Times is proud to announce that Lock Up will be doing a limited 9 show USA/Canada tour in early February 2012 with supporting acts Goatwhore and
Strong Intention. We are even prouder to say that day 1 of the tour will
be presented by Glorious Times and Club Infinity on Feb 8 at Club
Infinity in Williamsville, NY with Gas Chamber and Hubris opening the event.
Lock Up, Goatwhore, Strong Intention, Gas
Chamber and Hubris.
Wednesday February 8, 2012 $15 advance, $20 day of show
Club Infinity 8166 Main St., Williamsville, NY
Tickets are available at The After Dark Box Office (630 Elmwood Avenue,
Buffalo) , The Record Baron (3048 Delarare Avenue, Kenmore), The Club
Infinity Box Office (8166 Main Street, Williamsville), Spiral Scratch
(291 Bryant St, Buffalo), through the local bands or online at www.ticketweb.com
18 and over admitted with proper ID Under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian
In early 2011 things were looking up for Glorious Times so I decided to try to organize a fest. I approached Kam Lee and asked him if he'd be up for performing Massacre's "From Beyond" album in its entirety as a one-off special event for death metal fans here in Buffalo. Kam was hesitant but agreed to it, so my next task was to find him a backing band. My thought was to use a local band so I turned to Seplophile, a band compromised of guys who had previously been in bands that had toured. Like Kam, Seplophile was up to the task. Very early on Greg DiPasquale (guitar) contacted me to let me know that their other guitarist (Matt Backlas) would be unable to do the show because of a wedding in his family, but Greg told me not to worry because their friend Tony (Lorenzo) would fill in.
Tony Lorenzo at A Day of Death
Months passed by and finally the day arrived. A Day of Death, July 16, 2011, the day for Kam Lee's performance. Each band of the fest played and each band played to perfection. As the time neared for Kam's set I grew a little worried on how the backing band would perform...would they live up to the day? I had seen them in rehearsals with Kam on July 13 and 14 so I knew they had the songs down perfectly, but wasn't sure how they would fare on a large stage.
Tony Lorenzo and Kam Lee at A Day of Death
The lights dim and the intro plays for several minutes, then the band takes their positions on the stage. Allen Malkiewicz (drums) hits a 4 count on the ride and the opening riffs to "Dawn of Eternity" start, the lights come up and almost immediately I knew I had selected the correct band to back Kam. Greg and Shawn (Gomez, bass) commanded their sections of the stage like seasoned pro's but I was even more impressed by Tony. Tony was banging his head and running all around the stage putting on a show for the ages, showing the younger bands in the crowd that just because you're playing death metal doesn't mean you have to stand like a statue. With people from all over as witness the band and more especially Tony made me proud, they made Buffalo proud.
Shawn, Allen, Greg, Kam and Tony after A Day of Death
Fresh from his performance at A Day of Death Tony had renewed interest in playing death/grind and looked to form a band. It wouldn't take Tony long to form Ritual Quarantine with Derrick Sadkowski, Britt Wagner, Jessika Marvin and Doug Luke. Soon the band had a Facebook page and 4 tracks up for our listening pleasure. The four tracks just made me want more and want to see them live, which they had not yet done. Finally, on Sept 24. Ritual Quarantine made their debut at the Funeral Home in Buffalo. They did not disappoint, it took them a mere 3 songs before I knew I had heard my new favorite Buffalo band.
Tony at Ritual Quarantine's debut gig
A month later disaster would strike. On Oct. 26 Tony was out walking with a friend when some coward came up behind them and shot Tony in the back. The bullet was lodged in his spine. For many of us older folk that are into death metal it was a story eerily similar to when we heard about 20 years earlier when Jeff Becerra (Possessed) was mugged and shot in the back. Word spread quickly throughout the Buffalo scene and then around the metal world about what had happened to Tony. Almost immediately I began planning a benefit concert.....a truly great benefit concert for the guitarist that brought back my feeling of pride in Buffalo bands.
Local bands immediately started contacting me and offering their help and services. I thought to make the benefit special and to draw the most people we would need a national head liner so I started asking around. Several potentially head liners were asked but each couldn't do it for various reasons so at that point I settled on just using local bands. On a whim I decided to take a stab at a long shot and sent a message to Alex Webster asking him if there is any way he would come up for a Beyond Death reunion - Tony is Frank from Beyond Death's nephew. Alex was completely open to the idea but only if the other 3 would also do it. So, next I asked Frank Lombardi (guitar/vox) and he was up for it as well. Next up was Darrin Pfeiffer (drums). It took Darrin about 1 min to respond to my message with "I'm 10,000% in". It was looking like a reunion could take place. All that remained was Jack Owen. I send Jack an email, not even knowing if the email address was still active so I wasn't sure if I'd even get any response. In short time I got a response from Jack and it was a go. On January 7, 2012 the original line up of Beyond Death would perform for the first time since Dec of 1988. Now, we had a head liner for the benefit.
Beyond Death 1988
(L-R): Jack Owen, Alex Webster, Darrin Pfeiffer and Frank Lombardi
Dennis John Glinski (Grave Descent) was set to perform with special guests a one-off performance by his old band Mayhemesis. Dennis John realised there was a brief window of opportunity for something special to happen and that it was for a great and noble cause so he set about calling another old friend to perhaps bring another old Buffalo band to life one last time. A few phone calls and emails were exchanged and then I got the message. "well, it's official.... TIRANT SIN!" Another of Buffalo's old school would be back to show Tony support. This time it wouldn't be a full fledged reunion, but still would be something quite special. Tirant Sin 2012 would be Dennis John Glinski, Rich Ziegler and Paul Mazurkiewicz from the classic 1987 line up joined by Rob Barrett (Dark Deception) and Jim Nickles (Leviathan, Malevolent Creation) on guitar.
