Municipal Waste is back and after much demand from their diehard fan base, the band is set to release their long awaited new album Slime and Punishment. Municipal Waste recently took a whole fucking day to drink some coffee, nurse their hangovers, and do full day of press. I had never spoken with Ryan Waste before so I was pretty fucking pumped to do so.
Ryan is a killer fucking guy and is a real salt of the earth kind of dude. We talked about Municipal Waste’s new album, his other band Bat, collecting records, and why the band Toto is more metal than most metal bands. This interview was an absolute fucking blast and I hope you all dig the shit out of this one!
Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to talk today.
Hey man! No problem at all. It’s cool to talk to you.
I’ve talked to Tony like 4 times already and today will be the 5th so it’s nice to finally talk to someone new from the band!
[Laughs] I hear ya man. Thanks for having me.
What question do you get asked so much that if you hear it again you’ll punch Tony Foresta in the tits?
[Laughs] Well, I haven’t got it in these interviews yet but it’s “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done on tour?” I would just start making up shit and everyone believed it. Every interview you read, if you see that question, it might not have happened dude [laughs]. It does always seem to involve celebrities to be honest.
It’s been five years since the release of The Fatal Feast. Was that break just something that was necessary for you guys to come back strong?
Well, everyone thinks that everything is planned which it’s not, especially in this band [laughs]. We’re all creative and we all need to spread our wings. A lot of us have other projects. That’s not necessarily why we took a break but when you’re touring non-stop and putting out records in between, it’s going to burn you out. We just fell into this cycle and it was starting to feel like a forced routine. We were still doing it but it just didn’t seem like the music was coming out as inspired as it should have been. We never stopped writing. We just kind of took a different approach.
Municipal Waste has also added a 2nd guitarist, Nick Poulos to the fold. How has that changed things for you?
It’s so easy. I’ve been working with this guy for almost 10 years like in every other band we’ve played in together. We understand each other’s playing. He’s got to follow me [laughs]. He puts my guitar in my monitor and I just play what I’m doing so as long as he’s following my shit we’re fine. I tried to put in my monitor on stage right but after one show I just took him out of monitor [laughs]. It’s actually pretty seamless and if anything it’s better. For leads, I love it because now I can just handle rhythm. I do some of the old leads and we trade off a little bit but he’s going to be taking the brunt of the lead guitar from here on out. We were never really a lead guitar band because I’m actually a bass player playing guitar so I like to focus on rhythm. Just to have someone playing lead now, I’m like, “He’s got the job. I’m off duty.” [Laughs] There are plenty of reasons why it’s good.
During that break, you had your own thing going on called Bat which was fucking incredible. How did that come to be and will we see more from Bat in the future?
Thanks, man. I’m in the thick of it with them. We’re going on tour after the summer on the West coast. We’re still writing stuff and we have a new EP coming out. There’s no rest for me. Bat is like the old man band I want to do, like Motorhead. I want to grow old playing bass with that band so you’re going to see Bat sticking around for a long time.
I’d love you to bring Bat to Atlanta. I need to see you fuckers live.
Yeah, we definitely need to play Atlanta. I’ve got some other people there that have said the same thing so we’ll definitely make that happen.
You are an avid vinyl collector. What is your most coveted piece?
Man, there are so many. I can’t put just one aside. I was just talking to someone the other day about this. There’s a Holy Grail record that I don’t have that I’m looking for. It’s this band from the UK called Slander and they put out a record in 1990 or ’91 called Careless Talk Costs Lives and it’s the hardest shit to find. They limited it to like 500 copies. Records that came out on that cusp year are pretty hard to find because there wasn’t a lot of vinyl being put out. I’ve seen it go for at least $200 bucks or so.
You could go the EBay route of if you’re like me, you’d rather find it in person.
That’s me. I like to find stuff in person at record stores. I’m not a big internet record buyer. I did try to buy it online once though. I try not to go over $100.00 when I’m buying a record but I offered like $130.00 and someone ended up buying it for like 200 and something bucks. It’s just crazy. They won’t even re-issue it. Sometimes I’ll just settle for a re-issue so I can have it on vinyl because I DJ in bars. I bring my records with me. I flew my records to LA two weeks ago. There was like $1,000.00 worth of shit in my carryon just so I could spin records in two bars in LA [laughs]. That’s how much I care about them. I mean, I care about my records living and breathing. I like using my records. I don’t care about keeping them in mint condition and filing them away like a fucking nerd that never wants to touch their records [laughs]. I like to take them out to bars and play them for people.
I had a holy grail as well. Mine was the Captain Beyond debut album with the 3-D cover. You can buy one on EBay any day but I held out and after like 7 years I finally found a copy in a record store here in Atlanta.
Oh man, I have that one too. “Raging River of Fear” is the fucking jam on that album. That record is just awesome. I found that one in a store also. I’m glad you found one, man. It’s so great. It’s like Deep Purple on crack with Jimi Hendrix on guitar.
What was the metal band that changed your life and made you say, “I want to do that”?
