OD: how have things been on this leg of the tour? Did it take a while to get back into the mindset of travelling and playing every night?
GLENN – Yeah it’s hard to get used to again. It’s been years since we’ve done it. Like, the laws and rules of flying have changed dramatically because of what’s gone on. But the first show we did was with Testament and Exodus in The Palladium in Worcester in Massachusetts. There was like 3000 people, and it was our first show and I’d forgotten my routine. I played in jeans that night, which is a no-no. So I went “OK – I gotta remember how I do this!” So I bought 30 pairs of sweat pants, and I just buy bags of t-shirts now from Wal-Mart, and then toss ‘em out. But as far as the band goes, it took a couple of days, because we were doing the old stuff first. We rehearsed after we did the new album, which we did in 2 days in Rochester. We rehearsed for the tour, and we went over a lot of the songs, but there was so much time in between shows, first with Testament, and then in Chicago and then we did Texas, and then the next one was SwedenRock, in front of 30,000 people.
OD -That must have been a crazy thing to experience. Did you have to sort of gather your thoughts and let it all sink in?
GLENN – Absolutely! We went from 3,000, to a club, to a thousand, then another thousand, to 30,000. That’s a fucking jump! And then Copenhell was more than that, and then Hellfest was like 5 times more than both of ‘em. We’re like “holy motherfuckin’shit!!” So you learn really fast – you adapt to it really fast. We actually had a sort of group talk between us, saying “we need to do this, we need to do that”, so it’s coming back together. It’s been a long time since we have been on the road together you know, being able to go back out there and smash it every night is the priority, so we all need to be on the same page. It’s only been the 12th show since we got back together, and we’re already back up there sharing stages and bills with the likes of Motorhead and all these other gigantic bands, that we grew up listening to as kids.
OD – That’s awesome, it must be a trip to be sharing stages with musicians that influenced you. Who else have you run into since back on the road?
GLENN – Ahh dude, So we’re at SwedenRock and it just hits me like “WOW! Nuclear Assault playing side-by-side with Ace Frehley!” Ace went on before us at SwedenRock and Motorhead went on before us at ResurrectionFest, it’s just a fucking mind trip for me personally. I have to say, Lemmy’s not looking good. I feel bad for the guy man. I saw him up close and boy, he’s looking sick. You gotta take care of yourself out there, the road is rough on the body. Usually we go from the airport (we normally go to the hotel), but one of the shows on this tour, we went right to the fucking show! We were on next right after Biohazard. So I’m on the (drum) riser, adjusting stuff and the curtain lifts up, and they wheel me around and suddenly I’m facing 5 or 10,000 people! I’m like “holy shit!!”
OD: The reactions online have been fantastic to all the shows and it looks like you are all having a hell of a good time. Did the intensity of the crowds at the shows take you by surprise at all?
GLENN – Yeah, totally. The crowds are big and the band was, up to a point a few years ago, playing in front of big crowds. But after not doing it for so long, it takes you by surprise and you have to mentally prepare for it all over again. It can be nerve wrecking if your not in the right head space.
OD – What have you guys been up to prior to getting back into the ‘Nuke’ stuff?
GLENN – Well, Danny (Lilker) wast playing in Brutal Truth and a bunch of other projects, John (Connelly) was teaching history and I was a director of a small music video company in California doing multi-camera shoots for videos. I was flying back and forth every week and I was getting super stressed out. Plus, the band was only doing a handful of shows a year. We were doing Puerto Rico, South America, Japan and I finally had a meltdown and got stressed out. I pretty much quit everything. I didn’t go into hibernation, but what I wanted to do was get back to my roots, which is like “What am I doing on this planet? I wanna make records – I wanna play drums. That’s what I wanna do! How the fuck did I end up in this other racket? I dunno”.
So with that mindset, I went into the recording studio and recorded “Overload”. During the time I was doing that, I just had an idea about Nuclear Assault. I was like “wow – i got an idea!” So I sent Danny and John the Overload picture disc when it came out and I said “do you guys wanna do a record?” I didn’t hear anything for a while, and then finally Danny emailed me and said “yeah ok – let’s do it”. I said “well why not do a final tour, a ‘final assault’? We’ll call it a 30 year anniversary final assault”.
OD – The new logo look bad-ass, how did you come up with the idea for the chrome look?
GLENN – I flew out to Des Moines, on my birthday to see KISS, who were doing a show in Iowa. So I got a front row seat and I was right up there ready to get it on with Gene and the boys and all of a sudden I saw the big fucking chrome KISS sign and it gets me thinking, “Nuclear Assault needs a new fucking’ logo”. So I stole the chrome idea from KISS (ha ha). When Danny saw that, he started writing straight away. That bad-ass new Nuclear Assault logo gave him inspiration – he wrote “Pounder”, “Lies”, and “Analogue”, one after another. John was writing also and had a song called ‘Died In Your Arms, which had put together a while back and was on some old rehearsal tapes. Once we were all working on material, it was only a matter of time before we would get the itch to record and hit the road!
