Monday, August 29, 2016

Zine Review: CHRONICLES #1

CHRONICLES ZINE issue #1
It turns out that black metal is not Norway’s last distinguished contribution to heavy metal. There are also fanzines such as this one I am inspired to review at this moment. According to editor Steinar Selsto the first issue of Chronicles is intended as a tribute to every underground zine that came before it, such as Brain Damage and Mega Mag (these are quoted here in addition to several others). Selsto points out all zines, regardless of their quality, help underground metal in one way or another, paying homage in particular to those zines that provided him substance over style over the years. This is a paper printed zine with hand drawn art and fliers, without the slick layout of the more prominent publications of the 2000s. Deliberately, steadfastly old school, Chronicles is arranged by Selsto to emphasize his fervor for bands and zine editors whose drive is to support the cutting edge. You won’t find reviews in this issue but the interviews are thorough and comprehensive, paying close attention to their content so readers get something more than repetitive fluff stating the bands are cool and bound to be signed, et cetera. Chronicles is up my alley for those reasons and more zines like this need to circulate. In many ways it reminds me of the first print issue of Autoeroticasphyxium that was released in 1997; the methods employed to compile this issue are quite similar now that I consider it. The first issue of AEA was not Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles by a long shot but it did get noticed by quite a few people, and it’s still here almost two decades later. Getting back to the debut issue of Chronicles, the bands interviewed are Ares Kingdom, Pentagram, Patrons Of The Rotting Gate, Blood Mortized, Sol Negro and Audiopain. Chronicles has received a great deal of webzine praise due to its attitude and purpose, which proves there will always be someone who chooses the classic approach to zine publishing to the supposed “modernization” of extreme music. -Dave Wolff

Judith by M Teresa Clayton Chapter Ten

JUDITH by M Teresa Clayton 
Chapter Ten 

“Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason.” - Octavio Paz 

“What do you mean, I’m fired? Judith cried. “I work ten hours a day, picking up shifts when someone calls in sick, and I’m never late!” 

“She finds money missing from the register all the time, Judith. It is always on your shifts,” Mr. Dunmore answered. “Look, I know you have a little mouth at home to feed so I’ve added a few dollars to your check this week to help you out until you can find another job.” 

She was stunned. Judith had never taken anything that wasn’t hers to take. She simply couldn’t understand any of it. Sure, Mrs. Dunmore was a bit envious but could she be this cruel? 

“Judith, I told her there must be a mistake. I asked her to just talk to you but she will hear nothing of it. She’s my wife Judith, she told me I have to fire you. You understand? Please, just take the check and the little extra I added to it and go. I’m so sorry.” 

Mr. Dunmore’s eyes were getting moist and Judith could see that this was difficult for him as well. She hugged him and kissed his cheek. “I understand Mr. Dunmore. I appreciate the extra bonus. It’s okay, I really do understand.” 

Judith didn’t remember the walk from Dunmore’s Diner to her front door. Thoughts of losing everything she had struggled so hard to hold on to flooded her mind. Tears rolled down her cheek and she made no attempt to wipe them away. Fear held her in its grip as she tried to think; tried to stay focused. 

She stopped at Mrs. Henderson’s to pick up Lily and for the next few days she and Lily kept to them selves. Judith needed time to make sense of this, time to heal and time to think. 

There weren’t many jobs available around here that she was qualified to do. Being a waitress was about all she knew. She had no office skills and jobs on assembly lines were available only to people who ‘knew’ people… Times were tough and she needed to figure out a way to pay for the apartment and buy food. 

Judith sat down in front of the vanity and took her hair down from the make-shift French twist she always wore when applying for work. It made her look more intelligent and sophisticated; or so she thought. 

She closed her eyes as she pulled the brush through her hair and remembered how it felt when her mommy would do it. It was hard to see her mother’s face inside the memories that had become buried beneath the weight of a problematic life. When she opened them again she imagined seeing herself as a little girl sitting in front of her mother, getting her hair brushed. Beautiful, like mommy… Judith sat motionless as her mother’s face began to appear inside the mirror; like an old silent movie, she watched as her mother’s eyes met her own. 

Suddenly the image of her mother disappeared and the face of a disfigured old woman appeared in the glass. Judith stared in shocked disbelief at the face that was reflected back to her in the mirror. 

Watcha gonna do now, Jee- ew- dithhh? 

“My God, she is talking to me,” Judith whispered to herself. This figment of her imagination was addressing her from inside the mirror! And, she remembered that voice; that awful hateful voice that used to chide her mommy. 

“What do you want from me?” Judith screamed. “What could you possibly want from ME?” 

Of course, Judith, I do want something from you. Doesn’t everyone WANT something? What do YOU want? 

“To be left alone. I want you to go away and leave us alone,” she sobbed. 

Us? 

That’s right. There are two mouths to feed, aren’t there? You went and did that bad thing with that boy and now look at you, a child to feed and no money. It is shameful. 

