King Fowley

Bulldozer: You guys are coming off a tour that you guys did- a fairly brief tour- how did that go for you and Rumplestiltskin Grinder, overall?

King Fowley: It went great, the West Coast was fun, you know? We’ve been a band 25 years, we never got to get out there, and do more than- we did one festival to, hell I think it was 2002 or 2001 for Jack Koshick, and he has festivals out there, but we never really got to go out there and play much. We went back there one other time and played at the Knitting Factory, but we never got to do anything extensive there or even outside of California. We never got down to where we got to this time, like Arizona and Las Vegas and Oregon and we went to Seattle, but it was really good, it was fun. We met up in Las Vegas for the first show, and everything went good for the most part. But by the time we got to San Francisco to play, the van had broken down, and Shane had to stay with the van, so we played that show as a four-piece. We made it, did all the show, had to rent a car for the last two shows in Oregon and Seattle, and then Shane and Eric had to drive the car back to the San Francisco area to get the van, which was fixed, and then drive it all the way home (laughs). But the shows were great, I loved it. My favorite of the shows was probably Anaheim, I really loved Anaheim. Every show, though, had its moments and its highlights, you know, it was definitely fun to get out there and play and I’d love to come back and do more.

Bulldozer: Yeah, I mean I know that at the Anaheim show at least, that was the one I was at, it was pretty intense. There was a pretty great reaction for you guys.

KF: It was good, it was really good. I just actually watched some clips from the show, and it was fun, it was definitely cool. What I like about that place, and which is really cool, is, I like a place now and then where its just totally about the music, cause that place, as you know, doesn’t have alcohol and things like that, so its not a bar thing where people just go to hang out, you know, its like people came there to see the music and it was all about the music and stuff, and it was definitely a cool crowd, good people, I know a lot of kids get to go to that stuff, the all ages thing, which is always cool, cause youthful energy is always fun no matter what, and we played really well and Rumplestiltskin Grinder are great guys, and they did good, and just the whole thing was just fun as hell.

Bulldozer: What made you guys team up with Rumplestiltskin Grinder?

KF: The guitar player, Matt, has been a fan of the band for years. I met them a few years back, when we played some shows with them, and the name always stuck out to me cause it was such a funny name, and they’re all super cool, all of them, and Eli who was singing at the time, who’s no longer in the band, he was working for Relapse, and we always had this running joke, cause we’d left Relapse and stuff, and we’d just bullshit about Relapse and things. But, Matt called me and he said, yeah, we’d love to do a tour with you guys, you’re one of our favorite bands and we talked and talked and talked, and we basically set it up together through a promoter out there that I knew from 20 years ago that owed me a favor, and he definitely helped us out, and it all just fell into place.

Bulldozer: Definitely. As far as recording goes, it’s been a little bit since the last album, As The Weird Travel On, what’s gone on between then and now that’s leading up to the hopeful April release of Surreal Overdose?

KF: Wow, yeah, well we’ve got 600 hours of tape (laughs). The last record came out in 2005, and that record took a long time itself, because I went through health issues in the early 2000’s. 2002 I had a blood clot in my lung, 2004 I had a stroke. Some issues with blood clotting and stuff, I’m on blood thinners for life, and thats got settled. Well, we got the album out, and we went to go out and start playing shows, and in 2006, a year after that, our guitar player Mike Smith said, “I want to stay in the band, I want to keep doing this, but I can no longer play live.” When he joined the band in 1990, he told us he wasn’t big on playing live, he’s more of a studio kind of guy. But he gave his heart and soul for 16 years for us. So 2006, me and Mark, and Dave Castillo, who had been playing drums for a few years since I stopped playing drums and just went to singing, we were still doing our thing, and we were looking for a new guitar player to play live. So, we had a friend of ours that we’d known for years from a band called Biovore, Shane Fugal, who came right in, busted his ass, and got it down. Se we went out playing again, and we were rollin’, everything was going great, and then out of the blue, Mark Adams, who basically was a founder of the band with me in ’85, ’86, he just quit the band suddenly. To this day, it’s been about 3 or 4 years since that happened, I don’t know why he quit the band, I guess he just wanted to pursue things in life a different way.

Bulldozer: Wow.

KF: So then we needed another guitarist, and that’s when Matt Alteri came into the picture. He’d sent me a demo of him playing all the instruments on a cover of the song “Born Again,” from Black Sabbath, and I thought, “This guy’s great!” I heard and liked his other band, he’s a great speed picker, into stuff like Razor and Cyclone. He lived in Boston and I said, “Hey, I really like your stuff, do you want to play live for us?” He said yeah, but it was hard for him because he didn’t have any transportation, and he’d be taking the bus from Boston to Philly to meet up with me, and we’d drive up to Baltimore, so a lot of traveling. But it showed me that his heart was really in the right place. So we got going again with the full line up.

