On Dec. 14, 2012, tragedy struck the world of heavy metal once again, as thrash metal guitarist Mike Scaccia, from the Texas old school thrash metal band Rigor Mortis (then later Ministry) passed away at the age of 47, while on stage, doing what he loved with his band. Scaccia may not be a household name, but his signature thrash metal guitar work with Rigor Mortis was an influence on tons of modern and so called 'old school' death metal bands. His work with Ministry also pioneered a sound that has inspired countless modern and up and coming heavy metal bands.
Although Scaccia's untimely death from apparent natural causes did not get world wide coverage, there is one person who wants to make sure that his fallen friend, and guitar hero is never forgotten: vocalist Bruce Corbitt, who was in Rigor Mortis; including a 2005 reunion, and now Warbeast, an sonic thrash metal assault that is reminiscent of traditional thrash metal acts such as Destruction, Kreator and Exodus, with an innovative fierceness, and heavy death metal inspired songs and lyrics.
Warbeast formed in 2006, and have been on the road partying and thrashing away ever since. The Weekly recently got a chance to speak with vocalist Bruce Corbitt, just before Warbeast took the stage, opening for Down at the Key Club in Hollywood on Wednesday evening. Corbitt told the Weekly about his memories of Mike Scaccia, how he got into metal, and the stereotypes, or misconceptions that he hears from people, about Texans.
OC Weekly (Alex DiStefano): What are some misconceptions people have about being from Texas?
Bruce Corbitt: People think that we're all god damn cowboys and riding on horses, and that's just in the movies. Haha. And of course there is the whole "Steer and Queers" comment from Full Metal Jacket or whatever, comes up people always have those stereotypes here but oh well.
Tell fans how you first were introduced into heavy metal music.
Growing up in the 70s in a teenager, I was into Sabbath, Alice Cooper and stuff like that. But then it started to get heavier with Judas Priest and Motorhead and others. My first concert was Judas Priest when they first came to the US. In the 80s it evolved more into metal, Iron Maiden, Slayer. Thrash Metal seemed like the natural progression for me at the time for the speed and intensity of the music.
Of course, with deep regret, that we speak about the recently departed Mike Scaccia(Rigor Mortis, Ministry), who tragically passed away at the age of 47, while onstage with Rigor Mortis in Texas on Dec. 23, 2012. Tell us what Mike meant to you as a friend, and what his role was in Warbeast.
I've said it before but I will say it again, I would have never even got to be in a band if I had never met Mike Scaccia. I met him when I was 14 or 15 he was a few years older at the time, and in a local thrash band from our area. We were in the scene and became friends, and one time I asked him if I could sing for him, and he told me that since I had hair and could party I was in, and I'll never for get that. We had a friendship that lasted just over 31 years. We had some success with Rigor Mortis for a few years; and even reunited in 2005. Then short after that I formed Warbeast. He was there, for me through all those years and he was my best friend, and my biggest influence, he was such a great human being too, and had a huge heart and big sense of humor that was twisted at time. He was my favorite guitarist of all time. I was blessed to have met him.
Tell us how the tour with Down (The Weed and Speed Tour) is going so far:
It's been amazing so far. Also a band called Honky is on this bill they are from Texas too. It's a tour with three totally different styles of music. It's cool to see those kinds of shows these days. It makes each band sound unique, sounding. We definitely do a good job to set the stage and warm up the crowd with some Thrash and then it's time to get stoned and watch Down.
Tell us about the memorial and fundraiser to Mike Scaccia you have set up.
Well, we dedicated this tour to Mike and yes also started a fundraiser for his family on line. He left behind a wife and two young children. They have a tough long way to go ahead of them, with no help- no husband and daddy to support them anymore. People can get more info or donate at our Web site, it is all appreciated. We are also working on some future benefit concerts. We don't want to let him be forgotten.
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What are the plans for Warbeast after this tour with Down.
I know we're going to tour more, our new full length album on Housecore Records comes out in about a month; it's called 'Destroy,' so we are going to hit the road to promote it. There are some big tours in the works but we just can't mention them yet. But we will see everyone on the road and can't wait to bring the thrash metal to a town near you. I want to thank all the fans and tell everyone come out, party with us and have a beer.
For more information on Warbeast or the Mike Scaccia Family Fun, visit www.warbeast.org. Be sure to catch The West Coast Weed and Speed Tour, featuring Honky, Warbeast, and Down. Fri. Jan. 18, at the Grove of Anaheim located at 2200 E. Katella Ave. (714)712-2700. (www.thegroveofanaheim.com)