INTERVIEW: DENNIS RITCHIE OF “MACABRE”.
Date: Monday, April 26th, 2021.
Interviewee: Dennis Ritchie, drummer of Macabre.
Interviewer: Anita Malloy, staff writer for The Metal Channel.
Director: Robert Saviano, drummer of Final Dissent.
Editor: David Wilcox, Arbor Editing.
Anita Malloy: It’s nice to meet you Dennis. My name is Anita Malloy, staff writer for The Metal Channel.
Dennis Ritchie: Hello everybody.
Anita: How does it feel to be signed to a major label such as Nuclear Blast Records?
Dennis: Well, it feels great! Something every band wants to do is get signed to a major label; it’s something we did years ago. We were on Nuclear Blast back in ‘93. But yeah, it’s a great thing to accomplish as far as being able to get your music out to the majority of people in a major way. It’s on a bigger level as far as being worldwide (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, all over the world). So yeah, it’s awesome. I feel psyched and honored!
Anita: Can you please give us a brief history of the band? How did it start, how long have you all been together and how many albums have you released?
Dennis: Okay, a brief history of the band. I met the band back in 1982 – actually, 1981 – when I first started to jam with these guys. They live in Downers Grove; I grew up in Lisle, which is the town I’m in now and so basically we grew up out here in the local area. I met the guys in 1981; I was 12 years old when I joined the band. Since then, we just kept jamming. In the beginning, it was all basically cover tunes and some of our own songs. We just kept plugging away and eventually put out 1,000 copies of our own album in 1986 – it was titled “Grim Reality”. From that we got signed onto a smaller label – I believe it was named “Vinyl Solutions”; from England – and they put out some more stuff for us, just a little bit of publicity there for about a year or so.
So from that point on, we just kept getting signed onto different labels and working our way up the ladder, so-to-say, but a slow process having a couple “lemon labels” at the time, a few bad choices that we made that slowed us down for a few years. It put us back about a good eight years so our time was wasted with certain labels just fucking things up and not doing what they’re supposed to. So finally, we’re signed with Nuclear again, so it was one of those things where it just took some time. “Dahmer” was done pretty well, obviously; “Dahmer” came out good. Uh, let’s see what other albums…
“Sinister Slaughter” was one that most people really paid attention to when it came out, so basically that was one of our bigger albums. That came out on Nuclear Blast in ‘93. So, that’s when we were signed with Nuclear back in the day with “Sinister Slaughter,” which actually broke us through pretty well; it’s what really broke the ice back in the day. It put us on a different level at the time. From that point on we just kept working at things and getting signed to different labels.
It took a while – it’s been a long road, let’s just put it that way. Finally getting signed onto a major label such as Nuclear Blast was an accomplishment. So we’re proud of it; you know, something we worked hard for and now we’ve achieved that success.
Anita: What’s your favorite song on the latest release “Carnival Of Killers”? Which song would you say is the most macabre?
Dennis: Wow, that’s a tough one! There’s a lot of controversial songs on this album… “Stinky” is pretty catchy; that’s one of my favorite songs. “Stinky” is a good one – it’s got the Slinky theme song to it, you know, that childhood toy we all had as a kid – so we used a little nursery rhyme in there. “Tea Cakes” is good; “Your Window Is Open”… shit there’s just all kinds. So actually, some of my favorite songs would be “Stinky,” and the Gacy song.
Anita: I like the Gacy song!
Anita: As a result of the COVID-19 related quarantine, how did you go about developing the video “The Wheels On The Bug”?
Dennis: Ah shit, how did we go about writing it or just basically building a song? I mean, that song’s been in the works for 6 or 7 years; it’s actually been in writing for quite a while. It’s just been back and forth with different things. We just kind of thought it would be something that would be catchy, like “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round.” We just thought that was something that would work well with it – just a twist on words everyone can relate to. Yeah, we’ve been working on that for a good 6 or 7 years so it’s an older song.
Anita: Considering the restrictions in place, does the band have any backup plans for playing for fans again?
Dennis: Right now, no. As far as going over to Europe or whatever; there’s just too much going on with the COVID, so they’re shutting everything down anyway. We’re not really interested in getting shots right now, none of us want to get vaccinated. We’re not into that control therapy shit; gene therapy is not something we want to do right now. That’s something that might stop us from touring, we don’t have the vaccination passport, so we’re not going to go anywhere. So for now, no, we’re not doing shit except for the U.S. so we’ll figure something out.
