FUNERUS is surely unknown to your ears, but this band exists since 1990, and is a perfect product of the golden era of the only good and almighty Death Metal. Not so long ago, Jill and her husband John McEntee (you don’t know this name??? Poser!! Ha!) decided to reform the band with original singer and guitarist Brad. The last stuff available from them is the demo from 1994, but the band is currently writing some more songs, and FUNERUS will support INCANTATION on some dates in North America soon, as well as in Mexico. Moreover I am really glad and proud to be in contact with Jill, who is a true underground warrior that shows a real support and dedication to my beloved music: extreme and dark Death Metal! Enjoy what Jill and Brad had to say…
FUNERUS exists since 1990, then under the name of CREATIVE SICKNESS, but is still a quite unknown band in the actual underground, as your last demo was released in 1994. So, you played some gigs between this demo and 2002, but nothing really big, with some line up changes. Tell us more about the actual FUNERUS and your projects for the future (releases, concerts, tours)…
Brad: "At first it was just two of us, Jason and myself (Brad) making noisy grind stuff. But, eventually, when we got more into Death Metal we decided to change our style. It wasn’t so great playing Death Metal with just the two of us, but finding people into it wasn’t so easy where we lived. After trying to work with a few people, without decent results, it dawned on us to ask our friend, Jill. We knew she had played guitar and asked if she thought she could handle the bass. And that was pretty much that. Things went pretty well after that, until I decided to drop out of the picture. That was in 1994, not long after we released the demo and played two shows (with ROTTREVORE, DECREPIT, BLOOD COVEN, etc). Over the years, Jason and Jill kept FUNERUS going, but eventually that even sort of fell apart for various reasons. Jill really tried to keep it going and even did a show with a kind of local "super group" of people filling in the line up. It wasn’t until earlier this year (2002) that I got in contact with John McEntee of INCANTATION and found out that he and Kyle were helping Jill to get the band going. It turns out they were into the old demo. Anyway, I was basically asked to rejoin and it seemed right, so I did, and here we are. Since Jan. / Feb. we’ve only played two shows, both alongside INCANTATION, but the response has been pretty great thus far. Eventually we’ll get something recorded and hopefully find a label to put it out and play even more shows. It will probably take a bit of time and careful planning, since we’ve all got other things going on, but I think it will definitely happen. We’re all into it. It’s very early 90’s sounding-but not because we want to be retro or anything like that. We still play the songs from the old demo!"
With two personalities as John McEntee (INCANTATION) and Kyle Severn (INCANTATION, WOLVEN SOCIETY) in your line up, isn’t it too difficult to find time for rehearsals and gigs? How often do you rehearse? Jill, how is it to share the same passion for the same band, and the same unholy music with your husband? According to you, what was or is the best line-up for FUNERUS?
Jill: "We try to rehearse every time INCANTATION does since John, Kyle and I are all together at that time anyways. Of course we don’t spend as much time rehearsing FUNERUS material as they do with INCANTATION material, but we get a good amount of time in. As far as shows, it hasn’t been a problem "opening" shows for INCANTATION. It’s been great working with John in FUNERUS. I feel he adds a lot to the band. He is a very dedicated musician and he works very hard for what he believes in, which is great for FUNERUS. If you know anything about INCANTATION, you know that John never gives up! His dedication and perseverance are an inspiration to me. It’s great to see him going sick on the other side of the stage when we play live. This line-up with Brad, John, Kyle and I is definitely the best the band has ever been."
Why did Brad decide to leave the band some years ago? How were the first FUNERUS times, back in the beginning of the 90s? How have people received your different demos and gigs prestations?
Jill: "The demo has gotten really good praise, people like the heaviness of it. The shows we’ve done have all gone over extremely well, even better than I thought they would. Both the shows we did in the early 90’s and the shows we’ve done recently have been killer, and we’ve gotten great responses."
Brad: "I left because my personal tastes in music were changing and growing and turning into something that I would also get tired of and want to change. I actually think I was a bit too young and not mature enough in that respect to handle anything really serious. After FUNERUS, I played in other bands, recorded, played shows, etc. And it was all still pretty heavy stuff, but different. Now I’ve come almost full circle and enjoy Metal just as much, if not more, than I did then. But I still have a huge interest in many forms of music. I listen to other stuff just as much as I do Metal. But yeah, it was my personal interests and slight tensions within the band on particular levels that made me realize I needed to leave. From the shows we played and the people who had heard the demo, response was good. The only criticism we seemed to get from the shows we played was that our stage presence was lacking. But, that’s not bad considering none of us had ever played a show before. I don’t think Jill had played a show before, but I’m not totally sure. And our demo was just a practice recording done with a four channel mixer, so the sound wasn’t great, but still pretty brutal. It worked well enough to get us the shows and get our name out a little bit. I’m pretty sure it got decent reviews in the few zines I sent it out to."
