ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 11, 1991
By Steve Newton
In the rock journalism biz, it’s sometimes fun to get your interviewee a little riled. Like when Blitzspeer vocalist Phil Caivano calls from New York and has to respond to the sly query about whether the metal scene in the Big Apple is any more potent than that in the hotbed of glam-rock, Los Angeles.
“Oh yeah!” spouts Caivano in his thick Bronx drawl. “We always kick L.A.’s ass. L.A. sucks. Bunch of posers out there, you know. That’s metal?”
Caivano has earned the right to stick up for New York’s metal scene—he’s been a part of it since he was a teenager, playing in the Elektra recording act Shrapnel during the heyday of punk.
“We opened for bands like the Ramones and the Dead Boys and the Cramps when all that was happening in the late ’70s, early ’80s, but we were a little bit ahead of our time. We had a really good following, but outside of New York we never really did anything.”
Blitzspeer makes its Canadian debut at Vancouver’s aptly named New York Theatre on Sunday (April 14), joined by two other fast ’n’ loud acts, Kreator and Morgoth. But the band has been keeping itself busy on the road, and still opens now and again for NYC’s best-known practitioners of the three-chord mind-melt.
“Opening for the Ramones is a lotta fun because I’ve known Joey for years. He really took a liking to Blitzspeer, and when he offered us a sold-out show at the Ritz it was great.”
One of Blitzspeer’s ear-pounding New York gigs, a July 1990 show at the Limelight, became Blitzspeer Live, the band’s seven-song debut on Epic Records. As well as tunes written by Caivano and guitarist Scott Lano, there’s a brutal cover of the MC5 classic, “Kick Out the Jams”.
“That was something where we were all sittin’ in our A&R guy’s office and he goes, ‘I got this song I think you should cover.’ And we’re goin’, ‘What the hell is he gonna want us to do, something really stupid?’ And he goes, ‘It’s by this band the MC5—ever heard of it?’ And I grew up playing that kinda stuff, Stooges and MC5.”