Interview with Metal DJ BILLY BOLDT of ‘THRASH ZONE’ [www.kouvradio.com]
Written by Marc C. Pietrek 2017
[Marc C. Pietrek filed this report for VITRIOL,INC / A DARK UNITED FRONT @ www.vitriolinc.com on 07/26/2017] I was doing research for my first interview that I would be doing for A DARK UNITED FRONT Facebook music fan page back in mid -August of last year. I was granted an interview with vocalist Don Doty [ELIMINATE, ex- DARK ANGEL] and all that I had to go on was that he was the vocalist who abruptly left the band shortly after the release of the thrash classic, ‘Darkness Descends’ (1986 COMBAT RECORDS). As I started to do my research, I came across an internet radio show under the moniker of ‘THRASH ZONE’, on KOUV Radio in Tacoma, Washington, and is hosted by heavy metal DJ Billy Boldt. (Link to the radio station web-site is listed directly below).
I listened to an interview that Billy (originally from San Mateo, California and now resides in Tacoma, Washington) had recently conducted with Don. I used the information to formulate a question that I asked Don which became a key discussion-point in the interview. The subject matter could potentially ruffle some feathers in the metal community, but it goes back a long time and I believe that fans want some clarification. Based on the in-depth journalism that Billy had done for his own interview, I felt it had to be asked.
Well, the interview went great (with the exception of my totally apparent nervousness as I was conducting my first interview with no formal training underneath me ha ha).It paid-off listening to someone who has been in the music industry extensively for nearly forty years and knows the metal genre, both as musician and media member.
When he started his first band in the south Bay Area in 1979, Billy Boldt dove headfirst into an (early beginnings) thrash metal scene that within a few years was drawing global attention. He was fronting bands like ORIGINAL SIN and playing and going to shows at legendary venues like RUTHIE’S INN (Berkeley), the STONE (San Francisco), the ROCK ON BROADWAY (San Francisco) and the MBUHAY GARDENS (San Francisco). You can hear ORIGINAL SIN on the now legendary ‘Eastern Front Live’ double-LP (which also contained live performances and demo-tracks by many of the scene’s most respected bands such as D.R.I., DEATH ANGEL, METAL CHURCH, VIO-LENCE, BLIND ILLUSION, SACRILEGE B.C and FORBIDDEN EVIL, who went on to become FORBIDDEN). Also, he would ocasionally hang out at the infamous METALLICA house in El Cerrito, California (where they and bands like EXODUS and many others would wreak havoc).
He and his metal brethren were playing hard and fast and partying even harder and faster. He was listening to underground metal radio on KVHS 90.5 FM broadcasting from Clayton Valley high School in Concord California and ‘RAMPAGE RADIO’ on KUSF 90.3 FM in San Francisco, California, hosted by Ron Quintana. He was reading the underground metal magazines, some that were so underground, they were on newsprint and had print so small that you may have had to break out a magnifying glass in order to read them and often resembled the same type of lay out done in FLIP-SIDE MAGAZINE ha ha. He was immersed in the now legendary thrash demo tape-trading. A true fan, through and through.
When Billy decided to move on from fronting bands, he went back to school and attended college to learn radio broadcasting over the course of four years. He twisted and tweaked the knobs on the boards of various radio stations, ensuring that the “metal message” got out on the airwaves. Not only in a professional manner, but a creative one as well. He has had to track down artists and try to get them booked on his show. He has been an absolute tireless self-promoter in the metal industry. Throw into the mix he has also worked SECURITY detail at one of the most legendary concert venues in the country. protecting artists while they are performing on stage, He would also address situations at the barricade and in the pit. He has not only seen it all, but lived it all. That is not somebody you just come across on any given day.
I began corresponding with Billy on Facebook. I explained to him that I was a total green-horn who had no formal training in journalism, but was an avid metal fan going back the early 1980s in the Bay Area. When I told him that I believed that I could learn a lot from him, without hesitation or reservation, he offered to help. He gave me some quick pointers on how to deal with bands and their management as well as some much needed technical advice regarding editing and post-production for upcoming interviews. He then took it to a whole new level when he heavily promoted A DARK UNITED FRONT which produced a dramatic increase in group members. His willingness to help a total stranger was very heartfelt and will never be forgotten by me.
