Michael Francisco of Sonic Perspectives recently conducted an interview with frontman Phil Rind of veteran Arizona thrashers SACRED REICH. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On why founding member and longtime guitarist Jason Rainey departed SACRED REICH earlier this year:
Phil: "Unfortunately, Jason just physically… There's some stuff going on with him. He just wasn't going to be able to do it. We tried everything we could. We all tried. It just became apparent he wasn't going to be able to be up to it and come through for us. It's really sad. It's a real heartbreaking thing. Jason started the band. He and I did so much together, and I'm probably closer to him than anybody else on the whole planet. When it became apparent, I cried for two days straight. It was heartbreaking. We had to do what we needed to do. The band needs to keep going. We were really lucky to have Joey [Radziwill]. It was very last minute, right up until the end, right when we went into the studio we were pulling for Jason: 'Come on!' It was the first day in the studio it became apparent it wasn't going to work."
On getting drummer Dave McClain (ex-MACHINE HEAD) back in SACRED REICH:
Phil: "When we split with Greg [Hall], we were talking, 'What are we going to do? What does it look like? Who's he going to be? Where do they live?' There were a lot of questions. I just thought, 'Send Dave a message': 'Hey, give me a call when you have a minute.' He called and I said, 'Hey, Greg's not in the band anymore.' Dave just goes, 'I wanna do it. I wanna do the record. I wanna do the tour.' I was, like, 'Killer!' [Laughs] That was awesome. He said, 'I'd always hope there'd be a time I could be in SACRED REICH again.' That was so special he said that to me. It almost made me cry that he even thought about us like that because MACHINE HEAD is a big, successful band. He was in the band 23 years and the fact he still thought about us in that way. That was really sweet. Then, he was still in MACHINE HEAD, so I said, 'What do your commitments look like? He said, 'The record will be out soon and we will probably be touring for a year, year and a half.' We're, like, 'We waited 22 years, what's another year?' And at the time, he just said, 'We'll do the record and tour.' At that time, he was still a member of MACHINE HEAD, and I think as time went on, he realized he didn't want to continue to be in MACHINE HEAD. But when we spoke, there was no talk of him joining SACRED REICH permanently."
On the songwriting process for the band's new studio album "Awakening", SACRED REICH's first in 23 years:
Phil: "The songs just came out. I mean, there wasn't a ton of thinking about stuff. It just came out like it came out. It was really natural the way everything happened. We talked about making sure that we had some fast, heavy songs on the record because we didn't want to leave behind the people that started with us with 'Ignorance' and have been with us all these years and making all of this possible. We definitely knew in the back of our heads that we wanted to have some fast, heavy songs, but we also just wanted things to happen as they happen naturally. It was fortunate it worked out the way it did, and we have a nice mix of songs between the fast, heavy stuff. We also wanted to add new things. The question is always, 'What do you sound like now after 23 years?' The answer is, 'I don't know. It just sounds like what we do.' I have a friend, I was talking to him about it, he's a movie director, he did the videos for this record and he's done a bunch of films. I was saying, 'I don't know what we sound like. Do we sound like 'Ignorance', our first record? Do we sound like 'The American Way'? Do we sound like BLACK SABBATH? I don't know.' He's, like, 'You know what you sound like? Whatever you do. Just go do and what you do and don't worry about it too much. It was very liberating, so that's what we did."
"Awakening" was released August 23 via Metal Blade. The album was produced by Arthur Rizk, who has previously worked with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, POWER TRIP and CODE ORANGE, among others.