Sacred Reich Interview
with Vocalist Phil Rind
20th July 2012 @ Dublin, Ireland
By Mark Dean
Sacred Reich recently returned to play their first show in Ireland in over 20yrs!
Despite having health problems lead singer Phil Rind took time to chat all things Sacred Reich, family and even touched on Nirvana and Rush in our discussion, after an excellent and energetic show.
Hey Phil and thanks for joining us today!
Why did it take so long for you to return to play live in Ireland?
Phil – I don’t know! I guess maybe opportunity? I’m not exactly sure. When we had some time on this tour, I said for sure we want to go back to Ireland…it’s been too long!"
Why did the band decide to get back together?
Phil – Just because it was fun!
You just missed the guys and playing live?
Phil – We were putting together some reissues of the first two records and it was fun to hang out and do Sacred Reich stuff. We thought it would be fun to do some shows and wondered if anyone would care. We found out that they did so we played some shows! [laughs]
Have you found that the demographic of your audience has changed since the last time?
Phil – It’s certainly a mixture of what you would expect of people that have been around with us and younger kids. I don’t know if its new fans that are into thrash, or as you said if it’s people bringing their kids…It’s a nice mixture.
There’s a political slant to the band’s early lyrics, with America’s attitude to censorship, did that ever create problems for you?
Phil – Not really. We never had any problems, maybe if we were much more popular?!
In the early days in Arizona, was it difficult to get started, playing your style of music?
Phil – It really wasn’t difficult, Gloria (Cavelera) who ended up being our manager had a club called the"Bootlegger" and there was a good scene so we started playing there. We played with Flotsam&Jetsam a lot and then Gloria became a promoter and started to put on shows, we played a lot. It wasn’t difficult to get shows which was good for us because you need the practice.
A common question I’m sure, but what inspired the band’s name?
Phil – I don’t know?!
Who came up with it then?
Phil – Jason did, before I was in the band.
Isn’t that you just passing the buck and avoiding the question?! [Laughs]
Phil – No really! [Laughs] There was another band called Sacred Reich, that me, Greg and Wiley weren’t in. Jason is like the only guy left. I think he saw the name, thought it sounded cool and that was it!
So it wasn’t just picked to invoke controversy and provoke a reaction?
Phil – I think the thing with that is that you know we aren’t a country band! You hear the name and you just get an idea about the music!
Do you find the messages said in some of your songs, which are 25 years old, are still relevant today?
Phil – Yeah unfortunately, Ignorance, Crimes against Humanity-are still relevant.
Do you find that Sacred Reich has an individual sound, or one that can be easily categorised?
Phil – I don’t know. I think we sound like us…whatever that means. We play with a lot of variant bands and I think that there is a similar kind of sound. They all kinda influence each other a little bit and I think we are outside of that because we weren’t part of that. We have our own thing, for better or for worse."
What is your favourite song to play live or does this tend to vary on a nightly basis?
Phil – Surf Nicaragua, every time! It’s the one that gets everybody going…what do you think Wiley?"
(Guitarist Wiley walks in)
Wiley – I’m really enjoying "Free", it’s new to the set, so that’s probably why!
Phil – I like playing "Free" too. I just like playing this stuff because I know everybody is going to go off to it!
Wiley – The energy of the crowd is just soo cool"
Has your personal definition of metal changed since you first started in Sacred Reich in 1985?
Phil – I don’t know or care about labels and whatever you call it. Either you like the music or you don’t.
Away from the mayhem of Sacred Reich how do you unwind and relax? Any outside hobbies or interests?
Phil – I just hang out with my family; I have a wife and four kids, so it’s busy!
I read an interview that said that was the reason that the band won’t release a new album. As subsequently you would have to tour to promote it?
Phil – Our priorities have certainly changed, especially where the band was previously ready to party!
You have more choice and freedom without being pushed by a record company?
Phil – We don’t have a record company. I always felt that we had freedom to do what we wanted and we never put out records very quickly. The record company never rushed us,t he record was done when it was done. Maybe to our detriment that it took us along time…
You were with "Metal Blade" for several releases and then left before returning?
