By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
We’re certainly entering strange space when a band like Purson is beloved by metalheads of sundry stripes and sick permutations. Self-described as “Vaudeville Carny Psych,” Purson—if lines between music styles, genres, and eras mean anything—could be the missing link between Mellow Candle and Black Sabbath. Or, Fairport Convention mixed with iconoclasts Coven. However, you want to pull back time and scatter long-settled dust to compare Purson’s sometimes smokey, sometimes sultry, mostly bucolic (wait until you hear “Tempest and the Tide”) heavy folkisms what really matters is that it rules. Not kind of. The ruleage is in absolutes.
Most bands like to take stabs at once was through irony (the worst kind) or sheer appropriation (cute, but temporal), but Purson have depth of character and wide sound palette all their own. Sure, much of the band’s likeability may come from Rosalie Cunningham’s genuine voice(s). She’s hard to ignore, really. But take a deep look at the music, and her bandmates (and their influences) aren’t just off Uncle Monty’s turnip cart. They have skill, really transportive abilities that hover in the nether regions above and below the convergence points of folk, rock, hard rock, psychedelia, jazz, and pop. It’s the Canterbury sound brought frilly cuffs and wildly muted colors frolicking into the present.
So, you can image we’re pretty chuffed to be ground zero for the premiere of Purson thriller, “Spiderwood Farm,” which is naturally named after some obscure ’70s band and about something tangentally scary, as Miss Cunningham so eloquently details: “Spiderwood Farm is a protest song of sorts. Spiderwood council are trying to evict the tenants of the farmhouse. They have been dead for over a century but the ghosts are rather comfy there. The dark needs a comfortable bed, so they said. Hopefully our monster riffs can change the council’s mind.”
** Purson’s new album, The Circle And The Blue Door, is out April 30th 2013. It’s available HERE if you don’t mind sharing your time with the ghosts of Spiderwood Farm. Also, don’t forget to check out a different version of “Spiderwood Farm.” It’s, uh, fuzzy. Click HERE.
By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listenOn: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Black metal has seen more than its share of weirdos. It’s a genre that seems to attract idiosyncratic loners, especially since Varg proved back in the 90s that you really don’t need more than one person in the band. The French cabaret black metal act Pensées Nocturnes consists entirely of the single-monitored Vaerohn. And to his credit, it doesn’t just sound like one dude with a keyboard. His fourth album, Nom d’une Pipe, embraces the macabre in Grand Guignol style. In addition to blast beats and shrieks, keep your ears peeled for bass, accordion, trumpet, horn, tuba, saxophone, English horn, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, piano, flute, trombone, violin, and cello. Possibly the kitchen sink, too, but that would just be obvious. Enjoy the full album below for a limited time!
***Nom d’une Pipe is available now from LADLO Productions. Get it here
Decibel‘s coverage of the debut LP from Richmond, Virginia dark thrash stalwarts Iron Reagan has been fairly comprehensive — last month Chris premiered a stand-out track offWorse Than Deadin this space and there is a short profile of the band in the print issue on stands now — but one aspect of the album we haven’t quite delved into is the uber-sick cover artwork created by Magic Bullet Records proprietor/Highness guitarist Brent Eyestone, a true punk rock renaissance man who graciously agreed to walk us through the inspirations and processes that led to this slab of Visual Violence…
Oddly enough, in spite of 86 mutual friends (by Facebook’s estimation), probably dozens of the same shows, and less than 50 miles from my doorstep to his here in Virginia, Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan) and I actually didn’t even meet each other until about three years ago — out in Indianapolis of all places. Later that summer, I was dating one of his friends back in Richmond and we got the chance to hang out quite a bit. I quickly learned how passionate he was about specific kinds of music and it was very easy to hit it off and bond over a lot of mutual bands and records that had accumulated in both of our collections for the better part of three decades. Toss in a bunch of fun hangs out in nature with grills and beverages during those summer months, and I had come to appreciate Tony’s friendship and kindness quite a bit.
