Even though EXMORTIS never released a full length album they’ve turned into a highly respected band within the underground scene back in the late 80s / early 90s through their demos alone. Especially their "Immortality’s End" tape got spread around like crazy and gained them a diehard following rather quickly. Unfortunately the band split-up pretty early, so that we never got the chance to feature them in one of our print issues… But by pure coincidence we were able to change that now, as former bassplayer Chris Wiser (who’s living in Germany these days!) most recently activated a user account in our forum… Needless to say that we didn’t hesitate for a second to ask him about the possibility of discussing his musical past in EXMORTIS via our website which he luckily agreed on. So, the rest is history…
Hey Chris, hope you’re doing fine these days… I’m glad you agreed to do this interview about your time in EXMORTIS as we unfortunately never managed to do a feature on the band in the past… I was actually quite surprised to find out that you’re living in Germany now. So, how about starting this interview by telling us when and why you moved over here?
"Well, first thanks for the opportunity Frank. And I want to say that Steve Lucas (who was actually the drummer who played the longest with EXMORTIS) will also be chiming in on this interview, so I’ll make sure his comments are attributed to him! I moved here just this past year in October of 2005. My wife and daughter are German and we decided to live here for several reasons. I’ll try not to make this too boring. One, I lived in Mt. Pleasant, Washington DC for over 10 years, which I loved but once you have a kid (our daughter, Meggie, is 19 months old) your perspective changes. DC has too much crime, the worst public school system in the entire nation, racism etc. Germany is just nicer in my view, we love the weather here, the relative lack of crime (I live in Nordend Frankfurt, I know, yuppies here too!) the cleanliness, plus you have great summers here! In Washington, you can’t even go outside during July and August because of the heat and humidity! Cost of living factored into our decision too, practically free education for our daughter vs 15-20k a year for private school, being able to let her play outside by herself (something you couldn’t do in DC!) I guess you can say, I just like it here better than the US. I know, most people tell me I’m crazy because they see the US as this way of life that can’t be topped but hey I’m here and loving it!"
Are you still involved in any bands these days or have you been ever since EXMORTIS?
"No, I haven’t played in any bands since 1994. I guess my almost 10 years with EXMORTIS wore me out for awhile. I always play for myself and I had a few aborted attempts at reforming EXMORTIS, but nothing that got very far. After a while I lost interest in Death Metal mostly. It just didn’t emotionally appeal to me anymore, I needed a different way to express myself musically and I felt that Death Metal was no longer a valid way for me to musically express myself. Not that I’m against Death Metal, I just wasn’t happy playing it anymore. For several years I just practiced and concerned myself with become the best bass player I could be. I became heavily interested in more experimental extreme jazz music a la Bill Laswells’ MASSACRE, LAST EXIT, PERCY JONES / TUNNELS, JONAS HELLBORG, UNIVERSE ZERO, THIS HEAT, RONALD SHANNON JACKSON, STEVE COLEMAN, HENRY THREADGILL, PETER BROTZMANN, FLYING LUTTENBACHERS, VANDERMARK 5, TIM BERNE etc. A lot of the New York “No Wave” bands. I thought that’s what I wanted to do but I started to realize that playing that kind of music was a real life-long commitment that I wasn’t willing to make. I loved playing it but when you go to see your heroes and they play for 100 or so people it kinda sucks out your desire to do it. I mean I have the utmost respect for the guys who do it and can dedicate themselves to it but it wasn’t the life I wanted. Basically I saw musicians more accomplished than me struggling to make ends meet and keep everything together. I think the night that I decided not play professionally anymore was the night I saw Percy Jones perform with his band TUNNELS. I mean this guy is huge in the bassworld and in my opinion one of the top 5 bass players ever. He was in BRAND X which was legendary. But there he was with TUNNELS playing in a shitty bar for 50 people. They were phenomenal but it was just sad to see the turnout."
From what I’ve found out, EXMORTIS got together back in 1987, originally as a fourpiece, consisting of Brian Werking (guitars / vocals), Aantar Lee Coates (drums), Ted Hartz (guitars) and yourself on bass… How did you all get together exactly, did you have any bands prior to EXMORTIS?