Earlier this year, I approached Billy about us doing an interview together. Normally, I would not seek out a member of the metal media to interview, but I though metal fans would probably find Billy a very interesting one. He is and has been an active participant and supporter of the San Francisco and Seattle metal-friendly scenes first and foremost. As as a radio broadcast journalist, he is hosting a show that is hitting very numbers. Those two reason alone were enough to spark my interest in having an extended conversation with him.
A few weeks back, we spoke at length via telephone. We discussed his baby, ‘THRASH ZONE’, his career in metal (both as musician and broadcast journalist), being a metal kid in the thick of the Bay Area thrash scene and the current thriving Seattle (and Pacific Northwest) metal scene. He dropped some serious knowledge AND advice regarding being a both musician and member of the metal media. We also discussed a VERY IMPORTANT AND URGENT(!!) cause/fundraiser that has been launched in the hopes of helping vocalist Sean Killian of VIO-LENCE as well as the tragic suicide of SOUNDGARDEN/AUDIOSLAVE/ TEMPLE of the DOG vocalist, Chris Cornell, and what he meant to so many fans around the world.
I ended up having a great time getting familiar with this decades-long industry vet who is a is a true fan of the music. He could not have been any nicer or acomodating. He extended his hand on multiple occasions to help me out in the future if I ever need it. It was, is, and always will be truly appreciated.
Listed below is the bulk of it written almost completely verbatim. There was paraphrasing done when needed. [EDITOR’S NOTE:I would normally include an MP3 “movie”, but because of the poor sound quality of the recording of our conversation, I decided to go with the print format]
On Sean Sean Killian, vocalist for VIO-LENCE, being diagnosed with Stage 4 Cirrhosis of the liver and what fans can do to help him and his family [EDITOR’S NOTE: Story reported on www.vitriolinc.com on 06/25/2017 http://vitriolinc.com/the-metal-wire-sean-killian-vio-lence-diagnosed-with-stage-4-cirrhosis-of-the-liver-what-fans-can-do-to-help/]: “Dana, his wife, reached out to me and you know, she laid a whopper on me last Monday when she told me that Sean Kilkian, her husband (people know him as the singer in VIO-LENCE) has come down with cirrhosis of the liver.(And) she is not sure how they diagnose liver cirrhosis , but she did tell me that it is a stage four. Now, with Cirhossis, I don’t know if that’s terminal. I think what means is that he has some time where he can get either a liver transplant or go on a donor list. (And) so what we’re doing, well I ‘m kinda jumping ahead, but I put her on the show, ‘THRASH-ZONE’ that night and as you know, we got message out. (And as you know) It was all over the Internet. And BLABBERMOUTH took notice of Dana’s message and you know, all my listeners have been writing me. (And you know) the thing is, I didn’t have all the information when Dana was on the show and some people took that wrong. *Like) they thought that I was trying to (you know…I don’t Know) take advantage of the situation for publicity . I was really offended by that. You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I don’t need publicity . I have all that I want, you know what I mean? So those of you out there that thought that, you couldn’t be further from the truth. I just didn’t have all the links at that moment as Dana didn’t either. But her’s what we can do. OK. If you are LOOKING to possibly be a match with Sean, to where you can donate part of your liver (and the Killian family will pay for it of course, then) what you can do is e-mail Dana at email@example.com, and that will give you a secure link to U.C.S.F, and you can fill out a questionire to see if you are a match or a possible match to donate part of your liver to Sean. (And) also if you want to make donations, you could do that at https://www.gofundme.com/3yexb3s One hundred thirty one people have donated already, Marc, and yeah, it’s a lot of money that is going to cost the family. Anything helps.
On if there is anything currently being planned for a benefit show for Sean Killian:“Well, you know I [pause] there could be something in the works. I can’t really announce anything. It’s not for me to do that , but I do know that it’s in the talking stages.
On his memories of seeing Sean Killian perform with VIO-LENCE:“…I saw VIO-LENCE at RUTHIE’S INN in the very beginning and my memories are just a lot of packed shows. I saw them at THE STONE in San Francisco. I remember lots of blood, lots of sweat. These guys were intense players. They partied hard. They played hard. But they were the real thing. I mean what you saw was what you got. That was not an act. Those guys really do live what they preach. That’s really all I can say on VIO-LENCE. I’ve only seen ‘me a couple of times. I’ve know the guys forever though. Since the very beginning. The first time that I met them was in 1985 when I actually played a show with them, Marc. It was called “Live At the Eastern Front’. It was a thee day festival that was over the New Years , It was like December 30th, December 31st and July 2st. I don’t know, it was along time ago. (And) many bands played that show like D.R.I, the MENTORS, VIO-LENCE of course, and I played a show with METAL CHURCH, HEXX and back then, they were known as FORBIDDEN EVIL, but are now FORBIDDEN. I go back a long way with these guys”.