Fast forward about year or so later: Ryan [Parrish] quits Darkest Hour and immediately starts new bands with Tony — Iron Reagan — and myself — Highness, Bleach Everything. Everything starts making sense and getting even more incestuous accordingly, with Iron Reagan also nabbing fellow Darkest Hour-bailer Paul Burnette and Phil Hall from Municipal Waste. All of a sudden we’re all in these new bands and super excited about what’s happening.
Iron Reagan gets off to the fastest start, having a demo out within what felt like weeks of the first practice. It’s completely great and, naturally, I let both Ryan and Tony know how much I appreciated the sounds they were making with Iron Reagan.
Around the same time, I was releasing a slew of new records on Magic Bullet. This brings us to the first album that influenced the decision-making behind the Worse Than Dead cover:
1. BIG CHINA & LITTLE TROUBLE Lo-Panning LP (Magic Bullet Records)
That Satan were one of the most slept-on bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal because of their name is a cruel irony. For a genre that adopted the devil as chief muse and aesthetic patriarch, Satan should have fitted right in; acceptance should have been instant. But while Satan, too, were a product of Venom’s hometown, Newcastle, England, their approach was wholly different.
Formed in 1979 when guitarists Steve Ramsey (also of seminal UK folk metal band Skyclad) and Russ Tippins were still at school, Satan were all about incorporating melody and technicality into NWOBHM’s innate speed. History, politics and justice trumped the for-the-album Satanism of their Geordie peers and the scene at large.
Satan were named after Satan but they were never in league with him. Ramsey and Tippins guitars were the rapier not the hammer; shit, they could really play. But many couldn’t get over a band called Satan coming out with a debut LP Court in the Act that showcased highfalutin’ musicality while paying no genre union dues in its lyrical themes. Calling the band Satan while singing about justice, Native Americans a la Maiden on “Broken Treaties”, Vikings on “Blades of Steal” (a la Maiden again), running from the law (a la . . . There are plenty of artistic parallels with Maiden) . . . That was all taken for cognitive dissonance by a music press that lumped them in with the then nascent extreme metal scene.
Satan were never that: they were straight-up, Heavy Metal, progressively cavalier, and that, as Steve Ramsey tells the Deciblog, helped screw everything up. Satan changed their name (Blind Fury [see bottom], Pariah, The Kindred), changed their line-up, lost momentum, and eventually succumbed to obscurity.
But Ramsey is not bitter. With the imminent release of Life Sentence (Satan’s first studio album since 1987’s Suspended Sentence), and a headlining appearance at Live Evil Festival confirmed for October, he has way more to look forward to than to regret.
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listsOn: Monday, April 8th, 2013
5. Carcass – Carcass has had a few logos over their storied and infamous career, but none of them evinces the manic, electric quality of the group’s music quite like this iteration. Its angular, slightly italicized letters, the long stems of the two “c”s and “r,” and the near interlocking of the double “s” imparts an urgent feel. The static, or whatever it is, that emanates from all sides gives the logo a hurried look, as if Carcass are aching to go somewhere; probably six feet under with their medical dictionary in hand.
4. Darkthrone – OK, we’re partial to this logo for several reasons. Sure, it showed up as #1 on our Top 5 Black Metal Logos post (HERE) and Darkthrone were really a death metal act for only one record (the iconic Soulside Journey), but few logos are as complete as this one. The hidden pentagram. The murky, root-like drips dangling off the crudely scrawled letters. The near-symmetry of the “horns” and “legs.” Yeah, logo designer Tomas Lindberg was on-point when he conceived this piece.
3. At the Gates – There’s an ecclesiastical vibe play here. The trinity of arched windows, stained glass, and vertical design give the logo a regal look. At The Gates smartly improved upon Alf Svensson’s Gardens of Grief logo for debut album, The Red in the Sky is Ours. Not sure who designed this iteration, but it’s probably one of the more unique logos to ever grace an album cover. It’s religious by being anti-religious. Read the lyrics to “Kingdom Gone” and you’ll get what I’m saying.
