Ripper

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Hi Rippers, how do you feel now that you are back from the dead after more than 10 years in the crypt? What was the final push for you to bring Ripper back to life once again?

ROB: Greetings Jose! It's been awhile man... I've been looking forward to this interview... It feel's great to be back on the Ripper track once again... We had so much damn fun the first time around, we just figured we'd have twice as much fun this time... Until I found Sadie Paine again, Ripper was pretty much over for good... I would never have continued on with Ripper on my own... It was jointly created... Johnny Crystal and J.D.Shadowz are both currently committed (or should be) to other project's, so Sadie and I have decided to re-vamp the line-up and do a new album entitled "Rizen"... This would have been our next album anyway, had we not split-up way back when... The material KILLS! Finding Sadie brought it all back again... Once we started talking, it was quite evident that a rebirth would soon follow... We will also have Steve Bogle/The Hunger doing our keyboard's again... "Rizen" is gonna smoke!

SADIE: Finding each other again after all this time is so cool! Rob and I still have such a good working chemistry together that it seems like no time has passed in between. And we are having a great time dredging up all of our old jokes!

Do you think that you will have any problems of adaptation to these days that are very different of what they used to be when Ripper was around in the 80s? Do you expect something from the new audiences or you are more focused on the old fans?

ROB: We will have no problem at all... It's still Metal the people want, and it's Metal they'll get... But you're right Jose, things are different now, and so are the fans... We've got a few tricks up our sleeves for the "new version" of Ripper... For one thing, the Metal fans of today are into some pretty cool shit, stuff that wasn't really around in the 80s... The "dark, goth and industrial" stuff was still pretty underground then, but its way more prominant now... The old Ripper was doing that in the 80s, so we ought to fit right in... The music is still Power Metal laced with dark and scary overtones, just like "ATDSR"... The old fans will love it just as much as the new fans...

SADIE: We were so ahead of our time back then that things have probably just about caught up with us. My taste has been leaning more towards Goth and Industrial Metal for about 8 years now so I think we will appeal to an even wider audience.

In your opinion, what could be the things you will never be able to recover from the old days and how will you be prepared for the future?

ROB: If we can't get Johnny and J.D. back in the band, they will be the only "things" we won't be able to recover from the old days... That aside, only our technicians and management will remain lost... The future belongs to Ripper... We simply refuse to have it any other way... What we did once, we'll do again, and then some... Look out!

SADIE: Yeah, I think I miss playing with J.D. Shadowz most of all. And hanging out with our pyro technician, Josh, who passed away a few years ago. We also had a great group of roadies who we partied with all the time back then.

Do you think that there's a place for Ripper in the Metal scene of today? I mean, these days most of Metal is an hybrid, while Ripper is known by playing traditional Metal. Will you change anything regarding this pure Metal style of yours?

ROB: Oh yes! We are currently making plans to dominate today's scene... Ripper is traditional, but we always had something special and different from other bands... Like I said before, it will still be Power Metal laced with horror... What they like today, we were doing back then... Metal is still Metal... Today, there's a lot of "drop tuning" and different things like that, but it's still Metal... Ripper will slide back in like nothing ever happened, in fact, there will be some who wont know we were ever around before, and that's fine by me...

SADIE: In the past, we never asked ourselves if we would fit in, we didn't care. We just did what we loved and what made us happy. That's what we'll be doing again.

I am very curious about the concept and image you will be using now. Will there be these horror concept and lyrics again or you plan to open your horizons and use some other stuff? By the way, what's the background of all this Horror concept of yours?

ROB: The concept and image will be pretty much along the same lines as before, but updated and new... I can't say too much now or it will spoil the suprise, but you can rest assured Jose, Ripper 2004 will not disappoint! The lyrics, music and image will all KILL! We wouldn't have it any other way... We were always about "entertainment"... There is no deep dark secret involving Ripper...We in no way endorse satanism or the occult...That has never been our passion or motivation... We live to play True Metal and give our fans their money's worth...We grew up with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and horror-movies...We were never confused by the differences between entertainment and reality...

SADIE: Horror and Metal just go together perfectly.

I was wondering if this Horror thing is "out of place" these days of youngsters trying to be the most extreme they can by being "satanic" or "evil"? Did you consider your horror concept extreme in those long gone days?

