Archive for March, 2015

By Theron Moore

I first heard of Sarkoma when I was writing for SLAM Magazine, then more and more at the local gigs I attended, their name kept popping up.  It wasn’t until a few years later when I was doing my zine “Louder Than God” that I finally decided to interview the band.

I was at work sitting in the breakroom.  Some skater kid sat down by me and started talking about the Sarkoma shows he was at, I think it was Rotation Station in Loves Park.  A few weeks later Greg from Pure Aggression mentioned them to me, how he was friends with the band.  Now Sarkoma was a “must see.”

And what a show it was.  It was the band’s debut performance at a small bar outside of Belvidere after being signed to Grindcore Records.  Sarkoma and Forchristsake.  To say it was a fun exciting time would be an understatement.

Sarkoma

Church of the Necromoicon:  What year was Sarkoma started?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   1987 in Aaron Ingrams garage just the two of us. I was playing guitar at that point.

COTN:  How did the band members come together?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Stu and Mike came into band around same time as Aaron and i. we then moved it to Mikes basement where it stayed till it’s end

COTN:  You were a young kid at the time Sarkoma was around.  Was your personal goal to take Sarkoma nationwide and be a working musician or keep the band local and maybe consider school?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   At this point in my life all I wanted was to be a rock star, like Dave says “ I lived my life like there was no tomorrow…

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COTN:  Prior to be signed, was Sarkoma playing just Northern IL or all over the Midwest?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   We did mostly midwest shows. Loved doing all aged shows kids appreciate music more than drunks in bars…

COTN:  What larger name bands did Sarkoma do shows with?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   We never really did too many shows with bigger bands that I can remember.

COTN:  Do you remember that one point in time when it occurred to you that maybe Sarkoma could be bigger than just a local band, that maybe, just maybe you could score a record deal?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Of course that was when I heard us on the radio for the first time, but I never really thought much about what it was going to become. Just played rocked and let it live.

COTN:  Who found who when it came to Grindcore Records?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   A friend at the time was managing us ( Nick Senave ) he was working at Grindcore at aske me to give him a demo next thing we know we get signed on my 21st birthday.

COTN:  At that point in time the Rockford metal scene was pretty active.  Were you thinking that maybe Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene outside of LA?

 

Brian Carter (Vocals):   No never crossed my mind.

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COTN:  Looking back at that era, what’s your opinion now, all these years later?  Do you think Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Not really, Rockford has always had great talent but without other like minded clubs and bars or places for these talented people to play, it makes it pretty hard.

COTN:  I believe you did two records with Grindcore — “Integrity” and “Completely Different.”  Were you able to tour the country for both records, if so, what bands did you tour with?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   The only tour we did had ¾ of the shows cancelled before we showed up, it was a great learning expierence. Made it all the way to mexico and back…good times

COTN:  What happened between Grindcore Records and Sarkoma?  I believe the label went out of business, right?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Ya but our 2nd CD was on Redlight records same label different name and different bands, more comercial bands

sarkoma logo

COTN:  Was there any label interest in the band post Grindcore?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Ya Redlight.

COTN:  What led to the dissolution of the band, what were the factors involved?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Two people wanted to go in different directions and they did, 1 wanted to get more heavy and one wanted to play rap rock, guess what one I am????

COTN:  Was it a good split or bad split?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Bad

COTN:  Why not revisit Sarkoma now?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   All members have moved on, and too much time has come between us.

the heavils

COTN:  Any plans to make Sarkoma music available on iTunes?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Not sure

COTN:  Is there a Sarkoma Facebook Page or website you’d like to plug?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Nope

COTN:  Post Sarkoma 2014.  What are you doing now?  Do you know what the other band members are doing?

Brian Carter (Vocals):   Well after I was in a way more successful band called The Heavils we were signed to MetalBlade rercords for 5 years put out 2 CD’s and toured with some awesome bands, got to open for Slipknot 3 times opened for Slayer toured with Six Feet Under the Red Chord, Misery signals, Bloodhound Gang Devin Townsend produced our 2 release Heavilution, we were in Guitar Player Magazine twice, Guitar world, Rolling Stone. This was my proudest achivement in music.

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BY THERON MOORE

When you think of guy who has a dream and a vision and then actually takes the time to carve it out, make it happen, that’s Mark, then and now.  First and foremost he’s a good friend.  He was a Cali transplant to Rockford Il back in the 80’s and became Radio DJ, repo guy, locksmith, band manager for Pure Aggression, you name it, he did it and then some.  Snodgrass played an important role in the 80’s rock scene in Rockford Illinois.   In his own words…

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Church of the Necronomicon:  Mark, you like myself played kind of a peripheral role when it came to the Rockford music scene back in the 80’s and 90’s, you had a radio show and I did a zine.   Tell me about your radio show and how local music figured into it.

Mark Snodgrass:  The show was on WLUV in Loves Park, IL… Serving the greater Rockford area, sometimes down to DeKalb when I fiddled with the knobs on the transmitter 😉  What started out as a way for me to get “Alternative” music in front of a major city who only had Top 40, Country and Oldies as their choice at the time, became a major support system for the burgeoning local music scene in the Rockford area.

            While being different, eclectic and sounding like pirate radio was the initial draw for attention back when the show started, it was local music that rallied listeners, and support for my little show grew exponentially, as did the local scene now that they had an outlet to be heard by the masses, as opposed to a sweaty basement at the Cherry Lounge.

Church of the Necronomicon:    How did you get that radio gig?  What was the day and time you were on the air?

