Jeff Williams & Andy Rosser-Davies of Onslaught, have a chat with James Meakin

We caught up with Onslaught back stage before their storming headline of the Relentless Garage. They spoke to me about the spirit of the band and most definitely the ‘Ethos’ and ‘Zeitgeist’…. and their love of KISS!

Please start by telling our readers who are you and what do you do?:
ANDY: Hi I am Andy Rosser-Davies from Onslaught
JEFF: And I am Jeff Williams from Onslaught and I play bass and prefer KISS

I was reading a little bit about your band and I understand that in the very early days, the 80’s, there was a definite punk rock influence and I was wondering what that brings to the table?
ANDY: Punk rock brings an attitude I guess would be the best way to describe it wouldn’t you think?
ANDY: It’s an Ethos, can I say Ethos? I just did say it, can I unsay Ethos? It brings that approach, the way anything goes, the aggression…
JEFF: Zeitgeist!
ANDY: Yes, the zeitgeist of the band, an ethic

I was listening to ‘Seeds of Hate’ how did you write the song and what is the Onslaught Creative Process?
ANDY: There are lots of different processes I guess. I think each song is a different approach and I think…
JEFF: It’s a Zeitgeist!
ANDY: Ha ha ha, yes it’s an Ethos as well as a Zeitgeist! Each song is approached in a different way, each member of the band has a lot of issues and things they want to say. I think there is no set way to do things and whatever works I guess really! With seeds of hate it is obviously a political and religious subtext which there is in the band. I think we sing about a lot of stuff that goes on in the world and a lot of important issues.

The title track from the album ‘Killing Peace’ contains the lyric ‘spitting blood in the face of God’. Religion is a large part of your lyrical subject matter. Where does that come from?
ANDY: I think it’s a personal attitude within the band. With religion and certain attitudes towards religion there is an aspect of the unhealthy and that it is not a good thing to do and I think the lyrics are purposely provocative in order to…
JEFF: Make people think a little bit more…
ANDY: Yeah…
JEFF: Religion is just a way of controlling people and gets people to think a certain way. I think you need to be free with yourself and to do that you need to abandon religion.

What purpose does the music you create serve within a wider metal sphere? Where do you see yourself positioned?
ANDY: I think thrash, going back to your first question it’s akin to punk it its attitudes…or Ethos… Sorry to use that word again but it is the whole approach it’s the anti establishment, aggressive anti establishment anti orthodox… it’s a very wordy interview isn’t it!
JEFF: Yeah you’re just showing off!
ANDY: Yeah I’m just showing off. It is what I think, it makes people think, and we like playing thrash music and writing music that yeah… Makes people think.
JEFF: I think thrash music and more extreme forms of metal…
(At this point the large fan in the Onslaught dressing room begins to blow both members extremely long hair around…)
ANDY: You look like you are in a Whitesnake video!
JEFF: I always think I am in a Whitesnake video!
ANDY: Sorry I distracted you and what you were saying was very important…
JEFF: What I was saying is that as this country develops into more of a nanny state which is definitely what is happening younger kids are getting into more extreme forms of music in general because it’s a release of the control, again, of what is being forced on them. So there is a new generation of Thrash Metal fans, there is a new generation of extreme metal fans. At one point thrash metal was as extreme as it got but it’s almost like its ‘mid-table’.
ANDY: Still premier league!
JEFF: Yeah but still mid-table as far as extremity is concerned. People will still be into it as the nanny state continues to oppress people.

Therefore is the reason you decided to get back together in 2004 due to the state of the world?
JEFF: I think it was just one of those days…
ANDY: It was a Thursday afternoon and there wasn’t much on the telly so… Living in a nanny state, nothing on the TV what better way of getting away from it?
JEFF: How about another Zeitgeist?! Ha ha ha…

How would you best describe your live show to someone who hasn’t seen you before?
ANDY: Loud. Loud. Loud.
JEFF: Tends to be quite Loud… Energetic
ANDY: Aggressive
JEFF: We try to get the audience as involved as we can.
ANDY: There was one show we did in Holland last year and Jeff instigated a stage invasion, and I guess that summed up the whole ethos of the band
JEFF: Kind of like a Zeitgeist?! Ha ha ha
ANDY: We were doing the last song and there was about 25-30 people on there
JEFF: Let us know what you think afterwards when we are in the bar!
ANDY: But only if you thought it was good!
JEFF: Or just lie to us…

You are signed to AFM records, how has that helped you?
ANDY: I think AFM have helped immensely, they share the drive the band has and they share the vision… Or Zeitgeist! We could just repeat Zeitgeist all the time! They really have gotten behind the band. They want the new albums right away and fully support the band with a great band.

Do you think that puts pressure on you to put out an album before its ready?
ANDY: No, the control is always within the band still and I think nothing will be released until it is ready, until we hit that Zeitgeist! But! It is good to have their support and that they want the best for the band, they have been fantastic.

Having been a band in one way or another since the mid 1980’s what would you say is the craziest thing you have seen on the road, at one of your gigs or just touring in general?
ANDY: At a Dutch show again, because the Dutch are crazy, a guy in a wheel chair crowd surfing while he was in the pit while he was going crazy in the pit!
JEFF: The great thing about that was looking up and all I could see was this guy being held up in a wheelchair in the middle of this crazy crowd. Put my head down, then looked up again and there was just an empty wheelchair!

Other than music what influences you?
ANDY: Jeff likes KISS!
JEFF: I much prefer KISS, the band kiss unless you are offering?
ANDY: I love star wars… which is sad.

That’s not sad at all. I love star wars.
ANDY: Classic rock, ACDC, Led Zeppelin
JEFF: Music, art, Classical films, B-Movies,
ANDY: Wait we are a thrash band… So death, destruction
JEFF: Evil, Star Wars, people