Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Chris Castillo was somebody who I used to write to back in the day and he helped spread my fanzine around when it was free way back when (before the days of the internet) and he also had a zine called "Underground Unleashed" and he is in the process of starting that back up and sit back and read this great interview with Chris:
MC: Tell me readers who you are and a bit about yourself.
CC: Hey Chris, how's it going bro? Well, my name is Chris Castillo. I'm 36 years old, engaged to my wonderful Kay Kay. I have three awesome stepsons, Cody, Cory, and Coby, and one daughter. My crazy little princess Angelina. I have been a diehard metal fan for years now! Love metal and many of its various subgenres. It's my addiction really ha ha Love reading! Mostly books on true crime, music, ufos, legends, ghosts, and all that kind of stuff. Heavily into a lot of Henry Rollins' books. Just a lot going on in them and you can get a lot out of them. Pretty thought provoking, heavy stuff. Like watching wrestling, boxing, mma, and various movies. TV shows like CSI: Miami, Dexter, and some sitcoms ha ha I really enjoy spending quality time with my family. Don't work out anymore, but that's something that used to occupy some of my time. That's something that I have to get back into actually.
MC: What part of the country did you grow up and where are you living at these days?
CC: I grew up in South Texas. A small town by the name of Alice. It's like 45 miles slightly south west from Corpus Christi. Not a lot to do there, but luckily Alice was "The Hub City." It's in the middle of everything. We were surrounded by C.C, San Antonio, Austin, the valley. Mexico isn't very far away either! Some places were a little drive, but nothing too outrageous, so at least we weren't too far out. Right now, I'm living in my birthplace of Lansing, MI. My family was up here working when I came along ha ha So, I only lived in Lansing for 11 months. I was raised in South Texas.
MC: Do you come from a big family and were you into music at a young age or did that come later on?
CC: Huge family bro! My immediate family wasn't very big, but overall yeah big family. Oh yeah, I was into music at a very young age! I was constantly with my big sister driving around and she always had the radio or some 8 track on. Yes my friend, 8 tracks! She played a lot of records at home also. My cousins always had MTV going when they actually played music, and to be more specific, when the music they did play didn't completely suck. They actually played some cool stuff. A lot of it anyway. Watched various music video shows.
MC: Were you ever in a band or did you ever manage any bands or ever consider picking up an instrument and if you did were you any good?
CC: Never in a band, just jammed with friends for fun. We had a great time doing that, and just dabbled a little in putting our own songs together. Played covers as expected too. If it was a more well known band we tried to play lesser known or covered songs from them. Did alot of punk covers. Circle Jerks, Black Flag, stuff like that. Metal is what we really tried playing for ourselves. I wasn't a very good guitarist or bass player because I was very inexperienced at the time, but I could get by for the most part. My friend Andy Gonzalez who most people know from his time playing in Hammerwhore and various other bands helped me out and taught me some basics. Eventually I just stopped playing and didn't even attempt to practice. Which was pretty stupid considering that every time I got better, I would just stop. I got a little lazy with it, but the real reason was because I started to see how many killer bands there was out there, that no one knew about. I started to discover zines, distros, ad sheets, and the like. I was like "Man, this is awesome! I'd like to get involved on this creative side." Just felt that there was a lot of great stuff going on in the underground music scene, and I wanted to give it some much needed and deserved exposure. I could've still practiced, but promoting the underground scene and doing various projects just consumed me. Whenever I had some free time, that's what I wanted to do. I do however, plan on getting back into practicing my guitar and bass. I do regret not keeping up with it, so that's something I have to remedy. I've never officially been a manager, but have handled managerial type duties for bands before. It's definitely something I would consider doing, as long as the band is serious and has a good work ethic. No rockstar attitude as well.
MC: What were some of the early bands you listened too and how did you come to discover metal?
CC: Dio was probably the first metal band I listened to. As a kid in the 80's I was listening to the hard rock, more mainstream stuff like Twisted Sister, Kiss, Quiet Riot, etc. Still do to this day! So yeah, Dio was the first! It was when I saw the video for "Last In Line" on MTV. I started listening to metal mostly after I ripped off an Iron Maiden tape from a store ha ha now kids, if you're reading this, don't steal! Also this kid named Gonzalo that I knew introduced me to some stuff. From there on I started in with all of the other metal/punk/crossover stuff like M.O.D, King Diamond, Rigor Mortis, Slayer, C.O.C, Suicidal Tendencies, Venom, D.R.I, Exodus, Naplam Death, Testament, Nuclear Assault, Vio-lence, and many more! Found a lot of bands by watching the old "Headbanger's Ball" and just searching them out on my own. Watched some really cool documentaries’ on metal that I just happened upon while channel surfing as well. No, I don't mean the "evils of metal music" type documentaries, although I watched some of those too ha ha
MC: When you discovered metal, were you like and just tried to seek and hear other bands? Did it almost become like an obsession? Do you still have any of the things that you first brought and do you remember your first metal release that you brought?
