If you take a look to the reviews of their recent re-releases ("Convicted" and "Money Talks"), you'll get an image about what this band corresponded to me when they appeared in 1986. They belong to that kind of extreme bands that disappeared too soon and weren't expected to re-surface… Moreover, it doesn't smell the money (I don't think this kind of uncompromising bands might fit any trend) and you can feel the passion and dedication.
One of my favourite interviews ever!

Despites there is a new track on your web site and Relapse is re-issuing both "Convicted" and "Money Talks", it still seems unsure either you're back for good or not? Who is in the band now?

Les Evans - That is an excellent point because there has been some confusion over the issue. Initially, we were planning on reforming the band with three of the four original members including myself, Rob, and Bill. Brian Lehfeldt (Wehrmacht) was enlisted to play drums before I had ever even talked to the other guys about doing a reunion. As it turned out, Bill decided that he was not really up for it after all and it just wasn't something that he could fit into his present life. So, with Bill gone I didn't really think we could call the band Cryptic Slaughter, although we did still want to pursue it in some form. Rob, who had been playing bass for Rob Zombie's band, suddenly found himself out of a job when Zombie called it quits. So he's working now with Paige Hamilton (Helmet). As you can see, things change fast in the muisc biz. Pressing on, Brian and I decided to get the craziest guy we knew to do vocals, Chris Merrow (Village Idiot) and we are working on material now. In fact, we've just decided to name the new band BELOW. The song posted on the website "Cataract" is Brian on drums, Chris on vox, and myself on guitar and bass. Obviously, the bass player slot is still open, and I'd love to have Rob involved, but with his new gig and the fact that he lives a thousand miles away will make it difficult. By the way, Cryptic's original drummer Scott is now playing drums in a punk-a-billy band called Black Monday. How's that for a long winded and somewhat scattered answer?

Thus we can consider half the line-up is CS-related since, if I remember well, Brian already helped in the past... so, despites the name change, can we expect you to play some Cryptic tunes...

A couple of years ago Brian suggested to me that we should get together and write some balls out fast music again. Which I thought was a great idea but we really didn't get serious about it. Then when Relapse contacted me about the re-issues it seemed like the right time for a re-union (which ultimately fell through). The plan was never to conquer the world, we were just looking for a means to release some new material. I hadn't played guitar or written songs for so long that once I started up again, I realized how much I missed the creative process. There's a real rush involved when a new song is coming together, especially if its a collaborative effort.

What pushed you to change the name, considering the rumours of the band reforming, and the re-release of both cult "convicted" and "money talks"?

The reason we changed the name is that it really is a new band and we don't want to mislead people. Cryptic still has a real core following that dates all the way back to the mid 80's and those fans identify Cryptic Slaughter as being Rob, Bill, Scott, and Les, PERIOD. And I love that people are that hardcore and dedicated.

What people have to understand about the new line-up is that I've known these guys forever. Cryptic and Wehrmacht played together for the first time in 1986, two weeks before Convicted was released and there was a real bond between the two bands (as well as a friendly competition that pushed us to try and outdo one another). In addtion to being a great friend, Brian was always one of our biggest fans and one of the most brilliant drummers I've ever seen. Chris Merrow was also part of the scene back in the 80's. He did a great fanzine that was far more entertaining and intuitive than most. In 1989, he moved to Portland about six months after I did, and started making music shortly afterwards.

What we're going after now is that same energy and vibe from the early days. Don't expect it to sound exactly like Money Talks because it wont. But we want to recapture that same feeling of urgency and intensity. What I can promise you is that it will be fast, brutal, and angry. And when we're ready to play live, we will definitely bust out some early Cryptic songs. Without a doubt.

Well, how do you feel when you see this track list of the next NAPALM DEATH cover album??? They start with a CRYPTIC tune!!!

02. OFFENDERS - "Face Down In The Dirt"
03. DEVASTATION - "Devastation"
05. AGNOSTIC FRONT - "Blind Justice"
06. WEHRMACHT - "Night Of Pain"
07. ANTI CIMEX - "Game Of The Assholes"/"Victims Of A Bomb Raid"
08. SEPULTURA - "Troops Of Doom"
09. INSANITY - "Fire Death Fate"
10. HIRAX - "Hate Fear + Power"
11. DAYGLO ABORTIONS - "Bedtime Story"
12. HELLHAMMER - "Messiah"
13. KREATOR - "Riot Of Violence"
14. DISCHARGE - "War's Not Fairytale"
15. SIEGE - "Conform"
16. MASSACRE - "Clangor Of War"
17. MASTER - "Master"
18. DIE KREUZEN - "I'm Tired"

I had already heard about the Napalm Death record and I think it's great. It's very flattering. I'm psyched to see so many good bands on that list, especially Siege and Die Kreuzen. So few people know about them. Mitch Harris is a friend of ours from waaaaaaayyyyyyyy back when he was in a band called Righteous Pigs that were based out of Las Vegas. We played with those guys a couple of times and stayed at Mitch's place so we got to know them really well. They were hardcore partyers and we always had a blast together.

