Search


Categories

Latest updates...

AKATHARTA - review
(June 24, 2017)
ABOMINATION - review
(June 23, 2017)
MARTHYRIUM - review
(June 20, 2017)
KREATOR - review
(June 19, 2017)
KREATOR - review
(June 19, 2017)
KREATOR - review
(June 19, 2017)
KREATOR - review
(June 19, 2017)
DEAD - review
(June 19, 2017)
BLACKEVIL - review
(June 19, 2017)
LIFELESS - review
(June 19, 2017)
UTTERTOMB - review
(June 19, 2017)
DESULTORY - review
(June 18, 2017)
MARTHYRIUM - review
(June 18, 2017)
GOLGOTHA X THE... - review
(June 16, 2017)
IN AETERNUM - interview
(June 15, 2017)
DESTRUCTOR - review
(June 14, 2017)
INCINERATOR - review
(June 13, 2017)
IRON ANGEL - review
(June 11, 2017)
BEYOND BELIEF - review
(June 08, 2017)
DEUS OTIOSUS - review
(June 08, 2017)
EVO - review
(June 08, 2017)
ENTRENCH - review
(June 07, 2017)
MAIM - review
(June 06, 2017)
GODS FORSAKEN - review
(June 04, 2017)

If this band wouldn't have been around in the mid eighties, there would probably be no Death Metal genre at all these days - or at least not in the same way as we all know and love it. Back then four young teenagers simply created the most extreme and brutal music in existence (even more intense than the once mighty SLAYER, who were often considered the heaviest at the time). They used to build a foundation for thousands of bands to follow without even knowing about their own importance at the time. Nowadays San Francisco's very own POSSESSED is a legend and many musicians name their three classic releases as big influences on their own work. So, with all that in mind I definitely felt very honoured when original singer / bass player JEFF BECERRA agreed to talk to us very extensively about the whole career of the band. Here's the result...

When did your general interest in music start? How old have you been when you bought your first own record and was it Metal right from the beginning or did you listen to other types of music previously as well?
"Actually I think that my parents really started me out. They were old rockers from way back (later turned yuppie... lol) and my Dad had a great record collection. He used to be like, "Check out this song" or "Check out this album" and we would turn it up and rock out. I also had a cousin Steve who was a bit older who I thought was really cool and he would turn me on to a lot of Hardrock bands like AC/DC and OZZY. I was always going down to the store (from about 7yrs old and on) and buying 45's for a dollar. Back then it was all vinyl. I must of bought over 100 little double sided one hit wonders. It was never just Metal at the beginning but anything that I thought sounded cool. I used to make mixes of my favorite songs and listen for fucking hours!"

Before you started playing in bands, have you been actively involved in the underground scene in any other way? For example as a tape trader, fanzine editor or whatever?
"No I wasn't, back then there really was no scene yet. This was before the internet really took off (or at least I had never heard of it). In school they only had typing classes (no computers). All of the magazines were mainstream in my neighborhood and I was really too young to drive. I used to rock out to like, SABBATH / OZZY, ZEPPELIN, UFO, GAMMA etc and hang the magazine pinups on my bedroom wall and dream about being a rock star one day. But as far as knowing about the underground it really didn't exist for me."

You were eight years old when you picked up an instrument for the first time in your life, the classical guitar. Were your parents responsible for that or was it your own wish to learn an instrument?
"Actually I was five. My first real interest was drums, then guitar and later bass. My parents forced me to take lessons and I initially hated guitar! But it taught me to read some music and learn about theory and now I am truly grateful for their foresight. Like I said, my parents really looked out for me."

How long did you play classical guitar until you switched to bass and for what reasons? Who inspired you to go for it? Are you actually self taught or did you take any lessons somewhere?
"Actually I met this guy Mike Miner (later to play in BLIND ILLUSION) when I was about 12 years old. We bacame best friends and we built a tree fort and used to jam all the time in it. He would play bongo drums and I would play acoustic guitar. Later in Jr. High we hooked up with Larry Lalonde (later to be in POSSESSED) and started a band. We had already found two guitarists, the other one was named Danny Boland so I decided to play the bass because I really wanted to be in the band. My sister Carolyn bought me a bass on layaway and the rest is history. Later on I took lessons from Glenn Letz from GAMMA. He is a really great bass player."

