Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All Out War interview with Bass guitarist: Erik Carrillo. August 9th. 2011.

Vista: Hey Erik. Can you give us a brief history of All Out War? Also, what year did you join the band & how many demos did you guys do before the 7inch {Destined To Burn}? What line-up would you consider being the first "real" line-up early on? On that thought...In your opinion which line-up defined All Out War?

Erik: All Out War was the fall out of the band AWOL from Newburgh. The band started around 1990 and was started by Mike Score, Chris Bozeth (original guitarist from Merauder), Sam Carbone (R.I.P), Jim Antonelli, Tom Connelly. I joined the band in Oct. of 1990, then in the summer of 1991 Chris Chisolm joined the band. This is the line-up that really defined ALL OUT WAR. This line-up really created the sound that became AOW. During this time we recorded 2 demos, one that was released (Sum Of All Fears) and one that was thrown away (Persistence Of Hate). This line-up was what really started the ball rolling for AOW. But with that being said, with out Chris B. or Sam their wouldn't have been an AOW.

Vista: Looking back to the time era of the early 90's when you guys started playing shows & writing music. What was the over-all mindset of the band? Where there any expectations or goals set? Did you ever think the band would achieve as much as it did?

Erik: We did the band to have fun with friends and create some sick music. We never had rock star dreams and never thought we would get to where we did. Plus, it was a great way to get free beer and get in to shows for free.

Vista: Growing up as a kid, what music did you listen too? Were you more of a metal head growing up? What bands did you like as a kid? What was your first introduction to the hardcore/punk scene? What bands first got you interested? What year was that? Also, what was the first hardcore/punk show that you ever attended?

Erik: I listened to all kinds of music growing up. My family was very big into music as being a part of our life. I also had an older brother that was into the metal and  the under ground scene, so it was easy for me to get into it. My favorite bands as a kid was: Iron Maiden, Venom, Plasmatics, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Agnostic Front, and etc... As I got in to my teens I got into heavier and darker metal and bands like the Crumbsuckers, Cro Mags ( which really is probably one of my all time favorites), Possessed, Kreator, Slayer, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains (which changed my life) and etc.... This all started around 1981 and continues till today. My first real hardcore show would be, if I can remember, Sheer Terror at Middletown {N.Y.} infamous Grunge Club. That was around 85' I think. I did see Kiss in 76' at Madison Square Garden with my father and brother, now that's hardcore haha. I think I saw John Joseph standing outside around then too hahahaha.

Vista: It is kind of a little known fact that All Out War for a period of time had the original Guitarist from Merauder. Looking back, it seems like he {Chris Bozeth} had a really big role in the band early on & seemed to lay the blueprint that the band followed.

Erik: Chris had a huge part of creating the music that we were known for. Him, Tom, Jimbo wrote some great songs that we played till the end. Chris B. is an amazing song writer. He not only started the way for AOW, but for Merauder as well.

Vista: Talk a bit about All Out War from the early to mid 90's. The band was pretty active leading up to the breakup/hiatus in the mid 90's. From your recollection...What was the hardcore scene like from say, 1991 till 1994...As opposed to 1995 or 1996?, when the band reunited. There seemed to be a big turnover of kids from the early 90's & to the mid 90's. The first official show back was with Agnostic Front. It seemed like you guys didn't lose a step at that point?

Erik: The early nineties was very hard for AOW. We were playing a heavy version of hardcore (more like metal) and the scene at that time was still very "old school". We were to metal to play HC shows and to HC to play metal shows. Also, our crowd was a lot more aggressive then most, which helped the band, but made it hard to get shows. Besides NYC area or Boston the kids were still just getting into the heavier more aggressive scene. At this time we didn't venture out to Detroit or some of the others so I can only speak of what we were apart of. As the nineties continued the scene got heavier and heavier. The pits got crazier and more dangerous, the age of the circle pit was gone. Bring on the age of the karate kids. From the eighties thru the nineties I loved it all. Even though AOW took some time off we really didn't stop. Yeah, it hurt the band a little. Cause, that's when a lot of bands stepped into that space that we created. So we kind of had to do the 1 step forward 2 steps back type of thing. A lot of bands came out of the music scene that we helped create during our time away. A big movement of bands, that had the AOW sound, came out during our time away and being that influence is something I'm proud of. It's really great to see some of these bands being really huge today.

