- Hello, Tony! Let's start with the early days of the band. So, how did you meet each other?
- I met Gregg through a mutual friend of ours in a great old Metal bar in Birmingham called "The Costermongers". Cerebral Fix had already started at this point and had been rehearsing for about a year before I joined. Gregg, Simon and Adrian all lived close to each other in the south of Birmingham, and all drank in the Alternative/Indie/Punk/Metal bars in the city centre.
- When did you come up with the idea of creating a band and where was your first rehearsal place?
- A lot of our friends from the local punk/metal scene were already in bands, so why not... give it a go. It was just about having some fun with some mates to start off with. No serious plans of becoming a signed band, just having a doss making some noise. I think our first rehearsal room was in a place called "Fastix" in the jewellery quarter of Birmingham.
- Before your debut full-length, you released a few demos. Back in those days, what was the most difficult about recording a demo? How did you distribute your tapes? Were you guys involved into tape-trading?
- Well firstly, none of us had any decent equipment to be fair, so we had to find one where we could loan some gear to record with, and then save up some money to record our songs.
We sold our tapes at gigs, sometimes going to other bands gigs to sell them there. Simon and Ade went to the "Christmas on Earth" gig up in Leeds back in 1987, which had Megadeth, Overkill, and Nuclear Assault to name a few on the bill, with a bag full of demos and merch. I think they sold 50 Demos and 10 T-Shirts that night.
I used do tape trading back then, it was a great way off getting to hear new demos by bands who were from different parts of your country, and the world really. I got to know guys from Carcass, Paradise Lost, Hellbastard plus many more through tape trading.
- Alright, in 1988 you released your first album, "Life Sucks... and Then You Die!". What can you say about the recording sessions? How did it go? How long did it take you lay everything down?
- The session only took a week to record and mix. We went in with a positive attitude, even saying that we were not going to drink while recording which went well until we met up with our producer Iain Burgess. Iain was Great, he walked in and introduced himself to us then took a walk around the studio. We were all sat in the control room when Iain came back in and he said, "Right...all looks good. We got any beers? We ain't doing a thing until we have a carton of cigarettes and some beers...". So that was it, we spent the whole week being lubricated by Red Stripe Lager. Ha-ha, which showed in the final mix. Let's just say it could have been a little tighter. But we had such a great time recording it, and great having the experience of Iain Burgess to help us through it.
- The album cover is pretty much amazing, was it your idea or did it belong to the artist, Paul McHale? And how could you comment on the title? Where does it come from?
- Paul is an old friend of ours a such an awesome talented artist, so he was our first choice. He'd already done Bolt Throwers first album cover and we were impressed with that. We just told him that we need an album cover with our logo, and the title "Life Sucks And Then You Die" on it and just let him do whatever he wanted. And as you see, he didn't let us down. It's a brief glimpse into the mind of a genius in my eyes.
The title is basically an old saying from what I can remember, but knowing Simon... it was more than likely quoting from Stephen King's Pet Cemetery novel.
- In 1990 you released "Tower of Spite". First of all, how did you get the deal with Roadrunner Records? Did you consider any other offers too?
- Roadrunner saw us at the Fulham Greyhound down in London, we supporting the Hard Ons I think. We chatted with them and they liked what they heard, but wanted to hear some new material, so we wrote and recorded some new songs which appear on the Tower Of Spite demo. They were impressed with what they heard on the demo and offered us the deal. We didn't really speak to anyone else in depth to be honest. Vinyl Solution offered us a second album. but the Roadrunner deal was just what we were looking for.
- How different was this time recordings different from your previous sessions? New studio, new producer, what could you recall about this time? Did you have any particular difficulties?
- Recording the "Tower of Spite" album was quite easy to be honest, as we had already work with the producer Paul on the "Tower" demo. So he already knew what we were looking for, in regards sound/feel for the album. And don't forget we also had new members to the band too. Andy Baker and Frank Healy made us a much tighter band. So that is one of the reasons that there is such a difference between "Life Sucks..." and "Tower". It was certainly an easier album to record, plus we had a few days longer in the studio this time which helped. Less beer this time but we still had a doss!
