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Interview: Death Angel

Pure metal...interviews

Having to interview one of your earliest favourite bands is something many people would be ecstatic about, but managing to turn this into a friendly conversation is more than I had hoped for when setting out to interview Rob and Mark from Death Angel.

Our conversation touched upon the release of their latest album, The Art of Dying, their plans for the future and the wizard of the electric guitar, Kirk Hammet...

Welcome back guys. How does it feel to be back in the Metal scene after all these years as Death Angel?

Rob: Absolutely amazing! It’s beyond expectation. We thought that it would be fun, but we didn’t realise that it would be so cool. We are just very thankful to be back and that people still appreciate us.

We have to be thankful to Chuck Billy (Testament’s frontman) for that.

Rob: That’s true, that’s absolutely true! If it wasn’t for that show, if it wasn’t for Chuck, calling me himself and requesting that we play for that show, we wouldn’t have done it and we wouldn’t be here now. We had no intention of putting this band back together.

That’s really weird, especially since most of you are somehow related, second cousins and all. Why did you need to be convinced by someone outside the "family" in order to get back together?

Rob: That’s the only way that it would have happened. When we disbanded in 1990, we were not kidding, man. We called it quits and that was the end, we just didn’t feel like we wanted to get back together – bottom line.

I need to say that I’m really happy that you chose not to release "Ultra-Violence pt II". I loved all the albums that you have released in the past, and I also believe that people would expect more from Death Angel than just another 80’s Thrash Metal album. You seem to have achieved that.

Rob: I am really happy that you said that.

Why did you decide to disband in 1990 while being in the peak of your career? You had major airplay, you had two videos promoting "Act III", "Seemingly Endless Time" and "A Room with a View". Are you sure that Chuck Billy was the only one responsible for the band’s re-formation?

Rob: It was the benefit show for Chuck Billy that made us get back together, even play at all. Even when we did that show, we were only going to do just that show. Just for Chuck!

At that point, we weren’t interested in making a second show or composing a new song, but when we went on stage and played that show, it was a spontaneous feeling of the chemistry and the vibe that we had together when we hit the stage for the first time after all these years, and the response of the crowd.

It was that which kept us going to the next show, and even then we didn’t think that it would last for long. That’s when we were invited to play the Dynamo festival. We thought about it and we said: What the heck, we might as well do it for the last time, play in Europe and all. Then we came to Europe to play, and things were even more imminent. That’s when we thought: People in San Francisco liked our show, people in Holland were the same, maybe people do like us after all! That was it, we had to re-form the band after all that.

Many times while being interviewed, you said that you decided to quit the band because you were fed up with the way the music industry worked. Do you believe that things have changed after all these years?

Mark: Well, not only the industry is different, but we’re different. We are more mature and we know exactly what we’re doing now with the industry, because unfortunately we learned by doing the wrong things. That’s how we learned, the hard way! But now also the label that we’re with, again as we said multiple times, Nuclear Blast is a blessing because everyone there is a Metal fan and also Death Angel fans, truly!

From the owner to the people at the front desk and everyone in between and it’s wonderful to see how hard they want this to work, how hard they work for a band, and they know how to reach the true metal bans. They keep in touch and they do many special promotional things. Back then, Metal was still so new and people (labels) didn’t really know how to market us. In general, I’m having a much better time now with the label.

Rob: Plus another thing is that he (Mark) love to, and we love to play. Play live, go on tour and make music together, everything that has to do with music and being in a band. The reality is: If you want to do that, you have to deal with the music industry – plain and simple! It’s not like necessarily we love to deal with the music industry all over again, but the thing is that it’s all part of it, it’s not necessarily evil (laughs), but it’s definitely part of the game.

I have to admit that I’m quite scared with you guys. You say that now you’re far more mature than what you used to be. When you released the "Ultra-Violence", the average age was seventeen, and still it was one of the most mature Thrash Metal albums which was ever released. Is there any limit as to how mature this band can become, and how is the next Death Angel album going to sound?

Mark: I am still enjoying this album, so I think that it’s too early to say.

Rob: Exactly. We tried to include all the elements that make a Death Angel album, and as long as we do that, everything is going to be alright. We know where our parameters are within this band, how we want to sound and what we want to put out, so I believe that it’s going to be a good ride here!

Before the recordings of the new album you did quite a lot of touring – festivals and all. How happy are you with the reaction of the crowd? Are Metalheads nowadays any different that how they used to be back in the 80’s?

