About a month ago Roel from Vic Records sent me a sound file, asking if I had any idea which band it might be… It was highly aggressive old school Thrash and obviously from an old demo tape. I had no idea who it was, so I asked around a bit more myself until good ol’ Wim Baelus solved the riddle for us: it was a song from the band DERANGED from Canada (thanks again, Wim!). They existed for a short period of time in the late ’80s and only released two demo tapes, but especially their second demo, “Place Of Torment“, is a real killer! After doing a bit of research I managed to track down the band’s original vocalist Scott Murdoch, who kindly agreed to answer a couple of questions about DERANGED. Here’s the result…

Greetings Scott and welcome to Voices From The Darkside… I hope everything’s going well and you’re in the right mood to answer a bunch of questions about DERANGED, a band that you’ve been singing for way back in 1988 / 1989?
“Hi Frank, thanks so much. All is well, this will be fun.”

If I’m not mistaken, DERANGED was located in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada… How was the Metal scene in that area at the time when you started out? Did you have a healthy club scene or any other local bands that sounded very promising already?
“Yes, that’s correct. We had a good mix of both Metal and Punk. Local bands that come to mind are ARMOROS, ARCFIEND, THE DAYGLOW ABORTIONS, MISSION OF CHRIST and NO MEANS NO. There were a few halls and community centres that usually hosted the Metal and Punk shows.”

From what I’ve found out, the band was working with a different vocalist named Kelly before you actually joined them, so what can you tell us about him? Why didn’t he work out and how did you end up becoming his replacement? Were you already friends with the guys? Had you already been singing in any bands before DERANGED?
“I knew Kelly from highschool. He was the first singer for DERANGED, I believe before that band name was chosen. At the time the name was LACERATOR. I replaced him only because the band was looking for a more Metal sounding vocalist. Kelly had more of a Punk sound and style which he was great at. I was friends with Ross, Dave and Tim since middle school. Previous to joining DERANGED, Dave and I had a band doing some MAIDEN, METALLICA, SACRIFICE, SLAYER and KISS covers. In that band I did vocals and rhythm guitar. It wasn’t until I joined the band that I met Jason.”

What about the other members of DERANGED… Was it their first band ever or had they already gained some musical experiences before that?
“For Ross, Jason and Tim, DERANGED was their first serious band.”

What were your musical influences when you started out? Was it the usual suspects, like SLAYER, EXODUS, METALLICA and the likes, or did you also listen to a lot of underground stuff, that inspired you a lot more already? Were you also heavily involved in the tapetrading network of that time?
“Like countless others, my first big influence was KISS. Receiving their “Destroyer” album for Xmas when I was 8 started it all for me. My older brother had a large tape collection which I would borrow from. So I eventually got turned onto bands like MAIDEN, SCORPIONS, WASP, JUDAS PRIEST, etc. Around 1986 – 87 I was getting introduced to some of the heavier stuff: METALLICA, SLAYER, KING DIAMOND, DEATH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, etc. As well as some Punk: C.O.C , MISFITS, DAYGLOW ABORTIONS, CRAMPS, etc. I wasn‘t involved in the tape trading network, but learned of it from Jason. He is the one that introduced me to bands like: MASSACRE, OBITUARY, etc.”

A lot of extreme Thrash Metal bands of the ’80s were often also influenced by Hardcore Punk. So, you were also listing to bands like that…
“Yes, other great Hardcore and Crossover bands like S.O.D., THE CRO MAGS, CRUMBSUCKERS, come to mind.”

Since you were the vocalist of the band, I assume it was also your job to write the lyrics, right? Or did you collect lyrical ideas all together? What kind of topics did you write about, and did you enjoy writing lyrics or was it more like a necessary evil that just had to be done?
“When I joined the band, the material for the first demo was already done. Ross wrote all the lyrics for those songs. Some vicious stuff there. The “Place Of Torment” demo lyrics had more contributors. Ross, Jason, Dave and myself did those. Everyone was welcome to bring lyrics to the table. Being a big horror movie fan, I enjoyed writing lyrics about films that I loved. It was alot of fun.”

