Interview with King Fowley of Deceased and October 31

On Tuesday, July 23rd, I got the chance to interview King Fowley, the legendary front man (and one time drummer) of the bands Deceased and October 31. The guy has lived a hell of a life so far, has some crazy tales to tell and a dedication to underground and DIY metal few can rival. This interview is 53 minutes long, our longest yet, so let’s get right to it. You can download the interview as an mp3 for free here, stream it by clicking the orange play button below or read the full transcription under that. As always my words are in bold. You can access my other interviews here.

This is Metal Chris of DC Heavy Metal and today I’m here with one of the legends from our scene, King Fowley, of the bands Deceased and October 31. King is getting ready to play with both of his bands at Atlas Brew Works on Saturday, August 3rd [details here]. The show is going to be filmed for the upcoming documentary titled King: A Metal Life. So to start things off King, can you tell me who approached you about doing this documentary and how it got started?

Cheers to ya. A guy named Patrick Meagher. He’s an old buddy of a buddy. He used to see us practice in our buddy Chris [Yuastella] from Abominog‘s old practice space down Wilson Boulevard in Arlington in the 90’s around the time we were doing The Blueprints for Madness stuff. He was over there hanging with Chris. He used to come down and just watch us jam. We’d all shoot the shit growing up together kind of things and then as time went on somewhere down the line he caught contact with me again. He’d moved to New York and done his own thing for a decade plus and he just got in touch with me and he said, “you’ve done a lot for the scene. I really respect you and I’d really like to see some stuff” and he said some really kind things and asked me to meet him out at the old Fair Oaks Mall there in Virginia, and so we met and he had his Kiss notebook and we just started talking and he was like, “I want to do this film on your life, the crazy stories. Part of some of it I remember, some of it I heard through the grapevine.” Saying “I really want to touch base with you and what do you think about this?” and we just started talking and at first he seemed genuine, and he is very genuine, but at first I’ve had people come to me before with ideas and stuff and a couple weeks later it passes and they had a moment in time they kinda got a whim that they were going to do something but it faded away. Well his didn’t at all and the next thing I know he had ideas, he had scripts, he was coming to my house up here in Philadelphia from Virginia. He was making a lot of effort and it was looking very professional and genuine. I instantly knew this guy was more than just, I don’t want to say talking out of his ass cause he was never doing that, but he was really full in and I told him I’m full in too and since then, which is like six, seven years ago now when we started this project. He has done everything and anything he can to better this film and we’ve just gone from there. But that’s how it all got started. [It] was at Fair Oaks Mall. Just bouncing ideas and then we just worked from there.

King Fowley

King Fowley at Maryland Deathfest X

I know you’re still filming the footage, obviously, here at Atlas. So there’s obviously still a lot of work to do and editing and things but do you have any kind of estimate about when it will be out?

He’s shooting for about two years from now he says still. He’s got a set date. Something to do with his Stanley Kubrick love. Something with the 40th anniversary of The Shining or something like that’s gonna happen. I don’t know exactly what it is but it’s about 2 years out still.

Do you know if this is going to be screened locally, like maybe at Silver AFI or is it going to be something available on DVD or do you know any idea of what kind of format we’re going to see this in?

I don’t know where it’s at so far but he’s got big plans. He wants to get it into Sundance [Film Festival] and into the movie theaters and all kinds of different angles and ideas. I guess he’s going to shop it around and go from there once he finishes the film but he’s thinkin’ big which is always a good thing. He wants to do as much as he can with it. He doesn’t want to put a DVD out and let it sit on a table at a show and try to sell it for fifteen bucks or whatever it is. He wants to get it into theaters. He wants to take off as a director and you know he’s sunk a lot of money into this. He wants to do everything he can and I know he will, cause he’s a doer, and I just think the sky is the limit and we’ll see how everything unfolds here in the next couple years.

Deceased at Atlas

So both your bands Deceased and October 31 are playing at Atlas that night. Will both of their sets be recorded for the documentary?

They will be. They’ll be video taping, audio taping, pictures, all of the above. They’ll get a little bit of this, a little bit of that. The whole thing will go down as documented for sure, both bands in full.

Have you been to Atlas before?

I have never been to Atlas. I’m an old Virginia guy as you know. I find out about all these places little by little. I remember a few years ago finally going into the little Pinch down in there and then the Rock & Roll Hotel and recently I did the Dangerous Pies. I’ve heard great things about Atlas. I have not been in there yet. I’m looking forward to it. It’s the 2019 underground scene place to be for metal. I’m really looking forward to it.

I like to say it’s kinda like DC’s Saint Vitus Bar at this point. They get a lot of metal shows in there and they get national and international bands a lot which is really cool but one thing I will tell you, it gets hot in there in the summer so if you’re playing two sets back to back man be hydrated, be hydrated there.

Haha. Sure. We just played a show in Maine two weeks ago and I don’t know if it can get hotter than that though probably the hottest show I’ve ever played was in Florida with Nasty Savage with October 31 we were down there and the stage temperature was 127° and that was Florida in August. We were just talking a little while ago, me and Patrick, he was talking about bringing in the four high powered fans to keep the place cool so he’s definitely thinking ahead. Nobody can stand the heat. Nobody can think straight and we already know how freaking hot it is outside right now.

They have fans in there already but it still gets pretty hot with all those uh…

Yeah I know. I think he’s gonna quadruple it up. Hahaha. We’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll get a ice machine in there and we’ll just play inside the ice machine. Hahaha.

Back in March you had mentioned something about an October 31 movie in the works. Would that be another documentary or something? Is there any updates on that?

Well October 31 is just lately been working in the new drummer and doing our thing. We’ve talked about doing this fun little movie idea what was gonna basically be a parody of Kiss Meets the Phantom [of the Park] with October 31 meets the phantom. We were in the van running around being goofy talking our shit to each other in the car and we’re like let’s do a movie. October 31 meets the phantom and maybe we’ll do it one day but it’s on no big scale at all. It would just be something for fun and just for friends and anybody that was interested in seeing it, seeing it.

You post a lot on Facebook and unlike a lot of people on Facebook you don’t sit around posting like political memes and cat pictures, you actually post a lot of interesting things. You obviously watch a ton of movies, especially B horror flicks, and you review them a lot on there and you seem to have an endless supply of old school metal merch you’re always digging up and showing posts about old cocaine mirrors from bands from the 80’s and things like that. However my favorite posts of yours are defiunitely the stories you tell. They’re usually stories around some sort of show you played with Deceased and often involve other bands you were playing with, though sometimes you talk about more personal things like the birth of your son, how you got into music and the death of Deceased bass player Rob Sterzel back in ’88. Now you’re a great storyteller and it’s one of the reasons I really wanted to interview you, and these posts are often quite lengthy but they’re always entertaining. Do these posts all originate from your book Stay Ugly: The Life and Near Deaths of King Fowley or are these all stored somewhere else or where do these all come from?

Heh. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Thanks for reading and thanks for enjoying. For me it’s just living. It’s just everything in life. I see things. When you get out and you live. I like to always say live. Everybody needs to live. You need to do things. I’d rather just always take everything in as a lesson. Everything’s a lesson in life. I’ve had tragedy. I’ve had heartbreak. I’ve had celebration, all of that, and I like to talk about it. The good, the bad, the ugly. And like you’re saying with the book Stay Ugly, sure some of the stories are in there. The stories of having fist fights with other bands because of situations or just calling bullshit in the underground or just calling people out kind of things, to the better things like the birth of my son and just enjoying life and things like that. All of it’s important to me. From the B horror movies and watching that crap and just letting people know hey, this one ain’t so hot to me. I always say we get our own names so everybody’s their own person. You come into basically what I call “my house” where Facebook, my page, and stuff. If I was to go to somebody else’s page I wouldn’t be so… uh, I would have respect for someone else’s house. That’s what I just want to say. Like if I disagreed with somebody and things, I’m always respectful. All it is is opinions and people in this day and age especially are so lost and like just wanting to fight over the tedious of shit. I say things. People can take it for what they want. Some people agree. Some people don’t. I don’t say things to shock people. I’m not looking to be like, oh this guy hasn’t liked Judas Priest in 25 years. He’s the kvlt, underground jerk. It’s not that. If it’s something I say I 110% genuinely mean what I’m saying. And I like to talk and things and I figure if I’m in there typing, let me talk about something more. Sure I’ll have my post of my Fangface cartoons from ’78 or Wonderbug Krofft Superstar or I’ll talk about something that’s goofy for a second here and there just for a laugh but I like to be serious at times and I like people to be able to think more. It’s just fun for me. It’s interesting, keeps me happy too. I’m not the world’s best typist. I like to tell tales. I’m better speaking it than typing it. Yeah, people have asked me for more books and things like that, which is fun. I’d like to do some more of that stuff some time. I have a lot inside me. I like to get as much as I can in a lifetime.

One of the stories I read on there, it was one of my favorites, and I couldn’t even find it digging up research for this interview but I know it’s somewhere on there. But you had talked about meeting Mille [Petrozza] of Kreator one time and I think you like punched him in the face and then ended up becoming friends or something like that.

Yeah this is funny. It was at the 9:30 Club, the old 9:30 Club in DC, not the new one. We went down to see Kreator. I’d already seen them once on the Pleasure To Kill Tour with Voivod but I didn’t meet them then or anything. I was a Voivod, and am a Voivod fanatic, but they came back through the next time and they were headlining and I was really disappointed with their, at the time, their Terrible Certainty album, which was to me a slower album and it had more of a Bay Area Testamenty kinda lighter thrash kind of sound and I was disappointed so I told the guys that we went down there with, I said, “man we go in there tonight I’m going on stage I’m gonna punch that son of a bitch in the mouth for it,” right? Now I was never gonna punch, I would never, ever punch someone in the face unless they deserved it and we were talking and there was a fight going on it might happen then, but I would never just go up and punch somebody in the face like that. So I went on stage and I was like you know, headbanging, enjoying the shit out of their show. They were playing their asses off and I went over to him and my buddy’s like, “you going to do it?” and I said, “no man.” I was shaking my head on stage. So I just took my finger and I went BOOP and I booped him on the fucking lip. I went BOOP and he looked at me and he didn’t know what was going on ’til the show was over. And we were outside in the hallway and my buddy Eddie had told me, “yeah I guess you did it” but I was like laughing. I was like I’m not gonna punch the guy in the face. That was all bullshit. And the guy was standing there and Mille had like a little bit of a cut and I went over to him and I said, “man I’m sorry.” He said, “what?” I said, “I did that.” He said, “aw you know, it happens.” I said, “no but I did it intentionally” and he looked at me and he went, “intentionally?” and I said, “well, the new album,” and he was still pretty German and not English broken so much 100% at the time and I was like, “well the new album’s a little bit light Mille. I’m a little disappointed. I need the faster stuff like,” I started naming the stuff on the first two records and he looked at me and somebody said, “hey King” and he said, “is your name King Fowley?” I said, “yeah,” he said, “oh Voivod told me to tell you hi” and I said “yeah,” so we went backstage and we started talking and I hugged him and apologized and I told him what it was and he just started laughing and we’ve been best friends ever since that night. To hear it the way you tell it, it sounds shocking for a second but it was innocent as hell and I love Mille and he’s one of my best pals in the underground still to this day.

Your Stay Ugly book is sold out but you also contributed a few stories to Jason Netherton’s excellent book Extremity Retained which is an oral history of the underground death metal scene of the 80’s and 90’s. Are there other places people fan find some of your wild stories about being in a metal band?