CC: Oh hell yeah! I had a voracious appetite for metal music ha ha That's the best way I can describe it! It was definitely an obsession Chris, no doubt about that! When I first really discovered metal, I couldn't get enough. It was aggressive, real, and it had emotion and conviction! I started buying various magazines and reading about certain bands. If they seemed interesting to me, I'd start making lists of who to check out. I seriously made lists ha ha I would read liner notes from cassettes I was listening to at the time, look at band photos and see what shirts they were wearing, read about who their influences and faves were, etc. I went crazy with it man. Just anything that might lead me to the next metal masterpiece! You could do stuff like that back then, not so much now. In those days you could actually pick up an album with killer artwork and it most likely was gonna be awesome. Nowadays, that's usually the best part of an album. I mean, I'm not saying it's like that completely, but way more than before. Anyhow, I used to take these lists with me on school band trips when we'd go to the mall in San Antonio. I'd hit every record store I could find. In those days they stocked a large amount of metal, punk, and hardcore! I mean it was the real deal, not any watered down trendy shit 'ya know? These record stores had an amazing stock! There was one store in particular that had just opened up. Can't remember the name, but they were a very new store. It had nothing on the walls. In fact the dry wall was freshly put up, and all of their stock was filed in all these crates that were on top of cafeteria style tables ha ha That's were I found the top picks on my "hit list." The debut from Rigor Mortis being the one I was mainly looking for. I mean I had already been listening to metal for a awhile, but this was like the first time I had a pocket full of money to buy as much as I could ha ha One thing that stands out was one of the guys who worked there reminded me of Adam Curry ha ha Remember that guy? The old MTV VJ that also hosted "Headbanger's Ball" for awhile. I also started getting a hold of record store catalogs and ordered from them! Anyhow, when I discovered the underground and zines a few years later, that's where it really took off. I wrote letter after letter to so many people. Bands, labels, distros, ad sheets, I wrote as many people as I could. The hunt got way more intense! I still have a lot of the first things I ever bought, mostly cassettes and even tees. Unfortunately, I've had a lot of things stolen from me over the years. That sucks! First metal release I ever bought was "Live After Death" from Iron Maiden! That was the same release I mentioned stealing before ha ha gave it to a friend so I replaced it. Legit this time ha ha
MC: While you were in your teens and early 20's what was the way you got your music? Where you were located, was there a decent amount of metal stores and concert venues?
CC: In my early teens it started off with the occasional trip to San Antonio. The closest place for record stores and venues was Corpus Christi. Alice had none of that. There were no places in Alice to really get music outside of Wal-mart, which surprisingly had some good metal and punk releases on occasion. They used to carry stuff like Overkill and The Vandals. Of course, the selection was very limited. I did go to some record stores in Corpus Christi every now and then. I did a lot of mailorder later on. That's how I got most of my music. A lot of those places always had sales going on too. So I'd place a big order and receive their sale list when my box of stuff would come in. That in turn had some cheap prices on great titles, so here comes another huge order. By the time I hit my early 20's it was predominantly mailorder for me. Actually, there was a place that sold Spanish music where you could special order metal in Alice! I thought that was just a joke told by a few metalheads to get the others to go down there, and make asses out of themselves ha ha Turns out they were telling the truth. They were going down there to this little Spanish music store and ordering stuff like Sodom out of a catalog. I went in there a few times years later, before I moved to Michigan. There, resting against the wall on a shelf among their Spanish music releases was a Deicide Cd ha ha Amon, the demos to be exact. I should've asked to see if they still special ordered stuff. That cd eventually sold after I kept yapping about it being in there. I wanted to buy it just to say, "Guess where I got this?!" ha ha Ya' snooze, ya' lose.
MC: What were some early concerts that you saw that still stick out in your mind today? Any bands that you saw live back in the day that you didn't like and is there any band or bands that you want to see live one day that you have not yet?
CC: Oh man, I saw a lot of great shows in my earlier days! I was a late starter to concerts/shows though, going to my first one when I was a senior in high school. Most people in my town weren't really into metal and I was car less. Not to mention that alot of my friends were either into way mainstream stuff, or the metalheads were broke off their assess all the time ha ha Just always missed great shows, but it was weird that I never really thought about that because I was constantly holed up in my room when it came to the metal ha ha Just barricaded myself and took it all in! Regret it now, but I more than made up for that later. As far as the early shows, there was a death metal show that featured Unleashed/Cannibal Corpse. That was an awesome one! Megadeth, although I'm not all that into them and think they're overrated. I have to admit, that was a really good show! And believe it or not, a small show show called "Rockfest '94" that featured out of state and regional bands. It was my first introduction to more underground shows. There was a band in particular from Aransas Pass, TX called Future Fear. Oh man, they were all over the stage! Their music as I remember it was sort of a power/traditional metal with some thrash influences. I remember the vocalist sounding like a mix of Rob Halford and Mark from Death Angel! As for bands I saw live that I didn't like, most were smaller local/area bands and way too many to name. Unless you want to give me a special section on your site? In which case I'll get started on the list now ha ha Let me see I didn't like Nile the first time I saw them, but second time was a totally different story. Life Of Agony sucked when I saw them live. Vocals were too high, and the music was played sloppy and uninspired. I like their first album, some of the second is alright. That night though, they sounded terrible. Most of the shows I caught had very strong line-ups and great sound, so overall my concert going experiences have been great! Something has always come up to where I can't see Iron Maiden or Motorhead, just like Dio. Like a fucking curse man! Now Ronnie is gone, and I never got to see him and his band. R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. The Maiden and Motorhead thing needs to be remedied. There's a slew of bands that I want to see live though, too many to name.
MC: What has been your favorite live show that you have seen and did you manage to attend any of those crazy Milwaukee Metalfests back in the day?
CC: Not sure if I have an absolute favorite, but one that especially sticks out was my second show. It was a death metal show at The Flamingo in Corpus Christi, TX in 1993. The Flamingo was in this small plaza that had a bingo hall, and a few other businesses. They hosted a lot of Spanish music if I remember correctly. The bill consisted of Sufferance from C.C. (then playing death metal), Apparition also from Corpus who had in their ranks Edward from Devastation, Epidemic, Cannibal Corpse, and fucking Unleashed! The show was just high energy and intense! All the bands kicked ass and gave it their all. Unfortunately, there weren't many people there for Apparition who was opening, so they didn't really get much of a reaction. They still did their thing though. I was really impressed. For the rest of the show it was all headbanging and an intense pit! It was great seeing Unleashed! That was probably the highlight of that show for me. You put together some great bands with cheap merch, cheap admission, great sound, crazy energetic fans, and the youthful enthusiasm of being at only your second show, and that pretty much guarantees your gonna have a great time! We bought some Cannibal Corpse shirts from Chris Barnes at the merch table and didn't even know it was him. He was clean shaven, had fucking blonde hair, and was wearing a Ministry "Psalm 69" shirt. I've been to many great shows, but there was just something about that one. Yeah, I managed to go to one Milwuakee Metalfest in 1998! I really wanted to go to the one in '97 and the one that also had the "Social Chaos" tour added on as well, but I'm glad I made it there in '98! Some bands that played that year were Mercyful Fate, Sodom, Sadus, Emperor, Impaled Nazarene, Mayhem, Suffocation, Six Feet Under, and many more! It was great! Glad I got to see Mercyful Fate! Suffocation's set was really good as well! We had a few setbacks and what not, and the fest had a few as well, but I had a great time. Maniac from Mayhem was drunk off his ass at the autograph table ha ha He spilled beer over all the pics they were signing, and was still trying to sign them with a sharpie. Fans were getting soggy pics handed to them dripping in beer.
