Municipal Waste is the metal band you should have gotten into during middle school. The Virginia band have been rocking their hybrid of hardcore punk and thrash metal since 2001. But it’s their ability to keep the music both frivolously juvenile and surprisingly serious that draws fans back time and time again, no matter how old you are or when you first tune in.
This year, Municipal Waste rolled out their sixth album, the heavy but expectedly fun Slime and Punishment. There’s plenty to discuss about it, like how it’s their first record in five years because the band decided to take a break to let other musical ideas run their course. Vocalist Tony Foresta and bassist Land Phil churned through a serious career in Iron Reagan. Guitarist Ryan Waste recorded music in two other bands. Drummer Dave Witte spiraled off in Brain Tentacles. But Slime and Punishment isn’t just a reunion from the side projects. It’s a chance to churn out new ideas with the same goofy attitude, in part thanks to new guitarist Nick “Nikropolis” Poulos. Instead, most of the chatter surrounding Municipal Waste right now has to do with politics—particularly a shirt they pressed after the 2016 election that shows Trump shooting himself in the head.
“When that shirt came out, a lot of people were like, ’What the fuck? Why do they have to bring politics into it?’ But we’ve been talking about this since the beginning. You just weren’t paying attention,” says Foresta. “Don’t download the album and maybe buy a record maybe once, check out the lyrics, and you’d get it. I think we’re more outspoken at shows to let people know that it’s a time where people have to speak up. Right now, racist people think it’s okay to run their mouth or show their faces. That’s bullshit. We need to let people know that we’re not one of bands.”
To help Municipal Waste get back on the goofball path before headlining Brighton Music Hall, we interviewed Tony Foresta for a round of Wheel of Tunes, a series where we ask bands questions inspired by their song titles. His answers shouldn’t surprise you, no matter how unpredictable some of the stories are.
1) “Breathe Grease”
DIGBOSTON: Which liquid makes it easier for you to breathe: liquor, beer, wine, tea, broth, cough syrup, or orange juice?
FORESTA: Can I pick bong water? It cleans the throat out, clears it up, gives you smooth, fresh air. Fresh weed air [laughs].
2) “Enjoy the Night”
DIGBOSTON: When was the last time you went “out on the town” to have fun but with no specific plans in mind?
FORESTA: Last night! I do that all the time. It’s what you’re supposed to do. If there’s nothing go[ing] on, then go make something. I went out last night and saw a Guns N’ Roses cover band. They were great and the singer was a black man who went by Blaxl Rose. It was my friend’s bar called Wonderland. It’s in downtown Richmond.
3) “Dingy Situations”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the most dingy place you’ve ever crashed for the night?
FORESTA: Oh god. It’s definitely been on tour. I’m kind of a diva when it comes to where I sleep, or I guess maybe not because we’ve slept in horrible places. There’s been multiple cat shit houses, but there was one time in Arkansas where there was dog shit everywhere. It was with my other band, Iron Reagan. This girl took us back to her house and there was dog shit everywhere. It smelled so gross. I’m normally polite when someone extends their house to us, but it was so gross, so I asked where she expected us to sleep because there’s poop everywhere. This was like a year ago, too!
DIGBOSTON: Have you ever hurt your neck while performing live?
FORESTA: That’s normal for people in metal bands, so totally. You get banger’s neck. What will happen is that when you start a tour, during the first two shows you fuck your neck up. You’re in serious pain. By the fourth or fifth show kicks in, your neck is used to it. You work that muscle. I’ve been in a band for so long that my neck muscles are huge. I can’t button a shirt up all the way. If I buy a dress shirt, I have to buy an XL and then get it tailored. I got a big-ass head, too.
5) “Poison the Preacher”
DIGBOSTON: If you had to design your own poison, what would be the finishing touch that gives it a trademark flair?
FORESTA: Oh wow. Maybe you’d fart to death? Scream and fart at the same time until you die? No one would help you because you’re farting so much—and crying, too—so that’s a bad way to die. Now I just have to come up with a good name for a poison that makes you cry and fart.
6) “Bourbon Discipline”
DIGBOSTON: Can you name a rule, serious or not, that you follow when it comes to drinking bourbon?
FORESTA: I never really think about rules or advice when I drink. It’s the opposite. The rule is to not follow any rules when you’re drinking bourbon, maaaaan.
7) “Parole Violators”
DIGBOSTON: Who would you want to visit you in jail if you were stuck there for five years?
