Interview with Dale Roy (Canadian Assault Zine)

Canadian Assault Zine
Here is a new interview I have done with one of my longest and most trusted brothers within the metal underground. I remember ordering Dale's 1st issue way back in the mid 90's and was totally blown away by his knowledge and passion for metal music. This is a man that literally eats, sleeps and thinks metal 24 hrs. a day. 
Unfortunately I believe all his "printed" issues are long-sold-out. But Dale like so many of the fanzine editors moved their beloved zine to the internet and now you can read all the latest updates whenever you want 24 hrs. a day!! I will let Dale tell you more in the interview but Dale's main love lies within the old-school metal, black metal, death metal etc., but he reviews most everything sent if it fits his zine and tastes. And truthfully if you run a web-zine you know what I mean, but if you don't - with the new invention of "digital promos" the amount you recieve in one-week can become overwhelming pretty quickly... So if any bands, labels do write to Dale give him a little time to do a review before you start contacting him over and over. 
(Originally published in Winter Torment Zine )

Metal hails brother! How is your starting out? For the readers who don't know you or your zine please introduce yourself.

Well I am a late 30s metalhead that has been wandering around in the UG scene for the last roughly 20 years. Before that I was just your average long haired young guy into all the more mainstream metal bands in the mid 80s like Venom, Deep Purple, Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Anthrax, Savatage, Saxon, Slayer, Hellhammer etc… These days I am a family man with two kids living up in the mountains of Northeastern PA. I enjoy being in the countryside like the area I grew up in Canada. I tried living in Philadelphia for a little over 4 years and decided I hated city life and hate having so many people around me all the time. I guess I am just a little anti-social and have a little hermit in me. I still run my longtime zine Canadian Assault, but I have a feeling you will be asking me more about that in the following questions. So at the risk of repeating myself too much, I will just leave it at that.

At what age were you were introduced to metal? Who were some of the first bands you listened to? Who are some bands that have recently caught your attention?

Ahhh I am not sure the exact age. But I guess the first say hard rock records I got into were probably around 7 years old with my older Sisters records (Trooper, Steve Miller Band, Queen etc…) and then metal around 9 or 10 years old. Some of the early metal bands were Twisted Sister, Kick Axe (Vices album), AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Savatage, Rush, WASP, and Iron Maiden. Then I got my hands on a Hellhammer tape and more importantly for me “Black Metal” from Venom and I completely lost my mind and decided right then and there to devote my life to this music. You can imagine from that point (early to mid 80s time period) I quickly got into Sodom, Kreator, Exodus, Infernal Majesty, Metallica, Slayer, Razor. My infatuation with death metal and black metal followed in the late 80s/early 90s. Hmmm… I get so many bands to review these days and as soon as you find a good one, it is time to move on to the next band to review. So they often do not stick with me as much as the old classics. But I guess a few recent releases from bands like Deathbound (killer band!), Drakar, Mr. Death, Semen Datura, Angelholocuast, Axeslaughter plus the new albums from old favourites like Pandemonium, Maniac Butcher, Cianide and Root got my juices flowing and head banging. Just about every release from I Hate Records in Sweden is superb. Also look for this amazing band from the States by the name of Famine.

I know before you started CANADIAN ASSAULT fanzine you wrote for alot of other great underground zines. What was it that got you interested in writing for zines in the first place? Who were some of the zines you were a "writer" for?

Yes I wrote for some great fanzines for years (starting if memory serves around early 1993) before I started my own. Some of the zines I wrote for were The Sepulchral Voice (CAN), Growling Brutality (CAN), Eternal Darkness (US), Inner Source (US), Devourment Of Souls (Malaysia) and a few more. Well after I started to discover demo bands and ordered a few of their demos, they sent tons of paper flyers with the demo tapes. A bunch of those flyers were for fanzines. So I ordered a couple. Being in an isolated little mountain in Alberta, no one was into the shit I was into; I had no one to talk to about it. So the thought of having fanzines made by like minded people into the same stuff appealed to me. So much so after I read the first few, it was not just so I could read interviews with the bands or read reviews of new demos. But I actually became a fan of the fanzines themselves and especially the ones where the editors personality bled out on to the page. So I started collecting fanzines almost as heavily as new demos or new music. Eventually I wanted to do my part and be a part of that and also by printing my own zine I had a fanzine to trade to get everyone else’s zines. I guess the UG scene and being into fanzines is what inspired me to start my own fanzine. I had been writing for others for years, but I wanted to make my own mark and have a zine in which I controlled the content and everything. Because as you know especially back then I was a very opinionated metalhead and wanted to [spread] those opinions like the plague haha.

