Interview with Mike Browning (2004)
By Laurent Ramadier
As a Death / Thrash Metal die hard follower since 1984 or so, I always thought it would be interesting to learn more about the early days of the mighty MORBID ANGEL and Florida's INCUBUS because not alot is known about those specific times (and the few things that are known appear to be wrong for most of it , as you'll find out in a few minutes), so what could be cooler than having the legendary drummer / singer for those acts (and of course for NOCTURNUS, ACHERON and AFTER DEATH), Mike Browning revealing everything in details about his lengthy career?! So here's the most in depth interview ever done with the man, enjoy reading it as much as I did doing it!
Mike , you started playing Metal 20 years ago,
back in 1982, so how did that passion for Heavy Metal has begun to start
"Well in fact it probably started... I know I started playing drums back in high school, that's when I met Trey (Azagthoth), started listening to alot of BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, ANGEL WITCH, stuff like that and I just knew that's pretty much what I wanted to do."
Why did you choose to play drums as instrument? Was it your first choice or did you start with another instrument exactly? Did you take lessons or are you self taught?
"Well I started playing drums in junior high school which I guess I was about 14 or 15 when I bought my first drum set, I used to like watching people doing drums solos so I thought that would be a good thing and I started out with the drums, started learning 'em in school but in fact after the tenth grade which I was about 15, I didn't play in a school band anymore because I had to work and you had to practice after school with the band and I couldn't do that cos I was working instead so I did keep playing the drums and... I would say as for as the drum set itself, I was self taught, as for starting out with drums, I did it for a couple of years in school ."
Also what were your main influences and fave artists?
"Back then there wasn't that much to choose and like I said, I listened to alot of B LACK SABBATH, I listened alot of LED ZEPPELIN - I still like L ED ZEPPELIN and B LACK SABBATH - and maybe DEEP PURPLE, stuff like that, there's alot of the older seventies bands that I like, I didn't care for too much of the eighties stuff except for , you know , for MAIDEN and PRIEST and things like that, I listen to alot of that still... from back then, my main influences are really like OZZY, Tommy Aldridge was a huge influence on me playing drums, probably one of the biggest, of course like I said B LACK SABBATH, and then I started to listen to stuff like ANGEL WITCH and it just went on from there."
MORBID ANGEL started in 1983, but did you play
in some other local bands before being involved with that specific act?
"In fact M ORBID A NGEL was the first band - other than it wasn't called M ORBID A NGEL back then... that was my first band."
Who came up with that simple yet killer bandname exactly?
"Trey came up with the name MORBID ANGEL"
So let's talk now about that first band, MORBID ANGEL. The story has been well documented over the years but there's still obscure points that need to be discussed, the band started with George "Trey Azagthoth" Emmanuel, Dallas Ward and you, so do you remember how you got together in the first place?
"Like I said I met Trey in high school, we were probably 16, 17 years old and I met Dallas a little bit later after Trey had met him later on after he moved... after he graduated in high school. We played in... the first band was in fact called ICE and then we changed it to HERETIC when we found Dallas and became a three piece... after HERETIC we found out that there was another HERETIC so Trey came up with the name M ORBID ANGEL. So that was pretty much how all that happened."
Was it Trey and Dallas first band or...?
"Well in fact it was for all of us our first band, the first thing we ever did with other people, we played instruments and you know just kind of messed around at parties and stuff with other people but this was the first serious band we ever tried to put together yes."
How long did it take the band to come up with their own original material and what were some of the covers you were playing at the time? I remember that there was some SLAYER / M ERCYFUL FATE covers included in the early rehearsals...
"Yeah , like I said , the first stuff we started listening to was , you know, ANGEL WITCH, we did a couple of ANGEL WITCH covers and some M ERCYFUL FATE covers and a couple SLAYER stuff of f the first SLAYER and of f the first M ERCYFUL FATE. Pretty much by the time those bands had put out second albums, we pretty much had most of our own music going on by then and that what we were interested in only at the time."
Did you play live as a trio or only when Richard Brunelle joined the band exactly?
"I think we did one very big show with just the three piece... we played alot of parties back then since we were all pretty young, we weren't really like any of the bar bands that were out playing so you know it was more like we did lots of parties and and then we got Richard Brunelle."
