Interview with bassist, vocalist, founder, legend Paul Speckmann of Master by Patrick October 2013

The old goats are still cutting a swath through the underground scene after all these years!! i still remember the day I walked into West Edmonton Mall in Canada and purchased "On The Seventh Day God Created... Master" cassette tape shortly after it's release at the start of the 90s. I was hooked on this great cult band and quickly went out and bought the Death Strike tape as well. There is so much history between then and now, to catch up on some of it CA dispatched Patrick Schroeder to bring this interview to our readers... - Dale Roy 



Metal Hails Paul thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview. You started out in the metal underground way back in 1983 with your first band Deathstrike what was it that drew you to the metal scene in the first place?

Actually I was in a Heavy Metal band as they called it back then, called Warcry. We were playing Sabbath inspired music at the time. Guitarist Marty Fitzgerald knew that at the time I was listening to Motorhead and searching for heavier music. He gave me a seven-inch from Venom and my life was changed forever after hearing it. Original drummer Bill Schmidt and I began a new band called Master but only got as far as taking pictures in October of 1983- Bill had also already written the Master classics called Pledge of Allegiance, Terrorizer and Master so we were really at the beginning of the genre, but we split and went our separate ways after failing to find a suitable guitarist. So I formed Deathstrike with Chris Mittelbrun, actually one of the guitarists that originally auditioned for Master a year before. Strange how the world works sometimes!

How long was Deathstrike together before you went on to form Master? How did you come up with the name Master for the group?

Deathstrike was together a few months, just enough time to record the Fuckin Death demo. We never played shows. Schmidt came crawling back after his brief stint with the band called Mayhem from Chicago. We became Master again after he rejoined me. The name came from Rick Manson the then Witchslayer bassist after he took it from Lord of this world from the Black Sabbath song!

Originally you and the band were located in Chicago, IL. I have been a "fan" of Chicago and Illinois metal bands since the late 90's. But I was wondering what was your opinion of Chicago's metal scene in the? Do you still follow Chicago / Illinois {overall scene} today? Who are some of your favorite bands today from there?

No left Chicago behind in 1992 forever really. But back in the day I was an avid fan of Trouble a band I actually auditioned for but never returned for the second audition as I thought Master would be bigger. Nevertheless a great experience. I also followed Barry Stern, Kenny Black and their band Zoetrope as well as Znowhite. There was quite a scene back then with Paradoxx, Devastation, Terminal Death and many others. Chicago was the place to be in the early eighties. It must have been something in the water. Cianide was also killing it.

You re-located to Czech Republic, why did you move to the Czech republic? How long have you lived there?

I left the USA just as Bush came into power to escape the rhetoric there. I recorded a project with the Kabathor guys called Martyr, Murder X, the end of the game for System Shock Records from Germany here, and was offered the position of bass player of Krabathor after our project was finished. I have been here in the Czech Republic for nearly 14 years. This proved to be my best move in the game of chess, because I have been creating records and touring ever since coming here.

What is your opinion of the metal scene in the Czech Republic? Who are some of your favorite bands from this country?

The scene has been exploding and has been ever since I arrived, Fleshless, Pandemia, Hypnos and of course Root dominate the Metal scene here. The best European Festivals also exist in Czech. Try and visit Brutal Assault, Obscene Extreme or Masters of Rock just to name a few.

Coming back to the band Master has released countless cd's, lp's etc.. over the years. But I was wondering is their one song and one release from Master that sticks out as your all-time favorite?

Not really, because we put our hearts and souls into every release as we always have. The albums are like a public record of the world from my perspective of course and what was happening in my life at a particular time. The Witchhunt is the best at the moment for me as life is killer at this point in time. I seem to write better records at high and low times in my life!

Paul you have toured the world over where have been some of your most memorable shows been played?

Brazil has been an interesting country to tour and we will return for the third time in January so I look forward to this. There are so many killer places to play. Germany has always been supportive of Master as well as many killer bands so respect for Germany of course. This is too general of a question, we have good and crappy experiences every year around the world. The scene in the USA has improved greatly for Master over the last few years and we will return for the fourth time in April after an 8 year hiatus from 2000-2008.

Who have been some of your favorite bands that you have shared the stage with?

Asphyx and Shit Feet Under were also cool.

Are their any countries that Master has not yet had the pleasure of playing that you hope to play one day?

Sure we would like to bring Master to Asia so hopefully one day this happens.

Master recently released the new cd "The Witchhunt" through the mighty FDA Rekotz. How did you come into contact with this label?

