Sunday, October 31, 2021

Demo Review: Public Enemy "Self titled" (Independent) by Devin Joseph Meaney

Band: Public Enemy
Location: St. John's, Newfoundland
Country: Canada
Genre: Punk, hardcore
Demo: Public Enemy
Format: Cassette
Label: Independent
Release date: 1986
Recently, my music interests have really shifted. I am known to listen to grindcore, goregrind, metal, punk, and all forms of underground harshness, but in the last few months I have been listening to a lot of hip-hop, dubstep, and 50s and 60s music…strange, eh? With that being said, I decided it was time for something with a bit of oomph and overdrive, so I loaded up Youtube to see what I could find. Almost instantly I came to Public Enemy, an underground punk-rock band from Newfoundland. In particular, I found their 1986 demo tape!
It says on the Youtube bio that the hip-hop group of the same name came out earlier, but did not release anything until 1987. Either way, I am very glad I have found this demo, as it has proven to be a nice little blast of lo-fidelity abrasiveness.
The first thing that I can say is that these guys really remind me of Tesco-Vee and the Meatmen. Which makes a lot of sense, as they were both active around the same time. On that topic, you should really check out Tesco as well if you have not heard of him. He is an absolute punk-rock legend…and his music highlights everything that was good and promising from that era. Anyway…back on the topic of Public Enemy.
Featuring eight shorts tracks in under 15 minutes, this demo manages to bang through an onslaught of audio carnage that would leave most main-stream listeners shaking their heads in disbelief. And the final track, a cover of “House of the Rising Sun”, is actually pretty catchy!
Much the same as a lot of punk demos I listen to, I find it hard to choose a favorite track. Each one is of pretty much the same quality…and there is not a single song I do not like. Tesco would be proud of these guys. And hey…maybe he has heard of them?
To put an end to this brief review, I will just suggest checking it out for yourself. And if you don’t like it…well, it’s under 15 minutes, right? Check this pile! –Devin Joseph Meaney

Track list:
1. Youth Crusaderz
2. What Cops Say
3. What's Love Do For Ya
4. No Escape
5. Guilty
6. Get Out
7. I Hate Your Life
8. House Of The Rising Sun

This review can also be read at Corban Skipwith's Facebook group Relentless Reviews with Corbz. -DW

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Full Length Review: Kandarivas "Blood Surgical Death" (Obliteration Records) by Corban Skipwith

Band: Kandarivas
Location: Chiyoda City
Country: Japan
Genre: Japanese tribal, Experimental grindcore
Format: Digital album, compact disc
Label: Obliteration Records (Japan)
Release date: May 21, 2021
You know what time it is, we are BACK with a Bandcamp review and this time we are visiting ‘The Land Of The Rising Son’ with
So, hear me out here. What goes through your head when you think of Japanese Metal? Have you dabbled in it before? For me even though the nature of my work has been exploring many different sounds and styles from around the world, I feel ‘Dabble’ is the perfect description for my knowledge of Japanese Metal.
I have listened to music from them in the past (before my reviews) and found an interesting 2 way style with them, with my limited experience I’ve found your either going to get the -Glossy, motivational, pumped up anime inspired music (which is DOPE by the way)
-Or absolutely insane, loud and abrasive and I feel this album fits more towards the latter.
We have 13 new tracks at our disposal and all featuring various time lengths from some that aren’t even 30 seconds long and some surpassing the 3 minute mark.
Regardless, this album is an interesting take on the realms of Death Metal and Grindcore with that talked above ‘loud and abrasive’ nature coming through in spades. Firstly I want to say I love the intensity of the project, it feels like a sonic equivalent of a dynamite explosion in your ears, constant bangs and booms of the guitar and drums shredding your consciousness away into nothingness while the vocal work is the closest thing to berserk I’ve heard all year.
That’s the interesting thing about this album is the fact that it’s labelled an ‘experimental’ album but quite honestly the only thing experimental about it (in my opinion) was the insane use of vocal performances and how off ball and crazy they were and even then the real climax of the craziness doesn’t come until the latter half of the record.
This criticism is not to take anything away from the power and brutality this record brings naturally to the table it’s just a personal observation as if the band wanted to tribute a band like ‘Hantarash’ in the final act of the record and if they were that’s a dope way to go about it!
Look, 13 tracks of pure, unadulterated madness. Who wouldn’t want to give this thing a try? In fact the link is down below, what are you waiting for? A Blood Surgical Death to happen?
LISTEN NOW! –Corban Skipwith

Tomoki: All songs and lyrics

Track list:
1. 暴露-bakuro
2. 加速する病勢-kasoku suru byosei
3. ナノの増殖ミクロの繁殖-nano no zoshoku micro no hanshoku
4. 滲み出て滴る-shimidete shitataru
5. 生と死の臭い-sei to shi no nioi
6. ぐちゃぐちゃの唄-gucha gucha no uta
7. 骨髄脆弱-kotsuzui zeijyaku
8. 骨破壊浸潤(顔を出す癌腫)-kotsuhakai shinjun(kao dasu ganshu
9. 断端瘻-dantanro
10. 僕の血痕-boku no kekkon
11. 薄れゆく記憶と脳の溝-usureyuku kioku to no no mizo
12. 静まる生命-shizumaru seimei
13. 死体袋 shitai bukuro

This review can also be read at Corban Skipwith's Facebook group Relentless Reviews with Corbz. -DW

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Interview with Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, Lori Bravo and Lori Bravo Raped by Dave Wolff part 1

Interview with Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, Lori Bravo and Lori Bravo Raped by Dave Wolff part 1

As the lead singer of the Arizona band Nuclear Death from 1986 to 2000, how do you feel about being called the first lady of death metal? Despite the fact that there were female singers in metal bands in the 1980s, they weren't as common as they are today. At the time, were you considering spearheading anything or just following your passion?
First of all, I’m actually the one who coined “the first lady of death metal”; I’ve been calling myself that. I’ve also been calling myself “the queen mother of death metal” for quite a while. I might be the reason I’ve been called that. I’m a writer and I tend to come up with pretty good taglines, words, phrases and whatnot. But even if I didn’t, I’m very proud of that fact. I’m blessed and pleased. There were no women in metal doing what I was doing and I didn’t want to do what they were doing. I didn’t want to do Doro Pesch or Bitch.
The only singer I related to was Wendy O. Williams because she was doing something unique, shocking, innovative and amazing; she just had the biggest clit ever. Nobody could touch her and still can’t. Intelligent, beautiful person. She was probably the only one I looked to when I heard about the Plasmatics in high school, that I would remotely consider feeling influenced by. I wasn’t influenced by women in metal; I thought they were absolutely boring and I wasn’t interested in what they were doing. I didn’t find it the kind of stuff I wanted to do; I found it lackluster and anti-cathartic. It just wasn’t my thing. I would buy records with women and be completely disappointed every time I put them on. With that said, I’ve come to appreciate some of the women like Doro Pesch. At the time I didn’t feel she was extreme enough for me to feel influenced by. To me she was just another metal singer who happened to be a woman. I didn’t want to be just another singer in a metal band; the kind of woman who said ‘I’m just one of the guys’ or ‘I’m just a singer; I’m not a girl.’ I didn’t feel like a male or a female; I felt like a singer and a musician. Women just bored me to tears. I liked Joan Jett, but she’s not metal. I tried to like Lita Ford; she’s a great guitar player but I thought her albums were boring as fuck. I didn’t find them interesting. And I didn’t know about the bands that would be around later.
The idea was to create a band with like-minded people and do something that hadn’t been done before, musically speaking. I wanted to be Miles Davis, I wanted to be an innovator and make music no one heard or thought of doing. And we did that. That for me was key. [guitarist] Phil Hampson and I eventually created it together because we were a couple. He became my guitar player and my boyfriend at the same time. We were big readers, we liked horror movies and soundtracks; it was just the perfect fit. Then we found [drummer] Joel Whitfield who was into everything we were into. I don’t know if he was as well read as we were, not that he didn’t read, but not as much as Phil and I.
We didn’t know what we were doing, but we specifically didn’t want to sound like everyone and we had to figure out a way not to. I was a woman but I wasn’t singing like a woman, if you want to say it like that. Most of the men were singing higher than I was. The idea was to do something different and make sure it stood out.
We were listening to Destruction, Slayer, Discharge, Septic Death, Raven and Iron Maiden… Mercyful Fate and Venom… those were two big influences, especially Mercyful Fate because they had a classical background like I did. I had hardcore/punk influence coming in; Joel and Phil didn’t bring it in because I had that already. I fell in love with Discharge and that was the end. I heard “See Nothing, Hear Nothing, Say Nothing” and I went even deeper, found the Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks… Black Flag was one of my favorites, early Black Flag and classic Black Flag with Henry Rollins. Fear and the Plasmatics. Wendy O. was tough and I wanted to have that persona of being able to front a band. She was taller than I was so I had to figure out how to Napoleonize myself, if you will, to become bigger than life. My voice was bigger than life; singing opera as a kid was a good thing. My personality was very abrasive, I’m very direct and in your face; I don’t take any shit. That helped because I’ve never been shy in my life.

