I've been trying to get an interivew with Lincoln's preeminent thrash band, Wasteoid. Schedules weren't working very well, they were on tour, I was out of town, whatever. We finally decided to just do it by e-mail so we could get it going. Wasteoid drummer, Ross Schlessinger, fills us in on about why it's so much fun to be in Wasteoid.
SCS: How and when did Wasteoid form as a band?
Ross: Wasteoid started as a band in January 1999 by some drunken idiots that needed to play fast, loud, and aggressive musick. There were four of us at the time and we were all talking about how we should start this super heavy band because of our love of heavy metal. My band, Los Chincos, had just broken up and I had just moved to Lincoln that month, so I was ready to play some musick in a band. We somewhat had an idea for this band before I lived here yet and it seemed like the right thing to do. We all like this wacky brand of musick, so it was only natural to crush the people of Lincoln and beyond.
SCS:If asked “what does your band sound like?” how would you answer?
Ross : (carrying on conversation with self)
Q: Dude, so like, what does your band sound like?
A: I don't know, its pretty fucking fast and heavy.
Q: Yeah, but like how?
A: Light speed grandma metal.
Q: What the hell is that?
SCS: How would you describe a Wasteoid show to someone who hasn’t seen you yet? What can they expect?
Ross: That is something that can vary from time to time. It all depends on where the show is, what kind of people are involved, and/or how much alcohol is flowing, spilling, and being consumed. You can expect some head crushing brutality coming from the band for sure. Sometimes you might see naked people, hesh, beach party, blood, puking, surfing, circle pits, dog piles, aerobics, Jason Wade, really wasted people, stage diving, heckling, noise, pit prizes, beer spilling, smoking circles, passed out people, bad ass bands playing with us, slow dancing, cock rings, food poisoned band members and roadies, very drunken roadies yelling a lot, punks, flying beer cans, breakdancing, people falling on our equiptment, mowhawk mania, and just random freaks headbanging their brains out.
SCS: I'm pretty sure I've seen all of that at every Wasteoid show. So what types of music and which musicians/groups influenced the band members?
Ross: Thats kind of a hard question to pinpoint. The musick that we listen to can vary from one thing to another. We all like different kinds of musick besides just the musick we play. I think the musick that we play is just kind of inspired by musick and bands in general. Everyone in Wasteoid pretty much listens to musick constantly and you just hear things from all sorts of bands that can be influencing. We all have our love for old school punk, thrash, death metal, black metal, grindcore, power violence, fastcore, hardcore punk, doom, heavy metal and so on....but we also like shit that ranges from new wave to hip hop, electronic, noise, no wave, country, dance music, pop and just whatever. I can't really speak for the whole band as far as who is influencing to who. Sometimes we influence ourselves just by knowing what we have done and what we can do. We all have our fair share of favorite musicians and favorite bands that! s for sure. Just seeing random freaks out walking around can be influencing to me. Sometimes just being really fucking pissed can be influencing. Its just kinda boring to basically be influenced by one type of musick. There's so much shit out there and available, that its easy to be influenced by anything or anyone. I usually blame it on the weather. I'm also inspired by fashion shows, dance parties, really cool pets and my fashion consultant.
SCS: Who writes the songs, and how do they go from someone’s idea to a finished product?
Ross: We all pretty much write our songs together. Sometimes it happens just by jamming a lot and making a lot of noise, sometimes we hire Brian Adams to write songs for us. Hey, I mean it worked for Kiss, so why not? Sometimes we write songs by making noises with our mouths going dshshst, gzvrreeeee, tschach, bzzz, sxtsxksshtzh, OW! YEAH!.
SCS: When and where was your first local show, and how did it go?
Ross: We played our very first show on February 13th, 1999. It was a Valentines Day show at the Havelock Social Hall. I remember a lot of people being at the show and people being really excited to hear us. It was a first show I guess. I'm sure we had our good moments and I'm sure we had our really awesome moments. Fuck, I don't remember. I'm sure we were drunk and I'm sure we fucking crushed! BWAHAHAHAHA!
SCS: You guys tour a fair amount, and play all over the country, and occasionally outside of it. What was your most memorable live performance and what made it that?
