Interview with Glen Alvelais (ex-Forbidden, ex-Testament, currently in LD/50)
Interviewed in Sept. 2000 by EvilG
Forbidden’s first two studio albums – Forbidden Evil and Twisted Into Form REALLY do something for me. Forbidden have to be one of the more under-rated of the bay area thrash bands to have existed. Critics seem to leave Forbidden out of things and concentrate on other bands when referring to the bay area thrash scene. If you ask me, I think that Forbidden are simply amazing! One of the guitarists, who was a part of Forbidden for their first album and their live EP – Raw Evil Live At The Dynamo is Glen Alvelais. I was thrilled to get he opportunity to pose the following questions to him.
I’d like to start at the beginning, back in the Forbidden days and then bring it up to what you are doing today. I hope you don’t mind the historical questions but you have to realize that there are still a lot of us Forbidden fans out there who revere “Forbidden Evil” as one of the best thrash metal CD’s EVER recorded. Do you ever get tired talking about the past?
Actually I never really talked about Forbidden that much around the bay area cause everyone pretty much knows who I am, but when I was on tour with TESTAMENT everyone wanted to talk about FORBIDDEN. I couldn’t believe how many fans we really had. So I really don’t mind keeping the fans updated and talking about the past.
Forbidden was fist known as Forbidden Evil and Robb Flynn (later of Violence, now in Machine Head) was a member, though he left before the debut album was recorded. Were you in the band with him or were you his replacement?
Actually Rob had just quit Forbidden Evil to join Violence, I went to school with Craig and he got in touch with me to see if I’d be into trying out for the band.
What do you think of what Rob is doing now with his “nu” (c)rappy sound (I’m referring to their newest CD)?
I think it’s good, up until the last record. I’m really a big fan of machine head.
Some former Forbidden members continued on in a band called Manmadegod (Craig Locicero, Steve Jacobs, Matt Camacho). What do you think of their several demos and musical direction which is nothing like what they are known for?
I gotta give props to Craig for his persistence, he’s been going at it for awhile now. I’m not to big on their style though.
Can you understand why they are playing this form of music rather than the ground-breaking thrash from the Forbidden days?
Yes, I can due to the long road of playing thrash and not making any money or records, maybe it’s a fast way to radio.
Do you stay in contact with ex-Forbidden members?
Not really, except at shows.
I’d really like to know what Russ Anderson is up to as well. He had a great and distinctive voice. Is he still signing and if so for who?
He’s in a band called Parking Lot Poets, I haven’t heard it yet.
I recently heard about a Forbidden bootleg called “Trapped”, containing unreleased songs (some from the Forbidden Evil era), selling for high prices on E-bay. What do you know about this and are there any early Forbidden songs that you were a part of that never were released?
I haven’t heard of that but I’m looking into finding out how many records were actually sold. If you get the title of this re-release let me know.
I don’t think it’s a re-release. It’s a bootleg not sanctioned by the band or any label.
You were a part of Forbidden for 1988’s Forbidden Evil (Combat) and for the 1989 EP Raw Evil Live At The Dynamo (Combat). What was is like back then playing amongst the bay area scene where thrash metal was king with bands like Death Angel, Violence, Exodus, Testament, etc…Do you view that as the “glory days” of thrash metal?
Back then was the best it was and will ever be, the bay area sucks now. With nowhere to play, bands are struggling even more than before. I think the reason it was so good back in the day is because there was a ton of places to have live bands play.
What is one of your favorite memories from these years, either from the road or from the studio that you like to reminisce about?
I cant really put my finger on one particular time, the whole thrash days was my favorite, with shows almost every night and parties every night, and a shit load of killer bands.
I know you’ve most likely told this story a few times but please bear with me here and tell me why you left Forbidden in 1989?
