Death Angel has been tearing up North America, touring as the opening band to the Anthrax and Testament tour. The group are well-known in the Thrash arena and have been releasing albums now since the mid-80s. On September 20th, founding member and main songwriter, guitarist Rob Cavestany, took the time to speak with me during a stop in Vancouver, BC. For some reason there was a mix-up on show times that night and Death Angel ended up starting at 7pm instead of 8pm. As a result I missed the set and needles to say was pissed. At least I got to chat with this awesome musician!

So, what happened tonight? The show was advertised to start at 8pm and you guys went on much earlier?
Rob: This has been a problem for the whole tour.

Oh, has it?
Rob: Yeah!

Were there a lot of people there anyways? Because we showed up and you guys were all like, “Goodnight Vancouver!”
Rob: Yeah, by the last song.

Wow. That sucks.
Rob: A little discouraging.

I can understand that. Have you guys been getting better exposure as a result anyways?
Rob: Definitely yes, and especially when the house is full.

Yeah.
Rob: It’s a wonderful thing, we have our own rocking set. By the end of our set it’s totally rocking so, but you know people are walking in when we are ending.

I was surprised how many people are here, especially with Kreator and Accept on tomorrow as well. Has it been packed the entire tour?
Rob: Yes, fuck yeah. Some sold out shows.

Check out the song: “River of Rapture”

How did the tour actually come about?
Rob: Well, this is already the third leg. Originally they just asked us on the tour. They put it together and we got the call and of course we wanted to join in.

Yeah because it’s a great line up. I really wish I could’ve seen you guys. I am sure it was great!
Rob: Man, I know it.

Lately there has been talk about who should be added to the big 4 from the 80s. Your name, Testament and Exodus keep getting thrown around as to who should be added. Do you agree with that?
Rob: Well, I agree that we would like to be a part of that. Well, from my point of view. It’s one of those situations where if that happens, that’s killer! Like this tour, we’re just stoked to be a part of it, as we’re the low-man on the totem pole, so to speak. So, we’re just sitting here saying like let us know we’re in. But I think it would be fucking great put it that way.

Now, on downloading, how do you guys feel about that? Good? Not good?
Rob: It’s such a commonplace thing now, that question almost seems like, what do you feel about cellphones? At one point I probably had a feeling about it, but now it’s just like the norm. But yeah, from the point of view that I happen to be a person that writes and records and releases and tries to make a living by selling music that I have recorded and written and put out. I am a recording musician. So for the downloading on that aspect, it fucks people like us up. As far as income for survival. That’s looking at it from that point of view.

From the point of view of a person that likes music and shares entertainment and files and stuff, it’s fucking great, just like anyone else would think. I mean especially if you don’t have much money, you need shit to entertain yourself and there you have it. I just kind of feel if anything, at least when I am downloading or doing something like that (Says sarcastically) I never do, but if I did I would have to say at least I am giving back because all sorts of people are downloading my stuff for free. So I am in the pool at least. I give and I get some.

So you’ve done it, in other words?
Rob: Or I would get some because I give. But you know it might be a different trip for other people who actually don’t have stuff that is contributing and taking other people’s stuff so it is not an even trade.

So, you don’t mind if someone contributes in some way back? To you, or in some manner like that?
Rob: Um, you know, again it happens to be a certain point of view as I happen to be a person that is making music, selling music and people are stealing my music too, just like everybody else is getting stolen from. So, you know, my friend might be at my house and we’re listening to music, but like people have stolen my music and nothing from him, so you know but that’s not an excuse, it’s just a funny way of me looking at it. At the end of the day, it’s cool you know, I’m a part of it.

Do you think that the streaming services might be a part of the solution? Do you know about them there are tons where you pay $10 a month and you get a-la-carte music.
Rob: I think that they are a good start and a good move to do something about it. I just don’t think it’s really. It is still so easy to copy and trade music outside of that that people… Some people are doing that so that’s cool. So, hopefully more people will catch on, but until you can stop the straight up sharing and trading and stealing, people are still going to do it.

OK, I got into an argument with someone about this recently. I always buy (I hold up a copy of The Ultra-Violence I purchased that night), and I subscribe to streaming services as well. Some people are saying the downloading is like the tape trading in the 80s, I would tend to disagree with that as that the tapes were all dubbed and sounded like shit afterwards. Would you agree or disagree that it’s like the tape trading?
Rob: In one respect, yes. Well, I gotta steal this from Mark, Mark said a great quote. I was on the back of the bus and saw it on. I look up and I hear my voice on the TV and I turn around and see me and Mark on that Metal Evolution show. I had never seen it and we’re all over the thrash episode, I’d never seen it, so I’m watching it on VH1 for the first time and they asked Mark a similar question and he basically said is that what tape
trading was the “all-natural organic internet” back then or something like that. [laughs] So comparing it, kind of sort-of, but taken to a massive level futuristic level.

Check out the song: “Truce”

You recently remastered The Ultra Violence, how did that come about?
Rob: We wanted to put this out because it is the 25th anniversary of the album this year so, that is the main reason is because it celebrates the 25th anniversary of our first album and that album has been out of print for over a decade now. People try to find it on Ebay and you know it is our debut so a very important album for us. It was a pain in the ass to deal with it ourselves, but we managed to figure out how to do it and release a
limited edition, a special silver anniversary edition. And with that we also thought we
would do, when we headline shows we are going to be doing the Ultra Violence from beginning to end which we never did before so it gave us something fresh to do because we’ve been touring for Relentless Retribution for close to three years. We just wanted to do something else different for ourselves and the fans.

Did you guys play a lot of that album tonight? Like I said, we didn’t get to see your set.
Rob: No, we only get to play 6 songs and we were cut to 5 tonight. So we had to lose another song as it was. We played “Mistress of Pain” and that’s the only thing we did off of that album. The intro too. Like I said, we got cut from 6 songs down to 5.

That’s too bad. Now, when is new material coming out?
Rob: I can’t picture that one exactly yet. Next year, I am not sure of the release as recording date is still up in the air, but we are planning on getting into the studio at the beginning of April. So work it from there a few months ahead. We just have never stopped touring so I have started to write the already in the “cracks” of the tour. So it’s dragging out the process because if we just stopped touring and focused completely on creativity and let go of the live set… It’s not that way, but by now I’ve amassed a lot of material. I’ve got about 10 songs. I think we will be on target for recording by April.

Are you guys able to make your sole income off of doing your music?
Rob: I wish! No. On a tour like this for us, being at the bottom on something like this, we are in the situation of… No we are losing this is for promotion to be seen by more people and to spread the word. It is so discouraging when you don’t get to play on time and no one is in the place and you’re like damn! But when we go home everyone grabs for their day job as fast as possible.

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