Magazine: Metal Hammer / Italy
Article: Stronger than all

Written by: Cristiano Bianchi
Translated by: Vincenzo Chioccarelli
Published: October 1997


Steve DiGiorgio is a very nice person and is proud of his Italian origins: for the fresh release of the new killer album by Sadus, Cristiano Bianchi called him by phone while in Antioch (CA), discovering with a nice surprise that in the eclectic bass player's future there's not only the promotion of 'Elements Of Anger', but also a very pleasant come back to Chuck 'Death' Schuldiner's fold...

It's no joke with Sadus' music: in fact 'Elements of Anger', the long awaited new album is a blast of fury, ten tracks of thrash metal excellently played. On the contrary, the extraordinary bassist Steve DiGiorgio is a very available and easy-to-talk-with person, so much so that it seems unbelievable that he's the man behind this sonic violence: "Many tell the same thing, but I'm this way: when I grab my instrument I become another person".

After the supporting tour for 'A Vision in Misery' (1993) we had no more news from Sadus: actually, the only member to be heard from was you, Steve. To start this interview, could you please shed some light on what happened to the band during recent years?
"After the release of 'A Vision in Misery' we left Roadrunner because, as far as we could see, they were incapable of promoting us well: so we signed with Mascot Records, but in the meanwhile we had to deal with the split of Rob Moore (the fourth original member) and we started the usual auditions to find a replacement. Unfortunately, nonewho came to rehearsal convinced us completely, so we decided to try to continue as a trio: it was a bit weird in the beginning, but then we realized we could make the best out of Sadus. At that moment we started writing new material and arranging old songs for the new line-up: the label didn't pressure us thus we had all the time to do it relaxed."

Do you think today Sadus have found their ultimate dimension?
"Actually I can't say I prefer the three formula, because things were ok when we were four: by the way, we're happy now and don't want to change the way we do our work."

Didn't you have difficulties playing your most complicated songs live?
"As I told you, in the beginning it was pretty strange not having a second guitarist with us on stage, but it's already three years since Rob's leaving and we defined our inner machinery: the new songs are written to be played by three and old songs have been checked, so now it's all ok. Moreover, the public seems happy with Sadus as a power-trio and if fans are happy so are we. Probably, if we were still four, I'd never have thought to use synths..."

In fact, the sounds artificially made can help a lot to fill the "voids" inside a song...
"Without any doubt! Having more time to write the album, I thought to try to experiment with something different: so I started recording ideas on my four-track and let Darren (Travis, vc/gt) and Jon (Allen, dr) listen to them. We didn't force ourselves to use electronic instruments, we just wanted to enhance our sound."

Ten years ago, having a keyboard player in a metal band was seen as profane, instead today it seems that nobody can do without using samplers and a drum machine. What do you think about it? Is it a natural artistic evolution or just a trend?
"The new technologies permit you to do things you couldn't even imagine years ago: just for example, today with a computer and a sequencer you can build, shape and destroy every kind of sound, while if you made a mistake in analog recording you were forced to do it all again. Personally, I'm not against the samplers if they are used to enrich the sound of a group: on the contrary, if you abuse it, if you make a never-ending drum loop become the base of the song, it gets sad and boring. Nothing is like the human touch on an instrument and if you think about it, the reaction of the audience is different if it's in front of only human musicians or thousands of keyboards and computers."

In fact, Prodigy, who are great on CD, disappoint you live because they use almost only pre-recorded tracks...
"It's natural, 'cause when I go to a concert I expect to be in front of players: why should I spend more money for listening to pre-recorded tracks when I already bought the CD of the band I like? Now there's this trend to remix everything and I can't stand it! Call me nostalgic, but I still prefer the music that was used to be played years ago."

