Neil Turbin: "To say there are only four big thrash bands is an elitist mentality"...

The man who co-wrote Metal Thrashing Mad takes part in our Metal Thrashing May celebrations!

Neil Turbin is one of Metal as Fuck's favourite vocalists. So you can imagine how eager we are to have him contribute to our segment celebrtion thirty years of thrash metal, Metal Thrashing May! Neil - welcome! I'm keen to hear your thoughts on thrash metal's Big Four, given your part in establishing the genre as a whole? " It's just very clever marketing strategy by whoever came up with it   Possibly, the fans started calling it that on the forums or Metallica’s team or perhaps Warner Bros.  We all know there are many more than just 4 important thrash bands. To say there are only 4 is an elitist mentality, according to who?  That’s just wrong.  Germany would have Kreator, Destruction, Sodom. and Accept's Fast As A Shark. In Canada it would be Razor, Exciter, Anvil and  Annihilator The UK would have Motorhead, Onslaught, Blitzkrieg, Venom, Diamond Head, Tank, Raven and even Judas Priest's Painkliller.  Then there's Denmark's Mercyful Fate too.  In the US they should include Exodus, Overkill, Testament, Dark Angel, Death and Pantera in addition to the 4 already included.  I don’t need to spell out the names.  To leave these BIG Thrash bands out is pure revisionist history".

An interesting and comprehensive answer, which, given it's geographicsl breakdown leaves me interested in how you might respond to my next question. What, would you say, is the quintessential sound of thrash? And where in the world do you think it originted? "Metal Thrashing Mad came from me writing in my room in Queens, New York, as did Gung Ho, Armed And Dangerous, Deathrider, et cetera.  My thoughts were influenced by and between Accept's Flash Rockin Man and Saxon's Freeway Mad and taking it to the next level in terms of fierceness, power, speed and intensity.  In 1982 and 1983 It was excessive volume in the rehearsal room at The Music Building in Jamaica, Queens.  It was too noisy to write lyrics or melodies in detail in rehearsal at the time.  There was militant rehearsal of the same 10 songs twice a night for two or three hours during the weekdays.  Clowning around like a high school locker room... hard to get shit done due to lack of communication and attitudes in rehearsal. which were  not conducive to creative focus and output.  It was more like working through song lyric and melody ideas that I’ve already written at home in rehearsal.  There are a few different rhythms that tend to be associated with different flavours of thrash.  A straight ahead double bass 4/4 approach.  A two step shuffle.  A mid tempo with fast double bass and now many different variations.  This is very subjective based on who you ask.  Most people will probably say Metallica or Slayer, but I feel it is a much broader spectrum". 

And I think the answers we've had to that question throughout the month bear out your analysis - although there is a slight boas towards the bay area! Now, can you give us five thrash records you'd consider essential to anyone's collection? "Metaliica - Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, Ace of Spades and Overkill by Motorhead, Raven's Rock Until You Drop, Metal on Metal by Anvil and the self-titled Mercyful Fate EP".

Slightly more than five, but we'll let that go! Now, who are the best and worst live thrash outfits, do you think? "Most successful would be Metallica. I’ve played live with some of the best. And the worst? Anyone that plays without passion and is in it only for the glory and not the beauty and creativity of the music and the true artistry".

What are the key elements for writing a classic thrash tune? "Some cool riffs, a great lyric to work with that inspires and a drum beat pattern that is chosen for the riff or vice versa".

And who would you choose to perform these cool riffs and great lyrics? "James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, (Cliff Burton and Dimebag Darrell Abbott I Wish) Tom Araya. Dave Ellefson, Gene Hoglan, Lars Ulrich and the guy who penned Metal Thrashing Mad that can still hit all the high notes live and doesn’t use Autotune in the studio.  If it were up to me since you ask I would also include Bobby Blitz Ellsworth and Steve Zetro Souza, Mille Petrozza from Kreator and Schmier Fink from Destruction.  While we're at it I think Marty Friedman and Jeff Young would shred it and I also like Alex Skolnick, Jim Durkin, Gary Holt and Chuck Schuldiner.  Make room and bring lots of amps!"

A lot of amps! "And finally, what do you think is the biggest gift given to heavy metal by thrash? "Rebirth and a resurgence in the popularity of heavy metal worldwide.  Metal Thrashing Madness is upon us!"