Sunday, April 15, 2012


Derketa at their first ever gig, January 15, 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

Glorious Times recently caught up with long time friend Sharon Bascovsky from Pittsburgh death metal legends Derketa. In Death We Meet.

GT - How did Derketa come to be?
Sharon - I started playing guitar when I was 15 and enjoyed writing my own stuff versus playing covers.  I met Terri at a party and she mentioned she’d like to be in a band so I asked her if she wanted to start one.   She bought a drum set, took some drum lessons and we started rehearsing.
 GT - In '90/'91 Derketa seemed to be on the path to be signed but lineup turmoil prevented you from playing live and your eventual decision to end the band. Do you have any regrets about not playing live in those early days or not sticking out for a little longer?
Sharon - Yeah, I wish things didn’t go down the way they did especially when the tension with Terri and I started right when we finally had a full lineup to play shows.   But everything happens for a reason and honestly I didn’t have the confidence to play shows back then.  We didn’t have enough rehearsals for me to gain that confidence so it’s something that I’ll never know if it would have happened.   I didn’t attempt to sing and play until about 5 years ago, which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.   I never had a PA back then so I never even tried until I finally bought one.
GT - Back in those days Pittsburgh had a really great scene with bands like Hideous Mangleus, Chaotic Plague, Rottrevore, Acheron, Eviction and many more. What do you think made Pittsburgh such a hotbed for the formation of great death metal bands back then?
Sharon - I don’t know, I really love the Pittsburgh scene and think we have something special here.  It still exists today actually.  Maybe it’s all of the fumes we inhaled growing up from the Steel Mills we had that polluted our air.  It’s a very honest and dedicated music scene, and everybody supports each other no matter what metal genre you’re in.   The metal people enjoy punk and hardcore, and vice versa.   Everybody that was around 20+ years ago is still around and involved in one way or another.   We have a lot of great bands and I think it’s simply the fact that we all play an instrument and it’s only natural to want to create music and play with friends.  And of course there were quite a few of us that have the morbid in us to create death metal;  we all grew up watching the old horror movies which aired on regular TV, before cable TV came out, it must have all factored in somehow.
Sharon after Derketa's set, with Robin Mazen and John McEntee in the background - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - In '97 you attempted to bring the band back to life with Terri. In the interim between disbanding and the '97 reformation were you involved in any bands? Did you miss the creative output of Derketa?
Sharon - No, I wasn’t playing in any bands back then. I went back to school and was focused on getting a career going for myself. I wasn’t really into the changes that were going on in the death metal scene so I didn’t think Derketa would have been received well. It was such a short lived band and it seemed like Derketa was forgotten. I did miss creating music for Derketa.  I always have ideas going on in my head for it; a riff would pop in my head and id record it onto cassette, then just move on to the ordinary life.  Same with lyrics, I have scraps of lyrics that id write in hopes that one day id be able to put them to fruition because writing is such a big part of me and it’s something that I truly enjoy doing.

GT - The reformation with Terri was short-lived, but a short while later you were able to recruit Jim Sadist (Nunslaughter) on drums to continue with Derketa. How did Jim end up becoming involved with Derketa?
Sharon - Don from Nun Slaughter really wanted me to continue with Derketa.   He was the one that talked me into contacting Terri to record again because he felt that people would appreciate what we were doing based on the fact that people wanted to hear the older style of death metal.   When things didn’t work out with Terri, he said Jim would play drums for Derketa to keep it going. I started driving to Cleveland to rehearse with Jim, and Jim took care of finding a studio for us to record in. Anyone that knows Jim knows that he is 100% into metal and creating music.  If it weren’t for Don and Jim, I don’t know if Derketa would have ever have resurfaced.

Terri during Derketa's debut gig - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Next up for you was Eviscium with Mark Mastro of Rottrevore fame. What made you and Mark decide to start a band together?
Sharon - Mark called me up and asked me, and of course I said yes.  Mark had already started Eviscium, they just needed a bass player and for whatever reason he asked me to fill the spot.  He helped me find the bass equipment and it took me a few painful rehearsals to get used to the thick bass strings but after that point, it was a lot of fun.

GT - After Eviscium ended there was a gap of a few years and then you brought Derketa back from the grave. What made you decide to carry the Derketa once again after all those years?
Sharon - I had a bunch of unrecorded songs but I wanted to record them with Terri. She and I were friends again and I thought it would be fun for us to do, sort of reliving a fun time we had in our youth. I wasn’t in any hurry to get them recorded as they’ve been sitting for over a decade so I waited until she finally had the desire to do it again. I could have recorded them with Jim but I just wanted to play with Terri again since we were getting along and realistically we’re getting older so it’s hard to say how long I'd be able to continue writing. The older I get, the more I see that life can end at any point, without warning. I’ve lost a lot of friends my age; it’s a fact of life. Why not make the most of it while we’re still here.