To me, the songs from the ’94 rehearsal demo are really in the vein of the first CENOTAPH (Mex) demo, and some kind of primitive Death Metal like BOLT THROWER, MASSACRE, and maybe with some NIHILIST touch. You say in your band history that you were really influenced by the Swedish Death Metal at that time. Do you agree with my feeling about your music, and how did you proceed to compose your songs at that time? Who was the main writter in the band? Same question for nowadays?
Jill: "I won’t disagree with what you’re saying if you hear any hints of those bands you mentioned. Back then Brad, Jason and I were totally into CENOTAPH (Mex), BOLT THROWER and NIHILIST. As a matter of fact, it was great to finally meet Daniel Corchado (CENOTAPH, THE CHASM) years later through John and talk to him about CENOTAPH’s release ("The Gloomy Reflections…") and how it influenced FUNERUS. Brad had always been the main writer in FUNERUS, although I have recently written a lot of our new stuff."
Even if your ’94 demo has a really old school feeling, we can easily say that it’s not the ultimate Death Metal demo from that time. I would like to know how the actual FUNERUS tends to sound like, and if you have brought some changes in your old song structures when you play it at rehearsals and on stage?
Jill: "I would say the demo is a reasonable description of what FUNERUS sounds like as far as music style, heaviness, sound and song structure. We are definitely a lot tighter now that Kyle is playing the drums for us and we are better musicians overall than back then."
I saw in your guestbook that a lot of people, like me, can’t wait to hear something new from FUNERUS. Did you await such a great support from people? Have you got a strong connection with the fanzines and radios all over the world? How is the motivation in the ranks of FUNERUS nowadays?
Jill: "Well we just recently started to promote the band intensely, and the support has been great so far. We just got the website up and running within the last few months. Prior to that it was just word of mouth, demo circulating and letter writing like it used to be in the days before the internet was huge. We are all extremely motivated and anxious about FUNERUS. And what we want to do with the band. I am all too ready after letting so many years go by without doing anything with the band."
What’s happening now to the old FUNERUS members? Are you still in touch with them? Are they still into Metal? At what age did you discover Metal and what are your favorite bands (except INCANTATION, of course, hehehe…) or the bands that inspired you to involve yourself more into this music?
Jill: "I’m not sure what Jason is doing now, I haven’t talked to him or seen him for a few years. I don’t know if he’s still into Metal. I discovered Metal about the age of about 14 and it was all over after that. I feel fortunate to have grown up in the 80s when Metal was in its prime. I went to a very Metal highschool and there was a lot of us in a close group. Some of my favorite bands are black Sabbath, autopsy, destruction, immolation, death, impaled, deceased, the chasm, vital remains, nunslaughter, mercyful fate, headhunter d.c., krisiun, grave, sarcofago, bolt thrower and murder squad. My alltime favorite band is disembowelment. I would say some of the stuff that really made me want to play Metal was dismember: "Like An Ever Flowing Stream", ENTOMBED: "Left Hand Path", PESTILENCE: "Consuming Impulse", DEATH: "Leprosy" and GRAVE: "Into The Grave"."
Brad: "It’s hard for me to remember, exactly, because in the last 70s and 80s I knew about bands like KISS and MÖtley CrÜe and whatever was popular, but I don’t think I realized what Heavy Metal was until I was about 15 when I heard stuff like IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA. Once I got into those bands I just kept getting into other similar bands and so forth. Asking what my favorite bands are is a tough one, because I listen to so much. But I’m assuming you’re asking what my favorite Metal bands are? If so, then I’d have to say that my all-time favorite Metal bands would have to be Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden without a doubt. I actually don’t listen to a lot of newer stuff. I’m just now coming around to what a lot of the bands are like that play now. At the time when I was most interested in Metal, which would have been from about 1988 to 1994, I’d have to say my favorites were (and some still are) SLAYER, ENTOMBED, GRAVE, CARCASS, CARNAGE, DISMEMBER, ROTTREVORE, IMMOLATION, DISEMBOWELMENT, CORPSE MOLESTATION, MORBID ANGEL, DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, CONVULSE, AT THE GATES, UNLEASHED, ASPHYX, PESTILENCE, BOLT THROWER, GOREFEST, EDGE OF SANITY, SEPULTURA, AUTOPSY, DARKTHRONE (first album), CARBONIZED and some that I’m probably forgetting. At the moment, I’m pretty much into ABSU, AURA NOIR, CADAVER INC, BLIND GUARDIAN, and I’m interested in hearing the new GRAVE when it comes out here in the States. I just saw HATE ETERNAL the other night and they were pretty good. I still listen to the old stuff."
