Morbid Saint interview (01/2010)
|With:||Jim Fergades, Patrick Lind, Jay Visser|
|Conducted by:||Lucas (e-mail)|
One of Thrash Metal's legendary cult acts is the shortlived Morbid Saint. Many, many years ago their classic album Spectrum Of Death was released, but to this day it sounds incredibly fresh and extreme. News got out that the notorious band reformed and yours truly figured this was THE opportunity to conduct an interview with them. Enjoy the read...
Ok, so first of of all, Morbid Saint returns after years of inactivity... what have you been doing the past years? Wives, children, pets and jobs I presume?
Pat: Right now I am working in sales (selling saunas) and singing in a band called Sgt. Discharge. Few years ago I was working at a zoo in Baton Rouge where I was working with Asian elephants.
Jay: Nowadays I work and jam with some friends. I played in a few different bands over the years but nothing too serious, I also got married and had a daughter.
Jim: I have run my own business for the past 12 years. I really didn't play much for a long time after Morbid was done, just kept working.
Forgive me for not knowing this, my (pathetic) excuse is that I'm just a young whipper-snapper, but why and when exactly did you break up again?
Pat: It was all Jim's fault. (laughs)
Jim: What people need to understand was that we played together for a really long time, we all got older and our lives changed. At the end, Lee was going to school and we all had our jobs and other responsibilities that we all needed to concentrate on. We never made money playing in the band and at some point you do have to eat and live.
Jay: The last Morbid Saint show was in December 1993
Onto the future now! What does your line-up look like these days?
Pat: Right now it's Jay, Jim, myself and a new drummer and bass player. The drummer and bass player are from around our area and their names will be on the Relapse re-release.
Rumour has it that there are new Morbid Saint songs to be unleashed upon us, two new songs to be exact... can you update us on these songs? Are they in the same vein as Spectrum Of Death or Destruction System, or have you resurrected Morbid Saint for some Experimental Blackened Free-form Jazz improvisation? Which, with all due respect, would be a little disappointing, to say the least.
Jim: We are in the process of recording the new songs right now. We feel they will relate more to Spectrum as far as style but we are looking for something slightly different as far as the overall sound goes. There will also be two live videos on the cd from a show we played with Wrath back in 1991, the videos are for "Destructions System" and "Halls Of Terror".
A lot of bands have been getting back together recently - Pestilence, Artillery, Possessed to name a few. What do you think has caused this, and has this new wave of old bands pushed you towards starting the band up again?
Pat: We really don't keep up with the thrash scene that much these days, this is the first time all of us even heard those bands are getting back together. I think the internet is the biggest reason, kids nowadays can listen to some really old music by bands they would never have even heard of without the internet. When we were young you found out about bands from friends and the radio, it was way different back then.
And then there's talk about a live DVD - whaddayour comments on that?
Jim: Like I said before, there will be two live videos on the Relapse release. As far as a full live DVD, nothing right now but we do have a ton of video of the band so that may happen.
Morbid Saint back in the day
Any plans for Morbid Saint undies? I'm sure they would sell like hot cakes.
Jim: I don't think the guys would like to see a chick wearing undies that have the word morbid on them.
Ok, let's drop the underwear subject and return to metal. Did you keep up with the metal scene in the years of inactivity? If so, what are some of your recent favourites?
Pat: I don't listen to much of anything. I don't even have a working cd player except in my car and I think I have Alter Bridge in there right now i was always a huge fan of Rush growing up and have a guilty pleasure in jamming some Tenacious D.
Jay: I like Lamb Of God and Divine Heresy but I still listen to the really old stuff like Sepultura and other bands from that time.
Jim: I listen to all kinds of music, I really like bands like Dååth, Himsa, Devildriver and all the really old stuff too.
Continuing on that theme, allow me to drop the inevitable "top 10 favourite albums of all time" question a little early: imagine you can only bring ten albums to a deserted album, blah blah blah, which albums would you pick?
Pat: I would rather take food and a hot chick with me if I had to go to a deserted island. Old Slayer, Metallica and some Tenacious D for comedy relief and prob also some Maiden.
