Sacrifice – Rob Urbinati

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Sacrifice – Rob Urbinati

Interviewed on September 28, 2006 by Blake ‘Metal’ Wolfe

We got to speak with vocalist/guitarist Rob Urbinati of Sacrifice after their recent reunion performance at Toronto’s second annual Day of the Equinox (DOTE) festival. We spoke to Rob about the festival, the reunion how & why, re-issued CD’s, the possible future for Sacrifice, etc.  Enjoy! 

How do you think the Day of the Equinox II show went?

Being completely honest with you, I think it was the best show we ever played! We were pretty well-prepared to go play. I don’t know how to describe it – the energy that the crowd and the band had, it was something else! I can’t remember ever having a show like that. We’ve had some pretty good shows, playing with Slayer and some other big bands, but that was just something special. I don’t know if it was just the anticipation and not playing for so long or whatever, but it just seemed to fall right in place.

How many times did you guys meet to practice beforehand?

It’s funny – we were almost gonna play the Day of the Equinox last year. I talked to Noel (local Toronto metal promoter), and I said there’s no way we could get it together in time. I couldn’t give him an answer – it was like a month before the show! We had to cancel, because we hadn’t really rehearsed at all. Our plan was, between Gus (Pynn, drums) and myself, we were going to rehearse a bit in the six months before the show had been announced, and for the last week get Joe (Rico, guitars) and Scott (Watts, bass) in, and do a full week of rehearsals. I’m glad we did have that long, because Gus and myself, it did take us a while to get the songs together. It paid off, though – we were pretty happy with the performance.

So what was the motivation behind this reunion?

I can’t really, fully answer that. There’s been times when myself, and I guess everybody else is in the same boat, where I’ve thought ‘I don’t really want to do another show – leave people’s memories as they are,’ but I’ve talked to Noel from Inertia Entertainment about this for years. The problems that I could foresee were laid out, and Noel pretty much took care of everything. I think the thing that made us do this is that people wanted to see it – if people didn’t care, I don’t think we’d bother. But there’s alot of support for Sacrifice, and we’re pretty blown away by it to be honest. About the show, once we kind of had the ball rolling with, we were just completely fired up to do this thing. I’m really glad we did, because when I’m 70 years old, I don’t wanna be sitting on the porch saying ‘We should’ve done one more Sacrifice show – why didn’t we do that?’. It was a great time, something that none of us in the band will ever forget. I’m really happy we went through with it.

Was there any one member in the band that kind of approached the other guys first?

I guess it was myself. I still go to shows, and keep in touch with alot of people here in Toronto. Like I said, Noel and myself had talked about this for a long time. Finally, it seemed like it could be possible and I presented it to the other guys, so everyone went for it, so thank god (laughs)! We’re really happy about how it all worked out.


Was there any apprehension about doing this show, after so many years of not playing together?

Oh yeah, definitely! It’s alot different when we were rehearsing three or four times a week back when Sacrifice was together, it seemed so easy to play these songs. Going back after having not played them for so long, what seemed so easy before really wasn’t! It took a little bit of work to get everything together, and there was apprehension from, I think everybody, with that. Thrash is really hard music to play – I don’t think it gets the respect it deserves. It’s extremely difficult music to play. There was apprehension with that, and also just the anxiety to play the show. The anxiety was killing us for six months, so it just kind of exploded when we got on stage, I think. The other apprehension I’ve had, was maybe just leaving people’s memories as they were, and maybe there was a little bit of ‘we won’t be able to pull this off.’ But if we’re going to do something, we’ve always been like this – we don’t go half-assed with stuff. We’ll make sure that we’re fuckin’ prepared and blow people away, and when we went on stage, we were fully confident in our abilities to pull this off. All that apprehension went right out the window.

You guys recently had the albums re-issued on Marquee Records. How did that come about? Did they approach you guys first?

