The prolific Marc Rizzo recently took time out of his increasingly busy schedule before Soulfly’s London show to have a chat with us. Marc was kind enough to talk at length about his exorbitant amount of projects including Soulfly, Misfits, his solo work and why we should all stop asking him about that damn backpack…
OneMetal Soulfly are releasing their new album Archangel on August 14th. Off the top of your head what can you tell us about it?
Marc It’s the tenth record from Soulfly and for me it’s the seventh record. It’s a cool evolution and I think we’ve made a great record. Speaking for myself it’s got some really cool guitar stuff going on. The producer Matt Hyde worked with me on the guitar tones and everything; which really helped me dial in my tone really well and it’s definitely got some of my favourite leads on it.
OneMetal The first single ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’ is very anthemic and is definitely meant to be heard live. How indicative is that first single of the whole album?
Marc I’m still waiting to get a copy of the record…so I haven’t really heard it since we recorded the entire record but going off of what I remember from 6 months ago I think there are other songs on there that are even more intricate with more to them. That’s more the anthem on the record; the rest of the record is really in-depth with a lot of cool experimental stuff going on.
OneMetal You said earlier you thought it was an ‘evolution’. How would you say Soulfly has evolved from the last record Savages?
Marc I think we’re getting more groove-oriented again, our new drummer Zyon Cavalera, Max’s son, is definitely more of a groove-oriented drummer so the riffs have been getting more bouncy; going back more to the older sound. There’s still a lot of thrash stuff too…it’s the next evolution of Soulfly.
OneMetal Archangel has a few massive collaborations on it including Todd Jones from NAILS (on track ‘Sodomites’) and Matt Young from King Parrot (on track ‘Live Life Hard!), how was it working with those guys?
Marc That’s cool I didn’t know that! Again I haven’t got a copy of the record. I like those bands so I’m excited to hear what they did on the record.
OneMetal Last time you were in London you were at British Summertime Festival headlined by Black Sabbath. It seemed like the whole band was having a riot. How was that?
Marc That was pretty intense opening up for Black Sabbath and Soundgarden…all some of my favourite bands. It was an incredible day. Backstage you had Black Sabbath walking around, I saw Jimmy Page! It was like a dream like…what am I doing here? I never thought I’d be in the same room as Jimmy Page…it was insane.
OneMetal You’ve been getting even busier then you used to be. This year you joined the Misfits, who are even playing the O2 Islington Academy next week (August 1st).
Marc Yeah I’m missing those dates unfortunately because I have this tour booked out with Soulfly but I’m hoping at some point soon to do more shows with the Misfits because they’re my very good friends, they’re from my area in New Jersey, and I grew up listening to them. They are just one of my favourite bands and I’m hoping to do more shows with them in the very near future. We’re working on it to try and make it work out.
OneMetal How was your tour with them?
Marc I’ve only done one show with them, we did a Comicon in the Netherlands and it was incredible. It was like a two hour gig and I’ve never done a show that long. We played all the classics with new stuff and old stuff, it was pretty unbelievable. I’m really excited to do more shows with them so hopefully soon I’ll have some time to play with them again.
OneMetal It must be quite different to playing with Soulfly. It’s still pretty intense but I’d imagine it’s more a theatrical band.
Marc I mean it is and it’s more hardcore too. I grew up on the Misfits and they’re one of my favourite punk hardcore bands of all time. Jerry Only is a legend. He’s in his 50s and still rocking out, still kicking arse everyday and I have a really good time touring with those guys because we’re really similar; we like to work out in the gym, hit the weights for an hour before the show. That’s what I do anyway so we have a lot in common.
OneMetal You used to be a fighter didn’t you?
Marc A couple of amateur boxing fights.
OneMetal So you used to listen to the Misfits early on?
Marc Yeah, the Misfits were one of my biggest inspirations for playing music. It’s a completely different style but I love punk – I’m a lot more into old hardcore then later hardcore. I really like that old stuff from the 80’s. The Misfits were always my number one favourite band. Circle Jerks, Black Flag…stuff like that.
OneMetal I have to ask, how was it to put on the iconic makeup?
