Forbidden On Having Had Robb Flynn/Paul Bostaph In The Ranks: “It’s A Hindrance.”
When thinking of epic Thrash that emerged from the bay area in the eighties, most people reference the heavyweights of the genre. In Thrash as much as any other, you’ll find some shamefully underrated bands. Forbidden fits the later with ease. Let’s check in with front man, Russ Anderson.
It would seem with Forbidden’s new album ‘Omega Wave’, it would be difficult for an old school fan or new fan alike to dismiss it’s allure. The new album encompasses an eclectic appeal…
We call it a slow-burner. We put a lot of heart into the new record. Forbidden has always been a unique sounding band and that’s one thing that has not changed.
Craig Locicero [guitar] had a hand in producing ‘Omega Wave’. What difference if any does it make when a band member contributes production duties? Is it a plus due to the inherent emotional/personal investment involved?
Yeah it can…it certainly did in our case. I love working with Craig. He gained a lot of experience on the recording side of things when doing the Manmade God thing with Rick Reuben. It makes it easy because he [Craig] knows me so well. When he said we are going to do things a little differently this time round. The past albums were done [sharply snaps fingers] like that! I did ‘Forbidden Evil’ in one day…the whole album!
Bands can get shit from fans for deviating from the neo-structure that people become accustomed to. Forbidden have not escaped unscathed. Does Russ give a fuck?
Dude if you knew the inside of Forbidden…we never set out to follow any particular trend or popular ideas, we just let it happen. It’s where ever the band is at the time, and this has remained true with the new album. We’ve tried some things in the past that didn’t work. It was us just trying to figure things out, but it really all just boils down to being creative…doing the same thing over and over again just gets boring, you know? In my opinion, many recent albums I’ve checked out, for the most part all sound the same to me. It’s the way things go in business…people try to imitate the top band[s] of the time. Forbidden has never done that. When I’m writing, I follow a strict policy of not listening to any music before or during the process. I don’t want to be influenced…I want it to sound like Forbidden. I hear a lot of good bands these days and think how unfortunate it is that they can’t foresee their full potential and just be original.
Forbidden has spawned some notable figures in the metal world such as Robb Flynn [Machine Head] and Paul Bostaph [Slayer/Testament]. One would think that this would be a total positive for the band, or could it be more of a hindrance?
I consider it a hindrance when it happens, but at the end of the day we are proud to have had such great musicians in Forbidden.
Like many bands, Forbidden has suffered numerous lineup changes over the years. If the band had maintained a cohesiveness and more of a stable lineup, would they have given us more than just five studio albums?
I can remember when Paul [Bostaph] left after ‘A twist in the Form’…that was the biggest blow that Forbidden suffered. If you really look at what was going to happen to the music industry after that, I don’t think it would have mattered. You had Kurt Cobain burst onto the scene and just brought it all down…if you weren’t grunge, you weren’t shit. The labels were doing what they did back in the day when it happened to all the posers as well, at least that’s what I like to call them, guys who tried to look like girls…posers. The ‘Cinderella’s', the ‘Poison’s', they were all selling millions of records, then within a matter of months they couldn’t even get a call back from their record label. When that happens you know you’re fired.
With the ‘internet debate’ regarding music, it is refreshing to see someone on the inside who doesn’t have a cookie-cutter perspective on the issue.
The internet is great for a lot of things, and just as bad with others. When it comes to people stealing my music I got used to it when we were on Combat Records. There are different ways to look at it. We have expenses, for example this tour bus is not free. On the positive side, the people that steal our music usually come to the shows. Honestly that’s were most of the money comes from for us. Unless you are selling literally millions, you will never see any money from record sales.
There always seems to be some sort of mild controversy regarding ex Forbidden guitarist Glen Alvelais, I ask Russ if he can omit all bullshit and give us the real skinny?
I love Glen, he was a big part of my life. To me he is a Brother and always will be. It’s difficult to get along with everybody all of the time, even brothers fight. It just didn’t work out, that’s the only way to put it.
Forbidden have never tried to cast a shadow over the fact that they have been fucked over by almost every record label they have been affiliated with.
It started when we were young men under poor management and signed to Combat Records. Basically we were kept in the dark about every aspect. I can honestly say that I was NEVER ever compensated for those two records…not one cent to this day. In fairness it wasn’t all the record companies fault. I’ll just say that.
How the fuck did Forbidden out sell Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and KISS combined at 2008′s Graspop Festival?
You have to remember we were gone for a long time. Those skulls…Kit Matthews did those paintings. You put those skulls on anything and it’s going to sell. Combat Records just started drooling when we first showed them.
Well I gotta tell ya, it was Chuck [Billy] that really encouraged me to come back and do this. Steve Sousa [ex-Exodus] kept telling Craig, ‘You guys got to do this, seriously you guys got to do this!’. That’s the way it really started.
Steve Smyth of Nevermore notoriety has brought his talents to Forbidden. Is it a different kind of experience to incorporate an already established musician who possesses a distinctive style?
He’s great. He extremely easy to work with and very cohesive with the band and brings a lot to the table. It was a real blessing to find him.
With the 70,000 tons of metal cruise looming ahead, I had to ask if Russ was excited as a fan
Oh, I’m going to be stalking my favorite musicians! [laughs] It’s funny you bring that up, I was talking to Bobby [Blitz-Overkill] about it and apparently they didn’t get quite what they were looking for and turned it down but I think I could see it in his face that he wished they were going to be doing it. I was disappointed, you have to have Overkill on that bill.