Forgotten Steel 11/01. German metalzine featuring an interview with Rob and Greg.
1. Which year you got infected with the METAL-virus and what was the release?
GREG: My Monkees infatuation (see #2) didn’t last too long before I started getting into the Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, and Cream. Rob and I met in 7th grade and instantly became friends. He and Jerry Fogle and Pat Galligan (who later joined punk band The Angry Samoans) decided to start a band to play Beatles songs, and I think the only reason they got me was that I had an amp. We called ourselves Titanic. Three guitars plugged into one 15 watt amp and Rob with just a snare drum and hi-hat trying to play Beatles songs…I wish I had a tape! Anyway, Rob and Jerry and I wanted to play heavier stuff like Cream and Mountain, so we left Titanic to sink, and the three of us formed Cirith Ungol in 1972.
2. With what age did you start singing/playing an instrument and what was the reason to do so?
GREG: I started taking piano lessons when I was around seven or eight due to parental pressure. Then I saw the Monkees (!) on TV and I knew I had to play guitar. Either that or tambourine! I got the tambourine first………………..
3. What are your 5 all time-favorite records?
GREG: It’s hard to pick just five: CAPTAIN BEYOND’s first, ANGEL’s first, BLACK SABBATH-Heaven And Hell, SCORPIONS-In Trance, HARD STUFF-Bullet Proof, MONTROSE’s first, Y & T-Earthshaker, MASTERS OF THE AIRWAVES’ first (and only), BE BOP DELUXE-Futurama, STRAY DOG’s first, BLUE OYSTER CULT-Tyranny And Mutation. Sorry, I went to eleven.
ROB: Mine would be MOURNIN “NIGHT SUN”, LUCIFERS FRIEND #1, QUEENSRYCHE “OPERATION MINDCRIME”, RUSH #1, BLACK SABBATH “MASTER OF REALITY”, STYX “EQUINOX”.
Tell us the 3 last records/CDs you bought, that really thrilled you!
GREG: I’ve been buying a lot of stoner/doom type stuff lately, like the new Nebula and Roachpowder albums. My favorite new CDs are Pete Way’s (UFO bassist) solo album, which is like a harder, punkier UFO. Pete can’t sing his way out of a paper bag, but he’s got attitude! I also like The Quill, a Swedish band who sound like Badlands with Jon Lord on organ, and the new Cult album is great, much to my surprise.
ROB: I actually don’t buy records or CD’s but Greg and the record company send me some from time to time. I really liked Riots last album.
5. Please give us a discography of all bands you played with and all your releases and about how many copies each title were sold!
GREG: That’s easy. Two bands: Titanic and CU. Titanic did not release any albums (believe me, you wouldn’t want to hear it, anyway), and CU released five, including our new Servants Of Chaos 2CD set. The first four albums have sold in the range of 20,000-25,000 copies each.
6. Looking back: Which of your releases do you like the most and why?
GREG: Frost And Fire and King Of The Dead are my favorites. KOTD is CU’s classic. The production is 100% heavier than on Frost And Fire. I thought the songs on One Foot In Hell were not quite as good. Of course, I’m partial to F & F, I just wish we could have gotten a heavier sound on the album, but we were on a very limited budget and we were all still learning how to use the studio. The sound I imagined in my head was much heavier.
7. And which the least/why?
GREG: Looking at the album as an outsider, I think Paradise Lost is a very inconsistent album. It has got some of the best stuff CU has ever done (The Chaos trilogy) and the worst (The Troll and the truly vile Go It Alone). Even though Jimmy Barraza is a fantastic guitar player, I feel that he lacks a certain spark of uniqueness that made Jerry so great. And I really prefer Tim’s higher pitched vocals on the earlier albums.