It has been stated that Nuclear Death was not as well appreciated as other death metal bands due to their “left field” approach. Nonetheless, new fans are now discovering them. Was it frustrating to wait so long before you were recognized or did you figure it would happen eventually?
I was shocked when other death metal and metal bands were getting signed and flown to Europe, and [our label] Wild Rags Records never put us on tour. I put us on tour and paid for it; they didn’t pay for shit. When we went to Texas we were paying for it, and we never went to Europe. We didn’t really play that often, sadly, never did a proper tour. Luckily we did the Michigan Deathfest and we did Puerto Rico. That was a disaster. It was fun but I would hate to hear what the show sounded like. I can imagine how terrible we sounded with the horrific equipment we were using. It was kindly given to us by other bands but it wasn’t the same. Michigan Deathfest had a good sound, not that we could hear anything on the stage anyway.
It wasn’t so much that I wanted to be appreciated, I wanted to be respected. I’m really big about respect because I’ve been disrespected my whole life. That’s a big thing for me, to be respected… personally, anyway. I couldn’t understand after being the fat girl who could sing, forming my own band, finding a boyfriend, having all this happen, that we still weren’t respected, we were still completely disrespected and nobody would touch us. The good thing about that was I didn’t care what people thought about us, musically speaking, because I knew what we were doing was great. I put up with horrific abuse from Phil… I allowed him to be a sadistic fuck for the six years I was with him because the music was so great. I chose that over happiness and I would do it again because music for me is number one. I haven’t had a boyfriend in over twenty one years, not by choice. But if I meet someone they’re second to music, always. Music is everything to me, it’s always number one and always will be.
Being not appreciated, it was more about “what? People still have issues?” They weren’t respecting me. I was real skinny and I looked really good like I do now. But I starved myself to look good … I know I’m attractive because I come from attractive people. I’m happy with the way I look, not one of those “I wish I looked like blah blah blah” because I don’t. I figured that alone would be a draw, because sex sells. Phil and I had a long talk and he said I needed to lose weight because we wouldn’t be taken seriously with a fat girl singing. He didn’t put it exactly like that, but that’s basically what he was insinuating. I don’t think he expected me to go extreme the way I did, but “hey, why not? Eat very little, smoke a lot of cigarettes and drink a lot of coffee. In fact, all the beer we drank is probably why I stayed alive (laughs) because I never thought of calories coming from alcohol.
We were doing this amazing stuff, and Phil’s lyrics were amazing. Eventually I caught up and surpassed him, but they were fantastic. All those other bands didn’t have good lyrics. Flotsam and Jetsam? Please. Have you read their lyrics, really? They’re written by people at sixth grade level. Really ridiculous, stupid and dated. Nuclear Death wasn’t dated; you might think we were because of the sound. But I can tell you right now, the lyrics are not really dated. It’s not like suddenly the horror genre went away and nobody writes about taboo subjects and scary things. Of course they do, still. So we’re not dated and I think that’s a cool thing I didn’t expect. I didn’t know when we were writing these albums they were so far ahead of their time. I’m really thankful for the internet because that’s where everything changed. I’m thankful that a person eighteen years younger introduced me to computers and the internet, not to be afraid of them like they’re going to take me over and sing “Daisy” to me while I fall to a fiery death. My thing is just respect; now I have it tenfold and that’s really what I wanted. I’m already who I am and I can bank on that. Sometimes I forget that my name carries weight, and that Nuclear Death is a thing. The internet changed everything, and like you said there are younger people coming in and learning of me, their parents or uncle had an album, and that’s great. Every listener counts to me.
I famously said as a person that sells lots of merchandise, or tries to, that everybody’s a dollar sign. But I don’t look at people who listen to me like that. There are still people that listen and I have nothing but respect for them for taking the time to find out what Nuclear Death is all about. I really like that people into death metal and aggressive metal and extreme music can listen to [solo album] “Bare Bones” [2021], get something out of it and realize it’s just as extreme, if not more. Nuclear Death is stories that are not autobiographical, but my music is autobiographical. That’s powerful and extreme. I never stopped making extreme music. Someone just asked me the other day, when did I stop making extreme music? I said I’ve got a new album out; I never stopped making extreme music. “Bare Bones” is as extreme as you can get. Listen to it and read the lyrics. How much more extreme can you get? I went through absolute hell with that record (laughs).
The frustration came from people making money off me and I wasn’t making any money. But they weren’t doing it nefariously. I was very ill, I was a drug addict for years. A little bit past the 2000s maybe, like 2003 or 2004. I became a hardcore heroin addict. Not shooting up, but I smoked it. You can die that way too, by the way. Then I was a speed freak; I always liked meth because you can always go up when you’re done going down. I was tired of being down and I was never creative on heroin. I wrote the whole of [Nuclear Death 1996 album] “The Planet Cachexial” on meth. “Birthing of Slumberblood” anyway. Not that it made me creative, but if you stay up and you have a brain like mine…
The thing with me was not so much being recognized, but how can people make money off me and I can’t? I’m sitting here broke and on food stamps’ I’m still on food stamps by the way. People in the last couple of years have reached out and are really trying to help me. Odin Thompson of Moribund Records (USA) just put out [album] “Harmony Drinks of Me” which has never been officially put out. You can only get it from me. I still have the OG version but he’s got the new deluxe versions out now. [Showing me album cover]. This is what recognition looks like. Someone really awesome comes and wants to put your entire catalogue out again. And he’s not the only one. I license t-shirts, Georgios from Floga Records [Greece] re-released things, Ted Tringo from The Crypt [USA] was the first to do it with the box set. That’s when I started realizing that I was important, and that the music was important again. I always felt it was important, [Earlier] I had divorced myself from the whole thing; I didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. I just felt it was a legacy I didn’t want to be part of anymore because I felt nobody cared. I wanted to distance myself as a musician and a singer. I am a singer and I wanted to make sure people knew I could actually sing.

Death metal has been thought of as narrow-minded and not requiring artistic talent, yet Nuclear Death were incredibly inventive in their songwriting and you personally hold Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Tori Amos in high regard. Is there anything you would say to someone who doesn't expect that?
I would say fuck you. In any genre creativity is key because without it you wouldn’t have anything. How did the Rolling Stones get there when they’ve only played two to four chords their whole lives? What else is there that makes it interesting if they can still be playing and people still go and see them? And they put out millions of albums with only four chords, maybe five? Why? It’s the creative element. If you’re thinking of Western music, there are only so many chords and progressions. It’s up to you to take those and make them what you will, and that’s what makes it interesting.
I listen to the fabulous New Orleans radio station WTUL and WWOZ which is a fabulous jazz station in New Orleans… I listen to that more than people’s records, honestly. Mike 5ive is a really cool DJ; he does hip hop and he kicks ass. He’s a really cool dude. Here [in New Orleans] you get supported as an artist; that’s one of the reasons I moved here.
I think even the death metal bands I never found interesting, I find them creative. They made songs; I just didn’t like them and found them lackluster or boring… same shit, different day. I wouldn’t say it’s because of their being narrow minded or lacking artistic talent. Artistic talent exists in many forms. I’ve learned this even more over the years listening to so many different musicians and artists. WTUL; you don’t know what you’re going to get with that radio station. That’s what I like. I’ll be there on Spotify, I can follow them on Twatter [Twitter] and see what their playlist is. I get my head cracked open by all these artists that are new to me. Some of it can be a chord, one note or a droning whirr and be the most interesting thing in the world. Death metal is heavy use of vocals with growling and screaming. I think people dismiss it as not artistic, it’s not really real or highly exalted. But fuck that.
There’s a show on WWOZ called Transatlantic With Logan. He’ll pick a time in say 1996 and play the music that was popular… mostly hip hop wise, Cuban and African music. He’ll play what was popular in Cuba, Kenya and here [USA]. You’ll hear African drums and growling that sounds like the person was possessed. In some Jamaican music, some reggae, you’ll almost hear death metal vocals sometimes.
It takes something to sit down and write something. Even if I don’t like the music the person writes. They sat down, or maybe they stood up, or maybe he was drunk. They were thinking and decided to write something, and you have to give them credit for that. No matter what kind of music it is, you are using creativity. I hate U2, they’re one of my most hated bands. I don’t understand why anybody thinks they’re great. I know they’re talented and creative but I fuckin’ hate them. (laughs). I just find them (snores). But I’m sure there are people who find Nuclear Death boring too, or me, whatever.
I would say just listen to my voice while I’m singing. You probably can’t hear Amy and Tori because they’re newer influences from the 90s. But Janis Joplin was the reason I realized I can be a rock singer. I saw Woodstock on TV when there was one TV in the house, I couldn’t sleep and there was Channel 45 on UHF. It was the first time I ever saw the movie. They were halfway through… {Joplin] obviously didn’t play Woodstock, she played Monterey. But I did see Jimi Hendrix and he’s the reason I play guitar. Not too long after that, they played Monterey Pop Festival and I got to see Janis Joplin sing “Ball and Chain” and that was it. What she was singing was blues, not rock. This was before you could go on the internet look her shit up and see everything she’s ever done on Youtube. How do I find out more about this person? I knew her songs “Piece of my Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee:” from the radio. Those are the only ones I ever heard. I had no idea about Big Brother and the Holding Company or any of that stuff, or anything about where she was from. She was from Fort Worth, Texas and a blues singer. I don’t think Any Winehouse gets enough credit for being a great jazz singer. Any Winehouse is one of the greatest jazz singers that ever lived. Janis is one of the greatest blues singers that ever lived. I think it’s really sad that they were never put in that highly exalted area. They should be. Amy wrote her own music and lyrics, she was a fuckin’ genius.
And Tori Amos… I was dating a guy that turned me on to Tori Amos. He gave me “Boys for Pele”, my favorite Tori album to this day. The very first moments changed my life forever. I started reading her interviews online, and it gave me such power as a woman. She’s always been a feminist; her music is very directed towards women and speaking for women and I think that’s really cool. Amy Winehouse is a feminist but she also really wanted her man to be stronger than her, she wanted to eventually be a mom which sadly didn’t happen. Janis in the early days wanted to fit in with the guys so they would take her seriously, then she became a rock star and sex symbol. Two of the three people you mentioned are no longer with us in untimely ways due to substance abuse. But Tori… I didn’t even read these questions yet and earlier I was watching a Tori Amos performance, “Live from the Studio”, David Byrne from Talking Heads is the co-host. It’s kickass.
When I was interviewed by my friend Terminus [Extreme Metal Podcast] he thought I was influenced by the dude from Dark Angel or Death Angel, I was like “What? Fuck no.” Those people were way after me. For Nuclear Death, I had to figure it out on my own. I had to figure out how to make a voice happen that would be extreme, and be able to stand up to the guys I was trying to stand up to, musically speaking. Most of the lyrics were Phil’s work, he was writing stories and I was acting in them. I had to be whoever I was, whether an observer or a narrator. Am I a man? Am I a woman? Am I a monster? What am I? Phil used a lot of “I”… “and the dog, we make love”… “and my scales, they tend to itch”… “my eyes sometimes liquefy, so at times it’s hard to see” [“Stygian Tranquility” from “Bride of Insect” (1990)]. What’s that about? How am I going to portray this? And that voice is how I portrayed it.
I would just say that anyone making music is not narrow minded, even if I don’t like what they’re making: “this is the shittiest shit I ever heard”. And I’m not talking about manufactured pop stars with five or six people writing their songs. I’m talking about a person sitting there with their instrument and making up a song. I have to respect that because writing songs is not easy. There have been songs that came to me and I wrote them all the way through. That’s very magical. There are other songs I have to work very hard on to get them to do what I want them to do. I don’t think songwriting is easy at all. I’m really good at it but I don’t think it’s easy. Because it’s so personal, maybe that’s also why it’s not easy. It’s so hard for me to listen to my own album. I have to try to remove myself from the emotion of it. It’s so overwhelming it makes me want to die and throw up.