OD – You mentioned the tapes of old rehearsals, when you were all coming up with new material, did you use any of those tapes for inspiration?
GLENN – Yes actually, I had all these tapes that were stored in my garage for years, and I was lugging them around every time I moved. At one point I was thinking to myself “this stuff’s going in the garbage”, but before I did that, I went through some stuff and I just pulled out our recording from CBGB’s and some old rehearsal tapes that we had from the different studios over the bands legacy. I remember hearing “Died in Your Arms” and I thought to myself “that’s a good song”. So, it always stuck in the back of my head and when we were looking at Pounder tracklisting, we had 3 songs ready and then Danny wrote another one, but it was kinda rushed and sounded kinda similar to the other ones. So I suggested “why don’t we do the one John wrote, Died In Your Arms?” And he was like “No I’m saving that for something else”. We’re like “what – a fuckin’ Christmas party or something?” (ha ha)
OD: So, I guess it all worked out in the end as it made the cut on the EP?
GLENN – Yes basically! When we recorded the song, it was perfect because it evened out the entire EP. So you’ve got pounder, you’ve got a thrasher, you’ve got a video song, a singalong song, where people jump on stage and know the chorus, and then you’ve got “Died In Your Arms” – it gives me fucking chills when I’m playing that song. It’s such a really cool jam to play live. Another great thing about playing “Died in Your Arm’s” is that when I’m playing, I get soaking wet and I need to stretch because I’m getting older and need to stand up and get to do that during that song
OD: You get a lot of traffic online, especially on your Facebook page. How do you feel about using this as a tool to communicate with your fans?
GLENN – It’s really cool and super easy to use. It’s also very effective for giving a sense of who we are and what our shows are like. The other side of it is that you sometimes get the one asshole going “Oh you spelled this wrong”. I just go “Deleted/Banned… who fucking’ cares?” Don’t get on my ass – I’m trying to do the best I can here. Then there are the people who will criticise whatever you do and I just have no time for that shit. I just ban them, delete them straight away. If they put up any sarcastic remark – banned. Period. I don’t give a shit. I’m too old to put up with that shit and I don’t wanna waste my time. I need to focus on what I’m doing and that’s playing drums, and keeping this unit together.
A lot of people spend their time on the internet bashing everybody else. It’s like, don’t you have something better to do? Don’t you realise there’s only so much time in life? Every day there are only 24 hours, so why waste it doing something like that?” I’m always feeding my mind, my brain with reading and exploring. I’m always trying to think positive, and focus on positive things. That’s how this all worked out, it was like a synchronicity thing. Everything just fell into place.
OD – It sounds like you are a very positive person these days. Do you find that having that attitude makes things happen?
GLENN – Yes, for sure! I mean, if I hadn’t quit what I was doing in California and had a meltdown blowing up then I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I just exploded and was like, “I’m DONE! I’M NOT DOING THIS ANY MORE!” I left all my equipment out there and I didn’t give one shit. I left thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of gear out in California and it’s still there. I haven’t touched it. I just had to get out and my mindset was like, “I need to get back to where I belong”, and that’s playing drums.
OD – How have you all been getting on together on this tour?
GLENN – When we talk, we talk because we’re adults now. We can talk to each other. Danny and I have had fights in the past, John and I have had fights in the past, Anthony is completely gone, he’s out of the picture completely, so we have Erik Burke (Brutal Truth) now and he fits right in. Fits like a glove actually. He’s a very cool dude, very good lead guitar player, very good with the crowd, he’s very mellow and is just a right fit. The thing is, when we have problems, we will all yell and scream at each other, but we talk it out, like “ee need to correct this, we need to correct that”, whereas years ago, we’d have been fighting it out. But now it’s like “you’ll get over it”.
OD: When looking back over Nuclear Assaults 30 year legacy and just what happened with the whole thrash scene exploded, did you feel that you were part of something really special?
GLENN – Yeah totally. It was an amazing time and I feel honored to have been part of it. Alot of those bands from that era are on their last tours and I’m not surprised. Thirty years is a hell of a long time to be playing this kind of music. When I was six years old, I was listening to Back Sabbath, Cream, all those kind of bands. I had 1 brother and 3 sisters, all older, so I had a mixture of heavy metal, rock, blues, a mixture of everything. Just to be able to make a living from doing this and cross paths with some of my heroes from time to time is amazing! We are part of the history of thrash and heavy metal and that is just so fucking cool!
OD: Looking back on all of those years and the bands that you have toured with, do you think that it helped shape you into the type of musician you are today, as well as influence the style of playing you have now?
