Municipal Waste have to be one of the most hardworking and successful bands to come out of the 2000's, certainly one of the best! How did 4 guys go from Richmond Virginia to touring the world with their own special concoction of thrash punk speed metal? Well, we had the pleasure to chat with one of the nicest guys in metal, frontman Tony Foresta, to ask him about Municipal Wastes success whilst he was on tour in the UK with Iron Reagan, on the occasion of their date at Think Tank? in Newcastle upon Tyne. Seeing as we had the opportunity, we asked him about his plans with Iron Reagan too!

R&MIMB: When you started out playing with Municipal Waste was it just for fun or were there specific goals as you where you wanted to be as a band?
Tony Foresta: Oh, it was just for fun, for sure, of course when you have a band you should want success but it's very rare for that to happen, I'm aware of that and we were all aware of that when we started but we really didn't care, we were just looking for a reason to get on the road and play music and fuck around for a few years and then it just kind of blew up! We realised then it was something we could do all the time and we didn't want to get real jobs! Hahaha!

R&MIMB: Who had the idea to form the band?
Tony Foresta: Me and Ryan. He was trying to form a band, I was trying to form a band at the same time, we were doing it at the same time and trying to practice with other people and failing, and every time we'd see each other we'd talk about it and one day we were like.. what are we doing? Why don't we just combine forces, and that's how that ended up working out.

R&MIMB: It was around 2005 when you signed to Earache that things started to happen. Did you expect to have the success you have?
Tony Foresta: Like I say, I never expected it, I mean you want it, in a way you want a certain level of success just to be able to get by so you can get to the next town or whatever but I didn't think it was going to be the way it was, I thought we were going to have day jobs forever and it didn't work out that way, it just blew up and there was demand for it everywhere so it was constant, we were getting pulled in all different directions and we realised that there was a demand for the shit we were doing!! Haha!

R&MIMB: Tell us about the origin of the name, "Municipal Waste" where did that come from?
Tony Foresta: Ryan saw it on the side of a dump truck and he was like, that would be a cool thrash band and it is! People still tag me in front of those garbage trucks that have Municipal Waste spray painted really big on the side of it and they're like yeah! People like to tag me in that shit haha, it happens at least twice a month, someone will tag me in a photo haha I like it!

R&MIMB: Municipal Waste is Crossover thrash and Hardcore Punk. Which of these sounds do you feel closest to?
Tony Foresta: It varies for each band member, for me I'm more into hardcore and punk, Ryan is into heavy metal, Dave is into death metal and all sorts of weird shit, Phil is into death metal but all of us listen to punk, hardcore and thrash but that's where the core roots are from so it's all across the board really which makes it a good crossover band. Everybody is throwing different influences in from all over the place.

R&MIMB: Throughout their careers, artists often search for different sounds. What about Municipal Waste, are you happy with the sound you have now? Do You think you'd ever change anything in the style of your music?
Tony Foresta: Well we kind of have recently as we added a second guitar player. It sounds fuller. We just did a European tour with him and it was fucking awesome, it's the best sound I think ever and we just finished recording an album so it sounds pretty good, it sounds heavier and it strangely sounds punker, in a weird way so, yeah, it's exciting, there's a lot of cool stuff going down in the Municipal Waste world so when I get home from these Iron Reagan tours we'll start busting out that!

R&MIMB: You have played a lot of shows. Is there any particular show that stands out in your mind? Are there any funny stories you can share with us?
Tony Foresta: There are just memories of certain places, we would always play the House of Blues in Los Angeles and there's something strange and magical about those shows, there was never a bad show and every time we played there, there was chaos, stuff like that, and playing the Brain Squeeze Festivals, the shows in London and Italy were awesome too. I really liked Bloodstock when Municipal Waste played it a few years ago, places where the promoters and the crowd respect us and they let us do our thing and everybody's comfortable, it makes for a really fun time.

R&MIMB: What do you think about the festivals in Europe compared to the States? Are they different?
Tony Foresta: Yeah, it's a totally different world, the open air thing doesn't really exist too much for metal in the States, if it does it's a load of bullshit and isn't really that awesome.