Before talking about Richard inclusion in the band, you had Kenny Bamber as the singer for a few months, so when and how did he join the band exactly?
"He was a local singer and he had alot of P.A. and... he was a little ... quite a bit older than us and he had that King Diamond kind of falsetto so we figured that we'd try to get somebody as a frontman for the band, see how that work and... we just recorded a demo with him and... he only worked for a couple months, we never really played out with him or anything like that but we did a demo and when we sat back and listened to it, it just wasn't right for the band and Dallas was doing the back up vocals so... he sounded good so he just kept on singing. For a long time we were an instrumental band, Dallas didn't sing for a while, we just didn't have the equipment, didn't have any P.A. or anything like that so for a while we were instrumental and then like I said Dallas ended up singing for a little while."
A two song demo was recorded with Kenny on vocals during 1985 featuring ' Demon Seed ' and ' Welcome To Hell ' and the same session with Dallas on vocals, what do you remember from those early sessions?
"Like I said that was pretty much the whole situation, we went in, recorded two songs with him, just to see how it worked out and when we listened to it, it really wasn't what we wanted for the band so we just kept Dallas on the vocals ."
H e (Kenny) soon was fired, Dallas did all the vocals for some local shows, tell us more about how all that stuff happened...
"Well , like I said , that was pretty much the situation, and once we did get Richard, he did a little bit of vocals too..."
So here Richard enters the picture ... how did you recruit him at the time? If I'm correct he's a relative to Trey, cousin or something also , right? Who came up with the idea to have a twin guitar attack?
"In fact Richard was no relation to any in the band at all, he was just a guy that used to come to alot of our parties and he played guitar, you know , he was into the same things we were into and... you know , to have more backing rhythms behind the leads... Trey used to really like to do alot of leads and it was really cool stuff at the time, we just kind of jammed more than anything but we decided that it would be a good idea to try out another guitar player and have twin leads like most bands had back then you know, JUDAS PRIEST, FATE... most bands like that had two lead players, SLAYER, so we decided to do that."
During the early shows of the band, you had - along with some covers - lots of original material, including early slower versions of ' Maze Of Torment ' , ' Welcome To Hell ' , ' Abominations ' ... but also tons of material which was never used later, can you give us some songtitles from that early stuff?
"Most of it like 'Welcome...' had been changed to 'Evil Spells', 'Maze...' was redone... if you listen to the... alot of the old stuff, well some of it Dallas wrote ('Coven Of The Dancer') and when Dallas left the band, all the stuff that he wrote went with him and all the stuff that Trey wrote we kept and later on the band speeded all the stuff up, but if you listen to the 'Abominations' CD that's now available, you can hear pretty much every rhythm on that was used later on and alot of the old stuff was used later on here and there and parts of the songs you just have to kind of go through and pick them out."
Who was the main songwriter at that stage? Did Trey already was the mainman and already had the vision of how M ORBID ANGEL would sound like because those early recordings prove that the band - despite some flaws in the vocal department mainly - was sounding different from the other Thrash / Death acts around mainly because of the crazy soloing all the way?
"Yes Trey was definitively always the main songwriter in the band you know, I would never say anything other than that because that's exactly the way it was. He has always written just about everything that M ORBID A NGEL does so... I toyed around with some lyrics here and there back then but even he wrote most of the lyrics back then."
Talking about that unique soloing, it's obvious the band was largely influenced by MERCYFUL FATE, not only for the soloing trade but also for the bunch of different parts the songs contained, correct? Who else would you name as an influence?
"I think M ERCYFUL FATE would have been the biggest influence back then, we used to listen to alot of HELLHAMMER, CELTIC FROST, VENOM, FATE, SLAYER... POSSESSED, we liked that stuff alot back then, we used to listen to alot of that, pretty much anything we could find that was really evil in sound, we liked ANGEL WITCH especially, stuff like that."
At that point, how strong were the audiences and the Tampa / Florida Metal scene? Were you familiar with other acts such as MANTAS / DEATH, AVATAR / SAVATAGE, NASTY SAVAGE etc...?