Your first demo “Premonotory Nightmare” was recorded in 1988 and features four songs and an instrumental… What else can you tell us about it? Did you record it in a real studio or was it taped at your rehearsal space?
“The first demo was recorded shortly after joining the band. At this time I was really still finding the voice that you would hear on the second demo. I was alot more comfortable at the time of doing the “Place Of Torment” recording. It was recorded locally at Degrassi Studios.”

How many songs had you finished in total as DERANGED at that point of time? And what happened to the other songs (if there were any) that didn’t make it on the demo?
“I think at that point there were the 5 songs that made up the demo.”

Who created the great band logo? Did you use it right from the beginning or was it just created for the first demo?
“Honestly, I‘m not postive. There‘s a good chance it was the artist that did the first demo cover.”

Did you still play any cover songs during rehearsals at that time? If so, which bands / songs did you choose?
“We did a few covers at rehearsals. EXODUS’ ‘Piranha’, as well as ‘Serial Killer’ from MACABRE. We did that one a few times live, still one of my favorite bands.”

How many copies of “Premonotory Nightmare” did you approxiately spread around to zines, radio stations, clubs etc. and what kind of feedback did you get on it?
“If I remember correctly, we home dubbed maybe a couple hundred tapes. We xerox copied the covers at an office supply store. Some were sent to zines and others were sold locally at a used record store called Lyles Place. As well, we sold the tapes and some shirts at shows we did. We did get some nice feedback and write ups in a few zines from overseas.”

Were you also able to sell a reasonable number of tapes or were you already thinking about doing another demo, because you weren’t completely satisfied with the way “Premonotory Nightmare” turned out?
“We didn’t sell alot of tapes, but I don’t think we expected to at that point. Just getting them out and circulating was our main focus. We were all very happy with the way the first demo turned out. Still am. All those songs were one or two takes at most. Studio time was expensive and we didn’t have much money to play with. We were excited to get going on new material for the “Place Of Torment” demo as we now had five contributing band members. This would play a big part of that outcome.”

How active was DERANGED when it came to live shows at that time? Were you able play many shows and if so, just locally or also all over the country?
“We did a handful of local shows as well as a few up island in Nanaimo. Unfortunately, we never played off the island. We were never offered any gigs elsewhere.”

Your second (and final) demo “Place Of Torment” was released sometime in mid 1989… Even though the band’s line-up on both demos was the same, there’s an overall huge progression to be heard on “Place Of Torment”… Your musical skills definitely had improved a lot, the songs had become a lot faster, way more aggressive and intense and your vocals sounded so much more (to quote a review) “hateful, depraved and maniacal…” How do you explain that? Was it the live shows that helped the band to become way more experienced?
“I should mention that Ross did the bass tracks on the first demo. Dave joined shortly after it was recorded. I think this huge progression in such a short time frame is due to having five very passionate members as well as alot of rehearsing. We practiced alot and tried to get things as tight as possible. At this time I was alot more confident and comfortable. The live shows definitely helped as well.”

Did this huge progression have any influence on the popularity of DERANGED? I mean, did you get more features in zines, better gig offers or anything like that? Were you also able to support any bigger bands at the time or did you mostly play shows with other bands from your area?
“Honestly, I really don’t think it changed a whole lot as far as gig offers or features in zines. I’m sure it must have attracted some new fans which is great. For the most part we played with local bands in Victoria and few shows up island in Nanaimo.”

If I would have to write a press release for DERANGED, I would probably address your music to fans of MORBID SAINT, HYPNOSIA, SADUS, NUM SKULL, EPIDEMIC, MERCILESS, DARK ANGEL or old KREATOR… Would you agree with that or are there any other bands that you personally feel connected with a lot more?
“I would agree, SADUS, DARK ANGEL and KREATOR I feel connected to. Great bands.”

All in all DERANGED was an incredible promising, but unfortunately also rather shortlived band… Founded in 1987-88, two demos in 1988 and 1989 and then the split around 1989-90.
“Wow, thanks for those kind words. To this day, it’s still a mystery why it came to an end. There was never an official breakup. I’m not sure if frustration from the lack of interest from labels played a part in it.”