Probably Judas Priest. That was the first band that I got obsessed with. Sad Wings of Destiny is my favorite record but I remember getting Painkiller when it came out. Me and brother bought that album and that’s obviously that next level of Priest. It’s funny. The stuff I liked early on is probably the last stuff I listen to now. Of course I still love Painkiller but it’s the speed metal version of Priest but it’s that early Priest stuff that I really latched on to. Screaming for Vengeance is a lot more accessible but that’s probably the one that made me say, “Wow. This is what heavy metal is.” That intro… you just can’t fucking beat that.
It’s funny because I feel that way about a few bands like Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Scorpions, and Priest. When I was a kid I thought their early stuff sounded so old but now that I’m old, I find myself loving their earlier chapters way more than their later years.
Scorpions are up there for me too, big time. Yeah, the 70’s stuff is always better. It takes you a while to get into it because we were around in the 70’s to hear it. Whitesnake and their songs, “Outlaw” and “Lovehunter.” That’s my jam. I think you’ve got to grow up and become an old man, or at least an old man at heart, to start really appreciating the older stuff. I know these younger chicks in their 20’s who worship Whitesnake, Tank, and Deep Purple and I’m like, “Damn. Where were you when I was growing up?” [Laughs].
It’s because these younger folks have the internet and YouTube and we didn’t have that shit growing up.
No, we did not. We had to go out and go to a fucking store and buy it and then check it out for the first time after buying it. I remember when they started putting in listening stations and that was a crazy thing because usually it was a crap shoot when you were buying an album.
I remember buying those “Nice Price” records and taking it home and saying, “Man, I hope this doesn’t suck.”
[Laughs] Yeah. That was the beauty of it. We were taking a chance and it was kind of dangerous. Now, everything is at your fingertips and there’s no danger to it.
I loved how you said earlier that you have to get old to appreciate that classic stuff. Is it kind of weird that with Municipal Waste being around for almost 17 years, you guys are pretty much the “old dudes” to a younger generation?
Yeah, we’re old [laughs]. Its nuts but honestly it makes me feel young playing Waste stuff. I started it when I was 20 and I have to harness that energy to keep it in the same formula. I don’t listen to a whole lot of thrash metal; hardly at all. I know it all because it’s in the back of my head and I can play it but I’m not constantly being influenced by it like I was when I was younger so you have to re-harness that energy which can be hard sometimes.
You have quite the social media presence and we were talking about how the “rock stars” of today don’t have that anonymity that those of our generation had because of the accessibility. Do you kind of wish you could live that “rock star” role even just for a bit?
It’s not that I would want to be a rock star; I just think it was such a simpler time back then. Today everyone is just staring into their phones and it’s kind of disgusting. We’re all guilty of it though; even the people complaining about it are doing it too. I grew up in the 80’s and I remember a time without that so it would have been cool to be an adult back then.
I’m just so tired of seeing people watching full shows from behind their phones.
Yeah, I don’t get all those people who film full shows on their phone. You’re never going to go back and watch that. You’re losing the experience. How often do you say, “Man, I’ve got to check out that iPhone video from the Iron Maiden concert? It’s gonna be great!” Never. Just sit there and fucking sing along and enjoy the show. That’s what’s great [laughs]. I think a lot of it is also a bragging right.
What is the least metal thing about you?
Oh wow. I mean, I listen to a lot of AOR and soft rock stuff but to me, that’s metal because it’s clean vocals [laughs]. To me, clean vocals are very important. I love audible vocal harmonies and stuff. I have every Stryper record but that’s metal. I don’t know man. I just kind of live and breathe it.
I always tell people that I feel that the most metal thing you can do is to be openly honest about your varied taste in music.
Exactly! Like when people say, “guilty pleasures”, I don’t get that. None of them are guilty for me. I love Toto. I have every Toto record. They’re one of my favorite bands. I guess you could say that’s not metal but man, if you dig deep into that band, there’s even some metal in there [laughs]. What people think is metal is fucking frat bro shit. This fucking “throwing the goat” Satanic shit. That’s not metal. Hell, Toto is more metal than that [laughs].
I just want to know when it became a thing for all the guys who beat me up in high school for liking metal all ended up as metal bands. Like all those meathead bands like Five Finger Death Punch and All That Remains.
[Laughs] Oh yeah. Man, that’s the least metal shit. Those fucking dumb bands are the least metal. Being a fucking tough guy is the least metal shit you can do.
Ryan, I want you to finish this sentence. If I wasn’t a musician, I would be:
Like a porn director?
[laughs] No, like in film but there will be tits in my movie [laughs]. Tits need to be in more movies. Remember when we were younger and they were always in the first scene of an R-rated movie? That’s when you knew you had something good. I’ve been writing a script for a long time and it’s my one life goal to pull it off. I’ve worked on a couple of movie sets and its hard work; a lot harder than being in a band. It’s like 14 hour days and its hard work. I feel like I’m kind of a director anyway because I’m kind of a control freak, OCD person.
Ryan, this was a fucking blast dude and I’m so glad we had the chance to finally talk.
Yeah, me too, Don. Let’s do this again sometime for sure. Thanks a lot.