Bulldozer: Jesus.

KF: And then, and here’s where it gets kind of crazy, Les decides he wants to move down to Texas to be with this girl he met, and then Dave gets this girl pregnant and retires from playing to get a full time job. So I talked to Shane and asked him to bring in the drummer from Biovore, Eric Mayes, whose a great drummer. He came in and started kicking ass, so we were rollin’ again. Les obviously can’t do many shows, being in Texas, so we got a replacement for him with this guy we call Krump, and he played bass on the East Coast dates. Les went out and did the west coast dates, so that worked out. So we had to redo the line up of the band a bunch of times, and every time someone came in, the style would alter a little, it would be miniscule, but everyone definitely added something to the line up.

Bulldozer: So where did that leave Surreal Overdose?

KF: There was a bunch of tape and a bunch of takes on the songs, but we had to kind of leave those while we got the line up solidified. We lost our practice space while touring, and honestly we haven’t touched those songs in four or five months now. We have them in our heads, we know where were at, so we’re going to get together at the beginning of December, and we’re going to run through everything, me, Les, Shane and Mark. I’m playing drums on this one again too. So we’re going to head down to Texas for a week, run through the stuff, and then book up some studio time in March, record the album, and get it out in April.

Bulldozer: That’s a long few years!

KF: It’s been Hell, but it’s also been determination. I’m the kind of guy that, I’ve been through serious health issues, I’ve been through a lot of things in life, but I, we, continue on. We do our thing, and we love it. We’re dedicated, and we definitely wouldn’t throw together anything or rush it. It’s long overdue and when this record hits, we’ve already made plans to go in and record the next one done sooner, not because we want to rush another record, but these songs are all done now. A lot of these songs are four or five years old. So we’re ready to move on to something else now.

Bulldozer: So with so much time and effort put into the new album, what can we expect?

KF: Well I mean, even from the beginning, when we were playing raw and raunchy death metal, I always liked things catchy. I like a good chorus, something memorable to tie you to the song. I’d never want to make bullshit, crap noise and call it death metal. So that idea sticks now too. I mean, we’re all in there writing music, and we take influence from everywhere, from Sodom and The Ramones to stuff like Fates Warning and Voivod, but it’s still gonna be Deceased. We recorded a rough demo of the new stuff eight or nine months ago, and then went and wrote riffs and leads over that. But the songs are done, there’s some fine tuning to be done, but for the most part it’s ready to go.

Bulldozer: Obviously we haven’t heard any of the new songs yet, but are there any songs that you’re particularly excited about on the new album?

KF: I like “Kindred Assembly” a lot. That’s a good four and a half minute one. It’s got a lot going for it, it moves nicely, kind of like “The Premonition” off Supernatural Addiction. It really works well, it’s got a recurring melody, it’s really catchy and almost sing-a-longish, and it’s got a really haunting, evil metal section. It’s got a nice finishing section too, so that’s one I like a lot. Another one is “In the Laboratory of Julius Gloom.” When we did the demo it was really fast, it was super-speed. When we got to it though, I thought why don’t we make this a kind of in-the-pocket thrash thing like “The Mausoleum” off Behind the Mourner’s Veil, and that’s really working. I think they’re all working out well, I think “Vulture Shock,” which is the oldest, is probably my least favorite one right now. But that’s what I said about “Unwanted Memories” off As the Weird Travel On, and people will tell me, “What the fuck are you talking about? That’s the best fucking song you ever wrote, you don’t even know your own fucking music, why don’t you shut the fuck up?” So I’ve learned to leave it alone and just go, “You know what? That’s my least favorite, but it’s one I like.” But if if something’s not up to par, we’ll go in, we’ll change it, make it stranger, make it weirder, but everything’s working out. “Dying in Analog’s” got a lot of cool stuff happening in that. I like the jams in it, it’s got a lot of NWOBHM ideals, and that’s probably the most melodic song on the album, but at times it’s also basic thrash. The album’s got all kinds of different ideas going on. There’re fast parts, there’re even some parts, when Matt was hearing it, he was saying it’s almost kind of punk in parts. My son even said it sounds like Voivod meets Repulsion. I hear a lot more things than that, but that’s just what people who’ve heard the demos have said.

Bulldozer: Sounds fantastic, can’t wait to hear it. Thank you for your time King, and I look forward to seeing you out this way again!

KF: Definitely man, that’s our plan for 2011. Hoping to get out there as soon as possible. Up the fucking tombstones!

By Eric Bryan