GLENN – Being on the road is kinda in my blood, because I got kicked out of home when I was very young, about 15 or so. But the first band I saw was when I was about 15 – I went to see KISS in ‘74/’75. I remember I went to see them and I was really stoned, I was going out with this girl and she was 18 I think. During this time, I was an usher at a movie theatre and she was the candy girl in the theatre and had a a drivers license. So one day askes me if I want to go and see a band called do KISS?, At this time, I had no clue who they were as I was just totally into The Beatles. Kiss sounded kinda gay to me.
Before the show we dropped by a friends house and they had Thai sticks, hash, hash oil, weed, the dude had jars of everything, whatever you wanted. So we sat around with his surround sound on and it was the first time I ever smoked hash oil and man, I got so fucking high ha ha! When we get to the Convention center where KISS are playing, I’m just tripping and I’m seeing thousands of people walking towards the venue, they were like ants… it was creepy as shit. Once inside the venue, that was it for me. Just even thinking about the intro “the hottest band in the worl, KISS” then KA-BOOOOMM!! I was like “Holy Fuck!!” From that point on, I knew that’s what I was gonna do. I had my drums, I had a station-wagon that I sort of lived out of and I played for anybody, anywhere, anytime. I played parties, beer parties, killer fight parties, where people are breaking fucking bottles over each others heads. I played all the bars that I could and that’s how I developed my style. I played 3 sets of covers, 5/6 nights a week in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, that tri-state area with a bunch of bands like Dreamer, TT Quick and all these other bands. I was in Twisted Sister for a little bit also, but I crushed my toes from an accident and then AJ took my place, and now he’s dead so I’m in my own band, so I’m like…. “whatever”. Anyway Dee Snyder ended up taking all their money…. ‘coz he’s a dick.
OD – How did Nuclear Assault come about?
GLENN – Before the explosion of thrash, I got this call from a girl I knew and she told me that I should check out this band called Nuclear Assault, she was telling me that they were an unknown hardcore band, but really kicked ass. I was thinking to myself ‘who the fuck are these guys and how do they play Porno? ha ha You know because of the ‘hardcore’ thing. It was actually Anthony (Bramante, former Nuclear Assault guitarist) who brought me a tape of the guys playing. When I eventually met up with Danny and John it all made sense. The name Nuclear Assault was a million dollar title and the rest is history.
OD: What was it that led you away from the rock stuff to the more heavier sounds of thrash?
GLENN – When I was in TT Quick, I was already on the thrash path, I just didn’t know it. Now TT Quick went on to be some bland piece of shit. They got signed to Island Records when I got kicked out. I was like “Godammit!!”, and then they got dropped. Then Nuclear Assault got signed by MCA, and I was like “haha, FUCK YOU!!”. Danny is the one that started the whole thing and if it were not for him, God knows what would have happened to us all. He’s got a warped mind, but he’s very logical. He’s got very good left-brain activity, he can add numbers instantly. He’s like a fucking human calculator, but his creativity mind is completely warped. He’s the one who had to show me how to play fast beats.
You have to remember that this was way before the internet and you couldn’t just google and find what you were looking for. There were no videos on line to show the style of playing that Danny was teaching me back then. I mean Danny is the one who had been writing for Anthrax. Himself and John wrote all the early stuff for Nuclear Assault also. I didn’t start writing until later on in the bands legacy. I still can’t really write that kind of stuff. I’m more of a 3-chord kind of guy. I want to get on the radio and be like the Beatles (ha ha).
OD – If must have been a great time to be around in the metal scene. When you look back now do you feel that you were part of something really special?
GLENN – As far as the thrash scene goes, there was us, Exodus, Testament, Metallica and Anthrax. All of us were on a rise and it was becoming apparent that the scene was catching on. After Metallica’s bus crash, they exploded. They got million-dollar lawsuits and were were able to put a lot of money into what they were doing, and they just fucking exploded. Money does talk in this business. If it wasn’t for the accident, RIP Cliff Burton, none of this would be here right now. Again, it’s a chain of events that lead to this.
When Metallica’s crash happened, all of the bands were touring during this time. We were all in different countries on the road at the same time. The whole movement was swelling, you could just feel it. Bands like ourselves, Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, all swelled at the same time, and the cool thing is, we are still playing with all of those bands every now and again when we cross paths on tours or festival bills etc. Now we’re all grown up and remembering some of the cool shit that happened back then which we always get a good laugh out of. We were so fucking stupid back then, it’s just comedy gold to think of some of the clueless decisions that we made (ha ha). As far as the swell back then , the swell was incredible, and obviously after the grunge thing, but who gives a fuck about that shit?
OD – Do yo mean financial / business decisions?
