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Ross Sewage is a strange man and Impaled is a strange band. Do not take what you are about to read too seriously. In fact, perhaps the message of Impaled is not to take any of this crap too seriously. Sure, a sick riff is a sick riff and metal is surely in our blood. But the album covers, the imagery, the lyrics and this crazy little business of metal is all really just one big fucking party, right? So why not kick back and have a laugh now and again? Anyway, the Metal Update recently caught up with Mr. Sewage to talk. . . well, to talk a bunch of crap. Literally.

METAL UPDATE: Let's start with the history of Impaled.

ROSS SEWAGE: I grew up a poor white boy in the ghetto. That's when I started rapping. I got beat up a lot, so I thought that wasn't a good career move. So in '86 I started playing bass in a band called Kill, and we were really big in the Bay Area scene - played a lot of shows with Mordred. We were into the funk / trash thing and had a DJ. We had a DJ way back before Limp Bizkit.

MU: Who invented that DJ with a metal band thing? Mordred? Run-DMC?

RS: Kill did! Mordred ripped it off of us! We had Bootsy Collins giving us a, "What up, what up!" on our first album. It was cool.

MU: Is that album still out there, can people find it?

RS: You know, I think they'd have a hard time of it. But they should look. Shrapnel Records put it out originally.

MU: And the band was called Kill?

RS: Yep, K-I-L-L. We were the biggest band in the Bay Area for a month.

MU: In 1986?

RS: February 1986. We were at the top of the heap for a month. And then we got plowed.

MU: Who else was a part of that scene at the time?

RS: Exodus was kicking ass then. Shit like that. Mordred. Forbidden. Vio-Lence. They beat the crap out of us at the practice space, so Kill decided to call it quits. We knew that we were better musically than any band that had ever existed, period. And we knew that that would cause a lot of jealously, and we were small people, so we decided to call it quits.


MU: 'Cause that's the kind of guys you were.

RS: Well, we didn't like to get beat up, that's the kind of guys we were.

MU: Unless you're going to make a million bucks, fuck it, right?

RS: No, it's all about the music, and not getting beaten up. The physical violence can definitely deter my artistic integrity.

MU: So if someone shows up at an Impaled gig and wants to kick your ass, fuck it, you're going home?

RS: That's right, dude! Impaled's over, definitely. No, actually, if that was the case, Impaled would have been over maybe twenty times so far.

MU: How would you deal if you went to play a show tomorrow and there's a big, fat-ass meathead standing in the front row the whole time giving you the finger and telling you to shut up?

RS: What would I do? I'd tell him that it was all Sean's fault. He should talk to Sean after the set. Sean called him a little girlie-man-wussy and he should talk to Sean.

MU: So, how did Impaled come together?

RS: Impaled, well, we cum together by stroking at the same time. (laughs) So, Impaled came together originally with Sean, and Raul, and this guy, Jared, and this guy, Ron, and, I think that was it. Jared has a tendency to quit bands. He had already quit Deeds of Flesh - he was in Deeds of Flesh for a short time - and he quit Impaled. So they got this guy Leon del Muerte, he was dubbed that by his Spanish teacher, who, actually, was not grammatically correct, if you'd like to note that.

MU: Why, it should be. . . ?

RS: It should be Leon de la Muerte.

MU: Because "del" is. . .

RS: It's the masculine form, but there's no masculine form of "muerte," it's a feminine word, so. . .

MU: "Death" is a feminine word in Spanish?

RS: Yes. So Leon had to try to make it more masculine.

MU: How did you come up with the name "Ross Sewage"?

RS: What?

MU: You know, "Raw Sewage" or whatever the pun is.

RS: Pun? What pun? What are you talking about? Are you making fun of my name?

MU: (laughs) Absolutely not. I don't like getting beat up either.

RS: Well actually, I'm Italian by descent. My original Italian name was Sewagio and it got shortened to Sewage at Ellis Island.

MU: That's unfortunate. Let's return to the story of Impaled.

RS: Well there I was, maybe smoking the marijuana once in a while. . .

MU: Oooh. . . Wait a minute, fuck that. I want to know why you feel the need to write songs about shit.

RS: Have you heard the lyrics to the last album?

MU: Sure.

RS: There's only one song about shit. I went through a period where I was having problems. I had to wear diapers. Now that problem is all cleared up. I don't shit on myself anymore, so that stuff kinda took a back seat to other topics.

MU: When you were singing about crap, what was the point?

RS: I told you. I was crapping all over myself. I like to sing about real life things and tell people my feelings and emotions. Telling people about worshipping toilets just felt real.

MU: Why hide that side of yourself from your fans?

