Exclusive Interviews Only Found Here at MetalCore!
Fatal were a killer thrash/speed metal band from the 80's that never got their due and when I saw they had a my space page I got in touch with Tony for an email interview and here is what Tony said:
MC: How have you been and in a nutshell tell me what you have been up to since the break up of the band?
TH: Wow. Where to begin...well,
first off, its been 16 years since Fatal split up. Since then I've been involved
with many, many musical projects ranging from
gothic, to industrial, to pop and country. I've gotten married and been a rather successful music producer and audio engineer here in the Detroit area.
MC: How did the band form way back in the 80's? Did you play any early cover
songs? What was the vibe like during the first few practices if you remember? Did the band have an easy or hard time writing songs?
TH: The bassist and vocalist Mark Nowakowski had been friends for several years, since kindergarten to be exact. It was always just him and I until we got his
neighbor Allen to play drums. The first incarnation of Fatal began in 1985. We just started right off playing our own music, with a few covers thrown in. We did
Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, etc.
MC: Tell me your thoughts now on your 1st demo? Where did you record it and
how do you think you did in the studio for the 1st time?
TH: The FIRST thing we ever recorded was summer '86. We did more of a 'power-metal' thing at the time. This recording was never released a TRUE Fatal recording because soon after that we started getting heavier and faster. We did the official 1st demo in January '88 and that is the 1st demo that appears on our 'Retrospective From Hell' CD. It was recorded live with no overdubs at the now defunct Spectrum Studios.
MC: Did you sell many copies of it and did you sent it out zines and play many
local shows to promote it?
TH: No, we didn't really know how to promote ourselves at
the time so we didn't really sell that many. Mainly to friends and fans at live gigs.
MC: What were the bands that were influencing your sound back then? Did you
guys think you were an original band and did you have a nice local following
at the time?
TH: At first we were influenced mainly by the classics-Ozzy, Priest, Metallica, AC/DC, etc... the turning point was the first time we heard bands like Venom, Slayer, Celtic Frost and all the European thrash stuff. We were just plying music we wanted to hear, having fun with it. Our local following came much later after playing many, many shows.
MC: Let's talk about your 2nd demo. Did you think it was an improvement over
the 1st one. What the recording of this one easier than the 1st one? Did you
go back to the same studio?
TH: The 'Molested Slaughter' demo marked the first time we worked at Tempermill Studios, the same studio I work at today. We did it the summer of 1988 and is markedly more brutal that anything we had done before. We were really into the UK grindcore scene, listening to bands like Napalm Death, Unseen Terror, etc...We just wanted it to be fast and heavy.
MC: Did you send the demo out to many fanzines? What was the response like
and did you send the demo out to any record companies?
TH: No record companies, but by then we were starting to get into the world of underground tape-trading. So that demo got around a bit.
MC: Your 3rd demo is your most famous of all the demos and also you got a new
drummer. What happened with the old drummer and where did you find the new
TH: Yeah, 'Soul Burns' was done at a time where we were hitting our stride. We had booted our 1st drummer for not showing up to a gig and he was really holding us
back technically. We met Bill thru a mutual friend got him to play drums with us April of '89 and we just took off from there.
MC: This demo I remember got quite a lot of attention in the underground at the time. Do you feel it is your best work of the band? How many copies did you end up selling and did you send it to any record companies?
TH: As far as our best work, maybe, parts of it. It was our best sounding recording, for sure. Not sure how many we sold, but we did sent out a lot to zines and people who wanted to trade. I believe that is how Thrash Records out of France got ahold of us.
MC: I can listen to the band now and I think it is a crime you were not signed
to a label. Why do you think this was?
TH: Honestly, I just don't think we pushed it hard enough to get a legit record deal. We were young and just wanted to have fun, party and play.
MC: How did you come up with your name and was writing lyrics easy or tough
and who wrote most of them?
TH: The name just came out of a brainstorming session one day, nothing special. Mark wrote most of the lyrics and I wrote a few here and there. We just wrote about horror, gore and satan, ya know stuff we knew about!
MC: I know you played one of the Michigan Deathfests. Was that like a career
highlight for the band? What do you still remember about that special day?
