Interview with M.O.D. by | March 13, 2014
Originally on:

„Expressing fury is good. How they're doing it is wrong” – interview with M.O.D.

I hope you enjoyed tonight's show, your first one in Hungary ever. Billy: It was fucking great. You have to understand that we, an older band, are happy when the fans show up without even going crazy. When they go crazy, it's an extra bonus.

Then you've got a lot of extra bonuses tonight. Billy: Yes, it was a dream show for us. I always wanted to come to your city, always wanted to play in Budapest. Everyone told me to play here. I had a day off in Prague and I heard there was a possibility to play in Budapest so I said “Absolutely, we'll play the show no matter how much money we'll get. I don't care, I want to play there.”

And when was the last time you've been to Europe? Billy: In 1994. I believe we came to Europe with S.O.D. in 1999 or 2000 but with M.O.D., it's been since 1994 we haven't been this way.

You've done a 25th Anniversary M.O.D. tour in the USA last year. Is this European leg also part of the celebration? Mike: We're coming right now to do a good warm-up. We're trying to get the name out there again. We'll be coming back in June to play some festivals. We've got Hellfest, we've got Dokk'em Open Air and we've got Metalfest Loreley. Billy: We did the shows at home for fun. And I see how it goes. I don't have the huge expectations of being a big star. I don't want that, I want to have fun. But it's going very well. Some shows are very small, some are very big and we're having fun. We came over again to Europe in February to let promoters see us for more festivals. We really wanted to see Europe before Barack Obama blows it up, he's a piece of shit. Here's the thing: everyone came over for his own reasons. I came over to see the world because I honestly believe that these fucking sick people in my country, America, are going to blow it up. That's why I want to enjoy it. I want to see the fans and say thank you. That's my personal belief. They're sick in the head. Mike: I came over to Europe with M.O.D. for one purpose and that purpose is just to help this fucking band named M.O.D., bringing it back into the minds again and raising the spirit of the fans who have been waiting for twenty years. I want to play everything. Before I joined the band, I was a big fan of the music and now that I'm part of it, it's a dream come true. It's totally awesome to travel the world and get to hang out with good friends of mine. Billy: He's discovering a style he wasn't a part of. He plays death metal and M.O.D. is hardcore punk.

M.O.D. was on hiatus twice. Is it a really active band right now? Billy: As active as can be since we are in fucking Budapest. That's pretty active. I usually lay in bed and sleep or smoke weed. Or watch some porn and jerk off. Scott Sargeant played guitar on Red White And Screwed that came out in 2007 and we did ninety two shows in America. But we couldn't get to Europe even on I Scream Records because all of those... How do you call them?.. Antifas. Well, I'm not a fascist. I have two Mexicans in my band, I'm part Jewish, part European Gypsy and Greek and Moroccan. So I'm North African. But no-one wants to know that about me, they just want to make magazine sells. So I saw how difficult it was to get over here and it wasn't working and I said “Fuck it, I don't want to argue, I want to have fun.” If people want to be political, I want to be educational.

And you've had a lot of arguments in the past. Billy: Oh yeah. And you know what. Expressing fury is good. How they're doing it is wrong. Terrorism and anti terrorism are still violence. Fascism and anti fascism are still violence. So it's violence and I don't like that. The thing about me is this: I'm an entertainer not a singer. I go on stage to make people laugh and to have fun. Like Hulk Hogan, the wrestler. Hulk Hogan never goes to the food store in yellow underwear. They play violence but it's entertainment. But they don't understand. Al Pacino is not the Godfather. Tony Soprano is not a real person. And Billy Milano is an entertainer. When I come home I'm a grandfather and I'm a very spiritual person: I'm a part of the Krishnamurti Foundation which is Hinduism and I'm also an Odd Fellow which is a different sight of Freemasonry. I believe in helping the community and I do a lot of spiritual stuff for my community as well as feed the homeless. I help people. When people need help they know they can call me and they call me. That's what I do. But no-one wants to hear in a heavy metal magazine that Billy Milano feeds the homeless and Billy Milano helps people. No-one wants to hear that because they can't sell that Billy Milano.

You and Scott live in Texas now. Are the other guys from there as well? Billy: Scott Sargeant moved from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. I moved there in 2004. Mike is from San Marcos which is right below Austin and then the drummer Mike Arellano lives in New Braunfels which is twenty minutes far towards San Antonio. So we're in the same area.

The Devolution album, originally out on Music For Nations, has been reissued on Blackout Records in 2004. What was the reason for that? Billy: They re-released both Devolution and Dictated Aggression. Here's how I look at it. When I do a record, I never do the record that the fans want. I do what I want. And I don't want to buy the same record over and over and over. I don't want to do that and I won't make that. I had records that I wanted people to hear and I didn't take money for, I just gave it to them and put it out. So if people liked it and bought it, good for them. If they heard it and downloaded it, who cares.

