How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto metal?
The first real love for music I had was roughly 10 years old. While playing the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I’d listen to music by Linkin Park, Slayer, A Day To Remember, System of a Down, Korn, Lamb of God, etc. I’d listen to whatever good to me at the time my genre was all over the place. I preferred the heavier stuff significantly more then anything else. I had not found my favorite genre at the time and was pretty open as long as it didn’t sound so happy I suppose.
How did you become a vocalist? Are you proficient in any other instruments?
In 2010, I started listening to metalcore bands a lot, Asking Alexandria, Motionless in White, As I Lay Dying all that kind of stuff and thought it was super cool (at the time) and wanted to learn how to scream like that. So, what I would do is go into my room or car and just sound god awful and attempt to mimic them until I started getting a grasp on what my voice can do. I can play some cello and violin but nothing much more.
How did the band form, how did the band name come about and what other names were considered? How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize this lineup?
Okay, this is an interesting one and its going to be long, but everything ties in. In 2013 I started a post-hardcore band with a couple of friends and was always missing something, drums or bass or something always was a missing instrument it was extremely frustrating, and this went on for about 3 years. Eventually in 2016 late December I would find our current Drummer Isaac Nordine and we clicked from the start and would just practice terrible metalcore songs because we both knew them and played the music through my PA system. Come February 2017 I met Nathan David Young at an Atomic Flounder show and I just bluntly asked hey man want to jam after having a good conversation with him. Either a day or two later we had our first jam. We decided between a list of names which I unfortunately do not have anymore but we decide on Zephira because it was a very clean and unique sounding name. For 8 months, we met Sundays, to practicing some real basic but heavy sounding music and played our first show on my 21st birthday, or at least the day before which was on Friday the 13th 2017, which went extremely well for a first show as three piece. We’d go at least another month and a half, before signing on Anthony Taffala who I knew from high school, and I noticed him posting some music gear, and I simply asked, “hey man I see your posts about music gear we should jam!” Literally a few days later I took him a show we where playing and BOOM the handsome devil joined on. Our giant 6”10 guitarist Taylor Houpt would join us a few weeks later, as well after the very first show, Anthony was on and joined like the next night. After some time, and a loss of a member and several shows in between we finally met our bassist Zach Juntunen which at the time of writing this (7/13/2018) Zach will have his first public appears with us on stage tomorrow (7/14/2018).
Who are some of your influences? Which of your influences might we hear in your music?
Hmm, this is kind of a difficult question because we are still finding our true sound as a band, But id like to say we have a lot of Tech and Melodic stuff mixed together, but for influences you can see we sort of pull from all over. Influences are: Archspire, Infant Annihilator, Enterprise Earth, Shadow of Intent, Wastewalker, Signs of swarm, I, Valliance, Falsifer and more.
Who have been some of your favorite bands you’ve hung out with and shared the stage with?
I would have to say our favorite bands to share the stage with have been Wurmflesh, Akasha (LA), Mador Maero, Exiled from Grace, Wastewalker, Tyrannocannon, and The Odious Construct.
How soon can we expect new recorded music from Zephira, will there be a full length and who will you be working with and where?
Beginning of September, we have a single planned for release and its gonna be a heavy hitter I promise you that. We have enough songs for a full length right now, but we have started to grow as a band and are taking a drastic different approach to new music. I think right now may not be the best time for our full length, however we are highly considering taking 4-5 of our best songs and releasing an EP so we can move on to our real potential. With who we will be working with, it has not been decided we could possible do it ourselves or hire someone but when the time comes to sit down and recorded our new songs well decide from there.
Are you currently involved with any other projects outside of Zephira?
I am not a part of any other bands, I’m a one man band because I like have a strong schedule and being in multiple projects could lead to issues, and in all honesty the boys in Zephira are my family.
What kind of references or influences do you take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, or other artists that you are inspired by?
Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: A Year with the Criminally Insane, everyone needs to read this book.
Has music at all been therapeutic for you, is there a particular artist or type of music you go to for comfort?
Music has been extremely therapeutic, I was bullied and beat up literally almost daily 6th-9th grade and the only thing that I really had was music because I refused to tell anyone what was going on. So music has literally done everything for me and I wish to give back as much as possible. As for specific artist or genre I mainly listen to melodic metal and some lo-fi music.