On how important this cause/fundraiser for Sean Killian is to him on a personal level: “I think Sean Killian is most certainly a hard working man, He has a construction company of his own. He’s got a beautiful family. He’s got a couple of kids. He’s got a loving wife, Dan, who will do ANYTHING for him. A guy, for me, doesn’t need to be a musician for me to want to help them. I would do this for him, just like I would do this for you, just like I would do for one of your listeners. If I can help out in any way though my show to get the word out, and top it off with some love and some music, absolutely I will do it!”…..”It’s heartbreaking again, that this time around it’s Sean and it will be somebody else another time. It’s never a good time for any of our brothers and sisters to fall”…..”Now Sean, he maybe suffering right now with cirrhosis. Some people will say, ‘Oh! It’s self inflicted and he drank himself to that point!’ Well, yeah. maybe that’s so. Maybe that’s true. But he’s still somebody that we love. He doesn’t deserve to die just because he drank If it’s preventable”…..”You don’t condemn a person because they drank themselves to cirrhosis. It doesn’t mean he deserves what he gets. No he doesn’t. He doesn’t deserve it. Nobody deserves it. It’s an illness”…..”These people that say that it’s self inflicted and blah, blah, blah and he deserves what he gets. That pisses me off, man!! We only got one shot at life, so if we can extend it, whether it be through a donation, or it’s through giving a slice of you liver to re-grow so it can be placed for Sean so he can get another ten or twenty years, then hey! Let’s do it, because if Sean does succumb to cirrhosis, you got to remember the family he leaves behind. Sean is the breadwinner in the family and he has two small children. That’s what matters. They need their father. Dana needs her husband. Sean has done everything that’s been asked of him. He’s quit drinking, as hard as it is. He’s going to A.A meetings. He’s doing it now to help himself”.
On how ‘THRASH ZONE’ on www.kouvradio.com began: “…I had a friend who had a show there called the ‘NORTHWEST METAL SHOW’. He had lost his producer at the time and he had come to me knowing that I had some experience because I had some experience and had gone to college in San Francisco for radio and television broadcasting and asked if I wanted to help out as a co-host and also as producer, and I said, ‘Sure. Yeah, I’ll do that’. And as the weeks progressed [pause], I started feeling stifled in the format in the way he did his show and I started bringing in my own guests, which would pump the show up. Well, I don’t know, he got jealous, we had a war of words and what ended up happening was the owner fired this guy and turned around to me and said, ‘You take over the show next week and finish out his commitments and then we’ll start your own show’. I was like, ‘Wow! Sure! Let’s do that!’. So I had several weeks to think about what I wanted to do and I have always known, had this image in my head, of what I wanted ‘THRASH ZONE’ to be, alright? And what that is, Marc, is I wanted to take all of my connections that I have, which is immense, I mean I know lots of people in the music industry, and I wanted to get the biggest names in metal and mix that with those that are just starting out. Those that are relatively unknown but great bands and mix them all together in the same show. That way I’m not catering to the big bands like the EXODUSs and SLAYERs of our genre. I wanted to pump up the local scene. I wanted to get bands nationwide. I had a big vision here. I didn’t want to be boxed into any one genre per say. Like everyone says, ‘Well, are band isn’t thrash’. You don’t need to be thrash to be on ‘THRASH ZONE’. That’s just the name of the show”.
On his first interview for ‘THRASH ZONE’: “My very first show of ‘THRASH ZONE’ included Ivan de Prume of WHITE ZOMBIE, Gregg Christian of TESTAMENT, Phil Demmel of MACHINE HEAD and a local band from Portland called AMERICAN RHOULETTE”…..”The very first episode of ‘THRASH-ZONE’ was only heard by about seventeen people and ONLY heard in Portland, Oregon. Nobody knew about ‘THASH ZONE’ then, but NOW it’s a whole different story. Now I’m heard in a hundred and twenty-nine counties”.
On broadcasting THRASH ZONE internationally and what nation has the most fanatical of fans: “…I can be heard all over the world. A hundred and twenty-nine countries is the answer to that question, Marc. But it could be anybody at any moment, anywhere in the world. But we have hit a hundred and twent-nine countries. Now the most fanatical, by far, is Germany. I have a huge audience that writes to me all the time. And you’d be surprised and maybe not so surprised that it’s not only the German people that listen to me, but also are servicemen, the men and women of the armed forces that stationed in various places in Germany. They listen to my show a lot, too. Apparently they like to crank ‘THRASH ZONE’ when they’re doing their thing”.