What gave you the idea to finally go from writing for other zines to doing your own zine? How did you come up with the name? It's a name of a VENOM 7 inch, correct? I remember back in the 90's VENOM was one of your favorite bands would you still consider them your favorite?

I guess I got carried away and answered the first part of this question above. The name is taken from one of the bands I have worshiped the most through the decades which is Venom. It is taken from their Assault series. Specifically of course their Mini-LP series, it goes without saying that was a Canadian only release. Actually when I first started working on it the name was going to be another Venom song title which is Die Hard. Then when I was working on issue 1, a certain European label changed their name to Die Hard records. So I went with choice number two - Canadian Assault. I also thought about Warhead as name, which is of course another Venom song title name but yet another little label started around that time and used that name as well. I figured if I chose Canadian Assault I narrowed down the chances greatly of anyone else ever taking the name on me haha. Venom are still one of my all-time favourites. Though I am really only talking about the earlier albums, the classic ones like 'Welcome To Hell' through to 'Possessed'.

I believe you had 10 "print" issues before going to the net. Is there any interview that sticks out as a favorite of yours? You have interviewed some great, legendary bands over the years, is there one band you have yet to interview that you would love to get the chance to interview?

Well only 9 print issues. Hmmm… To be honest I would probably lean towards no. I mean sure there are some great classic bands I never interviewed that I would have liked to. But at the same time it is weird but I do not feel almost worthy of interviewing them and on top of that they have this aura around them that is special to me. I have this fear that they will end up being ignorant assholes that do not give a shit about my interview and will forever taint my high opinion of them and enjoyment of their music as a result. I am probably just paranoid about that, but who wants to risk that. I worship those bands music and never want that to change from a bad experience.

What gave you the idea to go from the print zine in the direction of a web-zine? Are you happy with how things have progressed so far? What can people expect when they check out CANADIAN ASSAULT Web-zine?

Yeah I put a stop to the print zine due to the rapidly declining interests of people in print fanzines and the rising printing costs. It just became a bit of a money pit do properly. I mean who wants to go through all of that, spend all of that money on it. Then you just get Emails saying I would order it but I am getting lazy with the internet and just want all my interviews and reviews for free and more immediately online. I can not even be bothered to go to the post office any more, write a letter, put in money and then have to wait for it to come. That sort of message was coming constantly. Meanwhile I spent a bunch of money on print issues and a far greater amount than in the past was just sitting in boxes in my basement. I figured what the hell maybe I will save myself some money and try the online thing that everyone seems to want anyway. Well for the first year or two I just kind of missed the print zine thing. That is where my heart is. But after a while I started to adjust to it and I am now enjoying doing it and put more energy into it. I think it has progressed okay. I mean there are always more things that I had planned to add from past print issues that I just never seem to get around to. Having kids and family now you just always have or think of other shit you need to do when the times comes to do those extra frills. But I do update it pretty regularly. I get a little help from a great old friend like you Patrick to keep the new content flowing. I also recently added a video jukebox type of thing that plays killers songs and video from UG and classic metal bands with some promos of horror movies (one of my other big loves besides metal) mixed in. Something to listen to and/or watch when you come to the site.

I have said many times over the years but i'll say it again ha,ha. Your interviews and reviews are some of the most well-written, in-depth I've ever read. So I was curious when you start work on a interview or review how long does it usually take you to complete a interview or review?