I talked to Armando (Pereira, label owner) a little bit. Basically, at first, he asked us if we’d be into doing a live album, from some recordings he had. I was interested in that, so we talked a bit, but we’ve been talking a long time, and every once in a while he’d mention that he’d really like to do the albums, and he had great ideas for what he’d like to do. I was a little skeptical if whether he could pull it off or not, because I don’t know if you’ve seen the re-issues, but they’re pretty involved! When I first held Torment In Fire in my hands, I couldn’t believe it – he had done such a great job with it. I was really completely happy with how it was presented.

So you guys are really happy with all the re-issues then?

Oh yeah, they’re great! I look at it from a fan’s perspective – that’s what we wanted from a re-issue. We didn’t want something with the album cover just photocopied and just put out with no work. We wanted something special for people going back. They have like a little band history thing, and alot of pictures, and two CDs full of bonus shit, all that stuff. I just looked at it as a fan – what I’d like. I haven’t heard one complaint! That’s pretty unheard of, so we’re really happy.


What are you guys listening to these days? Do you still closely follow the extreme music scene either locally or internationally?

I do, myself, Joe Rico does too – he listens to alot of, I guess, hardcore. Gus, not so much, but he’s getting back into it now – it’s not like he’s not into metal, but he’s been more into the mainstream stuff. Scott’s more into jazz and classic rock. We’ve always kind of had that seperate musical personalities in the band, I guess. Nothing much has changed in that way. Speaking for myself, though, I totally follow what’s going on. I’m maybe not in tune with the ‘extreme’ underground, but I know what’s going on. I keep pretty on top of things.

So what sorts of bands are you listening to?

I’m mostly into the bands that sound like they were likely influenced by the ’80s thrash scene (laughs). Arch Enemy, Soilwork, and I like bands like Zyklon that are kind of on the other end of that. It’s hard to think when people ask me this question – Spiritual Beggars. Basically anything Michael Amott has played on I like! I like the shredding guitar stuff. I can listen to anything from Marduk to Devin Townsend Band. Strapping Young Lad I really like alot. Local bands too, like Rammer and Burn To Black – I really love those bands.

Have you had a chance to see Metal: A Headbangers’ Journey? What did you think about that movie?

I loved it! It’s the best metal movie ever! There’s really been nothing like it. Every metal movie has always been about the mainstream metal and dealt with more of the silliness and that kind of thing. Burn To Black (the band of Sam Munn, director of A Headbanger’s Journey) used to rehearse in the same room as my old band Interzone. I remember when he came back from Europe – he was like ‘Hey Rob – check it out! I fuckin’ interviewed Bruce Dickinson on the stage at the Hammersmith!’ He was really excited. He was showing me some of the footage he had – I knew it was going to be an awesome movie, so I couldn’t wait for it to come out.

Are you still in contact with the ex-members of Sacrifice and guys from other bands, like Slaughter?

Oh yeah. The other members of Sacrifice, like Mike Rosenthal and Kevin Wimberly, we’re in touch a little bit, not as much as we were obviously. Alot of people who used to hang out back in the Sacrifice/Slaughter days of Larry’s Hideaway, they were calling this like the ‘metal reunion’. There were people at that show that I couldn’t believe travelled from places like Vancouver, B.C., like Dave Read from Death Militia. Actually, it wasn’t even Vancouver, it was Nanaimo. Ron Sumners from Slaughter came from Switzerland. We’re just seeing all these old faces – people who used to do fanzines back then, so it was great. This show has kinda got us back in touch with alot of people. The guys in Slaughter we hadn’t spoken to in a long time, like Terry and Dave and Ron. It’s really great to be back in touch with these guys. We were really close with alot of people.

Sacrifice classic photo

What about these other reunions going on lately? There seems to be a lot of ’80s thrash bands getting back together, like Nuclear Assault and Dark Angel.