Ross: Thats kind of another hard question to pinpoint considering that we have played some really memorable shows on tour. There's times when you play for hardly any people and there's times when you play for hundreds of people. I think the most memorable parts are just getting to meet people all over the country. Sometimes you get to meet some of your most favorite bands and sometimes you just run into the most fucked up people. I guess I can just list off some favorite moments and such.....meeting and playing with Exhumed in Pueblo, Colorado for a Relapse Records "Contaminated Tour" in which we headlined the show, meeting and playing a show with Mastodon in Chicago on our first tour and their first tour, playing to basement full of naked girls in Tulsa that danced and stripped Kevin and Jeff while we played, playing a show in Phoenix where Kevin and our roadie got some nasty food poisoning and puked pretty much all night, playing with Asschapel in Lawrence, KS and watching the singer jump off their van and shattering his heel, breaking his ankle and spraining the other ankle, seeing this zombie crackhead bum in L.A. trying to crawl into our passenger window and tried spitting on us then punching our side window and luckily it didn't break (that guy should have been ran over), our roadie, Jason Wade, winning the "mosh contest" during our set in Wilton, MN by diving head first off this seated area of a bar into everyone watching us play, having total troubles with Canadian border crossing and watching some kids getting busted for a bong while being surprised by a nutsack out of the pants, our friend, Kalmex, dragging Kevin around the pit while we were playing in San Francisco and Kevin punching him right in the face without knowing who it was causing the show to stop for a brief moment, huge dog piles of punks in Portland, playing a giant beach party show in a Minneapolis warehouse with fake palm trees, a volleyball game, and tons of beach party attire, playing with Friends Forever on our first tour where they played in their van the whole time while it rained on everyone dancing, playing places like Pueblo, Colorado, meeting and playing shows with Entrails Massacre, from Germany, playing in the middle of the desert on a cement slab with the city skyline of Las Vegas for your background lights, a house show in Denver where the police broke it up and ghetto choppers were spotlighting the whole place, playing a show in Phoenix where the opening band was a rock/blues band made entirely of cops and having their cop friends there to see them, getting a deli tray in Denver, playing a reunion show with Agents of Satan, meeting all the Doomryderz, playing a show in Salt Lake City where nobody liked us whatsoever where it was a Ween cover ban! d show and Jeff fell off the stage during our set, the rest are just too drunken to remember. I know I'm leaving tons of awesome shit out, but oh well...you get the picture.
SCS:What is your best fan experience while on tour?
Ross: We've had lots of cool fan experiences on tour. I think the best ones are when you play a city that you keep coming back to and people keep coming back to your shows and hanging out and shit. Just getting to meet so many people and keeping in contact and seeing them on tour and they're just as stoked to see us as we are to them. My favorite fans are the ones that just go completely ballistic at our shows. They make playing so fucking worth it at times. I think our biggest fan has to be Nick the Dick. He protects our van with his bulging muscles and giant detachable weiner.
SCS: What do you like and dislike about the music scene in Lincoln?
Ross: I really dislike the lack of venues around here and the lack of all ages venues. Sometimes playing in bars isn't just the right atmosphere for certain shows. There can be too many rules and just people with really bad attitudes and too many times where people that are underage can't see you. Sometimes I dislike the lack of heavy bands around here and the lack of heavy bands coming thru Lincoln. I do like the different types of people you see at shows here. Lots of people are very supportive of musick around here and go to almost every show or help set up shows, or just plain help keep the musick scene alive here. You can't expect much of a "scene" when nobody is going to shows. Thats what can be good about not having a whole lot of things to do in Lincoln, people will go to shows. Its been really cool how many people have been coming to Wasteoid shows or shows that we set up! . It makes it seem that people are really into the underground musick around here and very supportive of touring bands, even the ones that nobody has really heard of around here.
SCS: Have you learned anything in your experiences in a band that you feel newer local bands could learn from, or made any mistakes they should avoid
Ross: Hmmm? Don't expect everyone to like your band right away. You can't really think you're going to be the next "hot" band around when you haven't really played many shows or any at all. Make demos for sure and just give them away. You're not going to be making big bucks anyways, so spending a little time and money on getting your music out there helps a lot. Don't expect bands to just get you shows. The best way to get shows in just do it yourself and get a word out for yourself. It can be hard enough booking shows for you own band, let alone somebody elses band. Always make lots of fliers for your shows, the more the better. Thats what I see lacking in Lincoln a lot is that people don't know when your show is because there is hardly any word out. Don't feel bad if there are only like 10 people at your show, those might be the people who help you out most. It! s like, at least these people are here, could be worse. Maybe actually practice your songs before you start playing shows...unless thats how you want your band to be, it might just be total disaster. Actually, GO TO SHOWS. Support the bands that are around you. It usually helps out in the long run. If you're not supporting your local bands, how do you expect people to support you type of thing. Get out of your city and play other places. There's only a whole lot you can do in your hometown. Don't be afraid to actually work for your band. Get out there and promote your band! Otherwise, just start a band and act how you want to. You'll get experience sooner of later.
SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?
Ross: Definitely AXES TO THE SKY. They are new to Lincoln and soon to be crushing every band away here. They don't even really need mention of their ex-bands because this is something totally different and it kills! I can't wait to see what can come out of this band. They all work really hard and they know how it needs to be done. I really admire bands around here that are totally not the norm of what is cool around here. Lincoln has always seemed to have a cool understanding with experimental musick. I just wish there were more of those "weird" bands around here. Its fun to see people just freak out when they're playing what they want to call musick. I really admire Pawl with his work in Clean Plate Club and Mannheim Creamslinger. Its very thought out (or maybe not, but it is in my mind) and its live show is always entertaining. I'm just a fan of the weird shit and he has been doing this for! years now. I can remember seeing him in like 1994 at the wagon train center basically just playing tapes and jumping on cymbals. I thought that was great! I'm still inspired by the old Lincoln punk bands. I think Power of the Spoken Word was one of the most, ahead of their time, bands for Lincoln. I never got to see them, but their recorded music, photos I've seen, and stories I've heard are almost admiring. They freaked people and basically played metal during a time when punk rock was dominating. Armatron was another band like this. Just going beyond the norm of local music and destructing for years. I admire the older punks that still go to shows, still play in bands, and still support punk rock. Bill Jones is one of those people that I admire in local music. He has done more most people around here and still plays fucking hardcore punk. To me, that is very fucking cool. ! (Bill, I don't want to make you feel old...hahahah) Ezra was always an inspiring band for me. They were playing some very brutal death metal at a time when bands in Lincoln didn't play death metal. They were always cool people to me no matter what. There's so many bands that have come from Lincoln that I just almost shit my pants over. If you wanna read some Lincoln punk history..just go buy the Capitol Punishment book and read for yourself.
SCS: Who’s your favorite local band to play with?
Ross: We'll, used to be Creagrutus until they decided to call it quits. I like just playing shows with my friend's bands. Its usually always a party. Mustache is almost always a circle pit happy good time. Since we haven't played with Axes to the Sky, they will be my favorite band to play with. Jabid is always down and dirty time.
SCS:Do you think growing up/living in Lincoln influences your music in any way?
Ross: In a way, yes, because there isn't shit going on for the kind of music we play. We just want to crush and people want to be crushed. That can be good too because there isn't a whole lot of "competition" so to say. There isn't a lot of lame "scene conflict" that lots of big cities have. Plus its always fun playing outside of Lincoln in other cities where people just go, I came because I had to see what the hell could come out of Lincoln, Nebraska.
SCS: Who records your albums, and where are they done?
Ross: We've worked with mostly friends of ours. All our recordings have basically been done in houses. Our Lp recording turned out incredibly awesome and we just did that out of our basement with Mark Wolberg and Brendan McGinn. Joel Gibson has helped us out a lot and gave us some badass recorded material. We mostly have recorded in Lincoln, but the stuff with Joel was done in Omaha. A.J. at Presto has helped out our recordings a bit as well. We've been completely happy with our recordings and didn't have to buy time at studios and deal with people we don't know. Its all been relaxing for us and it hasn't been so completely rushed and you're worrying about wasting time because you have to pay for that wasted time. Sometimes recording isn't all about the over produced garbage that many bands think that is the only way. I think our recordings sound better than lots of studio recordings and they've all been done in houses
SCS: Are there any local producers/engineers you'd like to work with who you think could help to develop your sound even more?
Ross: Uh, what are those?
SCS: Are you working on a new album now, and if so, when do you expect it to come out?
Ross: We have a couple releases that we are working on and still writing some more material for. We will be doing a split 12" with Des Moines', Black Market Fetus....our brothers in metal! I'm not real sure when that will come out, but that will be released on First Blood Family out of Madison, WI. In the whole underground/d.i.y. run of things, you can never be to sure when your musick will be out. Money problems can happen at any time and labels we deal with don't exactly make money doing this either. They do it just to do it. Its not always about the big check in the mail. We are also going to be doing a split 7" with Boston's, Fat Day, on their 100% Breakfast label. Like the other stuff, I have no idea when that will be out. We have had lots and lots of offers by people releasing musick for us that we can't really even keep up with all of them. We are in the process of having our Lp 'Total Pukeoid' finally pre! ssed on cd which could possibly be an American version and a European version. We've have some compilation material that just came out on Nuclear BBQ Party records out of Los Angeles. We just released a live split tape with Plack Blague. Its very lo-fi. After we get our initial upcoming releases done, we have a couple labels in mind that want to help us out really bad. Our label, Intolerant Messiah, has been more than kind to us for the past few years and very supportive of what we do. Plus we are just honored to be on a label putting out some of the sickest musick going on right now.