Tirant Sin live 1987
Thus, Day 1 (Jan. 7, 2012) of the benefit for Tony was set - Beyond Death, Tirant Sin, Avulsion, Abdicate, Demented Dream States and Seplophile. A show for the ages, a likely last chance to see Tirant Sin and to see the original line up of Beyond Death. Day 2 (Jan. 8, 2012) of the benefit for Tony was also set with Long Island legends Suffocation headlining a show with guests Embalmer, Seplophile and Cain. Both events will be held at Club Infinity, 8166 Main St., Williamsville, NY. Raffles and auctions of donated items from bands/companies from around the world will also be held at both shows. Day 1 is $15, Day 2 is $15 (advance), $20 (day of show). Tickets can be purchased through Glorious Times (paypal to email@example.com), www.ticketweb.com, at the Club Infinity box office, Spiral Scratch Records in Buffalo and through any of the performing bands.
Donations to aid Tony can be made via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org all monies will go directly to Tony and his family.
Don'tmiss out on this historic event and much more importantly come and show your support for a talent guitarist and our metal brother in his time of need.
Download the special radio public service announcement mp3 made by Brutal Existence Radio's Metal Mark (host of Audio Aggression/MMV) right here:
Suffocation at A Day of Death 1990 (photo - Ed Farshtey)
The death metal scene had continually grown in numbers during the 1980's. Florida had become known as the death metal capital by 1989, but those of us in the northeast knew the scene in NY State was just as strong if not stronger. New York had acts like Cannibal Corpse, Baphomet, Immolation, Mortician, Apparition (who would later become Sorrow) and many more. While the scene in Florida was really limited to Florida, the scene in NY reached beyond the boundaries of the state. In the northeast there were strong connections between bands and 'zine editors from Buffalo to Pittsburgh to NYC to NJ to Philadelphia. It was not uncommon for a band in the northeast to release a demo in their home city and have it spread throughout the northeast in mere days....and remember this was the time before downloads, before the internet, when word of mouth and personal communication ruled the scene.
Suffocation at A Day of Death 1990 (photo - Ed Farshtey)
In 1990, Sean Panek (Psychoslaughter 'zine from Pittsburgh) was touting a new demo by a band from Long Island that he was sending me. The band played this fast technical style of death metal and the vocalist had a slightly unique sound which was catching the ear of many 'zine editors. The demo was "Reincremation" by Long Island's Suffocation. Suffocation's popularity quickly spread beyond the northeast as the 'zine editors and tape traders of the northeast pushed the demo on our fellow underground fanatics throughout the world much the same way that a label A&R rep would push a newly signed band.
Goreaphobia at A Day of Death Oct 20 1990 (photo - Ed Farshtey)
The peak of the early death metal scene can be pinpointed to an exact date, location and event. Oct. 20, 1990 The Skyroom in Buffalo, NY and the event was A Day of Death. The event had a couple of bigger bands - Autopsy, Repulsion and Disharmonic Orchestra, but largely it consisted of demo or newly signed bands - Cannibal Corpse, Baphomet, Immolation, Mortician, Lucifer's Hammer, Radiation Sickness, Deceased, Incantation (who were scheduled to appear, but made a surprise appearance), Suffocation and Goreaphobia. People from as far away as France and Australia made it to Buffalo for the show...again, remember this is pre-internet so word of the show was spread by flyers and word of mouth alone. A Day of Death was a huge success and in the eyes of many still stands as the benchmark to which all other fests are compared.
Goreaphobia at A Day of Death 1990 (photo - Ed Farshtey)
The strong connections in the northeast led to strong friendships and it was inevitable that bands, 'zine editors and promoters from various regions would begin to work together. Brian Pattison (Chainsaw Abortions 'zine from Buffalo) and Ed Farshtey (Book of Armageddon 'zine from NYC) began to plan a show together shortly after A Day of Death. Both of us being big supporters of the underground scene it was a no brainer for us to want completely underground bands. Our proposed lineup came together fairly quickly as we both liked many of the same bands....Deceased, Abominog, Suffocation, Maelstrom, Nokturnel, Beyond Death, Morpheus (who would later become Morpheus Descends), Goreaphobia and Apparition (who by the time of the show had signed to Roadrunner Records and changed their name to Sorrow). The date was Sunday December 16, 1990.
It is now 21 years later and almost to the day it is with pleasure that Glorious Times (in association with Club Infinity) is able to bring both Suffocation and Goreaphobia back to Buffalo on Sunday December 18, 2011. It is surreal to look back and know that these 2 bands that we booked on the strengths of their demo's in 1990 have continued on and become legends, titans within the death metal scene.
If you're in the northeast this December be sure to make your way to Club Infinity on December 18 to witness what will surely be an unforgettable show by two old school stalwarts.
The show has been moved to January 8th 2012, and EMBALMER takes the place of GOREAPHOBIA.
GOREAPHOBIA will still be playing the original December 18th date, but the full band line up is TBA.
