Sacred Reich have been preserved as a shiny jewel in the metal history books thanks to their ability to produce neck-breaking thrash anthems that were literally rinsed with elements of hardcore and the growing skater-punk noise of the late 80’s. Their seminal debut ‘Ignorance’ will turn 30 years old this year and as a mark of celebration, the guys have embarked on a tour that sees them blaze through Europe and the UK before engaging with their American fans this coming September/October.
Overdrive grabbed 5 minutes with vocalist/bassist Phil Rind to answer a quick round of questions.
OD – Sacred Reich hit the road this month with a series of dates celebrating ’30 years of Ignorance”. Having released such a groundbreaking debut album, ’Ignorance’ has most definitely stood the test of time. When you look back, did you feel that you were ‘breaking the mould’ a little within the context of thrash of that era?
PHIL – I don’t think we were breaking any moulds. I certainly feel that our Slayer influence was quite obvious on a few tunes. I feel that first records often reveal a band’s influences more than layer releases. We were just trying to do our own thing as best as we could.
OD – There was always a fine line between peoples opinion of Sacred Reich being referred to as a ‘cross-over’ band during the late 80’s early 90’s. Sure, there were elements of punk/hardcore in there, but ultimately the focus was predominately thrash based. Looking back at your discography, it is apparent that you were introducing more varied elements into the music. At the time bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, Mordred, Faith No More etc were pushing the boundaries. Do you feel that you held back with introducing different influences, or perhaps some ideas seemed a little too ‘out there’ for the then thrash metal spectrum?
PHIL – Considering we released “31 Flavors” I don’t think holding back ever crossed our minds. (laughing)
OD – Having been invited to play European festivals regularly since back in 2004 and sporadic small tours here and there, you seem to have a working schedule now that works for both your music/touring life and your own regular (non-music) life. Would you say that you have found a somewhat perfect balance in this day and age with regards to the music industry?
PHIL – I don’t know. Things are always changing and evolving in the Sacred Reich world and our relationship with the music business. We’ll see what the fire holds.
OD – Many bands have decided to mark their anniversary’s with something special, besides this European/ UK / American tour dates, are there any plans to do something along the lines of a documentary/book or otherwise?
PHIL – Metal Blade Records will be releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition of Ignorance soon. I can’t really say anything else about it at the moment, but just keep an eye out on their website and all the details will be revealed soon.
OD – Having seen bands that you grew up with (Flotsam & Jetsam / Death Angel) releasing new material and still going strong, do you find that the current state of metal is in good health with regards to not just repeating the same thing over and over?
PHIL – Yes. There are a lot of bands old and new releasing great material. It’s also great to see bands that have been around having success and playing bigger venues. Metal is going strong and we’re just so happy to still be a part of it!
OD – When looking back on the legacy of tours with many bands, what was the most memorable and why?
PHIL – We have been lucky to tour with lots of great bands like Pantera, Danzig, Sepultura, Napalm Death, Sick of it All, Obituary and Crowbar to name a few. All of the tours have great memories. Pantera was super fun on the Vulgar Display of Power tour. Danzig and Genitortures were crazy! The Sepultura tours were great too! I have some really great memories from those days.
OD – There is no question that the tape-trading scene of the mid 80’s was a big part in helping Sacred Reich develop a strong following, leading to the Metal Massacre release and ultimately being signed to Metal Blade. When you released ‘Draining you of Life’ and you noticed that there was a level of interest in the demo amongst the trading scene, if must have been an invigorating experience. Bearing that in mind, do you find that there is a sense of detachment with the way people discover new music today?
PHIL – I don’t know if detachment is the way I would describe it. Like everything else, the way we live and interact is always changing. New technologies are always appearing. It’s not better or worse just different. The technology itself is not a problem. It’s what we do with it that makes it positive, negative or neutral.
OD – Sacred Reich have played some in some iconic venues over the years including the infamous Ruthie’s Inn, Brooklyn’s L’Amour, and London’s Marquee, to name but a few. There seems to be a dramatic decline in live music venues in general, especially venues that cater for heavier music, which makes your experience even more of a treasured memory. What venue/gig was an important place/show for you and why?
PHIL – The first Dynamo Open Air we played in 1989 was very memorable (see full performance video below). From playing a club one day to playing to tens of thousands of people the next was an experience we will never forget.
OD – You will be retiring to Ireland (last gig June 2012 – you were very ill for that show if I remember correctly and still played a fantastic gig). Although there has been no new material, the fans have not lost an ounce of love for the band. Do you feel a sense of pride for what you have achieved when you take to the stage and see the people that have stuck with you for all of these years?
PHIL – I think the word appreciation best describes how we feel about our fans and the opportunities they have given us. It is not lost on us that despite no new material and sporadic live shows the fans continue to support our band all these years on. It’s not so much pride that we feel. It’s much more of a humbling experience.
OD – With regards to merchandise for this up and coming tour, will there be any special tour edition, lithographs, vinyl available besides the selection of apparel?
PHIL – A fine selection of t-shirts as well as patches and buttons will be available. We will be at the merch booth when the doors open at the upcoming shows to meet the fans, take pictures and sign one item. We think everyone is a VIP.
OD – Finally, if you could share with us one of your fondest memories from your legacy with Sacred Reich?
PHIL -I mentioned Dynamo Open Air in 1989. That was an incredible show in a lot of ways. The day was perfectly sunny, clear and warm. Not a given in Holland. There were over 20,000 people at the show. At the time big outdoor metal festivals were not common like they are today. The acceptance and reaction from the crowd were simply overwhelming. We were blown away. Eindhoven has been a special place for us and Dynamo is the reason why.
Sacred Reich will be performing in Ireland’s Voodoo Lounge on Sunday, July 31st for one night only. Limited tickets are now on sale via this link. Please visit DME Promotions for details on stage times and ticket availability. Animator will be opening the show, so make sure to get down early.
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