Rick Jimenez has long been a busy musician. From his days way back in Subterfuge through This Is Hell and onto Extinction A.D., Jimenez is always about keeping busy. But when the pandemic hit, he found himself suddenly static and in need of an outlet.
So he started up the Thrashers, Slashers, and Road to Wrestlemania podcast. The show blends music, movies, and wrestling into fascinating and eccentric podcast episodes. Rick asks his guests to bring their favorite music and movies to the table, and then they inevitably get to iconic moments from past WWE Wrestlemanias.
It’s an unconventional podcast anchored by an unconventional musician. And it’s very much worth your time. I sat down with Rick to talk the podcast, music, and pandemic.
What inspired you to start the podcast?
Once the pandemic hit and the Extinction A.D. tour was cut short after just one show, I figured I’d use the time to record the guitars for our next album on my own, and that lasted for about a month or so. I was working my day job all day, recording all night.
Once I was done with all I could do for the record, it really hit me that life was about to become just work. No friends, no band, just work. That’s what I’ve been aiming to avoid for essentially all 40 years of my life.
At that point I came up with the idea to do this podcast literally as an excuse to stay in touch with my friends. I knew if I didn’t come up with an objective, I would fall into just texting the same old jokes once a week to everyone I couldn’t hang out with anymore, so I figured I’d combine some of the things I love talking about with my friends, hop on a call, chug an energy drink and have a document of our friendship for the rest of my life.
And its 2020, might as well put it on the internet and see if I could include other people in the fun because whether it’s true or not, I’m convinced I’m so funny.
How do you go about picking guests? Does musical, WWE, or cinematic background matter?
In all actuality, none of that matters. It’s all about who I miss hanging out and chatting with and want to catch up with. Sometimes it’s more fun talking about wrestling with someone who not only doesn’t watch it, but had never even seen a Wrestlemania before.
I’ve been in the “musician bubble” for so long, it’s refreshing and insightful talking about music with people who are purely fans. When it comes to movies, everyone has such different tastes and views so that’s almost just as much of a universal language as music. Although I only speak English despite being as Puerto Rican as it comes.
In high school I was called "Puerto Fakin" by my Latino friends, which I still think rules. Anyway, I haven’t gotten into the mode of looking for guests that I think will bring more listens because of their clout or status.
I’m really psyched to just have my regular ass friends come and hang out with me on a call and think it’s just as cool when I listen back to my show as I do when I hear Chuck Billy on Robb Flynn’s podcast, for instance.
If one of my friends does have a broader reach because they are in a well-known band or wrestle abroad extensively, that’s great, but it’s not my initial goal.
The music albums you’ve covered so far are pretty diverse. From the NYHC Documentary to Limp Bizkit to Offspring to Tears for Fears. Who picks the record? Is there anything out of bounds for you?
Nothing is off limits when it comes to movies or albums. The guest picks the year and that dictates the Wrestlemania we cover, but the album is whatever the guest wants from that specific year. I’m always excited to listen to whatever they pick, regardless of whether it’s something I like or not, or even ever heard before.
The first episode, my best friend since 1985 and Subterfuge bassist Johnny Moore, picked Tears for Fears' Songs from the Big Chair and that was an album that I had known the singles from but never knew most of the other tracks and I absolutely fell in love with it. Album is 75 years old and I’m just discovering the entire thing.
On another episode we covered Limp Bizkit's 3 Dollar Bill Y’all and that was a record I had never heard prior and was hoping it would grab me and it absolutely didn’t at all. And that’s not because I’m even a Limp Bizkit hater in the least. I, in fact, think Fred Durst is a good dude in my two little interactions I’ve had with him that we joked about on the 1997 show.
On the other hand, we covered some of my favorite albums ever like Metallica's Master of Puppets, Guns N’ Roses' Appetite for Destruction and even the VHS NYHC Documentary which was so much fun because we got to dissect them and make tons of inside jokes because I know those fucking things like the back on my hands.
What happens when you run out of Wrestlemanias to cover? Any chance we could see you cover some old Pride or UFC events?
