OLD DEATH METAL FROM THE 90's!
Here's a very cool interview initially published in DEADLY ILLNESS zine and provided by Csaba for web infiltration. Thanks to him!
In early 90’s,for years I’ve been receiving Nuclear Blast mailorder printed catalogue in mail, not as if i ever ordered anything but they have always been a fine source for giving information and tips when new records popped up in the local recordshop, where i usually bought vinyls. Guess that’s how i picked up Eulogy for a dying fetus, the debut LP from Skeletal Earth from Alabama, US and oh god, it was a brilliant score. In no time i was washed away by their sheer brutality and insane fury mixing hardcore punk and death metal with crazy lyrics and repulsive vocals. Not much later I even interviewed Travis, the vocalist for the debut issue of Deadly Illness – yes, this mag originally started in 1992 -, but that remained unpublished and got lost among huge piles of letters i still keep from the golden era. But once all my fave ’secret and underestimated’ bands meet their destiny and get interviewed on these pages. So Skeletal Earth finally ended up in my zine–and the string-section, namely Eric and Jared - was super-nice for being at my service.
Eric: I joined after the original guitar player had planned to quit and join the military, and Travis asked me to join. That was probably a year or so after they had started SE. Travis and I had played in a previous band together, and I used to go and see SE play. I was already a big fan, and SE was more along the lines of the music that I was interested in playing, so I jumped at the opportunity. I was a big metal fan growing up, but was introduced to punk and hardcore later in high school and loved it. I would say some influences were: Slayer, Celtic Frost, Death, Possessed, Napalm Death, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Kiss, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Motorhead, Ramones, Black Flag, Agnostic Front, DK, Minor Threat, GBH, Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Discharge, COC, Descendents, DRI, Poison Idea.....
Jared: SE first
got together in 1987. Travis and Howard had come to a party at Jared's
apartment and struck up a conversation about music. Looking through
some records, they noticed it consisted of bad brains, DRI, minor
threat, and such, along with Slayer, Sabbath, and venom. And so
it began! We got together with Rusty, a drummer, and worked on some
covers. Chemical Warfare by Slayer specifically sticks out in my
memory.. Awesome song and totally hard to nail down! We never worked
it out Anyway, Rusty wasn't too into making it a full time commitment,
so we got DJ, another drummer. A set of covers came together with
him, so we decided to play a show. We needed a name: SE was decided
upon as we had a vision of the earth covered by carnage and remains.
Why not a Skeletal Earth? It stuck. The set had two covers of COC.
We really identified with what they were doing at the time. Raw,
hardcore, gut punch metal with great lyrics. And they were southern,
like us. If they could do it in North Carolina maybe we could in
Alabama. And we did, but in our own way. They obviously were more
successful, on every level. Great band! Stylistically, we were more
thrash based at the time and less focused on a sound, I guess. Like
DRI meets SOD. Metal but without the heavy drums? Definitely more
thrash. But with Sodom and Celtic Frost on the set list, heaviness
was the next logical step. After a couple of shows, we changed drummers.
Rusty again, started writing our own songs, and things got heavier,
slowly.. and more spazthrash, if that makes sense.
-You released two live tapes prior to the first LP, which is quite unusual i mean you didn’t want to have a proper demo or it has just turned this way?
Eric: The first demo was actually a studio recording called: It’s Not Our Fault. Howard played guitar on that one and the first live demo – A Taste of Bile. The 2 live demos just turned out that way. They were live recordings that we liked the way they sounded, so we put those out. It sure was a lot cheaper to do that, than to buy studio time. We also recorded an ep that we never got to release. It was going to be called: Chemical Breakfast. We recorded it at a local college for a friends music project at that school. I can’t remember which label was going to release it for us though.
Jared: The live tapes were simply our best option. Early on, we recorded "It's not our fault" demo in a local studio. The results were not that great. Since anytime we played live we tried to get a recording off the soundboard, we ended up with some decent tapes. We always sounded better live in my opinion anyway. "A Taste of Bile" and "5/5/89" came about because of that necessity, and hey, we got PAID to record! Fifty bucks maybe, but win win in my book.
- I heard that you were supposed to do a split LP with US Atrocity first? What happened to that?
Eric: I don’t recall that one. Travis did all of the mail for the band, and I seem to recall him mentioning several opportunities for compilation tapes or 7” records that we were asked to be included in over the years.
I had forgotten about that. Probably since it never came about.
Being a smaller band, a lot of things we're proposed but didn't
work out. I'm sure it happens for lots of groups. Big names, too,
but especially us little bands. Anyway, Travis was the real mover
and shaker when it came to correspondence. It seemed like he was
talking to everybody about us. Shows, merchandise, you name it.
His phone bills were atrocious, that's for sure!
-Your debut LP, Eulogy for a dying fetus has been released in 1991 by the dutch label, Foundation 2000, responsible for quite a few quality and exciting mostly death and death/doom metal records in the early nineties: Sempiternal Dethreign, Gorefest, The Gathering, Sad Whisperings to mention some. You seemed kinda one odd out to me compared to the rest on their roster, Not to mention, they mostly had bands from their local scene. How did you come together with them?
