Derketa is a legendary death metal band within the underground scene and they
are back and I had a nice long chat with founding member guitarist/vocalist
Have you lived in Pittsburgh all your life? What sort of girl were you
growing up? What did you want to be when you were growing up? Yes, sir. I grew up in a suburb about 15 miles outside the city of
Pittsburgh and am very content living here. Pittsburgh is very laid back and the
people here are polite for the most part. Growing up I would have been
considered a ďtomboyĒ, always trying to fit in with my older brother and his
friends. I remember wanting to be a vet when I was little because of my love of
animals but the thought of having to put an animal down was too horrible for me.
So what sort of girl were you in middle school? Did you like trendy things
to try to fit in or did you just do things that you liked yourself? I was really shy and got the giggles in the most inappropriate times; same
as now really. I got in trouble a lot for laughing when things were supposed to
be serious. I went to a Catholic School called Saint Ignatius up until 8th grade
and I think that helped mold me into an individual. It was a really small school;
8 boys and 8 girls in each grade. We had to wear uniforms and the girls werenít
allowed to wear makeup so we didnít have the pressures of being trendy. All of
us looked the same. It was a riot really; I remember having a lot of fun going
there. A lot of the boys that went there were sent there because they had some
sort of a behavioral issue, so it was truly comical with the nuns trying to keep
law and order. We all listened to rock music. I remember Tom Sawyer from Rush
coming out then and that was my favorite song. This was around the time when MTV
was launched as well. Then in 8th grade my parents sent me and my brother to the
public school because my brother wanted to graduate high school with his friends
that he grew up with. It was a culture shock for me, girls were mean. They
walked around with their vent brushes hanging out of their back pocket thinking
they were hot shit. I was the new girl and the ďtough vent brush girlsĒ were
threatening to beat me up. I met my best friend there though, we bonded over
Iron Maiden and Ozzy and that is when I started going to arena rock concerts.
This would have been about 1985 and also around the time that I started playing
So what were some of the 1st rock or metal bands that you heard and did you
take right to the music or did it take a few listens? Are you a fan still of
these bands even today? Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, and Rush
to name a few. Yes, I took to them right away and still love all of those bands.
How can you not like Van Halen after hearing the first few notes of ďAnd The
Cradle Will RockĒ? Black Sabbath ďSweet LeafĒ was my jam when I was a kid; I was
listening to these bands before I was 10 years old. This is the same music that
my older brother and his friends listened to so it was normal to listen to this
stuff and my mom is from Alabama so of course Skynyrds ďSweet Home AlabamaĒ got
cranked up when my brother would play that. Sheís into the 50s and country music
but Skynyrd has that country southern rock feel so we didnít get in trouble for
listening to this music.
So how did you get introduced to the heavy metal side of music and what were
some the bands you heard besides Black Sabbath? It was listening to our rock radio station here in Pittsburgh called WDVE as
well as watching MTV. Both would play Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, and
Motley Crue. MTV also was playing thrash bands like Testament, Hallows Eve,
Death Angel, and Metallica so I was getting exposure to what was then considered
extreme music. It was actually at a Motley Crue concert in 1985 that I was given
a cassette tape with a sample of thrash and doom metal bands. I still have that
tape. It had Slayer and Sacrifice on it and I became a huge fan of both.
So I hope you enjoyed Crue that night ha ha. So now that started hearing
these bands did you go down to say Eideís Records and buy any of their releases?
I had read about this store from Dream Death and Doomwatch just how cool was
this store? I did enjoy Crue, ha. I was a huge Motley Crue fan, loved ďShout at the
DevilĒ when it came out but they lost me with Theater of Pain. At that Crue
concert, I had met people while hanging out in the arena parking lot that were
into the local underground metal scene. We exchanged phone numbers and I found
that I could relate with these people. Our routine was to take the bus to
downtown Pittsburgh Friday after school and head down to Eides Records. Eides
was our hangout, they had everything there. It was thee record store here to
find underground albums and they would host in-store appearances, which is how
we met a lot of the bands. There was a sense of pride when you bought an album
to show off to your friends. There were only a few albums of a band that would
be in stock so it was kind of like you had bragging rights if you were able to
snag up a copy of something cool. Then we would walk over to Ted Williams, the
then bassist of Dream Deathís apartment and listen to underground records. He
had a party pretty much every weekend and all of us would meet there and listen
to music. Then we would return home on Sunday and go back to school on Monday.
I agree I also like the first 2 Motley Crue releases. So now were you also
buying and/or reading fanzines do find new bands? What did you think of Dream
Death? Yes, we all started off with buying Circus and Hit Parader music magazines
to worship heavy metal music so it was the natural transition to move over to
the underground fan zines to discover the underground bands. Itís just how it
was all done. Iíve always loved Dream Death, we called them Sludge metal. That
was the term back then, sludge. The term doom came later for us. We didnít have
any other band that played that Hellhammer style of music so Dream Death was a
highlight for us. I still love Dream Death. Iíve always been disappointed though
that the instrumental "Journey into Mystery" didnít make the album. They didnít
have enough room on the vinyl apparently. If youíre not familiar with that
instrumental, hunt down their demo. Itís so heavy.