Limited patch included in the 'Hymns For The Wicked' vinyl release by Witches' Tone Records (photo - Alan Moses)
It's been a good while since we set our sights on DRUID LORD originally, more than a year ago in fact. Not long into the life of GT blogspot we caught up with long time crony Pete Slate, one of the pivotal forces from the old Tampa scene and last known whereabouts within the fabric of Florida's EQUINOX. The piece was named SLATED FOR VICTORY and remains one of the top ranking GT blogspot pieces of all.
Pete Slate, pictured here at GT Presents: A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Maga Chapucera)
During this catch up session, which also included rare insights with drummer Stephen Spillers and brother-in-arms Mark LaVenia, the subject ultimately came to and ended with DRUID LORD. The proposed new band to carry on the genetic fingerprints of many of the guys who've spent the better part of half their lives working and creating music together, albeit in a framework of sounds not so much befitting EQUINOX as befitting the doom/death styles serving as life-time inspirations to pretty much all fans and musicians alike (in this pioneering element of what is extreme music these days.).
Since a busy and productive year has passed by for everyone concerned, we felt it needed to catch back up with the lads now that DRUID LORD has been born and proven to be more than a force to be reckoned with.
Postcard flyer issued by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions heralding the forthcoming debut album by Druid Lord (courtesy Mike at HPGD)
GT - So since a year has passed and one of the parting comments in our first chat after years of being wrapped up in our own lives warned of an impending Druid Lord demo, it never really surfaced did it? The band came out both fists brandished in the form of 'Hymns For The Wicked' - an entire album worth of material, released quite quickly it seems by Horror Pain Gore Death. We bet you guys were pretty thrilled to by-pass the whole demo phase of things?
'Hymns For The Wicked' CD release front cover (scan - Alan Moses)
Pete - I have to admit it was cool as hell to get to release a CD right away. We really had every intention to do a demo. In fact the first four tracks of "Hymns" were meant for the demo. We ended up writing more material and we got such a positive response from the raw tracks on Myspace that we decided to get a full length. I had talked to Mike from HPGD and he was totally into. I give the guy total props for giving a shot and getting the CD out there.
Right down to the disc face you get artwork by Putrid! (scan - Alan Moses)
Tony - It's all a blur now, but yeah, we are psyched! The whole idea was to just get some songs out there and see if anyone liked them. When we started working on the demo, we started talking about maybe doing 2 more songs and making it an EP, then when we all agreed that 2 more songs would be enough for a full-length and we just went for it. I really give credit to Pete for coming up with all those riffs and Stephen for helping to make sense of it all.
There's a lot of history in this album, GT totally recommends it. (photo - Alan Moses)
Stephen - We were pleased to have so much initial interest that we could skip making a demo - we've all been there and we knew we had to start there but it worked out better than we had imagined. It definitely says something when you let a label hear some scratch tracks w/ no bass or vocals and they want you to do an entire album. We were surprised at the amount of interest we had in Druid Lord from the very beginning. It still amazes us that we've gone from an idea to preparing for our 2nd full length in less than two years. A big thanks to all of our supporters (especially Glorious Times!) and all of our fans!
The inner tray design for the debut CD (scan - Alan Moses)
GT - It's a wicked little debut and in GT's experiences about the place it appears to have been justifiably well received by the fans. The fickle media is another story all together of course, what's the scoop on their understanding of what you guys are doing?
One of the early Druid Lord promo shots (courtesy Pete Slate)
Pete - Well it's kind of funny really. You've got the writers that totally get what Druid Lord is about. Pure old school Doom/Death metal music with Horror/Occult type lyrics. Then you have the writers that love the music but think the lyrics are silly and immature. Then you have the people that don't understand why we aren't playing a million miles a minute. The fact is we are not trying to get all complicated with our music and lyrics. We are keeping it simple and heavy..that's it. Our lyrics aren't going to change the world and we are not making any kind of statement. This is what Druid Lord is all about. Tales of horror and dread. We don't want to play blast beats and all that. We do have faster parts but more in the Autopsy or old Death vein.
Druid Lord's first gig, January 14 2011 at Will's Pub Orlando FL (photo - Tiina Chapman)
Tony - We knew that doing a Doom band during the height of all these other bands obsessed with speed would be risky, but even the hardcore Death Metal fans seem to like it as well as some Black Metal fans. Reviews have been extremely generous. I haven't seen anyone totally dog it, yet.
Preparing for their first show, Will's Pub Orlando FL Jan 14 2011 (photo - Tiina Chapman)
Stephen - That's the thing with playing metal- everybody has different tastes so some are going to like it and some aren't. That's just part of the scene. The bottom line is that we play metal that we enjoy listening to regardless of what genre we get our influence from. We like doom a LOT but we're all fans of the classic death bands so I'm sure a little of that creeps into our music. One thing I've come to find is that listening to the exact same type of metal ALL the time is limiting and so is playing it. Dynamics in metal are different than those of most music styles. They tend to be expressed in tempo and not pitch or volume. That is a result of playing at full volume in one key all of the time. Therefore, to acheive altering dynamics you alter the tempo. Doom, obviously, has very slow tempos while death tends to have mid-paced to fast tempos. I've found that I don't like playing the same tempos constantly as it all tends to sound the same (no dynamics). We structure our songs around the tempo we like the most: slow and heavy. To inject varying dynamics into our songs we'll offset the slow tempos with mid-paced tempos. That way our songs don't wind up sounding the same.
