Date: June, 2001
Taken from: Abrasive Rock Webzine
Interview by: Mark Carras
Transcribed by: Sherri Carras
Interview with... Billy Milano
Mark Carras: Tell me about the "Oscar scandal" with S.O.D.
Billy Milano: I don't know. That's Scott. I don't have time for that bullshit.
Mark Carras: Would you call the event that happened with Warrell Dane a mistake, and have you guys talked shit over?
Billy Milano: I don't really get into it, but I'll say this… Number one, I was misled by the person that I was dating at the time, and led to believe that someone had forced themselves on her. For seven months, that's what built up in my head. The fact that Warrell got hit was definitely wrong. I'm not one-I mean with my reputation as being a bruiser, whatever, a brawler, you can't mention three times I've had fights that people know about, you know what I'm saying? I haven't had fights. I don't do it. It's just something that-it's a persona. Believe me, I can throw down if I have to. It was more of a persona than anything. What it really comes down to is-you know, it was a mistake. I shouldn't have hit him. But they were also partly to blame, and I'll just leave it at that. Since then we have-you know, the labels have kind of smoothed things over. That's it. I don't really think about it because it basically came down to "he said, she said," and at the end of the day the guys from Nevermore deserve the apology. They were definitely wronged, not by me, but by the person who I was with. Therefore, the apology is always there, you know. Whatever. I fucked up! It's part of life. You fucking make mistakes, and you learn from them.
Mark Carras: You're going to be the M.C. at what I consider to be the best metal festival ever put together, the Thrash of the Titans. What is the current lineup as far as you know, and why did S.O.D. pull out?
Billy Milano: Actually, we're working on getting S.O.D. there. Danny Liker is trying-he had prior commitments with that band he's in.
Mark Carras: Hemlock?
Billy Milano: No, The Ravenous. One of the many bands that he's in. The Ravenous. He's playing Milwaukee Metal Fest, and to be quite honest with you, it was a last minute thing when it came up, and we're trying to work it out. As far as we know right now, we'll be able to work it out, it looks like, and go play. The lineup is this: The original Exodus, the original Violence minus Rob Flynn-I don't know why he's not doing it, he's just missing-the original Laaz Rocket, the original Death Angel. Anthrax is playing, the original Heathen, the original Legacy-which is Testament with Steve Zetro, the original singer. M.O.D. is playing, the original Forbidden is playing, and the original Sadus is playing. And of course S.O.D. is playing.
Mark Carras: Quite the lineup, as far as I'm concerned.
Billy Milano: And I'll be doing the M.C., yes.
Mark Carras: Who will be the backup band for M.O.D. on this show?
Billy Milano: On what show?
Mark Carras: For the Thrash of the Titans.
Billy Milano: Oh, you mean who's playing with me?
Mark Carras: Yeah, who's playing with you.
Billy Milano: Simply put, two guys from Dying Fetus, Kevin Talley and Sparky, two guys who are slamming musicians, you know, hungry guys-I'm looking to jam with new people. And the guitarist from this band, Maximum Penalty, which is a guy more of my age. He does more of Rock! But he's old school metal, like Mercyful Fate kind of guy. I'm not trying to impress anyone anymore. I'm just trying to make music. And I'm pretty excited. I've jammed with the same core group of people for the better part of ten years. These are all new people I'm jamming with. I'm excited, you know?
Mark Carras: Will there be a new M.O.D. album, and what label, and will there be a tour?
Billy Milano: Yeah, there's going to be a new M.O.D. album. Funny that you say that because M.O.D., Method of Destruction, is going on the road right now in August. We're doing like a seven week tour in America. I felt it was time to change the band and do a new band, so the new band is going to be called M.O.D-"Milano's On Drugs." I'm going to come out and do-I'm going to do what I should have done in the beginning, which is have fun. I think people are going to respond with a little skepticism in the beginning. As far as the label, I don't really know. It may be Nuclear Blast. But, again, I think people will first take it with a little skepticism, and say, "Hey, what is this? Milano On Drugs? What is he saying? What is he trying to do?" And I think once the record comes out and everyone sees what I'm doing, people will be like, "Oh, this guy just wants to have a good time." There's a lot of shit going on with my management and my production, producing, and part owner of a studio. Believe me, it's a refreshing breath of air by going out and having a good time with this band. It's what I truly wish to do, and I think I'm going to be able to do it.
Mark Carras: Is there anything S.O.D., or you, feel is too sacred to poke fun at?