Was it difficult for you to learn the bass? How long did it take you until you finally played in your first band?
"I think that playing drums first helped a bunch. I kind of just jumped right into it to tell you the truth. I really sucked at first but after a while I started getting it more and more. I was playing in my first band before I knew what the fuck I was doing."

You once mentioned that you've been in many Rock'n'Roll and Metal bands before POSSESSED. Do you still recall their names and how long they existed? Was Larry already in one of those bands with you?
"I was in MARAUDER and BLIZZARD (approximately 2 and 3yrs respectively) before I was in POSSESSED. Oh yes and a band called SPACEY STACY AND THE DROPOUTS but that was just a fun flash in the pan band with some that I played in with some fine chicks. Larry was also in these bands."

Was BLIZZARD the first more serious band you've been involved in? What kind of musical style did you play with BLIZZARD? I mean, there's different stories about the band and I remember that they were labelled "Speed Metal" at one time and "commercial style Metal" another, so?
"When I was in BLIZZARD it was a great experience. We grew up together and learned what it was to play in a band. We were basically a copy Metal band with a few originals that we wrote together. Back then my bass was almost as tall as I was. Later after I left they tried to jump on the Speed Metal band wagon but they just didn't fit in."

Who else was in the line-up with you? I know that besides Larry also the BLIND ILLUSION drummer was involved in BLIZZARD, wasn't he?
"As I said before me and Mike Miner grew up together so he was the drummer. We went through several different singers (one is now dead from a murder, the other is not to be found). But the core members were me Larry Lalonde, Mike Miner and Danny Boland."

Did you ever record anything with BLIZZARD?
"No."

Almost at the same time (around 1983) Mike Sus and Mike Torrao have been playing in a different band already. Do you still recall the name of their band? As far as I know they didn't call themselves POSSESSED yet, so?
"They didn't have a name as far as I know, we didn't start calling ourselves POSSESSED until I joined the band."

I read somewhere that they went through various line-up changes so, was there any musician involved maybe who went on to another (more known) band?
"They had the old bass player from EXODUS (Jeff) for a while but that didn't work out. They also had a guy named Kirk Zansey (Big Bird) but he never was in any other well known bands that I know of."

What kind of style did they play at the time?
"They were just playing Rock'n'Roll and Metal (like JUDAS PRIEST covers). They really didn't get heavy until after I came into it."

At the end of 1983 their original singer Barry Fisk committed suicide - do you know more about that and the reasons maybe?
"His old lady broke up with him. I guess that he was really in love with her. It really didn't make much sense, he had a scholarship to Stanford and seemed to have his life totally together. His death came as a real shock to everybody. Just as a footnote I was dating the younger sister of Barry's girlfriend (strange coincidence). I guess what Barry did was he went up to his old lady's house and stood in the front yard, when she came out he said,"This is for you!" and put a small caliber pistol in his mouth then pulled the fucking trigger. The worst part about it was that the bullit missed his brain and blew out his wind pipe so it took him hours to die."

At which point of time did you (Larry and Jeff) get to know Mike Sus and Mike Torrao? And when did they ask you to join? Why did they actually only ask you in the first place and not Larry as well? Were they still satisfied with their original guitar player Brian Montana at the time?
"Actually Mike and Mike came up to me when I was at school one day. They asked if I wanted to try out, so I did. Later after we had been together for a while we kicked out our first guitarist (Brian Montana) and I talked both Mikes into trying out Larry. That is also when we got Debbie to manage. She also managed my first band."

Talking of Debbie - how did you actually get to know her and are you still in touch?
"We were playing a gig with BLIZZARD at one of my sister's friends keg parties and after our set we set about drinking some beer (even though we were 13 years old at the time) when we met these two blonde chicks. They invited us (me, Larry Lalonde, Mike Miner and Steve Gibb our singer) up to their mom's pad the next day. We didn't have cars or any transportation so we walked about 15 miles to get to their house. As it turns out Debbie was their mom and she was managing a band called OUTRAGE at the time. We met and partied with them and ended up moving our equipment to thier downstairs room to practice and Debbie became our manager. That place turned out to be the party pad of the decade. I saw her at the Baloff ulogy (sp?) she was there with Gina her daughter."

