DENIAL FIEND may be a new name to the scene, but at least three of the members (Kam Lee, Terry Butler and Curtis Beeson) should be wellknown to everyone reading this. The band gets completed by Sam Williams on guitar and is musically first and foremost rooted in oldschool Death Metal, yet with an overall fresh approach to it. You can easily check that out for yourselves by picking up a copy of their impressive debut full length "They Rise" that has just been released through Ibex Moon Records. Needless to say that we had to get in touch with vocalist Kam Lee once again to get you some first hand information… Surprisingly it took Kam only one single day (!!) to come up with some interesting answers, so read on and enjoy!
Greetings Kam… hope you’re doing well and you’re ready to come up with a worthy follow up to our "legendary" first interview for Voices From The Darkside…?!
"Ha-ha-ha… Yeah… that one sure got me a ton of hate mail throughout the years! But I’ve calmed down a bit more in my old age… ha-ha! Now don’t get me wrong… I still feel that a major part of society is still a bunch of brainwashed idiot monkeys, and I still hate corperate owened record labels. I still have my asshole like opinions, but only because I stand up for what I believe in – and I don’t back down from it. I’m as stubborn as I’ve ever been… and I still get angry as all hell on the drop of a dime. But – I will always stand up for the under dog… I’ll always defend the little guy. I have that sense of justice. I can’t stand to see someone get taking advantage of… or someone get ‘teamed up’ on. For example… I will not tolerate fights at my shows… I’ll stop a show if some asshole picks a fight in the crowd. If some jack ass wants to throw down at my show… I’ll call him out. If the fuckers not thrown out by security – I’ll call him up on stage. Not to fight… but I’ll pay the prick back his ticket money out of my own pocket for him to just fucking leave the venue. I don’t need that kind of monkey ass attitude at my shows. I wont tolerate that kind of shit."
Before DENIAL FIEND came into being, you were involved in projects such as CADAVERIZER and KAULDRON, but for some reason nothing ever really came out of that (except for KAULDRON’s contribution to the DESTRUCTION tribute CD on Dwell Records), so what was the problem with those bands? Are they still around?
"Well… no those bands don’t exist anymore. KAULDRON just fell apart because really it was just me and the members of the band EQUINOX. So – Pete Slate (EQUINOX guitarist) felt it best to just keeping EQUINOX going… rather then doing another "new" band. I had some disagreements with Matt his bassist, but I think it was just a difference in our business approuch… nothing more then that. I’m sure it could have been worked out, but the members decided to split, and just keep going with EQUINOX. CADAVERIZER never got out of the begining stages… this band was to be me with Matt Harvey and other members from EXHUMED. I think a lot had to do with the fact that we live on oppisite sides of the country… me on the East Coast… them on the West Coast. Matt was sending me some songs to work on… but soon after that he got busy with EXHUMED, and I think it took up alot of his attention."
Who actually had the idea for DENIAL FIEND then? Did you form the band or were you asked to join? And was the band’s name inspired by HELLHAMMER’s old drummer maybe?
"Actually the idea to form DENIAL FIEND came out of me working with Sam Williams (DENIAL FIEND / DOWN BY LAW / PSUEDO HEROES) guitarist and Terry Butler (ex-DEATH / MASSACRE / SIX FEET UNDER / DENIAL FIEND) bassist, while recording on another project we did together called SHADOWS WITH KNIVES. We liked working together… there was a certain vibe going… and when this vibe feels right… you just go with it. We talked about doing a band full time… something not as just a recording band, but as a band that would really work… record and tour. The name came up kind’a in a few different forms… at first we had ARCH FIEND and MORGUE FIEND… both names sounded cool… but just not right. I was talking on the phone with Sam, and we kept going over what to call the band. I’ve always liked the word fiend… and I was determined to keep it in the name. For me… the word fiend has alot of sentimental value. It’s got that MISFITS connection in a way… and I’m a huge MISFITS fan. And even when talking to Matt Harvey about CADAVERIZER back in 2000… I mentioned the name ARCH FIEND as a possible band name for the band we were going to do. I just knew the name of the band was going to have the word fiend in it somehow. So while on the phone with Sam trying to think of a name for the band – I just happened to looked down at my record collection… and there it was… right out front. The HELLHAMMER album. And with out really thinking I said…"What about DENIAL FIEND?"
