Ripper is history now for quite a lot of years, please help us to get
some more impressions and information about the band's actice days.
When, where, why and by whom was the band founded? How old were you back
then and in what other Bands have you played before?
created in the minds of Sadie Paine and Animal Axeman(Rippers original
drummer) in the mid-70's...They went through 2 or 3 guitarists before
they placed an add looking for the "right" guitarist...They had a list
of requirements a mile long, down to the smallest detail of what they
wanted in a guitarist...I met all of these requirements and then
some...One of the lines in the add said "...if you love horror and
rock-n-roll"...I called them and told them that I would audition if they
would promise never to use "that" term in my hearing again...I told
them, that if this all works out, it will be METAL or nothing, not
"rock-n-roll"... They agreed and from that day on we were a "metal
band"... This was 1980, I was 22...Before that, I would play with anyone
just to keep from getting a "real job"...Rock, disco, country/western,
easy listening, R&B, hell, I was even in an Elvis tribute
band...Musically, I hated most of that stuff, but I'll have to admit,
the Elvis gig was a lot of fun...This guy looked and sounded just like
Elvis and the women would actually cry and faint during the show...What
a trip...The band I was in when I auditioned for Ripper was a "party"
type Van Halen kind of band, which I also hated, but like I said before,
it was better than working for a living...All of the Ripper guitarists
before me had lame guitars and cheesy amps...I walked in with expensive
Gibsons and Marshall stacks and just blew them away...They looked as
though they were auditioning Tony Iommi...
bandname "Ripper" have a special meaning? Who's idea was it and why have
you chosen it?
Sadie Paine came up with the name long before I joined the band...I
think she just thought it was a cool name...It could have been inspired
by the Judas Priest song on "Sad Wings Of Destiny" but I really dont
know for sure...Gene Simmons(Kiss) once told Sadie that "you chose that
name because I play a Ripper(Gibson) bass"...Sorry Gene, get over
yourself...Its is a powerful name for a metal band though...She was
pretty original in her thinking, not one to ride on the coat tails of
someone elses ideas...
were the first days like? Was it a hard way for Ripper from a newcomer
act to an established part of the metal scene? What problems and
difficulties did you have to face during that progress?
first days of Ripper after I joined were fun and difficult...They had no
songs when I joined, just ideas and ability...I was writing songs and
lyrics continually, each one better than the next...They were blown away
with my song writing ability and the fact that I could crank them out so
fast...By the time we recorded our 4 song EP, I had already written and
completed 4 to 5 albums worth of material...All of the established bands
of the Houston music scene in those days laughed at us and thought were
were a joke, they literally hated our guts...We approached everything
like a hungry band trying to make it rather than a bunch of Eddie
VanHalen clones trying to party and get girls...They all wanted to be
big fish in a little pond and we wanted to rule the world...That was the
difference between them and us...Once we started building the band and
rehearsing, word got around and no one said anything anymore...Then it
was all "hey, how ya doin, Ripper right ?" and I was saying, yeah mother
fucker, Ripper, right...Nothing but posers and ass kissers, the lot of
It was a
sheer pleasure seeing the scared looks on their faces as they stood in
the audience with their arms folded while we blew the meat right off of
their bones with a sheer wall of Metal Marshall Power...They were out
there with their spandex and their teased hair and Ripper was on stage
with blood, fire, bombs, smoke and a stage full of equipment just
ripping the jugulars out of their throats, full of fury and power, one
song after another, all original, no covers, a full 2 hour concert with
theatrics and mayhem...Those assholes didnt know whether to scratch
their watches or wind their asses...We just took over...
there any special relations between Ripper and other 80s US Metal acts?
For example, have you shared the rehearsal room with some other band or
organized concerts together, etc?
the beginning, because of our reputation, no other rock bands in the
area would book with us...We couldnt even secure an opening spot on
anyone elses bill...We were forced to get the bookings and headline our
own concerts...After awhile other bands were at least willing to open
for us because of our growing popularity, it suddenly became cool to be
associated with Ripper, even if they hated us...Justice was served on
their hatred for us because our fans would just crucify our opening
acts...Everything from untying their shoes, to unplugging their stomp
boxes, to unmerciful heckling and finally a drowning chorus of boos
after their songs...There were alot of pending appearances with acts
more established than ourselves that always seemed to fall through for
one reason or another, with Dokken, Twisted Sister and Ted Nugent, to
name a few...
your first recording? The only album I've heard so far is "And the dead
shall rise", but I've also heard about a demo tape. Were there songs on
were not on the LP? If yes, what were the titles? And, was it the only
Demo released by Ripper, or have you had more Demos?
only released 1 demo, a 4 song EP, which ended up being side 1 of the
album...The only other legitimate Ripper release was when "Death Awaits
You" appeared on Metal Blades, "Metal Massacre 8"...If there was
anything else, or any live bootlegs, we never knew about them...
you released your only offical release: the "And the dead shall rise"
LP. It came out via Iron Works. What was it like to release an own vinyl
album? Are you still proud of it?
bittersweet...I mean, we were proud of the release, but that whole album
was actually a band financed demo...We recorded that for less than
2K...Iron Works was just willing to release what we had already paid
for...What we intended to use to get a record deal actually became our
debut release...I would have prefered to have spent alot more time and
money on the project...We were turned down by every record label you can
think of, their sentiments being much like those of the bands that used
to hate us...