FORESTA: I would say Vinnie Stigma, and he also sings on the song, because he would cheer me up since he’s so funny. Or maybe Danny Trejo because he’s so mean looking. All the other people in jail would be intimidated that such a scary person came to visit.
8) “Slime and Punishment”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the grossest meal you’ve ever eaten?
FORESTA: One time, I got fucked over by one of those shrimp appetizers. It wasn’t a shrimp cocktail or crawfish. Maybe it was tiny crabs? Whatever it was, it was a type of shellfish served at this party. I’d never eaten that shellfish before or seen it, so I was picking at it but not understanding which parts to eat. Being me, I ate a bunch of it anyway [laughs]. Then I looked over at this really gross guy I worked with. He rarely bathed, smelled awful—one of the guys who worked in the back of the printing shop. Then I realized that what I was eating were his leftovers. The parts he ate and was putting on a plate were the parts I was picking up. So I went in the bathroom and threw up. I remember getting really drunk. I tried using the alcohol to kill whatever weird thing that guy had in his mouth that then went in my mouth.
9) “Amateur Sketch”
DIGBOSTON: When is the last time you tried to draw someone or something in front of you?
FORESTA: My bandmates get me to do that all the time because I’m really bad at drawing. I’m compatible with a four-year-old. I’ll sketch some album covers ideas and show it to the artist and ask them to draw it, but a good version. My bandmates think it’s hilarious. They’ll ask me to draw a guy riding a unicorn and then they’ll keep it. A lot of T-shirts are ideas I’ve drawn and then asked an actual artist to draw. I wish I could send you a picture of one! They’re worse than I could describe.
10) “Excessive Celebration”
DIGBOSTON: Where was the biggest, most ridiculous party you’ve ever been to?
FORESTA: We actually get asked this a lot because it’s our vibe. There was this party we threw, or rather it just kind of happened, where it escalated to us lighting a couch on fire. We threw a TV out the window. One girl opened the fridge and started punting all of the things that were in it. That was like 10 years ago. But the video shoot party we did for “Breathe Grease” was insane, too. It was an insane party, but then the shit that happened in the video was very real, like jumping off the roof into the pool and riding bikes off it.
11) “Low Tolerance”
DIGBOSTON: Name three things you have zero tolerance for in general, not just at Municipal Waste shows.
FORESTA: Racists, sexist bullshit, and tough guys. Religious assholes, too. When people try to push their opinions onto others who don’t want to hear that, I get sick of it. Intolerance isn’t cool. A lot of people have to deal with that and have their whole lives, and that’s not okay.
12) “Under the Waste Command”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the grimiest job you’ve ever had to work?
FORESTA: I had to work at the shoe department in a Sears. I worked there for two days and then walked the hell out. I guess I just wasn’t good at retail. That was weird. Not the dirtiest, because screenprinting was probably the dirtiest, but I liked that.
13) “Death Proof”
DIGBOSTON: Are there any foods, drinks, or actions that you think help strengthen your stamina but haven’t been scientifically proven to do so?
FORESTA: Well, that’s funny because when I’m on tour we always go to Europe. I always blow my voice out there. You play and a lot of venues have cigarette smoke in them, and that sucks. So our driver is this guy from Serbia who is fucking insane but also cool. He suggested that I eat a clove of raw garlic every day. It’s painful. It actually hurts your stomach. Raw garlic, the whole fucking clove. It gives you the worst breath, too. So I did that—we were out there for two months—and I never hurt my throat on tour. If you feel like you’re about to get sick, like with anything, eat a raw clove of garlic. Seriously. It will hurt, but I haven’t gotten sick since I started doing that.
14) “Think Fast”
DIGBOSTON: Have you ever had to help a friend, family member, or stranger in an emergency situation?
FORESTA: Man, I could tell a really crazy story, but I don’t want my girlfriend to read it [laughs]. Hm. Here’s another crazy one. When I was in my 20s, I was making out with this girl in a graveyard in the middle of the night. We were both naked and she couldn’t see where she was going. She slipped and almost fell off a cliff in the graveyard. I dove and caught her in my hands, like in a fucking movie. She was hanging over this cliff [laughs]. It’s a graveyard in Richmond with these crazy hills. I saved her life [laughs]. It was the weirdest thing, and I swear I’ll never forget it.
MUNICIPAL WASTE, NAILS, MACABRE, SHITFUCKER. SAT 12.16. BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL, 158 BRIGHTON AVE., ALLSTON. 7PM/18+/$20. CROSSROADSPRESENTS.COM