An Interview with Billy Milano
By Chris Hawkins
You Love to Hate" is such a fitting title for Billy Milano's latest
endeavor via M.O.D. Milano has regrouped and put forth some of his best
material yet in his latest showcase of tongue-in-cheek, in-your-face
Metal. It was a pleasure to have a chat with a legend as such, and it
proved to be hilarious! Enjoy and be sure to check out www.billymilano.com.
I take it you're pretty psyched with the release of the new M.O.D….
Well, I'm just happy that the record came out as good as it did. I'm
really stoked. I think it's the best record I did with M.O.D., and I think
more importantly, it's the best record I've done since "Speak English
or Die". It's showing that I'm an individual now as an artist. I'm
growing still even in this late stage in the game.
The production really helps this time around. You were able to
achieve a full, clear sound.
Thank you. That was a great experience doing this record. I tracked in
a couple different places. I tracked with Paul Crook, did some at Big Blue
and some at Paul's house. I was able to mix it at the studio I work in
which is Water Music in Hoboken. As a result, I think it came out great. I
love the record itself. Musically, it's the best record I've done. I think
I spared no expense. I used almost all the publishing budget, the entire
record budget, and some of my money from my personal account to make this
record sound the way that it did. I think it's going to come back to me at
the end of the day. I like the record, and I'm really proud of it. I think
people get what they're expecting and much more as a result.
It definitely comes across as a very professional production, but
it's not too slick.
Yeah, that's the thing. I don't think I could ever be Linkin Park, but
without a doubt, there were certainly things I did on this record that are
not traditionally things that I would do, using keyboards and
samples...sometimes 20 tracks of vocals…
20 vocal tracks?
Oh yeah, on a lot of the backgrounds, I had 12-16 tracks and I believe
on "De Men of Stein" I did 16 backing tracks and there was a lot
of cool things that I hadn't done before. I wanted to go out on a limb and
do it real. I got music right finally.
It was never wrong, though, was it?
Well, no. Is music wrong is like saying Picasso is better than Monet.
Everything is art and it's all about the person who listens to it. I
honestly love this record over and above everything outside of "Speak
English or Die". This is M.O.D.'s "Sgt. Pepper". I'm
serious! How much better could I write? I don't honestly think I could.
And "Rebel You Love to Hate" is two years in the making,
I started writing this music when I wrote a song called "Wigga"
for "Bigger than the Devil". I just think that inspired me to do
something that I haven't done before which is take my time and write
music. I spent two years writing and a year recording and mixing
altogether. I spent a lot of time in the fucking studio! It was a lot of
How did you hook up with Paul Crook?
Well, I was walking down the street in Hoboken, and he's standing in
front of me. I was talking to him and I know the whole story about Anthrax
dicking him over. I liked him. I thought he was a decent guy. Out of
everybody in that crew, he was a nice guy. We just honestly started
talking. He played me some stuff, and I was like not too terribly
impressed, but I liked the fact that he had an understanding of what is
considered to be the norm for Metal. That helped me make a decision to
give the guy a shot. I sat down and talked to him, and I decided to work
with him and pay him as a producer and to help me develop my ideas. It's
not that I didn't have any ideas, but he certainly took things that I
couldn't articulate with my hands and my abilities on instruments like
keyboards and make it happen. That was an awesome advantage for me to
finally have that, which I've never had. I was totally stoked and Paul was
very cool, very caring and giving, and more importantly, very dedicated to
making this record sound huge. He was very dedicated to getting the
understanding of what I'm trying to say and get it to transcend into the
recording. That was very awesome.
So it was the easiest climate you've had thus far to record and
It certainly was the most understanding and nurturing environment. If I
didn't like something, he would keep it for an example. Things that I did
that I didn't like, I wound up keeping as a result of having something
later on to compare it to down the line. It wasn't all about getting it
done that day because if I'm not done that day, it's never gonna happen.
There was a lot of lee-way and latitude for me to come in and out of the
studio to sit down with the ideas I've done. That was the advantage of
doing it the way I did it and working with Paul. The guy just really
communicated well with me. In the beginning it was a little rough, but
once I understood him a little bit more, we were able to communicate in a
way that was just totally expected. I knew what he was thinking and he
knew what I was thinking. We read each other really well.
Were some of your past releases really rushed?