"Well EXMORTIS would’ve never existed if my parents didn’t split up and I ended up moving to the “sticks” (country) in 1987 for the last two years of high school. I’d always lived in or around a major city but when I moved to Frederick, it was seriously redneck country. We even had a FFA club! (Future Farmers of America) in our school, that should tell you something! I met Brian Werking in guitar class. And after a few weeks, we figured out that we pretty much had the same musical interests, i.e. Slayer, Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, Dark Angel, Possessed etc. We were really the only ones in our scene into the really fast, speedy, death stuff exclusively. A lot of our friends listened to it, but weren’t that into it as we were. They were more into the crossover scene, which we dug as well. Basically, me and Brian would just hang out and watch horror movies and listen to our favorite tunes. We eventually formed a band because we really had nothing better to do and it fit into what we liked to do with our time. Brian, was a much better guitar player than me, at the time, so I became the bass player (Isn’t that how all bass players are born!?!) I was always writing gothic-evil-sounding song titles and lyrics so that was my main function. Obviously, we were heavily influenced by such movies as Evil Dead. I had come up with several names before I came up with the name EXMORTIS, which I think is far better then Virulent Rage (another name, we almost used!) Brian loved it and the 2 man band was born! We began to assemble material and placed an ad in one of the free music papers looking for a drummer as we couldn’t find anyone speedy enough in our own town. Lee Coates answered and we brought him up to play drums. Lee was great, he played fast was good and had the right attitude for playing this music. Lee brought Mike Simons (vocals) into the band first, then about a year later he brought in Ted Hartz (guitars). Ted came after Mike was gone and Brian started singing as well as playing guitar. And there you have the beginning."
Why was Ted only in the band for a really short period of time? Have you never tried to get another (second) guitarist in the band to replace him?
"Ted didn’t join the band until shortly before “Immortality’s End” was recorded (hence, he only played one lead guitar break on the demo). Ted was great, talk about a “character”. As for replacing Ted… more about that later."
When and why did you recruite Mike Simons on vocals? Or wasn’t Brian singing right from the start maybe? What had Mike been up to previously?
"Mike was brought in by Lee, Mike was way older than the rest of us. We were all around 18 years old. Mike was in his 30s. He had more experience than us (Mike had played in various Rock and Thrash bands but I really couldn’t name any names, Lee would know) and actually gave Lee drum lessons when he was younger, I believe. Mike had a scream that we liked and he just went for it when we played live."
In July 1988 you entered the studio to record three songs (‘Lords Of Abomination’, ‘Exmortis’ and ‘Pathogenic Silence’), that were to be released as the "Descent Into Chaos" demo… Had you already written more material at that time and maybe even played a couple of live shows? Tell us a bit about those early days… Which bands actually had the biggest impact on you back then? I suppose it was still a lot of Thrash Metal considering the style you were still playing yourselves then, wasn’t it?
"At the time we mostly just had those songs, we rushed into the studio just to have a tape to trade and send out to all the zines. We didn’t play any shows before we recorded the demo. Back then, and probably still now there wasn’t many places to perform this kind of music so we didn’t really concern ourselves with lots of live playing. Plus, we had seen how a lot of local bands had over-exposed themselves. By playing at the same clubs way too often, the scene wasn’t really big enough to support it. I mean, would you really care if you missed a band if you knew you could see them at the same club 2 or 3 weeks later? We always tried to keep a little mystique about the band so people would want to come see us. So when we played out, it was often a few states away, not in our local area. As for influences, at the time; Slayer, Kreator, Destruction were the big three."
How was the response on your debut demo? Did you already have enough underground contacts to get the name out or did it basically snowball on its own?
"The response was incredible, not to the degree of "Immortality’s End" but still we were very happy with it. I had some contacts, but the demo definitely got the underground’s attention and they really helped us get known."
How was the Metal scene in your area at the time? Did you have lots of clubs, zines and bands that shared your musical vision and basically helped to increase EXMORTIS’ popularity?