(At this point Glorious Times wishes to direct people to an outstanding interview conducted with Pete by our friend Brad over at Nocturnal Cult webzine, so earmark that one and go check it out after you get done here)
Outer Tray design for the debut CD (scan - Alan Moses)
GT - Recording in Tony's home studio must have been a relatively pressure-free experience?
Pete - Yeah man, it's great. No pressure at all. If we don't like something we redo it. We work on the mix until we are pleased with the outcome. It's a total DIY approach and many bands are doing it now. What also makes it cool is that we usually get more of an original sound instead of some overproduced mix.
Pete doing some sight seeing while in NY for A Day Of Death - taking a trip to Niagara Falls (courtesy Pete Slate)
Tony - It's really cool to have the flexibility of recording at home. It's a very relaxed atmosphere. There's a lot of laughing and joking around. But, when I say to the guys "OK, we're rolling" we get to business. I've been in a few studios over the years and I try to take in everything I've learned from that time and use it in my studio.
Tony jamming in their NY hotel room prior to A Day Of Death 2011 - (courtesy Pete Slate)
Ben - I enjoyed it, totally laid back and YES pressure free, haha! I give many hails and horns up to Tony for providing a place to not only record but also to practice, thanks!
Ben Ross and Kam Lee at A Day Of Death 2011 (courtesy Ben Ross)
Stephen - In some ways it is and some ways it isn't. It is nice not having the pressure of knowing that every second you waste is costing you money. There is pressure though because I live 4 hrs. from them and we don't have the luxury of rehearsing whenever we want. Generally, Pete and Ben write the riffs for a song and then the three of us get together and work out a loose structure for the song. We record that and I take it home to work on for a couple weeks. Then we get together again and finalize the arrangements the first evening and the second evening we record the song. That can get quite stressful at times because I haven't really had the time I'd like to have to work out all my parts. After it's recorded I continue to work on the songs- nothing changes noticeably as far as the heart of the drum tracks are concerned- it's mainly fills and accents and maybe a little fine tuning. It's a tough way to do things but so far I'm happy with the results.
GT - How long has Tony been working at getting his studio together anyways? The quality is astounding for a DIY record too.
Tony -My 1st recordings were live straight from the P.A. with maybe 3 mics on the drums, one on the vocals and everything else ran direct. That was back in 2001. Over the years I got more mics and a Hard Disk Recorder. Being able to record 8 tracks at the same time pretty much changed everything. When the guys heard the Serpent Son demo, we decided we should record a Druid Lord demo and it snowballed from there.(GT - we STRONGLY recommend that demo too by the way and you will be hearing more about Serpent Son at GT blogspot in the coming months).
Tony and Stephen at Niagara Falls in July 2011 (courtesy Pete Slate)
Pete - He's been doing this for a few years now and plans on expanding the studio.
GT - You guys got through the recording in how much time then?
Pete - It's hard to say. We usually record the drums and guitars first. Then leads, bass, and vocals. It's takes a few weeks to do everything properly. The whole album took a few months but we did everything the hard way since we didn't know at first if it was a demo or full length..lol
Tony - Well Pete and Ben live about an hour from my house and Stephen is 3 hours, so when we get together we try to make the most of it. We'll meet on Saturday, intent on a 5 or 6 hour session and then it turns into 8 to 10 hours. It's the same thing that would happen back in the day at Morrisound. I would say we can usually get two songs done a day on drums, 2 -3 on rhythm guitar, all 8 in one day for leads and I usually do one song a day on vocals and one song a day on bass. That's just because I'm here and can spend as much time as I want.
Another cool live shot from Mike's party (photo - Melissa Slate)
GT - So between finishing the album and getting the material to HPGD - how time time actually did pass between then and people getting their copies? It felt like no time at all really...
Pete - It took a few months to record the CD. I had it to Mike at very end of September 2010 and it was released on Halloween 2010. So really one month. That's amazing that Mike got it released so damn fast. We really wanted a Halloween release as it's our favorite time of the year. So to us it was very important and special to have it done that way. We all pulled it off.
Tony Blakk, Haven Lounge, Orlando Metal Awards April 15 2011 (courtesy FLMetal)
GT - That's lightning fast turn around, you just never hear about things happening this way, usually things take so much time it's discouraging.
Tony - We started recording in June, sent the CD to Mike in August, had the CD in our hands by October. It was the fastest release I have ever worked on. We begged him for a Halloween release and he made it happen.
GT - Mike from HPGD apparently dug the idea pretty much from the start right? How much material did he hear that the rest of us weren't privy to? (yeah you know dam well we're fishing for rarities here hehe)
Pete - A few rough tracks is about it. Honestly he didn't hear too much. As we were recording we sent some tracks for him to check out. Mike was into it which really pushed us that much harder.
Ben Ross at A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Maga Chapucera)
Tony - Not much. He heard the rehearsal track that was on our Myspace with no leads, no vocals and no bass. It was just one guitar and the drums. After he showed interest, we sent him "Chamber of Ghastly Horror" with scratch vocals and scratch leads, just to show him what we were working on. He was really into it and pretty much said "when are you guys going to finish this, I want to put it out".
The masterfully executed 'Hymns For The Wicked' vinyl release on Witches' Tone Records (photo - Alan Moses)
GT - Were you talking to Witches' Tone Records (Germany) about the vinyl version at the same time as Horror Pain Gore Death about the CD version or did these things pan out at different times? How was that maneuver orchestrated ? We'd been talking with Pete suggesting some labels to approach right at the beginning, but the vinyl release took us by complete surprise.
