Interview: Tony Lazaro [Vital Remains]

Being around for 20+ years and with various line up changes, Vital Remains is still going harder than ever to create death metal and to keep the underground scene alive. My sister Megan and I got the pleasure of sitting down with guitarist and only original member Tony Lazaro to discuss Vital Remains’ new album, future touring, and what the hell happened to Scott Wily.

Lauren: Okay, this is Hammer Smashed Lauren here with Tony Lazaro of Vital Remains.

Tony Lazaro: What’s uuuuuuuuup?

L: Okay, we’re gonna start this off! So what’s going on with your new record and recording?

TL: Recording, we have like 16 songs recorded as far as preproduction written, and basically we got this tour here that we’re finishing here with Kataklysm and then we got some South American dates, and then our priority is to record this winter. The new album will be out for spring on a new label so we’re all excited.

L: Can you say which label?

TL: I can’t say yet, but I will tell you first when I have the permission. I’ll tell you after actually, I just can’t say it publically yet, but I’ll tell you anyway. But yeah, that’s the plan pretty much.

L: Awesome! So you just finished your tour with Destruction which was awesome, and I heard that they got gypped of their money for the tour.

TL: From what I heard, yes.

L: So my question for you is how do you feel about music now, like do you think it is more money driven or do you think there’s still a small part that there’s still people in it for the music?

TL: I think that there’s a little of everything there. There’s a little of both because there’s just people who want to play music, and then there’s the business side of it, Sometimes the business side is ugly, it gets ugly a little and you know that’s the part that no one likes to, or at least I don’t like to deal with, but I know I have to deal with it. So I just try to deal with it professionally and I know how it is to get ripped off so I was on that tour and I did hear that Destruction was not paid in full for their money, there was a lot of money withheld. Apparently they said it was over $30,000 which is not cool. I think that it’s messed up and unfortunate that that happened, and I think they tried to work it out. But yeah, the business side is not the side that I like. I like the musical side, just playing music, and you know, the creative side of it. But unfortunately, again, if you’ve been around as long as I have, at some point if you take over and have to handle the business end of it, that’s the ugly side that you have to learn to deal with, and you just got to be smart and learn from your mistakes and not let people take advantage of you. So it’s a tough business but you know, again, business is business so if you’re smart and you hang in there, and you don’t let people burn you, what’s it, 3 times? Once is like shame on you, shame on me and just don’t let it happen 3 times I guess, right? Cause then it’s just like, you’re an idiot at that point if you let the same person rip you off 3 times. But yeah, so just be smart. To any bands out there, just try to really pay attention and if you need a lawyer, get a lawyer. Find a lawyer!

L: Yeah, it’s always good to have a lawyer.

TL: Find an uncle or something that’s a lawyer.

Megan: My dad!

TL: *laughter* Or your dad, yeah! It’s good to have someone that’s a lawyer around in this business!

M: Well I have a question. Actually, it’s not really a question but explain a little about Scott because I keep hearing things from people.

TL; Right, plus he’s posted all kinds of wacky things. Basically, the truth of it is we were scheduled on the last tour, the Destruction tour, to play BB Kings. Scott did not show up. It was pre show so it was like maybe 45 minutes or a half an hour before we were going on stage, and we were panicking because he hasn’t arrived yet. We thought he was coming from Rhode Island because he couldn’t get into Canada. We had done some pervious dates in Canada, and Scott has a record and can’t get in, and Brian [Werner] had filled in for those. So basically we were like “Okay Scott, just meet us in New York. We’re coming down from Canada and all that through customs” and he was supposed to show up for that. Half an hour before the gig, I don’t see him. I start panicking! I talk to Gator and I go “Gator, give him a call because he ain’t getting back to me.” I even tried calling him and texting him and it was going right to voicemail, and he wasn’t getting back to me. He calls him and Scott basically says “Oh I’m walking around Times Square sightseeing.” And we’re like “We’re going on stage at BB Kings to a packed out in 35 minutes.” You know what I mean? Get your ass to the venue! So, you know, it’s 25 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, now we’re panicking, and we’re like what do we do? And at that point, we’re like if he doesn’t show up when it’s time to go on stage and they tell us you got to go, I’m like Brian, you’ve worked with us in Canada, I go it’s like anything, it’s like a football team right now and you’re the second string quarter back. You’re getting in the game! I don’t care if you have no experience, you’re going to grab the ball and you’re going to score a touchdown! *laughter* And you know, he’s kind of nervous and I’m like get up there and disapprove if you can do it. So he did, and I give him a lot of credit because you know, it’s one thing to fill in for just a few dates, to literally having to jump in to something full time and just be like the guy. He learned all of these songs in a short amount of time. So I commend him and give him a lot of credit, and I’m really pissed off at Scott that he did that because for the longest time, one thing I could always count on Scott for was that he would be there. He might of done so many crazy, wacky things on the road that would make me angry and I would fire him, you know what I mean, but I had a soft spot for him. But the one thing, like I said, that he had was that he always showed up to do his job. He never did not show up, so that’s the only thing he had going for him. So when he didn’t show up, I was pretty angry.

