2009. május 15., péntek

Terminal Death - Shaun Glass

The Chicago scene of the mid '80s was awesome. A lot of thrash/death bands were popping up, such as Solemn, Macabre, Mayhem, Death Strike, Devastation, Terminal Death etc. and it succeeded them in making a name for themselves among the underground tapetraders. Although they were at the right time at the right space, they never got that acknowledgement that they would have deserved, they were overshadowed by the Los Angeles and Bay Area outfits. Bassist Shaun Glass tells us the story of Terminal Death.

So Shaun, do you still remember how and did you start involving in metal and how did your way lead to discover metal?
yeh i think when i got into kiss, ufo that was my my first real start then going to see a local show from Zoetrope before they were signed. that opened my mind to a lot of underground metal/punk etc.
Were you always into small, underground bands or rather into known, established ones? Did you always prefer the raw, wild and brutal sounding bands?
i used to love finding new bands like SACRIFICE, RAW POWER, EXCEL, SODOM etc etc. heavy was my thing. never was the i only love raw,sloppy etc. i did like a few of those bands but i knew what i liked and that was that.
Under which circumstances did you pick up the bass and was it the first instrument that you started playing with? Do you play perhaps other instruments as well?
i began as a drummer but never really stuck with it so then i changed to bass for my first few bands then later changed to guitar as it was my main thing since 1997 to now.
Were you self taught or…? What were your influences to become a bass player?
i took a few lessons to get the basics down. i was really into steve harris, lemmy and cliff burton as a kid.
Being based in Chicago, do you still remember, how did the whole Chicago metal scene start or take shape?
yes it was an amazing era for new metal bands. chicago was a great place for bands to play,seeing megadeth on there first tours,exciter, all who loved our city to death.the club METRO really has a good booker who was putting rare shows in there and helped make the music scene diverse back in the day.
How about the former bands, such as TROUBLE, SLAUTER XSTROYES, WITCHSLAYER, ZOETROPE, WARCRY etc.? Did they put Chicago on the map of the US metal scene?
i would have to say yes more with Zoetrope, Trouble & Mayhem inc.those were the 3 best of the chicago early metal scene. warcry was Never heavy enough to us as kids.
Which clubs did start opening their doors for metal in Chicago? Was a healthy club scene in Chicago?
the metro as i said before also medusa's and a few other places. those were the places to play for touring and local bands. also a small club called snobs and the warehouse did a lot of underground shows
What about your early musical footsteps? What were the bands that you were playing with before you being involved in TERMINAL DEATH?
none T/D was my first band ever.
How and when did TERMINAL DEATH get together exactly? Did the line up consist of John Piotrowski – vocals, Ricky Aguayo and Nick Stevens – guitars, you – bass and Adan Contreras – drums right from the start or did you go thru some line up changes?
1985 i met john @ show. i grew up with RICKY in my neighborhood. and the other guys just sort of fell into place. Ricky me and John were the main core in a sense.it was the only line up ever
What about the musical past of the other members?
none to mention
Was it easy to find the suitable guys for the band? Were all of you dedicated to the underground movement?
of course we lived for it, old school parties. one thing also WE did not do a lot of shows as the band did not last too long. our demo did get a lot of praise and it still is good shit!
What kind of goals did you have with the band? Was it a kind of free time hobby or…?
we just went to metal/hardcore shows. no real goals til i joined with TROY and formed Sindrome
Tell us please about your rehearsals! Did you start writing originals or were you jamming rather on covers?
early on we did some covers. DR KNOW, SLAYER .black magic i think was the first song we ever learned and then we went from there to our own music. the first jamming we did was @ john/vocals parents house in the city then later on we moved to my parents house in the north suburbs.
You released the „Face Of Death” demo in 1985, have you practiced a lot before you decided recording the material? How was it recorded by the way?
well the demo really never had a name.we did jam hard before we went into seagrape studios. the demo was done Live on 2 tracks only.music on one and vocals on the other so not much could be done too it mix wise ha. and i think the songs we did were the only songs we had @ the time, too bad as a few other songs we wrote later on were sick as hell.
How would you describe the demo with your own words? Can you give us details regarding the tape?
it is fuckin raw old school death metal with a weird unique sound.
Do you agree with, that it is basically over-the-top crossover thrash with growled vocals?sure
i would be fine with that, it was very Raw
Do the tracks display wild Slayer-esque soloing, bolstered with furious hardcore frenzy?
yes we loved early Slayer. also Possessed was a fave and early Death and Voivod were mine
Do you think, that this demo is one of the earliest examples of what would later be known as death metal and the music can be compared to the better-known death metal pioneers Possessed, Death etc.?
for sure it was 1985! we were not following some trend we lived for it.
Do you consider the demo more complex and elaborate than Master, Sepultura and early Death?
i dont know but i think Master/Death Strike demos were lethal. shame the band never topped there original line up era. as for sepultura i was never a fan til schizophrenia. i thought morbid visions sucked ass.
How much promotion did you make for the demo? How did it find its way into the tapetrading scene?
we gave out ALOT of copies. we never made pro versions just word of mouth. we mailed out a lot to fanzines etc etc.the usual old school way.
Was it also shopped around to attract labels interests?
never we fell apart to soon before any labels really would of heard of our band
Did the demo help you getting fans for the band and introducing the band in the underground scene?
yes for sure i think so. we worked hard but again we were not around too long to really make a name
Would you say, that a lot of thrash/death bands started taking their wings in Chicago at this point, such DEVASTATION, SOLEMN, MACABRE, MAYHEM etc.? Were you familiar with them?
solemn wow they never really did show but i knew ED from his cool artwork.more than his music. devastation and us were very close. Mayhem inc and us were also very tight.one of the best bands in our scene
Was a good, friendly releationship among those bands? Did you share rehearsal places with each other, were you hanging in clubs, concerts together, lending instruments for each other etc.?
we all got along fairly well. we all did a lot of cool partying then!
In December 1985 (12/11/1985) you released a rehearsal tape (the demo plus 3 songs), does it mean, that „Intermission”, „Dying In The War” and „Chained To The Abyss” were new tracks and they were written after the recording sessions of the demo?
yes they were DYING IN THE WAR was our punk song which i actually sang vocals on haha, CHAINED TO THE ABYSS was a cool more technical song. had a very Possessed influence on it. shame that we never did record them proper.
„Dying In The War” was sung by you, how did it happen?
that 85 practice tape was never meant for anything but friends to have. it is 100 % live from my parents basement. yes i did Scream the vocals to DYING IN THE WAR. the song was more punk and a FUCK YOU vibe
Was this demo distributed, promoted too or did you record the tape to check out how the new songs sound?
we never made any pro copies of our demo it was all tape trading from duplications we or fans were making. the only recording of the newer songs were live recordings, nothing pro.
Were there any labels that started showing an interest in the band at all? Did you have any plans regarding to record a full length material?
nope we split up so fast and i began SINDROME w/Troy who parted with Devastation.
Did you start writing new material for a forthcoming album? Did you have more material written besides the tracks of the demo?
At which point and why did the band dissolve? What kind of reasons did lead to the demise of the band?
it was odd i still do not know why we broke up. i think we all were changing and some of the guys in the band did not want to be so serious and pro. which is kind of obvious as none of them really went into any serious metal bands once Terminal Death split up

2009. május 14., csütörtök

Death - Erik Meade

Death. I think, I don't need to write any introduction. Erik Meade who played the bass on the "Back From The Dead" demo (back in 1985) answered my questions.

Erik, do you still remember, how and when did you turn into metal?
I've listened to metal my whole life. only when it started there simply wasnt that much of it. But me and my friends were listening to stuff like Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer when we were 12 years old.
What were the stuffs that you listened to before you became a metal head?
Everything. I dont really consider myself a metalhead. I like every style of music equally. as long as its creative
At which point did you decide becoming a musician and what were your inluences to become musician?
I was about 14 and my influences were Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin , Frank Zappa and Greg Ginn of Black Flag.
Being based a San Francisco musician, how did you view the Bay Area scene, that started at the late ’70s/early ’80s with bands, such as METAL CHURCH, ANVIL CHORUS, EXODUS, BLIND ILLUSION etc.? Were you deeply involved in the underground scene?
I think I already basically answered that in a different question. San Francisco was a small city so even though I wasn't a diehard metal fan I used to go to the clubs and see a lot of the bands. and you would just see a lot of the musicians at keg partys or at the record vault. for instance, I was friends with a girl named Gere Fennelly who played keyboards for Anvil Chorus. or one time I was with some girls and we ran into James Hetfield from Metallica and Jim Martin from Faith No More and they came back to the girls apartment and we all jammed on Metallica songs. I'm not saying this to namedrop but just to give you an idea of how small and intertwined the whole bay area scene was. it wasn't nearly as genre segmented as the music world seems to be these days. maybe thats why it was such a fertile scene that created all those great bands.
How do you view, that as different thrash metal scenes began to develop starting around the early/mid-80's each had their own distinct sound that differentiated the bands from other bands on the scene?
I think that over the years metal fans have put a lot more thought into defining and segmenting what each band was trying to create then the bands themselves ever did at the time. when there are no rules to define what makes one band Deathmetal or speedmetal or Blackmetal you dont think about those things. and since there was no such thing as death metal back then nobody thought about what genre they were playing. they just played and made up songs.
Do you agree with, that Bay Area thrash borrowed from the NWOBHM scene and this was obvious in its melodic and powerful vocal style and dual lead guitar systems?
I think a lot of that had to do with Ron Quintana and his radio show. as well as a record store on polk street called the Record Vault that specialized in underground metal and european imports. because Ron was always playing really cool british metal on his show everybody close to the scene was quickly introduced to music they woudnt otherwise have heard of. like VENOM or DIAMONDHEAD or HAWKWIND or even MOTORHEAD for that matter.
Have you ever taken part in Bay Area bands back then?
only punk bands.
Would you say, that it wasn’t until METALLICA’s relocation to the East Bay area in 1983 that Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett joined as bassist and lead guitarist, sealing the band's first, formative line-up? Did they stir up the stagnant water if you understand what I mean?
