Municipal Waste Interview with Tony Foresta
I frickin’ love Municipal Waste! This is the second time I’ve interviewed these guys in about 3 months, and they haven’t left the road yet. Upon finishing up an opening slot for Gwar and taking a very brief time apart (so members could go on other tours with other bands), the group promptly found themselves right back on the road to continue touring in support of their latest release, “The Fatal Feast.”
With 3 shows left on the current tour, Municipal Waste will have a whopping 6 days off to let their livers recover before they hop on a plane and head to Europe for a 2-month stretch across the pond… These guys do not slow down.
Bogie’s in Albany, NY was the place to thrash this past Sunday evening, as the group tore through the Capital Region on their way home to prepare for the European Invasion. I sat down with (slightly sloshed) singer Tony Foresta prior to their performance to talk about the tours, side projects, his throat, and alcohol (duh.)
G- Tony… How are you guys feeling?
T- Good. Real good.
G- Apparently, you had a couple of drinks tonight?
T- Yea. Today actually… It’s still bright out.
G- Yea it’s 6:40pm, so it’s Happy Hour someplace.
T- I’m happy about it!
G- That’s good that’s good. Now you guys finished up the tour with Gwar… You were in the middle of that that last time I saw you… How did the rest of those shows go?
T- Oh it was great! We ended up finishing it in, like, Colorado and we had to drive all the way back.
G- To Richmond?
T- Yea, and that was probably the longest drive I’ve ever participated in. Well, I shouldn’t say ‘participate” because I didn’t drive. I sat in the back and slept the whole time. I think I just popped a couple of Xanax and slept the whole time. It was crazy because it was really long.
But yea the rest of the tour was great. The west coast is always amazing, and just going out with those guys was really really cool.
G- Nice. Now after that, Ryan went to Europe with Volture, right?
T- Yea that’s why we left the tour early. Kylesa took our spot on the tour afterwards. This was all planned. We didn’t, like, cancel any shows or anything. Ryan went with Volture, Phil went with Cannabis Corpse, Dave went with Argonauts, and I went to sleep.
G- (laughing) It’s kind of awesome in that regard because not only do you seem like really friendly guys, but you’re also very comfortable with the fact that you guys are proficient musicians and have other projects going on as well. I think a lot of bands might get taken aback if their members had alternative responsibilities like that. Are you working on any other projects?
T- Yea I’ve been working on this fuckin’ thing with Phil, and it’s turned into this beast. It’s called Iron Reagan and it’s me, Phil, and two of the guys that quit Darkest Hour, Paul Burnet and Ryan Parrish.
We ended up doing this 5 song demo that we put online, and it got like 20,000 downloads in a week… Crazy! So, we went and wrote a full length, and it was 25 songs. We didn’t realize we were going to write that many songs, and they are all really, really good. We were blown away by it. So I’ve been trying, between the Gwar tour and this tour, trying to record vocals for 25 songs. Right now, we have about 16 done, and we’ve gotta finish the rest of them, but it’s fuckin’ awesome!
G- What’s the style like? Is it more thrash punk?
T- It’s kinda like the earlier Waste shit, but more technical. We originally wanted to do 80’s hardcore, but Phil doesn’t really listen to that shit… He’s a metalhead. It just kind of went its own way. It sounds different from the waste, though. The vocals are way more gruff and brutal. I’m not really a brutal singer, but there’s a lot more anger to it. It’s like Waste without the funny shit.
G- Well, Municipal Waste definitely has their share of funny shit! Your touring schedule is pretty hectic right now because this is the first wave of the touring cycle for “The Fatal Feast,” and now you’re going to hit the European circuit… How has the response been to the new record?
T- I think the longer the album has been out, the more people know our shit… Everybody’s singing along! When we played the song “The Fatal Feast,” the whole place was singing last night, which is awesome. You always wonder if their gonna like your new shit when it comes out, but when you see people responding to it like that, it’s great!
G- So, you have 6 days off and, true to form, you guys are gonna be road-dogging it in Europe for 2 fucking months! Tell me about the difference between playing these American shows, and then hopping over to Europe and playing to a completely different culture that is just as enthusiastic about the waste as we are over here?
T- The difference would be that we’re doing the festival circuit, which we’ve never done before. We’ve played festivals before, but never based around 2 months worth of festivals. So it’s gonna be huge, outdoor, massive things.
G- It must be kind of cool because their drinking culture is much more liberal than ours over here and you can get those beers in McDonalds… How is the drinking going on this tour, Tony?
