Music is my life that's all I want. it's my passion it's my love and I'm happy to have gotten this far. There is still many many years to go, always gonna keep on rocking.
For the past thirty five years Deceased have been purveyors of the finest in death metal and they have no intention of stopping now, in fact the band are busier than ever. Gavin Brown caught up with Deceased vocalist King Fowley to talk about the band’s new release Rotten To The Core 2 (The Nightmare Continues), an album of covers that sees them take on songs from everyone from The Clash to Cryptic Slaughter. We also talked to King about the follow up to the band’s previous album Ghostly White and when we can expect it, punk and hardcore, the experience of writing his book, thirty five years of Deceased and what else he and the band are up to in the future.
E&D: Hi King, good to talk with you. How have you been keeping busy during this lockdown period?
King: Cheers! I’ve been good, missing playing live of course, but you know find things around the house to take care of, things that need to be done too. Outside of that just getting ready to release the Rotten To The Core 2 CD next month on Malt Soda Records, that’s something we got done right before the lockdown that’s about it.
E&D: You just mentioned Rotten To The Core 2 (The Nightmare Continues), can you tell us a bit about it and when it is out?
King: It’ll be a CD on Malt Soda Records, a friend of mine, Scooter, who did the first one many years ago did it again. It’s an all covers CD! it’s basically punk/hardcore/crossover stuff that we grew up with. Everything from The Accused and Cryptic Slaughter to stuff like the Buzzcocks and The Clash which is a little bit more on the rock side than punk rock side but it was the early days of it all. There’s also lesser-known stuff on there too like Crucifix or Depression from Australia. It really came out nice and I’m really proud of it. The band played their asses off and really looking forward to it coming out. It should be out around, I’ll say early July.
E&D: How difficult (or easy) a task was it to choose the tracks to cover from the album?
King: There’s so many tracks we could do volumes one through a hundred haha. I love a lot of that stuff growing up, the punk crossover stuff. This time around I just kind of went with what felt right at this moment in time which was ended up on it!
E&D: You cover everyone from The Clash and Discharge to The Accused and Die Kreuzen on the album. How did it go, bringing the Deceased sound to so many different styles of punk and hardcore?
King: I always enjoy Deceased’s take on stuff. I think all of it played good from the reggaeish in peril charm of The Clash to the heaviness of Discharge. The Accused of something I really wanted on the first one because I’m a die-hard Accused freak. It really came out nice, it all came together really good. Like I said the band really played their asses off and it was really cool to challenge ourselves to stuff outside of what we usually do in our heavy metal world.
E&D: You also cover songs by some less well known bands on the album like Lethal Aggression and Impulse Manslaughter, did you want pay tribute to them and let your fans who may not have heard them, explore those bands they may not have discovered otherwise?
King: Those bands are important to me! Lethal Aggression did one of my favourite demos of the 80s. I love Impulse Manslaughter. A great debut album! whatever felt right you know we didn’t want to play favourites or like what’s popular in the world. It just had to be what it was and I’m really happy to help people discover these bands if they haven’t already.
E&D: Who did the brilliant cover art for the album? I love all the different styles getting in the pit, especially the Clockwork Orange droog!
King: The cover art was done by a guy named John Pearson. He’s friends with Scooter the owner of the label putting it out. John did exactly what I asked of him and I couldn’t be happier, really cool stuff and I also like the Clockwork Orange guy. That was a nice touch because that’s kind of something that was up in the punk rock scene in the 70s. Some of the punks took to that image in the 70s especially over in Britain.
E&D: How did you get into punk and hardcore music in the first place and were you already into metal then?
King: Punk rock was just something else I discovered as a kid. I had my Kiss, my Van Halen my Ted Nugent my heart and then I would hear stuff like the Plasmatics or the Ramones or the Dead Kennedys. This is just stuff like in the late 70s going into the 80s you know, then The Clash, London Calling album was a big record for me. It was in the middle of punk and rock. I like everything from the Beatles to The Ramones to Kiss to Andy Gibb.
