One of the most proficient and prolific bass players in extreme music, STEVE DI GIORGIO, talks of all matter on RockOverdose!
The man who brought the fretless bass into the forefront of metal, well known for his works with some of the greats in metal history; Death, Testament and much more, he has always been a player in high demand working on non-stop recordings for recent musical endeavors.
Read below the friendly chat Zisis Petkanas and Tasos Deligiannis of Rock Overdose, had with him!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): So tonight at Rock Overdose Greece we are hosting a legendary bass player Steve Di Giorgio. Hi Steve and welcome to Rock Overdose!
Steve Di Giorgio: Hi !! Great to be here with you!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): It’s a great honor to have the chance to chat with you.
Steve Di Giorgio: Great to be here!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): So how are the things going regarding to the pandemic?
Steve Di Giorgio: Well it is..you know ..it’s anywhere in the world. It’s that one time in all of our history, in all of our memory that the same thing is happening to anyone around the world in the same way. You know sometimes certain countries go through things and everybody else just learns from them, from the news or whatever..you know sometimes it even affects all continent, but man this whole year has equally affected the whole entire world. There’s nobody alive that has experienced what to do in this situation, so we are all just finding our way and improvising , how everyone sees fit and that’s pretty much the same for me just doing what comes natural , you know, adjusting along the way, but it is pretty much the same for everyone I guess.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Yes, that is the general situation that we have to pass through .And the problem is not just that we can’t attend to concerts. It’s a lot more. It is difficult to go out to a bar even to hang out with friends, everything is difficult.
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah, I will take it even another step further. A lot of us have older people in their family. You know it is difficult to maintain contact with these people because you wanna keep them safe obviously . Like my mother... She is about to turn 81 years old and she is normally a person who likes to keep it to herself and remain busy with her hobbies and stuff but she is now forced to remain in this lockdown.. and trying to keep older people safe she is being going crazy ,she is being very lonely and it is a challenge mentally for the older people not to have activity. Even if they have very limited activity in their normal lives, but if you just take that little bit away, it is being a challenge .. they have to fight off being alone and being scared of the disease, which could take them out pretty easily and so it’s really tough in that regard. Like you said with our friends , in our age it has definitely changed our way how we see them.. you know it’s been more of keeping up with things like online .. you know chatting , messenger, stuff like that but as far as professional work that is completely off the board!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): I have an alert Tasos has joined.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I am here !!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): So Steve what are you doing these days? What are your latest news?
Steve Di Giorgio: Well, outside from personal stuff and home projects , I have been pretty busy over the year recording all kinds of new stuff. Some of them is just becoming ready to come out , the bands have already made the announcements. So the first one I have worked on right after I got better from being sick was a group from Denmark called Mother Of All . They just made their announcement together with a new label signing along with a promotional flyer..I think they showed the cover , so Mother Of All is ready to come out... I don’t know the release date actually, maybe March . It’s cool music . It is based around technical thrash /death metal , but it definitely has more organic quality , changes.. you know ..within a song..giving a different mood .. and different instrumentayion used…there’s these acoustic parts , a lot of percussion going on besides the usual drumkit .There is some exceptional drumming in there. People are going to be impressed with the drumming of Mother Of All, so anyway that’s new and I am looking forward to that. After that I recorded with a couple of guitarists from Croatia, the vocalist is Bjorn (Strid) from Soilwork... yeah a couple of very well known musicians in there , the name is Act Of Denial.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Is it , let’s say, a supergroup?
Steve Di Giorgio: Eh …everybody likes to use the word supergroup, I guess this terms occurs naturally when you have people that are recognized , people that are from well known bands , getting together , some call it supergroup. I Don’t have a problem , it is not very super to me, but the music is fuckying killer. I think the two guitar players wrote everything and it’s their first big album together. But it came out really good.You know it is very similar to the old Swedish Gothenburg style of death metal. It’s heavy and it’s fast but it is also very melodic , it has the choruses that stick in your head all day. You know very catchy and personally I love to listen to them ..to their music when I am riding my motorcycle , you know it’s like the cool energy boost in music that keeps you going going forward , but also the melody..Bjorn is a fantastic singer, you know he can sing brutal and immediately change , turn the corner and sing this huge melodic chorus and so that album is full of all that kind of stuff. So Act of Denial is coming out really really soon too.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Busy Year!
