All interviews conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: June 22, 2018
On March 18, 2018, the underground Metal community was shocked and saddened by the news of another fallen hero; Frank "Killjoy" Pucci from Ohio's legendary, undisputed horror and gore-masters Necrophagia had passed away.
Killjoy was a true underground Metal soldier, living and breathing Metal and well-known for his total dedication to all kinds of horror and gore movies, literature and, of course, for founding Necrophagia in 1983. The band shook the extreme Metal world with many groundbreaking and unique releases from the demo The Nightmare Continues to classics like Ready for Death and Season of the Dead. And let's not forget the band's past works such as the Harvest Ritual Volume I and WhiteWorm Cathedral albums.
Necrophagia were certainly ahead of their time, bringing horror and gore elements in to Heavy Metal. We here at The Metal Crypt want to show our gratitude to Mr. Killjoy and Necrophagia by asking other musicians about Killjoy's impact on their careers. Here are their thoughts about Mr. Killjoy and his life's work, Necrophagia.
Foreword by John McEntee (Incantation)
Hey, what's up? This is John McEntee. I really apologize for taking so long to do this. It's just an insane time. I got back from tour and I was sick for a couple of days. Well, actually about a week or something and it's just been like a rat race here. I'm out with everything. But, anyway enough of my excuses. I hope you don't mind me doing this audio. The fact is it will be a lot quicker because I am super slow when it comes to doing written interviews and stuff like that.
Anyway, this Killjoy thing really hit me hard. Let me start with my introduction to the band. Back in, man has to be '87ish or something like that, I can't remember the exact date because how do you remember exact dates from that time? I'm lucky if I get the year right. I'll say '87. I remember it was right around the time when I was first in Revenant. Those guys introduced me to fanzines, demos and stuff like that. Before that, I knew about underground bands, but I didn't know you could get bands' demos and stuff. I knew about doing demos, but I always thought it was being part of a record company. Enough of that. That's a story for another time. Around that time, I remember getting numerous fanzines. I remember one was real popular; Total Thrash. There was one from California called No Glam Fags and there was just a whole bunch of others like D.O.D. and stuff from France. I can't remember exactly what fanzine I saw it in, but I remember seeing a lot of stuff about Necrophagia. I remember the logo, the whole vibe; they looked really gory, really eerie and stuff like that. Obviously, I was attracted to that and I was tape trading at the time.
I would get the original tapes when I could, but I was a young kid and didn't have lots of money, so it was a lot easier to tape trade through the mail. You get to know what you really like and if you really like something you can get into it more. Oh man, I'm babbling like crazy, [*laughs*]. I'm acting like you don't know but you know exactly what it was like. That's silly for me to over explain it.
Anyway. I see Necrophagia on a list and I knew there was Necrophagia from LA, too but Necrophagia from Ohio just blew my fucking mind. I was already into stuff like Master and early Death, Soothsayer and so many other underground bands that I can't remember. Papsmear, all that stuff. Wehrmacht. I got into all that stuff from the guys in Revenant and the guys of Regurgitation, who I was friends with, introduced me to that stuff, so I was already into really brutal stuff. They didn't really say much about Necrophagia as far as being into it. Maybe they weren't or just didn't say it, but I knew I was attracted to it and I heard it for the first time, it was just insane. It wasn't tight. I guess what I liked was more the vibe. When I heard it, it was just an evil vibe and you could tell that they were really good. They were going for more atmosphere with their music. The technical ability wasn't always the best, especially in the early material. It was almost like a Punk-attitude. Maybe a good way to describe it would be Venom or something like that.
They were kind of a band like Venom where they weren't the best players, but they knew how to get their feelings across. It totally blew my mind. I heard early versions of "Abominations", just "Chainsaw Lust" and all those old songs. It was just raging. It had the chaos of hardcore but the heaviness was like nothing that really existed [*chuckles*] before that. When I heard that heavy guitar it was just monstrous. It was always something I was really into. It was our drummer from Revenant, Joe Fregenti that picked up the Necrophagia album, on tape or whatever, and I told him, "Yes, definitely get it. It's killer." He was disappointed with it because I don't think he was expecting the narrative type vocals on the album. After you hear that crazy screaming, yelling and everything on the demos, I could understand how it was disappointing on the album where it was almost a narrator over a horror movie.
I kind of thought it was cool. It took me a little while to get it. I loved the music. It was a lot better played than on the demo, so I thought that was kind of cool. That gave a different perspective, more of an atmosphere. What I thought was interesting with Season of the Dead was that they really took the band to next level as far as technical ability. Also, Killjoy had the vision to not just scream or yell or growl like all the other bands. If you're familiar with Incantation's style you know that we really love the atmosphere and it was the early bands that really got us into it and I've been a fan forever. I have played Season of the Dead so many times. My cassette version probably wore out. That was a mainstay. That was mandatory listening. If any of the guys in the band didn't know it, it was like, "You have to know this if you want to do this band and do it the right way." It was really a key influence for us and I think it's noticeable in our music. I don't think we never try to rip off bands directly, but everybody has their influences.
