Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
Massacre have reactivated after being on hold since the last full length studio album. The legendary death metal squad have done a number of gigs as well as festival dates. Besides Massacre, the same members have founded a more death/punk-ish oriented group Denial Fiend, whose debut album THEY RISE was released by Ibex Moon. The five piece visited Wacken Open Air and played in front of huge crowd. The Massacre and Denial Fiend legendary frontman, Kam Lee, was the chosen a victim to tell more about the resurrection of Massacre and the formation of Denial Fiend.
Resurrection of Massacre as Reanimated
Well, Wacken is now behind you, what kind of feelings did you get after being and hanging around during the weekend?
It was a great – sick – surreal – fantastic event, I’m very glad to have experienced it. I wish I could have enjoyed more as a fan – watched more bands, and do the other crazy events… especially – I missed the hot stripper girls show… I heard it was hot lesbian action total nude babes with licking and tongues slurpping nipples – damn it! Anyhow, because of time resitrictions and air travel… I had to arriave late and leave early – so I didn’t get the full W.O.A. experience as a whole, but what I did get to see and do was fantastic. I will always come back to do THE WACKEN – as long as they want me to come back! The crew and people that worked the event were all great people… the food and catering was top notch, all was great treatment all around! I’m amazed that everything ran so smoothly… Tomas is a really great guy for doing all this. Also – I got to re-hook up with old friends… in the VIP area especially. I got to meet back up with Ola and the GRAVE guys, and Jeff from CARCASS…as well as Daniel from ARCH ENEMY/CARCASS… also I got to hang out with Schmier from DESTRUCTION and share a beer on the bus. And I met a ton of new friends and freaks as well… it was a great time!
Were you in a way or another blown away to play for such a huge crowd as what I could see the area of the third “Party” stage was pretty much crowded by thousands of old school death metal freaks?
As I said… it was a totally surreal experience… I’m still thinking about it a week later! It was AMAZING – and I thank everyone that came out to watch us… despite the fact that we seem to have brought the rain! I got to really see how much and how many fans that MASSACRE still has… and that meant a lot!
It has been announced Massacre was doing the farewell gig at Wacken. But apparently the show wasn’t the final one in the chapter of Massacre after all ?! Could you shed some light on this?
Well for MASSACRE "Re-Animated" it is over. "Re-Animated" was the line up that played THE WACKEN as well as the line up that started the MASSACRE RE-ANIMATED TOUR last year in 2007. It was pretty much the other band I do DENIAL FIEND… with the addition of Steve Swanson of SFU. But I decided that in order for DENIAL FIEND to have a future… and for MASSACRE to possible continue… that these two bands need to be seperated. It’s a business decision more then anything… because these two band are two seperate entities and need to be treated as such. For now MASSACRE is back in the tomb… and DENIAL FIEND will be working on a new recording. But as far as the fate and future of MASSACRE… only time will tell.
Let’s take a little bit back ; How did this rebirth or third comeback of Massacre get started in the first place ? Obviously Denial Fiend was one of reasons for the rebirth and in general interest toward the band?
It was decided to resurrect MASSACRE to bring DENIAL FIEND on tour in 2007. It was a way to expose DENIAL FIEND to the world, and to get basic interest in myself and the band by "killing two birds with one stone" sort of speak. I was finally returning to the scene after a 13 year absence – after leaving MASSACRE back in 1994. I wanted to Re-Animate MASSACRE to bring back the "TRUE/REAL" MASSACRE that it was meant to be… that’s why on the Re-Animated tour only material from "FROM BEYOND" album was played. I only consider this material as the only real MASSACRE. In order to get DENIAL FIEND a good tour and world exposure in supoort of our debut release "THEY RISE"… it was decided to be have DF be an opener for MASSACRE. It was tough… because it forced me to perform two complete shows a night back to back… I don’t think I will ever do that again, as I like to have one band performance a night… so I can enjoy the rest of the evenings hanging out and being a fan, rather then the "rock star" – which is a term and position I loathe!
Are you kind of surprised at having a lot of interests from people and getting requests to play here and there as you have done a festival dates and some touring commitments quite a few and visited Europe a couple of times by now ?! Do you view people are more hungry than ever before for old school brutal death metal like Massacre?