"The MD/VA Metal scene was thriving, there weren’t too many Death Metal bands like us, but Thrash and Crossover was doing well. There wasn’t much cooperation among the bands though there wasn’t that many bands either. You had a rivalry between the scenes in Maryland and Virginia that was stupid and pointless. In our part of Maryland we were only aware of a few bands besides ourselves playing Death Metal, Malfeitor (cheers to Tony and Phil, if they somehow come across this interview) and Corpsegrinder (George from Cannibal CorpsE’s old band). There were other bands like Medusa, Rancid Decay, Deceased and Indestroy. As for clubs, the old Safari Club was pretty infamous for great sweaty shows, the Bayou too. The old 9:30 club & East Side club (actually a dike bar!) had great shows, not much was really exclusively Death Metal maybe later the Rage in Baltimore but in the early days you had to play either Heavy Metal clubs (like the Paragon, Rabbits Foot) in the suburbs or dumps like the Safari Club or Bar-b-qued Iguana in the city. As far as zines, locally there wasn’t much. I believe Mark (drummer for Corpsegrinder) had a zine. I also remember Metal Meltdown, which was based in Maryland too."
At which point of time and for what reasons did you part ways with Mike and how did Brian end up becoming your vocalist then?
"Well, the age difference became a factor. Plus, Mike had real life to worry about, we were just kids basically. Mike kinda lost interest, but we did record our first demo ”Descent Into Chaos” in 1988 with him and I loved how he sang on it. After Mike left, Brian decided to give singing and playing a shot. Even though we liked Mike, a lot of people were ragging on us because he was so much older and he didn’t really fit the “image” (hate that word!) we were trying to portray."
In February of 1989 your second (and nowadays far more popular) demo "Immortality’s End" reared its ugly head, consisting of the tracks ‘Immortality’s End’, ‘The Resurrection’, ‘Beyond The Realms Of Madness’ and ‘Casual Killing’. It showcased a band that had matured quite a lot and musically was a lot closer to Death Metal already… So, I was wondering whether or not this change of direction was intentional or if it just happened due to Brian’s deeper vocals maybe?
"It was more a factor of what we were listening to, Death ”Scream Bloody Gore” was a huge influence. Plus we were just getting heavier and faster but streamlining our songwriting too. The added influence of the underground was rubbing off too. We were tape trading with bands such as Dr Shrinker, Nihilist, Ripping Corpse, Autopsy ("Human Remains" demo was THE shit!), Morbid Angel (shit, that was back when Wayne was on drums and Morbid was in North Carolina!), Immolation etc. Plus, I started to help write the music, the first demo, musically was mostly Brian. By the time of "Immortality’s End", I felt comfortable enough to contribute musically as well as my usual writing duties."
Just like "Descent Into Chaos", also "Immortality’s End" was released with coverart by the highly talented underground artist Drew Elliot… His drawings almost became a visual trademark for the band, so how did you hook up with him? Did he design the rather cool looking band logo as well?
"Drew was the man, Brian tracked him down from the New Renaissance stuff Drew did. We went up to meet him at his home and it just took off from there. He designed the logo and did all the artwork. Drew lived in Pennsylvania, so he wasn’t too far from us. He actually became a good friend of the band and traveled with us to shows several times. Drew has a lot of bad hotel stories he could tell you from hanging with EXMORTIS!"
Tell us a bit about the overall response on "Immortality’s End"… I suppose it must have been very well received, to say the least, considering the band’s increased popularity in the worldwide fanzine network… Did you actually get any negative responses on it, from fans that liked the style on "Descent Into Chaos" better?
"Immortality’s End" broke the band big time, no denying that and no, we never heard any complaints about our shift in style. It wasn’t something the band really noticed. As far as we were concerned, it was just the natural progression of the band as unit."
Did the enormous feedback also have an effect on the shows you got offered maybe? Were you able to play with "bigger" acts or more across the country as before? Any shows you’d consider as really special after so many years?