GT - In January of 2011 Derketa finally made their live debut, 23 years after you initially formed the band. The Smiling Moose was packed with people from all over the country. Were you at all nervous that you'd fail to live up to the expectations the crowd had for Derketa?
Sharon - Yeah, I was nervous about a lot of things.   Forgetting songs, lyrics, my vocals not being where they should be, the pressure of what to say in between the songs 'cause I actually didn’t want to say anything. I don’t have the personality to get a crowd all wound up. I’d never be the person leading a revolution. I'd be the person in the back thinking why bother. Once I saw how many people actually showed up for it, I was just thinking to myself “gulp… what do I do”. I don’t know if we lived up to the expectations, but I was glad we all got through it OK.
Mary during Derketa's debut gig - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - The day after Derketa's live debut you joined Ghost Story TV on a tour of a "haunted" facility. How did that go? How did you become involved with Ghost Story TV?
Sharon - Yeah, we went on an investigation at Hill View Manor which is in New Castle, PA. It’s an abandoned home for the poor with claims of paranormal activity. The investigation went as best as it could have gone despite the circumstances of it being winter and the place had no heat.  The temperature inside the building was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit; it was so uncomfortable and unbearable. Mary and I were on the same team, we didn’t experience anything paranormal. Robin and Terri were on another team and they did run into unexplained occurrences. 
 I became involved with Ghost Story TV from a mutual friend who was in town visiting. I had mentioned to him that it would be cool to have bands go on investigation, kind of like the “underground meets the underworld”, he pitched it to Jim Pitulski who is the creator/producer of Ghost Story TV and he liked the idea.  After meeting with them a few times, they asked if I'd like to join in with them as an investigator. Of course I said yes as I’m interested in the paranormal, and their approach of using science to try and explain these occurrences is right up my alley. You can follow us either Facebook or go to There are lots of good things happening with Ghost Story TV, including video segments to promote the Pittsburgh local music scene.
When Mary and I got the case of the giggles which led to cold coffee coming out of my nose! Totally unrelated to the paranormal but it was definitely most memorable. I’ve only been on two investigations with Ghost Story TV, so far I haven’t had any paranormal experiences myself but the others have.
GT - It was completely my honor to have Derketa perform at A Day of Death 2011 in Buffalo. What was the experience like for you?
Sharon - It was a great experience and it was an honor for you to ask us to play, especially since I attended the original Day of Death fest back in 1990. The crowd was great and I think that was our most comfortable live show so far. We had a lot of fun!
GT - When Kam Lee joined you on stage it seemed to catch most of the crowd by surprise. The song seemed to go reasonably well considering you had never rehearsed with him. Were you happy with the songs performance?
Sharon - Yeah, it was incredible to perform with Kam after all of these years. I had emailed him the song and lyrics and he had figured out what would work the best so he emailed me which lines he would sing and we just went for it. It turned out really well.

Kam Lee joining Derketa on stage at A Day of Death 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - In recent days Derketa has been busy in the recording studio. How have things gone?
Sharon - We’re just working on a final mix, its sounding really good. I’m really pleased with the timing of the songs; I think the mood of the songs was captured with this recording. Everyone has done a great job and it’s been a lot of fun, despite the pressures of being in the studio.
GT - Are you recording new versions of old standards like "The Unholy Ground" and "Premature Burial" or will the album be entirely new songs?
Sharon - It’s entirely unreleased songs, although 3 of the songs on the album have been played live.  Song titles are “Goddess of Death”, “Obscurities of Darkness”, “Until our Death”, “Last Rites”, “Rest in Peace”, “Shadows of the Past”, “Witchburned”, and “In Death We Meet” which is the title of the album.
 GT - When can fans expect to be able to purchase the album?
Sharon - I wish I knew. It’s been hard with studio availability and everyone’s work schedules for all of us to meet at the studio to finish mixing. And trying to get everyone to agree on a cover hasn’t been easy. We’re waiting for another idea to be drawn up. I’m at a point that I’m considering just uploading the songs for free, not having any cover, and taking the loss for the studio cost. I just want to get this out there, there’s been so many delays with this recording and I’m just tired. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s like fighting a losing battle with everyone not being on the same page when it matters. I have more song ideas and I want to focus back on writing and playing more shows. I think it’s safe to say people will either purchase it or hear it in 2012!
GT - Would you like to share any final thoughts?
Sharon - Thanks for taking the time to send me this interview. You’ve always been a top supporter of Derketa and that local Pittsburgh scene, that doesn’t go unnoticed! If anyone is interested in Derketa, you can check out our website, or find us on Facebook.  And if you’re traveling through Pittsburgh, be sure to check out the Pittsburgh music scene as there is always some sort of a show going on.

Sharon at A Day of Death 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)


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