Bands you would love to tour with on a dream tour package and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
I would absolutely love to tour with Enterprise Earth, Shadow of Intent, and Aversions Crown
Top 5 albums or songs released in 2018 and of all time?
1. Xavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffx: Gore 2.0
2. Between The Burried and me: Automata I&II combo
3. Atlerbeast: Feast
4. Rivers of Nihil: Where Owls Know my name
5. Don’t know yet some of my favorite bands are neck deep in albums to be released before the end of the year.
1. Enterprise Earth: Embodiment (2017)
2. Traitors: Mental State (2016)
3. Shadows of Intent: Reclaimer (2017)
4. System Of A Down: Hypnotize (2005)
5. Infant Annihilator: the elysian grandeval galèriarch (2016)
South Dakota-based death metallers, Angerot rise from the ashes of Midwestern Metal to announce their crushing debut album, The Splendid Iniquity.
Featuring a cast of seasoned veterans who share roots that reach back to the very beginnings of the Death Metal Movement, . Recorded with Eddie G at Underground Studios, mixed by Tomas Skogsberg (Entombed, Dismember, Carnage, Grave, At the Gates) at Sunlight Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at AudioSeige, The Splendid Iniquity is a savage 40 minute sonic assault of 90’s Earache Records-era buzzsaw on your ear drums.
The album boasts guest appearances by some of the greatest names in Death Metal; LG Petrov (Entombed, Entombed AD, Firespawn), James Murphy (Death, Cancer, Disincarnate, Obituary, Testament ), making The Splendid Iniquity an absolute must listen for any fan of 90s Death Metal.
“We definitely do not feel this is a throwback band by any means. We all cut our teeth during the rise of this genre, and we are simply doing what comes naturally,” asserts vocalist/guitarist C.R. Petit. “We wanted to keep everything as on-point with the early 90’s as possible, that is why we elected to work with Tomas Skogsberg to mix our record. We could feel right away he knew exactly what we were trying to accomplish all the way around.”
The Splendid Iniquity is scheduled for release on Friday, April 13, 2018 through Black Market Metal Label.
Professionally filmed video footage of POSSESSED’s performance at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air festival, which was held August 11-13 at Catton Hall, Walton-On-Trent, West Midlands, United Kingdom, can be seen below.
POSSESSED frontman Jeff Becerra told Antihero Magazine that the band’s upcoming studio album, which will be their first full-length effort since 1986’s “Beyond The Gates”, will contain “some really fucking good death metal. I’m really happy with a lot of the tracks,” he said. “I’m still writing in the process; I’m writing a lot of music, writing all of the lyrics, of course. I’m also collaborating with [new POSSESSED members] Daniel [Gonzalez, guitar] and Claudeous [Creamer, guitar]. We’re working together hard to create something that we really like. We’re hoping that translates well to other people and beyond. We’re hoping people like it. If they don’t, then fuck them.” Via Blabbermouth
Death metal is alive and well in 2017 and if you don’t believe me, then just listen to the new Cannibal Corpse album, Red Before Black. Even being the 14th studio album the death metal legends have put out, it still sounds as fresh and brutal as ever. The first few seconds of the albums intro, “Only One Will Die”, will let you know exactly what you are about to experience. Whether you’ve been a fan from day one, or are just discovering the band, there’s something for everyone on this record. The plodding slow grind of the albums first single, “Code Of The Slasher”, is like taking a belt sander to the face of the undead.
While songs like “Firestorm Vengeance” and “Corpus Delicti” have thrashy guitars that really wouldn’t be out of place on a record like Slayer’s classic “Reign in Blood”. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher lays down great vocal patterns, while the guitar duo of death metal veterans Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett just crush this album with riff after riff. The drumming is nothing great nor terrible. It drives the songs without being overly fancy, like any good death metal drummer should. Paul Mazurkiewicz has set the bar for how a death metal drummer should play. Alex Webster is an ageless wonder, he plays bass like few death metal bassists do, and this is a good thing. Another one of the good things about this record is the song lengths.
