Hey Bangers! We have another BallBuster exclusive for ya… Here’s an interview with a young new talent in the Metal world… a foul mouthed fella by the name of RazorFist who is quickly becoming well known a Youtube “ranter” due to his work critiquing things like 80’s action films, professional wrestling, comic books and video games… oh yeah, and for a little over a year now he’s been doing these detailed (and incredibly entertaining) career retrospectives of artists including the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Yngwie, Danzig, Darkthrone, Dokken, Alcatrazz, Motorhead, Darkthrone, Queen and even Michael Jackson! It’s a little something he calls the “Metal/Music Mythos” series on his channel. If you have yet to watch any of his vids, we suggest you go to YouTube right now and type in “The Rageaholic” to check ’em out. We here at BallBuster are big fans of his work and were excited to conduct the very first print interview with RazorFist himself. Enjoy!
BallBuster: Hey Razor, thanks for talking with us! How did you get your start as a Youtuber?
RAZORFIST: I’m probably carbon-dating myself, here, but back in the paleolithic days of MySpace, I was availing myself of their blog system. Crafting somewhat incisive, stream-of-consciousness rants on every topic from driving to skinny jeans, the odd review here and there, with no ambition in excess of making my close friends laugh. It accomplished that aim, and so – one night, after raiding the Wal-Mart 5-for-a-dollar DVD bin – I emerged with the ’86 Stallone opus: COBRA! Just a merciless deluge of wry one-liners, brooding ’80s synthesizer, and dirtbag-wasting.
So enthralled am I by the fist-pumping proceedings that, literally, as I was watching it, I found myself typing a review. That block of text ultimately became the first episode of ‘Rageaholic Cinema.’ Everything from the aviators (Stallone rocks them throughout the film), to the acrimony to the ’80s machismo reflected in my own show going forward all flowed from that formative event.
For those who have yet to become Rageaholics, how would you describe your style & who has influenced you?
The Rageaholic is an acerbic hybrid of my favorite shock jocks (Michael Savage springs to mind) and the stream-of-consciousness stand-up comedians that I’ve worshipped for the duration of my adult life. Anyone with a functioning Audio Cortex can readily identify the massive Dennis Miller influence, but there’s some Sam Kinison in there, Bill Hicks, Richard Belzer… even some Steven Wright and Bob Newhart, for the more dry one-liners we pepper throughout our videos. The visual side is often handled by my partner in crime, Terran Gell. Who I also have to credit (Read: BLAME) with coining the title ‘The Rageaholic’, incidentally. I couldn’t speak for him, but I know his influences are at least somewhat drawn from the likes of Foamy the Squirrel and Zero Punctuation.
From what I can tell, you first got into more extreme styles of Metal and worked your way back into more melodic stuff. When did you first get into Metal… and what bands?
High School. While I did appreciate the odd Motörhead or the like, it was primarily Black Metal that served as the flickering flourescent light bulb for the middle-school moth that was a young RazörFist. Abigor was my baptism by badass, and I recall the likes of Blood Stained Dusk, Profanatica, Beherit, and Judas Iscariot being in heavy rotation thereafter. From there, it’s been a perpetual exercise of working my way backward into the more mainstream hits. It’s been a long walk from Darkthrone to Dokken.
Although it’s worth mentioning that I attended my very first Heavy Metal show at the ripe age of three: Alice Cooper. Raise Your Fist and Yell Tour. (If I’m not mistaken, Megadeth were the openers) My parents would employ a burn-out babysitter who happened to be a close, family relative, and one day, he decided it would be rad if – instead of watching me – he hauled me along on his shoulders to an Alice Cooper concert and pretended I was his kid. So I watched Alice, Kip Winger and Kane Roberts shred through what is (in my not-even-vaguely humble opinion) the strongest material of The Coop’s career. In candor, I don’t remember a fucking thing apart from the volume and the Rambo doppelganger / guitarist gorilla, galavanting on stage.
You seem to know quite a bit about Metal vocals & have mentioned you have performed Black Metal yourself, right?
Around the same period, in mid-high school, I formed my very first band. It was sort of Thrash Punk to start with, (gengre-humping jagoffs would likely deem it ‘Powerviolence’ by today’s arbitrary criteria) but as Black Metal became more important to me (and the drummer), we sort of hijacked the band from the other members, forced them out, acquired a transfusion of new blood, and metamorphosed into a Black Metal band by the name of Mortiferus. One of the few in Arizona, at that time. We fell victim to the ‘one-demo Black Metal band’ cliché, sadly, as – during the early stages of our first full length – life began to intervene, and continuing the band became impractical. We did have some interest from Moribund Records, but it came long after the band had dissolved, unfortunately. And yes, I was the vocalist. I’ve imbibed in numerous subsequent projects, however, and they’ve spanned the gamut from Melodic Metal to Funk Metal. Long before I was shrieking my way through Black Metal sets, I was a singer.
