M e t a l Z i n e V o l . 7 METAL ZINE VOL 7 SCIONAV.COM
Rock Fest Edition
Down 路 Saint Vitus 路 Exodus 路 PSYCHIC TV The Atlas Moth 路 Revocation
STAFF Scion Project Manager: Jeri Yoshizu, Sciontist Editor: Eric Ducker Creative Direction: Scion Art Direction: bon Contributing Editor: J. Bennett Graphic Designers: Cameron Charles, Gabriella Spartos
CONTRIBUTORS Writers: Estrella Damn, Kim Kelly, Bruce Lamont Photographers: Gregory Bojorquez, Shannon Corr, Danin Drahos, Dan Kendall, Audrey Jarrett, Clara Ridabock, Yasuko Shiratsuchi, Vitaliy Sholokhov, Sera Timms, Garfield Trummer, Hank Watts
CONTACT For additional information on Scion, email, write or call. Scion Customer Experience 19001 S. Western Avenue Mail Stop WC12 Torrance, CA 90501 Phone: 866.70.SCION / Fax: 310.381.5932 Email: Email us through the Contact page located on scion.com Hours: M-F, 6am-5pm PST / Online Chat: M-F, 6am-6pm PST Scion Metal Zine is published by bon. For more information about bon, contact email@example.com Company references, advertisements and/or websites listed in this publication are not affiliated with Scion, unless otherwise noted through disclosure. Scion does not warrant these companies and is not liable for their performances or the content on their advertisements and/or websites. © 2012 Scion, a marque of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. All rights reserved. Scion and the Scion logo are trademarks of Toyota Motor Corporation. 00430-ZIN07-MT Cover: Illustration by French (funeralfrench.com)
SCION A/V SCHEDULE MAY
May 15: Scion A/V Presents: Relapse Records Label Showcase (live recording)
May 19: Scion Label Showcase: A389 Records Showcase, featuring Integrity, Ringworm, Young and In the Way, Seven Sisters of Sleep and the Love Below, at the Glass House, Pomona, California
JUNE June 2: Scion Rock Fest, Tampa, Florida June 19: Scion A/V Presents: Profound Lore Label Showcase (live recording) June 23: Scion Label Showcase: Southern Lord, featuring Pelican, Black Breath, Martyrdรถd, Burning Love and Enabler at the Glass House, Pomona, California
July July 21: Scion Label Showcase: Moshpit Tragedy, featured acts TBA, at the Glass House, Pomona, California
august August 18: Scion Label Showcase, featured label and acts TBA, at the Glass House, Pomona, California
Story by: J. Bennett Photography by: Gregory Bojorquez
Somewhere in the whirling psychedelic eye of the Atlas Moth’s triple-guitar, quadruple-vocal maelstrom, there’s a new subgenre being born. The only problem is that no one really knows what to call it. “I think people have trouble grouping us into a genre, and I have trouble doing that, too,” says David Kush, who handles one of the Atlas Moth’s soaring guitars and bellowing lead vocal positions. “But one of the things I really like about being in this band is that we never set out to play in a particular style. We all listen to a lot of different music, and we just kind of trust that whatever one of us comes up with, another person will come up with something that fits and makes the whole thing the Atlas Moth.”
The Atlas Moth’s “we” consists of Kush, vocalist/ guitarist Stavros Giannopoulos, bassist/backing vocalist Alex Klein, guitarist/backing vocalist Andrew Ragin and drummer Anthony Mainiero. The Chicago-based band’s second and latest fulllength, An Ache for the Distance, has been referred to as everything from “stoner metal” and “sludge” to “post-metal” and “militantly adventurous heavy metal,” but members of the Atlas Moth wouldn’t even necessarily refer to themselves as a metal band. “The whole question of whether we’re a metal band or not is kind of tricky because clearly we started out wanting to be a metal band of some sort,” says Giannopoulos. “To me, a metal band is Slayer or Judas Priest. I think we’re a heavy band, but we’re not really a metal band. If you call yourself a metal band and then do something outside of that box, people say you’re not a metal band anymore and then everyone hates you. So why not just try to stay out of that category to begin with? But obviously, you’re not gonna hate
us if you like metal.”