I’m a pessimistic bastard by heart… so I tend to think of the negative first. I sort of think it was a ‘freak show’ mentality at first that brought people out to the shows… See – like I said – I think of the worst case scenerio as the first thing. Maybe – because I haven’t done it for so long… I think people came out expecting me to fail! I heard more then anything else people come up to me and say…"Wow, you still can do the vocals, I thought you wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but you did." So to me – that kind of response meant that fans came out expecting to see me make a fucking fool of myself or to totally fuck up – instead of coming out to experience a good show. I had some problems towards the end of the tour last year in 2007, as I got the flue and then during the last show I pulled out my lower back, but other then that – I gave 100% ever single night – for every single show – despite how I felt. However, I think a resurgence of sorts is happening around the world for going back to the real old school style Thrash and Death Metal bands. I think the world is sick of these flashy coorperate glamour mall metal rock star bands – and generally crave the down to earth real metal bands – that will get in there and be real people and fans as well. Fans want bands and artist they can relate to, rather then the coorperate made monkeys and puppets of todays bands that hide away in their dressing rooms and back stage areas, all expecting to have their egos masterbated and their pompus asses kissed acting like the fucking arrogenat "Rock Stars" that they think they are! Besides that – the sounds that are the old school style will always prevail over this glossed over psuedo metal crap that is the norm today!
Hmm the current Massacre line-up is basically the same as Deniel Fiend, do you find somehow eccentric that you could play as Massacre and then as Deniel Fiend with the same line-up at some same festival?! Did you think in the first place about having other guys to either Deniel Fiend or Massacre to avoid some kind of confusing or was it a mutual feeling that you could do both after all?
Yeah… that’s what I said above.
Massacre’s split ups haven’t happened on good terms as far as I know. But how was it to start working with Terry Butler and Steve Swanson again after several years?
The main cause for all the tension in MASSACRE over the years has always been behind one person… RICK ROZZ. He was the bane and the curse that always had MASSACRE splitting up… once Terry, Steve, and I sat down and worked thru all the bullshit and lies that Rick had created over the years… we finally got to see with clear vision how to work together for the better of the band.
All the members of Massacre and Deniel Fiend are involved in other bands and especially Butler’s and Swanson’s mainband Six Feet Under apparently takes a lot of time, but it is all about coordinating the schedule when you could do dates with Massacre and Denial Fiend?
We all are very considerate of each others bands… and we do work out and coordinate and schedue accordingly to each and everyones needs.
When Massacre got activated again, was it clear for you to work with the Denial Fiend guys and no older members even considered to approach?
Bill lives in Japan, and he hasn’t played drums in years… as far as that fucker RICK… I wouldn’t be caught dead onstage with that ripp off bastard! Not unless it was to pay us back all the MASSACRE money he squandered!
New old releases of Massacre
FROM BEYOND, INHUMAN CONDITIONS and PROMISES are those official albums, but there are a couple of other releases from the past having seen the light of day such as THE SECOND COMING published by Hells Bangers. As for the THE SECOND COMING, how did the re-releasing of the old output come about after all?
Simple really- Don Of The Dead from the band NUNSLAUGHTER ask me to do it, and I said sure – why not!
But the history of THE SECOND COMINGis quite … colourful …ehh?
No – I think it’s pretty much black and white! Ha-ha!
Were the songs of THE SECOND COMING released as original ones or were they handled in some re-mixing process?
No – it’s all just the "live in the studio" demo – just the way it is.
As for the “TYRANTS OF DEATH demo just released as a full cd via Iron Pegazus. Has it been on your mind for a while that these old demo releases should be put out as an official release or was it Costas Stoios’ idea about releasing them on a cd?
That was all Costas idea, i was actually contacted AFTER it was released!
Were these old demo material remixed for the cd release or did you attempt to keep as original and brutal as they used on old tapes?
You would have to ask Costas about that… but I think it was just pressed as is.
Have you ever thought of re-recording some of those old tracks for for example a new upcoming output?
Have you thought of returning to the studio to record something new ?!