"Yeah a long time ago when the scene really started to grow and get big, everybody was friends, it wasn't 'til a little bit later on when everybody sort of started competing with each other, when you lost some of the original bands, and bands started to change members just to technically get better and things like that then you started having more competition and the scene blew up for a long time, then it was really big and then it sort of died out. Now it's getting a little better but it's kind of in and out but it's still nowhere near what it used to be."
Then Dallas got arrested mid '85 because of drugs and ended up in jail, he was replaced by John Ortega and Richard took over on vocals for some shows, any memories of those times? What was John musical background also?
"Yeah Dallas got in some trouble with drugs and ended up in j ail, that's definitively the truth and we found John Ortega, he was just living a couple towns over and he was one of the only people that was really into some weird stuff and wanted to do stuff like that you know so... in fact Richard wasn't doing the vocals at that time, I was already singing. We didn't replace Dallas with John until pretty close to when we recorded the "Abominations" record and by then I was already singing. Richard sung a little bit after Dallas left but he had a real hard time playing and singing at the same time so he would be like stopping playing guitar and then sing so we just decided to try me doing it and it just kinda... it worked out alright! (laughs)"
Talking about Richard doing some singing, there's a two song live / demo floating around in the tape trading network called "Welcome To Hell" with that cut and ' Morbid Angel ' taken from a 1985 show (which appeared on a bootleg LP titled "3rd Gig" along with a two song rehearsal from 1985 a few years ago), so wa s that live / demo really spread around by the band or was it spread around by some stupid fucker ?
" I don't know... to tell you the truth, most of the older tapes - I know the one you have , that you're talking about , with Richard singing , also had Dallas singing, they were both singing on that particular show that we did. I don't think there was ever a show that we did with just Richard singing, it went right from Dallas to Richard to me singing , so I'm not sure... I know alot of people around Tampa have tapes of us and they just get spread around and people release 'em, things like that, I don't think it really hurts anything, I think it's kind of good to get some of that old stuff out for people to hear how the band changed and what it was all about from the beginning but in fact the band never really released anything out to the public, I know Trey used to send alot of tapes to people, just rehearsal tapes to that could be that too so you know there was alot of tape trading going on back then and we all were trading tapes with people so there's alot of stuff floating around outthere that I don't even have."
So you became M ORBID ANGEL 's full time drummer / singer, how did that happen exactly? Did you think Richard was too much limited as a singer? Was it hard for you to adapt the singing role to your drumming position?
"It wasn't as hard as I figured it would be, we just decided to try it and see what would happen because I could kind of do it when we weren't playing - I'd just sing to some practice tapes and Trey liked the way it sounded so it just kind of worked that way, I used a headphone mike and it would have been very hard I think if I was trying to do it with stationary microphone on a stand even overhead or whatever , but like I said , I used a headphone mike and that pretty much gives me alot of control to play and sing, and that's pretty much how it came about."
While we're talking about singers, there's an old rumor saying that you had a girl singing for the band for a very short time, is that true and if so give us details about that...
"I think what might have happened with this particular situation is when we didn't have a singer, Trey had a girlfriend who used to hang out and in fact I think she may have... just like screamed around you know for a couple of rehearsals with this and it probably got on a tape. I think the particular girl you're talking about, her name was Lynn and everybody was calling her Evilynn but... I think she had some tapes that Trey used to gave her that had rehearsals and stuff so I'm sure she gave quite a few of those out to people when they asked for it... there's maybe one floating around with her doing some vocals, just messing around but it was never a real thing like she sang for the band or anything like that, it might have just been , you know , playing around at practices, rehearsals."(Well if somebody out in Florida can locate that girl and those tapes, they're more than welcome since those tapes never made it on the tape trading network so far - Laurent)
According to what you told me, those early days saw alot of occult practicing by you guys and a huge interest into the famous Necronomicon book, can you tell us more about all that stuff and how much each of you was into that?