Rob: Well, one thing is that, if you’re talking about our fans that have been our fans since then, is the fact that everyone seems to be a bit older nowadays (laughs).

You can say that again! (laughs).

Rob: It’s pretty much the case. The style of Metal is definitely from that era, and there are not that many new fans which will prefer this specific sound. Those fans who like that sound are old fans who grew with us, so we see the same people from back then. The main difference is that things are not as quite out of hand as they used to be back then. We were notorious for having shows where people would just get crazy.

There were massive riots going on, people were getting hurt and to be honest with you we used to enjoy all these things that were happening. Nowadays, we’re not necessarily so excited about people getting hurt and things like that. So one thing is people seem to be so excited, they’re getting hyper.

We see much more smiling faces. The sound of our music brings people memories of the old days and everywhere there’s a positive feeling, rather than just a feeling of destroying everything that surrounds you. That’s the main difference that I notice.

Mark: That’s with our older fans. We have been fortunate enough to do many festivals this summer and we played for people who never heard of us before. They are into metal, and they’ve seen our name for years but they never really knew what we were playing. Some people knew about us because some people sited us as one of their influences, but a lot of people came to the No Mercy festival having no idea what we were, and when we came out, we crushed them (laughs).

Rob: We made a lot of new fans (laughs)

[During the interview both the guys were desperate to find beer, but the hotel where the interview took place did not serve alcohol (?!!?!). Karl Demata (Nuclear Blast) managed to provide Rob and Marc with San Miguel beer, the sight of which brought a huge smile to Rob’s face! After a short discussion about beer, that even the members of Tankard would have been jealous of, we continued with the interview.]

"The Art of Dying" is your first album as Death Angel after 14 years of "rest", and the first album with Nuclear Blast. How did you end up signing with the label?

Mark: Well, we were approached by a few people even before we started writing songs for the album. After we sat down and we made the conversation "ok, we’re going to make an honest go of this and actually record an album"; then came the time to pick the label, and Nuclear Blast seemed to be the perfect label for us. They know how to market Metal bands, and they do know how to reach the true Metal fans. It would then be silly for me to ask whether you’re satisfied with the way they handle the band’s affairs!

Rob: Yeah, we’re very satisfied.

Mark: Like a baby in the blanket (laughs).

Rob: I like to think about comfortable situations (laughs). I’m just sleeping right now (laughs).

One of the things that made many Metal fans respect Death Angel is the fact that you never chose to repeat yourselves. Every Death Angel release was different from the previous one.

How about "The Art of Dying"? How similar and how different is it to your new releases?

Rob: I want to hear what you have to say about it (laughs).

I’ll tell you after we finish this interview (laughs).

Rob: Well, how similar? I picture this album to be a blend of our previous three releases. How different? I think that by taking the three albums and putting them together we made what we needed to do at that specific point in time. Trying to make an album that would have sounded like them would have been a waste of time. "Act III" was recorded fourteen years ago, so we are trying to take those elements from back then, and express where we’re coming from right now.

I also believe that now we’re far better musicians and a much tighter band than we were back then because we’ve been playing music all along and that gives us fourteen years of musical experience, and plus whatever music we’ve been listening to and all the input and influences we’ve gathered within that amount of time went into this album, mixed in with the influences of our other three albums put together and I feel that we’re far better prepared for this.

Now there is a much more different mentality than the one Metal bands and fans used to have in the 80’s. You must remember that Thrashers only listened to Thrash back then, anything else was forbidden, and that’s quite catastrophic if you ask me – music is a huge thing!

Mark: I agree with you - you have to take everything in, for all it’s worth.

Rob: That’s where we’re coming from because you said how people view music in different ways and at the end of the day however somebody likes music is how they like it. If someone likes only one kind of music and that’s what they really only like – then that’s what they like! Some bands are more one-dimensional with their sound, but it just so happens that’s where we’re coming from.

Mark: Yeah.

Rob: Every single member of this band has so many different sides to them and so many different influences and our personalities and the way that it all comes together makes our sound open and varied. For people that like that kind of thing, our band has exactly what they want (laughs).

Which was the main source of inspiration for the creation of the new album?

Mark: It’s really hard to name one main inspiration!

Rob: One of the main sources of inspiration for this album is all the people that brought us back, our old fans really. We wanted to please our fans, we wanted to put out an album that would please all our old fans. If I was an old fan of our band, listening to our three albums, I would hope that these guys would do if they had the balls to put out another album after all these years, I would not want them to ruin their past with something that wouldn’t fit in. I would wish that they should have stopped when they did...

