Heart of Steel: Interviews

IMPALER Interview with Bill Lindsey and Tom Croxton

Interviewed by Rick

Aside from a few songs I have heard throughout the years, the first real exposure I had to Impaler was when I took in their set at Metal Meltdown III in New Jersey in 2001. I just managed to leave the photo pit in time to escape being drenched by blood and covered in raw liver. Impaler put on such a great show that I had to find out more about these guys and their history of Insanity. For this interview I hooked up with the original Impaler himself Bill Lindsey and skin smasher Tom Croxton to talk about all things dismembered and disemboweled!

 

You have just released a new EP entitled THE MUTANTS RISE AGAIN. Can you tell us a little about this CD?

Last year, we were approached by Horror Records in Denmark about doing an EP as a limited release on special vinyl which would be released in Europe. At the time, we had 2 new songs written called "Decayed" and "Blood Of The Vampire" and an unreleased song called "My Mephisto" that would have Impaler alumni John Stradinger from "Wake Up Screaming" on guitar with Brad. The song was written by Bill and John, but never saw the light of day for some reason.

 

 

You released the EP on orange and black vinyl. Each copy is numbered and there are only 666 copies available. Why that number and why vinyl?

Vinyl is still very popular in Europe, it seems! The limited number is to keep it special and collectible. If it is repressed, I think it would be ordinary black vinyl next time.

 

 

Why an EP and not a full length?

We thought it would be cool to do a homage to the fans who have kept Impaler going all these years since "Rise Of The Mutants" back in 1985. This was the album that Tipper Gore and the PMRC used in their hearings and basically put Impaler on the map! (much to their dismay, I'm sure!)It was also a 4 song EP on 12" vinyl. Bill came up with "The Mutants Rise Again" for the new one and it just seemed to come full circle. Although the new one is on 7" vinyl, it's actually longer than the first one!

 

 

What are your hopes for how the new EP will do? What kind of reviews, if any, have you been getting from both the press and the fans?

It's actually made a pretty good buzz already, considering that it isn't even released in the States yet! We were told that even before it was pressed, Horror Records already had over 400 units taken as pre-orders. We were quite pleased to say the least. The songs "My Mephisto" and "Blood Of The Vampire" are getting a great radio response so far as well as show response from the fans. We even had a full article and press release from the Minneapolis newspaper "Star Tribune". World Conquest Through Heavy Metal!! That's all we want...

 

 

There is a cover of the Alice Cooper classic "Dead Babies" on THE MUTANTS RISE AGAIN. Who's idea was it to cover this particular song and why?

When Horror Records approached us to do the record, we discovered that the owner of the label was a big Alice Cooper fan and that he really liked our rendition of "Teenage Frankenstein" on our last CD, so it was his idea to do another Coop remake, but we got to choose the song. It had the word "dead" in the title...

 

 

The cover art is very gory. Something we have become accustomed to from Impaler. Who did the artwork and where do you get the ideas for your blood soaked covers?

We have our own little "Tom Savini"! Mark Lopez is a long time friend of the band and just happens to be an incredible makeup artist. He has worked with Impaler on album covers since "Undead Things". Bill comes up with what he would like on the cover and Mark puts it into motion. No matter how twisted or elaborate, he always says "I can do that!"...and he does!

 

 

For those who are reading this and don't know how to describe Impaler how would you describe the bands music?

Take the 70's shock rock ala Alice Cooper/Kiss etc, but in the bite of the Stooges/MC5/Motorhead, add 6 large anvils, horror movies, pro wrestling, literally gallons of blood, raw liver and medical supplies...and, of course, loud heavy doses of METAL! Then put the blender on "putrify"!

 

 

Bill: A couple of questions for you .

What influenced the early days of Impaler? Why the blood and gore?

Our early influence was metal and punk music, horror movies, comic books, pro wrestlin' and halloween. The blood and gore stems from the first time I saw 'Night of the Living Dead' When I saw that movie I thought "Wow, if I could combine that with a metal stage show I'd have something cool. Also all the blood and violence of 60's and 70's pro wrestling was influential as well. Those guys got so bloody on prime time T.V.!!

 

 

Besides the image you obviously are in this for the music. What influenced your early brand of crossover punk influenced metal ?

Bands like the Stooges, and the Alice Cooper group were mixing both styles before there was a name for punk or metal. They were the first along with the MC5 and the Dolls. Later bands like the Plasmatics, Motorhead and Venom combined elements of punk and metal so these types of bands were very influential to Impaler.

 

 

What bands were you listening to that influenced your early music and what bands do you listen to today?

Well, the bands mentioned above, especially the original Alice Cooper band. To me they were the greatest band ever! They broke new ground in every aspect of music, song writing, stage show, everything. The other bands are too many to mention but, here goes: Black Sabbath, Kiss, Starz, Angel, The Godz, Iggy, Priest, W.A.S.P., The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Zep, Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, Slade, AC/DC, Uriah Heep, U.F.O., Twisted Sister, early Crue, Aerosmith, I know I'm leaving some out and some I mentioned earlier. I still listen to all these bands to this day. I never get tired of them. Today's bands that I love are Rob Zombie, Type 0 Negative, Slipknot, Nashville Pussy, Witchery, Mayhem, Manson, Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters, The Misfits, I also listen to Slayer a lot and Mercyful Fate. The other things I listen to and draw a lot of inspiration from are horror movie sound tracks and halloween sound effects records!

