Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!


Static Zine


MC: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

RS: I was born in Michigan. I grew up in Kawkawlin, MI about 45 minutes north of Flint. Was and still is a country hick town. We had one stop light, post office, lots of bars and churches.

MC: How is it living where you live? I know your moving soon. Are you sad at all to move away from where you have been so long?

RS: I am living in Bay City, MI, a now bigger town that has mall stores, but sorry to say no real record stores to speak of. I actually moved in 1994 or around there. I kept my parents address for the zine as they only live 15 minutes away from me so really it's no big deal, but I recently started using my home address.

MC: What sort of kid were you? Did you have many close friends? Do you still or hang with any of them?

RS: I was quite a shy kid. Little strange, but nothing too wild. Played in the woods a lot catching all kinds of bugs, animals and fishing. I had 2 close friends when I was younger then I met a local band, started hanging with them, they were in a cover band called Outcast. They played mostly metal like Kiss, Alice In Chains, but the bass player was into Danzig, Slayer, and Fates Warning. He actually traded his tape for a cool death metal demo by Sadus "Twisted Face," which I liked right away.

MC: Were you always into music? What sort of bands did you 1st like? What was the 1st music release you brought?

RS: I was always into music. I went to Lutheran school and everyone had to sing in the church. My older cousin Kris was a big Kiss fan, I used to listen to his records. I always liked metal and I did not really get into my parents music, they had country. My cousin Troy was big into heavy metal like Judas Priest, Venom and some punk like The Stooges. I think the 1st tape asked my mom and dad for was Ozzy "Diary of a Madman" and I also got Motley Crue 'Shout At The Devil" and then I think AC/DC and Wasp. I started taping anything I could get my hands on, Dokken, Accept, and then I found Iron Maiden. I had to get every release.

MC: How did you get into metal music? What was the 1st band you heard? What was the 1st concert you went to?

RS: I was always into metal, I just went heavier and heavier. Ozzy, Metallica, Judas Priest. Kiss had to be the 1st band. I went to a few bar and hall shows with my friend's bands I think. Ted Nugent was the 1st concert and then Metallica and then right to Testament and Slayer at the Capitol Theater in Flint, MI on the Reign in Blood tour.

MC: What were some early fanzines that you read? Do you still have copies of them today?

RS: Metal Maniacs was my favorite mainstream mag, then I think I found Maximum Rock n Roll. Then I found one called War and Pain mag in Saginaw, MI. They only made 2 issues. I wrote every band and ordered every demo I could get. Blackthorn was next, then Wild Rags, and No Glam Fags. I really don't think there were too many zines out there back then I know I have Grimore #1. I still think I have all my old fanzines.

MC: You have been doing your zine almost as long as me. How do you still manage to do it after all these years? When did you decide you wanted to do your own zine?

RS: The hardest time was issue #7. I was a heavy drinker and the zine showed it, I found mistakes and crossed them out and hand wrote the corrections right over the top and printed them that way. I manage because the underground will not let me die, bands have pushed my sorry ass a few times by telling me what a great zine it is that we are honest and that I care about the underground more than most zines. Actually Deceased, Sloth Slayer, Wermacht, Agnostic Front, Cryptic Slaughter, Alester, Sadus, Savior, Bathory and Venom and everyone else in issue #1 started the zine. I was just buying demos and releases and started writing bands back and telling them what I thought of their release. I wish I could remember if it was Savior or Deceased wrote me first, but they both asked me what I thought of other releases and one asked me if they could use my letter in their promo pack and one asked in their letter if I could use my letter in their promo pack, then I thought I already wrote something on all the demos and releases I had thought why not send copies of my reviews to all the bands. Then Savior put my address on fliers "we got honest reviews, send your demo here".

MC: How did you come up with the name for your zine?

RS: Savior told me I needed a name and I just kept thinking of metal names, but then I thought I don't want to be stuck on one kind of music as I liked hardcore and punk too. I then thought about something I told my friend when riding in a car he asked me what radio station I like or wanted to listen too and I told him I rather listen to static. Savior made up flyers for issue #1 coming soon and I made like over a 1000 copies.

MC: Tell us about your 1st issue? How many copies did you print and how much did it cost you? Did you think way back when that you would still be doing the zine now?

RS: The first few issues layout looked great, full size 11/x17 folder over. I printed 200 issued repressed like 3 or 4 times I think, but it was no more than 200 each time. I thought by now the zine would be in full color and in every store and I would not have to work at making 100,00 or more a year or at least an issue. But I thought the music I liked would actually be the mainstream music of today.

MC: What were some early interviews you did and are most proud of?

RS: Issue 313 I was proud of Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Napalm Death. All big name bands. Hypocrisy, Voivod, Cause For Alarm, Mr. Mirainga, Cemetary. Gwar was the hardest interview. I tried like 3 times to do it in person then one day, off guard, they called me and I was not ready and had no questions at all. I asked some stupid normal zine questions I know like "Tell us some history on your band?" and "When did you form?"

MC: Did you feel back then with each issue you were improving with the mag? Do you still feel that way now?

RS: I think I am improving with each issue except for issue #7 and #8 drinking was more important that the issues and I was dating 2 maybe 3 different woman at the same time and that when Cianide (IL) pushed me back on track and I actually got a few bad reviews, yes me. I am never happy with an issue and I see things that need to be improved all the time, but I used a new printer for issue #29 and I was most impressed with the quality of the pictures. I have a full time artist for issue #30, which I hope works out easier with email interviews and websites.

MC: For those who don't know, tell the readers a bit about the mag. Do you still have #2 NY Rangers fan Jenn Matthews writing for it?

