Just came across Ramming Speed and what to learn more about these guys? Then continue reading and drummer Jonah will enlighten you!
Please tell us first about how Ramming Speed came to life!
The band started in 2005 with most of the guys meeting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Kallen Bliss and Ricky Zampa, our two guitar players were both studying at the school along with our first bass player Derek Cloonan. Derek introduced them to Pete Gallagher our singer and Jeremy Nissenbaum (drums), both who he had known from growing up on Long Island, NY. Jeremy was pulling in a more death metal direction and after the first tour he left to join the band Lecherous Nocturne. I'd been playing drums in local hardcore / metal bands for years and it seemed like a perfect fit to jump on board with the boys. Derek left the band this year to pursue a real life (girlfriend, college, job etc, things that are very difficult when playing in a touring band) so we recruited legendary dirt bag Phil Harwood from the bands Bones Brigade and Coctopus. Its been a long 4 years and we've already done seven tours and hundreds of shows all around the States and Europe.
Why did you choose the name Ramming Speed?
There's an American sketch comedy show called Mr. Show that we're all big fans of. We were all drinking and watching it at a friends house after a gig a few years ago and there's an episode where this couple turn on their TV and there's a gay porn on called Ramming Speed. It seemed like the perfect name for fast metal band that doesn't take itself too seriously. I've heard from kids that thought it was taken from Army Of Darkness or Animal House, both of which are perfectly acceptable, but in reality its from a fake movie about two dudes banging each other. Way cooler.
You are based in 80's thrash metal, but also have other sound elements. What bands have influenced you? Which bands are still inspire you?
Obviously thrash is the main piece of the puzzle, but we're all really into punk, hardcore, grind, NWOBHM, classic rock.. all that shit finds its way into the music. Our two guitar players and our singer do most of the song writing. Kallen (guitar) is really into raw hardcore and dbeat stuff like Skitsystem and Disfear, Ricky (guitar) is really into Terrorizer and Napalm Death, and Pete (vocals) writes most of the death metally sounding riffs you hear now and again. Our new bass player Phil also plays in a 70's rock band called Coctopus and he's all about sneaking in the rocked out bass lines. Outside of our sound, I know we're very inspired by the Black Flag attitude of touring until you go insane and saying fuck it to everything else. We're obviously a metal band, but have done everything DIY / punk rock so far, playing almost exclusively all ages shows when on the road and booking everything ourselves. We just signed to Candlelight Records and its weird for us suddenly being on real label with people lending a hand. So far so good!
The album is called Brainwreck... Do you feel you are brainwrecked? Or is this title aimed at somebody else?
Touring as much as we have been you find your life starting to crumble at home. Girlfriends leave you, you're fired from jobs, kicked out of your apartment.. all that shit. Sometimes you wake up in morning swearing and holding your head in your hands like "what the hell do I do with my life". Answer: Get in the van and keep going. Besides general depression and anger, a lot of the ideas for the album and art came from the movie Falling Down. Basically a normal guy just completely losing it and becoming a total maniac. The album title could be about anyone, but we definitely relate with the guy on the cover, haha. I also know Pete felt like it was appropriate given the lyrical content of the record. All the political topics he touches on are pretty depressing and fit well under the album title.
Some songs from your EP made it. Why did you choose these ones?
I'm glad you noticed! We recorded the EP in our practice space and felt like the songs were good enough that they deserved a better recording. The guy that recorded them the first time kept interrupting us to go sell drugs and half of the takes got erased from the computer because the power in our building kept shutting off. We didn't want to re-record the whole thing so we picked our two favorite tracks. They ended up fitting really well with the newer songs and gave the album a good balance.
The songs vary from the more traditional Heavy Metal Thunder to Shane Embury is the Brad Pitt of Grindcore which is crossing the boarders to death metal. Have you ever had doubts that this is too much variety for thrash metalheads And why comparing Shane Embury with Brad Pitt? Some kind of a joke?
I think having variety helps us a lot as a band. There are plenty of throw back thrash bands popping up these days, but a lot of them seem to ignore all the other awesome shit that's happened with heavy music since thrash started. Everyone loves a good Maiden guitar harmony, and throwing blasts in there keeps it brutal. Its just more fun to mix it up. I think it makes the live show way better too by keeping the crowd on their toes. The Shane song is basically about substance over style. That dude has been busting out brutal music for years and years now, yet you open any large music magazine and the pages are full of these young kids with fancy hair cuts that couldn't write a riff if their lives depended on it. They sure do look pretty though.
Did you somehow tested the waters for Brainwreck live? Did the feedback you got at concerts convinced you that this is the right mix?
We did actually, we played the entire record on a full seven week US tour to make sure that everything was the way we wanted it. Kids were going ape shit at most of the shows so when we got home we made some minor tweaks and headed straight to the studio to lay it down on tape.
I think you played concerts nation-wide... But is there a thrash scene in Boston? Can you play live in your hometown Any shows at your schedule these days? Perhaps a small tour...
We play Boston every month or two, but its honestly not our favorite city for shows. We do much better in random places like Florida and Ohio. The metal scene is definitely growing though in Massachusetts. More local bands have started getting signed and it seems like more people are turning up at the gigs. We actually just came home from an 8 week European tour that had us hitting every country from Iceland to Poland. It was an amazing adventure but everyone definitely needs a break! We're playing with Memphis thrashers Evil Army in mid September during an off date from their tour with Down and the Melvins, and after that we're going back out on a full US tour in October with Cannabis Corpse (members of Municipal Waste and Battlemaster). We don't do small tours!
What can we expect next from Ramming Speed?
We have a 7" that is about to come out on Punks Before Profits Records and its definitely the best music we've ever recorded. We are all very proud of Brainwreck, but the newer songs are way leveled up. Kids can pick that up at Punksbeforeprofits.org. Besides that we are supposed to do a bunch of split 7"s this year with bands like ANS (Texas), Hot Graves (Florida), Battlemaster (Virginia) and Burning The Prospect (UK), but only time will tell which ones actually come out. We're going to hunker down to start writing our next full length pretty soon and hope to get into the studio to record it in the winter. After our Fall US tour we're going to plan a tour of the east coast (US) and Puerto Rico, before cementing plans to head back to Europe next summer! Busy busy busy. Look out for the re-release of Brainwreck coming soon from Candlelight records worldwide.
Vinyl is currently available from Brutal Panda Records (www.brutalpandsrecords.com) and a digipack version of Brainwreck from TDB Records (www.tdbrecords.com).
Sounds like Ramming Speed are on the way to thrash every city they come to... And that they are just started!