EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MUNCIPAL WASTE’S TONY FORESTA TALKS TO METALSUCKS ABOUT THE FATAL FEAST, FEASTING
At this point, I don’t think Municipal Waste really needs an introduction. But I’m going to write one because otherwise there would be nothing to read before the jump.
With an energy and sense of humor that rivals Andrew WK x4, the Richmond, VA natives and their thrash/punk partying have been going strong since 2001. While it’s always interesting to learn about the factors that go into a working, touring, successful band, or the process of recording a new album, some days you just want to talk about food. As their latest album is called The Fatal Feast, it seemed only natural that lead singer Tony Foresta and I discuss all the food that goes into a working, touring, successful band. After an amusing start where I was instructed to leave a horny voicemail to an unanswered call (I tried to comply), we had a lovely chat about the dangers of tacos.
The new album is called The Fatal Feast, so let’s talk about food! I haven’t had lunch yet and I’m thinking about food. What’s the best and worst food you’ve had on tour? Or ever, for that matter?
Yeah, I haven’t eaten yet, either! I’m hungry, too. I’m having taco night tonight! My friend is coming in to town and we’re gonna make tacos.
Oh, I had taco night the other night. I’m a brilliant chef — I sliced my hand and ended up in the ER — but the food was good! A lot of blood, though.
That’s digusting. OH! Have you had the new Doritos Taco at Taco Bell?
No, it looks foul. But I do kind of want to try it.
It looks disgustingly amazing. I want it. But here let me try to think of the worst food I’ve ever had on tour. I know what it was! In Iceland I ate rotting, rotten shark.
It was so bad, it tasted like a ball of earwax.
Was it… supposed to be rotting? I mean, is that the actual delicacy or were you just served bad shark?
Yeah! Yeah! It was some kind of delicacy and it was awful. Earwax with salt. Everyone was like, “Oh, while you’re in Iceland, you have to try the shark!” But man, that was the worst thing I ever ate. Not even on tour, just the worst thing I ever ate. It was all stuck in my teeth for like two days, too.
Got to have that delicious seafood aftertaste.
Eurgh. And then this one time we were on tour — and we didn’t apply for this, I don’t know of someone did it as a joke or something — but there was this press release that went out that was like, “The following bands are sponsored by Taco Bell,” and we were on it. We were like, what? We got hundreds of dollars in Taco Bell bucks! And we were on tour and it was just like the “Hallelujah!” chorus was going, all “Ahhhhh!!!”and we were so stoked because that’s a lot of food. But it ended up being kind of a bad thing, because we’d be tipping bartenders with Taco Bell bucks. We’d ask if they’d like Taco Bell, and they’d say “Yeah,” and we’d just be like, “Here you go buddy, have five dollars worth of Taco Bell!” And we’d have Taco Bell every night and it was bad, it led to some weird stomach stuff happening the next day. For weeks. That was a great tour.
Besides Iceland, what about other places have interesting food abroad? Eating is my favorite part of traveling.
Man, eating internationally! It’s like Eastern Europe is really cool, and other places in Europe as well, like France, they’ll just set up a full dinner for you. Like a family style, huge, several course meal. It’s amazing. One time we were in Croatia, and we had one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. It was right before a show, and I don’t like eating before I play, but I couldn’t help myself, I ate everything! Then I played like shit because I was just, bleeargh [vomit emulation commences].
You have to go to, like, Greece and Turkey. They just kill you with hospitality and meat. It’s glorious. I want to go there so bad. Like, you have no idea. We’ve never gotten an official invite to play there and we’ve been all over the place but we haven’t had a chance to go there yet. I really want to go. And they loooove metal there.
They really do. They also have a thriving bootleg market of metal band shirts and other merchandise. Last time I went I definitely saw some Municipal Waste stuff, so you’d be greeted pretty enthusiastically! They never make the stuff if there aren’t fans to buy them.
Yeah! The Lamb of God dudes were over there and one of them texted me a picture of a Municipal Waste shirt. It was a huge pile of them, hah! They were just being sold at a mall there and I was like, “AWESOME.”
I have a great Iron Maiden shirt showing Eddie wrecking the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. It is so fake and so awful but hilarious. Not bad quality, either. Especially the Municipal Waste ones. All the colors were bright and the actual colors and nothing was misspelled.
Great, if people want to rock our shit, that’s great!
Anyway, back to food. I read somewhere that you guys held an eating contest? What was that about, what went down? Did anyone vomit?
[laughs] Back to food! We didn’t really know what it was. We thought it was just a meet and eat where we’d hang out and eat burgers and meet people. And then we get there and they’re like, “Oh yeah, you guys are in an eating contest, you have to race to eat the fastest.” But it ended up being really fun. My friend owns this food truck called Grill ‘Em All. I’ve known him for years and he’s done really well with this metal-themed food truck, and it was a good day. Just hanging out and eating burgers. I got my ass kicked, though. This kid just annihilated everyone. I cheated, I got like smaller burgers, and the kid still beat me. I’m just not a speed eater. I love eating, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t eat fast, I guess.