Tony - "Hymns..." had already been released when Anna at Witches' Tone Records contacted Pete. She asked if we had a label to release the vinyl. We never even considered it until that point.
Get yours while there's a handful remaining (photo - Alan Moses)
Pete - I knew I wanted a vinyl release but I wasn't sure where to look first. I contacted a few labels in Europe but they didn't have any $$$ to put into a vinyl release. I came across Witches' Tone Records on Myspace. They had an add basically saying they were searching for new bands. I really liked that the label owner "Anna" was into Doom, Death, Black Metal. I contacted her directly and mentioned who I was. She like of idea of Druid Lord so I sent her the mp3s to check out. Anna contacted me back and said she really liked it and offered us a deal. My only demand was that I wanted something special for the fans and I wanted to do a limited color version. She did an amazing job. Gate-fold LP with insert, poster, and sticker. Then 100 copies on Orange/black splatter vinyl in a collectors cotton bag with patch. That was all her idea. It came out amazing and I'm completely impressed with what Witches Tone did for us. It came out shortly after the CD version so it was perfect timing.
Flyer for the limited run vinyl pressings by Witches' Tone Records (courtesy Anna at WTR)
GT - Indeed, it appeared to just merge together really well. We personally feel that the Witches' Tone vinyl is one of the most superb releases we've seen in years, especially for being a black and white presentation. You guys are happy as pigs in shit with that one right?
Pete - Hells yes!!!! I'm totally blown away with that release. If someone hasn't bought it yet...get it now before they are gone. Contact Witches' Tone immediately!!!! Seriously, it's for the vinyl collector.
Tony - Definitely! I'll never forget the day Pete came over with my copies. I remember there was some delay with our copies. I think they were lost in the mail or something, so we had been waiting for her to send more. By the time they arrived we were going insane with anticipation. By far the best vinyl release I've done up to this point.
The black vinyl version available from Witches' Tone (courtesy of Anna WTR)
Stephen - Witches' Tone really outdid themselves with that package! I still can't believe how much was included- a poster, sticker, patch and tote bag with the Druid Lord logo on it. Not to mention the wicked colored vinyl and excellent packaging for that. They're definitely a top notch outfit! We'd love to be able to go with them for our future releases on vinyl!
GT - Can you tell everyone about the new EP's that are out now? There's no CD versions of these, correct? Vinyl only...
Tony - I know the split with Wooden Stake is vinyl only, but the split with Kaiju is a CD/vinyl combo. Pete will have to explain this one.
A wonderful illustration adorns the 'Black Candle Seance' EP cover (courtesy Pete Slate)
Pete - OK, we have a split 7"ep with the band Wooden Stake. Our track is "Black Candle Seance." Two exclusive tracks with original artwork. It was released on Febuary 11th, 2011. This ep is damn great man. This is one of our best songs and our artwork was done by Eric "Rot" Engelmann. Came out really sinister. We just had another release come out. It's a split with the band Kaiju. What makes this package special is that you get a 7"EP with a new track from both bands and also a CD with new tracks from both bands. The songs on the 7"EP are not on the cd. This is for the diehard collector for sure. So really there are four new Druid Lord songs on there. We do have another split coming out with Skeletal Spectre on Horror Pain Gore Death. Our track is called "Dark Age Sorcery". Expect that to come out Sept 2011.
When you get this release, the CD and printed materials are inside the sealed vinyl packaging. Druid Lord's material on this is phenomenal. (photo - Alan Moses)
GT - Now, the debut album was recorded as a 3 piece, Pete, Stephen and Tony - Ben was added exactly where and when?
Foul smells from the cemetery have nothing on what's in this van. Road trip to A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Angie Hart)
Pete - Ben came in Jan 2011 I think. Tony had met him in his previous band. Ben seemed to really like what he heard of Druid Lord and told Tony to keep him in mind if we were looking for a 2nd guitar player. So the time came to add another guitarist and we gave been a audition. He just blew us away as he knew all the music. Not to mention he's a really cool guy. Perfect for Druid Lord. Must of been that damn beard..haha
Ben Ross and his beard enjoy some tom foolery with Ross Dolan (Immolation) and Pete Slate at A Day Of Death Prefest gig at Chuggers (courtesy Ben Ross)
Tony - I met Ben when I played with Diabolic in 2008-2009. He was in the band next door to our warehouse/studio. He found me on Myspace and when he heard the "Hymns...) songs he asked if we ever considered getting a second guitarist. We were planning on holding auditions later, when the band had more momentum. But, Ben came down and played a couple songs with us and fit right in. That was December 2010, I know, because we played our 1st show in January and he had been in the band for 3 weeks.
Ben on the road to New York with Druid Lord (courtesy Ben Ross)
Ben - I officially joined in January 2011. I did 3 practices with them in late December 2010/early January 2011 and then we did our debut show at Will's Pub in Orlando on January 13th. The rest is history!
The flyer for the first Druid Lord gig January 13 2011 (courtesy Druid Lord)
GT - Does Ben appear on any of the EP's?
Tony - Yeah, he's on all the new stuff. Basically everything with the exception of "Hymns..." and "Black Candle Seance"
Ben - Yes, I do. I tracked 5 solos and helped co-write one song for our upcoming 2011 releases. I'm really honored and excited to have been part of these new songs.
Pete - Yes, the new split out now with Kaiju and the upcoming 7" EP "Dark Age Sorcery".