This was 1986! I was 15 years old when this demo came out as my birthday isnít
So now your getting more involved with underground music at this time. At
what point did you want to start playing an instrument, which for you ended up
being the guitar. Any thoughts of ever playing bass or drums? Did you take
lessons or were you self-taught? I wanted to play a guitar since I was little. My parents had bought my
brother an acoustic guitar but we were listening to rock music and wanted an
electric guitar. Since nobody was playing the acoustic then nobody was getting
an electric guitar. I finally whined and threw enough tantrums that they bought
me an electric guitar just to shut me up. I was around 15. I took a couple of
non-eventful guitar lessons at our local music store but the guy creeped me out
so I stopped going. The only thing I learned was a couple of scales. I decided
that I was more comfortable figuring out stuff on my own so my playing nuances
are self taught bad habits. I donít consider myself a guitarist though.
There was a time period that I wanted to play drums but that was just from
listening to Rush. Neil Pearts playing is so inspiring, itís impossible not to
get captured into his drum beats. Still to this day even.
Totally agree with you about Neil Peart. So how soon after you picked up the
guitar did start to actually be able to figure out guitar riffs and even solos?
Who are some of your favorite guitar players and this goes for any music genre? I had to get past that blister stage and I remember that being an unexpected
surprise for me. I canít remember how long it took for it to be comfortable to
play. I had bought a tablature heavy metal book that had songs like Judas Priest
"Youíve Got Another Thing Coming" and other heavy metal hits of that time and I
was working with figuring out tablature. I remember that I became bored with
doing that though. Like, it was cool to play to a song that was playing on my
stereo, but then what? I was sitting in my room playing along with an album.
Whoopty doo. The album always played it better. I still have a weird thing about
playing a cover song, like I get guilt that I should be working on my own stuff
and not somebody elseís stuff but it is a good practice tool. Playing a note
pattern that was created in somebody elseís mind is neat, like a different
Solos never really happened for me. Well, a couple of times I played some notes
that could be considered a solo. My solos are very remedial but itís what makes
sense to me. Remember, I am not a guitarist. My guitar is just a song writing
tool for me. I wrote a solo thatís in the intro of our song "Goddess of Death",
and also wrote one for when we recorded a cover of Sepultura's "Troop of Doom"
because their solo didnít make sense to me. I had to write one that made sense
to me. (You can check them out here:
https://derketa.com/music) That is where
Iím at with solos, and I donít think every song needs a solo. I think itís a
strange expected song pattern. Iím not into the guitar shredder thing. I hope
not to offend anyone reading this, but the guitar shredder is a little bit of a
turn off to me. I admit there is talent when people can hit a shit load of notes
accurately in a few seconds, but it seems more of a show off thing than a feel
thing and that is where I get turned off. Those notes donít make sense to me as
a listener. Now, a good example for me of a "shredder" with feel is Alex Lifeson
from Rush. Iím on a Rush kick right now. I know he wouldnít be considered a "shredder"
but hear me out. If you listen to the song Freewill, his solo starts off very
unassuming then he gradually increases the intensity which is so climactic and
inspiring. Thatís impressive to me, to be able to invoke a feeling of some sort
to the listener with just notes.
My all time favorite guitar player is David Gilmour. He has so much feel to the
notes he plays and to me that is what itís all about. Whenever I have to write
some sort of a solo I think to myself "what would Gilmour do" and I try my best
to follow in his footsteps for inspiration. If you listen to my solo at the
beginning of "Goddess of Death", Gilmour was my inspiration for it and I am very
proud of myself for having the guts to attempt it on a recording. It doesnít
matter to me if anyone thinks its crap or not, itís what I heard and my head and
I was able to translate it on the guitar. For me that was a huge deal, mission
accomplished kind of thing. There is something about the blues playing style
that is so moving. Jimi Hendrix is another guitarist that captures me with his
playing. Randy Rhoads is another that I admire, "Diary of a Madman" is a such a
masterpiece. I could go on and on but you get the idea.
Iím not where I want to be as a player though. I get too overwhelmed and
consumed with life to the point of mental exhaustion but Iím working on that.
Iíve changed some things around in my life recently and am putting myself first
for once. I have the drive to practice again so that is good for me.
