Interview with
Rick Perry
Interview by:
Carlos Rodríguez
November, 2008
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Despite just having released one record as their short existence has shown, the name Gammacide has always find a way to sneak into every single classic thrash conversation, at first as a rarity that some might consider a one hit wonder but later as a true achievement of a group of kids caught in the middle of the thrash revolution of the 80’s.

I had the chance to send Rick Perry a couple of questions so that he can update us on the status of the band, and as a shocking discovery he told me about the again cease of activities of the band, making one name from the past that would not be joining this so called “thrash revival” but don’t despair because Mr. Perry has no intensions on giving up on thrash, his new album with some of the members from Gammacide will come out under the name TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE.

Line up:
Varnam Ponville - Vocals | Rick Perry - Guitar | Scott Shelby - Guitar | Alan Bovee - Bass | Jamey Milford - Drums


Gammacide - Victims of Science
Victims of Science

Pic courtesy of: Gammacide
"Gammacide is back in hibernation now, our vocalist Varnam and drummer Jamey live in other states, and it makes rehearsing too difficult. Scott and myself wanted to keep a little busier than that, so we joined forces with Bruce from Rigor Mortis and have formed TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE."

CR: Hey man how are you doing… ready for the elections?
Rick Perry:
Well, I'm glad that George Bush is out of office! I think Obama is a step in the right direction for our country, we'll see if he can make a difference.

CR: Why don’t we began by updating some people about Gammacide, since when are you guys back together and is this back for “real” or you are just tasting the waters?
Rick Perry:
Gammacide is back in hibernation now, our vocalist Varnam and drummer Jamey live in other states, and it makes rehearsing too difficult. Scott and myself wanted to keep a little busier than that, so we joined forces with Bruce from Rigor Mortis and have formed TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE.

CR: I was just reading on Fort Worth Weekly that you guys are half way from releasing a new album; after so many years of Victims of Science, what can the fans expect from this production?
Rick Perry:
Well, most of those newer Gammacide songs ended up being TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE songs. I think most fans of Gammacide will be pleased with the results.

CR: According to what I can read on your web page the album Victims of Science is totally sold out and you are looking for a label to help you re-release the album; have you find such a label? How many more copies would you like to put out for the public?
Rick Perry:
Yes, I put out the CD myself and it sold out within a year and a half... pretty good for a band who had not been active for over 15 years! Marquee Records in South America also licensed it and is selling it down there. We may license it to Brainticket Records, which is the label run by John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus... we'll see what happens... but for now, yeah it's sold out unless you can find one on ebay.

CR: All of you guys have pretty much remain active, musically speaking, but did it took you guys some time to get back in form to play in Gammacide one more time or is it like riding a bike…You never quite forget it?
Rick Perry:
Yes, we had to rehearse quite a bit to get back up to full speed and to remember all the parts... but I think we played tighter than ever!

CR: How many shows have you guys done so far, since Gammacide came back? Are you on tour right now?
Rick Perry:
We did a total of nine shows throughout Texas. Like I said earlier, Gammacide is in hibernation now, but TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE is playing shows every month.

CR: How much has the scene change since the days Gammacide released Victims of Science, you know how do the attitude of the crowds toward metal has change since the glorious days of thrash?
Rick Perry:
Pretty much the same, some of the people who saw us in the early days still come out to see us and of course they are older now, but we also see a lot of younger kids coming out and checking out some true old school thrash!

CR: Gammacide only released one album in 1989, still the name has great resonance today, what do you think made that album so special that there are fans who remember the band just from that production?
Rick Perry:
I think the fact that Victims of Science is completely relentless. Not many thrash records keep the intensity level up so high from the first note to the last.

CR: Victims of Science dealt with evolution, politics, nature but stayed sort of away from the more “classic” thrash themes, such as zombies and thrash clichés, was that done on purpose? I mean were you trying to write songs that managed to distinguished what the band members felt were more important topics?
Rick Perry:
Yeah, we didn't want to write about the usual thrash topics... the first song we wrote was "Endangered Species" and that had kind of a futuristic science fiction theme to it... so we kind of stayed in that direction. It all tied in with our name, which was meant to be a type of chemical warfare thing.

