Toxic Holocaust

author EW date 20/08/08

Given the impending release of another overdose of Thrashy goodness, this time from Toxic Holocaust, I tempted mainman (only-man) Joel Grind out of the stinky basement to answer my questions and let you into the mind of a full-time Thrasher. Oh the things I do for you Rockfreaks readers... Hello Mr. Grind! Could you be so kind as to introduce Toxic Holocaust to the readers of…
Toxic Holocaust is a Heavy Metal band formed in 1999. While T.H. actually started as a full on “real” band, for most of the time since then it’s been only me playing and recording all of the instruments and writing all of the songs. The new record has Donny from Zeke on drums, while I handle all of the other instruments. As I’m speaking to you now though Toxic has full time members, Al and Phil or Canadian Metal band Rammer. So as it stands in this time of Thrash-mania all around us, TH have the unusual position of being sat pretty much in the middle between the old-school heroes and the new generation of Thrashers having formed back in 1999. Where do you see TH sit and which one do you feel the most allegiances to?
Yeah, TH was a bit ahead of the curve of the Thrash wave. This is actually something I could have never predicted as Thrash was completely dead when I formed TH. I would say TH doesn’t really fit into any of it, I play what I play, not because of what’s popular or unpopular at the time. As opposed to a lot of this ‘new wave’ of Thrash bands, the ‘Holocaust sound much more punk-influenced than your typical Exodus/Metallica clones. Who and what continue to be the main influences in the development of the Toxic Holocaust image and sound?
Basically I listen to the same shit I’ve been listening to as a teenager, stuff like Venom, Onslaught, Discharge, Exploited, Broken Bones etc. These have all had an influence on the way I write songs, and I like the fact that these bands keep things simple and to the point. I’m not a fan of epic songwriting, I just like something that you can remember. What themes do you tend to write about for the lyrics of Toxic Holocaust? Clearly there are a number of topics frequently covered by Thrash bands (social injustice, war, environment, religion…); do you make an effort to stick to these?
I write about Satan and War. I stay away from dated lyrics about how fucked our president is and shit like that…when you listen to it in 20 years it would be outdated as such topics as Reganomics etc. How much do you feel the image is a vital part of being a Thrasher? Now I notice your image right down to the all-important hair screams punk ala Discharge more than the long-hair found almost universally on every other Thrasher, and with the ever classic patchjacket as vital a part as ever, a band to me certainly must fit in with a ‘uniformed’ style to gain scene acceptance…
Fuck fashion, I couldnt give a fuck if I don’t look like a “Thrasher”. I’m interested to know the importance and meaning of Thrash, and Metal in general, to you as a person. Dare you imagine what you’d be like if you got into another style like R’n’B as a child rather than heeding the Metal call?!
Real Metal to me is thinking for yourself just like in punk, its not about fitting in to the norm. I’ve always done what I wanted and I use Metal as my outlet for that. Has life as a touring and recording musician ever created difficulties in your balancing your personal life out back home? I’m sure I’m right in thinking you can’t be making a living from the music, even as the sole member of the band…
I’ve actually been living off of Toxic since 2005, but the reason for that is because I work a lot harder than 99% of most bands. I struggle and I don’t make much money, but as I’ve said before I’m dedicated to it. When we tour there’s no hotels and shit, we sleep on peoples floors. I live in a fucking basement, but touring and playing music makes me happy, so that’s why I do it. Aside from the heavy punk influence, the other defining feature of Toxic Holocaust is its’ history of only ever having been a one-man band. We all know how common this is in Black Metal-land but why have you operated like this in a Thrash setting? What advantages (and disadvantages) do you feel this has brought you down the years?
Well it hasn’t always been the easiest thing sometimes. It’s hard when I was recording a record and I had to hit record on the tape machine then run over to the drums and start playing, then if I fucked up I’d have to do it all over again. The advantage is that I have total control over every aspect to TH. Playing live obviously requires that you bring in session live musicians – has this ever affected the tightness of the band onstage considering its not a unit that would be overly-well acquainted with each other?
Absolutely, you can only be so tight when you’ve rehearsed with your “band” for only a day or two. Luckily most of the time it worked out, never really ended up with playing with assholes or people that couldn’t pull it off. Considering Toxic Holocaust have been around since 1999 you are only just releasing your third LP, “An Overdose of Death”, in a discography littered with demos and splits. Why the relative scarcity of full-lengths in comparison to other release formats?
I have never believed in saturating the market with tons of records, I write when I feel inspired to not when I have to make another record. Plus touring all of the time makes it hard to stay active on writing new songs. All Thrash of the most old-school nature like the sort you spew forth requires a vinyl release – any plans for this with the new album?
Of course, vinyl is a must. The new record with definitely have a vinyl version. What plans are there for a European tour in support of “An Overdose of Death”? It’s a pity the US tours with At The Gates and Municipal Waste and then Overkill aren’t hitting Europe!
No plans yet for Europe, but I’m sure I’ll be making it over there sometime early next year. What are your ultimate goals with Toxic Holocaust? Where do you see the band in, say, 5 years?
For Toxic I see more records and more tours man, other than that staying on the same path I have been. Any final words you’d like to add before we conclude the interview??
Thanks a lot for the interview, get ready for the new record “An Overdose of Death…” early September on Relapse records.

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