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Interview with Russ of Lethal CDs Record Store

By Xastur

1.Introduce yourself and your position in the NYC underground music scene.
Russ Lethal and Iím the owner of Lethal CDs. I guess my position in the scene is ankles over ears yíknow.

2.Why the change in the store name?
The name was changed to reflect the main direction of the store. When we started we were the source for underground tees. The focus has shifted now to a more music-oriented selection. We still have the best selection of teeís but now we also have the best selection of underground and extreme music CDís and LPís in the City.

3.Please elaborate on Lethal Zone Productions?
Well, Lethal Zone is a booking agency started by myself and my indefatigable partner Taz. As I recall, Endemoniada was there at the beginning and you helped us stage our first show, which was DARK FUNERAL. It was started to try to breathe some life into the metal scene. Since the closing of LíAmours in Brooklyn the metal scene in NY has really been kind of directionless. So Taz, who is the passion behind the thing and I have been putting some shows in the NY area at THE BANK. Weíve put some great shows together and we hope to do some more as the opportunities present themselves.

4.Is it hard to get merchandise from labels? Which is the hardest band or type of music to get?
The most difficult thing about getting CDís is really just tracking them down. There are a bunch of small distributors that bring a lot of the music. The trick is finding whose got what and getting it in stock. There isnít nay easy way to do it. You have to look at all the lists and order from as many of the distributors as you can. Itís a lot of work but well worth it. There really isnít anything thatís harder to get than anything else, what is hard to get is what I canít get. The most difficult merchandise to get are the tour shirts. When I can get them theyíre imported and expensive. Theyíre a bitch, but weíre trying yíknow.

5.As you know well, Endemoniada has had difficulty in the part with a certain store in the west village (B.B.) and was banned from there due to a contentious interview. A store you left becauseÖ?
Damn, youíve been in the store, wouldnít anybody leave. Man, this S.O.B. keeps cominí up let me tell ya. Itís like the book Ďthe Hunchback of Notre Dameí. In the beginning youíre just completely repulsed by the creature, in the end you just feel sorry for him. Of course, at the end, I just want to beat his hunchback face in. But thatís another story.

6.What would you like to see happen to this fat ass muthafucka? Anything we can do??
Well, what I really would like to see are the extreme music buyers shopping somewhere else. Like, my store. Nah, itís jut he used to be the only metal store in NY, and you had to put up with his bullshit and abuse, his high prices and his disrespect. Donít patronize someone you know is shitting on you. Stand up and say FUCK YOU. I AINíT GONNA TAKE YOUR SHIT NO MORE!!! Yeah, you can do something for me, make sure the dickhead reads this and pops a vein in his head.

7.Iíve heard that when you book shows you stick to the contract, even if the profits are not what you expected. You dish out the money from your own pocket. Why?
Well, when Taz and I started, we decided that when you agree to pay someone a set amount and the band drives a few hundred miles to the gig on your word of payment, itís our obligation to honor our words. The profits are never what we expect. If a show breaks even thatís a successful show. The only band that took less then we promised was MORTAL DECAY. We took a beating financially on the show and those guys cut us some slack as a favor. Lethal Zone says THANKS! It comes out of our pockets because itís got to come from somewhere. Why? Because we give our word. I also give back to the scene that supports my store. Itís the least I can do right?

8.Any last comments?
Peace Out.