With the longest song, Code Of The Slashers at 4:46, this album doesn’t have much time for filler. Straight to the point, get in, kill everything, and leave. The way good death metal should be. So do yourself a favor, new and old fans alike. Buy this album, play it loud and bang your head! – John Adams
Be sure to catch Cannibal Corpse on their upcoming tour with Gatecreeper & Power Trip
11/03/2017 Mavericks – Jacksonville, FL
11/04/2017 Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
11/05/2017 Saturn – Birmingham, AL
11/06/2017 New Daisy Theater – Memphis, TN
11/08/2017 Trees – Dallas, TX
11/09/2017 White Oak – Houston, TX
11/10/2017 Mohawk – Austin, TX
11/12/2017 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
11/13/2017 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
11/14/2017 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
11/15/2017 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
11/17/2017 Neumos – Seattle, WA
11/18/2017 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
11/19/2017 Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
11/20/2017 The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT
11/22/2017 Summit – Denver, CO
11/24/2017 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL
11/25/2017 St. Andrews Hall – Detroit, MI
11/26/2017 Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
11/28/2017 Royale – Boston, MA
11/29/2017 Stage 48 – New York, NY
11/30/2017 TLA – Philadelphia, PA
12/01/2017 Broadberry – Richmond, VA
12/02/2017 The Tarheel – Jacksonville, NC
12/03/2017 Pete’s – Greensboro, NC
12/05/2017 Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
12/06/2017 Exit/In – Nashville, TN
12/07/2017 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
12/08/2017 The Orpheum – Tampa, FL
Few bands have done more to push the boundaries of extreme metal than the legendary Possessed. Even fewer can create a unique style which continues to set them apart from all others by being the very first in a genre they laid the foundation for. Possessed are by definition, the creators of Death Metal. Founder and lead vocalist Jeff Becerra took some time out of his busy gaming schedule to talk with Iron Serbian recently.
Iron Serbian: This is the Iron Serbian with Capital Chaos TV and we have Jeff Becerra of Possessed on the phone. How are you doing Jeff?
Jeff Becerra: I’m good. I’m happy to be here and happy to talk to you.
Have you been cursed by Satan today at all?
Satan’s curse is always prevalent but one man’s curse is another man’s blessing.
Do you recall ever going out and killing posers with Paul Baloff?
Yes. I do but I’m not at liberty to talk about the actually killings, but we can go into the Slay Team and kicking posers in the head.
Was this in Berkeley, San Francisco or all throughout California?
Yes. Everywhere. Always. Paul was very fun to hang around and he was very vocal about how he felt about posers. He didn’t like them.
Paul could fight from what I understand. Did you ever see him get into any fights?
I’ve always thought of Paul as a really nice guy and at the same time I never fucked with him because I was very young and skinny then and he was a Russian hairy man compared to our little bald hippy asses.
I read somewhere recently that he could fight and had some martial arts training.
I’m sure he could, he lived with a fucking wolf. Did you ever go to his house he had a toaster oven as a heater.
Are you talking about hell house in Berkeley?
No, one time I went to Paul’s house and it was in like a dilapidated high rise or something that was blown up before they build something else. It was like a wooden shack in the corner. But it was a wooden shack that must have been a tool shed or something like that and you could see out of the slots in the walls and he lived in there and there was a bunch of garbage and he had like a toaster oven left open to warm shit. I remember not judging or anything it was just we were over at Paul’s.
You came together playing music in 1983. Is that correct?
Yeah. The first band was in 1979. I got in Marauder and then soon to be Blizzard, it was only a Marauder for a second. So I actually wrote “Burning in Hell” a Possessed song in 1979. My first band was called Hellrazor and that was my first metal song. And then Possessed got together in early ’83. We were gigging by late ’83 so it might have been late ’82, I don’t really recall.
How big of an impact was Judas Priest?
Me personally, I don’t think there was. The way we wrote back then we weren’t really trained none of us were. We just wanted to make super heavy shit. We heard Merciful Fate, Motorhead, and Exodus. Exodus was really inspiring because that was a whole new type of music. They were more of an influence because they were the only band that I wasn’t trying to outdo or compete with. I knew they were fucking awesome and they were more of an inspiration. So we just wanted to be super-fast and heavy. We wanted to be the fastest heaviest most satanic band in the world that was our main goal.
You did accomplish that for sure. Seven Churches.
At the time we were definitely the fastest. I mean the first cookie monster vocals, with the popcorn machine drums, before then you never really heard that except for maybe punk, not to the extent that we were doing.
