I was thrilled to talk to Rob.
He is fun. Honest. Warmhearted and lively.
I’ve been listening to Death Angel since I can remember myself and every time someone asks for good, 80’s, metal band recommendations I always think of Death Angel.
For some reason when I think of the 80’s I always think of Death Angel. And Lycra bodysuits. Try to top that, 2020’s.
The band was formed in 1982.
I asked Rob if he could go back in time and bring back one single thing from the ’80s, what that would be.
He exclaimed without giving it a second thought.
My youth and free spirit and not knowing anything! Being naïve and wild, only wanting to play music, having fun with my friends. Oh man! What a fun time that was!
I bet it was I said. But the more we grow the wiser we get? Right?
I asked hoping for confirmation because I have a feeling that while I do get older I don’t seem to be getting any wiser whatsoever.
Um…That’s what people say, he said. I guess I need to learn to accept that a bit better and move on, and enjoy life where it’s at now. I mean I do enjoy it, I just miss the “me” being a stupid dude running around.
Rob, we all have dreams that call for blood. What do we do about that? Is ultra-violence the answer?
No, no that’s not the answer but I love how you phrased the question, he said.
When my song references and my puns are appreciated I’m beyond happy so I got really excited. But I hid my enthusiasm and let him elaborate:
I mean ultra-violence is not the answer but if you really want to achieve a dream, you gotta do what it takes and by that, I mean working fucking hard, putting in the time, the energy and the effort and it takes a lot more than you may think. And hopefully, you get more than you put into it. It’s basically another way of saying that you need to sacrifice and be self-disciplined to make it happen.
If you want to achieve something difficult and challenging, that’s the way it goes. You don’t have to do it for the little everyday things bit if we are talking about the big dreams, that’s the only way.
Speaking of dreams, you had a new album that came out in May, Humanicide.
Give me the best case scenario. What would you like to achieve with this album? Money, fame, writing music history?
Yes, yes and yes, he said and we had a laugh.
I like the way he thinks, for sure.
I want it all he said.
You know it’s funny because there was a point of time, where if you said that you’d be considered a poser or a sellout, but after 37 years of grinding through the music industry and doing what we do, and not ending up like the Rolling Stones you know, I wouldn’t mind!
I’m being funny with that, but you know, I’m also being truthful.
It wouldn’t hurt to come across some extra money and comfort and some kind of a break from the punk rock struggle that we continue to go through. But on the other hand, we jokingly say that our struggles and frustration of trying as hard as you can and maybe not necessarily getting some of the rewards you’d wish that you might have, is also what’s keeping us hungry. So that’s looking at the silver lining of suffering.
Fighting forward because you need it, and everything that you are writing about and all the intense feelings are coming from the intense life that you live trying to survive, being a musician at this age, with a family at home. It’s not the easiest thing, it’s not the greatest idea but its what’s happening for us so we are in it now so we are gonna take it to the end that’s how it is for us. But like you said, this question is more open to a dream so, I would dream that this album would reach, as many people as possible, I would dream that people would realize where we are coming from, and giving everything we’ve got truthfully and authentically with every ounce of emotion and energy and soul. That they would feel and relate to it and let the music empower them as music should. Touching people’s lives as our music has actually done and therefore more people discovering us and as a result, logistically speaking, we would move, so-called, up the ladder and play at bigger shows, play for more people, play at higher positions at festivals, and along the way hopefully selling some merchandise and some records so that we can continue to do what we‘re doing.
There’s a lyric in Humanicide that goes:
Anti-god that lives in you and me.
And I find that concept so deep and so intriguing. Would you like to touch on that?
He looked it up. Mark wrote the lyrics. And these are by far Rob’s favorite lyrics that Mark has ever written as he said.
In the verses he is narrating the situation, but then in that part that we are talking about he speaks as if he is the evil, the darkness that takes over the earth. The veil that rises in different civilizations and different eras of time that creeps in and destroys the unity and society. The society that starts to function properly to the time that this parasite, this disease of darkness takes over mankind, the greed.
It’s mainly about the greed and the hatred taking over the planet.
Since we got so deep, so effortlessly I thought we would go even deeper to the abyss of the human mind and discuss philosophy inspired once again from their lyrics.
Rob, do you think free will is real, or just an illusion?
