Typically, getting your ass kicked isn’t a pleasant experience or one that you want to relive. That being said, when the beatdown is a sonic smackdown from New York thrasers Extinction A.D., it’s an event that’s more likely than not to be something you’re gonna want to prosteletyze about to anyone and everyone you know that loves things on the thrashier side of life. I caught the band’s show opening for Cattle Decapitation, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, and Creeping Death back at the tail end of January at The Apollo in Belvidere, IL and they’ve been heavily in my rotation ever since.
The four-piece group has two full-lengths out now, 2015’s Faithkiller and 2018’s Decimation Treaty, as well as a variety of EPs, including 2021’s excellent Chaos, Collusion, Carnage & Propaganda. Any of those records would be a great place to start for someone looking to check out the band, which you are definitely going to want to do before they drop their latest album and Unique Leader Records debut, Culture of Violence, this Friday (3/18/22). I recently talked to vocalist and guitarist Rick Jimenez about the band’s history, inspirations, and what fans can expect from the new record.
You guys have been going strong here for close to a decade. How did the band form? I know Mike and Rick have been in it from the start, how did you two meet? How did you come up with the name Extinction A.D.? It’s a cool, memorable name that makes me think of Earth A.D. by The Misfits, but that’s one of my favorite albums so I might be off base there.
Love The Misfits and Earth A.D. MAY be my favorite album also. Definitely has been my go-to for quite a while at least. It wasn’t influential in the band name, though. Honestly, neither was Chaos A.D. The name was a song title first which was based around the thought of the creation of christianity is the forerunner to be the catalyst of human extinction. As far as how the band formed, long story short, I was doing hardcore bands for a long, long time and I kind of just got burnt out on it and wanted to start something different. When it comes to meeting Scuzz though, I’ve tried to erase that memory from my brain.
What initially got you guys into thrash/hardcore and who are your musical influences? I think I saw a D.R.I. sticker on one of your guitars at the show I saw in January. It’s wild to me how many bands were influenced by that group and it rules that they’re hitting the road for a 40th anniversary tour this spring.
So siked that DRI is still doing the damn thing and even more siked that they’re taking out our friends in Paralysis as support. DRI is (an) ultra influential band to me and I’m fortunate to have shared the bill with them a handful of times.
I grew up a metal guy. Metallica has been my favorite band since I was a kid so that was the bridge to thrash metal. You go down the line, you know? Love Metallica and find Megadeth, then Anthrax, then Slayer, then Testament, etc. etc. Same goes with Punk and then Hardcore. You find that first gateway band and dive down the rabbit hole. Influences, especially on this new album, Pantera, Machine Head, Agnostic Front, Adolescents, any of the aforementioned bands… it comes from everywhere.
You guys have a great, aggressive sound that blends thrash and hardcore seamlessly into a package that I think fans of both have to really dig. How would you describe the Extinction A.D. sound?
A runaway train with no driver while the cars are filled with caffeinated passengers discussing societal ills until it comes to blows and some people are thrown out the nearest airlock.
What is the writing process like for the music side of things? Do you write as a group or are there primary songwriters?
I am the primary writer when it comes to both music and lyrics but our former bass player Pete (Vandenberg) still contributes musically and our lead guitar player Ian (Cimaglia) has gotten on board with some writing as well. I run a lot of ideas by Tom (Wood) though and he helps shape things just by critique and the “beats ass to gets bullied” meter. More times than not, I’ll write and demo a song and send it along to everyone and it gets learned and possibly molded from there.
How about the process for writing lyrics? Who comes up with those and what do you look for when you set out to write an Extinction A.D. song? Your lyrics hit on a lot of societal themes but also feel very personal at the same time. How influenced are you by what you see in society for these lyrics and what do you want people to take from the meanings behind your songs?
I tend to write about the fucked up side of our society and just express my opinions or feelings about them (and) my reactions to the world’s events. It’s 100% all personal, even on a song that is so rooted in history like “1992”; it’s just my processing of a theme through music. Other times (there are) songs that are less about social issues and completely experience based such as “Mastic” or “Heads Will Roll.” Sometimes I just have to write about knocking someone the fuck out.
The first two LPs are really great opening statements and leave listeners with no doubt as to what the band is about. I also really think they’re some of the most kickass albums to hit the gym to. What was the process of getting your music down on those recordings like for you guys? I imagine it had to feel pretty exciting to follow through on something to the point where you have actual physical records out there and then see them getting a good response from the fans.
No better compliment than our shit making someone’s gym playlist. The first two LP’s were SO calculated that by the time we recorded them, let alone released them, they felt old and a step behind where we felt we were as a band and what our sound was. This LP we took a different approach and wrote songs up until the second block of studio time. We wound up ditching three songs and replacing them with newer ones. This record will still be fresh to us by the time it’s released and that’s exciting. I hope everyone else is as stoked on the new record as we are.
What can fans expect from the new record? What was the writing/recording process like for that one?