Mark Snodgrass:  I was a California transplant.  I grew up with choices and “alternatives” on the radio.  It was natural to me. So when I landed in Rockford, I was like, what the fuck?  Jeff Wicker is a radio “Personality?”  Time and Temp Jocks prevailed, and the music was the same song, at least every hour, with 5 or 6 in regular rotation. 

            I wanted to hear the stuff Nirvana was putting out (Prior to Teen Spirit).  I wanted to hear Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies… Classic Punk mixed with the new breeds like the Pixies, that new band called Pearl Jam… No one would touch that shit back then. Grunge was the term for the Mother Love Bone’s and Screaming Trees and of course Nirvana’s of the day.  And I wanted to throw in some twists, like Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

            I thought what I liked listening to had teeth, had a rhythm that wasn’t given a chance to be heard, and should at least be given a chance to be accepted or rejected… rather than being pigeon holed as obscure or to nonconformist.  Which ironically is exactly why the local music thing meant so much to me… No one gave these guys a chance. They were relegated to backrooms and basements. Friend’s parties and bootleg cassette tapes.  I saw the chance to deliver all of this over the airwaves in the second largest metro area in Illinois… and I took that chance.

            Basically, Reader’s Digest version of getting the show… I did what I preached from day one on my show.  You want to be “punk?” you want to break the rules? You want to cause change and revolt and make a difference? Then do it from within the system. 

            I got a job at WLUV as a salesman.  I worked there for a week, gained the trust of the owner, convinced him Rockford needed a local alternative show to replace the top40 and sports crap he was satellite shoveling to the masses, and got him to give me a time slot.  I started on Friday nights from 10pm till 2am, Pretty quick I got Saturday nights. Then Sundays. Then sporadically through the week… Live remotes n such followed and the thing picked up steam. Called the show “Listen to This.”

            That station had never been in the ratings, but my timeslots were placing, and on the weekends I was number one.  I was selling actual ads for my show and proved to Joe Salvi (the owner) that I was right.  We carried on like that for about two years, till I got too full of myself, thought I could do anything I wanted to do… The FCC took care of that by suspending me from the airwaves for 6 months following an investigation into reports of foul language and suggestive content.

            That’s not what they got me for, surprisingly, because there was tons of that going on. What nailed me was not logging commercials. They require you to mark down that you played a Dominos Pizza spot at, say, 11pm and it ran for 30 sec…Sears had an ad and it ran for 45 seconds, etc… What I failed to realize was that while I thought I was supporting the local scene, when I said, “Hey – Pure Aggression is playing at Hard Times bar tomorrow night and the doors open at 8pm…” THAT was a commercial.  I just thought I was doing bands and fans a favor.

            Even though I didn’t see a penny from that kinda stuff, the FCC saw them as commercials, because someone whether the band or the venue, was cashing in. Joe was in no position to argue with the FCC so he knocked me off the air.  Quite honestly, he was crying when he told me.  And… Quite honestly I was pissed and said fuck radio I’ll do something better, I’ll do TV. And “Look at This” was born. After two public access episodes I teamed up with Marc Peabody and landed on WTVO, then NBC. But looking back, I had a face for radio and should have made that my career.

Church of the Necronomicon:    Did you have any local bands on your show?

Mark Snodgrass:  I think I had almost every local band on the show 😉  See, when the story I just exhaustively told began, I was… a security guard. Yeah. Shut up.  Anyway, one of the guys I worked post with found out about my show, and he’s like, “You gotta hear these guys, maybe put them on your show sometime.” And proudly handed over a cassette tape of some dudes named Sarkoma. 

            I listened to a couple songs, kinda dug ‘em and said Fuck it I’ll Play it. Never promoted it, never advertised, just put “Dog” on one night while I was doing my show.  I never had the phones light up like they did that night. People were going crazy, fans were calling asking for more. People who didn’t know were calling asking who that band was I just played. 

            I started talking about it on the air. I never knew who they were or what to say about them. Remember, I wasn’t from around them parts for long.  I played “Holidays” I played “Trolls Opinion” (having no idea what it was about 😉 ).

            The rest of the week was filled with bands calling me to get on the air, notably Pure Aggression, who played a huge role in my deciding to really pursue and support the local scene.  But yeah, Flac, Sarkoma, Pure Aggression, Shatterd Plastix, Decadenza, DMZ… A lot of the bands hung around the station, played acoustic sets, helped me torment listeners…

            The station was crazy… my studio was basically a closet with a mixing board and cd players in it… and we would cram like 20 people in there… to fit any more we would have needed a lubricant.  And not just bands… I had open invites for listeners to bring by music if they wanted people to hear it and I didn’t have it. Hell, dancers came from State Street Station to party and, um… dance.  It was a wild scene, tons of fun. We never planned a night or a show. It just happened

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Church of the Necronomicon:  Tell me about the music format you had.  I remember hearing punk, metal, etc. on the show.

Mark Snodgrass:  It was eclectic… I have varied tastes, and I don’t think anyone only listens to one type of music, or locks into one genre.  A lot of Metal dudes dig Johnny Cash. Some Pixies fans love Leonard Cohen. Stu from then Sarkoma likes Tom Waits and I like it all.  So I played it all.

            Kinda like I said above… there was no format.  It just happened and evolved at the show went on. Never had a play list, never set a rotation, per se. Only thing I guaranteed was that I wouldn’t play the same song twice in a 4 or 6 hour show.

Church of the Necronomicon:   How did you meet Greg Czaczkowski from the band Pure Aggression?  Was it through the radio show?  You were also friends with Sarkoma, correct? 