It’s real! Within yourself it’s real. But there’s the political aspect as well, it definitely depends on where you are on earth. But if you have free will within your mind that’s one thing that cannot be taken away from you. But then again, It depends on the actual situations, it’s easy for me to say, sitting in my studio here in Californian where I’m able to pursue my dream. That’s not the case for everyone though. Deep question!!
One last serious question: If you could teach the world a lesson and pass an important message to the world through your music, that would have an actual impact on humanity, what would you like that to be?
And respect for one another. Respect for those who are different than you.
I’m not saying that all people should be the same, everything that’s different, that’s the flavor of life.
The message is that these negative things that we point out in the lyrics, like in Humanicide, Mark sings straight up: “All hope is lost”, this is when the bleakest situations happen, which is what makes this song so awesome and brutal. But just because we have songs like that it doesn’t mean that we think “oh we’re fucked, it’s all over”.
It’s just bringing the situation to our attention. It’s the idea that we don’t go down that path, and be aware of this, just do something about this so that the humanicide, it doesn’t really happen.
Great insights indeed! Let’s lighten up now!
How do you not get bored on the tour bus?
Oh, it depends on the day. There are days that you can’t really do anything about it. Some days nothing is gonna change the fact that you don’t feel like being there at that moment. But for me at least is not a feeling of boredom it’s more like about missing my people at home or being homesick.
But that being said there’s not really a dull moment with this band, so boredom is not a thing for us. Which is funny coming from a guy who wrote a song called “Bored” in the ’80s.
I listen to that song and I’m like wow that must have been the last time I was bored!
There is always stuff to do. There’s a to-do list miles long.
Plus, we are a fun bunch!
Lots of inside jokes, listening to music, laughing and so on!
We try not to get sick of each other when we are not on the road, we stay far apart from each other. We do a good job at spacing it out.
Then we get back on the bus and the old gang is back and we have a blast.
Ok, ok, now you are just showing off to make me jealous. And it works so, moving on to the next question:
What’s the most epic thing that has ever happened backstage?
Oh my god! In our entire career? I would have to go back to the old days when we didn’t know any better. But the things that happened are so epic I can’t even talk about it, he said and laughed. Very censored, he said, and I agreed that we shouldn’t elaborate.
These days we are matured, grown up, responsible people he added and I nodded, pretending that I believed him.
Next, I had two questions straight from the fans:
I love getting my readers involved, so quite often I chat with you guys and see what you want to know about your favorite bands.
So, JP Romero asked:
How do you feel about the support you get from your Philippino fans? I saw you live last may supporting Cradle of Filth, At the Gates and Behemoth, and I can say that the craziest moment of the crowd that night, happed during your set.
First I would like to say that this is fucking awesome, what he said about the craziest crowd response. That’s killer.
That’s obviously one of the goals we have. And yeah, it’s a special honor for us to play for the Philippino fans because the core of the band comes from Philipino origins. Philippino people support each other so much, it’s a small tiny little country and we have a special connection, it feels like family.
Another question from our community: What’s your religion? Just asking out of curiosity, our reader clarified.
WOW, was Rob’s reaction to that question.
Getting deep ha? I try to avoid discussing politics and religion as much as possible.
But I can answer the question. My parents both come from the Philippines so they were Catholic and they raised me as Catholic.
There was a point that they tried to get me to a Catholic school but I was just getting into rock, I let my hair grow, I refused I refused I refused! I grew up going to church with them but I wasn’t really enjoying being in church you know? So when I was able to make my own decisions, I never really revolved against my Catholic upbringing but I’m not really religious per se, not a fan of organized religions but I do see the purpose they serve. I’m someone who accepts the way things are. I consider myself a spiritual person that puts my own relationship and connection to a higher power that I believe exists out there. And I have to do is look at the beautiful earth and the nature that’s out there and the ability that I have to play music. I do feel that I’m channeling some sort of energy so that’s how I see it.
I had to say goodbye to Rob as we were running out of time.
I told him how much we all loved the new record.
Oh, we are also so excited and so proud he said. We want people to know where we come from, and enjoy the music and relate to the messages, feel empowered. We want to thank all of you who have been supporting us all these years and welcome the new fans as well! We can’t wait to be back on the road!
Until the next one,