When it comes to vocal fry and melodic vocals, do you use any particular technique? I am reminded of Diamanda Galas when listening to you; is she an influence in any way?
No, because I didn’t know who she was. I was introduced to Diamanda during the Nuclear Death era when Joel was in the band. Somebody from Greece sent a tape of “Wild Women with Steak Knives” to me. And “The Litanies of Satan”, I think. I was just like “wow”. This was by snail mail so I couldn’t click on the internet. But I wasn’t influenced by her because I was already doing that. All those voices on “The Planet Cachexial”, I already had those voices when I was a kid. My dad was the music dude, he was probably where I got my musical ways from. He wasn’t a singer, he was a trumpet player. But he used to read to me when I was a kid, and he would do voices for all the people.
I learned to do all that because I have a good ear and I can pick up language and sound quite quickly. Those voices on “The Planet Cachexial” which kind of reminded me of Diamanda, I didn’t even know what I was making those up for yet. They would eventually work their way into the album because I was becoming creatures and I needed the creatures to have tones and tonalities and whatnot. I didn’t want them to speak in English to tell the story. She was an influence since then, as far as what an amazing performer she is. This woman is a classical genius. Nobody is like her, she is completely her own Diamanda. Though she didn’t influence me back in the day I absolutely love her.
Melodic vocals… I was a kid that would listen to the radio and sing along with every single song. I could be hearing Julie London and next I could hear the Doors and next I could hear Donny Osmond and next thing I know I could hear Loretta Lynn. Whatever was on the radio, I’d sing it. My voice wasn’t completely developed yet… that’s how I learned to play guitar. I’d sing the chord and play it. I don’t read music but I understand what chords I’m doing. I don’t know music theory but I’ve learned technique over the years from just being a singer.
But I had eight months off last year with “Songs of Silent Reflux” [2021] to have my burned vocal cords healed because acid had been coming up for twenty five years and nobody knew it. I didn’t sing for eight months, That’s why it took me so long to put the record out. I had one more song, “Diamond Heart”, to do. I had to stop. The doctors said they were burned and needed to rest, so I didn’t sing. When they were fine I stopped taking the medication and started singing again. First I did the “Songs of Silent Reflux” recordings. I wanted to redevelop so I can do lower, quieter registers as you can see on “This Mouse”, “The Fluttering” and “Barium Dreams”. Those were done as I was transitioning back into singing. Then I decided to listen to the best singers I could think of and start singing with them. I usually sing with other people to get different tonalities. I picked Amy Winehouse because I hadn’t heard her music in a while. I just went deep into Amy and sang with her every day I walked twice a day. I was singing with her for an hour a day. Also Beth Gibbons of Portishead, which is funny because these people sing higher than I do, their registers are different. Those are the two singers I went back and forth between.
I don’t really know if I would say it’s a technique; it’s just that I know how to sing. It’s just what I was born with; I was really lucky. It’s the one thing I don’t have to work at. It just happens which is lucky because everything in my life is rough including playing guitar. It’s still something I have to work on, rehearse and practice to make sure I don’t suck. It just happens and I’m so thankful for that.

By the end of the band's career, Nuclear Death veered away from extreme metal and towards experimental ambient sounds, synth-jazz, and melodic operatic vocals. Tell us why the change was made, and how long-time fans reacted to it?
When I met Steve he talked me into becoming a studio band. “The Planet Cachexial” came out and nobody bought it because we had no label and no distributor. We made all these CDs and we would go to put them in stores ourselves around town. We made a trek to California to put them in stores; obviously nothing happened. We had a little card put in so you could let us know you bought the CD and I would send you the Slumberblood book for shipping only, which was crazy because it was so expensive to make. I didn’t know what I was thinking. Nobody ever bought it anyway; I think one person did.
We made “The Planet Cachexial” and he just got disillusioned, honestly. The Beatles anthology had just come out, there were three or four days of documentaries and the album with the new song “Free as a Bird” with John Lennon’s vocals. Steve decided no one cared if we played out. We couldn’t get a gig to save our lives in [ND’s first home state] Arizona. I lost touch with anyone I could even contact to know to do anything. So he said let’s just make music and put albums out. He was just beginning to teach himself audio engineering with an 8-track. So we built a studio in our bedroom. We also moved once and built a studio in that bedroom. We didn’t record the albums there, but we recorded the rehearsals there.
No fans reacted to it because there were no fans to react to anything. Same with “Harmony Drinks of Me” [2000]. That’s why Odin wanted to go backwards and put “Harmony” out first because nobody even knows it exists. And it’s the last album. It was a big deal for me, because it was about telling people I was done with Nuclear Death and giving them a taste of what’s to come. Ninety percent of it was written by me from start to finish. I’m not saying Steve didn’t write songs, because he wrote and composed “Shoot” on his own, he plays on all the songs and he produced it. But I wrote the lyrics and music to these wonderful songs. They’re very personal but they’re metaphorical. I wasn’t ready to be honest yet because I was still in a relationship with him. This was also a break-up album. “Eyes Closed (The Sin)” was me breaking up with him. I would fantasize about Marilyn Manson (laughs); I had just gotten into Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails when I was writing the album. I was fantasizing about Marilyn Manson when we were having sex because I didn’t even want him to touch me. Steve was still into drugs at that time. I stopped doing drugs, I cleaned up and was doing tae bo and working out. I was over the meth bullshit, I thought this is so boring, I’m tired of it.
Electric Spaceboy” was about my first orgasm which I gave myself when I was fifteen. I was fantasizing about Ziggy Stardust and listening to “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” in my room. I didn’t know what I was doing so it’s kind of funny. This song is about being with someone you don’t want to have sex with, so you’re fantasizing about someone else. “Sunless” is self-explanatory; I hate the sun. I came from Arizona but I hate living there and I don’t like sun. I know it’s good for us and we need it because we’re mammals, but I’m just saying I don’t like sun. “The Baths” is because my mom used to wash my hair in the tub, she’d lean my head down by the drain. It used to scare me and I thought my head was going to go down the drain. “Strident” is about being in love with death, which I am. I’m very obsessed with death, and the idea of death has been a big part of my life for my whole life, which is weird because it wasn’t like I had some kind of death experience when I was a kid or anything. It just is what it is. “Shoot” is Steve’s instrumental and it’s him being a really awesome composer. “Haunted Man-Nimbus” is about my grandfather.
I know you didn’t ask me about that, but the reason I’m bringing it up is because I was changing, I’m me and this is my band. If you listen to “Harmony” it’s extreme. It doesn’t need to be loud and fast to be extreme. Just like my new album is extreme. I think my new album is more extreme than anything Nuclear Death ever did. It’s fucking insane. “Harmony” is extreme in its own way. It’s a very sad album as well. I mean, it doesn’t sound sad, but it was sad making it because I knew…
The neat thing about it is creative control. It’s a big piece, but I created the front and back covers with the dead animals and Steve and I’s hand prints. We did the hand prints in blood. We used my menstrual blood because there was plenty of it. I used cups so I could paint with it. The message was like, “here’s our blood, we’re giving it to you.” It was kind of a tip back to [album] “…For Our Dead…” [1992]. A friend at the time did the layout; he was a young kid with a computer who knows all the graphics, and we were able to have him do it. Which was a lot cheaper than having a place do it. At the time it was really expensive to make. It’s the most expensive Nuclear Death album made. [shows inner cover] This is more blood; this is another painting I did and this is all my blood here. [shows another section] This, at the time I was reading a lot of poetry: Jim Morrison, Patti Smith but also old poets: William Blake, William S. Burroughs, Ezra Pound, Sappho, Arthur Rimbaud, one of my favorites. As art director, I wanted us to look more like an intellectual type of thing. I had Steve dress in a velvet jacket and he put his hair back, old school with a ponytail. He got a quill pen with the wine in front of our bookcase. I had my witch robe, I had cuts on my legs and have my witch gear here, my ritual stuff… I am a practicing witch. This is in our house.
Steve gave me complete creative control, I was trying to be more intellectual. To me “Harmony” was a more intellectual album, it was more cerebral. [shows inside of CD case] That’s our dearly departed cat; she wasn’t dearly departed then but she died of a heart attack the week I moved to L.A. It was really horrible. Cat’s Meow Records is named after her. [shows the re-released CD] This is Moribund Records’ version that just came out. It’s deluxe, it’s all been re-done and it’s beautiful. They did a fantastic job on it. It’s got the bar code and all the cool shit now. I’m very happy about that.
As an artist I never wanted to make the same record, and I won’t. If you listen to every Nuclear Death album, none of them are the same. There’s a reason for that. And if you listen to my albums on Bandcamp, nothing sounds the same. That’s the whole point. I cannot do that. I won’t do it. I always have to be pushing forward and finding new experiences. Believe me, the new music I’m working on, let’s put it this way: it’s not acoustic anymore. You’ll see.
To go back to the other question, there were no fans. We didn’t have anybody. If we did, we didn’t know it because there was no way to get a hold of anybody. Nobody gave a fuck or reacted to anything. Odin was like, “you got this album that nobody knows about”. Same thing with Terminus when I did his podcast: “nobody knows you have that other album. They think the last Nuclear Death album is ‘All Creatures Great and Eaten’ [1992]”.