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah busy year..it’s the product of being stuck at without playing live
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): How do you manage to do all of that stuff? You are involved in a lot of bands
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah, I guess by nature I like to keep busy , to have a lot of variety and the result of it is that I make a lot of friends. Working with different musicians is surprising how… no matter what countries they live in or far are we right now , it’s surprising how similar the language of music is, you know ..exchanging ideas to complete something together , it is a process I really enjoy. I ‘ve gotten better as a player to play on other people’s music, to embrace their ideas and , you know, and usually good things happen from creating music together and staying in contact with these musicians and sometimes we work again down the road and it is really something I enjoy doing, it is something that plays into who I am.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Steve , In which of all these bands are you a full member right now?
Steve Di Giorgio: I don’t know.. unless you are a founding member and creating a band from the ground up , you are still a musician ,I mean even if you are a full blown member and you can still be replaced , so I don’t really put a lot of importance into the word member .For example I work with Testament two separate times. The first time when I hooked up with that band to make “The Gathering “ record together with Slayer’s drummer (Dave Lombardo) , I stayed in the band for six – six and a half – years and then after nine years I rejoined the band and now it’s been another seven. If you put these times together it’s about fifteen years and the band is like thirty five years of history and I have been around for fifteen years of it , so yeah, I am just a session musician that you could say..Yeah... I work for the band but we are very close friends and whether you call it a full member or not , I have been around for fifteen years with the band and it’s a big part of my life , so , like I said it is not so important, it’s just, everybody likes to work in different levels , you know some people have open arms and they treat you like a full member and welcome you in and everything works like , you know, like brothers, and some others treat you more like in a professional way ,where even though everything works fine it is more like kind of an agreed job/session and when it’s over it’s over. So everybody works different and I have just adapted the attitude to go just like the situation is and if it’s a short lived project, I make the most of it , or if it’s a long term thing like with Testament I just go for the long ride.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I must state Mr. Di Giorgio that I am a huge fan of yours. I own and love all of Death’s albums, the ones that you played even more, I saw back in 2016 when you came with Death To All in Thessaloniki ,with Obscura as your support band, and It was magnificent.
Steve Di Giorgio: Thank you so much for the compliments, it means a lot to me Taso! It’s awesome , and I do remember this trip to Greece with Death To All and Obscura , that was amazing.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Sorry but I didn’t listen if Zisis has asked you before about the latest Testament album. It was really great, it blew me away!! Magnificent work, you had the chance to work again with Gene Hoglan, after Individual Though Patterns, am I right about that?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah actually that is pretty true and that was exactly the question we were on when you joined the conversation, we were talking about the new Testament record. That’s really good news that you guys really like it. It seems like it’s been taking off pretty good and the fans they seem like they really enjoy it and the album is hitting pretty high on the charts in many countries . So it seems that everything is going off pretty good, good success with it but we only get these news that we need to be stuck at home, that we need to embrace this situation and miss the action on tour, on stage.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Other bands that you participated are due to release their records , Mother Of All first of all. I admit I didn’t know the band. I saw the news on the internet and I looked up for them , they are fantastic. How did they get in touch with you?
Steve Di Giorgio: Uhm… just the beauty of the internet , just (hehehe) the regular way of receiving an e mail and moving forward , you know, by checking out the music , knowing that not only do I enjoy playing their music, but also the band feel comfortable with my style of playing.So we just went ahead and started working on their stuff like normal and I think it went out pretty good. I was telling Zisis before, I don’t think that is the band’s first record , but they are putting a lot of promotion in it, so it the first time many people are hearing about this group. It’s kind of a one man group. The drummer (Martin Haumann) he is an excellent bass player and he also does the vocals on this album, but he hired me on the bass and a guitar player ( Frederik Jensen) to help him finish the album. The album has multiple musicians but it’s all from his mind. He is a really good drummer.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I see , what about the other band that is due to release their record, Act Of Denial?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah ,Act Of Denial , this band has Bjorn from Soilwork singing.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Yesss I saw that yesterday. I thought it was a Croatian band that invited you as a guest, I mean all Croatians and you, but it seems it has an all star line up.
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah.. the guys whose the band belongs to them ( the two guitarists) , are from Croatia, and they wrote all the songs ,but they brought me on bass from USA, Bjorn (Strid) on vocals from Sweden , the drummer like I said is From Austria, even the keyboard player is a friend of Bjorn’s , I think he plays with Night Flight Orchestra .So right it is a Croatian based band but with international musicians , and you are right it is coming out pretty soon . The band has actually put out, I think , 3 videos with the new songs ,so the people have been checking it out early on .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): About the Documentary ("Death By Metal") and the things you said about the Death albums and all those details that come behind the things we know . Would please give us some details, some , let’s say juicy details , about the two albums that you participated , about the touring that followed the albums. I heard there had been some kind of misunderstanding both after the albums and also during the tours . I heard that you guys almost split up then came together again .Gene Hoglan went to start recording drums for Individual Thought by himself and all that stuff.I would like to hear some behind the scenes details.