It seems there's a red thread among the lyrics of 'Elements Of Anger': would you like to tell us more detailed?
"Though it's not a concept, 'Elements Of Anger' is centered on something defined like the anger and the frustration of being in a condition you didn't want: the preparation of this record has been very long, and we took it easy, but in the beginning the troubles with Roadrunner and Rob's split stopped Sadus for about a year and a half. During this period we risked a break up because we didn't know how to get out of that situation: in the end it was all ok but we couldn't erase all that has been, and this got into our writing. During this time we stopped we realized time keeps moving with no mercy, waiting for nobody and nothing! The title of the album explains its content well: every single song contains an element of the anger that grew inside of us day by day: for example, 'Aggression' is a track telling about the kind of person that gets you so pissed off that you think 'if he doesn't quit I swear I kill him!' 'Crutch' is about an addiction for something that can hurt you really bad, and it's not just drugs: 'Mask' is dedicated to all those ones who smile to your face and as soon as you turn they pick up the knife and ram it down in your back! 'Stronger Than Life' is the right representation of what we felt under our skin in the latest years: this song is pure rage! However, I guess everyone can relate to our lyrics, 'cause I think there are very few men who never suffered from any abuse or injustice."

Obviously your painful departure from Roadrunner left scars on you, but how is it going right now with Mascot?
"(moment to reflect)...For now we can't complain but we don't have to forget the album has just been released and so we'll be able to consider everything within a few months: before signing we posed two unavoidable conditions, which were to be artistically free and to see our product distributed in the most countries possible. For now the first condition has been fulfilled, for the rest we'll see...As long as we know, the label is getting busy promoting the record, but living on the other side of the ocean does not permit us to know how the name Sadus is marketed in the 'old continent'..."

Do you like playing in Europe?
"I like playing in every place, but Europe is the best for an artist: beyond, I feel a little Italian and it's natural I like playing in your zone. Last time I was in Italy I was incredibly acclaimed and I can't wait to come back."

What do you remember of the experience with Death?
"It was one of the most exciting times of my life: when we recorded 'Human' it was really cool, but 'Individual Thought Patterns' remained in my heart..."
Well, playing with musicians such as Chuck Schuldiner, Gene Hoglan and Andy LaRocque must have been really cool. "You're right, though Andy was with us just few days to record his part, and was not into the songwriting: Chuck and I have known each other for more than ten years and it's always a pleasure to play with such a talented guy. About him many things were written that are not true and I'm sorry if some fans have the wrong idea about him: maybe I'm not unbiased because we're good friends, but I can assure Chuck is anything but an arrogant and haughty person."

Knowing him so well, you should also know what he's doing now, right?
"Of course I know! Do you want some preview about it?"

How much do I have to pay?
"You'll receive the fee at home! Ah, ah! Jokes aside, the first plan to form a power band has been cast aside: Chuck recorded some demos with this band tentatively called Control Denied, but this material has never been conceived or recorded in a professional studio. About a couple of months ago I was phoned by Chuck, who said he means to release a new Death album and asked me if I wanted to play the bass: the day after I took the very first plane and flew to him. For now we recorded just three songs, however the whole album is already in Chuck's mind: there's not yet a contract, but be sure there will soon be a new Death album in the shops."

Thank you for the scoop! It's always a pleasure hearing about pleasant come backs...
"Yeah, Death has always been regarded as godfather of extreme music, though they never gained the success of other inferior bands: sincerely, It's unbelievable to me that a band like Chuck's has been forced to split up. Probably, time has really changed..."

In 1986 four thrash metal masterpieces were published at the same time: 'Master Of Puppets', 'Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?', 'Reign In Blood' and 'Among The Living'. Honestly, since that I don't remember this kind of explosion of bands in the same year...
"1986, that was a year to remember for good music lovers! Today the scene is very different and so are the situations around it: ten years ago there were fewer bands, but surely better. Nowadays we can't count how many records are published every month, yet we have to remember that organizing tours has become much easier: in short in the music scene too there's always the other side of the coin, the matter is that at least among all the bands out there, there is a small percentage always offering something interesting."

You are one of the most praised and imitated bass players in the world scene: what courses have you attended to achieve your technical skill on your instrument?
"First of all, thank you for compliments, it always makes me happy, though they say it's not true. About my preparation, I didn't attend any particular school: during high school I started toying with many instruments, then I bought a bass and focused just on it. I feel I'm self-taught, although having always played in some band helped me to learn the basis of the music faster: what I like most is that I developed my own style, and once in a while it is mentioned as an influence by some other player. To me this is one of the greatest satisfactions an artist can feel!"


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Translated by VC/MM for EmptyWords-Published on January 31 2004