R&MIMB: What about Ozzfest?
Tony Foresta: I like Ozzfest actually, we're playing Ozzfest this year, it's got a pretty cool line up this year but yeah it's not the same, it's just Slipknot shows and shit like that, but I'm not dissing them, they're great and they do their thing but it's just not like anything out here (Europe) like when you have Saxon playing to a tonne of people, like if you had Saxon playing in the States it'd be like yeah ok, but here they have more respect for true heavy metal and thrash bands and shit like that and more underground bands at festivals like at Obscene Extreme, that wouldn't fly in Texas or something!

R&MIMB: The style of your artwork is very unique. Who came up with the idea to use that style of artwork, was it the artists or yourselves?
Tony Foresta: I'm very hands on with the artists and Ryan is very picky too, we're very picky, we're very hard to work with for artists, but they like it and it means we get the best work out of them, they appreciate it in the end but usually I'll get the artist and be more hands on with them, I nitpick back and forth to get to what we like. For the Art of Partying we described it to a T to the artist with my friends I would make them pose in certain positions, and I would take a photo and send it to the artist and say have this person in this position, have them doing that, or I'd do a shitty sketch, like really bad, haha I wish I could show you those sketches that I did, they're really awful but they're funny, so I'll sketch something and send it to the artist and it'll give them an idea of what I have in mind and then instead of having to go back and forth through like 400 emails trying to describe what I want I'll just do the worst drawing ever and I'm like do it like this but make it look like how you do it! Hahaha!

R&MIMB: Do you use different artists for each album or the same one?
Tony Foresta: We try to mix it up a little, we were using Andrei (Bouzikov) for a while, he only did two covers but they looked very different, yeah we try to use different artists.

R&MIMB: So, when you're not on tour, which is hardly ever! What are the members of Municipal Waste like in your everyday lives? Are you exactly the same guys we see on tour? You tour relentlessly, what do you do to relax between gigs?
Tony Foresta: We're big drinkers!

R&MIMB: So, is that worse on tour or at home?
Tony Foresta: It's actually worse at home, which is fucked up haha! We all do a lot of stuff, we're all really involved in our scene, Phil is always working on music whether it's with Iron Reagan, Municipal Waste or Cannabis Corpse or whatever, I just do a lot of partying hahaha! I play volleyball, also I'm actually very active in my scene, I set up a lot of benefit shows and just try to be involved with what's going on in my town, I love Richmond very much, so I'm very active, I don't just sit around, I try to get out there and do stuff.

R&MIMB: What can you tell us about the new MW album you've been working on since 2014?
Tony Foresta: The Waste album is tracked and everything finally got finished except for the vocals so I have to go home and do that, depending on how exhausted me and Phil are. You see me now, I'm worn down, we have about three and a half weeks off between this tour (Iron Reagan) and the Iron Reagan and Skeletonwitch tour we're doing, so hopefully I can track the vocals. We're thinking it will be out early to mid next year. I mean the songs are written, we have demos for every song, I could play you a demo version of the album but we're waiting on me at this point, but I've been waiting on them forever to track it so by the time it was done it was time for me to leave. It's hard juggling both bands but we're able to do so, but luckily for Municipal Waste we have five albums which people can go back and listen to hahaha.

R&MIMB: What themes will the lyrics deal with?
Tony Foresta: Ah you'll see when it comes out! I don't want to spoil anything, there are a lot of bands that are trying to rip us off! Hahaha.

R&MIMB: Nick Poulos joined MW only this year. How's it going with him?
Tony Foresta: Great, as I was saying earlier, it sounds a lot fuller, he's doing a great job, we're getting on great, everyone in the band is having a super good time, it's been good, it's making it more exciting to tour and travel, it isn't the same thing over and over again that we were used to, you know we've done it so many times.

R&MIMB: Did you know him before?
Tony Foresta: Yeah, I tried to get him in Municipal Waste 6 years ago and then it just didn't work out and so it came back around when we weren't doing much and we said let's add a second guitar player and I said well let's get Nick and everyone was like yeah! It worked out good, everybody's happy with it.

R&MIMB: This year you played a couple of dates in Italy, what do you think of Italy and the Italian fans?
Tony Foresta: I love it, their my people! My family is from Palermo, my Dad's family is from Palermo, my Grandfather actually, so yeah, I love it there, I get real stoked, in a weird way it reminds me of Florida, in America, where I'm from, I don't know, I just feel comfortable there. The Italian fans are really nice, almost too nice which is kind of scary haha! I have to hide sometimes hahaha! I haven't actually been to Palermo but I've always wanted to go, I've always wanted to play there.