Well, you know it's the old story, dude, and this is the truth: time is
the enemy of all music. That's just the truth. What is the one thing that
bands never have enough of? Studio time, and you just can't fucking afford
it the way some of these big bands do to make their record sound huge. You
never get a chance to try shit, to remix shit. It's all a functionality of
time versus cash. I was really fortunate that I'm involved in a recording
studio, and I was really lucky that I was able to go in and not mix on a
small-frame desk but mix in a $2000.00 dollar a day studio for 15 days. It
makes a difference, bro. It really did.
Any tool you can use to get your art to be conveyed better is always
Absolutely. I've never had the luxury, though, of sitting down and
taking advantage of that. Even if you spend 50 or 60 thousand dollars, how
much time is that? It's really not a lot of time. Especially when you
think about 60 thousand dollars to cover 40 days, that covers your tape
and your dinners. You're back down to 30 days when you have to pay a
producer. What can you do in 30 days? I took 70 days of studio time to do
this record. More importantly, it took me 70 days of studio time where I
was able to sit down and listen to my music and say, "I don't like
it!" At the end of the day, I got exactly what I was looking for.
So is M.O.D. the main focus from now on?
Well, my main focus is me. What that encompasses is whatever it
encompasses. I'm not going to turn away from promoting M.O.D.'s record as
much as I can, and going out and touring and giving the fans what they
really want with either the Killith Fair or M.O.D. touring itself. There
are other things coming up that may actually happen. I've got a reading
for Headbanger's Ball where I'm going to read for the VJ spot. I don't
know if it's going to happen, but it's funny because the only place that
doesn't like this record is Germany because they're fucking Nazis. They
don't like anyone that has an opinion. I don't give a fuck. Belgium,
England, France, Russia, America, everyone likes this record. I mean, do
you like the record?
Hell yeah (laughs)…
Do you like it? What do you think of the record?
I like it. I don't want to blow smoke up your ass, but yeah, I like
I'm asking you the honest truth! Everyone likes this fucking record but
Germany because they're too busy giving the Scorpions a ten out of ten.
I'm fucking stoked. If I go into MTV like this, I'm getting the gig.
If that were the case, I don't think Headbanger's Ball would be
short on laughs…
It needs to happen. They stole my music for five years, they fucking
owe me. They used S.O.D. on Headbanger's Ball for five years. I never got
a fucking dime. Give me my money! I could certainly give them something
they don't have, which is entertainment…
There you go. Maybe they'll play some music that's not getting played.
I don't think we need to see fucking Disturbed.
They only play 20 bands at any given time…
Without a doubt, I think there is something like 20 or 30 bands that
they play. I can guarantee you won't see any fucking Puff Daddy videos.
What do you think of Nu-Metal, or more appropriately, Mall Metal?
You know someone once asked me, "What's it going to take to kill
Nu-Metal?" The best thing I could think of is a curfew! It took all
the fun out of it and it made what we do impure. I don't like it. It's boy
band Metal now. I'd rather see some real Metal bands get back together
like Schenker, which I'm glad he's doing it, and kick the piss out of some
of these bands.
It seems there have been a lot of old school bands reuniting as of
late. What's your take on that?
Whatever they want to do, you've got to respect it. I do. Even though
M.O.D. put out a new record, it's not reuniting at all. Nobody's from the
same band. It wasn't even going to be called M.O.D., but it turned out
being so for the sake of the label. It's not that I have a problem with
it. It's a great record. I'm really totally down with what I've
accomplished with this record. It certainly stands on its own feet whether
it be Heavy Metal, Rock or whatever you want to call it, M.O.D., S.O.D.,
P.O.D., or just fucking O.D., the bottom line is this record really is a
strong record. It's not like a lot of the bands who are reuniting, it's
totally something that I got really blessed with. The people who want to
go the whole reunion route, that's great. I'd rather see bands that I grew
up with coming back and playing for a couple years than these new fucking
bands that play. I don't even know who the hell they are. You've got that
band Evan…. the band with the chick singer….
Yeah, dude, you think she listens to Lacuna Coil at all?
(laughs) No kidding!
It's a disgrace. I am fucking so pissed! I loved that last Lacuna Coil
record. It was an awesome record. Of course she's Italian. She's got that
going for her too. What it really comes down to is I'm very fucking pissed
off that that band didn't get successful. That's a band that absolutely
It's depressing because money talks!