"In fact there was a good amount of time with the Necronomicon, I did... Trey showed me the book the first time and Dallas and I both became very interested in it, we read it, started in fact practicing loots of the stuff that was in there and then , you know , of course it worked its way into our music and you know... that's still the biggest influence on M ORBID A NGEL, especially now that David Vincent isn't in the band anymore. When we saw David leave the band, in fact the Necronomicon type lyrics came back in full force! So I believe that 's what Trey has always wanted and to do with the band and it is a very famous book and we did just about all the rituals in there, especially the ones from The Urilia Text, the evil side of the book. I do have a very good friend of mine that used to own a cult store and he knew the three authors that put the book together and of course now you know that the book is not... the book is a fiction book and I hope everybody realizes that now, it is based on some real Sumerian texts but the book itself is not real. Once I realized that and really found out the situation on that, I wasn't so much into just Necronomicon stuff and nothing else , so I started kind of branching out my occultism to study other things... I'm very much into the occult but not just one avenue of the occult, I think it's all innerconnected and need all for use, that's the way I look at it. Now there is another book by - I believe it's George Hay - called the Necronomicon as well and that book is very factual and has some really really good detailed stuff about that era of Sumerian magic so if you want to check that out, look for that book ."
N ext step was the recording of the 1986 four song demo featuring ' Hellspawn ' , ' Chapel Of Ghouls ' , ' Angel Of Disease ' and ' Abominations ' , what can you tell us about the recording of that tape?
"Okay this I'm not quite sure, what I believe this may be is just a practice tape when we were approached by Goreque R ecords... they needed something to hear as they'd heard that the band had a really big buzz and there was alot of people interested , so they wanted to hear something so what we did was we send 'em up just a rehearsal tape of four songs and I believe that's probably what that was. We had some pretty really good sounding rehearsal tapes back then, some of those big portable radios, we just used to put them in the room and record our practices and... I remember especially with Dallas, he had like piles of tapes of us because that what we used to do is just jam, you know just play and all that stuff was recorded. I believe maybe one day if Dallas still has quite a few of those rehearsal tapes around, maybe when he'll get out of jail , which should be in a year or so, maybe alot of that stuff will start to surface."
That demo was traded like crazy by tape traders around and from that point the bandname started to become extremely wellknown in the underground Thrash scene, so wha s it spread around mainly by the band or did you originally just give it to a few friends who made sure to spread it worldwide? Was it sold to the public at that point?
"I don't ever remember anything being sold to the public at all as far as it's called a demo, I know Trey used to make some rehearsal demos like I was just explaining, and he used to trade 'em to alot of people so I think most of this stuff that has been out for a long time, it was from that era of just tape trading you know, we didn't have a professional demo so we would send stuff to people and you know they would trade it with other people and that's how it got out."
I f I'm correct the "demo" still featured John Ortega but was soon replaced by ex-INCUBUS bassplayer Sterling von Scarborough, what happened with John exactly and how did you recruit Sterling who came from Georgia?
"The demo, John Ortega would have been on , but as far as the "Abominations" record, John Ortega played on that too, Sterling didn't come in the picture until after "Abominations" was recorded... David “Vincent” Stuppnig , who owned Goreque Records, his old guitar player which was Skelletor (Steve Shoemaker) from HALLOW'S EVE knew Sterling because Skelletor was from Georgia and Sterling was from Georgia so in fact it was David Vincent who said "Oh , I know a bass player that can replace this bass player"- he hated our bass player John so he said after we had recorded "You need a new bass player and here's the guy for you" so he pretty much sent him, Sterling, or called him in fact I should say and told him to come down to Tampa and try out for us and he did, that's what happened but that was definitively after the recording of "Abominations"."
Have you retained in touch with John after that split and checked his MATRICIDE project (with whom he issued two demos)?
"In fact I see him every once in a great while, I know he's still around the Lake (???) where he's from, he moved back to where he had moved from in the first place and he does radiation x-rays stuff now , so he makes some real good money and I think he has pretty much left the music I think behind. I know right at first he did two personal projects called MATRICIDE, in fact I heard the first demo but I don't know if I ever heard the second one ("Elysium" for the trivia fans - Laurent) but I heard there was one... so like I said I'm not quite sure what happened after the MATRICIDE thing, he just sort of I guess fed up with the music scene and just left it."
I remember from pictures taken at the MASSACRE / M ORBID ANGEL show at Side Streets on 4/20/86 that you were all wearing make up and Richard was wearing not so Metal clothes, I mean this whole look thing sounded quite surprising for a Thrash / Death act...