2. Morbid Angel – One of the more classic death metal logos. The Morbid Angel logo is highly recognizable, readable, and it has two devil tails, a pitchfork, a pentagram, and an inverted cross. There’s no real way to candy coat Morbid Angel’s intent. From first glance to close inspections, the Floridians wanted to convey evil at every crenelation. It might look a bit dated now, but there’s no denying Morbid Angel’s logo class.
1. Unleashed – When Unleashed formed, few could’ve expected such an awesome logo. It’s been slightly revised over the years, the most recent alteration was on last year’s excellent Odalheim effort. Regardless, the original Unleashed logo is a death metal original. Symmetric—well, almost—with angry, angular lettering, tons of dripping ooze (evil, of course), and a massive inverted cross. The hoi polloi never needed a second look at this monster. The inverted cross immediately communicated, “I am evil.” Didn’t matter if they couldn’t read the rest.
** The five runners-up: Obituary (those hooks!), Death (a little goofy in retrospect but still a Kam Lee classic.), Incantation (oh, the roots are alive! alive!), Bolt Thrower (stained glass with a board game feel. fuck yes!), and Dismember (imagine if this was “Dismemberizer”?! glad that sheet of paper was short.).
Spring has sprung, and so have the new metal releases.
GHOST BC release Infestissumam, their second full-length. And while this band maybe loved by some, hated by some, this is pretty blasé and mediocre, really. Calling this metal is a bit of a stretch, as the previously released singles — the “Secular Haze” and “Year Zero” tease — sounds fairly similar to the rest of the record. The most surprising thing here is that Papa Emeritus changed his name to Papa Emeritus II. This is that watered-down ’70s occult rock that shouldn’t surprise anyone, owing more to Witchfinder General and Blue Oyster Cult than Mercyful Fate. This is a concept album based loosely on the birth of the Antichrist and, well, it’s OK. No real moments on here where one says “FUCK!” Not to say that this is bad; there’s just no real kick in the dick, and most of the tracks blend together and come off samey, even with the addition of organ. Fans of this band will not be let down, but those awaiting an initiation to the Ghost cult won’t be swayed so quickly. 6 Fucking Pecks.
Every now and then, a band comes along that rules. They mix punk, metal and horror themes. SNOW WHITE’S POISON BITE is not that, and Featuring Dr. Gruesome and the Gruesome Gory Horror Show just plain sucks butt. Tell Victory to cut it the peck out. 0 Fucking Pecks.
Rewind the clock way back, because FLOTSAM AND JETSAM have a new record called Ugly Noise. This is definitely no Doomsday for the Deceiver, or even No Place for Disgrace. These thrash metal veterans are one of the more underrated thrash bands of their time; former bassist Jason Newsted helped write some of these tracks, and as a whole, this record seems a little more focused than their mid-late ’90s fare. There are some real beak-scratching moments on this, though: use of samplers, etc. Out of the gate, this promises a unique meanness that only they could, but then they ruin it. Do we really need another Flotsam and Jetsam record? The answer is no. 3 Fucking Pecks
Nader Sadek has penetrated the Decibel psyche in various, um, incarnations over the past few months, and the invasion has been most welcome. In February, we teamed up with Metal Injection to bring you live performance clips from the Living Flesh DVD before you could buy it. Now we drop some most righteous news upon your unworthy head, which we ourselves just found out this week: On Monday, April 22nd, NYC’s Santos Party House will host an extraordinary exhibit and documentary screening, best described in the following press release:
Nader Sadek “Living Flesh” Exhibit
Monday, April 22nd (6 – 8pm) @ Santos Party House, New York, NY
“Flesh. Throughout Egyptian artist Nader Sadek’s recent constellation of works, flesh has predominantly symbolized the prehistoric origins of petroleum and its barely degradable derivatives. Exploring the political unconscious of the petro-world order, his sculptures, performances, and metal compositions stage the global trap of dictatorship, popular alienation, and near-cannibalistic self-consumption–a trap the Egyptian revolution has struggled to emerge from. The latest addition to Sadek’s constellation of works brazenly inverts, extends, and literalizes the symbolism of flesh as petroleum’s origin.