with the group starting on June 19th at scionav.com/ProfoundLoreRecords
I Ðe s øƒ
G e m i n i Filled with mesmerizing, doomy compositions, Constantinople by Ides of Gemini is one of the most compelling debuts of 2012. On it, guitarist J. Bennett, who is also a contributor to many metal publications (including this one), is joined by frontwoman/bassist Sera Timms and drummer/vocalist Kelly Johnston. While Bennett handles the lion’s share of the songwriting, according to him, it is Timms who is the trio’s heart and blackened soul. Bennett explains how it all opens up:
The entire inspiration for Ides Of Gemini comes entirely from Sera's voice. The way she sings made me want to start a band with her, plain and simple. The songs have so much space, so she can do what she wants. I feel like my job is to create a reasonably compelling framework that gives her maximum room to exhibit her talents. I wrote about half the songs, musically speaking, during the nearly five months of 2011 that I spent flat on my back and essentially unable to walk. As difficult and painful as it was, it ended up becoming an incredibly transformative process for me. The music’s overall aesthetic—the darkness, the minor chords, the black metal elements and what I like to think is a certain hypnotic quality—is a combination of what we're all drawn to as listeners. As told to Kim Kelly idesofgemini.blogspot.com Watch performances from Ides of Gemini at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Photography: Clara Ridabock, Hank Watts, Vitaliy Sholokhov
While Tampa has a storied legacy when it comes to extreme music, its neighbor city St. Petersburg hasn’t offered much. That’s where Flyingsnakes and their crossbreeding of sludge metal and crust punk come in. Started in 2005 by dual guitarist/vocalists Cletis Chatterton and Jonathan Warzybok, their lineup is now filled out by bassist Nick Sibilia and drummer Aaron Walter. After they self-released their debut Bludgeoning Frequency, the group decided to make the band their full-time thing with more of an interest placed on touring. Earlier this year they put out the Despondency EP on No Reprieve Records. In preparation for a summer tour with Boston’s the Proselyte, each band decided to record something new for a split 7-inch. Chatterton tells the story of how their contribution, “Pyre Rite,” came to be: At least a couple of us in the band are definite procrastinators. We pretty much wrote the song in the studio and I’m pretty convinced that it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever written. We’ve never been in a situation where we’re under the gun and we absolutely have to finish. We had a mastering date already scheduled for the split because we were trying to get it out in time for our tour. Because there was a mastering date scheduled, we had to book studio time and record a song. There was some stuff we had been working on for new songs ideas, but none of it felt right. We started from scratch and everyone had their own riffs to throw in. By the end of the ordeal we had this really perfect piece of music. I think we’ve learned a new strategy to songwriting. As told to: Eric Ducker flyingsnakes.bandcamp.com Watch performances from Flyingsnakes at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Story: Eric Ducker Photography: Dan Kendall
The afternoon is starting to bleed into the early evening and Honor Titus is still barely recovering from the gig he played the night before. His band Cerebral Ballzy opened a reunion show for politically minded Swedish hardcore unit Refused at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen. Asked how it went, Titus responds, “It went well. I don’t like Refused. I mean musically. They’re nice guys, so whatever.” Titus exudes a combination of over-itness and confidence that you can only get from a 22-year-old. When pressed to describe Cerebral Ballzy’s sound, he fumbles around for a while and then says, “We’re a New York punk band,” as if it’s the only description that makes sense. Titus handles lead vocals in Cerebral Ballzy and is joined by bassist Melvin Honore, drummer Crazy Abe, and guitarists Jason and Mason. The five met while skateboarding and hanging out in Union Square. Titus was 18 when he started the band. At the time the only one of them who knew how to play his
instrument was Honore. In 2011 they released their self-titled debut on Williams Street Records. It’s a manic blast of frustration that barely breaks the 20-minute mark. The 12 songs are about, as Honore puts it on album opener “On the Run,” not dealing with the consequences of being young and reckless. Cerebral Ballzy is known for their insane touring schedule and willingness to do a show just about anywhere. “We played in the downtrodden basement in an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn a couple years ago,” says Titus. “Two thousand kids came and the stage broke. It was nuts. Nuts. Nuts. There have been so many ridiculous shows in Ballzy’s history.” Some of the other wild ones have involved biker gangs, spots in Bed-Stuy that most bands won’t go to, a trip to Russia, and the type of life choices we can't write about in this publication. The band is preparing to record its followup, which they hope will be out in early 2013. Honore believes that it will be leaps beyond their debut because of the years and experiences he’s pilled on since he wrote their debut when he was 18. Pushed for more details, he simply says, “It’s going to be something really grand.” cerebralballzy.com Watch performances from Cerebral Ballzy at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock and an interview with the band at scionav.com
Story by: J. Bennett
Photography by: Gregory Boroquez
Generally speaking, death metal is not known
Buda. “To a certain extent, I think the last five
for its wild diversity. In a genre obsessed with
to ten years of modern metal doesn’t look back
speed, extremity, and brutality, rare is the
on heavy metal history and try to encompass
band that delivers something from outside
it. It’s just heavy on its own, which is cool, but
death metal’s cramped and narrow blast
one of our definining charateristics is that as
furnace. Enter Boston-based death squad
much as we’re trying to push metal forward,
Revocation, who prize diversification above
we want to keep the whole history there.”
all else. “Our musical philosophy is to push limits,” says vocalist/guitarist Dave Davidson.