You still handle all Nuclear Death material on streaming sites like Bandcamp. Do you plan to re-release any of your past albums or will you continue to stream them?
The albums are being released by Odin Thompson of Moribund Records; this label is from Washington state [USA]. He’s going to re-release the entire Nuclear Death catalogue from back to front. That’s why he released the last album first. He’s a badass, he’s an old Viking and he gets his shit. I signed a contract with him and he handles Nuclear Death. Then there’s Dead Ascension out of Texas; my friend Chris is signing me as a solo artist and he will be handling my Lori Bravo work. Everything’s being released again; if you want links they should be on my Nuclear Death page on Facebook because he sent me all that. He just put out some promos of songs like “Eyes Closed (The Sin)” which you can hear while it says it’s coming soon.
And I’m still streaming on Bandcamp. That was Terminus’ idea; he talked me into it. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to put it out streaming; it takes forever and I don’t have time. He said he could do it and that’s how it happened. That’s why it coincided with the Terminus interview because we wanted to jumble them together and make a package deal. I don’t know about Spotify but I do know we’ll be on Apple Music with Moribund Records. Of course, “Bare Bones” is all over everything, thanks to me paying for putting it on all those platforms.
When I left Phil, I retained the rights to everything. Steve didn’t really want the rights which is weird because he played in Nuclear Death longer than anyone except for me. I’m really glad I was able to retain the rights for everything. Finally I’m getting some capital from it. The important thing to me is I’m making money off my work which is good. That’s helping me with my solo work. I’m putting money away from Bandcamp every time I get paid. Terminus called it my pension, and he’s right. I get disability; my merchandising is the only other way I make money. Or if I’m going to play live, which I’m gearing to do. I will also be doing some live performances online soon. I’ll probably do them and post them. Or they might be streamed; I don’t know yet. I haven’t performed live for a very long time. The first thing I want to do is figure out what songs on “Bare Bones” will work as a live performance. I’m also reimagining things because it’s been a while since I recorded and I’m a better singer than I was when I did the record (laughs). The songs will have a bigger body overall. Maybe a couple covers thrown in too, we’ll see. I have to create a set so when I go out in New Orleans I can sit and play. I’m just going to use my acoustic/electric. It would be great to play with my electric too but it’s not really good to walk around New Orleans at night by yourself with a guitar, at all, especially when you’re a woman. Better to take a lift, do your gig and come back (laughs).

How soon did you decide to pursue a solo career after Nuclear Death ended? Did you anticipate reaching old Nuclear Death fans, extending your audience, or both?
I decided during the making of “Harmony Drinks of Me”. I was leaving Steve first of all. I had this friend of mine who was eighteen years younger than me; I moved in with him and his parents of all things. He was my first gay friend and introduced me to that scene. He was creative and coaxed me into playing all these places like the Willow House. I played this club that was a cyber café. I’d go there with my guitar and just play. It was really freeing because I hadn’t done that ever. I hadn’t played live in so long it was an epiphany; “I don’t need anyone else”. I bought a keyboard, he had a really good ear from playing on a keyboard for years. I had him play behind me. He had a friend from high school that played guitar with me. I never had a drummer at that time. I had different monikers.
After that I was raped, then I got back into punk and saw the Distillers, and I added that flavor, Then I met a drummer, a woman named Jessie through my friend. She introduced me to the Riot Grrl movement and female musicians like Hole, Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill, the Gits 7 Year Bitch, L7… That kind of filtered in and I started writing more rock and female oriented songs about women, about me. That’s when I started realizing I’m a woman. In Nuclear Death I was wiped of that completely. I was wiped of being female. I had to be one of the guys because that was the only way it was going to go. I didn’t really feel female. I had lost my sexuality because I wasn’t in love with Steve anymore and I certainly didn’t want to have sex with him anymore. I got really cold and standoffish. I was raped in a three month period. Once by a person I didn’t know and once by someone I did. Then I changed my band name to Raped; “how come no one had used this name yet? I better use it”. So I did.
Jessie is a master musician who works in New York City as a jazz drummer, Dear friend of mine, my best friend. I’ve known her for twenty seven years now. We decided to get together and play; that was Raped. My friend said “your name carries weight; you should add your name to it”. And I thought, “Lori Bravo Raped: News at 11”. So I started calling myself Lori Bravo Raped and went under that for many years. I dropped it in 2017 and decided to go under Lori Bravo. That itself is just enough.
I honestly didn’t know there were any Nuclear Death fans, until my friend Mr. Internet said “did you know Nuclear Death has a Myspace?” I was like, “what?” “You know, this fan thing.” “Huh?” Then Ted Tringo contacted me and sent me all these box sets I didn’t want anything to do with. “What am I supposed to do with this shit?” Didn’t people already buy them? I didn’t know what to do with them. We tried to sell them back. Eventually my dearly departed friend Brian Patterson who recently died of Covid, he was the one who made my official Nuclear Death page and said “you can make money merchandising. You need to get your head back in it.”
I always wanted to be in a band. But after I was in a band I didn’t want to be in a band anymore. Now that I recorded on my own, I really like working on my own. I like having that control. I know lots of people collaborate and people are always saying “hey, she would collaborate”. I don’t know where I could find the time to do anything. I will do things sometimes but it seems I don’t have enough time for myself let alone collaborating. I’ve become a very insular person, and I kind of like being antisocial a little bit. I can be my own best friend and just kind of be. There’s just so much I have to say. There were so many years I wasn’t allowed to say what I wanted to say because of the people I was with. So I have a lot to say. After this hurricane, that’s just adding a whole new layer.
I didn’t know I was going to be a solo artist. It wasn’t like I was thinking about being a solo artist. I thought I was going to create and have a band and instead I ended up being a solo artist. Even when I had a band it was just Jessie on drums and I. People thought “you need a bass player” and I didn’t need a bass player. I saw Joni Mitchell playing with a drummer and I thought “she doesn’t have a bass player”. I just hate that. “You need this”… no. I had people tell me for my new album I need drums; I don’t. If I wanted drums on “Bare Bones” I could have contacted Jessie. I don’t know how many drummers would have loved to play on this record, but I didn’t want them to because I wanted it to just be me.
I never thought Nuclear Death fans would like it; are you kidding me? A death metal fan’s going to tell me he cried because he listened to “Lay You Down In The Soil”? Wow. Blow my mind. I have learned over the years and through my friend Terminus who’s in his thirties that nowadays death metal is not as “cliqued”. People listen to everything. It’s a lot easier to reach people who like death metal. Maybe they like the Backstreet Boys. I don’t fucking know. Chino from Deftones did a country album… It’s not a clique anymore, not so regimented or segregated. Which is good because I hated the segregation in the metal scene in the 80s; I thought it was really stupid. The skaters are here, the hardcore punks are here and the metalheads are here and those goth people need to leave and blah blah blah. What? It’s all music and art. I’m like an old hippie like that (laughs).