Marc At first I was wondering if they were going to make me wear the makeup and I was a little iffy about wearing it. Not to knock the guys in the band that wear the makeup because I think they look great and its part of the vibe of the band. I call it war paint, I don’t really call it makeup…it’s a different vibe. I don’t like wearing makeup at all. Jerry sat me down and said “you know we’ve got to do it and we’re going to give you a look”. And he’s right, I don’t have a look at all. I mean with Soulfly I just look like a typical kid on stage. So Jerry asked what I wanted and so I was like…if I’ve got to do it I’ll do it for you Jerry. So I asked for a devilock and he gave me a devilock for my bald head and made me look like the skull. At first I felt weird, I’d never done that before, but once I got on stage and the crowd was going crazy I felt like a completely different person which was kind of cool. I would never wear makeup for any other band except The Misfits because I’m such a fan.
OneMetal When you say you look like a typical kid on stage; I’d imagine that’s why a lot of people look up to you. Especially with your instrumental guitar work, you’re someone that people can attach to. You made it. Do you feel a certain pride in that?
Marc Thank you. I mean I just love to play music. I’m not into gimmicks or the trends…I just love what I love…instrumental guitar music first and foremost. I grew up on a lot of thrash and punk hardcore but for me it’s about guitar playing. My favourite guitar player is Joe Satriani but I love what Doyle did in the Misfits too, I mean it’s simple three chord punk rock and I love the guitar.
OneMetal Those are influences that you can see on your own record label, Phlamencore Records. You’ve got a new singles collection coming out.
Marc Yeah. I’m just releasing singles now because it’s tough with instrumental guitar music…it goes over a lot of people heads. So I’ve got three records out, two of them are on Mascot Records and Shrapnel in America. I still put the records out and I still tour on my own with my solo project but it’s tough trying to get people to come out for an instrumental guitar show. But it’s what I love and it’s my favourite kind of music – stuff like Joe Satriani.
OneMetal Yeah I mean the only instrumental band that has really been appreciated in recent years is probably Animals as Leaders.
Marc Yeah they’re incredible.
OneMetal You’ve got a new song on the singles collection called ‘Spectral Intensities’.
Marc That’s off of my newest recording I’ve done for my instrumental project which I recorded with my good friend Zeuss who produced a lot of my favourite bands, he did Soulfly’s Enslaved album and he was nice enough to want to record my new instrumental record. But I’m just releasing singles now because I have no label backing, no support at all from any label for my instrumental project. When I’ve got money to pay to have it mixed I’ll be releasing songs a couple of times a year on itunes…eventually I’ll put out a physical copy but I’m doing it myself so that could take time.
OneMetal I always think singles collections are a good time to bring in new fans but also for an artist to reflect over their work. Is there anything that you are especially proud of when you were creating the collection?
Marc Just, again, my favourite style of music is instrumental guitar stuff and I’m proud of those records. Probably my biggest highlight of anything I’ve ever done is putting out my first instrumental records on Shrapnel. I was such a fan of Shrapnel records and all their artists so when I got approached by Mike Varney to put out two solo records with him I was really honoured and it really made me work hard. It was really intimidating to be part of that label so I really started to woodshed a lot in the making of my first record.
OneMetal I mean you come from Ill Niño…that’s a pretty good legacy to have.
Marc Yeah, I mean that was my first band that got a record deal. Before Ill Niño I was just playing in local bands and was working a day job in my area in New York and New Jersey. In Ill Niño we somehow got a record deal, I don’t know how that happened but we just recorded demos and were just playing weekends and the next thing we knew we’d got a record deal. I couldn’t believe it, it didn’t make sense to me.
OneMetal Going back to the Misfits – there’s a new album in the works.
Marc I’ve recorded two songs with them so far. They’re still recording the record and I’m hoping when I’ve finished with this tour and I go home I can get right in the studio with those guys and continue recording. They’ve got some really great new songs and its going to be a great record; I’m just trying to coordinate my schedule. It’s difficult for me with Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and now the Misfits but it’s a good time because Max Cavalera is doing his side project Killer Be Killed and then he’s going to do the Metal All Stars so it’s a good time for me to do other projects too like with the Misfits.
