“SACRED REICH” INTERVIEW by Christina Thompson
Let’s face it. A lot of metal delves in darkness. Be it religious in nature, mythological, or metaphysical, etc., sometimes Satan and “his eternal darkness” just isn’t all that scary compared to what we humans manage to do to each other. So, sometimes, a band decides to bring socially conscious messages such as ignorance, our attitude towards censorship, crimes against humanity (and so on) to the public at large–or anyone willing to listen.
Enter Sacred Reich, a band that a little over thirty years ago was more than willing to deliver the ‘good news’ about the world to you–in the most kick-ass, thrashtastic way possible!! And though they have been strictly a touring band (albeit limited) since 2006, they are hitting the tour circuit once again for their ’30 Years of Ignorance Tour’, which kicks off in July in Europe and then are making their way to North America in September. So if you haven’t caught them live, MHF Community? Now is your chance!
You started out as jeans and sneakers dudes playing thrash and delivering pseudo-political messages and are still jeans and sneakers dudes playing thrash and delivering pseudo-political messages. Here it is, 2017, and A LOT of those themes are still relevant today. I know listening to “One Nation” still gives me a case of the guilts….That ‘the future really IS our burden, we can’t stand and watch. Did it ever occur to you that something you wrote all those years ago would still uphold today?
At the time it was a comment on where we were. I guess the hope is that we make progress and move past it. Unfortunately we seem to be running in place in a lot of respects. There have definitely been advances made and I am always optimistic about the future, but as always there is work to be done. I am hopeful.
Along the thread of comparing past to present, what has been a surprising change in the metal landscape since Sacred Reich’s formation? Can you give us a positive example as well as a negative?
I would say that the overwhelming positive aspect is the amount and the variety of music out there for the fans. With the explosion of the internet and technology music is more available then it has ever been. I think that is great.
There are a couple of stories circulating about how the name of the band came to be. One is that the initials S.R came first, then names of which the initials could be an acronym, and then when someone hit upon Sacred Reich, the decision was simply that at least no one would ever think it was country! Not only is that just completely awesome, but what better way to make sure a “fan” really knew what your music was about…I can’t imagine the amount of times this misconception caused some confusion for some poor, neo-nazi soul who didn’t pay attention to the lyrics…..
Jason who started the band thought the name sounded cool. We did have someone write to us after Surf Nicaragua came out. He obviously had the wrong idea about us and didn’t like the One Nation lyrics. C’est la vie.
Do you, in fact, agree with the assessment that Sacred Reich were pioneers of new age groove metal and thrash? Along that line of thought, considering “31 Flavors” and what it was meant to represent, what do you think about all the genre/sub genres of metal and the divisions some would say such labels have caused just in the metal community–let alone music outside of metal? Also, love the horn section!
I was not aware of that assessment. I have heard the term “groove metal” but I don’t know what it means or who it refers to. The subgenres of metal are confusing to me, but maybe it helps explain what the band sounds like to others. I guess the expectation of what it should be could be helpful or limiting if you buy into it. Maybe it is like making a top ten list or something in that it encourages dialog. Thanks for the 31 Flavors comment. I love horns too! That was the big draw for me on that song. I can’t listen to it anymore though. As Walter says in the Big Lebowski “You’re out of your element”.
As Sacred Reich, you were successful enough to gain an underground cult following which is still very active today. This is even on top of the fact the last studio album you put out was Heal in 1996. To say your fans are loyal is an understatement–it’s incredible, really. The interaction on your FB page alone is just amazing…How do you perpetuate such devotion?
I don’t think we perpetuate it. I think we struck a chord with certain people at an influential time in their life. Same for me with the bands I like and still like regardless of the last time I bought their record or saw them live. When you mean something to someone in their formative years it leaves a lasting impression. In a way the songs are a kind of time machine transporting you back to time in your life that you were young and fancy free. Maybe it was a turbulent time in your life and somehow the music helped you get through it. People have different reasons, and It’s not a great deal of people. We were never a big band. But it did mean something to some and we are fortunate and appreciate it. We are very lucky to have such great fans.
For your upcoming ’30 Years of Ignorance Tour’, you are being supported by Byzantine, a heavy metal band out of Charleston, West Virginia, for most shows. How did this partnership occur?
Byzantine is a great band and we think the fans will dig them. Chris is a good dude and we look forward to hanging out with the band.
Speaking of shows, what is the best set list you could ever put together? This could also include covers as well. And where would you play this show if it could be anywhere?
Play all of our songs at a sold out Madison Square Garden because I was born in NY.
I won’t ask the ubiquitous “Will we ever hear a new album from Sacred Reich” question. It feels like that has been asked and answered plenty. But, I will ask what you see for the band after the ’30 Years’ tour? Any ideas? Any hints to impart with the MHF Community? Will there perhaps be a 40 Year tour? Also, feel free to share with our readers anything else you would like for them to know and thanks for your time!
There was a time that we were opposed to the thought of new music. I think we are open to it now. The time feels right so we’ll see. For years our back catalog was in legal limbo but we are finally sorting it out. We’d like to release a 30th Anniversary Edition of Ignorance. Beyond that we are not sure but I like the direction we are headed.
Christina Thompson/MHF Magazin