Mark Snodgrass:  Greg called me shortly after the Sarkoma thing.  Yeah, I used to put my home number out on the air so people could call me and tell me stuff they wanted to hear.  So Greg called, and we ended up talking for like 4 or 5 hours.

            He was interested in getting his band, Pure Aggression on the air, sure.  But what struck me was his passion for supporting the local scene.  He knew a revolution in radio and local music was on the cusp of blowing up, and he damn well wanted to be part of pushing it over the top. 

            Greg is over the top. Anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t stop at 110%, He goes all out.  I’ve never seen him do anything half assed or mediocre.  After we got off the phone, I knew this guy was gonna be my best friend.  And so we were.

            He was one of the few who I met through the show that I became friends with because we connected, not because I could get him on the air.  Same with the guys from Sarkoma.  Stu, Tony and Brian, especially.  When I quit the TV show and there was no more looking, or listening or anything to this… They always showed love. 

            I never really heard much in the years after from most of the bands… Really only Pure Aggression, Sarkoma and Decadenza stuck by me in my normal, non-public life.  I owe those guys gratitude for not abandoning me in my “Has Been” years.

Mark2

Church of the Necronomicon:     I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this.  Were you a thrash or metal fan back then?  I know we went to a few PA gigs together, was it just to support Greg and the band? 

Mark Snodgrass:  I liked some metal, but it was Greg who introduced me to the really hardcore stuff.  I went to shows with him and was blown away by the talent those dudes had that others dismissed as noise… and the pure energy and stamina that bled from the stage… it wasn’t until I saw bands like Cannibal Corpse, Demolition Hammer and of course, Deicide – Live, that I became an honest fan. 

            He also turned me on to stuff like Ice T… I was into old skool stuff like RunDMC and Public Enemy back in the day, but the whole IceT / Body Count thing was phenomenal. Yeah, I owe that to Greg for broadening my horizons. 

Church of the Necronomicon:     At that point in time when Pure Aggression was active, the Rockford metal scene was thriving.  Did you think that maybe Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene outside of LA? 

Mark Snodgrass:  I thought Rockford was going to be THE next big thing.  I always said, we’re going to be the next Seattle… Not just for Metal, not just for Grunge… But the amazing pool of talent that was swimming around back then… every Genre really had something special going on.  They should have made it… But… it kinda did the Rockford thing and fizzled.

 

Church of the Necronomicon:     Looking back at that era, what’s your opinion now, all these years later?  Do you think Rockford could’ve been the next big metal scene or not?

Mark Snodgrass:  Could’ve, yeah… But Rockford could’ve been a lot of things… and never really was. It’s… Rockford.

Church of the Necronomicon:   Looking back on it now, what circumstances do you think need to have happened then that would’ve propelled the Rockford music scene into the national spotlight?

Mark Snodgrass:  Hmmm… I don’t want to take blame or credit by saying if I would’ve kept my head together and my ego in tact and found a way to stay on the air, but I’ve always wondered if that was part of it.  Not even me, per se… but some outlet on the airwaves… it would have helped. 

            Couple other stations and people made valiant, if not misguided attempts at promoting local music, but it was all so… corporate.  And never given a chance. The difference with what I was doing is that I didn’t have a station owner or company telling me what to do. The closest thing I had to that was Joe telling me that he heard Fuck go over the air 5 times, and to please knock it off.

 

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Church of the Necronomicon:   Did you promote shows back then?  I seem to remember you might’ve done a Leaving Trains gig?  Tell me about that one… 

Mark Snodgrass:  I played a small part in promoting Pure Aggression and Decandenza… We made this quasi company called Arsenal Group Productions with a label of Mac10 Music, and put together some really cool shows. 

            Um… The Leaving Trains thing… was more of a Train Wreck. They sent this really crazy demand list of perks and such when they were going to come to town.  I flat out told their management I couldn’t provide anything of the sort, that I was just a small local dude and was lucky to find them a place to play at. Period. Cancel it, not gonna happen. Well, their label never told them, it never got thru that it wasn’t happening.

            They were totally, understandably, pissed off at me. They called me for two or three days with threats of… well, tons of bodily harm and shitting into orifices… Ha, I was pretty freaked out and never booked another touring band gig again. 

Church of the Necronomicon:   Were you at one point managing Pure Aggression?  Tell me about that, was it successful?

Mark Snodgrass:  In a way, a little. I tried… But I had no idea what we were doing.  Gave them some promo ideas, helped set up some shows, like a food drive for the homeless thing at Rock Valley College, but really, Greg was always the boss, it’s what he does, the position he puts himself in, because the guy has so much energy and dedication.

Church of the Necronomicon:     What were the circumstances leading up to you disengaging from the Rockford music scene and moving on with your life?  At that time I had joined the USAF and was out of town…

Mark Snodgrass:  After “Listen to This” on the radio, I did the TV thing on NBC called “Look at This.”  It was cool, and fun and all… Did to TV what I did to Radio.  But after like, a year and a half, I just burned out on TV.  It wasn’t the same. Radio… it was so… Immediate. If you did something lame, people called (me out) on it right away. If I did something cool, people called right away. I always had a built in audience, right there in the studio as well.

            TV… it was me and sometimes a camera man. And me by myself in the editing room.  And I’d work 60 hours a week to film, edit and package a 30 min episode… which I’d get no feedback on for two weeks when it aired. It was drudgery, and I’ve never felt comfortable in front of the camera. Not my thing. I was only doing it cause no one else did. So I bailed out. 

