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Band Interviews Features Interviews

An Interview With King Fowley of Deceased + October 31

You know those intros that start off like ‘so-and-so needs no introduction,’ and then proceeds to spend 500 words introducing the person? This is definitely not one of those intros. Fuck that – King Fowley is a death metal lifer and fucking legend, and if you don’t already know who is, then I’ll let the man explain it himself.

Deceased is currently out on a short run of dates with Savage Master and Death Of Kings – check out their bitchin’ tour trailer here, They’re going to be at Black Circle Brewing Co. in Indianapolis on Friday, August 10, with local death metal badasses Obscene rounding out the bill (FB event / tickets).

I had the chance to talk to Fowley a couple of weeks ago, shortly before the the band started preproduction on their long-awaited eighth full-length Ghostly White. He and his wife had been watching a TV show about the most poisonous animals in the world right before I called him…

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Indy Metal Vault: A two-inch frog is the most poisonous animal in the world?

King Fowley: Yeah, this frog…it can kill ten men with just one little drop of the venom, haha. We just watched the fucking thing. We were just bored, haha.

IMV: Holy shit, that’s…that sounds like a subject for one of your future songs, actually.

KF: Haha. Right on, brotha. How you doing? Everything good?

IMV: Doing all right, man. How are you?

KF:  I’m good, man. We’re just…like so much getting ready to go here, we’re getting ready to do this tour and then we’ve got the record behind that…I’m sure we can talk them all, dude. Also, not a lot of people know about this shit, but there’s actually a fucking movie coming out on my life.

IMV: Seriously?

KF: Yeah, I’m serious. A friend of mine got in touch about three years ago…and he was like “dude, I want to do a movie on an underground heavy metal guy, and you’re the guy to do it on.” I was like, really? I was expecting, kind of like with my book. I did a book, last year it came out. Guy got in touch with me in 2010 in Las Vegas, guy named Mike Sloan, he was like “you need to write a book.” I said well, I’d love to but I don’t have the time. He goes “how about we talk on phone and I write the book for you?” I’m like okay, so we did a couple years and started to write and slowly wrote this thing and said, “what do you think?” And I was like “reads like a boring ass book report, brotha.” Haha.

So he goes “will you write it?” I said yeah, but you’re going to have to do another three years waiting for me to write the fucking thing. I said I’ll write it, I just want to do it right. So he was like okay, cool. So I ended up doing it and it did really and this guy just was like “yeah, we should do a movie, too.” Next thing you know he’s up here and he’s writing all this shit out, and it’s weird because it’s not just like a documentary.

It’s a documentary, but it’s more than that. He’s going to like do some animation of my crazy ass stories from back when I was a crazy ass motherfucker…

So that’s coming up too, and we’re trying to do all this at one time. It’s crazy, but it’s cool because I like staying busy.

IMV: Well yeah – wow, that does sound like a lot.

KF: It’s been an interesting little few months.

IMV: No kidding. You seem like a good dude to do that sort of thing on. Like…I knew Deceased had been around for a while, but I didn’t know it was close to 35 years until I started delving into this. Deceased formed – what was it? Mad Butcher in ‘84, changed the name to Deceased in ’85, started doing October 31 in ’95. You are a straight up lifer, man.

KF: Man, we’ve just been doing this for so long. I mean, I’m the only original guy left in Deceased at this point.

Basically, I can tell you the whole backstory and everything. Me and a guy named Doug [Souther], we were friends at like 15 and wanted to do a band. We sat there from 83-84, and just started like…he bought a guitar and learned how to play it. I was sort of playing drums, a friend of mine knew how to play drums and I sort of learned. I originally started off playing bass but I wasn’t very good at that, so I was just like “well, let’s see what happens” and the next thing you know he’s learning Venom covers and we’re doing Venom and Sodom and Bathory and Slayer and Hirax and all this kind of shit. And we had another guitar player Mark [Adams] that was in the band and did pretty much every album until the last one, Surreal Overdose.  And it was us three for the longest time, and then we got a bass player…

I don’t know how much you saw our background stuff but he was killed in a hit-and-run accident in ’88.