But yes, I
am still very proud of that album...The songs were good even if the
production was not perfect...Even Bill Aucoin, the famous manager of
Kiss said that he could not take a risk on a band with our image...
you got your deal with Iron Works? And what do you think about their
work? Where they a good label for Ripper or a bad one?
Iron Works was the only label at that time willing to sign us...They
were always unavailable for comment, and we never received a penny in
record royalties...It was as though we had no record deal, so we never
darkened their doorstep again...They never even told us that they were
going to release picture discs and special color vinyl pressings, and
now I hear that they have released that album on CD...
the songs? Which ones were your faves? Why?
love all of the songs on that album, with perhaps "Sinister Minister"
being my favorite...In my opinion, that song contains my best singing,
screaming and guitar playing, a song that was a blast to record and
perform live...My 2nd fovorite would probably be "Halloween" for similar
came out not only in ordinary black vinyl, but also in golden vinyl and
as picture disc. Do you know how many copies of each edition where
I have no
idea how many of those were pressed, released or sold...As I said, we
were kept in the dark and informed of nothing concerning record
sales...I do know that there were enough released and sold for us to
become known in Europe, especially in Germany...I learned of the picture
disc and other vinyl pressings on your website...
your LP is quite rare. People pay prices from 50 Dollars (black vinyl)
up to 250 Dollars (golden vinyl) for it. What does it feel like when you
see, that even more than 15 years after the release, people are still so
curious about Ripper that they pay such high amounts of money for a copy
of your album?
I'll tell you, words cant express the happiness and gratitude that I
feel knowing that there are people out there who love and appreciate our
work, especially after more than 15 years have gone by...The price that
the product demands is astounding because I had no idea it was in such
demand, or that it was even out there to be had...I learn something new
every day about the "Ripper/Europe" relationship...I wish I was there to
enjoy it with you...For now I guess I'll have to admire and dream from
afar...Please let it be known how much I appreciate it all, especially
to the German fans..
come to another point... Ripper had a great Horror image. Who's idea was
this? Where have you gained inspiration for this? And was this image
present from the first day on, or have you started with this later?
behind the concept of the image was definately Sadie...I mean, we were
all inspired by the images in horror movies and Kiss growing up, but it
was me who joined Rippers identity, for it had long been established
before I came along...Kiss wore grease paint and played
rock-n-roll...Ripper wore latex prosthetics and played heavy metal...The
similarities end there...We were musically inspired by Sabbath, Priest,
Maiden and Accept, to name a few...It was crude at first, but it
improved as we went on...We eventually had 2 full-time make-up artists
working for us...We had to make plaster casts of our faces and create
our individual character looks on the plaster images of our own
faces...This application was done with clay...After this step, molds
were made from those and thats where our onstage appearance was
born...The facial pieces were in constant production...One application
was only good for the length of a photo shoot or a concert...It was very
uncomfortable but it looked cool and our fans liked it...We went through
alot of trouble to look as scary as we sounded...Our entourage consisted
of a manager, a booking agent, 6 roadies, 2 make-up artists, 2 licenced
pyrotechnicians and various other visual effects people...We had our own
truck, filled with equipment, but we hired our soundman and his PA
system...All of our performance earnings were divided by the manager
among all of these crew members and that was it...We were getting 2K per
show and these were just club dates that seated around 500 people per
Ripper's live shows? Have you often played live? With what other bands
have you shared the stage? And have there ever been any live
recordings/bootlegs from your Gigs?
headlined all of our own shows and we never had the oppertunity to share
the stage with anyone known...If there are any live bootleg recordings
out there, Im not aware of them...Id like to hear one though, if one
does exist, because we kicked ass live...If you heard us live, then you
heard the "real" us...
about the visual aspect? Have you made the Horror image a part of your
live shows? Did you
have special clothings, stage decoration, etc?
live shows included everything I mentioned earlier and then some...We
had a huge airbrushed backdrop, chemical foggers, flash pods, concushion
mortars, bones, blood, spider webs, fire, a wall of Marshalls, all live
and in color through a concert PA system...Our clothing was the same as
we appear on the album...
lyrics were very obscure and eerie, too... according to you, what role
and importance do they have? Are they as important as the music itself?
lyrics are very important...Especially when a song is created around
them...But no less inportant when lyrics are applied to a completed
piece of music...The content sets the mood and tone of the whole
compisition, especially when you believe in what you do...The lyrics are
just another extension of you...If you are just writing lyrics to fill
the void, the fans will know it...They expect a good effort, and I feel
that we gave them that...Ive heard some artists say that they never
listen to their own music...Thats just not true...Every artist tries to
create music that they would enjoy listening to also...
when have Ripper splitted?
