Daniel Spitz< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
< ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
How’s the tour going so far?
So far very good. It’s been about 6 months now I think on and off between the big European festivals and now finally we get to come to America and allot of Canada and kinda let people know we are back. Until they see us onstage they just don’t really believe it.
It’d be great if you guys were playing in my part of Canada.
Where you at?
Oh. We’ve been extensively in and out of Canada. Too bad we’re not close enough to you huh?
I’m as far east as it gets.
Wow! You’re like Alaska boy?
So what initiated this reunion?
I left in 1995 after 15 years of being in the band. Me, Joey and Scott kind of started everything in the inception.
I was in Switzerland for 6 of those last 10 years being a master watchmaker and earning my degree’s in micro technology and micro electrical engineering so I been kinda busy fixing Rolex’s and all that kind of stuff. Very happy and staying home from the noise to quiet, really never played music or anything. I needed a good break. Kind of like what happened to Elton John; I kind of lost the love of it. The last year or two of that I was kinda getting some of it back and started to play a bit with Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden and some other people. Actually jammed with Joey Belladonna for awhile. While being a watchmaker I got an email from Charlie at a time where out of the few times I would have actually thought about it. Doing some shows over in Europe, the big festivals, the summer festivals. I said as long as it was Joey singing and the original line-up. It kinda just started from there and evolved into this. We just took each day one day at a time.
How does it feel to be back in the band?
It feels really good. Like I said its one day at a time. For me more than anyone it’s the most adjustment. They stayed in music in some form or fashion, even Joey still made albums. I’m the only one who pursued another career. An extremely hard one that’s even more challenging than playing my guitar almost. It’s a 10 year schooling, learning curve. Now I’m finally becoming comfortable in my skin and comfortable reacquiring the crazy equipment needed to fufill my Spitz sound per say of Anthrax that adds to this unit. It’s starting to feel really comfortable again, we’re starting to play really tight. I’m definitely playing better than I ever have ever.
The live DVD is a really great performance.
Why thank you. That was pretty much one of the first few shows we ever played. That’s like the worst we ever played I would say. We kept it nice and raw and didn’t do nothing in the studio really. There is no double tracked nothing, so what you see is what you get. Just like here ya go. We’ll see what happens from here
Is this looking to be a permanent thing?
Everyone wants to move forward, we’ll see what happens day by day. We’re still in touring mode. Just starting in the states, letting people know where we’re at. We’ll go back out after this Judas Priest arena tour in January in the states ourselves with some other bands. Everywhere I go its good to see my old friends again. When we did the Gigantour being able to hang out with Dave Mustaine again, things are a little different now then they were in the old days. Old friends back together. For me its all wonderful, in Europe to see the guys from Slayer: Kerry King and everybody again. We’re taking each day as its own day. When we go back to Europe again to headline and we’ll see what happens after that.
Can fans expect a cd of all new material?
As you probably read I have about 2 albums worth of stuff: one with Nicko and one with the drummer Patrik Johansson from Yngwie Malmsteen’s band. There’s plenty of riffs I have all over the place if the 3 of us (me, Charlie & Scott) get together to start to write. I don’t know at this point, we’ll see. If we do it’ll definitely pretty much hopefully turn the industry upside down once again like we always do. It’s gonna be pretty much kick your face in.
What sparked your interest in watch making?
My Grandfather was a jeweler and watchmaker. I’ve been doing it since I’ve been 8 years old. I just wanted to reach the highest level and attain the highest degrees. It’s a passion, you have to have a passion and a love for it because it’s so frustrating. It’s easy to get to a point where you can fix a Rolex but to get to a point where you have something that’s half a million dollars or a million dollars laying on your desk. If you break a part, there is no more parts in the world and you have to go and make one. That’s a passion! It stems from my Grandfather, same passion. Now I’m trying to hopefully work the two together cause there is a lot of people in Heavy Metal who are into watches and don’t know where to bring them. They’re on the road and busted so I got guys from every band you can imagine asking me to fix their Rolex which is kinda cool. I’ve got a website put up now called Spitzwatch.com Hopefully someday we can create the Dan Spitz watch. It’s where I’m headed.
That is extremely cool because I have my Grandfathers Rolex and it’s 45 years old and needs a bit of a tune-up.
Cool. That’s me. I’m one of the few people in the United States, there is only a handful of us that have the opportunity to buy parts directly from Rolex. I have an Rolex account, I am official and that’s extremely rare to have nowadays: because of my scholarships to goto Switzerland and degrees over there, training with Rolex. So don’t ever sell that watch cause it’s when they were made in the old days and they were made by hand where now it’s computer. You got one of the good ones. You can always fix those. It’s like an old American muscle car you know what I mean?