MC: I see you like gore and horror movies. In your opinion, what makes a good horror/gore movie and what makes a bad one? What is some of your favorite movies?
CC: Yes sir, I am also obsessed with horror/gore movies! What makes a good horror/gore movie in my opinion is simple. A good storyline. That's the most important ingredient. Doesn't have to always be some elaborate theme, but keep it interesting. A lot of slasher movies have the same basic premise, but they add their own little elements at times, and just have a good background story for the killer. That's why movies like that can be similar, but still stand apart from each other. Atmosphere is another thing, which is why I like a lot of the old black and white movies, and Dario Argento's movies so much. Take for instance, "Suspiria," which is one of my faves. It has great atmosphere, brilliant set pieces, gory kill scenes, and has an eerieness to it. Love that movie! A bad horror movie? There's a few there ha ha You can still make a great movie on a small budget, as long as you use what little money you have in the right way. That's not always the case ha ha Also, lousy acting! There are some movies that are so bad they're good (which I love), then some that are just plain bad! I also think they should do a lot of what was done in the past and cast unknown or lesser known actors in roles. Some of today's more mainstream horror movies are ironically enough, polar opposites! Either brutally violent like the "Saw" franchise, or watered down with what their interpretation of what horror is. A big example of that to me is still shit like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and more recent movies along that line. I wanna see Amy Steel, Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Catriona McColl, Caroline Munro, and actresses like that in these movies. Not fucking Jennifer Love Hewitt, Paris Hilton, Brandy, or whoever they have nowadays ha ha Kristen Stewart? NO! There's a lot of great current "Scream Queens" too, so it's not like they can't cast somebody who's better for these types of roles. Same for the actors. Is it gonna be Kane Hodder, Tom Savini, or fucking Colin Farrell?! I'm sure you get where I'm coming from? So I think that casting like any other movie, can hurt a horror/gore movie if not done right. Don't even get me started on the re-makes. Very few are good, most are bad, and most all unecessary. I am curious about "IT." I heard that is supposed to be re-made a lot more violent like the book. I know the original was a TV movie, and you can only do so much with what should have been a very violent and gory horror movie on television, but that's why it has my interest. I loved the book, but not really partial to who/what "Pennywise" turned out to be. Once it was starting to reach its conclusion, it started to stink a little. We'll see what happens with the re-make if it happens. If it's a franchise, a revolving door of directors throughout the series doesn't help either. Those are a few things in my opinion that make a horror/gore movie bad. Oh, and gore is great, but gory for the sake of gory doesn't always work. That's pretty much the same thing as all those blockbuster movies that rely strictly on explosions and special effects, but have nothing else going on. My favorite movies? There are many, but I do love the old Universal Monsters, and Hammer. Am partial to slasher films, but like a lot of the ghost and possession films. Some titles to kinda' give you an idea of what I like are: The Prowler, The Mutilator, City Of The Living Dead, Maniac, Re-Animator, Humongous, Killer Party, Deranged, Three On A Meathook, Suspiria, Slumber Party Massacre, Demons, The Beyond, Nightmare, Poltergeist, Beyond The Door, The Exorcist, Phenomena, Nightmares (anthology), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original), Day Of The Beast, The original "Dead" trilogy, Return Of The Living Dead, Night Of The Creeps, The Howling, and tons others! From classics to slashers, ghost stories to low budget gore, I'm a die-hard fan!
MC: What were some early fanzines that you read back in the day and did you do a lot of tape trading back in the day and how much mail did you go through in a given week?
ICC: read stuff like Bite The Bullet, Arrows Of Malice, Brutalized, Beowulf, Tales Of The Macabre, S.O.D, Metal Curse, Metal Mafia, Canadian Assault, Eternal Darkness, Dream Warriors, Pernicious, Neo-Barbaric, Evil Warriors, Static, Suburban Voice, Corpse Gristle, and a few others. Oh, there was this really cool fanzine called Metal Core. That was a really good one! It was put out by this guy who could crush a man like a grape, but was actually a really nice dude! Maybe you know him? ha ha Didn't do much tape trading, but I did have one regular tape trader named Ana Marques from Portugal. She later moved to Ireland, and I lost contact with her. She wrote me a letter from Ireland a few years after our last correspondence, but I lost her address. She was really cool. We introduced each other to a lot of bands. I usually just dubbed tapes and sent them off to various people, or would hand them to people and go,"Here, you gotta check this out!" Dubbed a lot of stuff for friends. Not sure how much mail I went through weekly. It wasn't a whole lot, but it was a good steady amount. I received a few letters/packages a week, which was always cool. A lot of good feedback, and people wanting info about The Underground Unleashed.
MC: I see you are also a punk and hardcore fan like me. What are some of your favorite punk/hardcore bands and did you ever have any problems going to those types of shows being a metal head and what was the craziest pit you ever saw?