 

 

Are there any new bands that you have heard or seen that you think might be of interest to Impaler fans?

There are some really cool bands that are in the same spirit of Impaler.Balzac,Death Becomes You, The Order of the Fly, The Vladimirs, Haunted Garage (they had one release on Metal Blade.) Forbidden Dimension from up there in Canada. And local bands Ripsnorter and Seventh Calling are really cool. Check them all out.

 

 

How was it being a target for Tipper Gore and the PMRC in the early days? You obviously had some good company as bands such as Twisted Sister and Wasp were also singled out.

I really never took that seriously. I knew it was political posturing. I thought it was great for a band like Impaler to have our album held up by Tipper Gore on all those T.V. shows and magazines...I laughed all the way to the bank. I told one of the "Washington Wives' that at a T.V. show we did here at the time. I said "Thanks for all the attention." She didn't like that too much! I loved the fact that we were right there with Kiss and Twisted Sister that rocked!!

 

 

After Impaler's second album you left Combat records. Why the departure from Combat and why didn't you sign with another label?

First off let me say that there were really cool people that worked at Combat. Mike Scnapp and Allen Becker helped Impaler a lot. But, there were some assholes who did not care about us at all and they made it difficult because they didn't live up to the contract we signed. We did have some deals that fell through, mostly from bad calls by "management" at the time.

 

 

Do you think the split with Combat hampered Impaler's career at all?

They were hindering us by being on their label. I think it was management that held us back at the time.

 

 

How did the band come to be signed to Root of All Evil Records?

We have known Earl for years. He use to come see us play at all ages shows, then he formed Disturbed and played shows with us and had us on his radio show when he became a DJ. So when he formed his label it was a no brainer to get involved with Earl 'cause he knew what we were all about from day one.

 

 

Here are a couple for you Tom...

How did you come to join Impaler? And Why did you want to join a band with such a blood drenched persona?

I got into the band around 1985 when I bought absolutely everything on Combat and Metal Blade records and became a fan. Halloween was always my favourite holiday, so I immediately loved the image as well! My old band opened for Impaler a couple times and I got to know Bill and Brad as it went along, so one day, I had a couple of extra tickets to a Kiss show in Iowa and I invited them to come along. It was then I found out that they just lost their previous drummer and I said I was definitely interested...and here I am!

 

 

What was your background before you joined the bandr?

A. I was always into the old thrash scene. When I moved to Minnesota in 1986, I started a band called Acheron (way before the evil Florida guy)that did technical speed metal. I still have a project outside of Impaler with my brother called Krepitus which is in the technical thrash style as well.

 

 

How much are you involved with the song writing process for Impaler?

When I joined Impaler, the guys were real cool about letting me do my own thing. I wasn't forced to play the old drum parts so I got to make them my own songs. It was great! Normally, I like to write lyrics, but Bill keeps that department covered, so I come up with some riffs and Brad elaborates on them, so everyone is very active in the song writing department.

 

 

I have already asked Bill about his influences so I will ask you the same thing. What are some of your main influences? And what bands do you listen to now?

My main influences are Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Rush, Dio, Slayer, Venom, early Metallica and many more. My musical direction is literally forged from the influence of these bands! My favourite newer band hands down would be Iced Earth, but anything that is true uncontrived metal is fine by me!

 

 

Ok back to both Tom and Bill...

Impaler played an awesome set at Metal Meltdown III in Asbury Park New Jersey. What did you think of the festival and the crowd reaction?

Thanks! We have played quite a few of those types of thing over the past five years or so. They are a blast, some times a little disorganized because of the amount of bands involved. They are a big celebration of metal and hard music and I love being a part of that.

 

 

Any plans to play any festivals this summer?

Yeah, We'd love to but we'll see what is going on. We have to do a new record and that will come first.

 

 

Your stage show is highly theatrical. How important do you think the stage presentation is in the overall package of Impaler?

It is just as important as the music.50/50 one complements the other. I just won't do it any other way. When you go to see a band play it should be a visual experience.

 

 

If you could choose any band to tour with, who would you choose and why?

That is a good question, I would love to do a theatrical tour package with Rob Zombie, W.A.S.P and the Misfits that would be so over the top. Make it like a twisted circus coming to you town...like Ozzfest, only bloodier!!

 

 

You have some really rabid fans. At Meltdown I actually saw one guy scream for raw liver to be spit at him by Bill. What do you think it is about Impaler that creates such hard core fans?

Impaler shows are meant to be enjoyed by people. It's entertainment and I think some people really respond to that and that is cool. That is how music should make you feel.

 

 

Impaler has also embraced the internet. www.impalershockrock.com Has the net helped to get the name Impaler out there to a new generation of metal fans?

Yeah, we had a little site for some time but no one knew about it. So we have this new one so fans can read about the history of the band as well as what we are doing now. It is cool to hear from people too. So sign the guest book!!

 

 

Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?

Come see Impaler when we crawl into you town, you won't be sorry...well, maybe you will if you wear nice clothes to the show. Keep your minds and ears open to all hard edge music. There is so much great music out there. 

Thanks to Metal-Rules for being there!!

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