When and how did you all got together then? Were there any problems considering the fact that Terry is busy with SIX FEET UNDER and Curtis also still seems to have a full schedule, apart from NASTY SAVAGE…
"Like I said we came together when working on the project SHADOWS WITH KNIVES, but I actually worked with Sam prior to that with his punk band PSUEDO HEROES. Sam did an album with his band PSUEDO HEROES called "Prison Of Small Perception" where he had guest vocalists come in and do songs. Guys like John Stabb from GOVERNMENT ISSUE, Blaine Cook from THE ACCUSED, Chris Barrows from PINK LINCOLNS, Jerry A. from POISON IDEA and Dave Smalley from DAG NASTY / ALL / DOWN BY LAW all from the Punk world, but also he had Lee Dorrian from NAPALM DEATH / CATHEDRAL / THE DIVINE come in and do a song. And of course me… I did a song titled ‘Dead Alive’. And when the album came out… a lot of good reviews came around about the song we did. So, Sam asked if I would like to return to work on SHADOWS WITH KNIVES… more of a Doom Metal project in the vein of CATHEDRAL. That’s when Terry came into the picture. While recording these song for SHADOWS WITH KNIVES… we talked about how good everything was coming together, and we talked more about doing this thing as a real band, as I mentioned above. One thing we talked about was… I didn’t want to be just another Death Metal band. I’ve done Death Metal… hell, I started it… so for me doing just another Death Metal band wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to incorperate influences outside of Death Metal. As I said I’m a huge MISFITS fan, also SAMHAIN and even DANZIG, and I like a lot of Horror Punk bands around today. So I wanted to blend this side of myself into DENIAL FIEND’s music."
What can you tell us about Sam (Williams), the band’s guitarplayer? Unfortunately he’s the only one I wasn’t aware of before DENIAL FIEND… What has he done before?
"Well… I know from your review that you know nothing about Punk… that’s obvious from the way you crumb on the back up vocals in DENIAL FIEND’s songs. But Sam is well known in the Punk world. He’s been active in DOWN BY LAW for years, as well as his band PSUEDO HEROES. He’s new to the Metal scene… but he’s been a fan of Metal for years. Sam has a unique style of playing… something not found today in Metal guitarist. Today most Metal guitarists all sound like they came from either the Scandinavian school of Death Metal, the PANTERA school for Dime Bag wannabees, or the drop tune to B school of KORN… everyone is very derivative. I think Sam’s style and unique sound helps seperate us from the other Metal acts… the typical predictable guitar sound and solos so evident in today’s Metal bands."
Has there ever been talk about using the name MASSACRE again for this new line-up? I mean, musically you’re not that far away from the classic MASSACRE stuff and with Terry and yourself there’s 50% of the old members involved anyway, so…
"No! I’m trying to move forwards in my life… that includes my music life. Even though DENIAL FIEND will do "special event" performances this year as MASSACRE RE-ANIMATED. The thought of re-forming MASSACRE is not one I’m even considering. DENIAL FIEND is my main focus… and once we stop doing the MASSACRE performances this year. MASSACRE will finally be put to rest!"
Where do you see the main difference in DENIAL FIEND and MASSACRE?
"Musically… I see very different influences in DENIAL FIEND then in MASSACRE. For example: In DENIAL FIEND we take influences from the oldschool Death Thrash bands, but we also ad influences from Horror Punk. MASSACRE was just straight forwards ancient kult Death Metal, hands down MASSACRE was the roots to the Death Metal tree. Very much like MANTAS / DEATH was, and bands like MASTER and POSSESSED. And stuff like SLAYER, SODOM, HELLHAMMER / CELTIC FROST, DESTRUCTION and KREATOR. These are the bands at the forefront of the Death Metal movement. Rick changed MASSACRE for the worse when he wrote that fucking awful "Promise" album – he killed MASSACRE with that! DENIAL FIEND will not try and change our direction… I will always take DENIAL FIEND in the direction it’s in now. Total HORROR METAL!!! I don’t think of DENIAL FIEND as being a Death Metal band… even though we will be put into that category. I call DENIAL FIEND style of music HORROR METAL… and it’s what it is – Metal with influences from both Death Metal and Horror Punk!"