Now taking this one step further at what point did the idea of joining or
starting your own band begin to formulate? It would have been in 1986, but not so much in a formulated thought. You see,
when I would get bored or frustrated trying to learn a song I started stumbling
on notes that I thought sounded cool. The ending of our song "Time of Awakening"
was, I think, the first thing that I ever wrote. "Time of Awakening" was the
first song that I ever wrote in 1986 but that ending that I refer to as "the
funeral march" was something that I first stumbled on and would always play. I
remember thinking that sounded cool and then I wrote a song around it. I would
think to myself that it would be cool to hear it with other instruments but I
was too shy to really do anything about it. I kept getting these song ideas
though and just wrote on my own. I didnít think anything would really come of
it. In 1988 is when I met Terri at one of Ted Williams parties, she was there
with Don Crotsley from NunSlaughter. The 3 of us sat in the hallway just talking
about the bands that were blowing us away at that moment and I just blurted out
that IĎd like to start a band. Terri said she did too and so we swapped phone
numbers. At that time she didnít play any instruments and was interested in
being the vocalist. She wasnít able to do death metal vocals though which is
what I was looking for. Thatís why I got stuck doing them. I just wanted to be
the guitarist but whatís done is done. I became a death metal vocalist which has
haunted me throughout my life. Terri said she always wanted to play the drums
and so that was that. We would go over to Jeff Chereps house, he was the
guitarist of DoomWatch, and he would teach Terri the basics of playing the drums.
He is also the one that came up with our band name Derketa. He came across it
from reading the Conan series and suggested it to us. It seemed fitting, she was
the Goddess of Death, we were females doing death metal, so we went with it.
Terri finally was able to buy her own drum set in March of 1989 and that is when
we had our official rehearsal room in my parentís basement. It was only natural
that we wanted to record ourselves for our friends to check out and thatís kind
of how it all started.
So how did you go about trying to find a bass player? What were some of the
early practices with you two? Just through friends. Ross from Immolation knew Kim August (Ultimatum zine)
and she played bass. He got us in contact and she flew in to record on our 89
rehearsal demo. It was complicated with her being in New York or New Jersey and
it didnít seem like we had chemistry. I ended up playing bass on "The Unholy
Ground" demo and the "Premaure Burial" 7 inch. Don Crotsley was then going to
play bass so we could start playing live but he had met Mary who was going to
college for bass. All of our friends seemed to like the idea of keeping Derketa
all female. Eventually Mary agreed to meet with us and give it a shot.
Our early rehearsals were Terri and I trying to learn our instruments as we were
practicing the songs. Terri's drum beats were very tribal sounding at first. My
parents and our neighbors used to joke that it sounded like an Indian rain dance
was happening in the basement and when it would rain after our rehearsal it was
like "ta da"! I only had my little Dean Markley practice amp, no microphone or
PA to do vocals, so it was just guitar and drums.
Now looking back did you like the idea of you all being female? Now
obviously you knew about tape trading and fanzines did you send any of your
early recordings to be reviewed? What were the reviews like? In the beginning, I didnít think anything of it really. I thought of it as
just having friends/band mates that I could easily relate to. Itís all about
chemistry and friendship in the end. Iíve had a few males in the lineup over the
years but we'll always be known as the first all female death metal band. I no
longer get upset or annoyed with the "female observation". If people want to
make a big deal about it then ok. If people want to dismiss us because we are
female, thatís OK too. Iím still going to do it regardless.
We did send our demos out for review. It was exciting when I would see a fanzine
envelope sitting in my mailbox. We were waiting to see if people outside of our
friend circle liked what we were doing, and if it was a fanzine from another
country it was even more exciting. From what I remember, the reviews were
positive and supportive of us. Most would make a big deal because we were girls
and that did get old. But whatever, I get it. There was one review that still
pisses me off a little. The reviewer said something like "Lori Bravo can
accomplish more devastating vocals without using a vocal pedal". Iíve never used
a vocal pedal and Iíll never forget reading that line in the review and my mouth
dropping. It was printed and "out there", and he was calling me a fraud. All of
my friends probably got a phone call from me bitching about it as it threw me in
a rant. Then one of my friends said to me "that guy thinks your using a vocal
pedal but your not. Thatís actually impressive." That calmed me down but here I
am almost 30 years later still bitching about it. I still have my fanzines and
have the one with that review in it.
So in the early days did you try and rehearse and write songs as much as you
could? How much time in any given week was spent doing band related stuff? Did
you do all the mail or was it divided? Did you make ads like most of the other
bands and zines out there in the early days and have other bands and zines
spread them out in their mail? Yeah, once Terri bought her drum set she would spend the weekends at my
parentís house with me. The band then became our priority and we stopped going
to parties like we used to. I would pick Terri up from work either Friday night
or Saturday afternoon and we would practice in my parentís basement until Sunday
evening. We would rehearse as much as we could around my parents and my brother
screaming down at us "enough"! My family got to hear the absolute worst of us,
when we first started playing together. Well, our "best" would still be their
worst but you know what I mean. Our 89 rehearsal tape can give you an idea, and
thatís when we thought we were polished! I would work on writing at any time
though, not really a schedule to it, just whenever I had ideas.
Back then it was all about the band and keeping up with what was going on in the
scene with other bands. Like, what bands had releases coming out, which bands
were touring and playing locally or in the surrounding states. It was a daily
thing cause that was our interest so lots of time was spent on it all. It seemed
like everybody knew everything that was going on with everyone. Not like now,
too many bands and too many sub genres to keep up with it all.
