Anyone that witnessed their last run of UK/EU dates in December will agree that Sacred Reich are sounding better than ever.
The current line up featuring former drummer Dave McClaine (ex Machine Head) with new guitarist Joey Radziwill now very much and an integral part of the band, the future is looking very bright for the Thrash Metal veterans.
OD – Now that you’ve been out on the road and living with ‘Awakening’ how is the album sitting with you so far, as I know it was a deeply passionate experience recording it?
PHIL – To be honest, it’s going great. We’ve been playing a lot of songs of the new album and it’s going down great with the fans as well as within the band.
Obviously, the reaction has been a little different to the new stuff because the kids have not been living with it long enough but they’re watching and listening. But I’ve been very surprised already with the feedback on songs like “Salvation” where audiences all over the place are singing back to us. That’s awesome to see.
All the songs fit right into the set alongside the older stuff, so it’s just working like a dream at the moment.
OD – Now that we are in 2020, I know there are plans to just tour your asses off but do you think will we see any other sniper 7” like “Don’t do it, Donnie”?
PHIL – No, absolutely not [Laughing]. We just have too much going on at the moment and want to just concentrate on the touring and whatever happens between that and our time off, we’ll just have to see, but at the moment, the answer is no other 7″ releases like that.
OD – When you look back on the past and it just so happened that some of your friends are passing through the same town/city at the same time, is there any particular band that comes to mind that resulted in having let’s say too much fun?
PHIL – Yes, we’ve had some great times in the past and it’s always really cool when some of our buddies that we hang out with back in American are in the same city on the other side of the world.
I actually remember when we were on tour back in ’89 and we were doing our first UK tour for ‘Surf Nicaragua‘ and Nirvana was about a week behind us, playing in the same venues. This was around the time they had ‘Bleach‘ out. I was a huge Nirvana fan and would tell our audience on that run of shows to come back a week later and check out this small band from Seattle [Laughing].
They were playing in Edmonds Number 8 in Birmingham, venues like that, which is just wild to think nowadays.
During that time there were no cell phones, no internet or any kind of digital online stuff that the kids have today. I was actually leaving them hand-written notes in each club, like; “Hey, My name’s Phil and I really love your band and we would really like to play some shows with you guys!” [Laughing]
OD – Sacred Reich are confirmed for Bloodstock Open Air this coming August, do you look forward to the festival circuit rather than touring like this, or is there an equal love for both?
PHIL – I try to just have fun where ever I am. Festivals are just really fun. I’m not really concerned as to who is on the bill as it’s not really got anything to do with me. [Laughing]
Sometimes, it’s like: “Oh, I’ve always wanted to check out this band” but generally we just roll-up, do our thing, get some food, relax, pack up our stuff and get out of there. And on other days it’s just hanging out with our friends.
To be honest, at this point all I really want to do is just chill out. I’ve seen mostly all the bands I want to see, back when they were all awesome. I don’t really need anything over the top to make me happy. I’m a pretty easy-going kind of person and the simple basic things are all I need to enjoy myself.
OD – With regards to the overall Thrash Scene, the fact that ironically, Slayer’s swan-song last weekend have you seen a great deal of interest in what was already a revival of the scene. Do you think things are in a good place right now?
PHIL – It’s possible. From my perspective, being a huge Slayer fan to the point that we have blatantly stolen ideas from them [Laughing], in one way I’m sad that that’s the end of Slayer, but in another way, I’m happy for Tom (Araya) because it has been a long time coming.
They went out at the top. People have to remember there was a very dodgy time for Thrash in the past and to see Slayer rise to the very top and go out in complete style, that is a wonderful thing to see. The footage of the last show in L.A was just awesome, sad and happy all in the same mix.
OD – Do you think they will be coaxed to coming back for one more tour like so many bands that call it a day and then a year later, come back out of retirement?
PHIL – No, I really don’t think that’s gonna happen. I think that’s the end of Slayer in the context of performing live and stuff like that. Tom doesn’t’ seem like that kind of guy.
OD – Keeping in mind of the history of the band, would you have any plans to document it in a book or film platform, seeing as there is a whole other new chapter to the legacy of the band?
PHIL – No! [Laughing] Honestly, I don’t know. We are all about looking forward right now and are just very excited to be back out on the road, playing the stuff of the new album and enjoying the experience of being able to do this at this point in our lives.
I guess we might look at doing something when things have settled down and is all said and done.
OD – Have you seen the “Murder in the Front Row” documentary?
PHIL – No, not yet. I really want to check it out but the people that made that movie/book (Brian Lew and Harald Oimoen) are totally the right guys for the job. They were right there in the middle of that whole scene.
OD – So far on this tour, have you noticed a different kind of discourse from people in general with regards to what’s happening in American politics right now, rather than when you were last out on the road?
PHIL – I just think there is a little more division and divisiveness and that’s why I really wanted to make a positive record and not be part of that. The idea is to give people encouragement and positivity. That’s really what people need. The people in the media and politicians, that’s what they thrive on.
When I wrote ‘Divide and Conquer‘ that’s what I was talking about. Politicians and media are trying to distract us from the ‘real‘ problems that we have in the world today.
This is the greatest trick of our generation and generations before us. The rich and the powerful distract the masses so the poor folk can’t move forward and disrupt their flow of power and greed.
OD – In your opinion, was there any band/s from the late ’80s that deserved to be much bigger than they are today?
PHIL – Hmm, I don’t really think in those terms. There was a lot of bands that I listened to back in those days. I’m not really sure….Oh, there’s one band that I thought should be so much bigger than they were and that’s New Modle Army. I think they are a great band.
OD – Finally, what music video/track comes to mind right now that you will leave us with?
PHIL – Well, if it’s one of our songs then I’d have to go with ‘Salvation‘. I really love that song. I actually think it could be one of the best tracks Sacred Reich have ever written.
Sacred Reich’s new album ‘Awakening‘ is out now. The band will be embarking on the next leg of their tour in February in Australia and New Zealand before a North American run of dates in March. For more information, please visit this link.