[Originally published: Issue #1, circa 1987]
Interview with Glenn Wallis, rhythm guitarist, RUIN.
What is the current lineup?
Vosco – vocals (28)
Paul Della Pelle – drums (22)
Damon Wallis – lead guitar (25)
Cordy Swope – bass guitar (24)
Glenn Wallis – rhythm guitar (28)
What has RUIN been doing lately?
We’ve been playing out more than we ever have. November and December we toured the midwest and west coast. We just returned from a short tour of New England. Recently we’ve played in Providence, RI, Baltimore, D.C., Newark, D.E., and the Trocadero in Philadelphia.
What music influences you? Do you listen to?
Early Stones, Alice Cooper, Burl Ives. I listen mostly to classical and ethnic (Japanese, Indian, English and Irish folk, etc.) music. To me, the purest and most heart wrenching music is Gregorian chant. A day hasn’t passed in the last two years that I’ve not heard Gregorian chant. I’ve certainly been influenced by the singer-poet Leonard Cohen, though not so much musically, but rather in some other unknown way. Recently, I saw SLAYER at the Tower Theatre. I was completely blown away. They seem to have a deep feel for how rock should be played.
Where do you like to play the best? The least?
We all agree on this: All ages shows are the absolute best places to play. Rock is for kids, kids with heart and enthusiasm. Rock -n- roll is theirs. The least? Bars. Any 18 or 21 and over place. Bar-goers seem to be dull-headed and apathetic and lost. We feel as if we are imposing on them when we play before them. The irony here is that the bars and clubs usually have the nicer sound systems, stages, lights, and pay fairly well. The all-ages type venues have relatively poor system and stages. Places like Chicago’s Metro Theatre are the rare but welcome exceptions.
Why did you remake “Proof” on the new album?
We’ve always felt that “Proof” was much stronger song than it came across on the Philly comp, and “He-Ho” (their first album – Ed.). We just felt we could do it better and do it right. Also, our producer is a stubborn mid-westerner who wanted it on the record. He’s very hard to argue with.
Being the best hardcore band in the area, do you enjoy playing in Philly? Which are your favorite venues?
Definitely. Philly is our home. We are a Philadelphia band! There is alot of support for us here – radio, fans, record stores, promoters – they all support us generously. It’s true, too, that we are working hard to become a big draw national act. I think more and more we appreciate Philly. Our favorite venues are the better produced all-ages shows, wherever they are held. To really do our show we have to have an excellent sound system and a large stage and stage-lights. Anything less than this as we’re half-ass. If you’ve seen us with big deal production, you know what I mean.
Did you try to do anything different on your new “Fiat Lux” album than on your debut, “He-Ho”?
Yes. We wanted to make a powerful, steady, kick ass rock-record. We grew away from the abrupt tempo changes of “He-Ho”. We grew out of the particular type of noise on “He-Ho”. Also, we went for the best possible production and sound quality. We really took our time with “Fiat Lux”. With “He-Ho”, we went for getting an album out. That’s where we were at the time. It was a good place, then.
Are you happy with the results?
I think we are happy with the results of “Fiat Lux”. I was concerned at first that it was a bit too polished. But the feedback on it has been extremely favorable. Certainly, if we had produced it ourselves it would have been a much different album – rawer, faster – much harder to listen to.
When and where did the band first form?
The earliest beginnings of the band are found in Medford, NJ in 1975. Damon, Vosco, and I started playing with guitars and writing songs (“Make Believe” and “China” actually date from these early days). As you see, we’re very slow developers. When the time was right, we hooked up with Cordy and Paul, who in the meantime had been playing with various Phila. bands, for example, NO MILK, RED BUCKETS. Vosco played with PHYSICAL PUSH and SENSOR FIX while Damon and I actually formed a band under the name of RUIN.
What were the original intentions of the band?
Glenn: Our original (and present) intentions were to create an exciting, inspiring, butt-kicking, no bullshit (well, maybe a little) rock band. Vosco and Damon and I would go to the Hot Club, watch the bands and say “Man, we could blow them away.” The bands all seeded boring to me. There was, remember, a black, boring phase to punk. The songs we wrote were written with the idea of performance in mind. We wrote songs that we could move to. Wa still do. He hope we are able to move people with our music.
I understand that the members of RUIN are Buddhists. Is this part of what RUIN is all about, or if it merely an aspect of its members?
An aspect of its members. I began practicing Buddhism in 1975. I told Damon and Vosco about it. They started in their own right time. I told Cordy. He told Lana. She told Paul. It’s a practice that rubs off on people near you. It’s not a “heavy” practice if you don’t want it to be, and people near you can sense this. Do you think people in their deepest-deep thirst for a philosophy, for a life philosophy? I do. So I tell my friends what I think.
What message do you try to convey in your music?
The message is coincidental, an outgrowth of our lives at any given moment. Looking our the lyrics, I can see a lot of stuff about living life fully, with guts and passion. I see stuff which seem to be pointing to something unknown but real, something vital and irrepressible. Let’s don’t settle for what we don’t want. Let’s struggle with those things which we must struggle with.
What are your plans for the near future?
Tour, tour, tour, record album #3, tour, tour, and then, perhaps, tour.
Well, our discussion with Glenn sadly comes to close. However, don’t miss a chance to see RUIN live – it’s something you’ll never forget.