Doug, our guitar player, was the only one that basically survived except for one other guy who got both his legs flipped around. But Doug lost his brother, we lost Rob [Sterzel] our bass player, we lost another friend named Larry, and that kind of set us back obviously. We didn’t know if we would go on or not. Rob was a great friend, Doug was totally mentally fucking freaked out by it and stuff, but he came back and he said “let’s keep this going.” And then for years after that, for a few years more it was me, Doug, Mark, and a guy named Les, the guy that plays bass on all the records, that did this stuff. Then Doug stepped down and went on his own thing, and then for the longest time, I guess basically from 1990 to like 2006-7, 17 years of that 33-34 year run so far, was same lineup of me on drums/singing and stuff, we did bring a guy in a little bit later on drums named Dave [Castillo]…

We’ve just gone through the gamut, you know? When you’re kids, it’s easy – you live with your parents. When you get older you start finding ways of the world. Everybody’s got their little meaningless jobs to kind of get their foot rolling, next thing you know somebody’s married, next thing you know someone’s got a kid, next thing you know somebody’s divorced, next thing you know somebody owns a house, next thing you know somebody’s sick. Next thing you know…it’s just life keeps on coming and as this keeps going on and on and on…I don’t to say that people keep falling by wayside because that’s not what I mean by it. But they kind of like…life just overtakes some people where they have to find a way to keep on keeping on, you know?

IMV: Actually, that was going to be my next question: You’ve been at this a long time, how do you stay motivated after so many years with…

KF: It’s my life, brother. I mean, I had a stroke in 2002, I had fucking…my mom dropped dead, my son’s mother dropped dead basically…you know, just got sick real quick and passed on. You know, things along the way…if it wasn’t for things like that, I almost killed myself on drugs by the time I was fucking 19-years-old. I was bad on drugs from 14-19 – bad, bad drugs and I just always wanted to keep going forward and if it wasn’t for music, man, I wouldn’t have made it. I gave up everything – I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do shit. I don’t even drink caffeine, man.

IMV: Damn…

 KF: I just kept on doing what I do, and I’m still totally possessed or whatever you want to call it with the passion to keep doing it. I love…music is my life outside of family and my friends. That’s all that’s ever really been there for me.

IMV: Right on. Okay, Ghostly White– 8th album. You’re starting pre-production on it next week, right? 

KF: Yeah – we’re basically…it’s been wild. Mike Smith, the guy who replaced Doug, he has a government job and he’s been over in all kinds of places for the past six or seven years on and off, and that’s really held us up.

Because me and Mike write all the stuff. We call ourselves McCartney and Lennon. We’re not in their league, but that’s what we jokingly call ourselves. I get to be McCartney, so…hahahaha.

But anyway, we wait for each other. It’s like a loyalty thing, we write the songs together and that’s how it’s been basically since…Mark and Les and Shane and the other guys that came along, they helped too. I don’t want to take away from them because without them, we still don’t have it. But basically for last 20+ years it’s been me and Mike writing all the Deceased stuff, so he’s been super busy with his stuff and he’s just now getting enough time…we finished writing the record, it took us seven years to get the fucking songs ready because he’s been busy, but we’re finally getting to it. We’re going to record it at the very beginning of September, finish it by the end of September or early October and have it out by November on Hell’s Headbangers Records.

But it’s been a long time coming. It’s very…the last record Surreal Overdose was very fast. I came back to playing drums on that record. I wanted to see if I could still do all that and it was a fast, fast, fast record…

IMV: Yes it was.

KF: This one’s a lot more like, I would say somewhere between As the Weird Travel On and Supernatural Addiction. Much more melodic, there’s still some fast stuff but it’s more controlled. I don’t want to call it ‘heavy metal’ because we’re not going for that. It’s totally Deceased, it’s just not a chaotic as the last record.

IMV: So it has more of a groove to it instead of just…speed?

KF: Yeah, I mean, I would say if anything just more melody, just stuff like that. We always try to write the best songs we can. We’re just one of those bands that’s never been what I call ‘rent records.’ We don’t just write eight new songs and go okay, whatever we get we get and we put the record out. If it’s not up to what we like, then we just wait until the songs become what we want them to be or we write more songs until it is what we want it to be.  We’ve never been the type of band to just throw shit out there. It just means too much to us that we’ve got our names on it. I’m proud to say that all of our records we’ve done to date, I think they’re all pretty damn good records. I’m not one to brag myself up here, I’m not going to flip over and lick my own ass, but I’m pretty happy and proud of what we accomplished in the 30 plus years on record.