Eric: Travis met Mark at Foundation 2000 through the mail, and Mark was a fan of our music. He had only done the Gorefest album at that time (I believe) and he offered to sign us to do 1 record with him, and he was going to pay for everything, so we jumped on it. We never really fit in with a particular type of music. We fit in well with the death metal bands because Travis’s singing was so intense and similar to that type of music. We fit in well with the punk bands too, at least musically. But, I don’t think that a lot of them liked Travis’s singing. One of my favorite descriptions of our music that I remember reading was if the Accused met Discharge.
Jared: Foundation 2000... Yeah. One day Travis came in pretty excited, and said a Dutch label owner had contacted him. The guy seemed sincere and I think he had already released Gorefest with other bands already signed.. or something like that. It's hard to recall details. Anyway, morrissound and Scott Burns were talked about, and that did actually come to fruition! As for how we fit in with other bands on the label, well hell. We sounded like everyone else but no one at all. Morrissound actually made us sound way more like other peer bands, in my opinion, just because we recorded on the same equipment with the same engineer. Go figure!
-How did the relationship go with the label? Haven’t you ever had the chance to fly over to Europe for gigs? Did you ever get any infos about the selling points? What was the reason that the next LP – as well as the predecessor 7” – was already been put out by Desperate Attempt from KY?
Eric: The relationship with Foundation 2000 was okay, I suppose. It was our first relationship with a record label, so i don’t have anything to base it against. I only saw 1 list of our selling units of Eulogy, and that was many years after the release. We were supposed to go to Europe to tour and promote the album, but never made it. Mark setup 3 different tours of Europe for us, but each one fell apart for one reason or another. We all got passports, and were ready to go, but it never materialized. Doug (drummer on Eulogy) ended up going to Europe to play with one of Foundation’s bands. I think that it was Sempiternal Dethreign. He was over there for a while playing with them, and had he made an agreement with Mark at Foundation to get a distribution deal for Foundation 2000 in the US. Doug got back to the states and setup a US distribution deal with a label, but Mark backed out for whatever reason. I think that Doug ended up suing him, so I guess that didn’t end very well for them. We played a show in Tampa, and Scott Burns came to see us. He said that he liked our new songs, and told us to come back to the Morrissound and record those with him. That is how the Driephuck ep came about. We were going to release it as a demo ourselves, but then Travis heard from Chris at Desperate Attempt records. He said that he wanted to release an album with us, and said that he would put the Driephuck ep out on his label before the album. He first released it as a 7”, and then added it to the cd version of De-ev'l-lu'shun.
with Foundation 2000... We met Marc Fritzma when we recorded eulogy
LP. The first and only meeting in person. He seemed cool at the
time. Maybe he still is. I don't know since I have not spoken to
him since. He was very approachable during the recording. Not demanding
or anything negative, especially considering it was his money that
bankrolled the whole project. I'm fairly certain it was his biggest
ambition to do that, maybe even more than us. As far as communication,
as I said before, Travis was basically the band manager. He kept
us updated on release dates, problems, etc. The European tour would
have been great for the band! We were all ready to go, when it got
cancelled. Something about the German clubs being on strike, and
since over half the shows were there, it didn't happen. If any would
have resulted in more sales, or more press, or whatever, that would
have done it. Sales figures? Ha! I have no idea. I think ten thousand
were pressed, but for all I know, it was only 100. Honestly, I don't
know. I see copies for sale online occasionally. I believe desperate
attempt deal came about through Travis. He knew the guy, probably.
As previously stated though, I didn't deal with that side of the
band much at all. I wrote songs, played bass (sort of), did some
art, and tried not to be a total idiot! As for the eulogy album
versus the Dreiphuck EP, it's Dreiphuck all the way. $500 buck to
record at morrissound.... We did it all in five hours, I think.
It's raw but clear, and the energy is WAY more like a live show.
There are rough spots, sure, but it was all pretty much one take
recording. We sat in the van listening to our quickie cassette copy
Scott Burns had made for us while he was mixing it smiling ear to
-All your albums has been recorded in Morrisound Studios,FL with assistment of the legendary producer, Scott Burns, responsible for the crisp and tight sound of dozens classic thrash/death metal albums in the early 90's.How did you get the idea and chance to work with him?
Eric: When I heard the Leprosy album from Death, I couldn’t believe the production on it. I had never heard such clean production on a death metal album before. I was really impressed and thought that it made the music sound more professional than what I was used to hearing with that type of music. I can’t remember if we asked Foundation 2000 to record there, or if Mark offered to record it there, but I suppose that it was a mutual decision.
Jared: Scott Burns... To the best of my knowledge, and this is educated speculation mind you, it was old school phone calls and hard work. Travis probably spent hours writing letters and making calls. Touching bases. Scott was with morrissound, we reserved recording time there and requested Scott to be our engineer. I'm certain a chunk of cash was involved! I won't talk much about dollars, but I do know the studio time alone was around ten thousand US dollars. Scott was between projects and agreed to do the album with us. As for him, he was super cool.. no ego, no attitude, hard worker, and basically a genius! We were very fortunate to have him in there with us.
-Every bands ever worked with Scotty talks about him in superlatives as he was such a nice in person and a professional expert with putting all his creative input into each recordings. What experiences did you have during the studio-times, good and bad? Did you always get the sound you wanted, ok more or less?