Well you are too kind and I am not sure I can agree with that. You probably overrate my abilities. My fave thing back in the day was making my interviews long and taking some time on the questions to attempt to draw the interviewee into spilling more of himself into interviews than you usually see. Sometimes I was successful at it and other times not so much. Oh damn I am going to sound like a guy from a band talking about writing a new song. But honestly the time really differs a lot from interview to interview and review to review. Sometimes when I listen to a record to review, the words just do not come and I have to listen to it over and over or take a break and come back to it at a later time. Then some other reviews I hear them once or twice and words just flow right out and I can bang a few reviews out in a night type of thing. With interviews I sometimes get writers block with them or I am not happy with my questions and erase some of them and start from scratch. Also if you have personally been in contact with the band and know their history really well the questions seem to come really quickly. The other bands I often like their new release but do not know them or much about their history. If I want to make it a good interview I need to be careful and thorough on how I craft the questions. Also with bands like that I do my research. I read about them online, dig out fanzines with interviews with that band. If the band is really cool and patient I might pick their brain through Email a little before finalizing the questions to get ideas. But if the person being interviewed is not interested in putting effort into their interviews, then it flushes your work down the toilet and does not matter how much work you put into the questions.

If any bands or labels might be interested are you looking to work with any new bands or labels? What styles of metal do you support/cover within CANADIAN ASSAULT? How can interested bands or labels contact you?

Well I accept all metal or loosely related (punk/hardcore/hard rock) submissions. I make sure I review all hard copies sent on CD, so if you want a guaranteed review that is the way to do it. With the download mp3 links I do not review everything sent in or even close to it. I pick and choose and that includes bigger labels, small labels or demo bands. Feel free to send me the demo link, but no guarantee I will review every single thing. It gets to be too much doing it that way and starts to feel like an assembly line. Plus where do you draw the line with that stuff? You get some bands Emailing saying I have one or two songs up on Youtube or Facebook I want to you to review it. Well I am not going to review one or two songs and I need to download them so I can play them on my comp or mp3 player or put them on to a CD. I do not think that is asking too much, it does not really cost anything to make up mp3s and have it so you can download them. So with those loose rules in mind feel free to write me or submit something. I am always trying to support the scene and good bands.

You are like me and have been a part of the scene for twenty plus years (yikes we're old Dale what happened- Patrick) so I was curious of your opinion. How do you feel the scene has changed over the years? Do you think it has gotten better with all the progression and technology or worse? I know some who say/feel the scene is dead or dying, do you agree with this?

Yes Patrick we are old goats in this young mans scene haha. But that is a hard question. As much as old bastards like me and you miss the old days, I am sure we both utilize and enjoy certain aspects like the internet, Email etc… to our advantage. Maybe I am just getting old or too old school. But the camaraderie and brotherhood and feeling you are part of this special thing together seems like it is grossly lacking these days. The scene to me feels a little less close knit, a little less of the old spirit of wanting to help each other succeed whether it is a zine, a band or whatever. Now it is more of what can you do for me and how fast can you do it instead of how can I help you out brother attitude… I love that there are so many labels and bands these days but it feels like they are pulling in different directions and it is so hard to keep track of it all and so easy to get lost in the shuffle and more difficult to find and separate the good from the bad with the mass of releases. Too many bands that do not have [time] to develop their sound releasing demos before getting an album out. At the same time the internet and technology has made it easier for some smaller or unknown bands, labels etc… from countries like Peru or Malaysia or Mexico get their stuff out there to more die hard metalheads. I am moving with the times but sometimes I feel like I am a little left behind the times too if you know what I mean. My head is in the now, but my heart is stuck back in the 80s and early 90s at times. I know this is non-commital sounding but it both better and worse with technology but also less personal and more distant than it used to be. Like many or even most people feel more like contacts than friends if you know what I mean? The scene is not dead or dying, but it is changing I think all of us who were around for a while can agree with that.

In your eyes whay does the term "underground metal" mean to you?

It is so hard to put into words sometimes. So I will just throw out some words and terms that come to mind when I think of the UG. Things like brotherhood, music, support, sharing, tradings tapes / CDS / zines / mp3s, passion, adrenaline, live shows, reviews, interviews, writing letters & Emails etc… But I think above all it is the brotherhood and music shared on deeper level than the average persons love for music, it is a way life and not just a fun little hobby to dabble in on once in a while. A good friend from France who has done zines and was in a number of fairly well known bands and was my tape trader for many years said simply to me once “trading (music / zines) = the underground”.