Steve Di Giorgio: Uhm , I think in Death’s history almost every tour led to a split up ,because Chuck has a new line up on every record , so there is probably a common story to every tour about something that happens. What you might be referring to is something that happened after we recorded the album “Human” . Uhhm I wasn’t scheduled to be on the touring line up , but there was a disagreement between myself and Chuck about the way the “Human “ album ended up sounding like and for a while, you know, we weren’t speaking to each other , but it wasn’t that big of a deal, it wasn’t so serious that we ended our friendship , because you see that we met up again for the next record, so that might have been what you are talking about. So Gene comes along for Individual and we record this album but he stuck around after the studio to do all the touring and that was really cool doing all that, but by the end of this touring we were tired all year, you know , we did a lot of show and the guys were just tired, they wanted to stay home and I was also expecting the birth of my first child ,so I came out to work a little bit on the early parts of the Symbolic record but it was the live responsibilities that didn’t allow me to continue .So they went on they made Symbolic, but in the end of that tour the band pretty much split up. Chuck didn’t want to do Death anymore, he wanted to start a new band where he didn’t have to sing , so he found a vocalist.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Tim Aymar...
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah he found a guy to sing for him and he could just play guitar, that’s all he really wanted to do , but the demand for Death was too high . The fans The record company talked Chuck into doing one last Death record before he moved on to his idea of being just a guitar player. So that’s pretty much common knowledge , that’s not behind the scenes that you are asking for. It’s so hard to say …there’s so many stories, too many.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): In the end you didn’t stop being friends.You were invited for the Control Denied album.
Steve Di Giorgio: Actually we were friends since the Mutilation demo even before the album Scream Bloody Gore , so my story with Chuck spans the whole Death career … But like I said, I worked a little bit on Symbolic and didn’t finish and the same thing for the next record . I came out actually two times to work on Sound Of Perseverance . So I came out to work with Chuck and Richard ( Christy) and Shannon (Ham) and we got pretty far along the way but I couldn’t stay to do the final recording once again , so he called Scott (Klendenin) back , but soon after the tours for that album were done Chuck and him got sick of each other and again I came back and replaced Scott one more time to do the Control Denied recording .. and I would talk to Chuck on the phone about the plans to do the tour for Control Denied . He wanted to do a Death farewell tour ,you know , to properly tshow the world that Death was ending and he was going to bring the Control Denied singer to the stage for the last part of the show where there would be 3 or 4 Control Denied songs and he would say in the end of the night like “ The next time you see us on the stage , this is what we are gonna be “ so that when he did a Control Denied tour people would know. Obviously these plans never happened , Chuck didn’t make it but that’s what the plan was .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Since you brought that up about Chuck’s passing away , two great musicians that happened to play together at Cynic Sean Reinert and Sean Malone passed away last year , I assume you were friends, Am I right about that?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah , very close friends.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Pretty much we know you were a very close friends and a very tight rhythm section with Sean Reinert, but I would like to ask you about Sean Malone .That guy, he was not just a really good bass player. He wanted to make it to another level with clinics, books concerning bass methods , teaching jazz standards and all that stuff. What I want to ask you is this: Have you ever seen yourself as such a player, I mean apart from playing and touring and all that stuff, being a teacher and making books?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah, he was a professor that’s for sure, he was not just an ordinary musician , he was alien level of intelligence this guy and yeah Sean Malone , he created a whole new genre , style of bass playing. There’s musicians that are very influential because they are really good or they think of new things or whatever the reason of their notoriety but, none has changed an entire genre of playing like Sean Malone did. There are bass players that copy his style so much around the world , that he has to be credited as one of the most influential bass players ever!
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I totally agree with you! I wonder is it from the start that you started playing with a fretless bass? I mean your studying routine included playing with, let’s say, an upright bass or something with no frets in order to train your ears to hear the notes or is it something that came up as an idea later on as a need to a more demanding musical style that you engaged to. To conclude how did you decide to make the fretless bass part of your signature sound?