Man there’s stuff everywhere. I couldn’t even give you titles of stuff people come so much asking for quotes and things. I couldn’t even tell you where else to look. I’ve contributed to things and I’ll just let people look and if they’re not even out yet, I don’t know. I’ve done stuff for females in metal of late. I did something for Hell’s Headbangers, our label, is putting a book out here soon. I have no title for it but that’s something I’ve done. I’ve contributed a lot of band stories from just meeting bands or being on tour and partying with bands or just the dirt and the drugs and the sex and all that with bands. A book coming out, again [I] don’t think it has a title yet, but the guy was from Europe and we must have talked for about three, four hours about four or five months ago and he was just like asking me all these crazy questions. He was like, “I was told to ask King Fowley from the band Deceased. He was one of the craziest partyers,” and he was like “is it true you drank a quart of motor oil one night?” I’m like, “yep, it’s true. I drank a whole quart of motor oil.” He was just getting into all this stuff but I contribute whenever anybody asks and it seems genuine. I’ll say something. Sometimes people are like, “yeah I need to know. Tell me the story about this and that,” and they want shit talking and I’m like, “nah I’m not going to contribute to that.” That was one of the things with my book, Stay Ugly when my work with Mike Sloan who came to me in 2010 in [Las] Vegas and said, “I wanna write a book.” Same scenario as Patrick with the movie. I was like, “Oh this guy’s talking out of his ass and this’ll never happen,” and then three weeks later he called me and we worked on it for the next seven years to get the book right but he was like, “yeah man I want to know every story about every girl you fucked and all of this and who you beat up and stuff,” I said, “I’ll give you that to a degree but it’s not going to be a whole book on that.” I said, “I’m not interested in all that.” I said, “I want to have an even Steven book. The good, the bad, the ugly. I want to talk about being a kid and how my mom raised us without my father, dying of cancer at 28 years old and how she had to fight to keep us and how she taught me to work my ass off and enjoy life and my bad times with my drugs, my bad times with my drinking. My getting through that and beating that. Kind of a celebration moment. From the death of my mother on basically a weekend. She was taken away with necrotizing fasciitis to the death of my son’s mother who was basically taken away with a tumor within six months at 37.” I told him at the time, I said, “I really don’t want to put, ‘oh yeah, yeah, my mom died. She’s dead and my heart’s broken and I fucked this girl.'” I said, “it doesn’t fit.” So when it was done he’s like, “Oh, well some of that stuff’s missing now and I came to Mike and I said, “here’s what we’re gonna do. The book is done. The story is A to Z. It’s all there. I don’t want to try to edit now and add stuff out of place and ruin the rhythm to me of the writing.” So I said, “come up with 50 questions. We’ll put it after the book. Look, there’s more.” We did a last little thing on the book and he asked me what he wanted to ask me. “Why did you fight Manowar? Did you really fuck a swordfish at Jaxx in Virginia?” and I could tell those stories as their own entity and that was important to me. I’ll contribute to anything. I’ve got a lot to say and like I said, I’ve got a lot of living in me so I’ll contribute to anything I can as long as it’s genuine and it’s the right reasons. That’s all.

Stay Ugly

Cover of Stay Ugly

So [is] that book coming back into print? I’ve heard about some of these stories on your Facebook like the fucking a fish and some of that stuff. Do you think these are ever going to be back in print?

Yeah I’m thinking about printing it again. That’s basically 100 books is 1,000 bucks. The company I use. It’s like 1,000 bucks you get 100 books. I sell em for 15 bucks. I make $500 off the whole fucking ripty round and people get to read it. Cause I have people asking all the time and it came and went so quick I think it was only about four to five hundred copies between me and Mike Sloan that even exist. And people were like, “man you should write a book,” and was like, “well I did write a book.” Heh. And it’s like you can’t even find it on eBay. No one’s even turned one in or it’s not on Amazon and things like that. It’s out of print and I think I need to put it back in print and I really want to start writing another book too. So yes, I would say it will probably come in print if not this year [then] early next year it’s going to come back into print. Probably another three, four hundred run.

OK so one thing that I’ve always admired about you is your commitment to the underground and DIY. You like going out and playing in front of just about anyone, just about anywhere and you don’t like people in metal that have big egos about it. I feel that this honesty of purpose is something that has really kept the music of your bands, both Deceased and October 31, I don’t want to say more pure but it sort of keeps it more fun and more honest and I think it helps fans relate to you whether you’re an old school Deceased fan or one of the newer, younger kids coming up into this stuff. Have you ever struggled to keep this integrity in your bands?

I’ve had to butt heads with a lot of people along the way. I’ve made enemies along the way because I’ve refused to bend. When we were on Relapse Records, which was one of the biggest death metal, underground, whatever you want to call it, labels of the 90’s, we were one of the first bands to ever sign with [Relapse]. Some people say we were the first but there were 7″ [releases on Relapse] before us but nevertheless when they started taking off and moving product and stuff and then came to Deceased, they would try to put our shirts in Hot Topic and I’d go in there and see a shirt and it would be $35 and I’m like, “take that out of the fucking Hot Topics. That’s a $20 t-shirt dude. Get it out of there dude,” and they’d be like, “oh man.” Then I’d go in Sam Goody and see the CD for $18.99 [and] I’m like, “get it the fuck out of there dude. It’s [a] $10 CD. If I wanted to be on that kind of label I’d go do that,” and they’re just like, “oh money, money, money, money, money” and I’m like, “come on dude.” We’re in an underground thing but as you know, I know you know this, money is such a greed pig thing. Money changes just about everybody. Everybody is just such about the dollar. Whether they say it out loud or they play the bullshit game where they keep it in the closet, they’re out to get everything they can. And I just, I want what’s mine. I always say I’m not cheap but I’m not stupid and what’s mine is mine and what’s not mine is not mine. But, when it comes to like the stuff we do, like shows and stuff, I love to keep the ticket prices down. I can’t always do that. When we played at Wacken [Open Air] in 2000 and stuff I’m seeing like $90 for the show and I’m seeing it’s Motörhead and Bruce Dickinson and us and I understand that. But some of these shows you go and it’s like Deceased and two local bands and it’s $28. I’m like, this is ridiculous. And they’re like, “well we gotta pay all the overhead to make this happen,” and I’m like, “there is no overhead. There is nothing” and I start calling them out. I’m like, “Look I’ve been around enough to have learned the ropes. You’d probably took me early on. We might have played a lot of shows in Pittsburgh for hamburgers and fries.” But as time went on I just want it to be fair. I just think the world could be so much better, just stop being so greedy. Let it roll out constantly at a fair level than try to suck it all in in a five year grab and everybody suffers. A lot of these death metal bands will go out and they ask for huge sums of money and they think they’re popular, and some of them were popular, but not as popular as the money they would ask for. These big ships in the little seas kind of egos and stuff and hey to each their own. Whatever you want to do it’s your thing, like I said. Your name, your world. But if I’m involved with it or brought into it, I have to say what I have to say. We’ve had bands we’ve played with that are just assholes. I’ll use Morbid Angel as the example today. Played a show with them a couple times. Always rock star trips. Always rock star and this and that. Played a show with them in New York. It was us, them and Nile. This was about 20 years ago now. And we had to sign a contract that we couldn’t even sell our merchandise on the premises. We had to [not] sell the merchandise within one mile of the club and it wasn’t like they just signed it ’cause it was a legality thing they were doing with the tour. They literally stuck to it. We had a guy outside and I was standing outside and I was like, “yeah I’ll sell you a shirt outside.” We walk outside and they’re like, “dude! this is not one mile from the club,” and I’m like, “this is fucking ridiculous. This is not the fucking underground. This is stupid. I don’t want to be a part of this.” So you know we used to say the under-underground. We tried to get this next level of things but you meet good people along the way. You meet shitty people along the way but my process with the bands has always been give everything you got. If you’re playing to nobody. I’ve played to the wall and I’ve played to 50,000 people and I get off either way. If I’m going to play, I’m going to play. If there’s electricity we can make it happen. Let’s do this. That’s my look on playing live. As far as like creating the music and stuff, always, we will never do albums just to put albums out. That’s the reason we left Relapse besides the point that I bitched and moaned about the Hot Topics and the Sam Goodys. I mean we just didn’t see eye to eye. It was turning into money about them. Music came secondary to them. But my thing is we’ll never do rent records. We’ll never just write eight songs, put it out, and be like, “here’s the new record. Give me $10 for the CD. Here’s the new record. Give me $10 for the CD.” The music does the talking. If it takes years, which the last couple of Deceased [albums] have due to being older and mortgages and lives and shit, then that’s what it takes. Bottom line I got into music to create good music. I want to impress myself first and foremost. I want to be happy with it and then if anybody else catches on and enjoys it too then right on.

I think that’s kind of the real, honest way you do it. I think a lot of the people that try to do it other ways get tired of it after a while and it becomes a job or a chore to them instead of something that they really have passion for any more.

You’re right man. It’s all about the passion to me to this day. I had a person a couple weeks ago, we played a bar. It was a small show. And he said, “aren’t you tired of doing this dude? You’ve been doing this like 35 years. Don’t you want to just play the bigger places?” I looked at him and I said, “dude fuck a Budweiser sponsorship show. Fuck all that.” I was like, “you’re here. I’m here. Let’s have fun.” I remember growing up and seeing D.R.I. in clubs with six people. The Accüsed, eight people. Shit I remember seeing Hallows Eve in a church, five people. I got a great memory for it. Sure they probably wanted to play to as many people as they could but they still showed up and played. And that’s what I go by. I don’t have every minute of the day, and neither do my other guys, to go play what I call like Pat’s Pizza Palace. I’ve had people come to me like, “yeah, you want to play a cook out on Saturday?” “Dude I’d love to but we’re 50 now.” My guitar player’s gotta take his kids to this and that. Sure as we get older we’re not 17 anymore. We don’t live under mom’s roof. So you have to kind of pick and choose. But anything we can do, we will definitely go and do it. We’ll be fair with everything on our end. We expect the same on the other side. If we have that, which I call the old school handshake, then that’s what it should be about. There’s just too much outside everything. I mean money just creeps into every fucking thing in life. It’s a shame.

Ghostly White

Cover of Ghostly White album by Deceased

You were bringing up earlier Ghostly White which is the newest Deceased album which came out in November of 2018. Unfortunately, and quite sadly, your at the time drummer Dave Castillo died just a couple days before it came out I believe. I know that’s gotta be a bittersweet release ’cause I know you guys don’t just release an album every year just to put one out. How did that news come to you and do you think that affected the release for the record?

