EXCLUSIVE: Danny Lilker Elaborates on Departure from Brutal Truth

On Friday, January 10, Brutal Truth bassist Danny Lilker announced via Facebook that he “will be retiring from being a full time recording and touring musician” on his forthcoming 50th birthday, October 18, 2014. The news flash resonated throughout the entire online extreme community, who, in the process, appears to have disregarded Lilker’s commitment to forge ahead in a variety of other bands. This morning, Lilker called our editor-in-chief Albert Mudrian to set the record straight.
The announcement went up early last week that you were retiring. Why don’t you let us know what brought this on and what exactly is going to happen?

DL: Well, what brought it on is I’ve been doing this for a very long time, the whole thing where you’re in a full-time band, the recording, the touring cycle and everything like that. And I’m just getting weary of what it takes to go travel and go play a whole bunch of places. Now, I mean, I have to phrase this very carefully because… people will be like, “Oh, boo-hoo, I have to have my regular job. You get paid to go play other places and now you don’t feel like doing it anymore. Oh, that must really suck, you know? It sucks to be you.”

But, you know, it is rigorous. And your body ages whether you like it or not. And I’ve found on tours recently, I’m just not getting enough sleep, I’m not eating right. Now, of course, it may be my fault since I decide to smoke a joint with the other guys at one in the morning, blah blah blah blah. But, you know, I’m not gonna not have fun either.

I just wanna ratchet things down a little bit, and that’s what it really is. So, that’s on to some of the misconceptions that have kind of floated around a little bit. I’m quite aware how the Internet works. You put one thing on one site that’s directed directly — if that doesn’t sound redundant — at people that you know will care, and then it gets copied and pasted all over the place, and then it’s like the old Telephone Game: it gets away from the source.

So, two things specifically I wanted to address was 1) I am not stopping playing music. I am merely stopping being — as I phrased it — a full-time recording and touring musician, which means Brutal Truth. I still play in two bands here in Rochester that you’re probably aware of anyway: Nokturnal Hellstorm and Blurring. I’m still in Venomous Concept. I’m still in NunFuckRitual. If I am asked to fill in on a Lock Up tour when Shane [Embury] can’t do it, like I’ve done before, I will still do that. What I’m doing is just ratcheting things down so it’s just more occasional, as far as traveling. You know, I had Blurring practice last night. I have Nokturnal Hellstorm practice tonight. We’re both working on new tunes. And we’ll both be thinking about recording soon, and both bands play out here in Rochester, so I realize that people in Chile for example won’t get to see my band play here in Rochester or something, but that’s one thing.

I think people don’t necessarily realize how many offers a band like Brutal Truth gets to play shows. And you guys take a lot of them. You do a lot of European tours where you’re gone for two weeks at a time, and it can really wear anybody down, traveling in that manner. This isn’t just like, “Hey, we’re gonna go do a few weekend dates.” And I know Brutal Truth doesn’t necessarily do the 30-date U.S. tour anymore, but that touring that you do is real and it’s a strain. So, I think it’s probably worth getting that point across: that even though Brutal Truth isn’t the band that’s out there touring six months out of the year, it’s still an excursion when you go out on tour.

DL: Well, yes. And, I mean, to put it in some perspective, I started out playing thrash. The first Anthrax album, back then I was like a peer with Metallica. You know? And I have chosen — I can’t even say “chosen” — I have followed my heart playing music, doing exactly what the fuck I want to, whether it’s lucrative or not. And, you know, hey, if I played fucking hard rock or whatever and went off in a big tour bus all the time, you know, maybe that would be easier, but that’s not realistic with the music that I play, so… whatever, tough shit on me.

Yeah, I don’t think it sounds like you’re feeling sorry for yourself or anything like that. And I know, like you said, you put something out on the Internet and people want to immediately interpret it in whatever they think it means to them. But I think it’s clear that basically what you’re saying is: This is pretty much the end of Brutal Truth.

DL: Right. The only other misconception, which is more minor, is that some people are going, “Oh, why does he feel the need to release a press statement about that?” Like I’m some egomaniac and the whole metal world must know that I’m stopping Brutal Truth. Once again, the statement was directed to people who I knew would care, and sure enough, by the end of that day there was like 500 well-wishers on the BT Facebook page. So, you know, it’s not like I put out some official press release that every metal site should pick up and the world has to know what I’m doing. I don’t think the whole metal world cares whether Brutal Truth continues or not. And it wasn’t my intention to release something to every blogosphere in the metal community. I don’t think I’m that important.

Does Brutal Truth have any dates scheduled yet? Are you guys lining up some shows right now before you close the bass case for good?

DL: Yeah, we are indeed doing that. But I don’t wanna say anything until stuff’s confirmed. And that should be real soon.