Steve Di Giorgio: It’s hard to answer it specifically because it was never really intentional .You brought up a good point. I came up through the school system with music, so the school had many instrumentsthat you could play so I played wood winds a lot of brass instruments , then I switched to string instruments , the only string instrument I played was the upright bass , so learning this instrument you know where the notes are by position you don’t have markers that are on the frets or dots or anything .These instruments have been around for hundreds of years the violins , the cellos, the oud, there are in all cultures so this , putting strings on a neck with no frets , goes back very long time and is a pretty common thing and it wasn’t really a difficult thing to pick up for me , but you know, the more popular music that’s around use an electric bass. The common instrument in that case has frets on it and everybody just accepted that the bass guitar has frets , that’s what they see from the beginning , but when you come from the other side, you know, being around violin, players of cello and all these , it wasn’t so strange for me to have an electric bass with no frets , it just made sense you know , because I played the acoustic version as a kid and so I wanted to convert one of my older bass guitars into this kind of fretless style so I bought a neck from the Fender catalogue and so I put this bass together with parts. I mean I didn’t build it you know from a tree but I did put different parts together and made this really weird fretless bass instrument and I would use it as a second instrument to whatever I played, whether it was speed metal or jazz , I would always use that bass , it became part you know, I would use two tools instead of one . I always went to it for a different sound .The first time I recorded something besides a local jazz project it was on Autopsy’s ep , what was it? Retribution for the Dead I think , I used it there for the first time and it just sounded really really good. We had an engineer who knew how to get a good bass sound ,so it was a success and encouraged me to go forward with it and I used on the third Sadus record a little bit , you know I mixed it with a fretted bass, so I was building experience with it, getting used to it and I knew where to use it ,where not to use it , so when I came back from my second Death record , you know playing with a drummer that is very creative and experimental like Gene Hoglan , it had space for that odd sound to make sense in music and that is really where the most people heard it for the first time, even though I had built an experience before that so , I guess it just kind of accidentally became my signature sound ,and just really from that fact of this I enjoyed using this instrument , and someone who is very open minded like Chuck Schuldiner , he saw that it was really different and he really encouraged it. He liked to be different , he didn’t like things to fit into a small box and everything having to be the same , following the rules and stuff. He was a go against the rules kind of guy, so the fact that I had a thing that sounded different from the normal it was a plus to him, like I said it wasn’t my first time trying it out in death metal in a studio, so I had confidence with it , he trusted me and went ahead and did it and it just kind of ended up being my signature sound and I guess somewhere along the way by being kind of an “old” guy I ended up credited being the first one to bring it into music. But if you look at my musical background I just followed along many other bass players that were using it . I guess underground death metal, thrash metal was such a new style that it was easy to be the first in a lot of things, it was something that was starting up , but it’s paid off a lot of good benefits, there’s so many bass players that have come to me and said that they were influenced by this and that I was the reason the picked it up and that is very encouraging for me to know someone that started something in their life and developed it into something they love, it’s a great feeling and I just did the same thing back encouraging people to do what they love and being different.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): The last part of your answer gives me the step to the next thing I had prepared to ask you. There are so many new fretless bass players nowadays .Most of them play at the same genre with you. More or less it is technical death metal. Linus Klausenitzer fron Obscura or even Paul Jaroen Thesseling who is a contemporary of yours or the guys from Beyond Creation , Forest or the other guy , I have written down his name because it is quite difficult , Hugo Doyon Karout .
Steve Di Giorgio: I know Hugo ,there’s another group I work with , they are called Gone In April and Hugo played bass with them live for quite a while so not that me and him played together in this band but I did the studio work for Gone In April and Hugo did the live work so I got to meet him and he is amazing and Forest is , God , he is beyond amazing that guy , he is a unique guy , he lives on a different planet, I love to watch him play he is so great . Yeah and Linus he is , man , he is starting his own genre . He has got a very signature sound .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Correct me if I am wrong .I saw that guy playing some hybrid kind of bass guitar some strings are fretted and some others are fretless.
Steve Di Giorgio: Oh yeah yeah you are so right that’s Ibanez, what’s the fuckying name of that bass, dammit, I can’t remember the name of the model .You are right, so Ibanez makes it there’s only a few players that can play it, I think its name is Ashula maybe. Anyway it has 7 strings total, 3 strings for fretless and 4 for frets , so you can play on the same instrument without changing any switches or any position , you can have the best of both worlds. I picked up that instrument one time and it was completely alien weapon to me . It’s something that you have to sit with and spend some time to get used to it. Linus owns one of those and he had got really good at it and there is one other French bass player named Frank Hermany , he plays in Adagio .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Adagio yeah the progressive metal band!