“Leave my daughter out of this, she is innocent!” The memory of those words sent a shudder down her back and she could feel the hair at her nape stand up as if she had been shocked. Judith could feel herself working into a panic. Her instincts were screaming at her to defend her daughter, yet she could not pull herself away from the mirror. 

You are a whore like your mother and her mother and her mother’s mother… you are all fallen women, bawdy and unclean, HARLOTS! 

Judith closed her eyes and listened to her own breathing. It’s a dream, she thought to herself, some sort of hallucination. Find out what it is and what it wants. You’re in control, she said inside her mind, don’t show it any fear. 

“Who are you?” Judith asked in the calmest voice she could muster. “Who and what are you?” 

She lowered her voice and began again, “Why are you so mean?” she asked the mirror. “Why are you so hateful and vulgar?” 

I see everything, Judith, Everything! You can’t put one past me. I see inside of you and inside of them! They don’t want to know you child, they want to use you up and throw you away. You are nothing more than a simple fuck, but all that’s about to change Judith. You are getting tired of being passed around like a harlot! You need to show them that you will not accept or tolerate this behavior. 

“What shall I do about it?” Judith asked softly. “How can I fix this?” 

“Fuck them back! Just like they do to you! Make them pay for their indiscretions, Judith. Fuck them where it counts, Judith, and walk away. 

“Yes, that is what I must do,” Judith said in agreement. “I must take back my dignity and leave them without theirs,” she laughed. 

It’s too late, Judith. You’ve muddied up your name and your reputation. I know how many you’ve laid with! I know what happens to some of them when they’ve finished with you; the ones you said no to and took you anyway. 

Judith’s mouth fell open. Her mind was spinning. What happened to those I said no to? What happened? 

Good girl, I say to you. Say no and if they force themselves inside against your will, then you’d no other choice but to have your justice. Kill the muther-fuckers! Kill them all! 

Judith sat in shocked disbelief as the distortion in the mirror ranted on. 

But, what shall we do with the ones you allow, Judith? How do we handle your sinful ways? You know you will resort to it. You are no different than the others, thinking you can use your beauty to capture a man’s soul inside of you for a price. You will become a grotesque reminder of what SHE was. You’re all tramps. 

Without so much as a word, Judith rose from the seat in front of the vanity and walked over to where the red velvet coverlet was draped over a chair. She picked it up and without once looking back into the mirror; she hung the coverlet over it and silenced the hag who lived inside. 

Judith could not deny the fact that there was little hope of finding a job that could now pay enough to get caught up on the rent and bills, plus all the extras, like food. 

That old “Mr. Waddles” (the girls at the diner called him that because of the loose dangling skin around his neck) was always trying to get a pinch every time she was bussing a table near his, as she would be balancing plates in one hand and trying to wipe the crumbs with the other. He always managed to get a pinch and then he’d laugh in that ‘dirty old man’ kind of way. Yes. I think he might pay for more than a pinch, she thought to herself. 

The thought of it turned her stomach completely over, but Lily’s jovial face beaming up at her as if to say – Mommy, everything will be okay – gave her the strength to see it through.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Musician Interview: CHRIS CYANIDE

Interview with CHRIS CYANIDE

You play with a six string bass guitar made from actual wood used to build coffins. Is this a custom bass you constructed or had constructed? Present some background on this.
I play quite a few basses but the one that has gained the most attention is The Casket Case constructed by Chris Matos of 812 Guitars. The idea was to create something that not only fit the band Demon Boy but also me personally. I like a natural wood look for basses and being a horror fan, coffin wood was actually an option that was somehow available. The entire bass is not all coffin wood. The neck is from an old Ibanez six string bass, the outer body is plywood but the inner part is the coffin wood all held together by drywall screws. Going back to the neck, a vampire stake was shaved down and worked into the neck which looks pretty sick, and two extra frets where added in as a result. Corian stone inlays were worked into the neck which is a trademark 812 Guitars thing. The thing about those is that they are coffin shaped. The headstock on the bass is massive! We call it The Cro Magnon just because it looks like something a caveman would beat someone in the head with. Now the pickup is something special designed by Jerry Sentell of Sentell Pickups. It’s currently the biggest pickup ever made for a six string bass. We call it The Behemoth. It’s about the size of a beer can and as powerful as hell. In the past I usually used active basses. On The Casket Case there is no need for it. Last but not least is the strap I had made by Matt Hotchkiss of Flying V Leather Straps. It’s got my trade marked "Danger: Cyanide" warning label and it just adds that finishing touch. All you need is my ugly demon painted ass to strap that bass on and you got a show within the show, haha!

Did you approach Chris Matos to build The Casket Case, or was it a mutual collaboration?
I met Chris Matos of 812 Guitars through a good friend, Scotty The Body, who is one of the best guitar players I know. Chris Matos had made some custom guitars for Scotty and he mentioned Demon Boy to him. Chris has been following Demon Boy for a while and I finally met him in person at Scott's wife's birthday party. We stayed in touch and the result was Chris creating something unique and kickass for the band and I. Chris is truly an artist as well as a luthier. Only he could help create the Casket Case as well as all the projects he works on. Every time I go to his shop he’s working one some kind of crazy creation.