Mark: This album must have been and is something that we should and are proud of.

Rob: I am trying to put myself in the position of our fans. This was definitely a big point to deliver to the old fans as well as the new fans, but mostly to the fans that we loved and who supported us through our previous albums. This was a challenge to me and a goal that I feel that I have accomplished.

You just made me once again realise why I loved Thrash Metal in the first place. It is also funny because three months ago I interviewed Exodus, and Gary Holt gave me quite a similar response.

Rob: I can see that. Exodus are true to the soul. They have the same attitude with us.

I believe that a successful album should have both the lyrical and the musical aspects perfectly balanced. Do you feel the need as artists to express certain issues or things that trouble you? Which are those things and what are the lyrics of the album all about?

Mark: The lyrics of the album are pretty much all over the place. There are a lot of different things that influenced the lyrics but mostly are things that happened individually in our everyday life. As artists, we all feel the need to express certain things and emotions that drive us crazy in an angry way, or even in a beautiful and happy way. We just need to take them out of our system and the band is the perfect vehicle to do it. That’s a thing we realised from the very beginning and we always took seriously.

How about the song "Spirit", which is one of my favourites - what are the lyrics all about?

Mark: Andy (Galeon: Drums) sings that song. It’s the first song that Andy sings on any Death Angel album. Andy wrote the music and the lyrics. His father has just passed away and he felt the need of writing a song about that.

I was pretty sure that it was something really personal...The vibe of the song and the feeling I received was really strong.

Rob: It’s a very deep song. I give a lot of credit to Andy for expressing that feeling through the song. This song is true in any sense, and that’s exactly why you felt it straight away.

Mark: Again it’s what we said about the way we’re inspired to write lyrics. Andy doesn’t want to speak directly about this thing, so he chose to write a song in order to release that energy.

Is it ok if I ask about Gus (Pepa: ex-guitar player). Do you have any news from him? What is he up to lately, and why did he decide not to become part of the new Death Angel line up?

Rob: Gus is the ever enigmatic and elusive questionmark (laughs). He was when he was in the band and he continues to be now that he’s gone (laughs).

Mark: (Laughs).

Rob: What he’s doing, we don’t really know. He decided to be away from music, pursued a different life style and we kind of lost touch after a while. He moved – he lives in the Philippines as far as we know, and last time that I talked to him was when we wanted to re-form and do that benefit show for Chuck Billy – Thrash the Titans.

I got hold of him, told him that we were planning of doing this and he just basically explained to me that he’s been out of music for so long and he didn’t feel comfortable about opening that can of worms, for which I really cannot blame him.

It’s one hell of a can to open on your life all of a sudden and you really have to commit to it, if you decide to go along. He wasn’t into it, he was half way across the world, so we said good luck to each other and hopefully he’s doing alright.

Mark: We have to respect his choice.

The new album contains different kinds of songs. Thrashy tunes like "Thrown to the Wolves" and "Spirit"co-exist with more melodic and experimental compositions like "The Devil Incarnate" and "Word to the Wise". How would you categorise the band if you were asked to do so? Do you believe that it’s important for Death Angel to be referred to as a Thrash Metal band?

Rob: I don’t know how important it is for us to be called one thing or another. We are not really concerned about that, ‘cause we know how we sound like and we know what we play, so it’s just however people label it. In general, I’d say that we’re a Metal band.

Mark: Yeah, a Metal band and we write powerful music.

Rob: You know when we first the Ultra-Violence was definitely a Thrash Metal album, but we were fifteen years old when we were writing that album and our spectrum of music was not as wide at that point in time. We were focusing on this Thrash wave that was coming with Metallica, Exodus and Slayer, but before that we started more as a Metal band listening to old school stuff like Judas Priest, Scorpions, Iron Maiden.

So, we just focused on the Thrash vibe at first, we were part of a growing scene and everything was so exciting, but we’ve always listened to all types of music. With "Frolic Through the Park" we started expanding our sound and definitely became a multi-dimentional Metal band.

When did you start writing songs for the new album? Were there any ideas left from the "Old Days", or was every composition a brand new idea?

Rob: Brand new everything!

Mark: Yeah, it was all brand new. And we wrote it relatively quick too, that’s why I think that a lot of the songs, or maybe the whole album sounds so fresh. We finished the tour, and two weeks later we went to the studio, and that’s probably the closest amount of time after being on tour that we went to a studio in order to record an album.. So we were "hot" from playing with each other non-stop on stage.

