Ron Cooke - Thrust

July 23, 2002

Give me a little background on the band.

The band was formed in 1984 and we came out with Rock For Poland which was the first live EP which then turned into getting a record deal from Metal Blade Records which did the Metal Massacre compilation album with bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Armored Saint. Then we went ahead and did the Fist Held High CD on Metal Blade Records which was the first album that Thrust did. We ended up on the Best Of Metal Blade with all their top selling bands again. Then High Vaultage Records reissued the whole selection of Thrust recordings from all those CDs or albums onto one CD which is the Fist Held High reissue on High Vaultage Records which is at High Vaultage Records also. You can see all the album and CD releases and biography at Thrust Music.

You've had several releases. How do you account for your longevity in a world where music constantly changes?

What is our secret to doing that? We always believed in what we did and our music style. I feel we incorporate different styles into the music. We've always just stuck to our guns and always believed in ourselves and never really tried to conform to the different music styles that had always been happening. We just always stuck at what we did best.

You were one of the first bands to sign to Metal Blade. How did you get signed to them and what other bands did they sign?

They signed Metallica, Slayer, Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint, and Thrust. We were drawing considerably in Chicago there and we had opened for such acts as Judas Priest, Motorhead, and Michael Schenker. We just had a great following and Metal Blade had heard about us on the West Coast and asked us to fly out and sign a record deal with them.

You've opened for many great bands. Were there any particular gigs that were your remember the most?

Probably the ones I mentioned. Probably the best show we ever did was with Judas Priest for the Screaming For Vengeance tour. Then we opened up for Motorhead on the Ace Of Spades tour. We also did a show with Twisted Sister in Chicago when they were in their heyday. That was pretty crazy. Then of course with Michael Schenker also being one of my favorite guitar players. It was really nice to open up a show for him also.

You're the original member of the band. Tell me about the new band lineup.

Definitely. Basically they're the top musicians in Los Angeles. Joe Rezendes on drums, Ray Gervais on bass, and Mark Stewart on vocals. We had played around town and doing another side project which was Dirty Breed which was produced by Pat Regan and Bob Kulick who did the KISS albums and the Deep Purple records. Being the caliber that they were with the songwriting and the demand from the fans for the new Thrust record, it just came together naturally to do the Invitation To Insanity CD.

How long had the band been on hiatus?

We were on hiatus for about a couple of years just due to the fact that the hard rock/metal scene took a dive when the alternative music came out. Pearl Jam and all those bands came out of Seattle. Nirvana. All the bands that would these days be the Great Whites, the Whitesnakes, Poisons, and all the hard rock/heavy metal bands. That kind of music went aside here in America but we had always sold good in other countries, Europe, Japan, and England. It just seems to be coming back here in America a little bit more these days which is nice. I guess it's due to a lot with maybe Ozzy Osbourne and the Ozzfest and the popularity that he's drawn with all his bands on tour. He's kind of put it back into the limelight a little bit.

People can enjoy all sorts of music, not just whatever the next best thing is.

Yeah, yeah, I think people have really just followed these bands for quite a long time and they've always been there. Even though they may not get played on the radio as much as they did, they're still selling out stadiums and concert venues across America still which is really good to see.

I was at the Poison show. It was just outstanding. There were people everywhere.

Yeah, yeah, that's what it's like. We're thinking about going out this summer too and doing some shows in Europe and England to promote Invitation To Insanity. There's the Bang Your Head Festival in Europe that's coming up too. I believe we'll be doing some outdoor shows out there. It's never left out there. It's always been the same out there as it always kind of was here in the '80s. That show with Cinderella, Poison, Slaughter, they're all coming back. The tour did really, really well it seemed like.

You guys are on a new label called Geb Records.

Yeah, yeah, Geb just believed in the band a lot. We wanted to go with somebody fresh that would help us to promote the band and the label. It seems to be working out really, really well.

Tell me a little bit about Invitation To Insanity.