SCS: Who was the first person or band you saw that made you want to play music?
Ross: Probably my oldest brother, Scott. He kinda helped me learn how to play guitar when I was growing up. Yeah, I used to play guitar. I actually played on stage for the first time with him at Duggan's Pub when I was 13. It was just an open mic thing, but it was definitely a lot of fun. He inspired me a lot to play music and I was totally growing up throughout my teenage years was Ezra was first starting. They made me want to play musick.
SCS: What was the first album/CD you bought?
Ross: Man, I don't really remember. My first cassette was Motley Crue "Shout at the Devil". I just listened to my brother's tapes growing up.
SCS: Whose music are you listening to right now? -- What other bands would you recommend people check out?
Ross: I'm listening to all sorts of musick. It ranges from time to time. I pretty much listen to musick as much as I can, so there's a wide variety of material being played. I seem to get a lot of new music from people I meet and just bands that we play with. As far as what I have been listening to though??? Well, here are some bands I've been putting on mix tapes lately: Suppression, Agents of Satan, Prince, Renaldo and the Loaf, Voetsek, Fall of the Bastards, Exhumed, The Chasm, Pet Shop Boys, Men's Recovery Project, Judas Priest, Wall of Voodoo, Spazz, No Less, Fast Forward, Shed Dwellaz, Iron Lung, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Limp Wrist, Funeral Shock, Bloody Phoenix, Resin, Man Is The Bastard, Throbbing Gristle, Black Market Fetus, DROPDEAD, Arab on Radar, Six Finger Satellite, (old) Human League, D.R.I., Aberrant, Entrails Massacre, New Order, Born Against, Germs, Minny Pops, DJ Spooky, Happy Flowers, Infest, Lack of Interest, Ministry, Immorta! l Fate, Zeigenbock Kopf, Numbers, Wham U.K., Ratt, Virgin' Steele, Anthrax, Aberrant, Geza X, D.N.A., Crash Course in Science, Gorgoroth, Bathory, Art Bears, Snakefinger, Trans-X, Sodom, Black Market Fetus, Friends Forever, Ass Chapel, every band I've mentioned during this interview, pod, Noisear, Pretty Little Flower, Flying Lizards, Lizards, Mr. California and the State Police, Neon Hunk, The Chinese Stars, Dystopia, Millions of Dead Cops, Severed Heads, Stikky, Jenny Piccolo......man, just too much stuff.
SCS: What are your top five albums of all time.
There are just too many to name. I can't just pick 5 of my top favorite because I have too many favorites, and certains days, some records become my favorite records ever....so here are 5 records I have probably listened to over and over and over and over and over....(this is for geg)
Ross: Ratt - 'Dancing Undercover'
Ratt - 'Invasion of Your Privacy'
Ratt - 'Out of the Cellar'
Ratt - 'Sweet Cheater' ep
Motley Crue - 'Too Fast For Love/Shout at the Devil'
honorable mentions: Virgin' Steele (first album), Men's Recovery Project/Sinking Body split Lp, Anthrax (Among the Living), M.O.D. (U.S.A. for M.O.D.), Prince (Dirty Mind), Gummo Soundtrack.....
SCS: What’s the best gig you've ever seen, local or otherwise?
Ross: Well, that one is a hard one too. I've seen hundreds of completely awesome shows. I would have to say any show that I have seen Friends Forever play. That band just knows how to rock out more than any band I think I have ever seen. They play in their van, the shoot fireworks off their heads, they have rotating goal posts on their van with astroturf in front, they set up basketball courts, they have giant tarp, they do anything annoying possible and pull it off. (This interview is starting to become too "best of")
SCS:Who do you think is the most underated artist in the music industry?
Ross: Pet Shop Boys and/or Emo Phillips.
SCS: Aside from having our livers rocked more, what can we look forward to in the next year from the band?
Ross: Just a lot more shows, a few records, hesh parties, more tours, more drinking, more partying, more yelling, more beer, more forgetting, more stinking, more equiptment breaking, more JeffFm mix tapes, more Prince, playing a wedding, more pit prizes, more sushi, more roadies, just more.
SCS: Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Ross: Spell our band name right for once. Send us free stuff. You can write us at:
PMB #145, 3201 South Street
- Tery Daly