As far as writing was concerned: we didn’t even have a chance to breathe when we wrote, we committed ourselves to writing this album. Imagine that we finished writing the last song while being in the studio, and that by the way was "Thrown to the Wolves". People would probably imagine that this was the first song written, but it was the very last.

If you had to choose one song from the new album as your favourite, which would it be?

Rob: Hmm, which of your kids do you like better (laughs)...

Mark: It’s still so early, the album is so fresh and day after day I pick up a different tune from a song I was listening to. I couldn’t honestly say!

Rob: Quite honestly there is no "one song" at this point of time that I like better than the other ones. I like all of them for different reasons and in different ways. It’s like asking me which is my one favourite album of all times (laughs).

Wait a second, this is one of my following questions (laughs).

Rob: That’s hard, really hard.

I have my favourite, and strangely it’s quite easy for me to name it (Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime).

Rob: One single Album?

The album I would choose to have with me if I had to give away all the others.

Rob: I am afraid to say that I cannot choose only one.

Who is responsible for the production of the new album, where was it recorded and how happy are you with the final result?

Rob: I am absolutely satisfied. We are really proud about the result. We co-produced it with Brian Joseph Dobbs. He is basically Bob Rock’s (famous producer responsible for the production of Metallica’s Black album) main engineer, so that’s where most of his work was done, the bigger albums he worked on.

Did Kirk Hammet have anything to do with it? (I asked this question knowing that Metallica’s lead guitarist is Mark’s close friend).

Mark: Actually, I met Joseph Dobbs way back when I think that Metallica were recording "Load", but we had mutual friends beside that and eventually his name kept coming up in many conversations. That’s the kind of person we wanted to work with, someone who’s more engineer-type, can get tunes, to be comfortable with and him to be comfortable with us.

We had a few meetings with him. He was a great guy. He can translate into music what we want to say as people, he can make that happen...

Are we talking about the "extra member of the band" then?

Mark: Yeah, and that’s just individual instruments. When we were thinking about the grand spectrum of the album, we wanted it to sound live and big, yet believable and raw. A lot of the new stuff is so over-processed and we didn’t want to fall into that trap.

Rob: We knew what we wanted to do producing this album and we wanted to be in control of the production. He was more focused on the sounds and the tones, and we were responsible for the song structure. Sometimes producers want to become more involved in things like song-structures. I don’t like it even though sometimes if there is the right relationship between the band and the producer, they can open ideas to the bands. In our case, the chemistry worked out perfectly, but we (the band members) were the only ones who had a say over the structure of the songs.

You used to make at least one video with every release. Do you have any plans of making one more for this album? Do you believe that videos are useful in promoting a band?

Rob: I think that they are to a certain extent. Personally, I don’t watch too much TV, much less video channels. I don’t really keep up with the new shit coming out, that’s just me, but on the 29th of this month (March 2004), after we return home from this trip we will do our first video for this album which will be "Thicker Than Blood". We chose that song because I think that for us to come out with our first impression about this new album, that song is a very up-beat and raw, straight in your face kind of song.

It’s shorter than the others and for us and for many other people that’s going to be the first thing that they’ll see of our band, and for the older fans that’s the first thing that they’ll see of our new album. Rather than picking up a song that will be more experimental, we prefer this no bullshit, straightforward song which defines our basic root sound which is fast and heavy.

Mark: It’s undeniable how powerful videos are now. This MTV thing started form back in the 80’s, but now things are getting a lot better. Headbanger’s Ball came back and there are plenty of independent stations which play Metal Videos. They help people to put a face to the sounds that they’re hearing and at the same time it helps us reach people outside our normal fan base area. It’s definitely useful.

I agree with you but the thing that scares me is that image seems to have become more important than music nowadays, and that’s quite a scary concept!

Mark: I completely agree, but that’s definitely not where we’re coming from at all. We love music, and we just love the fact that we’re fortunate enough to get to play music. We have to make videos but anyone knows that we’re not an image-based band. We are very proud of our hard performances and us as a whole. I think that our image is us on stage...

Have you got any plans for touring in the near future? Is there a place that you had never played before and that you would really liked to?

Mark: We do have plans for touring. We’re coming back here (Europe) to do some festivals. So far we’re doing Wacken and the Bang Your Head festival...

I am going to see you there...

Mark: Alright...right on! We are doing Graspop and With Full Force and some other one that I keep on forgetting (laughs), I think that it’s called Toska (laughs). We are quite booked, but we are hoping to also tour in clubs in between festivals, and we also want to travel all around Europe.