How did you first get the idea of having a Casket Case bass designed?
Chris Matos paid close attention to what was going on with me and the Demon Boy band. I went out and purchased a six string ESP LTD bass thinking not a lot of people will have that particular one and I can be sort of unique. Also I play a six string while most play four or five strings. Next I see a post on Facebook of someone with the same bass and I joked about it saying "so much for trying to be original." That's when Chris Matos and 812 Guitars stepped in and made being unique a reality. He made a true monster.

How much experience building pickups did Jerry Sentell have prior to designing your bass?
I've never met Jerry Sentell in person. He's in California and I'm in New York but thanks to social media the virtual world is a lot smaller and we bullshit on Facebook all the time. I don't know exactly how long Jerry has been making pickups but I suspect it has been years. He designs high quality pickups for all kinds of guitars, basses, lap guitars and whatever else you can put a pick up to. All different styles and designs. His prices are quite reasonable. Chris Matos and Jerry Sentell work closely together. Glad to know them both. They are my go to guys for all custom things for my instruments.

How many other collaborations have you, Chris Matos and Jerry Sentell worked on?
Casket Case is our first collaboration. A second one is in the works and you'll just have to stay tuned. One hint I can give is Lemmy and Cliff Burton. That would actually be two hints, haha.

Recount how you became the bassist of Demon Boy’s band and the shows you did with them.
Before I was in the band, I was in four different music projects and involved in internet radio so I was in tune with the music scene all around. I had heard of Demon Boy but really didn't know much about it. A guy I knew was a former guitar player for Demon Boy and asked me to come check them out in Coney Island so I went. I walked into the place and met Demon Boy for the first time. We talked and I told him I run my own radio station. We took a few pics together and then off to the stage he went. I was blown away by the stage performance. The stage props and Skully dancing around really made the show a lot of fun. I was an instant fan. I went to two more shows, one in NYC and the other in Queens and little did I know, the next show I'd be on stage with them. I was asked to fill in on bass for three shows. I learned the set list (I'm a fast learner) and there I was just like that playing bass in the Demon Boy band. It was such a blast! I mean I got to wear a costume, makeup and treat every show like it’s a Halloween party regardless of the time of year. I never got to do that in my thirty whatever years of playing music and I had done quite a lot! It was so much fun, I stayed on as the permanent bass player. Also there are some great perks to being in Demon Boy. Not only is the Demon Boy one of the most animated frontmen I've worked with (and I've worked with quite a few) but he's also a promoting freak! In all the projects I've been in I was mostly the only one setting up gigs and promoting. I did it for multiple projects at the same time with limited time. Demon Boy is Demon Boy 24/7 and promotes night and day. I said to myself "this is a guy who gets it and is focused on what he wants", "this is the guy I want to work with whose not gonna waste my time and effort". Getting back to when I said perks, I know that after a gig, my ugly painted face is gonna be plastered all over social media the next day. I mean I had made a name for myself being involved with bands, radio and dabbling slightly with indie horror films, but NOW I'm the 666 String Demon Bass player and I have Demon Boy to thank for that. I do like to think I add a definitive sound to the band and I do my part well! We've played so many shows, had some great ones and some not so great but always take something from it and turn it into a positive. Last weekend we played an outdoor private party and it was 110 degrees out. It was so hot and we were all so uncomfortable but still pulled off a good show. We even pulled off some video of our new dancer Psycho Amaris doing her fire act. It was pretty epic. ‎I wanna give a quick shout out to our current drummer Lightning Lou and current guitarist Alex Axecutioner. Whatsup guys if you’re reading this, haha!

Which of Demon Boy’s songs do you most like performing live?
Currently my favorite songs are Dead Tramp Super Model and This Halloween, basically because I get to show off on those songs with bass solos and over the top of the neck tricks. Right now I'm learning more tricks. I do them on guitar first and incorporate them on bass later.

How did you devise the Chris Cyanide persona? What was your inspiration for it?
I was already using the name Chris Cyanide. Two of my former bands had the name Cyanide in it and I was known as DJ Cyanide on radio so it stuck with me since. The difference with Demon Boy is that I started using the different horror outfits, makeup and contact lenses. Being in Demon Boy brought that side out of me and it's a constant work in progress. ‎I'm always evolving the character trying to make it better.

Is material with your previous bands still available? If so, where can said material be found?
You can go on Youtube and search for official videos for Sister Cyanide: Haunting, Cyanide Savior: Dead Before Dawn and Present Darkness: Present Darkness. I also recently released an acoustic song called Follow along with a friend named Mark O'Neill.

Who is Mark O’Neill and how many collaborations have you and he worked on?
Mark is an old friend. We've been collaborating on and off since 1993. Unfortunately all our recordings were done before internet was the thing so there isn't anything posted. Just old demo tapes floating around. Mark is very low key. He's not on Facebook but he uploads a lot of videos on Youtube. He shot the video for my former band Present Darkness.