CC: Yeah, I'm also into punk and hardcore! Some of my faves are Infa-Riot, The Partisans, The Exploited, Blitz, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Attak, Agnostic Front, Rykers, Sick Of It All, Bold, The Vandals, Youth Of Today, The Ramones, Dead Kennedys, D.I., Against The Wall, and many more! Mostly the old stuff. Most of the stuff that tries to pass itself off as hardcore today isn't. In all honesty, I think most of it is shit. I do like a lot of today's punk though. Didn't really ever have any problems at the punk/hardcore shows. Like only one time at a punk show years ago, but that was nothing. Somebody hit me in the back with a squashed cigarette butt. I turned around and there were a few punks there trying to look hard. Didn't say anything, they just stayed quiet. I already knew who these dudes were. They were part of like some punk crew/gang made up by some bands and people in their scene. They were notorious for starting shit. Wouldn't fight straight up though. They liked ganging up on people, and using weapons. Big fucking pussies, but there were only three metalheads in the whole place. One of them was a female. Not that females can't throw down, because they can. I'm just saying. The place was wall to wall punks. Asshole punk rockers at that ha ha I'm like the nicest guy, but I don't take shit like that. After my friends and I got pissed, nobody fucked with us again. We just tried not to let it escalate to where we were gonna get mobbed, but they knew we weren't gonna take another bullshit move like that. I think it was just one of those "testing boundaries" type of things. To see if we were scared. A lot of people are "tough" in groups, but none of them really want to be the one to get hit ha ha There definitely would've been a few punks getting smacked around whether we were outnumbered or not, had they put their hands on us or actually hit me with something that didn't result in a little tap. That was the extent of that incident. Nothing else came from it. We always tried to bring unity in the scenes, so we'd just try to get along. We certainly didn't let people walk on us or throw their weight around. I, as well as my fellow metalheads from those days have had our incidents to where some assholes have had to be put in their place ha ha That's mostly been at metal shows though ha ha Anyhow, we all got along for the most part. They knew I was really into that style of music, and in our area, a lot of the punks and hardcore people love metal. We were all just hanging out with our fellow metal/punk/hardcore brothers and sisters. The only difference was that one might be more into the one style of music than the other. I have respect for them. In all reality, I am "them" ha ha I don't know how it is now, but we did have a lot of unity back in South Texas at that time. At least in my area. However, like any scene, you also have your ignorant assholes who just want everything divided into clicks. On occasion you ran into some punks/hardcore people walking around the venues just being jerks in general. They'd try so hard to be this stereotypical loud obnoxious punk rocker. Your basic uniformed, a punk has to be like this, "I'm gonna act like what I read punks were like" type people. Or you'd run into some jock minded, meathead hardcore kids thinking they were walking the aisle at Wrestlmania ha ha That was their attitude. But aside from that incident, nobody ever started shit with me or anything. In fact, I saw members and affiliates of that same punk crew, all pile into a van and run away from this guy I knew years later ha ha Shit was hilarious, he wanted to kill them! They were also not on their turf, so there 'ya go. Craziest pit I ever saw at a punk or hardcore show was Agnostic Front at Equal Eyez in Corpus Christi back in '05! People were standing on tables, hanging out on the corners of the stage. The place was packed. They had a HUGE pit going! Lots of hard slam dancing and that capoeira (Brazilian dance fighting ha ha) looking shit they do ha ha All the kicks and stuff. Well, eventually a huge mob fight broke out. It started in the pit. People were fighting inside, and carrying it out to the parking lot. Agnostic Front was pissed! They stopped playing and Roger Miret got on the mic. He told them to knock it the fuck off, or that was the end of the show. The entire band was seriously angry! Security eventually got it under control.
MC: Tell me a bit about this Underground Unleashed thing you have been doing? How long did you do it and basically what did it consist of and are you the only one that is doing it or do you have help?
CC: The Underground Unleashed started back in late '97. I had already been writing to a lot of people and spreading out flyers in my mail, when I thought about what I could do to support the scene a little more. So I took a cue from Lee Turner's "The Unclassified," and put out my own contact sheet. I named it "The Underground Unleashed." That eventually became my promotional banner. That was my first step in kind of "officially" starting a project to support the underground scene. The sheet received a lot of positive feedback, and I started receiving mail from everywhere. I started hearing from small labels, zines, fans, distros, and bands. They started sending in samples of what they were working on too. Funny enough, people who were a lot more well known in the underground scene than I was, would write me and tell me it would be an honor for me to check out what they were doing, and let them know what I thought. It was simply a double sided sheet with ads, but people really dug it! Very cool. I eventually stopped doing the sheet. Not for any real reason. It was getting great feedback and being spread out all over the place. People were placing and answering ads. I guess it was kind of like I said, "Let me set this aside for now, hey I think I'd like to check this out" ha ha I just started going in all directions. T.U.U. when going full speed consisted of contributing reviews and interviews, writing bios, making flyers, street teaming, merchandising, doing a distro, getting bands radio play, booking shows, helping bands book tour dates in Texas, manegerial duties, and so on. I was so into the underground scene. Still am! I had a few setbacks here and there, and in recent years have only done things sporadically. I am officially back though. I'm just bringing it along slowly, and starting to spread the word. I've started by getting my distro up and running again, and starting to help out bands here and there. Good old fashion street teaming and promotion. D.I.Y. T.U.U. was always me alone. That's just the way I wanted to go. I had a certain way I wanted to do things, and certain things I wanted to do. I've always had a lot of great supporters though, and eventually a great street team. I wouldn't be opposed to letting anyone come on board once I've built up some steam.
MC: What fanzines have you wrote for in the past and were you like me sad to see the demise at least in the US of paper fanzines and everything going way via of the internet?
