Interview: Razormaze’s Alex Citrone on Heshfest, metal bands as ‘Friends’ characters, and (nearly) ruining the Boston Music Awards
Alex Citrone has always been one of the more genuine and upfront dudes in the Boston metal scene. But for better or worse, he hasn’t been a part of that scene for some time, as the Razormaze vocalist and rhythm guitarist relocated to Austin a few years ago to start a career as a tattoo artist. But the distance between he and his bandmates hasn’t slowed the thrash crew down one bit, as Razormaze are still blasting along off the brute strength of last year’s blistering record Annihilatia, and regroup this Saturday at Great Scott in Allston for Summer Heshfest, a sweaty pig pile of various metal styles that also features Boston’s Lich King, Sexcrement, and Grue, as well as Fuming Mouth out of Worcester.
To commemorate Boston metal’s prodigal song returning home, we caught up with the Westwood native to discuss what’s new with Razormaze, his tattoo work in the Lone Star State, and that time in 2011 he nearly got the Liberty Hotel to shut down the entire Boston Music Awards, not too long before his band won Metal Act of the Year.
Michael Marotta: What’s new in Razormaze land? When are we getting new tunes?
Alex Citrone: We recorded a new three-song EP, yet to be named, back in April and plan on releasing it ASAP. We will also be resurrecting the tour machine to support it! Basically its pretty big fucking news.
Has it been hard to keep the band focused and moving forward while you live in Austin and the band lives here in Boston?
Well it’s certainly a new dynamic and we can’t operate in the same capacity, but when we’re together its pretty clear that we still have the same drive and passion for the music and want things to keep going. I just happen to live 2,500 miles away from everyone where it’s warm and people aren’t assholes.
What’s Austin like when not overrun with people like me for South-By-Southwest?
Peaceful. Idyllic. Quiet. Slightly less full of jagaloons.
Who has a better local metal scene, Massachusetts or Texas? And why?
Oof, who can I offend with this question? Both cities? Let’s try… I will first say that both scenes are great. I think Austin’s is a little smaller but attendance at shows is consistently good. Austin also tends to have a lot of trendy, watered down, stonery, floppy-hat-wearing crap bands that I just absolutely despise. Maybe it’s that it’s so hot out that people feel like they can be slow and unimaginative and get away with it? Boston’s got more bands that I’d call “solid” but I feel like enthusiasm for the scene was lacking pretty hard when I left. The disappearance of the vital DIY venues was a heavy hit to everything. ACAB and all that.
We’ve noticed you got into tattooing while in Austin? How’d you get into it, where are you working, and are you any good at it?
Tattooing has always been a dream of mine but my life in Boston, touring, and my obligations always made the prospect of an apprenticeship seem impossible. In Austin things arranged themselves for me in such a way that I decided to pursue one. I made a New Year’s resolution in January 2013 to get one within six months or explore other avenues. I worked my ass off painting and landed one. Now I’m a professional. It’s really a fucking amazing gift that I can do tattoos and make money. I have to pinch myself sometimes. I work at Taste of Ink Tattoos in North Austin. I think I’m pretty okay. I try and be as humble about it as I can.
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever tattooed on someone?
I’ve been pretty lucky to not have to tattooing anything too dumb on people. I generally can guide them out of their tribal tramp stamp fever dreams. The worst request I’ve had is to tattoo a bullet hole on the forehead of an existing portrait of someones baby momma. I sent that prick out the door. I hope that poor woman is still alive.
What’s the raddest thing you ever tattooed on someone?
I consistently get to do cool shit on people. Lately I’ve done four very cool Roddy Piper memorial tattoos. That guy meant a lot to me and it’s cool that he meant so much to other people and that they came to me to help immortalize him.
Saturday looks killer, and there’s nothing better than a sweaty Allston metal show in the summer. What’s the best thing about Sexcrement, Lich King, Grue, and Fuming Mouth?
Saturday is going to kick so much ass! The best part about it is that the bands run the gamut of so many different sub genres and sounds. I’m most stoked to see Sexcrement and their scantily clad entourage absolutely destroy and upset everyone.
If each band were a character on Friends, who would they be?
Sexcrement would be Joey, covered in vomit and on methamphetamines. Lich King would be Phoebe, because both of them sing about irreverent silly ass topics, Grue would be Ross because he’s brooding and a depressed little jerkwad and Fuming Mouth would be Chandler Bing because… I don’t know.
I can’t believe how good you answered that question. Damn. Okay, lastly, I heard a rumor you were nearly kicked out of the Boston Music Awards at the Liberty Hotel a few years ago. Set the story straight: What happened?
That’s more than a rumor. I was a young drunk idiot. I had won an award that night and was yet to play a set in front of my family. In my hubris, I thought it would be cool to steal a bunch of wine from an open liquor closet. I got caught and in desperation tried to bribe the hotel worker who discovered me to keep his mouth shut. That did not go over well.
Security was called and somehow an agreement was made to let me play the set. It was the worst set I’ve ever played and I broke two strings. As soon as I finished they swooped in to the stage and threw me out of the hotel, the silver lining being that I didn’t have to load out. I felt like an idiot at the time, but fuck those hoity-toity pricks. Sorry, Jake Brennan!
SUMMER HESHFEST 2015: RAZORMAZE + LICH KING + SEXCREMENT + GRUE + FUMING MOUTH :: Saturday, August 22 at Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, MA :: 9 p.m., 21-plus, $10 :: Advance tickets :: Facebook event page