Up until now Sadek’s petroleum-based silicone sculptures have resembled freshly wounded skin, complete with bruises and swellings; in the wake of the the Egyptian revolution, Sadek has immortalized a piece of his own flesh. He has extracted strips of skin from his body and tanned them at a Cairo tannery, thereby suspending them in a state of limbo neither living nor decayed–an apt metaphor for the state of the Arab Spring. It also recalls Bibles of centuries past bound by human flesh, not to mention the macabre interior design of serial killers from the Third Reich to Jeffry Dahmer.
Rather than binding Bibles and lampshades, however, Sadek instead has bound his eponymous album: animal cast silicone shrouds the case which holds a signed test pressing as well as a wrapped LP, while his embossed, self-extracted leather functions as the album’s crest.
Sadek has recently released his debut live album + DVD (and followup to 2011′s debut full-length album “In The Flesh”), titled “Living Flesh,” recorded November 20th, 2011 also at Santos (Sadek’s motivation for choosing this location for his most recent installment), featuring guest musicians Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy; Rune Eriksen of Aura Noir, Ava Inferi, and formerly of Mayhem; Novy, formerly of Behemoth and Vader; and Steve Tucker, formerly of Morbid Angel, in his first and last live appearance for this project. These greats are joined by Sean Frey as guest live guitarist and Carmen Simoes on backing vocals.
The Santos exhibit will also feature a live screening of the surgical procedure that took place in the making of the “Living Flesh” installment.
Sadek’s work is also on display at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania until July 28th. The exhibit features masks worn by Attila Cshiar during his performances with Sunn O))) and Mayhem. The masks were designed and fabricated by Nader Sadek in his NYC studio in 2007. Visit the gallery’s website here for more information.”
Yes, holy shit indeed. With slack jaw and glazed eyes, the only question I can half-consciously formulate is: See you there?
Remember this a couple weeks ago? Well, the horror lovin’, Satan strokin’ dudes in Seven Sisters of Sleep have studiously studied your entries and picked the winning winners.
Grand prize goes to: Sam Pickering
Three runner-up prizes go to: Mark Thistlewood, Nolan Reed and Xsimon stX
Drop A389 head dude, Dom a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing addresses so he can send you your spoils of victory.
A389 hasn’t forgotten about the rest of you – even those you of who didn’t enter the contest. Go to the link below and you can download, for free, the label’s latest annual digital mixtape. Below is the complete track listing, which includes music from label priorities Integrity, Full of Hell and Noisem alongside a warm embrace from the likes of Eyehategod, Iron Reagan, Weekend Nachos, Ringworm and 33 others over the course of its two hour run time.
A389 Recordings Digital Mixtape MMXIII Track Listing:
