"Well, all I can say is that I've
had terrible fuck finding the right people to play with. When
the original line-up broke up in early '85, I tried looking for
new members here in Florida, but it was impossible to find anybody
who was into playing brutal death metal. So, I went to San Francisco
and formed a band with ex-D.R.I. drummer, Eric Brecht (now in
HIRAX), but that didn't last for too long either. Then in January
'86, I got an offer to join the Canadian band SLAUGHTER as a second
guitarist, and being that nothing was going right for DEATH, I
decided to do it. It didn't take me very long to realize that
I'd made a big, big mistake, so I left after only two weeks."
Was this when you
decided to reform DEATH? "Yes, I went back to San Francisco
and met up with drummer Chris Reifert. About a month later, we
went into the studio and recorded a 3-song demo ("Mutilation")
which got us signed to Combat. Right after we did the LP as a
2-piece, we ran into this guitarist, John Hand, whom we really
liked at the time, so we got him into the band. He played with
us long enough to have his photo appear on the back of the album,
but he just couldn't play our newer material, so he had to go."
Now, what made you
decide to leave San Francisco and move back to Florida for good?
"Well, when I first moved to California back in late '85, the
scene was just starting to flourish. There were lots of places
to play, and the fan support was just overwhelming. Unfortunately,
as time went by, most of the clubs closed down and the scene just
sort of died out. I knew there was no way I was gonna be able
to get a band together there, so I decided to go back to Florida,
I told Chris he could move back down with me, but he said he didn't
But weren't you afraid
that you were putting yourself in pretty much the same situation
that you were in two years earlier when you were still living
in Florida? "No, because when I first left here, death
metal was nowhere near as popular as it is now. I knew that my
chances of finding people to play with were much greater this
time than they were two years ago, so I took a chance and came
So, how did Rick
Rozz come back into the picture? "Well, his band MASSACRE
broke up right before I moved back here, so it was only logical
for us to rejoin forces. Bill and Terry were also in MASSACRE
with Rick, so they came with him."
But wasn't there
heavy animosity between you and Rick ever since his departure
from the band over two years ago? "Yeah, but we decided
to bury the hatchet and try to work together again. So far it's
working out well."
away from the subject of personnel changes, if we may, and talk
about your album. Were you happy with the final product?
"Oh, yeah, I was totally happy with the way the record came out.
Randy (Burns) gave us a super-heavy production, and he was very
easy to work with in the studio. The only thing I kind of regret
now, is not hanging around for the final mixes. I think the rhythm
guitar could have been a bit louder in the mix."
I understand that
you laid down a total of twelve tracks in the studio, but only
ten found their way onto the record. What happened with the other
two tracks you recorded? "Well, we wanted to use all
twelve for the album, but I guess Combat thought it would have
crammed the record so they took two of them off. They might be
used on a future EP or something, but I doubt it."
Which two tracks
were taken off? "Beyond The Unholy Grave" and "Land Of
Being that you've
had so much material circulated via demo and live tapes over the
last three years, was it hard for you to pick the songs for your
first record? "No, not at all. Most of the older tunes
were dropped a long time ago anyway. There are some older songs
on the album, like "Evil Dead", which is one of the first songs
we ever wrote, and "Infernal Death", which was written almost
three years ago, but most of the other tracks on the album were
written during the last year before the album was recorded."
How do you account
for your huge success as a demo band? "I think most of
that was due to the fact that we've been around for so long, and
we were one of the first really brutal death metal bands to come
out with a tape. Looking back now, I think that most of the demos
we put out over the years were pretty much crap, but at the time
they were obviously what the kids wanted to hear."
I've noticed that
in the early stages of the band you had the three 6's in your
logo. How do you feel about Satanic lyrics now? "I'm
really not interested in it all, to tell you the truth. We had
some Satanic lyrics back in the old days, but most of those were
written by our former drummer/vocalist Kam Lee. As soon as he
left the band I kind of took control of that side of things, since
I'm the vocalist now. My lyrics are based more on the subject
of death and real-life gore. I get a lot of ideas from seeing
gore flicks. For example, "Torn To Pieces" is about the movie
"Make Them Die Slowly", and "Scream Bloody Gore" is about "Re-animator"."
How's the response
to the album been so far? "Everybody seems to be really
into it. I've really only heard a couple of bad comments about
it, but those were coming from people who weren't into death metal
to begin with, so they don't count. Seriously though, the reaction
from the fans has been just amazing, especially from Germany and
the U.S. I really have to thank everybody for their great support,
because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here right now."
A lot of people have
compared your sound to that of POSSESSED -would you agree?
"I've heard a few people say that, but I don't think so. If you
wanna say that I sound like Jeff Becerra, then fine, but my songwriting
is really a far cry from what Larry Lalonde and Mike Torrao are
into nowadays. I think my riffs are just a lot heavier and more
morbid sounding. I still love POSSESSED though."
Does it anger you
to see DEATH lumped in the same group as all the noise bands such
as ACRID, INTENSE, MUTILATION, EVOKED DOOM etc. by some people?
"Yes, it definitely bothers me, because we're not a
noise band. I'll be the first to admit that some of our early
tapes weren't too good, but we were never a noise band, although
the sound quality on some of those recordings may have suggested
How has your songwriting
changed over the years? "Well, obviously I've gotten
a lot better as a guitarist, so my current songwriting style involves
a lot more technical riffing and more complex song-arrangements
than before, but I'd say that our sound has pretty much remained
the same. Our next album will still be brutal as hell, but it
will be a bit more musical and professional than "Scream Bloody
Any titles yet?
"Yes, "Open Casket", "Left To Die", "Choke On It" and "Pull The
Obviously, you haven't
had much experience playing in a live situation due to all the
line-up changes. Was there any talk yet about a US tour -with
labelmates DARK ANGEL or POSSESSED, possibly? "We really
didn't give that much thought yet. I think that, for now, we will
just concentrate on writing new material and practicing as much
as possible with the new line-up. We're probably gonna do a few
local shows in the near future, but I doubt that we'll be doing
a full tour until after the second album is released."
With the likes of
SLAYER, METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX getting onto major labels
and being successful at it, can your forsee DEATH ever following
in their footsteps and hooking up with a major label as well?
"It's hard to say what can happen several years from now. I think
that we will certainly get more and more professional at what
we do, but we will never compromise our sound in order to achieve
greater materialistic success. If we get on a bigger label, fine,
but it'll be exactly as we are or no deal. I can't see it happening
for at least a few years though."
DEATH have encountered in the past, they seem to have put it all
behind them and are ready to come back with a vengeance. With
"Scream Bloody Gore" practically flying out of record stores,
and the band's unmistaken confidence in their new material, DEATH
seem all set to join the likes of SLAYER, POSSESSED and DARK ANGEL
in bringing unrelentlessly brutal death metal to mass acceptance.
May nothing stand in their way!