I have a couple of ideas to keep the show going after we catch up on Wrestlemanias. I had planned to match up the timing so by the time 2021’s mania airs, we would cover it the following week. My initial goal was to get to that point and then see if I want to keep the show going… because it is a fuck-ton of work, but I love doing it so much, so the gears are turning.
I’ve even started adding some different shows in the mix like the Rockumentation episodes where we just cover a music doc. Jeff Tiu of Anoint the Sick/The Backup Plan/American Ice Age and I spent an entire episode covering Lifestyles of the Ramones, which was a Ramones retrospective from 1990, and as I mentioned before, Brendan Garrone of Incendiary and I covered the NYHC documentary.
Am I pathetically dropping names here or what? This past Monday, instead of the regular format, I had all the other members of Extinction A.D. on the show to do round 1 of “the best thrash metal record ever” tournament, where we chose our 32 favorite records and we’re whittling it down to find out what the best record is.
It’s actually going to be what our favorite collective record is more than the best, but hey, I’ll promote it as best and we’re bound to cause some controversy with our choices.
So the sky is the limit despite the title of the show. As far as covering Pride or UFC, I would love to do something like that, especially starting with the beginning of UFC where it was straight up like the Street Fighter arcade game. “Hey, let’s see what would happen if we had a 300 pound brawler take on a 135 pound judo master!” That concept is fucking mind-blowing and class cutting levels of cool.
The evolution of MMA into its more focused style is absolutely wondrous. I’m not a snob about it but I’m definitely a know-it-all when it comes to wrestling but I am nothing but a spectator looking to be entertained by MMA so that would be sick as crap to cover.
As a musician, the pandemic must be crippling in so many ways for you. What’s your perspective on the state of the pandemic, its effects on you, etc.?
Shit man, the only way to stay sane during this is the “well, what the fuck can you do?” mentality. As I mentioned before, we were on day one of a month long run with Thy Art Is Murder and Fit for An Autopsy when the whole tour got shitcanned. We were scheduled to start recording our next album, National Disaster, between legs of the tour and even that was put in peril because the pandemic is screwing with the entire music industry, especially on the indie level.
But like i said, what can you do? We’ve been making the best of our time under the circumstances of the plague and the limited funds available to us in the situation. We recorded drums at Westfall Studio as planned, we recorded all the stringed instruments at my home and now we’re in a holding situation until we know what the future holds.
Aside from all of that stuff, not being able to play shows, travel with my band, hangout with friends around the world or even at home, that's what’s been fucking with me. All of that wrapped into one, especially when we feel like we were building some momentum after the Obituary tour that we did at the end of 2019 and everything we had planned for the rest of 2020, it feels like we’re hitting a brick wall professionally, socially and artistically.
Fortunately though, we in the band are all healthy. And on top of that, everyone playing music is in the same boat. We’re all fucked. It’s not like this is happening to just us. And even above all of that, everything that has been going on in the country with the police brutality, the racial divide, the fall of the middle class, the political charade… there’s more important things than “Rick is bummed he can’t play his guitar to a bunch of cool smelly heshers."
For me personally, I just have to make sure I’m living for more than just work so I continue doing as much remotely as I can with the band as far as writing and recording as well as staying in touch with friends via the podcast.
My girlfriend and I also got a puppy and that has raised our spirits a ton. How could you be bummed when you have a little terrier named Paco dying to lick your face 24 hours a day? He doesn’t speak Spanish either though. Another Puerto Fakin [laughs].
What podcasts do you find as good archetypes for what you’d like to accomplish with Thrashers, Slashers and the Road to Wrestlemania?
You know what, I listen to a lot of podcasts because I deliver packages for that toilet company Amazon and I’ve learned a lot about what I do and don’t like about podcasts as well as where I’d potentially want to be. As silly as it may sound, I think my favorite podcast may be The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast, which is three professional wrestlers talking about goddamn wrestling toys.
It seems like it would be such a niche audience but not only is it a huge show, they’ve built an entire community around it and a very large reaching and even profitable brand. They do live shows, they have tons of merch, they have diehard fans etc. and it all stems from the community.