Actually Russ and I quit while on tour, we were talking about starting our own band. Little did I know that but by us talking about it , the rest of the band were thinking of a replacement for me, fear of me taking their singer. At that time in my life I was really into the whole guitar hero thing like Yngwie Malmsteen and Satriani and so on. Craig and the other’s were more into venom and priest. So our different influences made a good combination but at the same time brought friction in the writing department.
So what happened? Russ went back with them after you both quit the tour and you did not? Why?
Well when we got back from our first tour we took a week off and our manager called me and said there was a band meeting, and at that meeting they told me that I should check out other options cause they were. The weird thing was that I really remember looking at Russ to see if he was gonna quit like we had previously talked about, and he just had this blank look on his face and wouldn’t say anything. At the time I was pretty pissed because I feel that problems should be discussed and figured out rather than just replacing people.
What did you do immediately after leaving Forbidden up until you joined Testament?
Right after Forbidden I started a band called BIZARRO, with Nick St Denis, who later joined pro-pain, and Paul Hopkins who later joined Skinlab.
How did you get involved with Testament?
While in BIZARRO I got a call from the Testament guys while on tour asking me if I’d be into playing for them cause Alex was leaving and wanted me to replace him. I played in Testament for awhile and had a good time, but was struggling to be part of the writing team. When I noticed I couldn’t be a part of the team I started butting heads with Eric and before I knew it they had James Murphy in, which they realized was a total mistake. Meanwhile I remained good friends with Testament and even become Chuck’s neighbor. And before I knew it they were asking me to join again. But once again I wanted to be a part of the writing team and was shot down so the grueling night after night of playing copies finally got to me so bad that it was noticeable that I wasn’t into Testament anymore. So after that I went back to starting my new band BIZARRO and that’s the one on MP3.com that only lasted about a year. Cause I started a new band called LD/50. This one is the best so far. I’ll send you a copy so you too can hear the badness.
What was it like playing with Paul Bostaph again with the Testament guys?
Really cool, cause I was still fairly new to the band and it was cool to see a familiar face playing behind me. Paul is a really great drummer.
Tell me more about your new band LD/50. What is a “LD/50”, what style of music is it and who is in the band?
LD/50 is the abbreviation for lethal dose at 50%. The band was started by Shrapnel recording artist Jeremy Colson (drums). We got together and wrote some songs and took the chance on sending the songs to one of our favorite singers Clark Brown of Geezer. We totally lucked out cause it turned out that Clark was a big fan of the whole Forbidden work I did. Meanwhile a friend of mine from New York told me of this bass player by the name of Oddie Mclaughlin who was looking to relocate and join a band. So Jeremy and I set up the flights and studio time and went for it. The amazing thing about this band is that we really only jammed one week before the demo. But if your serious enough you can do anything.
What are your plans for the band? Do you foresee making music your “career” again?
Well the one I’ve learned in this business is that you cant count on it to support you financially. So I’ve always had to work a day job. Right now I’m trying to juggle music, a job, and my family, I have a two year little boy who takes allot of attention. But music will always be my main thing. I think living life to the fullest will bring out the best riffs and songs.
Have you played any gigs with that band?
Yes I actually flew Clark out for a couple of shows, I wish we could play out more but I guess I’ll have to settle with what I can get till he moves to California.
Would you consider calling up Russ Anderson and starting a CLASSIC melodic thrash band? I hear that ex-Forbidden guitarist TIM CALVERT is no longer in the band NEVERMORE…perhaps the three of you can get something started? I know I’m just dreaming here but as a fan I’d lose my mind if that happened!!!!
I would love to start a band with Tim Calvert but I’m not to sure about Russ ’cause he’s into a whole different style of music. But if you know any way to get a hold of Tim let me know!
What do you think of bands that have carried on the bay area thrash metal legacy such as IMAGIKA?
I’ve never heard of IMAGIKA, but to be honest lately the bands that I’ve been into are from elsewhere, remember the bay area music scene is just about dead now.
What bands have you been listening to lately?
Lately I listen to MESSHUGAH, SLIPKNOT, and new HALFORD.
Ok thanks for your time!!