DRUID LORD ARE: Tony Blakk, Ben Ross, Pete Slate and Stephen Spillers (photo - Kam Lee)
GT - Ben seems to be a totally natural addition, filling out the sound and adding another facet to the physical make-up of the band - it appears from your earlier comments that he will be contributing ideas to Druid Lord from now on, or are you going to be the primary song writer as you have been on Hymns? Can you explain a little about the growing dynamic?
Pete - Ben has already been sending guitar parts to me. We usually combine our ideas and the songs just come together. He has totally added to the sound of the band. He'll usually send me some mp3s of riffs he's been working on. I save them on my computer and as I'm writing a song I'll go over his parts to see what fits. Works out really well.
Tony - He's been helping to write the new stuff and I think his style fits right in with ours. I think it will be just like Equinox. Everyone throws in ideas, but Pete will be the main source of song writing. After all Druid Lord was all his idea.
Stephen Spillers coffin pounding April 15 2011 (photo - LizM Photography)
Stephen - A band couldn't ask for anything more from a new member like Ben. The first time he showed up for practice he knew all the songs almost note for note. His stage presence is very dynamic and professional. He's 100% dedicated to Druid Lord and he's a top shelf guitarist. He's big and ugly but he's one of the nicest dudes I've ever met and he's very easy to work with- no ego or attitude. We couldn't have special ordered a better guy to complete this band. Ben wasn't an addition to Druid Lord- he was just one of the original members that showed up late!
Ben - Thanks for the killer words. Me personally, I'm totally fine
with Pete being the primary music writer. Being in Druid Lord is
satisfying enough to me and I'm so very grateful. I'll email riff to
Pete to listen to and if he likes them, cool...if not I'm cool too. I'm
laid back about it. Riffs that I write I want to be appropriate for
druid Lord, and if they are not appropriate then I do not want them to
Druid Lord at Niagara Falls July 2011 (courtesy Pete Slate)
GT - We aren't together all that sure about how far ya'll live from each other, so how do you guys pull off band practice?
Pete - Steve usually comes up to Orlando twice a month for two days. so we rehearse about four times a month with him. He lives in Naples and that's about 4 hrs away. Ben is about an hour and a half from our rehearsal spot. So we just pick our weekends and meet up. It works out well considering we are all over the state of FL.
Tony - I think it's hard for everyone but me, since we practice in my studio.
Ben - We practice in Orlando. Back and forth for me, it's 3 hours but it's all good. Honestly our practicing per week is minimal, but we all practice at our homes. So when we get together it's like we've practiced 3 times a week and it all falls into place great. Also, we've been playing our instruments for years, so we have no issues. It's awesome to me how tight we are as a band.
GT gets some props from the lads after their first show ever. Orlando FL at Will's Pub (photo - Tiina Chapman)
GT - Druid Lord has finally stepped into gigging and the debut show was really not all that long ago - how have these initial ventures out to the stage gone down?
Pete - The shows are sick man. The Orlando shows especially. The fans are so eager for metal here again so it's exciting. It reminds me of the days in Tampa where they would go nuts for metal. We just played here in FL at the "Queen of Sin II" fest and had a killer turn out. We've played shows in Tampa with After Death and we also did the Day of Death II Fest in NY. Each gig is getting better and better for us. It's also cool to see our fan base grow with every show. We also have the support of a local organization called Orlandooom Promotions. They set up us shows with killer touring bands that play HEAVY music. In fact we are playing with "Cough" in early Sept.
Tony - Incredible! So good to get back onstage. All my friends have been asking me for years when they can see me play and I finally have an outlet. The 1st show was at Will's Pub in Orlando. The turn-out was great and everyone was really into it. I have to give some time to the Orlando Meet-Up group. They have been instrumental in getting fans to the shows. And Jared from Orlando Doom.
At the time this piece is posted - this is the next upcoming Druid Lord gig - if you're in the area come on and show your support for the old blood! (flyer courtesy Pete Slate)
GT - How about other gigs?
Pete - More to come for sure. We hope to play a show a month. I'm even trying to get the band some dates in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Maybe also hit Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Being from FL it's hard to tour up North as we live so damn far away and with the cost of gas it's very costly but we do it for the band. We are dying to get our asses to Europe!!!!
GT - No shit, you guys have a world class sound, it's too easy to envision ya'll on large stages in Europe alongside Paradise Lost or someone - now or back in the day - when listening to Druid Lord.
Tony - Our 2nd show was at the Haven Lounge also in Orlando. It's bigger, and we played with a band called 5 Billion Dead that features an old friend ex-Equinox bassist/vocalist Matt "Darkness" Wagner. The place was packed and that always helps to feed off the energy of the crowd. 3rd show was opening for After Death and 4th show was back at Will's Pub. Our 5th show was A Day of Death in NY.
Stephen Spillers (sporting the Black Candle Seance
shirt) at the Brass Mug Tampa FL May 21 2011 at Mike Browning's
Birthday Bash (photo - Melissa Slate)
GT - Our mutual friend Mike Browning recently celebrated his birthday at The Brass Mug, in Tampa, which Druid Lord played as well as After Death and the almighty Ulcer. So it had been a while since you guys played our old stomping ground then eh?
A classic shot of Pete and Stephen at The Brass Mug May 21 2011 (photo - Melissa Slate)
Pete - Shit man, I hadn't played there since '94 with my prior band Equinox. Before that it was like '90 I think when I was doing Acheron. That place is a dive but brings back a lot of old memories. We had a damn blast playing there for Mike's birthday. Guys from Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Angelcorpse, Deicide where there. Great nite.