There you go. Welcome to the fucking music industry. It's fucking
soulless. Of course the biggest problem is the fact that no one gives a
fuck about anything.
So are you pretty happy with Nuclear Blast?
Well, I'll tell you what. When I first worked with Nuclear Blast with
S.O.D., they did a piss-poor job. They never got their shit together. I
don't think anyone on the label was completely prepared for the production
and the endeavor that we were expecting. At the end of the day, Nuclear
Blast for me, for M.O.D., has been very compliant with my requests, which
have not been a lot. The people at the Nuclear Blast office in America,
which are different than S.O.D.'s "Bigger than the Devil" crew
in '99 are much better. They're established, Andrew Sample, Jill, the
publicist, great girl. She's got her shit together. I did more interviews
today than I did for "Bigger than the Devil" in the whole
country. She's got her shit together. These guys got their shit together.
A lot of it is because they worked hard, and when they put Nuclear Blast
and Century Media together, it consolidated their work force. In America,
when Nuclear Blast was by itself, they fucked up a lot of shit. I was very
vocal about it, and now I'm getting preferential treatment. That's not
what it's about…
You can't complain, though!
I'll say this, they've got their shit together now, and I did what my
end of the job was. I delivered the best record I could deliver, and
that's the truth. No one was expecting it, but everyone was loving it.
I'm anxious to read the lyrics. I don't have them yet since I just
got the promo of the disc.
The lyrics are fucking rocking. They're funny. They're smart. They're
not stupid. It's not just, "Hey, fuck you." It's happening.
So how did the songs come about?
I'll tell you, Chris, the record starting off when I was writing for
"Bigger than the Devil". I wrote this song "Wigga" and
no one liked it. I had all these ideas in my head; I just couldn't
articulate how to make it happen. For me, that's where it all started. I
knew I had a different agenda than the guys in S.O.D. Then, I was home
stoned in my apartment with my girlfriend, and I watched VH1. The story of
Weird Al came on, how he did his parodies, how he got away with certain
things, and this and that. He mentioned something during an interview
which I thought was amazing. He goes, "Most people don't realize it's
me until it's too late, they're halfway into the song before they get
it." There were a couple songs I wrote that were inspired by other
bands and other scenes and I used almost parody-esque styled songs. I
wrote a song about hypocrisy and the state of hypocrisy in the liberal
music scene, "Rage Against the Mac Machine". That song totally
sounds like Rage Against the Machine, but I wrote about all their
different shades of gray, and how their principles are compromised when
they see it's to their advantage financially. As a result, the song was
driven toward that one thought, and that one overall description. It had
to sound like Rage Against the Machine and played like they play, and it
had to deal lyrically with that whole ideal that they talk about. I did
the same thing with that song about Rammstein. It's not about Rammstein,
but it's written in that Rammstein, pro-military, militant zeal of techno
music which is basically a big fashion show based on fascist looks. They
have the short cropped hair, the rubber, leather clothes. They get all
charged up like a rally. I did the same thing with KISS. Originally, I
wrote it to make fun of KISS because I never really was a fan of theirs.
The most amazing thing about that song is Paul Crook gave me KISS's
"Alive" to listen to. I listened to it and the next thing I
know, I loved KISS. Here I am, listening to KISS going (in Gene Simmons
voice) "Detroit Rock City!!!" I'm totally digging the purest
attitude of the fun aspect of what they did.
The song is more like a great tribute to KISS…
Yeah, for me, a guy that never listened to them to get into them this
late in the game, I look at them as purists. I didn't follow them for 30
years. I'm not the one that's jaded. I'm brand new! It's like the first
time you ever watched TV. It's incredible. I put on KISS at 10 AM and
crank "Strutter." (sings "Strutter") People are
looking at me like, "What the fuck?" I love it!
It says something about their music…
Exactly! It's timeless. Music is ageless if it's written honestly.