Jay: We're all pretty much with Pat on that one.
Your MySpace states "Kill the white rabbit, before it kills you!". What's the purpose of that statement, are you an anti-drugs band or is it just a joke?
Pat: Just for the record we have nothing to do with any of the Myspace pages or Facebook pages that are out there. We haven't created any pages on our own, they are all run by fans I'm assuming.
Jim: Those were just words from a song called Scars, which is about drug abuse. It was their choice to put it on the page.
Jay: We are definitely not an anti drug band, but we do hate rabbits.
One thing you are also known for is that back in the day you toured extensively with Death. Chuck's a legend of course, what was he like? You must have plenty of wicked stories and anecdotes from those days... please do not hesitate to share a couple of 'em.
Jim: People always ask us that question and it's really kind of funny because we only played with Death twice, once at Metalfest and again with Dark Angel at the crystal palace in Milwaukee. Eric was also our manager at the time so whenever he could get us on a show with them he would.
I did get to sit down with Chuck backstage at the crystal palace show, he was one of the nicest guys you could meet. His death was definitely a great loss to metal and he will not be forgotten.
Gues I was wrong on that one... One of the projects you got into during the absence of Morbid Saint was Hallowcore. Prior to this interview I had never even heard of this band, what can you tell me about them? Any other side-projects I should know about?
Jim: Jay and I just wanted to jam together again so we started a new band. Pat was the singer at first but that's when he moved to Baton Rouge. We just played cover songs in some bars, it was pretty much just something to do to have some fun.
Let's get back on the subject of Morbid Saint. Are you satisfied with the underground cult status the band currently has or do you wish the band would not have broken up and got the chance to make it big?
Pat: I'm happy that people still listen to our music and am excited to have the chance to record the two new songs.
Jim: If you're asking us if we're glad we're still poor the answer is no. It's very cool after all these years people still enjoy our music, it sucks that most people have never even seen us play live.
What do you think of your own releases? Anything you wish you would have done differently? You're no Motörhead in terms of discography size, so let's go through them one by one, shall we? I've listed them below, what are your comments on them?
Lock up Your Children (Demo, 1988)
Jay: This is the original recording that eventually turned into Spectrum Of Death. We paid for the recording ourselves and just made a ton of copies to sell at shows. Eric contacted us about Avanzada and they used what we had already recorded to release Spectrum.
Jim: We thought the sound was great at the time, I think the original tape sounded better than when it came out on disc.
Pat: Spectrum and Lock up your Children are basically the same thing to us.
Destruction System (Demo, 1992)
Jim: As far as the production of the album goes, it sounds the way it did because we never had a chance to finish it. We didn't have a label that was giving us money so we had to pay for it all by ourselves, we just ran out of cash at the time.
Pat: It would have been a full-length album, there were more songs we didn't get to record at the time.
Jay: It really never should have been released by anyone, no one ever paid us for it and we don't know how they even got their hands on the tapes. I went down to the studio the summer after we started to record to get the tapes and the place was closed, we don't know what happened to our tapes.
Pat: I like the songs I'm just not happy with the sound of the vocals mainly because some of them were just rough takes, I like it but we all wish it could have been finished.
Spectrum Of Death is essentially the Lock Up Your Children demo re-released under a different moniker. Why did you choose to go for Spectrum Of Death rather than Lock Up Your Children for the album title?
Pat: None of use really liked the name Lock up your Children because it sounds kind of juvenile. Spectrum Of Death really fit as it seemed to embody what most of the songs were about.
Lock Up Your Children
Come to think of it, where did the name "Morbid Saint" come from? Were you blasting Morbid Angel on the stereo one night when "When the Saints Go Marching In" came on the telly? Yeah, I am partially asking this question just so I can tell this lame joke...
Jim: Jay came up with it.
Jay: I'm not entirely sure how I came up with it, that was such a long time ago. I know listening to Celtic Frost had something to do with.
Pat: We didn't hear of Morbid Angel till long after we had the name.
