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Nige Rockett (Onslaught)

Interview with Nige Rockett from Onslaught
by Grigoris Chronis at 08 January 2008, 6:17 PM

This interview took a long long time to complete. But, what the hell, it's ONSLAUGHT! One of the leading European Thrash Metal forces in the 80s, the band's again in action and are already in the process of writing the successor of 2007's Killing Peace comeback album. Original axeman Nige Rockett sent us his thoughts via mail, and it's essential to state ONSLAUGHT's practically found the prefect recipe to please both 'old school' and 'new school' fans!

Nige, since we did not have the chance to talk last year, I’d like to ask you - first of all - what’s the feedback you got this year for the Killing Peace comeback release. You know, from both the Media and fans.

It’s been absolutely awesome, it really has! We cannot believe the positive response from the Press and fans alike. It gives us great inspiration for the future of the band!

 Killing Peace - in my ears - had a perfect mix of old-school Thrash Metal music but with a ’current’ aspect as regards the sound. Do you agree? Did you have in mind - prior to the recordings of the album - to release something that would please both old and new thrashers? Because I think you achieved the goal!

That was definitely the idea we had for the album. It had to be old school style songs because that’s what we are all about and what everybody would expect from us, but we had to give the album a modern sounding vibe so we could be accessible to the new generation of Thrash Metal fans 2007.

ONSLAUGHT does not want to stand still, we want to take big steps forward, but it’s important that we take our old fans with us for the journey as well as bringing a whole bunch of new ones, too.

Anyway, I think Andy Sneap did a wonderful work (again)! Was it fun to work with him? Did he gave you any advice, since he’s been too much in the ’producing’ business all these years?

It was great to work with Andy, he’s a freind from way back and it was cool to see how he works. Everything was very relaxed and very easy…This was the fastest ONSLAUGHT have ever made an album; 18 months from start to finish! no, he didn’t give us much advice - to be honest. We are pretty experienced in the studio; it was his amazing production/mixing skills that we really wanted to take from him. He definitely is right up there in that respect.

Really, are there any tunes dating back to the old days (the Steve Grimmett or Tony O’Hora days) or they are all newly ’penned’?

When we first got back together we started kicking some old unused material about, nut it never really cut it; it wasn’t sounding aggressive enough for wheer we wanted to be in 2007, so we basically started from the beginning…everything was more or less brand new, give or take a riff or two.

Even if I admire Steve Grimmett’s singing a lot (both in GRIM REAPER and LIONSHEART) I’m afraid he was not a ’fitting’ solution for ONSLAUGHT. To extend: maybe this case plus the lack of commercial success of In Search OF Sanity were the critical points for ONSLAUGHT to disband afterwards?

As a matter of fact, In Search Of Sanity is actually ONSLAUGHT’s biggest selling album to date, it was a real big seller for us (but it’s still never sold enough to please London Records; they expected sales of two million plus…), but, no, Steve Grimmett did not fit ONSLAUGHT at all and he was never accepted by the fans; as much as Steve is a great guy and a great singer, it never worked out. All the events surrounding London Records and Steve Grimmett did eventually lead to the band’s demise…

So, the ONSLAUGHT reunion saw Alan Jordan (formerly of MIRROR MIRROR) joining the band’s ranks. Has the man fit like glove in the ONSLAUGHT camp now?

Al Jordan was the first choise as guitarist when we reformed the band; both me and Sy had been in bands with him previously, and he’s an awesome musician…added to that, we all know him as a great friend, so it was a perfect arrangement.

How did you come in contact with Candlelight label, anyway? Did you have any other offers (I guess so - laughs!)?

Yeah, we were talking to 2 other labels when Candlelight heard we had reformed. they called up and asked us to come in for a meeting and offered us a great deal there and then, they wasted no time at all.We kinda knew them already because a subsiduary lebel of theirs called ’Blackened Records’ had released Power From Hell and The Force albums, which is part of the reason for us getting back to gether. they had a lot of good things to say and had a good vision for the future of ONSLAUGHT.

