Thursday, 19th July 2018. 3:32:44pm ET

Band: Master
Interviewer: John Mathias


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Paul Speckmann is a name synonymous with the American death metal underground. He has been involved since the early 80’s, and has fronted many excellent bands like Funeral Bitch, Deathstrike, War Cry and the always brutal Master. Tired of the American government and it’s bullshit ways, Paul moved away from his hometown Chicago to live in the Czech Republic. I first heard his music when I heard "Faith is in Season" and I've been a huge fan ever since. This is an  interview I conducted with the Master recently.

Hails Paul! How's the weather over there?
That seems to be a regular question lately as the world’s weather is heating up. The green house effect seems to be taking effect, although many American scientists disagree with this, but what would you expect as they are paid by the American government for this reaction. Let’s face it climate change is a really big problem today. Anyhow, the weather in Europe has been extremely hot lately. It has finally cooled off today actually, but we’ll see how long it lasts. Obviously, the superpowers of the world don’t give a flying fuck, as they say about this problem, as manufacturing and pollution in the world destroy the earth’s atmosphere. I am sure in another twenty or thirty years, we will be living underground, like the silly old science fiction movie”Beneath The Planet of the Apes.” They were living under New York in caves and tunnels to avoid the heat and the toxic atmosphere, if I remember correctly. After all, it was the seventies. You really have to wonder what the future will bring, with all these silly old geriatric puppets running the countries around the world.

What's going on? Anything new with you & Master?
Well, we’re just getting ready to embark on our latest tour supporting Lividity from Peoria, Illinois. Of course I am looking forward to this reunion of sorts. Master and Lividity actually toured back in 2003 when I first began my journey with Bruchstein Tours. This journey actually evolved into a never-ending job of sorts. I continue to work for this company today. The name has changed as well some of the faces, but it’s basically still the same adventure. I have been tour manager, merchandiser, and even a roadie for Dissection. It’s a killer job touring with a traveling circus year after year, and it keeps me in the public eye as well. Over the years I have traveled with the likes of Testament, Dismember, Macabre, Jungle Rot, Incantation, and countless other legends in the business.

What did you hope to accomplish with "Slaves to Society"? Were you able to meet those goals?
I accomplish what I set out to do for the most part with every record. Of course, some records are received better than others, but people seem to be buying this latest masterpiece. I try to create something, heavy, aggressive, and real every time. But as with anyone in this business, they will tell you that not every excursion is a success. This new record has already put me on tour in May, and once again in September I will tour Europe. So I suppose it’s working. I often wonder if people even read the lyrics today, as many of the Satanic mumbo-jumbo seems to dominate the sales today. As a writer told me from RockHard Magazine, people don’t want to read about reality and the truth or problems today, they would rather be lied to and this sucks. I believe in pursuing the realization of reality in my music. I believe that change is possible, and this is a regular theme in my last few CDS. Without changes, the world will be extinct in the years to come. And if we survive another century, freedom is most certainly lost if the youth of today doesn’t rise up against the dictatorship that’s just around the corner. All the latest technology is creating problems for the freedom of the world. Eye scans, cameras, etc, are taking away freedom, as Big Brother takes his mighty hold on us all.

Slaves is an excellent album and one of your best so far! The production by Shaark Studios is great. Have you used this studio in the past? What do you think of them?
Actually I have recorded at Shaark Studios, since coming to Czech to record the Martyr, Murder X, The End Of The Game CD with the Krabathor members. This project brought me to this country, and for that I am extremely grateful. I remember when I arrived in 1999 for the recording, no one, including the studio technicians could speak let alone understand a word of English. Today this is changing all over Europe in general. After leaving the Brutal Assault festival here in Josefov, Czech Rep, I really realized this. After leaving the hotel of the Malevolent Creation members in the morning, I took a train home. I was about two hours from my home, when a class of younger children entered the train, and overheard me speaking English and a young kid began asking questions about silly things like colors, and tattoos, and piercing in English. So I believe there is hope for the future generations of Europeans. I actually teach some English classes here in town as well regularly, when I have a month off every so often. As for the studio, the price is rather inexpensive, but the quality and expertise still rains supreme at this studio. I recommend a holiday for anyone wishing to work at the studio. Actually, Mucopus from New York just did some recording there as well.

Twilight-Vertrieb from Germany is the label you used on this album. Are you happy with how they've treated you so far? Have they marketed Master well?
As I always say, record companies do the best they can, and for Twilight, this also true. The record is available and the ads regularly appear in magazines around the universe. As for the USA distribution, I cannot say, as I haven’t been able to check it out thoroughly as I live here on the other side of the globe. But, John from Incantation and his new Ibex Moon label just contacted me and offered help in the USA, so I am rather confident that things will improve considerably if we can ink a deal.

You've been around pretty much since the beginning of death metal. What do you think of the death metal scene back then as compared to today?
The scene in the old days was more original. Today the scene is dominated with clones of the past greats from the genre. But on the other hand, I am not searching for new bands anymore, I am still listening old stuff. Heavy Metal has always been my favorite genre, so this is where my heads at. I regularly see new bands when I tour, but honestly, I hardly ever see anything new, so it’s difficult for me to really say how I feel about this subject. I saw a Black Metal band from Sweden on tour a year or so ago called Setherial, and they were quite great at what they were trying to achieve. Also, Watain put on a killer show when they toured with Dissection a few years back as well. I am not a big Black Metal follower, but these bands were great at what they do. 