T- There’s 3 days left, and last night we almost died. I’m not even kidding. I woke up and saw Ryan and I was like ‘Good to see that we made it.’ This guy almost fuckin’ killed us! Oh yea… Don’t drink and drive. It’s not cool.
G- Sound words of advice from a touring musician, folks. Now, last time I asked Ryan, so I might as well get your professional opinion, too… What kind of wine do you like to eat with your chicken?
T- Ryan used to have a hot dog night where he’d eat hot dogs and drink white wine, and they would watch basketball games. Anyway, that’s a Ryan story. I drink red wine, sometimes. I don’t think I’ve done that with chicken. When I do eat chicken, I eat Lee’s Chicken!
G- What’s that, now?
T- Lee’s Fried Chicken. They’re in the south, and I saw one in Indianapolis one time with Lamb of God and was like ‘What the fuck?!’ It was weird, but everyone was stoked!
G- Now, being the throat of the band and touring as much as you do, you must feel a bit of pain… How did you protect your vocals?
T- I really don’t. I have these in-ear monitors now that are cool, and it’s helping me a lot, but I just kind of blow my voice out and go for it. If the crowd is into it and I’m into it, I’ll give it 100%… They’ll notice but they won’t care, because I’m giving it my heart.
G- Yea because you’re kind of a ping-pong ball onstage. You have a very frantic delivery but you’re also moving around a lot, so…
T- I’ve been to a lot of vocal coaches to try and perfect a way to be semi-professional for my career, but I do blow my voice out a lot. Even Alison Krauss… One of those famous voice coaches, said ‘Yea… You’re pretty much fucked.’ (laughs) The way I sing is like rapid-fire… It’s fast. And then, I do regular metal screaming, too, and the two don’t match. I have a couple of bad nights and I’ll just be ‘Alright… You (the crowd) get to sing this muthafucka.”
G- You write most of the words for the tracks, right?
T- Yea about 90%.
G- How about the ridiculous titles like “The Thrashin’ of The Christ.” Who comes up with the titles?
T- That’s so old. You know, Phil might have come up with that. Phil will come up with a good one here and there. I’ll come up with a lot of the anti-religion ones like ‘Upside Down Church’ and stupid shit like that. And the Kurt Russell tribute album… That was our old bass player’s idea.
‘The Fatal Feast’ was a joke from ‘Waste ‘Em All.’ We wrote a song back in the day called ‘The Fatal Feast’ and it just kinda came back around. We have tons of jokes just waiting in the wing.
G- Yea catching some of those titles is the best part! It’s like ‘What are they gonna come up with?’ Is there anything new on the music circuit that you’re personally listening to, and can you give some recommendations to the readers of Live High Five?
T- Umm, I’ve been rocking the new Torche a lot on this tour… That thing is really awesome! What else? Shit! Fuck!
G- It’s cool. I asked Ryan this question last time, but I wanted to get your perspective as well… You guys have been around for a long time and have played a lot of shows, and I’m sure you’ve seen some… Umm, naked body boarders. In your opinion, what is the craziest show Municipal Waste has played to date?
T- Umm, yea. There’s just… way too many to think about. It’s always crazy.
G- Well how about on this current tour? What was the best response that you got and where was it?
T- Oh L.A. Fucking crazy! That was really cool. It was at Key Club and we sold it out. It was a great night! I’m trying to think of something crazy. I mean, we’ve played hockey arenas… We’ve played the weirdest shows… People lighting themselves on fire and shit. I don’t know… It’s hard to say what’s crazy. I was kinda thinking about that. My friend came to see us in Columbus, and we were like ‘That was an alright show,’ and she was like ‘That was the craziest show I’ve seen all year… It was fuckin’ nuts!’ And we were like ‘Was it?’
So much crazy shit happens now that as long as no one dies, I’m totally cool with it.
G- The good thing about Municipal Waste is if people are bleeding, they usually have a smile on their face, too.
T- Exactly. I’d rather have them move around and do wacky shit than stand there with their arms crossed.
G- One last question… What advice would you personally give to a young up and coming musician who is trying to make it on the road, or trying to go on tour and do what you’re doing?
T- Stick with it, work your ass off, and prepare to not reap any rewards whatsoever. You’re going to lose your ass financially for at least 5 years, because that is what we did. We ate shit for a long time and we just worked hard at it. Really work hard at writing good songs that you like and ones that you know you worked hard on. Don’t just crap out a song, you know. It’ll pay off eventually, but not for a very long time.
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