            I tried like hell to get back on the radio, but I was kinda black balled in a way. I made enemies of pretty much every station and jock I could make fun of. Ya know, we used to have bonfires at the station, burning other station’s stuff.  Listeners would drop off ZOK shirts and WXRX stuff and so forth to win “prizes” (we were low budget, a prize might be a dirty coffee mug with the station owners comb in it, or an old scratched gospel record I found in the AM booth, or a leg bone from a deer the station dog brought back from the corn fields to chew on, stuff like that).

            We’d make a thing outa burning them every few months.  I mimicked a lot of the other jocks and got kinda good at pissing off pretty much everyone. So going back to radio was outa the question. So, I went back to the profession I learned while living in Washington DC for a couple years. I went back to repossessing cars. Not much I could do for bands when I was jacking their folk’s cars 😉

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Church of the Necronomicon:     Where and in what direction did life take you post the Rockford music scene and your involvement with it?

Mark Snodgrass:  Well, I repossessed cars for years, man. Years.  About 7 years ago, my life hit a dead end. Three bouts with cancer and neck vertebrae surgeries, hating my life as a repo man, and a miserable marriage left me depressed, pilled out of my gourd and about to give up.  

            I had an early midlife crisis and blew my life savings on trips to Europe and cars and pills and… pills. Ha. I split with my then wife, met my present wife, and she convinced me that in order to be happy and get better, all I needed to do was do what I love. What I was meant to do. Radio is a very close second, but she convinced me to pursue my only real talent, which is art.

            I’m happy, have been clean (both cancer and pills) for 7 years now, and I own my own business. At my age, I had to face it that no matter how good I could paint, I’d never make money at it till I was dead.  So I “sold out” and went the graphic design route.

            Moved to the Quad Cities with Steph and my son from previous marriage and our son from my now marriage (he’s 5 now.. at 46 years old, that’s a trip in itself man) and got jobs at a few promotions companies till I built up a reputation kinda as THE designer in the area, especially when it came to Screen Print designs.  After a couple years I quit my jobs and start my own company…

Church of the Necronomicon:   What are you doing now?

Mark Snodgrass:  Good Stuff Graphics & Design Co.  That’s my place 😉  Do Commercial design and have a screen printing studio.  I do a lot of work for guys in the MMA scene here, and now nationally.  My style lends itself to fighters and stuff like that. Oh… and bands too 😉  I do other stuff, but it’s rare to see me do, like, Cub Scouts and cheer leader type stuff. I don’t do milk and cookies, I do blood and guts.

            I also design websites and signage, company branding, logos, stuff like that. Basically, when people want custom, one of a kind stuff, and not cookie cutter crap, they come to me. I love it. I get the same reaction when people come to pick up their stuff as when someone sees one of my paintings. I may have sold out and gone commercial, but I’m still an artist, and that’s what sets me apart.

Church of the Necronomicon:     Do you have a Facebook page or website you’d like to promote?

Mark Snodgrass:  At the moment, I’m revamping my webserver.  I just put SnodgrassInk.com up, which will be a bit of a social network for screen printers and designers. I’ll get goodstuffgraphics.com back up shortly, and will be launching a new site for my new label and bleeding edge design firm called AnarchInk at anarchinkco.com

            Oh, and ThatShirtSite.com is on the way. Till then, go see some of my stuff at my FB biz page: facebook.com/GoodStuffGandD …oh, and add me at facebook.com/PopeSicola

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By Theron Moore

There were many local bands in the 80’s hard rock / metal scene in Rockford I dug but forchristsake was at the top of my list.  I loved their music, their live shows plus they were just the coolest, most down to Earth guys to hang out with.

I was invited over to their 4th Street apartment several times and it was always a great experience and 25 years later those memories are still strong with me.

Of all the bands I knew, Sarkoma and forchristsake should’ve been the breakouts, should’ve had national success stories but for reasons I don’t understand that success eluded them.  But who knows, in the world of music it’s never say never, right?

JS5

Church of the Necronomicon:  Before being called forchristsake was known as Mirrored Image.  Tell me about the origin of the band.  How did all of you know each other and at that time what were the musical influences that really kind of guided Mirrored Image musically.

Jerry Sofran:  Mirrored Image had been playing the Rockford music scene in the late 80’s before I joined. I was playing in Rude Awakening with Jason Williams, and when he joined Mossy and Mirrored Image he brought me with back in ’89. Musically at that time thrash ruled, and you can hear our take on it with such songs as “Horace” and “On Your Grave”.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Do you remember other bands in the Rockford scene at the time?  Was Sarkoma around then?

Jerry Sofran:  Rockford actually had a thriving music scene back in ’89-’90. We gigged with many fine metal/thrash/punk acts from the area, with the Sarkoma boys at the top of the heap.

Church of the Necronomicon:  There were a lot of bands playing back then doing everything from punk to metal. You had Pinewood Box & Bludgeoned Nun to Mirrored Image and Ript to Diamond Force.  Was there a lot of camaraderie among these varied bands or just the opposite?

Jerry Sofran:  There was a certain camaraderie among the members of the local acts even though we were very different stylistically. I, personally, was accepted by the locals, and grew fond of many Rockford area bands such as Sarcoma, Ript, and Last Crack.

JS6Church of the Necronomicon:  Who were the “go to” bands of Mirrored Image / For Christ Sake back in the day if you were looking to party?  How wild did those parties get, I’ve heard stories. Can you relate any experiences?

Jerry Sofran:  Oh man – we listened to and were influenced by it all back then. Music was evolving, and we were too. Jason Williams and I had Soundgarden, Maggie’s Dream and Jane’s Addiction, plus all the wild metal and thrash we grew up on in the ’80s like Slayer and Voivod.

