INTERVIEW: Dave Witte – Municipal Waste

Out of all the bands to burst through in the resurgence of thrash metal, Virginia’s MUNICIPAL WASTE are arguably the most successful. With their DIY approach to crafting short and frantic tunes of beer thrashing mayhem, MUNICIPAL WASTE have become a fan favourite in the metal community. Four years have passed since their last studio output, 2012’s The Fatal Feast, and on the back of a performance at Download Festival last weekend, the band are on a short stint of the UK. Before their headlining show in Manchester (read our review here) we spoke to drummer Dave Witte to talk about Download Festival and the sub-sequential European festival market, the band’s new lineup and progress towards a new studio album!

So Download Festival was really the kick start for this UK tour, how was that performance?

Dave: It was very good! It was cool, it was very wet and it was our first show in the UK with our new lineup, we added a guitar player, and it sounded really good. People enjoyed it quite a bit and we had a blast!

Did you guys see any of the other bands at Download?

Dave: I watched RIVAL SONS, I love RIVAL SONS, they are one of my favourites! It was my first time seeing them and I was really psyched on it.

So in terms of the setlist balance for the tour, what can fans expect?

Dave: Oh yeah we hit all areas! We are bringing back a couple of the really old ones from Waste Em All so that’s fun! And we’re playing a new song, you’re going to hear a new one on this tour!

So with Download and that performance starting the tour, what is your opinion on the UK festival scene?

Dave: We always have a great time when we come here! They are all very well run and everyone is very respectful and the fans love it. We are fortunate to be re-asked to play, in 2008 we had a blast! It was when it was up in like the parking lot, I guess they moved it that one time, but we had a good time and we were talking to the staff afterwards and they were telling us a bunch of cool stories like THE SCORPIONS and ZZ TOP when they played years ago, they flew stuff in on helicopters. It is just a lot of fun!

I can imagine as well it’s always nice to come over to the UK and Europe for festival season…

Dave: Oh yeah it’s great!

How does that compare to back home in the States?

Dave: Well there aren’t as many festivals, especially for this type of music. Maryland Deathfest is the best one in the country by far and now they are expanding and going into Europe. But Europe and the UK have had festivals on lockdown for years so it is definitely better over here than back in the States.

You mentioned before that you have got a new lineup, with Nick [Poulos] on second guitar. What was the decision behind bringing in a second guitarist?

Dave: Well we’ve talked about it various times over the years and finally we just decided it was the thing to do and it feels like we have discovered the missing puzzle piece we never knew we were missing, it sounds great! It’s full and the harmonies pop out and he’s contributing ideas too. So it’s a solid unit now, not that it wasn’t before, I think it just adds that extra level of unff now.

So did Nick gel into the band instantly?

Dave: Oh yeah, he’s been on two of the records already doing leads and he’s played in other bands with Ryan [Waste, guitars] and Phil [Landphil, bass] over the years. It’s a perfect fit and he’s a good guy!

So was the process quite short and simple or was it drawn out when you were bringing Nick into MUNICIPAL WASTE?

Dave: Well he’s been in the band for six or seven months now but we didn’t really tell anybody! We’ve been working away on new stuff so it just made sense to bring him in at this time.

And speaking of new material it’s been four years since The Fatal Feast, what progress has been made towards a new record?

Dave: We have so much material! We demoed a bunch of stuff right before we left so we can see what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense and we can move on from there. We were writing the whole time whilst everybody was doing other things, we had so much material and we finally whittled all that down to the large batch of stuff we recorded right before we left. Now, we are going to whittle all that down.

So can we expect a release this year?

Dave: Maybe this year, maybe next year. We’ve got to finalise it, we’ve got to go into the studio, then you have the label who have their time doing stuff on their end so it’s hard to say when it’s going to be out. Hopefully within a year, definitely within a year, that’s my guess!

With a lot of the other members of MUNICIPAL WASTE being involved in other projects, did that affect the stability of the band at all?

Dave: Nah not really, we just kept doing what we were doing, it was nice for everybody to be able to go out and do different things, blow some steam off. It is important to have other outlets, we did ten years of constant touring, it’s healthy to go check out for a bit.

Really in today’s climate it is quite difficult for new bands to break through, do you think that constant touring is the best way to get your name out there?

Dave: Oh definitely!

A lot of MUNICIPAL WASTE’s material is focused towards drinking and beer-related songs. Do you guys have a ritual before going on stage like having a beer together?

Dave: I eat chocolate! Sometimes we’ll do a shot together but it’s not all the time, we don’t have a set in stone ritual.

So I imagine for you it’s a chocolate pressure instead of Beer Pressure?

Dave: (laughs) yeah! You can always pressure me into eating chocolate, I love Flake it’s one of my favourites! I’m a dark chocolate man but I love Flake a lot!

So my last question is with this mini tour this month, is there going to be another MUNICIPAL WASTE tour coming up soon?

Dave: There’s some stuff in the gears, stuff that is developing that we are kind of sitting on right now so as soon as we can talk about it we will. But there’s other things in the works yes!

Excellent, well best of luck for tonight and the rest of the tour!

Dave: Cheers, thanks!

The Fatal Feast is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information on MUNICIPAL WASTE like their official page on Facebook.