“I remember sitting in my bedroom jamming Surf Nicaragua.”
I grew up during a time when heavy metal was king. All mainstream media was infected with long hair and crunchy riffs. The underground was a brewing cacophony of new sound, extremity was pushed to the limit. I’ve seen metal’s origins and experienced its evolution but lately I’ve found myself wondering about its longevity.
This question is more complex than who will carry the torch when the masters cease to play. Do aspiring artists understand metal culture, will they carry on the traditions we kept the past forty years?
Sacred Reich is part of metal’s history. A group that once had it’s share of the limelight and will command it again. I recently had the opportunity to interview Sacred Reich‘s new guitarist Joey Radziwill. An inspiration to aspiring artists, Joey boasts an ‘old school’ mentality that is sure to carry on metal’s legacy. Please enjoy some excerpts of our 9/17/19 interview…
David Halbe: Knowing how many classic tracks the band has and the fact that you’re pushing the new album, was it hard to put together a set list?
Jozef (Joey) Radziwill: Not at all because Sacred Reich is pretty much a nostalgia band, it’s a group a lot of people know. There’s stuff we’re expected to play but I think at the same time most everyone is familiar with the new stuff. These new songs are pretty old school too, so it’s got that same kind of blend to it.
Dave: I agree with that totally, a connection to the original scene.
Joey: Yea, it’s got that whole Sacred Reich vibe to it.
Dave: Right, were there any songs off the new album you guys wanted to include but didn’t? What’s your favorite track to play live?
Joey: No not really, we’ve got a lot of bangers on the new record though. You know we’ve got fast ones, slow ones, even grooving ones but I think the one track that I’d like to play live is “Killing Machine”. We might even play that tonight.
Dave: Hell yea!
Dave: What does the album title Awakening refer to specifically if anything?
Joey: It’s a metaphor. It’s about awakening and opening our eyes. It’s mostly a positive message about unveiling the whole reality right before us. It’s about a deeper meaning and there’s multiple meanings to it. Like our new record coming out.
Dave: That’s what I was thinking!
Joey: It’s everything really, it’s an awakening of us.
Dave: That’s bad ass man. What can you tell me about the “Manifest Reality” video?
Joey: It’s so cool right?
Dave: Yea man, it’s really warped. Who came up with that idea?
Joey: Well, this guy Mark Pellington who directed a couple of our previous videos, he had this really cool idea for a music video. I guess we kind of just let him pilot the whole thing. It turned out to be a really cool video, it’s really trippy like an old school Tool video, right?
Dave: Oh yea, it really is. It’s like taking a hit of acid and watching Avatar meets The Evil Dead.
Dave: How about the “Awakening” video shoot, what was that like?
Joey: It happened last minute we were going to do three videos, which we still have one in the works.
Dave: Oh that’s bad ass, any idea what track that would be?
Joey: Actually, I’m not sure man sorry.
Dave: That’s cool. So, what about the “Awakening” shoot?
Joey: Well that one was kind of a last-minute shoot. It was crazy. We did the whole thing in like two takes.
Dave: Holy shit!
Joey: Yea man, it was a hectic scene.
Dave: Did you guys rent out a space somewhere to shoot it?
Joey: I’m not really sure. It was some studio the band had been to before. We picked out a bunch of rooms and it really came out great.
Dave: I think so, it has an in-your-face kind of feel. Your last live release was Still Ignorant released back in 2007 and I know you did the Live At Wacken DVD but that was back in 2012. Considering all these live dates you’re playing, might you consider recording some of these shows, maybe put out a live album and Blu-ray?
Joey: Yes, of course, for sure whenever we get the opportunity. We had something in Europe going on The Live Awakening 2019 with a magazine but that was earlier on. That was early in my time with the band and it was some of the first live shows we’d ever played together on.
Dave: No kidding? Were there a lot of new tracks in that set?
Dave: Ok. So now that you’ve expanded your set and you know what hits you have on the new album, I think it makes sense to feature this line-up of the band live. Has there been any talk of doing something?
Joey: Not yet, at least not that I’ve heard of. I don’t think we’ll have anything out this year but next year we’ll definitely be planning something live.
Joey: Of course, you know Paul Stottler one of Phil’s best friends designed it, so it’s been on a lot of cool album covers like Surf Nicaragua and The American Way.
Dave: For sure.
Joey: And he (Paul Stottler) designed OD when he was still in high school, which is really cool.
Dave: So, it was important for the band to continue the tradition.
Joey: Well yea, if you look at the Awakening album cover it looks a lot like the original cover for Ignorance. That’s what Paul really wanted to do, he wanted to throw it back to the beginning.
Dave: Damn! I never thought of it like that before.
Dave: Wow. That’s really cool. Is Sacred Reich going to continue past this new release?
Joey: Yes! We’re definitely back at it.
Dave: Are you implying you already have some new material cooking?
Joey: Yes, we definitely have some new material going on past Awakening.
Dave: Hell yea, it’s great to hear you say that. Are they (the rest of the band) allowing you to get wild with your contributions?
Joey: For sure, Phil (Phil Rind – Vocals/Bass) has a lot of ideas too, so we’ll get together and do a little process where he shows me some riffs and I’ll play them and then he’ll laugh at how kick ass it sounds.
Dave: That’s awesome!
Joey: Yea, Phil is really easy to work with. We’d walk out after a single day with a full song, all the chords, vocals, everything.
Joey: That’s basically what we did in 2018 when we recorded the Awakening demo. We’d just be hanging out with the intention of writing some new songs and we’d walk out with “Awakening” or “Manifest Reality” it happened just like that.
Dave: That’s pivotal bro, I’m so glad to hear you say this!
Joey: Phil’s just awesome and it’s so much fun working with him.
Dave: Speaking of Phil, how hard was it for you to learn the band’s back catalog? Weren’t you like eight years old when this shit came out?
Joey (Laughs): Honestly man, it wasn’t hard at all because I grew up listening to it. I remember sitting in my bedroom jamming Surf Nicaragua or even Metallica. I wanted to be a guitar player and that’s the kind of stuff I learned how to play.
Dave: Kick ass!
Joey: I always did it man, jamming along with those records.
Dave: Shit, now think about jamming that vibe with a crowd of people. Playing those classic riffs.
Dave: Are people starting to catch on to who you are now?
Joey: Yea, they really are.
Dave: And it’s only going to blow up even more from here.
Joey: I hope so.
Dave: Well, thanks a lot for you time today Joey, best of luck with the rest of the tour.
Joey: Thanks man, see you soon.
Sacred Reich are:
- Joey Radziwill – Guitars
- Phil Rind – Bass, Vocals
- Wiley Arnett – Guitars
- Dave McClain – Drums