Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ronnie Ripper interview part 2: more Gehennah & Turbocharged, gigs, films

[Here in Part 2 there's a couple of Turbocharged band photos that went with the original interview - obviously the lineup shown is long defunct, but I thought it'd be better to show the photos relevant to the band in 2007, rather than a lineup that didn't exist when we did this interview - GB]

Gehennah were on the first volume of Headbangers Against Disco back in 1997. What was that all about then?

It's just a cool idea from Paulo at Primitive Art I guess, there were three volumes which together forms a comic strip if you put the covers together, the kind of thing you want in your vinyl collection. "Headbangers Against Disco" as an expression was something I came up with but Paulo put some money and effort in making something cool from it and he really succeeded.

Remember all those "Speed Kills", Metal Massacre", etc, the collections from the 80s? This was our version of the same idea, they put together some of the coolest bands around and created a collector's series of it.

Funnily enough I've got a few of those Speed Kills compilations, and Chris collects the Metal Massacre ones. That's pretty cool then! It goes without saying that these are all long sold out and collectors items now of course?

I won't bet my head on it but pretty damn close, after all it's 10 years ago and they were printed in 500 copies I think, do the math. If you can find 'em it'll be in second hand-stores by now.

I keep forgetting about the time that's elapsed since the things we're talking about, ha! I seem to remember finding some photos on the internet of a Headbangers Against Disco meetup or something, basically some of the guys involved in that thing having a barbeque and beers. Did that actually happen or did I dream it?

Oh, it happened alright - we made the headlines in the local paper two days in a row: "Hardrockers in filth orgy" they spelled out, ha ha! Some guests were messing around in their own piss and such things so people around the party got hysteric you know, ha ha! I was even on TV explaining what had happened but as always they never let me talk enough to look anything but stupid.

How much gigging did Gehennah do back in the day?

Not as much as we could have I think, we didn't even know that when Hardrocker came out there was something happening in the bigger cities, people started wearing sunglasses, patched jeansvests and stuff (and these are not my words) because of our album. If this is true or not we'll never know but it states the fact that we never knew that the demand was as big as it actually was. We had on a regular basis in 1997/98 weekend tours together with Disfear and in the same period we had some quite big festival gigs but besides that we've never really played very often when I think of it.

No new Gehennah material for 10 years!!! Before you got in touch with me I assumed the band had split up! I know you guys are doing the odd gig these days, but why so long without any activity?

We're lazy and fucking stupid, that's why.

I never saw any reason in slowing down but some guys in the band thought that there was no point rehearsing and doing new songs if we didn't have a label backing us up so things just went down the drain even if we never split up. These days it seems that folks think that we're on some revival course or something but all these gigs we've done in the last year or so have just turned up in our lap and we accepted to play them.

But if you ask me I think it's fucking strange when you can play gigs and crave free beer for not doing one fucking song in ten years, ha ha! Things might change on that front now but I can't tell you more than this, it's nothing more than plans so far.

I'd been wondering about that small rise in activity the stuff happening now really is just a case of being in the right place at the right time, eh?

Yeah, you could say that - or if you wanna blow it out of proportion you could call it a wakeup call for the scene, we WERE actually not that bad .

Guess it's an opportunity for some practise, heh!  What about other bands Gehennah members are involved in - Satanarchy, Coffinshakers, Dawn Of Decay?

Yeah, but do you actually think you need practice when you play the same songs as you did ten years ago, ha ha!

The last I heard about the other guys bands is that Satanarchy still exists and Mr. Violence had received some material to write lyrics to a while ago. The Coffinshakers are still around and they actually play a few gigs all over Europe - all this without me ever knowing! Dawn of Decay was put to rest some time after the release of "New Hell" whatever year that was.

I only know of those bands by name, though Dawn Of Decay was a Death Metal band, right? Can you just quickly summarise what kinda music the other two bands play?

Well, The Coffinshakers plays Vampire Country and Western, a lot like the old heroes like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, etc, but with really dark and twisted lyrics in the same theme as the old Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee-movies.

Dawn of Decay played death metal, you were dead on with that suggestion.

Satanarchy is the hardest one to categorize though, they play some kind of punkish metal, much in the vein of old D.R.I., Kreator, Motörhead, etc. It's so hard to describe them so I'd have to name about 50 bands to feel that I've got it all. Try and find it, have a listen and judge for yourselves, that's my suggestion.

Sounds good to me  So what's the future for Gehennah then? Are you aware of much demand for the band?

Well, it always hard to say when you don't even know how the band works these days and so but yeah, the demand seems to be huge much to our surprise! We're negotiating about entering the studio for some kegs of beer and press "record" and see what happens - the rest is already "get go" but we'll have to see if we can and wanna pull it off. No one should put money in a release if we can't promise that we can behave like humans, you know, ha ha!

Quite true! Would you have Gehennah and Turbocharged playing the same gig together, or would your fingers bleed you to death?