Its hard to say. you see one thing that makes it dificult to pinpoint is that the bay area already had a thriving punk rock scene at that time. so there was already a lot of LOUD, FAST, AGGRESSIVE bands playing all over san francisco for years before Metallica came along. and most of the people into punk thought that metal meant bands in satin pants and jackets like Y&T. but suddenly this whole group of bands exploded on to the scene like Metallica and Exodus and suddenly metal was as violent and fun as punk was. by the way, while I'm on the subject i would like to talk about a band called CRUCIFIX from san francisco. a lot has been said thru out the years about what album was the first punk/metal crossover album. and it is generally agreed that the album ANIMOSITY by CORROSION OF CONFORMITY that came out in 1985 was first. but I think that the album DEHUMANIZATION by CRUCIFIX that came out in 1983 is the first. its the first album I can think of that had the raging guitars and production of a metal album with the intense speed and aggression of hardcore punk.
I only bring this up to give you some idea of why I didn't realize that what we were doing in DEATH was considered so innovative. there was a lot of similar stuff going on at the time. we just took it to a slightly heavier extreme.
Which clubs did start opening their doors for metal at this point? Did it evolve a great and healthy underground club scene?
Ruthies inn in berkley was probably the club that gave the most support to the bay area metal scene. it was owned by a guy named Wes Robinson. it was the coolest place because he was really supportive of metal as a musical genre or style. the first couple of shows that DEATH played in the bay area were at Ruthies.
Still, the Metal scene in the bay area really got started at a couple of clubs in san francisco. the Old Waldorf, the Stone and Mabuhay gardens ( the Mab) in north beach. the stone and the mab were right across the street from each other. the Mab was more punk oriented but would have occasional metal show, as was the On Broadway which was upstairs above the Mab.
the Stone was more metal oriented but it was mostly mainstream metal like Nightranger or Y&T but thats where early bands like Anvil Chorus would mostly play. I remember trying to get into the mabuhay one night to see a punk band band called the big boys but they wouldn't let me in so I walked across the street to the Stone and when I walked inside Motley Crue was just going onstage. that was how I first heard about them. walking in by accident (lol).
Do you think, that the Bay Area scene helped to form the US thrash scene? I mean, do you consider the Bay Area as one of the biggest and most important US thrash scenes?
Yeah , I would say so. although at the time nobody was thinking that. everybody was just having a good time.
I just noticed that amongst your lists of favorite albums you had listed the UltraViolence by Death angel. to give you an idea of how small the san francisco scene was, I should use this as an example.
Mark Osegueda of Death Angel was a friend of mine. but not thru Death angel. he was a friend of mine because he worked at a used clothing shop called wasteland that I used to shop at. the Ultra Violence was also produced by davy Vain of the band VAIN. DEATH ANGEL and VAIN were both managed by a woman named Kat Sirdofsky who also managed a band called 4 NON BLONDES. Linda Perry from 4 non blondes was also my best friend. I also knew kat because she owned a metal record store that I used to frequent called Rebel Records (we used to call her Rebel Kat). at one point me and my wife started a folk rock band and our drummer was Tommy Rickard of VAIN. also Davy Vain produced some of our recordings. at one point I was living at Linda Perrys house and so was Kirk Hammetts girlfriend sara. Kirk was always stopping by the house to see Sara. I only bring all of this up to give you an example of how intertwined the whole bay area music scene was back then. it wasn't just metal. it was everything mixed together. and everyone knew each other and supported each other. I think it would be hard for a scene to ever evolve again the way that one did. it was such a case of being in the right place at the right time. I'm thankful I was able to be there.
In 1985, after the „Infernal Death” demo tape was recorded and released, Chuck Schuldiner fired Kam Lee and Rick Rozz in favour of REPULSION’s bassist and guitarist, Scott Carlson and Matt Olivio, however, a drummer could not be found; so the band dissolved again and Chuck Schuldiner moved to San Franciscoand recruited DRI drummer Eric Brecht and you on guitars, how did you get in the picture exactly? How happened that Chuck moved to San Francisco?
Chuck wrote to Eric and asked if he was interested in playing Drums. he also asked Eric if he knew of any Bass players who might be interested. since me and eric had been in the process of trying to start our own band Eric asked me. I wasn't really a bass player but it sounded like it might be fun so I said yes. To be honest, I had never heard of Chuck or DEATH. I just wanted to play with Eric Brecht because he had been in D.R.I. I assume the same goes for Chuck. he must have been into the first D.R.I. album since thats the only way he would have heard of Eric. Eric was really excited about it and played me some cassettes of DEATH demos.
Was he aware of the existence of the Bay Area scene?
he must have been, because he moved there.
By the way, were you and Eric Brecht his first choices or did he audition other musicians too?
No, it was just us. the funny thing is that we didn't even audition. we were already chosen before he even arrived in town. i guess he was just taking a huge leap of faith.
Were you familiar with DEATH’s early demos, such as „Infernal Death”, „Rigor Mortis” etc. and rehearsal tapes?
Yeah, those were the tapes that eric played for me. but i only heard them for the first time after i had already said yes to joining the band.
What do you recall of the rehearsals? Were you writing new songs on end or did you practice mostly early DEATH tunes?
We used to rehearse in a rehearsal space owned by a guy named franco from the punk band M.D.C. (Millions of Dead Cops ). we obviously spent a while learning the old songs but later we worked on new stuff. I know that when we had the fight that broke up the band we were working on a new song. I think it was Evil Dead.
With this line up (Chuck, Eric and you) the band recorded its new demo called „Back From The Dead”, were the songs written only by Chuck or did you also take part in the songwriting? Was he interested in your opinion and ideas at all considering the songs?
I would say we took part in the songwriting as far as the new stuff was concerned (although Im sure thats a matter of opinion) in as much as chuck would come in with the parts but then we would all discuss how the parts should fit together and what worked and what didnt work. I actually bought Scream Bloody Gore when it came out because I wanted to see whether chuck would give us songwriting credit and was amused to find that he had gotten around that question by simply not putting any composer credits at all (lol). I thought that was fair. I certainly think they were chucks songs, I just think we helped out a bit on a song or two.
What about the recording sessions? How much time did you have to record the material?
Everything on back from the dead was recorded on a cassette deck that was in our rehearsal room. except for some stuff that was recorded thru the board at a show at Ruthies. i didnt realize at first that chuck was taping our rehearsals and then duping them and sending them out to fans all over the country.
The demo begins with an intro that is the theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents, who came up with the idea using this intro?
that may have been someone else's idea much later. although it does kind of sound like Chucks sense of humor.
The demo contained seven songs plus an intro, but it seems, that on the tape made up only three new ones „Back From The Dead”, „Mutilation” and „Skill To Kill”, correct?
Yeah that sounds about right. although my memory is kind of hazy. remember,we're talking about things that happened 23 years ago. another thing is that I gave away all of my copies of the tapes. I literally didn't have any tapes of me with DEATH for almost 20 years. then one day I was talking to Scott Carlson and he told me that he still had all of the old tapes that chuck had sent him. so he made me copies of them.
In your opinion, is the music on „Back From The Dead” well improved from „Reign Of Terror”?
This time all the instruments are balanced out, one can hear the bass guitar, the solo's are strong, the riffs are great, and Chuck’s vocals are well improved, how do you see it?
if your talking about the instruments being balanced out that must all be the stuff from ruthies because the rehearsal room tapes certainly aren't balanced.
Did Chuck definitely find his groove on this demo?
No, I think he found his groove on the first album. in fact I think that the reason that he broke up this version of the band was that it probably wasn't coming out the way he had envisioned in his mind. when the band broke up it was over a petty argument about the lyrics but I think he really just wasnt happy with the way it was sounding.
What about the cover of the demo? Did it have any cover at all?
just the original Death logo.
Do you still remember how many copies did you manage to sell from the demo?
Chuck didn't sell them. he just gave them away to fans.
Would you say, that DEATH had already a name at this point or did this demo help to expand more DEATH’s popularity in the underground and to draw more fans attention to the band?
I didn't realize that DEATH was popular until we played our first show at ruthies. all these guys were outside with our logo painted across the backs of their leather jackets. I was amazed. and the opening act was a band called Black Death fronted by a black kid who said we were his favorite band and they sounded just like us.
Have you ever gigged in the San Francisco area? If yes, how did those shows go?
all the shows were great. we played at ruthies a bunch of times and at a place called the Farm that was more of a punk rock venue. I remember that at that show the headliner was Mordred and the opening act was a punk band called the Rhythm Pigs who were friends of ours. the singer from Mordred had a Broadsword and at one point during the show he showed a film of himself swordfighting on a beach. the funny thing is that I remember that awful film even clearer then I remember our own performance (lol).
Chuck was not happy with this incarnation of DEATH and moved back to Florida without a band, does it mean that he was dissatisfied with your skills and attitude or you couldn’t get on well with him? Were there any personal or musical differences, problems among you?
I think he was probably dissatisfied with the way the music was coming out. It was just crazy fast and didnt have much groove to it. I dont think that was any one persons fault though. any conglomeration of musicians has its own chemistry and ends up sounding a certain way. and we just wound up sounding like we did. as for our attitude, I will freely admit that I was never right for the band. as I've already said, I was more of a punk rocker then a diehard Metalhead. Chuck really needed people who loved his vision as much as he did. and that just wasn't me. I think Eric Brecht was more into it then I was. In fact, my girlfriend, Janis Tanaka, was more into it then I was. I kept coming home and saying " I don't get where Chuck is coming from" and she would say " No, this music is great, you've got to keep doing it". Just recently she was telling me that she tells everybody that she was a DEATH groupie. when I said that she really wasn't a groupie, she was my girlfriend, she said " yeah, well I don't tell them that part" (lol). (she has since gone on to be the bass player for Hammers of Misfortune and Fireball Ministry as well as the bass player for PINK.)
Was it easy to learn and to perform the DEATH songs by the way?
I suppose it was fairly easy, although not as easy as with other bands since the songs were so atonal. it wasn't like learning an ordinary song where it's simply Verse/Chorus/Verse. you had to constantly think about where you were within the song. not to long ago I was at a party and overheard a kid telling someone that all the members of Death were clasically trained musicians and that they all read sheet music. I told him that I had been in death and that chuck just showed us all the parts with his fingers and we memorized what he showed us. the kid didn't believe me (lol).
How would you charakterize him personally and how would you sum up your period in DEATH?