ROB: I have to agree with Greg, although he was luckily not in the band “Paradise Lost” was like a nightmare I have never awaken from. We were totally screwed by the record company and the producer took away all of the control and I think destroyed the entire project. If you listen to the version we did of “Fallen Idols” on the new CD I think you can get a feel for what the entire Paradise Lost CD should have sounded like. The sad part of the whole sordid affair is that Restless never meant to do anything to promote the record at all, so I think if we could have made the CD the way we wanted it probably would have been more successful and we would still be together today. Restless to this day refuses to license the record for who knows what reaseon even though at least 3 different companies have shown an interest in re-releasing it!
8. Did your band record songs that have never been released? Please give us the song-titles and a short description!
GREG: I don’t know where to start! We have at least 20 songs that have never been properly recorded. Route 666, Flesh Dart, Brutish Manchild and Shelob’s Lair come to mind, all typical Ungol songs with odd riffs, plodding rythmns, pretentious lyrics, and over-long solos (ha!).
ROB: How about “Show You All”, Tight Teen”, “Half Past Human, a Quarter to Ape”,
“Crack of Dawn”
9. What was the highlight of your career?
GREG: I can’t remember the highlights! The best things were coming up with a new song and playing it together for the first time, playing on stage for an appreciative crowd, and meeting our fans. The worst things were dealing with greedy promoters, club owners, and some of our rival bands.
ROB: My highlight was opening up for well known bands and blowing them off the stage with our incredible wall of sound.
10. Tell us a funny story around your band from the past!
GREG: There was the time Richie Blackmore came to see us play at the Starwood club in L.A., and one of our roadies spilled his beer on Richie’s head and all over his nice velvet jacket. Richie wasn’t too pleased!
11. Are you a metal-collector?
GREG: Yes, much to my wife’s annoyance!
13. How big is your collection (LPs, CDs, Demos)?
GREG: I have around 1500 CDs and still have around 300 LPs. I’ve been gradually replacing a lot of my old LPs as they are reissued on CD.
14. What are your ten most valuable records from a collectors view?
GREG: My ten remaining sealed copies of the original Frost & Fire LP on Liquid Flames Records! I’m not sure how valuable they are, but some of my other rare metal / hard rock LPs are: MASTERS OFTHE AIRWAVES, BULL ANGUS, HEAD OVER HEELS, GOODTHUNDER, STEPSON, TIN HOUSE, BLACK SHEEP, LEFT END-Spoiled Rotten, HIGHWAY CHILE-Storybook Heroes, and SVT-No Regrets.
15. Vinyl or CD: what do you prefer and why?
GREG: I like the convenience and capacity of CDs, but I really miss the artwork on LPs.
16. What indescribable great question have you never been asked? And what would your answer have been?
GREG: Q: Would CU like to be the warmup act for Black Sabbath’s next world tour? A: Sure, why not! Or: Q: Would CU like to be the warmup act for Metallica’s next world tour? A: F**k Off!!!!
17. What is the current status of the band and what is planned next?
GREG: We are downhearted and our ranks have been decimated but our spirits will not despair! With Jerry Fogle gone we have lost one of the greatest unheralded guitarists ever to walk the earth. But between Rob and Tim and I there is still enough chemistry to forge new metal.
We have just released “Servants Of Chaos” on Metal Blade, 2 CDs with 31 tracks spanning 1978 to 1991, almost all of them never previously released, and are busy promoting that. If “Servants Of Chaos” generates enough interest, you could hear from us again…
The being called Ungol is dead, its resurrection is doubtful. But heed it’s teachings oh faithful, for on these memoratic disks contain, the wisdom of the ages, and by your iron fists, the horror, of false metal be extinguished.
As you now join the swelling ranks of the Legions of Chaos, together we will drive before us, the cringing herd of False Metal, crush their spineless lackeys, and purge the world of their mutant plague!!!
Visit our web site: Cirithungol.org All photos by Greg Hazard ©
Thanks again for your time! Your answers will be released in the Webzine of FORGOTTEN STEEL with a link to your homepage and your email-address. Would be great if you could have the answers ready until 01.10.2001 !!