How good a job did Mark do shooting the Present Darkness video? Who filmed and directed the videos you made with Sister Cyanide and Cyanide Savior?
For Present Darkness all we did was record the band playing in the studio and used the footage for the video. It was all pretty simple and straightforward. The band and the music. It was all shot and edited by Mark O'Neill. For what it is, he did a pretty great job and the band was very happy with it. For the Sister Cyanide and Cyanide Savior stuff, it was all shot and directed by Russian film maker Andrey Iskanov incorporating footage of his films. I'm proud of those videos and happy to have been a part of them regardless that those bands and projects are no longer active.

You have performed with Demon Boy at several horror conventions. Which convention appearances have been the most memorable?
There are times we've gotten more out of doing conventions then actual shows. With conventions, there is more intimate interaction with fans and a great opportunity to gain new ones. We are quite the sight to see even when not performing. I think the most memorable was at Eternal Con about two years ago. We just walked around with a camera and acoustic guitar and did some random performances in the cafeteria area and in an elevator while people were inside with us. We called it "The Elevator From Hell." We always have fun at conventions.

How long did you do a radio program? What effort did you channel into making it stand out?
I started out on my friend's show Rock Gator Radio. It was run by James Cripps who is a promoter in Florida. I launched my own station called Cyanide Radio and played everything from classic rock to today's bands, indie and established alike. I did a few interviews with some local bands and had Demon Boy on a few times. I kept that up for about three years on the Live 365 Network. I retired from it last year. I had gotten too busy with the band and my personal life to continue but I gained a lot of experience and made some great connections with many bands and people. It was great networking tool that could be used by other people and my own shameless self-promotion, haha!

While involved in internet radio did you discover you could reach more listeners through that medium?
I only dealt with internet radio. I found it hard to keep a following going. There are almost as many internet stations as there are bands. Plenty of bands wanted you to play their stuff but not a lot of them tuned in to hear it. The busier I got with other things the more I was losing interest anyway. As far as corporate radio goes, I don't listen to it at all. Not even in the car.

Back to Cliff Burton, at a recent Demon Boy show your playing reminded me of his style. How much of an influence would you cite him with the other bassists who influenced you?
I actually don't consider Cliff Burton an influence though I am a Metallica fan. Watching some of his stuff during his bass solos, I do hear some similarities without a doubt. My biggest influences on bass would be Geezer Butler, Blacky of Voivod, Cronos of Venom, G.C. Green of Godflesh and of course Lemmy.

In what ways were each of those bassists influential? Did these influences ever extend to the equipment they use? Which strings and amplifiers do you most often work with?
Geezer Butler influenced me as far as blues scales and certain runs go. All the others are all about the sound and tone. I like a driving distorted bass sound. I also use a Cry Baby Bass Wah. I think that may be where someone would hear a Cliff Burton kind of thing. At first I used a regular Boss Distortion for bass stomp box but I came across a company called Idiot Box Effects and they created a bass distortion pedal designed to the specifications Blacky (original bass player of Voivod) called The Blower Box. I've been using that pedal a little over two years now and I'm quite happy with it. The current bass amp I'm using is an Ampeg PF-500W Bass head and cabinet. It has been able to handle my sound thus far but I'm looking to upgrade to a more powerful head sometime soon.

Do you use the same equipment live as you do in the recording studio?
Yes and if you are working with a good engineer, they know how to enhance and tweek it to sound even better.

Do you prefer a distorted bass sound while in the studio and onstage, or a sound that is generally clean?
I prefer the distorted bass sound both in the studio as well as on stage. I believe the reason for it besides really liking the sound is that I'm a guitar player first. I used distortion and a wah pedal on guitar and also use it on bass. It’s also the same reason I play a six string bass. Six strings feel more natural to me while four strings feel like something is missing. I ultimately made bass my main instrument about seven years ago when I was asked to play in a Black Sabbath tribute band. I found that I enjoyed playing the bass more than guitar. I still pick up the guitar and jam out at home quite a lot.

How important is it to have shock rock fare such as Alice Cooper still making headlines considering the pop the mainstream is presently inundated with?
I think it's great that Alice Cooper still holds up today. There was a time in the 90s when things were a bit iffy for him and everyone but I think it was mostly here in the States. The fact that Alice can still be successful today gives me hope in what is otherwise a dismal situation for up and coming bands in the horror genre or any genre for that matter. Also his age is inspiring. Like Ozzy, Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson I'm not bothered about how old I get playing music. There is no age limit to doing this particular kind of rocking. You can do it until you drop dead. Of course all the makeup helps too! As for pop music, I ignore it. I tune it out. I don't watch VH1 or listen to regular radio. No room in my world for it.