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah it’s more power metal or epic kind of sound, Frank is the bass player he also owns one of those ,and man , if you wanna watch some good bass playing you’ve got to check Frank and if you go to his instagram or facebook acoounts he’s got tons of videos of him playing with it.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Already written down!
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah he is fuckying amazing. So Frank plays the same Ibanez with fretted and fretless strings together and he … uhhh , when you will go and see , you will remember me telling you this, you are gonna say hell yeah he was right , cause he is…
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Another question relative to this one.As a guitarist myself I prefer more 7 strings or 8 strings guitar and what I would like to ask you is this. What kind of setting do you think is more suitable for the fretless bass? I mean you see Obscura they play two 7 string guitars and use the fretless bass , you see Beyond Creation, 8 string guitars with a fretless bass player , you see ,not so death metal, Animals as Leaders they use the 2 8 string guitars but they do not need a bass player ,what do you think the best setting is in that extreme sound?
Steve Di Giorgio: Oh man there isn’t one setting , you just proved a point by explaining all those bands and look how different they all sound from each other and that’s the goal, we have enough of the same thing in the world. In the music world it seems completely acceptable for the past 25 years to come out with something new and sound the same , that drives me crazy. I really really appreciate musicians and these bands that try to come out with something different, yeah from Obscura to Beyond Creation to Animals as Leaders, these are the people that are venturing into some kind of originality .
I am from the belief that there is no one way of doing things. In fact I kind of disagree with the one way of doing things , I like everything to have its own identity its own originality , it’s easier to enjoy something new than something that is done over and over . I mean metal itself is redundant and death metal all that stuff it has narrow margins of rules anyways so you are only trying to change only a few letters in the alphabet , you know, you are not trying to reinvent the style, but as long as there is the attempt of trying to have something of your own, and Animals as Leaders is a great example, you can’t compare them to anybody , for a band to claim that, it’s huge thing to do . And the antithesis to that is a group called Omnific , have you heard of them? It’s a group consisting of two bass players and a drummer .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Omnific?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah!
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Writing them down too.
Steve Di Giorgio: I am not sure where they are from , I will make a bad guess maybe Australia, I am not sure , but there is only two young guys making songs with only two bass guitars, well you know they also have a drummer , but this is a good example , you ask what is the best setting what is the best line up, the best for me is something that I have never seen before, something that is new and interesting. So , those kinds of things is what I go for, but I am also just like anybody else. We want something comfortably similar,so we are not going out constantly listening , you know, to the weirdest shit in the world. We like normal stuff but I like to lean on the direction of new stuff , because you know it wasn’t long enough that the 7 string guitar was completely unheard of and of course 8 string guitar is even more so ,so that’s an attempt to break out of the normal redundancies , so I wouldn’t phrase it , yeah, what is the best set up, but I would say what grabs your attention the most, what is the most entertaining and interesting thing for you.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Another question now referring to the projects you participated, I know that one way or another you have been full time member for some bands but there are other bands that ask you to only be their hired gun. Come , record , thank you very much..which one of them is your favorite. Personally for me, I really really love Focusing Blur with Vintersorg.
Steve Di Giorgio: Thanks a lot it’s a cool compliment . I really enjoyed that record myself . At the period of time , the two records I did with Vintersorg ( αυτόν και τον προηγουμενο Visions from The spiral Generator) that was my favorite music. That was very fun!. Creating with those northern guys, that was really awesome. But uhm yeah, that was agreed from the beginning that I would just supply bass and there was no worry about anything in the future, we didn’t commit to any playing live or anything, in fact when I did the Spiral Generator, I didn’t know I would be called back for a second album and it was a really nice thing to happen. You know you do this one , the record, like you said, you are hired , you show up , you play , you are done, you shake hands and it’s over and it was totally fine with me, I had a great time and all of a sudden there was the offer to come and do it again, I was like ride on. The songs were even a little more adventurous and that was great so, I thrive in that situation , I love being a hired gun. Session work takes the pressure away from long time commitment but on the other hand it alson leaves the door behind open, if there is the possibility of playing live and staying so many years like with Death and Testament , that also started from agreeing to play on the record. And after a couple of years I did it with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach , that just came about because he needed some musicians to help record and all of a sudden I find myself playing with this guy for 2 years , we travelled the whole world and it was all great experiences. Being a hired gun has advantages. You could have an one night stand and just go home in the morning or you could maybe change it to a long term friendship and work together for years, to me though it’s great all the way around.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): If I asked you to tell me one band to make the next one night stand, which one would you pick?