RS: Exactly. It's like Snoop Dog, he doesn't like to smoke marijuana and stuff anymore. He wants to clean up his act and be a good dad to his kids. The music's reflecting that. Of course, it's not going to sell at all, but that's not the point. We might be stumbling down the same path.

MU: How do you know that a large percentage of your fan base wasn't all about the shit references?

RS: Oh, I'm sure they are!

MU: So have you heard of fans being radically disappointed by 'Mondo Medicale'?

RS: I've heard of people being radically disappointed, but the poo thing hasn't come up yet.

MU: Did you ever sit down as a band and say, "Guys we have to stop singing about crap all of the time?"

RS: No, they had a sit down with me and said I had to stop crapping all over myself all of the time. That was an issue with me because the first tour was kinda messy. We had to stop every five minutes so I could go out and fill up another bowl.

MU: How come you guys don't do cool shit like puking on stage like Exhumed does?

RS: Well, see, I tried to do that, and I knew that guy before he was in Exhumed, and I actually had him puke on me on stage one time. And it was horrible.

MU: It wasn't a lot of fun?

RS: Well it smelled really bad. And I almost puked, and I was getting really excited, but I couldn't do it. Because the thing was, I got back to the days of original Impetigo and it's great! And I think that's the fucking shit I want to do. So I tried and I tried and I tried, and now he tells me his teeth are rotting out, so I'm glad I failed. I had a doctor write me once and tell me I had to stop puking so much and I had to explain to him that I was not the bassist for Exhumed.

MU: Are you big Carcass fans?

RS: Who? Just kidding. Definitely Carcass is obviously super influential, but so is Megadeth. Stuff like that. We ripped Carcass off left and right but there is probably only a handful of riffs that you can definitely say were spawned by Carcass. Whereas a lot of it has other stuff in there like At The Gates and other stuff in there as well.

MU: How does your album get banned in 84 countries before it is even released? In other words, I'm getting pre-release copies of your albums with pre-printed graphics shouting "banned 84 countries" and shit. How does one go about getting banned before the album even comes out?

RS: Well you gotta send advance copies to, like, the General Administrator of Public Affairs in Swaziland. You have to find the countries like the tiny little islands in the middle of the Atlantic in international waters that some guy rowed his boat out to after World War II and claimed as his own nation. You need to send him an advance copy so he can say, "I don't like it." It really opened up when the Berlin wall came down and all of these new eastern European and former Russian countries started popping up. Now we can get banned in the Ukraine and Slovakia and all of these new places. The first album was only banned in 42 countries. And we thought we could do better. We were like, c'mon guys, let's get our shit together for the next one!

MU: Why don't you put something truly sick on the album covers then?

RS: I'd kind of like to keep it where it is, 'cause then I'd probably get raided by the FBI. And that's a situation I really don't want to have to deal with. . . again.

MU: The FBI definitely has a file on Impaled.

RS: Oh, I would like to think so. Especially with our lyrics like, "George Bush is a big cock sucker," and our song, "Go Out and Vote. . . Take Down The Majority". We're getting into political fun on our next record. We're gonna call it 'Fartwork.' It's gonna be all about our emotions and stuff like that.

MU: (laughs) One of the reasons this interview came together is because of your emails with Metal Update editor Brant regarding his ideas for a new Impaled concept album.

RS: We were talking about a concept movie about cannibals. He initially offered me a cannibal song title, and I was like, well, that's pretty cool. And then we got into "what about 'Canniballet'" about a young dancer who is trying to lose weight but can't stop eating people all the time. Then there was 'Cannibal Run' where they have to go across the country and eat as many people as possible. And it was gonna star Burp Reynolds and. . . well Dom Delouise is just going to be Dom Delouise. He's eaten enough people already for a whole family.

MU: Cannibulima was another one.

RS: Yeah, but I'm into doing 'Cannibal Run' now. It'll have to be after 'Fartwork', where we get all political.

MU: You like Bay Area thrash, that is clear. You even play a Metallica cover live.

RS: Yes we do. We do "Metal Militia". And I believe, actually, that the music for that, oddly enough, was written by Dave Mustaine.

MU: Why is that the cover?

RS: Because it was easy and it was hard for us to fuck up. We still manage to fuck it up, a lot, but we said, hey, this one's pretty easy, and we thought Raul might - you know, we said, of all the drummers in all of heavy metaldom, who could Raul keep up with, no problem, and hey, it's Lars Ulrich.

MU: You're big Metallica fans.

RS: Oh, of course I love Metallica. We actually got to go on the radio with Jason Newsted and he didn't get us at all.

MU: Did you give him a copy of the record?

RS: Yeah. And I think he was frightened by it.

MU: If Jason Newsted was on an island out in the middle of the Atlantic and you gave him the Impaled album, he'd ban it too.

