Archive: Interview with Ryan Waste from MUNICIPAL WASTE
Richmond, Virginia is the best “sleeper” city for bands I have ever seen. It must be something in the water, because almost everything that place seems to produce is fucking ridiculous! With bands like Lamb of God, Avail, Pig Destroyer, and Gwar, that place definitely knows what metal and punk is all about.
Anyone who thinks skateboarding, alcohol, and machine gun tempos are the bee’s knees will probably tell you that Municipal Waste is the current champion of the Thrash scene. Seemingly built around a blanket of distortion, weed, and beer, this band revitalized the art of partying (get it?) and deserve a lot of credit for keepin’ it real. They rule on record, and their shows are nothing short of bedlam… Have you ever seen a naked guy stage dive with a surfboard? Municipal Waste brings out the fun ones.
As if I didn’t already have a full plate on my hands on 3/22/12, after being given access to Shock-Metal spectacle Gwar for a candid, thoroughly enjoyable interview, I had the opportunity to sit down and slam a beer with axe-man Ryan Waste to discuss Municipal Waste’s new album, inspirations, which wine goes best with chicken, and what it takes to thrash!
1) What’s up man, and thanks for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! How’s everything going while on tour with Gwar!?
R- Good man. They just gave us $50 bucks for beer so we’re pretty happy campers right now!
G- Right on, man… You going quality or quantity today?
R- Quantity today. We’ve got a lot of mouths to fill with liquid, so…
G- Sounds good. Any particular “quantity” beers you’re looking at?
R- Cold, and in the bottle.
G- Perfect… I think Syracuse can accommodate you with that. You guys began in 2001 in Richmond, Virginia, which I hear is an awesome story!
R- It’s true.
G- And you have been going strong ever since… How did this all come about, and tell us a little bit about that first show.
R- Well, it actually started in 2000. I saw a trash truck riding by that said “Municipal Waste” and I said ‘There’s a band name!’ So I just kinda sat on that one for a minute and got together with an old buddy of mine… He was a guitar player actually… and he decided to play drums, and I was a bass player and decided to play guitar.
So, neither of us were that good at our instrument, but we were both big fans of heavy metal and crossover hardcore-punk, and we just kinda blended the two together and wrote some sloppy metal punk songs in my garage. We got Tony (Foresta) onboard eventually and a friend of mine from high school on bass, and that was the early days of The Waste. I did shows in my backyard and just kinda built the band there never thinking we’d be here doing this today.
We played our first gig at a keg party a year later… It was actually New Years Eve 2001. It was just a big fucking “Crowd surf/Stage dive where there was no stage” breakout type deal, and we knew we had something going! So, it worked out, man!
G- Those are the best types of shows.
G- Where did you draw your influence from musically when deciding to form the band. You kinda already mentioned it, but…
R- I can say that, early on, we were really into The Accused, and we were big fans of that kind of crossover stuff… Nuclear Assault for sure. And I grew up listening to Judas Priest and Slayer, and all that stuff is tucked in there neatly… Somewhere.
G- Dig it. So your new album, “The Fatal Feast,” is set to drop April 10th on Nuclear Blast.
R- We’re actually got the privilege to sell the album before it was out on this tour, which is unheard from our experiences with labels in the past. So that’s big points for Nuclear Blast! We also put in our contract that it’s got to be out on vinyl.
G- Vinyl nerds rejoice! Tell us a bit about the tracks, where you recorded, who produced, and how much beer you drank during the recording process.
R- Ha… Well we took a year off to record the record, which we’ve never done, so we had plenty of time to put into it. We recorded the drums in New Jersey at Traxx East with a killer dude named Eric Rachel whose been doing stuff since the early 80’s… It’s the best drum room we’ve ever played in to get the killer drum sound… That was (drummer Dave) Witte’s idea. We tracked the rest of the stuff in Richmond (Virginia) just to be comfortable… Guitars, Vox, and Bass… and sent them back up to Eric Rachel who also mixed the record.
The band always acts as producer… We don’t ever bring a producer in. We know what we want to sound like… It’s pretty meat and potatoes stuff with us. We just want to sound like we do live!
G- What were the inspirations behind the songs? Can fans still expect the same “Party Hearty” attitude and have a good time with the lyrics?
R- Yea there is a good bit of that infused back into this record. The record before didn’t have a lot of that as a direct reaction to “The Art Of Partying,” because you don’t want to do the same thing twice. Now, we’ve got the best of both worlds with the aggressive, pissed off serious stuff, along with the tongue-in-cheek humor that people have grown to love about us.
G- And this is one my bass player Rory and a few of my friends wanted me to ask… Who’s the one that comes up with the witty banter and clever song titles?
R- Mostly me and Tony, man. The banter is on the spot and what you see up there on stage is just us being ourselves. Nothing is planned out… We’ve always just played off of each other from day one. I think the charm to seeing us live is that we interact with the crowd and joke around.
And we’re always making up song titles. Some song titles we’ll sit on for years. “The Fatal Feast” is 10 years old and it’s this cannibalistic space voyage that we wrote back in 2002 and now our 5th album is called that, so we come up with titles and there’s a time and a place when they work out for us.
G- So on to seriousness… Which wine goes best with chicken? (See… I told you fuckers I was gonna ask)
R- I think it’s supposed to be white.
G- That’s true. Any particulars? A Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay?
R- I’m more of a red wine guy… Pinot Noir… But, uhhh, I guess you gotta go Chardonnay. (Laughter)
G- And what is the best drinking game you guys play during your down time on the road?
R- Man, we made up this game back in the early Waste days called “Drink That Shit.” Everyone puts a glass in the middle and… it ends up everyone’s thumb on the glass and you have to pull off… I almost forgot how to play the game cuz it’s been so long! It’s like a mixture of everyone’s beer in the end and sometimes you’ll get a fingernail in there and stuff, and it just gets kinda gnarly. The person left over in the end has to drink it. I explained that horribly, so I must’ve been drunk when we made it up.
G- Well that’s ok… it happens (laughter).
When it comes to your shows, I’ve heard about naked body-boarding, a flooded Houston show, etc… Can you tell me the absolute CRAZIEST show experience Municipal Waste has been privy to?
R- Going back to the early days again, probably in 2001, there was a burned down house next door to a buddy’s house, and we ran extension cords from his house into the burned down house. We got dry ice and put it around the drum kit and had all this smoke and shit! And the ceiling was like caving in and falling, and people were moshing while we were playing… Some people were too scared to come into the house. It was literally beyond a fire hazard because it had already been halfway burned down, and we thought it was like the coolest thing to infiltrate places like that and play.
G- That is… pretty fucking crazy actually!!! (laughter) I’d like to see that. All the wasters do!
So lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands out here in Syracuse and NYS who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
R- I think you gotta do your own thing. You know, you can emulate your heroes so some extent, but you gotta add some sort of originality to your music. There’s a lot of copycat thrash bands that wanna just do the same formula but it’s not just about being a band and having chops… You gotta put your heart and your personality into it, and that’s what is gonna make you succeed. Just stay original, man!