TH: Yeah, I would agree with you that was one of our bands highlights. The other was playing with Death and Pestilence, as well as Sacrifice, Cryptic Slaughter, Coroner too. But the thing I remember most about the 1st Michigan Metalfest is sitting on the side of the stage and watching Pete from Morbid Angel play drums. Purely amazing. Also meeting Trey Azagthoth and talking to David Vincent about how great Fates Warning was.
MC: Your last recorded work was a 7". How did this come about and what do you think of this release now? I know it is out of print obviously, but how many were printed up and does it go for a high price on Ebay?
TH: I was sent a contract from Thrash Records. We then went into Tempermill Studios and recorded 4 songs summer 1990. Only 3 made the cut onto the 7". Not sure if I've ever seen it on eBay, but I have quite a few left over here. I think the 7" has the best songs on them, but the production isn't as good a s 'Soul Burns'.
MC: What led to the break up of the band and I read where you played your last
show in 1990. What do you remember about your last show?
TH: At the time, we were all branching out into different musical tastes. Our hearts weren't into playing metallike in the early days, so we decided to just go do different stuff musically. Unknown to us at the time, our last show was summer 1990 opening for Death and Pestilence. It was awesome!
MC: Do you still keep in contact with any of the ex-band members and do they
know about your CD that came out now to long ago?
TH: Yes we all still talk very frequently. As a matter of fact, Bill and I are in an alternative band right now called Ether Aura here in Detroit. Mark lives in Seattle with his wife.
MC: Your "Retrospective From Hell" release on Necroharmic. How did
this release come about and are you finally happy and think it puts a fitting
end to the band that your stuff is finally on CD? Is this release sold out or
can you still get this incredible CD?
TH: Roy from Necroharmonic emailed me about putting out our demos. So I remastered them from the original tapes, Mark wrote the amazing forward and that was it. I don't believe its sold out, there is a link on our myspace page on how to get it: www.myspace.com/fataldetroit
MC: I know you have a MY Space page. Why did you decide to do one and how has
the response to it been and have you had a bunch of people like me emailing
you and stuff about the band, etc?
TH: Its been awesome. I put it up about a year and a half ago and I've requainted myself w/ so many old school fans! Its good to know people still remember Fatal.
MC: Are there any good soundboard recordings or videos of the band that might
see the light of day?
TH:No, I don't think so.
MC: Can you still listen to your music and appreciate what you brought to the
table so to speak?
TH: Sure, that time in my life was amazing. I look back on it with great fondness.
MC: Do you think if bands such as yourselves had the internet, etc., that the band would have been more successful?
MC: What was your favorite and least favorite show and why? What do you remember about the show you guys played in NJ?
TH: I don't think I have a least favorite show. The NJ show was really fun and we met a lot of cool people like Exmortis, Immolation, etc..
MC: Do you still follow the underground scene at all or go to shows at all?
TH: Not as much, no. But I still like some of newer metal, though. I'll go see the bigger bands like Cradle of Filth, Morbid Angel, etc...
MC: If you could give a young band some advice what would you tell them?
TH: Be persistent and true to yourself.
MC: Have you seen any websites dedicated to the band or have you heard of any bands doing a cover song of yours?
MC: Would you ever consider getting the band back together to do a re union
type of show?
TH: No, I don't think we could play that stuff these days! We did a 'one off' show in 1992, but it was just for fun.
MC: Do you still have a lot of your old flyers, reviews, band t-shirts etc?
Is there any merchandise that you or Necroharmic might put out in the future?
TH: No, I have a few letters and flyers here and there but that's it.
MC: If you could do it all over again, what things would you do differently?
TH: get better equipment! Other than that, not a thing.
MC: Did you join any other bands or get any offers to join other bands after
the band broke up?
TH: Tons. I 've been playing in bands ever since 1984.
MC: Tony I am out of questions. Horns up for letting me take you back in time
for this interview. Anything you want to say or add and I will say this Fatal
will always kill and I feel you were one of the most underrated bands I have
ever heard and I have heard 1000's.
TH: Thanks so much for the interview, it was fun to remember the old days!