Actually, we did that less than a years ago and besides the fact that I started drinking really bad after the Turbocharged gig/before the Gehennah set it all went quite smooth. But we won't do it again though.

Awwww! Why not?

The two don't match, don't know why though. When I'm in Gehennah I'll play along with the drinking but in Turbocharged there's more professional thinking, we wanna do a good gig (even if we drink as well) and then we can pass out afterwards. It's just one of those things, we will not do it again.
And I say this as nothing more than a fact, not all bands fit together and I'm the one in the middle, I say that it was the first and last, nothing more/nothing less.
I also wanna give all I've got on just one band per night, it's all better I think. Hard to answer this one without giving the impression it all ended in a fistfight but that's not what happened, ha ha!

Haha, nah, it's safe. 
Turbocharged (March 2007)

20 gigs in seven years of you expect to be gigging much more prolifically in future?

Well, I sure hope so but that's for the metalscene to decide. If you bastards out there don't want us to come to your town we won't be playing there, it's as simple as that. If anyone want us to kick some ass we'll be there!

We're basically always rehearsed enough to take a gig in just a few weeks so it's never a problem, the hard thing is families and work but we'll always do our best. I'd like to see us as a good live act so I hope we'll get to show it more often in the future.

What are the logistics of getting Gehennah or Turbocharged to play in England?

Travelling expenses, beer and a place to crash over the night - we're keeping it simple enough.

I can do at least two of those myself, who knows what the future may hold...

I hear an obvious Motörhead influence in Turbocharged, but what other influences would you say are clear in the Turbocharged sound?

Sounds promising, I hope more promotors sees this interview (notch notch)!

Well, when I'm in a band there's boud to be a clear vein of Motörhead of course but other influences are also present, they're just harder to spot: Venom, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Sodom, Wendy O. Williams, Rose Tattoo, Celtic Frost, Misfits, The Ramones, etc, etc, etc.

How did you come to meet the other Turbocharged members? I'm guessing you must've played/jammed with some or all of them at some point before forming the band?

Well, not really, more like drinking with them and talking about forming some project - said and done, here we are, ha ha!

The Turbocharged of today has grown to what it is over the years, some members have left the band and been replaced with excellent results - it seems that nothing will ever get the best of this band, we've been doomed a few times but I've turned it around in a matter of hours every time, he he.

From the sounds of things, I'm guessing that the Turbocharged songwriting process is to get everyone in a room together and play loudly until something sounds good. Am I right? If I am, has this always been the way your bands have written songs?

Well, you're almost exactly right there, the difference is that one of us often has got an idea and before we know it we're playing the complete song with lyrics and all.

When I wrote songs I only write them on my bass guitar, the other strings are arranged after two not-so-alike guitarists and since we all play different styles from the beginning it always sound fat as hell. We all play the same tunes but in our own way - and I've got about 300 lyrics laying in wait for riffs so we're quick about creating things. It takes a while before everyone understands the procedure but when we all do what the fuck we want within reasonable limits it's the perfect way to write songs.

Do any proper demos or suchlike for Turbocharged exist, or is it just the songs on your myspace profile that we have to listen to?

We have recorded quite a lot of different sessions but only one has made it to official release so far, the second one is in the making as we speak. Last year we released a 6 track CD/promo entitled "The Outlaw Experience" in 100 copies but we never really spread it as we had planned, we don't even get the maths straight so there might be some copies left on some party somewhere.

The next release will be a CD/demo entitled "Trailer Thrash" and along with that one we'll also print more copies of "The Outlaw Experience", it's just a matter of cash right now. Keep your eyes open, they'll be out really soon!

We also recorded a 9 track demo back in 2004 but after a record label showed interest in releasing it we took two months in recording it again with proper sound and we added tracks to it, the result was a 12 track album - which he never released, that bastard. Thanks man.

Will it ever be released by your own means?

We'll see about that, it's recorded and all but it's not the same lineup as today and the sound is too "nice" so we won't release it as a proper release before we've struck gold I think, ha ha! It's not too bad but it's not the same band anymore, we still play those songs and we've got our own studio so we might as well record them again if we're gonna release them.

How much do you love having your own studio to play with?

More than I would have loved being Magnus in Hammerfall, ha ha! It's a dream come true - and it better be, I put my whole life down the drain to finance that gear!

Would you let any other bands use the studio, or is it sacred?

Anyone can come to me to record but it seems that the stuff is always occupied by something of mine though. Our demo is still not mixed properly and we recently decided that we'll give it a try - we recorded it last summer!

Christ, I almost feel bad for distracting you with an interview! 

What notable bands have Vomitory/Gehennah/Turbocharged played with? What bands have you shared a stage with in general recently?

In all I've played with my bands with quite a few other cool bands, just to mention a few (including festivals): Venom, Dismember, Lord Belial, Tankard, Crucified Barbara, etc. There are tons of bands since it's been 18 years since I first started playing though, hard to line them up right now.

