Death Angel Interview

Band Name: Death Angel
Interviewed: Dennis Pepa
Date: 2006-08-11

Previous Death Angel Interviews
The Gauntlet: How are things going with Death Angel?

Dennis: Really good actually. For the string of summer shows and festivals, we took a little time off as Rob had a kid and I had a kid. There were also a few personal issues that we had to deal with. It is good because it is a good way to ramp back up by playing live. We have three more shows coming up: one in San Francisco, and two in Tokyo in September. That will pretty much be the starting gate for us to write the new album. Rob and Andy have been working on riffs here and there but I think it will start getting serious when we get back from Japan. Tentatively, we want to record by late winter, January or February and have the album out in the Summer. If everything goes smoothly that is.

The Gauntlet: Is anything concrete written yet?

Dennis: I know Rob and Andy have been writing a lot on the road. They haven't brought anything to the sessions yet. I haven't heard anything yet. We just started playing live again and just started talking about the album. This is the absolute beginning of the album.

The Gauntlet: I thought 2006 was the year of the next Death Angel release.

Dennis: That was what we were saying. Our summer got so busy and we didn't want to turn down these shows. We wanted people to know we haven't disappeared on them. We thought it was more important to do the shows and write the album in the fall.

The Gauntlet: After Tokyo, if a tour comes up, will you be open to more touring?

Dennis: I think it is pretty much going to just close after Japan. We have turned down two tours already. We had an offer to go to Australia and then Asia. Another was for a tour with Sodom in November and December. We said no as we want to make sure this album gets out.

The Gauntlet: Is there any direction to take this new album yet?

Dennis: What we spoke about so far, we just want to really write what we are into at the moment. Not like we never do that, but we want to really focus on what makes us happy versus what people are going to think in the scene. With 'The Art of Dying' there was pressure within the band and from our fan base to what they expected from us. So we wrote that album and we weren't as free minded as we'd like to be. With the next CD, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. As long as we think it's cool, that's the attitude we plan on taking. It will be heavy regardless; it will sound like a Death Angel album. I think it will be like, but not sounding like 'Frolic', but have the attitude of 'Frolic'. We wrote that album regardless of what people would think and put out what we were into. It always seemed to be that obscure album. We just took that time period to the extreme and we wrote what we wanted to write and didn't care.

The Gauntlet: 'Frolic Through The Park' was more of a fans album. The diehard fans really liked that album.

Dennis: Exactly. It might be with that sort of attitude.

The Gauntlet: Are you getting any label pressure to get in the studio?

Dennis: I must say they have been a great family to us. They have been really understanding to what we have been through and where our lives are right now. They have been encouraging us to put it out when we feel it's right. They are always there and never pressure us. They are happy we are starting to write.

The Gauntlet: Are you looking forward to getting back into the studio?

Dennis: Oh yeah! I am dying. I just want to write new tunes and get in the studio, see where we can take it.

The Gauntlet: Death Angel started when everyone were teenagers. Do you find it hard at times to be motivated to keep doing this type of music?

Dennis: Yeah, to really be honest, I personally lose the bug for this kind of music on and off. We have been doing it for so long. It's not that I don't enjoy playing metal at all, I do love it. I go through my waves where I think I I've matured as a person and my musical tastes have moved. It goes on and off. I always want to be playing music, but not necessarily metal.

The Gauntlet: In the 1990's, Death Angel ended and you started The Organization.

Dennis: After Death Angel, then it was The Organization which was more of a rock thing. There has been talk of putting that band back together. It might take a little while, but it will happen. Death Angel won't disband, but we'd be playing other shows with different music.

The Gauntlet: Would it be the original The Organization lineup?

