Interview with King Fowley of Deceased
conducted by: Carlos M. Llanas
In their 26th season together, Deceased has stayed strong and consistent, and their brand of death/thrash metal is unlike any other. The creepy riffs, haunting melodies, and their love for the strange and weird gives them the ability to write outstanding albums like "The Blueprints for Madness", "Fearless Undead Machines", and "Supernatural Addiction" just to name a few. Their most recent studio attempt "Surreal Overdose" has received great reviews from us, Metal-Rules.com, and other great sources alike. Songs like "Skin Crawling Progress", "kindred Assembly", and their single "Cloned (Day of the Robot)" make this album a must own. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Deceased frontman and personal friend King Fowley in San Antonio, Texas for the 5th annual Goregrowler’s Ball. King is no stranger to Texas; he’s been here many times on tour with either Deceased, or his heavy metal band October 31. Hell he even kicked my ass in soccer one of the last times he was here ( He is no joke people). In this interview King talks about the next full-length album to be titled "Ghostly White", his love of horror movies, his band mates, and what is in-store for the future of Deceased. Here he is for your thrashing pleasure….King Fowley.
This is Carlos with Metal-Rules.com and joining me here tonight in San Antonio, Texas is King Fowley of the legendary death thrash band Deceased. How are you doing tonight King?
I’m doing fantastic Carlos! Good to see you my friend!
Cool! Well King tonight you are here at the Goregrowler’s ball, and playing over the weekend will be Hirax, Exhumed, and Goatwhore just to name a few. How are you enjoying it so far?
I’m having a good time! It’s good seeing everybody from Texas. I love Texas; it’s one of my favorite places to play. It’s one of the best states in the country. It might even be my favorite out of all of the states to play. I love it down here; I just wish we would have played more. This year we’re only doing one show. You know us, we usually play five shows in places like Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen, and Austin. So this year everybody from other towns had to come see us.
Yeah I was wondering about that. You usually take a trip down to the valley as well.
Oh yeah! I love Harlingen! I love ya Serge!
Let’s talk a little bit about the new album "Surreal Overdose". It’s jam packed with all the metal we come to expect from Deceased, and has received great reviews. How do you feel about the success of "Surreal Overdose".
This one is really special in a lot of ways, because it is a new era of the band. This is our 26th year together, and we’ve had a lot of things change over the last five years. Losing original member Mark Adams was one of them, and also having Shane, our new guitar player, take Mark’s place on the record. Mike does the studio thing only. Also, Les moved here to Texas and got married, and I’m married up in Philadelphia, so a lot of stuff has happened over the past six or seven years. To come out and be that strong, no matter how many times it took to write and record this album, it was tough. This literally started way back in 2006. The newest song we have is from late 2009, so the songs are new to everybody that hears them, but to us they are old. We are really happy with the sound and the production of the album; we had a great time doing it. Shane, being the new guy, stepped up and did a fantastic job. I love that guy. I’m also happy with the art work. The response has been great; we’re ready to get out and keep going.
You mentioned Mike, and I have to ask you. He’s been your guitarist for many years and has also been a very important role in Deceased, and as we all know, he doesn’t tour with Deceased anymore. Tell me, is there a way that you could ever convince him to make a comeback and tour with you?
That guy is afraid of the world man. Yeah MIKE I said it! All joking aside, he’s set in his ways. He’s and old guy; hell he’s even older than me he’s 44. He’s has a government job, a wife and a family. He’s happy; he was never a big "Live" player. He loves the studio. He told us from day one when he joined the band in the early 90’s that he was more of a "studio" guy. He did it for many many years. He went through a lot of the trenches with us. He’s a great guy and I love him. He’s a big part of the Deceased spirit and sound. I really don’t think it will happen though. Maybe one day at our farewell show he might show up and be in the crowd haha. I love ya Mike!
Speaking of Shane, How much impact has he had in the band since his arrival and also on the success of the new album?
Well, Shane wants to play live. He busts’ his ass. Here’s a perfect example, last year was our 25th anniversary tour, and we did a bunch of shows. We went to the West Coast; him and Erik got into Shane’s van in the Maryland, DC, area and drove to Las Vegas over the course of two days. Shane blew up his van to do that tour. He’s a diehard; he plays his ass off, and he’s a great guitarist. He’s been a great addition to the band; he has great spirit, and he’s in it for the right reasons. He doesn’t expect anything; he just does what he does, and whatever happens happens. That’s what we all do. We’re not expecting anything; we do it for the music. Shane has been nothing but fantastic since day one.
Let’s go back to "Surreal Overdose". The album cover is really good. Who came up with that idea for the art?
It’s an idea that I’ve had for a long time. The hand/leg people I actually saw on a poster for a 70’s movie called "The Devil Within". It was an old Joan Collins movie; it’s about a midget who puts a curse on a woman, and her baby grows to be this crazy hand/leg baby. The movie was okay, but I love the creatures in the poster art. I took the hospital idea of having "good" and "bad", in a surreal way. Is it really there? or is it not? Kind of like "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" where on one side he’s in hell and the other he’s in heaven. It’s the same room, but two different things going on. Tragedy and Peacefulness together. That’s what the world is to me. Is it a great place to live? It’s really fucked up, but are we doing our best to get through it? Yeah…so that’s what the whole spirit of that is. Raul Gonzales from from Spain did a fantastic job. Fantastic artist, easy to work with, and I rate it an A+++.
The new album also sounds very old- school Deceased. I think it’s because of your return to the drum kit. Did you do anything different on this album as opposed to "As The Weird Travel On"?