On ‘THRASH ZONE’s rise in popularity: “I think the reason for the popularity of the show is because this is a show that I would want to hear if I wasn’t doing it. I want a DJ that is connected. I want a DJ that actually plays and instrument that knows what writing a song is like, because you get all these guys, these DJs and they don’t even play guitar!! They’ve never even sang on a stage!! It’s jus talk, talk, talk talk, talk. They Don’t know what it’s like. And so that’s why I ask Thes guys what kind of gear do they have. Why do I do that? It’s because musicians listening it there want to know. I do a lot of thing that other DJs just don’t do. And another thing is that I give it my twist and my energy with a little bit of comedy in there, which is I why I tend to yell a lot. But it’s because we’re all getting drunk, we’re getting stoned, we’re having a good time and basically hanging out with my friends. My friends just happen to be people like Phil Demmel of MACHINE HEAD, or John Menor, formerly of D.R.I and now with WAR MANS DANCE [https://www.facebook.com/WarMansDance/ ]. All these guys. I’ve known them forever”…..”How many people do you have that are as excited as I am STILL to this day, talking about the music scene, wether it’s good, bad, ugly. I’ll talk about the good things, the bad things, personal things. It’s OK. It’s just how you present it. I deliver it with my brand. Some people don’t like the yelling, but most people do, because it’s exciting. I’m excited. It’s genuine, Marc. When I’m yelling and screaming, it’s real. It’s not fake. It’s not scripted. Everything I do on my show is live and uncensored. EVERYTHING! Without preparation. I don’t know what questions that I’m going to ask these guys. I jus ask them. It’s just a regular conversation, because I know what to ask. I’ve been in the business myself my whole life. I know. What I really love about doing the DJ thing is honetsly, passing the torch to the next generation. I’m all about helping out these up and starting bands. You may never heard of them. They’re from obscure places. I got a band that I pump up from OHIO. They’re called TRIALS BY FATE. Great band!! No ones ever heard of them. But they have now. It’s just stuff like that. I love what I do. I really do. I love helping the local scene”…..”You don’t have move five thousand units to be on my show. You can just be a local band and if you’re good,, whatever man, that’s all you need”.
On the defining moment when he knew that he had made the correct decision by going into broadcasting: “The defining moment was my first show. I knew I had something here. I knew it! I had all the connections ready. I had my show booked months in advance. I I had like an eight to ten week waiting list of people that want to be on my show”…..”The only thing that I needed to work on was how I finally wanted to present it. I knew I had everything I needed. I had all the tools. I had all of the connections”…..”I never really doubted my show would be as big as it is now. I din’t. I had no doubt. It took a few years. I ant the end of my fourth year of ‘THRASH ZONE’, It took a while to get to this point, but I’m here. I’m here, baby [laughs]!!”..
On the broad reach of ‘THRASH ZONE’: “It thrills me that I can pick bands like VIOLENT HALLUCINATIONS [ https://www.facebook.com/ViolentHallucinations ] that are well known in Seattle but a guy in NYC isn’t going to know about them, and vice versa. People in Seattle ain’t going to know about BROOKLYN MILLITIA [ http s://www.facebook.com/BROOKLYNMILITIA/ ] with (drummer) Joe Cangelosi, now with UNCIL WAR [https://www.facebook.com/uncivilwarofficial/]But they do now, because I had that broad reach, coast-to-coast, where I take all these bands and I am just pulling them out from the sky and I’m putting them on my playlist and I’m talking about them and I’m bringing them in. My neighbors are some the coolest neighbors you can have, Marc, because every now and then, you’ll see these big tour busses pulling up and people like MEGADETH will jump out. They’ll be at my house and my neighbors all know what I do. And it always shocks them like, “Wow! Here you are in Tacoma , Washington, you’re in the neighborhood, all these people are coming here that are world-wide musicians. It’s pretty cool”.
