Summon: How did the band get started?
Charlie: I had played in a band with Ray prior to forming Aftermath. Nothing serious we never recorded anything or played lived. We jammed in Ray’s basement. When I hooked up with Steve in our first year of college we decided to get together and play some music. Steve and I met in high school, he was a guitar teacher. I actually took a couple of lessons from Steve years before forming Aftermath. I just didn’t have the patience to learn to play an instrument properly. So Steve, Ray and I got together to jam and see how it felt. It felt right from the beginning. We found Adam through a friend. Ray and I were into pretty heavy music at that time. Steve brought the rock element and Adam was into hardcore and punk. This made us different from most bands at the time since usually all band members in bands back then all listened to the same bands. We on the other hand all had different influences. That’s why the early demos sound that way.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Charlie: We started out in 1985 playing thrash, speedcore – the music on our first two demos was geared towards being the fastest band around. It had major elements of metal and hardcore. I think we did that style of music before anyone – some magazines have recently given us credit for being the prototype of CROSSOVER. On the third demo and the record Eyes of Tomorrow we slowed down drastically and played Progressive/Technical Thrash Metal. The speedcore elements were replaced by complex time signatures and longer much more complicated songs. The transformation started in 1987 when we added John as a second guitarist and songwriter.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Charlie: The fans have been crazy from the beginning. Our first show in 1986 had a crazy mosh pit. We only played 33 shows prior to breaking up in 1996. We are excited to play again this year. Our demos and record have a loyal following.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Charlie: I was working security at O’Hare International Airport (the busiest airport in the world back then) in Chicago and instead of paying attention to the screens for weapons, I was coming up with potential band names. Aftermath was the one we all liked from the list.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Kyriakos “Charlie” Tsiolis: vocals
Steve Sacco: guitar
John Lovette: guitar
Ray Schmidt: drums
Chris Waldron: bass on the Eyes of Tomorrow record
Adam: original bass player and returning for the reunion
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Charlie: I write all the lyrics. The music is written by Steve and John. Ray’s drum playing is so critical to the sound of the band that he should also get credit for being part of the songwriting.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Charlie: I have always written lyrics based on real life. Unlike most metal bands that focus on the typical metal topics, I wanted to write about real life experiences/political awareness but yet bringing a positive spin on a real life dark subject basically wanting to let people know not to be brainwashed and act like sheep. Metal back then had a lot of fantasy type lyrics so I liked what HC bands wrote about & the topics were something that I either knew about first hand or have read/heard about. Looking at my lyrics as a whole the one theme that I notice is that I seem to focus on trying to get people to think about the world they live in and the bullshit that people try and feed theme in all parts of their lives. I can’t believe that most of the lyrics I wrote in the 1980s are even more relevant today.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Charlie: I have never followed or read enough about either Satanism or Occultism. I believe that neither one is completed understood by non-followers. As I get older, I believe less and less in organized religion. I think religion whether Christianity or Islam is a form of control. The ruling classes needed to be able to control the masses and what a better way to control them by convincing them that they need to behave according to these set of rules or they will not go to heaven. Fear of going to hell keeps people or most people from doing horrible things. Satanism is just another group trying to convince people to act in a certain kind of way. I have never been into conformity or following a leader. I believe something powerful created us, I just don’t believe in the traditional religious teachings.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Charlie: We released our debut CD Eyes of Tomorrow. Since then, that record has been reissued 3 times. It will be reissued this year through Shadow Kingdom Records. This version will feature some changes to the cover art and an expanded booklet and it will feature 5 additional songs. One song A Temptation to Overthrow is off our Words that Echo Fear demo. The other four songs are from our 1996 demo that we were working on prior to the breakup. Paul Logus remastered all the tracks. This version is the best of all of them from the sound to the packaging. We also have a two vinyl set called When Will You Die on FOAD Records (Italy) available it features our demos and live recordings. Area Death Productions (China) released a box set called 25 Years of Chaos. The set includes the Eyes record, demos, live recordings, 20 page booklet including lyrics and a DVD of concert and rehearsal footage. The DVD ends with an interview prior to the reunion. It is really amazing to have our music mean so much to people that labels want to reissue it all these years later.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Charlie: Well the latest CD was written in the late 1980s and early 1990. The music as I said earlier on the record is progressive thrash. Really complex song structures, jazz like time signatures just complex thinking man. Thrash unlike the Ultra Fast Intense Angry proto Crossover Thrash of KTF demo. We experimented quite a bit since we get bored easily & that spirit added a different dimension to the Thrash genre. The record is so different from the Killing the Future demo that it sounds like to different bands. There is a lot of variety on the record even though it’s all thrash. Overall, the record is very dark sounding.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Charlie: Aftermath actually turned into a band called Mother God Moviestar (Interscope Records). We released a self-titled CD in 1998. That record was really out there musically. It was really experimental mixing metal with electronic music. After MGMS ended, I formed a band called Stripping the Pistol. John from Aftermath was in that band along with Joe Nunez on drums (Soulfly).