ROB: Our horror image was pretty extreme, and our new one will be also... I think the kid's today are very passionate about what they do, and I believe they are just trying to find their place in this world... Maybe there are some who 'truly' enjoy evil, but I think most of them are just in a transitional period... At one time, I guess I fancied myself as a pretty evil character, but I grew up (laughs)... So will they... The noisy wheel gets the oil... Once people have you're attention, there's usually more bark than bite... If we didn't demand to be noticed, there certainly would have never been a Ripper... People know the truth... Who do you call out to when in a crisis... It ain't Satan...

SADIE: I call out for my mommy, but that's just me! As long as there are people who love all things horror, then it won't be out of place. I don't see why any band has to be labeled evil anyway. It's all in the perception. I see the bands considered evil as being negative more than anything else, but that's their choice. Who knows, some people probably think we're evil too. We think we just happen to fall into "The Munsters" category.

This Horror Metal is not what I can say is much used by bands. Rather the Black and satanic Metal bands got the high lights. What are the advantages of being "Horror" and not "satanic"? Also, I think the band was not into this evil stuff, right?

ROB: The horror part appeals the the darker side of human nature... There's really no explaining it... You either like it or you don't... Some fear it, while others embrace it... I personally have always been facinated with it... Just watch "Frankenstein" or "London After Midnight", and you'll see what I mean... It's all "Hollywood"... It was created for your enjoyment... You've gotta admit one thing, it's not boring (laughs)... Ripper was not, and is not into evil... People want to be entertained, and we're only too happy to do it...

SADIE: I think the main difference between being satanic/evil or horror/fiction is a sick sense of humor. Like there is a big difference in the movie "The Exorcist" and the movie "Reanimator". Most people don't really laugh so much when watching the "Exorcist" but "Reanimator" is demented and gleefully twisted. That's what comes natural to us.

About the few Horror bands around, I was wondering if you know any of them. At least in the states there were Halloween and Exorcist. Any comments about them or any other bands?

ROB: We have certainly heard about them, but we never had the pleasure of meeting them... Maybe someday our path's will cross... There are a lot of horror bands around these days, especially in Europe... In fact, it was Europe that provided the strongest support for Ripper, and the same holds true today... Even our record company (Black Widow Records) is in Europe (Italy)...

SADIE: Seraphim Shock from Denver, Colorado are a kick ass horror band and I love Gothminister from Norway. Also, The Vision Bleak from Germany are very good.

Do you consider that Ripper might be of interest to those gothic and dark guys out there? You know, they all love this vampiric image, also they have this strange idea of anything related to gothic art are exclusive of their musical movement. Any comments about them by the way?

ROB: Well Jose, I'd like to think that we influenced (at least) some of them... Personally, I think some of them are pretty cool... Now you're talking Sadie's language... She has recently turned me on to some of these bands... You know me Jose, as long as it's Metal, I like it...

SADIE: I think we will be accepted by the Goth/Industrial community because that's the music I'm REALLY into, so hopefully Ripper will reflect that influence. And I am a vampire, after all.

What do you think of and how do you feel about this cult status the band has got? What could be the reasons for this cult status? Because of the killer music or the very high prices of the original lp or simply because you were a underground band all the way?

ROB: All of the above my friend... Our music was (is) killer, and in a lot of ways, we were an underground band, but believe me, we had every intention of going large, it just did'nt work out (then)... This time will be different... It was everything... The image, the music and the whole rarity thing...I'm just glad BWR released some vinyl (red and gold too) along with the CD... They did a beautiful job, and we couldn't be more pleased...

SADIE: I'm still in shock to find out about our cult status. I'm totally excited about it and I can't wait to release some new evil on the unsuspecting public!

As far as I know, your one and only LP "...and the Dead shall rise" was the union of your two demos. How come you decided using them for the debut album and not rerecorde them all again? And talking about the album: were you all satisfied with the result or were there things which could have been improved?

ROB: First of all, IWR (Iron Works Records) was the only label at that time who were willing to sign us... They didn't (or wouldn't) put up any money for a studio session, so we decided to combine the two EPs for the album... Personally, I wouldn't change a thing... That album is highly regarded as a masterpiece and as the most coveted and sought after horror-metal album of all time... Whatever formula we had back then, it worked... That part of Ripper will not change... We will be true to the blueprint, and then some...

SADIE: What he said.