And they rise as Denial Fiend
Deniel Fiend being the latest band is quite punkish stuff in my opinion, as far as I know you are one hell of big fan of horror punk stuff which has influenced you to found Denial Fiend?
I’m an old school punker by heart… I was not a metal kid in high school.. not until I met with Rick and Chuck back in 1984. They came to me because of my punk band INVADERS FROM HELL (total Misfits/Samhain influenced band) because of my drumming skills back then. So yeah… all these years later I finally wanted to do a band that brought this style back in – with also mixing it with the style of Death – Thrash I helped create.
Before the debut album came out the Dead Awakening ep was unleashed, as far as it contained a couple of songs off from the demo and the ep is pretty much limited?
Yes… it’s a 7" vinyl release limited to 500 pressing.
The debut album titled They Rise came out on Ibex Moon run by John Mcentee from Incantation, he has been a long time Massacre fan since the early years and been a pioneer of the whole death metal scene. Was his dedication to the scene since the early days one of those reason why you ended up to his label or did the offer by John Mcentee look a more fair seen from your point of view?
Yes… pretty much because John was a fan… and because when he came to us… he was interested in the music – not about WHO was in the band, but rather what the band was about musically… that was a major reason we went with him.
Was the writing of the material kind of easy going process for the album after all?
Yeah… very fun and laid back!
I can’t help asking if LOD is kind of renewed version of old Mantas song “Legion Of Doom”?
There is a DVD included to the album where you are talking about the old metal scene, right?
Yes… it was meant to be a bigger thing…with a mini horror movie about zombies and even more footage – plus a music video, but because of such a small budget…. these things didn’t get done.
Denial Field have done a plenty of gigs in The States and Europe, how do you view from your side how the European death metal audience differ from the North American one ?! Does the old school death metal stuff appeal better to the European metal fans or are the North American death metal more fanatical toward death metal in general?
It’s much better in Europe for MASSACRE, always has been… but for DENIAL FIEND – we are much more accepted in the states. As I don’t think the European fans are open minded enough to accept the punk influences with-in DENIAL FIEND as much as the American kids. It’s weird – because for so many years Europe was were my heart was… but now for DENIAL FIEND – I feel that the fans here in the USA treat and accept us a lot better. It’s not that I want to compair the two places or even want to say one is better then the other – but its just the facts.
How have the people responded toward Denial Fiend, have you got some yells from the audience, “play Massacre”?
No… I never heard that… and if they did I would call that person out, and make them come up on stage and play a MASSACRE song for me. Ha-ha! I think people have the respect to understand that this is a different band, and that these two band should be considered just that – as two different bands.
Do you personally enjoy being on the road and doing gigs more now than in the past ?! Or is everything the same kind of uncontrolled chaos and mayhem in the organization and at gigs like in the early 90’s?
I always enjoy touring… it’s not a life for everyone… but I like it. I just hate the long overcrowded smelly plane trips to Europe, other then that I will always enjoy touring and meeting with fans and hanging out with all my freaks and fans on the road!
Other bands and projects
You have had several band projects such as Phlegethon, Cadavarizer, Revolting and now Beware, could you tell more about those now defunct one like Cadavarizer and that Phlegethon was an one man project thing, at least I am supposed to have a cd in my collection?
Phlegethon was a one man project I did back in 1998 – (before I knew of Lasse and his band PHLEGETHON from Finland existed) it was just a 3 song demo… and it was just a different style of Black/Death Metal I did as for fun. Cadaverizer was going to be me with the band members of the band EXHUMED, but because of lack of commitment on their side… the band never came to see the light of day. I talked to Cole (drummer for EXHUMED and REPULSION) recently while in LA when DENIAL FIEND/MASSACRE did the LA MURDERFEST, and he told me that was because Matt Harvey (guitarist for EXHUMED) got in way over his head with too many bands, and that the band fell apart because of that.
Tell a little bit about KAULDRON, URIZEN and SOUL SKINNER…?