Flyer for the Browning Birthday Bash at The Brass Mug (courtesy Savatage Sue)
Tony - The place had changed quit a bit. It hadn't been that long for me, cause I played there in 2008 with Diabolic, but Pete and Steve hadn't played there since 1993 or something like that.
Druid Lord at the Brass Mug, for Mike Browning's Birthday, Tampa FL May 21 2011 (photo - Eric Grant)
GT - It's kind of bizarre to see The Brass Mug being revered today when back in the day it wasn't really one of the regular places played (unless you were called Gardy Loo! that is made up of seasoned vets) - it seemed more that the 'perimeter' bands played there, like The Guff and Raped Ape, those bands not exactly part of the whole scene really. Any inkling as to why The Brass Mug stands today when so many of the others fell?
Pete - Hard to say really. It's a decent location to have a bar and easy to find. The name is cool too..LOL. They're actually redone the inside a bit. The stage is in a different place. I like the new setup.
Tony - One of the bartenders named Heather ended up buying the place several years ago. She was always cool and remains true to the Metal Underground. Everyone knows her and she actually likes Metal which helps a lot. Some of these club owners don't know the difference between Death Metal, Black Metal or Doom.
Tales of Horror and the Occult spread rampant at Mike's birthday celebrations (photo - Eric Grant)
GT - Hell, to get a bit of a re-education, back in the day of course there was The Sunset Club which shut down in '89, then The Ritz and The Masquerade were places well played along with Club Detroit / Jannus Landing over in St. Pete. You had smaller holes in Tampa like The Star Club (Excel / Paineater) and The Stone Lounge (Chaos UK) as well - seem to remember a club called DNA too....by the mid 90's The Brass Mug was known for more than just being a place to pick up the free Wooden Nickel paper. What's the club topography looking like these days?
Kam Lee performing 'All Hallows Evil' with Druid Lord April 15 2011 (photo - LizM Photography)
Pete -To me personally The Sunset Club was one of the best. Amon (Deicide) played there all the time, Morbid Angel, Obituary. I also really liked Jannus as well. I saw Atheist, Death, Dark Angel and tons others there. I think it took awhile for the Brass Mug to kick in. Once the other places folded up then it got more of the Metal shows.
Harkening back to the days of the Tampa Bay Metal Awards, we have the Orlando Metal Awards
Tony - Don't forget the Rock-it Club. That place was pretty decent. And I'm from Orlando, so I have to mention the Beechum Theater and the Fairbanks Inn. Nowadays there's Gasoline Alley and the Pegasus on the west coast and the Haven, the Dungeon and Will's Pub on the east coast.
Haven Lounge Orlando April 15 2011 (photo courtesy FLMetal)
GT - Of course by now everyone remotely interested in heavy extreme music and the pioneering bands would be aware of June 16 2011 which marks the official return of A Day Of Death in Buffalo NY.
Before the era of the mass fests which pollute the landscape today, there was a time when this was not the case at all. We were quite literally vilified by almost all of the established scene, and the money wasn't there much beyond someone like Metal Mom who laid much ground work with the Milwaukee Death Fest and it's who's who or GT featured bands.
Pete and Kam exorcising the spirit of All Hallows Evil at A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Brian Pattison)
You guys in Druid Lord were a huge part of A Day Of Death 2011, making the trip all the way from Florida. That's a massive trip. By the way, GT would like to thank all of your families for their support in getting the trip and the appearance together - without their understanding nothing was possible.
A glorious time to look back on in another 20 years (photo - Alan Moses)
To the seasoned musician who has been a part of grooming the thing to begin with, what did A Day Of Death mean to you? Not just to play, but in comparison to the contemporary attitude to such things, where in many cases now, bands will not even tour to support a record in favor of playing only a handful of corporate 'fests' guaranteeing possibly $200,000 for maybe even just 10 gigs in a year.
Pete - First of all we were honored when we were asked to play the event. With such great bands like Sam Biles, Derketa, Rottrovore, Nokturnal, Kam Lee..we knew we had to play it. It was totally worth the drive for us. Also playing with Deceased was a major event for me as I've been corresponding with King for years and have been a huge Deceased fan as well. Since I didn't make it to the 1st fest I wanted Druid Lord to be a part of Fest II. It was a great show!!! It also goes to show that bands can come together for a special event and keep it down to earth not asking for "ROCK STAR" prices.
Ben, King and Pete at A Day Of Death 2011 (courtesy Ben Ross)
Tony - It's a chance to be a part of history. I'm hoping that after this show, the other guys will want to tour. It's really the best way to promote the band. Anyone can sound good in the studio. It's the live show that really cements it into peoples skulls.
Tony Blakk maims Club Infinity at A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Maga Chapucera)
Stephen - That's exactly the feeling I got when we played the DoD show last month- it was like the old days. I remember seeing many, many shows at Jannus Landing and The Ritz and of course Beecham Theatre in Orlando and the DoD fest reminded me a lot of those shows. I wish more people would put together shows like that!
Ben tearing it up at A Day Of Death 2011 (photo - Maga Chapucera)
GT - To us at least, this outrageously exclusive event is about show casing, in part, Glorious Times' philosophy. A living and breathing representation of the book in so far as the forced hand of DIY comes into play (for us personally) as well. It isn't the monied, corporate trendy 'fest' everyone wants to be seen at or seen talking about either - do you think fans today have the ability to comprehend this or is the dollar just too strong?