Tell us about your solo recordings and how they developed from the material composed by Nuclear Death. How has your lyrical writing changed and grown with your music?
It got more personal, obviously. Most of the Nuclear Death lyrics were Phil’s vision, not mine. I did write lyrics after I took over, but again I was writing for Nuclear Death in that I was writing stories. It wasn’t until “Harmony” I started delving into my own psyche. I’d been a writer my whole life, I have always written poetry and my own songs before Nuclear Death. What happened was once I took over Nuclear Death, “Harmony” was metaphorical but personal. Once I dissolved Nuclear Death I wanted to be more autobiographical.
My favorite poets and writers write autobiographically. Not everyone does. One of my favorite musicians, writers and artists is P.J. Harvey who usually does not write from personal experience. That said, I need to; it’s therapy for me. How did my lyrics change? First of all, I got to be a better writer. I’d been reading many poets at that time. I was reading a lot of musicians’ lyrics. The more I listen to things, the better writer I am. I have books of poetry I’d like to publish. I brought them with me to New Orleans. At one point my parents bought me a Brother electric typewriter. I got parchment paper and I typed all the poetry I’d ever written. I had planned on publishing it. Things happen, but there are many, many, many things I have written. They’re not songs obviously because poetry does not work as lyrics and lyrics do not work as poetry.
They also became more feminine because I took back my femininity. As I’ve stated I had to completely wipe myself of my femininity to be taken seriously as an artist in Nuclear Death. Almost changing my name… at one point I was going by Baby Freak Eddie (Eddie Van Halen). When I was trying out for bands I used to say my name was Eddie and tried to make my voice sound low, deeper so people would think I was a guy. Nobody wanted a girl… I’ve always had a toss-up between male energy and a female energy within myself anyway. Now that I’m skinny and have the body of my dreams, I look like a twelve year old boy, but I want to look like a woman. I’m very in touch with my male side, my masculine side.
I basically had to be masculine in a way with Nuclear Death. I would have liked to add more sexuality to Nuclear Death; the raw sexuality would be pouring out of me where someone would recognize that. But I wasn’t trying to be sexy; I wasn’t allowed to be anyway because Phil definitely didn’t want me to. Even though he said sex sells he wouldn’t want me up there trying to be sexy, although to me it’s extremely sexy to watch a woman scream her head off and play an instrument anyway, no matter what kind of music she’s playing. But I didn’t know all that back then.

Interview with Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, Lori Bravo and Lori Bravo Raped by Dave Wolff part 2

Interview with Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, Lori Bravo and Lori Bravo Raped by Dave Wolff part 2

My lyrics basically became more sexualized. When I formed Raped out of Nuclear Death with Jessie and that started happening, I was writing from personal experience. I wrote “Deadly Beauty” about being raped by this gorgeous guy at a club. I also wrote “Sexless” about the dude I knew and his girlfriend; he date raped me while I was passed out drunk in his house. I just started writing about my experiences. I was listening to a lot of Hole, Babes in Toyland and Bikini Kill. Hole and Babes in Toyland were the big ones. And Nirvana. I was really trying to get in touch with that other side of me that I was hiding, which was my sexuality and being open about being a woman. Maybe even singing to women. I’d never done that. Tori Amos has always sung to women, Kathleen Hanna has always sung to women. I never thought of singing to women. Mainly I sing to myself.
With Nuclear Death I never thought of singing to women or men. Nuclear Death was acting but with my solo work it’s not acting; I’m telling you the truth about what’s going on. And as I became a better writer, I told more of the truth. And there are some stories like “Desolation Springs”; I was listening to a lot of Patti Smith at the time, I got inspired and that song wasn’t very autobiographical. But there are a lot of autobiographical shit. [Album] “I’d Marry the Devil” is autobiographical, about me being in love with my gay friend basically. Which is weird because we’re eighteen years apart but we have a love of mind. I didn’t know that was normal and neither did he; we didn’t know that it was normal for a straight woman to fall in love with a gay friend. On “I’d Marry the Devil” he even plays the devil on the album cover; I had him dress up as the devil. I wanted him to look like a version of the devil at the Crossroads; the devil in a white suit who hands me a guitar and I became a virtuoso.
I got in touch with my other side which is all about the devil [shows me tattoos on both forearms]. These are in honor of my father because he had a devil and a snake, he also had the flag of Mexico which I’m getting for Christmas this year here in New Orleans. My dad had an obsession with the devil and so do I. It wasn’t like he was a Satanist; he just had an obsession with the devil: devil faces and devil heads, devilish things. I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the Crossroads. Even though it’s supposed to be Robert Johnson it’s actually Skip James. They just nicked his story and gave it to Robert Johnson because he was more famous and they were trying to sell records. Regardless, it’s a story where you sell your soul. To feminize that, one of the themes of Lori Bravo is the Crossroads. I feminize it; because I’m a woman he’d ask me to marry him. If I married him which would be basically giving up my soul and he gives me everything. My idea was feminizing the person at the Crossroads.
“Bare Bones” is the best music I’ve ever written in my opinion, and the best lyrics I’ve ever written in my life. That and “Songs of Silent Reflux” were written in my studio. The kind of lyricist I am now and the way I want to challenge myself lyrically, vocally, musically and production wise, the way I want things to sound, the kind of feel I want… all that comes with experience. My main thing is to be truthful to myself because this is my therapy, this is how I get up in the morning and don’t want to shoot myself in the head. This is why I don’t want to jump off a bridge into the Mississippi River; this is how I do it. Knowing I have something to say as an artist, it helps me get through things. I went through years of therapy, I went through hundreds of therapists and it never really helped. They always want to throw medication, I’ve already been through medication and I’m over medication. It eventually stopped me from being able to write.
The lyrics became more personal and I took back my femininity. I took back being a woman and celebrating it. That’s one of the many reasons Steve and I broke up because he couldn’t handle it. I suddenly become empowered. He used to say he was a feminist and would call me Yoko. He was born in October; he’s a Libra. He had that thing in common with John Lennon, he was always “you’re my Yoko” and “you’re my artist”. I have Asian in my family. We just had this whole thing, the John and Yoko of Arizona. As soon as I became empowered again he didn’t want anything to do with it. All of a sudden he was like “who are you?” I’m supposed to be hanging around with him, he works all day and then he comes back and I’m supposed to be the little housewife. We weren’t doing anything artistically anymore. We had finished “Harmony” and I had more to say. He didn’t seem interested in it anymore.
If you’re not a writer, you don’t understand writers. If you’re not a songwriter, you don’t understand songwriters. And that’s the thing, he’s tried to write songs but he’s not a writer. I’m a writer, first and foremost. I’m a singer; it’s my gift, I’m a writer, I’m a musician, I’ve always been a writer, so when people don’t understand what a songwriter is… it’s a different kind of thought process. He just didn’t get it that it’s something I have to do. I can’t stop doing it because he doesn’t want to play or whatever the fuck his problem was. I just think he got bored with the whole thing. He also didn’t like the fact that I was feminizing my lyrics. He liked the songs on “Harmony” but after that the things I was writing afterwards, he probably couldn’t relate to it. Even though he called himself a feminist he really wasn’t. He also became controlling and oppressive just like Phil. Same shit, just jealous and mad because I’m a better writer, no idea. The idea was to be with musicians that challenged me. That’s why I was with the people I was with. And when they don’t challenge me anymore, I’m gone.
The only song on “Bare Bones” that isn’t about me is “Suicide and Fentanyl”, and that’s about my view of the world and what I see. That’s my protest song. That’s my 'fuck you' to political bullshit in this world. All the other songs are all about me in some way, shape or form, or something I’ve been through.