It crushed my fucking soul dude. That was one of my very best friends on Earth even outside of the band. The things he did for my family and helped out our stuff in crisis. He was a heating and air conditioning kind of guy and stuff and I go back to this, it was 2000, we were living in a house. We lived all through [since] like ’75. For 25 years we lived at this house and we rented this place. The landlord got too old, her kids took over and here we go back to money runs everything. They knew how much this house was worth. This landlord always gave my mom a deal ’cause she knew my mom had gone into a lot of issues when my father died in the 70’s and she always kept the rent down ’cause she knew she was basically a single mother trying to raise a few kids. And it was always cool and then all of a sudden it wasn’t cool. The kids came over, they wanted to like double the rent and then they wanted to like sell the house for like $700,000, which it was worth that, don’t get me wrong, but they just took it from underneath her when she got too old to fend for herself and the house had been 25 years lived in. That was one of the things with the lady was, you know you keep the house up the best you can. Well it was pretty beat up by then. So we wanted it up to par. We’re a blue collar family. We did everything we could to do what we could but we couldn’t get it where it needed to be and they literally rushed us out of there by law they gave us literally the most minimalist time we could have and this guy Dave came over and he’s [working] all night with his brother came over there and they just started patching walls and painting walls. I mean I’m talking 24/7 while he was working his day job and then when it was said and done my mother said, “I have to give you something for this. You busted your ass. You did a hell of a job. I love you for it,” and he looked at my mom and he said, “no Mrs. Fowley. This is for all the years you let us party here.” He said, “I feel like I’ve helped contribute to fuck it up, let me fix it for ya,” and I never forgot that. Just such a good guy. Do anything for you. Anything. And a hell of a fucking drummer and he was in El Salvador. He was standing on the sand with his brother playing frisbee on the beach. A riptide came, it send the sand out from underneath him. Shot him into the water. He couldn’t swim this guy. This guy could run 50 miles up fucking a mountain but he couldn’t swim. He went out there and he fucking drowned in El Salvadorian ocean. Later that day when it happened, I was sitting there watching Monday Night Football in the bed with my wife and the phone rang and I missed it and I looked at it and ok it’s a 703 number so it was Virginia. I thought maybe it was my sister or my brother. So I called the number back and nobody picked up and then I listened to the voicemail and it was a mutual friend that said Dave had drowned that day and I went into shock. I told my wife, she started crying. She loved him too. I got up. I didn’t know who to call or what to do. I finally talked to his girlfriend and when she told me what happened I was just crushed. And it sucked because with the Ghostly White album he had busted his butt. I still write all the drumming for the band. I wrote pretty crazy drumming stuff for him for this record. Some things I wanted him to do and he busted his butt to learn this stuff and we had very limited pre-production for this record coming up to it because everybody lived so far away. Our guitar player lives over seas now, Mike Smith. Our bass player [Les Snyder] lives in Texas. This isn’t the touring band but this is the recording band. This is the guys and we had very little time for him to do this stuff and he was worried. I had his back the whole time. I said, “dude, I know you can do this.” He was nervous and paranoid. He went in there and he killed it. He nailed it so quick and so deadly on everything. [I] remember the last show we played was in Cincinnati. It was me, him and my friend Steve Hughes and we got in the car and we drove to Cincinnati. And he’s listening to the finished mix of the record. He looked at me and he said, “man, we did good.” I remember he was sitting in the back seat and I was driving, I looked at him in the rear view mirror and he said, “we did good,” and we caught eyes and I gave him a thumbs up like man, all the shit we’ve been through over the years, the good, the band and the ugly, I said, “this is the one.” Then he went home. A few days later I said, “hey, what’s up? When are we going to get together and jam? We got some shows coming up.” He said, “well I’m going to run to El Salvador for Thanksgiving and see my parents. I haven’t seen them in a good while.” And I said, “well you be safe man. I love ya,” and that was the last time I ever talked to the guy and then after he passed away, Hell’s Headbangers were like, “well the album’s ready to roll.” I said, “could you hold up on the album for a few weeks?” and they said, “sure, what’s up?” I said, “dude, could you please put a sticker on there celebrating his life. I wanna give him a salute.” And they were so cool. They could have pulled the greed card. They didn’t pull no greed card. That’s why we’re on this label. And they went and made these beautiful stickers with a tombstone and drumsticks in front of it and gave a nice thing. We put the sticker on the CD and then it came out and I just looked at it and I just fucking cried man. I was like, man, life is so fucked up. Life is a wild fucking ride. It just doesn’t give a fuck. It will take anybody good, bad or otherwise when it wants to take ’em and you know that whole situation sucked so bad it was right at winter time. Everything started getting cold and winter’s already dark and depressing and cold and dreary. That whole November through January, especially those three months for me I was just fucking in lala land.


Flyer for last Deceased show with Dave Castillo


Deceased band photo by Jayla Bossier

King is center. Dave Castillo is front, right.

So it seems Amos Rifkin of Father Befouled has become Deceased’s new touring drummer, at least for live shows. How did you meet him and do you think he’ll become a permanent member of the band?

This is very weird but very genuine. We toured with him last year. He was in a band called Death of Kings OK? It was Death of Kings, Savage Master and Deceased. We did a tour together. A little over a week of shows just here on the East Coast, Tennessee and up and we had a blast. And I had just met Amos ’cause he liked Deceased and he booked the tour. He’s a booking agent. And we got to know these guys. And every night Dave was like, “man this fucking band is killer man. I love this drummer” and I was like, “yeah, he’s bad ass. He kicks ass,” and the very last show we played was in Detroit, Michigan, and I remember Dave looked at me and he said, “if anything ever happens to me man you gotta get this motherfucker in the band ’cause he can play our shit,” and I looked at him and I said, “well let’s hope that never happens.” So after this happened Dave told Amos and the Death of Kings guys he was going to wear their shirt in the album picture because he loved them. And he did. And then after he passed away the obituary cut him out of that picture with the Death of Kings [shirt]. So again Amos kept seeing this and he was like, “man, I’m so happy I got the shirt in there but I’m so sad at what happened to Dave,” and he said, “man, what’s your address? I want to send you something,” and a few days later I got this two page, handwritten, pencil to paper letter and it said, “I’m heartbroken over this shit and I can’t believe this happened. You guys are such a tight family and were so cool to us and you’ve been around all this time and we’re nobodies and you guys treated us equal,” and all this and he said, “I’m so sorry for Dave,” and he said, “man if you ever need any help on drums man I would love to help out.” He said, “you know I’m not looking to fuckin’ better my career or anything. I would give my all to be a part of this thing.” So I called him and the weirdest part was the whole time me and Shane [Fuegel] and me and Matt [Ibach] and me and Walter [White], the touring band, were talking, “who are we gonna get?” and we all said we should look into Amos. So it all seemed like it was meant to be and then when I talked to Amos and told him what I told you about like Detroit and what Dave had said, he said, “well it’s meant to be then.” And I told him, “let’s get through winter,” and he said “well how are we gonna do this? I live in Atlanta.” He goes, “I’ll fly up. I’ll drive up. Whatever it takes as often as we need.” I said well go ahead and learn these songs. I think I gave him 12 songs, 11 songs. He came to practice the first jam, the beginning of the year. He knew ’em all. We could have played a show that night. He came that prepared. We were blown away by his passion, his integrity and his sincerity. And right out of the gate he was instantly great with us. He fit right in. Man we all talked. We all hugged. We all, the emotional ride about Dave. We got through that. We just did it to power up kind of thing for everything and the Atlas show will be the tenth show with him. We’ve done nine and dude they’ve been strong as fuck and we always honor Dave. You know it’s for us and it’s for Dave it’s for the Deceased history, it’s gotta go on. Onward we go. Yeah Amos is in. Amos is a full on drummer for Deceased for me. I’m totally in. We’ve talked. I’ve told him I want you to be part of this. I told him hey I’m always the creative drummer, writer for the album stuff. I want you to be there for the recordings, everything. And he’s been nothing but genuinely a super cool cat and in this day and age as I said with all the greedy shit and all the fake rockers and, just everybody’s got an ulterior motive, it’s good to see this guy here with us. I’ve known this guy a year in August and he’s just been phenomenal. A big thumbs up to that guy.

OK so along with the vocal duties you perform in both bands, Deceased and October 31, you sort of do the Chris Reifert thing originally where you would do lead vocals and you’d be the drummer and as you’ve said you’ve got other drummers in now. I guess about some point in the 00’s you seemed to have stopped drumming at least live for the bands. Why did you do that and do you miss drumming?

The reason I took up drumming is because I sucked on bass. Heh heh. I started playing music when I was 12. I was in a band called Slack Tyde. No idea where the name came from but it was a buddy of mine from elementary school. He moved to Savannah, Georgia. He wanted to form a band. We talked on the phone. We learned a few cover songs from Billy Joel to Kiss to the Knack to Bad Company to Aerosmith and we played this show when we were 12 years old. Me and the guitar player Andy who was in 5th grade, I was in 6th. Took a bus down to Savannah, Georgia. We showed up. We played the community center. We rocked the community center’s ass, haha. I shouldn’t say community center, it was more like a dad’s golf club community get together and I played bass then. I tried to keep learning some more bass. I had another band called Messager and I just couldn’t get any better on bass. Well eventually it got to the point where I wanted to form the full on heavy metal band and I tried to play some bass some more and I still was like, “I ain’t getting this man. I think I’ll just be the singer,” and then we had a drummer. His name was Marcel DeSantos. You’re talking, this is like ’83 going into ’84 and he got hooked up with his girlfriend and he got caught up in pot and all this crap and he just did not want to come to practice and his drum set sat there. Well my buddy Andy who had been the guitar player in Slack Tyde, his brother was a drummer and he played in a band called All Points Bulletin in DC. They were pretty big like jazzy kind of band the late 70’s, early 80’s. Got me into Kansas and Rush and Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, that kind of stuff. Well I’d sit at his drum set sometimes and I’d bash it out. I said, “one day maybe I’ll learn this shit.” Well, I told the guys, “maybe I’ll play drums and sing like Kiss like Peter Criss or Dan Beehler from Exciter,” and they’re like, “really man? That might be crazy hard,” and said, “I don’t know. I don’t even know where I’m gonna get a drum set.” Then the weirdest thing happened. I went into my little brother’s room one day and there was a drum set in his closet. And I’m like, “why is there a drum set in his closet?” ’cause you know I was the oldest. I was like, “I don’t remember this thing ever being here.” There was a drum set in there. It wasn’t a good one but it was something and I set it up in the room and our two guitar players at the time, Mark Adams and Doug Souther, we got together and we just started beating the shit out of stuff. Playing Slayer covers and Hirax and Bathory and that kind of shit and I just was like OK, now I’m on drums. So we started playing shows as a three piece. We didn’t even have a bass player yet and we played shows and the guy up front at those shows, which they were living room parties where we’d throw smoke bombs onto the fucking couch and the mom would come into the room, “what are you fucking ruining my couch?” We’d just be fucking ridiculous 17 year old kids and it was Rob Sterzel who’d be up front headbanging. You know he’d be like, “oh shit they’re doing Motörhead. We’d headbang and shit and so we got him on bass and by this time we hadn’t even played a show where I was singing. All the shows we had done I just played instrumentally. I’m like, “I’m gonna master this one day” and it took me forever and then just right before we recorded The Evil Side of Religion [demo] we did a show where I sang and I was bad. The drum hybrid with the vocals, that was bad, real bad. I was like, well, hopefully I’ll get better. Well then the story takes a lot of turns. ’87 became the year I almost died from drug overdose and I had to give up all that shit at 19. Cocaine, PCP, just all that crap. It was a fucking knock out, drag down year. ’88 comes around we’re back. We’re playing again. All of the sudden I’m a better drummer. The first practice there Rob doesn’t make the practice. A few hours later they want to celebrate getting together and jamming. Rob goes over there. I want to go with them but I’m coming off of my drug withdrawal and stuff. I said, “well I’ve kinda burned myself off for the day. I’m just gonna stay in. Too much all at once is gonna probably run me down.” That was the night Rob Sterzel died in a car accident, in a hit and run. It was basically him, Doug’s brother, another guy named Larry, all killed. The fourth guy had his legs completely flipped backwards. It fucked the band up right out of the gate. Here we were the first day back from my year layoff with getting better and healing from drugs and now Rob’s dead. So we got in Les [Snyder] on bass and then we started learning to play shows and that’s when it really came into me singing and playing drums. And for the next, 1988 until 2001, 2002, I sang and played drums. And I got really good at it. I really think my best time was the mid-90’s where I got really good on drums. I thought I was really powerful on vocals. But of course you’re always sitting and I always say my butt cheeks were stuck to a drum stool. OK I wanted to get up and run around. I’m a pretty hyper dude even at 51. Back then I was ridiculous. I was like 10 kids on speed. And I was just like, “god I’m stuck back here. I want to front the band but I’m back here.” So in ’95 I started a band called October 31 which we’re talking about. I was like well I just really want to sing with the band but I couldn’t find anyone to play drums so here I am playing drums and then recording demos singing. I’m like, we gotta find a singer so we ended up getting a singer but he couldn’t sing. He was a good front man but he couldn’t sing. Then we got a great singer but he was a terrible front man. So I was like god damn it man. So then I said you know what? This was when really it all came into Dave Castillo, [nicknamed] Scarface. He had been in a band called Hatred. I said, “let me ask that guy if he wants to play drums for us. He’s a cool guy,” and he wanted to play drums. So the very first time I ever sang in front of an audience while somebody else played drums was Wacken and this was 2000. Wacken festival in Germany. This was like [in front of] 30,000 people and I went out there and I was just the front man and I loved it. I could run around, well at Wacken you can’t get in their faces ’cause the photo pit keeps them like two miles away from you but it was so much fun and I went home and I told the guys in Deceased, I said, “man I would love to do this with Deceased,” I said, “maybe we should ask Dave to play drums in Deceased too,” and Dave just jumped at that. He couldn’t believe it ’cause Deceased was the big band in the area and he was like, “man I can’t believe I’m offered this shit,” you know? Well I said, “well keep it secret for a while ’til you learn the songs and for the next year and stuff he learned the songs, I continued to play. And then when I went out and did it with Deceased I’m like, “I love this,” It’s just what I was meant to do. I’m not a great singer but I do think I’m a great entertainer on stage I think I can definitely entertain a crowd. What we do, I just feel so comfortable with being up front now. I love my time playing drums. I still love writing the drum parts as I said for the albums, but I just love being out front. Deceased is about to go into our 35th year as a full on band known as the band Deceased and it’s literally split exactly down the middle right now. It’s 17 years of me singing and 17 years of me playing drums and singing. That was 50% of the time Deceased was started already now. I love it. I really do. I love being out there in people’s faces and stuff and I’m kind of happy it happened a little bit later in my life than when I was younger ’cause I was so crazy back then. God knows what would have happened if I had the microphone in my hand at 18, 19, 20 in some of those drug days, the drinking days, that might not have been so good, heh heh heh. So it’s better that it happened when it did. It should be this way.