Originally I did all of the mail but it became overwhelming for me. It was
exciting at first, people from all over the world writing to us. It was a fun
thing, going down to my local post office and shipping a bunch of mail to all
over the world and the postal workers curious as to what I was up to. I started
getting about 10 letters a day though, in addition to interviews, and I wasnít
getting any new material written. All I was doing was writing to people, it felt
like homework after a while. Postage was getting expensive but the international
folks were clever, they would put a thin coat of wax over the stamp and ask that
we send their stamps back in our reply letter to them. The wax prevented the
postal ink from marking the stamp so it could be reglued to the envelope and
reused. These were mainly the foreign people, so we couldnít reuse them, they
had to be reused in the country it originated from obviously. Some would send us
those IRC coupons to pay for return postage to them. Anyway, I finally asked
Terri if she could help out with mail and gave her a stack to do and then she
became in the rotation. I do remember I just stopped writing back to people. I
had enough. I remember getting some nasty letters from people because I didnít
respond back to them quick enough and so I said fuck it. Stopped responding to
everyone and tried to get my focus back on writing.
Yes, we made ads and participated in circulating ads from others in the mail! I
still have lots of ads from back then. I used to keep them in a shoe box so when
i would write someone back Iíd throw a bunch of ads in to keep it all going.
Thatís how we all did it back then. Everyone would create little ads and include
a small stack in our letters to one another. Then they would send to their
friends, and just like that 80's shampoo commerical....and so on and so on and
so on! "Spread like a disease" was a common term in the letters referring to
sending ads out in the mail. Those ads were almost as exciting as getting a zine
in the mail because sometimes you would get real gem, like a Carnage ad and that
was like WOAH! Do you remember the bright orange stickers that bands made back
then?? I still have those too!
So in 1990 you released a demo called ďThe Unholy GroundĒ. How was it going
into Alternative Studios for this 4 song release. I see you had covers made for
this release. Does that mean you didnít have to hand dub each copy one by one?
How was the response to this release? What are your feelings on it today? Can
you listen to it? It was all cool. Bob from Alternative Studios went to high school with Jeff
Cherep (DoomWatch) so he was aware of the underground punk and metal sound. He
didnít treat us weird or anything, it was a great recording experience. He was
easy to work with and we had a lot of fun recording that demo. I recently found
the receipt for it, it was $6/hour.
We made those covers ourselves at Kinkos (a print shop)! I had typed them up and
we cut and paste everything to fit as a cassette cover. I made up a template and
we were able to fit 2 cassette covers on a sheet of card stock, front and back.
It was tricky lining up the front and the back but we did it. Then we cut each
cover out with those paper trimmer machines that they have there. Some were cut
a little crooked as we tried to do a few at a time and the paper stack would
slip in that cutter. It was all handmade though. We hand dubbed each cassette
too, one by one.
The response to that demo was really good! That was when we started getting a
lot of mail. I actually like the vibe and the production of that recording,
great memories with it. I havenít listened to it in some time but for me I hear
it differently than others would. Meaning, Iím not overly critical of our
playing or the songs but it takes me back to the fun we had back then. I like
what we did though, proud of us both. It was only me and Terri at that time, I
played guitar and bass on that recording.
Do you even entertain the thought of sending it to record labels or you felt
the band wasnít ready yet? What was the line-up of the band at this time? I donít remember if we did or not. I donít recall any rejection letters so
Iím thinking we did not. We definitely werenít ready for something on that level
but I do remember somebody telling me Relapse had their eye on us and being
nudged to get new songs recorded so Relapse could hear more. Iím pretty sure it
was Relapse. I was extremely skeptical of labels after hearing the horror
stories from other bands, it just seemed like a hassle. Iím not saying they were
horror stories about Relapse, Iím talking with labels in general. Lots of my
friends were screwed over in the early days.
So did you try and get other members to join the band at this time? How
serious, at least to you, were you taking the band at that point? Yeah, we wanted to start playing shows. I wanted us to be a 4 piece band so
that the guitars would sound fuller live. We had mentioned to our friends that
we were looking for members and to let us know if they came across anyone that
would be interested. I think we were both getting serious about the band because
this was about the time Terri and I started arguing a lot with each
other. I remember I wanted us to improve in the playing of our instruments as I
did not have the confidence in us at that time.
So your next release was an EP/7Ē on the rip off label Seraphic Decay
Records. When he contacted you did he seem like a cool guy? How soon after your
release came out did the horror stories about him start? Did you pay for the
recording or did he? I assume you have no idea how many copies were pressed? Do
you have an actual copy of it? How much does it go for these days? Yeah, Steve seemed very cool and I was real happy that he was doing this
underground label. I thought he was "one of us" and that we would be protected
from the "real label bullshit". It was exciting that somebody wanted to put out
a record of our music. I know having a record pressed is common these days but
back then it was rare and it meant something. Like, you've made it past the
crappy low quality home cassette operation! Ironically people are going back to
cassettes thinking it was this great old school nostalgia, thatís comical to me.