Eric: Scott was a great guy, and was incredibly easy to work with. We already had all of the songs written before hand, and just went into the studio and recorded them. There really wasn’t much input from Scott. He would just ask if we were happy with the take. He did spend a lot of time with Doug working on getting a good drum sound on Eulogy, and with Chris on the other 2 releases. I was happy with the guitar sound on Eulogy. I like it more than what I was able to get on the other 2 recordings that we did there. We were much more rushed for time on the other 2 recordings that we did there because of finances. After listening to all of our recordings over and over through the years, I hear things that I did that I would like to change myself. I assume most musicians would like to do that too. At least guitar players.
Jared: A little more about Scott.. As I said, Scott Burns was a super cool guy to work and learn with. He was very patient. The eulogy album was our first REAL studio experience, so he explained a lot as we went along..very thorough and methodical. I was actually taking classes in sound and production in "college" at the time, so I tried to pick his brain a lot! My 101 level line of questions probably irritated him but he was too nice to tell me to shut up and let him work I believe he was a live sound man originally. His knowledge of microphoning and mixing drums was overwhelming. The first two days were all drum work.. maybe three or four. That's when I realized I wouldn't make a good studio engineer! The sound he got was outstanding. Super heavy. However, we were such a live oriented band, it was too produced, in my opinion. Too, well, morrissound. That's my opinion. I like raw. I like shitty, dirty, edge of clarity recording. Venom black metal album. Old Discharge. Side two of COC Animosity is my kinda sound...some gem tones on that, and some not so great.. but in combination they are INCREDIBLE.
-Along with the music - i can talk only about the 1st album, since the 2nd one and 7" in between doesn't have a lyrics sheet, at least my copy -your lyrics has also seemed to me quite unique and crossover with its hilarious and grotesque approach about serious political/ economical/ social topics. Did you have a message with the lyrics, all of you contributed writing them, were a job of group or Travis' homework?
Eric: Travis and Jared wrote all of the lyrics. But, yeah they wrote about serious issues and funny things too.
Jared: So, originally we wanted a very social, punk, and ecology sort of concept for lyrics, and as years went on that changed a bit. We always tried to revisit the initial objective at least somewhat. I really enjoyed writing them..when I got a chance. Travis usually had ideas ready before we even had the music finished! His style was way more obscene and visceral, lyrically, than mine (surprise!). I always wanted to get folks to think, where as he liked to shock or grind your face off with his lyrics. Sex, violence, depravity, those were his favorites!! His were probably better for us, looking back. My lyrics came across like a fucking lecture!
-Intro for De.ev'o.lu'shun has been taken from the Jacob’s Ladder, a fantastic movie, one of my favorites, why did you choose, did you have a special intention with it? Guess it thematically connects to subject of the 1st song, BZ test Victim, aint it?
Eric: Those lyrics came from Travis, and the song was about the movie Jacob’s Ladder. When we planned to record it, he said that he wanted to put a clip from the movie before the song. Good movie, but weird.
Jared: ... Travis watched movies. A LOT of movies. Half the time it was likely research for song topics or to use as live show intro tapes. He always had something to give the soundman to play right before a show. I remember one intro he looped and spliced a bunch of porn dialogue together: "drunk on cock" over and over for five minutes. He loved watching the audience squirm! Jacob's Ladder was loosely based on the US military experiments involving it's own soldiers. BZ was one of the drugs. You've seen the movie. It enhanced their ability to perform their "duty"... Probably more fact than fiction. Either way, I'm surprised we haven't been sued for copyright infringement there.
-The 2nd album had an increased number of tasty sloweddown and midpaced parts, less neckbreaking speed and insane grooves, was it just a natural progression?
Eric: I never thought that the songs were very different between the releases. I suppose that it was just a progression that I never really noticed.
Jared: Writing got groovy... After the eulogy album, we got Chris Ellis as our drummer. He was maybe a little more of a rounded percussionist, meaning, he could do a bit of everything. Grind, groove, double bass, rock, some of all that. Not so much of the speed straight ahead, damn the torpedoes of Rusty or Doug. And honestly, we were just changing somewhat, I guess. It got a bit more groove oriented. Heavy, yes. Punk catchy, yes. Sludge, a bit. We were touring more, hearing more styles. More bands that made you think outside the thrash boom bah sort of box. Of course the music changed. It's evolution. It wasn't planned. Elements were still present, they just fucked and had bastard offspring. One band we toured with often was FUCT. Forever Ungratical Coronaric Technikilation, from Nashville. Straight up awesome. It's obvious they rubbed off on us a lot. Super heavy, with some bad brains riffing, tight as all hell, and great delivery. Wicked performers, too. We ended up recording one of their songs on DE-EVOLUTION. Almost a tribute kinda thing. We also figured it would be a great way to get them known a bit more since we seemed to have a better distribution deal than them. They totally should have been a huge band.
-Your cover versions of Kinks -You really got me on the debut was a really cool one, especially with Travis’ hilarious vocal performance along with Kiss– Calling Dr. Love on Devolushion. I swear they are a lot better to me than the originals. Why were these songs particularly chosen?