Vista: When the band reunited, you guys came back really strong with the "Truth In The Age Of Lies" record. The majority of the material was written many years prior to the release. There were two new songs written for this release to be added to the record. Thinking back, how was the vibe of the band & the writing/recording process? Speaking of that record, from your perspective how was it dealing with Gain Ground Records? I have heard from other bands that it is a good label at first, then not so much going forward?

Erik: Well as far as Gain Ground, it is what it is. It's a label that got us out there, but as much of the music biz goes, everyone is in it for themselves. At this time the band was on cloud nine. we were having a blast playing shows, hanging with friends and writing some sick new music. Just what we had intended the band to be. Also, this was the time were future lives would be created.

Vista: As far as playing bass, who were some of your influences to pick up the instrument & play? Also, have you been in any other bands prior to All Out War or currently?

Erik: As a little kid I was into Gene Simmons. As I got older and took it just a little bit serious I got into Steve Harris, Flea, Getty Lee, John Entwhistle, Cronos (only for stage presence), the list goes on and on. I did play for a local band called Violent Plague which we were trying to do the cross over Crumbsuckers type stuff.

Vista: Give us your top 10 favorite bands/albums of all-time? It doesn't matter what genre..Just your personal favorites?

Erik: Ten only is hard man, but I will try.
Cro Mags- Age Of Quarrel.
Bad Brains- I Against I.
Slayer- Reign In Blood.
Iron Maiden- The Number Of The Beast.
Venom- Black Metal.
Motorhead- No Remorse.
Plasmatics- Metal Priestess and Coup De'tat.
Crumbsuckers - Life Of Dreams.
Suicidal Tendencies- Self Titled.
Misfits- Earth A.D./ Wolfs Blood.


Vista: Out of all the tours you have done with All Out War...Which one or two sticks out the most as your favorite? As far as the United States, which states/scenes did you like the most & embrace what you guys were doing as a band? Also, same question for Europe, where you guys seemed to do pretty well. What countries did you like the most over seas?

Erik: Wow, a tuff question. Um, as far as tour goes I think all of them, Its really hard for me to say. We always had a bond with the kids in Boston ( great guys) and of course N.Y.. But, we had a great time in all the scenes we played in. Detroit, Sacramento, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, Huston, etc... all were great. Over seas was Belgium and Holland. I like them all, but I love going to Prague.

Vista: Roughly, how many tours did the band do in the U.S.A. & Europe? Also, how many times did the band tour Japan? Speaking of Japan, what year was that & how was that experience?

Erik: We did roughly about 10 major tours I think and 2 big tours in Europe. We also did a week a couple years back in Europe. We've only been to Japan once (that was awesome) and I think that was the late 90's. If you have never been to Japan, you should go. Great country and great scene.

Vista: If you could give advice to any young kid just starting out & thinking about putting a hardcore band together...What bit of advice would you give the person? Would you just advise them to not even bother? Ha. Granted...This is a completely different time era & world as far as hardcore goes.

Erik: I would tell them to go for it, I had a blast doing it. Just be smart about it and realistic. The possibility of you making it is around1%. You're more likely to get eaten by a goat and shit off a cliff. To be successful you have to be a business man. Be prepared to fuck people and be fucked. That's why AOW didn't get any further, because we didn't do either. Oh yeah, and show up to the shows.

Vista: Here is a question that I have had for such a long time & for myself it is great speaking with bands that I like to finally get the damn answers! I know All Out War has literally had a revolving door of band members & fill-ins. But I always wondered, back in 1999 {I think?}, the band did a European tour WITHOUT the original vocalist! I always thought that was a big mis-step for the band. Looking back on this, what are your thoughts? How were these shows received from the fans in Europe?

