Metal Muthas Mondays: Suffocation

Every so often, we take a little time on Mondays to pay tribute to the Muthas! That is, reprinting the adorable metal/maternal Q&As that run in the magazine. Today, enjoy Jeanne Fury’s chat with Michelle Innis, mother of Derek Boyer (Suffocation/Decrepit Birth).

How old was Derek when he really started getting into music?

Probably around 14, when he carved “Suffocation” into his desk in school.

Derek’s been in so many bands with really great names.

Oh yeah, Decrepit Birth, Dying Fetus, Disgorge. He even did a short stint with… what’s the guy’s name that’s got the cross upside down on his forehead? Glen Benton! He did a little ditty with Glen Benton at one of the metal feasts, and I think that’s where the guys from Suffo really saw him and called him over and said, “Hey, do you want to go to work for Suffo?” And it’s like, “Huh? Hell yeah!” He was so stoked.

Did you say metal feast?

Every time Derek and whoever he is traveling with are in Southern California, my husband and I put on a metal feast [at our home in San Diego]. We cook 20 pounds of chicken and big ol’ pots of vegetarian chili, just tons of food. We’ve fed probably 10 different bands easily. We even took the metal feast on the road one time. We drove out to Pomona, put out the pop-up tent, and got food and fed all the bands. It’s a tradition. We’ve been doing that for easily five years. It’s so much fun to do. It just gives them a chance to be at home when they’re on the road.

You certainly dispel any unpleasant stereotype that people have about death metal bands.

I would leave my wallet sitting on the table with these kids. They’re somebody’s son. People have preconceived ideas that these guys are horrible, but if you listen from a parent’s point of view to some of Suffo’s stuff, they’re not putting up with people that are prejudiced or hurting people. You’ve got every race, all different kinds of kids out there, and these guys are advocating that they’re all one; they’re not separate. They’re impressive people; they’re great musicians. All these kids, they’re like my extra kids.

Which of Derek’s bands is your favorite?

I think Suffo. Of course, I love Decrepit Birth, but I think Suffo is this finely tuned machine. Their show is so incredibly impressive. They are a monster to watch.