Acid Reign Interview

„We did everything our way and never compromised on anything“

Acid Reign (Marc Jackson, Cooky, Howard ‚H‘ Smith, Pete Dee and Paul Chanter) | Photo: (c) John Crisp

Acid Reign is a thrash metal band from the UK, which was active from 1985 to 1991. Their reboot took place in 2015. After the albums ‚The Fear‘ (1989) and ‚Obnoxious‘ (1990), they released in September 2019 their new record ‚The Age Of Entitlement‘. It was a resounding success and rocketed into the UK charts. I conducted an interview with frontman Howard ‚H‘ Smith.

Interview by Christina Angrabeit

CA: ,,Hello Howard, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. How are you and the band, I hope well?“

H: „Lots of time on my hands, there’s a pandemic on and we’re all locked down, apart from that fine!“ (laughs)

CA: „Acid Reign was formed in 1985 and the band split up in 1991. What was the reason for the breakup at that time?

H: „Thrash had died. We split up, Sabbat split up the following week and Onslaught split up two weeks after that.“

CA: „You are the only founding member, who is currently in the band. The other band members joined during the reformation in 2015. How did you discover the others or did you know each other before?

H: „Well, first things first, it was a reboot NOT a reformation. We tried to reform and rehearsed a few times and then one by one the original members realised, for varying and different reasons, that they couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do it. Paul was already involved at this stage, so he became the first member, Marc was recommended to me by Jeff from Onslaught, Pete (who I already knew) was mentioned to me by Si from
Annihilated and Cooky came to us via the Facebook page, but he was a friend of Kev’s as well. So Kev put a word in for him too.“

CA: „When did the decision come to bring the band back to life? What was the impulse?

H: „It was all Kev’s idea! Xmas 2012. He said, it would be good to do some gigs in 2015 to celebrate Obnoxious being 25 years old. That got things started and ended up being the sum total of Kev’s involvement in the
comeback!“ (laughs)

CA : „When you think of Germany, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?“

H: „Rammstein, Bratwurst, Borussia Dortmund, Kreator, Stein’s and touring through the country in 1989 with Nuclear Assault, Dark Angel & Candlemass.“

CA: „What do you regret from the past and what would you do differently today? Concerning the music and the band?“

H: „I don’t have any regrets, we did everything our way and never compromised on anything. I don’t do hindsight as ultimately it is a complete waste of time.“

CA: „What did you do in the meantime from 1991 – 2015?

H: „I have been and still am a stand-up comedian. I’ve been in comedy longer than music, 25 years. I started in 1996 and that is the reason I moved to London.“

CA: „You recorded in 2018 your album ‚The Age Of Entitlement‘ at Northstone Studios in Bridgend, South Wales with producer Jayce Lewis. Did someone give you the suggestion to produce the record there or did you know each other before?“

H: „He recorded our single ‚The Man Who Became Himself‘ in 2017 as the engineer to our producer. He did a great job in difficult circumstances and we thought given better conditions, he’d do an even better job and he did, he smashed it out of the park!“

CA : „Your album ‚The Age Of Entitlement‘ rocketed to #28 in the UK national indie charts, #10 in the UK national rock and metal charts and #107 in the UK national album charts. What was the first thing, that came to your mind, when you found out? And how did the other band members feel?

H: „It happened, as we had reviews coming in every day and lots of positivity coming in, but when we saw that, it took all of us aback. Totally proud and unexpected.“

CA: „What would you say is the main difference between the first Acid Reign albums ‚The Fear‘ (1989) and ‚Obnoxious‘ (1990) and ‚The Age Of Entitlement‘ (2019)?

H: „The main differences are, totally different line up, totally different recording techniques, totally different writing techniques, and most importantly there is 29 years between ‚TAOE‘ and the rest. Written by men not boys!“ (laughs)

Acid Reign ‚The Age Of Entitlement‘ | (c) Artwork: Mark Wilkinson

CA: „How did the band name Acid Reign originally come into existence?“

H: „We had so many different names before Acid Reign, it was ludicrous! When Ian, our bass player, turned up at practise and suggested it, we all said: “Yes! That’s it!”.“

CA: „How did you come to collaborate with the American folk singer Suzanne Vega and record her hit ‚Blood Makes Noise‘ in an Acid Reign version?“

H: „Well, it was a lot easier, than you may have imagined. I sent a demo of the song to her management company and Facebook page, one night after being out playing a comedy show I was sat on my sofa and I got a message on my phone from the lady herself! It said: “I LOVE it, can I share with friends?” as you can imagine, I was blown away! I’ve been a fan for 30 years and to have her approval meant and means everything. Then to have her guest on the song and appear in the video is STILL to this day simply amazing.“

CA: „How has your life and that of the band members changed since the Corona pandemic?

H: „It’s unrecognisable. I play 2/3 comedy shows a week, host quizzes etc, I am usually out performing most nights and now nothing. As for the band? This was supposed to be the biggest & busiest year yet, instead we haven’t played a note or even seen each other for over a year. However, three of the band are in the “high risk” category, so as long as we are all healthy, that is the main thing.“

CA: „What are your wishes for 2021?“

H: „To play a gig. Any gig. Anywhere.“

Acid Reign live | Photo: (c) John Crisp


Line Up:

Howard ‚H‘ Smith – vocals

Cooky – guitar

Paul Chanter – guitar

Pete Dee – bass

Marc Jackson – drums

Acid Reign – ‚Blood Makes Noise‘ feat. Suzanne Vega (Lockdown Version) | (c) Dissonance Productions
Acid Reign – ‚Ripped Appart‘ | (c) Dissonance Productions
Acid Reign – ‚The New Low‘ | (c) Dissonance Productions
Acid Reign – ‚The Man Who Became Himself‘ | (c) Dissonance Productions


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