Well I definitely think you are a super fun to watch front man. I’ve seen Deceased play several times over the years. I’ve always enjoyed it. I think my favorite– you guys played Comet Ping Pong and I remember that show distinctly and you were really, really fun and entertaining that night I remember.

Yeah our bass player couldn’t come last minute I was like so mad with the guy that was playing bass [said], “I can’t make it man. They’re going to fire me at my job.” He lived in New York so we played without a bass player. I’m like well we’ll be extra crazy that night. But yeah they had ping pong tables I remember up and all the sudden they took ’em down and that became the stage, was the ping pong tables. That was weird. I think they just removed the nets from the tables and set ’em down and put the drums on ’em, heh heh! That was weird. Good time though I enjoyed that show too.

Deceased at Comet Ping Pong

Flyer for Deceased show at Comet Ping Pong

You currently live in Pennsylvania in sort of the ‘burbs of Philadelphia and I know Deceased was originally formed, you were living in Northern Virginia, I think like the Arlington area.

Yeah, Arlington, yep.

Yeah so, when did you move out of the DC area and why?

2005 I left the area. I had bought a house. It was on the borderline of Falls Church/McLean right there in Tysons Corner area and I know you know how crazy it is up there now and the mortgage was $3,000 a month and I just tried and tried to keep up with it. I could not keep up with it. Me and my son’s mother tried to keep the house together. We were going to do a five year plan where we kept it then we sold it, flipped it kind of thing and she took sick and died. And after she passed away we gave the house back. I moved up here and got married in 2005 to a girl named Kim and we were together for the next six years. When we got a divorce in 2011, nothing, no issues really other than she wanted me to stop playing music and slow down and all that stuff and that’s not going to happen. That’s my heartbeat. And I just told her, I said, “it’s best to remain friends.” And so I left there, I was living in literally downtown Northern Philly at the time. Frankford Avenue. And I moved up here to the King of Prussia Mall area now, which I live right now, it’s Plymouth Meeting and from 2012 my son, me and my stepfather lived here and then now my wife Tara lives here. She’s lived here for almost the last five years and I love it here. I love where I’m at right now. It’s a good spot. I go back to Virginia. I see the stuff from when I was a kid and most of it’s gone. Just everything’s changed. There’s a lot of people talking down their nose, snooty, snotty, down there. It’s very high end everything and by god I can’t believe they charge you to be on I-66 now and things like that but I loved my time there and when I go back I go to the old 10th Street house where we lived all those years and I look at things. It’s changing. I mean life goes on. Technology and just life changes. Gotta get used to it but I like where I’m at now. I really do enjoy it up here. I’ve met some nice people up here. I’m in a nice spot and I love my living quarters so to speak.

Yeah, I think one of the issue with Northern Virginia too is there’s not really anywhere for bands to play now that Jaxx is gone, at least not metal bands.

Yeah Northern Virginia is bad yeah, yes you’re right. You’re totally right about that. Yeah it’s weird. It’s all in DC and it’s all these smaller makeshift kind of things going on. Over the years, you know down there, it’s been Velvet Lounge, it was the Rock & Roll Hotel which is a little bit bigger but that’s a hard one to stay in there you have so many rules. The Black Cat has so many rules. The pie shop was fun, very small, but they have nice air conditioning I guess Atlas needs that air conditioning. I’ll let ya know how I feel about Atlas after we do Atlas. You’re right, Northern Virginia needs a place but there it’s just so snooty it just seems like heavy metal is the last god damn thing they give a fuck in the world about.

October 31

October 31 band photo by Tara Fowley

For those who might not know about both of your bands, what would you describe as the big differences in sound between Deceased and October 31?

When I do Deceased lyrics and write songs they’re very thought out, they’re very, I want to say creative. But there’s a lot to them. It takes time. It’s not stressful but it’s really thought provoking kind of stuff when it comes to writing and creating it. With October 31 it’s more traditional. It’s more like by the books. It’s almost like rock ‘n roll arrangements but with heavy metal vibes. We write about silly stuff and fun stuff while Deceased writes these deeper lyrics when it comes to that. As for the bands live, both bands live to get on stage and rock out and freak out and all that kind of stuff. Vocally, Deceased is a lot more low end vocals for me and the other one’s more of a scratchy almost Overkill-ish type of vibe to that. Like I said I’m not a great singer I’m more of a frontman kind of guy but both bands definitely have their own kind of thing. Some people say, “well October 31 just sounds like Deceased with a different vocal.” I don’t hear that at all. Not even close. It’s totally different riffing, stylings, all that kind of stuff but some people hear that. To each their own. October 31 is more of a party band on stage. We make signs and throw shit out and (stop thumbs?) and goof off and stuff and Deceased does that too from time to time. It does sort of carry over a little bit ’cause I get caught up in my showmanship fun things but both bands are fun live. Both bands mean a lot to me. If I was to keep [only] one it would be Deceased obviously but I love my October 31. That was formed in ’95 just out of the sake of heavy metal was not happening in America at the time. Nobody was doing it and a guy named Brian Williams called me up about playing a show with Deceased. We talked on the phone for an hour. Next thing you know we said let’s start a band. He came down with a couple buddies from North Carolina. We were in my basement. Next thing we created this heavy metal demo. We put this demo out, it got really popular overseas. We got offered record deals. Next thing you know, and this was weird to me, was the Wacken thing ’cause Deceased ended up going to Wacken the following year as what I told you the 2000 with October was, October 31 had been around like four or five years and we were getting all these breaks and I’m like Deceased had been around like 15 years at the time and we weren’t over in Wacken or anything. It opened doors for Deceased. October 31 got signed to Metal Blade Records and it was just supposed to be this little, fun project and I kept looking at the guitar player who’s actually older than me, he’s like five years older than me, Brian, I kept saying, “stick with me. We’re gonna go places,” and it was a joke but then all the sudden we started going places and then we were on stage at Wacken and I looked at him and we’re playing to 30,000 people and I said, “I told you so man, I told you so,” and I just started laughing during our show. I think we might even have fucked up for a second ’cause we were laughing so fucking hard. But I love the bands man. It’s just fun. One’s a simple, traditional heavy metal band and one’s a dark rooted heavy metal thrash, death, speed kind of band with a little bit of punk in there too.

October 31

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

I remember seeing October 31 at Maryland Deathfest maybe eight or nine years ago.


Yeah there you go. So about eight years ago. And I remember seeing you throwing Halloween candy out at the audience and holding up a touristy crab hat and just all kinds of goofy stuff. It was a lot of fun.

We had the Sharon Osbourne is a cunt sign. We had Sharon Osbourne is a cunt as a finale.

I remember that actually, I do.

That was when Iron Maiden with the egg shit was going down. I was like, fuck this bitch. I threw VHS tapes. “Now we’re going to do the VHS tape give away” and throwing those things like 40 fucking yards and I remember one conking my buddy on the head. He’s like, “that motherfucker hit me over the fucking head,” I’m like, “well fucking pay attention man.” So you’ve seen what we do.

So another thing is, Deceased is going on tour in August it looks like. Do you have any favorite venues to play that you’ll be hitting on this or just in general?

I love playing anywhere. On this little run here it’s a lot of new places I’ve never been to before. It’s even states we’ve never been into. Two weeks back we just did Vermont and Maine. In all our years, 35 almost years here, we’d never played Vermont or Maine. Now we have. This tour we’re playing a couple places we’ve never played. We’ve never been to Mississippi. We’re playing Mississippi. We’ve never been into Kansas. Missouri we’ve been there very little. We’ve been to Oklahoma never. These are places we’ve never been in all of our years so we’re doing some bucket list stuff we call it. Places that we’re playing: I’ve only played the Sanctuary in Detroit once but I love that venue. That was super cool. And I love going up to Cleveland and seeing the old buddies up there in Ohio. We’re playing up there. I love going to the classic places but I also love going to new places and just seeing what’s up ’cause last year we did this same kind of tour with Savage Master and Death of Kings. This time again it’s with Savage Master. And we were in new places I had never been. I had never been to New Orleans. We never played in Louisiana ’til last year. We were down in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on a Sunday night. We were over there riding the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I was like, “Is there a Chattanooga Choo Choo?” and they were like, “there really is a Chattanooga Choo Choo,” and there we were up on it taking pictures and shit. It’s all fun to me. It’s almost like a vacation. You go out and you just see the world. Like I was saying earlier, it’s just about living. It’s about having a good time all the time. Making the best of any situation and then you get to play your band’s music too and set up and take down and meet people that are also into music. That’s what it’s about for me, man. You don’t have pat me on the back. You don’t gotta fucking like grease my wallet. I don’t give a shit about that man. Just come out and have fun man. That’s what it’s about. The smiles. That’s what I’m in it for man.

August 2019

Deceased August 2019 Tour Dates

You’ve been very vocal about how you used to do drugs and drink a lot and now you’re clean and sober. You think it’s going to be weird playing Atlas Brewery?

