Municipal Waste – Chicken Wings and Thrash
By: David E. Gehlke
On a shockingly warm St. Patrick’s Day (there was no winter thaw this year), there stood tall and gangly Blistering and Municipal Waste guitarist Ryan Waste against a non-descript building near Pittsburgh’s Mr. Smalls Theater, conducting the interview in which you’re about to read. Multiple individuals passing by acknowledged the guitarist, and some even yours truly, but they just wanted a ticket to the night’s sold-out show, in which MW was direct support for GWAR. And no, we didn’t spring anyone for tix. We’ve conducted countless in-person interviews before, but never by a building while standing up, and never while wearing shorts (camouflage) in mid-March. Global warming, eh?
The calendar year should be a big one for the crossover thrashers. Their fifth album The Fatal Feast (Nuclear Blast) has received universal acclaim, and cemented the band as the preeminent crossover band of the modern era. Combined with MW’s fun and jovial persona (read: they like to party hard), they’re a viable alternative to the straight-laced, faux posturing we’ve come to know. It also helps they’re genuinely cool dudes, as we learned during our chat with the aforementioned guitarist…
Blistering.com: How’s the tour going?
Ryan Waste: Second day, so it’s going good. The first date was at home [in Virginia], so basically, this is the first tour date for us.
Blistering.com: You seem to have a pretty good relationship with GWAR, so that must come in handy for tours like this.
Waste: We went out with them in 2006 as a younger and less-experienced band, and they gave us the chance to work a bigger room. We cut our teeth on that tour, so to come back now as direct-support with world tours under our belt is cool, as is to come back and hang out with our friends in GWAR. It’s just a cool experience.
Blistering.com: You’ve put some miles under your belt on the road and you’re known as a live band, so that surely is a big plus when tackling big tours.
Waste: We don’t even get nervous for this stuff [laughs]. We took a year off from touring to write and record the new album, so we’re pretty refreshed and actually, pretty antsy to get back out.
Blistering.com: Last year was the longest break you’ve taken from touring. Aside from writing, what did you do to fill up your time?
Waste: We practiced five days a week when we were writing the record, so we were still working musically. Just being home with our loved ones was really cool, and everyone got to do their other projects. Everyone was doing music non-stop, so it’s not like we stopped doing anything musically.
Blistering.com: In terms of honing the new album with all of the practice you just mentioned…did you ever put that much practice in for a record?
Waste: No, never [laughs]. All of those records, as much as we love them, were more stressful and rushed. Which is just how we rolled. We used to get off the road, record, and then get back on the road with no breaks. This one was a huge difference and I think we’ll do this every time. It was so worry-free.
Blistering.com: I still think the album has a spontaneous feel to it, though.
Waste: This is our fifth record, so we know what we’re doing [laughs]. We sound like the Waste.
Blistering.com: I read somewhere that you junked some of the songs and riffs, so did that create any problems in terms of putting the album together?
Waste: Some of the songs are two years old. Like, “The Barfer” we wrote two years ago, so there’s stuff that was written right before the studio that was fresh, and stuff that we had been sitting on that got made over time. It’s a wide variety of stuff. I mean, the concept for the record is ten years old. We’ve wanted to do a “space” album ever since we started the band.
Blistering.com: The barometer for Municipal Waste has gotten much higher now. Not like you’re in a position where you can’t make any errors, but what’s the decision-making process behind which songs make the cut these days?
Waste: For the first time, we recorded more than we needed for an album. We recorded 21 songs and 16 made the record, so we’ll put those on other releases. I feel like everytime we try to outdo the last record. It’s never going to get any softer; it’s always going to get harder and faster with us. We just try to better ourselves…everyone will tell you that [laughs]. We were like, “Last record was Massive Aggressive, let’s make this more aggressive!” But we kept the humor in there and didn’t take ourselves too seriously.