Interview: Tom Remigio, vocalist of Panzerfaust and Inertia employee

Inertia Entertainment marked its 20th anniversary with a celebratory show, held at Toronto’s Opera House on February 27, 2016. Inertia employee Tom Remigio was there for the birthday party but as vocalist of Canadian “black metal fundamentalists” Panzerfaust he was there to perform as well. Hellbound contributor Gabe Hughes had a chance to ask Remigio a few questions about working for Inertia and sharing the stage with bands like Goatwhore, Macabre and Sacrifice.

Hellbound: So it is the 20th anniversary of Inertia Entertainment. How do you feel the company has been successful in creating a scene for Toronto and Ontario metalheads?

Tom Remigio: I’ve worked for Inertia for about eight years now, and when I first started I was really stoked because he was the only guy bringing metal here, and he’s still really the only guy bringing international acts here. Of course there is Live Nation and everyone else, and they are bringing a couple acts here and there, but no one has the same amount of popularity and reputation that Inertia does.

HB: As an Inertia employee, what are some of the best aspects and perks of the job? And what are a couple of unforgettable experiences for you?

TR: Perks of the job are definitely getting to see some of my favourite bands of all time. Another perk of the job is making relationships with other bands through the years and stuff. And now I’m lucky enough to have some of my idols as some of my closest friends.

Best memorable moments: just working for Noel in general, but one would have to be last year when Opeth and In Flames played on Noel’s birthday, and it was a very special and cool show and experience. The bands made it so much fun, the show was fantastic and the crowd was amazing. It was just an unreal experience.

HB: Noel and Inertia are a staple of the Toronto music scene. What do you think Inertia’s legacy will be when it’s all said and done?

TR: Oh, I don’t know… I’d like to see Inertia expand. It’s always been a one-man operation and it would be really cool if it stayed that way, but maybe expand a little bit. Doing more than just concerts, bring some festivals in. Maybe instead of X amount of concerts maybe do some huge festivals, where you could get a lot of European or American and bands from all over the world just coming to play Toronto for special dates. I think that would be great.

HB: How would you describe Noel and Inertia’s success? Why is it still such a strong entertainment brand and why do you think bands also enjoy coming to Toronto to play shows put on by Inertia?

TR: Being a one-man operation is actually a huge benefit in my opinion, just because Noel’s the one who books all the shows, who settles with the bands and settles with the crowd. He’s hands on with the bands, working with the bands all the time, dealing with them from when they’re really small until now when they are super successful and everything in between. Noel’s a memorable character—everyone will remember Noel; you know what I mean.

Noel was just telling us last night how he went to San Francisco on a motorcycle trip and Castle was playing somewhere in San Francisco. He just didn’t tell anyone in the band he was going to be there. He walked in and their guitar player saw him and kinda gave him a double look and Noel went up to him and said, “How’s it going, man?” Then the guitar player says, “Dude, what are you doing over here? That’s so amazing to see you here. We haven’t seen you in so long.” That right there is how being hands on is perfect, and that’s how a promoter needs to run things.

HB: What does it mean for Panzerfaust to open up for a band like Sacrifice? What makes them such an important band for Toronto and Canada and the metal scene in general?

TR: Opening for a band like Sacrifice is such a huge honour, especially because Sacrifice doesn’t play many shows nowadays. They do the odd festival date and a handful of shows a year, and that’s it. For us to be on one of them and especially a show like this which is so important as it’s the 20th anniversary of Inertia Entertainment. There’s bands like Goatwhore, Macabre and Sacrifice, and they are all hand picked.

Really opening for Sacrifice is an honour beyond belief. In regards to Sacrifice being a staple, absolutely. You go anywhere else in the world, there’s not too many metal bands that you know from Canada, at least from the ’80s and stuff like that, you know. I guess there’s Annihilator, stuff like that, but the most common band like that you hear of is Sacrifice.

If you go to WACKEN everyone is wearing a Sacrifice t-shirt; you go to L.A. and everyone is wearing a Sacrifice T-shirt. It’s funny; no one’s ever seen the band before, but everyone’s wearing their shirts. That proves they are a staple right there.

They come from Toronto, they’re solid musicians, they don’t have a career like some of the other bands that go up and down and lose face a little bit. The band themselves have so much press here in Canada and Toronto especially. They opened up every big show here, they were on tour with Slayer, they were on tour with Motörhead and Venom. They opened up for the thrash metal bands, the very early metal bands like Venom, like Celtic Frost, and played with them when they were small and up and coming as well, and that’s a huge statement right there.…

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