Lack of interest from labels? I can’t imagine that you didn’t get any offers when “Place Of Torment” was out there, so why did DERANGED never end up recording a full length album? Would you have re-recorded any old demo songs for it, all new material or a mixture of both?
“I can’t remember any interest from labels unfortunately. I strongly believe that geographics played a part in that. I think if we were living in eastern Canada, where the Metal scene was bigger, things may have been different. Montreal would have been a prime location. I think a full length LP would have been a mix of both new material and re-recorded demos. I know there are some vocals I wish I could have re-done.”

When you check out www.metal-archives.com you’ll find six more bands with the name DERANGED and two of them even had already been around almost at the same time as you guys (one from New Jersey and one from Long Island, New York)… Were you aware of them back in the day? Have you exchanged letters or tapes with them maybe?
“I do recall the band from New Jersey sent us their demo. In good fun, Tim dubbed our material onto the tape and mailed it back. Pretty funny.”

Were you in contact with any other Canadian bands, like SLAUGHTER, SACRIFICE, RAZOR, INFERNÄL MÄJESTY, DBC, SOOTHSAYER or ARMOROS, to name just a few?
“Being local, we used to share the same practice space as ARMOROS. We used to rehearse in a back room in a music shop called Alloy Music in Langford.”

In 2015 all five members of DERANGED met again for the very first time in 25 years. What was the reason for that meeting and did you ever have any talk about reforming the band? Do you think you would still manage to pull off the same intensity as back in the days?
“We met for an evening after the “Place Of Torment” vinyl EP was released. It was great getting together with everyone and alot of fun looking back at the many great times we had. I don’t think reforming was ever mentioned, on a serious note anyway. I haven’t done that style of vocals since the band ended. I’m really not sure what the outcome would be to be honest, LOL.”

In June of this year Supreme Echo re-released both DERANGED demos on a limited edition 12″ vinyl record, entitled “Lacerations”… Tell us a bit more about this, like how you reacted on the idea, if you were all involved in the making of it, who came up with the cover artwork etc. etc. Will there also be a CD edition of it later on maybe?
“Putting out the “Premonotory Nightmare” demo on vinyl was discussed after the reaction we got when the “Place Of Torment” EP was released. People were asking for more. Jason at Supreme Echo thought the best idea was to release a full length LP with both demos. I thought that was great, we all had our input. We included lyrics which proved to be a little challenging for some parts to decipher. But we got it. As well a new booklet is included. Wes Gauley did the cover art, which I absolutely love. He did the WITCHES HAMMER demo covers back in the day. I’m very happy with the “Lacerations” release, I believe a CD will follow in the not so distant future.”

For the release of “Lacerations” all five of you got together this year once again… Was that the first meeting of all DERANGED members since 2015 or did you all stay in close contact over the years anyway?
“Yes, it was. It’s too bad it didn’t happen sooner. They’re all really great guys. Ross, Dave and I get together on a weekly basis. We’ve been doing that for about the last three years. It’s awesome.”

There’s pictures of you with the guys from EXODUS on your Facebook site. When and where did that happen exactly and what can you tell us about this meeting? Did DERANGED ever play any shows with EXODUS back then?
“That was around a year ago in Vancouver at the PNE forum. Ross, Dave and I did the VIP with EXODUS. What a fantastic time, and a really nice bunch of guys. I’d do it again. What an honor that would have been to have played with them… Didn’t happen though. We did let Zetro know that their song ‘Deranged’ is where we got our name. We gifted him one of our “Place Of Torment” vinyl EPs as well.”

Ok Scott, I think we should have covered everything by now. Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview. All the best to you and the rest of the guys. I’ll leave the closing words to you…
“Thanks so much Frank, I really appreciate you offering me this opportunity to talk about DERANGED. It’s always alot of fun to discuss and look back on. All the best to you my friend.”


Frank Stöver

Leave a Reply