KAULDRON and URIZEN was actually the same band with a name change… but that band fell apart because it was with the members of the black/death metal band EQUINOX, and they decided to just work on EQUINOX and not continue with this band. I guess they felt the had a better chance at playing "black metal" rather then doing old school "death metal" that I wanted to do. SOUL SKINNER was also a band that went thru a name change – called CATAGORY 3, but it was also a band that didn’t see the light of day because we could not find a drummer at the time, that’s okay with me though as the guitarist and bassist being the posers that they are went off to form a psudeo black goth mall metal trendy band anyways!
As far as I know you were supposed to work with Jim Durkin from Dark Angel for some of those projects ?
At one time we started to work together, but he stopped contact with me for some reason, and I never heard back from him. It seems a lot of these California guys are a bit flakey anyhow and have no self drive… I don’t know… maybe it’s all that sunshine and ocean air. Ha-ha! Most likely it’s the drugs and pot smoke! harr-harr-harrrr!
How did that Beware get started ?! Stevo from Impetigo is involved in the band as well ?!
It’s all Billy Nocera’s of RAZORBACK RECORDS brain storm ideas… he’s an evil genius and some sort of sick death metal gore creature from hell! Ha-ha!
And apparently the album is being worked on ?!?
Then Revolting featuring Rogga Johansson(Paganizer, Ribspreader), how did this come about and apparently the album is being worked on as drums are completed for the upcoming album?
Actually… I’m no longer in REVOLTING, as Rogga and I have decided to make a "new" band called BONE GNAWER. Rogga will still do REVOLTING for Razorback Records, but the band we are to do will be an all new "touring/recording" band and we will seek a bigger label to give us a deal.
I have noticed that Razorback Rec has been some kind of driving force behind to push you forward with these bands (Revolting and Beware), right?
Yes, as I said Billy is a sick evil brainiac behind of this. But really… I’ve been friends with Billy for years, and we always wanted to work together. We just never found the same time or band to organize… finally after so many attepts, Billy just made a band happen. First was BEWARE, and that’s what I’m still doing for RAZORBACK… it’s great because I’m also a fan and friend of STEVO (IMPETIGO) and always wanted to do something with him as well… and now with BEWARE we have that oppertunity to finally work together on something we both enjoy! This project will only be a recorded project… not a band that will tour, but still i will be fun and graet to work together with STEVO and RAZORBACK RECORDS.
Horror and Metal
Do you however view that the reputation ghost of Massacre will loom over your other projects, cos you are always remembered as a frontman of the legendary Massacre whatever you do with other bands and projects?
If me being in MASSACRE helps to get poeple to check out my other bands – that to me is a good thing… as I will always be doing new things, and new bands in the future. MASSACRE will always be apart of me… but it’s just a small part… I have so many other sides to me… and would like to explore those sides as well. Of course they will always be Horror releated, Death releated and Dark related subjects… because that just me. I mean I would never write a happy sing-a-long tune about pink bunnys and summer sun, but I write happy sing-a-long tunes about eating human flesh and bathing in pools of blood! Ha-ha-ha!
You are known for being a real horror/gore movies fan, how does a kid from Florida get interested and fascinated about the horror stuff in the early ages and still has a passion toward that 20-30 years later?
It’s all the swamp gas and the stench of the SKUNK APE I keep breathing… the giant reptiles and deadly venomus snakes in my backyard! The giant scarry insects and spiders and all these strange swamp creatures of gore that dwell within my area! I love HALLOWEEN and spookey stuff… as far back as I can remeber. I’m the first one to run head first into a haunted house – and I always come out on the other end in total laughter… this stuff is just home to me! I would be at home in a crazy funhouse carnival atmosphere from hell! That’s just me! Horror for me is a major part of my life… not a day goes by when I’m at home that I don’t watch at least one horror movie a day! It’s my recomended daily dose of madness! Haaaa-haaaa-haaa-haaahaaaaaa!!!
Do you have still interest left to check out newer extreme metal bands or do you rather stick to old classic ones?
I’m always interested in new bands and checking out new things… as I’m not a closed minded idiot. I’m very open to new things and bands that have that certain death metal sound I like and enjoy!
I for one thank you for your time to do the interview, but spit your last words…..
Thank you for the support… and great photos from WACKEN… KEEP IT COVERED IN BLOOD!
The official myspace sites of Massacre and Denial Fiend