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Monthly Archives: July 1997

The following interview with S.O.D.’s Billy Milano was done by Jo at Peabody’s Downunder, Cleveland, OH, during July ’97.

I must say it was an awesome event to interview Billy Milano. We’ve been big fans of S.O.D. and their crunching sound for quite sometime. Billy was a very friendly, and very humorous person, and I enjoyed meeting and talking with him. – Jo

Billy: I am Billy Milano, chieftain rubberhead of the world…

Wonderful band!

I don’t know about that, but…

When did the band form and how?

We formed in 1985, at a CBGB’s show. It was the Cycles and Agnostic Front. I played bass for the Cycles, and Agnostic Front was playing… who I now manage… I was playing, and I’d seen these heavy metal guys out in the show, I had been introduced to them like briefly. “This is Scott from Anthrax, Frankie”… then I met two guys from Metallica, Cliff Burton and James Hetfield… and you know, we showed them the hardcore way. There were a couple of guys who didn’t like it, they had long hair, and weren’t with the clique of hardcore kids… So, we went up and started a fight with them, like “If you have a fuckin’ problem with it, this is our club and our scene, and you have nothing to do, you are living vicariously through us.” We live this, and that’s how it started. I heard them talking about starting a hardcore-styled band called Stormtroopers… no, the Diseased it was originally called. I said, “Really? Well, you need a bass player?” They were like “No, already got one, but we don’t have a singer. We don’t think the guy we got’s going to go onstage.” I said, “Well, look, I would definitely sing… ” They said “You’re a bass player, can you sing?” I said, “No, but I can scream like a motherfucker!” I really wanted to do this because they were going to go in and record, which I had not done until that point. I said, “But I ain’t singin’ for a fuckin’ band called the Diseased, cause I ain’t got one, and I don’t want one.” I came up with the name Stormtroopers of Death in about five minutes.

How many years ago was that? We played really bad bass and drums, we played S.O.D. songs…

That’s funny, we play really bad bass and drums, and we play S.O.D. songs too! (grins)

We liked you for a really long time.

(On local bands/scene) The band that opened the show tonight, the Stepkings, I manage that band. I love that band. They’re a great underground cool band. No record deal, just have their own CD they did, and released it through an underground label. I got them this show, but I have nothing to do with them and their business right now. I’m like, “Go out. You’re adult, go learn.” I’m not even chilling with them, they’re out hooking their own leads. I’m totally into the underground. You kind of have to serve the people who serve, you know? Have to resurface back into it.

What do you think of the scene in general?

It’s coming back. It always goes in circles and cycles.

So, like the cycle of 1990 is going to come back?

I think hardcore and punk are going to come back. It definitely is… we’ll see what happens. Ten years ago, what took ten years will take 3-5 years now. The circle is a ten year circle, but now it’s like three years. Every three years… it goes through a cycle. If you can get in, get yourself going, you’re in. If you miss the circle, you have to wait for it to loop. Look at Rancid! Rancid missed the hardcore punk scene. They’ve been around forever!

What are your influences, and how do you blend them?

Pizza. My influences are… being ‘real’. That’s my only influence. No band ever said to me, nor has there ever been a band I ever put on a record, that said to me, “this is going to be the influence of my life.” But I went to a hardcore show and I saw the attitude of what was going on, and that influenced me and my life . The end! (smiles) I’m not a little person like one of these fashion hoods walking around going, “yo, keep it real.” I’m always going to be me, I’m never going to change – I have my mannerisms and styles… it’s always going to be the same.

And everyone knows you…

And everyone knows me… as a rubberhead. (smiles)

What would be your goals for the band?

None. If I set goals for the band, I wouldn’t do it. It’s got to be spontaneous, on-the-fly, like the War Pigs thing tonight. We practiced the Slayer thing because we think it’s funny, but we did “War Pigs”… we didn’t practice that, we just did it. “Ode to Versace”, we just “did” that one. We literally have only practiced eight times in twelve years. We don’t practice for the tour because what’s the point?

Totally tight [band]. Wow…

By the end of the show, we might be a real band, you know?

Do you really have a new album coming out?

No, that was a joke. We have a tribute album coming out with like Marylin Manson, Pantera, Life of Agony, Deftones… plus unsigned bands – a tribute record. We’re recycling and giving back to the scene. The music scene, not a branch of it. We put like nine unsigned bands on it… even went to England, Germany and Belgium and got bands. We wanted to pick areas and regions where everyone grew up and knew the band. I mean we [S.O.D.] were a bar band. We weren’t even good and sold a lot of records. Almost a million records worldwide. So it influenced a lot of people. We are now trying to do a tribute to what attitude was. What it used to be…

What is your lineup?

Charlie Benante – drums
Scott Ian – guitar
Dan Lilker – bass
Billy Milano – vocal tones

And the occasional note on guitar!

Well, I play guitar a little bit. Actually, on my last record I played all the guitars. [On M.O.D.’s last record] The show was a little long, we played over an hour… a lot of lulls, downtime and talking. We had to play all of our songs because we only have a twenty minute album. That’s why we do the Bad Brains and the Cro Mags… and why we talk so much. The attitude of the band is what sells the band, we don’t want to just come out and play. We don’t want to be like [metal band], “this is of Satan Crunching maggots”… we want to say, “hey, if you like it we’re going to mingle, and if you don’t, get the fuck out!” We want to play. We play WITH the people, that’s the thing.

Hey, you grant people in fanzines interviews! This [Necrosis] isn’t some humongous professionally produced effort!

So what? Hey, we’re a fanzine band, that’s cool.

Do you have any funny tour/show stories?

None. Let’s put it this way, I don’t like the road. I think everyone knows that. I never liked touring. I like seeing people laughing and smiling, and having a good time… that’s the best story I can give you.

I suppose that would be a word of wisdom… ?

Wisdom? From me? Get out of here! You think? (huge grin) I think I’ve gotten back 100% what I’ve put into it. (band, underground) No matter what, I’ve never put myself above anyone – or beneath anyone for a matter of fact. I keep myself always accessible. I walk around, I talk to everyone – I do my thing. I was a kid in the audience once too. I saw bands that sucked but were totally cool, and I saw bands that were great but were assholes! It costs nothing to be nice. (There’s great words of wisdom!!! – Jo)

It’s like a lot of bands don’t recognize where they came from. They were all in our shoes at one time… like Metallica. They’re so huge now they’re totally inaccessible to the fans. It’s all gone to their heads…

There’s two different ways to care. I don’t like all the hype and hoopla. They don’t care about the underground because they were never really involved in it. They were in it for like five years, and for ten have been playing stadiums. We’re always going to be an underground band. We’re like a ‘bus stop band’ – we look like we’re waiting for a bus. Big tall guy, skinny tall guy, chubby guy, and someone in the Beastie Boys, you know? Party hardy band – we’ll always be. Twelve years later, people remembered our shit. I was up there going, “AH SHIT, AH… STEP ON YOUR SISTER… ” I didn’t remember [the lyrics]! (much laughter)

Yeah, like some of the death metal bands, you know they are not singing their lyrics! They write that stuff only for the inlay card, and then they get up there and growl.

I don’t know what that is. I made that same noise one day… barfing. My growling was in my guts.

Do you have any words of non-wisdom then?

I don’t know… “keep it real.” (fake tone and gesture) Don’t be a fashion hood. I don’t like that shit.

Thanks so much for taking your time and talking with us!

Thanks, my pleasure… hope you enjoyed the show!