Municipal Waste's Dave Witte talks about the new album. And beer.

With their latest album Massive Aggressive getting rave reviews, the party is in full swing for thrash metallers Municipal Waste. Drummer Dave Witte took time out from sampling the better beers the world has to offer - 'I'm a beer enthusiast, I collect it and age it' - to chat with Metal As Fuck.

Municipal Waste might seem like a bunch of uncouth bastards, thrashing it out in sweaty dives, but drummer Dave Witte takes his beer quite seriously. 'From the Belgians, Czech, US micro brews to barley wines, winter beers, saisons and others, I have a wide range in beer taste and certainly don't down with a shitty six pack to get hammered. That's not for me and never really was. I party my own way in the beer world.'

After hiding my VB cans, I told Dave that on the first couple of listens to Massive Aggressive the one band that came to my mind was Suicidal Tendencies, and asked him if that was a fair call or was I pissing in the wind? Luckily he didn’t take umbrage.

'Fair call and good call. I indeed was listening to a lot of ST when making this record and not really any other thrash music at all. Prog rock is really my thing.'

I Bet you didn’t expect to hear that! But regardless of such shocking confessions Dave knows his stuff.

'The drumming on Join The Army is so incredible and original; dare I say under-rated? I always heard some similarities in RJ Herrara's drumming and mine, so I was drawn in closer.'

Indeed, besides listening to the albums the band were lucky enough to tour with the Suicidals:  'We have had the pleasure of touring with them twice (once before recording and once after) and it’s safe to say that they had an impact on us as a band and as great stand up people. ST are the real deal still to this day.'

I’m sure Dave’s heard it all before, but being an old fart I wanted to know was just how much of an influence bands like Suicidals, Vio-lence, Exodus and COC were on the Waste. He took it on the chin, telling me, 'The root of things definitely does play a part in our take on things and some of the usual suspects would be Vio-lence, The Accused, Suicidals, Exodus, Nuclear Assault and of course Slayer and DRI'; and then added, 'If these people didn’t do what they did the whole state of heavy music would be much different, as well as our band.'

The band’s last album The Art Of Partying was considered by many to be the “breakthrough” album for them, but Dave didn’t think that the boys were feeling any pressure to top it, which surprised me.

'There was no pressure actually. Only the need to make a better record for us to be happy about,' he said.

A successful album does help though it seems; after all as Dave said, 'We had the luxury of no time limit or deadlines when writing, so we were able to achieve what we wanted with these songs.'

Massive Aggressive also showed the world a much tighter, more melodious and more mature band, which Dave puts down to time spent together.

'(It sure is) due to time spent together, becoming a better band and players as a whole. Song writers as well, you start to learn what not to do and what doesn't work. Phil (bass) and I have really jelled within the band jelling.' His relationship with bassist Land Phil has certainly added a much stronger rhythm and power to the Waste sound. When I mentioned this, Dave agreed wholeheartedly.

'I love playing with Phil, we have it down now, we listen to each other and play as a unit to hold everything down. There are still nights where the train comes off the track bit here and there, but the overall the result is wound much tighter these days.'

You have to wonder whether Municipal Waste’s legendary live shows with boogie boards, trampolines, stage diving and beer bongs being de-rigueur are responsible for some of those train wrecks but Dave seems to think its all good fun, telling me that smaller venues are always like 'a full contact sport'.

'Smaller rooms are always like a full contact sport, divers are always running into the guys up front, grabbing them, disconnecting their equipment, etc.'

Not that it's all fun and games.

'Usually the more drunk ones don't realise what they are really doing and when they grab the mic or one of the guys, its usually a little more forceful than desired so retaliation occurs,' he said. 'My dudes are like linemen in a way, it gets pretty wild at points. People jumping out of balconies, off of PA systems and whatever else they can find. I cringe a lot, it’s like watching a belly flop into people but it’s not water, they're people. It gets pretty hairy at times, good thing were insured,' he laughed.

It’s all part of the Municipal Waste service though; as Dave told me, when people start stage diving the band knows that there is mutual fun being shared. His favourites are the naked divers though, because they crack him up.

'I'm a huge fan of the naked diver,' he said. 'Makes me laugh every time.'

Like the Waste’s earlier albums, Massive Aggressive clocks in at a bare bones thirty minutes but the band don’t feel the need to pad out their releases. 

'Strike hard, strike fast, make them remember it!' jokes Dave before, telling me: 'The bottom line is we write what we want to hear on a record, what we think sounds good to us, the listener is secondary.' Laughing, he adds, 'We love what we do and we love the music we write, it’s fun and if it’s not fun its not worth doing.'

And fun is what it’s all about. Even with the maturity (damn, I said it again) of the sound and the band’s performances, there’s still the live madness; and then there are songs like Horny For Blood: 'A sordid tale about a promiscuous woman similar to the black widow, who gets dudes horny, seduces them and then kills them. Ya know, the kind you bring home to mom.'

The boys, all Richmond VA natives, are also out on the road again - and will be touring right up through May 2010. They are also looking to head to Australia.

'We have a hell of a schedule into May of 2010 already,' said Dave, telling me that he's hoping to find some more good beers between shows.

'I was drinking good beer when I was there, Coopers Stout and the Special Anniversary Edition Reserve were my favorites.' On this note, he put out a call to the fans:

'Maybe you could suggest some great beer along the lines of what I spoke of? Are there any great micro or small batch beer makers in Aussie that I'm missing out on?'

A man with a mission, you’ve got to love that.

Take my advice, get your hands on the album, crank it up, practice your stage diving, hide your VB cans and get your hands on something decent (maybe a redback or a james porter?) and get ready for a damn good time.  And definitely don’t offer Dave a tap beer when the band tour!

To read our review of Municipal Waste's Massive Aggressive, click here. The album is out now on Earache/Riot.