What is your view of King Diamond, Gwar and Marilyn Manson as shock rockers?
I love them all. I feel even Demon Boy and myself borrow a little from them but definitely make it our own. ‎Marilyn Manson I actually didn't care for too much at first when he came on to the scene. I used to see all these fourteen year old girls wearing the Manson shirts and they would say that they were goth because they listen to him. Meanwhile Marilyn Manson has NOTHING to do with goth! Now all these years later I know I'm a bit wrong in that thinking. What I mean is that your fans are your fans even if they might be a little misinformed and you have to be thankful for them no matter how you got them. I see that now and I can give the guy respect. Gwar is great for their crazy stage props. Our dancer/performer Skully's bobble head skull is actually a Gwar hand me down. King Diamond you can talk about all night. So many iconic songs even from his Mercyful Fate years and all his vocal ranges! So much talent in that guy! He is amazing!

On this subject, what do you think of bands like The Misfits and The Undead for their contributions to horror punk?
I don‎'t listen to a lot of punk. There are a select few that I do enjoy listening to. As far as the Misfits go, I can't say I'm a huge fan. I remember buying a cassette many years back just to check them out and there were some fun songs on it. Skulls, and Mommy Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight come to mind. To be honest I liked the newer stuff off American Psycho and I liked Danzig on his own. I even like Doyle’s new stuff. I think when they all went their separate ways, they all made better music. Still I think it's cool that the original lineup is reuniting. There's no better time than now to do it and I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun for fans. For the Misfits on a financial standpoint I'm sure it will be very successful. I feel bad for the band that's going to have to move $2000 worth of tickets to open for them. As for Horror and punk, they are great elements to mix together. In my opinion, horror can make anything better. If you put horror to country music maybe I'll check it out.

Horror rock has been around since the 50s and 60s with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Screaming Lord Sutch. Have you heard anything by them or are there other horror rockers you would suggest from beneath the radar?
I definitely know who they are. Another horror rocker I remember would be Arthur Brown. I remember watching that video for Fire and really digging it! I would also like to mention Clive Jones who passed away from cancer s few years back. He was the pan flute and saxophone‎ player in the band Black Widow. He then went on to front his own band Agony Bag. They wore the face paint and they definitely did some shock rock things you'd see from the likes of Marilyn Manson a good fifteen or more years before he was around.

You have notable influences thrash metal, which does require talent and endurance. How would you say it benefits your musicianship? Have the dynamics of death or black metal been influential?
I started off listening to whatever my older sister and cousin where listening to which was mostly classic rock and some of the early 80s metal. Everything from The Doors, Zeppelin, Sabbath to Maiden, Twisted Sister and Judas Priest. Zebra gets an honorable mention. Then I heard what is now known as The Big Four and it was all downhill from there. I got into all kinds of heavier bands and the list is countless. I did touch on some of the early death metal stuff like early Death and Possessed but didn't really move on beyond that. I leaned more towards the gothic stuff like Theater Of Tragedy and Tristania. I do however like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth even though I hear it’s not cool to like them anymore by the black metal community since they've "sold out" or whatever. To each their own. We're all allowed to like what we choose.

There is a fine line between making efforts to reach more listeners and selling out. If a band progresses in an unforced way they can’t be accused of it. But if they become mainstream friendly only for money that’s definitely a sellout in my view. Granted the point of having a career is to make money, but to me it’s not the only motivating factor.
If you are going to try and make a career out of music which is very tough to do today, you want to be as successful as possible. If you have a loyal fan base, catering to them as best as you can seems like a wise business move to me. Your fans should be your main focus. At the same time the artist probably wants to get some creative juices flowing and try different things. Some fans may not understand or accept that especially today. I feel like a lot of people have this hate first and listen later attitude. "It's not like the old stuff", "They sold out". You get the idea. I'll use Megadeth as an example. Can you imagine if you had to write Peace Sells But Whose Buying for your next fourteen albums in row? I can't say I like every single song they've written equally but some people have different opinions. Countdown To Extinction is my least favorite album from them YET it's probably their most successful one to date. A lot of people obviously don't share my opinion. I thought Super Collider was pretty good and a lot of people hated it. What I'm saying is the idea of selling out may just be a matter of opinion. If you’re a true fan of an artist, you can accept and understand the change. Selling out in my opinion would be if Megadeth decided to go hip hop because Kanye West was selling more albums. If the music change is THAT drastic then yeah it’s definitely selling out.

Your point reminded me of when Kiss recorded a disco song at the height of its popularity. Also when Celtic Frost went glam in 1988 because Tom Warrior was disillusioned with thrash (many bands were copying Metallica and Slayer at the time).
I remember when Cold Lake by Celtic Frost came out. I bought it on cassette and my Walkman ate the tape. I wasn't even upset about it, haha.

I recently read an article in which Dee Snider said there should be more unity and mutual acceptance within metal communities, since infighting has turned metal against itself over the years.
Things are so bad with the music industry now and it's funny how this interview is happening because Demon Boy just posted a video rant a little while ago about it. I suggest anyone reading this should not only read Dee's article but watch Demon Boy's video explaining facts no one really wants to hear about today's music industry. Getting back to Dee Snider, he's calling for strength in numbers regardless of what type of rock and metal you are playing. I hope it does happen because somethings got to give. Something has to change. I just hope it happens in my lifetime.