1. EYEHATEGOD “New Orleans Is The New Vietnam”
2. IRON REAGAN “Drop The Gun”
3. HOMEWRECKER “Chained Hanging Victim”
4. NO ONE SURVIVES “Fuckin’ Pigs”
5. INTEGRITY “Beasts As Gods”
6. ILSA “Foreign Lander”
7. FULL OF HELL “Coven Of The Larynx”
8. NOISEM “Severed”
9. WEEKEND NACHOS “Watch You Suffer”
10. EMPIRE OF RATS “Untitled”
11. PICK YOUR SIDE “Bleeding Out”
12. GOD’S AMERICA “Fill The Cracks”
13. LIKE RATS “Red Dawn”
14. MOLOKEN “Casus”
15. THE GUILT OF… “Election Of The Severed Hand”
16. SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP “Ghost Plains”
17. YOUNG AND IN THE WAY “Psychopathy”
18. SICK FIX “Beyond The Map”
19. ANCIENT SHORES “Omen”
20. SHIN TO SHIN “Shin To Shin”
21. VILIPEND “Fool’s Gold”
22. LEFT FOR DEAD “Kept In Line”
23. GEHENNA “Baptized In Fallout”
24. BLIND TO FAITH “Blood Like Water”
25. RINGWORM “Necropolis” (1991 Demo)
26. CYNARAE “Harbinger”
27. JARHEAD FERTILIZER “Drowning”
28. THE LOVE BELOW “Let Them Eat Shit”
29. EDDIE BROCK “Boys Of Summer”
30. COUNTDOWN TO OBLVION “Spray P.E.C.”
31. UNHOLY MAJESTY “Night Of Lead”
32. CLASSHOLE “Full Of Hate”
33. OLD LINES “Temple”
34. CALM THE FIRE “Chce Mi Siê Wyæ”
35. ENFORCERS ‘The End Is Near’
36. PHARAOH “Spared”
37. JUNIOR BRUCE “The Burden”
38. WITHDRAWAL “Guardian Angel”
39. NOTHING “The Rites Of Love And Death”
40. PLEASANT LIVING “Friday Night”
Mastered at Audiosiege by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise). Original artwork by Joshy Brettell (Ilsa, Exosus).
Last week, as part of what became an unofficial Soilwork week around these parts, the Swedish sextet’s drummer Dirk Verbeuren gave us a glimpse into his diverse listening habits. As promised, we now present five more tracks from frontman and founder Björn “Speed” Strid, each of which helped meld his musical tastes during his more formative years. Be sure to catch the vocalist and his bandmates as they continue on their massive North American tour (dates below). You can listen along to Björn’s playlist here.
Dissection’s “Night’s Blood” (from 1995′s Storm Of The Light’s Bane)
This is my essential when I need to reach a comfortable level of melancholy and darkness. It hasn’t left me since it came out in 1995—it was my soundtrack going to school, my soundtrack in the dressing room before hockey practice and still my soundtrack to just about anything. It has a bone chilling atmosphere and production to it. It really is the presence in Jon’s voice that makes it so real though, backed up with the melodies and thrashy riffs. I had a chance to see Dissection in 1996 but didn’t have any money—I’m sure there would have been a way to have borrowed that money from somebody though. I definitely regret that I didn’t push for it more.
Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (from 1975′s Fleetwood Mac)
I discovered Fleetwood Mac when I was a teenager through Tango in the Night. Later, I discovered their ’70s stuff, starting with “Rhiannon” and I just fell in love with the band’s different voices and harmonies. “Rhiannon” is an impossible song to cover, it holds such great atmosphere and the melody is amazing. Ever since then, Stevie Nicks has been one of my favorite singers. She’s just so damn classic. Nobody can sound so out of place and so dead on at the same time. Her voice has an amazing character and her persona is very intriguing. I even have her face tattooed on my calf. “Rhiannon” is a song that I never will get fed up with. The harmonies in the chorus are amazing and somehow very comforting to me.
The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” (from 1971′s Who’s Next)
I was 14 years old and found Who’s Next in an old drawer in my parents basement. It was packed together with a bunch of other vinyls, including Leon Russell, Slade and Ofra Haza. All of the records were moldy, except The Who one. First I got pissed off because my parents hadn’t let me know their old vinyls were in the basement, but very quickly I was intrigued by the cover of Who’s Next. I ran upstairs to put on the vinyl and as soon as the intro for “Baba” started, I was hooked! It was the coolest and most powerful intro I’d heard since “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor and “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project. I used to judge music in how well it would work as an intro coming out on the ice whenever I played hockey games. I was the dude who picked the music for our home games to make a grandiose entrance too. I still get hooked on powerful intros pretty easily.
Entombed’s “Evilyn” (from 1991′s Clandestine)
This song was strangely the song that made me like death metal. Is it because the opening riff almost has a “disco-death metal” feel to it? I dunno, it has such an evil groove though. I remember that I wanted to like death metal so much but I didn’t really liked how it sounded so down-tuned and I was more of a straight forward Kreator/Slayer/Sodom kinda guy. I remember that me and my friends were planning to camp in a tent over the weekend in the summer of 1992 and I brought my walkman with a freshly new recorded copy of Clandestine by Entombed. The first night when everybody had passed out in the tents from eating too many M&M’s, I decided to blast the album in my new kick ass headphones. As soon as “Evilyn” kicked in and I was looking up through the tents ceiling and saw the summer full moon, I was sold. A new era had begun!