Eric: They were just a couple of the cover songs that we messed around with at practice, and then eventually worked into our live shows. We did a few others, but those were the two songs that I think we got the most feedback on.
of those, Kiss and the Van Halen-style Kinks "you really got
me" were live covers we did at shows. Real crowd pleasers,
they seemed. Something we did for fun and to fluff up live sets.
We thought they would be cool to include on vinyl. We contacted
the kinks people and they said do it!! Free, I think. No hassle
about paperwork or royalties. It was really fun to record that.
There were two guest vocalists: Suzie Q and Paul, the singer from
ASSUCK. She was a local DJ from Tampa I think. Her higher pitched
growls are awesome during the drum/ bass break after the guitar
solo. And as a hetero male, I hate to say it, but damn!! She was
totally smoking hot! Cool as hell, too. Paul sang back up vocals
on the chorus and also on "Even the water reeks". We hung
out with ASSUCK often in Tampa. Great guys! They took us out for
Mexican food once. My kinda folks...I wish we could have played
more shows with them. And anal cunt.. cool guys, too. Kinda similar
bands. ASSUCK was more technical and structured though. Oh, yeah,
Dr Love: you would think the rights for it would have cost a lot
of money. Nope! Five dollars to file the paperwork, if I recall
correctly. Thanks, Gene!
-Eulogy has been reissued in 93 at the US Pavement music with a different cover artwork, why?
Eric: I don’t remember us having any input on that. I remember hearing that Foundation 2000 had made a distribution deal with Pavement to release all of his stuff in the US. I guess that somebody somewhere wanted to change the cover. The original cover was done by a friend of Jared’s that was an art student. We had asked her if she could come up with a cover for us, and that is what she gave us. I don’t think that we had a name for the album when we asked her for cover art. The Pavement cover represents the title of the album a little better, I suppose. But, the term Fetus in the title was just supposed to be another word for the Earth, not an actual fetus which they used in their artwork. Maybe, we should have just called it Eulogy for a Dying Planet.... I remember reading one review in a fanzine that called it was one of the dumbest titles of an album that he had ever heard, but he liked the music.
Jared: Teana Scalpa did the US cover art. She was a cool punk chick in the Huntsville scene. Tough as nails and had to prove it often, every show, every pit! She could paint and agreed to do the art. No charge..DIY, support the local scene, all that. The first draft I saw was way cool. I made the decision and said he'll, yeah, go for it. Something happened, I can't recall, but the art she delivered (the piece on the cover) wasn't nearly as great as the original. Unfortunately, we had to deliver it to the label almost immediately, so that was that. Marc, the owner of foundation, obviously didn't like it. The first US pressings had it, but the European and subsequent versions had the baby and hand motif. That's what I understand anyway. I had pretty much done all previous art but I didn't feel up to the task of cover art. I did the back collage. It was ok. No one was happy with the cover art on those, I don't think.
-Dreighphuck EP – first came out on cassette, later reissued by Desperate Attempt – was supposed to be a demo between your two albums? Jared, once you said to me, the 7” are you fave recording, what is so specific in them for you? Anyway, the title is already one of a kind, but The horrible characteristics of a human being is probably one of my fave songtitles ever.
Eric: I really like this one too. It’s not as polished sounding as Eulogy, but still sounds heavy and raw to me. There used to be a club here in Huntsville that had an art gallery section where they would let local artists display their stuff. There was a girl that had her photos on display one weekend, and we thought that they were really cool looking. We asked her if we could use one of her photos for the cover of our new recording, and she said sure. She didn’t charge us anything for it.
best, hands down, in my opinion. So, Eulogy had been out a while,
had kinda stagnated. We didn't get to support it in Europe with
a tour. We had a new, more permanent drummer, new material, and
thought "what the fuck? We have a bit of cash from US shows,
let's go record again". We contacted Scott and morrissound,
set up an eight hour session, and bam! It clicked. Clean, yet raw
sound, and done in a day. Chris, the drummer, had flu and was running
a high temperature, but pulled through like a champ. Eric and I
got our parts down in maybe an hour, then Travis took over. During
the track "horrible characteristics of a human being",
Scott looked at Eric and I.. holy, shit! That's awesome! Scott Burns
said THAT about one of OUR songs! We giggled and nodded. That EP
is just the best for our studio work. I think we can agree on that.
-How was the local Alabama scene back then? Were you all from Madison? (I remember Travis was from there as i was penpalling with him) Jared, I saw Andrew Reid among your FB friends: he played in the amazing doom/sludge bands, Molehill and Residue from Birmingham, AL and what’s more i dug up John, the guitars/vocals guy of Residue for this issue, strange coincidence.
Eric: Travis lived in Madison, and the rest of us were from Huntsville, which Madison is a suburb of. The local scene was small, but good. We started out playing parties, and then some places that people that would rent out, and we would have 3-4 bands play. We had some really good crowds at a lot of shows, and then we had some where only a few came out. The bars would want to book bands that were more mainstream and would bring in a bigger crowd for the weekend slots. We ended up playing a lot of Sunday night shows locally. We used to do a lot of shows in the cities that were close by also: Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga, Tuscaloosa, and Atlanta pretty regularly. We played around Florida a bunch of times, and did a few small tours around the eastern US.
