Paul Speckmann - Master 

What were your main influences to start Master back in the 80's?

GBH, Minor Threat obviously Motorhead and Black Sabbath, these were a lot of the main influences but also the early punk stuff. This is what inspired me to write these heavy songs you know and help with Death Strike also, the D beat.


Seeing as you mentioned Black Sabbath, what do you think about the new Sabbath album?

I actually heard it for the first time a few days ago on the tour bus and I really thought it was like old Black Sabbath. I had heard a lot of reviews and people writing stuff online and people saying that it's not good but man, I know I'm old but they sound great. I like it. Geezer is still kicking it and it's still got the old feeling.


What made you reform Master after Death Strike?

The reason was the drummer from Master came crawling back so we got as far as writing 3 songs Terrorizer, Master and Pledge Of Allegiance, I liked the songs. At the time we were also in a band called War cry and I heard the first venom 7", 'In League With Satan' and I showed it to him and said listen to this and it changed our lives. We had written these 3 songs and then we were jamming in a storage unit, even in the winter when we were freezing our asses off trying out guitar players. We did a year of auditions and never found anybody so he went and joined a band called Mayhem, this was before the Norwegian band Mayhem. He went and jammed with them and recorded a demo and I thought ' fuck you man' so I started working on my own shit and put together this band called Death Strike with a guy who auditioned for Master but at the time he just wasn't what we wanted but now he could play and he was listening to bands like Venom and Slayer and all this heavy shit so he came in and started jamming with me so we wrote these songs together and we recorded a demo. In the same year in 85, the drummer kept coming back and he was begging and begging to jam with us guys so eventually I was like 'ok man' and we were Master again.


Was it awkward when he came back? Was there any tension between the both of you or was it all ok?

He was like kissing my ass for a long time and then he suddenly became a dictator again and we split up. I got the band back together long enough for two rehearsals and two days in the studio to record for Nuclear Blast in 89 and the next year we split up again. I had a tour in 1990 where I used the Abomination drummer and a guitar player from a band called Burnt Offering and never spoke to the guy ever again. Now unfortunately he's living under a bridge in Chicago and he is homeless but that's too bad though. He had choices and was a killer drummer, wrote 3 great songs but he's living under bridge. He fucked me too many times, selling my stuff. His father passed away and I left stuff at his house and he was like 'someone robbed me', that worked the first time but not the second and third time of my shit disappearing so I was like 'see you later buddy, we are going on without you'.


It took a few years to actually get the first Master album released, was there ever a time that you felt like giving up on the band?

Not at all. I had just put together Funeral Bitch, then I put together Abomination, then I put Master together for a few days, recorded the album and then we split up so I went to Europe with new players and the rest is history you know. I never gave up. It was impossible.


Master is a band that is known for being loyal to the old school sound, is this something that will change eventually or will Master always be what we know it as today?

I'll never change man. If somethings not broken then you don't need to fix it. Ok the new album 'The Witchhunt' has some different elements to it but when you hear it you know it's Master. Just like when you hear to a Motorhead record, you know its Motorhead. That's the problem with some of the bigger bands, they are jumping on different genres and trying to get the new kids. You know, I'm piss poor but I couldn't give a rats ass.


With all the line up changes over the years, has it been hard to keep the Master sound going? Has anyone come in wanting to change the sound?

No. I've been working with the same guys here for eleven years and for example on the new album there's eleven songs and I wrote ten of them so I'm still in control. They have good ideas, we try different things on the drums and stuff but I still dictate how things go. We work together and we are a good team. I'm not a real dictator but I just have a little bit more power you know.


What do you think about how death metal has changed from the mid 80's when you started, to the early 90's explosion and then to the death metal bands of today?

It's like these new bands have these fucking silly melodies and shit. If I want to hear melodies then I will listen to Iron Maiden, from years ago. I actually personally like the first three records the most, I'm old, I would listen to Killers but in this kind of music I just want to hear straight forward aggression and that's what I deliver. What saddens me is that there is a nu metal explosion or what ever it is, It's just regurgitated Death, Possessed, Kreator, Master, different bands but It's just regurgitated riffs. It's the same shit I've already heard. Some of the bands are successful but I don't understand it. Why don't you push the guys that have been doing it for 30 years and not the guys that have been doing it for 10 minutes but that's just my opinion.


Where do you think the genre of death metal is now? Do You think it's stronger now or was it stronger back in the late 80's/early 90's?

It's coming back it seems like. I'm 100 - 120 shows a year and even in America we are getting good crowds. Back in the day you get like 20 people but now you are getting 250 people so there's still a scene. Ok back in the day there would be like a thousand people but it doesn't matter. I'm still fighting the good fight and that's what it's about man.


Obviously Master has a big back catalogue of albums so which is your personal favourite?

It's quite hard to say. Your supposed to say the new album but of course 'On The Seventh Day' was a great album, there's different ones you know. Despite the critics we put our heart and soul into every record so that's a hard question. It's like a public record of my life, what ever shit is going on in the world when we record, different times, different places, different budgets, different producers etc so it's quiet hard to say what your best record is. A lot of people want to keep buying 'Master' and 'On The Seventh Day' and they don't even give these other records a chance. 'Slaves To Society' is a great record, 'Human Machine' was a good record. I really like this new one aswell and the critics are eating it up. Out of 100 critics, 98 of them are saying it's a masterpiece so that's good I guess. I like it. It's a hard question though as I don't want to eliminate any record as we tried our best on them all, it's just that some were more successful than others. You can put out a great record and everybody hates it. 


How is life treating you in the Czech Republic? Are you still enjoying life there or do you have plans to move?

I'm going to die there. I've got a wife, two dogs, a house, a flat, two cars, we have a great life. I live from the music, I don't have to work anymore. It's been 7 years of bliss now. I don't have to go out and do these tours anymore but I enjoy it. The rest of the time I'm fishing, reading a book, walking my dogs or I'm out in the forests picking mushrooms. Edible mushrooms. Life is good and I will die there.


How did it come about to release an autobiography and how long has it taken to get your long career down onto paper?

This guy called Ennie from Skull Crusher in Dresden, Germany which is a biker club, We've played some great shows there, he approached with this idea about a pictorial book about 4 months ago and I got a mail from the lay outer in Germany and he has got something wrong with his brain. There is something wrong with his brain fluid so he is in hospital and he is going to survive which is good and is more important than my book but all of a sudden the book came to a stand still. I've been waiting for nearly a month for answers from everybody except from him obviously as he is in hospital but I got an email today from the company and now the company owner is sick aswell and he needs to recuperate for two months so it appears that my book is on hold. It was due to come out on my September 28th which was my birthday but it now looks like we will be waiting for a few months which is annoying as there is hundreds of pre orders so we are going to have to return all the money and there's no guarantee that people will buy the book again, maybe they will so I'm hoping it's going to be ok. It's a picture book with 192 photos, a few stories in there from my youth from say 5 years old to now. It's a really cool book but it's only half finished now which is a problem. I've also material for an autobiography which I wrote 7 years ago. I've sent it to publishers all around the world but everybody is afraid to publish it because there is too much truth in it. From my experiences with Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, I was on the guest list for these bands and I've had a lot of insights with bands from the early days of their careers so some stories aren't so pretty but others are fine but hey, the truth hurts. So I guess it's a good autobiography seeing as I've been turned down by like ten publishers already. I'm not going to give up.


The new MASTER album 'The Witchhunt' is available to buy now.