Spectrum Of Death has been re-released a number of times by various labels. My copy is the re-release by Keltic Records which includes the Destruction System demo as bonus. Have you had a say in all these re-releases? Are they all official and if not, which releases are the official ones and which are the bootlegged ones?
Jim: As far as we know the only one that is questionable is the Keltic release. I am not saying they didn't have the right to release it, I'm saying they didn't get it from us. All the other releases we knew about at the time.
Spectrum Of Death was then released with the "Eddie-like" zombie. And, although I've never seen it myself, isn't there also a version out with a cover art that features similar skulls to those on Destruction System, with the words "Spectrum Of Death" carved into them? Where did that one come from?
Jay: The cover for Spectrum was always going to be the Eddie-like zombie. We hired a guy in Milwaukee to do the cover art, when we seen it we really didn't like it but due to money and time we approved it.
Pat: We gave him a good description of what we wanted, and we ended up with Eddie.
Jay: The original pile of skulls we had done for us to be the cover for Destruction, since we didn't finish it we never used it. We don't know how Keltic even got their hands on that picture, I'm supposed to be the only one with the original copy. Power play came up with their own version for their release with the pile of skulls with Spectrum of Death carved into them.
I believe "Assassin" is widely regarded as the quintessential Morbid Saint track. It's a solid track, to say the least, a full-on ripping thrash assault. What's your personal favourite?
Jim: "Assassin" is my all time favorite; it has so many different really cool parts.
Jay: I like so many of the songs that for me it's more about the songs I didn't like. I like pretty much all the songs, it's just that some were uncomfortable to play.
Pat: I also like "Assassin", it had so many cool riffs in it and it was such a long ass song. Not many thrash bands at that time were writing songs that were that long. "Damien" is really cool too, I really like the slower part in the middle.
Spectrum Of Death
Please excuse me a for a second while I blast the aforementioned "Assassin" at full volume. Oh, and "Damien" too. And "Lock Up Your Children", "Beyond The Gates Of Hell" and "Scars". And while I'm at it, why not spin "Burned At The Stake", "Crying For Death" and "Spectrum Of Death" too? Any chance that we'll be hearing this song live in the near future? I'm European so that might complicate things a bit, but what about the US and A? Do you have any touring plans?
Jim: We're planning on doing some shows in our area but unfortunately that will probably be the extent of it for now.
That's it, I'm all out of questions! A massive thank you from me for agreeing to do this interview, I'm sure our readers will appreciate it too! The best of luck on all future Morbid Saint plans and projects. Any last words? Any questions I should have asked? Any people to thank or curse? Here's your chance...
One question might have been how did we form the band, here is the answer.
Jay: Mike Chappa and I had been playing together for a few years, we hung around with Jim drinking beer all the time so we all knew each other we just didn't play in the same band at the time. Jim was jammin with a drummer and playing basically the same music we were, we decided get together and that was the start of Morbid Saint.
Jim: The four of us played that way for about a year when the drummer left for another band, Jay, Mike and I continued to play together without a drummer for about 6 months. Jay told us of a drummer he knew that might be able to play the kind of music we had been practicing, that's when Lee came into the band. Lee was only 14 when he joined the band but he fit right in. We played a few shows with Lee on drums, Jay and I on Guitar and Mike playing bass and singing, everyone said we looked and sounded like Slayer. Mike eventually left the band so we had to find a singer and a bass player. I met Bob Sinjakovic in Milwaukee, he joined the band and introduced us to Tony. We started writing original material almost immediately but only played a few shows together before Bob left the band. We had already set up the studio time to record a demo when Bob left the band, Jay and I knew Pat from another band in Sheboygan and we asked him to join Morbid. Pat actually played drums and sang in that band but he agreed to just sing for us. Pat joined Morbid Saint about two weeks before we recorded what was to become Spectrum of Death.
We would all just like to thank everyone that continues to enjoy the music we made so long ago. Comments on metal forums, Facebook and Myspace pages and the opportunity to even give this interview mean a lot to us, we appreciate it more than we can say. Thanks!
||Posted on 28.01.2010 by If you're interested in extreme, often emotional and underground music, check out my reviews. I retired from reviewing, but I really used to be into that stuff.|
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