"Vio-lence" Interview

As "thrash" continues to gain popularity, record companies line-up to sign the talent. Vio-lence, out of San Francisco is the latest group to land a recording deal. Recording for Megaforce, their debut album for the label is titled "Oppressing the masses."
Lead singer Sean Killian talked with us about his group.

Q - Sean, before you got your big break with Vio-lence, what were you doing?
A - Just working. Being a working guy.

Q - In bands?
A - No. I never joined a band. I worked a couple of shows with Exodus, lumping for 'em. I did a couple of shows, one in Sacramento, and one here in the bay area with Metallica. Iworked with Cliff. I went to school with the guy. We were good friends. That's the extent of my trip before I ever got into the band.

Q - Did you want to be a singer?
A - I just wanted to be in a band, and that just happened to be the slot that was open, the singer.

Q - Before "thrash" came along, what kind of music do you suppose your fans were listening to? Heavy Metal?
A - Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, I can tell you what I listened to, and I'm a fan of thrash metal. Zeppelin. Sabbath. Rush. Alice Cooper. Basically your heavy metal. Kiss. I was definitely a Kiss fan. "Accept" was the first heavy album I heard, and the next day I heard Metallica. And I said, this it it.

Q - It seems like fans of thrash, don't like heavy metal, and vice-versa. Why do you suppose that is?
A - We've had some heavy metal fans that come to our show. They know who we are and they come to our shows, some of 'em. Thrash metal fans are just dedicated to thrash metal. You're right. Why, I don't know. I guess they feel it's more honest. They're not trying to do something for money. They're doing it because they like what they're doing. The music.

Q - How much radio airplay does Vio-Lence get?
A - We get a lot of the college airplay. Z-rock. No mainstream. We never plan on being on mainstream radio. A lot of the kids who listen to our music listen to those stations. Sometimes they only play the metal shows once a week for four hours, but during these four hours a lot of people listen to it.

Q - Word of mouth must play a big role in your popularity.
A - Yeah, word of mouth. Magazines.

Q - And touring is a must.
A - Yeah, there's no waiting for the album to start selling. We have to get out there and sell it.

Q - Who came up with the group's name?
A - That was our drummer. He pretty much came into practice one day, before I was in the band, and said we're Vio-Lence. And, everybody pretty much agreed with him.

Q - Do you think it's possible that the name of the group might turn some people off right away?
A - Some narrow-minded people, sure. And, that's where; it's up to us to put it in their face and not give them the opportunity to make the decision. With radio, magazines, TV, we've done a lot of shows and we've had people say, "I brought my friend and she doesn't like metal, or thrash." And they leave and say, "You guys are awesome." That's what we have to depend on, and change those people's minds. Bring them in.

Q - You signed with Megaforce after, "The band decided to drop their label (Mechanic/MCA Records) due to a conflict of interests between band and label." What happened?
A -I submitted them my lyrics, five songs, and the President of the label, Steve Sinclair re-wrote them all.

Q - Wouldn't you think a President of a record co. would have better things to do?
A - (Laughs) I don't know. I was kind of tripping out on it myself. But I was humoring him, "Yeah, sure, read them to me. I'd love to hear them." I called my manager as soon as I got off the phone and said this will not work, sorry.

Q - Did you know a lot about the business side of music before you signed with a record co.?
A - Not until it got shoved right into my face. (Laughs) Still learning.

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