R&MIMB: So do you speak any Italian? Does your Dad speak it?
Tony Foresta: No, no my Dad doesn't speak it, my Grandfather moved to America before my Dad was born, when we say we're Italian, it's really where our family is from, we can't speak Italian or anything.

R&MIMB: What about the UK and the fans here? How do they compare to the Italian fans?
Tony Foresta: Well, everyone's kind of the same all over the world, metal fans and music fans in general have a lot of heart, there are people that really love it and you can just see that all over the world, that's why I love doing what I do, I don't know, everyone's kind of the same but there's an intensity that goes both ways with Italy and the UK. In Italy everybody wants a photo with you, and over here (the UK) everybody just wants to talk to you, like say something funny to you, try and get a response out of you and be funny, I guess they are the two different things, I love both very much though.

R&MIMB: Recently there has been some controversy surrounding the image of Donald Trump on your t-shirts, were you surprised by the negative reaction from some of your fans?
Tony Foresta: The funny thing was how that shit went down, it was because people didn't realise how Facebook works. How Facebook works is that if you share something, everyone in your feed can post comments on it and their friends can see it, so when the news came out "Municipal Waste fans react to their T-shirt", they weren't all Municipal Waste fans, some were, but for the most part, it was people who were friends of the people who shared it, commenting on our post, so it looked like all these fans were talking shit but for the most part, those people commenting were not linked to Municipal Waste. I could see that on the page so it was kind of funny seeing stuff like "fans react to Municipal Waste T-shirt", we just let it ride, so if it gets more attention and gets more people not to vote for Donald Trump that's a good thing.

R&MIMB: So do you think Trump has a good chance of winning the presidential elections?
Tony Foresta: Well, I think he's plummeting in the polls right now but I haven't been home in a month, I mean a month or so ago everyone was posting all the crazy ass shit he was saying, I honestly just think he started laying low 'cos he was just putting his foot in his mouth so much, if he just shut up he'd do better in the polls. I think the damage is already done, hopefully.. and if people are stupid enough to vote for him then they're just going to vote for the future apocalypse...

R&MIMB: Well, the rest of the world is pretty worried in case he gets in.
Tony Foresta: Yeah, so are we and so are the other normal thinking humans in America.

R&MIMB: Apart from finishing the new album, what are your projects for the future with Municipal Waste?
Tony Foresta: We are just going to do a shit load of videos, we've got a tour in January with Suicidal Tendencies, Agonistic Front and Walls of Jericho, about 10 bands are on it, it's going to be cool.

R&MIMB: So let's talk a bit about Iron Reagan. Iron Reagan was formed in 2012, who had the idea to form the band?
Tony Foresta: Me and Ryan, the drummer, were talking about doing a band since we were teenagers, we've known each other forever, so finally Municipal Waste had some time off and I'd had the idea of doing Iron Reagan for a couple of years, I was talking about starting Iron Reagan and Phil was like "I really want to play guitar in a band, I haven't really played guitar in a band before, I have all these riffs, and I was like alright, do you want to do iron Reagan? He was like yeah alright I'll do it! We had a band practice and we wrote the first demo in one band practice! We got Paul from Darkest Hour to play bass who also is an old friend of ours, that was the original Iron Reagan line up. Once we'd done the first demo, we put it online on Bandcamp and it got 20,000 downloads, not plays, downloads in the first 3 days we were amazed, then all the emails started coming in, people wanted us to play at places and do stuff and then Paul got kind of scared as he has kids and he didn't want to tour all the time so we did a couple of tours without Paul and we had Mark fill in and that's how Mark joined the band, he filled in for Paul and then Mark jumped to guitar we played some shows with Mark on bass and then on the same tour, the next night we would play a show with Paul on bass and Mark on second guitar and we would just switch around it was kind of crazy. When Paul was available we'd have him play and we thought Paul was going to be in the band for a while but after one of those tours he just quit so then we just kept Mark on guitar and added Rob, that's how the band blossomed in about a year.