GLENN – Yea, back then, the record labels would give you money and all sorts of cool stuff, but you wouldn’t make any money! You get a tour us, and the prestige looks great, but at the end of the day you come home and you’re broke! We’re like “but we sold 400,000 records! We just played in front of millions of people! and we’re broke!?” but the thing is, when you sign a contract, you’re signing your life away. Now, we control everything. Now, we can do it at our pace. I have the record label and we are all in control. I license our stuff out to other record labels and that keeps us in control.
OD: From all the bands that you have seen throughout your career, are there any that really stick out in your head for any particular reasons be it good or bad?
GLENN – Sure there were a few, just look at Nirvana. They were great for about a year and then that’s it, they’re gone! I remember opening up for them at Roskilde (Denmark) years ago. If I remember correctly, it was Nuclear Assault, Megadeth and Nirvana. I recall watching Nirvana play and I remember thinking, “these guys are on a fucking collision course with death.” They were tremendous, but you could tell Kurt (Cobain) was out of his fucking mind. It went right to his fucking head. His bullshit statement of “oh I don’t wanna be a rock star”. Well then, why the fuck are you doing it? So after that run of European dates, we got back to the states and I was sitting in the back of a tour bus and I remember seeing on the news “Kurt Cobain of Nirvana blew his brains out”. So obviously record sales swelled again, leaving us with Dave Grohl who thinks he’s Mr. fucking ‘Rock Star’.
You know what? If it wasn’t for Nirvana, he wouldn’t be anywhere. He’s got the whole ‘Prince’ thing going on, playing with a broken fucking leg on this throne of guitars. Seriously? It makes me sick. I played drums with a fucking broken wrist in Japan! I fell down a staircase and broke my wrist in 3 places and I played the DRUMS for an hour and a half! If you break your leg, it doesn’t have anything to do with your hands! Sit down! Shove that fucking guitar throne up your ass! You ain’t the best fucking drummer in the world bro. I don’t give a fuck…. I don’t give a shit, what you think – I’ve seen a lot of better musicians than you. You hit hard – I hit hard too! I’ll hit you hard if I ever see ya!! I’ll give you a fucking black eye! How does that sound?
Regarding all the other bands that we have history with, we’re still around and we’re all friends and all really cool with each other, with a very slight few exceptions. But everybody is so cool with each other… I couldn’t ask for a better life really.
OD: Nuclear Assault will have the pleasure of opening up the main stage at this years Bloodstock Festival, are you guys planning anything special for the show and how excited are you to play the mighty Bloodstock?
GLENN – We’re just gonna go up there and do what we do. We’re just gonna be ourselves. We don’t have a big gigantic show – we’re just gonna walk onstage and play and give it 100%. We’ve got the new banner with the new colours, which looks bad-ass. Honestly, I can’t fucking wait to get on the Bloodstock stage and tear a new one. We trust ourselves and let out music do the talking. It actually reminds me of this one time we were playing with Ace Frehley and his drummer was putting on blue eyeshadow and I was like “is that really gonna help your drumming?” Think about it for a second. There’s some bands who do stuff like that and do it for the gimmick, the glam thing etc, but it’s just such a fucking hassle and pointless at the end of the day. I had Nikki Sixx sitting behind me on a plane one time and he’s all decked out like he’s “Mr Rock Star”. I’m just sitting there laughing thinking to myself “dude, I am so comfortable right now. I can do exercises and everything and you’re there sweating like a pig. You gotta be uncomfortable man. Looking at you, I feel bad. You’re on the same plane as I am. Who cares? If this goes down, we all go down together” ha ha.
OD: Are there any old friends that you haven’t seen in a while playing at Bloodstock?
GLENN – Yea, it’s such a cool line up. Dark Angel and Overkill, they’re all our friends. We all grew up together doing this. But you know, I really just focus on one show at a time, because if I look to the future, I get anxiety. I don’t wanna look back, I don’t wanna look forward, I focus on one day at a time, one show at a time, and that’s it. I live in the moment. I don’t live in the past; I don’t live in the future. I don’t know where I’ll be going after that, or after this, but I just need to make sure that I’m taking care of business now. I can assure you this, when we hit the stage at Bloodstock or any other show, our aim is to give it everything we have.
OD – So, what’s on the horizon for you when your done with these Nuclear Assault dates?
GLENN – I still do my solo records; I actually have a new one out which I did right after the Nuke recordings. Also, Nuclear Assault will be going back to the studio in December to record another album at Sonic Ranch. John and Danny are both writing now and hopefully we can get it all together and unleash a killer album next year!
Nuclear Assault play Bloodstock Open Air Festival on Friday August 7th on the main stage. For more information on Bloodstock just hit this link. Tickets are now available but are limited, so make sure you get yours ASAP. Click here for tickets.
Interview – Oran O’Beirne
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography, Glenn Evans, Stock.
Transcription – Shaun Martin