What do you get when you combine toxic waste with a nuclear holocaust? Give up? Toxic Holocaust! These punk-infused thrash rockers out of Portland, Oregon have been kicking it old school since the 1980s. Their musical influences include: Discharge, Hellhammer, Bathory, Venom and Possessed, just to name a few. Joel Grind founded Toxic Holocaust in 1999, writing and recording everything in his bedroom.
After a couple of demo releases (Radiation Sickness, 1999; Critical Mass, 2002), an official LP was released entitled “Evil Never Dies (2003). Two years went by, and after constant touring, hiring backup back after backup, Grind had gone off to release his second attempt “Hell On Earth” (2005) – another round of touring followed. Soon after Relapse Records contacted Grind, everything fell into place, bringing forth “An Overdose of Death,” (2008) and thus the birth Grind like’s to call “Nuclear Speed Metal” was born. Joel Grind spoke to me briefly while the band was on their last California date before heading out East to finish off The Decimation of the Nation Tour.
NP: Tell us about Toxic Holocaust… a little history… a little about the band members.
Joel: Toxic Holocaust started in 99. I started the group in high school with a couple friends. We did a demo tape, but it didn’t really work out. They (people) weren’t into the punk/thrash music style, so I started recording my own stuff in my bedroom for a couple of years which lead to “Critical Mass.” Then this record label out of California called Nuclear War Now took interest and released it via vinyl. So from doing that, it lead to underground tours, gigs etc.
But then I would have to travel, and needed to get a backup band; heading out to Austria – need a backup band – going to Brazil… backup band; so a solid line-up wasn’t set yet. I did one more demo – I believe in 2007 – and sent that off to some labels. Relapse gave the best response. Since then, we replaced our old drummer and have this new guy, along with our bassist, and everything has been working out great ever since.
NP: If you had to describe your sound to someone what would you tell them?
Joel: I would say thrash-punk ,basically combining different styles of music; similar to or sounding a lot like Hellhammer.
NP: Your debut “An Overdose of Death…” is out. Tell us about it.
Joel: Well… it’s not really our debut album, but it’s our third record that’s actually received the most disruption. It has new songs that I’d like to call “Nuclear Speed Metal.” I don’t know really but I like how the recording came together and how raw and intense it is overall.
NP: Pick one song on the “An Overdose of Death…,” and tell us about it. How was it inspired?
Joel: I’d have to pick “Nuke The Cross.” A lot of people hear the title and atomically think it’s a Satanic theme song. It’s actually more about ending religion, than the title claims it to be, when you look at the lyrics. I’m not a big fan of a religion, or a Satanist, I just like doing my own thing and believe what I believe in.
NP: Do you have any plans for the next release?
Joel: Yeah, got a bunch of new songs ready to record, so everyone should be seeing that very soon.
NP: You guys have been constantly touring, what is one of the most memorable places you’ve been too?
Joel: Most memorable place would have to be in Japan. It’s so different than any other place we’ve been too. It’s a completely different culture than anywhere else.
NP: What are your upcoming plans for the rest of 2009?
Joel: We got a tour with Satyricon happening, and then another with The Black Dahlia Murder coming up along with heading to Europe in December so basically lots more touring going on.
NP: What are your goals for Toxic Holocaust?
Joel: Just get on the road and release more records. I don’t really have any goals; just meet more fans and make new friends and get our music heard while out on the road.
NP: What’s one good thing and one bad thing about being in a band?
Joel: The good thing is all the girls we meet, and the interviews we do. The bad thing is not making any money… but I do enjoy doing what I do.
NP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Joel: Hopefully you’ll see us on the road. We’ll be coming to your tour so come check us out!