Chuck was a good guy. pretty mellow. not at all like most people would expect him to be. kind of like a surfer dude actually. I mostly remember him playing with kittens at Eric Brechts house.
Did you remain in touch with Chuck after he went back to Florida? Did you follow DEATH’s carreer at all?
No, I never saw him again after he walked out of studio that day. we exchanged a few angry words thru mutual friends, but that was it. in fact, i think the last message I ever sent to him was that I was gonna beat him up if I ever saw him again, although I wasn't serious. I was just angry.
What do you think about that DEATH have had some dramatic changes in their sound; in the beginning, before even releasing a demo and under the name Mantas, the band wanted to play Venom, Celtic Frost influenced metal, but upon hearing bands like Possessed, Mantas wanted to play and expand death metal?
I don't know. you would have had to ask Chuck. or maybe Scott Carlson. He would probably know.
Do you consider Chuck as the godfather and founder of death metal?
I suppose so. thats what everyone says.
As far his voice, is/was it reminiscent of Jeff Beccera from POSSESSED…
Yeah, its very reminiscent of Jeff Beccera. but it was also reminiscent of a few punk bands like Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity and the singer of a band called Die Kruezen, to name a few. but thats just my opinion.
He decided to change the band’s name to DEATH to sum up what his music and lyrics are about, right?
Right, I vividly remember asking him why he named the band Death. He said
" I wanted my to have the heaviest band name possible,..and then it just came to me. DEATH ! I mean what's heavier the DEATH and the answer is...Nothing, Nothings heavier the Death". I just started to crack up because it reminded me of that scene in Spinal Tap where they say "how much blacker can it get. None. None more Black".
So DEATH started off as death metal with gore related lyrics („Scream Bloody Gore”), but up to the „Human” (or rather up to the „Spiritual Healing”) album, one start seeing the transformation of DEATH, with lyrics not relating to gore but more to the human mind and Up to „Individual Thought Patterns”, the band has brought in progressive elements, thus on the last of the studio albums („The Sound Of Perseverance”) has a sound no where near death metal but more progressive metal?
Its funny that you should bring up the lyrics, because thats what we were fighting about the day this incarnation of the band broke up. when we first started playing with chuck he had said that he had wanted the lyrics to go in a deeper direction then the horror themes of the earlier material. but every new song that he brought in seemed to be about ripping peoples lungs out or torture. finally he brought in a new song, I think it was Evil Dead ( his favorite movie at the time) that was just more horror movie stuff and I got on his case about it. this escalated into a full blown argument about the direction of the music, blah,blah,blah and chuck just suddenly said "Fuck you, I don't need you guys" and started dragging his gear out the door. the sad thing was that he had to wait for two hours on the sidewalk for his ride to arrive ( he didn't have a car ) and we would occasionally look out the window to see if he was still there. he was. I suppose if we had just gone outside and apologized to him that the band might have stayed together. but instead we just jammed with the guys from M.D.C. for a few hours. you've got to remember that at this point we didn't think that we were leaving a "Legendary Band that would change metal forever". we were just a bunch of guys playing in a garage. anyhow, I suppose it was all for the best. Chuck and Death are legends now so everything worked out fine. My one regret is that I would have liked to have stayed in the band long enough to have played Bass on Scream Bloody Gore.
Getting back to the lyrics though, I think that its interesting that he got around to the more humanist lyrics a few years later. too be honest, i think i would have enjoyed playing the material off of Spiritual Healing more then the stuff we were doing at the time.
The funny thing about all of this is that YOU probably have more knowledge about Death then I do since you are more of a fan. as I've tried to make clear, I was just there at the right time, but since Death Metal hadn't been invented yet I wasn't necessarily a fan. I was just playing music with friends.
Was he influential on the metal scene as a whole? Would you say, that wouldn't have been any death metal scene without him?
I didn't think so at the time because in my mind we weren't doing anything that amazingly different from what a lot of bands were doing. I was personally kind of surprised to see that DEATH was singled out as being so important. but I guess when your immersed in a local music scene its hard to step back and see which bands history will deem important. I didn't think Nirvana were that important either (lol).
What’s your opinion about that DEATH was Chuck himself and the others were session musicians?
I dont know enough about the later bands to have an opinion about that.
What did you feel, when he passed away on the 13th December 2001? Is his death a big loss for us metal fans?
I was actually really sad. I had known that he was struggling with cancer for awhile but when I read that he had died I was bummed out. even though we had been fighting the last time I had seen him, he had still been a good friend of mine for about a year, so I was still sad that he had died. obviously my memories of him are almost all good ones. playing with him was a fun experience and a fun memory.
Does it help you becoming a good musician? What kind of experiences did you gain to work Chuck with?
It was fun. but it wasn't life changing or anything. just a couple of friends in a garage making music. I didn't really learn anything.
Any closing words for our readers...
If someone had told me what we were doing back then would still be emulated by other bands almost a quarter of a century later I would have told them they were crazy. but I guess you really cant tell whats gonna have a lasting effect and what isn't. occasionally I will walk into a club and see a band that sounds exactly like Death and I think "Wow, there it is again". well. Anyhow thanks for copying and trading the bootlegs for all these years. it's nice to know that the music is still out there in some form. and thanks to Chuck for having the vision and sticking to it. may he Rest in Peace.

2009. május 13., szerda

War Cry - Rich Rozek

Trouble, Zoetrope, Slauter Xstroyes, Witchslayer, White Cross. All of them came from Chicago at the late '70s/early '80s and put the city on the map of the US metal scene. I think, these bands -and the scene as a whole- weren't as big as the Bay Area or the Los Angeles ones, but it succeeded in making a name for themselves and were the faves of the tapetraders back in the day. War Cry came also from Chicago and became one of the best underground outfits. Singer Rich Rozek told the story...

Rich, War Cry was formed in 1982 when Marty Fitzgerald and Steve Ahlers both on guitars and Paul Speckmann joined their forces, but at which point did you respectively drummer Joe Iaccino get in the picture exactly? Were both of you the first choices of the band?I believe Joe had been in and out of the band before I joined, approximately in late 1983.
Does it mean, that with your and Joe's addition the line up became complete?
When I joined, Joe was not the drummer, Bill Schmitt (ex-Master) was the drummer.
Was it a hard thing to find the suitable members for a rock/metal band in Chicago back then?
Yes – extremely hard! In the Chicago area, where I lived on the South side of Chicago, the music scene was geared more toward copy bands, but on North side and Northern suburbs (Where War Cry was based) were doing a lot more original music based on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Paul's previous outfit called White Cross, but what about the musical background of the other members? Did you know them earlier by the way?
No, I didn't know any of the War Cry guys before hand. I was first introduced to the scene by seeing Thrust at their gigs and hanging with them at all the metal concerts. I had been in several bands before War Cry – my family has a large musician background. Never heard of White Cross.
Was Paul the most experienced musician among you or would you say, that all of you had the talent, that a professional band needs?
Talent-wise we were all pretty even.
At this time, the NWOBHM movement was in full swing, and War Cry found inspiration in acts from that movement, such as Witchfinder General and Angel Witch, but your approach became ever more doomy, as a result of listening a lot of Black Sabbath material, what made you to turn into that direction?
Personally, I was a Black Sabbath fan since I was a young kid. I think we turned more doomy after experiencing a Trouble gig – those guys have never got the attention they deserved. One of my favorite bands!
How did you view the Chicago metal scene at this point? Do you agree with, that Chicago was a hotbed for metal activity, such as Los Angeles, New York, Texas, the Bay Area, Cleveland etc. and War Cry,Trouble, Zoetrope, Thrust, Witchslayer, Transgressor Slauter X-troyes etc. all were on the forefront of the burgeoning movement to play everything louder and faster? Yes, I think it was a great scene to be part of, and it was because of us bands that played out and supported each other. Groups such as War Cry, Zoetrope, Thrust, Trouble, and Witchslayer.
Did you try to build up a friendship with these bands? Was a competition among you or did you rather help and support each other? Again, the bands I just mentioned did support each other, as well as play gigs together. Some bands were big talkers, but you never saw them play out, and when they came to our gigs they were just wankers that would bad mouth the bands playing out.
Do you agree with, that all of the aforementioned bands put Chicago on the map of the underground scene? The bands on Metal Massacre 4 put Chicago on the map with the help of the genius of Brian Slagel.
What do you recall of your rehearsals?
Half-ass, never consistent, playing in cold garages and even a storage facility. Nobody had cash for a practice spot or wanted to spend anything – except me and maybe Steve Ahlers. I would drive over 120 miles every weekend to practice, and I slept on Marty's parents couch.
Did you start writing originals with WarCry or were you jamming mostly on covers?
We did both.
In mid-83, War Cry entered Open Reel Studios in Lynwood, Illinois to record the legendary four song „Trilogy Of Terror" demo, do you still remember how was the demo recorded? That studio was by my house. We used it because my Uncle, a club entertainer, knew the owner. It was small but comfortable. Once again, the frugality of the band ruined an opportunity the band probably regrets. When asked if we wanted to pay to keep the master tape, or just use it and the studio would use it again – nobody wanted to spend the cash!
Was it the first studio experience for all of you? It was my second experience. I recorded a piece which was intended for Mike Varney who owned Schrapnel Records.
By whom were the songs, I mean the music and the lyrics written? Did everybody have a big hand into the songwriting or was/were there main songwriter(s)? I did all the lyrics and Marty and Steve wrote the music.
Can you give us details regarding the tape? Are you still proud of it after 25 years of its release? The tape is very raw, but it achieved it's goal of showcasing the band unique sound. Yes I am proud of it. I came up with the title, “Trilogy of Terror,” which I thought fit the music very well.
Did you sound like power Metal but with a doomier approach? Exactly...well put!
Did this demo open some doors for the band both in the Chicago area and in the States? Yes it did. War Cry had a nice buzz going on in the city, due to the songs we wrote, and the odd selection of cover songs, plus the theatrical show I put together.
To this very day metal fans and musicians comment on how heavy this demo was and how it helped to influence many bands, do you agree with it?
I'd like to thinks so, and I'm honored that bands say that about us.
Is it true, that War Cry had no clue how to promote the demo at the time, but copies of it rapidly spread through the tape trading network, and War Cry achieved a degree of cult fame in the metal underground?
