Thrust are one of the forerunners of the American metal scene, coming into their own and into prominence in the early 80’s, forming in Chicago and moving to Los Angeles around the same time as other pioneers of thrash metal, such as Metallica, Armored Saint, and Slayer. Immediately after recording their very first EP/Demo, they embarked on a European tour, leading to the inclusion of “Fists Held High” on the live EP in Poland, Rock for Poland – Live EP.
The band is currently promoting their latest album, Harvest of Souls, and are currently in the studio working on their next release.
Excerpted from an interview with the band with Anita and Steve from The Metal Channel.
Anita: Hi guys, how’s it going?
Thrust: Doing great!
Steve : Big question I’ve been dying to ask – Live EP in Athens – I’ve noticed several bands make a point of doing their live album in Athens, Greece. Is there a specific reason for that?
Thrust: There are crazy fans in Athens! They really get behind the bands, they know every word to every song when you come there and play, they treat you like royalty. It’s an honor to play. And then when you’re driving around outside the show, the architecture is just amazing, the whole vibe, the whole scene is really, really remarkable. We love to play Athens, Greece.
Anita: Question about the “Fist Held High” video – what album was that originally on? It was from one of your first tours, wasn’t it, also in Europe?
Thrust: “Fist Held High” was the first album as well.
Steve: Was that also the song that ended up being featured on the Rock for Poland EP?
Thrust: Rock for Poland EP – they put it on the Live EP and we also re-released it on Fist Held High/Reincarnation, our 35th anniversary edition album.
Steve – What was it like coming up in the middle of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) bands? Were there any comparisons made between Thrust and some of your contemporaries, like Angel Witch for example? You guys have a very unique sound – proto-thrash, like Scorpions meets Diamond Head – riff centered, only a lot faster.
Thrust – That whole scene was happening, all those bands eventually all came out at the same time – there was a new wave of British metal, that was happening and there was a new wave of American metal that was happening at the same time in the states. Slayer, Armored Saint, Metallica – everybody was coming out at the same time as bands like Angel Witch over there. It was an amazing time back then. That’s when the best sounding metal came out and was born.
Anita – Oh my god, these guys opened up for Motorhead!
Steve: She’s a HUGE Motorhead and Twisted Sister fan.
Anita: I fucking love Lemmy, man! What was it like to open up for Motorhead, Twisted Sister, and Michael Schenker in the early 80’s?
Thrust: It’s just like playing these festivals, you know, the huge crowds – we’re really grateful to do it, and it kinda took us to the next plateau, you know? Kinda made us step up our game a little bit.
Steve: You guys have an album that just debuted this year-
Thrust: Harvest of Souls!
Anita: What’s the story on that album? The songs off the new album – “Sorceress”, “Shadow of the Cross”, and I love the drums in “Possessed” – that was seductive. …. What was the inspiration for those songs?
Thrust: Eric wrote the lyrics for those songs. “Sorceress” and “Shadow” were inspired by old horror movies that Eric watched. “Possessed” is an anti child abuse subject matter.
Steve: What message or statement were you hoping to convey with the new album, or is there one?
Thrust: I don’t know if there is a particular message, musically it was riffs that came out of these guys that were really cool, and it was just natural – nothing forced. We just kinda all came into a room, and it all came together.
Steve: It just kinda grew organically?
Thrust: Yeah, we just kinda all come into a room, and it all falls together. We’ve been together a while, so…
Steve – In particular that’s readily evident in the caliber of playing that I heard from every song we listened to – you can’t get that kind of tight sound with autotune!
Thrust: Definitely not, you gotta play as long as we have, and know each other inside out. I mean shit, we finish each other’s sentences and all that. So we know each other that well, and have played as a unit together that well, so when it comes to the writing, it all just falls together.
Steve: Have you ever had a song or riff you came up with in the studio and then wondered how the hell you’re going to play it live?
Thrust: Not really, because we practice it in the rehearsal room right before we get in the studio, so by the time we get in the studio, we’re just trying to replay what we already played live.
Steve: Does that kinda go back to you guys’ songwriting process, where it’s really more organic than it is super highly choreographed? Kinda like how Kill ‘Em All came together as opposed to how “Bohemian Rhapsody” came together – one was very highly choreographed and mapped out and the other was more “hey, this sounds cool – let’s add it to this!”?
Thrust: Yeah, that’s pretty much it, right there! (laughs)
Steve: Where do you guys see the band in like 5 years, 10 years?
Anita: Rockin’ the fucking universe is what they’re going to be doing!
Thrust: (laughs) Hell yeah, what she said! We don’t have any plans of slowing down – we’re just going to get heavier.
Anita: Are you currently working on new material?
Thrust: We are – we’re actually working on new material right now. We’re in the studio – sometimes we amaze ourselves!
Steve: Thanks again for taking the time to do an interview with us, we appreciate it! And keep kicking ass!
Thrust: Hell yeah, we appreciate the support!
Eric Claro – Vocals
Angel Rodriguez – Guitar
Ray Gervais – Bass
Joe Rezendes – Drums