Now granted, two of the three hosts have spent over a decade on national television and I’m just bullshitting with my friends when they get home from their office job to talk about a Cramps record from 1990. But I’d love to be able to just interact with more people around the concept of the show.
It’s a positive outlet and it’s an hour and 15 minute escape from the black cloud of modern earth each week. Who can’t use that? I believe the show offers a lot even if it’s just two nobodies each week.
I also must shout out that Ryan Rainbro and I started podcasting a little over a year ago with a strictly wrestling show called Stiff Shots Podcast, which airs every Friday and we are relaunching the show with a new format this coming Friday (Oct. 30) and with the beginning of Thrashers, Slashers and The Road to Wrestlemania, we started the Stiff Shots Podcast Network, which is the umbrella of which Ryan also does Meep Meep under, which is his show about the Roadrunner Records discography, which airs every Wednesday and is always a great show.
One album that you’re sitting on for the perfect guest/episode?
I actually haven’t given that much thought because I’m typically looking forward to seeing what the guest is picking. Sometimes it’s so dead on, like when Tom Williams from Stray from the Path chose Jane Doe by Converge but other times it’s such a “what the fuck?!” choice like when Travis Reilly, the microphone holder from This is Hell, chose the self-titled Fountains of Wayne album.
That being said though, I did send a text to Billy Graziadei about doing an episode of the show where I wouldn’t force it, but I would love to talk about Biohazard's State of the World Address, because I think that is one of the most underrated records in heavy music history. And I think it’s even rated pretty well but it’s still underrated.
Like “Macho Man” Randy Savage [laughs]. Everyone knows he was a legend but for some reason people don’t tend to bring him up for the Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling and I think he’s arguably the greatest wrestler of all time.
Anyway, Billy didn’t even text me back and I’m apparently so butt-hurt about it that I’m talking about it now. If we’re talking fantasy booking though, I’d want to do an entire 1989 episode with Marty Jannetty of the tag team The Rockers and talk about Overkill's The Years of Decay, Summerslam 89 and the first Tim Burton Batman.
Jannetty wore an Overkill shirt to the ring once when Shawn Michaels was facing Ric Flair in late 1991 and that was unbelievably cool to me then and fucking hilarious to me now. That match was on the WWF Coliseum Home Video VHS called Invasion 92. It’s also on the WWE network.
Anything we can expect out of Extinction A.D. in the future?
We just announced on the Thrash Metal Record Tournament episode of the podcast this past Monday that we remotely recorded an EP and that is dropping the same day as this No Echo interview (October 30).
The EP is called Its About Time That We Had a Change. We covered 5 hardcore/punk songs from the '80s and it was so much fucking fun! That’s one of, if not my favorite era of music… we did Dead Kennedys, DRI, Adolescents, TSOL and Youth Brigade, thus the album title.
I had always loved Slayer’s Undisputed Attitude and that record actually exposed me to some of those bands they covered that I hadn’t heard prior at the time, but as I get older and older, I just don’t understand how the fuck, what the fuck, who the fuck and why the fuck they changed some of the lyrics to slant right and more conformist.
When I was younger it went right over my head and then you hear the way they desecrated a Minor Threat song lyrically, then threw little jabs on a Verbal Abuse song and the altering on one of the TSOL songs and it’s just mind blowing.
Now, I love Slayer; one of my favorite bands ever and a band so important to me, but man that shit is just so crass… and not in an “its punk to piss people off!” way, it’s just fucking stupid and ignorant.
In retaliation to that, the original spirit of first wave American hardcore has defined my values and way of life so strongly and that music is so integral to my life, I thought taking these songs and thrashing them up a tad in the XAD way and going the opposite of Slayer by making slight alterations to some of these songs lyrically in the complete other direction than they did was rad as hell.
It’s a project I’ve always wanted to do and the timing of not only the pandemic but also the upcoming election made this perfect. TSOL took a jab at Reagan, Slayer gave a bit of a stiff shot to Clinton but we laid a complete potato on Trump and we’re prepared for a receipt if need be but fuck it man, I’m not scared of shit.
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