Steve Di Giorgio: Come on…
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I had the intention to take this question somewhere specific. I would like to see you play with Vektor man.
Steve Di Giorgio: With who??
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Vektor! A band from Arizona, they play some kind of intelligent black metal with a very distinctive touch from the Sound Of Perseverance style.
Steve Di Giorgio: Wow Vektor?? How do you call them?
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Yes , Vektor, V-E-K-T-O-R.
Steve Di Giorgio: Sounds really cool, never heard of them.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): You will love them
Steve Di Giorgio: Well I guess we are exchanging recommendations that’s pretty cool.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): There aren’t many questions left. The next one is a hypothetical. Let’s assume Chuck hadn’t died in 2001 and he were alive. Obviously he would have given up Death, he would have made some records with Control Denied, but eventually all those prog death bands would have listened to the records and would have absorbed all those influences and we would have all those bands Necrophagist , Obscura, all those bands that derived from the Death sound. What I would like to ask and of course once again is a hypothetical question. How would Chuck be today as a true godfather of a really bigger scene.
Steve Di Giorgio: Well ,of course it is hard to answer because we are speculating on something that is not real , but based on how I knew Chuck and where he wanted to go with his music and we have the proof of his last days, wanting to change completely and being different than Death, it’s easy to say that if he were still here ,we would have something that neither of us could explain right now what would be ,because it would be brand new from the mind of Chuck . I am sure Control Denied would have continued for a while and maybe steadily till now , but I think, even though he died in 2001 he couldn’t do much of a normal life since about 1999, you know the internet was not so advanced in the 90’s so he wasn’t really part of all those mp3s and file sharing and this kind of remote recording. He wasn’t part of that, I think if he was around and learn that, I think his whole reputation of changing line ups would go from a negative colour about him to something that he would embrace with full speed. I think he would probably have a different line up on every song and embrace using different musicians for different ideas and create something completely new because he was that visionary. When he would send his song ideas way before the record ,some of these ideas seemed silly, we would listen an go “ Uh man whatever” , you know , I am glad this isn’t my band , but when we stuck ahead and put our personality in his ideas and he would encourage us and all that evolved into the iconic Death that we know now. So even though at the beginning his ideas seemed a little bit strange. It was clear that he had a vision. It’s hard as a young man to notice that is happening at that time but now that we are older and we can look back we can say that he knew what he was doing. Like you said the Death is spawned by so many bands following that wake of sound and created its own kind of genre and so if he is a guy with that kind of power to have the vision and the ability to say “ Trust me I have this idea” obviously as an older , experienced mature guy his ideas now would have been more mature, more to the point, not like an aggressive hyper young man but like a studious older man. I have a feeling that it would be something, I think that we are lacking in our life that one thing Chuck would have invented , something completely new, obviously we are never gonna know what it is , because he is gone , but I don’t think it would just be an evolved Death sound , I don’t think it would be Control Denied’s fourth or fifth album, I think those things would be here as well , but the main thing would be something completely new , that he would create from his mind of a visionary. You know sometimes visionaries aren’t always the best musicians , you know sometimes the technical side is purely physical ,whereas the creative part is something that you can’t learn in a school. For example look at Kurt Cobain. I mean who would ever say he was a good musician, and probably nobody would say “ Oh Kurt is a good musician” but , look at the success of the new thing that he came up with, maybe at that time people would say “Oh my God ,what is this crap? this is totally different” but now that we have the ability to go back we can say that he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly what he wanted to happen and that is the ability of a visionary and that is what a compare to Chuck. He...actually he was a good musician (Chuck) , people do say he was a good musician , but he surrounded himself with way better musicians , because he knew that all the creative stuff came from his mind and he was confident enough to put people more proficient around him to build up his idea because it was his idea. So someone who has that kind of strength and the visionary power, I think we have to hypothetically say that he would sure think of something that doesn’t exist today because that’s the ability someone with that unique power has .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Visionaries, yeah, and the last question now. I won’t bother you any longer, because the dog has already been waiting for too long now ( γελια και από τους δυο..ψάχνω εγώ εν τω μεταξύ στα κιτάπια μου να τη βρω και ακούω το Steve να λέει «say it!») . The last question is this . You have played with all those great musicians in Death To All concerts, I don’t mean the guys that you already worked with on Death records, I mean guys like Steffen Kummerer (Obscura) , Max Phelps (Exist ..τι φοβερός τύπος αυτός ο Max) , your thoughts about those guys and the other great guy Paul Jeroen Thesseling and the record you decided to make together.