"I know we did one show at Side Streets and there's a video for that and the make up thing was sort of like the way King Diamond sort of wore his stuff, we were kinda going along of that I guess... if you really look back, King Diamond was the first person to do the Black Metal type make up you know, of course KISS did it first but he kind of brought it back and we thought it would be kind of cool wearing all these spikes and stuff like VENOM and bands like POSSESSED used to do, and SLAYER of course, if you look on the back of the first SLAYER, on their main picture they had alot of the same kind of gear on I guess you could say but yeah first when Richard joined the band he wasn't... he just liked to wear black clothes and he was never much into wearing all those crazy spikes and stuff like that like the rest of us were but at least he liked to wear black (laughs)."
Once the line up was settled with Sterling by the Spring of '86, what made you go for the recording of an album? I mean I know that at that point enters David Vincent and his Goreque label , but was it a step the band had decided to do with or without a record deal considering that you were received an hella killer response from the underground?
"In fact , like I said , Sterling joined after we had recorded "Abominations" so he wasn't on that, that was John Ortega that played on that and like I said , the guy who was singing for David Vincent's band - I believe the band he had at the time was called BURIED IN CEMETARY, David Vincent started this record label and the guy who was singing for him was named Michael Manson and he was from my area, and he was a pretty good friend of mine , so he knew we were doing good when he left the area and when David started up his label, he was looking for some good bands , so this singer, he called me up and we sent him that rehearsal tape I was telling you about and that's pretty much how we got signed!"
To clear up things completely, was the album recorded by your own funds or was it entirely financed by Goreque with whom you had signed a deal?
"No the album was entirely financed by Goreque, David Vincent had a partner at the time that had invested a bunch of money in his label for him , so they paid for the full recording, as a matter of fact when it got re-released on Earache, I didn't even know about it, a friend of mine showed it to me and I was like "Where is this come from?!" and I was on Earache at the time (1991) with NOCTURNUS and I had to call up Gunther (Ford) and David Vincent and say "What's going here?" and I've call ed up Dig (Pearson - Earache boss) and say "What's going? Why is this released? I wasn't even told about it!" and what happened was that David had sold the recordings to Earache for a certain amount of money and then Dig gave Trey a certain amount of money and that was pretty much all done without asking anybody else that was in the band at the time so that's what happened with that particular situation. It was all financed by Goreque and like I said David owned the tapes and he ended up selling them to Dig."
Had you heard about the aborted deal Vincent had given to MASSACRE for an EP at the time also?
"I know he was very excited about MASSACRE, he liked that band alot, he really wanted to do something with them... I'm not really sure why it didn't work out."
The album was recorded in May 1986 in North Carolina and was supposedly enginereed by Bill Metoyer known for his work with Metal Blade, so how those sessions went exactly?
"Yeah that's true , it was recorded in May in Charlotte, NC... I don't remember the studio in fact. Bill Metoyer was a great guy, David , you know , was very familiar with the stuff he did for SLAYER so he figured , you know , if we could get that sound... I know he wasn't completely throw with the studio itself but he did a pretty good job, for the first real kind of like big studio that we ever recorded in so... it could have been alot better, it could have been alot worse but my drums weren't the greatest back then, I've got a much better drum set now , but... everything went pretty good, I think that we recorded for one week and then Richard, myself and Johnny all went back to Tampa and Trey stayed up there with David and they mixed the next week... my drum tracks were recorded on the first day, mostly everything was recorded within four-five days."
Do you have good memories to have worked with Bill? Do you think it was a good choice basically?
"Like I said, yeah Bill was a great person to work with and I think it was a real good choice, I think it would have been better if we could have went to his studio, you know , a studio that he was more familiar with like in California, I think we would have done much better because the people who owned the studio had never recorded anything Metal at all! It was a Country music type studio , so they really weren't sure what our music was (laughs). So I think it could have been much better if we had went out to California recording with Bill Metoyer but that was a hard choice moneywise and things like that, I think for the time it was okay."
Why was it decided to go to N orth Carolina to record that album instead of doing it in Florida where Morrisound for example had already worked with some local bands? Guess it was a choice done by David Vincent?
"Yeah it definitively was! Like I said it was a choice by David Vincent and everything was getting paid for that time, we were like "Okay let's do it!"."