Those cassettes were a fucking pain in the ass! Anyway, I donít think people
realize the magnitude of how bands have been screwed over by some labels back
then. We had various friends think that they had a good deal with the well-known
labels out there, told one thing but only to later find that there was twisted
terminology in their contract that essentially lost all of their rights to their
music and any monies due to them for that recording until the end of time.
Thatís fucking evil. Steve came across very straight forward and spoke against
that bullshit, simple math. I think we were promised either 10% or 20% of the
total pressing in product for us to sell on our own. We had paid for our
recording, which by the way was $6/hour, and he was going to pay for the vinyl,
advertising, and distribution side of it all. There was no "ownership" of our
material or anything like that. If it did well, then he would do another
pressing and we would get that same percentage. It seemed like an honest casual
friend/business deal; Our efforts to "keep the underground alive".
Shortly after it came out, maybe a month or two later, Terri received a phone
call from John McEntee from Incantation. It had gotten to him that Steve was
pressing more than what was originally agreed upon behind all of our backs. He
also pointed out the SCAM-000 labeling which threw salt into the wounds. All of
us bands had been used to get our recording and our band name so he can make
money off of us. I know lots of people that donít understand why bands get upset
with bootleggers. Plain and simple, we were being used. It doesnít matter if it
was minimal sales, when someone has the INTENT to USE you, then there is a
problem. That is being stabbed in the back. Who do you support, the band or the
person backstabbing the band? Think about that.
Back then, Terri and I had the "good cop/bad cop" thing with us. I was the "good
cop", meaning I was the shy quiet one. Terri was the "bad cop", meaning donít
fuck with her. Donít get me wrong, Terri was/is sweet and nice but she had no
problem getting into someoneís face and telling them off if need be. Up until
this point I was the one dealing with Steve. Terri had called Steve and told him
off, and told him to send our DAT tape back and he was no longer permitted to
press any more of our stuff. After she called Steve is when she called me to
fill me in on it all and I was speechless really. I trusted that guy on
something that was very important to me. After this, I thought 'uh oh, the shit
just hit the fan, Terri is on deck now!' I was a little upset with Terri at
first that she handled it that way because I wanted to see if I could sort it
out but Steve sent back that DAT tape with a nasty message addressed to me. I
was even more furious. Obviously our vinyl plate still existed at that vinyl
factory and it was all out of our hands anyway.
I have no idea how much was originally pressed but within the last year I
learned of other color vinyl and colored covers that are out there from my
friends on Facebook. They showed me that discog website and I nearly lost my
mind. Yellow??? Iím very particular about the aesthetics of this band, of what I
consider gloomy. Yellow is not gloomy. This is all a fucking scam for somebody
to make money off of collectors. I do not recognize any of those as being "original"
and I will forever consider them a bootleg. Even if itís coming from the same
original source. That original pressing contained 3 colors; black, clear purple,
and he did this white with rainbow splatter which we were against but he did it
anyway. Black and clear purple were the ONLY colors authorized and agreed upon
by us, with the exception of that white rainbow one he did. The covers were only
black with white print. Back in the early 90ís I saw red vinyl being circulated
and thought that must have been from the pressing that should not have happened
but apparently we have every primary color pressed. I never received any of
those other colors and Iíve often wondered how many of my Cleveland friends may
know the truths behind it all but have kept quiet. Maybe even financially
benefited from the sales of all of those releases? Remember, this isnít just
Derketa im talking about, there are other bands. From my understanding Steve
exited the scene, and I had thought the whole 7" operation was done with him.
Apparently not. I am aware the sales were probably minimal, but it is the
principle behind this all. Yeah, sooo, a little bit of a rant there. Iím just
tired of trusting people and being used in the end.†
I still do have my copies. No idea how much they are selling for now. I could do
a quick Google search and maybe find something on it but its best I donít look,
So how soon did the band break up after that shitty experience with the
label? Did that have a lot to do with it or was it that you all werenít getting
along or a combo of both? This is somewhat of a tricky question because itís going to appear as if Iím
talking shit on Terri, and Iím not nor would I. Anyone that knows us knows that
we had a rocky history with the band, and this is just how it is. I can only
tell my perspective of it all, where I was at with it.
Terri and I parted ways shortly after but it had nothing to do with this release.
