– First off thanks for answering our interview. How are you feeling being near to release the new ANGER AS ART’s album?

Thank you, Paco, for the interview.

We are excited to finally get the record out – we actually finished it last March, and decided to wait until we had everything in order before we released it. In hindsight with the previous 2 albums, we released them in November. This time we wanted to wait until we had the full media attention with no ‘Christmas break.’

– This record is entitled «Hubris Inc.». Tell us a bit what does the album’s name represent, the cover artwork and what do lyrics deal with.

The album title came about through exasperation. There was about a one week period where EVERYONE around me was acting stupid, doing stupid things, being arrogant… I was talking with our drummer Rob Alaniz, and he asked how things were going. I answered “I feel like I work for Hubris, Incorporated.” He answered ‘THAT’S THE TITLE.’ The artwork is based on a famous piece of a lone man pushing a boulder up a hill, and how foolish that is. Lyrics- a lot of the same themes the band was formed and based upon. Anger, fighting and beating enemies… beating the odds… or simply winning when expected to lose.


– Listening to the album I noticed is a straight-forward record, and really powerful. How was its recording? Are you happy with the final outcome?

I have listened to it so many times now, that I am picking out all of the things I want to change… LOL. Actually, I am really happy with it. It shows that over 4 albums we have really established Anger As Art to be exactly what we started out to be. High energy, aggressive as hell… This was the second recording with John Haddad at Trench Recorders, so the familiarity factor really helped. It was remarkably stress-free.


– Without any doubt your basis is still traditional Thrash Metal; an album with fast songs and powerful and dark mid tempos. Honestly, I haven’t had the chance of listening to the previous efforts by the band so, tell us if there’s any difference in terms of evolution between your debut album and the latest one or if, on the contrary, you have clear the style has to be «old school» always, so to speak.

Not really. I mean, as a writer and as a person you will go through phases in life. But I spent so many years in other bands trying to write and perform music like THIS – so all of the experimentation was long gone by the time AAA was formed. We have had previous members who never perhaps understood this – and came into the band with an idea that they could change or morph AAA into something else. Their influence can be heard on our older material. In case you do not know, the first Anger As Art album was just myself playing every instrument… so the style is pretty much ‘cast in stone’. All of the guys in the band now understood what AAA was before they joined. And they put their stamp on it.


– On this new opus you’ve had some collaborations. Which persons have helped you on this new CD and what are your thoughts on the result by those cooperations?

Yeah, we had a few. The first one was on the song ‘Speed Kills.’ That song was actually written by Dan Oliverio and me back in 1984 when Dan joined Abattoir, but never was performed. When Dan joined Anger As Art, we started goofing around with it – and decided to add it to the record as a bonus track. Of course, being that it originated in Abattoir we wanted to have Abattoir members play on it, as it will very likely be the last ‘Abattoir’ song ever (I am not sure if you know, but all Anger As Art members have all been in Abattoir – just a coincidence). The only one who agreed was Mark Caro. Juan and Mel refused to do it – they thought we were dragging Abattoir’s name through the mud. But it sounds like it could have been on Vicious Attack.

The other song (Rage and Retribution) was originally done with Pagan War Machine, so it was a no-brainer to have Jim Durkin play the solo on it. And, since Anger As Art also doubles as Betsy’s backing band nowadays in Bitch – we decided to share lead vocals with her. And my brother Timothy Gaines (Stryper) played bass on the track – the first time we have ever worked together. We also consider it a bonus track. The 2 bonus tracks are in the running order of the record, but do not really represent the future of Anger As Art.

Also, on the song ‘The Evil You Create’ Steve Nelson from (Winterthrall, Evil Dead) gave us the death metal growls…


– Talking about Steve Gaines is talking about a legendary musician into the Metal underground. How were your first steps into the music world?

Legendary? Thanks, but I am about as ordinary a person and musician as there can be. But I came from a very musical family… in fact both of my sisters had appeared on records while I was very young. Of course, you know of my brother’s work with Stryper. But I first appeared on stage at age 4 in church choirs. Mom and Dad sang… relatives were performers… it’s just what we did. It grew from there.


– You formed ABATTOIR in 1985, cuando «Vicious Attack» came out. How were your first times in the band? And what are your memories from that period of the 80’s US Metal?

Abattoir was a band I was always a fan of, but they never had a good vocalist. I was a founding member of Bloodlust in 1983… and we always appeared with them. When the opportunity came to join the band, I went for it.

What was interesting to me about those magical 80’s days was how as a youngster I was always looking for bands that would be heavy… and most were going away from it. If you recall, Priest was doing ‘Point Of Entry’, Rush was getting mellower, Black Sabbath was always in turmoil… so none of those bands were dependable. It seemed that if we wanted it, we would have to create it. I remember vividly first hearing about Iron Maiden, and becoming a fan. All of the people in the ‘rock scene’ at the time just laughed… another stupid band that I was into. I went to the Whisky A Go Go in LA to see my brother’s band (Stormer) play… and they were showing videos. Suddenly the video for “Wrathchild” started playing, and the crowd went NUTS!!! So, people start asking me ‘hey, is THAT the band I was talking about?’ It was validating… because every band that played that night could not get the crowd response the Maiden video did… Oh, and the opening band was this horrible band called Metallica. It was one of their first shows with Ron McGovney and Dave Mustaine… we hated them, and thought they would never go anywhere… guess I was wrong?


– What happed later with the band? Why did ABATTOIR disappeared?

Well, there was an effort by management and label to take Abattoir in a more commercial direction. So they replaced me for the second album with Mike Towers and still recorded my music. Why did they disappear? I want to be fair here – so let me just say that Abattoir is its own worst enemy. The band disappeared because of making bad choices. For further answers, you would have to ask Mel Sanchez why he made the choices he did.