Erik: It was a huge mis-step, but we had Mike's blessings and he did finish out the last 3 weeks of the tour. The Kids didn't seem to mind and we had a blast. Should we have done it, probably not. But, then again AOW was never a smart band. Even to this day.

Vista: How did the Victory Records deal come about for the band? Was it as simple as just being in Chicago on tour & the label took a liking to the band? How did it come about? Also, from your perspective...Were they shitty to deal with? I know from seeing you guys live it has never been a secret of how much it seemed like you guys as a band strongly disliked the label. What were the pros & cons of being on Victory Records?

Erik: I truly don't think Victory wanted us, well Clint did. It was more through help of other bands like Blood for Blood, Fury of Five and Hatebreed that we got a shot. To be honest with you I really don't know how it all came about. Mike handled it with Victory. At first everything was cool with Victory, they did put us out there. But, as we did shows and was struggling, we watched our merch/albums get sold to receive nothing. We had no money to pay bills or eat and Victory was getting bigger and bigger off of ALL the bands that were on that label. We saw a lot of empty promises. So the friendship slowly disappeared. We are also to blame cause we should have took it more serious. We should have took over the business, but not one of us were business men nor did we want to be. Plus, have you seen the bands on that label lately. What happened to the Hard Core Pride that Victory was all about. You wanna know how shitty your label is? When your equipment gets stolen in front of one of the guys house in the middle of winter and all they give you is a trash bag to put over the window. Not only that, but expect you to finish the tour with no equipment or window. Thanks for the support Tony.

Vista: When the band released the "For Those Who Were Crucified" album, it sure seemed like you guys had a lot of momentum going. Did the record label put too much pressure on the band to heavily tour during this period of time? As a fan it always seemed JUST as the band had momentum it always seemed to fall apart. I know from talking to you on many occasions the band always did things on your own terms & there is a lot to be said for that. But why did the band break up & drop off of tours so much?

Erik: The label did want us to tour a lot which is what we wanted to do. We loved touring, but when your not making money it puts stress on a lot of people. Touring is fun but it can be hard. As far as dropping off of tours. Well, some of those tours were bullshit. Again, we don't kiss ass to get tours so we weren't going to pay to be on a tour or be suckers to a bigger band. I won't name the bands that wanted bands to pay for each show or rent a truck to haul their equipment. Fucking rock star bullshit. So, we were happy doing tours with our friends. Sure it would have been nice to go on tour with some of the bigger bands and expand our fan base. But, we still made history without the help of rock stars or TV or radio.

Vista: What are your thoughts of the current hardcore scene? Is it even something you keep up with or give a shit about? I'm not saying at our ages we should even keep up with what is currently going on but do you still appreciate what is going on these days hardcore-wise? Are there any current bands out there that have caught you attention?

Erik: Is the hardcore scene the same as when I got in to it, NO of course not. But, its still the best scene to be apart of (even tho its a little soft around the edges at times). All music scenes are going to change, that's what happens.I still do follow it a little, not as much as I did but, I still go to shows and shit. Their is a bunch of good new bands out there. Wisdom In Chains is pretty bad ass. As you get older it does get harder to keep up, but hey you will see me at shows (maybe at the bar not in the pit). It's cool to see that the new generation is trying to bring back the old days of hardcore, but it will never be the old days. You will never experience what it was like. So my advice, do your own thing. Experience the new and look to the past. If you try to relive the past the scene will die.

Vista: What are some of your outside interests besides music these days? Are you still involved with mixed martial arts stuff? If so, what style do you train {if any}? Other hobbies & interests?

Erik: I will always love and be involved with martial arts till I die, It's a part of my life. I don't train as hard as I use to, but I still do my thing. That's all I'm going to say about that. I have nothing to prove. Other then that, I'm into building motorcycles. That's what has held my attentions now for the past couple of years. Oh, and pin up, damn I love pin up chicks.

Vista: I know over the years All Out War has done a few Cro-Mags cover songs live...Which ones have you guys done? Also, what other covers have you guys done?