Because you came out of that era you came out of the whole crossover era. You played with hard-core bands, and metal bands. I remember seeing you at the Farm once with Discharge.
Yeah I think we were still mad at Discharge then, because they changed their style for a while.
They weren’t well received.
That hurt our feelings.
I think I recall seeing the singer leave the stage in tears.
I feel so bad about how I acted toward them now, just in feelings, because all they were trying to do was entertain but its weird how we take it so damn personaly.
Did you ever think about trying out for Metallica when Cliff died?
I thought about it. I did. I really thought about it, but to be honest I was pretty wild and not in good shape and I knew it. I was partying hard and I could never got into it. As much as I love Metallica and have respect for everybody, I’ve always been kind of my own guy. It wouldn’t be the same. I’d rather be the guy. I’d rather have my own band.
Like you are now with Possessed?
Yeah even if it’s thunder going out or whatever. At least it’s mine.
What’s possessed Possessed to get in the studio and write songs? You reformed in ’06. I know you have a re release on Redrum records. Is that a recent re release?
J: That’s fairly recent. You mean “Resurrection” which we did the demo and some other stuff and it also came out on Falogo Records. Good to get that out. Could you repeat the question?
What possessed you to get back into song writing?
J: I’d always been into it. It’s just that after I got shot it took me a while to recover. I always had the intention to get Possessed back together but then I got shot and that took 17 ½ years to get my head back screwed on right. And in the process, I had to do the things I needed to do to feel complete that included going to college for further education and having my kids. I worked for a while at the hospital. I just did the things I needed to do to feel complete, but I’d always have been driven by the fact that I wanted to play with Possessed again and to be honest 23 members later, it took me a long time to find a group of guys that I would want to call Possessed.
Can we expect an updated version of Possessed with possibly blast beats?
I’m not opposed to blast beats. We’ve always tried to be heavy and I don’t think we are a blast beat type of band. But I’d be open to any possibility if it sounds good. I’ve written 3 songs on the new album and one of them is about as close to blast beats as you can in one part but I’m not going to be contingent on blast beats. I’m going to do whatever fits the song if it’s heavy. It’s Possessed man, we’re a satanic death metal band, we don’t have rules.
Great. Larry went off to jam with Mark Biedermann in Blind Illusion. Did you ever get a chance to jam with Mark?
I did but I was still going through a lot of issues in my life and I wasn’t up to par I couldn’t think right. I didn’t have my head screwed on right. It took me a while to get my shit together. Sometimes the heart will be willing but the mind is not. I don’t mind saying I had a really difficult time after I got shot.
I can imagine that there had to be quite a load of depression.
I don’t know about depression but it’s kind of like being handcuffed for 5 years. It’s fucking really hard to do anything and it’s painful and it’s frustrating and you have to learn how to deal with that. Eventually you get used to it and evolve through it and now I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. But you have to go through the transition.
On the Seven Churches album who put the collage of photos on the inner sleeve.
Oh My God, I remember doing that.
Were you all involved in the collage?
I remember it being a project where we were cutting shit out and gluing it down. I think the girls might have been involved. I don’t remember I’d have to ask Julie about that. Julie Abono. But I think it was something we all did, somebody from the Debbie’s family I think up at the Possessed practice house. I could be wrong, does it say on the album?
No it doesn’t say who put it together. But I would imagine that everything is not always a group effort on everything.
I was only 16 and Larry was 15 on that album. We were only together for just 4 years. So that was a flash in the pan. I always think of that as the start of Possessed but that’s not the real Possessed. The real Possessed is the last decade plus we put into it. It’s a different animal now. We were kids and there wasn’t a lot of talent going on. It shocks me know hearing today’s Possessed. I needed to make changes in the band in order to step forward. So in a way it was kind of like a Satan’s curse and it was kind of a blessing that we broke up because sometimes you get reorganized before you can go forward. People are playing real music, it’s not enough to just be the heaviest most satanic any more you have to play real music because our audience is intelligent. Being heavy is a novelty and I just want to put out the very best quality death metal album.
Do you have a release date?
Summer 2018, per contract with Nuclear Blast Records. Or sometime in 2018 and only reason it’s not sooner is because there’s record release schedules within the company and we want to fit the schedule that we can put the most time and effort into the publicity and the campaign. And it’s better for me, it gave me and the guys to put the album together.