Did Mike ask you to become their new vocalist right from the start? Have you ever been singing prior to that already?
"We couldn't find a singer so Mike said, "Why don't you just do it?" I was like, "fuck it, I'll do it". I had sang back-ups in my other bands but nothing big."

You once mentioned Lemmy of MOTÖRHEAD and Punk as a big influence, so would you say that those influences were responsible for the way your vocals turned out?
"Yes, definitely. Lemmy was (is) my greatest influence. MOTÖRHEAD is one of the all time greats. I liked the way local and international Punk bands had the speed, so it was kind of an organic natural progression to play how we played. But Lemmy was definitely a big influence on my vocals (that and massive cigarette smoking and gargling broken glass)."

Who was responsible for the name change into POSSESSED and was it clear right from the day you joined forces that it was supposed to become a lot heavier band now?
"Mike Torreo thought of the name. Right from the start we said that we wanted to be the world's heaviest most Satanic band ever."

Do you still recall the first songs you rehearsed together? I mean, was it all original right from the start, cover tunes, BLIZZARD material or stuff that the other guys had written in their previous band?
"We only played originals. We started out with 'Death Metal', 'Evil Warriors', 'The Exorcist', 'Satan's Curse', basically the first album songs. I learned 7 songs in 1 day in order to get in the band. The only thing that I used was the words that I wrote for a BLIZZARD song ('Hellrazor') and I put them into the middle of 'Burning in Hell'."

And how about the lyrics ? It's no secret that you never really were serious with all those satanic aspects, but Larry once mentioned that you read a lot of books in that direction, also the Satanic Bible? Is that true?
"Actually I have always been fascinated with the occult. More so now than ever. I find people's interpretations of Heaven and Hell interesting. I actually collect books with the word "Hell" in the title. I'm not sure if I believe in a God or a Satan but it is cool to read about."

How long did it take you until you played out live for the first time? What kind of response did you get?
"If you mean with POSSESSED we actually were signed to Combat within about 6 months after I joined the band. We got right into it right away. At first people didn't know what to think of us. Fortunately we had a lot of friends who came to the shows and helped to make what we were doing seem cool to others. We were the only band around doing what we were doing at the time so it took a while but eventually people caught on and got into it."

You've been good friends with EXODUS and even got to play with them a couple of times? How did that feel for you? I mean, in old interviews you always said that there's only two bands that influenced POSSESSED - and that's VENOM and EXODUS. So it must've been a big honour for you, wasn't it?
"Gary Holt (EXODUS) actually used to manage BLIZZARD so we had been friends for a while. Also Torrao knew him. Of course it was a mighty honor to get to play with EXODUS. EXODUS was one of the best bands in San Fransisco to see live."

Sometime in 1984 you recorded your classic demo, which featured the songs 'Death Metal', 'Evil Warriors' and 'Burning In Hell' - tell us more about its origin and if you had to face any difficulties during the recording of it.
"Actually we all just pitched in for the studio costs and went in and did it. It went of really smooth and we did it in an extremely short amount of time. We had no idea what the fuck we were doing so it turned out perfect (no overproducing etc.)."

Is it true that you only needed ten hours to complete it due to lack of money?
"It was so much due to lack of money as that we just went in, did the work, and left."

Who came up with the title 'Death Metal' and did you already consider your own musical style as Death Metal at the time or was it still Thrash or Speed Metal you felt more comfortable with?
"I wrote 'Death Metal' in English class while I was still in High School. I remember it like it was yesterday. My instructor had extremely hairy legs so I really had no interest in what she was saying. So I started penning the heaviest shit I could think of (of course in proper English... lol). I think that it was her hairy-ass legs that inspired such a brutally ugly song. Yes, Black Metal was already taken so we decided to call it Death Metal."

But you also recorded 'Fallen Angel' during the same session - why didn't that song make it on the demo in the end?
"It was. I think what happened is, somewhere in the underground during trades, it was separated from the original parent demo. It should be on the tape with the others. 'Fallen Angel' told me that "it is really lonely out on its own and really wants join with the others"."

