for this interview, Rich! Would you like to add anything in the end?
- Thank you, Dima, for the interest in Atrocity. Good luck with Tough Riffs and keeping the Underground Alive! Life would be very boring without great noise and music! I still have copies of "Let War Rage" left and a few Atrocity shirts left. Anyone can contact me for info! Also check out Tear Gas Union! Much merch and music there!
P.S. At the time of this interview I am currently in talks with a record co. that is interested in releasing the "Mangled" recordings as an E.P. Stay Tuned!