      If the parties got wild, it was William’s (editor’s note:  lead singer Jason Williams) crazy ass usually leading the festivities. Boy ain’t right. I had the best years of my life hanging with that cat!

      I have a huge record collection, and during parties Jason would grab an album he hated, probably Lynyrd Skynyrd or something, and ask if he could smash it! So we thinned out my records that way. There were always strippers and whiskey around the seemingly daily parties at the 4th Ave house (you were there). I spent many a hungover morning reassembling our furniture after Jason flatbacked it!

Church of the Necronomicon:  Why the name change?  Was that ’89?

Jerry Sofran:  We changed the name back in ’91. We were looking to broaden our horizons regionally and nationally, and Mirrored Image seemed like a name for a local band. The way we changed our name was unique also.

      We did it in the middle of one of our shows. We abruptly stopped in the middle of our set, had Brian Carter, singer of Sarcoma, announce the name change to ForChristSake, dropped the new banner, and were off!

Church of the Necronomicon:  At what point did you start thinking that For Christ Sake had a real shot at being bigger than just a local Rockford band.  What was the turning point for the band?

Jerry Sofran:  I think the turning point for FCS, and more and more bands regionally and nationally, was the evolving styles of music rock bands encountered in the early ’90’s. Rock was reinventing itself (again), and we thought we could change the world. We were cock-sure that our signing with Gary Taylor and Re: Talent would lead to big things.

 

JS4Church of the Necronomicon:  Prior to hooking up with your future manager was the band playing steadily around the Midwest or just the Northern IL area?

Jerry Sofran:  We played mostly regionally, Rockford-Chicago-Madison-Milwaukee.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Tell me about finding yr infamous future manager Gary.  Who found who initially and how?

Jerry Sofran:  Mossy had a friend who worked for Gary Taylor, laid a tape on him, next thing he was in our funky-ass Rockford apartment offering to sign us. Now this was huge for us, as Gary was already managing Annihilator from Canada and Last crack out of Madison. Both bands were touring the world, had videos on MTV…

Church of the Necronomicon:  And was he the force behind getting you guys on tour through the Pacific Northwest?  I know you had a show booked in Vancouver, was that with Caustic Thought of at the time or was that where your manager was from?

Jerry Sofran:  Yeah Gary managed Caustic Thought too, and they were all from Vancouver B.C. We toured with Caustic up the west coast of the U.S. and into Vancouver. We also used to play with Caustic and Last Crack at CBGB’s in New York frequently.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Speaking of Caustic Thought, that was the band that had Byron Stroud and Devin Townshend who would later go on to have much success with their respective bands Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Zimmer’s Hole, etc.  And I remember they were staying with you guys in Rockford for a short time.  Any stories / experiences you can relate?  You still stay in touch with any of them?

Jerry Sofran:  I remember the Canadians hated the low-quality weed in the midwest. Devin Townsend was a trip, man. He was on the first west coast tour when he played with Caustic Thought. That boy ain’t right, either. He went on tour with only the clothes on his back, his guitar and amp. No money, no spare clothes. His socks weren’t allowed in the van, so he tied them to the side mirrors while we traveled. We were shown a great time while with Caustic, especially in Vancouver, where the best strip clubs are located.

JS3

Church of the Necronomicon:  Was it around this time that you guys shot that pro video for one of your songs?  Whose idea was that, it had to be expensive.  Was the intent to submit it to MTV?  Was it submitted?

Jerry Sofran:  Well, our lady friends from KitKat clubs in Rockford paid for the video. We struck a cool deal with Kundalini films out of Chicago and shot a video we hoped would be good enough to release, but it never saw the air.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Where were the live scenes shot?

Jerry Sofran:  We shot all the live stuff at the Times theatre in Rockford. The video is posted on the forchristsake Facebook page.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Fast forward towards the end of FCS as a band.  After the shit hit the fan with the manager, etc., how long did it take you to move on musically or did you feel like you wanted OUT of music?

Jerry Sofran:  I did feel a break was needed. I’d never missed a rehearsal or gig in 12 years, and was going to take a year off, but my good friend, and last forchristsake  drummer Bunj wouldn’t have it. He made me jam, and we formed our next band, Fluid OZ.

Church of the Necronomicon:  So where does everyone go and what do they do when FCS is done?

Jerry Sofran:  Everybody joined or formed important local and regional acts. Jason Williams sang in the infamous Motormouth, then he joined Agent Zero for a few years. Mossy formed and toured with The Heavils, and is still making music today with his band Staggg.

JS2

Church of the Necronomicon:  How many years later did it take to get FCS back together and do the reunion shows?

Jerry Sofran:  We finally were able to pull it together back in 2010 for one successful reunion show at the Back Bar in Janesville.

Church of the Necronomicon:  Are there more plans for more reunions shows?

Jerry Sofran:  You know, they’re fun, but I really don’t feel the need for any more shows. Jason lives in AZ now, so…

Church of the Necronomicon:  In your opinion, what’s the Rockford music scene like today compared to the 80’s and 90’s?

Jerry Sofran:  There is NO music scene in Rockford today, and if anyone tells you there is, they weren’t around during the 70’s-80’s-90’s when Rockford had a thriving scene. Although I trust the kids are underground, just like we were, making the new vital sounds of the future.

Church of the Necronomicon:  What are you doing today, what’s your life like now?  Any Facebook pages or websites you’d like to plug?