Unfortunately I never got my hands on an original copy, just through tape trading, so I was wondering if you ever had made up a real cover for it, and if so, how it looked like?
"No there was never a cover, we just wrote on the cover with ink pen and permanent markers."

Did you sell a lot of copies or did you mainly spread it around to record labels and magazines in order to promote the band's name?
"We never sold or made any money from the demos. I think that is the worst way to get publicity. We made like 80 copies and spread them to the underground and that is how we were signed."

At which point of time and for what reasons did you go for the extreme leather and studs outfit? I saw a couple of very old live pictures of the band were you only wore jeans and t-shirts, so it must have come a little later, right?
"We were into it right from the start. Me and Mike T would make all of the armbands etc. from scratch. We would go into the city and buy whole hides of leather and big bags full of studs and spikes and spend hours making our garb. Every once in a while (depending on the crowd) we would opt not to where the spikes. Especially if it was a really small show spikes would not really fit in."

Wasn't Torrid Records interested in signing you right after the demo already? Why didn't you go for that offer?
"Well we had heard what happened with EXODUS and how they were unable to go to a major label because of the guys at Torrid. We wanted a contract with a little more flexability."

When did Brian Slagel get into the picture with his offer to participate in his 6th edition of the "Metal Massacre" compilation series?
"Brian approached us shortly after the demo was made. We were extremely excited at the prospect of getting on vinyl so we accepted."

Did he finance the recordings of 'Swing Of The Axe'? Where did you record that song and why didn't you just give him one of the demo tunes you already had available?
"I believe that he did (although it is hard to remember). We wanted a better version than the demo so we re-did it."

But 'Swing Of The Axe' wasn't on the demo, so did you do any other demos apart from the classic one?
"You're right...oops! No we never did it on the demo."

After that, rumours were circulating that you would release your debut album on Metal Blade as well and that contracts had already been signed and stuff? What was going on there?
"Well Metal Blade seemed to think that we were obligated to do an album with him as well, but that was not the case. So we went in with Combat."

When did you exactly find out that the band had to go on without Brian Montana and was it you, who got your old band mate Larry in to replace him?
"Brian wasn't into the image and he was not learning at a fast enough rate. He was always late to practice (if he showed at all) and wasn't doing his job. We all decided it would be best if we found someone else. To tell you the truth though, I wanted to get Larry back in the band and I kind of schemed to do just that. At first both Mikes didn't want Larry because he was too young but after some persuasion on my part we tried him out and he was in."

Was there any truth in the rumours that Kerry King of SLAYER was also interested in joining you at the time?
"I wish!! That would have been hella cool. Actually there is no truth to that what-so-ever but it would have been nice!"

In 1985 you finally signed with Combat Records - what made their offer more attractive to you than the ones from Metal Blade or Torrid?
"They offered a short contract with tours, up front money and a lot of perks. Although we never made a lot of money they did treat us good. But as with all minor labels they are rip offs, but not as bad as the others."

Is it true that you had to wait for the Easter holidays until you were able to record "Seven Churches" because you were all still at school at the time?
"Easter was just the most available time. We were in school so it worked out perfect. Plus lent was over so we figured, "what the hell"."

Prior to the release of the album, one of the tracks already appeared on the "Speed Kills" compilation. Did you already get any feedback on that?
"To tell you the truth, I've never seen it. Maybe I should go out and get it!!"

The album finally came out in October of 1985, but featured a different cover than originally planned. Tell us all the details about the original artwork, what was supposed to be onthere, who did it and if there's a chance that we will ever see it somewhere sometime?
"I have a copy of the original, it was pretty cool. It had a Satanic Church on the front with pentagram windows and upside-down crosses. There was a nun hangin from a tree by a chain with this wicked owl holding it. In the front of the church were grave stones that were to bear the names of the band. We opted for the simpler version because we thought that it made more of an impact. This guy named Vince did the original but he wanted to be payed for it so that was that. Maybe sometime I can make a copy for you?"

I remember that Mike Torrao wasn't too much into his writing, so did that cause any tension within the band?
"Well Mike was only 1/4th of the band just like the rest of us, so we all had equal imput. Sometimes Mike would complain but Larry was writing good stuff at the time so it really wasn't an issue. Mike was a great writer. He was fanatical -- we were all fanatical. I think that Mike brought a lot to the band. The music really was his thing. Me and Mike were always the ones fucking with the rest of the band."