One of my main influences was Necrophagia. Between Onward to Golgotha and Mortal Throne of Nazarene... Fuck, I'm always horrible at names. I know the album back and front, but I don't know names of the songs, let me just check it out. Let me just see what song it was. It was "Bleeding Torment". We did "Bleeding Torment". I should remember that, but I'm an idiot. Anyway, we usually do that live and then we also did that when we recorded Mortal Throne of Nazarene. That's a bonus track that we never used. I probably have it on two-inch reel somewhere. Anyway, we even did covers of it live. We used to do a few covers of Sarcophago and a lot of other bands. Then when we did Tribute to the Goat and stuff like that and we did "Abominations" from Necrophagia. I was really selective with covers, even at practice. I wanted them to be songs that really meant something to the band and to me. We knew that Necrophagia at that time was not very popular, but it didn't matter. We wanted to do it because it meant a lot to us, especially to me.
Many years went by and I finally met Killjoy in person. The first time I met him, of all places, was a Pantera show and no, I was not going to the Pantera show, I was promoting a different show. I used to live in Cleveland, Ohio I used to go to everything from thrash metal to anything heavier and I would pass out flyers. I always looked at the Pantera fans as potential metal fans if they just heard some real metal, but anyway enough of my condescending attitude about them. I'm actually friends with Phil now but at the time they were the enemy and I think most people from my era would agree, but that's beside the point.
I met him when I was passing out flyers for a show we were playing in Cleveland at the Peabody's Down Under. I passed out a flyer, I start talking to the dude, I heard somebody call this dude Killjoy and I was like, "Huh? Are you Killjoy, Killjoy, Necrophagia Killjoy?", he was like, "Oh yes". I told him I played with Incantation. He was nice enough to me, but he was in a hurry because I didn't realize that he was jamming with Phil, obviously, he played their show in Ohio where we were both from at the time. That's where I met him for the first time, but we didn't trade info or anything. I told him to go to our show but he didn't make it out. Then Red Stream, who used to play at Exit 13, he released some of the early Necrophagia stuff and I was not really doing the label, but I was doing a little, I'll say I was doing the scaled-down version of the labels and I switched to Ibex Moon. There was a space in between where I would sell extra stuff of bands I liked or whatever. I wasn't really an official thing.
But anyway, he was releasing some of the early Necrophagia stuff; demos and everything. I remember talking to him and asking if he knew we used to do covers. I was being a full fanboy and I just wanted Pat to tell Killjoy his material really meant a lot to me. I just felt if somebody really means that much to you, it's nice to let them know that, something they did really had an impact. He always said positive stuff, like Pat used to say, "Oh yes, I told him. He was really cool, he's really flattered and stuff, that's cool."
Years and years later, Kyle started seeing Killjoy at Harvard conventions, probably about 8-10 years ago. Through that, we started talking with Necrophagia more and I always wanted to do some shows with them because they're my idols and it's always an honor to play with your idols. I would always be in contact with them but nothing would ever work out. It'd always be some stupid booking agent issue or whatever. I got frustrated with it but then I started seeing them more and more and actually I was talking to him about releasing stuff when I was doing Ibex Moon Records, which I really wanted to do but it was getting closer to the end of my time with the label. I just I couldn't afford to do the job I wanted to do with this label, and by no means was I going to release something by one of my favorite bands ever and fuck it up.
He had these really interesting ideas for doing CDs with toe tags on them, blood cases, the coffin boxes and it was great. I loved the ideas but at that time it just wasn't possible for me to do. And then, say the last couple years or whatever, we started saying, "Okay, now's the time to try and do some shows together" and we played the Hell's Headbash, which was a year and a half ago.
They were playing the pre-show and we were playing the main show, a pretty good slot and I said, "Dude, if you're going to be there for the weekend, let's do a song together" and I said, "We know 'Abominations,' We should jam it out, practice and stuff. Why don't you come up and sing it with us?" I told him it would be such an honor to do that and it was a kind of historical show because Profanatica was playing there and I wanted to do a song by Paul Ledney. I figured Necrophagia was there and they were one of my biggest influences so it would be perfect.
We did the show and he came out, we did "Abominations" and honestly, I was just blown away. I was so thankful for my band for being cool with the idea, I was thankful to Killjoy for dealing with this stuff and it was just a great vibe. It was a fun thing to do and really meant the world to me as a songwriter to be able to work with one of my mentors. I still look up to Necrophagia. Since that show, we really became friends and kept in touch. We were working on doing a tour.
We wanted to do a tour last November with us and Necrophagia where we were going to switch off every night. Maybe do an old school Necrophagia set of demos or Season of the Dead songs with Incantation playing and him doing vocals. That would've been such a dream come true. I would have probably crapped myself if that had happened. The sad thing was it didn't happen not because neither of us wanted it to happen, it was because the booking agent kept fucking things up and it really was pissing me off.
After it got fucked up, we dropped their European booking agent because we just couldn't deal with them anymore. When I heard about Killjoy's passing a couple weeks ago, it totally blew my mind, especially because I was becoming really good friends with the guy. He and Kimmy, his fiancée, are good friends of mine. I realized that I lost a really good friend, I lost the opportunity to be able to tour and even play next to somebody that really means a lot to me. We were talking about having me play guitar on one of the Necrophagia songs on the next album and I was like, "Hell yes. Of course, I will." [*laughs*] I was ready to do it but it never came to fruition because of this tragedy.
One of the things that I really appreciate about Killjoy, and it was the same thing that I appreciated when I met Ronnie James Dio, is that Killjoy was very gracious. He never put on a cocky attitude. He knew that I, as a musician worshipped the ground he walked on, but he also treated me as a friend, with respect. He listened to Incantation and he would tell me what songs he really liked, what he was digging and stuff like that.
To have one of your mentors actually listen to your band close enough to be able to give you his honest opinion on stuff was just amazing. To just have a great time hanging out with him and stuff was just amazing. You never think someone's going to pass like that. When I heard the news I just couldn't believe it. He's my age and he was doing stuff way ahead of where I was musically. He was far more forward-thinking than I was and to get to the point where I was good friends with one of my mentors is a milestone and a dream come true for me. You want to meet the people you idolized as a kid and you hope that they're going to be cool guys and he definitely was. Its just is an absolute tragedy. I wasn't aware of his health issues. I knew that he did not take care of himself as far as eating like crap and he drank probably more than he should, but I didn't know that it was that severe.
It's just been a horrible couple of years with the passing of Jim Konya (Nunslaughter), I've had family members that passed away and there's just been a lot of people passing away, but Killjoy's passing was definitely an impactful moment. I talked to a bunch of his close friends and it was just nice for all of us to be able to talk about him and talk about how he touched us as a friend and not just a musician. He was a great songwriter and a great visionary but the thing that was great about him is that he was a great friend and he just treated everybody the same. If he liked you, he liked you because he liked who you were. It wasn't about rock star stuff or whatever. He was gracious enough to let us go backstage for the Venom Inc. show when they were opening up for them in the US and I got to meet the Venom guys and it was really kind of him to introduce me. I'm a fanboy of Venom, too. I'm too paranoid to go up to the dude and say like, "Hey dude. What's up? How are you doing?"
I've been talking to a couple of his really close friends and also Kimmy, his fiancée, and I'm going to do everything I can to try to help preserve his legacy. We're definitely working on some really cool things to keep his memory alive. I encourage anybody out there to donate to the fundraiser on GoFundMe that Kimmy set up if you can. The situation is a total fucking mess over there so any money will help with the funeral and medical bills. Kimmy knows Killjoy wouldn't ask for money for this stuff but they need it but they could really use the help.
Kimmy seems to be dealing with this in a good way but I can see the pain in her eyes. It really shows that everyone is a mortal and you never know when someone is going to pass. I'd just advise everybody out there to never take anybody for granted because any of us could die anytime. If a band means a lot to you, show them while they are alive. Don't wait for them to pass away and give them their one day or two days on Facebook where everyone says you're great and all that bullshit. Do the right thing and appreciate people when they are alive when they are able to perform for you and give you their heart with their music.
I won't let Killjoy's death be just another, "Oh, this person died today." Yes, I understand it. We're all sorry that these people are gone but when you lose real friends that you actually talked to and know really well, and also were big influences it means a lot more than just a little thing. It's like when Joe (Lombard, ex-Incantation bassist) passed away years ago, we never took it for granted. We remember Joe all the time and he's always on our minds. We don't forget about him and we're not going to forget about Killjoy either. I just got to say that I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world because I did get to perform live with Killjoy. It was the one time at Hell's Headbash last year and honestly, it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
I would have told you that even if he hadn't passed away but it even means more now. It scares me to think that if I wouldn't have made that happen, I would never have had that opportunity and I would have regretted it, so I'm extremely honored.
Not everybody understands the impact of Necrophagia because Necrophagia didn't leave the mark of a band like Death or Morbid Angel or Napalm Death or whatever but it doesn't mean that they're not as important as those bands. It's just that those other bands had a more stable line-up and things were able to fall into place but a band like Necrophagia they made a really big impact in the underground. They just didn't have the fortune of getting the opportunities, or maybe they were too far ahead of their time for people to understand. To me, it was always sad that they never got the attention they deserved but the important thing is that they made an impact. If you talk to any of the big bands, I was talking with who was it? Repulsion, Scott from Repulsion the other day at a fest we were at, and he was talking about the impact that Necrophagia had on him. It's just great to know that people he had an impact on are proud to say so.
I apologize for taking up so much time. I know it's a short thing for each person but I had to do this more for myself. This is helping me vent and deal with the situation by talking about it. Obviously pick out the stuff that you need but hold on to this recording and know that this is something that means a lot to me to be able to vent. It helps me deal with the death of a friend and mentor. Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you on tour, I hope we get to hang out again, talk about Metal and have a few drinks or something, coffee or whatever, I can't remember.
I think we were drinking outside, yes at a club we played recently, it was nice to see you. Anyway, you take care brother and it's always an honor to do any kind of an interview or whatnot with you because you were there from freaking the beginning. You did the cover work for the Entrantment of Evil seven inch, and you're a part of a generation of underground people that really helped shape the genre and it means a lot to people like us. Bands like Immolation and Mortician, all of us in bands, totally remember you, respect you and you just know that your work on keeping people's memory alive and everything you do for the Metal scene is really appreciated, okay.