You come from the scene in the mid to late 80s where Metal and
Hardcore where first being mixed. It seems like a parallel can be made to
right now with more bands crossing over. What's your take on the
That's the one thing that's cool about music. No one owns it. You don't
own a style or a scene or anything. Just allow it to breathe. It will
always be there for everybody. I am totally happy that a band like
Hatebreed who to me sounds exactly like Biohazard…I mean it's the
fucking same band! If they're successful at it in America, and they can
open it up for another 100,000 people for the next guy…better that than
fucking Korn! I hate that shit! No one owns anything. It's there to be
passed to the next guy. I don't ever want to be the guy that says, "I
invented that shit!" Who gives a fuck? There you go. I didn't invent
cars, but I still drive one! I really am lucky that I saw where I came
from, and I respect where I came from and what it meant to me back in the
day. I like seeing all these fucking kids. I like seeing these people 15
years old going, "Oh you were in a band?" Yeah, a band called
S.O.D. They're like, "Who's that?" I just smile. I feel so cool.
It's nothing. It was stupid. It sold a million records, and I don't care.
It doesn't mean anything to me I had fun with it. Our generation got along
the least, but accomplished the most because we set the foundation and the
engine in motion. It really is funny and cool at the same time. I'm really
happy that anyone cares enough about Hardcore in the music industry to
actually bring it on MTV and on the radio, and give exposure to a band
like Hatebreed. That's fair and I respect that.
Did you ever think things would take shape the way they did with so
many bands selling out along the way?
What do you consider selling out?
Metallica could be a point of reference…
Well, you know you can say that about Metallica and a lot of people say
that. Everyone better pray that the new Metallica record does well whether
you think they sold out or not because when they do well, Metal does well.
Metal music needs Metallica to be the biggest Metal band in the world.
It's intrinsic to the success of Metal, and the responsibility that they
have is enormous. Everyone's just jealous. If you're in a band from
Cannibal Corpse to Opeth to Meshuggah to Dimmu Borgir, Kreator,
Destruction, fucking S.O.D., M.O.D., none of us would turn down a tour
I'm not denying Metallica's influence. I think the Black album and
thereafter was a steady downhill turn…
Like I said, it's important for Metallica to be the dominant force in
Metal, or you're going to have little kiddy Metal. It's like K-Mart Metal.
Linkin Park is Heavy Metal for 14 year old kids. They get tired of it
after three years and they don't listen to it anymore. They don't support
it like we did. We supported Metal for 15, 20 years. Metallica supported
Metal for 15-20 years. I don't agree with the fact that they never took
anybody out after they got huge other than C.O.C., but that's not my
position to say anything about that. I wasn't there to judge them or I was
not them. I don't know what their idea is or what their principles for
doing that were. I do know that we need Metallica to do well for Metal.
Is M.O.D. going to be doing any touring?
Oh yeah M.O.D.'s going to be doing the Killith Fair which is a tour
that I started with S.O.D. except it's going to be a little more
crowd-friendly because two of the guys in S.O.D. were still trying to be
rock stars. I'm going to tour as much as I can worldwide. I want to play
everywhere, dude. I want to see the world before it blows up. Who knows?
We're going to do what we can. I think there's a lot of things that can go
on right now that are going to be really critical to the success of this
record and to the amount of touring that I do. Number one, I've got a song
called "Wigga", I think it's perfectly ready to bust out of the
box and take a lot of people by storm. We're doing a video for it, which
is going to be incredible. Things could be huge for me, and hopefully I'll
be able to give back to my music scene and help along bands and musicians
that don't necessarily get the help they deserve.
Who are you thinking of taking out with you?
The Killith Fair isn't set in stone. I may go out and just do some
M.O.D. shows before I try to do the Killith Fair and promote it. I'm going
to be going against Ozzfest and Blackest of the Black, but I think it
could be interesting for me to sit back and let the record develop and see
what opportunity arises. I'm trying to get some shows with Andrew W.K.
whose record I love, and I'm trying to get the song "Wigga" out
in the general public. Call me crazy, but the song is so good. It came out
perfect to the point that I think it could do something that a lot of us
aren't expecting. Then I'll be the sell-out! I'll laugh all the way to the
fucking bank! You can bet your ass this, my friend, if it becomes what I
think it can become, I'm going to help out as many underground musicians
as I can before I disappear. You'll read about me one day finding me dead
on a beach, 70 years old…
(laughs) Just don't start hanging out with the likes of Oasis…
Oh forget that! I'd like to watch them fight, though. I'd like to hang
out with them and tell them that the brothers are talking shit about each
(laughs) I've got to ask…is S.O.D. gone forever?