How did you hook up with Randy Burns as the producer, who did a fantastic job on that album, and why did you never work with him again in the years to come?
"Combat just sent us their stock producer at the time, which happend to be Randy Burns, and thanks for the compliment. As far as I know he was busy with MEGADETH's album at the time we did "Beyond The Gates" so we got Carl Canady instead."

Did you play any shows / tours in support of the album in the US?
"We didn't do so much tours as go out to LA here and the midwest there. We pretty much took every gig that we could get at that time including Oregon, Seattle etc."

In November the same year you got the opportunity to play the legendary "World War III" festival in Montreal, Canada. Was that your first show across the border? Did you previously play any other festivals or shows of this size before already?
"That was our first international show. This was also our first really big show. This was a great show and I enjoyed all of the bands immensly including CELTIC FROST, VOIVOD, DESTRUCTION and NASTY SAVAGE (NASTY SAVAGE fucking ruled!)."

Do you still recall what was going through your minds when you hit the stage? How do you judge your own performance in retrospect?
"Yes I remember exactly how I felt, scared shitless!! It was my first really big show and I was nervous that something would go wrong. Fortunately everything turned out ok. I thought that it was a great show with a great turnout."

Did you manage to see any of the other bands on the bill (CELTIC FROST, VOIVOD, DESTRUCTION, NASTY SAVAGE?)? If so, which performance was your favourite and why?
"I stayed for the whole show (as I am also a fan). All the bands played truly incredible sets. My favorite was definitely NASTY SAVAGE as their show was amazing. They had all kinds of props and confetti and fire hoses going off. Nasty Ronni broke a television over his head and lit his hair on fire on accident! They weren't really the heaviest band there but they had a show that was like watching KISS or something."

When did you actually start writing the material for the next album? I mean, it must've been quite difficult with all those obligations of yours at the time, like still being in school, touring and stuff?
"Actually I was always writing lyrics back then - a dream here, a thought there - you know, like any teenager. It was a tremendous amount of work but it was also a labor of love, meaning that I enjoyed what I was doing."

By the way - did your abilities in school suffer in any way from the band's activities?
"I was always pretty good in school. I took honors classes so high school wasn't that difficult. I put in the minimal amount of time and still made A and B grades. The answer is yes my school suffered, but I still passed and that's what matters."

When did you exactly return to the studio to record "Beyond The Gates" and who's idea was it to use Carl Canedy as the producer? Would you agree that he was a bad choice for this kinda music?
"Well like I was saying, Randy Burns was in the studio with MEGADETH so we had to use Carl Canedy. Everything sounded cool until he did the final mix. I don't think the production is AS bad as some people think but it could have been better."

Larry's input on the song writing had become a lot stronger this time, as he wrote three of the songs on the album ('Tribulation', 'Seance' and 'Phantasm'). Did the fans appreciate his writing or did his style cause some controversy among your die hard following?
"I think that Larry was just comming into his own on this album. Although you can hear some heavy outside influences in his music he was really starting to get the idea of what we were about on "Beyond The Gates". I also thought that his songs went well with what we were doing and added a great deal of needed texture especially when we played live shows."

The album had a very impressive packaging when it came out first - who had the idea for that and did the incredibly good sales of "Seven Churches" help to get such an expensive packaging?
"Actually we came up with the idea, it is supposed to look like Satan with his mouth opening (like gates) into hell. We were the largest sales in the Combat at the time so it would probably be safe to say that is why they spent so much money on us (although we had to pay back all production costs from our royalties). I actually liked using the album cover for a place mat whenever I would eat my dinners... lol."

Was it pure coincidence or planned that the album's release was exactly on Halloween 1986?
"Actually that is when the mighty lord Lucifer sent his African demon Beelzebub to Combat and told them it was time for the infernal release... just kidding. Yes it was purely coincidental."

In support of "Beyond The Gates" you finally got the opportunity to tour Europe for three and a half weeks. You played Belgium, Germany, England and Holland... What kind of memories do you have on that tour? Did you have to face any difficulties because you were all still pretty young at the time?
"Europe was a great time! I was truly surprised that the underground even existed in Europe. I had been living in a microcosm thinking that USA was the only place to play. It was like another world to me completely different than the US. I had a great time with and met some really great people. To this day I keep telling my wife that I will bring her back (especially to Germany) when we can spend more time."

