RICK PERRY:  “Lone Star Warrior” 

By Theron Moore

Gammacide has been a favorite band of mine since back in the late 80’s / 90’s.  In fact, when I did my old zine, “Louder Than God,” I reviewed Gammacide’s record “Victims of Science” and interviewed Rick over the phone.  Had to have been 1990. That was a huge deal for me because the band was killer and Rick was awesome to talk to.  Nothing’s changed.  He’s still making music (Iron Jaw) and he’s still ready to throw down when it comes to an interview.  Again, all these years later, it’s my honor to present Rick Perry, now of Iron Jaw, in all of his metal glory, to all of you…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  I want to go back to Gammacide first.  Tell me how you came into contact with Richard C. and Wild Rags.

RICK PERRY:  He had read reviews of the Gammacide demo in other zines and wrote me a letter offering to distribute it.  I sent him 20 copies and he sold those pretty fast, so he ordered more, and then more again.  Later, I went to California to visit my parents and met Richard at his store.  He was starting his label and was showing me his latest releases, which at the time was Recipients of Death and Bloodcum.  
I asked him about doing a record with Gammacide and I think he saw the potential in us because of how many copies of the demo he had sold.  At that point we had already sent our demo to Combat, Metal Blade, New Renaissance, Megaforce, and all those other labels…. They all had responded back saying that they liked it but they wanted to hear more…. We decided to sign with Wild Rags for one record and try to use that as a stepping stone to a bigger label.

WC:  Richard C. had quite the reputation for being somewhat of a “wild card.”  Was he pretty fair with Gammacide…or not?

RP:Some of his practices were kind of shady.  For example, he would print up 5000 little ¼ page fliers with Gammacide merch on one side and advertisements for all his other bands on the back.  The only problem was the information on the flier was incorrect, and we hadn’t asked him to do that for us in the first place.  But later when we got a royalty check, we saw that he charged us for the printing and shipping of all those fliers.  Really that’s pretty minor, all labels do things like that….  BUT… 
He gave Gammacide a chance when every other label did not.  Richard promoted us pretty hard when “Victims of Science” came out.  The distribution was good in the United States and overseas and “Victims of Science” became his best-selling release.  “Victims of Science” has gained a reputation as being somewhat of an underground classic and we have more fans now than we did then.  So, I will always be appreciative that Richard C recognized that Gammacide was a very good thrash band and that he put it out.

WC:  Gammacide was a favorite band of mine back in the 80’s.  In your opinion, why didn’t the band find bigger success?  Was their interest from bigger metal labels such as Metal Blade or Road Runner at the time?

WC:  Ultimately, what ended the band and did Gammacide end on good terms?  What year was that?

Rick Perry / Iron Jaw:  This answers both questions above:  As I said earlier, when we sent out the first demo they all said they wanted to hear some more material.  By the time “Victims of Science” was out and we had recorded the 91 demo, the thrash wave had pretty much peaked…. all the labels were interested in was death metal.  We didn’t understand that, we enjoyed listening to Obituary and Morbid Angel and all that, I didn’t think there was that much difference between thrash and death metal.  But apparently the labels thought our style of music was out-of-fashion.  When it became apparent that we weren’t going to get further than we already had, we decided to call it a day.  This was the summer of 1992.

WC:  Was there ever any question, after Gammacide splitting up, of getting out of music altogether, or, was it just a matter of keeping it in perspective and moving on and trying to find another band to start / join?

RP:  I had just gotten married and my daughter was just born, so I really wasn’t worried about forming a new band.

WC:  How did Puncture happen and what year was that?  

RP:  Puncture started out as a side project.  I listened to a lot of rap and industrial music, you know… electronic stuff.  So, I bought a 4-track recorder and started working on some songs that would incorporate that kind of programming with heavy guitars.  Eventually I released a five-song demo under the name “Puncture” and it started getting a good response.  The time was right since grunge was pushing metal to the wayside…. But industrial bands like Ministry and Fear Factory and Godflesh were popular, so Puncture fit right in.  

WC:  Puncture’s sound was definitely a marriage of metal and industrial.  What drew you into the industrial genre?  

RP:  It was just something different.  It was still dark and heavy, just a different style of music.  It created a mood and I just gravitated towards it.  It became a challenge for me to try and create something heavy without the typical rock band set up.

WC:  If I remember correctly, Puncture put out two records and had a third one in the works to be released?  Why did the band end?  

RP:  It had run its course I guess…. the whole vibe of Puncture was extremely decadent, depraved, and negative.  I started to think that I had to live the lifestyle described in the lyrics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…. Drugged out, perverted, hateful.  I got some involved in some bad habits that became very central to my existence.  It wasn’t healthy that’s for sure.  I would show up to a gig and people would bring me drugs or want me to party with them or engage in some kind of weird bondage scene with their girlfriend or whatever…I had to break up Puncture for my own sanity.

WC:  Any plans to put that third record out, maybe in the style that you did with the re-release of Gammacide’s music?

RP:  I doubt it.  We did a PUNCTURE reunion in 2008 and we released a DVD of that performance, along with bunch of old videos, interviews, and stuff.  Included with the DVD we included MP3s of all the Puncture material – both CDS, both demos, plus about 3 or 4 songs which would have been on the 3rd CD.  The DVD is still available, you can get it on the Puncture bandcamp for cheap, like 5 bucks.