I think it's obviously the best work that we've ever done. It's selling really, really good. You can obtain it at Thrust Music. Ten songs of I think the power of the '80s metal with a lot more added to it. A lot of different styles incorporated into that. We've got a lot of different things going on and we're getting some great appeal from the fans, both old and new fans, which is great is to see.

It took a year to record it.

We probably recorded the music in about maybe two and a half or three months with the music. Then it was just going in and out of the studio at different times to fix it, record it, get it all together like that. We wanted to make sure the final CD was great. We didn't want to just put it out there to put it out, and even though the fans were demanding it, we wanted to wait until it was right. It's really good. We're really happy with all the different songs The way they all came out.

Tell us about some of the tracks. I noticed that "Suffering" was a NYC tribute.

Yeah, yeah, obviously with everything coming out, I think everybody kind of put a song that would fit into how everybody was feeling about what had happened there on 9/11. I think that really captures what everybody was going through at that time.

Are there any tracks that stand out to you?

I like all the tracks, being in the band and everything. "Suffering" is great. The opening song is great. "In The Middle" is great. "Dead Man Walking", the last song, is a great powerful song too. "Evolution Revolution" is really a song that's close to home with everything that's going on too as far as from the beginning of time until now really. It's a very complex song with some orchestration and stuff in there. We've been getting a lot of fan appeals for that song also. I like them all even not being in the band. Just from listening from the outside as a fan. That's how I've always looked at our music. Would I buy this? It's my favorite CD right now and I just happened to be lucky enough to be playing that. I think that the music scene is waiting for something to come out and kick it's ass and get it back into the limelight here. We're hoping that this CD will do an invitation to insanity.

What's the music scene like in L. A. right now?

It's pretty good. It's pretty heavy. It's coming back here. There's the Roxy Theater. The Whiskey Theater down on Sunset Boulevard seems to be promoting a lot of hard rock/heavy metal bands. We've got Geoff Tate coming in to do his solo show at The House Of Blues. It's coming up. Vince Neil is Thursday night at The Whiskey. Like you said, that show came through at Universal Studios with Poison and Slaughter and Cinderella. That sold out two nights in a row. It's good to see the crowd again on the streets again coming to see the hard rock/heavy metal bands playing.

When I was in L. A. I got to hang out at the Rainbow Room and I got to hang out at the Cat Club. That was cool.

Yeah, yeah, the Rainbow is where everybody hangs out. You can see all the pictures of everybody on the walls. I was down there a few weeks ago having dinner myself and it brings back good memories. It was good to see that it's alive still and people are still coming to it. Of course the Cat Club, that was owned by Rikki Rachtman who was the host of MTV Headbanger's Ball back then. It's a classic club. You used to be able to go in there any night and hang out with Guns 'N Roses and whoever would be hanging out that night. It's starting to come back again. It really is. It's always summer in L. A., that's for sure.That's what's kind of cool about Los Angeles. There's so many people that live here because of the weather and the music scene, you're always running into somebody at the clubs.

Are you guys doing a major tour?

Yeah, right now we're looking to get on one with obviously the right bands. We're just waiting right now with the management and the record company to see what comes up too. In the meantime, we'll be playing selected venues throughout Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Arizona, here in the United States. Like I mentioned, we'll be going out and probably doing an outside festival out in Germany. We seem to sell a lot of CDs out there in that part of the world. They've asked us last year to come out and we just wanted to wait until the new CD was completed to go out there to promote it.

Any other comments or ideas?

We're going to be out doing some tours real soon and some shows. We'd love the fans to check into our website daily. We're always putting up new pictures and new t-shirts we'll have for sale soon. The website is www.thrustmusic.com. You can get all kinds of cool stuff. You can see pictures of the band. You can leave replies. There's fan replies up there. It's got a message board where you can put your own message about what you think about the record. We just got a lot of classic stuff up there and we're adding to it every day so there's always something new. I think in the near future we'll have a couple of videos up there that you'll be able to download and watch right up there too. You'll probably see the video of "Suffering" up there soon. We're working with the webmasters to get things rolling so we can have people all over the world check out our videos and stuff also.

Thrust