New Model Army’s “Purity” (from 1990′s Impurity)
In the little town where I was growing up, the first wave of Swedish Death Metal hit pretty damn hard. And New Model Army. It was almost a staple—if you listened to death metal, you also listened to New Model Army. As simple as that. I think I received a compilation tape with random death metal acts and at the end of the tape there was a New Model Army song, and I instantly loved it. That track was not “Purity” and I sadly don’t remember which track it was. A couple of days later, my friend bought a copy of Impurity with New Model Army and we listened to it on our lunch break in school. When “Purity” started, it almost brought me to tears, it had such a beautiful melody and had such a strong working-class minded lyric that it reminded me of my grandfather who worked the wharf all his life and had recently passed away. I also fell for Justin Sullivan’s voice, which was really speaking to me. Here I am today and Justin is singing on our latest album with Soilwork. Magic.
***Soilwork tour dates (with Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, The Browning and Wretched):
04/04/13 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
04/05/13 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
04/06/13 WHISKY A GO GO – Hollywood, CA
04/07/13 Rocky Point Cantina – Tempe, AZ
04/08/13 The Rock – Tucson, AZ
04/09/13 Las Vegas Country Saloon – Las Vegas, NV
04/11/13 In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
04/12/13 Gothic Theater – Englewood, CO
04/13/13 The Beaumont Club – Kansas City, MO
04/14/13 The Firebird – St. Louis, MO
04/15/13 Trees – Dallas, TX
04/16/13 Backstage Live – San Antonio, TX
04/17/13 Jake’s – Lubbock, TX
04/18/13 Lucky Mule – Abilene, TX
04/19/13 Dos Amigos – Odessa, TX
04/20/13 Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX
04/22/13 House of Rock – Corpus Christi, TX
04/23/13 Geo’s – McAllen, TX
04/24/13 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
04/26/13 State Theater – St. Petersburg, FL
04/27/13 Freebird Live – Jacksonville, FL
04/28/13 The Casbah – Charlotte, NC
04/29/13 Kingdom – Richmond, VA
04/30/13 Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
05/01/13 Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ
05/02/13 The Chance Theater – Poughkeepsie, NY
05/03/13 Broadway Joes – Buffalo, NY
05/04/13 Al Rosa Villa – Columbus, OH
05/05/13 Music Hall – London, ON – CANADA
05/06/13 Station 58 – Syracuse, NY
05/07/13 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
****We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:
For three decades, Jim Van Bebber has been one of the most abrasive, iconoclastic filmmakers in the American underground. His debut feature Deadbeat At Dawn was a perfect rendition of 60s biker films shot guerilla style on the streets of his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. His mini-feature My Sweet Satan is an updated retelling of the story of Ricky Kasso, a troubled Long Island teenager who killed a friend and helped fuel part of the “Satanic panic” campaign against metal in the 1980s. Van Bebber’s masterwork The Manson Family, being screened again in independent theaters (remaining dates follow below), was a labor of love that took more than a decade to see proper release.
The ensuing years haven’t been as kind to Van Bebber as he struggled in Hollywood (more on that in the second segment), where his voice was unsurprisingly viewed as too unpalatable for mainstream viewers.
Van Bebber is now in Florida and hoping to make a comeback with his in-the-works movie Gator Green. He’s also the subject of a documentary called Diary Of A Deadbeat that’s awaiting release. Finally, the guy is a Decibel reader. “We can talk about whatever you want,” he said. “I love Decibel and I’m glad it’s roaring and alive in America. I’m always ready to talk metal. It’s made my life and I love the genre.”
Here is the first segment of our exclusive interview with Jim Van Bebber.
Did you get into metal before you started making films? I know you started making Super 8 films at a young age.
I was into metal as soon as I heard Sabbath back in the day. I guess I was in sixth grade and I was like “what the fuck is this!” My brother was plugging me in to whatever was hip. It might even be things like The Sex Pistols, ELO or The Doors. It felt like the greatest time in the world to grow up. What are these kids doing now? What do they have? They have nothing. NOTHING! Except for Philip and his Housecore shit I feel like they have nothing.
What was the metal scene like in Dayton?