E&D: How big a deal was it when the crossover between metal and punk/hardcore started to happen?
King: The hardcore crossover with metal was fine with me. I mean you got to have your heavier metallish guitars and you got faster aggression from punk. It was all cool for what it was you know and you know besides the occasional fights because it was different worlds it never really bothered me at all. it just came together nicely. I’ve been to tons of hardcore punk shows and I’ve been to many thrash/speed metal shows, it all fit together nicely. I’m happy bands like The Accused and Cryptic Slaughter really intertwined the two, really did a hell of a job and had cool sounds.
E&D: What is the status of your next album Children Of The Morgue on Hells Headbangers, your follow up to your last album Ghostly White and when can we expect it?
King: Children Of The Morgue is in the earliest stages right now. It’ll be a few years off. Mike’s one of our studio guitar player’s and he’s overseas doing government work and we haven’t seen him in a while so we will get back to writing and rocking when the time is right. It’ll come out, we’ll never rush anything but when the time is right it’ll come out. It’s a few years off I will say that.
E&D: How has Ghostly White been received by fans?
King: Ghostly White got a great response from people. I’m proud of it, I am really happy, the songs were really as good as they could be at this time in our life. I’m very proud to say they don’t come off to me half-assed. Some people call it our best album today and I we got a lot of good response from the underground and even the ‘mighty’ Rolling Stone magazine of all things which I really could care less but never the less they voted it one of the top 20 albums of the year in metal. So whatever I’m just happy we did it and came out as good as it did.
E&D: Are you also bringing out a thrash covers album later in the year and can you tell us about that and which bands you will pay tribute to?
King: There are plans for a thrash covers record going to be called ‘Thrash Times At Ridgemont High’. I can’t really tell you the bands in full yet, still deciding on that. but it’s going to be a ripper! love me some thrash, the good thrash, the faster thrash not this middle of the road half speed stuff. Speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!
E&D: Do you love to keep busy music wise? That’s quite a hefty schedule for this year alone!
King: I have to keep busy. I never want to stop. I don’t even like to sleep. I’m always busy doing any and everything. I never stop. I love doing things, I’m a mover not a sitter.
E&D: Are there any rescheduled Deceased tour dates at the moment and what are your touring plans for the next year?
King: All our gig plans for this year obviously on lockdown still. We had a lot of things as this is our 35th anniversary as a band. But as of right now we’re just waiting it out. as for next year there is some things I can’t really talk about yet. But we do have plans to do something pretty big as far as touring goes if it works itself out I’ll just leave it at that. But we are definitely going to be out playing as many shows as we possibly can always.
E&D: What has been the most memorable gig that Deceased have ever played?
King: I can’t narrow it down to one gig that stands out. There’s so many moments you know things we’ve done. Like we put out Luck Of The Corpse to get out and play the big club in our area outside of Virginia in Washington DC called the 9:30 club. A record release show that pretty much sold out and have a ton of people there that was fun. Going overseas and playing in Europe. Playing at Wacken fest back when that was a cool festival. Or just any anything, I love parties I love it all I love playing to anybody and everybody. From nobody to 50,000 people you know we played some big big big show’s and we played some little little shows and I don’t have favourites I love them all.
E&D: You published your book Stay Ugly: The Life And Near Deaths Of King Fowley a few years ago. How was the experience of telling your story and how was the book received?
King: I really enjoyed writing that book. It took a few years to do. I relived a lot of the moments in my life, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m happy as hell at how it turned out. The life lessons that I tried to give to people. I didn’t want just to be like all about girls or drugs or just music. I wanted to be pretty much my whole life and you know that’s what I did. It was received very well a lot of people really enjoyed it you know they could feel the heart you know inside of the writing. It was a great time for me I really enjoyed it and I’m proud I got to do it and I’m proud of how it came out.