King: It was harder than ever for me. This is the first time that I have played (drums) on a full album since my stroke. I had the stroke in 2004, and my left side is always going to be completely damaged. I’m a left handed drummer, and it’s hard to be able to do it; it is tough. People ask "Why don’t you play live? You did fine on the record." It’s not the same, because live you have one shot to do it. On the record, if we play something a third of the way through and I screw up like, then I stop and start over. But live, you can’t do that to people who pay to see you. That’s not right. The bottom line with the new record was to do it the best we could, and If I wasn’t able to do it, then bring in somebody else. I was able to do it though. With the last album Dave "Scarface" Castillo played on it. I taught him all the songs, and he played them on the album. This time we have Eric Mayes playing live, and I figured "Let me record it. You learn it and play it live." and it worked this time. If it didn’t work, then I would have never done it.
Dave Castillo also recently came back to do a show with October 31. How was that?
It was fantastic. It was great seeing Dave. I miss him man. He’s Dave you know? He’s a cooky guy. I love him and I think October 31 would be good for him, but he’s such a busy guy. He has family and things going on in Virginia. He’s still a great friend and I’m happy for him.
At this point is it too early to start thinking about a new album? Or is there something in the works already?
It’s definitely not too early, because like I said, 2009 was the last writing process for the record. It’s time to get on something. We have a working title called "Ghostly White" and we are going to get back to what we did on "Supernatural Addiction" with a lot of the haunted tales. Personally, that’s my favorite Deceased album. There’s going to be a lot of melodies, aggression, everything you expect from Deceased. "Surreal Overdose" is ripping fast, but we’re going to take it further with the next one. Mix it up more, but it will still going to be 110% Deceased as always. We’re looking at a 2013 release.
Not only are you the front man for Deceased, but you also sell some awesome metal merchandise. How did you first get into that?
I’ve always wanted to talk about bands with people, and they always wondered "Where can I find that?" and they could never find it. Some people gave up because it was such a search. So I started to make CD’s with my old label "Old Metal Records" which was actually started in ’97, and I started adding them to boxes and adding stuff along the way. It wasn’t the stuff that everybody was carrying like your Relapse and your Metal Blade, but the lesser known private pressed stuff. I try to dig for lost gems; things that people missed along the way including myself sometimes. So I keep doing it. Here I am fourteen years later and people still come to the table asking me "What’s the new stuff? What came out? What stuff has been reissued?" I keep everything at 10$ a CD, which I think is a fare price for a CD. I try to give people a lot of good music that I love, and hopefully they’ll love too.
Like you mentioned before, Les lives here in Texas. What do you do when he’s not able to make it to a show? Do you have a fill-in bass player?
We have a bass player named Chris Paulino who helps us out in New York, and he’s been doing a great job. He’s played a lot of show for us; he’s probably done forty shows with us already over the last three years. Also, James Danzo is now playing live guitar because Matt is out.
I heard he’s going to school or something?
It was just too much for him. He doesn’t have a car and we live far apart. He lives in Boston. That’s a lot of bus trips. It catches up on you. I didn’t want to make it too much on him and neither did he. It’s all fine; he did a hell of a job when he was in the band. Now James Danzo stepped up and he’s a fantastic player. Him and Chris have been buddies forever, so it works even more. Oh and this is Les’ only show of the year. We’ve done thirteen so far and this will be his only one, because we only had one booked in Texas.
As any respectful Deceased fan, and friends of yours know…you LOVE horror movies (who doesn’t right?) so much so, that you have a Facebook post every day on your "Movie of the Day". Your movie collection must be fucking huge.
It’s nuts man. I have a storage space that costs me 250$ a month to keep. I have about 12,000 movies. Originals too not counting dubs, DVD burns, and VHS burns. So I probably have close to…god I don’t know…25-30,000 movies. Not just horror of course. I’ve been doing it a long time. That’s what I do. I don’t drink, smoke, or fool around. That’s where all my money goes.
It’s a healthy hobby.
It is a healthy hobby. It can get a little crazy though.
and kicking my ass at soccer too….
AND KICKING YOUR ASS IN SOCCER TOO!!!! We love you Carlos! But your soccer game has to improve! Your dribbling is a wee bit off.
Hahahaha! Well king, What are you plans for 2012?
King: Write the new album "Ghostly White", hopefully get the new DVD out "Digital Graveyard" that we’ve been working on for years and years. I love playing; I want to do more shows. We only did thirteen shows this year. I want to get Les back to playing live. Hes taken some time off; I miss seeing him too. We’re just going to keep busy. Deceased is here to stay man; as long as we can go. I got twenty-five more years in me.
How far are you planning on taking your record label "Shrieks from the Hearse"?
Only Deceased releases. It’s all it’ll ever be.
So no signing other bands?
Nothing. Just Deceased. We’re at the point now where we don’t need other labels. We’ve been doing it ourselves for so long. With "Relapse" it became tragic, because there were so many problems and business things we didn’t agree with near the end that it just became a fucking nightmare. We worked with "Thrash Corner" for a record, but Ray was doing pretty much what we do. Which is to do it out of our house. So we’ll just do it ourselves. We put the money in and we get our money out.
Fuck the middle man. Do it yourself!
Exactly. That’s what it’s about.
Well King, thank you very much for your time and for speaking metal with us. You have any words for your fans reading at home?
Yeah. I want Carlos to give me his Anvil "Forged in Fire" patch off the left bottom side of his denim. Everyone at home…Up the Tombstones. Be healthy, take care of each other, and be yourself. Metal is alive and well.