What are you doing in your everyday life? Is it true that John works in a porn store (or maybe I have misunderstood what was written in the first UNHOLY TERROR issue)? Are you a lot into reading fanzines and surfing on the web to discover new bands? What are yur favorite fan / webzines? What do you like to see in fanzines (hellustrations, severe reviews, old school xeroxed fanzines…)? Have you also written for some fanzine?
Jill: "I work 2 jobs as a registered nurse, which keeps me pretty busy. Yes John used to work in a porn store when he lived in Cleveland. It was very convenient for him because he could leave the job when it was time to tour, and the job would still be there when he came back, also he could do a lot of mail at night when there wasn’t many people in the store. But that was a long time ago, before we were married. I spend a good amount of time on the internet checking out Metal. A few of my favorite zines are bw&bk, hell underground, cadaver, unholy terror, wormgear, ancient ceremonies, nihil and I loved an old zine called metal meltdown which was done by a killer Metalhead named Kluke. No, I have never written for a fanzine."
It seems that there are two kinds of Death Metal nowadays. On the one hand, you have the new Death Metal with a lot of Hardcore touches, and musicians in baggy pants, looking like hip hopers, and on the other hand you have the "leather and spikes" Death Metal, sometimes with some Black Metal influences. What do you think about these two kinds of Death Metal? Don’t you think that the only good Death Metal bands that make the movenment evolve in the right way are bands like SADISTIC INTENT, PENTACLE, GORGUTS, NILE, INCANTATION, IMMOLATION, REPUGNANT, HEADHUNTER D.C….?
Jill: "I am not a fan of the "Hardcore, baggy-pants" Metal – if you can even call that Metal. I love the ways of the older bands, as you said the "leather and spikes" Metal. Yes I definitely feel that bands like incantation, immolation, headhunter d.c., sadistic intent and PENTACLE play Metal the way it should be!"
Have you already followed a whole tour with INCANTATION? Don’t you think that a lot of people are taking some interest in your band just because of the presence of John and Kyle in your line-up? Have you already received some hard critics about your band?
Jill: "FUNERUS has not done a tour yet, but we are in the process of negotiating a tour of Mexico for early next year. Of course a lot of people are showing interest in the band because of the presence of John and Kyle. I knew that would happen and it’s fine, that doesn’t bother me. John and Kyle were the ones that encouraged me to restart FUNERUS, so if the band gains popularity because of them, its fine. I have not heard any negative comments about the band thus far, but believe me, I am expecting it. I know this band isn’t something everyone will be into."
What are the last bands that moved you (on album and on stage)? Do you know a bit about the French underground: INHUMATE, MORGUE, DISGUST, BLOODY SIGN (hehehe!)?
Jill: "I just saw the kreator / destruction show recently and I was totally blown away, another great show I saw last year was the Twisted Sister "New York Steel" show, all original members. It was amazing, the entire set was from "Stay Hungry" and back. We also just saw d.r.i. play the other night and they were killer. The new Immolation "Unholy Cult" is great, I really like the new Severe Torture, and the new Souless (OH). I do know a little bit about morgue, because they lived in Cleveland for a while. I have heard all the bands you mentioned, they all have a link up to their site on the incantation site. They all sound pretty killer. Bloody sign kicks ass, I love "Conquering Pain". I’ve also been a fan of Massacra for a long time."
What do you think about the girls in the Metal movement? I remember that back in the beginning of the 90s, a band like BOLT THROWER received some machist critics because they have a woman (Jo Bench) playing the bass. But nowadays, there are so many bands who try to make girls sing like sirens with a lot of "erotic" posing, and a few real musical abilities. By the way, I would be really glad to get the contact of DERKETA, if you have it, because there are so few women who are really involved in this music without trying to look like gothic bitches?
Jill: "I think women in Metal is a great thing, as long as they are in it for the right reasons, like the love of the music. I’ve been in contact with a lot of cool women in good Metal bands since the FUNERUS name is getting bigger. I do see Sharon from DERKETA pretty frequently in the Pittsburgh scene. Sharon kicks ass as well as DERKETA. The DERKETA website is www.derketa.com, check it out."
Ok, here’s my typical question: If Death Metal was a beer, which one would it be, according to you? And please define Death Metal.
Jill: "To me Death Metal is raw, pure, thick and heavy, without the cheese, so I guess as far as beer it would have to be some kind of dark thick import like Guinness or Duvel."
Would you like to ask me a question?
Jill: "Yes actually, I would. If Death Metal was a beer, which one would it be?"
Well, it would be a Belgian one. Yeah, Duvel (which means "devil", hehehe!!) or Caves from Lier. It has to be strong, dark and make you addicted! Here’s the end of our little interview. Please say the last words and stay fucking Metal!!!!
Jill: "Visit our website at www.funerus.com. Leave us a message on the guestbook. Look out for new FUNERUS material soon. Thanks for the interview Nathaniel, you rule!! Metal till death!"