It was an honor to get to see you a few times or aboard the ship. I didn't get to hang out as much as I wanted to but it's always nice to just see a friendly face. Well, you take care and I apologize again for babbling, but sometimes babbling and talking off the cuff about this stuff really is cathartic for me, okay? I know it's a lot for you to go through but thank you so much, you take care brother, okay? Bye-bye.
Luxi: When was the first time you heard of Necrophagia and what was your first reaction to the band's music?
King Fowley (DECEASED): Killjoy and I traded demos. We both were into ugly, freaked out Metal and thought we'd enjoy each others' demos. Necrophagia on first listen was weird and off-the-cuff with odd vocals bits and almost a Punk-ish charm. I liked it!
Bill Hudson (I AM MORBID): I first heard of them about 15 years ago when The Divine Art of Torture came out. To be honest I only knew the name because of the association with Coffin Joe. But I didn't listen to their music until we actually went on tour together, last year. I fucking loved their show and did my best to watch their set every night.
Daryl Kahan (FUNEBRARUM): I first heard Necrophagia at a friend's house during a party. I was impressed by the sick vocals and bulldozing riffs and sought out copies of my own. They were definitely sick and original!
Mike Brown (HEADROT): It was pretty impressive, and I believe it was their first full-length, Ready for Death... Very innovative and for 1990, just SICK!!!
Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT): I first heard of Necrophagia from the Intense Mutilation guys, and when I heard them I was intrigued by the obsession with gore as well as the primitive-sounding music.
Dave Rotten (AVULSED): I think I first heard Necrophagia around '87 when the 3rd volume of the Speed Metal Hell compilation came out. By that time, it was almost impossible to get any Thrash or Death Metal stuff over here, just rare imports and I was very much into tape trading in these times, so probably I got some demos around that time too. That song "Power Through Darkness" was fucking bizarre and unlike any other bands that I heard in those days. It was weird but cool, it was dark and evil as fuck!
Nicolò Brambilla (EKPYROSIS): My first encounter with Necrophagia was some years ago when I got a reissue of the Season of the Dead album on the suggestion of a friend.
I remember the impression of a very raw recording combined with the surprise of discovering this band, much ahead of its time, relatively late (still few years after getting into Death Metal music through bands like Master and Death). Digging deeper into their demos I realized they were the real deal back in 1985 - bringing some aggressive Hellhammer/Frost -bite to the hardcore proto-Death Metal madness.
David Wagner (EVOKEN): I was a 17-year-old thrasher in 1987 when I was first introduced to the sickness that is Necrophagia. I was already pretty well informed regarding the "standard" heavier stuff around at the time – Metallica, Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Exodus, Kreator, Destruction, Celtic Frost, etc. – and was also actively seeking out even more intense stuff like Dark Angel, Possessed, Blood Feast, Bathory and so on... There was one other kid in my neighborhood, a few years younger than me, who was also into the heavy stuff, and we would go to our local record store – Sound Exchange in Wayne, New Jersey – to buy whatever new stuff came out that looked sick; often just based on what the band name was, what the cover art looked like or if the song titles were "brutal" enough. We would "one-up" each other. He picked up the Whiplash Ticket to Mayhem tape and I would respond with the first Carnivore. One day he showed up at my doorstep with a tape that he described as the sickest, most evil one yet; Necrophagia Season of the Dead. That night I put the tape in my boom box and listened to it with headphones in total darkness when I went to bed. I don't think I was able to sleep that night after hearing the bone-chilling sounds of Necrophagia for the very first time... Just pure horror! An atmosphere of cold and dread that I had never experienced before and have seldom felt since...
Fenriz (DARKTHRONE): Well, late 1986 is when I started to delve into the underground. I had me a job bicycling commercial leaflets and catalogues all around the Kolbotn area (IT IS NOT A FLAT AREA) and at 14 years of age I suddenly had ample cash to head into Oslo (just north of here) to buy all the enormously great Thrash related releases of 1986. I was hungry for more, so I ordered stuff directly from bands then found fanzines both local (Slayer mag, Die Hard mag, Damage inc. all of them involved with Mayhem who lived/lives just south of us. Die Hard mag was produced just hundreds of meters from Euronymous' home in Hebekk, Ski at the time.) And finally, in spring 87 I saw an ad for Chickenshit mag and sent our shit demo there. It turned out to be Nicke Andersson of soon to be Nihilist fame. He became one of my mentors as he had the best demos and best taste. He sent me a tape late in 1987 with Necrophagia's Season of the Dead. This album was in my Walkman a lot, a mystifying obscurity of a Death Metal album. I had previously known Death Metal from Possessed riffs, one Dark Angel riff, all the riffs and the solos on Reign in Blood, etc in 1986. Death Metal was a sought-after underground term at the time - then came 1987 with Sadus and a lot more focus on Death Metal. Death Metal seemed to be the only sought-after term in '87, oh, and also grind. Well, I never stopped listening. When I did my solo Death Metal demo Isengard's Spectres over Gorgoroth in summer of 1989 I had Necrophagia as one of 8-9 influences on a written list, remembrance list for eventual interviews.