No, that is not true. I knew exactly how to market it as marketing was and is still my background. What is true is that the tapes that did get out there were paid for by me. The interviews in fanzines like Kick Ass Monthly, and numerous radio show were set-up and done by me. Once again, the band would rather spend money hanging in the club scene, but were too cheap to give money for a marketing budget.
Does it mean that you could hard make a name for the band? Weren't you aware of the existence of the fanzine/tapetrading network or…?
Again, I just answered that. It was my opinion that we should have went with this small marketing company out of St. Louis, MO., I don't recall the name, but because of them, both Trouble and Exciter were really pushed.
How deeply were you involved in the underground by the way? Very. I was at all gigs and parties related to the scene. I had been reading Melody Maker, Sounds, Creem, and a ton of metal fanzines years before I joined War Cry. These magazines helped to give me the desire to create metal music!
Did you often get letters from Europe as well? Did you sent a lot of demos to Europe?
Yes I did get many letters and sent out a ton of tapes.
Do you still remember how many copies did you manage to sell from the demo? Would you have ever thought that you became so cult, legendary and unforgotten? That was over 25-years ago, so no I don't remember how many I sent – whenever I got paid from work, I would buy more tapes to send out. No I never thought that people would be listening to us years later. If we would have stuck by our guns we might have had some of the success that Slayer enjoyed, and worked very hard for!
Did you have a small, fanatic fanbase or a bigger one? I mean, were you known only by a couple of fans or rather by bigger crowd?
In Chicago, on a Tuesday night we could draw over 200 people. Pretty good I'd say.
By now, War Cry were opening for big acts such as Joe Perry Project and Mountain, what about your setlist? Did you perhaps have other materials written or recorded besides the demo?
Yes, we had more originals. Typically at say, Joe Perry, the club would tell us we needed to do two 45-minute sets. About half was covers and the rest originals.
You scored notable local success by gainig the honours of opening act for Twisted Sister and Queensryche as well, correct?
We got that gig when I noticed the gig in the local music newspaper, when taking a break from recording Forbidden Evil for Metal Massacre 4. I called the club up the very minute I saw that and secured the gig.
Was it a really great buzz around the band?As much as the other bands in the scene.
You got the opportunity to appear on vinyl came calling, in the form of Brian Slagel's Metal Blade Records, how did it happen exactly?
We went out to L.A. For the US Festival, I was hanging with Witchslayer out there. They were enough to take me to the record store Brian was working at, because Witchslayer had a meeting set-up with him. Craig and Jeff was gracious enough to inroduce me to Brian. I asked him if it was possible to get on MM 4 still? Brian said, “When you get back to Chicago send me your demo and I'll give it a listen.
How did Brian get your demo at all? I got back to the hotel and the guys from War Cry were all pissed-off at me for hanging with Witchslayer so much. Then I told them that because of Witchslayer we have a chance to get on MM 4. I also said when we get back we have to record the demo for Brian. Los Angeles is a great place to vacation. I go there still just about every year, but...L.A. Was also the beginning of the end for War Cry. I could see how much Marty was digging the scene out there. All the posers playing on the club circuit. The Motley Crue wanna be bands! It was only a matter of time before War Cry was going commercial. Paul left first and was a close second. In time they changed their name to Tommy Gunn, and went commercial. Then changed names depending on the current music fad in L.A.! Paul created Master with a friend of mine, Rick Manson (ex-Witchslayer). I jammed with a couple of bands, started Battalion, did a demo with them. Then I joined Dorian Grey. Stopped playing for a time after that, then I created and published Subculture Magazine featuring national metal acts. Did Subculture for five years.
Their Metal Massacre compilation series had featured many promising acts, and had helped to launch the careers of Metallica, Ratt, Armored Saint, Trouble, Malice and Slayer, among many others, would you say, that Brian Slagel was a great supporter of the underground scene and this compilation had a very important role in the underground back in the day? Yes, Metal Blade as well numerous other indies in the states, and Europe helped to bring metal to the consumer that wasn't aware of tape trading and the underground.
War Cry were offered the chance to appear on „Metal Massacre 4", alongside fellow Chicago acts Trouble, Witchslayer, Zoetrope and Thrust, but were you familiar with the first three compilations? Did Brian Slagel have a good sense choosing out groups for these compilations?Yeah, I was very familiar with the series. Brian did a great job choosing the bands, of course, many of the bigger acts were based in Los Angeles, or at least California. So I assume he knew those bands that a following or a strong buzz in the club scene on the west coast.
„Forbidden Evil" from the „Trilogy Of Terror" demo was chosen to appear on the compilation, so the track was re-recorded specially, was it Brian's idea or…?It was Brian's idea to use Forbidden Evil, as I mentioned before the band didn't want to purchase the master tapes of the demo, so we had no choice but to record it again.
Didn't you think about to record a brandnew, exclusive track for the record?That wasn't our decision to make. Brian called me up one day and said that he received the demo I sent to him, and he wants Forbidden Evil on MM4.
War Cry recieved a good response to their contribution, and the record helped you become noticed on the international scene, does it also mean, that the compilation helped you getting new fans and expanding your popularity in the underground?Yes, I'm sure it did. But remember, back then there was no internet, so news, reviews, etc., were not as immediate as they are today. The mail is slow, and there was usually a two to three month delay regarding magazines. So unless someone called you from Europe (which was also more expensive – no Skype) you never received that immediate gradification you enjoy these days.
Between the „Metal Massacre" release and the demo the band became quite popular - especially in Europe, right? Somewhat – read the prior question.
Future thrash act Forbidden even took their name from the War Cry song, „Forbidden Evil", is that correct?
Well, that's what I read and was told, but when I asked Craig and those guys face to face they denied it.
Is that true, that you were offered a deal by Brian Slagel and his Metal Blade Records, but nothing happened?
Nope. Not true at all. There are two things I would love to straighten out right now. First, Metal Blade never offered a album deal. Second, I never got paid any royalties from MM4. The band, main Paul wants to continue to beat a dead horse regarding these to issues. So back in, I believe, 2006, I read once again these same tired aqusitions. So I called Metal Blade, and talked to then CEO, Tracy Vera, if they have a record of anything being offered or paid to me. Her response was, no, War Cry never got an offer, and no, I never received any royalties. She also added, if someone doubts this, they can call her. Oh, buy the way, in case anyone thought we were going to get rich off of MM4, that would be a no too. Back then the contract stated that you got paid ONLY for albums sold in the states, none in Europe and no cassette royalties – and Cd's didn't exist. This was a standard deal. You don't do it for money, you do it for the honor and for the publicity. Oh, one more thing, the albums sold in the states? You get about 12 cents per copy - after expenses. All in all, it might come out to be a whopping $130 dollars approximately. Why did the signing of the contract turn out crabs?
Despite this taste of success, drummer Joe Iaccino quit in mid '83 and was replaced by Bill Schmidt, how did you find him? What about his musical past? I really don't know. Bill was in the band when I got there.
In 1984 the band started to go towards a more commercial sound and this situation led to the fact, that prompted bassist Paul Speckmann left the band and form Master and Death Strike along with Bill Schmidt, it means, that Paul wasn't satisfied with that new direction was he? Didn't fulfit his expectations that new style?
Paul was looking for the heaviest thing on Earth – he couldn't find it so he created it with Master, in my opinion.
Did he form Master because he wanted to play a heavier, faster and more brutal music and he discovered bands, such as Hellhammer, Venom, Discharge etc. at this point? Did you like Paul's new bands Master and Death Strike or later Abomination? Yes and yes. In fact I supported Paul at one of his first gigs with Master. It was at a place in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It was decent room that held a couple hundred people, and the place was packed. Master was very raw, but brutal. The thing I respected about Master versus, say Venom, was that Master had accomplished musicians. I thought a band like Venom were popular because of the shock value. Cronos could've used a few more lessons I thought. Paul was and still is I'm sure, one of the best bassists out there.
By the way, how would charakterize him personally?
A very caring person with an enormous ego.
Do you consider him as one of the most influential persons of the metal scene? Paul was always focused and knew what he wanted. He was obviously very influential in the death/thrash scene.
Did you record any material with Bill Schmidt or…? No. We were both on the first concert video. That was it.
In 1984 you recorded your second demo, what can you tell us about this tape compared to the first one? Did you cause a great disappointment for the fans considering the result?It was more commercial. I think I was terrible on it. I did like the song Tear it up! Many fans apparently liked it. I hated my singing. It wasn't me – the throatiness was gone. They wanted a clean vocal sound that just wasn't my style.
Do you agree with, that this second effort hadn't anything to do with the first one and while the first tape was heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, this demo was rather in the vein of Mötley Crüe and your voice was reminiscent of Vince Neil's (Mötley Crüe) one in my opinion?
I don't think it was that candy ass! It wasn't what the first tape was that's for sure. Of course, we used to wear all black too, but after the L.A. Trip and this tape, Marty said it was time to add some colors onstage...WHAT?!! NO MORE ALL BLACK ATTIRE?!!
What was the line up of the band at this point? Who wanted to push the band into that direction at all? Joe drums, Steve & Marty guitars, Vince (Marty's twin) bass, and I was there. Not me! I wanted a tighter sound yet still heavy. To get tighter we had to just practice.
Did you have some problems, conflicts considering the musical path/direction, that you wanted to achieve WarCry with? It was a lot of things. I was traveling very far to practice, to find someone either wasn't there, or we couldn't practice. No one wanted to invest any money in the band. When the style started changing, well, by that time I was burnt out and ready to move on.
Were the glam/hair outfits, such as Dokken, Ratt, Mötley Crüe etc. on the peak of the scene at this point and the band members –except you- were heavily influenced by them? Was the underground scene overshadowed by these outfits?
In magazines those bands were getting the press. People would listen to Slayer and say how god awful it was. I remember I was at a reviewers house, and she said you wanna hear Show No Mercy? She put it on and all I could think of was these guys are like Venom, but much, much tighter! Slayer could play! By the way, for the record, I do love Venom. Black Metal is one of the best albums. I still remember partying with Rick Manson (ex-Witchslayer – I got 'em the audition, and ex-Master) we were headbanging to Venom's Black Metal – and it still wasn't fast enough! So we put the album on at 45rpm and I think we saw hell. What an experience!