Do you have any advice for anyone who is reading this is who is thinking of starting their own web or fanzine? In your eyes what makes a good zine?

Just make sure you really love it, that you are serious about doing it and know you will get joy or satisfaction doing it. Nothing helps kill the scene more than starting zines or bands, getting people attached to it and then you are just not that into and you go under practically over night. My advice is just Email or write a few people that have been doing it a long time and ask them for some advice personally. They will give you some tips and help you steer clear of the some of the easy mistakes to make and just tell you what is involved. Though I suppose these days with webzines especially there is less work and less risk that you have to put on the line. Maybe that is why they are usually not as good haha. That is coming from someone who does a webzine now. A good zine is one done by people who are dedicated and passionate for the music they cover and beyond that by people who are not afraid to expose themselves and put their personality into their writing and attitude.

Besides metal I know you have always tried to have some horror-movie reviews etc.. within CANADIAN ASSAULT (both the print and web-zine), so I was wondering what are some of your all-time favorite horror movies? What makes a good/enjoyable horror movie in your opinion?

Oh shit,yes, I love horror movies. It is a passion of mine for a long time. There are just so damn many I like. I will first list my fave of all time and that is the original Dawn Of The Dead by George A Romero from the last 70s (and yes I know some of his more recent movies are not that great to be kind). Some others would be Return of The Living Dead, The Evil Dead I & II, Phantasm I & II, The Beyond, Zombie, Exorcist, Deadbeat By Dawn, Roadkill, Silent Night Deadly Night, The Funhouse, Halloween I & II, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I Drink Your Blood, The Last House on The Left, House on the Edge of The Park, John Carpenters The Thing, Scream, Maniac, City of The Living Dead, Videodrome, Day of The Dead, Night of The Living Dead, Re-Animator, Streetrash, The Shining… It is just endless really, I love so many of those old horror flicks the best. You might notice a leaning towards zombie flims, always loved them most. I also like old cult movies that may be considered horror movies by some not by others like The Lost Boys or Trick or Treat. But there are some newer ones that are great as well. I mean I just recently seen this Swedish (Norwegian,actually – ED) film called Trollhunter with subtitles and it was fucking killer! The new-ish Halloween themed movie Trick ‘r Treat was good stuff too. I am also just into a lot of what people call cult movies and /or exploitation movies.

I was wondering what you thought of all these "classic" (and some not-so classic ha,ha) movies (both horror,and other genres) being re-made all the time? Good idea, stupid ? Your opinion here.

It is mostly a stupid idea and much of the time they are doing a fairly lousy job of it. Which makes the idea go from not the best idea to a horrible idea in a hurry. Like you say they are remaking everything these days!! I mean even the shit only the real die hards even knew about and even stuff like old made for tv movies from the 70s and 80s are now being made into feature movies for the theater. Now and then they make some remakes that actually do a pretty good job of it; usually they take the story at least somewhat into a new or fresh direction than the original. I had trepidations about them remaking Dawn of The Dead back in 2004 (which seems to be the start of the constant remake craze) and of course it is not as good as that epic classic original movie. But surprisingly it was actually a good movie that I still watch from time to time. I know a lot of people are shitting on those Rob Zombie directed Halloween remakes. But yeah man it is almost getting silly, every time you think there is nothing else to remake they go ahead and find something else. I mean everything from Footloose to Amityville Horror to The Crazies to The Fog to A Nightmare on Elm Street to Deathrace 2000 to Taking of Pelham 123 to Conan to Fright Night to Planet of the Apes (twice!) and on and on and on. It is endless. They will not be happy until every movie that was not already a remake is made into a remake. It does not even have to have been a popular movie when the original came out haha.

Well my friend - thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out. Continued good luck to you and CANADIAN ASSAULT web-zine!! Do you have any final comments for the readers?

No, thank you for the support and the cool questions my metal brother! I would just like to thank anyone who I have been friends with in the UG scene or supported Canadian Assault even the smallest way. Keep checking the Assault site and we will keep bringing you the metal!


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