“We work within the metal genre, but at the same time, we try to take other elements
Hear live songs from Revocation’s performance
outside of the metal genre and incorporate
at Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records
them into our music—whether it’s jazz or
and watch an interview with the group at
Latin flavors or more groovy stuff. We’re a
metal band, first and foremost, but we’re always experimenting.” That experimentation can be heard in all its raging, dissonant glory on Revocation’s third and latest full-length, Chaos Of Forms, which features songs as disparate as “Conjuring the Cataclysm” and “No Funeral”: The former kicks off with an acoustic intro before launching into a nasty black thrash workout; Davidson describes the latter as “kinda like Motörhead meets the Misfits, but with sweep arpeggios and a Bill & Ted style dual-tapping solo.” On paper, that might sound like a strange combination. But on Chaos Of Forms, it’s a seamless collusion of forward-thinking musicianship and old-school influences. “I think one of our primary drives has been to look back at the history of metal and incorporate the lessons we’ve learned from it,” says Revocation bassist/vocalist Anthony
By Kim Kelly
Grating, distorted, lower than lo-fi, ponderous black
role in this. We wanted to make our own instruments
noise. A funeral pyre for vermin. A twisted homage
and use them for metal music. Technology has afforded
to the primitive howlings of Les Legions Noires.
us many liberties with allowing us to film, record
Warped, hissing, flawed recordings. Vermapyre is all
music, and design our own record covers. We wanted
of these things, and a bit more. This Flemish-American
to take full advantage of these resources and create an
hybrid combines influences culled from French sadists
entire world around this project. We are slowly getting
and Japanese noiseniks, conjuring their warped
every aspect into place with each recording release.”
transmissions via handmade cigar-box guitars and rusty paint cans.
Vermapyre’s first release, a split with metalpunks Parasite, was released via Holy Terror last year, and
According to a band spokesperson (the members prefer
now Magic Bullet have stepped up to entomb their
to shroud their identities in secrecy), “Vermapyre
song “Oslo” on twelve inches of wax. Vermapyre
set out to create music that could be used as a more
will be sharing that space with Ides of Gemini, and,
aggressive soundtrack for the old, grainy black-and-
more worryingly, have a handful of live appearances
white silent horror films. We were in Warsaw, Poland
on tour with our other band. We were talking about how the early Delta blues musicians would build their
own guitars and how each guitar seemed to have its own unique sound and personality. The theory of
Watch performances from Vermapyre at Scion Rock
infusing your own magic within your creation plays a
Fest at scionav.com/rock
Band Photography: Shannon Corr
Rob Dukes became the vocalist for legendary Bay Area thrashers Exodus in 2005, a quarter century into the band’s storied career. Here, he talks about his journey from teenage metalhead to guitar tech to headlining frontman: I was a long-haired, Nike-wearing metalhead for years, and I was always an Exodus fan. I saw them a few times when I was a teenager. It was kind of a fluke how I ended up being their singer. I was in this bar band in New York, we were kind of like Sublime. It was punk rock, metal and reggae. They ended up firing me, so I basically gave away everything I owned, got on my motorcycle, and drove out to L.A. I had two friends out there, including one in Hollywood, which is where I ended up. I was working at various clubs out there— the Key Club, the Avalon, the El Rey—being a stagehand, basically. Then I started being a guitar tech. I worked for different bands, different players, and I got to meet some cool people. Exodus was opening for Megadeth on one tour and one of the crew guys that Exodus had brought with them scraped up the
floor at the [Hollywood] Palladium by dragging some amps. He caused a bunch of damage so Exodus was looking for a new tech. Someone called me and I said I’d do it. I got on the bus with them, told them I was a huge fan, and we started talking about some of their shows I had seen when I was younger. We got along really well. I went out on the road with them and on the very last show of that tour I got up onstage and sang “Deranged” with them. I guess somebody in the band said, “That guy’s got a great voice.” Later on, [former Exodus vocalist Steve] Zetro [Souza] quit in the middle of a tour and left the band hanging, so they had Big Steev from Defiance singing for them for the rest of it. After that, [Exodus drummer] Tom [Hunting] called me on Christmas Eve and asked if I wanted to come audition as the singer. I booked a flight and went up there [to Northern California]. On the first day of the auditions, I was horrible. On the second day, I was better. On the third day, they asked me if I wanted to be the singer. They took a risk on a no-name singer and gave me a shot.