Plain and simple, bit of bone and it works. You’ll never see them made like that again if you wanted to buy something comparable. For me it’s the insides that counts, the mechanics, what you don’t see. You’d be starting at 20k today for something of the same quality inside.
I’ll have to send it down to you one day.
Sure, just keep in tune to Spitzwatch.com, there’ll eventually be a form up there. Right now you can look at my diplomas. There’ll be pictures of me working on famous peoples, rock music’s Rolex’s on the site eventually. Right now its Anthrax taking up fulltime. That’s kinda where I want to be, to balance them both would be fantastic. There’s no one else in Heavy Metal that can do that I think. (Laughs) At least the metal dudes can buy a Spitzwatch and mosh with it.
Will this be a high end watch or one the average fan will be able to purchase?
My plan is to where I work on such high priced timepieces I will offer many price ranges. They’ll probably range from $1500 up. Everyone will be able to afford, whoever it is. I don’t think anyone should have to spend much more than that to get quality.
Do you repair watches now while you are out on tour or is it all on hiatus?
While on the road there is no way for me to do anything and this is the inception of the band so I have to give it my 115%. It’s put on hiatus and transpiring into what I’m telling you now. If you saw on the DVD I was interviewed in the largest watch store in the world called Tourneau in Manhattan, that’s where the interview took place. They presented me with a really really expensive watch. They know my degrees & diplomas and whatnot. It’s a wonderful feeling all around.
Do you goto many watch sites and forums to spread your knowledge on the subject?
Right now time is really limited so I’d rather open up a forum up on my site eventually. Just keep it within us metal guys, metal producera and keep it in that world.
Do you have your own shop?
I had 2 stores. When I left school I had one in New York and one in Flordia where I repaired, serviced and built stuff. Then I went to work for a company called Chopard because they make some of the most complicated wristwatches known to mankind and I earned their highest degrees over in Switzerland. I kinda reached the top of where I needed to be. You can’t really work on those timepieces in a store, they usually go back to the manufacturer in Switzerland. That’s when I actually got the email from Charlie and I kind of reached the top in that industry. That’s kind of what my personality is; out to achieve a certain goal then surpass it and make myself very happy. The next goal I could see was to create my own timepiece and I didn’t want to just create it, I want to cater to the heavy metal people. That’s when I got the email from Charlie. That’s one of the few times I would have said yeah I’ll go play again. I’m starting to get the itch and love to play my guitar again. If it was 6 months before that I would have said absolutely not, I’m a master watchmaker and I don’t care. I’m not gonna go sit on a tourbus, I don’t like to travel and that’s the main reason I left last time.
You became born-again a few years ago, so how have you adapted to life in the road with these new beliefs versus the days of excess back in the 80s?
It’s been about 8 years since I’ve been born again. It’s OK, I can check in now and then. Some days are really hard, no one in my band is similar to me. I travel with my wife and she keeps me in check. Being on Gigantour with Dave Mustaine was really good because he travels with his pastor at all times. We have allot more in common then we ever did in the old days, so that’s really good. Also when I’m home I get to hang with Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden sometimes or I used to; he’s very busy. We goto church together and whatnot. He’s born again as well. There’s allot of us in Heavy Metal that are. It’s like anything else, I’m back in the world and I have a belief system and a way to live my life. I follow the bible as close as I can.
Tell me a bit about the project you were involved with Nicko McBrain.
We finished about 16 or 18 songs in the recording studio and I was searching for the correct singer for the project. We had a bunch of our friends come in and do stuff, as a goof sometimes. Some of it leaked out onto the internet. I remember with Vanilla Ice, they thought he was the singer. We just got so frustrated trying to find the correct singer for that type of music, we had people come in and sing my lyrics just to get a hold on it. Working with Nicko is just unbelievable. Like I said earlier I had a project with him and another with the drummer from Yngwie Malmsteen who was in many, many death metal bands: Patrik Johansson who is an incredible studio drummer. I was playing a lot of 7 string guitar in these projects. We’ll see where that goes later when I get some time off. What happens now that my old friends from Heavy Metal are coming to the shows and watching Anthrax again, they grew up on us. Like all the new bands as well that I’m into of course like Shadowsfall, I wish the guys from Korn would come out as well too. They’re like my favorite band.
Given that “I’m The Man” and “Bring Tha Noize” were so hugely popular, do ye take any reposnibility for bands like Linkin Park plaguing us with their rap/metal hybrid??