It doesn’t bother me a bit, brother. I don’t even know why I ever drank alcohol. I didn’t even like the taste of it, dude. I was already crazy. I didn’t need to be crazier. All alcohol ever did was to give me the shits and make me want to do crazier shit. That’s all it did. It made my stomach hurt. I got sick the next morning for a few hours. That was stupid. The drugs, I was a kid. I guess I was just trying to fit in. I was like 15. I got turned into a weed head about 13 or 14. The next thing I know I was a cocaine freak, then a PCP head and I’m tripping on acid every minute of every day and by the time I was 19 I was about fucking dead. I was a bag of bones. Dude, I’m a big boy. I’m like 335 lbs these days but back then I was like 188 and shit I shrunk down to like 130 lbs. I lost like 50 lbs from not eating and partying and running and not taking care of myself and I fucked my nervous system up especially from the cocaine. So I got away from that as I told you when I was 19. That year was Hell on Earth. Made it through that and two years later I started drinking I started fucking drinking for the next 12 years and I was like, “what the fuck?” and then 2002 I just said, “you know what? I’m done with this shit. Fuck this.” I’d get in people’s cars I don’t even know. I’m fucking at lights going, “yeah, you’re going to take me to a party.” These people could just pull out a gun and blow my fucking brains out. You know, shit like that. I was like, “this is stupid.” The last night I ever fucking partied we were in an IHOP. Me and my girlfriend at the time and a couple of friends and I walked in there and I said, “this is the International House of Piss,” ’cause it smelled like piss and the cops were coming in and some girls were in there and they were eating spaghetti and I was like, “you must be fucking dykes. Who eats spaghetti in an IHOP?” they moved to the corner I went outside and started beating my dick on the window. The manager calls the police. They’re coming again. I go sit down. I refuse to leave. I’m like you’re treating me like it’s jail here. I’m spitting bread and water on my girlfriend, on my fucking friends. I’m telling them to punch me in the face. I’m acting like an idiot. I go home. I go outside in the middle of the night fucking nude. Walking the streets, the neighbors are walking their dog and I’m fucking like sitting there with my fucking dong hanging out. I was just like, “this is fucking stupid.” So I just fucking stopped all that shit and I have not given a fuck. I go to shows man people are like, “you wanna do a line man? You wanna smoke a joint? You want a beer?” for the last 20 years I’m like, nope. I’m fine with this glass of water with lemon in it or ginger ale or my favorite the little strawberry milk with the little bunny rabbit guy, the Quick. I like that. That’s my thing. I could care less what people do with theirself. I look after my friends. If I think you’re getting ridiculous or something I’ll try to keep ’em under control or if they need a friendly hand for the moment but I don’t preach to nobody. As far as the brewery, I could care less. We just did the Decibel [Metal & Beer] Fest which had the same kinda brewery thing going on and somebody asked me that question that day. “Are you OK with this?” I said, “man, it doesn’t tempt me at all dude.” I didn’t want to drink it back then. Heh heh heh. So I’m OK with all that. I made it through that. I feel happy, proud that I could make it through all that shit. Some people it’s easier than others. I went cold turkey drinking. I went cold turkey drugging, and somehow I made it through all that shit. To each their own. At Atlas I’ll be drinking a lot of god damn water man. Hahahahaha.

Alright well we’re getting to the end of the interview here and this is kind of where I throw in any extra questions I might think [of] and you know what? I would like to hear the story about you fucking the fish at Jaxx if you could tell me that real quick.

Sure, heh heh. There was a band called Hades. OK not the black metal band but a band out of New Jersey. We played a show with them at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York and that day went on forever. We were supposed to play at nine o’clock at night. We’d been feeding the meter since two o’clock that day and it was October 31 and Deceased were at this show too. So there you go, it was a Atlas crossover. They went on stage about ten o’clock and we were supposed to play right after them and they took an hour to set up and they played for two hours. They were supposed to play 40 minutes. They would not leave the fucking stage. I was shit hot pissed off. It was one o’clock in the morning. People had been there four fucking hours waiting to see us play. So we went on stage, both the other bands. We literally ripped through 20 minutes each ’cause you had to close the place at two. I was pissed. When it was over I went looking for these motherfuckers. Well they were nowhere to be found. They were gone of course. They didn’t give a fuck about us. Pulled what I just told you earlier about rock star tripping. Anyway, “King. Did you hear man? That band Hades is playing at Jaxx.” “Oh yeah? Well let’s go up there, man. I’m gonna say something.” So I went up there. Walked in the place and they were like, “what are you gonna say?” I said, “man, I don’t fucking know. I want to punch them in the fucking face. I hate these dudes. They’re smart ass pieces of shit,” blah blah blah blah blah. So I sit down and somebody starts buying me drinks. Next thing I know I’ve had like 15 shots of [Bacardi] 151 at the bar there in the back. And I’m like, “you know what? Fuck those dudes. I don’t give a fuck about those fucking guys. Fuck it I’m just gonna enjoy myself. Let it ride. Well this guy that worked there at the time. He would make all these like beautiful foods. He could make a steak and a blue cheese salad and a potato that we’d scream for. He was a really good cook. Well I went back there trying to ask him to make me a steak with blue cheese and that baked potato and he was like, “we don’t have any steaks tonight. I’m preparing this swordfish” for some kind of catering thing he was doing. And it wasn’t a swordfish any more, it was obviously fish, it was cut up. But he had this, it looked like a wedding dish to me. Some kind of like silver platter with all this fish on it and I just picked it up and I walked into the girls bathroom and all the girls were in there and I was like, “yeah man. what’s up?” you know? “This is where the fish smell should be in the women’s bathroom right? And I’m just being a drunk asshole. And they’re like, “oh my god” and so I just pulled my dick out and I just like started pretending like I was fucking this fish and I walked out there and like, “yeah man. Aw man what are you doing man? You’re fucked up,” and I’m like, “oh yeah,” and I went in the band room and Hades [was there] and I has the fishdick in my hand. I just started throwing all the fucking fish at them. Oh fuck these dudes right? So I left the room. And I sit down. I’m in the fucking, the back room there. That’s where the bands aren’t playing. I’m just sitting back there and I’m fucking out of my mind. I remember seeing this picture of Anthrax on the wall. Some little fucking framed thing where he was basically trying to polish a turd there. He had all these pictures on the wall. So I punched it and I broke it and it fell down. And now my hand’s bloody and I’m sitting there as a drunk idiot, and that’s exactly what I was. And the guy comes over and he says, “hey man, I know you broke this. There’s your blood, there’s your bloody hand man. You can’t do that man. And what’s your deal with this fish and all this shit?” and I’m like, “I don’t know, fuck you.” And so I got up and I was like, “you know fuck this place.” So I left. So the next day I get a call from Jay Nedry, the guy that ran the place on my answering machine. I missed the call but I heard the answering machine an hour later. And he was like, “King, if I don’t get a heartfelt apology from you and you’re not down here with $150 for the picture you broke. I got two quarters. One’s for your Relapse label. I’m going to let ’em know what kind of shitty people they have on their label. And the second one is for the Fairfax County Police Department. I’m gonna have you fucking arrested for what you did,” and he says, “have a fucking great day.” So I called him back and we’re talking on the phone and now me and this guy have been butting heads many, many, many times. It’s always over money. You know we’d pack the place he’d be like, “oh we didn’t make any money, we’re down. Here’s $50, whatever,” and I’d be like, “come on dude. Don’t give me nothing before you give me $50. I know what you made. But anyways, we had our differences. So we start talking and I’m like, “I’m not paying you $150 for a Dollar Tree frame that that thing was in. I know what it was in. I said I’ll pay you for the fish and all that. I don’t know what I did. I can’t remember it all but I remember most of what happened last night.” And he goes, “well why would you do this? Why would you be such a fucking outlandish asshole?” and I said, “dude I’m tired of a lot of shit and I’d been drinking and I said I was pissed at the band. I was pissed at you from the past of you,” and I said, “it just all came to a head last night.” Then he just started laughing. This was the weirdest thing about this guy. He’d be so pissed and then all the sudden he’d just laugh. And he just starts laughing and he’s like, “yeah,” and I said, “well dude this can’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened here. You used to be a country honkey tonk when you were calling it the Copa and all this shit. You had bands in here and boots and you had the Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet, your band the Roadducks in there but a guy coming in there and grabbing some fish, jerkin off in the bathroom, whatever the fuck you want to call it, and knocking a fish over,” and he just started yelling at me and pissing a bitch and he didn’t know which way to go. His moods would change every 60 seconds of the phone call. So finally I said, “look dude, I ain’t coming to your fucking club no more. Fuck your club. Fuck you. Fuck your girlfriend and her panties that’s selling the beer behind the bar. I’m done,” I said, “If I want to see my fucking old timey Uriah Heeps and Blue Öyster Cults or Ritchie Blackmore‘s Rainbow, I’ll walk naked down 95 to New York before I’ll step a foot in your fucking shit establishment again,” and that was it. I never went back there when he owned that place as Jaxx. And he had called me, left messages. “Oh I want you to open.” Like he thought about three months later that it was cool and dandy. Nah. I didn’t talk to that guy for a decade. Then when he left and somebody bought it and changed it to the Empire, I called ’em up and said, “OK you’re not related to Jay Nedry in any way?” and they’re like, “we hate that guy. He’s a piece of shit. We bought the thing. It was a nightmare. We own it,” and I started telling my story. The guy’s name was Tyler [Greene]. He gave us a show there with October 31, Deceased and a band called Oz from overseas and was doing a tour. We went in there. I made a shirt that says, I fucking hate Jay Nedry’s fucking guts. I had one of those iron on things made. I went on stage. I told the story. I told the tale and everybody in the audience was just giving me the thumbs up. I wasn’t the only one that had a bad run in with that fucking dude. That’s my story with that. Empire lasted about a year. You know the overhead was too much for those guys. I think now it’s an Indian restaurant if I’m correct, and that’s our Northern Virginia heavy metal club update. Heh heh heh. And that’s one thing about me dude. I’ve had a stroke in 2004. I had a blood clot in my lung in 2002. I’ve been through a lot of health shit along the way from drinking motor oil and being a fucking stupid ass but my memory’s still superb. I could tell you dates, times, you’ve heard me right here go back to 2011 with our stuff talking about Maryland Deathfest and Wacken and all that. That’s one thing I’ve still got is my fucking memory man. For better or for worse. Some of it I love knowing and remembering. Some of it I hate man but it’s all there man and it is what it is.


Flyer for Deceased show at Empire

How are you alive after drinking motor oil, I’m curious?

Real quick, one more story. I was at a party. We were having a beer. I drank a whole thing of motor oil. Dan Lilker was there too from Nuclear Assault. It was gone. He took the top piece, a little ring at the top and put it to his lips and he had the little black circle on his lips. So forever I heard, “yeah I heard King and Dan Lilker drank motor oil,” and I said, “ah, ah, ah,” said, “I gotta take credit.” I drank the whole fucking god damn quart of it. I said, “he put the ring to his lips, it was gone, there was no other motor oil,” and they were like, “didn’t you get sick?” I did not get sick. I did not feel anything weird from it. I did not shit black. Nothing happened as far as that but years later I was at a party in Springfield, Virginia, and I told this story and they’re like, “bullshit! You’d be dead. You can’t do that. That shit’ll kill you, right?” I said, “produce one right now and I’ll drink it.” Well they couldn’t find any in the apartment but what they did find was a whole thing of Wesson oil. Cooking oil. I drank that I fucking fell out the shits, throwing up, everything. Don’t fuck with that oil. Keep with Quaker State to get you going you know? But that, yeah I don’t know dude. The shit I’ve done, I’m telling you man. I’ve eaten glass. I ate a whole CD one time. I chewed an entire CD case and all. Chewed it and swallowed it. We were at a show with October 31. I opened a bag of confetti with my teeth to throw it out. I went *inhales deeply* breathed in the whole bag of confetti. It was that metallic shit [and it] went down my fucking throat. I was literally singing and the fucking confetti was coming out of my mouth like for the next three or four minutes ’cause it was stuck in my windpipe. I have no idea dude what’s going on but somehow I’m still here. Hahahahaha.