I saw the video you refer to, about how labels don’t back bands anymore due to internet downloading and how the economy has made it harder for bands to stay active. I had been saying for some time these factors would have a negative impact.
Bands need as much support as possible. Unless someone in the band hit the lottery, they will only go as far as their fan base buys their merch. Also you have to keep your merch fresh. Once everyone you know owns a CD, shirt or whatever then you gotta come up with NEW things for the fans. You have to turn yourself into a retail store. Right now I'm gonna say SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL DEMONS!

How do you think this pay to play situation can be changed for the better, besides having fans buy more physical CDs?
The only thing that will change pay to play is for fans to support bands in such a way they can fill a club. If a club is packed regardless of who is playing and every night is great, pay to play could disappear. The bar will do well and the club gets paid and the door does well and the band gets paid. Unfortunately no one goes out that much anymore. They would rather stay home, watch Youtube and not spend the money and at the same time the scenes are SATURATED with bands. Everyone and their mother and father are in a band. Also they all want to get paid for providing the service of entertainment. Right now there are just so many bands it's like going out to a Chinese buffet with all you can eat but you’re not all that hungry and there is too much food.

A friend of mine said division happens when small groups break away from the majority, and fans bored with the majority follow. Examples are when Quiet Riot incorporated a rap element into "The Wild and the Young" and when Guns N Roses adopted an industrial sound writing and recording "Oh My God" for the End Of Days soundtrack. Also according to Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons wanted Kiss to sound more like grunge and Metallica at one point.
I can understand getting bored with one thing after so long but now all these different genres have existed for a while as far as rock/metal, industrial metal, goth metal or whatever rock/metal. Not sure where else you can go with it. Maybe there is something to this unity that Dee Snider is talking about. It’s interesting that you mentioned grunge. To me personally it NEVER existed. It was made up as something to call any type of band existing that wasn't glam, thrash or whatever that MTV didn't want to invest in any more during the 90s. All these mostly mediocre rock bands coming out were instantly labeled alternative grunge. Nirvana and Sonic Youth which to me sounded like commercial punk was labeled alternative grunge. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden which sound NOTHING like the first two bands I mentioned where also labeled alternative grunge and to me they sounded like very commercial a little heavier rock. I can go on and on. It’s almost like if Black Sabbath had released Paranoid in 1992 instead of 1970, it would have been labeled again "Alternative Grunge." I call bullshit on the whole thing and it’s just a good example of how people can be manipulated and told what a hit song is and what you should be listening to because THEY tell you what’s popular. It’s funny but there are new bands out there that sound a bit like Alice in Chains or Soungarden and people categorize now as metal. Check out a band called Seventh Void and you tell me.

I know what you mean about the grunge label. It became a trend around 1995-96 when bands were trying too hard to write inane sounding lyrics. It came off as pretentious and annoying.
It WAS quite annoying! At one point every band was trying to sound like Pearl Jam. A lot of mediocre music and farm goat vocals.

Do you think the unity proposed by Dee Snider can happen at some point?
That would be up to us bands. I personally like shows where all different types of bands come together, play gigs and respect each other. I've seen it happen inadvertently when promoters throw a mish-mosh of different bands together to fill up an event. When it happens due to bands wanting it: that is the unity Dee is talking about. I think it may be happening already but it just needs to happen even more.

Do you think internet radio will be instrumental in establishing more unity in metal?
Not unless the radio DJs are also open minded promoters willing to put together shows. Also there is the problem of bands playing their sets then packing up and leaving. I get it that in some cases, people have long drives and work weekends and whatever but I see it happen too often. Sometimes it's this competitive attitude bands have towards each other. A lot of things need to change before this "unity" can happen. ‎People need to care about a music scene in order to even have a music scene.

What speaks to you about horror in a way that is most personal to you? What horror movies do you find most iconic?
I was exposed to horror at an extremely young age. Probably at around four or five years old in the late 70s. My mother and older sister are horror junkies. I remember watching Night Of The Living Dead and Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. All though the 80s we watched whatever Chiller was showing and whatever was on Fright Night. Naturally Halloween became my favorite holiday and by the 90s when video stores became the thing I'd rent all the Fulci movies and whatever I could find good or bad. Horror is just a normal part of me now. My favorite thing has always been zombies. I just don't get tired of it. Of course by now it has been done to death with things like Resident Evil and The Walking Dead but I don't complain about it. It’s all up my alley and I don't mind it one bit.

Night Of The Living Dead was among the first horror movies I was exposed to when young, along with Nosferatu and the 1966 movie Queen Of Blood. The latter movie I saw on Chiller.
Queen Of Blood I don't recall. I may have seen it but just don't remember. I'll have to check it out. There were so many movies I watched on Chiller but the one that stands out to me was The Legend Of Boggy Creek. That was the one where two guys go out into the woods looking for Big Foot and basically get their asses handed to them. Another one would be Death Dream. It’s about a guy named Andy who gets killed in action in Viet Nam and come home as some kind of zombie/vampire and has to kill people and drink their blood in order not to become a rotting corpse.