Dayton is not a very heavy metal town. It’s a good town for jazz. If you want good jazz music Dayton has a bunch of swell people. As far as metal, if they are good enough they are going to leave Dayton and go to Chicago. Nothing lasts there.
When you were growing up did you get your music from friends or just from your brother?
My brother was a big influence but we both went different ways. The chief record store in Dayton was called Renaissance Music Media. It’s now gone. It was awesome and the owner Jeff was a friend, a real brother, and a kind soul. I can’t say enough about the influence of that place. It was the cultural center of Dayton, Ohio. I even got into old blues from that place, stuff like Howlin’ Wolf. There was also an artist called Nervous Norvus. He looked like Bill Haley’s bastard brother. His shit is so fucking off the hook – stuff like “Ape Call”.
When I watched Deadbeat at Dawn I thought your character Goose and the other roles were modeled after metalheads. Or was it mostly biker films?
It was 60s biker films. It is what is what is. My nemesis is called Danny and his girlfriend is Iris. If you rewatch “Born Losers” that’s what his character and his girlfriend are called. There might be a hint of Bruce Dickinson in Goose. That’s about as metal as it got. That’s a weird movie. It’s also a kung fu movie.
Oh, I love that. I’ll always protect the copyright of the feature film but if bands want to use sound bites I’m all for it. They all seem to go for Bonecrusher. They all go after that fucking speech! Every damn last one of them. I’ve caught a million other things on YouTube and I sit back and laugh my ass off.
Was that speech in the script or ad-libbed?
It was kind of ad-libbed but I don’t fuck with Marc Pitman. He also gave a great performance as Tex Watson in The Manson Family. What you do with that guy is tell him where to go and turn the camera on. He’s one of those naturals. You can give him a handful of sketchy ideas and he just goes.
Impaled later covered the same song and they used the sound bite except they did it in their own voices.
I know, I know. That was pretty classic.
Your film “My Sweet Satan” is a retelling of the story of Rick Kasso, which was literally the scare story people used in 80s when they tried to dissuade people from listening to metal.
Do you remember that whole war? It was a war against metal, against heavy metal, under the guise of Satanism and all this bullshit. You had Geraldo and everyone on the planet Earth coming after it. I remember it. I certainly do! I found it offensive as shit. You want to give a bunch of 50-year-old ladies something to hate so you give them metal. You hate Ozzy. You hate Bruce Dickinson. You hate Lemmy. Why did they pick on that shit?
It was a convenient target.
It sold ratings. That’s what I tried to say with The Manson Family, that it ended up being more about television ratings than the man.
How did you hear about the Kasso story?
I was working at a bookstore – the same one I showed in the movie – and I came across a book on it.
When you watch that movie there’s nothing you can say is happy. It starts with a guy hanging himself in jail and someone else gets beaten to death by a fire pit. I’m not sure metal comes off positively.
I think every film I make has a happy ending. These guys are doing their shit. Most people sit at a computer all day and masturbate. These guys lived. Everyone I represent on film is living being. Maybe their live is short, maybe it’s sweet, maybe it’s sour. It doesn’t matter. They are living. They aren’t sitting there texting.
Did you identify with Kasso?
I certainly drew correlations with the “hoodies.” Kasso was one of those guys. It felt like I knew the guy when he got kicked out his parent’s house. I was halfway between playing sports and being a hoodie. I tried to address some of the same concerns in The Manson Family.
In the next segment: Van Bebber’s struggles in Hollywood; his friendship with Philip Anselmo, his work on the Down documentary and his future.
See The Manson Family:
April 3 – Granoff Center for the Arts, Providence RI
April 5 – Ritz Bourse, Philadelphia
April 5 & 6 – Egyptian Theatre, Seattle
April 12 – Logan Theatre, Chicago
April 12 & 13 – Hi-Pointe Theatre, St. Louis
April 13 – Cedar Lee Theatre, Cleveland
April 19 & 20 – E Street Theatre, Washington DC
April 19 & 20 – Inwood Theatre, Dallas
April 21 – Screenland Crossroads, Kansas City MO
April 23 – New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles