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Full Metal Jackie: DEATH ANGEL’s been on tour for a really long time and now that you’ve wrapped up a year of touring with ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT. What will you miss most about those guys musically and personally?
Mark: Gosh, well I just saw Frankie Bello [ANTHRAX bassist] at soundcheck. [laughs]
Full Metal Jackie: He told me to ask you, you were supposed to bring the Fer…
Mark: Fernet Branca [Italian liqueur]. Yes, I love it. An Italian digestive that’s just beautiful and ugly and vicious and me and Frankie and Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist], we imbibe in that quite often on tour. I love the ANTHRAX guys so much. [I’ve] known ’em for years. Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Charlie. Frankie, Scott — I love all the guys. Rob [Caggiano, ANTHRAX guitarist], Joey [Belladonna, ANTHRAX singer] they’re just wonderful. I miss them already, I miss them. Seeing Frankie, I felt a little teary-eyed almost. It’s like, “Yeah!” When they played, I would sit behind Charlie every night and just watch them play. That’s probably what I’ll miss most — just watchin’ Charlie play. He’s a freak of nature.
Full Metal Jackie: How does so much time with those bands plus the reaction you got while on tour with them inspire your creativity in terms of new music for the next album?
Mark: Oh, in a huge way. Namely, that tour was so good for us — breaking into a new audience completely. So many people out there may have seen the name DEATH ANGEL that are into thrash or what not but we were playing to so many people that had never ever seen us play live, so we were winning people over every night. We’re hungry, obviously, touring for three years straight, and I think it’s going to help for the next one. The next one is just going to be vicious. [laughs]
Full Metal Jackie: How much DEATH ANGEL do you hear in the current generation of younger thrash bands. What do you like most about how they’ve built upon your foundation?
Mark: I definitely hear hints here and there. We’ve played with a lot of bands who are just flat-out, like, “You guys inspired us,” and I could tell with a lot of the younger thrash bands that they’re not lying. [laughs] I love it, I love the new wave of thrash — I think it’s great. I have two favorites at the moment right now. My two favorite bands of the new wave thrash is SUICIDAL ANGELS from Greece — they take more from the book of SLAYER — and I love HAVOK; I think those guys are just great. They’re great live, they have great attitudes and they’re fun.
Full Metal Jackie: I want to talk about the long-awaited DVD which we’ve been hearing about for quite some time, “A Thrashumentary”. It’s going to be released early 2013. Mark, in the moment living in the midst of everything, a band doesn’t necessarily see the whole big picture around them. In putting together “A Thrashumentary” DVD, what did you realize for the very first time about DEATH ANGEL?
Mark: That’s a fine question there. [laughs] What did I realize about us? I think the biggest thing was how surprised I was at how many people in bands that I respect truly had a mutual respect for us. When I was looking back at the edits and some of the interviews, the things people were saying about us — it made me take a step back and it just really humbled me but also at the same time it gave me new smile lines. [laughs]
Full Metal Jackie: What could you tell us about a timeline for the next DEATH ANGEL album?
Mark: Right now the plan is to hit the studio in April, and so right now we’re about eight skeletons deep, musically. Lyrically, I’d better start grabbing that pen because Rob [Cavestany, guitar] is winning. I’ve gotta catch up … The thing is, once I start writing I get in a flow and it’s going to happen. For this next record, we plan on writing a good twenty, twenty five songs and picking out the best eight, ten. We’re on fire right now; we are. [laughs]