When did T&T form and what were the circumstances that led to the formation?
Tyrant Trooper was formed in 1991. It was my first band. We started off paying mostly thrash metal , originals and an occasional Testament cover. No crazy reason why we started jamming , just some friends that were beginning to play instruments and wanted to jam together. After about a year of thrashing , we started to get heavier. As the music we listened to changed , so did the music we were playing. We all started to really dig death metal and a couple of us were also getting into Hardcore. So TT morphed into a Death Metal band with a Hardcore feel. We were a very early crossover band. Not Death core , that term didn’t exist yet , but a combination of the two. We would play a death metal show one weekend and a Hardcore show the next. It was pretty cool to see more long hairs at the Hardcore shows and more skin heads at the death metal shows ! You could feel the love !!
What/who were your influences at the time?
Bands like Carcass , Napalm Death , Slayer , Malevolent Creation , Entombed , Grave , Sick of it all , Mad ball , Marauder , Earth Crisis , Crowbar, and Biohazard. And of course in the beginning more thrashy bands like Testament , Forbidden , Exodus , Anthrax , SOD , Heathen , Kreator …..shit like that ….
Being from CT I can attest that T&T were one of the most well known and influential death metal/hardcore bands during the 90's. Were there any bands from the CT area that you guys drew inspiration from?
Yeah most of us were into bands like Sonic Plague , CFI , Witch Way , Excoriate…..
What was the scene like in CT during the early days of T&T?
The scene was growing. There were a few clubs like the Tune Inn , The Boiler Room , The Sting , The El N Gee , and Toad’s Place of course. But back then we mostly did a lot of ‘hall shows” . Rent a VFW hall or Falcons hall and do it ourselves. Get some cheesy PA , beer , 3 or 4 bands , and fuck shit up ! Promoting it was all on us. Drive around and staple flyers to telephone poles ! Put them in record shops , music shops , high schools. But then as we made a name for ourselves we were able to get into some of them clubs I mentioned earlier. And with that came the opportunity to open for some national acts. TT’s first Big gig was at the Boiler Room in New Britain CT , opening for Cancer , Disincarnate , Morgoth , and Morpheus Decends. Sick Show , and you can see most of our set from that night on You tube , search Tyrant Trooper , and look for us at the Boiler Room 1994 !
How far out did you guys play? Who were some of the bands you guys shared the stage with?
We Mostly Played here in CT and Up in MA. Mass was like a second home to us. We had a HUGE following up there. Clubs like the Vertex in Hadley and Pearl St in North Hampton were two of the clubs TT would rock at least once a month. Other than CT and MA , we play in RI , Club Baby Head , and out on Long Island at The Roxy. Some of the bands TT was fortunate enough to share the stage with were Vital Remains , Suffocation , Brutal Truth , Grave , Mad Ball , Machine Head , Napalm Death , Earth Crisis , Internal Bleeding , Gwar , and TONs of sick local death metal and hardcore bands !!
How was working with Ed Kelley in those day? What role did he play in regards to T&T?
Ed was kind of defacto manager. Got us gigs. He was Bringing in a lot of cool bands from around New England and setting up shows at local clubs. He was also a fan which was real cool. Ed was the only “manager” TT ever had. I still wonder how much further we could have gone with a full time manager guiding us.
What led to the eventual break up of the band?
TT Broke up in 1998. We had been a band for about 7 years at that point. It really wasn’t one thing that led to the break up. Some of us where settling down , others had better opportunities presented to them. All of us had grown musically and maybe found other avenues to express different styles of music. Rick and Jay helped form 100 Demons , I started jamming with some friends and that eventually became Slumlord. Others just needed some time off. Being in a band is a lot of work. Time consuming. So after 7 years of it it’s nice to relax and chill for a bit. After Slumlord I did just that. Put my guitar down for several years. Didn’t play a note until the TT reunion in 2010.
I understand there's some unreleased T&T goodies out there, will that material ever see the light of day?
Right at the end of TT’s reign of Brutality , we recorded 5 songs with Jason Suecoff. Actually we didn’t finish them cause he was leaving for FL to go to Full Sail Recording School and wound up staying there and is now a HUGE Producer of Death Metal down there. But the songs , even though not mixed or mastered , sound sick ! Slumlord actually played a few of them when we first got started so we could do shows right away. They had different names and lyrics , but the music was the same. And to be honest , BTH still plays one of them songs cause we dig it so much. It will be called Alone in Flames on the BTH Ep , and I think you’ll be able to hear the TT in it !! But , there are no plans to release any of the original recordings. If you want to hear them , drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or on face book and I’ll hook you up !
Tell us a little about your current project, 'Bonded Through Hate'. Aside from the name what other connections are there to T&T?
BTH was formed by Me and TT’s drummer Justin Lanteri. When we all got back together last summer for the TT reunion shows , Justin and I were the only ones not playing in a band at the Time that wanted to. John Pucci , TT singer , had opened a highly successful Pizza restaurant in Southington , The Fire Place! , Rick was in 100 Demons and Sense Of Urgency and Jay was in Continuum. So the reunion kinda renewed My fire to create brutal death metal. Same with Justin. We wanted to carry the torch for TT. Bonded Through Hate is a TT song. It’s on the 1995 CD Insane Sickness. One of our favorite tunes , and a cool name. So we decided to name the new band after it. Keeping the TT name and spirit alive.
How's the scene in CT now compared to the 80's/90's?
Hmmmm…..the scene is different. There are a TON of bands , some good some horrible. There are a TON of clubs now too that let almost any of these bands play there. So , every weekend there are like 2 or 5 options a night for shows to go to. Sounds cool ? Not really. Instead of 50 , 75 people at a club to see some good bands you get 20 to 40 people at each of these clubs checking out unproven acts. Again , if you’re an average band this is great , you got places to play. But back in the day , it seemed that the lack of clubs , and a much higher level of quality required to play , helped to ensure that you needed to be a GOOD band to play shows. So if you went to a show , you were almost guaranteed to see GOOD bands. It really made bands hone their skills , work on a stage show , work on their live sound , and not play out till they were ready. Another big difference I’ve noticed is that when most big national acts come around now they have opening bands with them on Tour. So there aren’t many opportunities to play with these big acts.
What have you been listening to these days? Any bands you want to support? Any suggestions?
Still the same ole same ole. Misery Index , Divine Heresy , Decapitated , The New Jungle Rot , and of course all the classics by Carcass , Entombed , Grave , Edge of Sanity , Unleashed , Malevolent Creation , Demolition Hammer , Obituary , Necrophobic , Mad Ball , Marauder ……Locally check out Cyperna , Plague Through Viscera , Guerra , Continuum , Kayotik , Mortifica …….
All right Ron, thanks a million for taking the time out of your day to do this, are there any final words you'd like to share?
Thank you buddy ! Sorry it took so long…I was busy doing nothing ! If you like Brutal , Catchy Death Metal , check out our new 5 song Ep due out in a couple weeks , by mid October.