We just werenít getting along. I felt she was developing an ego and I didnít
like the way she started talking to me. Basically I wanted to work in Mary on
bass and find another guitarist before we did another recording and play live. I
had no confidence in us as a band. Terri developed an attitude with me as if I
was holding the band back. In a sense I was, but I was at each of our rehearsals
and we never had a solid and consistent rehearsal. In my mind, why would we move
forward when we canít even play our existing stuff well? It was frustrating, the
drum beats were never the same and we werenít tight with each other. I wanted to
feel confident as a band because people were looking at us a little more closely
than the boy bands out there. I didnít want to give people any reason to
criticize us "because we were girls." For whatever reason, we got to a point
where we couldnít communicate well with each other about any of it. It wasnít
always like that but it became that once we became more known in the
So after the break up of the band what did you do? Did you want to keep the
band going with different members? Join an already established band? Start up a
new band with a different name or just get out of the band business for a bit? Yes, I was working with other members, we just never recorded. Scott
Phillips from the band Death Mass was playing drums with me and it was going
really well. He had gotten back together with his girlfriend and she frowned on
him rehearsing with me so that was that. (sigh) I later was talking to a guy
named Bobby from North Carolina. He was going to move up here to play bass in
the band but I didnít have my own place yet. The timing was bad because I had
just bought a house and needed to get it fixed up so the band had to go on the
back burner for a few months. I regret not getting something recorded back then
with Scott though. That would have laid to rest the mix up that Derketa and
Mythic were the same band. Had i known back then that was going to happen I
would gotten something recorded.
I did take a few years off though. I had married Brian from Dream Death and we
had a son in 1995. I started back with the band stuff in 1997 and tried to
reform with Terri but it didnít go well. I then got hooked up with Jim Konya
from NunSlaughter and he took over on drums for a few recordings.
In 2002 I joined the band Eviscium with Mark Mastro of Rottrevore. I played bass
and we did that for a couple of years. Then I put my focus back on Derketa.
So the band Eviscium. What sort of music was that? How many releases did you
play on and did you play many live shows? Eviscium was death metal, created by Mark Mastro from Rottrevore. Eviscium
had a similar sound to Rottrevore. I played bass on 2 releases, demo and CD.
They put out another recording about a year or so ago but I didnít play on it. I
had too much going on. We played a fair amount of live shows, I think New Jersey
and Ohio were the only out of state shows though. That was around 2002 - 2004,
according to Google. That was a fun band to be in!
So when did Derketa start back up and how did it come about and how
different was the sound this time as opposed to the original band? As time went on Terri and I would run into each other and our friendship
slowly was repaired. I kept mentioning to her that I had songs written and Iíd
like for her to play drums to record again. She kept saying no as she was
worried that it would interfere with our friendship again. I decided to just
wait it out as it meant something to me to record with Terri and no other
drummer. Kind of like her and I started the thing, lets end it together. My
intention was to record one more time and just be done with it.
We both happened to be at a show, I think it was Obituary in 2008 and Robin was
on tour with them selling merch. At one point during the show Terri came up to
me and said lets do it. We went up to Robin and told her were going to record
Derketa together again and Robin said something on the lines like...no, you are
going to do more than that. Were going to reform Derketa with the line up that
should have always been and play shows. Except this time Iíll play bass and Mary
will play guitar. Terri and I just looked at each other and was like, ummm ok.
Then we discussed whoís gonna inform Mary that sheís joining Derketa as a
guitarist, ha We contacted Mary and she was up for it.
The difference with our sound now compared to the early days is that Mary adds
harmonies and plays some of the parts slightly different than what I play on
guitar. The early recordings it was just me and Terri, so I played guitars and
bass. I still write all of the music and lyrics but everyone contributes their
own parts which adds another layer that enhances the songs. Robin is my lyrical
muse. She'll text or email me lyrical ideas and that will get me thinking of
something that I would not have thought of if she didnít text me. For example,
one day she texted me "Shadows of the Past", and I wrote a song based on her
just texting me those 4 words. Itís just better now, more chemistry with more
So in 2012 a full length came out called ďIn Death We MeetíĒ. How did the
recording for this go and thoughts on it these days? Well, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. This is a tricky one, I
have to be careful on how I answer because I donít want to upset anyone. Not my
intention to do so. Iím not very good with communication and my blunt
perspective causes problems sometimes. So, 3 different studios involved. We
started recording it in 2010 but I had a fall out with the guy recording us and
it was best to just walk away from that recording and start over. Basically
disagreements because I was firm on how I wanted everything to sound. In the
past Iíve had people take control over the recordings and I was never happy with
the end result. Iím tired of people controlling me and my ideas, not taking me
seriously or whatever is going on with it. I now speak up for myself and I donít
back down, and when 2 strong willed minds meet up, it doesnít end well.