IMV: Oh, absolutely. And the seven years really didn’t seem all that odd. You’ve always been unpredictable or sporadic when it comes to your full length. You put out three in a span of five years, and then there were six years between other releases, so…

KF: Yeah, but it’s a little too far apart for me. I liked it more when we were doing…like three or four would have been fine, but we’ve only put out two records since 2005, and here it is 2018. It’ll be three by the time it’s done, and if you do the math it is kind of like four years, somewhere around there. But it’s just like…I’ve told Mike, I was like ‘I love you to death, the loyalty’s there, but dude….there’s so much time going by, years and years.’ I was basically… when we did, let’s go back to As the Weird Travel On. I was 37 when we did that record. I’m 50 now. I just turned 50 last week.

IMV: Well…happy birthday

KF: Thanks man, but yeah – it is what it is and we ask to do it the right way, we always will, and if Mike ends up stepping down, or if he’s…he’s 51, and he’s got a lot of stuff going on in his world with what he does, and I understand that. And he has a family and stuff like that, so it is what it is. We’ve talked, and I don’t know where it’s going to progress for the next record and stuff, but we do what we do.

Luckily I have the live band, which is basically the drummer from the record [Dave Castillo] is in the live band, the one guitar player Shane from the record is in the live band, and we have two guys that up to now haven’t played much on anything at all. A guy named Matt Ibach who plays guitar live and a guy named Walter White who plays bass. And those guys have been in the band for the live shows for like five years – Walter for five, I think Matt’s at almost like four. It’s great – I’ve never been happier playing live with these guys. They’re not hired hands, they’re all friends. It’s not like I went out ‘hey – looking for a guitar player’ and somebody showed up. These are people we knew, you know what I’m saying?

IMV: That definitely helps. I was actually going to ask if he was going to be out with you when you’re on tour next month…

KF: They’re all going to be there. We’re all going to be sweating our asses off the way down to New Orleans and back up to you, man.

IMV: I’m definitely looking forward to catching that show, too. Are you going to be playing any of the new stuff off Ghostly White?

KF: Not yet, not yet. We’re probably going to do what we’ve been doing for a while. You know…I think I’ve played in Detroit one time in all those years with Deceased. And when we did it, we did it with punk bands, we did it with an old band called Fang. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them, this old punk rock band. Because we had just done this punk covers thing years ago called Rotten to the Core, and they wanted us to do some shows with them so we came into Detroit and did something with the. We’ve never really come into Detroit and given them the real, full Deceased attack. We’ve played Flint, we’ve played Lansing, other places in Michigan but we’ve never really settled in, and I do believe that one night we were playing a lot of the punker stuff just because of what we were out with at the time. We’re probably going to save the new record stuff until it comes out and once the weather breaks again for the new year next year go out and bang it out, around March, April of next year go out and bang it out.

IMV: Have you…is this going to be your first time in Indianapolis?

KF: Yes, when we go up to Indianapolis it’ll be our first time there. It’ll be like…uh, I’m trying to think of where we usually go in Indiana. I don’t even know, but I’ve played there a lot. I’ve actually played there a lot with October 31. We used to over there and play…are you familiar with a band Skullview that used to be around?

IMV: Uhh…sounds familiar?

KF: They were like a heavy metal band, they were Chicago-based. We used to go up there a lot with October 31 and play. Deceased…thinking back, I think Deceased has been up there once, but never Indianapolis. It’s weird where we haven’t been. We were talking about that now for this current tour. We’ve never been in New Orleans, all these years. We’ve been to Czech Republic, we’ve been to Peru, we’ve been here, there, and everywhere, but we’ve never been to New Orleans, we’ve never been to Alabama. So these are like new stomping grounds for us, and we want to…at the end of the day, within the next five years like, with what we’re doing we want to say we played every fucking state in the United States, and that includes like Alaska and Hawaii. We want to make sure we get in there and do all this. It’s just something we’re slowly going to do for better or for worse. I don’t know what the scenes are like in these places, I don’t care, I go to play and have fun. When I was growing up I remember seeing shows at churches with six people and they’re memories in my mind forever, you know what I’m saying? You never know. I’ve played to fifty fucking thousand people a Wacken and played to nobody at a basement party, and they’re both…I entertain myself. I’m that guy. I don’t care. I’m not looking for an ego boost – I could care less.

