Acid Reign are an icon of British thrash metal, with their first release 'The Fear' being released way back in 1989. The band split in 1991 and for a long time Acid Reign were no more. The band re-formed in 2014 with Howard "H" Smith the only surviving member from the early days.
2019 saw the bands first release in 29 years with'The Age Of Entitlement' to huge critical praise. I recently caught up with Howard to talk about quarantine, 'The Age Of Entitlement' and how the world has changed in the thirty years of Acid Reign...
"I could sing as I’d been in choir in primary school and I really wanted to do it. A few years later we signed a deal with MFN and the dream became a reality!"
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you guys been coping in the lock-down, what kind of things have you been up to since the lock-down came into effect. Well we did a lock-down video for Blood Makes Noise that Suzanne Vega joined us on and we’re live on Facebook every Saturday other than that not a lot. Just all trying to hold our heads/jobs/lives/careers/families together like everyone else. How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, holy shit! THIS is what I want to do with my life? I just did. I formed a band, knew I could sing as I’d been in choir in primary school and I really wanted to do it. A few years later we signed a deal with MFN and the dream became a reality! At that point it didn’t so much “hit me” I just thought, good, now I can get shit done! Ha ha! Lets, go way, way back, before I was even born. To ‘The Fear’ which was released in 1989. What bands were you listening to back then that influenced you back in those days?
31 years ago? What was I listening to? Like I can remember that! Ha ha ah ah ah aha. Just about everything that was around as always including Suzanne Vega. There is a lyric in Blind Aggression that I lifted off one of her songs as the phrase fitted perfectly. It’s only three words but it was key. 30 years later she’s on our album. Brilliant!
"just because we have a load of time on our hands doesn’t mean that means we will write another album."
At the start of July you released a documentary about your latest album, and first in 29 years, called ‘the making of the age of entitlement’. How did the idea for this documentary come about? Was it hard recording an album with someone documenting your every move? You film EVERYTHING in a band as you never know when you are going to need extra content. There was always going to be a making of, nearly everyone does them but they release them in little parts we did it in just two parts. Let’s be honest 2020 has been a fucking weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, especially an artist with an album just released, how has this affected your rhythm? This is the time you would be out there promoting the new album for all your fans! It is exactly! So what you said about rhythm is very well observed, we should be playing TAOE all over the place and then after a while you get sick of it and look forward to getting to work on some new stuff. Well we haven’t had that chance and we aren’t sick of it and just because we have a load of time on our hands doesn’t mean that means we will write another album. Because you can isn’t a reason, you have to want to. At the moment everything is totally out of whack, I just want to play these songs live and celebrate a landmark album for us. I have zero enthusiasm for writing another one just 9 months after we released the last one. It has been more than two decades, but what really happened before the Marquee show back in 1991 that ended it all?
1991 happened. Thrash died. We split up, Sabbat split up the week after and Onslaught the week after that. No mystery whatsoever.
" I’m all about moving forwards as is the whole band. We came back with a brand new single, now we have a new album out and all of that has been done by looking forwards"
If you could choose any one person to do a guest spot on one of your tracks who would you choose and why? Suzanne Vega because I know she will probably say yes, she’s one of my all time favourite artists and really easy to deal with! If you had to choose one song from the Acid Reign catalogue that you feel encompasses the bands signature sound, which song would you choose and why? Well I don’t have to so I won’t chose one as you cannot sump up a band in one song, well not this one! Finally the last time you released an album before the 29-year break was back in 1990 how has the music industry changed in the time you were gone? Has it completely gone to shit? It’s unrecognisable but so is EVERYTHING from 1990, this is pre mobile phones, pre internet, the world was a very different place people seem to think that only the music business has changed. It is a pointless comparison let’s all just move the fuck on shall we instead of banging on about the past. It’s past and that’s where it should stay. I’m all about moving forwards as is the whole band. We came back with a brand new single, now we have a new album out and all of that has been done by looking forwards not backwards. That is how we roll brother.