CC: I contributed to "Bite The Bullet" from Canada. Sadly, that zine didn't go past issue #2, which was the one I was part of. It got a lot of great reviews in various other zines, and in Metal Maniacs. Aside from that, I just did stuff like cleaning up reviews and interviews for the ever cool Andrea Metalucifer's "Dream Warriors" zine. That was a great Italian fanzine! Andrea sometimes had problems with his English, so I'd fix things up for him. I did things like make my own review flyers for bands though! Plus, alot of people used to write in and tell me that my contact sheet was an awesome "newsletter" and "review sheet." I was really detailed when I hooked up ads for people on my own, and they really did read like short reviews. Never noticed until I kept seeing those two words to describe my sheet. I did however; contribute a lot of reviews and some awesome classic interviews for Acts Of Brutality webzine! A.O.B. later became Blastfiend.com. It was a great website! Phil was really cool, and let me contribute whatever I wanted to his site. Yeah, it sucks what's happened to zines in the U.S. I'm right there with you bro. Some people just "outgrew" it, which I think is ridiculous. For others it just got tougher and tougher. Putting out a fanzine is a lot more work than people think. If you're really serious about it. It's very costly. Especially if you're putting something out, and nobody is buying the zine. There's bills, families to support, and so on. The editors don't always have money to set aside for putting out their rag. It's hard to continuously put something out that nobody is supporting. How do you get money back to put out another issue, when you're sitting on so many copies of the last one? Not to mention a lot of people lost money on their zines, even when people were buying copies. It's a very difficult thing to do. Even worse when nobody is supporting the fanzine. Some had the expenses to their zines covered by selling ad space. Even if advertisers buy ad space, eventually they'll stop buying it if no one is reading the zine. Who's really gonna see the ad? That's why all the diehards who were putting out zines tried to keep it going for as long as they could. They loved it and wanted to support. So many that weren't free before, went that route. That eventually got too difficult as well. It went from less people wanting to buy kickass affordable zines, to most people not even reading them anymore. Even if they were free. Internet is cool and there are some good sites out there, but it's just not the same. Zines are such a labor of love. Lack of support is what 'caused damage to the zine scene in the U.S.
MC: Is there anything you would like to see come out on CD that is not on CD yet and what do you think of bootlegs and would you buy one if the quality is good?
CC: I think that everything I wanted to see released on Cd has been, just very limited! I'd like to see a lot of stuff re-issued again. The debut from Rigor Mortis, Deathwish - Demon Preacher, Bolt Thrower's - Spearhead Assault & Cenotaph EPs, Taist Of Iron - Resurrection, Cryptic Slaughter - Stream Of Conciousness, Torch - Electrikiss. Damn, there's too many to name. Don't even get me started on all the obscure 80's bands. I'll save some time. Anything that was really good, obscure metal from the 80's!!! ha ha The lesser known bands, especially the traditional metal bands. Also, the more power/speed ones! I know that once you post this interview, I'm going to remember all these bands and titles that I wanted to list specifically ha ha I kind of have a 50/50 opinion of bootlegs. Guess, I kind of see it the way some bands do. It sometimes aids in getting the word out on bands, so that's cool. A lot are put out because the person releasing it is a diehard fan. Alot of them are done in tribute. Most bands don't really care about it, but some do. There are those who are just out to make money of course, and won't even at least do something for the bands in return. That's the main objective for most! I've heard of certain band members contacting certain bootleggers and not having a problem with it. Actually complimenting them on the end result of what they are putting out there. Are you ready to hear the fucked up part? All they want in return is at least 1 copy or something, and they never hear back from the bootlegger. That's just wrong man! I'd buy some high quality bootlegs, but it would have to be something interesting. It all depends. There are bootlegs that I really wouldn't care about, but sometimes you'll see something that's excellent quality, great packaging, etc. I'm a fan after all, and I like to collect things from the bands I like. If there was some serious shadiness though, like my earlier example, I'd stay away from the bootleg no matter how awesome it was. Sometimes a person won't know. My purchasing of bootlegs has been extremely limited either way. On a side note, if it's a band that only cares about money, I might buy a fuckload of bootlegs of their band! Nah! HA HA
MC: I know your on Facebook. Have you managed to reconnect with many people from the old days on there and what do you think of the file sharing things that go on now as some people don't even want to pay for music anymore?
CC: I've re-connected with a few of the oldschoolers like yourself. It's great man! That's one of the cool things about internet. For all its drawbacks concerning the scene, you can track down people you've lost contact with more successfully. One person I can't seem to find is Keith Dempe from Eternal Darkness Creations. Been looking for him for a long time now. You have any idea where he might be? File sharing is good to an extent, because it gives people a chance to hear bands whose material they can't find. It also exposes their music quickly to someone who just heard about them, and wants to immediately see what they sound like. It gives a lot of bands more of a chance to be heard. You can track everything down and download like crazy, because it's not costing you anything. And that right there is also the very thing that hurts bands and labels. Nobody wants to buy anything because they can get so much music for free. I use it to check out mostly very obscure bands whose albums are out of print, or cost an arm and a leg. I'd rather have the actual releases though! Nothing can replace that. Mp3s are conveniant, but they sound like shit! It's such a small file, and it takes a lot away from the music. Give me a record, cd, or cassette any day! I want the packaging, liner notes, and photos. Plus all the killer extras they sometimes come with like a DVD, button, patch, or whatever. Then there's the thrill of the hunt! ha ha Tracking down that elusive rarity, and finally snagging it! Mp3s, file sharing networks, and all that shit just isn't the same. I've downloaded a few albums then managed to track down the actual releases. I still buy those releases. Everything I download is either way out of print, I still go out and buy, or I'm going to eventually buy anyhow. Plus I don't really download much music to begin with. Like I said, mp3s aren't the same. People not wanting to pay for music pisses me off to no end ha ha Stop being cheap bastards and support these bands and labels! Nobody wants to give away anything for free, but they sure as hell want everything for free!
MC: Do you listen to any other style of music beside metal and what do you like to do to relax and is your girlfriend into metal as well?