Next were you who left the band, what kind of reasons did lead to your departure?
Like I said before, I was just tired of all the bullshit.
How do you view, if Paul, Bill and you wouldn't have departed from the band would you have been a more known, bigger and more influential outfit?
You know back then, I thought the changes would have made things better. Especially because Paul would rag on someone, or Bill could never get to practice and was always whining about something, but I guess that friction is what gave us our edge. Too bad. When I listen to Slayer (one of my favorites) I sometimes think we had the potential to go that far, but the whole band has to have the same passion, and in this case we were split down the middle.
Do you agree with, that the band lost its originality and identity with that second effort?
Yes, very much.
At which point did the band move to L.A. and why did they change their name into Tommi Gunn?
I wasn't in the band at that time, but what I understand, they had gotten some rich lady to finance them. Give them a place to practice, pay for advertising, etc. All I remember is picking up an issue of Chicago's largest music newspaper, The Illinois Entertainer, it must have been in December of 1985 or January 1986. It was a full page ad with them announcing the name change. They were all wearing poseur clothes, new years hats, and blowing noise makers! Frickin' embarrassing! I think they moved to L.A. Shortly after that...and proceeded to change their name as they deamed nessesary, War Cry, Tommi Gunn, Kelly's Heroes, Tommi Gunn, War Cry...
The group tried to keep going, drafting in replacements and recording further material, but it was all to no avail, did you remain in touch with Steve Ahlers and Marty Fitzgerald? Did you follow the band's career later on? No, never kept in touch with any of them. I followed them as much as people would mention to me. I did bump into Ahlers once on Sunset, while attending a industry convention.
Who became the replacements of you, Paul and Bill?
Well Joe replaced Bill and stayed-on for a while, Pat from Witchslayer played bass, and Vince (Marty's twin) went from playing bass to singing.
You formed Battalion with Tyrants Reign drummer Gabriel Anthony and together you wrote the song „Reign of Terror" later played by Tyrants Reign, how did the band come into being?
I started the band with Jay Loudman, eventually we recruited Gabe. It was all about staying in shape really.
How did you get together with him, guitarist Jay Loudman and bassist B. R. A. T.? Did they play in some Chicago outfits previously? Nothing to speak of.
In 1986 you released a three track demo titled „Deafcon 4” featuring „War on earth", „Reign of terror" and „Cry of the wind", would you give us details regarding this material? It was a collaberation between all in the band. What about the recording sessions of this effort? We did all the recordings in one day at a small studio in, I believe Darien, Illinois – about 20 minutes west of Chicago. The owner of the studio was a husband of a member of Bitch – a popular all-girl band that was very popular in Chicago.
Did you try to keep War Cry's musical world alive or…?
Ya know, the answer is no. I was burned out on them and that whole attitude thing, which got worse with these glam/hair bands!
Didn't you think about to re-record some WarCry material? I kind of did with Cry of the Wind.
Do you agree with, that the Chicago scene became bigger and bigger at this point with bands, such as Terminal Death, Devastation, Sindrome, Infra Red, Hammeron, Iron Cross etc.
Yeah, the scene did get bigger, but it wasn't the same. It became deluted. Too preconceived...no more surprises or originality. All of the same old stuff heard before.
Why and when did the whole Battalion thing come to an end?
I think it was when Gabe decided to go back jamming with Tyrant's Reign. Gabe and I were the most experienced, so when he left I called it a day as well. It gets old playing with amatuers.
Have you ever gigged with the band, did you start writing a second demo etc.?
No, the band was just a place to keep our chops while looking for what each of us wanted.
What did you do after Battalion's demise?
Before breaking up the band, I had tried jamming with a band called Enforcer – just one time, and it didn't click or feel right. What can you tell us about your musical involvements and activities after Battalion? I found a band called Dorian Gray, which was right up my alley. They were huge Rainbow fans like me, so we decided to give it a try.
Did you also keep an eye on what's going on in the underground?
Somewhat. The underground that I knew was becoming something different.
In 2006 was released the compilation „Forbidden evil" by S. I. N. Music, how much/deeply were you involved into the making of this record? Very involved.
From where did come the idea to release this material?
Actually it was my sister who started it all somewhat. She e-mailed me one night, a story where Paul was once again accusing me of passing on a record deal offer from Metal Blade, and stealing royalties. So I contact the writer, and asked if he would allow me a rebuttal. The more and more War Cry interviews I read with Paul, Marty, or Vince; the more I was upset that they were disrespecting the bands image or legacy if you will. I went on the forum out of Europe, and many of the fans were very upset, pissed, and laughing at some new War Cry recording that the guys in L.A. Put out. The general consensus was that they were lame – nothing like the War Cry they remember. So I thought, we can't close the chapter on the band like that. I wanted to also prove that I was not only capable of producing the old stuff as heavy as it was, but also write new songs that would sit side-by-side the old songs and not embarrass the name.
Did you want to commemorate for War Cry? In my way...yes!
Would you say, that the fans beared the band in their minds over the years and they didn't forget it? That's why I put it out. All these fans were still digging the demo – after 25-years!
The band re-recorded old songs, and if one don't know them –I mean a lot of young or teenager fans- it's not too late to experience your dark power Metal that is heavier than hell, what do you think about it? I think your right. It was dark power metal, or as I consider it power doom! I think the band back then, primarily Marty was afraid to delve further into dark lyrics. That's why he was happy going glam, or whatever they considered themselves! They took my lyrics to heart. All I was doing was the same thing done by Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Hammer Films, Creepy Magazine, Rod Serling did...tell horrific stories! It's fantasy.
By the way, what are/were your favourite WarCry tunes?
Out of the old songs, we used to do one called “Fire & Brimstone” which I wrote. It was pure thrash ala Motorhead or Venom. Other than that one...The Executioner.
Do you consider „The Executioner", „Rip You To Shreds" or „Wicked Warlock" cult, power metal classics?
Well two out of three. Rip You To Shreds is off the Forbidden Evil Cd. Kind of new to be a classic, but I do love the hell outta it!
The addition of the original '83 demo merely affirms the gargantuan differences that surface between the band's two incarnations- everything on the '06 material sounds like it's being played by titans, and the sheer heaviness of the original demo has been harnessed, distilled and amplified for maximum effect, what's your opinion about it? Thanks to Dr. Dread aka Brian Ericson for his unbelievable production, playing, and writing skills. He's made of pure talent, and a great work ethic! People should realize that this release was recorded in about three sessions! With no practices! Hell, I hadn't sang at that intensity for almost 10-years. Imagine that!
Does it mean, that this demo stood the test of time?
Yes, most definitely!
Is Trouble's first demo a reasonable reference point, though War Cry have/had a far more streetwise, urban sound, attitude and spunk that bears the distinct stench of NWOBHM stalwarts like Savage, Jaguar, the first two Tygers Of Pan Tang, Tank, Weapon and especially Holocaust and in many senses, War Cry's philosophy is one shared by the likes of „Bonded By Blood” (Exodus), „Kill 'Em All” (Metallica), „Fuckin' Death” (Death Strike), „Heavy Metal Maniac” (Exciter), „Filth Hounds Of Hades” (Tank), „The Nightcomers” (Holocaust), „Amnesty” (Zoetrope)?Trouble's Live demo changed it for us! Trouble had no stage presence, but they didn't need any. When they played, it was so heavy, the guitars were tuned down, Eric's voice was like he was in pain, singing lyrics that mirrored the torment that his throat sounded like it was going through...you would just stand there in awe of them guys! That's a shame that they didn't become bigger – they had an original sound., plus Rick Rubin. Sound will say they took it from Black Sabbath, but it was different than Sabbath, so very unique...Just listen to Tempter or Bastards Will Pay – Brilliant! Frickin' genius!
WarCry's energy is captured to invoke the dark Metal forces, how do you view it? I touched on this earlier, it was a way for me to tell a horror story. Take for instance, The Executioner; I was inspired by the famous piece painted by Frank Frazetta, used on the cover of Creepy Magazine.
Is this recent recordings keep the dark side but tends towards a really powerful Metal that is a steamroller killing everything on its road?
It covers what was done in the past, but the new songs are written about the present. Things happening now, like serial killers, priests doing wrong, and Katrina, a hurricane that destroyed New Orleans.
Do you consider the stuff power metal played with genius? Yes.
Do you think that WarCry had a big effect on the present scene and you didn't get that acknowledge what they would have deserved?
We got what we deserved considering the band didn't stick to it's guns like a Slayer, or Metallica.
It's a shame that it didn't succeed for the band in breaking out from the demo category and you couldn't release a full length record back then, how do you feel about this?
It didn't happen because it wasn't meant to happen. We couldn't release an album with a lost direction. Look at what those guys did in L.A. - that isn't War Cry. You can could have, should have, all you want, but to keep it brutal, your heart and soul has to be into it. Obviously mine was, and Paul proved himself without a doubt. But after reading several interviews with the twins, they kind of remind of a David Lee Roth interview. They're more concerned about their looks...that Sunset Strip scene was where they wanted to be, and that was what was in their hearts and souls. You can't be part of a fad. You have to do what suits you. That's why War Cry didn't put out a full length album. It wasn't part of the bands destiny.
I mean, it was the case with Trouble as well, although they released a lot of records, but they never became as popular and known as they must have been…
True. Many others could say the same. The music business is a weird business. Just look at Raven, Savatage, Twisted Sister even. The label signs you, and you've sold your soul sometimes! The number of the beast is sales my brother. Much more than 666!
In 2006 you released a cd under the moniker of WarCry US, what made you change the band’s name from WarCry to WarCry US? To what does it refer?
A few reasons. Mainly the WarCry from Spain tours quite a lot and I respect how well they're doing so I didn't want there to be any confusion. Second, that's the domain, www.warcry.us. In this world of the internet, and making things easier to find – that was a no brainer. Last, there was such distaste for my ex-bandmates new War Cry songs, I wanted to make sure they gave this Cd a chance. So they could see the original singer, me, still is capable of writing heavy stuff that also respects the memory of the old material that made all those heads bang!
The material contains new tracks the remastered versions of the „Trilogy of terror” demo and the original version of it, under which circumstances did you write the new tracks? Can you tell us detailed about them?