- Afterwards, you had a UK tour, what bands did you play with? Was it your first tour like that? What are the best memories left after that trip?
- First off we were asked to play 2 nights supporting Sepultura at the Marquee in London. We obviously jumped at the chance, and they were two of the best gigs that I've ever played at. Both nights were sell outs and both bands played well. Good crowd too, proper old school thrash night. Massive pit and endless stage diving.
Around the time the album came out we supported the mighty Napalm Death around the UK. It wasn't the first UK tour though as we had supported Bolt Thrower promoting the first album. Every night was great though.... Such a doss! We are good friends with the Napalm boys have been for a long time, so going out on the road with them was just like one long party. Lots of fun, with added water pistol fights.
- Your next opus, "Bastards", was released only 1 year later. Comparing it to the previous albums, how could you describe that one? How did you see the evolution of the band and did you feel any need for a change?
- We were kind of under pressure to release an album the year after "Tower" but that was okay, sadly Andy had decided to quit drumming for a while to concentrate on other sides of the business, but we were introduced to Kev Frost. Scruffy little urchin but he sure could play the drums. Slightly different in style to Andy but still in the same class as him. Things with Kev worked out great. He was a great laugh and jumped straight into the job by doing a little tour of the Netherlands after only 3 rehearsals.
I really liked our "Bastards" album, Frank was more involved in the song writing with this album as we'd already written a chunk of the "Tower" before he and Andy joined. So it was always going to be obvious that this would have a slightly different feel. Normally Gregg and I had banded around riffs between us but frank added a different dimension to the song writing. Usually because he'd been listening to Depeche Mode, and heard a melody in the song that he liked the feel of, and thought that would sound great played in a metal style.
I didn't feel that we needed to change our music, it just happened. We were all learning on the job really, best job I've ever had.
- How did it happen, that Blaze Bayley recorded some vocals on "Smash it Up" track? What did he say about your music in general?
- We've know Blaze for a long time, I met him through his cousin in the mid 80's, but generally from seeing Wolfsbane play. We played with them once, the usual insanity ensued. But generally back then a lot of the bands in Birmingham area kind of knew each other from bumping into each other various rehearsal complexes, or in a pub or a club.
How did it happen that he appeared on that Track....?? We just asked him, and he thought it would be a doss. He liked our music, and he quite often was seen back then wearing a Fix shirt at a Wolfsbane gig or photo shoot.
- Later on you had a tour with Obituary, how did it go? Do you remember any shows in particular? Did anything funny happen to you during that tour?
- The Obituary tour was cool, again an honour to be touring with such a great band, but also nice guys too.
I was gutted when I found out that Frank Watkins had passed away. Really nice bloke. Loved Fish & Chips.
It was another great tour. It started off in our home town of Birmingham where some guy broke his wrist stage diving at the start of our set, and was back, with his wrist in a cast, stage diving towards the end of the Obituary. Full Metal Points to that man. The whole tour was mental from start to finish to be honest. We were using Ice-T's "Freedom of Speech" track as an intro for that tour, but we did laugh we looked from backstage at the Dublin show and saw the people at the front dancing to it. Good bunch of people at the Dublin show, some people had travelled down from Belfast to see us too, as there had been a problem with that gig and the promoter had pulled the show.
- In 1992 you released a very interesting album, "Death Erotica". First of all, how could you explain this huge flow of creativity, as it was your 3d album within 3 years. Some bands can only dream about it.
- Yeah, I was never totally happy with how "Death Erotica" came out. I think we needed another year to work on the songs more, or drop a few and wrote a few more. There's a few good songs on there in my opinion but some I would definitely like to have worked on some of them for longer, but again we were under pressure buy Under One Flag at this point to get the album released. There was a lot of creativity there, but some of it just doesn't flow right for my liking.
