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Monthly Archives: August 1999

Usurper
Interview with Necromancer and Rick Scythe, taken pre-show, during the Cradle of Filth tour
Interview by Melanie, Aug. 1, 1999

MR: How was the Milwaukee Metalfest this year?

R: Pretty cool, I guess. The basic shit with way too many bands, and all that. All that aside, it went very well. We had the main stage. It was cool, except for our set getting cut short. We only got to play 20 minutes.

MR: And you were up against three other bands…

R: We had the place packed, pretty much.

MR: How was Europe? I heard you guys played over there last year sometime.

N: November or December, yeah.
R: Somewhere around there. We went out with Hecate Enthroned and Enthroned. Basically, it was really kickass. We played about 12 shows, in about 8 different countries.

MR: What was your draw like?

R: It wasn’t really huge, what.. maybe 200-300 people at each show. It wasn’t bad – it was our first time over there, so we all got to see all the die-hards come out. There were a lot of people there that didn’t even know of us, really. We had a good mix of crowd. It was a good time, overall. They treat the bands really well over there.

MR: What are the key differences?

R: It’s a lot of stuff. Everything’s set up a lot better. We got a tour bus that we all share, a tour manager, roadies, driver, sound guy, the whole trip.

MR: I bet <having> the roadies were nice! No more lugging your own shit everywhere!

R: Yeah. <laughs> It went really smooth. Then, we didn’t have to worry about anything but playing. All the food – everything, it’s all provided for you. It’s a little rougher in America. It’s going to be a little rougher this time around with Cradle, but since we’re with them, I assume it’s going to go smoother than our first time we toured the States.

MR: Was this your first date <with them>, here?

R: Well, yeah. Well, Metalfest was (technically), first. But, yeah.

MR: Are you the two founding members?

R: Yeah, we all are… The only one who’s new is our drummer. Our old drummer couldn’t tour or anything; he basically thought it was a recording project and once we signed with Necropolis, we all wanted to <tour>… We figured we’d take it to the next level and go on a tour and stuff, and he couldn’t, so we got a new guy, by the name of Dave Hellstorm. He was in a cult band in the late 80’s called Funeral Nation at one time.

MR: Yeah, I know Dave, but not from Funeral Nation; I know him from Disinter.

R: Yeah, he was in Disinter after that. He wasn’t doing a whole lot and wanted to tour. They were going to play Metalfest…

MR: <the promoters of moneyfest> Wanted $2000 out of every band <in ticket sales> to play last year! This year it was “only” $1000.

R: We’d never pay that kind of money to play! We don’t have that kind of money. It’s ridiculous. With our label and everything, that’s all worked out with them. Even a bigger underground label, you don’t even have to be on a real big label – they’ll work it out. Bands that are unsigned, or on a real small label, they might not be able to work things out. So, basically, this is the second night (of the tour) with Rotting Christ joining tomorrow night in Columbus.

MR: So, when did your band form and how?

R: Uh, oh boy, I’ve answered this a million times.. basically it formed in 1992. By about 1993, we became more serious. 1994, we did our first demo. 1995, our first album came out on Head Not Found, a real small underground label. Then, we signed with Necropolis in 1996, put out ‘Threshold of the Usurper’, an MCD which did really well, and now we put out ‘Skeletal Season’. That’s pretty much about it.

MR: That’s the short, short, and sweet version. (laughs) Did you guys play in Michigan in 1998?

R: 1997. With a bunch of other bands. That didn’t go too well.
N: It was in the suburbs of Detroit, not in the city. It was a small club, on a Monday night, so…
R: That was probably the worst show we’ve ever done.

MR: While on that ‘worst’ topic, do you have any horror or funny show stories?

