I am super excited to announce the final installment of the Killers & Kings + Thrash collaboration called “Thrashed” with three of my favorite 80's thrash bands: Destruction, Forbidden, and Sacred Reich.
In this Journal I’m going to talk to you about how this “limited edition” Sacred Reich collab happened, why I felt strongly about doing a collab with these bands, and walk you through the various stages the design went through to meld the Sacred logo with the Killers & Kings logo.
*I talked about this in the previous Destruction and Forbidden Journals, so skip down a few paragraphs if you already read it.*
One of the main reasons that I decided to do a Killers & Kings + Thrash collaboration was that I recently went to a streetwear convention in Las Vegas with my buddy Dom Deluca who owns an old school/legit skateboard/streetwear shop on Melrose called Brooklyn Projects.
While walking through the convention we came a cross a streetwear company whose name I can't remember, (nor would I even want to promote), who had various flyers from 80s thrash and punk shows all over their booth. At first I was really stoked to see this, I was like "wow, a place that gets where Dom and I came from"
But as I started talking to the people at the company, they clearly had no clue about any of it. In fact the guy straight up told me "yeah these are cool flyers right? We downloaded them off of The Google!”.
And while I "get it"… I was kinda pissed that they were taking the culture that I grew up in, (and in some small way contributed to), and we're just using it to sell their brand.
Dom called ‘em Culture Vultures.
I walked away thinking, I want to do the collaboration with these bands and actually have it be from an authentic place. With the people that were there at the beginning of it, from people that contributed to it, and put it out to the world as a “limited edition”, premium shirt, with a rich, 14-color layout that stayed as true to the original art as is possible via modern screenprinting methods today.
It was an epic undertaking, I reached out to several bands, (some of whom unfortunately declined after we created some really amazing artwork) but all 3 bands involved happily signed off on the collaboration. And all of the bands involved in this collab have been paid to use their artwork.
The third and final K&K / Thrash “limited edition” collab shirt I’m releasing is Sacred Reich - Surf Nicaragua.
I met the Sacred guys back in 1988 when my previous band Vio-Lence stared touring. I believe Phil was friends with their singer Phil Rind and they would always come hang at the Phoenix shows. I can clearly remember driving in our van listening to the debut Sacred album and being way stoked on the song "Death Squad" which began with one of the heaviest riffs of it's time.
So we're on our first U.S. tour, 5 band members, plus our manager Debbie Abono and co-manager/soundman/roadie/light guy/ bug-collector-extroidinaire (and future-MH-manager) Joseph Huston driving all across America in a cargo van. 7 people, all our gear and luggage packed in to the van (no trailer) drums tied to top of the van with cheap rope. Life was good, we got a solid break, we did our first tour of the U.S opening for Testament.
Ya gotta remember...back in '88 there was no cell phones, no internet, no social media to keep us distracted, if you wanted to talk to your girlfriend you had to call her from a payphone pumping in an endless stream of quarters, but if you didn't have any money... What we did have was music... specifically, cassette tapes.
We would play a show, load our gear in the van, maybe play some pool, try and talk a girl into a blowjob, and if that didn't work... a beer, if that didn't work... well, McDonalds would do. At first I wasn't old enough to be in some bars, so I had to wait in the van more than a few nights. Once the show was over it was just another long overnight drive to the next town, and whoever drove, controlled the stereo. Sometimes we'd drive halfway, crash out in a Motel 6 for a few, then drive the rest of the way in the morning.
Deen, Phil and I drove the most, as well as Joseph (who we called Joey back then, and I still call Joe to this day), and on those tired nights driving it was always music that carried us through. In fact, when you're driving all that time, the band we were listening to had better have good "driving songs" or your cassette might get thrown out the window. Motorhead's - Best Of "No Remorse" got A LOT of play, and SR's - "Ignorance" and "Surf" did as well.
I remember us catching them at The Channel in Boston later that year, and they were just killing it. KILLING IT! The Channel was PACKED, and people were loving this band. They played "Surf Nicaragua" and the place went NUTS... I mean NUTS! It was a straight up Thrash Smash! If I'm honest, a 20-year-old Robb Flynn was tad jealous.
But ya know what... they had captured a moment, and when music works best, it channels the times. Not to mention, what a combination of words to make into a song!! "Surf Nicaragua"??!! Somehow it worked! It felt new, they from a new area (Phoenix), their singer Phil always had an interesting take on the world, he was a smart dude with cool political lyrics, and of course, a massive pro-weed stance which I thought was great.
I caught 'em at the Omni in Oakland a few times, most memorably when they co-headlined with Sepultura on the wonderfully titled "New Titans On The Block Tour" (a not-so-subtle dig at the Clash Of The Titans tour featuring Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth)
By the time "Independent" came around a few years later (now on a major label with major push), they seem poised to take over the world.
Little did I know, what a strange and interesting thread Sacred Reich would weave into my life. As many of you know, Dave McClain was in Sacred, he joined them on their "Independent" album. I always loved the title track, goddamn what a hook! Machine Head even worked on this tune for a covers album that we had contemplated but never came out. Check him out in the video below and see what a svelte, long-haired, greyhound-like Dave McClain looked like back in 1993 in the Mark Pellington (Pearl Jam - Jeremy) directed video for the title track.
3 years later Dave would join Machine Head, and the rest is history. It's never lost on me, the journey this band has played, in my musical career.
I reached out to singer Phil Rind, and he was way down for this collab. Sacred have just gotten active again, and are gearing up for a U.S. tour in the Fall which encourage all of you to check out.