Jerry Sofran:  Still at it, Theron. I play bass for Vanishing Kids. Based in Madison, Nikki is such a talented vocalist and inspiring songwriter. Along with her husband, and equally talented guitarist, Jason Hartman, I feel the band could make some noise in the current scene. Terry Nugent, drummer for my first band White Knight (1982-83), plays for us too, so I’m kinda in a great situation currently.

 

Vanishing Kids Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanishing-Kids/328568887984

 

forchristsake Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/forchristsake/368543023754

Listen to forchristsake here:

http://www.last.fm/music/Forchristsake?ac=forchristsake

 JS7

Spirit Visions, by V A N I S H I N G K I D S

vanishingkids.bandcamp.com

BY THERON MOORE

Nader Sadek

The Malefic Chapter III

Score  8/10

nadar sadek

Nader Sadek ain’t your ordinary death metal band, in fact they kinda transcend those boundaries.  Take the song “Descent” where we find the band reaching deep inside their darkened, blasphemed souls to produce a song that’s haunting in it’s own right.  I like the fact that Sadek aren’t afraid to explore and change it up musically.  With “Descent:”  Three words:  Deep.  Emoting. Woeful.

I like this record because I get the feel that Nader Sadek allows the songs to dictate how their music gets presented, not the other way around.  They’re not falling into the trap of having to play fast, blast beat shit with harsh vocals because that’s what’s required of them.  They do what they do because Nader Sadek is vested in their music, and it shows.

The Malefic: Chapter III” was first released as a free CD in Decibel Magazine (#122), Terrorizer Magazine in the UK and Legacy Magazine in Germany (#94). “The Malefic…” will be available digitally soon. Can’t wait to hear a full record by these guys.  Buy now.

Ranger

Where Evil Dwells

Spinefarm Records

Release: 17 March 2015

Score  8/10

 Ranger

Speed metal up the ass, the way it was meant to be!  I liked “Where Evil Dwells.”  Personally I think this genre is getting saturated with a lot of groups trying to do what Ranger’s doing but as long as they keep doing what they’re doing with “Where Evil Dwells” I think they’ll secure a fan base that’ll keep ’em going for many years.

Ranger makes the grade.  Their mastery of this genre is apparent, they kill it on this record.  It’s good, they’re good.  The songs are tight lyrically and musically.  “Where Evil Dwells” feels natural and not forced and that tells me this band plays with heart, that they’re the real deal.

I don’t see myself getting tired of good thrash or speed metal which is another way of saying buy this record, you’ll thank me for it later.

 

Monstersworks

The Existential Codex

Eat Lead & Die Music

Release:  27 February 2015

Score  9/10

monsterworks

Alright boys, you got me.  The song titles are quasi scientific, it’s cool sounding, digging this in a very techie type way.

Monsterworks are as massive sounding as their name implies with the emphasis on riff heaviness. The harmonies, the melodies, the ferocity of the music is spot on.  I’ve been listening to this record the last few days and it hasn’t lost it’s punch.

The sound is new yet it’s old, it’s progressive in a heavy sense and not afraid to get out in front of itself and showcase something new and exciting.  Monsterworks is a band to watch, an exciting band to WATCH and “The Existential Codex” is a record you need to listen to.

Invincible Force

Satan Rebellion Metal

Dark Descent Records

Release:  10 March 2015

Score 9/10

 

invincible force

Death to god and all ye who worship him!  That’s  “Satan Rebellion Metal” in a nutshell but much bolder and louder. The record is a sick mixture of aggression and blasphemy tied together sinfully in a wall of sound, ten stories tall.  Invincible Force takes me back to the early days of death metal ala Massacre, Morbid Angel and Deicide.

If Invincible Force is the future of death metal I like what the future is shaping up to be.  There’s not a single thing wrong with this record.  It hits on every mark and goes a bit further.  Both the record and band never relent and did I mention heavy as fuck?  Why?  ’cause they are.  Buy “Satan Rebellion Metal.”

Saturnalia Temple

To the Other

Releases:  7 April 2015

Score  8/10

 saturnalia temple

Heavier than six, wet bucket loads of dirt on a casket getting lowered into a grave.  Heavy, heavy, grinding shit.  Listening to this record is like getting hit in the head with a hammer, repeatedly, tripping on acid.

I dig the depths they’re mining on “To the Other” in terms of how low and slow they can go.  Saturnalia Temple has effectively explored the depths of heaviness with “To The Other” earning many sludgeworthy kudos. Live, this band has to be amazing; kind of like what an avalanche sounds and feels like.

Saturnalia Temple ranks as one of the heaviest bands alongside Electric Wizard I’ve heard in a long time.  Check ’em out and get lost in the fog of fuzzzzzz…..

 

 

The Midnight Ghost Train

Cold Was The Ground

Napalm Records

27 February 2015

Score  8/10

 Opmaak 1

Oh thank the lord, a sack load of heavy, hopefully THC infused, bass heavy, bottom ended, demolition derby, inspired music.  The Midnight Ghost Train ain’t afraid to put a foot in yr ass and crank it up on their new record “Cold Was The Ground.”

It’s a little bit O’ Clutch coupled with a backwoods attitude on how rock oughta be — lots of distortion behind some good old, boogie down, muthafuckin’ rock.

I like the anger in the vocals, the musical vibe, everything on this disc gels right.  “Cold Was The Ground” is a deserved ass whuppin on what rock N roll has turned into ala the Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour bullshit we’re tortured with today.

Buy this record and be thankful music is still being made like this — grungy, sludgy, hard rock N’ metal.  “Cold Was The Ground” is the perfect soundtrack to taking a few cracks of the whip on yr back.  Consider both that and this record an attention getter.