How did you get along with the other bands on the bill, Germany's DEATHROW and VOIVOD?
"We had a great time! Hanging out, drinking beer. I can remember getting into the serious wrestling matches with the guys from DEATHROW. Snake and the guys (VOIVOD) were crazy as always."

After that you returned to the US to do another tour with DARK ANGEL? How did that go for you compared to the European shows?
"DARK ANGEL was great to tour with. They are really great guys. I think that both the European tour and the States were both great tours, they were hard road trips, but extremely worth while and they did a lot to get our band known."

You also played in Montreal again, at the "No Speed Limit" Festival? Was that festival comparable in any way to the "World War III" show you did a year before?
"Yes this was a great festival as well. I liked Canada a lot. I even went back later to visit and hang out. For a while I even thought of moving out there."

When did Larry get together with Joe Satriani as his guitar teacher and who came up with the idea to let him produce the next release, "The Eyes Of Horror"?
"Joe and Larry became really good friends. Joe did so much to improve Larry's guitar playing that he seemed natural to do the album. It really was an honor to work with Joe Satriani and I would highly recomend it to any up and coming band. Of course Joe had done work with STEVE VAI and THE SQUARES as well as playing on his solo projects so he was well versed in the art of production."

Did he have an influence on the song writing and / or arrangements of the material in any way?
"Joe didn't influence the arrangement so much as he did Larry's solos. Larry learned most of his riffs on those songs from Joe during his lessons."

How do you judge this last POSSESSED release these days - would you say that Joe did a good job on that and do you still like the material?
"I really like all of our work, I wish we could have come out with more material but I am still extremely proud of all of our albums."

Why did you wait so long until you re-recorded 'Swing Of The Axe' for that release? I suppose many old fans already expected that tune to appear on the debut already, so what's the story behind this?
"We thought that it would be cool to do a high production remake of 'Swing Of The Axe' with Joe and also it would bring some of the old school to the album. It really offsets the other music as it is such a ludicrously simple and primitive song. It was fun to just go in and make some fucking noise and a great break from the technical parts of the other 3 songs."

What actually did cause the split-up of the band in 1988? Did you ever regret that you moved away that much from the intense material you released on "Seven Churches"?
"I don't think that we ever "moved" away from the heavier stuff, I think that we were just doing something different at the time of the "Eyes Of Horror" album. That is the coolest part about being a non-conformist is that you can play whatever the fuck you want."

In an interview Mike Torrao once said that you had a couple of problems at the time that you needed to take care of. Is that true? Would you like to talk about this subject? Did this have something to do with the tension which lead to the break-up of the band maybe?
"Actually we didn't have any problems, everything was great. We were at the height of our popularity and could have went on forever as far as I'm concerned. Being in a band can be like being married to 3 ugly women sometimes and I think that I just needed a separation at the time. Me and Larry were an extremely positive influence on the group and I think that without Larry I wasn't ready to keep going at that time."

When it comes to the whereabouts of the original members, there's quite some different information circulating... One say that Mike Sus went to college afterwards and completed a Psychology degree and is working as a counsellor for drug addicts nowadays. Then there's also another info saying that he's helping brain injury patients to recover and to learn how to live on their own again? Do you know more about this?
"Yes, Mike Sus did get a B.A. in Psychology from SFSU (the same college I went to). Actually I just spoke with him the other day. Mike is working with head injury patients now helping them to live on their own and whatnot. He is doing extremely well and seems very happy. I'm not sure if he is still playing or not."

It's more easy with Larry, who joined BLIND ILLUSION and recorded "The Sane Asylum" with them before he and Les Claypool moved on to form PRIMUS... It's been said that Mike Torrao started hisown landscaping business? Is he still doing that?
"Mike and his father have always had a business together, even the whole time we were in POSSESSED. I also worked with my father the whole time (doing concrete). Mike has always done extemely well business wise and money wise. He has two houses now and owns 100 acres (that we go hunting on sometimes)."