CC: Aside from the punk and hardcore we talked about earlier, many different styles! Classical, ambient, goth (actual goth), 60's psychadelia, classic rock, certain styles of spanish music, and the list goes on! I like some old country music. Not all the pop shit that is trying to pass for country nowadays. 80's new wave bro! I catch a lot of shit for that, but I could care less ha ha I like listening to a lot of traditional music from different countries. Pretty interesting. I'm just a lover of music. Don't like all styles, but I like many styles. Of course, nothing could ever take the place of METAL! As far as what I do to relax, I like to read, and just kick back on the couch and watch movies. I get all into my horror movies especially! I'm a total dork when it comes to that. I'll turn off all the lights and light candles. Turn on my skull with the flickering light inside of it! ha ha And then if it's storming, even better! Guess you could say that I like to set the mood and have the right atmosphere for it ha ha Going for a drive through some rural areas relaxes me as well. Yes, Kay Kay is into metal! She likes a lot of country music, r&b, classic rock, and oldies. But yeah, she's heavily into metal! She's introduced me to a lot of older country and rock artists, and I've introduced her to a lot more metal. She likes everything from Rock Goddess to Deceased, and a lot more!
MC: I also see you set up shows in the past. Was most of the bands easy to work with and were any bands sort of impossible to work with and any funny band stories, please do tell and share.
CC: I set up a few shows, and helped organize the only metal fest Alice ever had. "Malice In Alice" It was a blast! Most of the bands were pros and very easy to work with. Some were a pain in the ass, but luckily the place I helped out at, "Downtown Riot," was owned by my good friend Ruben Raanaei. He handled most of that, but on occasion he'd let me get involved in some booking. I never really came across many problems, but did witness Ruben dealing with some fucking crybabies ha ha Like bands who were only playing their second show, but wanted more money and complained about opening. Fuck off! Some of the punk bands just fucking walked around being dicks and causing a fucking mess. I think that's one of the main rules in the punk handbook ha ha Just messing with my punker friends there. We had more hassles with the band's fans really ha ha Like this whole mess of their friends and family would show up, and all want to get into the show for free. Just little bullshit like that. We did have our nights were it was chaotic though! Fights, people crashing through windows, your basic shit ha ha Funny stories? Let me see. The emo bands that would sometimes play DTR, ironing their hair straight in the back room HA HA Eric "Big Nasty" Pena, Hammerwhore's drummer at the time (now fronting The War Show), line dancing in front of some Cops while they were talking to Ruben. Eric running down Main St. with his pants pulled down, because Hammerwhore's bass player, Andy Gonzalez, wouldn't stand still so he could moon him. He was running backwards after Andy who was running away from him. Eric once again, getting his hair caught in a big steel fan 'cause he was headbanging next to it. Oh, fucking Big Nasty, AGAIN! ha ha He would always jump on Andy's back and hump the shit out of him ha ha Well, one night at a Houston gig, Andy had enough and yelled "That's it!" He proceeded to hump him right back. It was a humping war! Then their guitarist, Carlos Llanas, jumped in and started to hump both of them. People didn't know what the fuck was going on ha ha Damn, there was a lot of humping going on ha ha This band called RPG who had these guys all dressed in armor, beating the shit out of each other with medieval weapons in front of the stage ha ha These really nice and enthusiastic kids that were in a band called Sledge, always taking their shirts off midway through their set everytime they played "The Riot." The reason? Because Ruben jokingly told them that maybe it would draw some girls into their shows, and cause the ones already there to go nuts. He was being sarcastic and just fucking with them ha ha Memo from Slowgrind signing a drumstick for my friend's little brother who was like 10 at the time. He signed it "Aaron, kill as you grow" ha ha The guy from this experimental noise band from the valley, "A Beautiful Lotus." Actually, he was the band. Some girl landed some punches on his arm and back, because he leaned down when he was performing and started to scream at her vagina ha ha There's a lot more, but those are a few. Most of the funny shit came from the DTR regulars though ha ha
MC: If you had the power and were running your own label, what 5 upcoming bands, they can be on a label, but not say the size of Slayer. would you sign?
CC: That's a tough question! There's a few out there, but I'd probably go underground and find some way lesser known, yet worthy bands to sign for my first releases. Just something I've always wanted to do. I'd like to sign a band that is really good, yet spinning its wheels because they just can't catch a break. Finally give them some strong label support and see what happens! Man, they would be so hungry! Some of these fit that bill, others are a little more well known, but all excellent bands in my opinion. Let's see, Deus Otiosus from Denmark. Wolfeblitzer from Texas, who play traditional metal/hard rock. I'd make Hammerwhore, (now Cruxiter, good band) re-unite as Hammerwhore, and sign them. Yeah, I said MAKE ha ha I would sign Witchtrap from Columbia, and Wastelander from here in Lansing. Some are up and coming I guess, and some veterans. The vets though, have had such bad luck with line-ups and have only put out limited releases, or have just never gotten much exposure. I could pick some bands who are on the rise, but these I picked for a reason. Deus Otiosus play a good style of death that is not the same blast beat, blast beat, blast beat! They don't always go for the obvious song structure, and they play some ferocious shit! The songs are just good, and they vary their songs. Wolfeblitzer always has pros in their line-up. Experienced players. They have stuck to their guns and play what they love. Val has such a powerful voice man, wow! She can actually sing. Been doing it for a long time, so it doesn't come across as "oh you play in an 80's style huh?" It sounds like it's from the 80's, in a good way. I think that if they could get past the line-up changes and get a good label backing them, they would seriously catch some attention. Hammerwhore was a very good thrash band that I really believed got cut way too short. They were no retro thrash garbage. For awhile, they were going strong. They were offered to play big fests, and spots on many incredible shows. Unfortunately, it's like everything went to shit. Frustration, the usual difference of what direction to take the band, and like every other thing that could go wrong with a band did with them. They were aggressive, energetic, and just fucking nuts! The style was the more aggressive, "evil" thrash if you will, with like an old school hardcore/crossover influence. Very subtly and tastefully done. You could mostly hear it in the drum work. They only put out some demos, a live casette, and one official release. A lot of great things could've come from this band if only_____ They have talked about doing some live shows sometime, so we'll see. Witchtrap, I just like what they're doing. I like the raw sound, and the old school style! Totally into their stuff! Those South American Bands are maniacs ha ha Wastelander also has a great sound. Thrash/Crust/Punk with some 80's black metal influence. Their "Wardrive" album has made a lot of noise in the metal music scene, and for good reason I believe. I mean, you can't live in this fucking cesspool of Lansing, MI without feeling claustrophobic and full of hatred ha ha These guys obviously use it to their advantage, and write songs that exhibit those very feelings. It sounds aggressive yet kind of gloomy. If you ask me tomorrow, I might have a different list ha ha There's a lot of great music out there, but these are my picks right now ha ha
MC: Do you think there is too many bands and labels around now that make it hard for the good to great bands to get noticed as there is tons of horrible bands out there?