Billy Milano: Well, look, at the end of the day we're humans, you know what I'm saying? What we're really saying as we laugh at these people is, "Holy shit, we're going to be dead too, one day." You know, the question of mortality. I personally have a line that I would not cross. Everything is subjective, you know? And from that point, there are things that I would consider, that I wouldn't do, that I just think that, maybe aren't just in bad taste, but perhaps are anti-productive to what the true meaning of it was. I would never do the ballad of John Lennon for several reasons. One of them being that the guy was a champion for peace. And with all the shit that I say on my records, at the end of the day I just want everyone to have a good time, to get along. It's not about saying, "Kill these guys," or "Kill those guys," or "This guy's dead," or "That guy's dead." With John Lennon, it's a place I wouldn't go.
Mark Carras: So when you die, who should do the ballad of Billy Milano?
Billy Milano: Oh, we already did the "Ballad of Billy Milano," S.O.D., because if anyone's going to cash in on it, it's going to be me! I might be dead, but I have an estate. Let them get the money. Give it to my mom, whatever.
Mark Carras: So the "Ballad of Billy Milano" has actually already been done.
Billy Milano: Yeah, it's on the "Bigger Than the Devil" record. The "Bigger Than the Devil" record says, in my thanks, the "Ballad of Billy Milano, You're Dead," I actually have it recorded. It's in the can, waiting to cash in on it!
Mark Carras: So it's not on the album.
Billy Milano: It's not on an actual record.
Mark Carras: With everything being either death metal, black metal, or rap bands with guitars, do you think that the thrash sound that M.O.D. and S.O.D. were born out of will return in any form?
Billy Milano: I hope not!
Mark Carras: Really?
Billy Milano: Let me tell you something. The biggest problem with fucking people is that they're dogmatic. They should be pragmatic. Go forward. Take what you did and embellish it. Don't do it again. Why should I do another record of thrash-this is the whole thing of me changing the name of the band, and the premise of my band, with M.O.D., and "Milano's On Drugs." I want to be able to do whatever the fuck I want. If saying I'm on drugs, which is honestly a reference to me being like, "Hey, fuck it!" You got to be on drugs to do this kind of stuff, to have fun, to not give a fuck. You know what I'm saying? The same with the old stuff. I've seen Exodus a million times. Anthrax is living proof that you can't resurrect a dead horse. You know what I'm saying? You can putz around, and do what you do, and enjoy it for what it is, and have no expectations. Do I think that style of music will come back? I think there's a genuine market for established artists from that genre for a period of time. I think it will last a couple of years, and then it will just phase out. What it really comes down to is this: Is there a need for it? I don't think so. It's more of a state of mind and a period of time than it is an actual sound or style. It was all about the time period. You're talking mid-80's to early 90's. You're talking about a five year period in our lives that changed our lives. Why not just embrace what it was and move on, which is what I'm doing. I even had second thoughts about calling the new record M.O.D. Why should I do that? Why should I pigeonhole myself into being something I've already been? And there's truth in that. There's a lot of things that inspire me to do more, and I'll tell you what, there are a lot of bands that do this Korn-rap kind of stuff, rap stuff, and they do this Korn kind of stuff, and they all have their little place in the world, and I'm not adverse to any of those bands sticking around or being popular or being successful. At the end of the day, it's heavy music. That's what really matters. And Kid Rock-I'd rather listen to Kid Rock on the radio than fucking Back Street Boys. That's the truth!
Mark Carras: Are you still a band manager?
Billy Milano: Yes. I actually downsized my company to be able to tour. I work with my band, I work with S.O.D., I do all the office duties for the bands. I work with a band called The Turbo A.C.'S, who are signed to Offspring's label, Nitro. And I work with a band called Superjack in Atlanta, who are still unsigned, but are definitely developing to a point where they're going down a correct path. That's been a lot of fun, to develop something. They're going out on the road with M.O.D. with this other band, New Society of Anarchists, from Milwaukee, I'm actually going out with M.O.D. in America with two unsigned bands, so I can just go out and have fun.
Mark Carras: So you're no longer doing Agnostic Front, then?
Billy Milano: No, you know what, I'm going to be honest with you. A. F. and I have always had a respect for each other. I mean, we grew up together. I've known them since 1981, and I saw one of their first rehearsals-actually I saw their second rehearsal. Those guys are definitely in a position-they're doing their last record. I personally had a grievance with Epitaph Records. I think they're full of shit and they're hypocrites, and I just will not work with that record label. And A. F. decided to continue with them, and I just refused to work with Epitaph. No bad blood. Much respect as friends, and you know, brothers. That's just the way it is. When it come to friends, I'll be friends. When it comes to business, I have to be ethical, and I can't work with people who aren't-and Epitaph aren't-ethical people.
Mark Carras: Do you still work with Big Blue Meanie?