Well you’ve been a great interview King. I knew you would be. Thanks so much for taking all this time to do this and I really cannot wait to see you perform with both October 31 and Deceased at Atlas Brew Works on Saturday, August 3rd while they’re filming your performances for the King: A Metal Life documentary. Any last things you’d like to say out there to your friends on DC Heavy Metal?

Just everybody take of each other, man. Look out for each other. Stay fucking good. Stay focused. Stay up. The world’s crazy out there man but up the tombstones.

Updates And Concert Photos

Sometimes it seems like I run a shit load of contests on here and not much else. While I’m constantly working on updating the Upcoming Metal Concert Calendar the actual written posts haven’t been coming up as much lately. I have plenty of excuses like car trouble and getting sick and march madness, but I have gotten so far behind on some things that it is a bit ridiculous. I just recently finished going through all my concert pics from January, and I’ll post some of them below with a few notes about the shows they were at. You can of course click those images to see more of those bands. There are still more contests coming up soon. I love giving away free concert tickets and other stuff to the readers of the site and I hope I can continue to do so for a long time. There have been a lot of great performances by some of the area’s local acts this year and a few have even put out some high quality music videos. I did a post on that in February that you can read here though now there is another to add to the list, the below video for A Sound Of Thunder‘s song Murderous Horde. They’re having their CD release show this Saturday at Empire (formerly Jaxx).

This Sunday, April 1st (no joke!) a local black metal band, Fuchida, will be performing live for the first time at the Black Cat of all places. The venue is mostly known for appealing to the indie rock and alternative scene and I’m hoping there is a good turn out for this show so maybe they’ll consider hosting more extreme metal bands. You might be thinking that there are already places for local metal bands to play live in this area but how many of them aren’t pay-to-play? This is a local metal act headlining a show at an area venue that doesn’t make them sell tickets or sign a contract that involves them giving the venue money. We should be supporting that, even if we don’t know what the band sounds like yet.

The following Sunday, April 8th, there is another venue in Washington DC that will be hosting a metal show that doesn’t usually have them. The U Street Music Hall is normally home to dance and techno music (sort of filling the void left when Nation closed). They’re hosting their first metal show on this Sunday night, the old school UK thrashers Onslaught and a band you may not recognize by name, Mpire Of Evil, that features two ex-members of the legendary Venom. Not only that but they even play some Venom songs in their set list (details of their first show on this US tour here). The venue is said to have a great sound system (you just know those electronica DJ guys are good at setting up speakers) and it isn’t very often you get to see 80s thrash metal in a club with a great sound system set up. And really, when are you going to get to hear live Venom classics sound better than this? One of the venue’s owners even posted to Twitter (here) that he’d like to see more metal shows at the U Street Music Hall so I hope a good amount of you come out to show it is worth it! To make this all even sweeter, will be giving away a pair of tickets to this show next week, so keep an eye out for that.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that this month, March 2012, has been’s best month ever in regards to total hits. You people who read this site, even if it’s just for the calendar, who spread the word to your friends, passed along the link of Facebook and Twitter, or even just stumbled upon it with Google, have made it worth all the work and time it takes me to run it. I don’t really make any money doing this (I do sell a few shirts here and there) and I refuse to put any paid ads on the site so if you’d like to donate a few bucks to the site you can send money via Paypal to the email address: Any donation is appreciated of course and will be put towards either making the site better or paying my way to get into more metal shows. Now, on to the photos…

I saw Jucifer back on Friday the 20th of January 2012 at the Black Cat and as always they put on a great show. This husband and wife duo truely live the lifestyle as they tour the country in their RV bringing their brand of sludge metal from city to city 12 months a year. And if you couldn’t tell from the mountain of speakers in this photo, they take the wall of sound thing quite literally. Be sure to see them next time they come through the area and bring ear plugs!

King Giant
The next night, Saturday the 21st of January was a big night for Northern Virginia’s metal scene. One of the area’s biggest bands, King Giant, was having their CD release show for their sophomore album, Dismal Hollow. On top of that, this was the grand re-opening show for Empire, the new name of the venue formerly known as Jaxx. Not my best night of shooting photos but I mean, with a line up of Auroboros, The Crimson Electric, Borracho and King Giant, it would have just been wrong for me to not be drinking beer and whiskey all night. I shot a couple videos that night including the one below of King Giant playing Pistols And Penance off of the album. I also added a photo below showing some of the interior changes they have made at the venue if you haven’t seen them yet.
Empire (formerly Jaxx)

Tuesday the 7th of February found me at the Black Cat again, this time to see southern sludge metal band Hail!Hornet play on the back stage. There was a showing of the film Slow Southern Steel at the beginning of the show, a movie about heavy metal in the American south, but I missed that. The Atlanta, Georgia based psychedelic sludge band Zoroaster played after they did with a really trippy light show, and finally Hail!Hornet took the stage and killed it. They’re a band featuring members of Buzzov•en, Alabama Thunderpussy and Sourvein so you knew they were going to bring some great filthy sludge metal and they didn’t disappoint.


Now I’ve got to skip a few bands because I simply haven’t gotten to sorting all of their photos yet. The above image is of Dorthea Cottrell of the Richmond based doom band Windhand when they played at St. Stephen’s Church in Columbia Heights on Saturday, March 3rd. I won’t write much about that show here because I did a review of it covering all four bands who played it here.


On Tuesday March 13th I found myself at the 9:30 Club to see California thrash act Warbringer and Floridian power metal band Iced Earth. I had been given a photo pass for that show, though for some reason it was only valid for Warbringer’s set. To add to my frustration I was feeling sick and while it was cool too see Warbringer play on a bigger stage, I just wasn’t up for Iced Earth by the time they played. When Iced Earth’s new singer, Stu Block of Into Eternity fame, started making juvenile sexist comments about giving the shocker to the women in the audience I decided I’d had enough and took my infected self home.

I’m skipping over talking about an excellent Dysrhythmia show I saw in Baltimore here but I wanted to mention last night’s Alcest show at DC9. They put on a excellent performance of a set list made up of mostly their new album’s material. It did go on a bit long I thought, but it was still a pretty great experience. The lighting was pretty dim though making it hard to take photos, and the fog machine was jacked up the entire show making it even harder to get any great shots. Because of this I decided to make some animated gif images from some of my series of shots. I did see Alcest open for Enslaved in September last year so you can see some higher quality images of the band I shot by clicking the gif if you’d like.

Well, that’s all for now, thanks for reading and if you’d like more updates on things like when local bands are making announcements or area venues and media have things to say about metal be sure to check out DCHM on Facebook and Twitter (your choice, I post most things to both). Keep it metal everyone and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

King Giant tickets and album give away

Hey everyone, I’ve got another contest for you this week. Local southern metal act King Giant is playing Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Virginia this Saturday the 21st of January and is giving away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers of the site. This isn’t just any ordinary King Giant show though, in addition to headlining it is also the release show for their new album Dismal Hollow. At the show they’ll have copies of it on both CD and vinyl and to sweeten this week’s contest I’ll be giving away a copy of it as well. You get to pick which version you want, CD or vinyl, and I’ll get the entire band to personally autograph it for you! And since I’m feeling so generous this week I’ll throw in a free t-shirt with the Joshua Brettell artwork! So that means this week’s winner gets a copy of the new King Giant album in the format of their choice signed by the band AND two free tickets to the show on Saturday AND a free shirt! All you have to do to win is tell me why you want to go to this show in the comments below and I’ll pick a winner at random using to win the prize package! Your reason can be to pick up the new album, to hear some of the new tunes played live, to get loaded at the bar or anything you want really. The winner will be picked at 5pm EST on Friday 20 January 2012. Be sure to use a valid email address you check regularly when you post a comment so I can contact you if you win, though the email address doesn’t have to be in the comment itself. And don’t worry, I won’t add you to any lists or spam you in any way, I hate that shit too.

King Giant puts on a great show however there’s a kick ass line up for the whole night so be sure to get there early and check out some of the other bands playing. Starting the night off will be a band called Weed Warlock and I honestly don’t know much about them but I’m going to guess they’re a stoner band just from the band name alone. After them will be Auroboros, one of the area’s rising sludge bands. You sort of have to mention that the band features former members of both Baroness and Salome, however they’re a great band even if they didn’t have a pedigree. I’ve also heard they have just made t-shirts and this will be the first place you’ll be able to get one at. After they play there’s The Crimson Electric who are coming up from the Virginia Beach area. You may recall that they played with King Giant at the State Theatre back in January of 2011. So I guess this is becoming an annual thing for them but that’s not a bad thing at all because they put on a great show. The final opening act before King Giant plays will be Borracho, a stoner/doom band from DC. Their name is Spanish for a drunk or lush and as you’d guess they write some great riffs to knock a few back to between rounds of shots. This is really an excellent line up of similar yet distinct and talented bands. If you don’t end up winning you can get a ticket online from Amped & Alive for $13.50 here OR you can buy a ticket at the door $12 (add $2 to that if you’re under 21). This show is all ages and the doors open at 6:30pm. I’ll also be selling DCHM shirts and hopefully have a new batch of DCHM stickers in by then and I’ll be giving those away for free to anyone who wants one. Now check out this kick ass King Giant video for their new song Appomattox and enter the contest below it:

Another Mega Sized Concert Recap

Well, I haven’t posted any concert reviews lately, but as usual I’ve still been going to lots of concerts. Things have slowed down a bit here in late December concert wise but this is normal since bands don’t usually like touring during the holidays. I’ve been to some great shows since my first mega sized concert recap. I’ve set each show as a separate paragraph so if you don’t care about a particular gig you can easily skip to the next one. And of course all the band names will link you to a place you can stream that band’s music. Click on any picture to see more of my photos of that band as well. Now, on to the awesomeness that is going to see metal shows in the DC area.

On Saturday the 12th of November 2011 I headed out to the Velvet Lounge on U Street in the District. Warchild was headlining a show and I had heard they were good live, though I hadn’t gotten a chance to see them yet. I got there right when their set was starting and the upstairs of the Velvet Lounge was absolutely packed! I’ve never seen it that full before and it’s cool so many people came out to see a local metal band play there. Warchild is a thrash metal act who likes to party hard. Everyone in the band was shirtless and sporting lots of tattoos. The vocalist, also from the 80s throwback rock band Rattler, told everyone in attendance to not hold back and stage dive and crowd surf as much as they wanted. The audience complied and people were even hanging from the fan in the middle of the room, just going nuts. They brought some people on stage to pound beers in a beer bong and even had two guys race to see who could smash the a can of beer open on their head and then drink it the fastest. And you thought Municipal Waste was a party thrash band, this show was crazy. They played a solid thrash set and ended it with a kick ass cover, with plenty of crowd participation, of Metallica‘s old school classic The Four Horsemen. Such a great show, I can’t wait to see them live again. Highly recommended!