Steve Di Giorgio: I don’t know how has Thesseling to do with Death and if I understand your question is about Thesseling...
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Yes Yes, I mean that was an unsuccessful merging ... There were two questions , the one bout Thesseling and the other about those very very talented guys.
Steve Di Giorgio: Ok I got you now. Yeeeeeah this year since we have been out of action as far as live concerts and stuff. Anybody is getting with ideas about doing collaborations and stuff, it was actually Gene’s idea for the Death to All guys to record Death songs and make videos of us playing them. That’s definitely the original idea , but it goes along with what everybody’s doing .We managed to get Overactive Imagination done and we put up the video and I think we have Zero Tolerance , we recorded that, we did a video and we are in the process of finishing up The Philosopher right now. Some guys are done some guys have still work to do , so it’s still coming up . Gene’s plan was to do like twenty songs but everybody has his own schedule so it happens much slower , so we are getting now to the third one. I think there’s plans to do at least a couple more, so the reason I am talking about these Death to All video things is because even though we played on a stage that is about a few years now , with Max, that’s all that has really been because we were playing 20 year songs in what has been a tribute band format. Now that we are home re recording these Death songs and making videos it feels kind of what it would be like to get in a studio and create something together. You know we never ever had the idea to record , you know , me and Gene and Bobby and Max , it was purely a live show, just a nostalgic evening of just playing Death songs. Everybody was like «Oh, are you gonna do an album» and were like «Νο,no ,no we just like a bar band, playing cover songs, having fun» . People didn’t get to see Death, they got to see the musicians that got to play the songs, so we never considered it, but now that we did those videos , we realized that we work so good together and everybody is really good on their instrument , that there’s been some kind of exchange of ideas of maybe doing something. When that’s all I can tell it is not because it is a secret but it’s all there really is right now .We just popped the idea like «hey what if would we recorded something for real» and everybody was like «yeah, cool» but nobody really developed the idea past that. But yeah as far as Max, yeah, the kid super talented and really easy to work with, especially now that we have years of chemistry built between us . Now for Steffen, Obscura borrowed me as a bass player for a very short tour..Thesseling couldn’t play in Japan , so I was his fill in and I did like 4 shows in Japan as Obscura’s bass player.. yeah , it was really difficult . On one hand I am really glad there’s no video of that on youtube, because my memory wasn’t so good but I think on the Tokyo show I played pretty close. On the other hand it is very sad that it doesn’t exist because not many people know about me playing in Obscura , but I actually played bass on Christian Muenzner’s ( Ο άλλος κιθαρίστας των Obscura) first solo record.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Timewarp?
Steve Di Giorgio: Timewarp , yeah, so you know, there’s mini circles and connections going on with these young musicians like Christian and Steffen and Max and suff like that , so we do have our points of connection and work together , besides you know, being in a bus and touring together so, if any of those developed into something more in the future , that would be pretty natural, you know we have some experience between us and as far as Thesseling , I mean we have already announced, we are pretty slow in realizing this project , but we announced that we created a group with me and him, both playing bass and involving a drummer and a guitar player and it’s gonna be purely instrumental music some kinda world fusion metal. We are all based in metal but everybody has a lot of experience playing other styles and we wanna incorporate that and make a mix. It is just slowly getting off the ground because it’s a very unique thing , very different so the ideas are coming slow.
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): I think Paul has already a project like that, the Ensemble Salazhar, I don’t know if I pronounce it well but he has a jazz trio going on.
Steve Di Giorgio: I think Salazhar, something like that ..that’s like , that’s almost like flamenco style , that’s like not even close to metal .Which is fine , I love it! There’s some amazing bass playing in there, I mean Thesseling is the king of the world man,(γέλια) this guy is one the best bass players I have ever seen in my life , so yeah , that’s some good music but I think the idea of our new group is to be..to show our metal commonality , we base it around kind of a heavy framework but thenincorporate world ideas, fusion , flamenco and you know just make a good mixture of music , because when you create an instrumental band we are based in yourself , you have a reasonably smaller audience, you are not going to appeal to a big audience. We are not gonna do arena tours , that’s for sure
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Only small clubs
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah but we just want to create something fun musically , that we can create together,but like I said it’s coming along slow .The majority of time that we were exchanging ideas I was on tour with Testament and then Thesseling rejoined Obscura and he has been pretty busy getting the new album finished up so, when we reach a common ground with free time I am sure we will come up with the ideas for our new group, but now it is just floating in the air .
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): No pressure, no pressure. Mr Steve Di Giorgio I can’t state now how happy I am , how much I thank God for the opportunity I have right now to speak to one of my teenage years’ idols.