IMV: You mentioned pre production – what’s that process like for you guys?

KF: Well basically, as it gets closer…like now I’m making notes. We’re going to jam next week, a bunch of days next week where we will go over all the timings in all of the, uh…I don’t know what you call this, I guess the timings. The timings of the songs, meaning okay the verse is here, it’s four times, and letting everybody lock in on how we decided on stuff. We have songs right now where like this riff is going six times, let’s pull it back to four or it needs to go to eight, whatever. And when we get all that we just lock it in like ‘this is how its going to be played on album.’ There’s no more ‘maybe we’re going to play it this way, maybe we’re going to play it that way.” We decide once and for all how it’s going to be, we get past than point and then we start locking in and going over everything from basically the first second of the song to the last second of the song, we go through and we break down everything in the song from the drums to the guitars to the bass, the vocals, etc. What’s going to be on the record, any weird ideas that would go there, any special guitar here, keyboard there, whatever. And we just basically make notes, you know what I’m saying? On and on…

IMV: So you basically work out the arrangements…

KF: Yes, just the final stuff, and then we’ll basically…here go the guitar solos here, etc. Then we’re going to go on tour for a few weeks, then we’re going to come back and run through the stuff for about six more jams and then we’re going to go in and bang it out.

IMV: Do you actually demo at this stage?

KF: We did demo. I’m not playing drums on the new record. I’d basically show my drummer Dave, I’d show him the stuff and things like that. We did demo four and a half of the songs – there’s eight songs on the record, we demoed four and a half songs about two years ago, just to get everything out of the gate. And here’s another thing that’s weird, we live apart from each other. I live up in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, our drummer lives in Alexandria, Virgina our one guitar player loves basically at the DC/Maryland border, and then the two guys that tour with us live in Frederick, Maryland. So we have to kind of do our homework there.

And as far as like I told you with the band playing on record, the drummer’s in Alexandria, I’m here, the one guitar player is in Washington DC, the other guitar player has been overseas so much with his government work and he lives like far out in Virginia, like almost Richmond, Virginia. So we’re about four hours away from each other, so we have to do a lot of homework and stuff. Our bass player lives in Austin, Texas – Les, the Oriental guy from all the years, he lives in Austin. He’ll basically fly in the week of, he’s been going over all the stuff in his basemen at home. He’ll fly in the week of and we’ll fine-tune it with him too and then he’ll go right into the studio for the weekend and lay down all his bass parts.

IMV: Awesome. So you’re producing this record. I know you’ve produced some of the October 31 stuff, but is this the first Deceased full-length that you’re doing?

KF: It’s the first time I’ve kind of put my name on it directly. I mean, somebody’s got to be the ringleader and I’ve pretty much been the ringleader for a while with this. I would say…if you go back to the start, Luck of the Corpse, I was not the producer. We went into the studio with a guy named Frank [Marchand] who didn’t even know our music, but kind of was the outside voice with ideas, and we were cool with it but it really wasn’t what we were looking for. We went and did The Blueprints for Madness back in ’94-’95, and when we did that one we basically tried to produce ourselves and we did not do such a great job because it was just, it’s one thing…everybody should have a say, but somebody has to have the say at the end. For example, if you’re mixing a record, I don’t care who you are, everybody’s mixing for themselves. Not greedily, but it’s just human nature to hear yourself more than anybody else, so when we went to mix Blueprints, everybody hears it a different way – somebody has to step up and do that.