"The shows didn’t really increase in size, maybe quantity but this is Death Metal. We were basically still playing shows for 100 – 250 people. Nothing really profitable, but great fun and stories you wouldn’t believe, Shit… why else would you do it!?! As for special… they all were, how many times in your life do you get to go on a stage and just release all your inner demons?? Its an incredible rush… Well a few stand out. From the first line-up, there was a great show at the Electric Banana in Pittsburgh, if I remember correctly, the owner pulled a gun on us because we wouldn’t stop playing! And I think we even trash-talked the club from the stage. From the second line-up, man the stories just go on and on. Giles was an unbelievable front man, it was like jumping on stage with Groucho Marx every night, the guy just exploded live, you never knew what he was gonna do. I would catch myself just fucking laughing my ass off between songs because of what he said or did. One of the craziest moments had to have been when he actually left the stage while we were performing and attacked King from Deceased who was in the audience. I mean he just leaped off the stage and started pounding the dude, a ton of people had to break it up. The rest of the band was unaware of what had gone on between the two of them. But someone had videotaped the show and afterwards we saw and heard what had caused Giles to flip out and attack King. He said a bunch of racist shit from the back of the crowd (Giles being black) and basically insulting Giles. I wasn’t surprised as King always tried to make up for what he didn’t have in talent via his mouth. I never blamed Giles for goin’ after him, in fact if I had heard what Giles had, I would have joined in on the beatdown. My favorite part was right after the fight, the owners of the club had King physically thrown out and he was yelling “Martys my boy (guy who was running the PA sound system) you’ll aren’t going back on” He was thrown out to us loudly beginning our next song. What a tool! Even his own band was embarrassed for him and apologized."
Steve: "Before Chris goes on telling more funny King episodes I just need to add a couple of stories I feel is worth telling since he mentioned Giles. We could write a book about Giles and his exploits because they are as he was larger than life itself. I need to mention two members from Deceased, Lesly and Mike. One night Giles and I got into a fight with a bunch of skinheads at a club in DC, the two of the them jumped in to help us out as Giles and I were numerically outnumbered! Thanks guys. The story Chris mentioned above is my favorite as well but on another night we finished playing at a club in Maryland, we loaded our gear and were settling down to do some drinking. At least at the time I was the only one at the table with a whole pitcher staring at me. No sooner did I take my first sip when Michael came running into the club to tell me we had to leave. Giles and Rudy moments before were leaving the van when they noticed a guy using Rudy’s van as a toilet. Rudy and Giles proceeded to pummel him after they politely asked him to stop pissing on the Van evidently he answered fuck you or something to that extent which set those two off into a furious rage. They proceeded to pummel him in tandem of each other from one end of the strip to the other. I came outside to blood and what looked like teeth all over the place. So we had to leave fast before the police showed up. We were not a violent bunch but for some reason it seemed to follow us everywhere. As Giles used to say jokingly or maybe seriously “Sowing the Seeds of hate”."
"Ahh the memories, one of my favorite other King memories is Death at the Bayou for the "Leprosy" tour. King was there and was talking shit between songs (small club). Chuck actually called him out on stage. Chuck basically said why don’t you bring your pansy ass up on the stage so I can beat your ass in front of all your little stupid friends. When King chickened out, Chuck started singing “I got your money, I got your money” truly funny, you had to be there…"
What actually is the story behind those two instrumental songs from 1989, ‘The Unforbidden’ and ‘Awakening Of Sin’, that ended up in tapetrading lists somehow…? Why have they never been finished and recorded properly later on?
"Well, there was an attempt at a third demo that was aborted for two reasons. One, the vibe at the studio we had gone to sucked! (we had recorded the first two demos at Zax Traz in Frederick) which was limited to 8-tracks at the time. We wanted to record in a 16 track studio for our 3rd demo. The owner of this 16 track studio was an asshole. But Lee also couldn’t play his drum parts in proper time (hint of problems to come!). You can’t lay down rhythm tracks without the drummer playing in “time” so those instrumental songs that were supposed to be on the third demo never got done. We gave up and never finished those sessions, I’m sure Brian has ‘em somewhere. They only consist of scratch guitar and drums. The rehearsel songs are the only form they exist in."
But instead of getting signed, it seems that slowly but surely some problems within the band started to show up… Tell us what happened exactly back then? You all went seperate ways, so was that due to musical and / or personal differences or did the problems occur because you all HAD TO move maybe?