– In 1988 you recorded an EP which is now a true gem for Metal collectors. Why did that band not come off? Did you ever thought about doing a full-length album?

Are you speaking of Bloodlust? As I said earlier, I was a founding member. After Abattoir, I started a band called Tactics – but the first line-up was short lived. And I had the opportunity to return to Bloodlust. I think I was the only member who wanted to do a full album, but the band thought of the EP as a demo to try to get signed. I am very pragmatic. I was the guy saying ‘we may not get the opportunity to record one, so let’s do it now.’ I was outvoted. Also, Bloodlust disappeared because of making bad choices. It is rare that a member takes responsibility for failure, but I do. I refuse to be one of those guys who blames others when it was me or us who did not give 100%. So, Bloodlust’s history consists of 2 EP’s. For this reason, I have always hated demos and EP’s. Why go half-baked? Go all out! (That is what AAA has done… and it seems to be working out great)


– Already in the 2000s you recorded with PAGAN WAR MACHINE, with ANGER AS ART and you also came back to ABATTOIR. How could you sum up that period where it seemed you worked more than ever?

Well, lets make sure we have the dates right. Abattoir reunited in 1999, but was sluggish in getting things done, and I wasn’t really liking everything we were doing musically, and it reflected in my writing. I started to hang around with Jim Durkin in 2002, and on a goof we did the PWM demo. Musically it was exactly what I have always wanted to do, but was finally in a position to do it. That is when the writing exploded. Jim’s priority band was Dreams Of Damnation, and as a result of working with him I became the second guitarist for that band. Also, Bloodlust had reunited at this time, and I was starting to play with B itch.

Well, all of those bands came to a halt in mid 2004. The one common denominator for all of their failures was me. I figured that I was done, but had all of these songs I had written. So I just wanted to record them as a ‘last hurrah’. But the response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted me to put together a band, and play live. So, now we have Anger As Art – the rest is history. The other bands may perform on occasion. But my priority is Anger As Art.

Why so much music all at the same time? A personal story. My Mother fought cancer for a really long time, and she passed in 1999. One of the last things she said was “There was so much I wanted to do in my life, but I never did it because I was always helping someone else.” And my father answered her “yeah, and for what? For this?” That was the most powerful life lesson I ever had – the realization that you have to ‘do it now’ because you may not have tomorrow.


– Something else I would like to know is your opinion on new technologies and the fact now is everything to get access to almost anything. I remember when, back in the 80’s, buying albums by ABATTOIR or BLOODLUST wasn’t easy, later, with importation, it was easier, but nowadays young kinds, through messageboards and the Internet feel the underground closer. Have you noticed a differece when you play and talk with the people that everybody now knosmore about your and your career?

It is so much easier now in the digital age. In real time you communicate with friends and fans all over the world instead of writing letters, and duping cassette tapes. I love it. Because it puts you right in front of your target audience, and makes it YOUR responsibility to maintain it. Success and/or failure is now directly upon the artist. The downside? It is a lot less intimate. Also, many times false information can get out around the world in mere minutes. I find that I spend a lot of time telling people what really happened as opposed to the legend… does that make sense? There is one writer in France who I interviewed with. When he edited the story, he ended up ‘correcting’ my name spelling, and telling his version of what he thought was true. When I asked him why he changed it, he said because that was the story HE knew. So, why ask me?


– Then there are also those festivals like Keep it True, specialized in underground bands, and where I had the chance of seeing you both with ABATTOIR and BITCH. What are your thoughts on these kind of festivals and what are your memories from your performances there?

Keep It True is certainly special. There is something about seeing and playing with all of those rare bands. By the same token, they are somewhat events of nostalgia for me. Keep It True is kind of a ‘window in time’ – to write or perform any new music is not really the place for Anger As Art. As such, we most likely will never play there.

The memories? When Abattoir played, it was like going back to my youth – because also on he bill were Armored Saint, Tyrant, and Lizzy Borden. We were always great friends with Saint and Tyrant, but there was always tension with Lizzy. Not sure why. But it felt a lot like being in the Troubadour dressing room… those dreams of touring the world. For a moment it came true. Same with Bit ch. It is always great to see Betsy work a crowd as only she can.


– Coming back to the present, do you have any touring plans to support «Hubris Inc.» live?

We just performed for the first time ever in Puerto Rico – and it was based on Hubris material. So yes. We are currently talking with promoters

about a return trip to Europe this year. Of course, back to our strongholds in Holland, Belgium and Germany. But we also have an offer to play Italy, and also up to Norway. We are also looking to go to Japan for the first time. And of curse, we want to spend time playing here in North America. 2013 and beyond should be pretty busy.


– And are you going to record new material with ABATTOIR or will you keep on working with other musicians and be more focused on your bands and projects?

Abattoir is DEAD. Besides, AAA consists of 4 Abattoir members, and we play a few Abattoir songs. That question is kind of like asking the band ‘Slaughter’ if they will ever play with the Vinnie Vincent Invasion again. My focus is on AAA. But sometime this year, I hope to work on some new B itch material.


– As 2012 is about to end; could you please tell us what are your 3 favourite albums of the year as well as the least favourite one?

That is kind of hard to answer. I haven’t listened to a lot of new stuff. I do like the new Testament album, and the new Dew Scented is really good too. Least favorite? Hah… plenty. But can’t mention names. We may be on tour with some of them.


– Nothing else from our side. It’s been a pleasure having the chance of interviewing you. Our best wishes.

Thank you Paco. And to the readers of Queens Of Steel… Thank you as well.


Paco Gómez

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  1. FreddyMedal dice:

    Anger As Art – Time Devours Life (Shot. directed, edited by Metal Refuge TV’s Fred Swift.

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