CC: Most definitely! There's so much out there right now. I mean it's great that the scene is huge, but it's hard deciding where to focus your attention at times. What do you spend your money on? You have to wade through so much crap out there. The diehard metal fans are used to going to shows to check out new bands without knowing who they are. Same goes for checking out new labels and what they have to offer. That gets a little harder to do when you spend your hard earned money and free time on bands that end up being so damn terrible. When there are so many bands and labels out there, how much of a chance do the good/great ones have at being heard? It's difficult for really good bands to be heard and gain exposure, when they're in the mix with hundreds of shitty ones. It gets tiresome for fans, when they're constantly bombarded with so much crap. When Myspace was really buzzing, that just made it worse. Every shitty band out there made a page and uploaded their music. You have all these awful bands out there getting on great bills 'cause they're friends with the promoter. Every time these bands get in a magazine, on a bill, or what have you, that just takes up spots that could be filled by great deserving bands. We all know some of them get these spots for a lot of reasons, and talent isn't one of them. Sometimes it's who you know, or how much ad space your label is buying. Those labels don't help either. It's not about quantity of releases, its quality. Some of the labels don't do their job and help their bands gain exposure. Some have a really weak roster. When there's so much mediocrity and just all around awful music out there in a scene, that sure can't help strengthen it.
MC: When you listen to a band for the 1st time, what do you mainly listen for? In your eyes and ears, what makes a good song and do you care about lyrics much?
CC: First and foremost I would have to say feeling. The band has to play with some feeling and emotion! That's really the main thing. You can be an amazing technical musician, but if there's no feeling behind what you’re playing, your album is gonna be an amazing technical piece of shit. It'll just sound very bland. You can't fool the metal fans. It could also be a very simplistic song, but if it's well written and played with emotion, it could be such an insanely awesome song. You always have to put your heart into your music, whether it's technical or simplistic. I think that the basis for a good song is to keep things interesting. Keep the song going with drum fills, good solos, vocals that fit the music ha ha It's awesome when a frontman/woman explores what he/she can do vocally, just like the other members of the band exploring their instruments. I like to hear the bass player do his own thing, not just always follow the rhythm. Don't like when a song just sounds thrown together, like following some blue print. Variety in the song I guess you can say. Quality! Not just something like "here's the part where I solo." Don't use it for filler, solo your ass off ha ha Put thought into the writing process. Be multi-dimensional. Lyrics to me are important, but I really have no problem with them unless they're ridiculously stupid. Unintentionally that is ha ha If comedy is part of their deal, that's alright. If they are unintentionally stupid, then I'm not into it. I am partial to lyrics with some meaning though. Songs that say something.
MC: Have you ever been overseas and if so how was that experience for ya? If you haven't would you like to get there one day if so where would you want to go?
CC: Never been overseas but that's something I really want to do some day! Oh man, there are so many places I'd like to go. Both for the travel and for the amazing metal festivals! Italy, Germany, England, Spain, so many places! I'd really like to attend the Wacken Open Air Fest. That one is at the top of the list. I know people who have gone, and they tell me it's amazing. From the footage I've seen, and past line-ups, I'd have to agree.
MC: Do you think the underground will ever die? Like in 50 years from now will there still be say a black and death metal scene?
CC: I don't think the underground will ever die. As long as the support is there, and there are people to keep it alive that is. With the hits that the underground music scene has taken, especially lately, it makes you wonder. It's always had its ups and downs though. High points and low points. I don't think our scene is going anywhere bro, but like I said, it's up to all of us to keep it strong. We all have to support each other. The bands, labels, fans, street teamers, distros, newsletters, zines, websites, and so on. We are the ones that make this scene. We should all contribute and support. "We're not in this alone." Death metal and black metal will always exist as long as people keep playing and supporting. If there are three people left after this planet is wiped out, and one is playing black metal or death metal, then it lives on! ha ha
MC: Do you ever see the day when all music is just basically on-line and no more vinyl and no more Cds?
CC: Fuck I hope not! That would just suck! Cheap and lazy people dude. I mean, my friend posted a pic of a Toxic Holocaust CD he had just bought, and some friend of his automatically told him to upload it. Buy the fucking CD! Damn, that shit irks me ha ha I can see the strictly online thing easily with mainstream music, and yet our underground staying strong. What would happen to the pressing plants though? Would the resources still be there? It is possible. We can only keep supporting our scene and see what happens. Cassettes and vinyl were supposed to have disappeared years ago though, and they're still here! One thing that I wonder about is people who buy the entire album on Mp3. Have they not realized that sometimes that's more expensive than buying the CD? Why not just buy the actual album and rip it. Then download it to your players. That way you can have your convenience, and the actual quality sounding release. Plus you're helping to support the music scene. Just a thought.
MC: Do you find it kinda weird now that you don't write letters anymore that everything is now email or text messaging, etc?