Well I didn't have much time, because the musicians that played on the project are very busy people. So I really had about five sessions to jam, write, and come up with new material that lived up to the War Cry name – which was VERY important to me! I really enjoy the writing process – even more so when you're under pressure because of time constraints. To make it work though, you have to work with professionals. I was lucky to have that with Dread & V. At one point, for example, I had tried singing some lyrics from Rip You to Shreds to some music that was eventually used for The Church, Inc., well it wasn't working. Then I thought to try some other music Brian (Dread) had come up with. So we exchanged music from both songs and it worked perfectly!
The Blind Leading the Blind – This song is about the hurricane Katrina, and the lack of assistance the poor people received from our own government. In other words the people that we put our faith in by electing them and paying their wages AND their retirement were not prepared to help our own in our own country – but they can sure as hell set-up facilities for war in the middle-east quick!
R.I.P. You to Shreds – Kind of a clever song about stalkers, voyeurism, and mindless love...literally!
The Church, Inc. - A song about our largest corporation – The Catholic Church. The lyrics are self-explanatory.
We also had a couple of more songs that were not quite ready. One in particular called The Wicked Will Rise, which is just a great heavy anthem.
I tried to keep the new song concepts current and somewhat newsworthy so to speak, while retaining that War Cry power-doom feel, as I call it.
Is „Trilogy Of Terror” one of the foremost examples of single-minded, sinewy, red-hot, riff-slinging pummel in the annals of heavy metal history?I think it was recorded raw and came from our hearts. You can feel that at that point in the history of War Cry, we meant what we sang and played. There were no posers during that session!
Do you agree with, that WarCry knew, how to write good songs, correct?Yes. I do agree, but times writing can become too preconceived. It's like the difference between Trouble's Psalm 9 album and their later albums produced by Rick Rubin. I like the old stuff because Trouble wrote these long jams that took chances. Later release by Rubin, were too polished, arranged, and tight. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I would liked to have heard Trouble's old material produced by Rick Rubin, something like the Temptor or Bastards Will Pay!
Are these re-recordings far more spirited than certain similar endeavors and while you do not present new tangents on existing material the energy and sound of these updated classics more than justify the band’s endeavors?
If you consider that in no more than seven sessions this whole Cd was created – I think it's amazing, plus don't forget it was at least ten-years since I sang on a regular basis! Quite amazing!
How do you view the band’s career as a whole and what would you change on it?The band's career has been written, and it can't be changed. If things would have gone differently, you might not had “Master.” You can't look back only forward!
How about you these days? You mentioned me, that you have a very serious sickness…In 2001 I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson's Disease. This disease that most people know because Michael J. Fox has it, as well as others. There is no cure for Parkinson's Disease, but fortunately there are drugs to help manage it for most – to a certain extent.
How did this sickness start at all? What were the symptoms?It started on my left-side, which is the side for me that most of my symptoms are. One day I started getting an extremely sharp pain in my left shoulder...which eventually turned to atrophy. With PD there is no test you can take that tells you that you have it. It's a disease of exclusion. In my case it has progressed to where I have a bad tremor with my left arm, loss of function with my left hand, rigidity on my left-side, and I'm starting to lose the strength in my voice as I come off my prescribed drugs. Currently I take approximately 27 pills throughout the day.
Muhammad Ali and Michael J. fox have the same sickness, haven’t they?Yeah, both do as well as many other famous people. We, meaning my wife & I work with most of the major foundations including both of theirs. We do an online radio information and support progra
How much do your family and friends help you beating or at least surviving this disease?They help with their encouragement, plus spreading awareness, and raising money for research.
How do you/can you cure yourself?There is no cure. Basically what's happening is brain cells that we have that create a chemical called dopamine, that helps to send messages to parts of your body that tells your body how to walk, talk, move in general – are dying. So your body gets mixed signals that create tremors or shaking, plus the rigidity. There are drugs that help somewhat, but it's perfect, and everyone is different. The disease starts to progress – sometimes slow or faster. A big problem is the best drugs that help have side effects that usually start after taking the drug maybe 5 sometimes 10-years. A lot of what you see Michael J. Fox dealing with, are from the drugs that initially helped. In my case I take a handful of pills every 6-hours. They start to work or ease in the first 2-hours, the next 2-hours I'm as close to being without symptoms, then the symptoms start to come back in the last 2-hours. We repeat this process throughout the day & night.
What about the procession of this sickness? Does it kill fast or slow the organism?
Everyone is different. So one's person's brain cells could die fast others slow, but that's what makes this disease difficult – it's constantly changing.
Initially, everyone knew Parkinson's as a disease for the older person (60 to 75+ years old) but now thousands of people are getting it as young as 25 years old! We don't know why we get it, but we do know people get it from chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, chemical fumes, in the case of many that fought in wars – the Agent Orange has gave PD to many vets.
One thing that I have found is that many of the people I have met that have Parkinson's are people that DO NOT cry about it! We don't feel sorry for ourselves. We're very passionate about raising money to find a cure! Things are tougher for me, but I still sing, write songs, think, breath, and live. It is tough – but hell it could be worse!
My latest projects include helping others with the disease via our online radio program, writing songs, stories, lyrics. Writing for other bands as well. I also am working on my ambient music project, Tranquileyez. This month we start recording my son. He's got one of the best singing voices I've ever heard! He's 10-years old, into metal big time, has a natural vibrato, sings on key, and has a falsetto that would make Rob Halford jealous! Lookout for him. We'll probably release under The Zack Pack name and site. Www.thezackpack.com and www.WARCRY.us
Roar, thanks a lot for your answers, anything to add what I forgot to mention? Just a couple of things. I'm currently writing music and have written for other bands, so those interested can contact me at ROAR@WARCRY.US. Also, I'm currently working on some dark ambient songs in the studio for my project called Tranquileyez. I am considering doing a War Cry follow-up called ROAR ! Thank you to all the dedicated fans out there! You rule! Thanks again to everyone for all the support! Horns up! Cheers!....Roar

Seance - Patrik Jensen

At the late '80s/early '90s Sweden was the home of the great death metal boom, Nihilist, Grotesque, Grave, Carnage were the forerunners of this brutal metal style. A great movement started establishing and a lot of bands were popping up everywhere from Sweden. Seance was a kind of second wave death metal band, but they were one of the most brutal bands, if not the most brutal one. Former guitarist Patrik Jensen tells the story about this mighty outfit.

SEANCE was established in 1990, but two of the former members you and singer Johan Larsson played in a local Linköpping band called ORCHRISTE, was it the really first band that you played with prior to SEANCE?
The first "real" band yes. Prior to Orchriste, Johan and I had been in band called "Evil i Lönneberga" and "Hippo Slaughter" (one band that changed names). Just silly stuff where I ws the only member who knew how to play. Johan got vocals cos he arrived last to the rehearsal and there were no other intresuments to choose. How's that for a twist of fate? haha
What can you tell us about this band, which was a short lived one? How did the band get together exactly?Johan and myself were more serious about playing heavier music than the others. Like the first song "Evil i Lönneberga"/"Hippo Slaughter" ever played was Bathory's "13 Candles". The other guys lost interest but Johan and I kept on. In 1987 I met this guy, Rikard Jarl, who I kinda knew from school (actually on the eve of Walpurgis night, celebrated with huge bonfires in Sweden.. Now how metal is that??) Rikard had a huge rehearsal place, but everyone in his band had lost interest in playing in a band too...So, he said he wanted to play metal with me.. I got Johan into the band. Rikard recruits our first drummer, Robert Kratz, from a local band called Taste. From Taste we also got our bassplayer, Mathias Karlsson, who stayed with the band from beginning to end. I come up with the name Orchriste after, Orcrist, a sword in Tolkien's "The Hobbit" (note: this was way before the "Lord of the Rings" cheese-hype of today. Orchriste had some line-up a few line-up changes. Rikard lost interest after a year or so and was replaced by a local guitar virutoso Jörgen Johansson, but the real injection for a more professional band came with new drummer Johan Imselius. We played many shows throughout the local scene with this line-up
How about the demo titled „Necronomicon” (1989)? How was it recorded at all?
We recorded it at the Delta Studio (not in buciness anymore) in our hometown of Linköping. Delta Studio was run by two brothers; Micke and Matte Johansson, both members of the local metal act Axewitch (who put out some good metal albums from 1982 and onwards..)
Can you give us details regarding this tape? How did it sound like?Three songs on it: The Blessing of Death (a title I later used for Seance) Sin (a song we later adopted by Seance) and XXXXXXX. Matte, who did most of the engineering, did a good job, but was maybe a bit too clean in his approach and didnt really manage to capture the heaviness of the band. Anyhow. I designed the cover&inlays and Johan's dad printed them for the demo tapes.
How much support did you make for this tape? I mean, was it shopped around to attract label interest, was it spread around through the tapetrading scene and stuff?Here's a twist of Fate again: our other guitar player, Jörgen Johansson, says he knows where he can get the demos printed and recorded. We agree on a first batch of 500 (I think) We get the money for this together between us, and we hand it over to Jörgen..and thats the last time I see him in six years!! He took off with the money. As we didnt have jobs at the time (cos of still going to school) we couldnt get it pressed without the money Jörgen took off with, so... things just slid into a full stop. I think all this took place in the spring of -89
As for the other half of the band, drummer Mique Flesh, bassist Bino Carlsson and guitarist Tony Kampner (aka Toxine) played in TOTAL DEATH, were you familiar with them? Have they ever released any materials?I knew them from Orchriste and Total Death playing a more than a few shows together. They were alot faster than we were, but we had alot darker growling vocals than they had.. So, it was a 50/50 fan split in the city over which band was the best. Total Death entered the studio to record twice, I think. One of those sessions contains 10 songs...and its absolutely amazing that Total Death never went anywhere.. They were so much ahead of anything coming out of Stockholm or Gothenburg
What do you recall of the Linköping and the Swedish scene those times as a whole? How about bands, such as Nihilist, Grotesque, Grave, Morbid etc.?Close to Linköping is another city called Norrköping. There was a lot of metal fans there too, like Mogge Håkansson, who later formed Marduk and Robban Bercirovic, who then ran a metal radio show called PowerHour, but later started the biggest metal magazine in Sweden; Close Up. Robban organized these small festivals called "Thrash Bash 1, 2, 3...etc" in Norrköping. Orchriste, Total Death and later on Seance, played these shows. So, there you'd be playing with Grave, Merciless, Gravity, Entombed, Dismember, Hysteriah BC etc etc etc.. There were just soo many bands around at that time. That is the first time I saw Per Möller Jensen with his danish band "Invocater" btw. Per and I now play together in The Haunted.