On recently broadcasting the 200th episode of ‘THRASH-ZONE’: “I had a big party at my house. It included performances by members of METAL CHURCH, and various local bands. Guys from local bands around here like to Tony Delisio of MECHANISM [ https://www.facebook.com/pg/mechanism206/about/?ref=page_internal ]. I had a couple of guys from STEPPENWOLF here at my house. Other local artists were all here to celebrate two hundred shows. I told all my neighbors about it. Knocked on all their doors. ‘Don’t call the cops, man [laughs]! We’re having a party. We’re having a bar-b-q, we’re having drinks, all these musicians will be there. Come on over!!’. And I’ll be damned, they took me up on it [laughs]”.
On how he has established such a lengthy contact list in the heavy metal industry: “It’s just the way my life’s path took. I was a musician myself, growing up in the eighties, and all these guys in these bands that everyone listens to now that are huge, were just guys like me that lived down the street and they became big, but I maintained my my friendships with them over the years. There’s friendships that I have that have thirty-five, forty years and to this day. And also, not only that, I also worked at some clubs in San Francisco, one being THE WARFIELD. Really famous place. Every band that’s huge plays there. I worked there for ten years (from 1998 to 2008)…..”I also worked for BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS. I was constantly in the music scene and what I was doing at these shows was everything from protecting the tour busses, backstage, being in front of the stage to prevent people from getting up there and to grab people out of the pit when they needed it. So I was always in the loop. And with all the people I knew already, I was constantly meeting new people on top of it. Bands would come to THE WARFIELD and I’m talking I was working four, five nights a week there and there’s three, four, five bands playing every night. Just think of how many bands, and how many people that is. That’s a lot. And there’s a lot of stories that I have forgotten because so much time has gone by, but there was a time there, from 2006 to 2008, where I thought this would make for a really interesting book of sorts. So, what I did was I started writing like a diary, like a journal, of everyday that I worked. What my job was like. Who I met. Who I hung out with and what they were like. Were they cool? Were they jerks? You can find some that on my Facebook page. I have excerpts from it. It titled, ‘THE WARFIELD: Tales of Blood, Sweat and Metal’ and it’s Part One and Part Two”.
On the current Seattle (and Pacific Northwest) metal fans: “You know, the one thing I about Seattle fans that I will say, the shows re always packed and people stay from the first band to the last. You don’t get these clicks where the first band plays and fifty people leave. The second band pays and another fifty people leave. The third band comes. A hundred people are gone already. That doesn’t happen here. People stay all day and night, from beginning to the last note played and In really love that about the people up here”.
On Chris Cornell [SOUNDGARDEN, TEMPLE of the DOG, AUDIOSLAVE, solo], his passing and what he meant to his fans: “I had an opportunity to talk to Chris a member of times over the years and you know, I was just as shocked as anybody because there ere no warning signs. There were no red flags. There was nothing that said that that this man was depressed or whatever his reasons were. I still really don’t know why he took his own life. So it was a big shock to me”…..”It’s OK to like all genres of metal. It doesn’t make you any less of a [metal] purist. You know, to just lump Chris Cornell as grunge is a disservice. What he was was a great artist and had a beautiful voice. He had fans all over the world, of course. Chris was a nice guy”…..”The day he died or a couple of day after, we all went to Seattle to the memorial and I just remember there were just thousands and thousands of people there. You can just imagine. You would almost think that all of Seattle was there, like when Kurt Coabin committed suicide also. It was a big hit to the [Seattle] community. A lot of people in tears. A lot of beautiful memories being shared”…..”Any time of of our brothers in music falls, the metal community, at least here in Seattle, is solid. We really are a family”.
On entering into the radio broadcasting field: “When I first started out, I was strictly a musician and had been in like eight bands all throughout the eighties and early nineties. Well, I burned out somewhere around 1991 and put my microphone down as lead singer, and I just thought to myself, ‘Well, I’ll be back in a few months’. Ten years later, I finally picked up the microphone. Ten years had gone by since singing, but in between that time in those ten years, you know, music is my life. I live, breathe music. I love to write it. I like to perform it and I love to do it in front of people who in turn like to listen to music who can appreciate what artists do. And I had to have music in some capacity. Well, since I was in a funk for those ten years as far as performing, I decided that I wanted to go back to college and that’s fine. But what do you want to do? What do you want to go to college for? Well, I was interested in radio and television broadcasting, so that’s what I went to school for. I started out at COLLEGE of SAN MATEO in San Mateo, California, and then I went to FOOTHILL COLLEGE in Los Altos Hills, California, for a total of four years, and that’ where I had my very first radio shows. And even back then, Marc, I was pretty good at it. I had a natural talent for it and I was also taught by some the best people in the industry at the time. I was taught by a television announcer who worked for ABC at KGO television in San Francisco, Channel 7. I was taught by a newscaster there that had been in the business his whole life and I was able to put together a show called the ‘GRIDLOCK POWER HOUR’ [3:00PM -7:00PM PST]. Why I called that is the time that I was on the air was from 3:00 to 7:00 and of course, 3:00 to 7:00, everybody is stuck in their car. So would broadcast from the local colleges there, FM, because back then we didn’t have the Internet, and that’s how I got into it’.