N: The usual. Getting drunk, playing a show, hitting the stage, partying, getting trashed…
R: Doing shit you don’t remember the next day, that winds up on videotape… A lot of the stuff from Europe could incriminate us… you’re allowed to do -some- stuff but it could still incriminate us in other ways.
N: Every day is basically an adventure.
R: Yeah, a band like us – we’re still at kind of an underground level, we’re not some huge band. We’ve done a lot of mini-tours of the States. We’re doing a lot of this ourselves, with like one guy with us roadie-ing, booking our own hotels, there’s always some shit that happens.
N: You get the same four guys in a car for too long…
R: Yeah, you don’t want to see them when you get back. Then, like the next day comes and you’re so bored, you end up calling everyone… We all kind of live by eachother, and all hang out and practice, but we don’t hang out too much with the whole ‘scene’.

MR: What’s up with the stupid Northside/Southside war thing?

R: (irked) There’s nothing up with that.
N: It’s just hype created by other bands. To draw attention to themselves. There are these stupid ‘life’ metal bands in Chicago which really fucking suck, and then they (go and) take a swing at us. We’ve never had anything handed down to us. We don’t kiss the asses of the right promoters, or pay to play, and we’re too broke to put out or own material, and a lot of people saw that as being arrogant. We don’t feel that way at all. We’d rather just rehearse in our (practice) room than do that. We’ve got a lot of people that arejealous, or how they might think… <snip extended decidedly anti-Soil rant> We live for metal.

MR: How’s your label treating you?

N: The label’s treating us really well, actually. This is the fifth time we’ve gone out on a tour, so they’ve always been pretty much backing us in everything.

MR: They’re making you do too much?

R: No, we’re making them do too much! (laughs) We talk to them all the time. We tell them ‘we’re ready to go on the road again. Whaddya got?’ This time, we got lucky – third major tour in less than a year, so we’re happy.

MR: So you’re pretty much a ‘live’ band?

R: Now we are, yeah. We’re getting to that point. We always wanted to get -to- that point, but its been hard. I mean, when we tour and nobody has really heard our stuff. Now there are a few bands playing our kind of style, but back when we started, it was worse. Mainly in America, it’s just typical Earache/Florida style deathmetal, and in Europe it’s mainly the black metal. We put out our demo like ‘fuck it’. We’re influenced by bands like Celtic Frost, Germany’s Slaughter, Venom – the heavy shit, and we just wanted to do kind of a wierder way to bring it to people. Take the influences, modernize them, and put our own warped thoughts to it. We sold 1300 of the first demo, and we didn’t think anyone would ‘get’ it. We’re obviously not a really huge band right now, but the fans we -do- have, are really into it. That’s always cool. We’ve still got a long way to go though. That’s why we’re trying to tour as much as possible. See, we might be big in the underground with fanzines and tape traders, but a lot of the kids that go to shows are so young they have never heard of fanzines or that. I mean, in Europe we get a lot of good press with Terrorizer and shit, but in the States, it’s not like that.

MR: So did you talk to Metal Maniacs?

R: No, they won’t talk to us. <irked> They talk to bands who are already established. They live one step behind what’s really going on. We’ve got nothing against that. We’re just happy to finally be getting on some tours, and getting exposed to the kids who might not be familiar with us.

MR: What do you forsee in the future for Usurper?

N: Right now, we’re trying to get back to Europe. The last European tour was successful, but we want to move on to the next level and play more countries.
R: We’d like to be a support act for a bigger band. We’d like to do that, because on the last tour there was really no headliner and you can’t draw in 1000 people or more that way. Cradle would be great to go with (to Europe). We’re not one of those bands that’s so ‘true’ we can’t tour with anybody – we’re willing to do that.

MR: You’re Chicago’s ‘most hated band’, according to the Necropolis catalog.

R: I guess some people think we’re assholes. That’s kind of been our claim to fame. We barely play out (locally). I think the last time we played in Chicago, was in 1997. We know a lot of people there. When we played in Chicago the last time, with Dark Funeral, we drew 600 people. There were people there to see the other bands, so it wasn’t -all- our crowd, but they all still stuck around to see us. These people all talk shit about us, but they still come and see us. It’s tough shit. It’s getting to that point.