CR: The song Shock Treatment has a very familiar riff on it, an almost Sepultura riff to it; were you guys aware of these Brazilian band back them and did they had any effect on the way you guys played for Gammacide?
Rick Perry:
Shock Treatment was written in 1986 or 1987, and I didn't hear Sepultura until 1989 with Beneath The Remains. But yeah we love Sepultura and they have influenced us. Arise is my favorite by them. Incidentally, that opening riff in Shock Treatment was kind of inspired by the Rush song "YYZ"

Pic courtesy of: Gammacide
"The Texas bands don't have a certain sound, there is a big variety. But a lot of the Texas bands have a unique approach and attitude. This comes from living in a state that is far away from the "fashion" centers like New York and California"

CR: Looking back at Victims of Science, how well do you think the album managed to reflect the sound of 80’s thrash metal?
The album despite been fast as hell had some very “crossover” style riffs from time to time, like in Gutter Rats, apart from the earlier beginnings of some band members that got influenced by some classic metal bands, was there ever some hardcore bands that helped you shape the sound of Gammacide?
Rick Perry:
Yeah, we liked a few of the hardcore bands like Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., and Black Flag. We mixed these with the classic metal influences like Priest and Sabbath.

CR: What do you think would have happened if the band had never disbanded, do you think you will have at least 4 or 5 albums out there?
Rick Perry:
Well yes, our 1991 demo shows the direction we were headed after Victims of Science. We had a few other songs at the same time, so we pretty much had a complete second album written. If we would have continued, I'm the sure the music would have changed some, I doubt we would have stayed that fast for 4 or 5 albums...

CR: Gammacide is a Texas based thrash band, is there any real difference in the sound of the band when compare to what the Bay Area movement was doing in the early 80’s?
Rick Perry:
The Texas bands don't have a certain sound, there is a big variety. But a lot of the Texas bands have a unique approach and attitude. This comes from living in a state that is far away from the "fashion" centers like New York and California. We were influenced more by German Thrash than Bay Area thrash, although we loved Exodus of course.

CR: How do you feel about this so called “thrash revival”, you know new bands and kids playing old school thrash?
Rick Perry:
Yes, there are some kids here in Dallas called Amoricide, they have obviously been listening to a lot of early Destruction, they even wear bullet belts! Most of these retro thrash bands like Merciless Death emulate the very early style of thrash, before it progressed much. I don't like it when thrash is too sloppy, I prefer it when it is played with vicious precision.

CR: Since Gammacide was one of the first thrash bands helping the Texas scene grown, how do you see the movement in that place of the US developing these days? And do you think there is a new place that can be compared to what the Bay Area was in the early 80’s?
Rick Perry:
The scene in Texas is nowhere near as vital as it was in the 80's... that was a very special time, there was so much talent coming out of Texas at that time... Watchtower, Dead Horse, Rigor Mortis, Solitude Aeturnus, Rotting Corpse, Devastation, Sedition, and so many more that I can't think of right now...

CR: For you what was the biggest accomplishment that Gammacide had during his short but important life during the 80/90?
Rick Perry:
Obviously the Victims of Science LP. It's our legacy. It's our tiny little chapter in the history of metal.

CR: In your view what are the best thrash metal albums ever put out? And today who’s the absolute king of thrash?
Rick Perry:
I'll give you three: Bonded By Blood, Terrible Certainty, and Reign in Blood. For me the best thrash band has always and will always be Slayer.

CR: What’s the current status of Texas Metal Alliance, are you planning on releasing someday a full length under this name?
Rick Perry:
Actually yes, we've got 10 songs written and we are talking with our friend Phil Anselmo. He has his own label called Housecore Records and it looks very likely that the TMA CD will be released next year. So be on the lookout for that, there's some stuff on there that will definitely please you Gammacide fans out there.

CR: Well man I just ran out of questions, I really appreciate you taken the time to answer this questions, so please if you have something else to add, feel free to do so…
Rick Perry:
Thanks Carlos for the interview and good luck with Leviatan!

Design by Carlos Rodríguez