Interview with Phil Rind of Sacred Reich – Metaldays 2016Olga: How does it feel being here at Metaldays? You’ve been to many different large festivals.
Phil: Here is special because we played in Yugoslavia in 1990, including Ljublana, which is not far. So it’s been what, 26 years, so we’re excited.
Olga: What was your favorite festival ever?
Phil: I mean, they all have wonderful things about them. I love Hellfest because I love France. Like, if I spoke French, I would move there. But I’m terrible, I’m not good with languages. But I really love Hellfest, and I love Graspop, and I love Wacken. They’re all great because it’s the people that make it great – wherever you go, that’s wonderful.
Olga: How have the people going to festivals changed over time?
Phil: There’s a lot more of them. We toured from 1988 to around 1993 or 1996, I don’t know, but it was before 2000, so it’s a long time ago, and there weren’t all these huge festivals then. We played Dynamo, which was huge. But I don’t know, everyone got older.
Olga: So what’s it like being in metal band in Arizona?
Phil: It’s fine. It’s where we started – in Arizona, so it’s natural. We played there all those years. And your career goes like this and then like this (up and down), and then you know it’s probably time – we don’t have songs, things aren’t going as good as they used to, maybe it’s just a sign that it’s time. And then you just move on to the next part of your life. And then we had an opportunity to come and play, so we did.
“Are you going to eat?” he asks two women walking by.
Olga: Is that your family?
Phil: Yeah, that’s my wife and daughter. And that’s Alex (Skolnick).
Olga: What’s your favorite food around here?
Phil: I don’t know, we’re just eating catering. I know, there’s lots of stuff around here..
Olga: I could kill for some BBQ right now!
Phil: At another fest they had mixed grill, which is pretty good – it was steak and chicken and like a rib.
Olga: What would you say to the world about the political climate?
Phil: The things that are going on in the States are going on everywhere. There are reactionary right-wing people coming up all over the globe, not just Trump and his stuff. It’s just a reaction worldwide to the state of affairs. When there’s immigration, and there’s people who go from one place to another because of wars and then the people who are coming are different than the people who live there, and the people who live there like the way things were before, and there’s a lot of fear, instead of embracing, instead of realizing there’s really no difference, that those superficial things are merely superficial things. And when you travel, you realize that people are great left and right, no matter what they speak, no matter what their religion, no matter what their color – it’s all the same. The governments are all fucked up everywhere, and that’s just how governments are because their job is to control, some better than others.
But mostly the people are fine wherever you go. So I was getting really worked up and I said I don’t want to be like this. So I said, what will be will be. I have my vote. I will either make it or I won’t if I like the choices, and that will be that. And it won’t make a difference. My son says, “Of course, because if you are a Muslim or if you’re a woman in the US, it’s your white male privilege that makes you not worry so much.” And he said what if we went to a couple of Bernie Sanders rallies? And I was thinking, “Would these Mexican folks– would they feel comfortable at a Trump rally?” Probably not. Is that good for the country? No because it’s the opposite or how everyone should be, which is inclusive, and kind, and loving, and understanding, and trying to help. Not divided and demonized and all the negative stuff. The country will vote and then we’ll have to live with it.
Olga: And then it’ll be like Brexit.
Phil: “Oops, can we have a do-over?”
Olga: Are you recording?
Phil: We haven’t made a new record in 20 years.
Olga: And you probably won’t be?
Phil: There you go – exactly.
After 20 years, I think it’s a sign – there’s no songs. That’s fine. I don’t think people want to hear new songs. And if we made a new record and played that shit life, they would be like, “Come on, play the old stuff!” They want to hear stuff that they liked when they were 18 that makes them feel young. They may say different, but they don’t really want to hear it. And if we made a new record, they would be like, “That’s not as good as the old stuff.”
Olga: Because it’s new.
Phil: Right, because they won’t be familiar with it. It doesn’t mean as much now. They’re older and they have families and their priorities are different. When you’re 18 and music is your life, it means so much. Now it doesn’t mean so much. I always talk about our band and the bands that we liked and I say “when” it was the most important thing in the world. There is a time and a place when this, what we’re doing, was the most important thing in the world. And it’s not anymore. And it can’t ever be. And that’s okay. It is what it is now.
Now we just play and we enjoy ourselves and the people enjoy it, and as long as people invite us, and it’s fine, then we can continue to play. And then at some point it’ll be over and we’ll say how lucky we were. We say that now. It’s important to appreciate it now. I think we appreciate it now much more than we did ‘cause it went away and it came back. Appreciation is perishable. That’s it, it’s very simple.
Olga: What was the band name Sacred Reich inspired by?
Phil: it’s a big question.
Jason started the band. I don’t know where it came from, but he thought it sounded good, looked cool, and it was certainly metal. But there was no real political connotation. I grew up Jewish, so my grandma would be like, “What’s the name of the band?” And my uncle and my aunt were in Dachau. So I was like, “Uhh, we’re working on it, grandma.” We were going to change the name and then we had a record deal and they were like, “We like the name.” Well, there we go, we’re stuck with it. So it’s just a title, a label, means nothing, looks cool. And you know we’re not a country band. You get the idea of what kind of music we play. So it does its job. Holds us back, pushes us forward. I don’t think we will ever play in Israel. I would love to play in Israel, but there’s no way.
Olga: Under a new name?
Phil: Yeah, “The Band Formally Known As..” We should make a “peace” symbol. There’s no way the people would know then.
Olga: What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Phil: There were a few moments that were like – wow – we know it was special – but I just think it’s that we’re still together is a great accomplishment. It’s the four of us, the four original members. I don’t know about a great accomplishment. We are just lucky. And it’s not because of us – it’s because of everyone else. If we did what we did and no one gave a shit, it wouldn’t matter. And that is the question. It’s not from our side, it’s from the other people’s side. You just do your thing and hopefully people connect with you. If you do your stuff and it’s true and it’s honest, that’s all you can do. All you can do is your best and you put it out there and hope for the best. There’s plenty of wonderful bands that people have never heard of that aren’t hugely popular, and it doesn’t mean anything about them.
Think about Vincent Van Gogh. He did hundreds of paintings and sold maybe one or two in his life. Is that because he wasn’t great? No, it’s because of people’s inability to realize it. So what does that say about us?
Olga: Fair enough. I think that’s all the questions I’ve got. Do you have any questions for me?
Phil: I’m just here to answer stuff. As long as there’s no math, I’m cool.