Yes. I've made up with Scott since it all started and I put my high
standard of being a good and honorable friend and expecting that in return
from everyone which he certainly doesn't live up to, aside. I just don't
like Charlie Benante. The guy's a fucking woman. I just want nothing to do
with him. Our first show back in '99, playing Dynamo, he quit after one
show. Even Danny Lilker hates his guts. Danny's the most passive guy
you'll ever meet. Charlie Benante's just a selfish woman and I want
nothing to do with him. It's done. I'm not going to do it. I refuse to be
involved with Charlie Benante. I didn't even want to do the "Bigger
than the Devil" record. Everyone knows that. I told Scott for three
months I'm not doing it. Get another singer. They called me up and
bothered me for three months…
Who else would they get, though?
Dave Lombardo or Gene Hoglan. Do you think anyone would complain? No!
Oh you mean to replace me? They can't get anybody, but I wish they would
have because I didn't want to do it. The only reason I didn't want to do
it is because I know the kind of people that Charlie and Scott are.
They're not good people. They have a lot of bad karma around them.
Everyone says, "Billy Milano's a shit talker". No one heard a
peep from me since '95. I hadn't done anything but manage and produce. I'm
not an ego maniac. I don't care what people think or if they listen to me.
I don't give a fuck if I do interviews especially when I wasn't
performing. This was something that I fought against for three months.
Against my better judgment, I was talked into it from my business partner
to do S.O.D. I closed my management company. As soon as Scott Ian got
money in his hand, he disappeared and became a fair-weather friend.
Charlie Benante quit after one show because he saw me talking to Dave
Lombardo. I always used to say to him, "If you don't want to do S.O.D.,
I'll get Dave Lombardo to play." He walked in at Dynamo and I'm
having a beer with Dave Lombardo, and he ran away. Charlie Benante can say
anything he wants. I ain't jealous of Anthrax. They suck. They're only as
good as the ideas they steal. It's about time someone said it. I didn't
want to do S.O.D. I still don't want to do S.O.D. I never wanted to do VH1
with Anthrax. I don't give a fuck about any of that. All I cared about
when I got back into the band with those idiots was that they treated
everyone in the band equally, they toured for the record and spent time as
a band during the experience, and that they honored their commitment. They
knew well and good that I was closing my management company to do that
record. I committed under those terms. As soon as Scott Ian got paid, you
never heard from him again. Charlie Benante quit after one show because he
saw me talking to Dave Lombardo. May God strike me down if that's a lie.
Everyone knows it. Danny and even Scott freaked out. Charlie Benante calls
me up at 1 AM and quits because he doesn't think it's going to get any
better. It was such a great show for us to co-headline Dynamo. He said,
"I don't think it's going to get any better than this so I
quit." I was just like, "You're a fucking cunt." He's a
cunt. He was raised by women. What do you want? Danny Lilker said it best.
He goes, "No matter how you look at it, the S.O.D. fans got
fucked." So any S.O.D. fan that is an Anthrax fan still is a fucking
moron. I won't do anything for them including S.O.D. Anthrax used S.O.D.
to be in the public eye again. For four years they sat around on their
hands. I was out earning a living. Here I am. I made a great record.
That's my fucking revenge. Stick it right up his ass, and I'm still going
to knock Charlie Benante out!
(laughs) Well you made a good record and you made a focused record…
I appreciate that. At the end of the day, I can walk away and know that
I rule. (laughs) I've got two great dogs, dude. I love what I do. I've got
great friends. I live in a great town. What the fuck else am I looking for
out of life? When I'm out on the road, maybe getting a blow job….
(laughs) Well, that's definitely a positive vibe…
Yeah, it's funny. It needs to be entertaining. Music is so serious. Be
thankful that you can go to bed without some douche bag breaking into your
house and putting a pistol to your head. People make me sick. War? I'll
show them a real war. The war of the mind is fucking powerful, friend. I'm
tired of watching all these liberal bastards spew their rhetoric, and I'm
tired of these other people saying, "Well, I don't believe in the
war, but I support our troops." How ass-backwards is that? It's not
the message you want to send because it's cryptic. It has no stance. It's
ambiguous, and it's cowardly. I don't believe in that. Who am I to mess in