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Charlie: We are asked this questions all the time and sometimes I list bands and other times I say the list is too long. The truth is that we all have different influences, but I would say this Slayer was an influence early on. DRI & Suicidal T. and that genre was an influence in the early days. It wasn’t just bands, but genres, attitude, etc. that influenced us. Pink Floyd’s experimentation was influential in our wanting to experiment even though you can’t tell by listening to our music.
Summon: Which current bands?
Charlie: I hear so many new bands. Sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. The cool thing is that thrash is back NWOTM rules. Heavy Metal died in the 1990s for the most part so when Aftermath split in 1996, we left a dead boring scene & the next wave of heavy shit was nu metal & I wasn’t a fan of Nu Metal but the 1st Korn was cool. So I’m glad to see these young kids playing death, black and thrash metal. Some of the ones that stand out today are: Warbringer Havok Violator Evile Municipal Waste Toxic H Suicidal Angels Lich King Vektor Bonded by Blood Hatriot Iron Reagan Skeletonwitch Merciless Death Warbeast etc.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Charlie: We haven’t played live yet since getting back together & it has been 20 years since Aftermath has played live last gig in 1995 was our best show lol it was by the Lake here in Chicago at a fest called FREEFEST we headlined the 3rd night and over 5,000 people were there + the sun was setting on a killer summer night. Oh yeah there is 1 song on the DVD in the Box Set of that gig. Our first gig back will be May 2nd as part of Ragarokkr Metal Apocalypse in Chicago. Judging by rehearsal, we are ready to kill live. We are more excited about playing again then we were back in the day. The stress of getting a record deal isn’t there now – so it makes being in the band way more fun.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Charlie: We will be playing Germany in July as part of Headbangers Open Air. We never played outside the US even though we did have offers.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Charlie: We played a number of shows opening for signed bands back in the day so the crowds were always big. As I said our last gig in Chicago we headlined a fest and the crowed was 5000 strong. It was our last show and a perfect way to go out. The shows we have this year are fests so they sellout.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Charlie: We shall see how they react now. Our older fans can’t thrash like they did 25 years ago. We will need the young fans to help them up. So very soon we will see how kids mosh in 2015 \,,/
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Charlie: Way hotter girls in that scene today then there were back in the 80s ;). I’m amazed how big it is today but also that means there are many Posers in the scene and act like they are into it to be cool & I have seen stupid fucking Hollywood celebs wear shirts of bands as it is just another trend even H&M the store has fake battle vests out now. The musicianship is great from these young guys. I love extreme music always have & death/black metal is as extreme as you can get even though Thrash can be as well & Thrash is the true essence of Metal.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Charlie: I have always wanted to play overseas because the metal-heads live the lifestyle, they know every note on every song. So it was always my dream to play outside the USA where all the Metal Maniacs truly live.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Charlie: Black Metal, I like more than Death Metal & some of my fave are Bathory (pioneer of the genre & always know who started the music you love kids) Mayhem Burzum Emperor Darkthrone Dark Funeral Watain Ensalved etc Death bands Death& Master (started this shit) Carcass Morbid Angel At the Gates(pioneer of melodic death)Obituary Bolt Thrower Possessed are pioneer even if now it’s thought of as more Thrash also I always liked Grind shit like ND or Repulsion..special mention to Venom because again always respect the pioneer even if they lost their appeal.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Charlie: We plan on writing some new material after we play these two upcoming gigs. And it will be fucking crushing shit a mix of Ultra Speed with a prog/tech mixed together making a true 100% old school sound \,,/
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Charlie: I have no idea. We are living in the moment and enjoying playing together. No master plan. We will let it all just play itself out. And hopefully teach some of the new thrashers what real thrash is because there is a lot of mislabeled bands out there & no one is pointing out that they are wrong – just like we used to say in the Glory Years of the underground…………………………………. Death to Poser & Thrash till Death!
Contact them at:
P.O. Box 34105
Chicago, Illinois 60634