As for S.O.D., I think it's save to say that it's all over now. Do you think that the Rise Of The Infidels compilation was an appropriate and worthy way to finish the story? Billy: Well, all we wanted to do in the end of the day is say thank you to the fans. Unfortunately, I was in the band with two guys, Charlie and Scott, that never said thank you to anybody. Even to me. So I feel Rise Of The Infidels was something for the fans in a way so that they could say “O.K., at least someone in the band cared“. But Charlie Benante and Scott Ian care about for nobody. I'm not going to slag them, I'm disappointed more in me for believing in them and them not believing in me.

And concerning Danny Lilker, can you believe he's going to put Brutal Truth to an end and retire from being a full-time musician? Mike: From what I've read, it sounded like he's just going to call it a day on Brutal Truth but I believe he's still going to continue to do music. Billy: I don't know. I think Danny needs time off. Like I did.

Is it true that you wrote No Glove No Love with Brian Wheat from Tesla? Billy: Yeah, I was on the road supporting Exodus and we went to see Def Leppard and Tesla. I was talking to Brian Wheat who was an M.O.D. fan and he got an idea for a song for me. He turned on the drum machine, brought those crazy beats and went “No glove no love, no glove no love...” That was the idea that inspired the song and he absolutely did influence the song. My friends from high school wrote Ode To Harry and my brother Chris who is not a musician wrote the lyrics for Ode To Harry. I always try to have something fun with other people. Let them enjoy it and be part of it.

The latest M.O.D. album is entitled Red White And Screwed. Was it meant to express your anger and frustration with politics in the USA? Billy: I definitely have an opinion on politics. I read three, four or five hours every day. But I think the reason I'm feeling disappointed is that I didn't know all this stuff when I was a young boy. I grew up with the illusion of America and now I see it's bullshit. I don't believe in it. I don't believe in war. I don't believe in the system. I believe in community and family, it's all that matters. I've always been rude as a principle. I've always been very rough. I'm not going to hold back my opinion. Not for my friends, not for my family. Do some research and prove me wrong. Scott played guitar on Red White And Screwed, by the way. Scott: Actually, when I first started with M.O.D., I played bass. I was done with my old band at that time and I was looking to do something so I called Billy up. He was actually looking for a bass player but I said sure, so when I first joined I played bass. Then they went through a couple of guitar players and got to the point where we were going to to the Red White And Screwed record. I called them up at about four o'clock in the morning and said “Look, I play guitar. I'm a guitar player. I can play anything with strings on it but I'm a guitar player. I want to play the guitar tracks, all right?” So I played guitar on that record and then we did some touring until I kind of got burned out. Not just because of my time in M.O.D. but also Laaz Rockit, Skinlab, all that twenty seven years of doing records and touring. So I said “I'm going to take a walk and go to work”. I did that for about four years but now here I am again, playing bass.

And what's going on with Skinlab? Scott: I have no idea. I think the other members are doing other bands now.

Do you have any new songs or new ideas for the next M.O.D. record? Billy: I've got like three records written. I have more music than I ever wrote in my life, it just came out of me. About a year ago, my dog got sick and we started writing for M.O.D. after that. He was very ill and so I was watching him and playing guitar every day. I made a great record, it's very emotional and very angry. I'm an animal lover and it's very difficult for me to sing about my dog. Mike: Every day on this tour, Billy sits in a room, he has his guitar, he plugs up and he strums. He has a bunch of ideas and we've been working on them.
Billy: I have more music now than any time in my life.
Does that mean that you're going to bring a new album out soon? Billy: We're working on it. We'll see.

A compilation of Crab Society demos came out some years ago. Could you tell us about that band? Billy: Crab Society were all the ideas we've put together before S.O.D., sitting around, drinking beer and smoking pot. It's just crazy stuff but people liked it and I think it's an important band. We shared it and that's it.

Do you have any hobbies besides the ones you mentioned before? What else do you do besides musicianship? Billy: Jerking off... I run a honky tonk show in an Irish pub is Austin, Texas. I work in a bar, I'm the security there. But I'm also the sound guy / engineer. I've done some production, I've produced my friend Matt's demo and I've produced M.O.D. stuff with Scott. We've all done productions. So it's more about my life at this point.

Is it true that you also used to manage bands? Billy: Yeah, back in the day. But it was so much stress, some musicians are a bunch of fucks, so it's the last thing I wanted to do.

Given the fact that you have such an interesting and diverse life, did you ever consider writing an autobiography? A lot of artists do that nowadays. Billy: Yeah, I've been asked to write for everybody. Everyone's asked me to come up with an autobiography but I won't do it, my memories are mine. If I would do anything it would be about my value system, not about music. Very little about music. I don't want to show my memories, they're mine. I don't even know if I would remember them correctly but that's another thing. I might be told Gene Simmons stories... But I want to do a cookbook and I want to do a story about my dog and how my dog affected me spiritually. That's about it.




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