"Well, the band did have an offer from Roadrunner after the "Immortality’s End" demo, but we blew it (so to speak!), we took the offer to a regular entertainment lawyer and he analyzed it for us. I can’t blame the lawyer, he was right. Basically, Roadrunner was offering us $2, 000 for a demo with the option for an 8 album contract (maybe 4, I can’t remember anymore) but if we took the $2000 for the demo, they would own the recording without any further obligation. So basically, if they didn’t want to release any records they could take the demo and release it forever and we would never see any money. And to be honest, the guaranteed $$$ amounts per album in the contract were laughable, seeing as how much $$$ they could make. So we said no, trust me RR was not used to hearing this so they told us we were “black-listed”. Most Death Metal labels are rip-offs and it’s sad that bands sign contracts with em. I mean, shit they don‘t even own their own recordings!!! But hey fans wonder why t-shirts cost $40 and tickets to shows are expensive. It’s the only way the bands make any money! As for band problems, yeah we had them. Around 1990 our practice space was in jeopardy and we didn’t practice that much. But during that time, Ted and Lee had developed an inability to work with each other, that led to actual physical fighting at band practice. Nothing like watching two idiots swinging at each other in the middle of a huge drumset to make you go “hmmmm???” The band wasn’t too enthusiastic after the aborted 3rd demo session and that just aggravated the tension between Lee and Ted even more. As Lee had always been giving Ted shit about his performance in the band and now Ted had ammunition as to Lee’s performance i.e. the unfinished demo. Brian had started to date Sharon from Derketa, so he was out of state for a lot of the time too. Right before we lost our practice space the band received an offer to play the first Michigan Death Fest along with Sacrifice, Morbid Angel etc. To say that this would have been the biggest show of our career is an understatement!!! We confirmed the date knowing we couldn’t practice the 3 or 4 weeks before the show, but confident that playing the show would be huge for our career. Ted, Lee and I all rode up together to Brian’s house to leave for the Michigan Death Fest. Guess who wasn’t home? Brian had split town to see his girlfriend and left his mother to tell us that he “didn’t think the band was ready”! Needless to say, the first version of EXMORTIS broke up in Brian Werking’s moms driveway!!! EXMORTIS actually appeared on the t-shirts for the show even though we never played. So if you have one (I do!)… its sort of a collectors item! After the first line-up of Exmortis broke up Ted moved to Tampa, Florida (Death Metal camp!) with George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher to form MONSTROSITY. Ted was gone before Monstrosity recorded their first album but he was to go on to supposedly bigger and better things.Ted was actually going to replace Richard Brunelle in MORBID ANGEL, he was rehearsing and learning the songs with the band, but they had decided not to inform Richard Brunelle that they were training his replacement.Ted unfortunately let it slip that he was going to replace Richard before Morbid was ready to cut Richard loose. Richard found out and Morbid had to cut Ted loose and deny everything. After that, I don’t know what happened to Ted. I had heard he was trying to get a project going with some guy from Texas who had an early Death Metal band called Necronomicon (I think that was the name) apparently this guy claimed that Morbid Angel had stolen his image and ideas and Ted figured aligining with him would be his revenge. I never heard anything after that. I assume he’s still living in Tampa."
In 1990 "Immortality’s End" came out on vinyl via CCG Underground… Tell us a bit about that and how that came together.
"I actually bought a few of those off of Ebay. The sound quality was good, so I’m guessing Brian had something to do with that release. The rest of the band wasn’t consulted and never saw any money or copies of the vinyl as far as I know."
In 1991 New Yorks Rage Records released the "Fade From Reality" 7" by EXMORTIS, featuring the songs ‘Dreams Of The Dead’ and ‘Fade From Reality’… But it wasn’t exactly material that the original line-up had recorded, was it? Tell us the story behind this EXMORTIS release and what you think about it…
"I thought it was OK, I wouldn’t have put it out under the EXMORTIS name as it is just Brian and a drum machine. He used some of my material without giving me credit which I thought was lame. The songs were obviously songs the band had been working on before we broke up. I guess what really bothered me was the drum machine. Most people can’t hear it but every time the drum machine switches rhythms you can hear the lag as Brian falls behind the beat and has to play “catch up” with the drum machine. It really bugged me when I first heard it and makes it hard for me to listen to."