RS: My zine is an all underground honest non-label zine (meaning I review labels material and some interviews, but I rather interview underground bands especially if I had not heard their music until now.) The zine is half size and has a comp Cd if you want one. I had not actually heard from Jenn in a while, but she just sent me a show review for issue 31 and told me she may have a few interviews for me. Todd is the backbone of the zine and has been with the zine since 1994 now, always gets me excited about the zine and does all the reviews or 95% big help, does the proofing, I cannot spell worth a crap. I think it is a must for fans of the underground. If you have a band and it's metal in any way shape or form, I need to hear it.

MC: Do you feel fanzines will be replaced by web zines? Ever thought of stopping the print zine and doing an on-line zine?

RS: I would love to say they will never be replaced. I want to do a webzine more like an update every month on who is going to be in the issue. But look at me, I am old school I did not want to give up my typewriter until issue #9 and still did some old stuff on the type writer. I thought RECORDS would always be here, now it seems they're gone as far as I can tell tapes will be here much longer.

MC: Do you have a website or plan on getting one soon? If you have one, what sort of stuff can people check out on the site?

RS: My website is ok, I just lost the person that did it for me so someday I have to have them show me how to update it. It has mostly old stuff, but I do know how to up date the text now. I love to update all the reviews I do, I have a MP3 site, which I have been loading my comp cds, so you can download the songs for free. It seemed like by the time I get the songs up, the comp cd is out of print. I will do more when I get my cable modem (phone lines suck for that sort of stuff). To go find my website go to MP3.com type search static exemplar, it will find it.

MC: Any bands that you haven't interviewed yet that you want to? What was your favorite interview and worst interview?

RS: I hate to say this, but I wait for the bands to bug me saying they want an interview before I even think about interviewing the band. I got so sick of writing out interviews and not getting them back, so I quit writing them out. I would say interviews in person like: Deceased, Gwar was the worst interview I did and maybe MR. Mirainga because the tape did not record anything at all and it was a 45 minute interview and I had nothing on tape, pissed me right off because they wanted it for a radio station too.

MC: Your layout is a bit sloppy like my zine. I say fuck em if they don't like the layout. Do you feel the same way?

RS: I want them to tell me they don't like about it how I need to improve and I think the best one was when I was asked to print with a color cover on glossy paper. I told them I could do that for them I have the master no problem, just send me $1,000.00 and your issue will be rushed right away to your door if you want a 1 year subscription or the next 3 issues send me $2,500.00, that is a $500 savings. If anyone wants to do that then feel free because I never heard back from them.

MC: Any thoughts of going to newsprint. Why half size? How many copies do you print and where do you get them printed? How much does it cost you?

RS: Sorry to say this, but I hate newsprint, too messy, not as bright, dull photos, but the best part about newsprint is a lot to read and that's what a fanzine is about. Learning, you learn by reading. The half size is easier to mail, got tired of side-stabled issues the 1/2 size stay together better. I can do it at more than 1 copy place is the best part. I press 500 to 1500 issues. Issue #29 I pressed 500 and 300 were spoken for which is great, I have 55 issues left. I think they were $1.32 each and I pressed 100 cds, $1.25 each without a box boxes suck like $0.41 each, total $ 785.00 for the issues and the comp cd. For issue #30 I pressed 500 sample issues without interviews and send them all out to bands and distros and pressed 500 main issues. Comp cd #15 had a full colored glossy copies cover. I pressed 150 cds so far. (repressing 50 more soon).

MC: Where do you see the metal scene headed? Do you feel it was better years ago with more quality bands?

RS: I am not sure there is a metal scene, but I have seen it come and go. I know I have been receiving more demos on and off. I have not had to write people for material for a few years. If I get an email on a band and they sound good, I might ask for a demo. I think the production and quality on the demos has greatly improved, but as far as the amount of great bands I am not sure I mean the Michigan Deathfest used to rule, all great death acts Metalfests were good, November's Doom and Cyanosis stood out. Ohio Deathfest was good, but as far as selling zines it sucked. I used to press a new issue to go to the show with 500 and sell almost out. I know the sideways Deathfest #3, I sold them all before the show was half over with. Death Fest 32 I moved over 200 without even trying to sell them just trying to get all the bands a copy of the zine. I think people were more willing to buy zines back in the old days, but it could just be my zine.

MC: How much longer do you plan on doing the zine for? Have you thought about quitting at times?

RS: I have to do my zine until the I die. I made a deal with my brother that when I die he get to sell t-shirts of my obituary and me in my coffin. He feels after I die that's when the cash flow in by the truckloads. All my videos back issues, old t-shirts. Have got pissed off but never call it quits. I still don't know if I want to give everyone in the issue a free copy or just start giving out their page. (I am going to do 500 sample issues with all the reviews and ads just take out the interviews send them all out.) If Todd quits I will slow back down, but never quit unless everyone stops sending me stuff for good, then I guess the zine will get small.

MC: What are your plans for the zine in 2002? Any last words?

RS: I don't know my plans. I know that I am sick of all the noise bands and they will not be welcome on any future comps and I will not be reviewing them. #31 is wrapping up right now, hopefully fill up comp cd #16 by the time I am ready to press #31. Deadline for material was March 28th. Still have some ad space. Dead line for issue #32 is June 30th 2002. I think I want to do 4 issues a year, but only for 2001. I only got 2 issues that year. In 2002 I have all ready got one issue out and #31 was 3/4 of the way done. It will be easier to get them out I was waiting on cover art all the time hopefully with Micko my new artist that will change, but I know I will always need art work because I think the issue will keep filling up faster and faster. Thanks for the great interview Chris.