ZT INTERROGATION: WE TURN BACK THE CLOCK WITH SONICK PLAGUE AND FIND THEY’RE TICKING LOUDER THAN EVER
Connecticut thrash warriors Sonick Plague may have dropped off the metal radar for three decades but now they’re back and raring to impress the old fans while making lots of new ones. ZT’s Paul Castles catches up with original member, drummer Ken Cuccaro.
ZT: Hi fellas, many thanks for speaking with Zero Tolerance. Maybe we should start with a general line about how it feels to be performing once more with Sonick Plague after a gap of around three decades?
It feels great; I never would have thought we would be doing this after all these years. We’re having a blast!
ZT: Did you feel that the band had had their day or was there a feeling of unfinished business?
Yes, at one point I thought the band had had its run. We worked so hard in the early 80s through the early 90s and couldn’t seem to catch a break. Although we did it for the love of the music, we all got older and needed to make a living. Now that we’re older and have settled in, we really want to finish what we started. We actually took the time off on purpose because none of us were pretty enough to wear spandex or make-up. The glam scene really took off and we just hated it. At that time the law really frowned on the kicking of fruity-looking, men’s asses.
ZT: We have to mention your original guitar player Tony Teodoro who sadly passed away not so long ago. I believe it was this sad event that was in many ways the catalyst for the other three original band members getting back together?
It absolutely was. Tony was such a great friend and brother to us all. He was a huge part of our band. He was one of the best guitarists I have ever played with. I like to think he is looking down on us, laughing, saying “What the fuck are you guys doing?!”
ZT: How do you think Tony would feel that Sonick Plague is now active once again?
I think he would love it and be proud of what we have accomplished to this point.
ZT: Matt Dupre is the new guy making up the quartet. Is he an old friend and how has he gelled with the original trio?
Yeah, we have all known Matt for a long time. He is a great guy and has fit right in; he’s a great player- a human jukebox. He has so many great rifts. It’s fun writing new material with him.
ZT: What was the reaction of family and friends when you told them you were getting down with Sonick Plague again after all these years?
Very positive! Except for my mom who says I should grow up and get a real job. She still thinks it’s too loud and too fast. She says we should sound more like Elvis. It’s funny, I have kids that are at the age I was when I started this. In fact, we all have families and children. I think they think it’s cool to see that the old men still have it. The wives are nervous because so many women are after us again. 48-year-old groupies are hot!
ZT: Were any of you still active musically during the past 20 years or so?
Yes, we all played in different bands and projects. As any musician knows, it’s hard to put down your instrument. It’s a neverending love affair. I think if I didn’t have my drums I’d probably be in jail.
ZT: With the gigs you’ve played so far how much have you enjoyed them?
As of this interview, we have had one show. We have one coming up at the end of the week. It was awesome! To see that many people still into your music was great. To feel that energy again – it can’t be described. We felt like we were 18 again. Then afterwards, felt like we were 81! After a couple of shots, some vitamins, and a back adjustment we were back in our 40’s.
ZT: Have you played to many fans who saw you first time around?
It was really cool. A lot of our old fans brought their kids out to see us. It was funny, one of the kids said, “My dad still puts on your old album and smashes things on the back porch and says the stuff I listen to sucks. Robots don’t play music.”
ZT: So let’s talk about the new release (via Pavement Records). It’s your 1988 album ‘What’s the Purpose’ rerecorded and brought up to date with all the latest digital touches. So how does it sound?
We’re very happy with it.
ZT: Do you still think the songs carry the same vitality and energy as when you wrote them around 35 years ago?
It’s funny, I was very worried about that. That is one of the things that I think we were all concerned about. When we first recorded this we were young, pissed off, teenagers, full of angst. Now, we are pissed off, middle aged men, full of angst. So the energy is definitely still there. If we got back together and didn’t feel that I think it would have ended with the first practice. At this point in our lives the last thing we want to do is put out something fake.
ZT: Sonick Plague have always been firmly in the thrash metal camp. Is that still where your heart is musically?
Yes, although as you get older and you learn how to play your instrument better you’re going to get a bit of a different sound in your music. Any time you get new blood in a band people will have different influences and things will sound a little different. We all love the fast stuff but like to change it up a bit from time to time. From the very start of this band, we never wanted to paint ourselves into a corner. It’s fun to screw around with different stuff from time to time. Think of it this way, you eat eggs every morning, you seem like a over easy kinda guy, those eggs are great!! But one morning you wake up and say ‘fuck it! I’m going to scramble the shit out of those things’. You throw some hot sauce on them and say, ‘hey, these eggs are fucking awesome!!’ It’s kind of like that. With some toast!
ZT: Have you any musical ambitions in terms of future recordings or tours – or are you just taking things as they come? I believe you’re working on some new material?
Right now we are working on new material for the second album. We’d love to take it as far as we possibly can. A lot of it depends on how well it does on its release. So I would say it is a take it as it comes approach.
ZT: Is there a feeling that you’re doing this for Tony and a case of trying to ensure something positive breaks through following his sad passing?
I know I think of him every time we play. This is something I have a hard time talking about. He has definitely sparked it this time around.
ZT: You’re older and (hopefully) wiser than in the 80s/90s. I guess you’re all juggling family duties alongside band life now? But is it still a buzz working on the riffs and hanging out together?
Yes, definitely! We are definitely older but I don’t know about wiser. Chuck has really worked hard on this. It’s funny, every time he calls something new is happening. It’s like starting the whole thing again. Hopefully we will be able to talk face to face across the pond in the near future.
ZT: Many thanks for chatting with Zero Tolerance. Great to have you guys back with us!
Thank you so much for your interest and support!! We couldn’t do this without the help of all the cool people in the metal community.