Yeah, it’s great. The one thing with thrash is you know the bands aren’t doing it for the money. The bands are doing it because they love to play, and people want to see them play. People want to see it, and it fires the band up. I think it’s great – it was a strong scene. People that were around back then all say that there will never be anything like this ever again. It was really special. I don’t think that will ever be forgotten.

If there was one metal band that you could see reunited, who would it be?

One thing that comes to mind immediately is Black Sabbath with Dio. They seem to be reuniting. I love that stuff – Dio with Sabbath is great. I don’t know – I’m trying to think of a band that I’ve never seen that I’d really love to see. Maybe like Carcass – I never got a chance to see them. I think it will happen one day.

What is it about this type of music that still has people excited after so many years?

That’s a really difficult question to answer. I don’t know, even as a fan, not even taking the band into consideration. Metal’s the only music that I’ve really listened to, honestly, at least 90% – once in a while, I’ll throw a blues album on or whatever, but I’ve just always identified with metal. I can’t answer that – Sam Munn’s probably a better guy to ask (laughs)!

If you guys didn’t play the Day of the Equinox II, what would you have been doing that night instead?

Probably would’ve been at the show watching whoever else was playing (laughs). I think that’s what I’d be doing.

This reunion – is it just a one-off, is it permanent? What can fans expect?

We haven’t really talked about it much, what our plans are for the future. We have discussed doing another album, but we’ll only do it if it turns out like we felt the show could turn out. We went on and were fully confident in destroying the place – if we can’t feel like that with the songs we’re writing, we won’t do it.

Have you guys been writing songs?

I’ve been writing a bit, and the other guys have been writing a bit, too. It’s sounding great, but it’s just riffs here and there, so I can’t even really give you an answer. I’d like to do another album, but I don’t want something half-assed coming out – it would have to be like full-on. That was probably the best show we ever played, so this is going to have to be the best album we’ve ever made. If not, then fuck it.

If you guys did put out a new album, would it be the classic Sacrifice sound, or would it be somewhat updated?

I would say it’s more on the side of classic Sacrifice. I don’t want to say there’s new elements thrown in, because it makes people go ‘fuck, this sucks!, but there’s not much of that. That’s what we’ve talked about, too – as much as I love Lamb of God or something, I don’t want Sacrifice to sound like that. I want it to sound like a thrash band. I don’t want it to be a thrash band, with new influences. It has to be balls-out fuckin’ thrash, from when you press play until it stops. If it’s not gonna be that, we’re just gonna say fuck it.

If you guys did the new album, would you ever tour again?

I doubt it. If we were to do that, it would be a couple of shows here and there. We would never do a full-scale tour. Our lives have changed too much. We have families and stuff, and we can’t just leave work and say ‘okay, we’re going on tour, this is our new career.’ We’re all like 40 years old – this isn’t the time to be picking up our music career. As much as I, and probably the rest of the guys, would like to, it’s not reality. We can’t feed our families with that. If we could, we would do it, but it’s just not there.

If this is the final show as Sacrifice, are there other musical projects that you would start?

I write all the time at home. I’ve got tons and tons of songs written, not necessarily Sacrifice-style, but at some point I’ll get something together again. Even if Sacrifice does get together and do another album, I’m sure I’ll do something else, and at some point put something else out. I just have it in me to do that – I love to write music and play in a band, all that stuff. Something will happen at some point I’m sure.

Would you guys consider putting out a live recording of the Day of the Equinox II set?

Possibly yes. We’re not really sure yet. I haven’t even seen any footage. Right now our plan is to do a DVD, but it’s going to be like a Cliff ‘Em All-style DVD. There’s alot of old bootleg stuff, alot of old footage – we’re gonna have to put that on it, and probably also add some of the new shit in. We’ve actually recorded tons of rehearsal stuff. The sound and video quality is just awesome, so we’ll probably put a song or two of that, and we  will probably end up putting at least one song from the show on it. Like I said, I haven’t checked out the footage, but I think at some point the show might be released.

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