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Melanie and Jo listen carefully to what Piotr has to say..
Taken postshow March 11, 1999 in Lorain, OH

Note: This is a very nontraditional interview. I didn’t have to ask more then about ten specific questions; all the other answers were supplied in context without prompting. Piotr kept us on track and on our toes. Obviously he’s been barraged with lots of interviews and is a seasoned veteran of dealing with us press people which help his band out…

Part One …

MR: Okay, got it (the damn tape recorder) working. You’re Piotr from Vader; when did your band form and how?

P: We formed in 1983, so it was a long time ago. We had to play, and live, in an absolutely different reality in Poland, you know. At that time, it was completely different, compared to today.

MR: Cold war, right?

P: So, we had to wait.. To record our first demo, we had to wait until 1989, so that’s like five years. That’s a long time. The Ultimate Incantation was ’92-’93, and that’s almost ten years to record our first album. For the most part the songs were created in 1985 and 1986. We’re another death metal band that was born during the high days of death metal.  We just had to wait for our chance, for our day, you know? All the same, we’d still be like the same – like extreme metal. We’d still fall the same way.

P: <interject> If you have trouble understanding my english… it’s still developing.

MR: <laughs> Don’t worry about it! I’m not having any problems understanding you, and your English so far is better than about 50% of the (American) band interviews I get back. Especially if the bands type them. They don’t know how to spell, capitalize, or punctuate. They were born here and live here, too!  </interject>

P: So, where I was – we started as a five peice band. I’m the only original member left, from the original line-up.

MR: Didn’t you have a drummer problem? Didn’t you go through like three different drummers?

P: Yeah. Doc joined the band in 1988. After that, we recorded our first demo, Necrolust.

MR: There’s a band called Necrolust from VA I believe.. hey, what can I say? People like you guys over here! You guys are a big influence. I mean, nobody ever says “Vader sucks. I really hate Vader.” Out of all the bands I’ve interviewed and people I’ve talked to, I have yet to come upon that.

MR: <off track> I don’t know why there weren’t more people at the show tonight. (the crowd was quite disappointing. – ed.)

Jo: I think it’s because it’s a Thursday night, and the club is way out (in the middle of nowhere). (agreed – ed.) </off track>

P: I think it’s normal, like regular, our influence. It’s like, through the entire history of art, and the whole history of music, people can trace back to something else. Somebody influenced somebody else. I draw mostly from my emotions. I’ve also had my ‘teachers’. The masters – the bands that “poisoned” me, if you will. Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Saxon, that’s what I would say. It’s really hard to pinpoint – I can’t just do a brief story of my influences. Many, many, many things have happened and…

MR: It took so long to record your first demo. Why was that, the cold war or economic oppression or something?

P: It was just reality. There were no studios prepared to record a metal band, nobody that could think like a metal mentality, nobody that knew what was going on in the music. The first demo was recorded on a four track recorder, it wasn’t even the studio. There was no possibility to record, say leads, or separations. That was the difference. We had to wait. Then there was the other problem: it’s so hard to get CD’s, no CD’s, no albums, no analogue.. it’s very hard to get that stuff.

MR: So you had no media to put material on. (feeling dorky/sheepish, I shut up.)

PiotrP: It was absolutely out of reach in Poland at the time. You could get it, by trading, if you had family or friends (in the business).. That’s the way I started. Now you and I have friends from all over the world. The difference is now, these guys are in the “good” bands like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide.. It’s cool because we were born at the same time, in the same era.  It’s special to me, because it’s like ‘we could be like Iron Maiden’ or we could meet these guys. After years, it’s great – the possibility to even play the same stage as these guys. To see them, to play with them, to have a good time with them.

MR: Cool. So that’s one of your goals for the band, to play with Iron Maiden and Cannibal Corpse and such?

P: Yeah. They were just following their own way. Maybe if I had a chance, like in America.

MR: Capitalism at it’s finest.

P: Maybe it is because of capitalism. What I’ve learned is that, to record in the studios, you have to have money.. We’ve still got a problem (in Poland) because of lack of places like clubs and pubs to play. In Poland, the music scene is like – you can play in front of thousands of people and pack the place, or don’t play out at all! <laughter> Now it’s even worse in Poland, because of the christian church’s domination and all that bullshit.

MR: So are you banned in Poland?

P: No, it depends. You need to survive.. The underground in Poland is really strong, with really good bands. It’s (the) lack of promotion..  There’s not enough promotion at all. It’s worse in Poland than it is in America. Forget about metal. The underground exists, with the magazines and computers and radio stations, like this. In general though, it’s nothing, because there are many more people who need real metal, who are hungry for it. It’s funny – we’re guests in our own land. We tour all across the world, and then, there’s no place to play; we end up guests in our own land.

<Aside: The bassist Shambo has WARMIA tattooed boldly across the small of his back; this is apparently their hometown in Poland where they are still treated as “guests”. *sigh* – ed.>

P: We do play out, but not anything like a regular tour in 2 years in Poland. That’s a problem. Everything changes. Our shows were Piotrcancelled a few times because the bishops didn’t want to see us. No places to play.  Then we try to do something, even trying to get shows in really small clubs. They can pack probably a hundred people. No, they cannot ban us there. On the road, this is (basically) the only chance to play. We really need more places like this one. (the Flying Machine, in Ohio: a midsize club that can probably hold 400-500 people “elbow to elbow”, with a nice raised stage and decent lights. – ed.) You know, in Poland, in such a place as this, it probably would have been packed. You’ve got it (in America), but nobody cares. It’s a shame. This is what it seems to be, of course.  Each show is always unique. Things seem to be getting better and better.  Give it a couple hundred years..