By the way: have you ever talked to Rick Rozz after MASSACRE fell apart? What is he up to these days? Is he still involved in music?
"No… Who cares?…Not that I know… nor do I give a shit!!!"
Who came up with the original song ideas in DENIAL FIEND… the stuff that ended up being released as your first official rehearsal tape?
"If you mean the lyrics… that would be me. If you mean the music… that’s a lot of Sam’s writting, but also the band is involved with working together on songs. I wrote riffs to a few tracks… ‘Ripped Inside Out’ and ‘Let The Blood Flow’ – and Sam wrote the riffs and guitar work on the others. But the band as a whole works on the songs together… Curt will ad his drum parts, and Terry will ad his bass lines. Together we work out the way a song will feel, the tempo, and the direction the music will carry the song. This is always good… when a band can work together… it makes everything much better, and it runs more smoothly. I won’t tolerate any "Rock Stars" in the band… once someone get’s that "Rock Star" attitude – they will get a warning first, but if it continues… then it’s time they will need to move on to something else."
Were those three songs the first DENIAL FIEND songs you four wrote together or has there been material that you already did before, yet didn’t consider good enough to release?
"Do you mean the 3 tracks… ‘They Rise’, ‘Cover Me In Blood’ and ‘Son Of The Creature From The Black Lagoon’? Well, ‘Cover Me In Blood’ is the oldest we have… it’s the first official song we put together. ‘They Rise’ was second… we had a song called ‘The Thing With 100 Eyes’, but that song got re-worked into ‘Flesh Eater’. When a band does a first album… everything is still kind of in the experimental stages… we are looking for our nitch, our formula – sort of speak. So things will always seem kind’a ruff with a first album… plus we’ve only been together for about a year and half. That’s not long in band terms… so we still have those certain bugs to work out. Sam is a perfectionist… he’ll re-work things a lot. I’m kind’a the opposite, once I build something… once I put lyrics into a song… I have that feel for the song… I have that structure in my head. So I don’t prefer to change things too much. yet, sometimes… when writing songs, you’ll get a better feel to how the sound and style of the song should be. If the song really fits with the rest of what you’re doing. And sometimes a song or two will be sacrificed to the god of unwanted songs. That’s what happened to ‘The Thing With 100 Eyes’. Hey, feel lucky if you have a copy of that song… because that is already the first ‘rare’ DENIAL FIEND item out there."
What kind of reactions did you get on that rehearsal from fans in general and your own loyal fanbase in particular?
"Well, of course from my own personal fan base… it’s always the same shit… "When will you do another MASSACRE album?" But really people that are my good friends and my good fans have taken DENIAL FIEND with open arms and an open mind. And to me that means a lot! Like I said… I’m fully focused on DENIAL FIEND now… those sitting around waiting for another MASSACRE album. Well, if they’re holding their breath for that one… let me just say they’ll either pass out or suffocate before that happens. And I come from the oldschool way of up bringing – the hit you on the back of the head with a stick of wood kind’a up bringing… so the more someone ask and begs for something… the less they will get it… kind’a up bringing! You know… the kind’a thing – that if it happened today – the kid would have his parents thrown in jail, and he would sue his parents for child abuse damages. Well, coming from the days of hard knocks and kneeling for hours on uncooked rice with naked bleeding knees, while holding onto cinder blocks with out stretched arms has made me into a fucking hard ass. So I’ve learned to take begging as a sign of weakness. So the more someone begs me… the less I’m going to give them. So in other words… stop asking about MASSACRE people."
‘Cover Me In Blood’ appears on all of your releases so far (rehearsal, demo / EP and the debut full length), so is that song kinda special for you?
"As I said it’s the first song we finished together as a band, and it really felt like this was the sound and feel we wanted. It’s the signature song, but with each song we write we work on the style and feel. It’s the root song for sure… more like the seed that planted the way for DENIAL FIEND. So yeah, I guess you can say it’s special for all of us in DENIAL FIEND."
