Meeting my heroes in the metal world is one of the biggest perks of this job. People often say you shouldn’t meet them, and it’s true that you can never know when you’ll come across a musician that you adore who then turns out to be a bit of an eccentric (read “complete asshole”). Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with Jungle Rot‘s growler and shredder Dave Matrise, who turned out to be a total sweetheart. Read on to find out how Matrise looks at the underground metal scene and how he feels about life on tour, amongst other anecdotes.
GRIMM: So, Dave. Good to meet you. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Sure, man. My pleasure!
GRIMM: How’s this European tour been treating you so far?
The tour’s been great, man. I’m very pleased. I was a little worried to be truthful, because when I came out here I didn’t know what to expect. It’d been so long since we toured Europe and I still don’t really consider us a headliner, you know. But we’ve been working with our new agent, who made sure everything was set up right, and so far we’ve been playing in front of one hundred and fifty people on average every night. Those are the numbers we need. We’re overwhelmed actually. The merch is selling like hotcakes. I even had to put in a new order today. I mean, what more could you wish for?
GRIMM: You still have some mediums left, right? Looks like I’ll have to be fast.
I think we got a few left, man *laughs*. But it’s flying; we’re doing good on this one. Since we’re basically working for merch as a complementary source of income next to the percentage we get from the tour, any order we can put in is a good thing. We’re picking up the next one in Glasgow this time, since tomorrow we’re heading out for the UK.
GRIMM: Favorite show so far?
Germany last night was off the hook. What made it so special was the super old school crowd that came out. You know, these big tall third-generation brutish Germans. When I think of Germany those are the guys I think of, man. Kind of like stereotypes but there you have it. The show landed perfectly on a Saturday night in a small backwater venue, with nobody having to work, having a couple of drinks, just having a good time. I think we played for an hour and a half. We did like five encores, man. The crowd just kept going.
GRIMM: Well that’s downright impressive. It keeps you going, I suppose?
It does, man. It was an incredible night. We’ve been fighting the fight for a long damn time, so it feel so good when something like that happens; when everything’s just going right. It feels rewarding and it keeps you going. I live for the road, even though there’s a lot of bullshit to endure. Traveling like that is not for everyone, but there’s just something about playing live. It’s just who I am. It’s hard to let go of a passion you invest so much time and effort in. I’m gonna try to write and play as long as I physically can. I admit I am starting to feel the effects on my body. There’s tendon problems going on in my hand, and my neck is sore from wearing a guitar saddle for twenty-five years. But I’m gonna fight it for as long as I can. I think I have at least another four to five good years left in me, since I take good care of myself. I take my fitness very seriously, which I think helps out a lot. So when I come out here to play I always go for the full one-hundred percent.
GRIMM: Do you get the chance to work out on tour? You know, stay fit in the middle of the action?
Not that much. However I start working out at least two months before going on tour. And since I’m a hunting guide back home, I’m already constantly walking ten to twelve miles a day for seven days a week, which keeps me fit as a fiddle. That’s kind of how I keep myself in shape.
I just turned fifty this year, man. Imagine that. I know plenty of people my age who go through many health complications. So you see why I can keep going and why I’m happy that I’m able to. You gotta watch yourself when you’re in this business.
GRIMM: Now, about your last album (‘Jungle Rot’, Victory Records, 2018), we at GRIMM Gent though it was an excellent release (read the review here). Do you think it’s a high point in your musical career?
What happened with that last album was kind of peculiar. Back in ’85 I discovered the underground thrash scene: Destruction, Sodom, Celtic Frost, etc. That’s where I started. So I believe our last tour with Destruction really brought back the thrasher in me. It also coincided with the album’s writing process. It was then that I asked Schmier (Destruction, lead vocals & bass) to be featured on ‘Fearmonger‘. I had such a good time with them on that tour, I think it influenced me a lot. It comes across in the new album and I’m very pleased with the result, which is basically a seamless blend of old-school and modern death and thrash metal with the necessary power, grooviness and speed to back it up. We’re kind of a heavy metal Frankenstein (‘s Monster – red.). It all came together great. That and having reached the point where Schmier is singing on one of our songs, just makes the past year one of the best times of my life. That was a dream come true.
The interview continues on page 2.