If you know a little about extreme metal then the name Paul Speckmann shouldn't be completely unknown to you. He's responsible for such bands as Deathstrike, Abomination, Funeral Bitch and Master. The later is the best known and longest running, but they all played a part in the evolution of death metal. German label and distribution Twilight is about to release a compilation consisting of material picked by Paul himself, spanning from the early days up to 2004. After having heard Masterpieces I thought it would be appropriate to ask Paul a few questions about the past, present and future.

Paul Speckmann interviewed by PSL

What tricked the idea of releasing a compilation consisting of material from your entire musical career?
I actually thought this would be a great way to check out this distributor called Twilight, and see what they can do. I also figured this would be a great way to get old and new fans some of the material they may not have ever heard. After nearly 25 years of this shit I thought maybe I should share some of my old favourites with fans.

Was it easy to pick the songs for the Masterpieces compilation?
Not really, I did it rather quickly to be honest. I have much material to choose from, and in the future I will probably release a bigger collectors box set. I am sure I left out many good songs, but why put out all at once.

How come there's no material from the last couple of Master albums on the compilation?
Great question. At this particular time System Shock still owns the rights to the newer CD's. And besides, these CD's were just recently released with poor promotion I might add, in the last few years. Why release these songs so quickly again.

Also I was wondering why there is no liner notes in the booklet.
This is what my book will be for. I am really busy at this time and didn't feel the need for liner notes. I figured the pictures would be enough, but maybe on the box set, I will take more time and do this for the fans.

Do you consider Master to be a death metal band or more of a brutal thrash metal band?
Categories are a waste of time. I put out aggressive killer metal that fits in many groups. As I said earlier, I have been playing this aggressive style for over 25 years, since my first real band called War Cry from Chicago. This underground War Cry stuff is still so popular, that Lee Dorian from Cathedral contacted me last year and offered to buy it. Also we previously released the original Master-Combat recordings on Displeased as well. People obviously still remember my efforts.

There have been a lot of different line-ups in Master. Are you a difficult person to work with?
Yes of course. The previous line-ups get a small taste of touring and fame, and it goes to their heads. In some cases previous members weren't into practice, and would rather take drugs instead. To each his own I say. Drugs can be a great thing at the right time, depending on the circumstances, but not during serious rehearsals, and on stage.

You've been in numerous of bands, but Master is the band that people keep associating Paul Speckmann with. How do you fell about that?
I feel great about it. Master still creates and releases records, as well as plays festivals and tours every year. Of course Deathstrike recorded a demo first, and many people unfortunately mistake the Master for the Deathstrike. It's a known fact that the earliest of death metal bands were influenced by this demo and many still speak about this. Many truths will be told in my up and coming autobiography called Speckmann Surviving the Underground, due out next year. It's more that I can say about many bands that have disappeared or fell by the wayside over the years.

You moved from the US to the Czech Republic a few years ago. What were your reasons for doing so?
If you know anything about the past, you would know that I joined a band called Krabathor at the end of the Nineties, and recorded several CD's with them as well as toured the world. We visited the silly American world as well as Japan and Mexico. Krabathor just recently split up and of course I have been doing Master for many years since. I live in the Czech Republic, due to the fact that there aren't so many ignorant assholes like in my former country America. People aren't combing the streets with, or looking for weapons on a daily basis. I don't choose to make time for this nonsense anymore. People respect each other in Europe these days and privacy is not an issue. I have to say that I really miss the police brutality in the States, and the invasion of privacy!

Since you've been a part of the scene for so many years I'm curious to hear what you think of the current scene contra how it was back in the eighties?
The scene is very dull these days, as now days all the newer acts are clones of the Eighties and before.

What's the current status on Master?
Active. The last tour was with another innovative group last year called Obituary.

You've been on various labels such as Nuclear Blast, Pavement, and System Shock throughout the years. Who will be releasing the next Master album?
I will be releasing Four More Years of Terror myself through Twilight I suppose.

Have you any other bands going besides Master at the moment?
No, but people like Allen West and Trevor Peres talk about projects with me constantly.

Are you going to tour this year?
In 2006 of course. I will be working for Bruchstein tours as always in the fall on the 65 city Vital Remains tour, followed God Dethroned and then Susperia. I keep myself busy supporting the metal underground every year.

Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the small interview, every little bit helps. For people that are truly interested in the beginnings of heavy music, like Master, Deathstrike, and the many other creators of the genre, they can go to www.speckmann.tk for more info or drop me a line at speckmannpaul@hotmail.com.

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