E&D: Did you find writing the book a cathartic experience?
King: Indeed I did. It’s just something that like once you’re in your actually reliving your life. And how I could feel the weirdest in my mind when I was talking about drugs. I could feel the tears in my mind when I was talking about deaths in the family. I could feel that the happiness in my heart when my son was born. I could feel like all of it you know, the good, the bad and the ugly.
E&D: Would you ever do another book in the future?
King: I will write another book. I really enjoy doing the first one. It’s something different that lets me look at things in a different light and lets me create and do what I want. I do have more to tell. Thinking about calling the second book ‘I’m a grandpa now’ since my son recently had a child. It’ll be stories of my being a grandfather which means it could be any and everything it wants to be and talk of anything I want to!
E&D: How do you feel about the state of death metal in 2020 and are there any new bands you would recommend to check out?
King: Death metal and music in general to me has been kind of off kilter for a quite a few years now. There’s not much I can really recommend as far as the death metal world these days. Conceived By Hate from El Salvador I really enjoy. We did a split with them a couple years ago. I really like those guys I wish everybody well you know you just everything is cool like stuff like cardiac arrest those guys are really cool. Anthropic is more of a grindcore type but they’re doing their thing. And I’m happy to see people doing things. I just want to see bands and people you know really use music for the right reasons, give it their all and you know don’t rush things just to get it out. You know always have a goal and have a purpose and don’t just rush out a cool logo and a cool band name in a cool band picture. Make sure you have the cool music to go with it, that’s the difference to me.
E&D: What are your favourite memories from the early days of Deceased?
King: I have lots of memories from the early days of writing songs, my first drum set my mom bought me when I was a kid, releasing that first demo, getting a record deal, playing shows, going out of state playing shows, meeting other bands, penpals, all of that’s important to me. It’s memories I’ll cherish always you know I’m a nostalgic kind of guy and all that stuff is just a nice great place in my heart.
E&D: How is life for the band on Hells Headbangers and how did you come to be signed to the label?
King: It’s the best record label we’ve ever been on. Hells Headbangers records are phenomenal. They do a great job, they’re very professional, and it’s always business as promised. Relapse the other big label we were on in the past they started off fine you know they were young we were young and as they got momentum and made some money and had some bands they changed and they took a left turn that we weren’t going to be part of. Not into bullshit and lies. Hells Headbangers has been no bullshit and no lies. Their process of doing stuff is great! We met the owners years ago at a show, they were Deceased freaks. We talked about possibly putting something out from the past and then the Wooden Coffin set was mentioned, we talked about just being becoming on that label at some point and they said whatever you need and they’ve looked out for us from day one. I love them, cheers to Hells Headbangers!
E&D: How did it feel for Deceased to be the first band signed to Relapse Records?
King: It didn’t really mean much to be the first so much. Relapse was just coming out of nowhere and we were kind of building at the same time. I got a lot of bad things about Relapse as time went on but you know I’ll never forget those early years. They did believe in us when most didn’t believe and we thank them for that.
E&D: When Deceased first started as a band, did you ever think that you would have a thirty five plus year career with the band?
King: I knew I would be doing this in my entire lifetime. I always knew it was going to be this long I knew it was going to go go go. Music is my life that’s all I want. It’s my passion, it’s my love and I’m happy to have gotten this far. There is still many many years to go, always gonna keep on rocking.
E&D: What have been some of the highlights of your time with Deceased?
King: As I mentioned before, just all of it you know. from getting a record out, doing demos, learning how to play drums, growing up with bandmates; seeing their lives grow too, marriages, babies, all of that. The gigs, the tours, the times in the van driving, the silliness and humour. We’re all about having a good time. You know there’s been bad times two of course but that’s all part of life. It’s all a learning lesson and that’s all it can be all. of it is important to me it’s a very, very, very important part of my life and my heart.