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A Dirty Dozen with KYRIAKOS “CHARLIE” TSIOLIS of AFTERMATH – November 2018

| 26 November 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Chicago based Progressive Thrash Metal Band AFTERMATH has released the official lyric video for “Smash Reset Control,” off of their upcoming LP, There is Something Wrong.” We get vocalist Kyriakos to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The new record is an 11 song concept record called There is Something Wrong. It’s about the system that controls us. Not the political puppets on the left or the right, but the real forces that control everything.  It has a running theme through the songs and interludes.  It is throwback to the way albums were in the 1970’s and 1980’s where and when every song mattered.  There are a ton of things you will hear the more you listen.  There is a message that is there for you to uncover through the lyrics and the interludes. We included an intro and outro to have the listener find and hear things after multiple listens.  You will hear guitar parts that aren’t obvious at first.  It is a headphone record for sure.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I got into music like so many kids growing up in the 1970’s because of one band – KISS.  They were bigger than life back then.  The makeup and stage shows were the perfect combination to reel in young impressionable minds.  It’s all their fault.  I remember seeing Kiss for the first time in 1976 and thinking this is what I want to do when I grow up.  I was an Ace fan, I wanted to play guitar. Most of my friends loved Gene, never thought he was that cool.  Man was I right about that fucking asshole.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Like I said it was Kiss at first that made me want to be a musician.  That lasted for a couple of years, but when I first heard Van Halen’s Women and Children First – I was blown away. The music was heavy and raw.  The attitude and energy and of course Eddie made me forget Kiss.  This was it in my mind. They were the greatest band I had ever heard.  Nothing came close for me. They got me into heavier music.  Then Iron Maiden came along and my love of heavier music kept growing.  By the time I heard Metallica in 1983, I heard James sing and thought I could do that.  So Metallica and Slayer made me realize I wanted to be a vocalist.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

This is a hard question to answer because there aren’t exactly any influences, but more like those I respect the most. I have been influenced by music not individuals. I’ve been influenced by records.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would call in the guys in the band.  Probably not the answer you wanted, but I love being in a band with them.  It feels right.  Now for the other answer.  I would pick Eddie Van Halen.  Having Eddie rip a thrash song would be amazing.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We started out as one of the first crossover thrash bands back in 1985.  We were so fast that people couldn’t believe we could play that fast and that I could sing that way.  In 1987 we added a second guitar player before we wrote and recorded our debut album and he played a different style. It became heavier and darker – way slower.  The demo that proceeded Eyes of Tomorrow and Eyes itself was a progressive thrash record.  The songs were complex and atmospheric.  We decided to blend those two style on the new record.  We went back to a four-piece and recorded a record that crosses styles. Most of our reviews throughout the years have said we really sounded like no one else.  We were compared to Coroner.  We actually wrote most of our debut before Coroner released their technical progressive stuff, so maybe Coroner needs to be compared to us.  But there has never been a comparison that made me “cringe”.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

You get to do something you love.  Most people go through life hating what they do. Anytime you can do what makes you happy, then you have succeeded.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Ray our drummer is a trained chef, but that bastard has never cooked for us. At rehearsal George and Steve always bring the beer. I bring the weed.  We have never done a singalong.  We are a thrash band, damn it.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I’ve never really been star struck. I say that because I have met some famous people and got no star struck feeling. You grow up thinking, man celebrities are so cool and then you meet them and think, man they ain’t that cool.  I’m sure if I met Eddie Van Halen or had met Freddie Mercury that would be cool just to talk about the music they created.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

The dream job is being in a band.  Never had another dream job. Another job I would probably enjoy would be being an A&R guy especially back in the heyday of labels.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There have been a few. We were offered a couple of independent record deals back in 1987/88 that we rejected because we wanted the bigger better label.  Looking at it now those deals would have gotten the band way more exposure and probably gotten us the bigger label.  We should have signed with one of those labels. Hindsight is 20/20 right?  We sued Dr. Dre for trademark infringement in 1996 when he decided to call his new label Aftermath Entertainment.  We had a federal trademark, which rare back then for bands, even big bands. You figure you have a federal trademark in music and that would be enough.  Guess what, it wasn’t. Money always wins.  Our judge was an idiot, he totally misapplied the law and ruled against our motion for a permanent injunction.  We could have appealed that decision, but we needed to post a million-dollar bond to appeal. Obviously, we didn’t have a million dollars.  So we settled with Dre and Interscope Records.  We got a record deal with Interscope.  Instead of releasing a thrash metal follow up to Eyes of Tomorrow, I decided to change the name of the band to Mother God Moviestar and record an album that sounded nothing like Aftermath. We could have released an Aftermath record on the hippest major label at that time, but I decided on principle to give them a new band with a record that wasn’t commercial and really had no genre.  Yeah that was a mistake.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Women and Children First by Van Halen. Like I said earlier that record meant the world to me.  I spent an entire year cranking that record during lunch between classes. My brother and I would run home and blast that record.  I would love to be there when it was recorded.  It is a perfect record.

AFTERMATH LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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