It was kind of overwhelming at first because I didn’t know who to be onstage, but I didn’t try to copy anyone. I never forgot what it’s like to be a fan out in the audience, so I sang every show like it was my last. I still do that. I don’t hold back. But in the beginning, I did some songs better than others. When fans would bash me online I took it to heart a little bit. How could you not? But then last year Kerry King told me I was the best thing that happened to Exodus. Then we played a show in the Bay Area earlier this year and Kirk Hammett—who used to be in Exodus—played four songs with us. We were talking afterwards and he said, “You’re great for this band.” From then on, there was no point in reading any reviews. For those guys to say I’m doing well, that’s all I need to hear. As told to J. Bennett exodusattack.com Hear live songs from Exodus’ performance at Scion Label Showcase: Nuclear Blast and watch an interview with the group at scionav.com/nuclearblast
Interview by: J. Bennett Photography by: Danin Drahos
Formed two decades ago as a side project by some of New Orleans’ most accomplished metal musicians—Phil Anselmo of Pantera (vocals), Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity (guitar), Kirk Windstein of Crowbar (guitar) and Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod (drums)—Down has since become metal’s most infamous all-star band. It’s also transitioned into an almost-fulltime gig for its members, who recently welcomed Crowbar bassist Patrick Bruders into their formidable ranks. We spoke with Anselmo about Down’s latest maneuvers.
What can you tell us about the forthcoming Down EP? It’s very raw, when you consider the last two records. If people think the first record [1995’s NOLA] is a raw example of what Down was, I would have to say the EP is more like that, production-wise and approach-wise. Why did you want to approach it like the first album?
Believe me, there’s an intensity with Down. Any time you put a microphone in my hand and push me onstage, there’s an intensity.
On the last Down record [2007’s Down III: Over the Under] I got on this big singing trip. And that’s all fine and dandy, but, well...this might be a weird answer, but going through all the different phases of listening to music, maybe you love a certain genre for a certain number of weeks or months or years and then you switch it up and you’re into something else. With this EP, it kinda worked out that we were all cosmically aligned in that way. We went back to the roots of Down, which lead directly back to Black Sabbath. But really, in all honestly, we were spurred on and influenced by the bands that were directly influenced by Sabbath before we came along—bands like Witchfinder General and Saint Vitus. That’s where our heads were at, and with that comes some letting go. Because you can take a riff, maximize it, trick it out, make it as slick and polished as possible, or you can leave it alone and let it do its own work. So instead of overthinking this thing, we just let the songs come. And it worked out the best for all of us. NOLA is considered a stone classic among fans. What comes to mind when you think of that one? It was not an over-thought record. We didn’t have time to over-think it. We were all in plenty of active, working bands. We had a certain amount of time alotted for Down, and most of that was for writing purposes. Once an idea was formed, it didn’t really stray very far from that point on—unless it was lyrically. To me, I think that’s what we attempted to do on this EP. If the riff was slammin’ right out of the gate, I would fight tooth and nail to keep it that way. And for the most part, everyone undertsood
There’s a song on the EP called “Witchtripper” That would make a pretty awesome title for the whole thing. Really? I thought I’d get the most scrutiny out of that one. The first song is called “Levitation,” and that could be a good title, too. I guess the EP could be named after any one of the songs on it, but none of them would really sum up the whole thing. That’s where it becomes a little tough for me. I’d rather have it speak for itself. As far as the
that and executed it pretty damn well.
songs go, I’m actually pretty pleased with them.
Do you have a title or a release date yet?
that in a way, because it’s a genre band. That’s
No. I know it’s probably up to me for a title, but lately I’m thinking, why does the record need a title? The obvious consensus is that it should be called Down IV, because our previous records were numbered that way, too. So if people wanna call it that, I’m cool with it.
We started Down as a side band, and it is still why you start a side band, normally, because you want to delve into a specific genre. Unless you tell people that you wanna start this avant-garde monster with saxophones and pianos and harps. Of course, that’s not the case with Down. It’s a genre band, and with that comes a bit of lyrical
freedom. Whereas in the past I may have written
while and it’s been five years since the last album.
about things going on in my life—the status of
Once again, we’ve broken our promise of, “Sure,
this, the status of that—things I could actually see,
you’re gonna hear a new Down record before
touch and control, with Down I can write in a not
five years are up!” Didn’t happen.
-so -pointed direction and still come up with lyrics that allow the listener to have their own way of
Other members of Down have said in
interviews that this EP is the first in a
Is that the idea behind “Witchtripper”?
next couple of years.
That song came about when we were last in Spain.
