Did the savage, unrestrained anti-religion spite of „Human Error” („Curse the Priest, Spit at the church”) sound wonderfully refreshing in their over-the-top provocations?
I hate religion, I really hate religion. It has ruined and held back humanity. The fact that it is so widespread is depressing and just shows that humans have a fatal flaw. When I wrote that song, I remember that there was some Christian group on TV trying to get a law passed and preaching. I was so disgusted and angry that I decided to write a song that was as offensive to religion as possible. By the way, I started a website, www.crusadeagainstchrist.org a while ago. There’s some shirts and stickers if anyone is interested.
The band, like Winter, sometimes gets classed as „slowed down death metal”, do you agree with it?
Death metal branched out into so many different sub styles, I wouldn’t say we were ‘slowed down death metal’. However, since it can be so difficult to describe each style, I can see how someone would say ‘slowed down death metal’.
How many copies did you manage to sell from the record? Did it succeed for you in reaching a cult, underground status?
I don’t know the exact numbers but it think it was somewhere about 5-10K worldwide. I can’t say if we reached ‘cult’ status. There are a few people out there, including you, which still remember us. So that’s nice. But we certainly aren’t considered a main part of the 90s death metal scene. We were mentioned in a few places that chronicled the death metal scene but we’re not even on Wikipedia.org death/doom section.
Were there some shows in support of the record? How much promotion, support did Roadrunner attend to the band? I mean, did you get all of the support that a band certainly needs?
We did play some shows, mostly locally. Roadrunner did not support us at all. They did not help us get shows, tour, tour support, nothing. I think they may have 1 or 2 ads. At the time, Mike and I were in college so we could not do a full tour. However, we were willing to go for 1-2 months over the summer but it never happened.
It seemed that Roadrunner had lost faith in you by its („Hatred and disgust”) release, why?
I think they lost faith in us with the first ep, which never received much support or promotion either. Part of the reason may have to do with the fact that we did not want to change the cover for the ‘Forgotten Sunrise’ ep. Monte Conner (roadrunner’s A&R) wanted us to use a more ‘metal’ cover, but we refused. That probably killed us right there. The only reason we got to do the full length ‘Hatred and Disgust’ was due to the contract. As you mentioned, we were different than the typical death metal band at the time, so we didn’t quite fit in anywhere. While many bands tried to have an evil or gory image, we didn’t. We were in fact, almost the opposite. Our liner notes say “we’re not sick and you’re not evil” and we even thank scientific organizations and the Nature Conservancy! Monte has been quoted as saying we were his biggest mistake.
Why and when did the band’s story come to an end? Did you part ways on a friendly term with each other at the end?
After we got dropped from Roadrunner, which we found out through Suffocation, not directly from Roadrunner, we were pretty upset. Basically, we were talking to Suffo, and they mentioned us being dropped from roadrunner. We had no idea! We called roadrunner and they said ‘yeah, you were dropped months ago’. They never called us, sent us a letter, nothing. So, we started to shop around for another label. AT that point, were very frustrated. The band was our life and we seemed to get very little attention and support. After 5 years, Mike decided he had enough. The rest of didn’t want to start to search for a drummer so we decided to break up. It was mutual for all of us and we all left still being friends.
„Illusions of freedom” appeared on Roadrunner’s compilation „At Death’s Door” II., but the record was released after the bands split, wasn’t it? Would you say, that it didn’t make sense, since the band broke up? I mean, the compilation didn’t help to expand the band’s popularity in the underground…
The ADD2 CD was put together as we were putting together ‘Hatred and Disgust’, so I guess they figured it was already on the CD, not to take it off. Funny, we didn’t want that song on there, we felt it least represented our sound. We wanted either Insatiable, Forced Repression or Human Error. Notice they picked the song that was the most traditional death metal song we had.
Did „Hatred and Disgust” remain a secondary volume from death metal’s golden era that’s more interesting than most?
Sorrow was definitely a second or maybe even a third volume!
What about your musical involvements after Sorrow’s split? Did you remain in touch with each other? Can you tell us more about it?
Mike and I continue to be good friends with each other. I speak with Andy and Billy very rarely, but we still speak. There is a little story after the band broke up. I opened a record/CD store for a couple of years and also started a label. Mike was playing in a band ‘Dystopia 1’ which was like Depeche Mode meets Mr. Bungle. Very had to describe the sound. I was doing a solo electronic project called ‘Journey Into Darkness’ which was like horror movie music and the intros to death metal records with drums. So I decided to start a label to put out our music. Ironically, the first few bands I did were industrial, then I did a couple of hardcore bands. I am not sure why I didn’t do metal? That’s still my favorite! Anyway, that lost money and I sold the record store. Mike has done several solo projects, too weird to explain, Stiff Donut, Estrogenocide, and Totally Fucking Gay. They are a mixture of comedy, metal, grindcore, big band, rock, electronic, etc. Andy has played guitar in his brother’s band, straight metal. Not sure what Billy has done recently. I still have more material for Journey Into darkness, I just need some motivation to finish and put it out! If anyone is interested in hearing it, go to http://www.garageband.com/artist/jid. I also have some CDs left from 10 years ago!
Did you keep an eye on what’s going on in the underground later on?
I did, but recently I have not. I still buy new CDs, but usually from older bands like Deicide, Morbid Angel, Immolation. It’s not that I don’t like the newer bands, I just don’t have the time to listen to all of them. I do occasionally put on some internet radio that play black/death metal just to hear some new songs. But I am guilty of not learning the names.
Do you agree with, that Sorrow left its mark on the scene?
Unfortunately, I would like to agree with you but I can not. Aside from a few people, hardly anyone remembers us and no one says we were an influence. I do think we broke ground and did something new, but at the time, no one cared. Writing about politics and the environment in the early 90s was not ‘cool’ even though it’s okay now. I am not bitter, we just didn’t appeal to many people at the time.
Were/Are you aware of, that Relapse released the „Relapse singles series vol. 1” including the Apparition 7” EP?
Yes, I have a copy of it. I was very happy to see that.
Are „Forgotten sunrise” and „Hatred and disgust” out of print releases? Are there any chance to re-release them?
Way out of print! You can probably find them used online. I would love for someone to release them again, I am not sure the legal issues with roadrunner though.
What about you and the former Sorrow/Apparition guys these days? Are you still involved in the underground scene or…?
None of us are in any real big way. Nothing with Andy and Bill to my knowledge. And as I mentioned, Mike puts out his own crazy music, so I guess he’s involved the most. I still listen to it and love it, but I sit on the sidelines. Although, I would like to put out another Journey Into Darkness CD. Or maybe I will get into the political underground and start my own TV talk show, I’m still as disgusted with humanity as I’ve always been.
Any closing words for our readers....
Thanks for the interview and thanks for reading! Contact me for any updates, music or comments (and of course hate mail) at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook. Thanks again, I enjoyed doing the interview!! Nice to know there are some people who remember us.