<snip: Extended gripe about the lack of Cleveland “draw”>
P: It was “sorry”, that might be a better word. But – every show is unique.

MR: What was your favorite country or place to play?

P: I don’t have a favorite country. We like to play. We’re explorers. We like to give energy, wherever. Each show is different. I cannot tell you if this was a bullshit show – it was just different. There -were- people, and some of them wanted to see us. That’s enough for us. It’s our destiny to be here, so we like it. Since 1993, we’ve played like an average of 100 shows a year; so many shows! It’s really hard to find one or so that are our favorites with that many shows. <laughs>

MR: That’s like once every 3-4 days, since 1993! Jeez.

Jo: What do you think of touring? Like, what’s the best part?

P: Learning, talking. If you know more about the world, more about people, you know the mentalities, they change; they’re different. Those differences make the world interesting. It would be boring if people were all the same; flat. A waste of time to be here. You know more, so it’s more interesting.  I never expected to be like a fucking ‘rock star’. In the beginning, I never expected to be a ‘rich boy’ playing death metal. If any bands would start as death metal and expect money, they’re stupid and kidding themselves. Now, the situation for Vader is great, of course.

P: This is our job. We need to work, hard, for our money. It’s not big money, but.. It’s not an easy life. It’s a hard job. It’s not just onstage, on the stage – that’s just one side of the job. The rest is maybe more difficult. Everything you see.. we’re humans, so we all have weaknesses. I have to play, I have to do interviews, prepare for shows, create music, everything. It’s all together. We also need to find time to eat and sleep and do other things. It’s not easy, but it’s -my- choice. I’m happy, I can just put all of my energy into music. I hope it’s going to happen for a long time. Finally, someone discovered us!

MR: Yeah, finally people have started to talk <seriously> about you guys.

P: Really, we’ve never had serious promotion. Maybe it’s because of the labels, maybe not. Because, with the bigger labels, there’s always a kind of risk. At higher levels, something happens to the metal business. They expect money, big money. If you don’t sell something like 100,000 to 250,000 copies, they say “no way man”. You can get dropped. That’s not good! People believe in music, and we hope they believe in us. With guys like this (the band – ed.) it’s possible. Maybe that’s why we’re finally getting response. You’re going to have that lag in response, for fuckin’ 5 releases. If you’re good (a label – ed.) then you’ve got us. If not, see ya!

MR: So you like the label?

P: Well… even now, we’re on Pavement. Pavement is wonderful – one of the biggest in the business. It sucks though! Even if they think about big money, with no promotion even the best fuckin’ band will cease to exist. They give no promotion. If a bad, fuckin’ horrible band gets good promotion, they can exist (well-off. – ed.). I remember a time when people expected music first. Now they expect promotion first.

MR: They want rockstars! (term used in a derogatory sense. – ed.)

Jo: We heard you guys were rockstars. You’re totally not! No way.

MR: (laughing) He’s fucking nuts.

P: Well, we are! (laughs) I’m telling you that! (sarcastic; more laughter) Sometimes I can understand those guys, because it’s like a Docshock. One day, you’re a nobody. One second later, you’ve got big money and there’s like thousands of people that want to kiss your ass every day. There’s not many people I know that can handle that. It’s like, you are just one person, and there’s hundreds of different people that want to talk to you now, and touch you.. It can be a problem for humans. What would I do if I had a fucking million dollars in my pocket? I’d have like big pockets! <much laughter – ed.> I think it’s too late for me to be a rockstar, because my ass is already too fuckin’ hard from working, working hard, kicking onstage all the time. I’m not afraid (of money). It can help. It’s good if you can live with money, but better if you can live without it. You don’t need money to be happy.

<snip extended rant about spending, money, and general banter>

P: In America now, you have record stores where people bring a bag (to carry out their purchases). In Poland, the people have to save sometimes one, two months to buy one CD. It’s so expensive. The exchange price in dollars, in  Poland, is something like 4-5 to one USD. The price of a CD in Poland (retail) is the same as it is here in America. The “payment” (salary – ed.) in Poland is fucking tiny. One month’s pay in America, is sometimes what is a year in Poland. You have to work so long! I’m still talking like Poland is a poor country… it’s not really -that- bad, but it still has it’s problems. The CD’s and media are still really expensive. A really good salary in Poland is something like 200 (Polish dollars). A month. Hey, it sucks.

MR: I made 200 (using the little conversion scale) in one day, doing HTML webpages. You could do it too!

P: I’d have a private airplane by now! <much laughter>

Vader, lineup:
Piotr – vocals, guitars
Shambo – bass
Doc – drums
Mauser – guitars

This part was done later and is from memory:

MR: Okay, on the back of one of your albums, you guys were covered with red something or other; was that real blood? <sardonic tone>

P: No, we used mud, with red stripes around the eyes. It’s like a ritual (of some sort). We used real mud! (much laughter all around: this is a slam against “we use only real blood!”)

MR: About your album artwork – I really like it. I know a guy that has Sothis tattooed on his leg. (Mike Le Gros from Disinter – ed.).

P: That’s cool! Tell him we said hello. We are influential; what can I say? -shrugs-

MR: When did you first begin learning English?

P: In college (high school). Our “college” is like your high school. I studied it, and I was going to be a teacher, so I graduated (as a teacher) but choices, you know.. there was the band after all.

MR: <snip smart remark about how I knew that, having been to England> Well your english is still better than that of half the Americans I know.

Jo: Do you have any pets?

P: Cat. (Marked) like a tiger.. yeah, a tabby. I’d like to get a Norwegian Forest Cat, because they are so beautiful.