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Exclusive! Kerby's Interview With Kreator Vocalist/ Guitarist Mille Petrozza

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Tuesday, October 21, 2003 @ 0:07 AM

ďExtreme AggressionĒ: Jeff Ke

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Mille Petrozza is a musician with an attitude and perspective that transcends the idea that thrash metal musicians are merely pissed off, riff-challenged melonheads. Instead, over the past twenty years, Petrozza has continually shown himself to be a man committed to playing the type of brutal, relentless music that has served as a necessary outlet for the frustrated minions who listen to Kreator through battered speakers and in dank clubs throughout the world. Milleís band occupies a singular place in metal that remains totally imperative for those who understand yet archaic and unnecessary for those who donít. Toiling in a hellish area far from the mainstream, Kreator has continued to produce an impressive amount of albums that have at times thrilled as well as alienated fans with their diversity. Instead of relying on successful formulas from the past, Mille and company have always sought to add new elements to their core sound with varying degrees of success.

Most recently, Kreator has released a double live cd as well as a dvd that chronicles their entire career through concert footage as well as archived videos. Both formats prove just how important and relevant the band has been to metal in general and to all those who still carry the torch even today. Standing at a specific juncture in his career where he is able to see backwards an incredible distance while still maintaining a focus on what is to come, Mille seems satisfied and enthusiastic about the future of his band--a future that will doubtlessly energize and invigorate all those who hear the call of their Kreator.

KNAC.COM: Was there something special about the Violent Revolution project that inspired you to record this live album and DVD? Or did you just think that this was a good time in your career attempt this?
PETROZZA: I think it was both. First of all, our fans have been demanding it for years. With modern technology, itís much easier to record live records. Itís not like how it was in the Ď80s, where you had to rent recording equipment and could only record one show. Now days, you can record as many shows as you want. We just thought that this could be very good and successful, so we felt that the moment was right.

KNAC.COM: How hard was it for you to come up with a set list given the amount of material you have to go through?
PETROZZA: We had the set list from the last tour, and then we added some new material. We felt we knew what our fans liked, and on our home page we asked what kind of stuff they wanted to hear on the live album. We ended up just changing around the set list a little bit and recorded most of the songs we couldnít get around like ďExtreme AggressionĒ and ďPleasure To Kill.Ē We also added some surprises to the new songs, and I think it worked quite well.

KNAC.COM: The last time I talked to you, we discussed the Internet and your relationship with the fans. Is asking for their input on the set list just another example of how you interact with the bandís listeners? Do you think it makes them feel more like theyíre a part of the process?
PETROZZA: Yeah, we could see their opinions right there. Once we release something, they tell us what they think. For me, itís more important than reading reviews. Most of the people who write reviews are also fans, but our fans that come to the page to communicate with us are really the important ones because they make such an effort to let us know how they feel. To me, itís great. This Internet thing really changed the whole vibe between us and our fans. Itís changed the way other bands feel and communicate as well.

KNAC.COM: Some definitely utilize it better than others. When you were shooting the fan footage for the DVD, what surprised you? Was there an experience that you captured that you werenít expecting?
PETROZZA: Have you seen the DVD?

PETROZZA: The biggest thing for me would have to be the tattoos that many of the fans have. How do you take that? Itís something thatís going to be on them for life. Iím amazed. I was looking for material while filming, and I wasnít really aware of what I was doing. I was just collecting material. I wasnít really thinking. When I did the editing, the editing manager was like, ďYeah, theyíre tattooing your logos and demons or whatever.Ē It really makes me feel strange because they take your idea and put it into their flesh, which means they have to wear it for the rest of their life. It just shows so much dedication. It just shows how strong the relationship really is between us and our fans. They are the most dedicated fans in the world.

KNAC.COM: How did it affect you to go through all of this footage and the old videos from the past which represents different stages of the band? Do you think the experience will be just as striking for someone watching it at home?
PETROZZA: Um, Iím not the kind who has a big party and all of the sudden comes out with all the old photos, old videos. Iím not like that. I live for now and look into the future and not back. I was forced to look back when I was doing the DVD though, and itÖ didnít really affect me. I was surprised how naÔve we were when we started out and how childish we looked. Everything just looked fresh. When you first start a band, it seems like everybodyís your friend until you figure out who your real friends are. Many times, people are only your friends because youíre making money, and we had to learn that over the course of many years. Itís nothing against the memories we got from the whole thing though. Every band gets ripped off, and there isnít one single band that didnít. The best thing about doing this for half of your life though are the memories you keep with you.

KNAC.COM: Itís funny you should mention the whole idea about there being some people you can trust and some that you canít because in the DVD, thereís a promoter who said that he hired you because heís a ďfan.Ē Then, he goes on to say thereís a big breasted woman that heís got stashed away somewhere for you. Did you go? Is it still a good idea to go cavorting around with chicks you donít know?
PETROZZA: Um, Iíve been there before. Itís not that exciting for me anymore. I preferóand this may sound boring to youóbut I prefer good conversation at this point. I have a lot of respect for female fans because itís great to have them around--especially in venues dominated by males. When I first came to the States it was all sex, drugs and rock ní roll. At that time, I was into that, but Iím not anymore.