Tell us a bit about the demo you did in December of 2006… Where did you record that, was it meant to be a promotional tool for possible labels only or also intented to be sold to fans etc.? I read that it actually has three songs on it, but I only have two of them in my collection, so did you keep one for yourselves or something?
"Oh – I thought you meant the demo from question 10… but you meant the ‘rehersal promo’ (yep – Frank). O.k. – well, the demo had ‘They Rise’, ‘Cover Me In Blood’ and ‘Son Of The Creature From The Black Lagoon’… but the rehersal had ‘They Rise’, ‘Cover Me In Blood’ and ‘The Thing With 100 Eyes’. Wow, hope the readers can follow this shit! Anyhow, 2 songs from the demo – later got pressed onto our "Dead Awakening 7" limited vinyl release. So – the track ‘Son Of The Creature From The Black Lagoon’… wasn’t on the 7". But that track made it onto the album. Anyhow, we recorded the demo and the full length album at GL Studios in Tampa. It’s the studio were Sam has recorded his PSUEDO HEROES albums, and also where we worked on the SHADOW WITH KNIVES recording. Although the demo was mixed at DOW Studios by us and "Punchy" Gonzalez – who also worked with MORBID ANGEL on one of their releases, and the full length was mixed at MANA Studios by us and Brian Eliot."
When and how did Ibex Moon Records get into the picture then and what made you sign with them instead of any other company that might have shown interest in the band…?
"Ibex got involved around the time we put the ‘promo rehersal’ out. We went with them mainly because when John McEentee (INCANTATION / Ibex Moon Records) spoke to me… he didn’t come off by projecting his ideas into what DENIAL FIEND should be. He didn’t approach us as another MASSACRE or as another ‘super group’. He really cared about what DENIAL FIEND was doing musically, and he was interested in what we had planned for DENIAL FIEND. As I’ve said before I hate corperate big labels… all they care about is to what degree the sell their garbage! The don’t come to a band with an open mind… they come to a band with "ideas" of who to market the band to, and with "ideas" of what the bands image should be, and to who the band should try and write music for. I appreciate smaller labels like Ibex Moon Records and labels like Razorback Records. John from Ibex and Billy from Razorback have direct contact with each and everyone of their bands, it’s not something that is done through a secretary or some dumb fuck that thinks he’s special because he works for a label. I like that direct contact… because it works better for the band and for the label."
I suppose the 2 song vinyl EP they released by DENIAL FIEND (with the demo songs on it) was first and foremost meant to get the band’s name out a bit more, before you finally came up with a full length album, wasn’t it? Was it a limited edition? Why was it released only on vinyl?
"Because 7" vinyl is cool! It’s a rare collectors item… something for the old guys like me that like to collect 7"es. Plus, it’s got that retro oldschool appeal! Yeah, it’s limited to 500 copies."
There’s also two MASSACRE "albums" out that pulled you back into the spotlight as well… "The Second Coming" (which features the demo you did prior to "From Beyond") and "Tyrants Of Death" (the MASSACRE demo collection on Iron Pegasus Records)… What do you think of those two releases?