There were a few video stores where I could rent independent and foreign horror movies, including Romero’s Living Dead series, Rabid, Cannibal Ferox and Fulci’s Zombie etc. Where and what movies were you able to rent in those days?
When video stores became the thing, one opened near me called Casa Video. This was way before Blockbuster came around. I was able to see movies that didn't get on T.V. or at least in their full uncut versions. All the foreign Italian and Spanish stuff and some really no budget American movies that are considered cult classics today. One foreign film that stuck out was from a German guy named Olaf Ittanbach called The Burning Moon. Many years later I went to Germany and actually got hang with him which was pretty awesome. I was on a quest for the ultimate zombie movie and I broke it down to three. First one is of course Dawn Of The Dead, Second one is Zombie (1979) and third is Nightmare City.

How extensive was the indie/foreign horror catalogue at Casa Video? Was it a local mom and pop store? RKO Video had a few stores where I discovered many favorites.
Casa Video had a really great horror section. I got to catch up on and discover a lot great horror movies. There were no RKO Video stores around me. When Blockbuster came around, all the smaller video places went out of business. Casa Video became Casa Furniture, haha.
Nightmare City was directed by Umberto Lenzi who directed the aforementioned Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly). Have you seen that or any of his other movies?
It seemed that a whole string of cannibal movies emerged starting with The Man From Deep River and so on. I've seen most of them but some of them have REAL animal torture in them which I'm not a fan of at all. I'm an animal lover with three cats and two dogs.

I’ve heard about the animal torture in some cannibal movies, and I don’t agree with that either. I heard cast members of Cannibal Holocaust had problems with that.
If someone thinks torturing animals for the sake of creating a film is art, then that person needs serious psychiatric help. ‎To me personally as an animal lover, it's equal as snuff.

Aside from the animal cruelty, what do you consider the appeal of cannibal cinema to be?
The appeal for cannibalism would be the fact that it's something that can and does actually happen in the real world. From a guy in the Amazon who has a bone in his nose and chewing on his dead wife's foot to a guy on bath salts chewing another guy's face right in our own back yards, it's a reality and it's quite scary.

Did you hear about the restaurant in Nigeria that was forcibly closed down for selling human meat to its customers?
I did not hear about that but I'm not all that surprised about it. I heard that somewhere and I think it may be in China, you can order soup with a human fetus in it.

If you saw The Green Inferno, how would you rate it alongside the classic cannibal movies?
I have not seen it yet. I hear the reviews aren't great but I usually have to judge for myself. AGAIN it's the hate first attitude with a lot of these critics. Today, everyone and their mothers are social media film directors, haha.

Rabid (1977) was an interesting vampire movie, since it portrayed vampirism as a kind of addiction, eighteen years before the 1995 independent film The Addiction.
I remember renting the original on video and my mother and sister actually watched it without me. I've never seen The Addiction.

Are there any other rare vampire movies you’ve seen worth recommending to horror fans?
There are so many. Anything except for Twilight, haha! But seriously, I like everything from old Hammer Films/Christopher Lee’s Dracula to 30 Days Of Night. There was one low budget film I saw called Strange Things Happen After Sun Down. It is a bit low budget as I said before but I actually enjoyed it and had a good laugh. Another vampire movie I remember that was actually really strange was called Aswang. Some crazy vampire was feeding off a pregnant woman's unborn fetus or something. Odd haha!

Do you think the zombie genre sustained a cult following since the 60s, for its commentary on society and human nature, and how do you account for its recent mainstream success?
Some would say that the whole zombie hype is living off what George Romero started. I guess there is some truth to that but everything that's popular today is comparable to something that was done previously. Before you had Star Wars, you had Star Trek. Before Star Trek you had Buck Rogers and so forth. As long as you have a fan base for something such as zombies, it can still be done over with fresh characters and story lines. As far as society and human nature, the actual definition of zombie is a person without a soul. I guess people can become zombies to anything whether it be drugs or staring at your cell phone.

What were your thoughts on the book and film versions of World War Z?
I have never read the book. It's to my understanding that the film has nothing to do with the book which I heard disappointed a lot of people. That may be why I like the movie. I had nothing to compare it to not reading the book. I hear a sequel is in the works and I look forward to it.

Getting back to your statement about people critiquing movies on social media, how much of it have you seen of late? How much of this feedback do you see as legitimate or just ranting?
‎I see a lot of it and I believe it's just a lot of ranting. Social media has just become such a platform for complaining. Lately I avoid rants about how much someone hates a movie much the same way I avoid political rants. I know people who will say a movie was terrible because there was no sex or nudity in it. It's all a matter of opinion and if you spend a lot of time on social media, you're going to have to read everyone's opinion. Just remember their opinion doesn't have to be your opinion even if it's not the popular opinion. I say enjoy what you personally like.

