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ON THE ATTACK!

Interview with Bob Mitchell of Attacker by Christopher J. Kelter - September, 2000

One of the joys of broadening my understanding of the hard rock and heavy metal scenes is that I've gotten a chance to hear (for the first time in many cases) bands that I missed during the '80s. One of those bands that I missed was New Jersey's Attacker. Attacker released two albums in the early Eighties: 1985's "Battle At Helms Deep" on Metal Blade and 1987's "The Second Coming" on Mercenary Records. Upstart record label Sentinel Steel has re-released both Attacker discs in Summer 2000; this set things in motion for original Attacker vocalist Bob Mitchell to carry on with the Attacker name. Having witnessed Bob Mitchell's undeniable love for metal and his extremely positive attitude at Attacker's first performance in nearly fifteen years at Powermad 2000 I knew it wouldn't be long before Attacker was featured on Rough Edge. Here's the transcript of a recent interview with Bob Mitchell.

Rough Edge: Why did you decide to bring Attacker back to the music scene?

Bob: I'll tell you the whole happened by accident. When the licensing deal came together back in 1998, I didn't think that our music would still be popular because as you know that act has been out of action so to speak for at least fifteen years. This is quite a surprise to me although I never doubted the quality of ATTACKER's music. I am very pleased and quite proud to say that, in my opinion, I'm finding that people are truly discovering ATTACKER for the first time. We certainly have older fans from the early days, but the majority of the attention, I think, comes from the curiosity seekers who were pretty young when we first came on the scene. I think that we even may be new to them, more or less, and they love the music. It's new to a lot of people and that's great. Everyone from the fans to members of the press have embraced us. I brought ATTACKER back because I think that there was a demand to see the band live. So, upon the blessing of the original members, I put together the new line-up. Plus I've always said that great music is timeless. Also considering what's out there now I feel that audiences need to be entertained again. Too many bands are negative nowadays. Along with this incredible resurgence in our profession, we couldn't have come back at a better time. So it's great to be back!

Rough Edge: How much of an impact did the resurgent metal scene in New Jersey play in getting Attacker back in front of audiences again? 

Bob: Well, I saw that a lot of bands here at home were getting back together again, bands like TT QUICK, OVERLORDE, HADES. So while all this was going on, I was in a 80's Metal tribute band called DENIM AND LEATHER and surprisingly we were doing great business. So just from that I saw that great things were about to be happening. Then when ATTACKER signed the deal with SENTINEL STEEL, I wanted to put the band back together with the original "Battle" line-up. But, unfortunately, they weren't interested at all in playing anymore, thankfully they gave me their blessing after a while. So here I am, I think I've now come full circle and I've never been happier. 

Rough Edge: What's different about the power metal and true metal scenes in 2000 as opposed to the early '90s and late '80s? 

Bob: There is no difference. A lot of the bands from the eighties and early nineties are still with us. They're still putting out great new music or they're just re-releasing their past accomplishments to a whole new audience. So the 'scene' is just as strong as ever. When it comes to Metal their is no time period! Metal is Metal!! 

Rough Edge: Playing in memory of Jim Mooney must be inspiring and emotionally draining at the same time. Please tell us about Jim's legacy lest we forget his contributions to heavy metal. 

Bob: I really miss him a lot. His contribution to Heavy Metal is obviously the great music that he has written. I feel fortunate to say that Jim was my partner and my friend. I think we wrote some really great music together. Especially, in our other band NIGHTHUNTER - I may release that someday. Jim's legacy is his music; his legacy is "Battle." I'm glad that people still like that album, to me that says something very special.

Rough Edge: Tell us about the madmen you've enlisted for Attacker for your latest metal journey. 

Bob: How about I just introduce them to you, eh? OK, we have Rolo Macias on guitar, Rob Oriani on guitar, on bass we have John Armstrong he was with me in DENIM &LEATHER, finally on drums we have Tommy Akel who was with me not only in DENIM & LEATHER but NIGHTHUNTER as well.  Believe me when I tell you the world will know more about these maniacs in the near future (ha, ha)! 

Rough Edge: Give us some insight to Sentinel Steel's involvement with Attacker.

Bob: I would have to say that Denis was and still is a big fan of ATTACKER. When I first contacted him he was very receptive towards me and within a short period of time he offered the licensing deal. At first I wasn't sure because let's face it, the music has done nothing for fifteen years and I was convinced that it was forgotten. Denis convinced me otherwise, and now, so have the fans. The CD's have been doing quite well. So in short I believe that Denis did this out of admiration of the band's music and its legacy. I can't speak for him, mind you, but I think that his work speaks for itself. He really did a fantastic job in reviving ATTACKER's music which paved the way for me to put a new line-up together and hit the stage again. 

Rough Edge: Can you comment on the impact that the Powermad Festival is likely to have for established acts and new bands.  

Bob: Well I think that for the established bands, it will be a great outing that could very well broaden their audiences even further. For the newer bands I just think that, quite simply, it's a great opportunity to show the big boys what they got. There's a lot of outstanding young talent out there that love Metal and play the music just as great as the big boys. Which is very encouraging for the future of our genre. I tell you what, the future looks real good from where I'm sittin'. This business needs more people like Keith Menser and more events like POWERMAD!

Rough Edge: What do you have in store for Attacker for the future?

Bob: We have performances coming up, as a matter of fact, on the 27th of October (2000) we'll be performing our first headlining show in fifteen years. This show will be at Connections in Clifton, New Jersey, our home state. We have with us on the show OCTOBER 31 and a great band from New York called AGGRESSOR. It's gonna be a very special night so I encourage anyone who is reading this interview to come on down! We also have shows coming up in November and December just check out our website for details. Let's see ... we're working on our new album right now, a possible LIVE album is in the works, more festivals for next year.  Our ultimate goal is Europe which I firmly believe will happen!! After all, as Triple H would say, we are 'THAT DAMN GOOD"!!! 

Rough Edge: Any last words for heavy metal freaks reading Rough Edge who might have missed Attacker the first around?

Bob: We're thrilled to be a part of the 'scene' again. I wish, at this time, to thank the original members for allowing me to continue with the new blood. A special hello to Denis Gulbey and Keith Menser. To you Christopher, and the staff of Rough Edge for allowing me the opportunity of this interview, I thank you on behalf of the boys. If you people missed us at POWERMAD don't sweat it, just come see us in October or anytime after that. You will get your money's worth! Finally, and especially, to all of our fans, thank you all! BANG 'TIL DEATH!!

Rough Edge: Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts!

Bob: My pleasure brother!

Editor's Note: Check out Attacker's website at http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Show/7086/index2.html


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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
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