We are doing the States in August with Danzig, Life Of Agony, and Genitorturers. In September we’re supposed to go to Japan and in October we will go to Australia. As far as places that we’ve never played before: we want to play anywhere we can. We are excited to be going to Australia, and we would also like to play in Greece and South America, places that we’ve never played before.

If only you knew how many people are dreaming to see you live in Greece... Ask Exodus if you don’t believe me!

Mark: They’ve been there a couple of times. I’m sure that it’ll be great - I want to go there so bad (I really hope that a Greek promoter will read this interview and do something about it).

It seems like things are falling into place in order for us to reach so many people. We made two European tours without a new product, and now that we have a new product we will work hard in order to promote it correctly.

The members of the band have participated in many different projects after you decided to call it a day. Are any of these projects still active?

Mark: None of them.

I thought that you were singing for a band and that in one of your recent interviews you mentioned that you would continue working with them.

Mark: Death Angel has taken so much energy and so much enthusiasm, that we don’t have time for anything else. We’ll just put all our focus on Death Angel. We even plan on writing songs for our next album, we want to have a massive catalogue to choose from. We will keep writing as much as possible.

There have been rumours, even before you decided to re-form, that your first two albums would be re-released...

Mark: They are. It will be September later in this year though. The "Ultra-Violence" and "Frolic Through the Park" both will be re-released. Each will have three bonus tracks on them. The "Ultra-Violence" is going to have the original "Kill as One" demo and "Frolic Through the Park" has three unreleased tracks. There is also a b-sides and rarities CD coming out really soon. You will have plenty of Death Angel stuff to listen to (laughs).

Which label is going to release these things? Are we going to be able to get our hands on those goodies here in Europe?

Mark: Yeah, absolutely! Ryker disc is the label.

A DVD Release is common policy with most of the bands nowadays. Have you considered doing something like that? I know many people who would kill in order to have in their collection the videos of "Voracious Souls" and "A Room With a View" – myself included, of course.

Mark: There you go, which brings me to yet another point. Ryker also plans on releasing a box with all the tree previously mentioned CDs which will also contain a short half-hour DVD which will have all of our videos and some rare old footage and stuff.

Can you see the stupid smile on my face?

Mark: That’s good, that’s good (laughs). Nuclear Blast is going to make a digi pack of our new album, and the first 1000 copies will contain a full Death Angel show from our latest tour. Right now, we have tons of footage, tons of interviews and eventually we are going to make a long DVD, a proper retrospect of our career.

Even though you started your career when you were very young, you are now considered to be veterans of the Thrash Metal scene. Most bands at that stage in their careers don’t really have much of a future in terms of being able to develop musically – you, on the other hand are young enough to have another 20 years ahead of you, which provides you with plenty of opportunity to experiment. Where do you see yourselves musically 10 years from now?

Mark: One good thing that we had since back then is that we attacked our goals early. We don’t really look like a band that didn’t do anything for the last fourteen years (laughs). We have that working on our side, and it’s like a blessing that we started so early. We just plan on writing music and touring constantly.

...and making me happy (laughs). Kirk Hammet. How important is that name for Death Angel?

Mark: For Death Angel I think that it’s very important. He produced our "Kill as One" demo. He’s also an inspiration since he co-wrote albums like "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets" – colossal albums. He also in a way helped save my life (laughs). He was like a brother to me after I quit Death Angel. He and me were always very close. I lived in his house for four and a half years – I was going through a lot of hard times but he was always there for me. We don’t hang out as much as we used to – we have both grown up, now he’s married, but we’re still very close. We talk all the time.

Did you ever believe that the band that recorded the "Kill as One" demo would one day manage to make sold-out shows in venues like the New York Ritz and the Hammersmith Odeon? Do you believe that you will be able to reach the same levels of success now that you have re-formed?

Mark: I think that we’ll definitely manage to reach the same levels of success just for the fact that again I think that we have a better team behind us, with our label, with our management and our booking agency. I hope that this time we’ll be a smarter and a better-tuned machine in order to reach the masses. The fact that now we’re reaching more festivals really helps. When we were together originally, there weren’t so many festivals going. I believe that as long as we keep on getting bookings like these, as long as we write good music and also manage to deliver the goods on stage, we will have no problem.

Which was the last CD you bought? Do you listen to other stuff outside metal?

Mark: Absolutely. The last CD I bought was The Best of Bread. This was a 70’s light Rock band, easy listening Rock. The singer is David Gates and has a beautiful voice. That’s the last CD I bought and I listen to plenty of music outside Metal. Everything, everything!