But after that, I still didn't stop listening.
On the car ride to where Ted and I were about to record our last album back in 2015, what was the CD player? Season of the Dead. He may have Scream Bloody Gore as his fave but mine is Season of the Dead. Those were some of very few Death Metal albums coming out in 1987. The Death style became copied a lot but the Season of the Dead stayed unique. And I thank the Death Metal godz for that, brilliant!
Bob Bagchus (INFIDEL REICH): It must have been in 1985 when I got the Death Is Fun demo by tape-trading. I became an instant fan of Necrophagia. I know I was playing it in my bedroom with the lights off and I got a vision of that demo being recorded in a cabin like the Evil Dead one. That atmosphere really got to me and have been a huge fan ever since.
Vanessa Nocera (SURGIKILL): Unfortunately, I was late discovering Necrophagia and hadn't actually heard them until I bought the limited-edition tin DVD of Lucio Fulci's The Beyond when it came out in 2000. One of the highlights of upgrading to the DVD was checking out the extras, one of which was Necrophagia's video for the song "And You Will Live in Terror". I had long been a fan of extreme Metal, so this video and the song blew me away. From there I wanted to explore the band and hear what else they had to offer. To this day Black Blood Vomitorium stands as one of my favorite horror Metal releases of all time.
Mark Sawickis (IMPETIGO): That would have been I think around 1986 or so when I was getting heavily into tape trading. I saw that band name and demo title on a list and thought I have to hear this. Being a horror fiend and Metal and Punk maniac, I knew just by titles it was something I needed. With the extreme music scene just starting to unfold you were always looking for something sicker or heavier. I was really into their sound, it was super raw, but I just remember thinking those are some of the sickest vocals ever and I thought it had a Punk and Metal sort of mix in the sound.
Clint Spain (KAMIKAZE ZOMBIE): The First time I ever heard them was when they did "Now You Will Live in Terror" for the Lucia Fulci film The Beyond. It completely blew me away!!
Jasse von Hast (TOMB OF FINLAND): The first bite was when I saw the cover of Season of the Dead in Metal Hammer magazine. It pushed me to order the album. First musical impressions were some kind of "zombie movies meets Metal music" thing.
David Torturdød (UNDERGANG): The first time I heard Necrophagia was after picking up a copy of Season of the Dead second hand in Accord, a record store in Copenhagen where I sometimes travelled to from the northern suburbs where I grew up. I remember being attracted by the band name and the cover as I loved zombie movies and was still rather new to extreme metal, but thought it'd be worth checking out. I liked it, but it wasn't really till I a few years later picked up Holocausto de la Morte that the band really clicked with me. I loved the wicked vocals and the original compositions in the music and, of course, the complete love for horror was a big draw for me too being a fan of horror movies before discovering the world of extreme music a little later.
Luxi: What kind of an impact has Necrophagia's music and image had on your own band?
King Fowley (DECEASED): More so in friendship. Killjoy and I were pen pals in the 80s. Mostly we talked about mutual love for the band The Plasmatics.
Tony Dolan (VENOM INC.): Killjoy didn't influence me or my music. He was, however, a very dear and close friend, and he was a complete and creative artist. His influence was indeed great to many and his passion and belief were also complete. He submerged himself in his art, his releases (ALL of them) were of great value and important because he believed in the creative process so much. We toured together and had many deep conversations about our art and life.
He made me laugh so much and we also felt deep sadness together sometime at the inhumanity of life. He remains with me and I will never accept this loss but wait to join him, so we may continue our friendship wherever that may be!
Many may not have known Frank, but they know his influence because it is ingrained in our industry - like so many great truly unsung heroes.
May you rest in peace, my dear brother... Your art lives forever!
Bill Hudson (I AM MORBID): I can't say it had any, as I met them on tour as a support band for my own.
Daryl Kahan (FUNEBRARUM): I would not say Necrophagia had any direct influence of my band's stuff. Perhaps with a bit of the horror element in our lyrics. Most of my bandmates also shared an appreciation for Necrophagia. We played a gig with them years ago in Ohio called "The Feast of the Deceased". It was a great show!! Apparently, someone tainted the band food backstage which resulted in an attack of diarrhea reeking from the venue bathroom. Thankfully, none of our bands ate the food.
Mike Brown (HEADROT): Headrot started out in 1989. We had heard of Necrophagia but never really listened until we did a show in Cleveland in 1990 and met Frank along with a whole lot of other people, really good time!
Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT): Well, (as I often say in these interviews) I was already doing things with Nuclear Assault by the time I heard Necrophagia but Killjoy was a big Hardcore/Thrash fan so he always came out when Nuke played Cleveland. There was no direct influence on what I was doing then I suppose.
Dave Rotten (AVULSED): Well, Avulsed hasn't really been influenced by Necrophagia, but considering our lyrics and imagery is pure gore, horror and macabre stuff, there's an undeniable link. Let's say we played in the same league.