Despite being a cult album this album in my opinion had two major flaws, one was the poor production which was done by Vincent (if I'm correct) since some parts sound really weak in terms of power and the other one was your drumming during the fast parts of ' Chapel.. .' , ' Demon Seed ' or for ' Unholy Blasphemies ' , no offence to you of course , but I always found the fast parts to not be effective at all...
"We used to play that stuff kind of... even slower really than it was recorded and when we went to record, David said "Play everything as fast as you can!", it was just like it didn't work out good for us to do that because we have been playing for a long time everything a certain way and... I don't know, like I said it was a strange studio, my drums weren't really great at the time so I don't think some of that stuff should have been recorded as fast as it was, I thought that the band sounded much better and more evil in fact doing slower, weird stuff you know?! But you know , that's when the band started changing becoming faster and faster and turned into what it is today. Like I said I'm still not totally into all fast music all the time, I like to do alot of weird stuff too , you know?!"
Once you got back (hoping the chronological order is right) you headlined for two days that Tampa Metal festival which took place at the "Rock City" on some Tampa beach with the likes of MASSACRE, HELLWITCH, EXECUTIONER, HAVOC, SCIMITAR etc. . . supporting the band, the first day being recorded on video and tape, any memories for that event which didn't seemed for some unknown reasons to have attracted hundreds of Metalheads (as we can see on the videos of different acts) despite the killer bills for both days...
"Well that show was in fact a very good show back then, I think there was 200 or 300 people there, it was at the hotel that was on the beach and outside like... and like the inner part of the hotel, kind of like around the beach so there was like a little area in the middle and that's where we played, it wasn't a huge area but there was quite a few people there, and the hotel was sold out for the whole week end so I think the thing went pretty well overall, it was a pretty good show, it got recorded, I think alot of people liked it, there was a really cool storm that just sat overhead while we played, big black clouds but it never rained and... I remember that quite well, it was a very cool show I thought."
Then the band continued to rehearse / write new material (which included a visit to one of your rehearsals by the Swiss guys from Megawimp 'zine) with inclusion of Sterlings stuff like ' Reanimator's Mutilation ' which was even played live in July 1986 and according to what was said during years, Trey and Richard decided to not release the "Abominations..." album because they thought it wasn't good and fast enough, so before going further and talking about the huge line up change that happened shortly after, what's your comments about that decision and is it what really happened?
"I remember those Swiss guys, they were pretty cool... well when Sterling got into the band, we did one or two of his songs , but Trey really didn't wanna play Sterling songs, he wanted to play his own songs so there was problems right out of that with Sterling and Trey... and I had caught Trey with my girlfriend and we got into a physical fight and that pretty much was the main thing that broke the band up. When the band broke up Trey and Richard went their way with David and Sterling and I of course went on to form INCUBUS. As far as the album release, no - when Sterling was in the band the whole thing was getting released all the way up until Trey and I got into a physical fight and... you know when that happened then David decided not to release the "Abominations" album but it wasn't... back then everybody seemed to like it after it was recorded, the decision came about , like I said , when Trey and I got into a fight then when the band split in two, it was decided to not be released."
Even if that album wasn't going to be released, it found its way (and also a soundboard live tape from the first day of the Rock City festival) in the tape trading network and soon became acclaimed in fanzines around, who decided to spread that around?
"I know that the original way that the "Abominations" got out was by John Ortega, he had a copy of it, he started trading it to people and... as far as the soundboard tape from the Rock City, I don't think it's a soundboard tape, it's probably just an audio tape of the video because I've never heard of a soundboard tape from Rock City and I would probably be willing to bet that it's just a tape from that video tape itself but as far as the "Abominations", the reason it got out was John Ortega started to give it to people and everybody was trading it before... it wasn't even coming out anyway so so that's what happened." (Well the Rock City 5/25/86 show exist as a soundboard tape as it was given to yours truly by Trey itself - Laurent)
So by late July / August '86, the band split in two parts, Richard and Trey remaining together and on the other hand Sterling and you being fired...