Before that, did Mike continue with POSSESSED after "The Eyes Of Horror" straight away or was there a break in between that release and the demos that came out between 1991 and 1993?
"I believe that there was a break although I am not sure how long as I kind of lost touch with everyone for a while doing my own thing."

Did you ever get to hear those tapes? If so, do you think it was a good idea to release them under the POSSESSED moniker?
"Although it really wasn't POSSESSED they were still a cool band. I don't think that Mike was ready to start out from square one again."

What have you been doing right after the split up? You started working an ordinary job somewhere, didn't you?
"Yes, I had my own concrete business and worked a few other construction jobs. I started dating (had a real girlfriend) and basically did the things that I had been missing out on while doing the "rockstar" thing. I wanted to have the things that I had been missing. It's funny that I worked so hard to be different and then missed out on a lot of the things other people take for granted."

1989 must've been the most tragical year for you as you got robbed and shot by two drug addicts on your way home from work which left you paralysed from the waist down ever since, right? If you don't mind, tell us about the years to follow? You once mentioned that you did do a lot of drugs and drank much alcohol after that happened, so? When and how did you manage to get yourself going again?
"For about 4 years I partied really super hard... just trying to kill the pain. I was on the brink of death for a while from too much booze and massive drugs. But eventually a friend of mine named Lloyd Albright came around and he was also in recovery (X dope head) and convinced me to go back to college and grow the fuck up. From there on everything has been great. I have a new wife Sheila, and a son Jeff Jr and just bought ahouse. Life is much better, in fact these are the best days of my life."

What have you done ever since?
"Well as I said, I went back to school. Contra Costa College where I recieved my Associate in Arts with honors. Then I attended San Francisco State University where I recieved my Bachelors in Labor Studies and Minored in Social Science. I have been heavily involved in the Labor movement and have just been promoted to Manager in the health care field (and HMO)."

But it seems that you're still heavily into the very brutal stuff as you still listen to many extreme bands and even went into the studio with LA's SADISTIC INTENT for their version of 'The Exorcist'? Tell us moreabout this session and how things developed.
"Oh it was fun as hell! SADISTIC are all terrific guys and we had a ball. SADISTIC is one of my all-time favorite bands (same here! - Frank). Me and my old lady came up the first day and we did a rehersal, then went out and partied that night. The next day we started out early and laid down the tracks. I think it came out pretty damn heavy!"

Wasn't it originally planned to be a new recording of 'Satan's Curse'? What was the reason for the change of the song you did with them?
"I have no Idea what they had planned. They contacted me and asked me to come out and I did."

How did you generally feel about the idea of a POSSESSED tribute album? Were you into the idea of contributing to it yourself right away or did you have any worries or anything that it might be wrong?
"I think that it is a great honor. I can't believe that people are out there still listening to my music. These bands are all great bands and I'm sure that they can more than do justice to the songs. Hopefully they won't be "too" much better than the originals or that would really make me look bad... lol."

Honestly spoken, I was totally surprised when I heard the song that you still managed to sing in the same brutal way as back in the 80's, so have you ever been singing or playing music throughout the years or was that session the first time for you in ages again?
"That was basically the first time. I was worried about singing because I only have half a lung on my left side from the gunshot, but I think it came out cool." (it definitely did! - Frank)

Have you ever met or spoken to one of the other guys of POSSESSED ever since your split up?
"Sure, not all the time but occasionally I will take the time to call and ask them what's up? Basically everyone is concerned with their own lifes now though. We don't hang out oranything as I think that they are all old and boring now... just kidding. I will always think of them as my band and my friends."

Ok Jeff, I guess this should be enough for now - thanx a lot for some great music and for taking the time to answer all this. If there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free to do so now. All the best and take care.
"Thanks alot. I just want to say hello to all my old friends and send my love to my family Sheila Louise Becerra and Jeffrey Benjamin Becerra Jr."

More info on POSSESSED at the official website of the band: http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Alley/1409/possesed.htm

Interview: Frank Stöver
Pics: Frank Stöver (last 5), Mary Ciullo (2 Live, Dark Angel background), Oliver Barth (various b/w live pics) and various unknown sources

< back   |   print   |   report errors

© 2000 - 2017 - Voices From The Darkside   |   Page origin: Dec. 04, 2000