This is also when Terri and I started arguing again. I donít think she
understood where I was coming from and how attached I was to how I heard the
songs in my head. I was able to talk everyone into going to a different studio
in 2011, but I wasnít happy with the guitar sound so I went to a third studio to
record my guitar. Then got into mixing madness because what I think is heavy is
different than what others find heavy. Thereís no satisfaction in settling, but
due to time restraints I had to settle a tiny bit. After the recording Terri
decided to focus on other areas of her life, and thatís when Michael Laughlin (ex-Cattle
Decaptation, Creation is Crucifixion) took over on drums. In 2015 I had Ola
Lindgren from Grave remix "In Death We Meet" and he understood what I was
looking for so Iím very happy with the recording now. Itís not anything against
anyone, itís just that I was chasing something that I had heard in my head for
years and just wanted someone to get it translated to a recording for me. Once I
get a focus on something, I get a little mental. I donít get nasty, just
Wow that sucks. So I assume not many live shows behind this release? Did the
band break up at all during this time? The band didnít really break up, but there was uncertainty with what was
going to happen. I was hoping that Terri would play some shows after the release
but she wasnít into it. Shortly after Terri quit I was introduced to Mike
Laughlin. He and I started rehearsing together right away and all has been well
since. We have played a lot of shows since Mike joined so it all worked out in
So the last release you did was a 7Ē called ďDarkness Fades LifeĒ. Tell me a
bit about this and when can we expect some new music? Mindcure Records (local record store) was putting out a series of 7 inches
featuring local bands, releasing a band a month for a year. The requirements for
the release were to record an original song, and then a cover song for Side B.
It was something fun to do and it also got us in the studio with Mike on drums.
I wrote the song "Darkness Fades Life" for it and then chose Sepulturas "Troops
of Doom", the Morbid Vision version, as our cover. The reason for the Sepultura
cover was because the original recording wasnít the greatest and figured we
would have to sound somewhat OK with it. Plus the song length fit in the 7 inch
time allotment. Iím not a fan of bands recording covers and really hate when
bands even go near covering the classics, but we were required to do so if we
wanted to participate. We kept it as close as the original as possible. I tried
to do vocals with Max's broken lyrical phrasing, which was extremely hard to
figure out. It was fun though.
Iím hoping to record Spring/Summer of 2019. I have 3 weeks off of work this
December (2018) and am using that time to focus on the new songs.
So now the underground has changed since the band was formed with paper
zines pretty much gone, writing actual letters and spreading flyers history.
Also only a handful of labels back then. Now social media is everywhere, tons
more bands and labels. What are your thoughts on the scene these days? I see positives and negatives with it. Thereís some new bands that I think
are doing a great job and promoters have been outstanding in stepping up to put
on some great shows.
Iím also disappointed with the current scene, too much social drama with this
ridiculous political climate. I see so much narcissism and sociopath behavior,
antagonizing and dismissing one another and they get pleasure from doing so. Iím
talking about the behaviors from both sides of the political spectrum. People
have turned ugly with one another. We need to start treating people the way that
we want to be treated, versus talking down to everyone that doesnít agree with
you. People donít know how to behave and be a part of a scene that contains so
many different cultures. People want to control it to be what works for them.
Itís not right. I feel fortunate that I was around when the scene was more pure
and genuine with one another.
You were around back then, it wasnít like this. (nope-chris) The song
Subdivisions by Rush reminds me of all of us back then, "be cool or be cast out".
We were ALL outcasts from mainstream society and we all found each other from
all over the world and created genuine bonds that are still there with the same
people. It was about relating with one another and sharing music, most everyone
was cool with one another. People need to take a step back and stop falling into
these media propaganda traps.
In addition to that, the scene has been saturated with bands with a million
different sub genres. Itís too hard to keep up with it all and to find what you
would be into. I do get annoyed when some of the younger generations try to "be
our generation", like some weird historical reenactment of us. It comes across
so fake. YouTube is their life blood to brush up on bands that existed before
they were born. Then they rattle off band names online like they're the cool
kids. They all missed how we got there though, which is a vital point with it
all. Itís one thing to truly be into it, but when your doing it to show off, it
So to your knowledge has any band ever done a Derketa cover tune? No, I donít think so.
So how much of your music is still for sale and the stuff that is sold out
how much have you seen it going for and will any of it be re-released? As for physical copies, I think itís just the "In Death We Meet" album and
maybe some "Goddess of Death" comp CDs are still out there. The 7"s have run
their course, should have anyway. Right now our Premature Burial 7" is going for
$80 on discogs. I saw our 1989 rehearsal tape sell for $150 on eBay a while back.
Silly. MP3s are available out there officially by me or by the bottom feeders
that offer downloads of bands for free as they rake in money from advertisers.
That really fucking kills me that people would rather support these bottom
feeders versus supporting bands they like. This is where people will demonstrate
sociopathic behavior and turn on the band for standing up to that bullshit, but
whatever. Itís good for people to expose their character like that.
As far as a re-release, I do have plans for The Unholy Ground demo but donít
want to say too much about that just yet. No idea if any labels will re-release
our old 7"s, most do that stuff without consulting or including the band....like
what had happened with our Premature Burial 7", my most hated release. The scam
that just kept on scamming.