Jared: Considering the population of Huntsville AL, and it's location in the rather backwards leaning southern US, the scene here was awesome. People really came out to shows.. perhaps because they instinctively knew it was such a unique situation. More likely, they just took it for granted and were looking to have a good time! Anyway, things started happening around 1987 , around the time we played our first show: right place, right time maybe. We soon discovered we could rent the national guard armoury.. which just happened to be out of bounds for the local police jurisdiction. Sure, it was quasimilitary, but cops couldn't bust events held on it's property!! SWEET! Kids could drink alcohol on premises, act like idiots, and be as punk or metal or both as they wanted. As long as the guardsmen got the rent and there was no significant property damage, everyone was happy. Shows there consistently pulled two or three hundred people. Bands were paid very fairly for the most part. I digress.. as far as the "real" scene went, I would guess there was around 150-200 underground music loving folks. The rest were simply party crazed Van Halen/AC/DC knuckle heads. Nothing wrong with early material from either of those bands by the way. Just saying. They came to shows mostly to get drunk, fuck, or fight, not to be part of the experience. Madison was a suburb of Huntsville, basically. Smaller, older residents, a slower sort of town. Travis just happened to be from there. My grandparents lived there. We were essentially a Huntsville band. I've never actually met Andy Reid, I don't believe. Hi, Andy! There, now I have... We did however correspond about starting a band together back in 2015, I think. If I ever met him in person, or anyone else for that matter and don't recall, please forgive me. Nothing personal. My memory sucks. Sorry. His bands? Honestly, I've not heard them, to my recollection. Once again, nothing personal. If I actually have I don't recall. I'd like to look em up. Thanks for the update there!!
-How much coverage did you get from mags/zines during SE existence? I ask it fact that i have never ever seen a single SE review or interview.
Eric: Travis did all of the mail for the band, and he was heavy into tape trading, which was a big thing back then. He was constantly going to the post office to mail off stuff, and got a lot back. He used to show us a lot of zines that had written stuff on us.
in the small, independent zines, we did a fair amount of interviews.
Not so much in the big publications. Reviews as well. We certainly
never made rolling stone! Sounds of Death was probably the biggest
periodical we were mentioned in.. five out of five skulls for the
Dreiphuck EP. I thought that was pretty awesome! It was a professional,
full size, glossy mag with real advertising and a budget, I'm guessing.
Mostly we did interviews with the DIY zines. Travis did most of
them, I'd guess. I did a few. Once, we did a live radio interview
while on tour. Florida I think. I hammed it up and sounded like
a jack ass. Travis played the straight man.
-You have participated on some the 1st 7” of the legendary Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh! series by Slap A Ham Records in 1991. Do you keep any particular memory about your contribution ”Intestinal dry heave”? How did you get into the compilation?
Eric: Instestinal Dryheave came about at a practice with us just playing around and having fun making noise. It was cool to be included on the 7” with so many good bands. I still have my copies – one blue vinyl and one green vinyl.
Jared: We knew quite a bands that appeared on that, so that was our in. Travis knew them, at least. We had recorded a demo that didn't sound so great. It was titled "chemical breakfast". Maybe some copies made it out to friends as gifts, I'm not sure. It wasn't actually released I don't think. Anyway, Bleargh wanted 20 or thirty seconds worth of material that was grind oriented. We chose the song "intestinal dry heave" as our submission and got on. Actually, it's a bit longer, maybe two minutes, but they just took what they wanted of the track. Now that I think about it, Travis knew the guy who put it together, I believe. A pen pal probably.
-Lately you have established a FB page and posted a lot of gig flyers from back in the days from which i have suspicion you played a myriad shows all over the place. I saw a funny note at one of your live videos on YT that you guys have been an institute at the local punk and metal scene. Can you share a few memorable and rewarding experiences? Mention some local and better known names you have played with! I saw a poster with a common gig with Nocturnus, that could have been an interesting one.
Eric: We have a friend that used to live here, but moved to Tampa many years ago who started the page and asked us to submit stuff for it. I always tried to keep the flyers from shows that we did, and would try to give my camera to someone to take pictures for me. I also tried to keep a record of all of our shows and who we played with. I’ve used those to add things to the FB page. I try to add something new once a month or so. Our first 2 shows in Tampa were with Nocturnus. We also did shows there with Obituary, Assuck, Gardy Loo, Monstrosity and Malevolent Creation. We played with Suffocation in NJ once. Bla’st here in Huntsville. Transgression in Indianapolis.
of our old friends, Dave Allison, actually started it for us in
early 2019. I think... Honestly, man, I'm not a facebooker. At all.
Or any other social media actually. I can't keep up with it for
shit. Eric does the page officiating luckily. I can barely remember
passwords, or how to cut and paste, or anything. There are tons
of cool old flyers on it. Pictures and all that. A lot of shows
I had forgotten we had played! Washington DC, Tampa, Indianapolis,
Jersey... Some bands you never forget playing with: Deceased in
DC, Macabre in Fort Wayne, ASSUCK in Tampa, Anal cunt in Nashville..
they covered one of our songs there! Local scene mentors.. well,
I guess maybe we were the big boys in the hood in Huntsville. Sort
of for a while. There were bands before us who really paved the
way though. And peer bands who kept the scene going, too. Of course,
after us as well. If we made anyone say hell, yeah, let's do that,
too, then awesome! Mission accomplished. It is kinda crazy hearing
a band from here that is bad ass and having them say we inspired
them. Crazy. Drunk on cock, and all that.