Does the horror industry have to deal with the same hardships the music industry has had to deal with?
In my short stint with acting and doing soundtrack for indie films, I saw some definite similarities with film and music. The same struggle of trying to do things for little or no money. Trying to get a film distributed is quite the same as packaging a CD and trying to get released by an independent label. People make little to no money back just the same. Even actors work for free hoping to at least get some IMDB credit, but it's not like that puts money in your pocket or food in your mouth either. Imagine being an actor AND a musician. I almost went that route but knew my place was really on stage with a band.

What independent films have you appeared in during your stint? Did you contribute to the soundtracks of the same movies?
I played a lot of small roles. No main characters really. My friend Manoush who is a film actress in Europe got my foot in the door as far as those things. I've played bouncers, thugs and things like that. The most notable things that come to mind are playing a guy named Jarvis in The Turnpike Killer which was directed by Brian Weaver and Evan Makrogiannis and I played a tourist that gets his head smashed in to the side of a wall then fed to zombies in a German film called Necronos Tower Of Doom filmed by Infernal Films. There are some others that I probably forgot about but you can easily search Chris Vazquez on IMDB and all that stuff comes up. Now for soundtracks, there is a bunch of stuff. I was in a band called Cyanide Savior with Manoush on vocals. We did a few songs for the Russian film director Andrey Iskanov. One song is called Dead Before Born and it’s featured on Philosophy Of A Knife. It’s sort of a documentary and reenactment of what happened with Unit 731 during WW2. The Japanese pretty much did what the Nazis did. All kinds of sick and twisted human experimentation. It’s just one of the most brutal movies I've ever seen and it’s about four hours long.

Was Cyanide Savior a full time band or did this band just exist to record soundtrack material?
Cyanide Savior was a studio only project with film actress Manoush on vocals and myself playing all the instruments and doing some vocals. We only did soundtracks and never performed live.

How long have you known Manoush? What other movies has she appeared in?
I've known Manoush a good ten years. She's been in at least sixty or more films. I think her best movies were called Barricade and The Super but there are so many of them. She's always filming something new.

Can any of the movies you have appeared in be purchased online? Did you ever consider acting as a career?
I think some of them might be available on Amazon and things like that. As for acting, I've been told I have a knack for it but I'm just not that interested in it. I do however enjoy being in music videos.

Are there any future projects you are planning that you would be inclined to hint at?
I do have some music already recorded and they just need vocal tracks put to them. They are more in the vein of what I did with Cyanide Savior. Heavy guitars and bass with a lot of synth sounds. Right now it's all on the back burner. I've got way too much going on with Demon Boy. I need to be focused on that. We have big things in the works which include going the England and recording the new album. I'll get to my other stuff in due time possibly in the winter when things tend to slow down with the band. I'll need something to do during blizzards, haha!

How soon do you expect to release your material for people to check out? Will it be coming out on CD or streamed on social media or both?
It's hard to say right now. I was just offered to play in another band just recently with some great musicians but I have to be smart about it. Juggling multiple projects is just not in the cards for me right now and I'm 100 percent committed to Demon Boy. Ideally for my solo material I would have wanted a full band but due to the work and financial aspect of things, it’s just not feasible now. I have to use industrial drum programming, synthesizers along with my guitar and bass playing. It really is a do it yourself kind of thing. Also I have to find a singer who is willing to sing my lyrics and just overall fit in with the vision I have. It's very time consuming for a guy with very little time. It will get done and when it does, I do plan on releasing it as both a cd as well digital downloads on different sites. You'll just have to be patient and stay tuned.


-Dave Wolff

Friday, August 26, 2016

Video Review: SODOM Caligula

SODOM
Caligula
From the 2016 full length Decision Day
I have been a Sodom fan since In The Sign Of Evil. They along with Tankard, Destruction and Kreator were the German equivalent of the American Big Four, helping shape German thrash metal for years to come. Admittedly upon first hearing their debut EP I thought they were just a noise band with no talent to speak of, but there was something about the chaotic songwriting I found appealing. Once they grew on me I was hooked and began anticipating new material, which turned out to be Obsessed By Cruelty. Many people in the underground thought it was complete crap, but I liked the ideas brought to it (particularly the lyrics) even if the recording and production were less than impressive. Fortunately Expurse Of Sodomy and Persecution Mania proved they could pull off professional studio jobs and produce quality thrash, and eventually they would be considered equal to their peers. The professionalism Tom Angelripper and his band painstakingly developed on underground classics to come such as Masquerade In Blood, Code Red, M16 and In War And Pieces is represented in the first song previewed from the new album Decision Day (which is being released on this day). The other aspect of Sodom’s signature sound that has remained to this day is Angelripper’s distorted bass and ‘gargling on vomit’ vocals you’ll remember from their aforementioned debut EP. Also his affinity for Motorhead, a long time inspiration. This is definitely not Persecution Mania all over again but their progression has resulted from pleasing themselves and their fans first, and as such you’ll find it honest if you’ve been a fan for an extended period. My only complaint here is that the chorus tends to being a little repetitive and the lyrics could use some improvement but these are minor complaints. The song is unmistakably Sodom, the subject matter fits their concept and the band show no signs of slowing down after all this time. Can’t wait to hear the entire album -Dave Wolff