"Ha-ha… let’s open up that can of rotten worms. No really – "Tyrants Of Death" is cool… it was something that I thought was good… but the only thing is Costa from Iron Pegasus won’t give me any more copies! I think he’s mad about the other release… "The Second Coming". Which, I’ll get to in a moment. But the "Tyrants Of Death" album is done great… it’s good to have those classic demos out. Yet, as I said… I want more copies from him, I only got like 30 copies, and he hasn’t answered my e-mails asking for more copies. You would think that I deserve those copies he owes me… it is my band. But for some reason he hasn’t gotten back in touch with me. Okay – maybe he is a rip off, but I’m not saying that just yet. I’m going to give him til the end of the month to get me those copies, but if he refuses to get back in contact with me, and he fucking tries and stiff me. Then it’s war! (Costa is definitely no rip off at all and just informed me that he’s of course going to send more copies of the release to Kam! – Frank). Now about "The Second Coming" – I never wanted this to be released… I never felt it was really MASSACRE, even though some (some!) of the music is good… the overall feel of the songs and production is weak. I was sick when we did this demo, and so my vocals are not the best performance. Also, the whole thing got way out of my control. At first Don (NUNSLAUGHTER) asked me about releasing it… I told him I didn’t care to release it. But then he just kept bugging me about it… and one day he caught me in a bad mood, and I just said… go ahead release it. Well, I fucked up… because as I said I didn’t really want it to be released. Then I thought about it, maybe I should release it. So while I was hunting down a company interested in releasing it… John from Ibex Moon showed some interest. At the time I didn’t know Don was working on it still. So I told John, sure I’ll let him release it. John worked out a deal to have Iron Pegasus release it over in Europe… (now we are getting to why I think Costa is mad at me) and we started to work out when and how to release it. Suddenlly… then Don announces he’s going to release it, and that it was already in pressing. At this time – I had everyone pissed off at me… John was mad, Costa was pissed off… and then I got e-mails from Joey Cangelosi (drummer on that recording) basically saying that I fucked him on the release. Really it’s just stupid!!! All in all, it’s just a fucking "live demo" recorded like 18 years ago – so why all the fuss?! Anyhow, now it’s out… so people can get it. And that’s all that I really care about… that the fans that want really want it – can now get it! That’s all that really matters!"
Is it possible that you have drawn the cover for "The Second Coming"? How old is that artwork? Was it done for the original demo or is it rather fresh and was done for the CD release exclusively?
"Yes… it’s my artwork. But it’s from way back in 1990… back when I did Comatose Magazine. Don took the art from a copy of Comatose and put it on the cover. I am greatful he chose to use my art… that’s the one thing that is really great about it. Finally my own artwork on an album! Wish I could say it was my idea, but really it was all Don’s work. It’s great – it’s cool to have my artwork on it, but I just wish the other baggage that has come with this release was as good, with all the negative shit it’s brought my way. Right now, to look at it brings me bad fucked up feelings."
Talking of artwork: Tim Vigil did the rather comic type artwork for the DENIAL FIEND debut album "They Rise"… Tell us a bit about this guy! Is he maybe a comic book artist? Has he done the band’s logo as well?
"You don’t know who Tim Vigil is…really? Shit Vigil is the god of Splatter Gore comics… "Faust", "Gothic Nights", 777 The Wrath", "Webwitch" and a ton of others! He’s like the master of splatter gore! He makes black and white ink work come to blood splattering life!!! I’m like the biggest Vigil fanboy nut… I’m a huge comic book fan (same here, but in a different direction – Frank). Esp. Horror Comics! To get Vigil was a like a dream come true! He did all the art… and yeah he designed the logo. Really it was Sam that got in contact with Vigil… and I’ll always be greatful to Sam for that one, because for me it’s an honor to have Tim Vigil art on one of my releases!"
Lyrically you seem to draw a lot of influences from classic Horror / Zombie movies… Is that a direction you’d like to continue on with on future DENIAL FIEND albums as well? Any movies in particular in this genre that you consider your personal alltime faves?
"Yes, DENIAL FIEND lyrics will always come from Horror movies… and other Horror genre related stuff. Comics, novels and even some video games, but for the most part most of the lyrics will derive from Horror movies! Zombie movies are the bands favorite genre… and this theme will follow DENIAL FIEND for sometime. Yet, I also like the classic Monster films from the 30s – 50s. The Drive – In movies, and the classic B-horror films from the Creature Feature days. The 70s exploitation films about Cannibals and Slasher films of the 80s! I’m not into this nu-gore CGI wave of PG-13 horror shit that is from today! Only the classic stuff from back when Horror Movies had lots of Gore, Blood, and T&A!!!"
I was also pretty surprised to see a free bonus DVD included in a debut album… I mean, it would probably have been a lot easier / cheaper just to add that stuff as a datafile to the actual album instead of going for an additional DVD… So, who came up with the idea for it and was it difficult in any way to convince the label about the idea?