-Anyway, have you been received equally well from both punk and metal community?
Eric: I think that the metal community liked us more. I assumed that it was because of Travis’s intense vocals. But, we still had fans among the punks.
Jared: Punks and metal heads here... Well, that's always fun! Metal guys said punk was stupid and boring. No talent. Punks said metal was stupid and boring. And unoriginal. There was rivalry, but I'd like to think it was friendly. Pure punk shows were so damned fun and refreshing. Usually younger kids. I loved the enthusiasm and genuine love for what was happening. Metal shows were so, well, SERIOUS. So intentional. Spontaneity was frowned upon, in my opinion. Like a script had to be followed. And if you played metal covers, God help you if you fucked up or didn't all totally nail it. Punks didn't give a shit about that kinda stuff.. just play the freaking song and mean it.
-What led to the end of SE? Had Travis’ marriage and joining to a Christian community anything to do with the bands fade out?
Eric: Jared quitting was the first big blow to the ending of the band. Jared wrote about 90% on our music, and the stuff that we came up with after that was cool, but not really what we had been doing. We tried a couple of different bass players, but it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t click for me. Travis had some personal issues that he was dealing with, and he found Christianity to help him cope. He didn’t feel like he could continue singing the lyrics anymore when his heart wasn’t in it. Travis was the last original member, so after he left there was really no point to continuing SE. I still speak with Travis every once and a while. He’s doing great.
Jared: So a while after DE-EVOLUTION was released, Chris quit the band to move to Wisconsin and start a family, new job, etc. That was 1994 or '95... I can't recall the exact timeline. I think we were planning a tour at the time. Twenty shows or so. Pretty long for us..we usually did a week or two of shows. Anyway... I had been thinking about moving to Washington state then Alaska, and that kinda pushed me in that direction, decision wise. There had been periods of time before where we had been drummerless, basically, and I didn't feel I could go through that limbo again. I wasn't feeling it anymore either. I had grown out of the whole thing too much. It felt like a burden. And, honestly, I was drinking hard at that point. Every day and too damned much. I wanted to change for the better, so I quit. The band, that is. Sadly, I kept drinking for twenty more fucking years, but that's water under the bridge. I'm almost five years sober now, yay for me.. I wasted so much time in the bottle. I quit SE. Travis, Eric and Doug, the drummer from Eulogy album, tried to give it a shot for a year or so, I think. With a couple other bass players, but it didn't work out, so I'm told. Travis met a lady at some point there, and became Christian. It was dead and buried after that, I gather. I'm not sure of all the details on the end. I had moved to Bellingham, WA during the fall of '95. Oh yeah. I did play that last tour, by the way. We had recruited a temporary drummer for it. Jay Stephens. He had made it clear from the onset that he wasn't permanent though. He was good, too. Solid. Just not his style, per se. Coincidentally, I'm playing in a band with him now... More about that some other time, ya crazy fuckers gotta chill!!!
-Are you satisfied what you’ve reached with the band so far, do you think that you have put something unique and special to the table or you would do a lot differently if you had a chance, because the band had a lot more potential?
Eric: I’m really happy with what we accomplished. I still enjoy listening to the records that we did. I wish that we could have gotten more exposure back in the day. Playing the type of music that we played, I knew that we would never sell millions of records, but I think that we were good enough to do much better than we did.
Jared: It was a total blast!! I'm totally honored to have played with all those guys, from day one til the very end. It was a bitch sometimes, sure. We fought each other. We bled often. We were broke. Our lives were on standby routinely. Not glamorous at all. But would I do it again? Fuck yes. We tried. Way more than we should have sometimes. The hard way was our bread and butter. Did we fail? Maybe. Maybe not. We didn't make the big leagues. So what? We did better. We did what we wanted. No compromises.
-Vic Records in Belgium (along with Dark Symphonies/ Dark Descent in USA) are notorious about releasing discography CD’s of old, unknown, underestimated bands’ out of print, collectors items materials and now it seems the time has come for Skeletal Earth as well. What do we have to know about these reissues?
Eric: Doug had spoken with Roel at Vic online, and he gave Roel my name and email. Vic is planning on releasing copies of all of our recordings – albums and demos. He even will include the unreleased ep: Chemical Breakfast. I He’s going to release them on 2 different cd’s. The first one should be out sometime this year.
Jared: Eric told me a label was wanting to re-issue our stuff a while ago. Cool, awesome, sweet! Go buy it, PLEASE!! Maybe I'll get a royalty check for $1.67 after how many years? Seriously though, check it out. I'm curious myself as to any new packaging or whatever. The advertisement I saw was a group ad... Looked like we're in some pretty wicked company!
-Did you stay musically active in the last decades? Jared, you mentioned Cutting Room, a band sharing one of the ex-dummers for Skeletal Earth. Does music still have a significant presence in your lives? Do you follow the new stuffs in the scenes, listening to bands/visiting gigs (pre-covid era)?