- How did you manage to gather so many cool people to perform some guest vocals? Clint Mansell, Shane and Barney from Napalm Death were among them. Was it planned?
- Just like Blaze, we knew these guys from the Birmingham Music scene. We all rehearsed at the same complex and drank in the same bars as them, so we just suggested it to them and they were up for the doss. The was no master plan at all.
- Tell us a bit about this record. What was the mood within the band while the recordings and what was your main goal?
- Just like I mentioned before, I was never totally happy with "Death Erotica" so to me it was hard to record, as when we had finished laying the songs down, I never felt like they were done properly. I was uncomfortable with them if you know what I mean. The others agree that we should have taken longer writing it.
There is always one goal when we record and that is to get the best possible product out to the fans.
- Why did you split up afterwards? And how did you decide on a reunion in 2006?
- There were many reasons that we split up back then, for me it was things were now different to when we had first started. We had no expectations that we were going to write and release 4 albums back then, we were doing it because it was something that we all enjoyed doing. Getting to record, play live and having people enjoy what I played was great, but when you have to release something under your name that you are not entirely happy with, well that sucks. Plus when Gregg left, I lost my main partner in crime, the guy who asked me to join the band in the first place, the fun had gone out of it. This is why I'm really chuffed with the new album. We did it in our time and the way we wanted it to. Dave at Xtreem has been really good to us, and we thank him for his patience. He thinks the new album is killer, so we are happy.
We got back together in 2006 because we had started chatting through social media and all agreed that playing in the Fix was one of the best things we done and was fun. So we thought fuck it lets have some fun.
- So, tell us about the upcoming new album, "Disaster of Reality". How could you describe it? What kind of music can we expect from you? What is the current line-up?
- We're really chuffed how the new album came out and have been in the studio several times over the last year. We recorded it bit by bit really, Drums and Guitar was first, then other layers were recorded later. Our singer and bass player left the band while we were recording the album, so there was some delay in the recording. But we have Neil on vocals and Nigel on bass now plus with the invaluable help of our good buddy Chris Doss, we eventually finished the album a few months ago.
Musically it sits somewhere in between "Life sucks" and "Tower", so there's a nice punky/metal crossover vibe about it. There's a lot more energy than our last album, and it's fun. Lyrically there's a mix of things we are angry about in the world, plus there's a few song we hope will put a smile on your face too. There's a song about us being too old to skateboard now for instance.
- When did you first start working on that material? Where did you record it? And who did the artwork for you?
- Gregg and I started bouncing ideas of each other about 18 months ago, then we started going through the ideas with Andy in a rehearsal room not long afterwards.
The album was recorded at my good friends Simon Reeves' Blotto studio in Birmingham, England. I've known Simon since the first album came out, and have played in bands with him before, so he knows better than most people, what I was aiming for in regards to what I wanted the album to sounds like.
The original artwork was done by a talent local artist Nicola Honey, she's pretty cool.
- The album will be released and distributed by Xtreem Music. How did you get in touch with Dave Rotten? Will there be any other format but CD? Any special edition maybe?
- Andy Baker knew Dave through something Dave released previously, and when Dave found out that we were back together and writing, he was the first to offer us a deal.
The album is also coming out on black and limited availability of coloured vinyl too, which is pretty cool. Its weird how that since our first album came out on vinyl back in '88, that vinyl disappeared and has now made a comeback.
- How do you plan to support it? Have you already planned or discussed any tours or concerts? Will there be any "Disaster in Europe" tour?
- Ha-ha, I like that name. We've not got anything booked as of yet, but people will hear about through our Facebook page first once we confirm any dates.
It will be cool to play the new material live that's for sure, and hopefully we'll get invited to play some festivals next year too.
- Thank you for this interview, Tony. Would you like to add anything in the end?
- I'd like to thank you for your time and the interview, and letting your readers get up to date with what's going on in the Fix.
We look forward to people hearing the new material, and seeing a few of you out on the road when we start playing some gigs. Take care peeps, peace
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