Phil – I never felt any pressure from the outside to do anything.
What are the bands plans for the rest of the year, ie how long will this reunion last?
Phil – We have three more shows and then we come back in August. We play Wacken and Porisphere festivals and in December we play "Barge to Hell" this cruise and go to the Bahamas!
I recently interviewed Dave McClain (ex Sacred Reich drummer) and he was talking about doing something similar playing on a cruise.
Phil – He’s a good dude. We just saw him recently and it’s very funny because when he joined Sacred Reich he was a fan. We saw him at Hellfest, in France and I said "You’re a very special part of our little family and you saved us". We only had two weeks before we were going on tour with Sepultura and he came in and crushed it! He was awesome, a great dude. I said "Being in a band is a very intimate relationship and we shared that. Their new stuff (Machine Head) is great and they had a dodgy period. If you are around that long and make that many records then you will have that that difficult phase.
When was Sacred Reich’s "dodgy period"? [laughs] Was their a particular release that falls into that category?
Phil – We didn’t have a dodgy period because we didn’t make enough records. [Laughs]
We stopped playing before we got dodgy! I think that’s why people kind of like us.
It depends because some people don’t want to listen to anything after "The American Way", some others don’t want to listen to "Independent"or "Heal". People are entitled to do whatever the fuck they want, if they don’t wanna like something I don’t care; we just do what we do. If people like it… great, and if they don’t….. We are very fortunate that people just seem to enjoy it!
Ok, I’ll just finish up with a couple of general questions because I appreciate that you aren’t feeling the best health-wise. What in your life are you most proud of?
Phil – My family. The most special thing to me is that my wife Sandy and I were married and had two kids, got divorced and I was miserable…then we got re-married and I had a second chance. As I realised that I fucked up. To me, my family are the most special thing in my life.
How do you view the current metal scene today?
Phil – I think it’s good. It’s diverse and there’s lots of bands who are very strong with lots of different sounds…I think it’s great.
Do you listen to your own back catalogue?
Phil – No. Sometimes I go and I’ll listen to a song and see if it sounds like I remember it sounding.
I don’t really have a favourite record, as I like all the records, everyone says that too right? [laughs]
What is the best feeling in the world, both career & personally?
Phil – Professionally; we played Hellfest and there was 50,000 people there! To have the crowd respond instantly to your actions and request, it is incredible! It’s just so nice. Personally hanging out with family. When my little daughter goes "Daddy,daddy" – It’s pretty amazing you know!
Did you see the Rush movie?
Yes I did…
Phil – When they said that they always knew they were becoming the people that they didn’t want to be, and that they knew Rush was only one part of their lives, I thought this is amazing because so many bands don’t have that balance and all they think about is the band and nothing else.
I think to a certain degree you almost have to be like that to be successful.
I was reading something about Nirvana and they were saying something about it was really difficult as Kurt was sick and they shouldn’t have been touring but they were being pushed.
Who was pushing them? Ultimately you are the band, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If people have a problem with that, then maybe it is time to examine your relationship with them. Say no! You work together and have a partnership, if you feel strongly about something and this is the way its gotta be, maybe its time to say this isn’t working out anymore…just like any other relationship.
How do you view the changes in the music industry in recent years -eg the Pay up front types of sites by bands?
Phil – I saw that and I don’t like it. For me personally, it’s not my business what other bands do but I don’t want that. Fans are already paying for it by buying tickets and coming to the shows, buying shirts. I don’t need to hit them up before hand. Same with the record thing if I can’t figure out how to get the money, then I shouldn’t make the record. It’s on me, I don’t like that personally. I understand that they need to come up with money and we were thinking about maybe recording a song or two (I don’t think that we will). How are we going to afford it? By playing a couple of shows! I said take the money from those and you make a recording. Its not hard. We also talked about if we recorded a song or two to put it out for whatever people wanted to pay for it.
The other thing is that it seems crazy for us to spend three thousand dollars on recording something and not expect any money back. We all have families and responsibilities.
It’s difficult but you figure it out…
Thanks very much for making time this evening to chat, especially appreciated as you weren’t well. I hope the band can return to these shores soon.