I actually ran an ad on Shitbook saying I was about to start my own label when a friend of FDA recommended I contact the label. I went to the site and they said they said they weren't accepting submissions at the time. I wrote the label friend back and the boss Rico contacted me and we discussed a deal which was signed sealed and delivered in a matter of days. The label is doing a fantastic job exposing Master to the masses again so things look good at the moment! Hopefully FDA and Master will have a long and prosperous future together.

How long did it take you to write the songs for this release?

The songs were written quickly as were the last several recordings. I write riffs throughout the year on my acoustic guitar and record them on my old-fashioned micro-cassette recorder! When the time arrives to record, I search the riffs and put together songs. Drummer Pradlovsky and I usually get together mornings and work on arrangements, the guitarist comes in and I teach him the songs. On some albums guitarist Nejezchleba brings in songs as well but this time he was working at the local music store so I wrote 10 of the 11 tracks for The Witch-hunt, and with the great response we will do it this way like we used to. It seems my songs are the ones that most talk about so if something works there is no need to fix it. The first albums this lineup recorded were all my songs but I thought it was cool to let the guitarist write some tracks for some diversity, but it appears that maybe these tracks he writes are a bit too different for many fans so we will go back to the old way I suppose. We will see.

Are you and the band members happy with how everything turned out?

It's a great record but there is always room for improvement so of course the next record will be better. We always try to progress when recording.

How has the response been from the metal press and the metal fans so far?

The response has been overwhelming but we will see if the general public buy the CDS and vinyl. It's obviously easy to illegally download it for free already.

Does Master have any upcoming tours, shows in support of "The Witchhunt"? If yes where are some places the band will be playing?

Onslaught and Empire of Evil begins next Wednesday for 24 dates in the UK and Europe, but we have shows booked and tours as well until May 2014!

As mentioned you have been a part of the metal underground since the early 80's. So I wanted your opinion on how you feel it's changing for the better, worse? I have read some say they feel the UG scene is dead or dying do you see this or maybe just changing with the times and technology?

The scene is still thriving in Europe and America still so no idea where this attitude comes from. I have been Surviving the underground just fine ever since I relocated to European shores. Master plays over 120 shows per year every year across the globe!

What is your opinion of email, social-media sites, web-zines do you feel they help the underground scene or have hurt it?

They are a big help for newer bands for sure and these interviews are published and shared over and over again so it works.

In your opinion what is the best and worst thing about the underground today? And what does the term underground metal mean to you?

There are too many crappy bands in the world today so the competition is fierce these days and many of these fuckers cannot play live as they use pro-tools in the studio which anyone can do. Unfortunately today everyone is in a band. When we began bands like Death, Dark Angel, Kreator and Destruction were creating original music, today all the bands are clones of all the original greats.

You have been a part of the metal scene longer then just about anyone I can think of Paul so I would like to ask you. What is it that has kept you motivated to keep the band going all these years?

I have always enjoyed sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world and getting on the stage as well to blow away all these fuckers with the energy and intensity that only a band like Master can do. The difference with many bands and Master is that we genuinely live the music. My life is on the stage, I am not an actor like many of these guys are.

And when the sad day does come that you decide to put Master to rest {Hopefully not for another 20 yrs.} how would you like the underground maniacs to remember you and Master?

I just want people to remember the band for its honesty and its true belief in itself! The music will live on regardless when I finally leave the earth so this will be my legacy for sure.

Well Paul thank you again for taking the time to fill out this interview, do you have any final words for our readers?

Buy the Witch-hunt. You can hear it for free of course but please buy it and support the true underground! More information can be found on Master and my many projects at



The Master Discography 

Rehearsal Demo, 1985

Master, 1990

Master / Abomination Split 7" EP, 1990

On the Seventh Day God Created... Master Full-length, 1991

Demo, 1991

Collection of Souls full-length, 1993

The Final Word Demo, 1993

Master / Excision Split 7" EP, 1996

Faith Is In Season Full-length, 1998

Live in Mexico City Live Album, 2000

Live in Mexico City VHS / Video, 2000

Let's Start a War Full-length, 2001

Pieces Compilation Album, 2003

Unreleased 1985 Full-length, 2003

The Spirit of the West Full-length, 2004

Four More Years of Terror Full-length, 2005

Slaves to Society Full-length, 2007

The Human Machine Full-length, 2010

Smile as You're Told Single, 2011

Live Assault DVD, 2012

The New Elite Full-length, 2012

Imperial Anthems Split 7" EP, 2013

The Witchhunt Full-length, 2013




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