My time in
Ripper was from 1980 to 1990...Youll never know how difficult it was to
keep Ripper going...Each time a member was fired, or left on their own,
that person was nearly impossible to replace...During my tenure we went
through 4 drummers and 3 other guitarists...Sadie and I were the only
constants in that 10 year period...It was a major undertaking to expose
every poser and wanna-be to find the real deal...Simply finding one that
could do it was hard enough, but he had to believe or he was passed
finally made it out of Texas and were living and rehearsing in
California where we were being courted by a record label or two...We
were on pretty good terms with Metal Blade Records and on the virge of
signing a new deal with them...Had that happened, we probably would have
survived...Before we could secure the deal, Sadie and I were on our own
again...After 10 years of this, that was the final straw...I had carried
Ripper on my back long enough...We moved back to Texas and started the
search for members all over again, and after many more disappointments,
the members done after Ripper? Have you and the other guys continued to
make music? If so, in what bands?
can only speak for myself in that reguard...I have since lost all track
and contact with the other members...I have no idea if they are dead or
alive but I hope they are all doing well...The last I heard, Sadie was
married and living in Houston...I have no idea about J.D. or
Johnny(Death)...I have continued to write and I have 2 different
directions I can move in at this point...I can either do a Rob Graves
solo project and record and release the songs that were intended to be
on Rippers future albums or I can focus on the new music Ive been
writing for the last few years...I can assure you, one or the other will
be happening soon...
you still into contact with any of the other Ripper members? Or have
your ways parted after the split?
for Sadie and I, we were so burnt out on the whole thing that we went
our seperate ways and lost all contact...
our ways have parted...I wish them well...
do you have for the future? Will you form a new Band and release new
material somehow in the future?
we speak, I am sitting on a goldmine of new original material...I love
the music and Im very excited about it...I feel that it will go over
well and I cant wait to record and release it...From 1990 to 1997, I got
out of music...Now that Im back, I find that I havent lost a step...Im
actually a better player than I was before...The time off was very
Original LP is quite hard to get, what do you think about a rerelease?
re-release would be cool and Id like to do it...I would just like to be
the one in control of it this time...Im thinking of starting my own
label and if I do, I will re-release the Ripper album myself...That way,
it will go where it needs to go and I will know about it...I wont have
to worry because I wont burn myself...
would ever be a rerelease, how important were bonus gimmicks like extra
tracks, gatefold sleeve, clored vinyl, new artwork or things like this
those things are cool, but I dont think Id do that until the initial run
of the album was over...I would make the collectors editions very
special, colored vinyl, picture discs, different covers, etc...But the
production of these items would be numbered and limited and they would
not be over priced...Those lucky enough to obtain them shouldnt have to
pay a fortune for them...
you're still a part of the Metal scene, aren't you? Do you still buy
records and visit concerts?
not a part of the scene as far as collecting and going to concerts, but
then again I never was...I mostly write, rehearse and record...I am as
dedicated to the new stuff as I was to Ripper...I'll just try not to
repeat the things that ended up derailing Ripper...I still have my
favorites but I only buy what I have to have...
the Metal scene in your area? Can you name us some promising newcomers,
which are worth to check out?
me, the most promising are the bands that are already well
established...I dont know of any new metal bands making a splash, to me,
the new bands coming out these days seem to have lost the art for killer
double-bass drummers and lead guitar...Everyone seems to be drop-tuning
and grunging about...Maybe Im just a throwback to the old days...Im sure
though, that there are some out there who are carrying on in the fine
metal tradition of the past...
All I can
say is that Id rather listen to Yngwie Malmsteen than Creed any day...I
miss the metallic precision and virtuosity of the big name metal from my
day...As long as Metallica, Anthrax, Priest and Slayer have a say, there
will always be true metal out there...I know there has to be more out
there than just those...Im just a little out of the loop...
give me some Top 5 lists of your...
...current favorite music albums:
1st...Balls To The Wall/Accept(1984)
2nd...British Steel/Judas Priest(1980)
3rd...Bridge Of Sighs/Robin Trower(1974)
4th...Among The Living/Anthrax(1985)
5th...Master Of Puppets/Metallica(1985)
6th...The Dungeons Are Calling/Savatage(1985)
7th...Rising Force/Yngwie Malmsteen(1984)
8th...Spreading The Disease/Anthrax(1984)
9th...Ride The Lightning/Metallica(1984)
10th..Stained Class/Judas Priest(1978)
11th..Heaven And Hell/Black Sabbath(1980)
12th..Black Sabbath/Black Sabbath(1969)
...all time favorte Horror movies:
...all time favorits Horror Monsters:
1st...Mr. Barlow(Salems Lot)
it! Thank you very very much for the interview! It was so cool for me!
Now the last words belong to you!
Thank you Tobi for your kindness and generousity...Has beens like me
dont get many chances to tell their story, let alone to knowledgable and
sincere people like you...Like I always say, its better to be a "has
been" than a "never was"...I almost made it. hell, maybe I still will...