 

Sacral Rage

Illusions in Infinite Void  

Cruz Del Sur Music

Release:  10 March 2015

Score 9/10

sacral rage cover art

Thrash of a different beast here.  Not necessarily retro but a band trying to capture a past sound in the present, no gimmicks, no nostalgia, reminding me of the old Metal Blade Records days when bands like Intruder, Helstar and Fates Waring filled their roster.

“Illusions in Infinite Void” is super tight, precision speed metal at it’s best.  You can rank these guys against the best bands of their genre past and present and Sacral Rage would still be a force to reckon with.  And the best part?  You’d never know they’re from 2015.

Not only is this good music, Sacral Rage is a reminder that metal continues to expand and explore music within itself on it’s own terms, something other genres like pop and country won’t do because of it’s rigid allegiance to a dead music industry and the starving corporate dollar.

Illusions in Infinite Void” is a must buy.  There’s an authenticity and genuineness that I haven’t heard with other bands of it’s ilk in a long time.  This one is the real deal.  Don’t be a poser.  Buy or die.

The Answer

Raise A Little Hell

Napalm Records

Release: 6 March 2015

Score 8/10

the answer

Good old fashioned rock N roll ala The Quireboys and Four Horseman.  I like what’s being presented here, it’s natural sounding, not forced to fit in a mold, not trying to be something they aren’t and proud of who they are.

Fans of 80s rock, good 80’s rock, will dig “Raise A Little Hell.”  There’s a healthy dose of soul and feeling with The Answer.  This is a band playing music they were meant to play and having a good time doing it which is hard to say for a lot of the actual 80’s bands that muddle their way through half assed tours nowadays.

“Raise A Little Hell”  isn’t afraid to wave the flag of rock N roll in a day and age when 80’s rock is more frequently than not, frowned upon.  The Answer could easily tour with the likes of Ratt, Motley Crue and Whitesnake and you’d never know they weren’t outta ’85.  Give this record a chance and have a good time with it.  Buy.

Infesting Swarm

Desolation Road

Art of Propaganda

Release: 30 March 2015

Score 8/10

infesting swarm

Oh so much heavy goodness with “Desolation Road!”  Blackn’d, deathly doom metal at it’s most downer best.

The theme of this record as I interpreted it,  is one of loss and the evacuation of all hope and positivity, bring the darkness and bleak existence most of us endure to the forefront ’till we’re laid to rest in a pinewood box or baked in some substandard crematory.

Desolation Road” is eight tracks of tortured existence put to music.   Musically, lyrically, the band and record are right on.  Doom on!

Gloson

Yearwalker

Art of Propaganda / Catatonic State

Release: 23 March 2015

Score 8/10

  gloson

Gloson is a fucking cement wall falling on top of you with their approach to deathly, doom inspired metal  — plodding, methodical and devastating.  No lives are spared and all souls get crushed listening to this monster.

Yearwalker” is a juggernaut of a disc.  Musically the band takes it time not relying on blast beasts or Cannibal Corpse inspired growls;  just hellish, heavy, muddy-tempo’d songs that hit every last emotion inside you.   The intent, musically, is to slowly and carefully pull you apart, limb from limb, with every track, force you to think, emote and feel.  Mission accomplished and well I might add.

Think Bolt Thrower without the progressive tempos and that’s close to Gloson.  Buy this immediately!

King Hitter

King Hitter

Restricted Release/Plastic Head Music

24 March 2015

Score 4/10

King Hitter

King Hitter takes their name from a Stevie Wright song, “King Hitter,” 1975.  The song rocks, it stinks of Bon Scott era AC/DC, in other words, it’s a black eyed bruiser in it’s own right.  And this band, King Hitter, you really want me to be honest with you?

It’s not good.  I thought it sounded like watered down COC meets even more watered down Machine Head.  I didn’t get that 70s hard rock groove they were trying to lay down, I couldn’t connect with it.

What a bummer considering not just the COC thing but the fact that vocalist Karl Agell (ex-Corrosion Of Conformity) and guitarist Scott Little did such great work in their former band Lead Foot.  For the record, that band had vibe, presence and force.  King Hitter doesn’t.  Won’t apologize for writing the review, just unhappy I had to do it.

Incinerate

Eradicating Terrestrial Species

Comatose Music

Release: 21 April 2015

Score 8 / 10

incinerate

“Eradicating Terrestrial Species” is nine tracks of straight up wrecking ball death metal with a twist — the album is sci-fi meets religion minus the faith aspect.  Ya got my attention, this is something I haven’t encountered before.  The record is an interesting concept well explored by Incinerate.

Sonically the band kinda falls into the realm of Abominable Putridity / Defeated Sanity / Cerebral Bore musically with the deep guttural vocals, blast beats, etc. but Incinerate is much more than that; this record proves it.

With this record the band has found their niche and lyrically they’re doing something different than other bands which is cool ’cause that’ll set them apart from their peers in this genre.  I definitely dug this record.  Check it out, buy it.

Death Earth Politics

Men Become Gods

Self-Released 14 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

dead earth politics

“Men Become Gods” is four tracks of good, solid thrash.  For a self released record the production value is top notch which makes me appreciate their sound and brand of music even more.

For some reason they reminded me of Grip, Inc. and Intruder ala the “Escape From Pain” EP which is cool since the Metal Blade genre of thrash is among the best that’s ever been put to record.

Dead Earth Politics is a cool band to check out and keep an eye on.  I think they’re ready to be signed, it’ll be interesting to see which label picks them up.