Since your own material is much more personal, do you see more of your listeners relating to it on that level? How cathartic is it to convey these thoughts in song?
It’s very cathartic. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of having a conversation with people, a deep conversation where we talk about how songs make them feel. Some people tell me why they like a song, and it’s always a song I don’t expect them to like. That’s the other thing. I always figure they’re probably going to like blah blah and they like blah blah. So I just never know. I always think somebody’s favorite song is going to be something that’s a completely different song on the album. I find that interesting.
In a way I didn’t write “Bare Bones” to help anybody but myself. I wrote it for me. But if it helps other people, if people can listen to any of the songs and get anything out of them that may help them out, make them feel half better or whatever they need to feel the time they’re listening to the record (it’s ninety minutes long), then good for them. I want to make people feel something, even if they can feel “I hate this”. That’s still a feeling. I hope they don’t hate it, but if they do, oh well. It’s a feeling. What I don’t want people to feel is bored. I didn’t write them to not be boring or be boring. I don’t think any of the songs are boring. I don’t see how they can be boring but the kiss of death to me is ordinary or boring. My songs have never been ordinary or boring. I’m lucky that way. At least to me they’re not. It’s not Puddle Of Mudd or Nickleback. Two bands I really can’t stand.
For me the catharsis is the act of finally being done and accepting that this is the recording. I did not work long and I don’t know if I’ve said this but I didn’t mix it at all. I let Apple mix it. I’d go back and listen to it just to make sure but I really didn’t do anything because there was nothing to mix. I like to record where it’s already ready. If I was working with this big producer and he wanted to do all this fancy mixing and production, well, fine. But I was working on my own and as far as I’m concerned “Bare Bones” just needed to be the way it was.
When somebody tell me they were breaking down crying listening to “Lay You Down in the Soil”. I’m like “wow, good”. It’s a sad song and it should make you break down in tears. It’s horrible. I can barely sing it without crying and I know my mom cries every time she hears it. Every song to me conveys an extreme emotion. There’s nothing on there that isn’t extreme. That’s why I’ve said “Bare Bones” is very extreme music in many, many ways. What I find most interesting (and I’m happy it’s like this) is that people who like Nuclear Death, death metal and heavier music seem to understand and like this too. I’m not getting those messages “I wish she would play like Nuclear Death again”, thank goodness. If I end up doing anything like that, sure, but then it would go under the guise of Nuclear Death again. It wouldn’t be Lori Bravo, it would be me doing “that”.
I’ve talked about it with some people, doing something down the road. But it would be with other musicians because I will never work with any of those people again. Phil or Joel, definitely not. Steve has pretty much screwed himself over with me too. He’s just decided he doesn’t want to be part of my life, and that’s fine. Nuclear Death would happen with other people. And honestly, they’re there to see me anyway. Not saying it’s the only reason because that’s not true either. But let’s face it, without me fronting the band, who cares? (laughs) I don’t know; I wouldn’t want to see Nuclear Death without me, honestly. It would be guys playing Nuclear Death. So what? Big deal. That’s why it was so interesting. We know why I won’t play with those people. That’s just not gonna happen. There’s no such thing as water under the bridge when you’ve been in an abusive relationship and other people support that abusive relationship.
With the music I’m doing now, people feeling anything is a good thing, no matter what it is. The idea is to get a reaction and to make people think. That’s the other thing. As you can see, I’m a very wordy bitch and I talk a lot about my lyrics. And I have a lot to say. I like people to think about what I’m saying and form my own opinions. Even though I don’t like to explain what my songs are about; a lot of people don’t like it, they like the mystery; I will. I know what they’re about. These songs are very direct; there’s really no room for error as to what they’re about. It’s kind of obvious what each song is about. The mystery of the album is more musical than lyrical.

The song “Suicide and Fentanyl” from “Bare Bones”, like many Nuclear Death songs, references today's world, and a call to wake up to what's happening. Are more people becoming aware so to speak, or is there more apathy and ignorance?
I feel more people are aware because of the internet in general, the fact that the web is everywhere and there’s information right at your fingertips. I would figure people are more awoke but I see more homophobia, racism and sexism. Maybe it’s because the internet allows me to see more of that. You had to experience it before; you had to go to a store and hear some bullshit. But now, if I’m listening to WTUL and I’m following their playlist and following things trending of all this bullshit, how woke is that? I talk about babies ripped from mothers because that had just happened. They were taking kids away from refugees and displaced people… I don’t like kids but I would never hurt a child. Folks taking folks is not cool; that got me pissed off.
One of my favorite artists is Cat Power, “Chan” Marshall. She had recently given birth and she’s very much an activist. I happened to be reading something of hers. At that time a lot of people were committing suicide because people were outing them about their sexuality online, teenagers and such. And people were dying of fentanyl. I’m lucky I was a heroin addict at the time… I got good old fashioned black tar Mexican heroin and brown heroin from Mexico. I know heroin is bad, but I knew if we were smoking it you knew how it was gonna affect you. But fentanyl and all that stuff came into it, by that time I was not a drug addict anymore. I was introduced to glass while living in California; I’d never heard of it. When me and Steve were doing biker crank meth people make in their bathtubs, somebody came over for a birthday party if I remember correctly. These Swedish guys who were going to the musicians institute had something called glass. They said it was speed and it cranks you up. I thought it looked like ice; I didn’t know anything about it. While living in Arizona, once I got over heroin I went back to speed and glass. I guess what I’m saying is, when I was a drug addict I knew you were getting the stuff you always get. Now, you just don’t know; everything is pumped full of other stuff. I never liked designer drugs; I was never interested in any of them.
With “Suicide and Fentanyl”, human trafficking, especially women and children… I can’t believe how prevalent it is and how the rich really like to buy those kids after snatching them off the street. “Hostel” was a really good movie. All kinds of nefarious shit goes on where you’re invited to party and never come back. I love Eli Roth. All this stuff was bouncing around in my head… when I did “Suicide and Fentanyl” I had a couple of verses written, the first two I believe. I went in my studio and thought “I gotta finish this somehow”. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, so I allowed myself to open up and channel. I picked a day – usually Saturday – I’m going to go in there and make a song, I’m going to come down and it’s going to be done. When I went up there, I felt visited by Jim Morrison. I was thinking of his confrontational work and the confrontational theater he’d seen. I was thinking of him singing “wake up!” I was thinking of him when I was saying it. People do need to wake up; they’re still sleeping. I think the internet makes people sleep than ever before. They actually think things on there are real. Just like television. Back in the day, people believed everything they saw on TV. Now, people believe what they read on 4chan and Reddit. Unreliable bullshit.
The whole thing just started trickling in and I just started talking. I felt like I was speaking in tongues when I made that song. I really feel, for the most part, that people don’t want to know what’s really going on. I feel that people like being sheep and that people like ignorance. That way they can stay in their little bubble and not have to deal with what really could be going on. Then there’s all the conspiracy theorists; some of which doesn’t sound like a conspiracy. Like, do I believe in aliens? Of course; I don’t know how you can’t. I think it’s arrogant to think we’re the only living things in this huge universe. It doesn’t make any sense, really. Things like that to me seem so obvious; there’s so much proof. If they think of the Egyptians, the technology that was created then, why it suddenly stopped. I love that kind of thinking.
People for the most part don’t really want to know the truth. Whatever the truth is, “the truth is out there”. Is it? We don’t even know. I think there are many truths, because we have to think about how people think all over the world. I’m not saying religions, just beliefs in general. If you’re looking at Hindu gods, tons of them, why is that not as valid as a belief in one guy with a beard who sits in a chair in heaven? You just don’t know. I like the idea of the Norse old gods… my main thing is just the oppression of women in all religions. That seems to be the problem with it all. It oppresses women and keeps us evil and mysterious, men are afraid of us and I just think that’s kind of funny, still. All these different ones that segregate women, that to me is a crock of shit. That’s all in that song. We’re the birthers, we’re Mother Nature. I think women are stronger than men, honestly. I think we go through a lot more in our lives, physically speaking, even if we don’t have children.
I always find that oppressive when you have these religions that segregate women from men. Only men are allowed to go there and do this and be this, they’re only allowed to be that, which I think is complete bullshit. That’s why I think being a witch is so important. We are the healers; you can be a male witch and it doesn’t matter. You’re just working with nature and you’re not oppressing anyone. I don’t care what people believe as long as you’re not trying to make me believe something else.
Everything I’m saying is in that song. In some ways we’ve advanced, in other ways we’ve pedaled backwards. Especially with Trump. He really backed up our country twenty to fifty years. Suddenly racism is so prevalent more than ever, it makes me really sad, being a woman of mixed race I’m against that. I’m against homophobia and sexism in any form. That was just my rant, to show where I stand. I never really speak of my beliefs online. I don’t like to go there because I’ve watched how people tear each other apart and all the bullshit; it’s fuckin’ stupid.
I will tell you I’ve never voted in my life until this last election. I don’t believe my vote counts for shit, honestly. I don’t know what good it really does, if it’s all just glad handing anyway. I thought if it’s just one vote that makes that orange piece of shit get out of office, I’m going to be that one vote. That’s the only reason I signed up. I’d probably never do it again. It was so horrible to be under his ruling. It sent us so far back in so many ways, it opened up people to be racist again, to be open and happy and proud about it. That to me is just disgusting and scary. I’m a woman of mixed race and I have a diverse bunch of people that I love a lot and it scares me to know that harm can come to them. At the time our president was just allowing it to be, okay to be a racist, kkk loving piece of shit. That’s what that’s all about, just me being angry.
Honestly, I don’t know if people are awoke. I’d like to think so. I watch a lot of teen drama stuff, newer stuff that’s pretty cutting edge. It seems to me the characters are awoke, young people that are like sixteen to twenty years old. I hope they’re woke enough. One of my favorite books is Trainspotting and the movie was great too. When the protagonist was saying soon there’s not going to be any male or female or gay or straight people; they’ll all be wankers. That’s how I feel. There doesn’t have to be segregation of anyone.