WC:  Doing music on a professional level has to be time consuming, demanding, it surely means getting out on the road and doing a lot of touring, was there any moment that it ever became too overwhelming and you considered getting out of music altogether?  

RP:  After Puncture was put on ice, I pretty much did nothing.  I sat on the couch and watched Godzilla movies for five years.  It wasn’t in my mind to do music again, although I still played my guitar and jammed with other people every now and then.  Then in 2005, Rotting Corpse reunited…. I was at the show with Bruce from Rigor Mortis, we both got inspired and decided to try and reform our respective bands as well.   So, I learned how to program HTML and put up on the web.  The response was much better than I expected, so we ended up re-releasing “Victims of Science” on CD.  We also added our 1991 demo and we went into the studio and recorded two songs which we had wrote back in 1992, but never recorded.  It looked for awhile that Gammacide was going to try and put out some new material, Scott and I got together and wrote 5 or 6 songs…. But with two of our members in different states (Varnam lives in Louisiana and Jamey lives in Colorado), it was too difficult to keep the band together. Scott and I ended up taking those songs we wrote and using them for Warbeast.

WC:  Tell me about Warbeast.  How did that band come about?  I imagine you’ve known Bruce Corbitt and Rigor Mortis forever.

Rick Perry / Iron Jaw:  Yes, I’ve known the guys in Rigor from way back, before Gammacide… Casey and Hardin were in a band called Warlock.  I joined Warlock as a second guitarist, but then the band broke up.  Casey and Hardin went on to form Rigor Mortis with Bruce and Mike Scaccia, while I stayed in Warlock and continued with that for a couple years.  Warbeast started when a friend of ours, Wayne Abney was injured in a motorcycle accident.  This was right after he had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.  Bruce put together a benefit concert to help Wayne with his medical bills.  Various members of Gammacide, Rigor Mortis, Rotting Corpse, and Hammerwitch got together and played songs by all of the Texas Metal bands…. We called it Texas Metal Alliance…. 

The benefit was a success, but moreover, Bruce, Scott and I enjoyed jamming together so much that we decided to make it a full-time band.  At first, we just played Rigor Mortis and Gammacide songs, but then we started using those new songs Scott and I had written for what was supposed to be the new Gammacide record.  
Bruce gave a copy of our demo to Phil Anselmo, and Phil liked it and wanted to sign us to his Housecore record label.  We changed the name from Texas Metal Alliance to Warbeast and went to Phil’s house in New Orleans to record the first LP Krush The Enemy.  It was released in 2010.  It is one of the favorite things I’ve been a part of, I think Scott and I took our thrash metal songwriting to a new level with that, and Joey Gonzalez is an amazing drummer.  Of course, Bruce is a killer thrash metal vocalist too… so I that first Warbeast LP is something I’m very proud of.

WC:  So, what were the circumstances behind leaving Warbeast, can you talk about it?

RP:  It was really a very simple reason.  Phil wants all the bands on Housecore to tour extensively…. Which makes sense as it’s still the best way for a metal band to gain fans and make a name for themselves.  I wanted to go on the road with Warbeast and was looking forward to seeing Europe and all that…. 
But I have had the same job for 30-something years, and I would have had to quit my job.  For a fifty-year-old man to quit his career to go travel the US in a van did not seem like the best option for me, so I reluctantly had to step down from Warbeast.  It was hard… Bruce, Scott and I had formed the band and it was just starting to get rolling, but I didn’t really see how I had much choice.

WC:  And now you’re doing Iron Jaw, just a killer band.  Talk about that and the musical or creative idea behind this band.  To give fans an idea of where you’re coming from, musically, who are the band’s primary influences?

RP:  Iron Jaw is my new band, and the lineup is myself on guitars, Jeff Brown from Plague Allegiance on guitars, Randy Cook from Rotting Corpse on drums, Clay McCarty on bass, and Rich Stafford on vocals.  The music we are doing comes from some of my earliest influences…. Before I listened to thrash metal I was into old school metal like Judas Priest, Motorhead, and Saxon…. Those are the bands that influence my songwriting in Iron Jaw, and even older stuff like AC DC, Kiss, Black Sabbath.  I am sure that if you listen close you can still hear some Gammacide influences, that is unavoidable because that is the way I write…

WC:  And the music is available on Bandcamp, right?

RP:  Yes, for right now it’s only available digitally.  We may release a CD this year, or some vinyl.  I still like vinyl the best….

WC:  Are there any plans to tour outside Texas with Iron Jaw, at the moment?

RP:  Maybe later this year we may do some out of town shows.  We will start submitting our application for the major festivals, so hopefully we can get on some of those.

WC:  What’s in store for you and Iron Jaw for 2018?  

RP:  FOAD Records in Italy reissued a massive Gammacide set including “Victims of Science”, both demos, our 2005 recordings, a DVD with two shows from the eighties, and a 36-page booklet.  Check it out, it’s amazing.  It really astounds me that people still have that much interest in Gammacide.  Other than that, I am just writing new songs for Iron Jaw and we hope to do some good recordings and get them out there…metal is my life, I see no reason to stop….thank you Theron for the interview…. And for being a long-time champion of the metal scene!  Anyone wanting to get in touch with me, send me something on Facebook…STAY HEAVY!!!