Anal Vomit

Peste Negra, Muerte Negra

Gates of Hell Records

Release: 5 May 2015

Score 8 / 10

anal vomit

Gut wrenching. Disgusting. Bile inducing.  Three complimentary terms to describe Peruvian based Anal Vomit’s “Peste Negra, Muerte Negra.”  First of all, how do you go wrong with a band who named themselves “Anal Vomit?”  You don’t.

“Peste Negra, Muerte Negra” is primal, no frills death metal with an old school nod to bands such as Possessed, Sarcafogo, Holocausto, etc.  It’s good filthy shit.

I like their sound and attitude.  AV are the dudes wearing chains and spikes diving into the pit at a Morbid Angel show and this record makes them a band to watch in the future for sure.

There’s a difference between imitating old school and embracing that sound.  Anal Vomit is the real deal.  And did I mention how cool their album art is?  Incredible and offensive to say the least.  Hell yeah!

Predatory Light

MMXIV EP

Pesanta Urfolk

Release: 30 March 2015

Score 9 / 10

predatory light

Just a two track release here but damn is it good!  Blackened doom metal with dare I say a slight Blue Cheer influence, especially with the drumming?  I think that’s fair to say.

Predatory Light kills it with both tracks on “MMXIV EP” cranking the heaviness factor past 11 and then some.  The band does a great job at incorporating atmosphere and building a sense of impending doom as with “Spiritual Flesh,” track two.  Nice fuckin’ touch!

For a two track EP Predatory Light showcases their sound superbly.  They nail a sludge vibe, change it up and touch on black metal, slow it down and go the doom route.  Great versatility here.  Cannot wait to hear a full length record from this band.  Get this release ASAP.  Fucking great!

Aelter

Aelter IV: Love Eternal

Pesanta Urfolk

Release: 20 April 2015

Score 7 / 10

aelter

I don’t think it’d be a reach calling this a concept record but it is somewhat of an acquired taste.  It’s five tracks including the intro — Death Eternal, Love Eternal, Life Eternal, Hope Eternal.

It’s not black or death metal, rather dark, atmospheric music with an under current of sadness and rage running through all four songs.  The best way to describe “Aelter IV:  Love Eternal” is, it’s the kind of music I’d expect to be the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie, specifically “Twin Peaks” and “Mullholand Drive.”  If this intrigues you then you’re a good fit for “Aelter IV:  Love Eternal.”  If not, check it out anyway.  It’s new, it’s different and deserves some attention.

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH

Volume IV – Hammered Again

Napalm Records

Release: 27 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

Mammoth Mammoth

I was expecting sludge but this is pure biker rock man, just pure 70’s inspired hard rock, the kinda band you’d see at a speedway jam wedged between Nazareth and Foghat waiting for Blue Oyster Cult to close out the gig before the demolition derby starts at dusk.

10 tracks, no ballads, just leather jacket, tattoo inspired music that reminds me of Nashville Pussy, Motorhead even Warrior Soul ala “The Wasteland” with just a dash of good old punk rock injected into it.

Best song on the record is “Fuel Injected” a rock N roll blueprint if ever there was one.  If you haven’t heard Mammoth Mammoth before then “Volume IV — Hammered Again” is a great intro to the band.   You’ll be pleased, Now buy.

Black Rainbows

Hawkdope

Heavy Psych Sounds

Score 10 / 10 black lights, black light posters, bell bottom jeans and 3 foot bongs

 hawkdope

Black Rainbows’ “Hawkdope” is a fine addition to the growing number of bands comprising The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock.  Stoner Rock you say?  Sludge Rock possibly?  Not even close.  This is heavier, yeah I said it — HEAVIER. Black Rainbows are part of The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock and fucking proud of it.  And trust me, they have the blown amps and the half deaf fans to prove it.

Never heard of The New Wave of Psychedelic Rock?  Too bad.  You’ve been missing out on the likes of Dead Meadow, Wooden Shjips, Thee Oh Sees, Black Angels, Fuzz and Ty Segall and that’s naming dropping just a few and now Black Rainbows have joined their ranks. Groovy!

“Hawkdope” sonically reminds me of Mudhoney’s fuzzed out guitar heaviness coupled with Ty Segall’s vocals but in the end it’s all Black Rainbows and oh how it works ever so nicely.

I just mentioned Mudhoney’s guitar sound.  If you can believe it, Black Rainbow’s guitar tone is fuzzier, murkier and much, much heavier sounding.  It’s like a mountain of fuzz face inspired goodness dropping on you at just the right time.  BUY, BUY, BUY.

The Slow Death

Ark

Chaos Records

Release: 16 March 2015

Score 8 / 10

the slow death

Who died?  No seriously — who died?  “Ark” is some monstrously depressing, funeral dirge music that features beautiful, almost angelic female vocals accompanied by who I can only guess is the Angel of Death singing.  On second thought, even the grim reaper weeps at the sound of “The Slow Death.”

Now I’m sure it sounds like I’m making fun of this band or I don’t like “Ark” but so not true.  I like the band and this record, it just redefines the genre of funeral doom for me in a good way, albeit suicidally depressing, but still…

“Ark” is six tracks of heavy, somber grooves; some with keyboards & synth, which under normal circumstances might detract from the metal side of the music but here serves to enhance and build mood, especially with “The Chosen Ones,” track one.  Holy shit.

I like bands that push music and art and creativity to the limit and pull it off successfully like Slow Death does with “Ark.”  Do not buy this record if you’re suicidal or off your meds.  Keep a broken razor nearby just in case…