OneMetal How much are you involved in the writing process of the Misfits?
Marc Not much because Jerry has always been the primary songwriter so he basically writes all his music and then they ask me to come in to record all the guitar parts. I’m doing solos on their records to which is pretty cool because the Misfits never really had a lot of leads. I’ve been doing more bluesy punk stuff, like Slash’s style with bendy bluesy stuff which I really like and they really want so I’m excited to do more leads on the record. It’s a cool direction for the Misfits to go into.
OneMetal With Phlamencore records, apart from the singles collection, have you got anything else on the horizon?
Marc Well I want to get all of the singles out of my new record and then I’m going to put that record out. The whole Phlamencore record name was just about my instrumental records because I just never got label interest. All the labels I’ve worked with over the years never really had any interest in supporting or putting out my records, which is fine, and so I put out my first instrumental record in 2003 on Phlamencore. Then Shrapnel approached me and we put two records out together but they weren’t interested in putting out a third one so I decided to put it out again myself under my own label. I’ll probably continue putting my records out on my new label. It would be nice to have some interest from a label but…I do it because I love it even if it’s not cool or hip but instrumental records is what I listen to and what I love so I’m going to continue to do it.
OneMetal I was looking at a lot of interviews with you…why the hell is everyone asking you what your favourite Football team is?
Marc It’s funny because I used to wear soccer jerseys, I mean it was the vibe of the band, but I don’t really watch soccer. I appreciate all sports but soccer is not one of my favourites. Even when we started out in Ill Niño we all used to wear soccer jerseys and they were all from South America. It was just the vibe. I mean Max started that with wearing soccer jerseys on stage with Sepultura back in the day. It was more just a stylish thing then supporting a team and in America no one really cares if you’re wearing a soccer jersey…they don’t even know what that is really. But here in Europe – it’s like gang colours. You can’t wear the wrong Jersey in the wrong city so I don’t wear soccer jersey’s anymore. I couldn’t care less about soccer.
OneMetal I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this. You have the world record for the number of spin kicks on stage. Who do you think is the most threatening challenger to that record?
Marc Well I don’t know how true that is. I don’t know, I don’t do it anymore to be honest with you. I may throw one spin kick per show if I feel like it but I took a break from it because the more I got into guitar playing…I mean when I was doing it during the Ill Niño years , the Nu Metal years when we were just playing two chords and I wasn’t soloing. That era was more about gimmicks, jumping around and looking crazy on stage. So that was our vibe when we started and that was just the way I was slam dancing at shows anyway; at least in my area that’s how everyone moshed. Now I just want to be known for my guitar playing. You’ve got to find a balance because the more you’re jumping around on stage your missing notes. When I went for a spin kick I’d be fucking up, I was hitting wrong notes and you can’t throw a spin kick and play guitar and be in tune. Everytime you land on the ground your guitar’s bouncing out of tune. So I’d watch videos and audio recordings, every time I did a spin kick I was out of tune. The guitar is not meant to be flying through the air! It’s cool when you’re playing punk hardcore stuff; I’d definitely be jumping around a lot more with the Misfits. Now with Soulfly and my instrumental project it’s all about playing tight. It’s important to me to put on a good show – play the right notes, be in tune, be in time. People are paying $50 to see us sometimes at shows and I want to put on a good show. I still want to put on an energetic show but I don’t do the spin kick thing anymore.
OneMetal It’s like the backpack thing isn’t it…I mean who wants to be known for that?
Marc Yeah that too, I mean a lot of people still ask me about the backpack but that was over ten years ago I stopped wearing it. I appreciate people are interested with things I’ve done in the past…but it’s 2015. I want to be known for my guitar playing and my instrumental records. I’m getting older now, I’m almost 40 years old, I don’t want to be known for things that I did 15 years ago.
OneMetal At this point, I think you’ve achieved that.
Marc Well thank you. I’m trying. I’m trying to evolve. To be better.
Soulfly‘s Archangel is available on the 14th August on Nuclear Blast Records.
Marc Rizzo‘s Singles Collection can be purchased through Google Play, Amazon & Itunes with links available on his website.