There’s definitely a contingent in the band that
series of four EPs to be released over the
We were in this tiny little town, and when we got
wants that to happen. But we’ll see where it goes.
off the plane, we saw all these witches, like lady-
There’s talk of doing an acoustic EP. But is my
head there right now? I’m not sure. It’s a cool idea,
airport. We get into town, and there’s all these
though. But what would we do on the other two?
little shops with little witches for sale, witches in
Speed metal? That ain’t happening. I mean, Down
the hotel lobby—it was bizarre. So we asked the
is Down is Down. We can go in different directions,
locals what was going on, and someone brought
and we’ve shown on every record that we’re a
to our attention that there were all these big rocks
flexible band. We can write metal, we can write
on the local roofs and on people’s front porches in
acoustic songs, we can write a “Stone the Crow”-
this particular town. They told us that the stones
type song. We’ve done all those things. I think
were symbols to ward off the evil of witches
it’s within our capabilities to do whatever we want.
and the spells they may cast. Now, I’m not one
It’s just a matter of doing it.
for believing in curses or any of that stuff, but we were all out one day and Pepper says, “Damn,
Did you write or record any other songs
man—them things must be witchtrippers!” Like,
that didn’t make the EP?
the witch comes to land on your roof, trips over
Two or three things come to mind. Maybe they
one of these stones, and it’s over with. So you
didn’t fit stylistically for this EP. But if there’s a
hear this whole story I’m telling you, and obviously
completed Down song that isn’t on any of the
there’s no way that I can put into two or three
records, I’m all for putting it out. If we have a song
verses that this is what the song is particularly
that is unreleased and kinda has a different feel
about. I basically took the lore of the land and went
than what’s coming out or what has come out, I
from there. But if someone isn’t privy to the story
don’t wanna write around that song. But we can
and they hear the song, they’re not gonna know
always write Down material. Down songs aren’t
what the hell I’m talking about. So let them come
like science. It’s very off the cuff, and it comes very
up with their own ideas. It has to work both ways.
easily to us, depending on your definition of easy.
Do any of the other songs have any
You guys recently split with Rex [Brown, bass,
particular stories behind them?
also formerly of Pantera]. Is Patrick Bruders
Like I say, the lyrics are meant to be open to
the Down bass player from here on in?
interpretation. There are lines in the songs that
Pat is a bad mother******, I’ll tell you that. And
make perfect sense and other lines that are like,
I think you’ll hear it on the new EP. He’s really
“Where the hell is Phil coming from on this stuff?”
stepped up big time. He’s really classically and
And where I’m coming from is a place where
truthfully a bass player. He plays with his fingers,
I want to stir your imagination.
and he’s got this particular feel. I’ve played in a million bands where the bass just basically follows
Why did you guys decide to record an EP
the guitar riff, but Pat has a knack for hearing the
instead of a full-length?
riff, digesting it, and writing a complementary
To be perfectly honest, it’s easier on us and it’s
bass line that not only doesn’t get in the way but
quicker to get the stuff out to the public this way.
actually enhances the riff. So the answer is yes.
We’ve been sitting on some of these songs for a
It seems like there’s no animosity with
It must be pretty different being onstage
with Down from what it was with Pantera.
Hell no. I talked to Rex the day before yesterday
It’s very different. There’s a different energy
and he was telling me how happy he is with the
level. Pantera was a lot more manic, riff-wise, and
new music he’s making. I couldn’t ask for anything
there was an intensity there. Believe me, there’s
more for the guy. If he’s happy with what he’s
an intensity with Down, too. Any time you put a
doing, that’s the best news of the day for me.
microphone in my hand and push me onstage, there’s an intensity. There’s an alter ego that takes
You’re the only guy from Pantera who’s
over, regardless. But Down is a two-guitar-player
in Down now. Was it difficult to lose that
band, and Pantera had just one. That’s obvious. But
connection when Rex left?
when people come to see Down, I get the feeling
I’ll put it this way: Rex’s got his ideas of what rock
they’re there to listen a little more. At Pantera shows,
music is and how it should be created, and I’ve
people were there for the energy, and the crowd
got my ideas. But if there was ever an amicable
was very physical. Maybe that’s the difference.
divorce, so to speak, it’s definitely with me and Rex. We just realized that we both had different
visions happening on many different levels, and
that’s fine. People grow up in ways that sometimes makes them just different enough to say, “Well,
Watch performances from Down at Scion Rock
it’s time for you to go do your thing and me to go
Fest at scionav.com/rock
do my thing, and let’s not hinder each other any longer.” So that’s it, really. We’re letting brothers be brothers.
Interview: J. Bennett Photography: Audrey Jarrett
Most fans never thought they’d see it, right up until the moment they actually did: In mid-2012, massively influential doom dealers Saint Vitus returned with their first new album in 17 years and their first with living-legend frontman Scott “Wino” Weinrich in 22 years. Titled Lillie: F-65, the record captures every soulful nuance of the band’s hard times, down-on-your-luck ethos through glacial pacing and gargantuan Sabbathian riffery. Saint Vitus guitarist and founder Dave Chandler discusses the band’s unlikely resurrection.
Who initially broached the idea of writing a new Saint Vitus album? It was basically the in 2009, we actually wrote the song “Blessed
Did you feel a lot of pressure to deliver when you were writing this record? There hasn’t been a new Saint Vitus album since 1995, and there hasn’t been one with Wino on vocals since 1990.