R&MIMB: How did you come up with the name for Iron Reagan?
Tony Foresta: I just think it's a fitting name for a metal punk band, Reagan is such a demonised character, at least where we live, a lot of punks and metalheads grew up hating that guy and it just felt like the names fit, it fits in multiple ways.

R&MIMB: How's the tour going so far?
Tony Foresta: It's awesome, we started out and we did Brutal Assault, we did all these crazy big festivals. Brutal Assault was my highlight this year, Italy was really cool too. It's been a month and I'm so burned out right now I had to buy new pairs of shoes 'cos I brought 3 pairs and they're all just completely ruined 'cos every night there's just sweat and trash and falling over, it's been really fun!!

R&MIMB: Did you get the chance to see much of Italy when you were there?
Tony Foresta: I like to walk around, when we played in Milan we got to walk around that park area that was really pretty but this tour I didn't get to much but on other tours I've walked around bit.

R&MIMB: You also played in Rome didn't you?
Tony Foresta: Yeah, I love Rome, we played this place called Traffic Club, it's awesome it's my favourite place to play in Italy the staff there are cool, when I saw that we were going to play there on the last couple of tours I was like Yes I get to see my friends!

R&MIMB: When are you going to release a new album?
Tony Foresta: Iron Reagan is done with an album, its completed, the album cover, everything's done we've finished everything's done, it's going to come out very early next year. We'll find out the release date soon as it's done. We're discussing what colour vinyl we're going to do right now. It's a completed project it's really exciting. We worked really hard on that record and it's way better than the last record, I know everybody says that shit but everyone I've played it for has been like holy shit that's really good! It sounds awesome it's one of the best things I've done.

R&MIMB: What other music do you listen to outside of metal?
Tony Foresta: I like a lot of pop punk and hip hop like Gamestar, DJ Premier stuff and Wu Tang Clan.

R&MIMB: So will we see collaboration with any rap musicians?
Tony Foresta: Nah, absolutely not! I think that's what ruined metal in the 00's!! hahaha

R&MIMB: In today's world we are literally invaded by new media that allows you to access and listen to music everywhere. Do you think this is an advantage or that the old media (CDs, vinyl) will always remain?
Tony Foresta: Vinyl still sells but if you think you're going to make money off of selling records then you have a terrible idea, that's why we released the Iron Reagan demo for free, we got 40,000 listens but it got 20,000 downloads, and that's crazy, that many people finding out about it and putting it on their iPods is really cool, then you just save yourself two years of touring, getting your music into people's ears! So that's the good thing about it, if you're in it for the money then it's not good, you're fucked! I live a very humble life, I've set everything up in my life to where things don't cost that much I have a cheap mortgage on my house and I don't drive a shitty car, I ride my bike everywhere and I'm very happy I do what I love for a living I'm not trying to be rich I just want to do what I love to do and if you have that outlook then you'll be very successful, you'll just do what you love. People have this ideal that they want to be rich and have a family when they're like 20 years old and that's fine if that's what makes you happy but a lot of people are pressured into that mind frame and I see it all the time and it's sad because there is a lot of potential there, you got one chance to live on this rock and I want to be able to go to Italy three times a year if I can and being able to play music helps me do that and I love playing music.

R&MIMB: You have the Iron Reagan stuff available on cassette, right?
Tony Foresta: Yeah, and it sells, people collect tapes I still have a load, so people see that and like to get it and I like that.

R&MIMB: Do you have any advice for young bands just starting out? What should they do and how?
Tony Foresta: Like I said, don't expect to make money, if you expect to make money then you will be extremely disappointed. Do what you love, if someone in your band does something you don't like, speak up, I mean it's probably shitty but it's great, it helps if everyone is vocal about what they want musically you can create some good shit!

R&MIMB: Which bands are you into at the moment?
Tony Foresta: I've been listening to this band, Angel Du$t, the s is a dollar sign, it's really weird, this band Beach Slang, it kind of sounds like the Replacements, that's what I've been listening to a lot lately, this band, Noisem from Baltimore is pretty awesome. There's a lot of cool stuff coming out.

R&MIMB: Would you like to say something to our readers?
Tony Foresta: Yeah, thanks for supporting us and being interested in our band and I'll see you next time.

Interview by Amy Louise Hamilton and Davide Cillo. Edited by Yader Lamberti.