RS: Yeah, I think so. Because he just kept asking what "bubos" were.

MU: What are "bubos"?

RS: They're like the sores you get from the Bubonic Plague. He actually put that out as a question for somebody to win a shirt if they knew what it was. He did, but he didn't get a shirt.

MU: Impaled is definitely not satanic, right?

RS: Oh no, we're so Christian. We pray before every show. We have a group prayer, it's very touching. One of us says grace before every meal at McDonalds or whatever hellhole we happen to be eating in. And we gather in the site of God, and the lord Jesus Christ, because that's who we owe our praise and thanks to.

MU: Do guys have some sort of mascot? Last time I saw you live there was some dead guy onstage with a pole through him.

RS: Yeah, I guess you could say that. We were supposed to have ten of them, but that was the only one that we got for free from some nice person. We're poor. We really couldn't afford ten of them.


MU: What about some of the bands you just toured with? What do you think of Vehemence?

RS: Vehemence are very sensitive guys.

MU: They cry a lot?

RS: They do, they cried a lot, and it was really touching when they got onstage. But their music is definitely first rate, and their album is so god damn good.

MU: Why did that guy do a cover song with every band when I saw the show in Corona, CA?

RS: Oh, well, they got to hang out with Decapitated first, and jumped up with them before we played with them. The first show we couldn't make on the tour because it got added a week before and we were already scheduled to go up to Milwaukee, and we already had our time schedule down, so we couldn't do that. And in the meantime, they started talking about a cover they do and he knew all the words, and they wanted him to come onstage. He actually went onstage every night with them. And then we basically had to beg and plead with him to come onstage with us.

MU: How come you paint your fingernails?

RS: Uh, I haven't painted my fingernails in a while.

MU: Well when you did, what were you thinking?

RS: I was thinking, there's a guy out here, who I play with in Ludicra - whose new album 'Hollow Psalms' is out on Life Is Abuse Records - I play with him, and he was in another band before that, Hammers of Misfortune, whose album is out on Tumult Records. . .

MU: And it was all cool and necro?

RS: It was a cross between power metal and black metal and heavy metal. An excellent fucking album they put out 'The Bastard' - you should buy it - oh, and features the bassist from Pink on it. That's not a lie, that's the total truth. Anyways, he painted his nails onstage and I thought, hey, that's cool, you can see what his fingers are doing. And it's Necro.

MU: Anything for the fans, right?

RS: It's Necro.

MU: Where'd you get those cool butcher outfits?

RS: The cool butcher outfits? Well, we were butchers. We all had a job at the same place, graveyard shift, at, uh, Modesto Butchery.

MU: That's got to be a fun job.

RS: Well, especially for a vegetarian, like myself. But I have no qualms about killing animals.

MU: Does your grandmother like Impaled?

RS: My grandmother doesn't know I'm in Impaled.

MU: Why not?

RS: My grandma's dead, dude! That's totally uncool. . . No, no, actually I was blessed to have three grandmothers - one step-grandmother. One is dead. But they're all sweethearts, and they all think it's cool I'm in a band, but I have yet to ever play it for them. My mom's been to a couple of my shows though.

MU: What does your mom think?

RS: She said that the 'Dead Shall Dead Remain' cover was the first thing she was genuinely ashamed of me about.

MU: That's something to be proud of.

RS: I thought so. She didn't get it. She didn't get why I was jumping around in glee after I showed it to her. I think I kind of offended her. I didn't get a Christmas card that year.

MU: How do you explain it to your relatives when they say, "Ross, seriously, I don't get it, please, explain it to me."

RS: (laughs) I go, "It's for the kids. It's all for the kids."

MU: Who are Impaled's musical peers?

RS: I don't know, because everyone seems to be peering down on us. So it's kind of hard to tell, especially when you're getting hit in the face at shows.

MU: Who are your brothers in gore.

RS: Like, Exhumed, of course. They're good friends of ours. Haemorrhage, we're doing a split with them. Machetazo, we're doing a split with them.

MU: Are you scared to go to the doctor?

RS: When I got my nose broken, I had a doctor. . . Well, first of all, I had to tell him how to patch up my nose correctly because he thought he had to stitch it, but I told him no, you have that skin glue. And he was like, "Oh yeah, we have that."

MU: So you told him you were descanting the insalubrious?

RS: You know, there was an old show, Tom Rhodes, and he said that album title on there and we all cheered. And on Friends they said Carcass.

MU: The band?

RS: The heavy metal band Carcass.

MU: When you see shit like that, like one time on the Simpsons they said Testament, you wonder, do they just think they're being funny and they picked out a name that sounds like a heavy metal band, or are they actually trying to reference Carcass?

