Thursday, 16 August 2012


There are few Death Metal bands and few Death Metal front men who can say that they were there from the very beginning. Master and Paul Speckmann are an exception, having been around from the very early 80's in one form or another, Paul has battled on through thick and thin and is now considered one of the Godfathers of the genre. I caught up with him to discuss Master, Abomination and various other things...

Hi Paul, most people reading this should already know full well who you are, but for any newbies can you introduce yourself?

Sure I am Paul Speckmann a bassist and singer as well as a songwriter for many underground bands that I created, struggling as always to survive the underground and succeeding at this. Master is my main focus at the moment while my other bands Deathstrike and Abomination are re-entering the picture with a few various shows coming up this year at a few festivals in Europe. You can read the bio at for those who are interested in the history of the band and its influence on the genre so-called Death Metal.

I for one consider you to be one of the three godfathers of Death Metal, along with Kam Lee and Chuck Schuldiner. How do you view your career in the music business over the last 30 years?

My career has been faced with an uphill battle ever since the inception of the band. Over the years shitty record contracts, members coming and going as well, has sometimes had a devastating effect on the band, but we still endure and conquer the competition every year with true and aggressive Metal, period.. Master and I have had our ups and downs but the band continues to play shows and create brutal masterpieces again and again. If it was only about money I would have left the scene years ago. It's about sharing your views and ideals in the music. I realise Satan sells better than the truth, but I prefer the truth over fiction any day.

What's happening with Master at the moment? You recently released a new LP, how has that been selling? 

Pulverised says the CD is selling well but I don't have any figures at the moment. The reviews have been unbelievably phenominal this time around. You create an album and have too see how it goes. I personally write albums for myself and see how the chips fall. This is all you can do really.

Your debut with Master is considered a genre classic, how do you view this album 22 years later? 

The debut is and was a good album, but let's face it this was 1985 and we were really just experimenting at this time. Today we have the music down to a science, and the recordings as well as the playing, is much better than in the beginning of the genre.

Over the years your vocals have become slightly more lower in tone, and sound very different to your older style of the 80's and early 90's. Was this a conscious change you made or just natural progression?

This was just a natural progression, old age mabye. When recording the vocals I just go in and do them. I never conciously think about the tone of the vocals I just go in and sing a few songs per day and hope for the best. Sometimes they are killer and sometimes I'm not satisfied in the end, this is just the way the cookie crumbles brother.

On the second album you recorded at Morrisound in Florida, which is where so many bands at the time were recording. Is this something that Nuclear Blast pushed for or was it a choice that you made personally? 

This was a choice that Nuclear Blast made and I suppose this helped the record sell the 25.000 copies as well having that moron Scott Burns at the helm. The guy was only interested in the 100 dollars an hour that he and the studio were making. All he did was talk shit about Morbid Angel and many other bands and I am sure followed suit after Master left.

Abomination is another one of your bands which is steeped in history. How are things going on that front at the moment? 

We will play some shows in Italy next year after a Cancer Festival in Dresden at Skullcrusher on October 5th for young people struck with the disease.

Are there any UK bands you are particularly into at the moment? 

Sure, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Onslaught. What a bunch of cool motherfuckers. We just played a cool festival with Onslaught in South Italy again and had a blast. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will have a chance to tour with this band.

In the early 80's you were in a band called Assault , which went on to become Funeral Bitch. What happened to the band? 

It disappeared of course after I left the band to form Abomination with Aaron Nickeas. I felt Abomination was a better direction for me in 1987 and Master disappeared by the wayside for a few years. I laugh when I think about it now. This Funeral Bitch was blast beats and crazy time signatures and at the time the critics were saying it was too fast etc, and Napalm Death and many others went on to make a career of this style.

There is an unreleased Master album from 1985 which only saw the light of day about ten years ago. What were the reasons it wasn't released to the public for such a long time? 

This was the original Combat demos and I left them in the closet until I felt the time was right to release them.

You have one of, if not THE best beards in Metal. How long did it take to grow that beast? 

I regularly tell people 15 years but in reality it no longer grows, my wife trims it and it grows back to the same length. I last shaved in 1996!

Of all the Master albums, and demos, which is your favourite and why? 

The latest New Elite is my personal favorite at the moment because it is a fresh vision on the old formula I have always used. The production has also improved as the studio gets better every year as well. Many people still love the first two and this is cool as they are classics of course but in my opinion the last several records are the best. So I can only hope that people give them a spin. They are definately missing the quality and writing on the latest masterpieces because many are stuck in the past. People get over it. 
The best demo is the 'Four More Years of Terror' demo which was recorded mixed and mastered in one day. This demo truly captured the intensity and ferociousness of Master, period.
The one thing about Master is consitancy, many of the more successful bands are copying the latest trend, we always stick to our roots and never try to change a winning formula.

Since the early days of Master, how do you feel you have progressed? Do you ever listen back on the old material for any inspiration? 

Never. I only hear the old albums when it is necessary to listen to them for a re-issue. I never really listen to my records after recording because it's the past. I live for the future. Of course I'm forced at shows or clubs to hear old songs sometimes, but I hardly ever listen to the old albums in their entirety anymore. I think I said earlier on, that I only listen to Rock and Heavy Metal as well as a dose of Punk Rock from time to time. I don't want to be influenced by bands that I already influenced in the early days, for one thing and I want always to keep my music fresh, so no Death Metal is ever played in my home, period!

What made your music develop into the Extreme Metal style? 

Life, the ups and downs of my own personal life made me become more aggressive and critical of society in general and this has always been captured on the Master recordings. The things that happen in my personal life as well as the lives of others dictate the music for me. We live in and aggressive corrupt filled society and music is my muse so to speak. There was no Extreme Metal Scene in 1982, only Motorhead, GBH, Discharge and The Exploited. This was the main influence on my many projects right from the start!

What kind of interest from other labels have you had so far? 

Labels always say we sell too little so it's always a struggle to get on a bigger label, when in reality we just need more promotion. The New Elite was released in the USA on August 14th and the US promotional company wrote me that they didn't even know about this. Great work from our current label Pulversed.

What are your current and future plans, musically? 

We have already begun writing the new album as the latest CD was recorded in October of 2011. I have over 100 shows to play from now until March 2013 so things are running normally as always.

There has recently been a nice lot of Master and Abomination merchandise, I take it this was heavily in demand? 

This is how I make my living period, from the merchandise!

What are your favourite type of lyrics to write? 

The lyrics write thmselves. After the music I create, the lyrics come naturally. Society dictates what's happening on the albums. We live in a society ruled by dictators that tell the people when to eat, when to shit, what to wear, and when to sit back and watch with their remote control!

Any last words?

Sure go out and buy the New Elite and support the band instead of just illegally downloding the album like most people are doing in this shit society.

A big thanks to you Paul for doing this interview. For those of you who know Master (which should be  most of you) be sure to buy the new album and support Master. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 26 years, you can check out Master on the official site, on Facebook, and on Myspace

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