Both bands (ORCHISTRE and TOTAL DEATH) have had a lot of live-experience and have played with bands like CARCASS, MIDAS TOUCH etc, does it mean, that both bands tried to make a name for itself?Oh yes, we were two seperate bands completely
At which point did you decide to leave ORCHISTRE? Didn’t go the band anywhere and you didn’t see any perspectives playing in the band or…?I guess I was pretty bummed out by the Orchriste demo not going anywhere. I was home during a weekend when doing my military service (btw doing my military service for a year also put Orchriste in an even deeper hiatus, since I wrote all the songs) and I met Tony Kampner at a party. I was drunk and asked "Why dont we jsut join forces instead of competing within Linköping?" And thats what we did. I brought Johan along with me, and Tony wanted his brother Mique to come with him from Total Death.. Bino from Total Death got to be the bassplayer, cos Mathias from Orchriste, altho being a steady bassplayer and a reliable bandmember, wasnt really into the faster side of metal/death metal.
You joined forces with Bino, Mique and Tony, would you say, that SEANCE was a fusion of those bands or did it come an original band into being?I ended up writing almost all of the music (and lyrics too) but with Mique being such a large part of Total Death's sound, I think most people who knew both our prevoius bands thought we were a mix of both
You played your first gig in December 1990 with MERCILESS, TOXAEMIA and you were an opener act for DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, how do you remember these shows? You played these gigs without releasing any demos, right?
Umm, yeah.. Hmm.. I dont remember much from these actual shows, but I remember walking around before and after the show, talking to people. And we recorded the demo in -91 so this would have been before we'd released anything
Was it live debut of SEANCE by the way?Funny thing, but I cant seem to remember where our first show was.. Could even have been one of Robban's Thrash Bash'es in Norrköping.. I dunno
What about your rehearsals? Did you start writing originals or were you jamming mostly on covers?Originals from day one.. well, we did play the Orchriste song Sin on our first rehearsal, and it made it all the way onto the frist Seance album as well... Only covers Seance ever played we're Mercyful Fates "Come to the Sabbath", Death's "Forgotten Past", Morbid Angels "Chapel of Ghouls" and Celtic Frost's "Circle of the Tyrants"
SEANCE released their first demo „Levitised Spirit” in August 1991, but delayed since January 1991 due to problems with the studio, which was totally new at that time and SEANCE was the first band ever recording in it, which studio was it and what kind of problems did the work set back?
It took a very long to get it mixed..and the hearing was fucked up too. Its built in a tower (today owned by members in Corporation 187 and called "Helltower studio"). I remember Tony's and my marshall cabs where placed on top of eachother in some kind of sound proof closet (remember; this is a tower. Most available space was vertical haha) so Tony stood up and played while I kneeled infront of my cab in order to hear myself. We always recorded live, so thats how we had to do it... The drum room was sound proof but also air proof, so Mique almost died when drumming
How did the recording sessions go with the demo at all?I think we cut the demo in about a week. LG Petrov from Entombed came down and did some guest vocals too
Can you tell us every details about this demo?
Um, there isnt that much more to tell, I think. This time the demo actually got printed haha
Is it true, that this first demo received a lot of very good reactions amongest the international media and 12 record companies showed interest to sign the band?
Maybe.. I cant remember.. We took $5USD for the demo, but if people would write and ask how much it was etc, we would just send it off to them straight away. We saw it as promotion. If they paid us, fine.. If they didnt, then we had atleast gotten our demo to someone interested in metal enough to write us.. and hopefully, this person would spread the word about Seance even more. But I remember there were many labels interested in us..
Was SEANCE a first generation Swedish death metal act? Did death metal start trying its wings at this point?Maybe.. Orchriste certainly was but we didnt know it back then.. And no one in Linköping had the connections to get to go Stockholm or Gothenburg to play, so both Orchriste and Total Death got overlooked back then..
While at the mid/late ’80s/early ’90s thrash metal was on its peak, in Sweden were only a couple of thrash bands, such as MERCILESS, MEZZROW, TRIBULATION, AGONY, why didn’t have thrash metal so a strong background like in Germany or in England?Maybe cos thrash metal needs to be played with a lot of ability. The underground scene in Sweden was still very new at this point. It is perhaps easier to play brutal tuned down death metal, than to play good thrash metal? There are many semi-thrash bands in Sweden now...cos now the underground scene has been around for a long time and people have been able to practise and find good bandmembers alot easier than back when everything started
As far as the Swedish death scene, would you say, that Stockholm became the center of it?Stockholm metal/death metal was always influenced by punk rock.. Thats why Entombed and Dismember, for example, played such rowdy violent death metal. In Gothenburg Iron Maiden ruled supreme, so music out of Gothenburg was much based on duelling guitars and melody, hence bands like At the Gates and In Flames. Id say Stockholm was very influencial for the first few years, but the impact the so called "Gothenburg Sound" had on the world from -96, when "Slaughter of the Soul" came out, and all the way until today must make Gothenburg the champion city of death metal in Sweden.
The first Swedish death metal record was ENTOMBED’s debut „Left hand path”, did it have a great influence on the other Swedish bands? Would you say that they created a new sound and opened the doors for the Swedish death metal outfits?Absolutely! There is no fucking way the importance of that album for the early swedish metal scene can be overestimated
In your opinion did ENTOMBED introduce Tomas Skogsberg to the other death metal bands and made Sunlight Studios know for the scene?
Well, since im not from Stockholm, Entombed might have been the first band I heard of that had recorded there, but there might have bben other bands that actually were there before them, Like Dismember or Tiamat (aka Treblinka)
Did you know Tomas Skogsberg back then?
No, only metal producers I knew back then was Dan Swanö and Berno Paulson
A lot of death bands started popping up back then in Sweden, but the majority of them, such as ERUCTATION, CADAVERIZER, DISGRACE, EXEMPT, GODDEFIED, LIGAMENT etc. released only demos, what was the reason of it? Why couldn’t they release any records?
Same reason there are a lot of bands everywhere that are good but never make it... No contacts and/or bad timing. Thats what happend to Orchriste and Total Death
Would you say that they weren’t original and they only tried to copy the bigger bands or was the scene supersaturated with cool death metal bands and nobody interested into them?It can be that, or, like I said, just no one with connctions to get them to play the right shows or to tell the right people to listen to this band.
Did ENTOMBED raise the bar high? I mean, they released a classic death metal album what nobody couldn’t surpass?Nobody knew that then, that the Left Hand Path album was goig to be a classic.. Everything was possible back then, and every album was so good.. And Seance never played the swedish style of death metal, we were more american sounding.. So we probably shouldve been more devastated by Morbid Angels "Altars of Madness" and Malevolent Creations "Retribution" haha
You entered the Berno Studio in Malmö at the end of 1991 to record your first full length album „Fornever laid to rest”, what about the recording sessions? Were you prepared to record the album?Yes, we were a hard rehearsing band, but we always ended up writing the final song th every day before we left for the studio.. On the first album the first song was the last one to be written
Did you have a decent budget to record the material?
Black Mark negotiatied and paid for everything, but, as I remember, we had no complaints back then
The album is pure aggression with complex riffs and the extreme death vocals of Johan, how do you view it?Its sounds like a young band playing. I wish I had known more of the technical side of recording and mixing. Playingwise I think just a few technical improvements from teh studio wouldve captured the band better
In my opinion, your music differed a lot from ENTOMBED, UNLEASHED, DISMEMBER etc. you didn’t use any harmonies or melodies, but the bass played an important role, I would say, you had a bassoriented, very raw and brutal sound, do you agree with me?That sound came from the second album "Saltrubbed Eyes". I had nearly burnt myself out with stressing out over writing the material for the album. As soon as I had recorded my last parts and helped Johan thru the lyrics I had written, I took off for Copenhagen and left eh mixing in the hands of the others. Thank them for creating a sound that has made that album stick out and somewhat famous in certain underground groups haha,
Why did you leave „Blood of the saints”, while the other songs of demo appeared on the record? Did you have more songs written, that didn’t made up on the record?I dont recognize that title, sorry
Would you say that a little touch of thrash metal can be listened to in the songs?Oh yes..thats what I grew up playing. Thats why I liken us to bands like Malevolent Creation
Do you agree with, that Seance however plays very brutal and pounding songs, a bit the American way, but with outstanding riffing and intricate leads and like a whirlwind each track unfolds itself?I dont know about hate whirlwind part hehe, but we were definitely more american than swedish/european
The opening song „Who will not be dead” immediately epitomizes what Seance stands for: the song explodes with fast drum patterns, though not non-stop blastbeats, the track takes some breath and heavy thundering drums lay a midpace structure for the guitars to elaborate on…um, I guess :-)
The thick, muddy bassguitar sound forms another perfect layer of the well structured songs and the first growls are truly demonic; the vocal department however, is the least outstanding maybe, this is the only way deathgrunts should be performed, how do you see it?well, as I see it, Johan has one of the deepest voices in death metal...and he is not into melodic singing haha so thats the way it turned out. No real plan or anything.. It jsut happened
Deep guttural grunts, that can be deciphered when reading the lyrics with the song, are uttered very convincingly and although Johan Larsson may not have a unique voice like Frank Mullen (Suffocation) in the old days, but by alternating the grunts with just shouting the vocals very deeply and intense, his style is full of variation and some echo-effects are used once and a while, is that correct?Correct
Do you agree with that Seance plays technical death metal with a lot of breaks, but without loosing touch to the rhythm and flow of the song?Um, I dont know.. Its hard to agree to some as specified as that. I just wanted to write the most aggressive songs I could.. and thats how it turned out
How do you see, that the hectic percussion-patterns are nowadays widespread in grindcore/powerviolene, but truly innovating back then and this goes even more for the excellent guitar-madness by Tony Kampner and you?I dont listen to alot of new music at all actually. Only "new" band Ive discovered and really like is Behemoth.. They play in the vein of what Seance would be playing to day
Do you think, that the beautiful thing with Seance is the way the individual tracks compose a real album?I believe to keep each song different from the next. If I come up with a cool riff that has a certain twist to it, I dont put a little of that in every song.. I really struggle with trying to give each song its own identity
Your lyrics are not only dealing with the typical death metal topics, but also with subjects like aids and drugs, mixed with a good deal of horror, who was responsible for the lyrics?I wrote all of them. Not cos I write such good lyrics, but I had easier to write in english since I grew up in Canada
Why did you work in the Berno Studio instead of Sunlight?Cos Sunlight was the places every band went to. We wanted to be different and find our own sound
The album was mixed and produced by Berno Paulsson, were you happy with his work? Was he the perfect choice for this job?I dunno.. He was the choice and Im not dissatisfied by his work, but we were after all his first metal/death metal band ever..so, I suppose things couldve been better if he had had a few other bands to practise on
Was „Fornever laid to rest” the first recording which was done at the Berno Studios?Not at all. Berno studios had recorded bands for many years. Berno is a world famous jazz guitar player and has recorded many different types of music
Do you think, that this is a classic release in death metal history and both this piece of brutal and original musicianship and the bands second effort „Saltrubbed Eyes” are essential to any death metal worshipper?I dont know...maybe haha Its hard to say.. There were many great albums at the time. Maybe the Seance albums only stand out as classics by super die-hard death metal fans whole drool over obscure bands? I am just happy that there are people out there that still talk abou those two albums
The cover was made by Dan Seagrave, was he the first choice to draw the cover or were there still other actors in mind? Did you like Dan’s previous works?No, Dan was the first choice. Dan was The Artist to use back then, just like Ed Repka (Megadeth, Possessed etc) was before him. and I still love Dan's work before and after the Seance album cover
Did the band with this album penatrate their fans ears to the limit?what? haha I dont know...probably not..If we had, we wouldve made bigger waves and gotten to tour more...and, who knows, maybe even mightve done another album back then?