"Well , like I mentioned before the reason for the split up of the band was in fact personal more than musical, like I said , I caught Trey kissing my girlfriend and... you know me being young at the time, instead of trying to handle it in a better way, I just basically got into a fight with him and beat his ass and that was pretty much the end of M ORBID A NGEL ... and like I said , him and Sterling really didn't get along from the beginning so we went ahead and just stuck together, Sterling and I and re-did the INCUBUS band that he had in Georgia."
From what I remember, Sterling made clear everytime he could that they (Richard / Trey) couldn't play his material at all etc... how much is true?
"Well at the time Sterling really wanted to sing with his project, he wanted to sing his songs and play his songs and he wanted 'em to play a certain way and... Trey pretty much plays the way Trey plays, Trey's got a particular style that he plays and it really doesn't sound like anybody else and you know it just... for Sterling he didn't really like the way Trey was playing his songs so yeah there was problems like I said between Trey and Sterling anyway and then when the other thing happened it just you know... made the band totally split half."
As everybody knows one of the key point in M ORBID A NGEL 's career happened after that as the remaining duo moved to North Carolina and teamed up with David Vincent on bass, Wayne Hartsell (who had played with Vincent previously) on drums and Michael Manson on vocals (for a short stint), recorded another legendary demo and finally got a deal with Earache to cut it short, so to end up that M ORBID A NGEL chapter, have you followed what M ORBID A NGEL did after that '86 split, if so - what's your opinion about the material issued after your departure which saw the band going out for a faster direction?
"I think exactly that... like I said I wasn't into just doing totally fast stuff all the time and I still... you know my roots still were into the older songs, stuff like that and of course I've followed M ORBID A NGEL as far as what they've done ever since then and you know it's definitively a great band, I would never say anything bad about the musicianship or anything and to me I think M ORBID A NGEL became what Trey really wanted it to be but it wasn't what I wanted in the band either so..."
A t which point did you get back again on much more friendly terms with Richard and Trey especially? Did the fact that you open for M ORBID ANGEL with NOCTURNUS later on help?
"Yeah after there was a second altercation with me and Trey and the same fight did happen and... in fact Trey and I still don't really talk very much, I've seen him around and he just doesn't want to even talk to me, he definitively thinks he's much better than I am and you know he's got what I would call a rock star attitude (Too true! - Laurent) and he's just too good to talk to me so I've tried to be friends with him and he just doesn't really want that situation so... and as far as Richard, Richard and I get along great, he's had a couple other projects that he's worked on since he left M ORBID A NGEL... since he ended up back in Tampa, we started talking right away and we've been friends all along but he's doing his own thing, he's got a couple good bands that he's working with."
Let's talk a bit more about the fact that M ORBID A NGEL decided to release the "Abominations..." officially supposedly to stop the bootlegging for that particular release...
"Like I said , a friend of mine that I saw at a gas station, he said "Man that "Abominations" CD sounds great!", I said "Oh , you got a copy of that?!", "Oh , I got the original Earache release that they released.", I said "I didn't have no idea" you know , I had no idea that this thing was gonna get released and like I said , I was even on Earache at the time! Like I explained before, I called Earache, I called , you know , David Vincent and Gunther their manager and we work ed out a deal and in fact they had to go back and pay me some royalties because they weren't gonna pay anything so... like I said , that was released totally behind my back without me knowing and on purpose, if you look there is no pictures on there, there was no informations as far as who played in the band at the time, it was just sort of like they were tired of other people making money out of it and them not making any money out of it so they sold it to Earache."
T alking about bootlegs, are you aware of the numerous bootlegs on vinyl and CD s featuring recordings from the '83 / '86 era like the famous "Abominations..." LP (also released as a bootleg version of the bootleg (!!!) as picture disc titled "Subconcious Release"), "Demos 86 / 87" CD, "Live 86 / 88"CD, "3rd gig" LP, "Unholy Blasphemies" LP and "The Beginning" CD (which was released by somebody certainly very close to the band early on considering the knowledge displayed on the liner notes and the ultra rare recording featured on it)?
"Well I think as far as all these bootlegs, I probably don't have even half of this stuff that's on here, I'm sure there was much more releases over in Europe and I think all of that was released basically because of tape trading, you don't really have much of that going on today so that's how all this stuff got out, basically that was the good old tape trading days."