Nige, the Killing Peace release gave ONSLAUGHT the chance to hit the streets on a tour. We saw the band performing in various countries and festivals, and I was rather surprised to see a DVD release form your February 2007 gig in Warsaw, Poland. How did you come up with the decision to film your gig in Poland?

It wasn’t our idea; we had the offer come in from Metal Mind Productions. we had vener released a live DVD before so it seemed like a cool idea while the vibe was hot for the band. We’re pretty happy eith the way it came out; it ain’t perfect, but what is?…The fans seem to love it, they did a real good job with the way its put together.

The band’s performance was, one way or another, great! And the bonus goodies are a ’must’! I enjoyed the interview while it was a great surprise to hear the Let There Be Rock/Let There Be Death 1987 medley from the 1987 days! Did you organize the DVD’s features or Metal Mind Productions contributed help?

Basically, Metal Mind let us add what bonus goodies we liked, it all makes interesting viewing. they made a lot of suggestiobs, as to what would and would not work for the DVD…they’re a real cool company to work with and very good at what they do. they made it very Easy for us.

Are there any plans for another DVD shortly?

Ha ha, I hope so! We got the ’live DVD’ bug now! I wolud really like to do a live DVD in a small, packed, sweaty club, a real ’old school’ type thing, with bodies flying everywhere and general chaos. it would be awesome to capture the true vibe of a Thrash Metal gig…Yeah, I really wanna go for that…

Nige, really, have you started concentrating on material for a new album? How’s the songwriting going?

Things are under way on songwriting for the next album, slowly but surely. We have six tracks titled and moving on nicely. It’s gonna be ’old school’, obviously, but again with a modern twist, it’ll be a step up through in terms of intensity, dynamics and agression.

But, for now, our focus is still on promoting Killing Peace for at least another six months. It’s still selling real well, so we must maximise the potential af that and the DVD by playing as many shows and visiting as many different countries as we can!

Do you keep up-to-date with what’s going on in today’s Metal scene? Do you enjoy the current Extreme Metal bands? I’m having in mind acts like e.g. THE HAUNTED or ARCH ENEMY in Europe, TRIVIUM or SHADOWS FALL in the US etc. Do you feel these bands do revive (partially or totally) the classic Thrash Metal days?

I do keep up with it a little, I try not to take too much because I don’t want any of that to have an influence in ONSLAUGHT in any subconscious way. Yeah, of course they do, and that’s good that these newer bands are playing their style of Thrash music, because the fans wanna hear what their influences are all about! And then they realise how good the ’old school’ really is!

Also, are you keen on Death/Black Metal stuff of our days or - even - the (so called) ’female Metal bands’ like NIGHTWISH or EPICA or LACUNA COIL? Many juvenile fans seem to enjoy this kind of Metal(?) music.

I like some of it, yeah! It can be cool. I think a lot of the younger fans like it because it’s rebellious, like Punk was in the early days. I can take or leave a lot of ’female’ bands because it’s not aggresive enough for me, but I must say I really do like LACUNA COIL, they’re cool!

Being from England yourselves, do you think there can be another glorious movement - as the legendary NWOBHM in the early 80s - that can put England again in front in the Metal map? Do you support the opinion often expressed that England does have lots of Metal bands but the British Press is a pain in the ass (laughs!)?

Personally, no…Things is with England, we are good at inventing something, then (in most cases) everyone else does it better, i.e. football, cricket etc etc, ha ha! Again the legendary NWOBHM, but how many of them bands actually made it big time? Not many…two, at the most. England always had quantity but never too much quality. And the Press can be a pain in the ass, yeah, but (luckily) for our music Press in particular have always been 100% behind us, and for that we are eternally grateful!

Nigel, thanks a lot for your precious time! Hope all the best for ONSLAUGHT’s future and waiting to see you soon onstage!

No problem, the pleasure is ours!See you in Greece in March, we cannot wait! And, thank you!


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