Nicolò Brambilla (EKPYROSIS): Ekpyrosis has always been influenced by American Death Metal and Necrophagia is no exception. I've been inspired by Killjoy's insane and very evocative vocal lines, and by the mood they create sounding like an insane confabulation by a possessed man. That's possibly the thing I mostly looked upon when writing the haunting, often doomy, lurking sections of our songs.
David Wagner (EVOKEN): Season of the Dead set the bar for me as far as what darkness and evil should sound like, so I would often use it as a reference point when working on my own stuff for Abazagorath or Funebrarum. Everything from the artwork, musical composition style, lyrics and particularly Killjoy's vocal delivery capture the vibe of what TRUE Death and Black Metal depicts at its core. And I know that like many others, reading through the endless thanks list on the album liner notes tipped me off to many more like-minded bands and individuals in the scene, sending me even further down into the abyss of the underground...
Fenriz (DARKTHRONE): Explained in question 1. Although I thought Season of the Dead was the PUREST Death Metal album, as my philosophy as to what was an actual Death Metal riff was that it was inspired by the notes of horror movie music, EERIE, EVIL note structures and scales.
Bob Bagchus (INFIDEL REICH): Quite a lot. In our track "The Rack" from 1991 there is this little drum part, which was my tribute to Necrophagia's "Painful Discharge". The ending of that song always gives me goosebumps. Later on, our 2nd album Last One on Earth had some Necrophagia inspired riffs as in "Incarnation of Lust".
Vanessa Nocera (SURGIKILL): I discovered Necrophagia at a time when I was dreaming of getting my own band going but where I lived it was difficult to find people who played Death or Black Metal. I did a lot of demos on my own with what I could and Necrophagia was a big inspiration at that time. The overall sound and attitude made it easy for me to have a "just do it" attitude with recording. And of course, the imagery was something I was sold on from the beginning growing up on horror movies and horror comics. Necrophagia was like my dream band in many ways.
Mark Sawickis (IMPETIGO): It was a huge impact on me and for us as a band. Since we are also a Gore/Horror Metal band it's only natural we would be inspired by a band like Necrophagia. The themes of their songs really were what we were into and we at first brought a Punk edge to our Metal sound as well.
Clint Spain (KAMIKAZE ZOMBIE): They have been a direct influence of my band Kamikaze Zombie from the beginning. From the gritty nasty guitar sound to Killjoy, who has been a vocal inspiration of mine ever since I heard the song "Now You Will Live in Terror."
Mikko Hannuksela (TOMB OF FINLAND): It really didn't influence my own band's image or musically but was still there somewhere in the background as one of those influences for us.
David Torturdød (UNDERGANG): They've always stood for everything that I love about Death Metal and wished to portray with my own music; absolute infinite dedication to the genre of extreme Metal and horror but always as practitioners AND fans themselves, which always appealed to me. I've always found the whole being down-to-earth and one-of-the-crowd aspect to certain people in Death Metal very appealing and sympathetic. After all, we're all just losers anyway, haha!!
Luxi: What's your favorite Necrophagia release and why?
King Fowley (DECEASED): Never was too big on the records, the demos all had a certain charm that didn't carry over to the records, so I'll go with Power Through Darkness demo from 1986 as my favorite thing they did because it seemed to have the best set of songs with the best set of arrangements.
Bill Hudson (I AM MORBID): That would have to be The Divine Art of Torture. Being from Brazil, it was amazing to know that an American band was paying homage to Coffin Joe.
Daryl Kahan (FUNEBRARUM): I like the Death Is Fun demo and the Season of the Dead album, also some of the Killjoy's Compelled by Fear material.
Mike Brown (HEADROT): Season of the Dead, and the song "Abominations". It's great old school grind and let me quote, "Foretold in many prophecies. Global apocalypse has arrived". Frank was even a fortune teller; just listen to some of the songs and then look around you!
Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT): I guess Season of the Dead just for its classic necro qualities.
Dave Rotten (AVULSED): Season of the Dead without a doubt! In those times when extreme Metal genres weren't that well defined, we really didn't know how to label this because it had elements of Thrash, Death, Black, Horror, Heavy... but for sure Necrophagia had a unique approach to music and even today you can listen to that album and sounds original!
Nicolò Brambilla (EKPYROSIS): I've been blasting SotD a lot but in the end, Holocausto de la Morte is the album I most often listen to. They came back at the top of their game, with absolutely mind-blowing songs and a suffocating, grieving atmosphere. I can't help but love the mix with the New Orleans sludge influences coming on that Necrophagia album (probably courtesy of Phil Anselmo). I think you can't top that one.
David Wagner (EVOKEN): Season of the Dead made such a scarring mark on me in my teenage years that it will always reign as my personal ultimate Necrophagia release.
Fenriz (DARKTHRONE): Again, explained.
Bob Bagchus (INFIDEL REICH): Season of the Dead. It was the very first compact disc I bought with my own pocket money besides the actual vinyl. Also, one could hear the band evolving from their earlier great demos and it all came together on Season of the Dead. The horror atmosphere on that classic album is unbelievable. Playing it in the dark adds to that even more. I think it is still the greatest Death Metal album of all time with the creepiest atmosphere.