Eric: I don’t hardly play anymore. I will still get a guitar out every once and a while and play some of our old stuff, at least what I can remember... I still love and listen to music, but don’t really get out and follow the local bands. I usually in bed by the time that shows start now. I like what I have heard from the band that Jared is playing with now.
Jared: I haven't really done too much over the years. Nothing released anyway, not even online. Immediately after I left SE, I started a punk/pixies type band. That lasted three shows, I think. A lot of fun. I played a hollow body guitar and sang wacky ass shit. No one got it! In Washington, I played a favor show with a coworker.. woo hoo. Nick Cave covers and jazzy improvisation. Yeah. About two years ago I got together with an old drummer friend and did a punk thing with a chick singer. He was solid, she was great, but that went tits up after three shows as well. It was fun while it lasted! Now I'm playing with Jay Stephens, the drummer I mentioned before. Guitar and vocals by a guy named Parrish Dial. I'm in bass and vocals too. We're calling it DEAPH. We were CUTTING ROOM but that was with a guy who sang for us. That didn't work, so we cancelled the name. Check us out on DEAPHBAND.COM. Demo songs on there. Heavy punk sorta thing. Local shows aren't the same since they're all at bars with a lousy bar crowd. No underground left. The kids all are into hip hop and bad internet radio crap. Ridiculous. The bands who do play raw stuff are older, like me. A couple good ones, mostly not so good. Since covid I haven't seen anything live. I'm ready, big time! Hopefully, the scene can experience a Renaissance of sorts if someone kick starts it properly.. Well, thank you for reading all this! Thanks for letting me tell ya a little bit about how it was in those days, too! Good luck with everything and keep cranking up the good stuff. Jared
-Jared, some extra questions for your new band, ready? (Don’t mind, if you include the rest of the guys!)
I'm ready to enlighten you on DEAPH. Prepare yourself for the worst.
-How long have you been together? What sinister urge made you form Cutting Room? Why did you change the name to Deaph? Can you introduce each of you, who is who and why?
How long? Well, I ran into Jay at a local show. Random Conflict, Swiss Army Brat, to be specific. He mentioned interested in banging around musically, just for old times sake. My band HAGFISH had just split up, so I said sure, let's try it. That was October of 2019, so a year and a half, I guess. I always have sinister urges, especially in music! Anyway, we chose cutting room as a name: vague implications of violence there. I worked at a butcher shop at the time. The caller ID showed cutting room when a call came in I liked that. To jump ahead, we had a lead singer then, but when we decided to try it without him, we dropped the name. New sound, new name. DEAPH was chosen after tossing ten thousand others around. Now it's Jay on drums and percussion, Parrish on guitar and vocals, me on bass and vocals. P has the sweeter voice, me more abrasive. The contrast works pretty well.
-What’s the name, DEAPH stand up for?
DEAPH doesn't stand for anything. It means "bad" in the urban dictionary..or something. What's in a name these days? Bands don't really define themselves by a name anymore, it seems. A band named FUCKGOREWHORECUM could easily be an acoustic trio singing love ballads... The Bill Miller Quartet could be a grind band. What's up with metal these days anyway? Limp dick jerk offs all sound the same to me!! Just saying. And punk is a fucking joke too. Watered down sing song chorus crap. Tripe and swill. Maybe new styles just ain't my thing. Fuck me, I'm old! It just seems like a lot of modern "extreme" music isn't. Just a formula to be watered down, homogenized, and remarketed with a younger looking wardrobe.
-What bands – besides what i obviously know :-) - have you been involved previously? You all sound very experienced, so i’m sure the average age is around 45-50 in the band! :-) I’m in the club as well, no offense!
I can only
speak for myself here. And Jay's early bands... My first band was
a cover band: Slayer, Metallica, Maiden. That sort of thing. Only
played three or four times. Then SE. I was in a great side band
called Fake Shemps.. we only did live studio improvisation. Recorded
three sessions, but I have no tape to show for it!!! Sad. It was
wacky metal fueled by pot and acid. Fun shit. After skeletal Earth,
I did a punk alt band called Poivoits. That was cool but didn't
last. Twenty years went by, and I started HAGFISH with an old friend...kinda
punk, grunge, sicko fun rock. Chick lead singer. That lasted three
shows and died a sad death. That's about it for me. Jay was in Random
Conflict: a local band from around 1989. They're still around. He
started SCOFF when he left them around '90. He did a one time tour
with Skeletal Earth in '94. After that I'm not sure exactly. Parrish
has played in several local bands as well, but I can't recall their
names at the moment, sorry. Yeah, we're older. All forties and fifties,
but still crank up the heavy jam blaster!
-You claimed Black Sabbath, Helmet and Voivod as main influences and though they occasionally greet in return in the songs, the whole stuff has definitely its own character. Can you mention other bands as well? Guess, doom is quite determining in your sound! How could you describe your own style? Do you think you have your own face of music?