So the next day was hometown show where he lives in Pawtucket, which you girls came out to, and he doesn’t show up for that! I’m like now I can understand if you missed a bus or something, but you can’t ride your bicycle even or walk! It like Pawtucket is a small, little, you know like Family Guy, it’s a little town, you know? *laughter* You know what I mean? It’s like you tell me you couldn’t make it? So that’s when I was really, really angry. Then come to find out it was because of his own selfish reasons that, you know, he’s saying that he wants to be in more control, he wants more money, he wants this, he wants that. All for himself, like from a selfish point. He didn’t think of us as a team like brothers, like we’re all in this together in a band, and let me not do this to the one person, like me, who gave him an opportunity for 4 years, brought him around the world, you know? And he does that to all of us, and I think that was the last straw and it broke the camel’s back and we were like that’s it. We’re done. You can’t even work. You can’t even show up and blows us off, and now he’s trying to claim to be the victim and saying he’s going to start a new Vital Remains. Actually, he said today or yesterday, there’s a post of him saying that he’s starting Vital Remains in his imagination. *laughter* That pretty much says, and tells the fans that he’s bi-polar and has some mental issues. Even before the Destruction tour, he was locked up in a mental institution, true story, for one week. That should’ve been a warning flag that he’s going downhill mentally, from a mental perspective. But we thought you know, he’s a little crazy. It’s good to have a crazy front man in a death metal band, but not clinically insane. You know what I mean, with a straight jacket and when you need medication. That’s the point where we need to reevaluate things I guess. You know, when he’s talking about starting his own empire and his own planet and sith and all this stuff like Star Wars, you know, and that’s pretty much like I said that when we just fired him and just told him that. Not that he believes us! He still thinks that there’s be some sort of thing that everything’s going to be all better, and it’s just hard to kind of let that go when he burned us like that I think. So if anybody else hears any other stories, it’s all bullshit folks unless you hear it from us.

M: Yeah that’s what I figured. That’s why I wanted to make sure because I remembering seeing that on because I’m friends with him on Facebook and I’m like that doesn’t sound right!

TL: Yeah and some people start believing him and I’m like if you’re not hearing it from us, it’s just one sided. You know, and if you read some of the stuff he’s been posting lately, like last week, he’s claiming he’s playing guitar for Deicide in Europe, and it couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s like it’s crazy!

M: I didn’t even know Deicide was touring!

TL: Yeah, it’s like they’re not even touring Europe but he’s saying he’s going to Europe! So in his mind, he’s going to Europe. Just wish him the best health but, we have to move on, you know. You’re just not that mentally stable for us. Not that we’re not that stable either. *laughter* But we’re a little more stable. We show up and do our jobs so that’s more support.

L: Right. Speaking of Deicide, do you plan on doing another tour with them in the future?

TL: I’m glad you asked that! There is talk, I did talk to Glen [Benton] like a month ago, 3-4 weeks ago, and basically he mentioned a tour and about us opening for Deicide in a coming tour which I think is like November. I got my fingers crossed. He said he would talk to the booking agent, so there’s a chance that we might be on that. Which would be great and if not, I’ll try.

M: At least here! Play here!

TL: Yeah I told him to definitely play a New England date, that would be killer! So yeah, we don’t know yet. We’re still waiting to hear, kind of like, being patient.

L: Let’s hope so!

TL: Yeah, fingers crossed!

L: Okay, last question. Do you have any final words for your fans or anyone doing music?

Tl; Well I want to thank all the fans for all of the years of support, all the old school fans, all the new fans, the younger fans and everything. Despite all the things the band’s been through in a line of changes, it’s unfortunate but the thing that I really want to put across is that they know they can put their trust and belief in me. I’ve been here since the beginning for 23 years and I don’t ever plan on going away and giving up and being weak and quitting on them, the music, the band. They and rest assure that as long as I’m alive, I’m going to give them the best music, brutal death metal, that I can. Don’t believe whatever the naysayers say about the band because you know this is what it’s all about. It’s not one person that makes a band whether you’ve lost. There’s no Dave Suzuki here, no Glen Benton

M: I saw that!

TL: Yeah, people have to understand that it’s more than that. I’ve been writing all the music for this band since the beginning. I’m the creative force writer of the band. So if I’m still here, then you can rest assure that the music will still be as brutal as ever. Again, it’s not about one particular person being here or not. It’s the music that’s most important. So that’s what I want people to remember and again, thanks for the support and thanks for the interview from you girls. Best of luck to you and thanks so much!

L: Best of luck to you!

TL: Thanks again for supporting brutal death metal and stay true and stay fucking underground. Hell yeah! Till death!

L: Hell yeah! *laughter* This is Hammer Smashed Lauren with Valkyrian Music. Hail Satan, and all that good shit!

TL: Hail Satan!! *growl*

This being my first interview, I just want to say what an honor and a pleasure it was interview Tony! He has my full respect as a musician and as a friend and I’m pumped for the new album, which will be out next year! \m/

One Response to “Interview: Tony Lazaro [Vital Remains]”

  1. […] Interview: Tony Lazaro [Vital Remains] ( […]

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