KNAC.COM: It isnít like Kreatorís itinerary affords you a surplus of free time either.
PETROZZA: Yeah, really, when would you find time for all of that?

KNAC.COM: I would think it would be pretty hard considering you have to turn around and play another show the next night. In the DVD, there is also a fan imploring you to ďnever forget the streets or the struggle.Ē How important of a concept is that for you?
PETROZZA: Well, I still live in the same place where I grew up, but Iím not really the kind of guy that has strong bonds to old friends or whatever because many of them have just changed. As soon as you turn a little older than twenty, you lose contact with a lot of people, but the important ones are still there. Weíve all grown up pretty normal, and it isnít like we grew up in the ghetto or anything. There are just certain things that weíve experienced. We just made a decision early on that weíd rather play music than go out and fight people or do stuff like that. We arenít violent people.

KNAC.COM: The truth is that Kreator has produced many videos whichówell, arenít going to get much airtime in the U.S. Given that, what role has video played in the bandís career? Is it different in other countries?
PETROZZA: Yeah, here in Germany, they play about an hour a day of good videos and a couple of hours on Sunday. I think it comes and goes, and in Europe, there are always metal shows. It isnít always ignored.

KNAC.COM: If your community of fans never got any bigger, would that be okay with you?
PETROZZA: I think weíre big enough, man. I mean, for the type of music that we play, we have a great audience, and we can play decent-sized clubs over here. We also play at huge festivalsówhat more could you ask for? It isnít like we sit at home and wonder why we arenít as big as Aerosmith. Thatís just a different type of music, and those bands that made it real big are either nu-metal or have been around since the seventies. Back then, there werenít that many bands to choose fromónow there are over 5,000. Times have just changed. I think for the music we do, weíre really happy with the way things have turned out, and weíre still here. Weíre happy playing our music for our fans and there are more of them all the time. Itís amazing.

KNAC.COM: Were the sizes of the venues Kreator played as disparate as it appears on the DVD? For example, was the roof on the club in Croatia as low as it appeared?
PETROZZA: Yeah, well with the way the political system works in Croatia, they have a very hard time getting shows, so for us to play there at all was amazing. It was some kind of an alternative underground club that was just great. All these people that were packed into that club and you know, it was just a great show.

KNAC.COM: It looked like some of the fans were even hanging off the overhanging pipes. Is it more difficult to crack the US market or garner that kind of enthusiasm?
PETROZZA: I think it is because itís so big. Itís all about money there. I think the way record companies work over there is a lot different than over hereóitís a different market. You can still get the information about the bands though like through websites and homepages. At least you can buy the music online and merchandise for the fans who are there. The thing with America though is that you always have to be there. You always have to be present. Thatís part of the reason weíre going back on tour there.

KNAC.COM: Speaking of you coming back here, the last time we talked, you expressed an intense dissatisfaction with George Bush. Has your perception of the American leadership gotten better or worse since that time?
PETROZZA: I donít know. The information we receive and get is so filtered. Everything we know is basically what they want us to know. Thatís why I donít have a clue. I only see what happened and what is still happening. You probably know more being in the U.S. about the corruption and what things are really fucked up over there. I can only see it from a European point of view. Politics in general are very hard to understand, and itís hard to see the whole picture because you really have to question where it is that you get your information from what it is that you read. Donít believe the propaganda just because it is all over the US and Europe and all over the world. There are certain magazines and newspapers that just writeÖ propaganda. They put stuff in there thatís not true, and they want you to know and believe certain things. They create a climate of confusion.

KNAC.COM: Even though propaganda exists all over the world, do you think that England or Germany, for instance, still manages to get a clearer picture of whatís going on around the globe?
PETROZZA: Maybe, but who knows? You can go and click on some source of information where you can find something better than CNN or fucking whatever. I mean, when I was in the States, CNN was all was only concerned with what was going on in the United States. It just seemed as though American TV didnít care about what was going on in Europe or the rest of the world in general. Itís sort of a narrow view, so I really canít blame people if they canít find the right source. Itís tough to find good information too because sometimes you just donít have very much time to look.

KNAC.COM: How much misinformation is the result of our TV culture where people get off from work and jump on the couch and watch whatever is on at the time?
PETROZZA: I really donít know. I think some people just donít have a choice. Others just donít know any betteróor they donít want to know any better. Some people just donít care. Itís tough. I mean, what are you going to do? If you work like ten hours every day, and you come home and donít want to think, what do you do? You turn on the television. They just switch on the TV and look at whatever is on at the time. They are just really involved in their jobs. They donít have the time to look at things in a critical way.

KNAC.COM: Why do you think it is that so many countries are fascinated with the US? Japan, for one, is totally enamored with our culture.
PETROZZA: Yeah, there are great things about America. The entertainment that comes out of there is tremendous--Iím not talking about blockbuster movies either. A great number of the best in rock ní roll came from the U.S. Things like Star Trek and the Hulk are things that I was brought up with from the time I was young. Itís just cool stuff. What they donít see is that everything that we get from America isnít always good. Thereís also a lot of filler--a lot of films are bullshit. Maybe out of ten movies, two may be good, but people just assume that if itís from America that itís good, and sometimes thatís not the case.

(Photos from Kreator's official website)

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