Billy Milano: Sure! I'll tell you a little story. I had a fire in my studio in '97, lost my whole business. We were able to consolidate business-our businesses-and get into a new studio in Jersey City-Reggie Lucas' old building. He did-Andy Wallace makes nineteen records in that place. Nineteen gold albums and five platinum albums, including INXS-Kick, and all of the Helmet, Sepultura-Arise, were in that studio. We were able to fanagle things and get the studio. It's been a slow build, but it's been paying off in the last year. I've been producing quite a bit. I produced a band called New Society of Anarchists, which I mixed up there. I produced this band called Scar Culture for Century Media, and I produced a band called Marauder, which you might know from Century Media. I have like four more projects lined up when I come home from touring.
Mark Carras: Are you part owner of that?
Billy Milano: I'm not part owner of it, no. What I have is gear and time invested in the studio. Basically, I bring work there, and I work there. I have a place that I feel comfortable in, invite my friends and family, I get treated with some exclusivity there, and some preferential treatment, and I bring friends work as a result. I actually have no monetary input into the studio. It's a self-run business that I am vicariously working through. I do have gear in there, and I do have time and effort put into bringing work into the studio.
Mark Carras: I saw a Sergeant D. doll for sale on the site. Was that a joke, or was that really for sale?
Billy Milano: No, believe it or not there's a doll, in Japan they made it. It's a soft rubber doll. I think they made 650 of them only. It basically comes down to: yes, it's a real doll, it's sold through a company in Japan. I think it sold out. We had a few that they sent us to sell, that we sold on the internet. We also have an action figure. Everyone's got these action figures, like the Rob Zombie doll. We have a Sergeant D. doll, like a G.I. Joe doll. That's what we have right now. That's more of my liking.
Mark Carras: I went to the site, and I could not find a link for purchase. Are they still available?
Billy Milano: I don't think so. You know, I'm going to tell you something. This whole internet thing is great and everything, but it's a clusterfuck to stay up on. I've learned two things about the internet. Whenever someone writes something, everyone immediately takes it for truth, which is its downfall, and will be its downfall in the end. Number two, the people that are on it, fucking little kids! I ain't got time for it! It's a waste of time. It's a great way to network, but it's a pain in the ass to keep your privacy. But the dolls, that's Charlie. That's all on him. He's like the guy that did the whole thing with the Japanese company for that. Scott's the other guy who did the other one, the doll, the action figure, the one like the G.I. Joe doll.
Mark Carras: Is there plans for another S.O.D. album? Or is that just whenever you guys feel it's right?
Billy Milano: I had a long talk with Charlie, and obviously Charlie's the guy that says yes or no at the end of the day, because he's the guy that's got to balance the work between Anthrax and S.O.D. Scott is oblivious. He'll do whatever you tell him to do. But Charlie feels that we should try and keep S.O.D. special, and make it a timely thing, you know? On the other hand, I don't believe that. S.O.D. came out and toured twice, successfully, mind you, for what we were in America on this last record, with little or no visibility from the record label, mind you. I personally believe that we should just do it and not say, "Hey, we should keep it special." What are we keeping it special for? I'm fucking thirty-seven years old in June! If it gets any more "special," I'm going to have to go out with a walker on stage!
Mark Carras: So in other words…
Billy Milano: In other words, we are writing a record. Whether or not it's going to be the exact lineup of the band, because I am talking about getting a different drummer, because Charlie just refuses to tour South America, and refuses to tour Europe, and you know what the bottom line is? We've got three guys in the band that want to do it.
Mark Carras: What's in the near future for Billy Milano?
Billy Milano: Well, this weekend I'm having a show in Texas, because I live in Texas now. I'm having a show at this club called the Galaxy where I'm bringing down a couple of local bands that I work with and a couple of bands from the area that have a decent draw. And we're going to have a show for my birthday. It's going to be a 'get to know ya' and a 'how ya doin?' party. And then I'm getting my platinum records from Daryl from Pantera Rock Stage. And Sunday I'm having a birthday barbecue with everybody. Have a good time, make some friends. And I'm going on the road August 1st with M.O.D., a full American tour. I'm lined up to produce four Nuclear Blast records, and looking to produce this band from Connecticut called Slick 66. Basically, my whole thing right now is, I'm totally into the production scheme of things. I'd much rather dedicate my time to building my craft, you know? I know I can play, I know I'm a funny guy, I've been asked to do standup, I've thought about doing it. I might do it in L.A. for one show. And I've actually been asked by Jack Black to possibly be in a movie with Tenacious D. He likes me, he thinks I'm funny.
Mark Carras: That would be interesting.
Billy Milano: Yeah, I'd like to do it, just to say I did it. Who cares? It doesn't float my boat. It's not a lifestyle I'd choose. But, in the same breath, I am quite busy. I've got some touring going on in Europe, the last week in November through December, from four to five weeks. Hopefully down in South America in February. I'm in the studio in October doing a new record for M.O.D. Anyhow, I'm going to be honest with you. This is the first opportunity I've had to just kick back and relax. That's what I'm going to do!
Mark Carras: I thank you very much for the interview.
Mark Carras, June 2001