Why did you decide to become a musician in the first place?

Mark: Ever since I was a little kid I loved music. My father listened to really good music and I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and stuff like that. I always used to sing the songs which were played on the radio, plus I had severe energy problems (laughs), I was a hyper kid (laughs). I think that it was 1979 when me, Rob, Andy and Dennis went to see Kiss. I was ten, Rob was ten, Dennis was eleven and Andy was seven (!!??!!). It was the first concert that any of us had ever been to, and that was it (editor’s note: I don’t blame you mate). That’s when I told myself: "yep, that’s what I want to do".

Life on the road can be quite demanding and draining. Is the whole ordeal worth it for you? Do you have any regrets?

Mark: No, no regrets whatsoever. I think it’s worth it more than anything, that’s my favourite feeling in the world, that’s my favourite high, that’s why I’m doing this. Nothing can match that feeling. It could be demanding, but to tell you the truth it was more demanding first time around. Now we enjoy every second we spend doing this, you can hardly hear any complaints from anyone of us when we’re on the road. I believe that if you’re fortunate enough in your life to complain about music, you do exactly that (laughs).

What’s your best memory of being in the band?

Mark: I think that the best memory of being in the band is probably the first time I held in my hands the Ultra-Violence album. It was just incredible, I could feel it to my feet, ‘cause especially back then it was before all the Internet stuff and the MP3’s. Everything was based on the underground Tape-trading. There were not many independent labels or anything and even CDs were not really out. I had albums all my life. That’s probably my favourite memory of being in Death Angel.

How do you feel about Napster and all the noise around it?

Mark: I don’t have a problem with it, as long as it gets the name out there. We came from an underground movement, the underground tape trading. First time we ever played New York we never even had an album out, but everyone had the "Kill As One "demo – we went on stage an everyone was singing it! Things like that are going to happen, since technology grows, we can’t fight stuff like that, so we might as well embrace it and go on. Individually it doesn’t affect me, other people do. Metal fans will by our album anyway, cause they’re the most passionate – they want to have the booklets with the lyrics and all that stuff!

Rate the band’s albums on a scale 1 to 10.

Mark: Ultra-Violence...

I’d give it a ten!

Mark: Thank you, thank you (laughs). For what it is, I’d give it a nine. If someone never heard of Thrash Metal before and asked me to play something to him, I would play the Ultra-Violence song from that album (I agree completely!!!). "Frolic Through the Park": I would give it a seven. We progressed and became quite experimental with that album, but I still think that we could have done much better. Parts of it are a little choppy. "Act III" I would give it a ten, cause I think that that’s when we hit the nail on the head.

That’s good cause I would have given it 15 actually!

Mark: (laughs) great! With that album we were comfortable with the changes that we brought to the band and the production and everything else was far more fluent.

How about your live album "Fall From Grace"? This wasn’t quite a desirable release if I remember correctly...

Mark: Yeah, it wasn’t. Some tapes were left around from our old Radio-1 show for Amsterdam. There were only two microphones on stage, and two microphones on the crowd - that was it. It got released and we went through legal problems with the label.

If you were asked to create an all star band which musicians would you choose and why?

Mark: With me in it? (laughs). I think that the ultimate band would be John Bonham on the’s so hard...Robert Plant and Bon Scott on the vocals...Jimmy Page on the guitars...

Are you trying to re-form Led Zeppelin or something? (laughs)

Mark: It’s true, I was about to say John Paul Jones on the bass (laughs)..damn...forget about it! (laughs).

Your interests outside the band? How are you in your everyday life?

Mark: Much different than I was if you had asked me this a year ago. I’m at the best place I’ve been head and heart wise since probably 1990.

Outside the band: I like to relax and have a couple of drinks with friends. I like to hang out in the woods (laughs). I like to surround myself with good friends and good people, but I definitely enjoy a good drink. (laughs).

A message to your fans?

Mark: Thanks for the years of waiting to those who’ve waited to hear a new Death Angel album or to see us live. Definitely listen to "The Art Of Dying", it’s one of these albums that we’re very proud of, as with all Death Angel albums. We have multiple, multiple ways of expressing ourselves, so it’s definitely something that you’ll need to listen to a few times before you really get where we’re coming from. If you are into energetic live shows, come and see us – we are the band you are looking for.

Thank you very much Mark

Mark: Thank you!

Related>>Album review

Interview © 2004 John Stefanis

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