On his radio DJ influences: ” I used to listen to KVHS [broadcasting from Clayton Valley High School in Concord, California] all the time (when I was living in San Mateo, California). I could barely get it in because it was scratchy and far away, but I could still get it just enough. And I was really intrigued because they played the kind of music that I wanted to play and I could I identify with the energy and the passion that some of these kids had as they were perfecting their broadcasting skills. That is kind what go me interested in it”….”There were many DJs in the Bay Area that were great. My favorite was Dennis Erectus. I would listen to him all the time. And of course, later on, HOWARD STERN was simulcasted in San Jose, San Francisco. And I would listen to him on K.O.M.E. (98.5 FM San Jose)”….”Nikki Black, another DJ and good friend of mine. I loved what she would do, too. There were many great DJs in the Bay Area and a lot of them did have a play in spiking my interest in wanting to go into that field”…..”I appreciate the love and the people that are with me on this whole ‘THRASH-ZONE’ thing”.
Describing being a part of the Bay Area thrash scene during the 1980s: “First of all, Marc, if you remember the eighties, then you weren’t having a good time [laughs]. Man, We used to drink so much back then, We would do the beer bongs and all that. So there’s a lot that is a little foggy and hazy”…..”THE STONE, for me, was the place to be. I practically lived at that place. I was there damn near every weekend. It was either THE STONE, or THE MAB [MABUHAY GARDENS], ROCK ON BROADWAY. They were all on the same street, across the street from each other. You could have METALLICA playing at THE STONE, EXODUS over at THE MAB, and then upstairs might be DEATH ANGEL. It was just the coolest of times. The vibe back then was a brotherhood because we knew we had something special, we just din’t know what it was. But we knew that something was happening and It was exciting. I don’t really remember too many people having feuds, but it did happen. You’r going to be at odds somewhere down the line with somebody, but there’s a lot of egos. A lot people to deal with. But what I remember really though was just a lot of people helping each other and it’s almost similar to what Seattle is like today. I get that same vibe in Seattle today that I did in San Francisco in the eighties, when all that was going on”.
On growing up metal-head in the eighties: “You know what, Marc? I wouldn’t trade, like everybody wants to be young again (?). But I LOVE the fact that I grew up in the eighties. I was there to witness a whole movement. One that not only inspired myself, but thousands of people, and spawned hundreds of bands from just the people that were my friends that I would just go to shows with. We didn’t know that we had something special back then. Back then, we didn’t even really know what we were doing with thrash. We were pissed off. We needed something to do besides getting into trouble. We would play as fast as we could, scream as loud as we could and everybody would just mosh”…..”Stage-diving. What was this??? We don’t know. In the Bay Area, that’s where it all started. And I was among the first wave of thrash metal during the early eighties myself’.
On his good friend, vocalist Steve”Zetro” Souza [EXODUS, HATRIOT]: ” I said to him one time, ‘Remember that time when we saw AC/DC and Bonn Scott and you sure saying that you wanted to be Bonn Scott?’ And he was like. ‘Yeah! I remember that!’ I’ m like, ‘Well, remember when you said how important he was to you? You are my Bonn Scott’. And he’s like, “What [laughs]?!’ And I’m like, ‘Dude! You are my favorite singer!’ He is, by far, my favorite singer. I love his voice AND he’s a great guy! Whenever people speak ill of him, I’m like, ‘Well, that’s not the same person I know’, and I’ve known him for a long time”.
On hanging out at the infamous METALLICA house in El Cerrito, California: “That was the Hell House, man (laughs) You would see like EXODUS would be there all the time. The guys in VIO-LENCE once in a while…..It was like a brotherhood of people. Pretty wild”…..”What was it like? I’ll tell you what it was like. It was drunken debauchery at its’ finest (laughs). )And) I would see like Bayloff snoring on the couch, passed out, or you know, some girls doing favors for the guys in the back room and all that kind of stuff. It sounds like a story, but it really happened [laughs]. And of course, there’s a big, long-standing joke amongst all of us on the inside knew. There was this one girl that James Hetfield was banging, but he didn’t want all of his friends to know about. Her name was Aedna. If you ever get to talk to Hetfield, mention Edna, ’cause he’ll still remember”.