You’ve got a hell of a guitar player there in Scooby (Claudeous Creamer).
Yeah, Scooby was a god send for lack of a better word. Being in a satanic death metal band that tours a lot is not a life for everybody it’s very difficult. You’ve been on tour before right?
Absolutely, there’s a lot of traveling and bent knees.
Yeah, you know it’s not an easy thing to do, not an easy life style. You have to really love it or it’s not going to work. You’re not guaranteed money, you’re not guaranteed fame, you’re not guaranteed even a good sound, not guaranteed sleep, not guaranteed food. You have to really love playing music and that has to be your driving force. That’s exactly what drives me I don’t give a fuck about money. I don’t give a fuck about anything except having people enjoy themselves at my shows.
How did you hook up with Nuclear Blast?
You have to know the backstory. Since I was a little kid. I’ve been getting help from bands, from like Gary Holt, Tom Hunting and the Exodus guys. Help with getting our first shows with Blind Illusion at Alvarado Park with Outrage. We were playing gay parties before all that and Gary of Exodus just kind of took us under his wing and introduced us to the whole Ruthie’s Inn scene and this is before we had Debbie or anybody this was just when we were kids. I’d like to say that Gary managed my band since I was like 11 or 12. Anyway throughout the time we all just kind of looked out for each other and whatever. But I sent out two demo tapes to two record companies and almost immediately Nuclear Blast got back to me and said we’ll meet you at your show in Berlin. I met up with Jaap Wagemaker, head of production, He’s a scion in the industry in Europe. He met us and saw the show and he was nice enough to talk. He talked to me and had a meeting with these hot chicks and beer, smoking and music blasting. It was really cool. He’d said he bought his first Possessed album when he was 16. He’s one of us. he’s so fucking cool and he’s so with it. It was the way he talked and how excited he was. He said they wouldn’t ask you to play anything but what you want to play. They don’t step on your creativity or ask you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. They would support you fully and I love that about them and of course this is Nuclear Blast. Whenever you read a magazine in ads you see it’s always Nuclear Blast. It’s prevalent in everything. It’s a dream come to me with them. He had said that for the last four years, people like Kirk Hammett of Metallica would ask “what about Possessed”, and put in good words for us. I guess that when he heard the demo he just really really liked it and he said he got this email from Nuclear Blast Records USA general manager, Gerardo Martinez and it said the 8th church. And he like “you told me the story” he was like the 8th church, like Possessed “Seven Churches or is it this other band, so then he played it and he sent it to Markus Staiger, the owner for Nuclear Blast and he said immediately that Markus was like “fuckin sign them”. Then he got another email that Christmas came early and he approached me right after that with a really strong desire to sign Possessed, from there we worked it out and he hashed out a deal, over the next several months and we signed it just recently which is awesome. So far it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to us.
Nice. We are all looking forward to it all us old and young metal heads are really looking forward to some new Possessed. Are you doing some tours or festivals in Europe in the next month or two?
Yeah we’re going to do. We’re starting with Wacken August 5. Then we go to the 20th with Motocultor and then there’s Party San. A lot of the big festivals. I think we have 14 days out there and then from there I really want to concentrate on the U.S. for a while because Possessed is an American death metal band. It makes sense that we’re in America for awhile.
The demand for metal bands seems to be higher over there. But it’s nice to be able to play your home country.
J: Well I’m American, I think of Cheap Trick, when Cheap Trick went to Japan and never came back. I don’t want to be like that. I love Europe don’t get me wrong but I love America, America’s my country. We brought death metal once in the United States let’s do it again. Of course there’s a lot of great bands touring the states but I’d like to see a lot more. At least I put my efforts in to tying to rejuvenate the scene here, because American’s do it right. I’d like to see more people come out to shows.
Do you want to talk about NYDM at all?
You’re the Wild West regional president for the California Chapter of New York Death Militia. Is that correct?
The California President of the West Coast which is over 6 states. Washington, Oregon, Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada. I’m the regional president over those and the president of California I’m in the international counsel and I’m an international captain and the Savage Counsel so that means I’m a ranking member of any chapter in the world. I’m very involved in it and it’s something I love and it’s like my safe place. It’s like my rock. My family away from my family.