So, by the time we got to Fearless Undead Machines, which I would consider and which a lot of people would probably say was our first real decent sounding record, we brought in a producer named Jim Barnes. He didn’t do a lot for that record. Basically at that point I kind of took over and just told the guys ‘look, enough of this bullshit.’ Which is what I just told you – this guy didn’t understand us for the first two, for Blueprints too many fucking cooks in kitchen, this was kind of where we were going. So I kind of pretty much sort of produced that one. And I definitely did not but I was definitely the main part of Deceased for Supernatural Addiction from 2000, which is my favorite Deceased record. Simon Efemey—he’s worked with Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, and stuff—he’s a real, genuine metal producer, he really came in and really fucking helped us out. And that was my favorite time because it was like ‘okay, I’m open to suggestions for us, but at the end of the day we have to be able to say yay or nay to it,’ and he was so understanding.

And then we went to the Mourner’s Veil EP, which we definitely produced, and then we went to the As the Weird Travel On, which we worked with a guy named Kevin [131 Gutierrez], and that was kind of like me, Mike, and him. And the same goes for Surreal, which was kind of more me and Kevin. And this time it’s just going to basically be me. I’m going to basically just take the bull by the horns, kind of something I’ve been wanting to do.

I’ve never really, even with October 31, we’ve been so strapped for budgets for the record that even my ideas production-wise I’ve had to settle. Like, I’m literally like if I was trying to get to a 10 with my production values, most of those records are a 4, tops. Never even got to halfway. I mean, running out of time, no more money in the well to dip into to do things, having to rush vocals. I’m no singer-singer, which I try to do with October 31. I have to take my time and do the best I can, but my voice is more of a Deceased thing where it’s not necessarily a singing thing but it’s just a vocal presence and stuff.

So this new record, I’m ready for it, it’s something I want to do, it’s something I look forward to doing in the future and stuff. I know the engineer of the studio, I know the studio well, I know the music really well, and I know my guys so I know what the fuck’s going to go on. And I’m looking forward to it.

IMV: And you sort of anticipated my follow-up there. So you’re still old school and you do it in a studio, and you’re not like…laptop, GarageBand stuff?

KF: No. Hell no. I want everybody there. To me, recording is…I love playing live and I love recording records for two different reasons. And when it comes to the recording side of it the thing with me that I love so much its’ the time to spend time with your band mates and just have fun. It’s like…you know, we just busted our asses, and literally I’ve driven up and down 95 for the last seven years going to band practice, and Mike’s flown in and blah blah blah, and all the hard work, and here it is paying off. It’s like a great memory of it all. It’s just like going to camp almost, you know, or like a summer camp memory and stuff like that. And that’s awesome, like putting it on tape hearing it, and finally not hearing it on a boom box recording in your band room. Like, there it is, there’s that part we were talking about, clear as a bell. That’s great to me, that’s great…that’s like a high for me.

IMV: Awesome. All right, so – lyrics. One of the things I’ve always appreciated about both October 31 and Deceased is that – like, that story telling you do in your lyrics seems to be a lost art at this point. There aren’t many – there’s like you, and King Diamond, and not a whole lot of other bands I can think of do that. I interviewed a Danish band called Phantom a couple of weeks ago who are starting to do that supernatural horror-based narrative stuff, and it’s like – man, hardly anyone does this anymore. What was it that drew you to that style of lyrics to begin with?

KF: Honestly and truly…and I’m looking at our records right now. I put my accomplishments on my wall, I’ve got them framed up there so I’m kind of looking. If you could go back to the earliest of days, I’ll take you back pre-…I’ll go back to 1986 when we did our first demo. The first things that come into a kid’s mind, at least me when I was 17, 16, 18, writing this demo, coming up with song titles that were immediate like “Gutwrench” or “After the Bloodshed” or “Eaten By Disease” would just attack you, and that’s what you’re working with. But then lyrically, I’m basically just rhyming syllables of what we would call scary words. You know, the old…whatever, dumb as shit. I’ll give you an example: ‘shoot you with a gun, fucking…you gotta run.’ You know – dumb, dumb. And you’re kind of learning from there and I kind of learned how to place stuff and things, which got me to the first record. And then it was kind like ‘this is kind of what we do,’ and I did it but I was kind of like, there’s not a lot…there’s a little here, I can branch off on this. So then the next couple of records, I’d say Blueprints would be the first one, where I started writing this…I wanted to be like this…character in the songs. I wanted to become this person in…this harrowing person in Hell or whatever it is, and it really came into formation on Fearless where I was just telling my story of this overtaking of the dead coming back to life, etc.

