Listen live to Radio Arrow Classic Rock

Anvil Bitch

Enjoyed 'Rise To Offend' way back when, sick thrashing maniacs? I know I did, so I contacted Anvil Bitch' long-time guitarist John Plumley who was so kind to answer my questions without any hesitation. Anvil Bitch was formed back in 1985, released two demo's and appeared on several compilation albums before the band signed to New Renaissance Records. My first question was how the deal with the label came to be.

By: Koen B. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

When the band first formed, we used to practice at our friend Shawn Tierney's house. Shawn became our manager as well. He was instrumental in getting us in to the tape trading scene. He used to mail our 1985 demo to anyone who would trade with us. As a result of networking with all the tape traders, we learned of many independent record labels who were signing thrash metal bands. New Renaissance was sent the demo and they ended up using two of our songs for compilation albums. Both compilations were released in 1986. They used 'Neckbreaker' for 'Speed Of Metal II' and 'To The Grave' for 'Thrash Metal Attack'. The reaction was good, so we were offered a full length album.

'Rise To Offend' from 1986 was a fucking amazing and forceful metal thrash metal album that won over critics and fans alike. What were the band's main influences back in the days?
We were influenced by the first wave of thrash metal. Exciter's first two albums as well as Metallica's first two albums were the start of it. We then discovered Slayer, Exodus, Overkill, Anthrax, Mercyful Fate, Venom and Celtic Frost. All of us already had been influenced by Motörhead, Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden. Thrash was intense metal which is what we were in to.

It's fairly known that New Renaissance Records wasn't the best record label ever. They released some great albums like 'Shark Attack' (Wehrmacht), 'Season Of The Dead' (Necrophagia), 'Ordered To Kill' (At War) and yours, but they also released some utter twaddle (I will mention no names here). I heard that some bands on the NRR roster were fucked by the record company. Is this true or false?
All I can say is that by the time we had our deal and the record came out we were signed to a legitimate management company in Philadelphia and they were aggressive about being paid. So on the first release period, I think things were ironed out as far as business goes. I have no complaints, I can only speak for myself. We were all just young and happy to have a record out.

Somewhere I read that there's a clear vinyl edition of 'Rise To Offend' on the market as well. Unfortunately I only own the black vinyl edition as well as the limited numbered CD edition which came out in 2003 or so. Are you aware of the sales figures of this particular album?
I actually still have a clear vinyl record from way back then. I am not aware of sales figures, but we were contacted regarding it. Hopefully we will hear how it did.

How do you look back on the album twenty five years after the making of it?
For many years I thought that the album could've been produced better. We did not have an experienced producer because we could not afford one. So we did it ourselves with help from our friends. However, regardless of the production, I think the songs are good and they represent the time well. You can hear all of our influences in the songs and the energy is a result of pure adrenaline from teenagers who lived to thrash. I think you can tell by listening that we were really into what we were doing.

After the release of the 'Rise To Offend' album the band seemed to be vanished from the globe. What was the main reason for that?
After we were represented by management, we went through several second guitarists as well as losing our ability to follow instincts as far as the direction for the band goes. We started thinking in terms of strategy and being able to expand our audience. In other words, because of pressure put on us to reach a certain level of success, we stopped having fun. We thought it was better to break up than continue the way we were.

band image

I always disliked the fact that the band never played Holland back in the fucking Eighties. Other bands gained popularity just by touring the Dutch cities like Eindhoven (Dynamo club) or Katwijk (Scum club) or playing the big festivals like Aardschokdag or Dynamo Open Air. Why did the band never tour Europe?
With the help of our management we pieced together a U.S. tour, but as far as I know there were either no offers from Europe or we just didn't have the financial support to do it. I would love to play our songs for a European audience.

After the disband of Anvil Bitch, three out of four members decided to stick together and formed Dominance. Could you introduce that band to our readers?
After the breakup of Anvil Bitch, I still wanted to be in an intense metal band so I ran into our drummer Chuck in the summer of 1988 and played him the song 'Dreams Of Supremacy'. I asked him if he wanted to be in a band that sounds like that. He was into it so we called Dave the bass player and he was in. By this time Gary was fronting a band in NJ called Without Warning, so we would need a vocalist and a second guitarist. The guitarist was on old friend of ours named John Hebert. John and I clicked as a songwriting team right away. We really complimented each others styles. After we advertised for a singer we found Chuck Miles at a Slayer concert. He had been in a band that opened for Anvil Bitch at a show we played in York Pa. He was a perfect choice to front our new band which would be called Dominance.

I noticed Dominance released a shitload of demo's and a compilation CD. Is it possible to buy that one somewhere on the fucking Internet?
Yes, our first two Demos from 1988 and 1989 have been packaged together on a CD called 'Resurrected'. It is available by contacting DIVEBOMB RECORDS, a division of Tribunal Records, Inc. out of Greensboro North Carolina.

Anvil Bitch reformed a couple of years ago and self-released the 'Sanctify' EP in 2008. Why did the band reform?
Because we still like each other and still love to play our style of music. Everyone has settled down and we are all raising our families but we still make time to play and record. We have always been on really good terms with Gary so it was easy to get back together when we feel no pressure and we can just have fun playing music we like.

What does the future hold in store for Anvil Bitch? Touring, recording, releasing new material?
Soon we will be ready to record a full length CD. Hopefully we can secure distribution so our fans all over the world can check it out. We will play shows wherever we can and try to adjust our schedules so we can play in different locations.

If I could turn back time to 1986, what would you differently?
I wouldn't change a thing. We had a great time and played so many places with so many great bands. It was a time in our lives we will never forget. We were lucky enough to be living our dream of being in the kind of band that we went to shows to see. We got to open for Motörhead in Philly at the Trocadero and open for Anthrax and Overkill in Brooklyn. We also opened for Exodus in Philly. For us, being able to share stages with our favourite bands was an experience not everyone gets to have. It's something we will remember forever. No remorse, no regrets.

Do you have anything to say or add? The space below is all yours!
We appreciate the opportunity we have to share our music with people all over the world. We are grateful that there are people out there who enjoy the type of music we make because we sure do. We are lucky to all still be alive and getting along so well. It's cool to have our four original members of the band still together and making killer new music. The live shows have been going well, we thank everyone who comes for their support. We shall thrash on!!

Share this interview with your friends

More information

<< previous next >>