After they got home from NY, Ben sent in this kick ass photo of himself with his new GT accessories hehe (courtesy Ben Ross)
Druid Lord Performing 'Black Candle Seance' at A Day of Death 2011
Pete - The true underground metal fans totally get this. These are the people that support bands like us and Glorious Times and get the whole philosophy.It was so cool to see people buying the GT book and asking the bands or band members to sign their pages with their contributions. Hats off to Glorious Times for putting the Day of Death Fest II together and keeping the scene real.
Flyers for the Queen Of Sin II gig at The Haven August 13 2011 (courtesy Pete Slate)
GT - Beyond this event then, what does Druid Lord have on the cards live prior to and post A Day Of Death 2011?
Pete - We are doing a 2 song EP for Doomentia Records next. No split EP, all Druid Lord stuff. This will be HUGE for us. I totally respect this label. Have you seen their CD's and LP's they put out? Total pro packaging the way it should be done. They've put out great releases from Master, Nunslaughter, Hooded Menace, Acid Witch, Claws... I can't wait for this. Once that's complete we will focus on the next full length for a spring 2012 release..hopefully. More gigs to follow as well.
GT - Hell yeah, if the last few EP's are anything to judge by, these next releases will destroy any nerve cells left.
Stephen in the vortex of the beloved Celtic Crosses at Queen Of Sin II (photo - Melissa Slate)
Tony - We just played a show called Queen Of Sin II at the Haven on Aug. 13th.
Pete and Ben at Queen Of Sin II, The Haven August 13 2011 (photo - Angie Hart)
GT - What about the next logical step in a follow-up album?
Pete - Yes, more HORROR DOOM to come my friends. The wheels are always turning to DRUID LORD. We will not stop!!!!!
Pete and Ben doing what they do August 13 2011 (photo - Angie Hart)
Tony - We have already begun writing new songs, but not sure if they are for another full-length or an EP or 7 inch. We've had some offers that we seriously had to discuss and work out the details. All I can say is huge things are on the horizon.
Tony at Queen Of Sin II 2011 (photo - Angie hart)
GT - Quite rightly so we think! So afficiandos know, what merch and so forth do you guys have available currently?
Pete - We have special "Medieval Druid" shirts available, "Hymns" cd's and Lp's are left but only a handful remain. Once we are sold out contact Witches' Tone and HPGD direcly. Here is our main band page for merch.
This shirt design will be a classic in years to come!
Also keep checking our Druid Lord pages on Facebook, Reverbnation, and Myspace for updates.
Tony - We still have "Hymns for the Wicked" CD's available for $10 US. The vinyl LP is a gatefold and comes with a poster, sticker and patch for $40 US. The split 7 inch with Wooden Stake is $7 US. And we just got new shirts in for $10 US. Not sure how many shirts Glorious Times has left, but those have the split with Wooden Stake cover on the front.
GT has a small number of these limited run shirts available, but you'll have to write us first to make sure we have what you desire.
GT - We think that about wraps up the body in the bag this time around fellas. Think it's a real first to have every band member participate as well, which we're really proud to be able to bring the fans. Now let's hope some of you out there decide to investigate Druid lord and pick up some releases, you won't regret it. A huge thanks for you all coming up to New York for our special event A Day Of Death 2011 - that means a great deal to us lads.
Pete - Alan, I just wanted to say thanks for all your support. You and Brian/Glorious Times, are the real deal. Thanks for the interview and there is more Doom to come. Enter our Chamber of Ghastly Horror!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pete jamming at 3am prior to A Day Of Death (courtesy Pete Slate)
Tony - Thanks to our fans and thank you guys for the interview. You've done more for the scene than most people are aware of. This show was dedicated by Druid Lord to both of you and Glorious Times. You guys rule!!!
Goatcraft's Lonegoat with Tony Blakk at Club Infinity (courtesy Pete Slate)
Ben - Horns up to you and Glorious Times. Thanks to all involved for supporting a killer underground music/scene.
Ben being a hippie in the gardens out from of the national historic monument which is the Buffalo Psychiatric Center (courtesy Pete Slate)
Stephen - Final words? Thank you to Glorious Times! Thank you to all of our supporters and fans!
Pete and Stephen hamming it up outside and risking detention inside the Buffalo Psychiatric Center (courtesy Pete Slate)
* GT wishes to publicly thank: Melissa Slate, Eric Grant, Maga Chapucera, Tiina and Rob Chapman, Angie Hart, FLMetal, LizM Photography, Orlandooom, Anna at Witches' Tone and Mike from Horror Pain Gore Death for their awesome contributions to this Druid Lord feature.
AND IF THIS WASN'T ENOUGH - BOY HAVE WE GOT A TREAT FOR YOU!
THE ALMIGHTY DRUID LORD
We're from the GT era dammit and we love FULL GIGS more than anything - audio and video is something we treasure as much as studio recordings because you get even more of a biological representation of the bands.
With the permission of Rob Chapman, who was present at a Druid Lord gig on April 15th 2011 at The Haven Lounge in Orlando Florida, we can bring you the entire live video of the band's set that night, which Rob recorded and uploaded to vimeo. This is truly priceless material and we cannot thank you enough Rob for not only shooting this and allowing GT to share it, but for keeping your eyes on posterity in doing so. Well done Rob!
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