Steve Di Giorgio: Thank you that is a really nice compliment, thank you.That was really nice to talk to you , you have great knowledge!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): So Steve are you familiar with any greek bands?
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah , I will start with the easy one. I played briefly with your friend Ilias (Papadakis – Memorain). I know he has a name that shows that his family comes from Crete, but he is living there in Greece so, he counts as Greek musician, and also there is a wonderful guitar and composer in this town..help me with this..
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Chalkida.
Steve Di Giorgio: Chalkida yes, the crazy water city , that’s Christos Nikolaou, he is an amazing musician , this guy he composes complete symphony orchestras on his computer it’s fuckying wonderful and we did.. it is back in 2011 , what is it 9 years before? Holy shit..anyway we did his album Mythodea with John West on vocals (Artension) . That’s one of my favorite records that I played on ..the songs were fantastic, I mean just great music and I stay in really good touch with Christos he is a good friend of mine .So I think between these two guys , definitely it is Christos that I broke the border to become a honorary guest in Greece’s musician world.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): And what about your memories from the live shows in here?
Steve Di Giorgio: Oh man ..Greece, I mean we usually only play Athens and Thessaloniki , I don’t know if other bands get to play other cities ,but those are the only two that I have ever been to. But we always always look forward to it because Greece has the distinction of one of those places in the world that not all the tours visit, so the fans when they get a show , it’s a different level. You know they are not getting five shows a week and twenty shows every month , they are getting the special visitation from the international acts, so it’s a level of craziness that is unique to Hellas and besides the welcome from the crazy fans the weather is…actually you know the weather is beautiful, you live there, but from where I am from in California it’s got to be the most similar thing I have ever felt . My time in Greece it’s like the air , the sun , the plats ( εννοεί τα μέρη) in California I feel such a familiar vibe with the weather, I think there is a Mediterranean similarity or something. Something very similar. That’s what I notice when I am there. So that is a welcome feeling, but obviously the food is fuckying amazing , the women are beautiful and there is a rich history, obviously very very rich and so it has got a little bit of everything. So nothing but great memories of visting Greece and awesome shows there. Just a liitle too far to visit all the time.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Maybe you have to buy a house here!
Steve Di Giorgio: Oh I would love that.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): So for the closing what message would you like to leave to the fans and readers of Rock Overdose?
Steve Di Giorgio: The message has changed in recent times I guess. I just want to encourage everybody .Everybody has to take sides and deal with this. The one common ground that we all realize is that it is a very difficult time and we need to help each other get through it and not continuously argue and take sides about it , it is not really productive so we just try to rough it out man ,and as far as the music world . musicians are trying to remain creative and lookin for many different outlets , recording new stuff , collaboration videos , virtual concerts, live streaming all kinds of stuff and it’s all improvising ,trying to get through it . Hope we will see the end of these hard times and hope we come out to the other side good an go on with some kind of normalcy
Tasos Deligiannis (RockOverdose): Nice talking to you mr Steve Di Giorgio!
Steve Di Giorgio: Nice talking to you Tasos..you and your noise ..take care (heheheheeh) So as for the message we left unfinished , I would like to say to everybody hang in there through the tough times and let’s hope we all get out to the other side , get back to normal, get back to having some good metal concerts and ..fuck…like Testament’s case ,we did the new album and it came out during the lockdown . We are beyond ready to support that thing live . It seems that the fans are responding to the album very nicely and it charting very high in many countries so I think we are obliged to get out and perform it live get that connection back, that personal connection we have with our great fan base . So we hope that are going to do this very soon and I want to thank everyone in Greece for their amazing support through the years and for staying very true to metal although the times are even tougher in your country, I know you have been through a lot of shit there , but that’s part of life, and we have music to go to for a a safe place sometimes and help us through the day so , yeah let’s hope we can get back to that again and kick ass again. So until then we will keep everything in a virtual way and keep out of each over cloud of microbes and don’t get sick and we will meet then again all vaccinated and we will be healthy and ready to do it again.
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Let’s cross our fingers and hope we will meet again and I hope to have the chance to meet you in person here in Greece.
Steve Di Giorgio: Yeah same for me , it has been really great talking to you . thank you very much for the attention you and Rock Overdose it’s a great pleasure for me to have a nice long chat with you , so good luck with everything in the future!
Zisis Petkanas (RockOverdose): Thank you very much Steve and see you in Greece!
Steve Di Giorgio: See you there..take care bye bye!