Beer Eating Contest

The following Thursday, the 18th of November, I went to the Black Cat in Washington DC to see Fu Manchu play. The opening act was the Austin, Texas based three piece Honky. Somewhere between hellbilly and stoner, they were a pretty solid opener. Their bass player is JD Pinkus who is better known for having played in the Butthole Surfers. They had some hilarious song titles and subjects, which you’d expect more from a humorous grind band. My favorite was their song about masturbating at work called Gittin’ It. They were fun and obviously didn’t take themselves too seriously and they made for a good opener for Fu Manchu. On the final song of Honky’s set Fu Manchu guitar player Bob Balch came out to play a tune with the band. Fu Manchu is one of the main influences in stoner rock and metal, and most of their songs deal with modes of transportation like souped up cars and skateboarding. They had played the upstairs main stage at the Black Cat in September of 2010 but this concert was in the smaller back stage downstairs. The place was pretty crowded when Fu Manchu hit the stage, but the crowd wasn’t too rowdy. They started the set off with a few of their 90s classics before launching into this tour’s main draw, performing their entire 1996 album In Search Of… straight through. They walked off stage for the encore thing and came back to play a couple more songs, finally ending the set with King Of The Road which was still stuck in my head as I drove home. King of the road says you move too slow!
Honky with Bob Balch

Scott Hill of Fu Manchu

On Tuesday the 29th of November I found myself at the Cellar Door in Annandale, Virginia to see the Chapel Hill, North Carolina based band Black Skies play. There were four bands playing that night but I only caught two of them. The first band that I saw was Admiral Browning, a Frederick, Maryland band that was formerly an instrumental band with four members. To my surprise, at this show they had vocals and only three members. A bit of a change, and although I have a fondness for instrumental metal bands, the vocals fit in to place with the rest of the music. They were entertaining but the main reason I came to this show was to see Black Skies again. I saw them play back in September and they blew me away. This show was no less exciting. Even in the tight basement of the Cellar Door they just burst with energy. They’re the only band I’ve seen someone play a guitar solo with their teeth in a basement, and I’ve seen them do it twice now! I ended up buying a poster and it came with a free download of their debut album, On The Wings Of Time. This is a band worth checking out and I can’t wait to see them play in the area again.
Admiral Browning

Michelle Temple of Black Skies

Skip ahead to Sunday the 11th of December and I was at Jaxx to see the notorious Norwegian black metal band Mayhem again. I had seen them on the first show of their tour in Baltimore on November 2nd, but now they were back in the area playing the final show of their tour. The set list was the same as the first show, however vocalist Attila Csihar had a different costume on (he is known for having a wide range of stage costumes). This time he did not have any fake blood, and he held a skull in his left hand for the entire set. The audience seemed much more dead than the crazy pits that happened in Baltimore a month before, and the band didn’t seem to get into the show as much either. Being the final show of the tour they were probably a bit worn out. The audio mix at Jaxx wasn’t as good either. Overall I wouldn’t say the show was bad, it just wasn’t great, and the Baltimore show definitely felt more like a real Mayhem show. The fog machine was on thick all night though, and camera conditions weren’t optimal, however I still got a few decent shots and Mayhem even posted one of my photos from this show on their Facebook wall.


The following Thursday, the 15th of December, I found myself at the Black Cat once again, this time to see the killer line up of The Body, Zoroaster and Black Cobra. The first band to play was The Body, a two man doom band from Rhode Island (though I hear they are relocating). They set their gear up in the middle of the flood of the Black Cat’s back stage area and just played there on the ground, with the audience around them. They were very loud, a theme that would recur throughout the night. After they played Zoroaster took the stage. They’re a psychedelic sludge metal band from Atlanta, Georgia. They have a really trippy vibe while being heavy as well. They had a bunch of lasers shooting around not just the stage but the entire room and it looked pretty cool. Midway through my favorite song of theirs, Odyssey, the power abruptly cut out and the lights came back on for a few minutes before the band finished their set. Then came the headliner, Los Angeles, California based Black Cobra. They’re a sludge metal duo and their latest album, Invernal, is heavy as all hell. They ended up playing every song off of it, though not in order, as well as some of their older songs mixed in. A truly crushing set, it’s amazing how much heavy just two people can make. Take note all you folk bands with like a dozen members, these three bands on this tour had just seven total members between them, and they kicked major ass. Sometimes less really is more.
The Body


Black Cobra

The next night, Friday the 16th of December, I went to the Velvet Lounge to catch a show I spent a good deal of effort promoting here on DCHM. Borracho was headlining an album release show, the official launch of their LP Splitting Sky. However, there were other bands who played before them. First was a band from Glen Echo, Maryland called Rezin. The guys seemed nice and all but I have to say they weren’t very good. Most of the crowd who had assembled had left by the time their set was over, and honestly I can’t really blame them. The band was very monotonous and they just didn’t do it for me, or apparently that many other in attendance. They didn’t seem to fit with the two other acts on this bill either. However, the next band to play, Kingsnake from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was simply outstanding on stage. They played a style of stoner that was almost southern, though rather dark as well. They had fine tuned their songs and obviously put a lot of effort into practicing them as well. It was a great performance by a band I didn’t really know anything about going in. After they played I got up on stage and swore at the audience about giving out free shit, and then Borracho started their set. The guys were on point this night, really putting on a great show. I’ve seen them a few times this year and this was definitely my favorite of their performances. Before I’d always seen them open for someone so it was great getting to see them play a full length set live for once. Also, it was a good turn out for the second metal show in a row at the Velvet Lounge, which is awesome. Hopefully they’ll continue to let us metal heads take over their spot on U Street more often on the weekends.



On Saturday the 17th of December I went to my third metal show in as many days, this time to see locals Ilsa and Midnight Eye play with two Harrisonburg, Virginia bands, Earthling and Orthrus. They were playing at a small Ethiopian bar, named Asefu’s, that is just a few doors down from DC9 and the U Street corridor. I got there as Midnight Eye was setting up though I really only saw their first song. However, it was a brand new song and it was pretty sweet! I went a few doors down to eat dinner (I was starving) and came back while Orthrus was playing. The thin venue was packed and so I watched the show from the doorway and didn’t take any pictures (the band wasn’t facing my direction anyways). Regardless, they were pretty awesome. They play a sort of catchy black/thrash with death metal style deep vocals. Next up was Earthling, a band I had seen before at the now defunct Corpse Fortress back in March. They were just as fun to see live and I had forgotten how catchy I their tunes are. The final band of the night was DC’s own masters of doom/death metal, Ilsa. They have a dirty and crushing sound, very raw and primal and yet still very listenable. Some of their songs slow almost to a halt but the intensity never wanes. Ilsa is always fun to see live and this show was no different. However, at the end of their set they also played a new song for the first time, titled Man Made Monsters. Lucky for you who missed it, I’ve posted video of both Midnight Eye’s new song and Ilsa’s new song below. You might not be able to see much but you can at least hear them well enough.


Well that wraps up another mega sized concert recap. I have a couple more shows to see before the year is done. You might be wondering why I didn’t cover the Mastodon show at the 9:30 Club in late November, and that’s because I’m not a Mastodon fan. I wanted to see Obscura and Abysmal Dawn play on December 7th but the weather was horrible that night and I didn’t want to drive to Baltimore in it as I knew traffic would be bad (Kyuss played the same night in Balti as well). Also, my camera’s lens was damaged during this time period and I had to wait a few weeks for it to be fixed (wasn’t cheap either!). And no, it wasn’t damaged at a show. Next week I plan on posting a big recap of 2011, from the local scene to the biggest metal stories of the year and it will include a preview of 2012 as well. Until then be sure to check the upcoming metal concert calendar and remember, support the scene you’re a part of!

Mega Sized Metal Concert Recap

Recently I’ve not been able to write as many concert reviews as I’d like to. I’m considering doing some shorter ones in the future. Believe it or not, my average concert review takes me 10-14 hours to put together. I have been going to a hell of a lot of shows and that just makes things back up a bunch and it can be hard to even get through just sorting through all my concert photos. However, I’ve been to some great shows since my last concert review, the Cavalara Conspiracy show review I posted back on October 14th, and I thought I’d just post a few pictures, videos and notes from those shows to give you an idea of what has been going on with live metal in this area from my point of view. Each paragraph below is about a different concert so you can skip ones ya don’t care about and move to ones you find more interesting easily. You can click any of the pictures below to see more of my photographs of the same band, and I’ve added some of my videos from the shows that I shot them at in this post as well, though as always I’ve got more on my YouTube page here.

On Friday, October 14th, 2011, I drove up to see Wabringer and Landmine Marathon at Sonar in Baltimore. This was Warbringer’s first headlining tour and while they are one of my favorite bands of the modern wave of thrash metal, I really wanted to see Landmine Marathon play. I’d never seen them before but had heard they were good live. Their vocalist, Grace Perry, was on the cover of the always controversial Hottest Chicks In Metal issue of Revolver magazine in 2009, but I didn’t care about any of that. She was absolutely ferocious on stage, really a sight to behold regardless of her gender or hotness or whatever. At one point she told the audience they better start moshing harder or she’d jump off the stage and kick everyone’s asses, and you believed it when she said it. Warbringer was fun live as usual, they played Living In A Whirlwind so I was happy. This was also the first time I’d seen them play anything from their newest album, Worlds Torn Asunder. Vocalist John Kevill did a stage dive into the audience at the end of the show. Lazarus A.D. played between those two bands but I don’t really care for them so I took that time to drink a couple Lancaster Milk Stouts in the other room. They’re delicious and Sonar has em in bottles at the bar, highly recommended when you’re thirsty at Sonar!
Grace Perry of Landmine Marathon


The next night, Saturday the 15th of October 2011, I found myself back at Sonar to see a black metal band from Singapore, Impiety. However, as a late addition to the bill I got to see a band I’ve been wanting to see for years, Ohio’s black/speed metal act Midnight. They came out in the executioner’s hoods that they’re known for and just shredded the place. They’re a fierce three piece and their sound reminds me of something of a cross between Motörhead and Darkthrone. After their awesome set Impiety hit the stage drenched in pig blood, and man did it stink like something awful. The pit was fierce for their entire set and the band never let up either. It was really a great show I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Considering where they’re from, who knows if you’ll ever be able to see them play around here again.


On Monday the 17th of October 2011 I found myself at Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia to check out local power metal band A Sound Of Thunder play support for the Swedish power metal band Sabaton for the final show of their tour. The audience was thin this evening, Dream Theater was playing at the Warner Theatre the same night and I’m sure that had an effect on the turn out. However A Sound Of Thunder put on a solid set and kept the audience’s attention. They were a good warm up act for Sabaton. I’d never seen Sabaton before, and honestly I’m not that familiar with their music, but I’ll tell you they were entertaining as hell to watch live. You could just tell that the band was having a lot of fun playing for the audience and even though the turn out wasn’t huge the people who were there really gave a lot of energy back to the band. They played a prank on their new temporary bass player when the rest of the band started playing a song they hadn’t taught him to play. It was a really fun experience from a band I didn’t really know what to expect from.
Nina Osegueda of A Sound Of Thunder


Skip ahead to Friday the 21st of October and I was at a kick ass Deceased show at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC. The opening acts were two I really enjoy, DC’s own stoner band Borracho and Richmond’s doomy/sludge band Windhand. Borracho went on first and they didn’t start until after 10pm. They put on a good show and the audience that came to see Deceased, different than the normal stoner band crowd, seemed to be into it. Next up came Windhand. This band is HEAVY and this set was no different than usual. Finally Deceased hit the stage well after midnight. Deceased has a lot of ties to the DC area, originally based out of Northern Virginia they are the kind of band that draws people out of the woodwork when they play in the area. It was good to see such a big crowd for them. They didn’t have a bass player, which made their sound a bit tinny and took some getting used to. King Fowley used to play drums but now was just doing the lead vocals, and he was having a lot of fun with the audience and even came out into the crowd a couple times. I got home really late that night, but it was worth it!



