Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dark Grey Epoch: An Interview with Ronnie Ripper

What was the first band that turned you into a raging metal maniac. The one that made you go, "holy fucking shit, what the hell is this??!!"

-Well, the first band to really hit me like a ton of bricks was of course Motörhead with the “Ace of spades” album back in the early 80:es. Later on this went into Venom and Sodom and the likes there of so it’s hard to really pinpoint what band had the most influence on my life. Since my vocals sound like they do and I play distorted bass it’s easy to say what trinity created who I am today, that’s of course Venom, Sodom and Motörhead.

At what point did you begin to flirt with the notion of singing in the "death metal" style and could you give me a little background on the formation of 'Vomitory'?

- We started Vomitory in late 1989 and headed for the Sodom-style but soon enough after that we got in touch with the Swedish death metal underground and got hooked right away. I started growling right at the start I reckon but I didn’t even know it had a name, it was just the way it was supposed to be done. The Vomitory constellation was a trio from the start and soon we realized that I had to choose either bass or vocals to move on so we got a separate bassplayer, that also pushed us into getting a second guitarist and all of a sudden we had the sound they still carry on delivering. I left the band in January 1997 due to personal differences and that’s that I guess. I growled on all demos, first EP and the first CD before that.

In my opinion, there are precious few who could contend with your vocals on 'Raped in their own Blood'. To this day, those are some of the most hateful and commanding vox known to Man. What, then, led to your decision to abandon that style and the eventual split from the Vomitory lads?

- Oh my, big words there! I didnt nothing out of the ordinary if you ask me, it was just supposed to be pure death metal and that’s my version of it, there was not too much skill or technique behind it really, I just aimed for the coolest noises I could spew out and the rest is for the listener to judge if it was good or not. For about 13 years no one ever seemed to have an idea that I was even once in that band but lately I have got some real fucking praise for my time there and it sure makes it all worth the while. I left the band in January 1997 due to personal differences and that’s that I guess. I growled on all demos, first EP and the first CD before that. I never really left growling behind, it was just not part of the plan after that point, these days I am halfway back into it in some ways but I doubt I will ever do what I did in Vomitory again.

Could you share with me a bit of the history of Gehennah and what the future holds for that band?

- Gehennah was started in March 1992 and was supposed to play Venom covers exclusively but after just a few moments we realized we were too bad musicians to pull it off and our attempts to pick out their riffs turned into our own material. As time went by we got more and more into just promoting booze and violence and all of a sudden we found ourselves being drunks playing for beer instead of a band getting beers for playing gigs. We were signed in 1994 to a small Swedish label and “Hardrocker” was a fact. Out of that we got signed to Osmose and the rest is kinda common knowledge by now as it seems. We disbanded in 2008 but got back together this summer and that’s all we know. We are back but what it means is for the future to tell. We have a few gigs planned but regarding recordings or whatever is still to be revealed even for us.

How did your stint with the black metal project 'Grinning Moon' come about and whatever became of it?

- Ah man, why and where the hell did you dig up this dirt??? Grinning Moon is not only a crappy name for a band, it was a crappy experiment to try on black metal. One fun detail is though that a few of the songs from there ended up on the first Gehennah demo. The G.M. demo was only released in perhaps 5 copies, I really don’t remember the whole story even.

Could you give me a little information in regards to the little known outfit, 'Upon the Cross'?

- Actually, no… I don’t know where you find all this weird info but Upon the Cross was a local band that to my knowledge never played a gig or even did more than recording a demo and they asked me to growl a few lines. It’s not really worth knowing even, it was a fun moment but the band disappeared and I haven’t even thought of it until now in many years…

Turbocharged: In your words...

- Turbocharged is a thrash band with strong punk feel to it if you listen to the reviews. We have adopted everything we find cool in any band from any genre and we do it as hard as we can basically. We have been around since March 2000 and was a trio in the beginning and then expanded into a five piece unit with several member changes. We strayed from the thrash vein for a few years due to members not familiar to it (small town, you take what you find) and we played some kind of raw and rough rock and roll for a while. After losing the dead weight in 2008 we really started finding our true calling again. We recorded two demos before we got signed to polish label Hellrocker Records for a vinyl edition. Later on we also got signed for the CD version by Mexican label Chaos Records. We are currently trying to find gigs and meanwhile writing a second album. I wish I had more to say about us but the story is still being written so you all should keep your eyes open for our name, you just might see more of it in the future.


I understand you've been hammering away at a relatively new metal/rock project entitled, 'Ronnie Ripper's Private War'. How did the idea for this come about and what can we expect from this?

- Actually, this was never an idea, it just created itself due to problems in the band. I had too many riffs and lyrics laying around so I got this home studio gear and started making what I thought was demo versions for myself to remember the damn thing. All of a sudden I saw that I kept writing new stuff instead of just the intended songs and I came up with the name just to name the folder on my computer where I put the mixes. I mentioned it to someone and was asked to send a few songs and there you go. The guy behind Bottom Records, who released the CD, was one of the first to hear it and I got such a positive feedback I kept on recording new stuff. On the CD there are 20 songs picked from three virtual MP3-albums and I still have two or three more of those not yet finished laying around. We’ll see if I ever finish them, RRPW only exists when I have too much time on my hands, ha ha.

As a veteran metal head who's weathered many trends and seen many fellow soldiers come and go, what are your thoughts on the current state of it all?

- Well, it’s not 1988 anymore, we can all agree on that… But I gotta say that I think the scene has become more like it was in the early 90:es lately than it was ten years ago. I don’t know even why I say that but vinyl is being pressed in larger numbers again and the cassette demos are once again being mailed around the globe. Maybe I have just been isolated out here in the woods but I find it refreshing to see all this again despite all the digital progress out there. I myself is no major collector anymore, I don’t have the time, money or room for such things these days with my son and all but I still have it in my soul so to speak. The sad part is seeing all these shitty genres that pops out of the ground that keeps mixing metal with all sorts of disgusting styles but you can also easily avoid it too so why even bother? They are just shit under our marching boots…

The end of the world: Impending or over blown hype?

- Part of me really looks forward to see what the end of the Aztec calendar is all about but I’m sure nothing will happen. Although, looking at all that happens around the world these days with floods and starvation and all, it fits the profile of nature rebooting itself so who knows, maybe they were spot on after all? 7 billion people on this planet might have been the golden limit to when we all have to perish…

What's currently spinning on the turntable over at the Ripper household? Any suggestions for the viewers?

- Besides the old classic Venom albums I have a few new faves spinning right now, like Violentor (Ita), Eat my fuk, and some others. I have to mention the latest Autopsy of course, that album was an instant classic!!

Alright Ronnie, thanks a million for your time, any last words for the dead and the damned?

- Thanks for your interest, bro! Well, I am probably supposed to say something clever and thoughtful here now and no matter how I would try you’d all still be disappointed in me so let’s keep it simple… Keep your eyes peeled for more noise from this bastard, as long as I still stand I will make sure to shout out my non-P.C. messages far and wide! Cheers one and all, see you in the pit!

No comments:

Post a Comment