Dennis: I'm not sure. I know it would be me, Rob and Andy for sure. I am not sure if Gus or Ted would be in the band. It would be if Gus is available. Of course we'd give him the opportunity before anyone else as he was in the band. After that, Andy and I put together a punk band called Big Shrimp. It was more of a heavier, poppy side of the punk spectrum. We put one CD out and toured the west coast. After that, I was in a hardcore punk band called Thick as Thieves. We never recorded an actual album but put a few demos out. After that, the whole Death Angel thing started ramping back up.

The Gauntlet: Death Angel signed a 4 album deal a few years back with Nuclear Blast?

Dennis: Right. Well, actually it is a 2+2 options.

The Gauntlet: I just want to make sure you release another 3 albums. I don't care how long it takes; the fans want 3 more albums.

Dennis: I don't see why we would leave. The ultimate goal for this band is to have atleast 10 albums out. We want to see double digits before it disappears. It might take a while as we don't write as fast. It all depends. This album can just launch us into, not hugeness, but put us up a couple clicks so where it will support us to where we can write a lot more.

The Gauntlet: A lot of bands right now are paying homage to the 80's thrash sound. Bands like Trivium and Silent Civilian have some great thrash licks. I know Silent Civilian is even doing a covers album and will be covering a Death Angel song as the frontman, Johnny Santos is a huge Death Angel fan.

Dennis: Really? Wow! Damn, you should hook it up. I would love to sing on that track or play on that track. Next time you talk to him see if he's even into it.

The Gauntlet: Will do. Do you listen to any of the newer metal bands?

Dennis: I have heard Trivium and have been grooving on that stuff. To be totally honest, I haven't really been listening to the scene much. Not that I dislike it or anything, I think it is just my personal music tastes have just strayed from there. I still pay attention to a lot of the older bands like Slayer and Metallica. I am curious to listen to the new Metallica album, although I think it might be another disappointment. I think maybe it is because I am just getting older. I primarily listen to rock and punk. That's my whole music scene.

The Gauntlet: What type of punk do you like?

Dennis: I am into the Fat Wreckords stuff, and some of the emo stuff like Fugazi. I definitely like the Hellacopters and Backyard Babies. I do like the new Slayer album in a trippy way. I think what makes that album is Lombardo. I think it is the chemistry with the guys and they way he plays is just Slayer. That song 'Cult', that first or second riff is such a Metallica ripoff. It sounds like a new Metallica riff. Then the drums come in and it changes.

The Gauntlet: Maybe Rick Rubin got a little confused and came to the Slayer studios and said 'Metallica isn't using this riff, you guys use it.'

Dennis: {laughs] You were at the Warped Tour, are you into punk too?

The Gauntlet: I was there just as a journalist. Actually when I was in college, I lived in Santa Barbara and they had a really good punk scene up there. So I was there to see Helmet, Anti-Flag, and NoFX. Some of the Older punk bands.

Dennis: We played in Hollywood that same night as the Warped show there and I wanted to get out to see it.

The Gauntlet: It was pretty good. Changing directions, is a Death Angel DVD something fans can see in the future?

Dennis: Yeah, that has been on our list. With all the releases on several different labels, it is hard to get the rights for all our material. It is just a bunch of legal shit, but yeah we want to do that.

The Gauntlet: You didn't bring your own video crews with you to gigs?

Dennis: We actually did in Japan and we are going to again this year, but as far as in the States, we haven't. A lot of festivals have filmed us with 5 or 6 camera shoots so all that is footage we can pull from. That is definitely in the top three of things we are going to do.

The Gauntlet: Top 3, so a new album, a DVD and what else?

Dennis: A new album, a DVD and we have been talking for a few years about compiling all our favorite songs and do a covers album. Within the band, we all listen to such a vast array of music. It will be fun for us to pay homage to our influences.

The Gauntlet: You should write a book on the 80's thrash scene, have you ever thought of that?

Dennis: Actually I have, but again it is just so much work and I'm not a great writer. It would have to be written by someone else with me talking about it. [laughs] I think there would be too much to tell. Also there will be more to tell so I am not ready to put a book out now.