How soon do you plan to write and record new material? How do you imagine you’ll continue to expand your range of influences?
I’ve expanded a lot already because what I listened to last year is not what I’m listening to is not what I’m listening to now. It’s not that I’m not listening to it; I’m just listening to something else. I haven’t even performed any of my new songs since I put the album out, and I want to do that. That’s the first thing I want to do. I think I’ve said this before; I’m starting to work towards a set where I’m going to be performing outside of my house for a while. First of all, it was from Covid and second, I wasn’t ready yet. Now, I can perform in New Orleans if I want; I just have to get the set ready. I’d like to perform the whole album if I could, but I don’t know if I can do “Suicide and Fentanyl”; I’d have to bring the computer and do the back track and all that stuff.
I got into the artist Sharon Van Etten. In the last several months when she put out her ten year anniversary album, an epic I’d never heard of. Fiona Apple, one of my goddesses, covered a song called “Love More”, so I had to hear her sing it. Since I heard the first lyrics, I thought “I gotta know who this Sharon Van Etten is”. I delved into Sharon Van Etten and became absolutely engulfed in her music. I just covered myself in her work. In the meantime I really got into Lingua Ignota. Her album “Sinner Get Ready” is genius. She should be considered one of the greatest composers of our time, female or not. She is a composer of work; it’s absolutely amazing. Lingua Ignota, otherwise known as Kristin Hayter. I’ve been listening to her and Sharon Van Etten; if you listen to these two women they’re completely different, but there are a lot of similarities by the way it makes me feel. No matter what I listen to, I don’t know if it’s influencing my work; it inspires but it doesn’t influence. I don’t need influence; I know exactly where I’m going.
I don’t know if you know, but I bought a new guitar last year, actually my fans bought it for me. After buying a bunch of things from me on PayPal, I was finally able to buy Dominga, a blue Ibanez. I had Dominga purposely tuned down to D. I had already known if I made this acoustic record, the next thing I was going to be swinging to the heaviest, loudest, most soul crushing shit I could muster. I wasn’t exactly sure what, thematically. There is a piece of my history I have not really addressed properly. I don’t think I’ve written a song about any of those subjects. As you know I wrote songs about when I was raped, “Deadly Beauty” and “Sexless”. I have never addressed the abuse that I suffered at the hands of Steve and Phil; mainly Phil but Steve later, especially after he introduced meth into our lives. He was mentally abusive, keeping me down… He was supportive of me for years but he introduced me to hard drugs, he started blowing off everything not wanting to do music anymore. It seemed like it to me because he wasn’t working with me anymore. He didn’t seem like he believed we could do anything. We never did songs from “Harmony” live. I played them live later as a solo artist. “Sunless” was one of my favorites to play. I played that live a lot on my own. By that time I had broken up with him and he didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
The new record is going to be all about rage. And I mean my rage, feminine rage. Where do you put the rage? How does rage work when you’re angry all the time? I don’t know if you know this; it’s very public now: I was molested as a kid, I have repressed it for years. Recently, while I was making “Bare Bones” it started coming to me that what I thought wasn’t real, was. It was from more than one person, never a relative but people I knew. I blocked it out and I’m remembering. Then, there is of course the domestic abuse. And I’d never written about how it made me feel. It’s made me a very angry young woman. I’ve always had a dark streak, and I’ve always had an angry streak. I don’t let it eat away at me anymore. Here I am and I’m better off than any of those motherfuckers. That’s the thing about it. If I want to look at it as winning, I already won. It didn’t destroy me but it gave me PTSD and strange ways of dealing with relationships. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I broke up with Steve; I’ve said not by choice; it’s just the way it is. It’s not because I’m damaged but you do feel damaged. And I’m a very strange person, not for the faint of heart. I’m very hard to live with because I put music first.
I’m a Suzy Homemaker; everyone knows I’m a very domestic person. I have a meticulous household. Everything’s in its right place. I’m a good vegetarian cook if I want to be. I can be the whore in the bedroom, cook in the kitchen, maid in the house, all that bullshit. That said, my music is always going to come first. That’s something people can’t wrap their heads around. They want to settle down. I’m settled down with my mom. Does that mean I rest on my laurels?
The first song I wrote is about someone I knew since I was twelve years old that dumped me when I moved here [New Orleans]. She’s been jealous and not jealous of me for years and treated me like shit back and forth for years. She would get mad and jealous, dump me and not talk to me for five, six, ten years and suddenly call me and try to reel me back in to be friends with her. I’d want to be friends with her again since I’ve known her when I was twelve years old. But she’s been abandoning me back and forth ever since I’ve known her. Instead of being supportive she just backs away and makes up some bullshit about how I did something. This time I didn’t do anything. I moved to New Orleans and she knew I lived somewhere she’s wanted to move. It was a huge ordeal and it wasn’t easy by any means. That’s what the first new song I wrote was about. It’s called “Hurt People Hurt People.” Jessie my drummer and best friend texted me about it and said “hurt people hurt people.” And insecure people hurt people, too. That’s the chorus of the song. I wrote the song around it. I used her words verbatim as the chorus. It’s very aggressive and abrasive. I actually wrote it on acoustic; I always write on acoustic.
What I’m writing is the heaviest shit I’ve ever written in my life. It’s going to make Nuclear Death seem like Romper Room as far as heavy goes. Being molested is heavy and being abused by someone who loves you is heavy. I’m going to be addressing that. I’m addressing people; I’m not going to call them out by name, but if they hear the songs they’re going to know I’m talking about them. It’s a time of reckoning for these people because these people destroyed my life. Or they tried, I should say, to destroy my life. They destroyed my life when I was a kid, but they didn’t. It did make me stop going to church; I was molested at church. Lutheran Church, by a woman. I don’t like to hide things. I hope my new album will give people some power. I hope it empowers anybody going through something like that. I also hope it empowers women or men to get it out.
One thing I notice about the white side of my family is they’re WASPy and they keep all their emotions in check; not all but my mom is a stiff upper lip Brit and she keeps all her emotions in here. She’s not emotional. It’s kind of good she’s not like that because I am very sensitive and very emotional so you don’t need two stiff upper lips. My brother is the same as my mom, very unemotional. They’re the same sign too, Virgos.
My dad was Mexican and he was non-emotional as well. I’m the emotional one in the family, the in-touch-with-her-feelings person, so much so that it can be overwhelming, With that said, I’m hoping that if there are people that keep their emotions hidden, this album will help them, even if they get it out while listening to it. It’s terrible to keep things in; it’s not good for your human psyche. I understand some people aren’t going to do that. So there are other ways you can get it out. You can go to a concert and scream for two hours. I’m hoping this new album will be cathartic for other people. Maybe the new music I’m making is not only for me for once. It’s to get me through something, but I’m hoping that other people may be able to relate to it and hopefully it will help them with their own baggage. The word of the day for my new music is rage. And how to make something creative out of that emotion. It’s a very powerful and dangerous emotion to have. That’s why I don’t drink vodka because I get mean and I start getting in that mode, and I’m seeing red. It’s not at someone; it’s just in general. Why didn’t I say anything when I was a kid to my parents about what was going on? Shame and guilt. It’s all going to be addressed in these new songs that I have not written. I can’t tell you what it’s going to sound like at all.
[shows me two small cuts on arm and one on other arm] I don’t know how I’ve been getting these, and no, they’re not my cats. I know when my cats scratch me and these are not cat scratches. I keep getting these and I don’t know what it is. I don’t have any nails; I’m not doing this at night. I slept next to somebody for eight days while we were evacing, and she can tell you I’m not doing this to myself. What are these, stigmatas? And they’re supposed to be on the hands, are they not? It’s funny how I’m marked in threes. And no, I’m not thinking of demons; it’s just a trip. It’s just weird to me. They don’t hurt; they’re just there and then they’re gone. What does that have to do with my new music? Because it does. I’m very self-aware and I study myself a lot. I’ve had to because I’ve never had good shrinks. I’m my own shrink and I tend to break down my own psyche and to see what makes Lori tick. I’m always trying to better myself as a creature on earth. I’m very quick to react; I don’t think before I speak. Depending on the time of the month, without bleeding anymore. Even when you’re in menopause there’s still a time of the month when you’re more edgy and your hormones are all over the place. You still have hormones; they’re just all fucked up now because your body is changing and whatnot.
The new songs are going to address these subjects I’ve never addressed. I don’t know what’s going to come out. I’m angry about how things happened like that. I’m angry that I allowed myself to be hurt by men. Nuclear Death wouldn’t have lasted as long if I had left when I should have left. I think it was six months into our relationship when Phil started his shit with me. I was with him for six years, so you wouldn’t have gotten all those records, I can tell you that right now. With Steve it was after “Planet Cachexial” that things started to go awry. “Planet Cachexial” was the last good thing that happened, then things started to get a little druggy and stupid. His brain changed, literally, and it wasn’t fun anymore. He became very abusive and he gaslit me a lot, made me feel I was an asshole and I was nothing, I was ugly and I was fat. I stopped doing meth and I gained weight.
Then I started walking so I could lose weight. My face was all broke out; you gotta get all of the drugs out of your system. There’s going to be a lot of things going into the new record. I promised my dad I’m never going to let someone treat me the way I’ve been treated by men, ever again. My third relationship with my gay boyfriend; it wasn’t like that but we were very volatile to each other. It was kind of like brother and sister fighting. Not like boyfriend-girlfriend shit.
I don’t have a good track record working with guys; First they love me for being me, then as I continue to be me they get mad at me for being me. I was always changing for the better but then I’d get in trouble for it because they’re not changing. I’m all about change, transformation and metamorphosis. You’ve heard the song “The Fluttering” from “The Silent Reflux” where I say “Lucifer Michael will hurt when I transform.” I’m all about transformation, being a phoenix and rising from the ashes. The people I’m with don’t transform; they don’t evolve. If you can’t evolve with me, you’re stuck and you’re making me feel stuck. They’re happy on their even keel, and I’m done. I don’t ever rest on laurels; I’m not that kind of person.
This album’s going to be really heavy. It’s not going to be any less emotional, it’s going to be emotional in a much louder way. I’m excited to see what comes tumbling out of my talkhole here and what comes out of my fingers. I don’t know anything until we start talking to each other. I’m excited about Dominga because I’ve barely played her. When I sit down with Dominga and we start writing… now you know where it’s going. Plus there’s been a lot of weird shit that’s happened since we moved to New Orleans, a lot of hardships we’ve had to deal with including Hurricane Ida. Me surviving Hurricane Ida in this house by myself was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through. It’s definitely going in there. I want to figure out how to make Dominga make the sounds of a hurricane. Here in New Orleans, weather is everything. We have one more month until hurricane season is over. I hope Mother Nature is kind to us… she did give us Hurricane Ida on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I kind of think she’s done with us and she’ll leave beautiful NOLA alone. We’re good; we’re still recovering from Ida. My cat of sixteen years died, that’s another big, huge milestone. And my mom is doing great, even though she fell that’s probably the best of the unholy trinity of everything that happened within three days of the hurricane. I can hear how the hurricane sounded that night. It’s really weird because it’s quieter than you think. Maybe if you’re outside it’s not, but where I was, the sounds it made… I’m definitely going to figure out how to make those sounds on my guitar.