Erik: "World Peace" and "Life Of My Own". Other covers have been C.O.C "Mad World", Sheer Terror (never played out live ). We aren't a cover band so we don't do many covers hahaha.

Vista: What are a few of your favorite All Out War songs to perform live? Maybe pick your top 5 favorites?

Erik: Top 5 huh:
Fight For God.
Soaked In Torment.
Decieve The Deceivers.
Witness The End.

Vista: How and why was "Destined To Burn" re-recorded so many times? It was as if that song took on a life of its own. It was on the demo, Philly Dust Krew compilation, Truth In The Age Of Lies, AND, Condemned To Suffer. Which version of "Destined To Burn" do you like the most?

Erik: We did it to piss people off. I think the best version is the one on the demo. I think we did that song 4 or 5 different times. It was the one song that use to stand out for us. At the time when we started, no one had a song like that besides Black Sabbath or at the time Carnivore (who was broken up)

Vista: The band these days seems to literally disappear & randomly pop up with a new record & live shows here and there. Now that some time has passed since the last All Out War record, what are your thoughts on it {the latest album}? The one thing that struck me/shocked me was that Victory Records put the record out. The band seemed pretty set on never working with the label again & from what I had heard...All Out War wasn't under any contract to release "Into The Killing Fields" on Victory Records? From your perspective, why was this record released through Victory and were there any other offers from any other labels to release it?

Erik: We did have other offers but we were still contractually bound to Victory. I love all the records AOW have put out, even "Condemned To Suffer". I am a fan of AOW,  that's why I wanted to be apart of it many many years ago, I think 20 years now. If we ever do another record I can tell you It won't be on Victory.

Vista: Have you or any other member of All Out War ever gotten any royalties from any releases from Victory Records? This is just another question that I have always wondered. I mean, the band has done {at this point} four full-length releases as well as a live record {NYHC vol. 2} all on Victory.

Erik: I have never received any royalties from Victory. The only thing I got from Victory was a bass amp to go on tour with. Which since everything is recoup-able, I probably payed for it myself.

Vista: When "Into The Killing Fields" was released, the band did do a tour of Europe. How was that tour & what countries did you hit? How long was that European tour? Also, there were some small amounts of live shows here in America but from what I hear...You didn't play with the band? I was shocked to hear that but I have no clue what the reasons are behind it? Besides the original vocalist, you were/are the closet original member. What happened & what is your status {as of this interview} with All Out War?

Erik: We did a week long tour in Europe hitting Germany, Holland, belgium, and France. I did do a couple of the US shows. As far as me not doing the last three shows, well lets just say it wasn't my decision. That was one reason why AOW isn't doing anything right now. I am still friends with the guys and everything is cool. Just a bad move, just like going to Europe without Mike. The only difference is he knew about it. To be honest with you, as long as you have the singer live all you need to do is close your eyes.

Vista: If the band never releases another album or never does another show...What are your fondest memories of the band? Also, on the flip side...What has been the biggest disappointment?

Erik: The fondest memories is making friends with bands, fans, the people on tour, who ever we met. Getting to go places I never would have ever dreamed about going. The commentary of the bands and going out on the road. Just enjoying life and making a small mark on history.
As far as flip side, I would have to say how it ended and never truly giving it a second try. How it ended AOW will never be the same.

Vista: Erik. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. I appreciate it. We go back a long time & have a million stories to share when we do see each other! Having the chance to do merch for the band well over 10 years ago for All Out War during the Cro-Mags tour was a true highlight {and at times a low-light}! Haaha! Any final thoughts?

Erik: Thanks John for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. We do go way back and have a ton of stories that will never be heard out side of sitting around a table. Having you on tour was great and greatly appreciated. Final thoughts huh, well I don't know what the future brings. Hopefully AOW will do something again, maybe not. I do wanna thank everyone who ever supported the band and helped AOW become what we became. For those who didn't like AOW or wanted something different from the last album, well it wasn't written for you. Thanks man and eat shit hahahah.

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