We entered the studio just as the pandemic hit, early 2020, and wound up with a half-finished record until late 2021 when we finally completed it. New attitude, new approach, new record label. As far as what fans can expect, I think we upped the ante with our intensity and our reach, both musically, vocally, lyrically, artwork… the whole package. In MY opinion, we break out of a pigeon-holed genre tag with this album, but I am close to the album in a way no one else can be, so I may be completely deluded with that point of view. To me, it’s fast and thrashy like we love, but we have an added heaviness now, we have a more introspective lyrically approach while also being more confrontational. I was even less afraid than before to throw layers of harmonies on my vocals and decided to go even harder when it comes to just screaming my guts out. To me it’s an all-out sonic assault. It’s riot music.
With this being your third record, how do you feel you’ve grown as a band over the years?
There’s never been any rules but there’s not even an acknowledgment that rules are even (a) concept anymore. We’ve never cared about fitting in or impressing anyone to begin with, but over the past two years, we straight up couldn’t even possibly be bothered as to what someone else may like or dislike… this is our ventilation and expression and we want to get siked and be fulfilled. Nothing else takes precedence.
You’ve had very striking artwork for the covers to your LPs and EPs. How do you decide on those covers and who does them? The new album, by contrast, has a much more minimalistic cover. I was wondering, what was the thought process behind changing it up for this one?
Pete and I developed a concept based around the album title and did the entire layout for both the CD and LP completely practical (no photoshop aside from placing final artwork on a template for duplication). Once the process of photographing the layout was complete, it was a heavy experience. One that almost got me in trouble at the photo developing place. As everything was nearing completion Pete put together the concept for what the cover became (which is very different from the rest of the layout) and pitched to me why it complimented the rest of the layout. We tweaked it a tad and it took a life of its own. Typically we’ve had illustration or paintings and we were even close to going that route again with Culture of Violence but it began to become so cookie-cutter and “insert band name here” and I hate that shit. We decided to go more raw and do everything practical with photographs and setting a scene ourselves for the entire layout aside from the cover where we went stark and minimal. The whole thing is a trip.
You recently finished a tour with Cattle Decapitation, Last Ten Seconds of Life, and Creeping Death, which is a hell of a lineup. What was it like being out on tour with some legends and fellow up-and-comers?
A diverse lineup also, which we love. All based around metal but every band having a distinct sound of their own. It’s always rad to be a part of a solid tour package and make new friends. The whole tour was a real good time. A long tour that I was bummed came to an end.
You have a hell of a stage presence as well and seem to really love mixing it up with the crowd. Is that just you or did that confidence/rapport with the audience develop over years of playing live?
You know what, I do play live shows to connect with people and to turn our aggression into a positive experience. Which is cliche as hell but it’s real. We sing about the dregs of the human experience and the negatives of life, but when we play live, I want to have a good time and I want everyone else to have a good time. Add on top of that, I’m a sarcastic bastard. Sometimes my humor goes right over people’s heads, but that’s their loss because I’m hilarious. There are certain themes I’ll fall into over the course of a tour, but I’m not a “stage banter routine” guy, that shits boring as hell to me and disingenuous. Every city is different and every day is different. I like to riff and BS with the crowd and hopefully engage them a bit more than “put your hands up make some noise dump out your tits -insert city name-“
Chaos, Collusion, Carnage & Propaganda and now Culture of Violence are both released/being released through Unique Leader Records. What has their support meant to you guys?
Revitalized the band. The pandemic fucked our shit up just like it did to many other bands. We were dropped from our label, our tour plans had been postponed and rescheduled and cancelled etc, we couldn’t get together and practice… we discussed “do we give up or do we double our efforts” and we decided to obviously just get off our asses and plow ahead like never before and be ready to crush skulls once the lockdown ended. Unique Leader were the label that we clicked with the most and decided to go with and it was the push we needed. They’ve been so extremely supportive that I’m kind of taken back sometimes. We’re not a big money making band so for them to put so much faith and effort into us means more than you can imagine. We bust our asses and also want a label to match our drive, but we never really EXPECT that to happen. We’ve come to not just expect UL to do that now, but they go above and beyond. Even sicker that we are such a different band for their label but aren’t just the token “NON TECH OR DEATH METAL BAND”, we’re just part of the family.
Lastly, what are the band’s goals for the next few years? With the new record coming out, what are your support plans for it?
We want to get to every part of the world. We had to cancel our Canadian plans for now, which sucks, but we’re hitting some festivals this spring/summer in the states and Europe/UK. We’ve never been to Australia or South America with XAD so we definitely want to do that. I want to play live at a wrestling show for a wrestler’s entrance. I want a fan that isn’t one of my old friends to show me their XAD tattoo. I want to make XAD action figures and an energy drink. I want Tostitos and Doritos to get into a fight over which one gets to sponsor the band.
Stay up to date with the band on Instagram and Twitter at @extinctionad, pre-order the new record on Bandcamp or at the Unique Leaders store, and catch them live with Rhythm of Fear at any of the following dates, you won’t regret it!
3/18 – Upton, MA – Upton VFW
3/19 – Middletown, CT – Rednawa
3/20 – Manchester, NH – Angel City Music Hall
3/21 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
3/22 – Altoona, PA – McGarvey’s Bar
3/23 – Harrisburg, PA – HMAC
3/24 – Richmond, VA – The Camel
3/25 – Kearny, NJ – Jimmy’s Bar & Grill
3/26 – Amityville, NY – Amityville Music Hall
Group photo above courtesy of Extinction A.D.