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Rob Cavestany – Guitar for Death Angel

Date: 02/01/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino

1. Since the beginnings of Death Angel, the music always presented some different influences. Tell us about some of your non hard rock influences that inspired you early on.

ROB: Well I know I grew up, well all of us in the band (lineup consisted of two brothers and three of their cousins, one was 12-year-old drummer Andy Galeon), around a lot of music from the seventies. Luckily our dads listened to, mine, Mark’s, and Dennis’, all listened to different things like Pink Floyd, Elton John, Zepplin was in the collection. Plus other stuff like Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, all the grooving stuff from the seventies really.

2. Now out of all those influences which ones do you think you really hear in Death Angel’s music?

ROB: Its hard to tell but I’m gonna say Pink Floyd and Zepplin definately. I’d say the Fleetwood Mac and Elton stuff kinda creeps in subliminally for the vocals and harmony stuff. And even to the crafting of the songs too I’d say those bands as well. But then again I’d say even Santana had an influence on us back then in the 80’s, that kind of jam aspect with world flavors.

3. Now was the music when you got back together for “The Art of Dying” all brand new or was some of that left over after “Act II” from 1990?

ROB: Nope that was all stuff we wrote right then and there when we started to play again and touring back when we did the “Thrash of the Titans” show for Chuck Billy (Testament) when he was sick with cancer. Like we intended on only doing that one show for that benefit concert but it went so well and the fans dug it so much we decided to move forward.

4. So was it hard to recapture the Death Angel formula after all those years in between “Act III” and what was to become “The Art of Dying”?

ROB: Ummm in a way it was and a way it wasn’t. That’s a good question. Really it kind of was both because it really was what it should have been which was us trying to rediscover each other and trying to make Death Angel music since we hadn’t played together since the last show in 1991. We never thought we would do this again. And by the time we were doing “The Art of Dying” we were just stumbling into it. It was like a veteran band and a new band all at once.

That record was really kind of spontaneous and I think you can hear it in the songs. But I think this new one “Killing Season” is really us as a well oiled machine. Our entire conscious level when we wrote and recorded this record was like now we went all the way back to “Act III” and bridged the gap through “The Art of Dying” to now “Killing Season”.

5. That was my next question, in reference to the growth made from “The Art of Dying” to “Killing Season”?

ROB: It was like “The Art of Dying” was a combination of “The Ultra Violence” and “Frolic Through the Park” where “Killing Season” is more so taking off from “Act III” but the next level up from it. But we never could have done “Killing Season” without doing “The Art of Dying”. You know what I mean?

6. What is “Killing Season” about?

ROB: In general is representing the end of the fucked up regime, the end of the oppressive state of things. The end of the evil tyrant or tyrants. For us as a band its kind of like we are saying this is our season also.

7. I really like the artwork. Tell us about that.

ROB: Yeah man right on, thanks. That’s a work of art, a sculpture, by Chris Kuksi (website is Chris Kuksi.com), the piece is called “A New Divinity”. For us it represents the “Lord of Hate” which is the first song on the album and represents the whole album. Which is it’s the figure of the oppressor and all the craziness beneath him. When you see all the detail in the poster you can see all the crazy shit that’s happening and effected by the oppressor. Dennis our bass player found this guy and it ends up he’s a metal fan which helps. We started talking about metal and it was all good from there we were on the same page. Yeah man.

8. Touring plans?

ROB: Yeah we did a few shows on your coast for “The Art of Dying”, we played BB Kings and a couple other shows and we were thinking we were going to come back for a full US tour but that didn’t pan out. But for this record you can bet your sweat ass we are gonna be out there touring. Dates are getting booked now. We have a hard core mission for this record, a game plan and we are putting together a commitment behind this record. Every show we have been playing since getting back together have been rippin. We can’t wait to come back.

I can tell you we are talking to God Forbid so hopefully we will do that from May 1 to June 1st. That’s the plan but by the time this interview comes out it may be confirmed or changed. You heard it hear first here then so hopefully it will go down.

9. Are the first three Death Angel records, “The Ultra Violence”, “Frolic Through the Park”, and “Act III” still readily available still in stores?

ROB: “Act III” is kinda hard to find, one of our tasks this year is to get that re-released properly. The first two albums should be available through RyKo but I gotta see what’s going on with that really. After “The Art of Dying” came out they put out a box set which included the first two albums plus a cd of B sides and a DVD which was really cool. The first two albums are also remastered. If you go to our Myspace page and click on our discography you can find a link to buy the cds.

10. Were those remasters done properly and did you get approve them?

ROB: Yeah we did and they sound great. Much better than the originals. The remastering really pulled the instruments out of the mix.

11. Are there pro shot Death Angel shows from the early days which could see release on DVD?

ROB: That’s another thing on the works yeah. Hopefully in the not so distant future. We recorded our performance at the Rock Hard festival last year and that should get released at some point. Plus some other shit like a retrospective thing with all our old videos. In the box set that Ryko put out is all our promo videos plus a really crazy rare video of us that we used to get us signed when we got signed to Enigma because we were so young at the time when we got signed.

12. Do you ever get involved in side projects?

ROB: Yeah man we all do, the whole band. But right now we are in full Death Angel mode. Most recently though I managed to squeeze in a solo album which is really crazy shit. Much different from Metal and totally influenced by the stuff we talked about earlier. Gus Pepa plays on it he was one of Death Angel’s original guitarists. Its called ‘Lines on the Road” and its available through my Myspace page, there’s that Myspace thing again Hahaha.

Marc our lead singer also sings for a band called All Time Highs. Ted our other guitarist had a band called Mudface but he recently quit the band because he realistically knew he didn’t have the time because of Death Angel’s schedule.

Andy plays on various peoples records and was in a band called Alter Ego S.F. Dennis does a project called Thick as Thieves and one called Big Shrimp which is a punk thing. Its cool it keeps us busy in between Death Angel stuff.

13. What about newer thrash bands. Are you familiar with Fueled by Fire who I think are from the Bay Area?

ROB: You know man I heard of them but have not heard the music. There’s this wave of these new younger thrash bands who are inspired by ourselves, Testament, Exodus, Forbidden. Its cool and I really need to check some of them out. Now that we have the new Death Angel done I now have the time to listen to other things. I don’t like to listen to other music while we are recording because I don’t want that to influence or change or music since we are unique and try to be. I like to stay focused. But now that the new album is done we can come out of the cave (laughs) and will check out what’s happening in the metal world around us. But fuck yeah man to hear that these younger bands are coming out with a thrash sound and possibly influenced by us yeah man I am totally stoked to check some of it out.

I am honored if anything to be part of the influence. I remember being that young coming up playing music.

Official website: www.deathangel.com
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