Night” on the road. I was playing the opening riff
Yeah, definitely. The main pressure was hoping
at soundcheck, and Wino asked me if it was a song.
I could get the same attitude and mindset I had
I said I could make it one if he wanted to write the
back then, because everything is so different
words. Suddenly we had a new song to play on tour.
now: I live in a different place, I’m married, I’m
As soon as we did that, the fans and the press started
a little bit mellower. I was really angry when I
asking if it was a new song from a new album. That
wrote a lot of those songs back then, and I’m not
made us start thinking about it.
really like that anymore. My main concern was
fans. When we were doing the reunion shows
hoping I could capture that same vibe. But once I started doing it, everything floated right back to where I was in the 1980s and 1990s.
There was an initial Saint Vitus reunion in 2003, but it didn’t really stick. What happened? We weren’t actually trying to make
admit it. He did tell me and Mark that he couldn’t play the songs right anymore. We told him not to worry about it and just to play them straight.
it stick. It was purposefully a one-time thing,
But God bless him, he wanted to play them like
because Wino was doing the Hidden Hand at the
they’re supposed to be done. He just couldn’t. I’m
time—plus probably two or three other things—
sure you read the reviews of the show, they were
and I was doing Debris Inc. Neither one of us
pretty much true. It was kind of anticlimactic for
were interested in doing Vitus full-time, but we
the fans, and we had to get someone else to play
wanted to do the reunion. I had done the Wacken
with us at Hellfest in France. We couldn’t have a
Festival in Germany in 2002 with Debris Inc.,
drummer stopping in the middle of a song.
and we did some Vitus songs at the end of the to the front of the stage and started singing the
That must’ve been a difficult conversation to have. Yeah. Armando was really, really pissed off
songs. When I saw that, I thought it would be cool
at me. And sadly, he took that anger to his grave.
set. As soon as we did that, a bunch of people ran
It was a little trippy being back together. When we went to rehearsal, we completely messed up the first song, started again and played it right. if we could get back together and play a festival
But I had to be the one to tell him, because I take
so Mark [Adams, bass] and Armando [Acosta,
the credit for the decisions in this band, good or
drummer] could see that. That’s how it got rolling.
bad. So that was really hard. I think he knew, too,
We decided to play a show in Chicago as a warm-
because when I called him and said, “Armando,
up before we played at Full Force in Germany. We
I’ve got something I need to talk to you about,”
didn’t do anything again until Roadburn in 2009.
he got real quiet. I think he knew, because he
You and Wino had to bury the hatchet a little bit before the 2003 reunion happened.
definitely knew he wasn’t playing well. It was not done in anger, it was strictly business. His girlfriend ended up blasting us on the internet,
Yeah, a little bit. We had talked on the phone
but we don’t think he actually said half the stuff
beforehand, so everything was settled as far as
she says he did.
the bad blood we had when the band broke up. though. When we went to rehearsal, we completely
Did you talk to him again before he passed away in late 2010? No, we never spoke again.
messed up the first song, started again and played
He talked to Mark a couple of times, but that was it.
It was a little trippy being back together in Vitus,
it right. From then on, everything was good.
And then you played Roadburn in Holland in 2009, which ended up being a mixed bag for you guys because Armando wasn’t in the best of health. Yeah, he was pretty much in denial. He knew he was sick, but he wouldn’t
It seems like there was never a consistent story about how he passed away, either. Defintiely not. We heard various things, but the only thing we heard consistently is that he got home from work, told his girlfriend that he was really tired, and went to bed. He was in poor health, and
his job was a physical job, so she didn’t really think
back. We’d get almost everything thrown at us, and
much about it. Then he woke up and told her that
we’d throw it all back. Except for coins. Armando
his legs didn’t feel good and he needed to go to the
would collect those after the show. A lot of bands,
hospital. He died in the hospital. But we didn’t hear
when they were coming to town, would call up SST
why his legs felt bad or anything.
and request us to open for them because they knew
How did you hook up with your new drummer, Henry Vasquez? Henry was the last drummer we were jamming with in Debris Inc., so I already knew he was a great drummer and a cool guy. Plus,
we’d get the crowd worked up. But we took it for so long—and gave it back to them—that the punks finally respected us. They still thought our hair was too long, though.
him, they knew he was good. The first time he hit
Recently reunited bands like Saint Vitus, Sleep and Kyuss get a lot more respect and attention now than they ever did back in their original eras. Why do you think that is?
those cymbals at practice, I nearly passed out from
As far as us and Sleep, it seems like doom metal
vertigo. They were so damn loud!
really came into its own while we were away.