On reading underground metal publications back in 1980s for the most recent metal news: “Back in 1982-83-84, you got your information from METAL FORCES and KERRANG. That’s what everybody did. KERRANG had all the coolest bands. They were covering VENOM. They were doing DIAMOND HEAD. They were doing all these killer bandS, and then , early IRON MAIDEN. All this stuff. That’s where you went to when you would want to read about METALLICA, because In those days, even though METALLICA was from the Bay Area, no one was really touching metal as a genre in those days. At least not on than the scale that it is on now and it’s funny, Marc, now that thrash metal has been around long enough now, that technically, you can call it ‘classic rock’, classic metal, because anything over twenty-five years old is considered classic”.
On some of his favorite metal journalists back in the day: “Steffan Chirazi [KERRANG!!], of course. I think he is is still writing today. He was one. Everyone in San Francisco knows of Ron Quintana [METAL MANIA]. He is synonymous with K.U.S.F. He is the one that brought ‘RAMPAGE RADIO’ to San Francisco and eventually all over the world and I think Ron still doing that that to this day. Those guys were big players ’cause everyone read those magazines and everyone paid attention to ‘RAMPAGE RADIO’ because they were the only ones who played our kind of music”
On the lost art of cassette tape trading: “In those days, and I know you knows this very well, Marc, and this is more for the youngsters out there. We did a thing called tapere-trading because that’s because that’s how you had your music passed around. We had to put it on cassette, because that’s all we had. This is before before CDs, and you would get this really raw, rough sounding demos. Some of them would sound horrible because they had been recorded so many times down and it didn’t sound that great but it didn’t matter (laughs). And it’ s kind of similar to people file shearing, except now it’s instant. In those days, you had to look forward to getting that cassette in the mail and you would return the favor by sending that guy a demo. I remember DESTRUCTION,. The band DESTRUCTION from Germany. I was corresponding with Schmir back then, and he sent me the ‘Sentence of Death’ demo and in return , I sent him my ORIGINAL SIN demo. It would take like weeks and I would look forward to it in the mail like, ‘Yeah!!!’ It’s not like now where people are just lackadaisical because it’s so instant and so easy to do now”.
On going the independent route in the beginning as opposed to trying sign with a an established, reputed major or independent record label, being that he has been both a musician and a member of the media: “My honest feeling today is I think you should do it yourself. Now the reason why is because all the tools are there for people to make a home studio with PRO-TOOLS and all these things and your music, if you know what you’re doing, sounds great! Now if it was say twenty years ago, thirty years ago, I would have a different answer. It would be you’d want to get signed because that was the only way that you could get your product out there and distributed. Now today, when a band records in a home studio or whatever, they are in complete control and they have creative license to sell their product as is. They gain all the money back themselves. If you’re signed, then you have a contract and you have to sell so many units, and when I say units to those who aren’t in the record industry, I’m talking about record sales, they’ called units. If you don’t sell up to five thousand units at least, you’re going to be in the hole. You’re going to owe record companies lots of money. How are you going to pay it back? Well, a musician gets trapped. What they do is they sign over their publishing rights. Everything! They don’t even own their songs anymore. And that is why I don’t think signing to a major label, TODAY, really is a good idea. I think you should go independent. I think you should do it all yourself. Use all social media avenues because now you can reach anyone, anywhere in the world. You can get your albums sold instantly like on CDBABY and BANDCAMP. It’s a whole new thing”.
