Though it seems like sensational exaggeration to suggest that two decades could pass by without notice, ask any touring musician about their perception of time and the answer will always be similar.
The cycle of writing, recording, promoting and touring is an all consuming one - a reality that segments life into 18 month portions, sometimes longer. Even the most resilient of road dogs eventually reach a point where they take a moment to breathe and realize that years have gone by in a blur of stages, set times and bus calls.
The case holds especially true with the crossover thrash heroes of Municipal Waste. For the last two decades, the Virginian stalwarts have cultivated a reputation for pushing an agenda of party-paced pummel with their stylistic signature of speed, precision, and beer-soaked mayhem. Since the early 2000's, the band has become synonymous with restoring the kind of good time that remains unique to a session of heavy drinking, hair-whipping, and head banging.
Yet in the wake of an extended stretch away from the madness, like many of their contemporaries, the Waste has found themselves in a period of reflection and reevaluation. The pause of the pandemic meant no more raging, no more staging, and the kind of respite the band hadn't experienced in nearly twenty years.
Apart from the scary realization of how routine can swallow years of time without notice, the distance from the stage has given the truly dedicated a chance to miss it. For the Waste, distance has certainly made the heart grow fonder as the band has found they have rediscovered why the chose the life they did in the first place.
After a short hiatus, compounded with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the band have fully recharged and are already better focused with a full slate of touring plans, a new deal with longtime home Nuclear Blast Records, and a seventh studio album in the works - one that couldn't have come at a better time given the the dire need the world is in for good old fashioned blackout of a party.
Two years ago, Municipal Waste dropped a strangely prophetic EP called The Last Rager. Little did anyone know how true that would be but thankfully for us all, the Rager didn't end, it just needed to reload.
The voice of Municipal Waste Tony Foresta shares how the challenges of the last two years have only ensured that the rage comes back stronger than ever before.
The band has been at work on your seventh studio album since late last year. Is this new record an extension of what you guys dropped with The Last Rager or was it just time for new Waste?
Foresta - Nowadays we just kind of go at our own pace with writing and releasing stuff. I don’t think we even knew what the plan was with this one. We thought this album was going to be done way sooner and things just went crazy. With my relocation to Florida and then the pandemic insanity it turned into quite a more difficult project than what we were expecting. We knew it was time to buckle down and get the job done but we had no idea the amount of obstacles we were going to face. I can’t believe it’s the 7th record too. Time really flies.
Arthur Rizk is a very in-demand producer. What prompted the band to choose him for this record and how has he impacted the sound?
Foresta - Arthur has some outstanding experience in the realms of punk, heavy metal and hardcore. He’s been doing so much stuff in those genres that it made perfect sense to go with him. He’s also a cool guy and really easy to work with. We knew that going into it and a big reason why we wanted him. He knows about and likes the weird noise stuff I grew up listening to. His bands are great as well. It really felt like the right decision for us to work with him. My man is killing it and I feel he did it on this record as well.
Waste has always been associated with a good time. How tough was it to have a sense of levity while the world was going to shit?
Foresta - I feel like having a sense of humor is very therapeutic especially in crazy times like this. After all this shit I think people are really looking forward to cutting loose and they damn well deserve it. I always try to keep a positive attitude creatively no matter how stressed out I am. Working on songs in a band like this is fun and has actually helped me get through a lot of shit in the past. Just projecting these ridiculous ideas out into the world.
Even if you look at the band’s foreseeable touring itinerary you’ve got Crowbar, Circle Jerks and Obituary. That is some real range. Do you enjoy having that kind of versatility or does it feel like you constantly have to convince a crowd?
Foresta - We have always rolled like that. The concept of “crossover” to me was always to cross genres whether it be musically or just scenes of people. We’ve always tried to be welcoming and open minded in our small but very separated world of extreme music and i think people understand that and feel welcome at our shows.
What has it been like getting back to the business of playing shows after such a long stretch of silent stages?
Foresta - We couldn’t be happier being back out here. I missed my friends and band mates. It’s extra weird for me because we took a short hiatus so I could relocate to Florida a few months and get settled down there. That 3 months turned to 2 years and every time I planned a trip to practice or work on things something catastrophic would happen. It was so crazy. I learned to practice down here by myself and just figure out ways to make it work. The whole thing was so challenging and I never would have expected something like this to happen. I’m glad things are finally starting to move forward again I feel extra thankful for that and I’m very much excited about the future.
What if any were some of the takeaways you have from the last two years. Did you find a new appreciation for the road, the studio, the shows? How has that permeated in the music if at all?
Foresta - Honestly I found a new appreciation for being home and being removed from it (laughs). Touring for 8 months out of the year in 2 bands almost broke me. I’m not gonna lie. I never even noticed at the time how over worked and exhausted I was until I was removed from it for so long. Now I feel recharged and appreciate being around my band mates and people more. Now I love working again and feel that excitement I use to get going out there and playing that hooked me to begin with. Honestly I can safely say that this whole crazy situation pretty much saved my life. I was really cruising on auto pilot for awhile there and that’s pretty scary. Being able to sit back at home with my lady, the dogs and family really opened my eyes and helped me get back on the right track mentally and physically. I’m a way different person than I was 2 years ago and that’s a real good thing.
Does it seem surreal that Municipal Waste is the verge of their seventh full length album and more than two decades into the game?
Foresta - Yes. Unbelievable. I couldn’t be more amazed and grateful that we are still out here doing what we love after all this time. I never would have thought 20 years ago that those songs we wrote would be listened to for years to come by people all over the world. It’s nuts. It also freaks me out as much as it makes me smile.
What should fans expect from the 2022 edition of the Waste?
Foresta - More tours, a great new album and a ton more surprises down the line. We’re only just getting started!
Catch Municipal Waste currently on tour with Crowbar, Skeletal Remains and Dead Heat and later next month with punk legends Circle Jerks before kicking off 2022 on the Decibel Magazine Tour alongside death metal legends Obituary. Dates for all tours can be viewed below.