For those unaware. What is it and how does one become a member?
It’s a club. We have our colors and we have vests with our patches. It’s the largest metal club of our kind. We’re all over the world. We support the local underground scene and underground music. Hardcore and metal. It’s not limited to just metal it’s more like music in your local scene and underground music. Not like an MC or biker club it’s a metal club. It’s cool it’s where we get together have gatherings and bar-b-ques and fucking hang out. We have a whole structure of ranking members and we support each other, we hold our own shows and organize personal fund raiser shows. We have several bands that belong to the club. You don’t join it to promote your band but we do support each other and promote each other and go to each other’s shows. Kind of like a music union in a lot of ways but we are just kind of starting out and have a long way to go. It’s something that we are really into. I enjoy it very much.
Do you have to have good credit to join? How does one go about joining?
You have to know someone and hang out with us at shows and be invited into the club. It’ doesn’t hurt to ask. If you show an interest we can push you in the right direction. I’m not going to lie it’s kind of exclusive but you have to become a prospect and see if you fit well with the group. If you make it through your prospect period then you become a member.
OK well that’s all the questions I have for you. Is there anything you’d like to add?
No just that I really appreciate your reaching out and I’m glad we are friends.
Originally formed in 2002 by ex-members of Infestation & Fetus by the Pound, Cursed has survived a revolving door of members til a solid line-up of Roy Stanley ( bass ), Jon Deaver (guitar), Curt Beliew (vocals), Reggie Villegas (guitar), and Scotty Whitfield (drums) was established. Cursed is a solid veteran act having shared the stage with death / thrash acts such as Vio-Lence, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Vital Remains, Testament, Exodus, Possessed, Death Angel, Forbidden, Warbringer, Dying Fetus, Exhumed, and many, many more. Bassist Roy Stanley was kind enough to answer some of our silly questions via email.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal? Did you ever get into funk, jazz or hip hop?
I didn’t get into music till junior high, but the bands that got me into rock / metal were bands like Motley Crue, Judas Priest, and Maiden. It wasn’t until one of my friends turned me onto a new record he picked up, Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning”, that I started getting into heavier and faster music, and its been that way ever since. I never really got into funk or jazz, but I can appreciate the talent….I do like some rap / hip hop, stuff like old House of Pain & Cypress Hill. I remember way back when I roadied for one of my friends bands at a gig in LA with a bunch of other extreme LA metal bands and we had Ice T cranked in the van out in front of the venue and all these kids walking into the venue were giving us the look of death for having rap on the stereo at a death metal gig, LOL.
How did you become a singer or guitarist and are you proficient in any other instruments?
I was a getting my chops up on guitar when one of my friends band suddenly needed a bassist and they asked if I’d be willing to convert over, so I scrounged up some used bass gear and have been playing bass ever since, so another case of bad guitarist turned bassist.
Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so were you an altar boy or participate in some other ways?
I grew up in a Catholic home, so yeah, I got dragged into church well into my teens. I never really bought into the whole thing…it was more a “you better do this if you plan on going out with your friends or if you want some $$$ to go to a concert” type of thing from my parents.
Were you troubled as a youth, juvenile delinquents, burn ants with a magnifying glass, trouble with law?
I was your typical “metal head” teen who hung out with the guys “fishing” for beers on the weekends and trying to find the next party. So yeah, a few run-ins with the law…nothing worth bragging about.
What was the local scene in like in the beginning , was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
I grew up in Merced, Ca which is smack dab in the middle of fucking nowhere in Central California, so our music scene back then in the late 80’s / early 90’s was fairly small but pretty tight knit. But here we had a band named Fatal Rage ( who at the time featured CURSED drummer, Scotty Whitfield ) who were heavily inspired by bands like Kreator & Possessed and we all wanted to be like them. We were fortunate enough to have a guy here named Marty Eager who brought down some Bay Area bands like Vio-Lence, Heathen, and Forbidden ( at the time Forbidden Evil ) to Merced and that spawned a number of good thrash / death metal bands here, one of which was my first band, Infestation. Of the current crop of NorCal “locals” that I really dig now, I’d have to list Infex, Cultural Warfare, His Name Is Robert Paulson, Hang the Kode, and Sworn to the Black as my favorites.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My biggest musical influences as far as my bass playing come from the Swedish death metal scene….shit like Unleashed, At the Gates, and Entombed. But music wise, I take a little from the Bay Area thrash scene and a little from the OG Death Metal genre.