Well, we should probably talk about the new album a bit. What are some of your thoughts on it?
It’s long! It’s like the longest record we’ve done, but I’m really stoked on it. I’m really happy with the way it came out. It’s coming out on April 10 and I can’t wait to see the LP. The vinyl is a pop-up like a children’s book and I can’t wait to see it. I still haven’t gotten one yet…
I’ve only seen it online and I really like the artwork. Do you guys have a special person you always go to or is it someone different every time? Because there’s a similar style to all your album artwork and it’s ridiculous and awesome every time.
Oh no, we have different people. Artwork’s really important to us, because when we started, all the metal albums were really shitty. They were like CGI and photoshopped horribly! And you know we started eleven years ago, and every metal album was doing that, and we were like, “Ew, this SUCKS.” We actually got Ed Repka to paint the album cover [for Hazardous Mutation] and from then on kept at it. We try to switch it up, to get someone new to do one every album, but we did have a friend of ours, Andrei [Bouzikov], do a few of ’em, like The Art of Partying. I like this cover, but I’m not sure it’s my favorite. The Art of Partying album cover might be my favorite. We like them to be over-the-top and crazy and like horror movie posters, you know.
That’s why I like them! And I totally get what you mean about the shitty artwork. When I was younger and just getting into metal, it’d be the albums with the coolest covers that sucked me in. I judged by the cover even though you’re not supposed to do that…
No! Yeah! You’d check out an band because the album cover was cool! I don’t want to shit on anything, but I mean, you look at [Maiden’s] Eddie stuff that was coming out back in 2000-2001, even some bands from the label we’re on now, and it’s all ridiculous. All this computer animation stuff — eugh. It was awful.
So, a bunch of my friends are really huge fans and bugged me to ask you some questions. Some are relatively normal questions, some are just silly—
Okay, good! If you’ll just bear with me here’s a pretty straightforward one: was it hard starting out in Richmond, VA, where there was more of a death metal scene more than thrash?
I don’t actually — I don’t know if there was that big a death metal scene in Richmond, except for, like, Lamb of God, if they count as death metal? Nah, it was easy because we’re punks, man, we came up from the punk scene. Before Municipal Waste started, I was setting up punk shows, hardcore shows, metal shows, everything. I was booking stuff in Richmond since the early-‘90s, well, mid-‘90s. But yeah, I’ve been part of the scene for a while so it was actually easier for us because everyone knew us. We’re all jokesters and had been around for a while, well at least I was. The other guys — we’ve had a few members —but we were all just Richmond kids, so it was easy there but it takes a while to get your band known in the world. That’s all hard work and touring but Richmond was cool, we started playing house shows and that’s how it was for us.
You’ll be starting a tour with GWAR and Ghoul soon. [The tour has since begun – get dates here. -Ed.] Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah! I went out with Dave Brockie recently and things got crazy! But yeah, we’re having a big benefit show for Corey [Smoot, late GWAR guitarist] and all the proceeds go his wife and that’s sort of kicking off the tour. It’s going to be great, we’re friends with all of them and it’s kind of like a piece of cake tour. Three weeks with a bunch of dudes we hang out with already.
I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be at the Boston show and it’s going to be ridiculous because you’ll be playing in a theater.
That’ll be a great show, every time we play Boston it’s insane. Is it a big venue?
It’s not small but it’s an actual, sit-down-and-watch-a-nice-play, theater. That’s the only time I’ve ever been in there!
Oh wow, it’s gonna get trashed.
That’ll be amazing.
You played The MetalSuckfest last year. How was that for you?
It was weird, it was right in the middle of our time off, and that was the first time we played together as a band in a while. We were just writing and recording new shit for almost a year, but that was really cool. We had a good time and New York is always a good show.
Okay, last but not least, the silly questions.
Cats or dogs?
I’m a dog person. Dave Witte is a cat person. Dave has like eighteen cat tattoos and just got a gigantic back-piece. He’s a die-hard cat person.
Oh my God, he and I need to be friends.
I’m a dog person, I love dogs. If I’m staying at your house on tour, I’m sleeping next to your dog.
Your favorite monster truck?
I like Gravedigger. There’s this one really shitty one El Toro Loco, or something? Whenever I’m watching monster trucks, I just keep watching that one and cracking up because he looks so crappy! But yeah, you gotta like Gravedigger that’s an easy one.
I think I’ve tortured you enough, so any last thing you’d like to add?
Thanks so much and thanks to MetalSucks for all the support over the years. We all really appreciate it.
Municipal Waste have just announced a summer tour with 3 Inches of Blood and Black Tusk. You can get dates, plus hear another new Waste song from The Fatal Feast, here.