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What band(s) or album(s) influenced you the most when you first started playing death metal?
I was listening strictly to Motorhead, Black Sabbath, and early Venom. "Welcome To Hell” was a big influence on Master for sure. But, when these assholes say that Master sounds like another Venom, I just don’t hear it for some reason. For example if you listen to the first recording of my first real outing in the genre called Deathstrike, Fuckin Death, you really hear more of the anti-political influences of the great Punk bands like GBH, The Exploited and Discharge, but on a more aggressive level. This is what I listened to more than anything, early Punk Rock. I still enjoy this today.

What inspires you as a person?
Legends like Lemmy, or Ronnie James Dio, as they continue to successfully play their music to the masses. I refuse to give up myself, so I understand the motivation to continue.

How about when you're writing music?
The world and the inequality, we all face, as well as the politics of the world and these hypocritical religious fanatics brainwashing the American people. You have love the Catholic Church. Life is my biggest inspiration. CNN always seems to portray a killer one-sided picture of reality for me, and I use this insanity as food for thought on many an occasion.

How has life changed for you since your move to the Czech Republic from Chicago? Is it easier to live over there and how does it differ from life in America?
I suppose at a time, life was good in Chicago, as well as Phoenix, and Los Angeles, but you grow older, and you eventually realize that there’s a big universe out there. So, when an opportunity to move to Europe arrived, I jumped up and took it. So many of my old friends, are still living in the cities they grew up in, and even the original Master drummer lives with his mother at the ripe old age of 47. This is an ugly comedy. I found more freedom in Europe in general.

It depends on what you call easier. Of course the women are some of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe as compared to rest of the world, period. The food is killer, and the attitude is easier to deal with. Fortunately America hasn’t come over and completely brainwashed everyone yet. Of course the products from the USA have arrived every year since I have arrived, but the ideology has not quite dominated the country yet. I realize that the American disease will eventually come to every country overseas, but for the time being I am still safe I suppose. It’s slowly becoming more and more about money, but this is normal I suppose in a free society. I like the fact that people are more relaxed over hear. The police aren’t so aggressive yet, and don’t really judge the book by its cover yet, but, it’s coming I am sure it’s just a matter of time.

What do you feel has been the best Master lineup so far? Is the current one the best yet?
I have had many good lineups, but people often leave for the obvious reasons. Not enough money always seems to be the biggest problem. But, let’s face it, many of the so-called American Death Metal heavyweights still hold jobs. Every time someone joins Master, they think riches are around the corner. I honestly just get by, But if it were only about the cash I would have left this godforsaken business long ago. I still have great experiences with the fans on and off stage, and this is why I continue. You make friends and enemies all over the world, and this is the best part. Friends and enemies continually show up at concerts, and it keeps things quite real.

In the past, underground bands got the word out through a lot of tape trading. Nowadays, people download the music from the internet. How do you feel about people sharing music over the internet? Do you look at it kind of like back in the tape trading days or do you disagree with it?
The tape trading days were definitely better, as there was something a bit more intimate about writing the artist and getting a personal letter from this person. I used to answer all my mail in the early days. But when Schmidt took over at certain points, he just kept the money to buy dope. So Master had a bad reputation for a while. After I formed Abomination, I made good on all my promises and always did my best to get products to the fans.

Downloading is killing the market, and making it difficult for the artists including myself. People are giving away downloads of Master all over the internet, and I don’t get paid for all the so-called free advertising as some people try to tell me.

What's going on with the other bands you were in such as Abomination, Krabathor, Speckmann Project? Do you have any future plans for them?
Krabathor may reform in the future, but after speaking to the guitarist as of late, it seems that he may quit forever. He prefers to live and move furniture in the USA, and as I say, more power to him. I cannot dictate the way these guys wish to live, so be it. I spent four fun-filled years touring with Krabathor throughout the world.

These other projects are finished forever period, end of story!

I hear you are a fan of classic rock as well as metal. I grew up on classic rock and still listen to it a lot. Who are some of the classic rock bands you listen to?
Deep Purple. Ted Nugent, UFO, Foghat, and the list goes on. The sixties and seventies produced some great Rock. I am listening to Rory Gallagher as I do the interview. Let’s face it, where I grew up in Illinois, there were nothing but classic rock stations, and I suppose it’s probably still true. I really enjoy this in America.

Ok Paul, any final words? Want to tell your fans where to get your merchandise from?
I appreciate the interview as always and people should check out the last few CDS from Master, as they are some of the best we have recorded and that’s about it. Check out “Four More Years Of Terror”, “The Spirit Of The West” and “Slaves To Society”. This is old school at its finest.

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Thanks for the interview! It's awesome of you to take your time and do this for me! Take care bro!
I have plenty of time on my hands before and after tours. I truly appreciate the support brother, Paul Speckmann.


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