Those three for sure...it makes things pretty solid. Also venom, ministry, X, Pixies (sorta), Melvins, Die Kreutzen, Discharge. Kiss, Texas Motherfuckers, DK. Mudhoney, NWBHM, Billy Holiday, CCR. Whatever, really. We don't try to limit influences, we just play loud and hard. Got some jazzy ska stuff working too. Really, music sound-wise is melodically simple. Three or four chord riffs in occasional odd time signatures, but mostly in your face heavy drums. A lot of Seattle in there! Or New Orleans at times.. Too many notes get in the way too often, so we keep it kinda like DOOMPOP... yeah, I think I just made that up. Sure, call it that. My lady said it's like being groped by pop, fingered by metal, and fucked by punk. She's a poet Groundbreaking, no, I don't think so. But definitely honest, and definitely not mainstream. Lemmy meets Exene Cervenka meets John carpenter and David Lynch.
-Is this 7 tracker in 19 min. your first and yet only recording? Do you have other stuff to be recorded? The sound is quite amazing on the recording, absolutely crisp, but raw and natural with nasty bass in the front the way i totally adore. It’s been recorded at your rehearsal place or in a pro studio?
The first, yes. Wanna hear about it?..ok! So, yeah, the only one so far. We have some new material that I would freaking LOVE to record though. Some stuff about decades old revenge/ cannabalism with a nice social commentary twist. One about parental loss and child abuse... how the kid deals with it. Also wanna try to put one on there that wasn't released but was recorded during that session. "Whatever happened to Peggy Sue?" is the name of it. Kinda doom rockabilly surf punk. Cool tune! We recorded at our rehearsal space. The guy came in with a mobile set up and we kicked it out that evening. All the instruments, at least. We went back and recorded vocals afterwards at his place. It was all digital. I wish we could record analog, but it's expensive these days. We did this one for under $1000 US.
-What equipments do you all have that’s responsible for that neat sound?
Equipment.. well, you get older and your gear improves, at least in my case! I don't really know the mikes he used or any of that digital type nerd stuff. I played my old Rickenbacker bass that's got DiMarzio jazz pick-ups in it through a Hartke amp. Ran that into an ampeg 8x10 cabinet that was miked. Also ran bass direct for a dry signal. Used a plug in digital Marshall distortion app on that. Guitar was a Les Paul ran through an Orange 50 watt and 4x12 cabinet.. not sure about his speakers, but it was just miked up, too. Drums are Tama. Jay also uses some electronic drum/percussion.. you can hear it specifically with the bells on "Iron Swine". Clarity...uh, if it's clear it was an accidental occurrence! Seriously, probably just due to digital recording and mastering. I wanted a very raw overall sound. Something kinda like Venom's BLACK METAL meets DAMAGED by Black Flag. The vocals are way too clear, I think.. definitely wanted those rougher sounding. Like when you sing through super cheap PA!! Modern recording sounds awful to me. Absolutely unlistenable most of the time. Too sterile. I like studio recordings to capture the spirit of the sound, not imprison it. Does that make sense? Digital sounds too compressed. No room to breathe.
-Does the lyrics in general have any particular message or each stand for their own? Do they have something to tell or just the songs have to be about something :-) ?
Lyrics, oh boy. I love to write them, but I hate it. Sometimes. As a rule, I'm trying not to write anything deep with DEAPH. If a subject has more than one interpretation for folks, great. They often do for me.. I giggle when they do. Like it's my own personal inside joke! That's a cool thing about lyrics: they hit everybody differently. THIRTEEN TEETH gave me fits for months until one day I simplified them and it clicked. Creepy, vague, nonsensical.. but to me, they hit home and they're very catchy, like a mantra or chant. Corpse in the Corner is basically a dumbass love song. With feral dogs who piss in his face as he broods in his rotten flesh solitude. Peel Away is about addiction and how you have to dissect yourself to find the way out. You know, nothing deep or anything..
-The stuff is up on streaming services, but aren’t you gonna put out in any physical format? This craves for vinyl, i swear!
Vinyl... I know, right!?! And I wish! We did look around at prices, but hell man, way too expensive. For us right now, at least. The best deal we saw was going to mean a $20 dollar retail price. And that's too much. Not even including covers, art, etc. However, if you or anyone knows a good company, please tell us! On a different note, we did have t-shirts made, woohoo! Those broke us and we gotta charge twenty on them just to make the money back if we sell em all. Check the website for that info!
-Can Deaph be taken as a band with long-term plans? Are you intended to play live when the restrictions are over? What can be expected in for the future for DEAPH?
want to play live!!! The restrictions now are pretty loose, being
the US, and Alabama, but sooo many venues seem to have closed..or
just moved away from rock/crowd oriented shows. Here, at least.
Big event shows are starting to happen. Like multiple day, thirty
act shows, but bar shows are hard to come by. As a whole, I think
we plan to be around a good while, at least I hope so. I have material
coming out of my ass that we've yet to tackle. There's a bluesy
voivod-esque(!) riff that's been echoing in my head for days.. So
yeah, I plan to be doing this as long as I can. Recording is a blast!
Writing is, too. Live shows can't be topped for pure energy, though.
Getting a crowd whipped into a frenzy, almost losing the beat then
recovering just in time to nail a breakdown is priceless!! Feeling
that rumble of an open Estring on the last note of a song, sweat
pouring out of you.. Man. Rock and fucking roll. @deaphband
Band page: https://www.facebook.com/Skeletal-Earth
Deadly illness: https://www.facebook.com/deadlyillness