How would you best describe your sound?
CURSED’s sound is a hybrid of all the various musicians who have been in this band….so many influences due to the number of guys and one gal who’ve played under the CURSED banner….we’re a mix of death and thrash….the closest thing to a specific band I can think to describe what we are doing is Witchery.
How important is coffee in the morning and will you drink anything?
I’m not a coffee person….get me a Pepsi to get me going. But if it was a long night, then get me a Rockstar to get me moving in the morning.
What ingredients are in your secret sauce?
My special sauce is probably beer and tapatio, lol!
How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize this lineup? How many other musicians did you try out that didn’t make the cut? How stable is the current lineup?
The constant turnover rate in this band is pretty legendary by now….CURSED has literally gone thru probably 10 guitarists, 5 or 6 drummers, 4 or 5 vocalists, but only one bass player. I’ve done my best to keep this thing chugging along all these years. You know, every time I think “this line-up is set for the long haul”, we’ve had a member have to move on…..and it’s been everything from home life, people moving, job changes, arrests…you name it, we’ve had it.
How soon can we expect new Cursed music. Will you be releasing it yourselves? Will you be releasing it on cassette and vinyl. Do you own a cassette player, are cassettes silly? Will you be recording cover songs for the new album?
If all goes to plan, our CD will be out this September. We recorded it at the Ice Chamber in Modesto, Ca and we’re releasing it thru a new local independent label, Seventh Sun Records. It’d be cool to have our new one out on all formats including cassette and vinyl….I’d love to see CURSED in record form! You know what, I think I still have an old school boom box in my storage and there is a bag full of old cassettes and demo tapes in there as well. We do have one cover on the new release. Its the old Vio-Lence / Torque tune, “Breed” We even got Ray Vegas to come out to the valley and record it with us. We’ve had this CD ready to go for months now, just waiting for the label to get all the pieces in place.
What other bands are you guys in and what plans do you have with them, recording, touring?
Scotty & Curt both are in a cover band called “The Best Of’s” and its something they do for a fun and a little extra $$$. But that’s the extent of side projects right now.
Do you follow President Trump on Twitter?
I personally do not follow him, but with every stupid tweet he puts out and everyone retweeting it with their views on what he’s done, I feel like I follow him, LOL.
Do you ever fart in the house and blame your dog or other family members?
All the time and I claim my own, haha!
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
The biggest show CURSED has played probably was either the Suicidal Tendencies or Exodus shows we did at Strummer’s in Fresno….both were sold out and were totally killer gigs, but the biggest gig I personally have played would’ve been Morbid Angel at the peak of their popularity at the old Maritime Hall in San Francisco….the place was hella packed.
Out of all your songs which one gets you excited the most when you perform it? Are there any political or social issues besides the obvious hidden in Cursed songs ?
My personal favorite is probably “In the Trenches”….just a total old school feel about it. Sorry, no covert lyrics in our music.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want? What gear are you currently using, amps, effects, guitars?
No endorsement deals currently, although our man, Ben, at the label is working on that…..I’d love to get an endorsement for Coors Light, LOL! As for my current gear….my basses are a LTD F-205 & a Yamaha TRBX305. I currently run a Tech 21 VT 500 bass amp thru a pair of GK cabs.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate.
A national band that I’d love to tour with would be Ghoul, just to be able to watch that circus show every night would be killer, but on the local scale, a couple of bands I’d love to hit the road with would be either Infex or Sworn to the Black.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Hmmm….song to be played at my funeral….how about “Wake Up Dead” just for the title alone…..but for the 3 albums I’d take with me to the grave, it’d be Megadeth’s “Peace Sells”, At the Gates’ “Slaughter of the Soul”, and Death’s “Leprosy”. I’d be down to listen to those for eternity.
Whats your next gig?
Our next scheduled gig is the Fresno Death Fest August 12th….a lot of good bands scheduled to take part in that one!
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
The CD is done, the art work is done….we’re set for a September release, so thank you to everyone for being patient with us. We hope you all dig it when it FINALLY comes out.