Vanessa Nocera (SURGIKILL): The Black Blood Vomitorium EP and the Holocausto de la Morte album are my two favorites because they were the first I heard. They're so raw, catchy as fuck, heavy and they never get old. I also am a fan of Harvest Ritual Vol. 1. I remember one night I was smoking weed in a cemetery playing the "Akumu" track over and over. Great memories!
Mark Sawickis (IMPETIGO): That would have to be Season of the Dead, it's a very iconic release to me. It was actually one of the very first extreme Metal albums to be released on CD. That album is pretty much one of the first Gore Metal records ever. It really brought their recording quality to a new level and also made Killjoy's vocals a little more understandable which was great as the lyrics are top notch. It is an album that has stood the test of time well. I would have to say Holocausto de la Morte is a close second, it just has some of the sickest riffs ever and Killjoy has even sicker vocals on that one.
Clint Spain (KAMIKAZE ZOMBIE): Well, after hearing them in The Beyond, which by the way, is one of my all-time favorite movies, I went back and bought anything I could find. The EP Cannibal Holocaust has always stuck out because it was the first one I bought. My bass player Damon and I played this thing to death. I think it was stuck on repeat for the whole summer. This EP is just brutal. I love the nasty grinding riffs and Killjoy's vocals. Then, of course, there is the horror movie element. For a fan of horror films and heavy music, they are a no-brainer. This is what we try to keep alive with Kamikaze Zombie, feeling you get when you hear their albums it feels unsettling and like maybe you shouldn't be listening to it.
Jasse von Hast (TOMB OF FINLAND): It's quite difficult to name one album because they all are important in different ways. If I needed to pick it would be the first one, it hammered that zombie theme so hard.
David Torturdød (UNDERGANG): My favorite album is certain Holocausto de la Morte, as mentioned before but another release that really made an impact on me was the Through the Eyes of the Dead VHS-tape. Goddammit... If that isn't all I want in visual Death Metal! The songs put into videos on there are, of course, from the album mention above and they're just super disgusting, sleazy, dark, gory and catchy Death Metal songs with an absolutely demented vocal delivery. How someone could not love that and call themselves a Death Metal fan would not seem sincere or legit to me. Absolute CHEESE, dedication and lowbrow perfection as in its highest form if you ask me.
Luxi: Did you ever meet Mr. Killjoy in person? Can you remember what he was like and what you discussed?
King Fowley (DECEASED): We met a few times and it was horror movies and The Plasmatics, kinda like our pen pal writings but now in person. He was quiet for the most part but did get a big gleam when talking about things he enjoyed in life.
Bill Hudson (I AM MORBID): Killjoy and I bonded immediately the first day of our tour over the fact that we both woke up to Monster energy drinks instead of breakfast. We also both had the same kind (sugar-free, white can) on our riders. I was playing with the headlining band (I Am Morbid) and Necrophagia was our direct support band. We shared the bus, so we literally hung out every single day for 5 weeks.
My favorite moment and conversation is one that we texted about again not too long before his passing. The bus was getting some work done, so he and I sat by the side of the road with our Monster drinks talking about Brazilian women. Killjoy thought it was hilarious that I said that none of the average women looked like a Victoria's secrets model, but they all had the same attitude and arrogance and I just didn't deal with them, so "hot chicks from Brazil" never meant anything to me, hahaha. It was a funny conversation, one of those that you had to be there to get...
We texted about that a few days before he passed... And I was fucking shocked by the news. May he rest in peace!
Daryl Kahan (FUNEBRARUM): Yes. I met Killjoy several times over the past 15-20 years at various horror conventions and gigs. We have some mutual friends and always got along well when we met. He was a cool and genuine guy who was dedicated to horror and Metal! His contributions to the underground scene are undeniable. It always sucks to hear when one of our people goes. He will be missed... This is a great tribute Luxi! All the best to you!
Mike Brown (HEADROT): It was a very long time ago. I believe it was 1990/91 in Cleveland, Ohio, and later on through social media. But from what I can recall he was a great guy and very compassionate about everything he did and also very intelligent! It's sad because 48 isn't old. R.I.P. Frank Pucci Dr. Killjoy... You will be missed!
Danny Lilker (NUCLEAR ASSAULT): As some of you may know we played in The Ravenous together around the turn of the century so obviously I knew him pretty well. He was an awesome dude with a great sense of humor and he was hilarious when he was shitfaced. I will certainly miss him although it had been years since we were in touch.
Dave Rotten (AVULSED): No, I didn't really have the chance to talk to him although we greeted each other at Hellfest 2012 where we shared the stage. They were playing right after us, so it was just a "hello-hello" type of conversation, haha!! He looked cool though.
Nicolò Brambilla (EKPYROSIS): Last year, in 2017, Necrophagia did a single Italian date after many years as support act of David Vincent's infamous I Am Morbid band. Needless to say, I was there to see Necrophagia, we crossed more than 500 km that night and their set was killer, heavy, grotesque and extremely tight.
I met Killjoy a couple of hours before the show, asked him to sign a few CDs and take a pic. He was a cool guy, chilled down and joking with Vincent who was being ironic on Necrophagia remaining pretty much underrated for so many years. Quite a strange dialogue between a rockstar-type of guy and a more low-profile, humble metal fan/musician like Killjoy.