With the exception of some print, you started reviewing games and film first… some social/political ranting, then later comics, music & wrestling, yeah? At what point did you come up with the idea for the Mythos series? And what made you want to start reviewing music?
I have to thank Judas Priest’s subpar Sony/Epic management for that brainchild. It was during the promotional build-up for Redeemer of Souls in 2014, I was loving what I was hearing from ‘Priest, and I was on a full-blown binge. If I wasn’t blasting ‘Priest in the car, I was scouring the far corners of the internet for every item of minutiae I could get my grubby mitts on. We’ve all been there. Then I stumble on a video, perfectly at random, that Priest had recorded to promote ‘The Chosen Few’. It was sort of a ‘career retrospective’, where the individual members of the band discussed every release in their career. Or at least that was the theory. They get around the Painkiller era, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Rob actually feels about the Ripper Years.
“…and then there was Angel of Retribution…” THEY SKIPPED TWO ENTIRE ALBUMS! I don’t know if it was down to record company dogshit, or if Halford was being a drama queen about Tim’s contributions to the band, but they simply pretended they had never happened. Which – as a fan of Jugulator – I took as an affront. At that point, I was dead set on making a full Judas Priest career retrospective that gave due credit to every studio record. That became Metal Mythos #1.
On your channel, what do you enjoy doing the most? And the least?
The Graham Bonnet interview on Metal Mythos: AfterShock stands out. That man is a legend, a man I respect immensely, he was personable, sincere and candid, and I think I was able to get the most in-depth interview possible from the man. One that spanned not merely his done-to-death Rainbow career, but some of the lesser-known periods that often go overlooked. As far as my regular output? I’d say the themed months that we devote to one ’80s Action franchise or another would be at the higher end, not only of my enjoyment, but of our quality of output. I’ll always be proud of Death Wish Month and Dirty Harry Month. Not just due to the quality of the videos, but the fact that we were able to keep it going, week-to-week, on-schedule. We’ve got a bitchin’ follow-up planned for this coming May. I don’t know that I find anything the ‘least’ enjoyable. My channel is a hobby. A successful hobby, but a hobby, nevertheless. If I don’t feel like doing something, I have the luxury of simply not doing it. There are entire episodes, some of which were edited to completion, that I simply have sat on and refused to release, because it didn’t feel right, for one reason or another.
You said you’ve taken public speaking classes – I’ve noticed your style has changed a bit from earlier videos… was that deliberate, or did it simply evolve over time?
The public speaking experience came at the behest of my Radio background. I loaded up on Public Speaking and Communications in college – without making it my major (I’d like to eat, after all) – and it’s served me well. I assume you’re referring to the velocity increase over time, and that was completely organic. Even videos from two years ago are noticeably slower than now, and I have no idea why. I suppose it’s a natural byproduct of trying to find a decent, rhythmic flow to your speech patterns, so you aren’t simply one more voice in a sea of hacky YouTube ‘ranters’. there was a bit of a seismic shift in my comedic style, and stream of consciousness, when I first encountered Dennis Miller’s work, in mid 2010 or so. It’s possible that’s the culprit. If ranting is an art form, Miller is Michelangelo.
I understand you speak other languages? Is your fanbase primarily American, or is there a pretty big international following for what you do as well?
When you employ needlessly-florid verbiage with the kind of regularity we do, you tend to limit your audience to English-speakers only. With that said, I’m routinely amazed at how – despite that considerable language barrier – I seem to attract viewers from every remote tract of the globe imaginable, from Mexico to Japan. There’s at least one rageaholic who transcribes our videos, verbatim, andre-uploads them in Russian.
You appear to have a huge following in the gaming community. Have there been significantly more views/subscriptions/comments since you started the Mythos series?
Mythos has been a far greater success than I expected. Generally, YouTube channels that attempt to branch out into a new genre tend to faceplant within a matter of weeks and return to business as usual, shortly thereafter. Even some of the most popular names, from PewDiePie to Doug Walker, have attempted it unsuccessfully. I adjusted my expectations accordingly, and was blown out of the water when they turned out to be among my most popular output. I credit the originality of the format, more than anything. Some YouTubers are reviewing albums, some are uploading interviews, even a few are reviewing entire musical careers. None are doing it in quite the same manner, and I’m sort of counting down the minutes until someone flagrantly rips it off.