RS: Well the Friends one, I think they were making it up. Because Pheobe says, "Is that Carcass with a 'C' or Karcass with a 'K'?" To my knowledge, there's no Karcass with a K. There should be though. It's always more metal when you add a K.

MU: Or an umlaut or a y. . .

RS: Yeah, right. You replace all your i's with y's, all your c's with k's and all your s's with z's. Why not. And that's more metal. That's just the way it is. We're actually going to change our name to Impaled with a Y: Y-m-p-a-l-e-d. It sounds more Jewish that way too.


MU: You'd probably sell more records.

RS: Yes. And there's going to be a silent "k" right in the middle.

MU: Why don't you just sell out?

RS: Well, that's what we're trying to do, but no one's buying it!

MU: You could just wear baggier pants - or that shit's over too.

RS: The next thing is white trash. So, you know, we're going to make hats with the fishnet in the back. Everyone's into them now. That's our next hat.

MU: And it's gotta say, what?

RS: "I'd rather be with Impaled" or what was the one we said? Instead of saying, "You have to fish" it'd say "You have to mosh" - Sean likes those hats too.

MU: You actually should sell those hats.

RS: We're going to! You think this is a joke?! This is something we've discussed!

MU: Did you hear that Exodus got in trouble for parodying the Fed Ex logo on t-shirts?

RS: Oh, they did?

MU: It said Fed Exodus.

RS: Oh, yeah, I saw that one. Well, Relapse got in trouble for parodying Slayer, so. . . 'Cause Slayer's totally underground and always supports the scene. . . and they can't take a little parodying of their logo.

MU: I wonder what Iron Maiden thought of that S.O.D. album cover.

RS: I don't know. I haven't heard anything about trouble over that, so that's kinda cool.

MU: That's the ticket! Rip off some company and have them sue you, and then you'll get publicity.

RS: I'm thinking about IBM.

MU: What would you do?

RS: I don't know. . .

MU: Sell IBM hats with mesh in the back. (laughs)

RS: Yeah! We're just going to sell IBM merchandise. We're going to quit the whole Impaled thing, and just sell IBM hats and t-shirts.

MU: Is IBM even around anymore?

RS: Yeah. Who do you think programmed. . . Yes, they're still around. They have giant complexes full of secret workings and goings on you can't even fathom, my friend. You have no idea. Them, and there's a couple of other, uh - I don't trust McDonald's, they're doing something wicked.

MU: Did you read the book, "Fast Food Nation"?

RS: Yeah!! I want to get some of those chemicals that make stuff taste like McDonald's hamburgers. I just want to have it on my salad. I want to have a salad that tastes like a McDonald's hamburger.

MU: That would be awesome.

RS: Yes! That's what I'm saying. Why don't they just market those chemicals? Just by themselves?

MU: It's a conspiracy.

RS: Because there's brain-altering drugs in it. But I don't mind brain-altering drugs! It's the depressants I kind of mind, because they make me tired.

MU: Is Impaled: a) grindcore, b) death metal, c) thrash, or d) none of the above?

RS: I consider us, b) death metal. If you're going to call us anything, call us death metal.

MU: Do you think In Flames is a death metal band?

RS: Yes. I think we're on par with one another.

MU: If they asked you open for them on their world tour, now that they're all famous, would you say yes?

RS: Hell, yeah!

MU: Is there a band you would say no?

RS: To open up for?

MU: Yes.

RS: No. There is nobody I'd say no to. Maybe, like, Amy Grant. 'Cause I just don't think we'd fly with her crowd. We've got the same Christian thing going on - she used to be like a Christian rock star until she went pop. But somehow I just don't think we'd fly with her crowd.

MU: Is there a venue too small for Impaled?

RS: No, and witness the people who saw our show in Springfield, Missouri, which took place in a 7 by 8 foot basement.

MU: And how many people were there?

RS: I think only about six could fit inside at any given time with the band. And we played with Skip Skiffington - who, you all must remember that name, because he will be the next star of metal. And his album, The 'Majestic Loincloth', is the most amazing thing I've ever heard.

MU: It is kick ass, huh?

RS: Yeah. You have no fucking idea what I'm talking about, but you will.

MU: Any last words for the Metal Update readers across the globe?

RS: Stay fuck! In the immortal words from an Indonesian fan, "Stay fuck." It has become my creed, my motto. It's the way I live my life. Stay fuck.

MU: It actually makes an awful lot of sense.

RS: It does! You know, it seems complicated, but it's not. It's two words: stay fuck. Equal amount of syllables too.


review of Impaled 'Mondo Medicale'

review of Impaled 'The Dead Shall Dead Remain'

"Choice Cuts" from 'Medical Waste' EP






Interview: Eric German [ ]
Metal Update Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: RED [ ]

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