So do you know who this piece of trash is that just reissued your Seraphic
Decay release and is also re-issuing other stuff from this label? Some people are telling me that the reissues were done back in the early 90s
by Steve O'Bannon from Seraphic Decay but Iím not buying it. Although I know he
did press more than what he told the bands, it seems like heís now a scapegoat
for any of those old releases. Blame it on the guy that already got caught doing
it and who supposedly disappeared from the scene back in 1990. Others have
mentioned names of some close friends of mine that were involved with the
Seraphic Releases behind the scenes. At one time that 7" was hard to find but
now Iím finding it in all colors of the rainbow. Some have a different Side B
sticker on the vinyl versus the original Seraphic release. Why would Steve
change that? The vinyl sticker on Side A looks like a copy of the original
because of the background image. Another friend of mine noticed the print on the
cover looks digital. Iím working on getting to the bottom of it. Something dodgy
happened with it all and this bullshit needs to stop.
I totally agree. Now what do you think of You Tube and social media in
general? It seems like it is harder to get people to come out to shows as they
can just watch live video clips on You Tube and what annoys me is all the cell
phone holding up when bands are playing, I mean didn't you come to see the show
ha ha? I do like You Tube for its convenience. Itís cool when you are sitting
around thinking of a song and you can go on YouTube and listen to it on demand.
Even if I own the album ill jump on YouTube for a convenient listen to something.
Social media, thatís another story. I think social media started out as a cool
thing but it sure brought out a lot of ugliness in one another. Some people
really beg for attention with it. I love the funny Facebook memes though and its
convenient to learn what your favorite bands are up to, and what shows are
happening and what not. With everything, positives and negatives.
Ah, here's our first disagreement Chris, ha. I think itís a great thing when
people capture a live moment on video and I donít understand when people make a
fuss about doing so. (I more or less meant when youíre in the cheap seats at a
concert and you post the entire concert on You Tube with horrible sound and all-chris)
Itís free instant promotion for the band and should be looked at as a very high
compliment to the performance. Whenever I pull out my phone to do a Facebook
live video, Iím fucking impressed with what Iím seeing and am wanting others to
get turned onto that band. Iím not going to video a boring band. It is ONLY for
the bands benefit, in hopes to recruit fans to go their next show. Just listen
to this perspective, we are saturated with bands right now. In the old days, we
used to rely on word of mouth. Back then "word of mouth" was a trusted thing.
Like, if you told me to check out a band, I would check them out cause I knew
you had good taste in music. Our scene was so concentrated back then, we had
quality. Now, we have quantity. The scene is a bit broader and lots of strangers
will tell you to check out some band. But we rarely do. I donít know who that
person is, I donít know their taste in metal. Everyone is trying to sell
something and with death metal now split into so many different categories, itís
hard to find bands that will grab my attention. A good way to get past that
bullshit is for people to see your live energy, and then hopefully want to be a
part of it. Even if your not totally into a band, they could still put on a high
energy live show that would make it worth leaving your house to see. I still
enjoy a show even if Iím holding up my camera to video, itís only a short video
clip anyway cause its tiring to hold your arm up for a full set. Imagine if
nobody video recorded Jimi Hendrix back in the day? It really should be an honor
for a band that someone is inconveniencing themselves to capture your
performance so their friends can get turned onto the band. Instant free
promotion. My thoughts on it anyway.
Good point and I see your point. What are the future plans for the band for
2019 and beyond? If our schedules allow we plan on recording a full length and an EP this
year, and we have a few shows lined up. As long as everyone has the time and
health to do the band then we'll keep it going.
What are your thoughts of women in the metal scene these days? This is a tough one to answer in fear of offending someone because of the
huge generation gap that is in the scene right now. Some may not understand
where Iím coming from because I grew up in a different time, when the metal
genres were first forming. Back in those days the record companies always played
up the groupie thing with women. Music videos would tend to portray women as the
ditzy slut which made it difficult at times for us girls that genuinely enjoyed
the music. Some guys would just assume that if a girl was at a metal show, they
were up for grabs for the night. That was beyond annoying to have to deal with
and that took some time to break that assumption. I canít speak for all of the
girls out there but I know the girls that were in the underground metal scene
were against that bullshit. We didnít believe in exploiting ourselves sexually
and just wanted to blend in with the guys. And that is how it was for the
underground scene. There never was a "feminist movement", it was just everyone
being equal because we had a common interest. If you were cool, they were cool.
It didnít matter what your gender was. Now I see women back to dressing
provocatively which I feel undermines everything that we worked so hard to
overcome. And that is disappointing to me. There are so many talented women in
the industry that focus too much on their image and not so much on their music.
Stop selling yourselves short and break away from that nasty stereotype. You all
are better than that.
Sharon thanks for the great and most interesting interview any words to wrap
this up? Well, I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me and being
considerate with my schedule. If people are interested in what were up to, you
can follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@derketa_band), and our website. Our next
show were opening up for Immolation in Pittsburgh on Thursday, March 7th. Were
scheduled to play the Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle on Friday, May 31st and I
believe were playing New York in October. That show hasnít been announced yet so
not sure of the details. And if anyone made it to the end of this interview,
thanks for giving my thoughts/opinions your time. Take care everyone and be kind
to one another. Sometimes people are already having a bad day, ya know?