I think he already knew two or three Vitus songs. And we needed to get someone quick. Mark and Wino trusted me, and as soon as we jammed with
What’s it like being onstage with Vitus these days? It’s a lot of fun. We have a super good time,
People started recognizing it as a legitimate genre of metal music. The kids who are into the newer doom bands want to see the old bands that the
and the power is immense with Henry. You can feel
new ones were citing as inspiration. A lot of them,
it onstage, and you can feel it coming back from
thankfully, cited us. The amazing thing is that now
the audience. Generations have passed since we
I’ll meet guys at our shows who came and saw us
started, and now people are into us. We used to
back in 1990, but now they’re bringing their kid.
come through cities and hope people might like us.
I’ll look down and see this little kid wearing a Vitus
Now, we walk out and people are already yelling,
shirt. That’s really cool.
so that’s a great feeling.
Do you think there’s something about what From the stories I’ve heard, it seems like Saint Vitus does that’s more suited to there was a distinctly different vibe at Vitus these times than the time when Saint Vitus shows in the ’80s than there is today. Yeah, didn’t even exist? Yeah, I think so. It seems like it’s way different now. Back then, when Wino first
metal people are a lot more open-minded today,
joined, and even before that, we were playing all
especially in America. It’s gotten back to the
these punk shows. I would’ve never gone into the
point where they’re deciding for themselves what
crowd and tried to play my guitar on someone’s
they like, instead of just taking what’s shoved
head like I do now. No way, I’d get killed. Now,
down their throats. That’s a big difference right
if I get hurt, it’s only because I slipped in beer or
there, and I think it makes the scene a whole lot
something. Which I actually did once.
better. Doom metal in particular is not something
It wasn’t unusual for Vitus to play to hostile crowds back then. Oh yeah, we didn’t play to metal crowds because they hated us. Being on SST,
learned. A good doom metal band plays from their heart and soul, and the fans can feel that. That’s why I think doom has endured to become what it is now.
they immediately put us into the punk rock scene, and it took us a while to get the punks on our side. People would smash the windows of our vehicle during shows. They’d spit on us, and we’d spit right
facebook.com/saintvitusofficial Watch performances from Saint Vitus at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Story: Estrella Damn Photography: Yasuko Shiratsuchi For a band obsessed with chaos, magick, and change, the discography of Psychic TV is a fittingly dense warren of limited-press 12-inches, live recordings, mysterious aliases, and endless remixes and versions of the same tracks. By the end of the 1980s alone, Genesis P-Orridge’s deliciously deviant super group had already released 20 albums, including 14 live records in 18 months (a stunt that earned PTV a place in the Guinness
Book of World Records). It can be hard to figure out where to dive into in this crystalline miasma of psychedelic ambient, disturbing neo-folk, jacking acid house, spoken-word and resolutely altered rock experiments, but here’s a primer on six key albums from the group’s sprawling catalog.
Force the Hand of Chance (Some Bizzare/WEA, 1982) Psychic TV’s debut, released only a year after the dissolution of Throbbing Gristle, is a perfect intro to the many styles the band would flirt with over the years. The record opens with “Just Drifting,” a string-driven slice of sweet folk dedicated to Genesis’ baby daughter Caresse, and closes with “Message From Thee Temple,” a hypnotic and cultish spoken-word mission statement from Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY), a magickal society that had sprung up around the band. Elsewhere on the record you’ll find post-punk pop (the skronking “Ov Power” and “Stolen Kisses,” which features vocals from Soft Cell’s Marc Almond), but its best moments are “Terminus X-tul” and “No Go Go,” two dark and experimental guitar numbers that sound like strange outtakes from the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. It’s here that the contributions of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (of Coil and Hipgnosis fame) seem most obvious, with squall, creepy effects, and exotic soundscapes taking center stage.