CC: Very weird. It was cool writing letters to people. More personal. Plus you'd send off all those flyers to circulate worldwide! I discovered so much great music, because of flyers I received in my weekly mail. There were a lot of great zines and newsletters I came across because of these flyers too. If someone took the time to write you a letter and mail it off, they were most likely serious about supporting your project. That was another cool thing about it. They'd actually buy your merch and spread out all your flyers! They would give you feedback. There were a lot of people who were heavily interested in things, and would write in for info. There was a ton of support in the old days! Every now and then I'd get T.U.U. flyers back with all these different addresses stamped on the back. It was a treat seeing all the different places your flyer had been ha ha I know you remember that?! I have no problem sending or receiving actual mail even now. That would be great! I met so many cool people in the scene that way.
MC: What is the rarest thing you have in your music collection and is there anything you’re looking for, but have not found yet?
CC: Not sure on rarest. I have some pretty cool stuff though. I can never remember just off the top of my head ha ha I have a lot of hard to find music on cassette. I have stuff on vinyl like Celtic Frost "Tragic Serenades," and "Emperor's Return" on pic disc. A copy of "To Mega Therion" on gatefold vinyl. "Obey The Will Of Hell" demo tape from Christ Inversion. I have the debut from Rigor Mortis on vinyl, autographed. I had a lot of rare merch that got stolen a few years ago. I don't target rarities much, but I do have a lot of things that are sought after. I have a lot of things that most people wouldn't care so much about, but those are my own personal gems. I do have rare items, but I have so much of my collection put away, that sometimes I'll go through it and be like, "I have this?" ha ha I seriously forget bro ha ha How about I just list some names of bands that I have on vinyl, since most collectors target that format? Deathwish, Vendetta, Vio-lence, Overkill, Devestation, Bolt Thrower, Funeral Nation, Black Flag, Misfits, Helloween, Sylvester's Death (Death SS), Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., Hexx, Infernal Majesty, Autopsy, Absu, Venom, Bloodfeast, Destroyer 666, Slaughter (Canada), and a lot more. Lots of oldschool stuff mostly. I've got a lot of actual demos, shirts, 7"s, videos, bootlegs, rare tees, Box Lp sets, just all kinds of stuff. Been snagging up a lot of limited CD releases lately too. I think I've pretty much tracked down everything I'm looking for. It's more about buying as much of what I've tracked down ha ha One thing I really do want is Taist Of Iron's "Resurrection" LP. There was also a Sabbat (Japan) 7" box set that I lost out on a few years ago. I know once you post this I'm gonna remember everything ha ha Just like the question about what I wanted to see released on CD.
MC: I remember you passing a certain fanzine out way back in the good ole days ha ha, What are some other killer fanzines you liked and read back in the day and do you still go on-line and check out web zines and the like?
CC: Oh yeah ha ha I passed out and mailed so many copies of Metal Core. There were a lot of young locals who had no idea what a zine was, until I gave them an issue of Metal Core. Your rag was their first introduction into the zine scene! Some of the zines I liked I listed earlier, but I just remembered a few more. Let's see, there was Transcending The Mundane, Perverted People, Death By Metal. Oh and The Grimoire Of Exhalted Deeds! ha ha Not a zine in the traditional sense, but it was hilarious. You had to protect Bill Zebub a lot didn't you? HA HA There's a lot more, but I can't seem to recall right now. Oh, and I still buy print zines! I still check out web zines and various sites. There's a lot of really good ones out there!
MC: At what age do you think a metal band should start to think about retiring or do you think they have the right to keep going until they decide to hang it up?
CC: I don't think age should be a factor. There's a lot of people who want to remember their idols the way they were, but who are we to tell them to retire. Ultimately, it's their choice and they have the right to keep going for as long as they want. A lot of bands are older now, but they still destroy that stage. If I did have to give my opinion though, I'd say they should retire as soon as their passion for the music is gone. Whether they are in their early 20's or in their 60's. If they no longer have that fire in their belly, I think they should just stop rather than beat the dead horse, or going through the motions 'ya know?
MC: Plug any websites you have.
CC: Don't have a website right now, as I've just recently started things up again. However, a website will be up in the future, so I'll keep you posted! Also, I'm going to set up a Facebook account specifically for "The Underground Unleashed." For now, you can contact me through my personal Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/Ccastillo7506 or email me at: [email protected] Of course, as I said before, I welcome anyone who wants to do it the good 'ol fashioned way and write. You can send all correspondance, promo packs, or what have you, to:
The Underground Unleashed C/o Chris Castillo 815 N. Cedar St. Lansing, MI 48906 USA
MC: Chris, it is great being back in contact with you and horns up for the interview and any last words the floor is yours?
CC: Right back at ya' bro! Throwing the horns right back as well! I just wanna say thanks for the interview, and thanks for everything you've done for the scene. I've always had much respect for you and Metal Core. Never pretentious and always 100% real. I'd also like to say that by no means, am I saying that everything current blows, and everything from back in the day ruled. There's a lot of great stuff happening in the scene right now, and it is huge. I just look back with a lot of fondness and pride, and think that if we had a lot of the stuff going on now that we did back then, the underground scene would be all the stronger for it. Would be great for the kids today to experience what we did. Thanks to Ben Deskins (Regurgitation) and Rick Desrosier (Retaliation) for fueling my enthusiasm about the underground. They were the first two people I ever wrote to. Rick gave me all these ideas and explained what I could do to get involved in the scene. Ben was always cool as well, and answered whatever questions I had. Thanks to my family for all of the support! Thanks to King Fowley and the Deceased crew! Horns up to all of the old school Alice, TX Headbangers, the Downtown Riot Crew, and all metalheads worldwide! Also to the hardcore fanatics and punks! Much respect to all those who supported back in the day, and to all of those who are supporting today! Anyone wanting info or needing any promotional help, just contact me and I'll help out however I can. Hell, if you just wanna get in touch to say "hey" or talk metal, please do so! Oh yeah, if you're not supporting Metal Core, than you're a douche bag! So stop being a douche bag and support Metal Core! ha ha Support The Underground!