After nearly 35 years in thrash metal, Oakland’s Death Angel guitarist Rob Cavestany has come to grips with reality. His band recently released its eighth studio album “The Evil Divide,” returned from an extensive tour with Slayer and Anthrax, and is staging its third annual Another Death Angel Christmas Show in San Francisco this weekend. “So we’re mildly successful, but more so in popularity than in our ability to live off of music,” he says. “So everyone’s still hustling, scrambling at their day jobs, trying to make it work when we’re not on tour. But we’re obsessed — we love it to the bone.”
How was the Anthrax/Slayer jaunt?
Incredible. Like one big road story. But these days, we’re older, and a lot more calm. So we try to be professional, do our thing, and keep it together. But I imagine a normal and calm night is still a really wild night in other people’s books. We still like to get our drink on, run around, and have fun.
How have these two-night Christmas concerts been going?
The shows themselves are like a huge party, and definitely not a normal show. We holiday out the whole vibration in a metal way — we’ll play a longer set, and sprinkle in extra weirdness, like Christmas songs, other covers and rarities from our catalog that don’t normally play. And now, it’s standard tradition for us to do Beatles cover, because we borrowed the Another Christmas Show idea from The Beatles.
What is the Evil Divide?
There are multiple layers to the concept. Speaking of events in our country recently, it’s exactly that — something dividing everybody, causing arguments, fighting, hatred, wars. It’s the opposite of unity, and a division of people in f—– up ways. I don’t need to name names. It should be obvious enough. And then there’s another, more personal concept for me.
It’s about being away from home on tour half the time, and the other half — my life outside this band and trying to maintain relationships, friendships and domestic life. Things that constantly start to disintegrate when you go off into your band world. It just keeps happening over and over again — the two worlds never can coexist for some reason.
You’ll come home one day and your 12-year-old son won’t be attending kung fu school anymore – he’ll be getting married.
Ha! By the time I come home, we’ve been missing each other so badly, but the family has already settled into their own flow without me. So we’re glad to see each other, but it’s tense, because I’m loud, really abrasive fresh off the tour bus, and clearly disrupting the peaceful vibe at my house. It’s brutal.
IF YOU GO
Third Annual Another Death Angel Christmas Show
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 16-17
Contact: (415) 255-0333. www.slimspresents.com