In 1993, the EXMORTIS demo "Butchers Of The Urban Frontier" got recorded, but with a line-up that (for a change) excluded Brian… Instead the band featured Giles Wiess on vocals, yourself on bass, Aantar Lee Coates on drums, Rudy Lagman and Chewka on guitars at the time… What happened during this period of time within EXMORTIS and was that demo ever officially released or only meant for promotional use?
"First off, let’s clear up who appeared on “Butchers Of The Urban Frontier”. I wrote all the music on “Butchers…” and Giles Weiss (RIP ‘Bro) wrote all the lyrics and sang. I played bass, Rudy Lagman played all leads (except for one by Michael or "Chewka" as he likes to be called). Michael played rhythm guitars Chris Gallo played drums on all tracks except the last track which featured Steve Lucas on drums. Aantar was never on this recording. Basically “Butchers…” was a studio project, the band only started to jell a few months after the demo was recorded. Steve (drums) and Rudy (lead guitars) & Giles (vox) joined the band right before the recording of the demo. I had been trying to find musicians for awhile, but Death Metal wasn’t too popular in our area. So, I decided to forge ahead with some songs I had already written and use friends to finish it. Luckily, I found Rudy, Giles and Steve the best bandmates I ever had. Micheal turned out to be a flake. And I hate to be negative, but Michael was someone I met and spent a year teaching how to play Death Metal guitar in between his stints in alcohol rehab. The guy is a liar and has no credibility in the underground at all. But on to more relevant things. This line-up of the band (myself, Giles, Rudy, Steve and Michael) played live a lot more than the first line-up of EXMORTIS. We were much more potent live as Giles was the frontman I’d always dreamed the band would have plus musically we were much more advanced and practiced. We put in a solid two years of shows, we played quite a bit with Ripping Corpse and other bands, but I had personal problems that took my attention away from the band, which allowed a certain “cancer” to grow i.e. Michael, he took over the mail and press as I grew distracted by personal problems."
Steve: "This happened towards the end of this line-up. Chewka also did not have a job the whole time the band was together. His “job” so to speak was to clean the house every so often and take care of the mail and correspondence. Shit Chris, Rudy and I were up at 6:00am to go to work until about 4 or 5 pm and then practice for about 2 to 3 hours! That was our life after practice we would drink go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. We were all interested in what went on with the band but Michael was the logical person to take care of the correspondence, something that later fucked-up all things to no end. He decided to twist that to his own ends."
"Shortly, Steve (our best drummer ever) was gone…"
Steve: "Actually I was gone because I was asked to leave. I started dating this girl (there is always one of those!) that fucked my head up to no return. Mentally I was not there when I should have been."
"Michael convinced me to bring Lee Coates back to the band. That turned out to be our biggest mistake ever. As our management at the time dropped us after seeing Lee with the band and not to mention Lee couldn’t keep proper ”time”. He and Michael decided to form their side project Horror of Horrors (how appropriate!) without telling anyone. I just came home to find them jamming in my basement. If that wasn’t enough, I knew we were finished when Giles, our singer, got behind Lee’s drum kit and just pounded out a simple-ass 4/4 double bass rhythm on his kit, jumped off and said to Lee ”bet you can’t even do that in time”. Sure enough Lee couldn’t do it!!!! He could play fast and do crazy drum rolls but none of it was in time or fit the structure of our songs!!! So I quit my own band!!! I fullfulled the last 3 months of shows and said fuck this… Michael used every bit of influence he could to lie about his involvement with EXMORTIS to further his own career. I mean he was even trying to pass off Horror of Horrors as EXMORTIS to get interest, they even tried to learn my EXMORTIS songs but they couldn’t play them because Lee and the others couldn’t musically do it! The ironic thing is that Michael never contributed one thing to EXMORTIS musically!"