And I was just like…you know, for me…people say death metal is all this “growlgrowlgrowlgrowlgrowl,” Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, etc. but when I was growing up, I just liked the intensity of anything that was just haunting, just fucking caught me and gave me a creepy vibe. I don’t get that from what most people perceive as death metal. Like, I don’t get spooked by Cannibal Corpse, I don’t get spooked by Obituary, whatever. I’m just using examples of stuff like that…

I would much rather delve into something like…eerie. I’ll even take like Savatage. The early Savatage had a lot of eerie songs going on, and I love that eerie feeling. And I’m like, you know what – I like that kind of maniacal feel to it, and the eeriness and the aura of doom that just stays with you, and I said ‘I want that in the voice, too.’ So then I started digging deeper into what drives me, whether it be movies or literature or whatever, and I kind of was like, I’m in an Edgar Allen Poe kind of world in my mind when it comes to this stuff. I want no happy endings. Every story, to make it downbeat, I want…I don’t want any happy endings in my songs. Everything has a fork in the road, everything has a twist, everything just goes to hell, because that’s kind of horror to me. That’s kind of like the dark side of life and stuff.

And I’m a happy-go-lucky guy so it’s bizarre, but it’s just how I perceive my stuff. So when I write lyrics I try to make up details so people can instantly visualize what I’m saying and take to the voice of the song. Then the hardest thing of it all, and my most favorite thing to do, is to take those ideas, take the song and put it to whatever music we have and make it work. I want it to be fitting, I don’t want it…you know, obviously I’m writing about whatever, children murders, anything like that, and if the music fucking sounds like…I don’t know, “My Sharona,” I don’t thing it’d work. You know what I’m saying? So you want the music be fitting to the lyrics, and that’s something that, to the end of our existence with Deceased, that will always be the hardest thing to do, and the thing that I will always try my hardest to make happen for us. It’s a challenge, and I like that challenge.

IMV: Okay…I’ve only got a couple more questions here. Raul Gonzales’s art for new record is pretty badass. I love the colors and everything going on in that picture. I know he’s done covers for the band before. How closely do you work with him? Do you give him lyrics ahead of time, or do you just say ‘here’s the title – have at it!’

KF: Raul I’ve known for a while. He did our last album cover Surreal Overdose. He worked with that, he also did our demos records for Hell’s Headbangers stuff, the artwork – he kind of recreated our old demo stuff.

I love Raul. I’ll be honest with you – this artwork has been done since 2012. That’s how long it’s been sitting. I showed no one, including my band, until the beginning of July…July 2nd was when I actually showed everybody. When I put it out there and everybody put it on the Internet or whatever it was and it came out. That was my ideas, just like the last ones, and he took it and we worked with it and he threw some of his own in there. We had a little bit of a harder time this time than the last record, because I don’t think he’s…being Spanish and just kind of where he is, he didn’t totally understand me and I totally didn’t understand him. I also talk too fucking fast and I’m hyperactive, so I probably threw him for a loop where he was like ‘this motherfucker’s crazy.’

But anyway…he did a great job, and I just told him, I said ‘you know, you’ll get an idea of what we’re like’ and started playing stuff and he came back with that when it was said and done and we moved some things around and did what we wanted. And he did just what I wanted, which was basically…kind of like, what the art represents to me is a little bit of everything. It’s just a little bit of ideas in my mind of everything. It’s not just one scenario, though. It’s just little pictures in my mind. It really has no meaning to it, it’s just little pictures in my mind of just scenarios. Not even really the storylines of songs on the record. Just little pictures in my mind that kind of just visualize into this thing – that’s what I saw.

IMV: And that makes sense, because it does sort of have a…not necessarily collage feel, but maybe a montage where you can see bits of four or five different stories in it.

KF: You’ve got it, man. A montage – that’s exactly right.

IMV: Yeah, it’s very cool.

KF: Good, I’m glad you like it. And I do, too. Artwork’s very important to me. I don’t want to throw some crap out there and stuff. It’s all…it’s the whole package, you know?