"Well… the DVD was planned to be bigger, with a lot more on it. But time restaints made us cut over half of the stuff out… and the other half we never got around to filming. I feel the same way… it should have been just a datafile enhanced CD (oh, it seems you got me wrong here – I totally appreciate the fact that it wasn’t done like that! – Frank), but as I said time ran out on us… and we had planned for more to be on the DVD. I wish we could have had what was planned… there was plans to do a short Horror / Zombie movie, and all kinds of cool Horror releated stuff, it would have been great, but maybe we will do something for the future."
Please tell us a bit about the MASSACRE / DENIAL FIEND European tour… I’ve heard that in a couple of places not too many people came to the shows, so who organized that for you? Was it difficult in any way to convince you to do another tour with MASSACRE after so many years? Or did you only agree to do this in order to be able to get DENIAL FIEND on the road as well?
"I think it wasn’t really advertised correctly. I spoke to a lot of the fans that did show up, and they said it wasn’t advertised at all. Poor advertisement, added up to poor attendence. It was through a company called Kraftevention. Yeah, I really didn’t want to do it… but it was a deal worked out so I could get enough cash to pay the US government money to get my passport from being revoked. My passport was revoked… so it was a huge fee in order for me to get it back. But I also agreed to do it to push DENIAL FIEND. We will do a few more shows as MASSACRE RE-ANIMATED, but once it’s done in August of this year! It’s over!!!"
Another aspect that I personally really appreciated about the DENIAL FIEND debut is the fact that you re-recorded the old MANTAS classic ‘Legion Of Doom’ for it… Why did you shorten its title to ‘L.O.D.’? Are there any legal problems connected with the original one? Did you also re-work the lyrics or is it the same that you used back in the MANTAS days?
"No legal problems, because it was done as a cover tune. The title was shortened because it was a "surprise" for the fans… at first it was going to be a hidden track, but the band didn’t like that idea… (I did however – and wanted it to be a hidden track) but anyways… I decided that since it was going to be labelled as a track – that I wanted to make the title ‘L.O.D.’ – also yeah, I re-worked the lyrics in some places… the foundation of the lyrics are the same, but some lines were changed to better fit the whole feel and restructure of the song. It’s not meant to replace the original… it was never meant for that purpose… instead it was done for the hardcore fans (like yourself) – it was also a way to give new fans a feel for what I was doing 20 years ago… sort of a history lesson thru music."
I already wrote in my review for the album that I would really like to see a full album being recorded with all the old MANTAS / DEATH demo tracks… would you be open for such a project if a label would be willing to release it?
"This is actually in the works as I write this… more details will come about this as the time comes, but for now just to know… yes, this is being worked on!" (HELL YESSSSSSSS!!!! Kam already revealed a bit more details about this the other day on Blabbermouth.net: "Like it or not… I’m as much a part of that history as Chuck (Schuldiner) was, and I wouldn’t think to do anything to down play his involvement in these songs. The simple truth is that most of the songs on MANTAS / DEATH’s "Death By Metal" demo ’83 / ’84, DEATH’s "Reign Of Terror" demo ’84 and DEATH’s "Infernal Death" demo ’85 – and many rehersal tapes released during this time – were both lyrically written be me, and sung by me. Yes, both Chuck and Rick (Rozz) wrote the guitar riffs, but I wrote the drum patterns to these songs and the lyrics to most of these tracks. That’s the simple truth to it! My idea is to have several different bands come together to re-work these songs and re-record these tracks… with me doing the vocals. It’s an idea… right now, but something I’m seriously considering for the near future!" – Frank)
Ok Kam, I guess that should be enough for now. If there’s anything else you’d like to mention here, feel free to do so now… All the best for you and DENIAL FIEND! Cheers!
"Thanks for the interview… this time I tried to keep the anger level down… ha-ha! I hope fans and fellow fiends will check out DENIAL FIEND, as see what it is we are doing with the band. With attempting musically to be inovative and original by taking ideas from our collective past influences, and creating a sub-genre with in a sub-genre. And by keeping the lyrics Horror based, simple and catchy, a bit tongue and cheek, and bringing back that ol’e hook and barb feel to the songs!!! Bring forth to the world total HORROR METAL!!!"
Live pics: Mayk Wedel