I read in the covers of both your LP and demo that you thank Jesus, something hardly seen in Metal bands. Any reason for thanking Jesus? Did you ever get afraid of being called satanic due to your image which is pretty similar to some of the Black Metal bands out there?

ROB: When we finally got signed, we felt we were on our way... We were on top of the world, and in some way, we felt favored by god for getting to live our dream, and we wanted to thank him... It was never out of fear for getting labeled a satanic band... For the record, I don't care what anyone may have thought about that... That was personal and heartfelt...

SADIE: I didn't know we were thanking "JESUS CHRIST"!!!... I thought we were thanking Jesus Gonzalez for all the mind-altering drugs he gave us! He made great shrimp quesadillas too!

After the first LP, you had a many new songs ready to be recorded. Could you tell us about them in general? The style, the music, the lyrics, etc. Will those old song be recorded for the new album?

ROB: Yes... The songs that would have been on our second album are the same songs that will be on "Rizen"... The style and content are the same as "ATDSR", but heavier... These songs kick ass even today, and some of them are nearly twenty years old... When we disbanded, we left a void that only Ripper can fill... The only way to get more Ripper is for Ripper to give it to you... Accept no imitations... Cult status doesn't come from being run of the mill... We had a formula then, and we still do... That's what made Ripper so special... It was our sound and style...

SADIE: That... and my tits!

About the new album, do you have any concrete plans yet? I suppose you have new members in the line up, could you tell us about them? How does it feel for you, Sadie and Rob to work together after many years? Any chance that any of the old members will join?

ROB: We are in the studio recording "Rizen" as we speak... We have a new drummer and the rest will have to remain a secret... There are a lot of plans being made and everything is working out well... It feels great to work with Sadie again... We were always a killer team, and we still are... That's where the Ripper sound comes from... Sadie and me... Since the rest of the original members are unavailable, we've made suitable changes... Ripper lives!

SADIE: For me, no one else measures up to Rob.

Judging by the pics on your site, your shows seemed to be a helluva experience. Could you describe them more detailed? Did you play any other songs apart from those from your LP?

ROB: We were around for years before we ever released an album... The songs on "ATDSR" account for only half of the songs we played then... When you hear "Rizen", then you'll hear the undocumented Ripper... The RIPPER the world was supposed to hear in 1987...

SADIE: I remember "In the Raw" was a blast to play live. That song is slamming and relentless.

Just before meeting Sadie once again, Rob was giving shape to a project called Tombstone I think. What happened to it? Did Tombstone just get transformed into Ripper? Or were both bands something totally different?

ROB: Tombztone was going to be a band that played the unheard, unrecorded Ripper material, without the image... I figured, If I can't get Ripper back together, I should at least let the world hear what would have been our next few albums... For all intents and purposes, Tombztone would have been a Ripper tribute band...Now that I've found Sadie, Tombztone is in the grave...

Recently, Black Widow re-released on vinyl and CD your legendary "...and the Dead shall rise". How has the reaction to this been, above all when we bear in mind that the original copies of the first pressing are so expensive if found? Will you sign Black Widow to release your new album?

ROB: The reaction has been incredible... We are now receiving letters from around the world, from fans that don't know that "ATDSR" is a reissue... The reviews have all been killer, and we couldn't be more pleased... Black Widow has already expressed the desire to release all future Ripper albums... We finally have a record company that loves us, and we love them... Life is good!

SADIE: So far I am pleasantly surprised by Black Widow. I'm not used to a record company caring about Ripper. The reviews have all been good.... except that one where the guy said my singing sounded like a room full of screaming babies. Electrocuted cats, maybe, but NOT screaming babies!

Well, this is all for now. Can you tell us your plans and the last words to close this interview?

ROB: Jose, you and I have a little history together now... It has been a pleasure to correspond with you and share my plans and dreams, because you understand them...Y our support for Ripper has meant the world to me, and you my friend, are one of the reasons Sadie and I have decided to do more together... I would love to bring Ripper to Mexico and all of the carnage that it implies... Thanx for being such a good friend Jose... I'll let you know as thing's develop... All my best to you, your readers, and UnderFire Magazine... "Ripper has Rizen..!"

SADIE: Well Jose, you and I have no history together but we can have one from now on. Thank you so much for supporting Ripper and we will keep you posted. You and UnderFire fucking RULE!!!

Interview done by Jose Cano in April 2004.