The last gig we have played was as supporting act to Tankard in Olso/Norway.

I actually read the thankyou notes in Decibel Rebel this afternoon for the first time since I bought the album about six years ago. These notes are usually pretty tedious but there's an impressive display of namedropping in there - Impaled Nazarene, Nifelheim, Angelcorpse, Sabbat (I still need to check out 'corpse and both Sabbats actually) amongst others. Were any of these playing gigs with you?

Ah, I forgot about the only tour we've ever made, ha ha! We sat in a bus for three weeks in 1996 with Impaled Nazarene and Angelcorpse! We've also travelled with Amon Amarth, Edge of Sanity, Disfear, The Crown and a few more. Sabbat only played on a party we put together, the annual Headbangers against disco - that only made it for one year, ha ha! So much for annual.

Sounds like you guys made it count anyway 

How did you do those funny noises in the intro of Billy Bob? They amuse me.

It's all instruments, I don't know the English term for all of them though, ha ha! I played the Ukulele, Old Nick played the "boing boing"-thing called "mungiga" in Swedish.

It's the boing-boing thing I'm wondering about, ha!

It was supposed to sound really redneck and I think we made it all smell like hay, don't you agree?

Like I say, it amuses me 

We [had] a film section on this website [RIP Metal Mongrel], so I'm obliged to ask...what are your favourite films? Which genre of film would you be most inclined to put on for an evening of beer and pizza?

Hard to say I'd say Japanese horror like Ju-on, Ringu or Battle Royale or maybe some thing easier like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Tenacious D - The Pick of Destiny or maybe even old war movies like Where Eagles Dare, Kelly's Heroes, Baker's Dozen (aka The Dirty Dozen) or something similar. The old western and actions with Clint Eastwood also makes my day.

But if it's only drinking we're talking about the movies before you should of course be "The 7th Date of Hell" with almighty Venom - that one never fails! All really old metal videos work as well but the Venom-stuff really makes the evening a whole lot better.

I need to pick that one up One Of These Nights...I'm quite fond of inflicting Judas Priest's Electric Eye DVD on people, bloody awesome.

Don't you just love that grainy effect on all old music videos? I love that, all videos should be like that.

Yeah, there are a lot of great live videos out there but the Venom-one is THE video.

Hell yeah, did you know that a few of those old videos are filmed through a women's stocking??? WASP did that on some of their most famous songs, ha ha! Therefore the grainy look of it.

You said earlier you had a phase for old war films. What films where you watching at the time, and which ones remain favourites today? 

Where Eagles dare has always been one of my all time faves. The Navarone movies are good as well but they never stuck that bad with me though. I also was a sucker for 80s Vietnam war movies like Warbus, First Blood and such but I haven't got a hold of the real classics again, though First Blood was never a fave but you know what I mean.

Do you agree that Steve McQueen was the best thing to happen to the world since the Eagles? I know he came before the Eagles, but shush...

Well, already in my early years I developed a grudge against ugly people so I never really quite understood his genius but I must say that "Bullit" was a great one, ha ha! I'm more of a Clint Eastwood and Bud Spencer/Terence Hill-kind of guy. I guess Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine are not the cutest guys either but I really like them as well.

This interview took a week or more to pull off  because I had bloody coursework to be doing. What are your main unwelcome distractions from music?

I only have one welcome distraction and that's of course my son, Loke. My girlfriend comes in second but she's not really my flesh and blood though, ha ha! The unwelcome ones are much more though; work, cleaning, doing dishes, seeing my relatives, sleeping, etc. I haven't had any other interests since I started playing so I don't have much more distracting me than the ordinary household doings.

Could be worse then! 

Now, finally...

Give us something cool to end on.

Yeap, I guess so

Well, thanks for the interview - I've been having a fucking ball answering these questions! It's more like "The memoirs of a Ripper" by now I guess, ha ha!

I'm surprised you didn't say anything about me cutting off my hair though, ha ha! I'm still the same old sicko as I've ever been, I just had to start over again!

Now you mention it, yeah, why didn't I?! That's your ending note - tell us about that one! 

Well, we're not getting younger and I actually thought that my hair was falling off and every since I saw Taxi Driver I have wanted a mohawk for some reason, then when I felt that one hair too many had separated from my skull I just decided to shock the world - the nice part of it was that it wasn't as bad as I had thought so you haven't seen the last of a longhaired Ronnie Ripper, I'll just keep it like this for a while though.

But I still have the touch, just the other day I caught myself in the act of defending the fact that you can't be a metalhead without long hair, ha ha! But after 20 years I think I've deserved my iron cross and no one can put me down for cutting it. I'm still the same slob as always.

Well, Keep your eyes open for especially Turbocharged, you will hear much more about us before I lay down in a grave somewhere! Gehennah is a more complicated issue but if things work out you'll see and hear more from that camp too!

Hahaha, fucking A...and on that note, I think this inty is officially OVER!


Turbocharged (March 2007)

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