We’re going to try out a new interview series where we talk with bands, musicians, artists, etc. that seem to share a common ground with this site and our readers: horror geekdom. We’ll call it Horror Geek Chat; so it is written, so it shall be done. Gama Bomb’s Joe McGuigan graciously agreed to be the first in the series and chat with us about the band’s influences, favorite movies, lyrical themes, and tour stories.
Gama Bomb has been one of the front-runners for a 21st century thrash revival, and may I say a personal favorite of mine. The group’s very song titles ooze nostalgia for cult movie fans, VHS lovers, and horror geeks, including direct movie references like “Zombie Creeping Flesh”, “Cellar Dweller”, and “Deep Red”, and mashups like “Beverly Hills Robocop”. Each and every album is a thrash-loving 80’s kid’s dream, fast and furious from start to finish. So check out the interview, and then give the most recent music video a watch at the end of this article.
Jonny Dead: What other bands or genres do you take influence from with your music?
Joe McGuigan: Lots of stuff really. We’re big fans of some of the popular thrash bands but to be specific bands that had a big impact on us were: Sodom, Nuclear Assault, Agent Steel, Exodus, D.R.I., lots of punky stuff like Whermacht, Ludichrist, lots of US “power metal” (in the 1985 scene of the phrase) like Metal Church and Nasty Savages’ 1st LPs, stuff like Flotsam and Jetsam and Helstar too. So that’s it musically. Lyrics wise were influenced by lots of stuff, we started off with stuff like Ugly Kid Joe, Tankard etc. then moved into a more Overkill, David Lee Roth style.
Jonny: Where exactly did the band name originate from?
Joe: The Incredible Hulk cartoon from 1965. We had it on VHS and me and Philly would regularly watch it as kids. We dropped one M due to metal’s classic fixation with dyslexia.
Jonny: Your lyrics are packed with references to 80’s cult movies and games, is this a shared interest between you guys? What other lyrical influences do you have?
Joe: Lots and lots of stuff. So yea obviously lots of movies, games and videos as they say but lots of other literary and real world stuff. The problem is when you write about cool stupid stuff like zombies etc, people automatically assume you’re a moron so don’t really pick up on the other stuff we write. But yea we’ve been influenced by theoretical physics, short stories from the 30’s and 50’s, the situation with the rise of the far right in Europe. Tbh tho we do like to touch on that sort of stuff, I think people come to Gama Bomb for escapism and fun, so the shit always comes before the shovel with us.
Jonny: Do you have a favorite song or album of yours and why?
Joe: Personally I think that Tales From the Grave in Space is our best album, the production and performance was really great on that one. I really like The Terror Tapes too, but i think the mix on it was slightly rushed.
Joe: We played in a German beer hall in the middle of the rainforest in Brazil. We’ve been locked backstage after a show by the cops to stop skinheads trying to kill us. So lots of crazy stuff. Actually the weirdest thing was probably being on tour in Mexico: it was 35 degrees and we were driving to the next show, all of a sudden the tire bursts and it starts snowing like crazy. In Mexico, in the blazing heat.
Jonny: What are some of your favorite movies; horror, cult, or otherwise? Have these specifically influenced your music?
Joe: Again there’s lots of stuff, I’ll try and give you an idea of everyone’s interests. Philly: Superman 2 and Mac and Me, Domo: Ninja Condors 13 and Blazing Saddles, John: The Gate and Top Gun (obviously) Paul: Rats Night of Terror and Batman. I’d be a big George Romero, Lucio Fulci fan, but i love John Hughes, Carpenter etc etc. As far as influencing our music, yes.Yes they have. Alot.
Jonny: Alright, random question time – Favorite movie quote?
Joe: “Hey white boy, that hole ain’t gonna dig itself, put your dick skin on that thing! Dig! Dig!” – Platoon (1986)
Jonny: And something we just must know – Favorite beer?
Joe: Shipyard IPA and Brew Dog IPA, lots if European stuff too.
Jonny: Are there any albums or tours on the horizon that we can look forward to?
Joe: We’re nearly finished the writing for the new album at the moment, so we’ll record that in September for a 2015 release, not sure tour wise.
I think we might take some time off touring to make a Gama Bomb film. Not sure.
Jonny: Now to wrap-up, which movie plot would you rather see: Cyborgs invading penguins in Antarctica OR Cyborg penguins invading America?
Joe: Cyborg penguins were featured in Batman Returns (1992) so I guess that, tho it’s not a very good idea. I like the idea of a cyborg going back in time to kill the mother of its enemy, in essence retroactively killing him ….actually maybe that was already the plot of a film.
Although I would still like to see a war between cyborgs and penguins, I’d say Joe’s got a great plot point for a new Terminator movie, and hopefully Paramount is taking notes. I’d like to thank Joe for taking the time to talk with us, and now we can all look forward to the new album in 2015, and the very possibility of a Gama Bomb film makes life all the more awesome.
And here’s their most recent music video for “Backwards Bible”.
[divider]* All photo credits to their respective owners, taken from the band’s Facebook page.
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