Also included is a tune of mighty WEHRMACHT... Tell us a bit about the relationships between both bands. There are some influences musically as well... who influenced who?

Aside from playing a similar style of music, Wehrmacht and Cryptic got along really well personally. After playing together in Berkely in 7/86, Cryptic went up to Portland that December and that's where we really became good friends. We toured the western states together in the summer of 87' (in fact, we played with Righteous Pigs on that tour) and had as much fun as you can possitbly have. I was introduced to Wehrmacht's music in 1985 by a kid that did a fanzine in Florida. Both bands were playing ultra fast before we had ever heard one another so it was more of a mutual admiration society than a matter of influence. The fact that we complimented each other's music so well is initially why we clicked.

Aside Brian, is there any musician from WEHRMACHT still around? Is there any smallest chance to see them reform?

As far as Wehrmacht doing a reunion, anything's possible and I'd love to see it happen. I think a couple of the guys are still mad that Brian quit so hopefully they can work through that. Wehrmacht was the only band I ever saw that blew Slayer off the stage and I saw Slayer play well over 50 times.

Watching the sleeve of "Money Talks", don't you think you could have released it today, just changing the face of Reagan with Bush's???

It seems that especially in politics the more things change the more they stay the same. I don't trust anyone with political aspirations. Unfortunately, the people who really are qualified are smart enough to not want anything to do with it. Everything happens in cycles so we get the repulicans for a while, then the democrats, but no one ever has the guts to change the things that really need to be changed. The older you get, the clearer this becomes. Both parties will always bend over for big business, and as long as we continue to value money over people, we're pretty much fucked.

It seems it was easier back then to have political lyrics... I remember of D.R.I. with "Reaganomics", PAPSMEAR (Las Vegas) and their "lunch for the PMRC"... and the whole scene was very critical.
Now, artists who stand against Bush get very hard criticism even from Hardcore bands!

It's never easy to take a political stand no matter what era it is. In the eighties, most people loved Ronald Reagan so we were in the minority then as well. At least back then, the scene was more unified. Now it's very segmented and trend-conscious because there's a lot more money involved. At any rate, the best you can hope to do with lyrics is open a few minds, but you're never going to stop the machine.

Back to music, it seems it's also cyclical... after Metal & Hardcore have reached the extremes, every genre is doing a come-back... We first had a Power Metal come-back with tons of german and italian Helloween clones, then there was a kind of Thrash Metal come-back first from scandinavia, then bay-area (EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, DARK ANGEL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT...) old-school Hardcore is also back and it seems all the skatecore, Thrashcore, Crossover scene is re-surfacing with LETHAL AGGRESSION, THE ACCUSED and you reforming + some new bands (HOLIER THAN THOU?)... POISON IDEA did some shows in Europe this summer,...
What's your opinion about that?

I think it's great, more power to them. I hope it helps to shut down Nu Metal. Lethal Aggression is a great band too. I remember them coming on to the scene right about the same time we did. And Poison Idea are the kings. One of the most aggressive bands ever.

If you ever cross the atlantic, who would you dream to tour with???

The dream tour would have to be with D.R.I. and Wehrmacht. We played several shows with D.R.I. also and they and their manager Ron were always very cool people. We had a show with them once in Victoria BC and they got to the border before we did. They caught Spke with a small amount of weed, like about three grams. They just let him go with a warning but they kept his smoke. So by the time we got there, they were already waiting for us and they totally tore our van apart looking for our drugs. What's funny is that we had just finished smoking all of our pot so it reaked, which drove the cop dogs crazy. But we were clean! And it killed them that they couldn't find anything! We finally ended up signing autographs for the head border patrol guy's kids. After we finally got to the show late, D.R.I. had a good laugh when they found out what happened.

When can we expect some new material (website, full-length or ep)?

It's hard to say. We're writing music and kind of just having fun and letting it take form. We're not in any hurry to release a record. It will happen when it's ready. There is one new demo song available for download from our website, www.CrypticSlaughter.com, called "Cataract".
Thanks Steph! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very few people have been doing the same fanzine for 15 years so you're an original. And anyone who wants to be on our mailing list can just shoot me an email.