What are the advantages of using the internet over snail mail correspondence and tape trading? Would the net have the same impact on underground metal communities without the postal correspondence of the 80s?
I actually think so, yeah. Aren’t we tape trading now? If I send you some tracks digitally… the only difference is you’re getting it quicker. You’re still tape trading. It’s just not ‘”tape” trading. In a way, would there be so much sense of a community? I don’t know. I think people feel more communal than ever. It seems there are all these Facebook groups… people constantly want me to join their eighties metal, eighties appreciation groups all the time. They’re always wanting me to join and it’s all about whatever. The advantages of that are I can do this. You didn’t want to talk on the phone [no way of taping it. –DW]’; that’s the only other way I do interviews. I hate writing interviews. I like writing, actually handwriting; I don’t like typing and I hate texting. I love it but I hate it. It’s very impersonal… I know it’s easier to read but I like writing, I like the way I write, I like my handwriting. I do notice a lot of people have trouble reading it. When I used to answer interviews back in the day that’s how I did it. I used to like doing it but I don’t have time. So what does the internet do? First of all, it gives me time. If I had to write this down, do you know how long it would take me to write all this shit down? When I write, I write just like I talk, so there would be all these paragraphs of me talking. It’s faster so I like that. It’s more efficient. I used to copy my interviews at the coffee shop so in case I lost them I could get them. I learned that the hard way. You can copy your interview so it they didn’t get it you can send it again. This is Photobooth, by the way. This is what I do. This is why it’s grainy; it’s an old system from 2012 before HD. I like the graniness, it’s kind of like seventies quality in a way.
I think snail mail was fun because people would send us hash. We got hash from Europe sent in cassette tapes. I don’t know how it happened but we got hash, we smoked it and it was really, really good. I don’t remember where we got it from. I’ve had people send me weed in the mail. I’m talking about back in the day; I’m not talking about lately, obviously. I don’t know they did it. I don’t know how it happened that we were able to do that. I never did it; I was never that stupid. But we would get presents like that in the mail. It was always good too. It had something to do with the magnet in the cassette tape, something you couldn’t x-ray. Remember when you used to write “do not x-ray” on video tapes you send? There’s something about that. The pot leaf was sensimilia and it was really purple. We got it in a VHS tape somebody sent us. The tape was of their band, plus weed. You couldn’t do that now (laughs).
I think the advantages are the same. There’s more of a sense of community. I’ve said this in other interviews: people hated us in Arizona. We didn’t have a community, we weren’t in a scene. Nuclear Death was on its own. We were the outcasts; we were the other band that nobody liked. It doesn’t even belong to that kind of genre. We were the only genre of that time. And when other people started making that music they didn’t want anything to do with us. Or, we didn’t know them. There you go with the snail mail and there you go with no internet. There are death metal bands that popped up in Tucson, and these Native American guys from Window Rock that kick ass. If they were around with the internet you’d be contacting people and saying “hey man, we’re up here in Window Rock” Window Rock, Arizona is up with the reservation. “Hey, we can come hang out” and whatever. I think they’re called Mutilated Tyrant. Native American killer death/black metal, go listen to them. I did my plug there.
If other bands were doing that, we wouldn’t know, because there was no way to know. You’d have to happen to go to a party, or happen to go see the band. We were the only ones who were doing it there. The death metal people we knew were from other states. We were friends with Autopsy and Deceased. We snail mailed with them, because they were from there and we were from here. So now you get to meet more people I have all these people that were introduced to me through digital means.
I can still send you stuff. Let’s say I have a copy of “Bare Bones” on CD (that’s coming out in January) that I’m going to send to you. Or if I want to send you a shirt. I’m still doing snail mail as you know. That’s how I merchandise. I’m sending out merchandise to people. I do it on my own, by myself, all my lonesome, pack my orders Thursday night, ship my orders on Friday morning. Well not in the morning, three o clock in the afternoon before they close. I like the advantage of that. Those same people are contacting me on the internet telling me they want to buy something and I’m snail mailing me their stuff. Honestly, things are getting there pretty fast, even with the Covid thing. I think there are many advantages to it. The postal correspondence in the eighties was fun because you got all these pen pals. Now you have pen pals but they’re online. And maybe you can even see them if you’re talking on Skype or Facetime. Then you had to wait a little longer for correspondence. That’s why I didn’t know Euronymous was dead. I had no idea my friend from Mayhem was murdered. I didn’t know that until I saw the movie [Lords Of Chaos]. I never knew what happened to him, because we used to write all the time, and suddenly he stopped writing and I had no idea he had been murdered.

Are you still keeping up with extreme metal? If so, who are some of the bands you recently discovered?
One of them is Mutilated Tyrant. Look up “Arizona Native American black metal”, There was a documentary done about black metal bands on the reservation. One of them was Mutilated Tyrant, I believe. That’s how I found out about them, and it’s a really cool documentary. They’re also weaving their culture into their work, and they’re killer people. I don’t know if you know anything about life on reservations, but it’s not a pretty sight. It’s poverty stricken, there’s a lot of alcoholism and sadness there. But that’s how they cope, they play black metal.
Kandarivas is a killer Japanese death metal band. They’re badass. I’m really good friends with Tomoki; he sent me all kinds of stuff. There’s this woman who goes under the moniker Her Noise Is Violence; she’s death metal/black metal/electronic. One of my favorite albums is “Unresolved Trauma”. We met through the Lingua Ignota Twatter of all things, and we’ve become really good friends. Her name is Rachel; she is a badass Then there’s Trinity. It’s really evil; I’m not going to tell you anything better than that; there’s nothing else to say. I’ve been getting into Grave a lot. Active Entropy from the U.K., really kickass. Black metal/death metal. Blistering Defilement out of Florida, they have this really cool logo; you can’t even read it. Hide is a two piece, a male and a female, and they cover a lot of taboo subject matter. It’s noise/metal/electronica/performance art. Funeral Pyre is my friend Rachel’s other band with this guy from Budapest, Hungary. There’s a band called Shitload, hardcore punk from New Orleans. They play around a lot here.
Anthropic, my dearly departed friend Brian Patterson’s band. I think they’re still together; I don’t know, but check them out anyway, check out the work they did do when he was alive. He was the guitar player and one of the main songwriters. That’s kind of hard to say. There’s Orbyssmal from Brisbane, Australia. I think it’s only one person. Really evil black/noise/death. There’s Vordb Na R.iidr; he’s an all-around artist: a beautiful visual artist, a writer, a poet… he’s like a brother to me., He has tons of records. Go to Bandcamp… these people are on Bandcamp so you can check them there or on Facebook. Vordb Na R.iidr… His work is hypnotic. Maggot Heart from Germany and England… really great band. Two women and a guy playing drums. They’re fucking badass. I saw them live; they opened up for King Dude.
There are just so many people; I can just go on and on. There’s a ton of people I already forgot; I hope they’re not going to be angry at me.

How would you most like to be appreciated and remembered as an artist overall?
That’s a great question because the most important thing in my life is to be remembered, appreciated and respected as the artist I am. How would I like to be remembered? As a woman who was an innovator of music, that I helped to create music that had never been written, and that I’m a great songwriter and singer. I think that’s the most important thing to know, that I’m a very unique singer. That’s what I want to be known for, the work I do with my voice and that I know what the fuck I’m doing when I’m writing songs. That I didn’t take shit as far as the way I wanted things to go; I never made the same record twice. I also want to be remembered as a visual artist, because I am. I’m a photographer, I also paint and draw. I’m an all-around artist. I’ve always said this in my mantra: I’ve always wanted to be the best singer, songwriter, artist, musician, woman, witch, mother, daughter, sister, human and creature of this earth that I can be.

-Dave Wolff