Anita: What songs would make your set list?
Dennis: There’s so many to choose from (Laughs) when we play live, it would have to be “Vampire Düsseldorf” off the “Sinister Slaughter ” album. “Vampire” is one of my favorite songs to play; it’s always been one that I usually play very well. I helped write that song – most of it – I actually composed quite a bit of that song with Lance Lencioni – I wrote part of the ending. So composing is a big part of what I do now, especially with the last few albums we’ve done. We’ve composed a lot of music with the guitarist. So yeah, that is a fun song to play.
Anita: How are you holding up?
Dennis: Good… I’m 52 and feeling pretty good. (Laughs) I feel like I can still run the fucking country mile!
Anita: Do you have a favorite serial killer you’d personally love to write about?
Dennis: Nah, see, that’s the thing: Uh… eh… that’s a tricky question because it’s not like we’re into serial killers totally. But, I mean, the thing is it’s just a concept for our band. Our guitarist Lance is more of the guru of the murder stuff, does all the fucking murder metal shit. But as far as I would have to say the most intriguing serial killer, well let’s see, Albert Fish was pretty sick. Mr. Fish was pretty fucking disturbing that would be one. Ed Gein was another disgusting one.
Dennis: Well, we did Dahmer (Laughs) there’s always going to be somebody new, so we’re just waiting for the next fuck-up to happen and to give us something to write about. There’s always a new asshole to write about. (Laughs)
Anita: Outside of the band, what does Dennis Ritchie do? Any hobbies or other careers?
Dennis: Yes, I have a few actually and I love to go fishing. I like to fish a lot – I love fishing for trout (it’s salmon season); stuff like that, so I dig my fishing. I like to camp; I like to raise butterflies, like Monarchs and shit. I do a Monarch thing every year where I raise Monarchs. Last year I did a hundred and I go out in the woods and I collect eggs and caterpillars, and I raise them. I also raise moths. I do all kinds of shit: Cecropias, Polyphemus, and Lunas. So that’s one of my other hobbies is fucking with moths and butterflies in the summertime when I can. I just had two Cecropias come out today. I had them in a refrigerator over the winter.
Anita: Rumor has it you guys are writing another album? True or false?
Dennis: Yes! We are actually working on another album right now. We’re talking about starting practice within the next few weeks to start getting the next album going. We were going to do an acoustic but we decided to back off on the acoustic with me playing acoustic drums (campfire-style songs and stuff like that). So, we’re going to do that eventually again, but that’s going to be put on the back-burner just to put out the next album that’s going to be super heavy. I guess I can say the title of it… we’re bouncing ideas and titles back and forth right now, and it might be called – nah! – I can’t even say it. (Laughs) We’re working on another album right now… as we speak!
Anita: Well, I’m going to have to do a follow up interview! (Laughs)
Dennis: That’s okay, no problem!
Anita: What can fans expect for the new album?
Dennis: Well, on the new album we’ve already decided we want to come out with something that’s a lot heavier than this last album we just put out “Carnival Of Killers”. It’s heavy but it’s not as heavy as I wanted it to be (Laughs) but similar. We agreed that we should definitely do something that comes on and crushes people. So we want to come out with a super heavy album this time like the old school shit; we’re going to come back and just punch people in the face! Trying to do something like “Sinister Slaughter” themed stuff where it’s going to be attacking you (Laughs) but now that I’m getting older…
Anita: But you’re still vicious!
Dennis: That’s right (Laughs) no, I’m kidding, I’m not going to kick some ass here. So, between “Dahmer” and “Sinister Slaughter” – ‘cause “Dahmer” was a huge one for a lot of people too – so, I think we’re going to come back attacking motherfuckers because we’re kind of pissed off! We got a little something to say! The next album should be more violent and more heavy. We’re excited, we’re all excited we got on Nuclear Blast… this should be fun!
Anita: Well, this concludes the interview; thank you Dennis, for your time.
Dennis: It was a slice. Thank you, and it was my pleasure.
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Keep on rocking! \m/
- Nefarious (Charles Lescewicz) – Bass, Vocals
- Dennis the Menace (Dennis Ritchie) – Drums
- Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) – Guitar, Vocals