IMV: Oh, absolutely. Well…and I was going to save this question for last, but that seems like a good segue into it. So the industry has obviously changed a little bit over the last 35 years, in terms of packaging and formats and streaming and artwork and stuff like that. Vinyl come and gone and come back again, and now tapes are back, and streaming, and downloads are apparently going away or whatever, at least through Apple.  How do you feel about industry today compared to how it was when you started out? I mean, you were the first band that signed to Relapse, right?

KF: We were – we were the first full album on Relapse. We were.

For me, music has always been music, and however…if they put it on a tape player, or they put it on an 8-track, or they put it on a reel-to-reel, or they do vinyl, whatever, just to be heard, radio…whatever year it is, it’s still music and that’s the most important thing. When they turned it into an industry, and a marketing industry, a business and all these formats came out and stuff, it still is what it is. It’s how you present yourself to me. And yeah, records came, records went. This is a finicky world that we live in, the human nature of mankind, you know.

It’s funny, records were so in, so cool and all of a sudden it’s ‘oh – this new thing is CDs, you can carry them around, you can put them in your car,’ people fell in love that. Then all of a sudden one day they were the enemy and they’re like ‘oh no, you’ve got to go back to records,’ etc. So for me, it’s all-important for what it is so long as the music’s out there. You know, we try to give the full…everything. If someone wants to download our album, doesn’t want to buy it, then so be it. Because at end of day for me, it’s all that music is is music, and if you want to be able to hear it then just hear it. I’m not going to cry if I lost an albums sale because somebody stole it off of whatever the fuck’s this week’s Soulseek is or whatever. I don’t care. If you don’t want to buy it, then don’t buy it. If people do, they do. If they don’t, they don’t. I didn’t get into music to make a million dollars. I sure as hell wouldn’t have written songs called “Shrieks From the Hearse” and “Feasting on Skulls” if we were going to make a million dollars.

IMV: Haha – that’s a very good point. So to sort of wrap this up…so you’ve got, even though there’s only…well, ‘only’…you’ve got seven full-lengths over the last 35 years, but you’ve got EPs, demos. You’ve got a deep discography. How do you go about putting together a setlist then when you’re about to head out on the road?

KF: Hahaha – that’s a good question. There’s a few songs…and it’s weird because I never thought we’d become this band, because I used to say ‘Sabbath’s got to play “Paranoid,” Sabbath’s got to play “Iron Man,” Sabbath’s got to play “War Pigs”,’ and I was so tired of hearing them. I love the songs, but I’m tired of hearing them. We’ve kind of done that, too. Most of the time, our set’s an hour, and some of the songs are pretty long, especially from the Fearless era, which is some of the most requested stuff. So you do three songs from that and you’re already twenty minutes into a 60-minute set.

I try to mix it up. I like to go through all the eras to let people know that nothing is now a black cloud in our past, or nothing is…that’s we’re not, like, all about just playing the new material. I try to do what I’d like to hear other bands do, where you kind of do something from all the discography. Now we go out and play with…when we see you, we’re not going to play something from every record, but we’ll do our best.

But we’ll definitely play some of the real crazy fast, you know, crazy shit, we’ll play some of the melodic, more heavy metal stuff, we may throw a cover in here and there on a given night. We may be doing a Voivod or a Venom cover just to celebrate the underground heavy metal and everything we grew up with.

But we always try to give our best, and the most important thing, no matter what songs we choose, is we have to perform them with a visually exciting show, meaning, you know, we can’t just stand there and play them, because anybody can do that. I love Rush, but I will never…well, they’re not going to play anymore, anyway, but I will never see them live anymore. They are so boring to me.

But I just want to make sure that we play the songs right and that we give people a show. If they’re going to pay money and stand there and basically give their time, we need to be there to give them everything we got, every fucking night.

IMV: That’s a very good way of looking at it. So that’s all I’ve got. I always like to leave the last word to the artist, so anything else you want to add?

KF: Hey, I just tell everybody to stay ugly, stay honest, and just keep on rocking. That’s what it’s about, man. Enjoy life, you know. We’re all…’Death Metal From the Grave’ is our slogan, but it’s all about fun and good times to me, man, and looking out for each other and keeping the fucking underground and music real, you know – honest, genuine. And fuck greed pigs, money-hungry pricks, and Sharon Osbourne.

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