Some advice to fellow people in the metal media (particularly newcomers), including the importance of your keeping word and honor: “First of all, if you want to be successful, don’t take shortcuts. Do the right thing and take your time and do it the right way. Now what is the right way? Learn (!) about the craft that you want to enter into. I went to college and learned how to work on a million dollar board, because that’s what we had in those days. We didn’t have the Internet. But as the Internet started getting bigger, I, like everyone else, had to change with the times. My advice is when you’re tying to book your guests, sometimes you can talk directly to an artist, because these days a lot of bands answer their own pages. But if you really want to get the big guys, you have to go through a PR company, a publicist [pause] sometimes and what you have to do is contact those people and quit trying to bother an artist that has these people to do these things for them. The reason why there are publicists and PR companies and things like that is because all we want to do is focus on music. I can’t focus on music if I have to constantly look through my calendar and see who I am talking to who, where, when. It becomes burdensome. So, remember that when you’re trying to get a guest”…..”My advice is to learn what you’re doing. Maybe even go to school like I did and that way you can learn marketing skills, how to do things in a more professional manner. Always keep your professionalism there. When I talk to these people, I talk to them professionally”…..”Keep in touch with your local scene. Pump up your local bands, because every band that’s out there that’s huge, is somebody’s local band”…..”Keep your word. If an artist comes to you ands says.. ‘Look! I’m going to give you a song that nobody has right now’. I get this all the time. They’ll send me a demo track and they’ll say, ‘Please don’t play this on the radio’. It’s just for you because I trust you’. What you then do is you keep your word and your honor and you don’t play it on the air as much as you would love to because no one else has it. To the artist, it’s not ready yet. they just want to get your opinion because your opinion matters. Also, keep your word when people say, ‘I’m going to tell you something, but it’s between you and me right now, and when I’m ready, to release it publicly, I’m going to come to you first’. That’s another thing. You have to bite your tongue. When I its all ready to come out, who do they come to? They come to me because they know that I keep my word and I don’t say what I promised I wouldn’t say, I wouldn’t play what I promised I wouldn’t play until it was ready. You do that, you get credibility and once you get credibility, you’ll get respect. When you get respect, you become successful because people will come to you for the exclusive. I always get ‘THRASH-ZONE’ exclusives that no one else gets. I get it before the local radio stations here, I get it before anybody else in the world”…..”Don’t get caught up in these petty feuds and pickings sides. Who cares what people are doing behind closed doors. You know what? We all got our shit we do. Just love people for who they are, and if you don’t like somebody, you don’t have to be around them. But don’t talk shit and don’t start feuds. Don’t join in on it. Just kind of appreciate everybody. And I’m telling, if you have that mentality going in, more like than not, you’re not going to be caught up in a whirlwind of shit”…..”I don’t understand people bashing each other. We’re all doing the same thing, where we all have the same goal, which is to be a successful as we can be. Everyone’s in it for different reasons, but everybody wants to be successful at it. One guy wants to be a millionaire. Want guy just wants to get laid. One guy just to get away from his wife a couple of nights a week. There are various reasons why people play music and it’s ok, whatever your reasons are. The last thing we want to do though is bash each other. That makes no sense to me. I get caught up in shit just like everyone else now and then, but I’ll tell what you need to do when that happens. I’ve written about this on often on Facebook because it’s a pet peeve of mine. Toxic people, when they enter your life, you can pick them out. You may not see it right away, but when you finally figure it out. ‘Hey! This person’s no good for me’. Whether it be because they’re on drugs, whether they have a lot of drama, whatever the reason. When it creates havoc in your life and havoc in your household, they need to go. It kind of leads me to something. I’ve had to let people go off of my show for reasons like that. I love helping people get their start. A lot of people come to me and say, ‘Hey, Billy. I have this idea’, or’ I want to get into broadcasting. Can you help me?’ My answer is, ‘Yes. I’ll help you’ As long as we have everything worked out like what your intentions are and where you want to go with it. I’ ll let you in on ‘THRASH-ZONE’ and let you be a part of it, but at some point, you have to fly from the nest. A lot of people’s heads get swelled up. Maybe they’re not used to the attention. Whatever the reason. When I see things like that happen, or they become toxic, they got to go”.
In closing: “I want to tank all the people that sponsor ‘THRASH ZONE’ , too many to mention right now, It’s a long list. Their all friend and musicians from all over the west coast. They give tickets away, They give merchandise away. They help with equipment and I love each and everyone of them. They are very important to the show. I want to thank Wayne Roche, owner of KOUV radio, for believing me and giving me a shot when no one els would and look where we are today. I want to thank all those people and I want to thank your listeners, Marc. Thank you very much for listening to Marc and check him out on A DARK UNITED FRONT. It’s a great web-page on Facebook. You can also see me on Facebook as well. Billy Boldt. I have various pages and group that you can join”.
Be sure to visit the links listed below and remember to listen to ‘THRASH ZONE’ with DJ Billy Boldt!! Cheers, ya rivet-heads!!
Billy Boldt – Thrash Zone | Mixcloud
Billy Boldt Presents Thrash Zone – Home | Facebook
Billy Boldt Presents Thrash Zone | ReverbNation