Steve: "Sad to say but Giles committed suicide in 1998…"
"And I vowed never to reform EXMORTIS simply due to the fact that no one could ever replace him. If you ever saw him perform with EXMORTIS you’d know why!"
According to the EXMORTIS website there’s another two songs (‘Necrotic Visions’ and ‘Silence Of Darkness’) on the compilation CD "History Of Things To Come" that came out in 1994 via Growing Deaf Entertainment… but surprisingly they weren’t released as EXMORTIS, but BLOODLESS… So, does that mean that the other band members (including yourself) didn’t agree to what Brian released under the EXMORTIS monicker?
"I think Brian released those songs under a different name because he didn’t own the EXMORTIS trademark. I wasn’t in contact with Brian anymore so I never actually heard those songs. Maybe I did once at someone’s house, but I think it was still him and the drum machine which doesn’t really interest me."
In 1999 EXMORTIS nevertheless appeared on two Dwell Records tribute CDs (for DEATH and MORBID ANGEL), with the songs ‘Baptized In Blood’ and ‘God Of Emptiness’… Do you know more about that? Was it Brian on its own or a full band line-up?
"I don’t really know anything about those tracks…"
According to the EXMORTIS.us website all demos have all been re-released on CD format in the meantime… What can you tell us about that? Have you been involved in that in any way?
"I’ve had no involvement, I would hope that he’s at least remastered them by now."
Are you aware of the EXMORTIS bootleg CD-R "Fade From Immortal Chaos" by Mastercult Records? What do you think about that and bootlegs in general? Has there never been interested from labels to do such a project officially?
"Now I am! I’m glad people can get their hands on the music no matter how they can! I’m just against the fact that they sell it. I’ve always believed that the dumbest thing about the underground is selling demos. Demos serve a purpose, to get a band known… the best way to do that is give them away!!! Who the hell is gonna order the thousands of demos offered these days??? Take my advice, record a killer sounding demo with a few well written tracks and give it away for free to as many people as you can and then you will become popular. Don’t sit on your ass and wait for people to send you $5 for a band they’ve never heard of! As you know there have been lots of bootlegs of EXMORTIS material because there was a market to fill and there wasn’t any “official product” so to speak."
There’s also talk of a brandnew EXMORTIS demo entitled "The Resurrection", which is supposed to feature the songs ‘And There Was Pain’, ‘Awakening Of Sin’, ‘The Slaughter Begins’, ‘Exmortis II’ as well as a re-recorded version of the title track (which originally appeared on "Immortality’s End")… But it seems that it’s only Brian and Aantar who continue to use the name EXMORTIS for that… How do you feel about that?
"Well, if Lee is who Brian is hitching his prospects on, all I gotta say is good luck. Lee’s a good guy but there is no way I’d want to be involved musically with him. I would use a different band name as it’s not the same band anymore. I’ve personally asked Brian not to use the EXMORTIS name but I can’t predict what he’ll do."
Are you still in contact with any of the old members these days? What are they up to? From what I understand you’re not really best friends with Brian anymore, are you?
"It’s not that Brian and I aren’t friends, we just lost touch, life goes on. For a long time I was mad at him about how he caused the first line-up to break up but the second line-up was just so much more fun and rewarding for me personally and muscially that I let all that go. I mean he has publicly tried to imply that he is EXMORTIS. But he knows the truth and I’m more than comfortable with my contributions to the band. The only members I speak with are Steve and Rudy from the second line-up. Steve is married, he has a great wife Christina and a cute son Evan. He’s not playing music but threatning to all the time. Rudy is still actively playing music, racing cars and raising his son and rocking out and having killer parties!!!"
Ok Chris, that’s about it… hope you enjoyed this interview a little bit. If there’s anything else you’d like to add here, feel free to do so now… Take care and all the best!
"Thanks for the interview and the effort! And I just want to dedicate this interview and the memory of EXMORTIS to Giles Weiss (rest in peace my best bud and band mate ever) and a shout out to Steve and Rudy for giving me some of the best years of my life. You guys are the best! Special thanks to Brian, Lee, Ted and Mike S. for the great times and memories. And endless love to my wife Yvonne and daughter Meggie for reasons I could never begin to explain…"