What were the shows like back then in support of the record?Too few... Way too few. No support from Black Mark
The album was released by Black Mark Productions, how did you get in touch with them? Were they also among the 12 labels, that started interesting in the band when the demo was released?Yes, Börje Forsberg was very adamant in getting us to sign with Black Mark. I dont think he knew that we were great, but he made his judgement on that so many other labels were after us. Had we chosen another label that was interested, like Nuclear Blast, and put out an album at the same time as Hypocrisy did (they were a little bit after us actually) things might have turned out very different.
A year later you released „Saltrubbed eyes”, did Black Mark ask you to hear the newer material before you entered the studio or did they still have complete confidence into it?No, BMP never asked to hear any material before giving us the go-ahead to record the album
Did you work at the Berno again? How did the recording sessions with this album go?I was really stressed out after writing the album. I felt serious pressure to out-do the first album, with even more riffs, more time changes etc etc.. and that led to writers block.. I struggled quite alot with writing that album...so, as soon as all my parts were done and I had coached Johan through the vocal recording, I left Malmö (where the Berno Studio is), went oer to Copenhagen and proceeded to drink my brain into molecules to just get all the stress out of my system haha I had taken responsibility for writing the album and recording my parts, so I felt it was ok to leave the mix to the other guys.. So, the production on "Saltrubbed Eyes", for which it has achieved its cult status of brutality, is none of my doing
What one will find is an intense record combining Thrash and Death Metal with both passion and aggression, right?Thats what I was aiming for when I wrote the album yes. I think some of the more technical thrash elements of the album got lost in the production, but the album probably won more having the production it got rather than having a cleaner sound
Would you say, that „Sultrubbed eyes” became the follower of the first record or are there any differences between the two albums?You can see some connections between the two, but there is also evidence of songwriting and musicianship progression. I think neither of the albums stand in the shadow of the other. They are both unique in their own way
Do you think, that there’s some nice, technical solos to be found here also, the leads being played competently and serving their purpose?Oh yes, Ive never been the lead guitarist in any band Ive been in, but I think Tony did a great job and that the solos are just right for Seance
Would you say, that the songs change between demolishing, mid-paced groove oriented monsters with touches of melody, to breakneck speed and always catchiness?Um, I guess haha Sure, why not! :-) Like I said, I think the solos are really good!
Apart from a few eerie introductions, this album is a short, violent kick to the face, that never loses momentum, and never becomes redundant; comparisons can be made to early DEMIGOD and GOD MACABRE albeit SEANCE play far faster at times, do you agree with that?I liked Demigod and Demilich alot back in the day, so there might some resemblence to be found between them and Seance.. but, I tried hard to achieve an agressive album, but with interesting parts and breakdowns in ever song.. I try to use something new in every song. Im sure there people who would say otherwise haha but, compared to some bands out there that has alot of fame and success.. I think Seance had a lot more cool tricks and ideas than what the band got recognition for..
Did this second effort sound closer to what you wanted to achieve with SEANCE?I think that if I were to written a third album, Id have had other goals I would have wanted to achieve..but Saltrubbed Eyes did want I wanted it to do at the time
You play an important role on this album, pumping out devastating riffs at an awesome pace…thank you.
Short SLAYER alike solos helps the record sound chaotic, along with harsh yet understandable vocals, the record contains fast drumming, but not blast-beating style, the bass drums are placed wonderfully in the mix, making those slow parts so much better, how do you see it?I see it as Mique having his own drumming style.. Maybe not the most in-time drummer around, but definitley one with an abundance of ideas and creativity. Bino had a great ear for working with Mique on his ideas..Johans vocals are nothing short of the epitome of brutality...and Tony picks up the guitar work where I leave off, so we were all important for that band
This album fully utilizes the traditional European sound and manages to sound bonecrushingly brilliant while doing so, is that correct?Im not sure what you mean by the traditional european sound. Back then, the only main european death metal scenes around were a) swedish, and we didnt sound very swedish..and b) british, and we didnt sound like UK death grind either. I think we a much more american approach to death metal than atleast other bands in Sweden
Did you go on tour after the releasing of „Saltrubbed eyes”? What about the shows in support of the „Saltrubbed eyes” record?We did go on a 36 date european tour in early -95 with At The Gates, but that tour only got to the first date (Manchester) where the tour manager faked that we was robbed and therefore couldnt pay the bus company. Bus company knew something was up, so they drove to the next show (Norwich) which we plaed, but then turned off the heat, electricity...everything, and wouldnt move another meter before the money was payed. Of course the tour manager (who was also the one who booked the tour) didnt have any money, so the tour crashed. ATG were between contracts, so they had to sign their next album to Black Mark if they didnt pay BMP back the money upon returning back to Sweden. (That album would have been Slaughter of the Soul. Wouldnt that have been funny if it had been released on Black Mark cos of a tour gone bad haha).. SO, only two shows in tehUK, one in Copenhagen and a handful of shows in Sweden. Thats it..
How much support did you get from Black Mark at all? Were you satisfied with their promotion or would you say, that they would have done a better work?
They gave bands like Edge of Sanity alot of support, and rightfully so, they were a talented band.. but BMP also gave other bands on the label support that was in proportion to their talent or potential. I dont know who did A&R at BMP, probably Borje Forsberg himself, but he didnt have a nose for a promising bad.. So, no support. Only time they were cool were when we needed advances for the recording of the albums and with helping us get home from that tour that crashed
How many copies were sold from the records back then?I have no idea.
At which point and why did you leave the band and move to Gothenburg?I couldn’t see myself struggle with writing a third album like I had done with Saltrubbed Eyes again. I had also become very good friends with Adrian Erlandsson (ATG drummer) so I moved to Gbg with the hopes of formng a band with him. I moved to Gbg right before New Years Eve of 1995. Adrian was superbusy with ATG the first time I lived in Gbg, but on the 26th of July he called me to tell me that ATG had just broken up. They following day him and I rehearsed for the first time together, playing two songs I had initially written for Seance, but that are now on the first Haunted album; Undead and Three Times
Tony, Mique and Johan continued with SEANCE, Richard from WITCHERY joined the band, did you remain in touch with them at all? Did they start auditioning other guitarist replacing you or…?
Richard played in bass with a local Iron Maiden cover band. Another band, Satanic Slaughter, locally famous for being the first band (originally formed in -84, I think) that played black/thrash metal in our area, had always had a hard time getting a stable line-up and had never recorded a demo or anything. When Tony, Mique rejoined SS (They had been members around 86-88), I got asked to play the second guitar and Richard got asked to play the bass.. When Bino left Seance (and moved to Gbg...about 6 months before me), Richard got asked to play bass with Seance.. and finally, when I left, Richard moved up to the guitar. I of course stayed in touch with them all, cos they were all involved with Witchery in one way or the other.
Did/Does THE HAUNTED play a more important role in your life than SEANCE or WITCHERY?Well, The Haunted has made it possible for me to life off my music, but with Seance I would never have formed The Haunted. And I was in Witchery before I left Seance...so Witchery is important as a musical playground where I can do all the over-the-top metal ideas I have hehe
SEANCE came back after 10 years of silence, did they ask you to join them again or was it totally out of question?They never split up. I knew that they were writing on the third album all along, so was never asked to join no. They've always had a working line-up since I left..
How do you view the new SEANCE record „Awakening of the gods”?I really like it. Even if Im not involved on the album, I think you can clearly hear that its still Seance
What do you think about the Swedish death metal scene this days with bands, such as IMMERSED IN BLOOD, VISCERAL BLEEDING, INSISION and tons more? Do you keep still an eye on what’s going on in the underground?
I have no idea about any scene these days, Im afraid. Im sure there are many talented bands out there, but not much new is happening within the scene in general, atleast judging by the music that reaches me...I was there when all the great original bands first came breaking through, so Im spoiled I suppsoe
How about the pioneers of that style, such as ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, UNLEASHED or GRAVE?
I’ve always loved Entombed, and always will. I like some Dismembers albums, but Im not too familiar with the others. Like Ive hinted earlier, I was always more into the american side of death metal than the swedish style
Are their new materials on the same level as their classics? I mean, do they still record quality albums or…?Entombed will always stand for quality. I have the fullest respect for them
Patrick, thanks a lot for the interview, anything to add that I forgot to mention?
No, I think you covered pretty much everything. Thank you for your enthusiastic interview. It was inspiring to answer it and it gave a reason to think back to the "old days"