Well we didn’t know what we were doing. We were just having fun doing what we were doing. That’s what came out of us, we never sit around a table and figure out what we’re gonna write. When people ask us if we’re gonna do an album and what it’s going to be like I just tell you the next 24 hours is the next 24 hours. We just get in a room and the riffs that come out are the riffs that come out. Whatever leaked out about the Nicko McBrain project that could possibly give you a taste of my direction of music. I think definitely if there wasn’t an Anthrax and “I’m The Man” and the Public Enemy tour; that first Rap-Metal tour in the history of the world you wouldn’t have a certain genre of music that passed through in the past 10 years.
Are you somehow surprised at getting so much recognition from the newer generation of metal?!
It feels really good to have bands now that are back together. I know its only been a brief time now and we have no new songs yet. We play live and these bands you’re talking about are just coming to see us and tell us “I was first row in front of you Spitz when I was 13 years old, going crazy right in front of you”. All that is finally wonderful, not that recognition but just to hear it from the people who are now in the limelight and the forerunners of new music.
What are your views on the newer music of today?
I think that when we were creating music and Metallica was sleeping on the floor of our rehearsal studio in Jamaika Queens and we were both managed by the same person. Neither one of us had record labels and no one understood the music we were making. They just wanted to hear Motley Crue. It doesn’t sound like Motley Crue, whats this noise? We didn’t understand what they were saying, we were just making music for ourselves. That evolved to the state of music that it is now. It’s pretty unbelievable when I turn on the television. We always said that when we hear a thrash metal beat on a commercial somewhere we’re gonna lose our minds. That means we actually did something that changed something in the world. It wasn’t Poison’s freakin’ dumb hairband beat which we couldn’t stand. Our whole idea was guitars rule the earth. That’s it, it’s just the way it was. Now you turn on the TV its even past commercials, they worked their way into movies and video games: into everything you hear. The thrash metal beats, the heavy guitar sound that we created. We just wanted a heavier guitar sound with more bass in it. We had to try and explain it to producers back then who didn’t even understand how to get it onto a record. Now its just a mainstay. It blows our mind, it blows my mind. It’s unbelievable.
Do you listen to much of the newer stuff?
Music and every other industry so to speak makes a full circle and then after it makes its full circle it’s built on once again. There’s borrowing from the past to get to the future. I think music is in that state right now. The rap-metal thing has exhausted itself and everyone is waiting for the next level again. It’s reverted back to the old once again except the old this time isn’t just Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. The old contains the four of us; Slayer, Megadeh, Anthrax and now System Of A Down. It’s just evolved and combined it all, or Disturbed. That’s the direction.
What sort of stuff do you listen to these days?
I’m still hooked on the Korn UNTOUCHABLES album. It’s really really in my brain. Of course System of a Down, stuck on Rage Against the Machine. My wife Candi goes “Slipnot, Slipnot”. That’s the people that grew up on us and that’s what’s coming out of them. I can relate to that. I don’t listen to much music, I don’t dwell on it. I don’t dwell on one band, never have. That’s what keeps music and my leads I put into Anthrax music very unique and very fresh. After all these years people still hum along to my leads, they’re not leads, they’re songs. That’s kind of what me and Joey do to Anthrax, we fuse the melody into the mayhem. We listen to different stuff than other members of the band. We come from a different background. When all 5 of us get together that’s what makes the magic, that can’t be replaced.
How do you keep yourself in such tremendous shape?
On the road it’s more difficult. I try to eat healthy, I never eat red meat: I haven’t for almost 20 years now. I work out as much as I can. Now I carry resistance bands with me so I don’t have to go to a gym or anything like that. Kind of what you see on late night TV. You see the ads for that workout thing. What’s it called?
It’s like bowflex but you can chuck these in your bag. Like resistance stuff. Eat healthy and work out. Now I got that extra hour to 2 hours to work out with Anthrax on stage so its even better. (Laughs) I’m 28 and I’m not moving.
Any words to the readers of MR and the fans?
Let them know that I miss the first 30 seconds to a minute of every show. When the lights go downand they start screaming and then we walk out on stage and I walk out on stage and the lights come on and I get that kind of sea of love; that smile on everybody’s face. All the years I was watchmaking and didn’t have the desire to play my instrument or even touch it…that’s what I missed. It feels really good to have that love back once again. I can’t wait to see you all at an Anthrax show now or in the future if we make some new Anthrax pounding music.
Thanks for your time and best of luck on tour and with future projects.
Thank you very much. Not a problem. Anytime Bro’.
< ?xml:namespace prefix = o /> Special thanks to Jensen for making this interview possible and to Dan for taking the time to talk to us.
Special thanks to Jensen for making this interview possible and to Dan for taking the time to talk to us.
Edit: The above interview was edited due to a slight error on my behalf during transcription. It has now been fixed. Dan said in regards to a new cd “If me, Charlie and Scott write together” and NOT “”Me, Joey and Scott” as I had mistakenly printed. I apoligize for any inconvenience this may have caused.