Atrophy (USA)

Metal-Roos: I’m now with Brian Zimmerman, legendary frontman of Atrophy. Welcome, Brian to Metal-Roos! What is going on these days with Atrophy?

Great to be with you! We are currently working on some new material. Hopes are high to release a song by the end of the year… and more to follow soon after. We are preparing for a European tour in March.

M-R: I still remember the incredible album Violent by Nature originally released during 1990. How was the recording process of this LP?

Violent by Nature was written over the summer… In about six months we had it completed. We went back into the studio with the well-known producer Bill Metoyer. I think it was our best work!

M-R: Atrophy these days had some new members, Scott Heller on bass and guitarist Denny Seefieldt. What can you tell me about this Brian?

It has been a rough 4 years. We have had some lineup changes in the midst of writing new songs, which is created a huge push back on release of material. Denny as guitar player and Scott as bass player both joined the band last year, 2018. It was hard trying to get new members up to speed on all material… Being able to play live, working on new material is a challenge, but hopefully, we have got our lineup figured out.

M-R: Since 1990 there is nothing new about Atrophy, so the question is almost mandatory. Can we say that in 2020 we will hear new songs of Atrophy?

Definitely you can hear some new material coming this year! One of my big concerns rejoining the band was that I wanted to move forward. I did not just revisit the past, music should be an ongoing process.

M-R: In 1988, a split called Metal Forces Presents … Demolition – Scream Your Brains Out with Anacrusis, Aftermath, Atrophy, Hobbs Angel of Death and Leviathan was published. Many of these bands continue, others do not. But you Brian, what do you remember from this moment?

Actually, I remember when it came out I didn’t like the album cover. Some of the bands I didn’t even know. But it has stood the test of time. One thing to note the record company never gave us a heads up on any compilation album… it just appeared. To my understanding this album has sold very well, has been reproduced many times and is probably part of our success.

M-R: In the same year, you published Socialized Hate with support from Roadrunner Records. This album was the debut of Atrophy. How were things at that time?

Socialized Hate marked a super exciting time. That kind of music was just coming out and to be a part of it was something you cannot describe… A moment in time. I think we were still evolving at that time, but I think the songs were very solid.

M-R: You travelled all over the United States and part of Europe, along with groups like Sacred Reich, during the 80’s. What were those years like for you?

The 1980s unless you were there you wouldn’t know. It’s everything you heard. It was sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It was a crazy time in history and in music. Touring was absolutely amazing seeing all the people and places we got to see you, being that young and naïve…

M-R: Atrophy is considered one of the most important bands of cult Thrash Metal with Coroner, Sacred Reich, Flotsam and Jetsam, Trauma and others. What a feeling you feel when someone approaches you and tells you, I grew up listening to your band. Are you aware of your own legacy in Thrash Metal?

Well, firstly, thank you for the compliment. Secondly, it’s pretty amazing when somebody comes up to you and tells you that you influence them to sing. Or how much that music meant to them at the time… When they were young or when they first heard it. And it still happens to this day. Young people coming up and saying “I just heard your band for the first time holy crap“. I am an avid music lover myself, and I know what it means when I see somebody I look up to. I don’t think musicians realize the kind of impact they have on people from afar, people they’ve never met, but this is a good thing.

M-R: The United States always has had important bands, but for several years the scene was somewhat muted. Today, we find festivals as interesting as NYDM Milwaukee Spring BASH, where you were playing in 2018. What do you think of the festivals that are being made in the U.S. on these days?

Some of the festivals are very different here compared to Europe. The great big open-air festivals you’ll find in Europe – it’s not common here. Lots of killer can be playing in a different night club just down the street instead of it being in one open area. It’s always a privilege to be in a festival setting.

M-R: In Europe, you will be doing an important tour accompanied by Black Sachbak. How are you preparing for this?

Yes, we are returning to Europe in March to do 30 year! Marking the release of Violence by Nature we have prepared for any tour. Lots of work goes into booking shows, practising, lots of logistics… we are definitely looking forward to it.

M-R: Thanks for the interview, Brian.

Interview Date: 2019-12-04

Interviewer: Lucas Rimaudo