N.Y. Scum (Temple Records, 1984) Of the band’s more than 30 live albums, N.Y. Scum is one of the most legendary. The recording of a November 1983 performance at Manhattan’s Danceteria, it showcases Psychic TV’s talent for turning a collage of industrial noise, chanting, strange samples, and highly layered effects into a ritualistic, haunted, and trancelike live experience. Scum is best listened to paired with two other 1984 live albums: Berlin Atonal Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. These selections are similarly, fuzzed out trips that contain performances of “Unclean” and “Skinhead Moonstomp ’84.” N.Y. Scum’s often-appropriated artwork is also an iconic example of the spare and severe ’80s industrial aesthetic. Allegory & Self (Temple Records, 1988) One of PTV’s best-loved albums highlights the band’s most disturbing quality: how easily they could write and perform pop songs that even a mother could love. Fitting in rather neatly with the Madchester/Britpop scene of the time, 1960s-influenced tracks like “Being Lost” and “We Kiss” mix with hazier, more experimental numbers like “Starlite Mire” to create a languid road trip from start to finish. The highlights of Allegory & Self are legendary hits “Godstar,” a sing-along tribute to the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, and the gauzy and romantic “Just Like Arcadia.” This record also ushered in an amazing era in the band’s aesthetic (and Gen’s overall fashion sense), melding underground occult art with trippy rave influences and shamanic hippie-traveler vibes. Jack the Tab/Tekno Acid Beat (Wax Trax!, 1998) In 1988, Genesis became obsessed with the subversive music and messaging potential of the acid house movement and teamed up with Soft Cell’s Dave Ball and Boston-based producer Fred Giannelli (a.k.a. Kooky Scientist) to create four studio albums of electronic “freakbeats” for your dance floor psyche-out. (Giannelli seems to have since dedicated his life to being angry at the band on the internet.) Jack the Tab and Tekno Acid Beat were originally released as two “compilations,” with the crew operating under aliases including Pearl Necklace, Thee Loaded Angels, and DJ Doktor Megatrip & Mista Luv. Both were reissued in 1998 as one
album by pioneering Chicago EBM/industrial label Wax Trax!, making it easier to cop tracks like “M.E.S.H. (Meet Every Situation Head On),” “Tune In (Turn On Thee Acid House),” and “Sandoz Tabman.” With slightly evil and totally sample-happy warehouse music that sounds as fresh today as it did then, this aesthetic is currently being cribbed by every witch house producer from here to hell.
Trip/Reset (Cleopatra, 1996) Released the same year Genesis’ sample archives burned down in a freak fire at the Harry Houdini mansion (then owned by Rick Rubin) and serving as the first album after a seven-year hiatus, Trip/Reset is a beautiful and shamanistic head trip of vocals that reference themes of the occult and transformation. Words are quietly sung/spoken over hypnotic melodies and jammy, Eastern-influenced percussion. Genesis’ young daughters Genesse and Caresse (billed as the Angels of Light) contribute vocals to the album, upping the disturbing quotient exponentially. This record was released on L.A.’s Cleopatra imprint, a seminal goth/industrial/punk label from the 1990s. Hell is Invisible...Heaven is Her/E (Northern Hemisphere, 2007) After a long break from making studio albums, Genesis reformed the band in 2003 as PTV3 and also started work on the first new Throbbing Gristle album in 25 years. Living in New York and inspired by his pandrogynous relationship with Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, this release is nonetheless a fairly straightforward (by PTV standards, anyway) and often funky psych rock album underpinned by the group’s trademark sense of rhythm. It features jammy cuts like “Higher and Higher,” “Hookah Chalice,” and “Milk Baba”—a soothing cut presumably dedicated to the Kathmandu guru of the same name. The most notable thing about the record are its contributions, including guest turns from Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner, and cyberpunk author Douglas Rushkoff, who played keyboards. genesisbreyerporridge.com Watch performances from Psychic TV at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Merzbow Photography: Garfield Trummer
Since 1980, Japanese noise artist Merzbow has put out well over 300 different releases. That is an intimidating discography for any potential new listener. We asked Bruce Lamont—saxophonist in metal band Yakuza and employee of legendary Chicago music venue the Empty Bottle—where to start. Though Lamont notes that Merzbow’s prolific output is probably too much for one person to take in, and he doesn’t normally compare one Merzbow era to another, this is what he thought:
I’d heard bits and pieces of Merzbow over the years. I used to work at a record store in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There may have been one record of his that came in during that time and I was like, What the hell is this? Really knowing who he was and what was going on happened after I heard the record 1930, which came out on John Zorn’s Tzadik label in 1998. It was my first time hearing
anything like that. I was really blown away. Now going back and listening to 1930 compared to other things, I think I like it more than his other stuff. His loops become really percussive and polyrhythmic, in a sense. At times he’ll burst away from it, but at times he even gravitates towards something, even for a minute or so. That’s pretty different, compared to something like Rainbow Electronics, an earlier record that is more jarring, since it has lots of starting and stopping. I dig the whole 13 Japanese Birds series, particularly Part 5 and Part 7. I think that’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard him do. A lot of the drumming reminds me of an early black metal aesthetic, it’s kind of blown out. That series sounds much warmer than other Merzbow records. There’s still chaos and noise, but it’s got this lo-fi feel to it. merzbow.net Watch performances from Merzbow at Scion Rock Fest at scionav.com/rock
Holy Grail at Scion Label Showcase: Prosthetic Records
Black Tusk at Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records
Guests at Scion Label Showcase
Last Chance to Reason at Scion Label Showcase: Prosthetic Records Royal Thunder at Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records
Pallbearer at Scion Label Showcase: Profound Lore
Guests at Scion Label Showcase
Scale The Summit at Scion Label Showcase: Prosthetic Records
About Town Guests at Scion Label Showcase
Loss at Scion Label Showcase: Profound Lore Exhumed at Scion Label Showcase: Relapse Records