Even with your non-Metal videos, there’s different music being played during the opening & closing of each one, and I think you pick out some of the best riff-heavy Melodic Metal. How do you go about choosing the songs & bands for the intos & outros?
I tend to approach it from a subject matter perspective. If the song’s lyrical content or subject matter directly relates to the video game or film being discussed. (i.e. Liege Lord’s “Broken Wasteland” for the notoriously glitchy post-apocalyptic RPG “Fallout: New Vegas”). Other times? You just look for a searing riff that melts your t-zone off. It needs to be music to get the blood pumping, without lingering so long as to bore the viewer. Even if I wasn’t a metalhead, I think I would still consider Heavy Metal the ideal music for performing both of those functions. Traditional Rock or Rap – even good Rap – just doesn’t have the same crush of melodic aggression. You need that for an energetic exhibition of any description, be it a sporting event or a vitriolic rant.
At this point, there are nearly a dozen videos in the Metal/Music Mythos series. With episodes ranging from everything from Queen and Michael Jackson, to Dokken & Iron Maiden, all the way into darker stuff like Danzig and Darkthrone… How do you figure out which artists to cover?
The same way I arrive at any other video subject: Inspiration. I was digging the new ‘Priest, so they became the subject of the inaugural Metal Mythos. The new Maiden was on the horizon, so they got the Mythos treatment. So I suppose the only criteria is that I need to be on a bit of a binge, and have something resembling passion for the subject.
Like most old-school Metalheads, I’ve been watching Heavy Metal “documentaries” for years & unlike many, you make a point not to miss any details! Since you go into so much detail, the research for each episode must be really involved. Tell us about that.
Honestly, most of the knowledge is stuff that’s been rattling around my head for years, to begin with, so it’s only natural that it comes bubbling out during the recording process. For example: In the next episode (Metal Mythos: Gorgoroth) I delve into some very reliable first-and-second-hand information regarding the name dispute between Gaahl / King and Infernus. It’s not that I necessarily devote hours to tireless study on a given topic… but more than I naturally seek out more information on my favorite bands, and thus wind up with information many others simply haven’t been predisposed to seek out, over the years.
At times, you cross-reference several artists within a Mythos episode. Sometimes it’s side projects or other bands all together. Was it an intention to expose different lesser known acts when you started doing these critiques?
I think of the cross-referencing as a sort of “If you’re into this, then check out this situation”. Like Last.fm, but with fewer fake profile pictures and penis lengthening scams.
I think it’s fair to say that just like your love of 80’s action films, much of your taste in Metal falls in the category of what many would consider “classic”. Other than who has appeared in the Mythos series so far, who else are you into? I’ve seen you wearing a Wolf band shirt… do you enjoy many of the newer bands playing classic/traditional Heavy Metal?
I’m a huge fan of what’s going on in Sweden with bands like Wolf, Enforcer, and Bullet, at the moment. Even in Finland with the likes of Speedtrap, and of course their vibrant Black Metal movement helmed by Horna, Satanic Warmaster, Sargeist, and the rest. Sadly, Canada has attempted to replicate it (unsuccessfully, in my opinion) with bands like “Striker” and I feel the subpar quality of these “me-too” acts has been taking the wind out of the sails of the whole ’80s Metal revival movement, a bit. I’d rather have three bands that slay than 30 bands that go through the motions.
Okay, the big question… Wanna confirm or deny the rumors of any upcoming artists you’ll be featuring in future Metal/Music Mythos episodes? Accept? W.A.S.P.? Alice Cooper? Give us something!
Accept is an absolute certainty, but I’m holding off until they release their new record (sadly, I missed the boat on the superb Blind Rage). They’re one of my top 5 favorites of all-time. The Japanese powerhouse ‘Anthem’ is another absolute guarantee… but the extensive Japanese translation work involved (I taught English for two summers in Japan, but even I get rusty) is what’s precluded that from going forward at present. As I mentioned before, Gorgoroth is next. From there, who knows? Whatever I’m inspired to make.
Alright well thanks again for talking with us, Razor! Any last comments? Anything coming up you’d like to plug? Let’s do that now!
I can be found on twitter at @RAZ0RFIST, on Facebook at facebook.com/rageaholicrules and on my personal blog at the-rageaholic.tumblr.com – Up next, I’ll be reviewing the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones, followed by Fallout 4, and of course, Metal Mythos: Gorgoroth in the very near future. Thanks for having me, and Godspeed!