David Wagner (EVOKEN): Yes, I did have the honor of meeting Killjoy back in October 2002 (if I remember the date correctly), at the Chiller Theater horror convention in Secaucus, New Jersey. I was attending the con with Abazagorath bandmates Mike of Nihilist and Daryl of Morgul and our close friend Leon of Lucio "Doc" Holocausto. Nihilist & Doc were already acquainted with Killjoy via snail mail and the early days of the internet, BUT this would be my chance to meet the legend himself face-to-face. Abazagorath was looking for a record deal and thought we would fit in well on Killjoy's Baphomet Records, so we did discuss working with him on a release. While I don't recall any specifics of what else we talked about, I'm sure we all spoke about our shared love of gory and twisted horror films and underground Metal. I do remember gushing to Killjoy about how much I loved the dark atmosphere and his creepy vocal style on Season of the Dead and lamented a bit how things were "different" on the newer stuff like Holocausto de la Morte. Haha...! He took my "criticism" well and he definitely came across as down-to-earth, easygoing, cool and fun to be around. It's unfortunate that this was the only direct encounter I had with Killjoy and we never even pursued a record deal with him after meeting him at Chiller, but Abazagorath did have the opportunity to open up a show for Necrophagia about 5 years later and I will always treasure this experience...
Fenriz (DARKTHRONE): Well, I don't know how it happened, but he started writing to me in California, 1998 and 1999, and sending me their new album Holocausto de la Morte and shirts and merch, and more albums and I had a lot of chaos in my life at the time, but I remember digging it... Also, there was... The Ravenous? Who knows who gave him my address, might have been Dan Lilker? Beats me. I still didn't meet him until the week we had in Phil Anselmo's mansion in Louisiana back in 2000 or 2001, I think it was. Thanks for the hospitality. Anyway, I feel awkward being a visitor and drank most of the week or all week so it's pretty blurry. I remember an agitated Killjoy rushing into the cellar at one point and punching the punching bag, seemed like he struggled with a big issue at this point in his life. Too bad but I read that he later had a good chilled-out life living near Kam Lee down in Florida some years later. Great!
Bob Bagchus (INFIDEL REICH): Yes, on the Neurotic Deathfest in 2011. He came to us in the car park asking for a lighter for his cigarette. I looked and saw it was Killjoy and he recognized me as the drummer of Asphyx. He walked with us inside the building (I printed Autopsy shirts for that fest) and we talked about Death Metal and he wanted to do some guest vocals for Deathhammer.
He was one of the friendliest people I ever met and he will be missed greatly. R.I.P. Killjoy...
Vanessa Nocera (SURGIKILL): Yes, I hung out with him many times at Cinema Wasteland - a horror convention held every six months in Cleveland, OH. I made him laugh so hard and I remember thinking, "Holy shit, I'm making Killjoy crack up! This is great!" Ha! We exchanged numbers and started talking more through texts and bonded quickly. When he told me he was a fan of my bands it was very surreal. We would inspire each other I guess in a lot of ways and he asked if I would do guest vocals on the next Necrophagia album, and of course, I was all about it. He sent me some demos of the new material and it was sounding killer so far. We were all planning a possible get together outside of Wasteland sometime in the summer of 2018 but sadly that can't happen now. I'm thankful for all the conversations I had with him and I'll never forget the great times we had even if it wasn't always face-to-face. No ego, always an even exchange communicating with him, and very giving, sending us a huge box of amazing gifts that I will cherish forever. R.I.P., dear friend!
Mark Sawickis (IMPETIGO): I was lucky enough to meet Killjoy at least three times. The first time I met him was at a Milwaukee Metalfest when he was doing vocals for The Ravenous. I took him some Impetigo records and sat down and talked a bit with him. I also managed to see Necrophagia twice when they toured with Venom Inc. in the last few years. He was always very friendly and very approachable. He would always ask how things are going and we'd just talk about things in our daily life and I remember the last time I saw him he was really in extreme back pain with some disc problems, but you would have never known it from the great show he gave. We discussed horror movies at the first meeting. He was just a kind and friendly guy from my standpoint.
Clint Spain (KAMIKAZE ZOMBIE): Unfortunately, he passed away, so I never got a chance. I always dreamed that one day we could share the stage together in some capacity be it with our bands sharing a bill, or he and I doing a song together. May he rest in power.
Mikko Hannuksela (TOMB OF FINLAND): No, I didn't. Just let him rest in bites.
David Torturdød (UNDERGANG): Sadly, I can't say that I did, I only had my one chance of seeing them live once when I travelled to London to see their appearance there with Repulsion a handful of years back. I thought they were great and I hoped to have a drink and chat with Killjoy afterwards if that chance would be there, but the security kicked everyone out before I even could meet up with my friend Col Jones, who played with Repulsion at the time. Super lame. Now I'll never have the chance of expressing my appreciation for the band and the impact they and he had on my musical life and or share the horror love with that fiend. Oh well, nothing else to do than continue the path of death and horror. Gore forever! \,,/
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