Sunday the 23rd of October, 2011, I went on a road trip up to Philadelphia to catch a band I’d been wanting to see for several years, Kvelertak, play at Johnny Brenda’s. When I got there the Georgian psychedelic sludge metal group Zoroaster was playing and I saw them do a couple songs. Skeletonwitch, a thrash band from Ohio, was after them and they put on an energetic show, they’re definitely a better live band than when I saw them in April 2010. Not that they were bad then, but they’ve definitely got their live show down better now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them doing a headlining tour sometime soon. Finally Kvelertak, the Norwegian punk/metal band I drove all that way to see, was up and they put on a hell of a wild show. There was a lot of stage diving and beer drinking and the show just had a crazy amount of energy going on. It was definitely worth the 6 and a half hours of driving there and back that night, so much fun! Hopefully they won’t skip the DC area on their next tour. Also, I met two other people, who didn’t know each other, who had both come up from the DC area for this show. That was kind of cool.


On Thursday the 27th of October I went to see a Sepultura cover band made up of members of various local bands, namely Disciples Of Christ (D.O.C.), Drugs Of Faith, Magrudergrind and Mind As Prison. This was at a small Ethiopian restaurant and bar called Asefu’s just a couple doors down from DC9 in Washington DC. Local guitar shredders Midnight Eye opened the set up and they were awesome as usual. They played a cover of Megadeth‘s classic Rust In Peace that was pretty slick as well. Local band Auroboros was next to play. They’re a great live band, with ex-members of Baroness and Salome in the group you know it’s just a matter of time until they really take off. During their set the drummer got caught in the fake spider webbing while playing, he even lost a stick to it, haha! The Sepultura all stars played next and while their set was mired with some technical difficulties at first, it was a lot of fun. I was a huge Sepultura fan in high school so it was cool hearing them play some of those old classics. They only played about four or five songs though, I wished it had lasted another hour! The final band of the night was Inter Arma from Richmond. Sadly a lot of people left after the cover band played but they played a powerful set regardless, I’m glad I stuck around to watch them.
Midnight Eye


Sepultura cover band

Inter Arma

I had another stop at Jaxx on Sunday the 30th of October 2011 to see Decapitated play. There were a lot of other bands playing this night, however I only saw the final three bands. Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse came out in their tuxedos and really got the mosh pit going, including a few guys in drag for Halloween that were in there. Next up was the California based tech death band Decrepit Birth. I really like this band a lot. They remind me of the band Death a lot, but with a more modern sound. Their vocalist, Bill Robinson, is a bit of a head trip but he really got the audience into the show. At one point he held up a copy of their latest CD and told the audience anyone could have it if they took it from him. This caused a wave of people to climb over the railing onto the stage and Bill kept pushing them back to stage dive onto the audience. Then came the headliners, the Polish death metal band Decapitated. This band had a tragic bus accident on October 29th 2007 while on tour. Their drummer was killed in the wreck and the vocalist was critically injured. Decapitated broke up for a little while, though guitarist Vogg decided to get them back together, with all other members of the band being new, and put out a new album back in July titled Carnival Is Forever. However, this band just isn’t the same, it was almost sad seeing them play. Spheres Of Madness, their closing song and most famous, just wasn’t the same, it was almost like seeing a cover band play it. Combined with their short set, they only played for about 45-50 minutes, they were a let down. I’m glad I got to see them a few times before their accident. Also of note, this was their final show of the tour and on the return flight their airplane had to make an emergency landing with no landing gear. The story with video of the landing is posted here. The band is fine but damn, maybe they should start walking when touring.
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Decrepit Birth


On Tuesday the 1st of November, 2011 I went up to Baltimore to see Opeth play at Rams Head Live. Their set was a rather laid back performance, even by Opeth’s standards. Their new album, Heritage, has no harsh vocals on it, and this tour was certainly to promote that album. The show was fun, and being that it was the last show of the tour the guys were kind of goofing off a bit. They let the audience in a short singalong to the chorus of Harvest at one point, and had a few pranks going on stage throughout the night. However the highlight of the evening was the encore. Members of the opening act that I didn’t get there in time to see, Katatonia, joined Mike Åkerfeldt and Martin Axenrot of Opeth to reform the Swedish death metal super group Bloodbath! They played two songs, Soul Evisceration and Eaten, in a very rare public performance by Bloodbath. Mike hinted that they might be back together for real, though he didn’t say if that meant a new album, tour or if it was even definite. Their short and brutal encore set was quite a contrast to the Opeth show that had gone on just before it. This was the only concert of the tour that Bloodbath made an appearance at, and I felt very lucky to be in attendance. Definitely one of my concert highlights of the year! You can see video footage of Bloodbath’s performance (not shot by me) posted here.


The next night, Wenesday the 2nd of November, found me in Baltimore again for the first show of tour by the infamous Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. When I got there the show was running a bit behind schedule though and I saw the end of Abigail Williams‘ set. Then the polish blackened death metal band Hate performed. They were pretty good if not overly original, sort of like a Behemoth junior. I have to say their guitarist had some of the worst corpse paint I’ve ever seen though. Then the Norwegian melodic black metal band Keep Of Kalessin played. I watched a couple of their songs but soon found myself in the next room drinking Lancaster Milk Stouts again. Keep has gone down hill in my book over the years, now they seem to be a sort of singalongy kind of band and they’ve lost the bite I enjoyed of their older material. Finally Mayhem was up next, their first area appearance since they played at Maryland Deathfest in 2009. Vocalist Attila Csihar came out looking like some sort of satanic vampire and it was awesome! He’s known for his wild stage costumes but this was just over the top. The band played a kick ass set heavily loaded with material from their classic albums De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Deathcrush and it got the place going crazy. There were tons of fights, even a woman got thrown out of the show for being to crazy in the pit, it was intense! I got some bruises but it was worth it to get some awesome shots of one of metal most notorious bands.

Keep Of Kalessin


On Sunday November 6th, 2011 I was at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland to watch Death Angel, Testament and Anthrax play there. However there was a problem with the photo passes that night and rather than risk leaving my camera in my car where it could be stolen, I had to head home after I already had my tickets in hand. Very frustrating let me tell you. I still haven’t been inside the new venue, I hope they get things straightened out next time. I really wanted to have some photographs up for you guys from that show, and have a nice big concert to end this long recap on but sadly, no dice. I might do more of these long recaps in the future, if you people like or don’t like them let me know. I’ve got a lot more metal shows to go to coming up and this might be a good way to try to cover more of them, starting with Torche tonight at DC9. Also, I should have some shirts with my new t-shirt design on them for sale very soon so keep your eyes peeled for that. They have new Abe Lincoln artwork drawn by DC based metal band Ilsa‘s drummer Joshua Brettell and they look awesome! Thanks for reading, stay brutal everyone!

Venue Changes Around The Area

There’s been a lot going on at several concert venues in the area recently. The biggest story is probably that the Fillmore will be opening on September 15th in Silver Spring, Maryland. The original Fillmore is in San Francisco and during the 60’s helped spawn many of the era’s biggest hippy bands, such as the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Now there are several Fillmores around the country and it’s the DC area’s turn to get one. The Silver Spring location is a two level 2,000 person capacity venue. For comparison the 9:30 Club holds around 1,200. The first concert there is Mary J. Blige on September 15th, but the first metal show will be on Friday, September 23rd with Bring Me The Horizon. There are more metal shows coming as well, including Yngwie Malmsteen and Between The Buried And Me with Animals As Leaders. The venue is located inside what used to be a JC Penny and is run by Live Nation (who have merged with Ticketmaster) who also runs Jiffy Lube Live. I am excited to check out this brand new venue in the suburbs of DC and hopefully they’ll get even more metal concerts in the future.

Another big change happening in the area is the management of Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, Virginia. The venue has been run by Jay Nedry since June 1994 but he has decided to sell Jaxx to Jason Malhoyt and Jeff Cohen of Outerloop. They will run the day to day operations of the venue starting on January 1st of 2012 though Jay will still book several shows a month for them, mostly the glam/hair bands, death metal acts and various European black and power metal bands. You can read Jay’s statement about the sale here. You can already see some changes at the venue though, the new website design is an obvious one. Unfortunately the calendar is awful to navigate and opening local bands are often not listed on it either. The new logo and site layout does look nice though. Outerloop has also recently taken over Alley Katz in Richmond, Virginia and renamed it Kingdom. It is still closed right now, but it will be opening for the first time under the new management on October 8th when Periphery plays there. Both Jaxx and Alley Katz/Kingdom appear to be switching their ticket sales to a company called Amped & Alive, which also seems to have ties to Outerloop, though I’m not 100% sure what they are exactly.

Up in Baltimore you’ll see that Bourbon Street hasn’t been booking any more shows. The venue is apparently closing down, though the people running it appear to be moving to a new Baltimore venue named the Baltimore Soundstage. This new venue is in the inner harbor area and will hold 1,000 people. However, on select nights they’ll have seated shows that will hold 500 people. I think this is going to be a table setting similar to what you’d find at the State Theatre or the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. There will also be a full menu with things like crab cakes as well as a full bar with wine, beer and liquor. The venue will open on Saturday, September 3rd when Milkman plays there, though the first metal show will be Devin Townsend and Anathema on Wednesday 12 October. The venue is going to sell its tickets through Ticket Fly, the same company that handles ticketing for the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Aside from Bourbon Street, there have been a few venue closings and other problems of late with area venues. The Hexagon, a DIY space in Baltimore, closed on May 20th. Really it was more of an eviction and you can read their post about that here. So Addictive Lounge in Herndon, Virginia had long been holding Metal Monday local metal band spotlight shows every week before they decided they’d convert to being a gay bar seven days a week. However, the Metal Mondays are not entirely dead as the people behind them have been hosting various metal shows at the Old Firestation #3 (aka Firehouse Grill) in Fairfax City. Now you can see local talent as well as touring bands play there, and it’s still just $5 to get in. Hole In The Sky, a DIY venue in Northeast Washington DC, was shut down by police in the middle of a concert on February 16th. They’ve since done things like build a fire escape staircase to get up to code and have reopened, though they don’t seem to be hosting concerts very often and certainly not metal shows. Silver Spring, Maryland’s DIY space dubbed the Corpse Fortress has been condemned after 5 years of awesome shows. Everyone has to be out by October 1st but there will still be a final show there on September 24th. More info on why it is being shut down is here. This is a huge blow to the area’s DIY scene, metal or otherwise. It had just recently gotten a kick ass paint job in the basement where bands perform, which you can see here.

All is not lost though! There’s the Palace Of Wonders and The Red & The Black which have merged to form the Red Palace on H Street in Northeast DC. They get occasional metal shows, including a special free performance by Clutch that’s coming up on Monday the 29th of August. And while Sonar had a big problem with liquor licenses and almost shut down temporarily back in May (more on that here), it seems it was just a hiccup and they are back to running things as usual again now (although the lot across the street from venue is now metered and thus no longer free to park in). The Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland seems to be getting more metal shows as well (Auroboros will be performing there this Sunday, the 28th of August for a matinee show at 2pm) and I’d expect to see more metal gigs get shifted there once Corpse Fortress is gone. There’s also a new DIY house venue that’s starting to host a few metal shows in Annandale, Virginia that is called the Cellar Door.

So there is a lot changing in the area’s venues and hopefully this article will help encourage some of you to get out to an extra concert or two that you might not have before. Remember, if you’re looking for info on any of these venues’ upcoming metal shows be sure to check out the DC Heavy Metal upcoming concert calendar here. If you want to know more about any of these venues, including their addresses, links to their website, Facebook page or Twitter, or even on how to book a show there check out the Venue page here.